Sunday, August 21, 2016

Thyroid Disease and Eye Problems


Did you know that having thyroid disease can cause eye problems? And, thyroid eye problems can be quite different depending on your age. In general, younger patients under the age of 40 are more likely to have thyroid eye disease characterized by “eye bulging”, clinically called proptosis, along with a retraction or “pulling back” of their eyelids. Older patients, those above 40 years old are more likely to have thyroid eye disease characterized by double vision or “diplopia” from eye muscle problems as well “optic neuropathy” or damage to their optic nerve. In most cases younger patients have milder signs and symptoms of eye problems.


If you or someone you know has thyroid disease or experiences any of the signs or symptoms of bulging eyes, double vision or reduced vision, it is important to immediately schedule an eye exam and share your diagnosis of thyroid disease with your eye doctor or the symptoms you are experiencing. Please call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or www.facebook.com/michelsonlaservision

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center are leading eye care centers in Birmingham located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 and staffed by UAB Medicine eye doctors and eye specialists.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Aging Eye Problems



About Aging Eyes
Aging eye problems are a fact of life for adults growing older just like wrinkles, slowing metabolism and graying hair. Eventually, your eyes are affected by age so it’s important to understand how your eyes change with age and what you can do to preserve your eye health and vision. Some aging eye changes and problems are expected and normal and others indicate the presence of eye diseases that need to be detected, diagnosed and treated or changes that need to be addressed to preserve vision. For these reasons having regular eye exams at the intervals recommended by your eye doctor is key-especially after the age of 40 years old.

About Aging Eye Problems
Presbyopia
Beginning in the late 30s and early 40s, the crystalline lens in your eye loses flexibility, making it difficult to focus and read up close. Your “arms seem “too short.” This condition is called presbyopia, which literally means "aging eye", and is most often treated with reading glasses, progressive lenses or bifocals depending on how you need to use your eyes for various tasks throughout the day, for work or recreation.

Dry Eye
Dry eye often develops with age and is a common problem for women during pregnancy and menopause. These hormonal changes cause changes in the eye’s tear production. Certain medications can also cause dry eye. If you have dry eye, you may be prone to an eyelid irritation called blepharitis, a common cause of irritation or swelling of the eyelids. The cause of your dry eye-either too few tears being produced or too rapid evaporation of tears will need to be diagnosed and then your eye doctor can prescribe a range of treatments including eye drops that add artificial tears, prescription eye drops that help you make more of your own tears called Restasis®, tiny punctal plugs to help you retain more of your own tears, anti-inflammatory eye drops and many other treatment options to get you help for dry eye symptoms and discomfort.

Diabetic Retinopathy
People in their 50s, 60s and 70s with diabetes are most at risk for this disease. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels inside the retina swell, leak fluid or close off completely due to damage from elevated blood sugar levels. But, you can take steps to prevent diabetic retinopathy with tight control of blood sugar, low fat diets, regular exercise and controlling blood pressure levels. It is also critical to see your eye doctor regularly for diabetic eye exams as with early detection, diagnosis and treatment the vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be slowed and often prevented.

Cataracts
Cataracts are very common in older people. As you age, proteins in your crystalline lens begin to clump together and cause the lens to be cloudy. This is the development of a cataract where the lens has become less transparent, causing blurry, cloudy or dim vision and increased glare and haloes around lights. Many people with the condition describe it as similar to looking out of dirty windshield. Cataracts can interfere with daily activities like driving at night and distinguishing colors. While treatment of early cataracts with changes in eyeglass prescription may provide some benefit, the only really effective treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery where the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a permanent artificial lens implant which can correct the cataract as well as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and even presbyopia.

Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve that damages the fibers that transmit visual information to the brain. This damage often leads to loss of side vision or peripheral vision. If left untreated, glaucoma will certainly lead to progressive vision loss and ultimately total blindness. Glaucoma is most common in people age 55 and older. One of the problems with glaucoma, especially the most common type of glaucoma, called chronic open-angle glaucoma, is that there are typically no symptoms in the early stages. Many people who have the disease do not know they have it. This is why it is important, especially as you get older, to have regular medical eye exams at intervals that depend on your risk factors-such as smoking, sleep apnea, age, diabetes, high blood pressure, early menopause-as recommended by your eye doctor.

