Sunday, September 18, 2016

Macular Degeneration Risk: Diet, Lifestyle & Genes


Unhealthy lifestyles that include smoking, high levels of alcohol consumption, high fat diets and other vascular risk factors are known to contribute to your risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD). Further, we also know that those with a family history of AMD are even at additional risk. Recently a study published in Ophthalmology told us about the further risk that you might experience if you actually have a genetic predisposition. The results showed that odds of developing AMD were 3.3 times greater if you had both unhealthy lifestyle behaviors in combination with high genetic risk as compared to those who had low genetic risk and healthy lifestyles. This shows the powerful negative effect both your genes and lifestyle can play in your risk of developing age related macular degeneration (AMD).

If you or someone you know has a family history of AMD and demonstrates unhealthy lifestyle behaviors it is important to have a comprehensive eye exam on a regular schedule recommended by your eye doctor, at which you clearly make the doctor aware of your risk factors and concerns. 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.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Skipping AMD Treatment Affects Vision

For patients with Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) who are being treated with VEGF Inhibitor injections such as Lucentis® and Eylea®, even though it might seem like a great deal of trouble and effort to be totally consistent and compliant with all scheduled appointments-IT IS CRITICAL! The need for consecutive, carefully timed injections according to clinically tested protocol is what helps us preserve your vision and avoid the untoward, potentially catastrophic effects of vision loss from Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Researchers reporting in the journal Eye actually studied what happens to the vision of patients who skip even one injection visit. In France, summer vacations are taken very seriously and many French patients leave their doctor’s care for 6-8 weeks as they travel around Europe for the summer. The French eye specialists found that patients who skipped even a single injection during their holiday period were prone to a decrease in vision, formation of cysts and fluid in the macula of the eye being treated. We are hopeful you will carefully follow our recommendations for the timing and frequency of AMD treatment injections so we can help preserve your eye health and vision.

If you or someone you know has questions about AMD treatment with VEGF injections or any aspect of Age Related Macular Degeneration risk, diagnosis, symptoms or treatment 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.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Slowing Nearsighted Progression

About Nearsighted or Myopic Progression
Myopia is a common disorder, affecting approximately one-third of the U.S. population. High myopia is associated with an increased risk of sight-threatening problems, such as retinal detachment, choroidal degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. Slowing the progression of myopia could potentially benefit millions of children in the U.S. To date, few clinical approaches for myopia control and slowing myopic progression have proven to be consistently effective. Treatment options such as undercorrection of myopia, gas permeable contact lenses, and bifocal or multifocal spectacles have all been proven to be ineffective for myopia control, although one recent clinical trial using executive top bifocal spectacles on children with progressive myopia has shown to decrease the progression to nearly half of the control subjects. The most effective methods are the use of Orthokeratology contact lenses, soft bifocal contact lenses, and certain eye drops not specifically approved for this use. We encourage parents children experiencing rapid myopic progression to discuss which if any of these options might be helpful or appropriate for their children.

If you or someone you know has a question about myopic progression or the ways to slow nearsighted prescription increases, feel free to discuss your concerns with us and 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, 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.