Monday, May 2, 2022

More NFL Players Wear Protective Visors

More players in the National Football League (NFL) are using visors to protect their eyes than ever before, despite visors being optional. That's according to new research published in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Visors shield players' eyes from injury. Tinted visors offer added protection from the sun. About 41% of defensive players and 24% of offensive players wore visors during the 2019-2020 season, the report found. Linebackers, running backs and defensive backs were much more likely than other positions to wear a visor. The study examined all 32 teams in the NFL.

Ophthalmologists Urge NFL to Make Visors Mandatory

Sport-related eye injuries can be devastating and career-ending. Over the past five seasons, 16 NFL players sustained eye injuries ranging from eye gouges to fractures of the bone around the eyes, corneal abrasions and cuts to the eyelid, the study revealed. Because so many players are already using visors and because visors don’t hinder performance the ophthalmologists who authored the study urge the NFL to take a stronger stand on visor usage. Athletes on college, high school or community football teams should also wear visors, the authors note. Amateur leagues may not have access to the same equipment and resources that NFL players do, which could result in more significant eye injuries. The Academy has categorized football as a sport with a moderate risk of eye injury and recommends the usage of a polycarbonate eye shield or visor for protection.

Monday, April 18, 2022

Casual Wine Drinkers Less Likely to Get Cataracts


A glass of wine a day may keep the doctor away, according to a new study from Moorfield’s Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and University College London. The study was published in Ophthalmology and showed people who drank low to moderate amounts of alcohol were less likely to need cataract surgery. Reviewing data from 490,000 volunteers, research suggested that low to moderate wine drinkers in particular were the least likely to develop cataracts compared with nondrinkers and drinkers of other types of alcohol. This study is the largest of its type to date.

What Are Cataracts?

A cataract is when your eye's natural lens becomes cloudy. Proteins in your lens break down and cause things to look blurry, hazy, or less colorful. Treatment includes surgery, where the cataract is removed and replaced with a clear artificial lens.

What Is Considered Moderate Drinking?

Moderation was a key takeaway from this research. People who drank more than the suggested amount on a daily basis had about a 6 percent higher risk of cataract surgery compared to people who drank low to moderate amounts of alcohol. Moderate drinking was defined as about 6.5 glasses of wine a week.

Is Wine Good For Eye Health?

Previous studies have also suggested that red wine and diets rich in antioxidants may prevent cataract development. Cataract development may be due to gradual damage from oxidative stress during aging. The fact that the findings were particularly evident in wine drinkers may suggest a protective role of polyphenol antioxidants, which are especially abundant in red wine. However, researchers remind the public that drinking alcohol regularly is also linked to many serious chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and that this study does not suggest excessive drinking or drastic lifestyle changes.

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 Facebook.

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, April 11, 2022

Early Signs of Heart Disease Appear in the Eyes

Eye doctors may be able to detect signs of heart disease during a comprehensive eye exam, experts say. A new study finds that people with heart disease tend to have retinas marked by evidence of eye stroke.

Eye strokes happen when the eye is deprived of blood flow and oxygen, causing cells to die. This creates a mark, called a retinal ischemic perivascular lesion. These marks can be spotted when ophthalmologists use an imaging tool called optical coherence tomography, or OCT, to take a close look at the retina.

OCT scans of the retina (such as the one pictured above) are valuable ways to detect disease and dysfunction in all parts of the body — not just the eyes, says ophthalmologist and Academy spokesperson Joseph Nezgoda, MD, a retina specialist. Eye scans can detect signs of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other underlying health conditions.

How Eye Exams Can Detect Heart Disease

The eye is the only place in the body where a doctor can see the live action of blood vessels, nerves and connecting tissue without relying on an invasive procedure. That’s why eye doctors are often the first to detect health conditions including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and more. While the marks left behind by eye strokes may be present in low numbers in healthy people, those with heart disease tend to have a far greater number. Researchers arrived at these results by reviewing the medical records of 84 people with heart disease and 76 healthy people, all of whom had received a retinal OCT scan.

Catching Heart Disease Early Can Save Lives

The new study adds to the list of health conditions an eye exam may help detect. For people with heart disease-the number one cause of death worldwide-early diagnosis and treatment could help stave off a heart attack or stroke. Your eye doctor may refer you to a cardiologist if they spot eye strokes on an OCT scan, especially if you haven’t had a comprehensive health check or even a family history of heart disease. Please schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or Facebook.

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.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Visual Hallucination & AMD

Vision loss from Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) or other causes is known to cause some people to see faces or shapes that aren't really there. But a new study suggests these hallucinations, known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome, affect many more people with AMD than previously thought. More than 12% of people with AMD experience visual hallucinations, the study found. The actual number may be even higher. On average, people experience these hallucinations on and off for about 3 years. Those who experience hallucinations tend to see multiple types of images, particularly people and faces. Many people keep quiet about these phantom images for fear they'll be labeled with dementia or a psychiatric condition. Their hesitancy to speak up could explain why hallucinations were thought to be relatively uncommon until now.

Why Do People with Macular Degeneration Have Hallucinations

Hallucinations in people with vision loss do not stem from neurological problems. Rather, they occur when brain craves new images to process. Finding none (due to vision loss), the brain resorts to making up images or recalling images from memory.

These phantom images may be simple lines, shapes, flashes of light or more complex images of faces, people or animals. They can occur at any time and last for seconds, minutes or hours. Sometimes the images remain still, other times they move around. People with significant vision loss, especially loss of central vision, are most often affected.

