Thursday, February 23, 2012

Birmingham LASIK for Contact Lens Problems

Considering having LASIK in Birmingham may be a useful option for those suffering with contact lens problems and intolerance. “Contact lens problems and intolerance seem to be motivating more and more patients to schedule LASIK consultations these days,” said Birmingham Corneal Specialist and LASIK Surgeon Marc Michelson, M.D. Medical Director of Michelson Laser Vision.

In fact, contact lens problems and intolerance are the reasons a great many patients seek LASIK Surgery and Laser Vision Correction. “The most common reason for contact lens intolerance that we see is a condition called Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis or GPC,” commented Tyler Hall, M.D., Corneal Specialist and LASIK Surgeon at Michelson Laser Vision.

When we wear contact lenses, no matter how successfully or how diligent we are in their care and replacement, they become coated with mucous and protein from our tears. After a number of years of wearing contacts it is not uncommon to develop an allergy to the protein on the contact lens. Initially this may result in patients having some dry eye symptoms and prompt them to use lubricating eye drops. However, as the GPC contact lens problem continues to progress patients begin to notice some itch and stringy mucous type discharge from their eyes. After a while the contacts just become too uncomfortable and gritty and patients become intolerant and just can’t wear their contacts. During a severe episode of GPC, patients may be restricted from wearing their contacts in order to reduce the allergic inflammation of the lids. In some cases, patients are no longer able to wear contacts again at all. Patients with a chronic GPC may decide to have LASIK to correct their vision, so that they no longer need to depend on contacts on a daily basis.

LASIK can be a great option for you to rid yourself of the hassle of contacts and allow you to continue a “glasses free” lifestyle for seeing at distance. If you or someone you know suffers fro any type of contact lens problem and would like to learn more about LASIK and whether they are a good candidate please call Michelson Laser Vision at 877-871-3937 for a Free LASIK Consultation.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Eye Refractions Billing & Cost

One of the most basic parts of an eye exam is checking the refraction of your eyes or an eye refraction test. This allows us to determine what your best possible vision is at that point in time while wearing a prescription optical lens and gives us the basis for prescribing a prescription optical lens. The most common type of eye refraction is called a Manifest Refraction and is performed without the use of eye drops so that we can examine the eye in a natural state. If you have ever had and eye exam you are probably familiar with the “which is better, one or two” test-this is a Manifest Refraction. Another type of eye refraction is called a Cycloplegic Refractions which is performed after the instillation of eye drops to temporarily immobilize the Ciliary Muscle of the eye. This temporarily prevents you from accommodating or “focusing” up close and is used when there is a need for an even more precise measurement of refractive error. In addition the eye drops will also dilate the pupil so the eye doctor can easily see the back of the eye to examine the retina, optic nerve and blood vessels in order to evaluate their health.

From an insurance standpoint, eye refractions are considered part of a routine eye exam. Because refractions are normally used to determine refractive errors such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, and therefore prescribe glasses or contact lenses, many insurance companies, particularly Medicare and Medicaid, do not pay for them. It's important to understand that when patients are having their eye exam, refractions are a necessary part of a routine eye exam and must be paid for out of pocket. If you have questions about the cost of your refraction or billing questions about refraction please call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center-205-930-0930 and we will be glad to assist. You may also schedule an appointment at right on line!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Birmingham Contact Lenses: Dos and Dont’s

Contact lenses are a safe and effective way to correct vision for people who are not interested in or are not candidates for LASIK. The following are a few tips I share with patients to help keep them seeing well in their contacts and avoid problems.