Floaters and Flashes
As people grow older, the gel, called the Vitreous-that fills the inside their eye starts to shrink, forming clumps, liquid or strands. These strands and clumps can appear as “floaters” that appear as small specks or lines moving in your field of vision. As it shrinks, the gel can also pull away from the back wall of the eye, causing you to see “flashes” which appear as flashing lights or lightning streaks in your vision. While this is normally harmless, in some cases it can lead to retinal detachment and cause serious vision loss and even blindness. If you experience new floaters and flashes, it’s important to see your eye doctor as soon as possible, especially if you are over age 45, are nearsighted or have had eye injuries in the past.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is a senior eye problem that affects the central vision, limiting a person’s ability to read and recognize faces. This can be caused by a thinning and deterioration of the macula which is the center of the retina or by the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina. AMD can lead to blindness if not treated and it continues to be the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 65. Fortunately with early detection, diagnosis and treatment, vision loss from AMD is preventable or at least manageable so that we can reduce vision loss and in many cases, recover vision.

If you or someone you know is concerned about ageing eye problems such as presbyopia, dry eye, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration (AMD) or cataracts please call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or www.facebook.com/michelsonlaservision

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center are leading eye care centers in Birmingham located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 and staffed by UAB Medicine eye doctors and eye specialists.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Diabetes: A Top Vision Loss Risk Factor for Hispanics

Diabetes Vision Loss in Hispanics

Results from the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) confirm that diabetes is a top risk factor for vision loss among Hispanics. LALES and other large studies have found that people who have diabetes are more likely to develop serious and potentially blinding diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataract and glaucoma. Hispanics are more likely to develop diabetes than other groups.

Preventing Vision Loss in Hispanics
Preventing diabetes or catching and treating it and any related eye diseases in their early stages would go a long way to improving Hispanics' vision health. Hispanics are the fastest-growing group in the United States and thus it is important to have routine eye exams especially if you are diabetic and Hispanic. LALES researchers believe that if our Hispanic population receives thorough exams and care as needed, the burden of vision loss in U.S. Hispanics could be reduced.

If you are Hispanic and especially if you have diabetes, having regular eye exams is critical to reduce your risk of vision loss. Please call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or www.facebook.com/michelsonlaservision

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center are leading eye care centers in Birmingham located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 and staffed by UAB Medicine eye doctors and eye surgeons.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Headaches & Childrens’ Eye Problems

About Headaches and Childrens’ Eye Problems
It is pretty common for parents to bring their children in for an eye exam because they are complaining of headaches. Headaches are a frequent complaint of kids but fortunately they are usually not serious. Some of the more common causes of headaches in kids include migraine, the stress and tension of school, certain foods with nitrate or MSG preservatives, physical trauma, sinus infections and of course eye problems. Parents can be concerned with the serious but truly rare occurrence of brain tumors causing headaches but this is usually accompanied by other complaints of dizziness, weakness of arms and legs and a loss of coordination.

Evaluating Kids with Headaches
As part of evaluating any child with headaches I always want to be sure that there has been a complete and thorough examination by their pediatrician who may need to order additional tests or even a referral to a neurologist. Then I will need to perform a complete eye exam including evaluation of the pupils, a refraction to determine any refractive error or need for glasses, eye alignment and binocularity testing and sometimes possible a visual field examination. Generally I will put drops in the child’s eyes to dilate the pupils, so that the optic nerves can be properly examined and the refractive error can be most accurately measured.

Eye Problems That Can Cause Headaches
If your child has uncorrected hyperopia or farsightedness, it requires extra effort to focus clearly while reading. This can sometimes lead to fatigue and headache. Glasses can reduce the effort required to see clearly at near and improve the headache, if significant hyperopia exists. Mild hyperopia is normal in children, however, and generally does not cause headaches or other symptoms.

When we read or perform other near activities, our eyes pull in toward each other, this is called convergence. The decreased ability to pull the eyes toward each other when viewing near objects (convergence), particularly while reading, may cause headaches. This is called convergence insufficiency, and symptoms include the doubling of images or words, blurred vision, fatigue, and headaches which worsen with prolonged reading. At home eye exercises, sometimes with the help of computer software, can help treat convergence insufficiency. Glasses are sometimes prescribed, but costly in-office eye exercises are rarely necessary.

