Sunday, April 5, 2020

Eye Exams & Diagnosing Alzheimer’s


A recent study published by Duke University researchers in the journal Retina suggests that an observed loss of blood vessels in the retina may reflect changes in brain health and could signal Alzheimer’s disease. In people with healthy brains, microscopic blood vessels form a dense web at the back of the eye inside the retina. In the eyes of people with Alzheimer’s disease, that web was less dense and even sparse in places. The differences in density were statistically significant after researchers controlled for factors including age, sex, and level of education. The study measured blood vessels that can’t be seen during a regular eye exam using noninvasive technology that takes high-resolution images of very small blood vessels within the retina in just a few minutes, called Optical Coherence Tomography-Angiography (OCT-A). They concluded that it’s possible that these changes in blood vessel density in the retina could mirror what’s going on in the tiny blood vessels in the brain, perhaps before we are able to detect any changes in cognition. 

With nearly 6 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and no viable treatments or noninvasive tools for early diagnosis, its burden on families and the economy is heavy. Scientists at have studied other changes in the retina that could signal trouble upstream in the brain, such as thinning of some of the retinal nerve layers. The goal would be to use this technology to detect Alzheimer’s early, before symptoms of memory loss are evident, and be able to monitor these changes over time in participants of clinical trials studying new Alzheimer’s treatments.

Please mention any concerns you have about Alzheimer’s during your regular eye exam. To learn more about new technology and examination techniques we are using, please just ask us at your scheduled appointment.

If you or someone you know has not had a recent eye exam please schedule an appointment at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or www.facebook.com/alabamaeyeandcataractcenter.

Alabama Eye & Cataract Center is a leading eye care center 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.

Friday, April 3, 2020

Sleep Problems & Glaucoma



A study of more than 6,700 people in the United States over age 40 who were previously diagnosed with glaucoma based on their optic nerve damage and visual field loss, responded to a survey about their sleep that revealed possible connections between glaucoma and sleep problems. Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. Damage to this nerve-which is responsible for sending signals from the eye to the brain so you can see-often goes unnoticed until an eye exam reveals the nerve damage and related vision loss caused by glaucoma.
Patients were asked and responded to questions about a) amount of time slept, b) difficulties falling asleep, c) sleep disturbances specifically waking up during sleep, d) having diagnosed sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, e) use of sleep medication and f) problems with sleepiness during the day. 
The results revealed the following interesting information:
  • People who slept for 10 or more hours a night were three times more likely to have glaucoma-related optic nerve damage than those who slept 7 hours a night.
  • People who fell asleep in 9 minutes or less, or those who needed 30 minutes or more to fall asleep, were twice as likely to have glaucoma than those who took 10-29 minutes to fall asleep.
  • The odds of having missing vision were three times higher among people who got 3 or fewer or 10 or more hours of sleep per night, compared with those who got 7 hours a night.
  • People who said they had trouble remembering things because of daytime sleepiness were twice as likely to have visual field loss than those who said they were not sleepy during the day and did not notice memory problems.
  • People who said they had difficulty working on a hobby because they were sleepy during the day were three times more likely to have vision loss than people who reported no problems working on hobbies and no daytime sleepiness.
While it is unclear whether the sleep problems are a result of some glaucoma related phenomenon or perhaps whether these sleep problems might be early risk factors for glaucoma, it is important to mention to your eye doctor whether you experience sleep problems. Schedule an eye health exam beginning at age 40 at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or www.facebook.com/alabamaeyeandcataractcenter.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Thank You Dr. Jennifer!



“I went and to the center thinking I needed glasses and found out I had cataracts and needed surgery, I saw Dr. Jennifer Michelson for cataract surgery, it was an awesome experience. She was so nice and thorough with me, she even told me things I wouldn’t have thought to ask. I didn’t have any kind of problems thru any of the surgery, now I can see so great, I can’t hardly believe it, got 20/15 vision, better that normal. If anyone has any kind of eye problems please contact these people, everyone there is the best, I just want to thank Dr. Michelson again for everything she did for me, it was awesome experience from the eye check up thru the surgery, thank you Dr. Jennifer for everything you did.”-Darryl

If you or some you know is experiencing cataract symptoms such as cloudy foggy vision, glare or difficult night driving and would like to learn more about cataract surgery & lens implants please call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or www.facebook.com/alabamaeyeandcataractcenter.

Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, P.C. leading eye care center 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, March 16, 2020

Heavy Smoking and Vision Loss


Researchers at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care reported findings of a study in Psychiatry Research demonstrating that smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day can damage your vision. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 34.3 million adults in the US currently smoke cigarettes and that more than 16 million live with a smoking-related disease, many of which affect the cardiovascular system. Cigarette smoke consists of numerous neurotoxic compounds that are harmful to health. These neurotoxic chemicals are believed to result in nerve damage to the optic nerve and retinal nerve fiber layer resulting in a loss of color vision and contrast sensitivity. This damage is in addition to the known harmful effects of smoking which doubles the risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and hastens the yellowing of the crystalline lens of the eye where cataracts form.

If you or someone you know is a smoker-now is the time to quit! To learn more about eye health and smoking schedule an eye exam at If you or someone you know has not had a recent eye exam please schedule an appointment at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or www.facebook.com/alabamaeyeandcataractcenter.

Alabama Eye & Cataract Center is a leading eye care center 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, March 2, 2020

Top 5 AMD Risk Factors


Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss among Americans ages 65 and over. To help reduce your chance of vision loss from AMD:
  • know the risk factors for AMD,
  • know your family eye & medical history, and
  • Schedule and keep regular eye exam appointments.
The Top 5 Risk Factors for AMD include:
  • Being over the Age of 60
  • Having a Family History of AMD
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
People with any two of these risk factors should schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist and people who are at risk should know the symptoms of Wet AMD, the form most likely to cause rapid and serious vision loss including:
  • sudden, noticeable loss of vision, or
  • sudden distortion of vision, such as seeing "wavy" lines. 
See an ophthalmologist right away if these symptoms occur. Treatments for wet AMD provide an excellent chance of stopping vision loss. They may actually restore some vision when macular degeneration develops. Earlier diagnosis of wet AMD gives a better chance of successful treatment.
You can control some AMD risk factors, such as smoking and diet, to reduce the risk of vision loss. One way to reduce AMD risk is to quit smoking or never start. You can't control all your risks, however. For example, you can't do anything about your genetics. Knowing family medical history and sharing it with your ophthalmologist is an important step to protect your vision.

For patients at high risk for developing late-stage wet AMD, taking a specific, AMD dietary supplement lowers that risk by 25 percent. However, patients should check with their ophthalmologist before starting any dietary supplement!

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Michelson LASIK for Leland



“It feels like a miracle but the doctors call it LASIK. Dr. Marc did the surgery on me yesterday and today my sight is crystal clear. I’m now 20/15 and can see things I haven’t seen in years. Easy procedure, easy recovery and I’m excited to never have to think about glasses and contacts again. If you are apprehensive about it, just go see Doctors Marc and Jennifer at Michelson and see if it’s for you. I’m Thrilled”-Leland 

If you or some you know is tired of the hassle of glasses or contact lenses for seeing at distance and would like to find out if LASIK might be a good vision correction option, please call Michelson Laser Vision, Inc. in Birmingham at 205-969-8100, visit Michelson Laser Vision, or www.facebook.com/michelsonlaservision.

Michelson Laser Vision, Inc. is a leading LASIK center 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, February 10, 2020

Deep Learning & Macular Degeneration Risk Assessment


Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in seniors. Aging is the greatest risk factor! In its most advanced stages, it can deprive an individual of his or her ability to perform basic activities such as reading, recognizing faces, and driving. Approximately 11 million individuals are affected with AMD in the United States (U.S.) alone and the prevalence of AMD in the U.S. is anticipated to increase to 22 million by the year 2050.

Early detection and treatment is critical in helping patients avoid vision loss from AMD. Recently researchers reported interesting results in the journal JAMA Ophthalmology regarding how “deep learning” (DL) or artificial intelligence (AI) might be a useful addition to the physician in the examination and monitoring process for patients at risk for AMD and its progression. Their findings suggest that using DL to grade and monitor AMD is comparable to experienced humans for estimating 5-year risk of progression to advanced AMD. This could be very helpful in assisting physicians in having a detailed risk assessment in the long term care of AMD patient.

If you want to learn more about your risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD), schedule an eye exam at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or www.facebook.com/alabamaeyeandcataractcenter.

Alabama Eye & Cataract Center is a leading eye care center 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.