Sunday, January 14, 2018

Glaucoma, Eye Pressure & Inhalers: No Need to Worry!


Glaucoma, Eye Pressure & Allergy Steroid Inhalers
For certain patients taking oral steroid medications for asthma or severe arthritis can actually elevate their intraocular pressure (IOP) and cause them to develop glaucoma. In the recent past, it has become very common to treat the symptoms of season allergies-such as a runny nose, itching and sneezing, with Flonase® (Fluticasone) which is administered with an inhaler. In fact Flonase® inhalers are now available “over the counter” without a prescription at your local pharmacy so that you can just buy them and begin treating yourself.  Is it safe to use Flonase® inhalers if you are at risk of high eye pressure and are you at even greater risk if you have ocular hypertension or already have glaucoma? According to the results of a clinical study, called the ICOUGH Study presented in the Journal of Glaucoma, there was no clinically significant increase in the average eye pressure in patients with well-controlled open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension after 6 weeks of twice-daily inhaled Flonase®. Thus, it is generally regarded as safe to use OTC inhalers of Flonase® without causing an increased risk of glaucoma.

If you or someone you know is concerned about their risk of glaucoma or needs to schedule and eye exam including glaucoma testing, please call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or www.facebook.com/alabamaeyeandcataractcenter. 

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, January 7, 2018

Glaucoma: Diet, Health & Lifestyle


As glaucoma is a chronic eye disease, we are often asked by glaucoma patients what diet, health and lifestyle factors can helpful or harmful to their eye health. There is a need to separate fact from fiction on recommendations and yet we can all take away some useful and practical information about the effect of diet, health and lifestyle on glaucoma.

Exercise and Glaucoma
One of the typical findings in glaucoma is that patients have an elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). Results from a number of studies indicate that aerobic exercise is associated with IOP lowering and according to the findings the change is greater among sedentary individuals than those who were already active and is independent of exercise duration or intensity. So, even a little aerobic exercise has a positive impact on lowering IOP! For anyone who feels they cannot incorporate exercise into their lifestyle-any kind of movement, even walking, may be beneficial. But, the key is consistency as you have to maintain your regimen because there is evidence showing as well that the effect of exercise on IOP does not continue when deconditioning occurs.

Diet and Glaucoma
There are many studies that suggest eating a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables-especially green leafy vegetables-is beneficial. This advice comes from studies showing that consumption of a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, or with a higher dietary nitrate intake (for which green leafy vegetables are an excellent source), seemed to protect against glaucoma. In general there is no harm in increasing your intake of green leafy vegetables–EXCEPT that for patients taking the blood thinner Coumadin® or warfarin, you need to be aware that green leafy vegetables are high in vitamin K and should you should discuss any increase in their green vegetable intake with their primary care doctor so that medication dosages can be adjusted if necessary.

Acupuncture and Glaucoma
Today, many patients express an interest in alternative therapies such as acupuncture for managing treating their glaucoma. In general according to the results of a well-designed clinical study reported on acupuncture treatment for glaucoma in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, acupuncture is unlikely to be beneficial.

Diet, health and lifestyle can be helpful in the management of glaucoma. If you or someone you know has not had a recent eye exam and glaucoma testing please call and schedule an appointment at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or www.facebook.com/alabamaeyeandcataractcenter.

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.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Glaucoma Risks & Treatment Advances Helps Preserve Vision

Jennifer Michelson, M.D.

In recognition of the American Academy of Ophthalmology designating January as Glaucoma Awareness Month, Ophthalmologist Jennifer Michelson, M.D. of Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, P.C. shared useful information for patients to help build awareness for those at increased risk of vision loss from glaucoma as well as patients already suffering from this incurable potentially blinding but treatable eye disease. “The most common type of glaucoma is called chronic open angle glaucoma. What makes it so troublesome and threatening for patients is that this disease has no warning signs or symptoms. That is why it is so important for patients to become familiar with their individual risk factors and be diligent about routine eye exams with glaucoma evaluation and testing as recommended by their eye doctor,” explained Jennifer Michelson, M.D.

Glaucoma Risk Factors
Baby boomers and seniors should note that the risk of developing glaucoma increases for those over the age of 40 and is 6 times greater once you are over 60 years of age. If any family member-especially a sibling-has glaucoma your risk increases 4-9 fold-and this is even greater if you have other systemic or eye diseases that compromise circulation such as diabetes. Race and ethnicity also affect glaucoma risk in that African-Americans have a genetic predisposition that exposes them to a 6-8 fold increased risk, patients of Hispanic descent over the age of 60 seem to be at increased risk, and Asians appear to have higher risk for developing a type of glaucoma called narrow angle glaucoma. There is now the suggestion that prolonged use of oral contraceptive birth control pills as well as the early onset of menopause may increase glaucoma risk in women. Finally, anyone suffering from sleep apnea needs to be carefully examined as this condition significantly increases glaucoma risk.

“Whether or not you have any of these increased risk factors, the best way to avoid vision loss from glaucoma is through early detection, diagnosis and treatment. This means making sure you have regular eye exams. The good news is that through advances in technology our ability to manage glaucoma has improved a great deal. Today, we have eye drops that are easier to use. An even simpler and more convenient treatment option is a safer, gentler and more effective glaucoma laser treatment that can reduce or even eliminate the need for eye drops. Furthermore, for those patients with more serious glaucoma, I am often able to use the technique of micro-invasive glaucoma surgery, or MIGS, which allows me to implant a microscopic stent to help control eye pressure and manage the disease,” Dr. Michelson explained.