Always wash your hands before handling your contacts to help prevent transfer of bacteria from your hands to your contacts. Never sleep in your contacts even if they are approved for overnight wear. Sleeping in your contacts significantly increase your risk of developing an eye infection. When cleaning your contacts, it is still best to rub them gently in the palm of your hand with some solution rather than placing them directly into a storage case. Discard your lens case monthly or clean it thoroughly with soap and water. Although they are more expensive, a daily disposable contact lens is safest for your eye.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Birmingham Eye Health Risk & Smoking

Smoking can have a great effect on your eyes-especially in terms of your risk of Cataracts and Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Avoiding smoking, or quitting, is one of the best investments you can make in your long-term eye health. Smoking-even in your teens or twenties when your senior years seem far away-increases your future risks for Cataracts and Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). The more a person smokes, the greater the risks. In general if you quit smoking the risks of these eye diseases decreases to approximately the same level as if you never smoked at all. Keep on mind that smoking also increases your risk of cardiovascular disease which also can affect your eyes. Besides the vascular problems mentioned smoking and even being around smokers and their second hand smoke increase the likelihood of dry eye. Learn more about eye health and smoking at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center-205-930-0930.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fuchs Dystrophy and Cornea Swelling

Fuchs Dystrophy is an inherited disorder of the cornea (the clear, dome-shaped window of the eye) that affects roughly 4% of people over the age of 40. Fuchs Dystrophy causes a thin layer of cells that line the back of the cornea (endothelial cells) to deteriorate prematurely resulting in a swollen cornea with too much water. Healthy endothelial cells are required to keep the cornea rid of excess water. This helps the cornea to be clear and facilitate proper light transmission so that a person can see clearly.

Fuchs Dystrophy is slowly progressive and usually affects both eyes. Although doctors often begin to see signs of Fuchs Dystrophy in a patient’s 30s and 40s, it rarely affects vision until they reach their 50s and 60s. At first, a person with Fuchs Dystrophy will awaken with blurred vision that gradually clears during the day. As this disorder advances, blurred vision remains throughout the day.

Initially, treatment consists of eye drops and/or ointments with a high salt concentration that helps clear the cornea by getting rid of excess water. As time goes by, this treatment may become ineffective such that vision remains blurred and quality of life becomes diminished. At this point, surgery can be performed to replace the deteriorating endothelial cells and restore vision. For the past fifty years, full-thickness corneal transplantation was the only way to replace the endothelial cells. This surgery is extremely successful; however, visual recovery takes approximately twelve months. Recently, a new technique known as DSEK (Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty) has been developed which allows vision to be restored in as little as three months.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about Fuchs Dystrophy or the various treatment options, please schedule an appointment with Birmingham Corneal Specialists Marc Michelson, M.D. or Tyler Hall, M.D. at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center by calling 205-930-0930. You can also visit us at to schedule an appointment on-line!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Age Related Macular Degeneration Awareness in Birmingham

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in Americans older than 50, affecting more than two million people. Although AMD is incurable, there are new treatments that can at a minimum prevent further vision loss from the disease and in many cases actually help recover lost vision,” commented Birmingham Ophthalmologist Marc Michelson, M.D.

AMD causes central vision to blur, but leaves peripheral vision intact. It is progressive and painless. There are two types of ARMD: Dry and Wet. Approximately 90 percent of people with AMD have the dry form which results in gradual vision loss. Although only 10 percent of people with ARMD have the wet form, it generally progresses much quicker than the dry form. Wet AMD is characterized by the growth of abnormal retinal blood vessels that leak blood or fluid, causing rapid and severe central vision loss.

Patients can often reduce the risk of developing ARMD by not smoking as well as working to eat a heart-healthy diet rich in fish, fruit and green leafy vegetables, avoiding foods with trans fats, exercising and controlling blood pressure and weight.

“We are fortunate to be able to offer Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) drugs that inhibit the development of unwanted blood vessels that cause wet ARMD as these agents are effective in helping to prevent further visual loss and even improve vision," said Dr. Michelson.

Patients older than 50 are encouraged to have a comprehensive, dilated eye examination every one to two years to ensure that ARMD is detected and treated early. The key to successful treatment is early detection and intervention. If you or someone you know is at risk for AMD please have the call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center-205-930-0930 to schedule an eye exam.