Acute infections, allergic and inflammatory diseases of the eyes can also cause headaches. These problems are often accompanied by redness of the eye and/ or the eyelid as well as light sensitivity or photophobia. Acute glaucoma can cause headaches, but rarely affects children. Pseudo tumor Cerebri is a condition caused by increased intracranial pressure or too much fluid around the brain, and this causes headache and swelling of the optic nerves, but does not typically cause redness of the eyes. During the complete eye exam we perform we will be able to rule out these problems as a cause of headaches in your child. If we do not find any ocular causes of your child’s headache we may refer them back to his/her pediatrician and/or to a neurologist to look for other possible causes of the headaches.

If you have questions about causes of kids headaches or children’s eye problems, or need assistance please call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or www.facebook.com/michelsonlaservision

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center are leading eye care centers in Birmingham located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 and staffed by UAB Medicine eye doctors and eye specialists.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Eye Problems and Psoriasis

Psoriasis and Retinal Vein Occlusion
What does having psoriasis have to do with eye and retina problems? As it turns out having psoriasis is associated with a higher risk of developing an eye problem called Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO), a condition where one or more veins in the retina become blocked with a high risk of vision loss and many complications.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees or scalp, though it can appear on any location. Some people report that psoriasis is itchy, burns and stings. Psoriasis is associated with other serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and depression. If you develop a rash that doesn't go away with an over-the-counter medication, you should consider contacting your doctor. Further, if indeed you are diagnosed with psoriasis, you should make sure to have regular eye exams and tell us that you have this condition.

If you or someone you know suffers from psoriasis, you should schedule regular eye exams and be sure to tell your eye doctor about your condition. Please call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or www.facebook.com/michelsonlaservision

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center are leading eye care centers in Birmingham located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 and staffed by UAB Medicine eye doctors and eye surgeons.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Cataract Surgery Lens Implants and Driving

People with cataracts often are unaware of the subtle changes in lifestyle and mobility that they adopt as they await the “right time” for cataract surgery. Almost always, people who have cataract surgery immediately feel an improved quality of life from the restored freedom of clear vision, especially for those who wish to continue to drive. A recent study also tells us that the choice of lens implant can play a role in restoring driving habits. When you schedule an appointment for a cataract evaluation or if you are visiting us for a cataract eye exam before surgery, please be sure to discuss and advise us of your driving habits and desires-especially night driving-so that we can counsel you on the different types of lens implants that we might use to help you return to a comfortable, convenient, safe and active driving pattern along with the other activities that the cataract might have limited for you.

If you or someone you know has a cataract or wishes to learn more about laser cataract surgery and lens implants especially as related to driving and mobility, please schedule a cataract eye exam by calling Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, or or visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or www.facebook.com/michelsonlaservision.

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center are leading eye care centers in Birmingham located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 and staffed by UAB Medicine cataract surgeons.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Special Eye Exams Predict Diabetic Retinopathy Damage


Recently reported information in Retina Today from research conducted at the Joslin Diabetes Center’s Beetham Eye Institute demonstrated that for people with diabetes who are showing evidence of diabetic retinopathy, it is of important predictive value for us to carefully evaluate lesions not simply the center of the retina, but more importantly those in the periphery of the retina, as these changes generally tell us that the disease will progress more rapidly. What we now know is that these peripheral lesions, which are not detected by traditional eye imaging, correlate very closely with the loss of retinal blood flow called retinal “non-perfusion” which tells us that there is damage to the small blood vessels or capillaries in the retina.

Thus, if you are diabetic and we are following you for retina changes and diabetic retinopathy we may recommend that we take both the routine retina photographs and fluorescein angiography of the central retina as well as the peripheral retina. If this extra measure of safety is required we will advise you of this extra step at the time of your diabetic eye exam.

Fortunately, with early detection, diagnosis and treatment the last decade or so has given us many major success stories for the treatment of diabetic eye disease, including diabetic macular edema (DME), with drugs that target a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). It’s possible that such anti-VEGF drugs might also help to treat peripheral lesions and slow or even eliminate the risk of progression.

If you or someone you know has diabetes, having regular eye exams and testing to prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy is an important part of your care. Please schedule a diabetic eye exam by calling Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930 or visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or www.facebook.com/michelsonlaservision

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center are leading eye care centers in Birmingham located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 and staffed by UAB Medicine eye specialists.