You can schedule an eye exam appointment by calling Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, P.C. at 205-930-0930, or visiting Alabama Eye & Cataract Center,P.C., Google+ or www.facebook.com/alabamaeyecataractcenter.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Early Detection Critical to Treating Glaucoma


Glaucoma is a major cause of vision loss worldwide. It affects more than 3 million people in the United States with nearly half being unaware they have the disease. During Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding the public that early detection and treatment can help protect your sight. 

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. Typically, the disease initially has no signs or symptoms. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible blindness. 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that everyone have a comprehensive eye exam at age 40. This exam provides eye doctors an opportunity to carefully examine the eye including the optic nerve for signs of damage and other possible problems that may affect vision. Individuals at greater risk for developing glaucoma include people: 
  • over age 40;
  • who have a family history of glaucoma;
  • of African, Asian or Hispanic heritage;
  • who have high eye pressure detected during an eye exam; 
  • who are farsighted or nearsighted;
  • who have experienced eye trauma or eye injury;
  • whose corneas are thin in the center;
  • or who have health problems such as diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure or poor blood 
Early detection, diagnosis and treatment are critical to managing this disease and preventing vision loss and blindness. If you or someone you know has not had a recent eye exam and glaucoma testing please call and schedule an appointment at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or www.facebook.com/alabamaeyeandcataractcenter. 

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.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Laser Toy Eye Injury in Children

Inexpensive and extremely powerful lasers that are incorporated in toys are now available for purchase on the Internet. Laser pointers used for presentations or as toys typically have outputs of 5 milliwatts (mW) or less, usually in the red wavelength. These lasers are generally harmless to the human eye in short exposures. Ophthalmic lasers for treating diabetic retinopathy typically have a power output of 50 to 100 mW and come in a variety of wavelengths, depending on the clinical application. If misused, the lasers are capable of causing severe eye damage. Such lasers are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are not available for public use. However, foreign companies sell lasers over the Internet that have outputs of up to 200 mW or more in dangerous green wavelengths.

These lasers can cause eye injuries plus confusion for eye doctors. Children who suffer eye damage from lasers may be misdiagnosed with genetic eye disorders and undergo expensive and unnecessary testing. It’s never advisable for children to play with lasers, but it’s especially worrisome that these devices are becoming more dangerous. The increased accessibility and stronger power of these devices most likely explains the sizable number of cases of eye damage in children being reported over the past two years.

If you or someone you know needs information or help with a laser toy eye injury in children please call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or www.facebook.com/alabamaeyeandcataractcenter.

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.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

LASIK Note from Adam




“I have considered LASIK surgery for many years, but finally, after more the 20 years of wearing glasses, I decided to let Dr. Michelson perform the procedure. This was, by far, one of the best decisions I could have made. I never imagined being able to see better without glasses, but less than 24 hours after the surgery, I had 20/15 vision. Thank you Dr. Michelson, and your entire team for significantly improving my quality of life.” Adam

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 in Birmingham at 205-969-8100, visit Michelson Laser Vision, 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, November 26, 2017

Diabetes & Unexpected Health Problems


Diabetic eye disease and eye problems are well known by most patients because their primary care physician and eye doctor tell them repeated about the need to for tight blood sugar control in order to prevent eye problems. But most patients with diabetes are unaware of some unexpected health problems that can be related to diabetes and can be easily overlooked.

Cognitive, Memory & Brain Function Decline
It is not uncommon for Type 2 Diabetics to experience diminished ability in memory recall and focus, as well as organizing, planning and completing tasks. Research shows that people with diabetes have abnormal blood flow to the brain, which affects function and activity. This explains why, with age, diabetics may experience slower mental performance. This is another reason why managing your diabetes  requires a proactive effort to carefully follow your doctor’s instructions for proper diet, exercise, medications, lifestyle and glucose levels, as well as scheduling regular follow up visits and keeping all appointments.

Hearing Loss
Did you know that diabetics are twice as likely to experience hearing loss as they age? The National Institutes of Health also reports that 30 percent of pre-diabetics, with higher-than-normal glucose levels, can experience hearing loss. The disease can affect the small blood vessels in the inner ear, causing impairment. Protect hearing by regularly monitoring blood sugar levels.

Gum & Periodontal Disease
Did you know that diabetics are more prone to developing periodontal disease, an infection of the gums that can lead to tooth loss? A study of 9,000 people at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health discovered that individuals with higher levels of periodontal disease were more likely to become diabetic within the next two decades, as compared to those without the disease. Periodontal disease can increase blood sugar, making it even more difficult to control diabetes. Be proactive and prevent oral health and gum problems by brushing twice daily, flossing once each day and using an antiseptic mouthwash daily.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea
About 50 percent of diabetics experience obstructive sleep apnea. People who are obese and have a collar size of more than 17 for men or 16 for women are more likely to suffer from apnea when they sleep. Researchers reporting in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine noted that people with severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea may have a 30 percent higher risk for developing diabetes. OSA is an increases risk factor for many eye problems including glaucoma.

While these are some unexpected diabetic health problems, the avoidance and management of diabetic retinopathy is critical. The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy is through early detection, diagnosis and treatment with regular eye exams. If you or someone you know is diabetic and needs an diabetic eye exam, please call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center, Google+ or www.facebook.com/alabamaeyeandcataractcenter.

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.