How to Deal with Visual Hallucinations

There is no cure or treatment for Charles Bonnet Syndrome, but there are strategies to stave off episodes and cope with hallucinations that occur. If you feel you are seeing things that aren’t really there, reach out to your doctor. They will rule out other causes of visual hallucinations like neurological conditions or medication-related side effects. If your doctor thinks you have Charles Bonnet Syndrome, they will give you techniques to manage the hallucinations. These include:
  • Changing Your Lighting Conditions and Environment
  • Blinking Frequently or Moving Your Eyes Side-to-Side
  • Sleeping, Exercising and/or Relaxing, as Fatigue and Stress can Exacerbate Hallucinations
If you or someone you know is over 65, please schedule regular eye exams for common senior eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration (AMD) so you can maintain eye health. Schedule an eye exam at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or Facebook.

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.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Are AMD & Cataract Surgery Compatible?

 


Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a frustrating condition that diminishes your ability to see detail clearly. When you combine AMD’s loss of central vision with the blurriness from cataracts, you have a recipe for significant vision loss. Can you have cataract surgery to restore some clear vision if you have macular degeneration? The answer is probably yes, but there are some factors that need to be considered first.

Which Condition Impacts Your Vision Most: Cataracts or Macular Degeneration?

Before recommending cataract surgery, your cataract surgeon will want to find out whether most of your vision loss is caused by the cataract or by the AMD. Some people who have a lot of damage to their retina from macular degeneration won’t see much or any vision improvement from cataract surgery. Your ophthalmologist will examine your retina and take photographs to assess its condition. They will also take a look at how cloudy your lens is to see how much vision the cataract may be blocking. And before recommending cataract surgery, your surgeon will check your vision to see if a change in your eyeglass prescription or even low vision magnifiers may be enough to see better. Having cataract surgery with AMD may not restore your ability to do up-close tasks, such as reading. Removing the cataract will allow more light to enter the eye, but that may not be enough for good central vision. We need a clear lens and a healthy retina for sharp vision.

Does Having Cataract Surgery Make Macular Degeneration Worse?

Depending on the type of AMD you have, the answer is not fully known at this point.

If you have the “dry” form of AMD, there is no evidence that cataract surgery will make your AMD worse. However, if you have the “wet” form, it is not clear if cataract surgery will negatively affect your macular degeneration. Cataract surgery causes inflammation inside the eye, which in theory could make wet AMD worse. However, results of multiple studies have been inconsistent, so we don’t know for sure if cataract surgery worsens wet AMD.

Fortunately, for those struggling with the double whammy of vision loss from both AMD and cataracts, studies have shown that cataract surgery can improve vision in those who are candidates for the procedure. If you or someone you know is over 65, please schedule regular eye exams for common senior eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration (AMD) so you can maintain eye health. Schedule an eye exam at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or Facebook.

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, January 31, 2022

AMD Facts to Know


Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in seniors. The disease harms central vision and limits a person’s ability to read, write and recognize faces. Older Americans who are unaware of the disease may be putting themselves at risk. The good news is that they can protect their sight with routine eye exams and some lifestyle changes. New treatments and protective steps can help people with AMD avoid vision loss. Here are some facts we think you should know:
  • The early warning signs of macular degeneration are subtle and easy to miss
In the earliest stages of AMD, you may not notice any changes to your eyes or vision. But at the same time, an early diagnosis allows for timely treatment. So how can you be sure to catch the disease early without obvious symptoms? The best defense is to get a comprehensive eye exam, even if you don't need glasses or contacts. The American Academy of Ophthalmology urges adults with no symptoms to have an eye exam at least by age 40. After age 65, it's important to get an exam every one to two years. But don't wait until age 40 if you notice problems with your eyesight or have eye discomfort.
  • Family history shapes your risk of macular degeneration
If you have a close family member with AMD, you have a greater risk of getting the disease. Before your next eye exam, speak with your family about their eye health history. Catching AMD early could better your chances of saving your sight.
  • You can't reverse vision loss from macular degeneration, but you can save your remaining vision
Fifteen years ago, there was little that we could do to stop AMD from stealing people's vision. The most advanced form of disease, called "wet" AMD because it causes fluid to leak from blood vessels in the eye, often caused blindness. Thanks to major advances in treatment, such as the use of anti-VEGF drugs, fewer people are going blind.
  • Vitamins can slow macular degeneration (in some cases)
If you have AMD, you may have heard that the AREDS 2 vitamin formula can help slow the disease. Clinical trials show that these vitamins for AMD can help with intermediate or advanced AMD in one eye. Trials have not shown that they prevent AMD in people who do not have the disease.
  • Smoking increases your risk of age-related macular degeneration
Many studies have found that smoking cigarettes can increase risk of AMD. Smoking also increases the speed at which the disease worsens. If you smoke, you are twice as likely to get AMD compared with a nonsmoker. The good news is that stopping smoking is the best action you can take to lower your risk of AMD. People who quit smoking 20 years ago have the same risk of AMD as people who have never smoked.
  • Daily vision checking at home is effective at monitoring AMD progression
The Amsler grid is a simple chart that people with dry AMD can use at home to check for changes. All you have to do is look at it once every day! Learn how to use the Amsler grid to track progression and risk of AMD-related vision loss.
  • Eating certain foods may cut your risk of macular degeneration
Studies have shown that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids are good for eye health. Studies link eating these foods with a reduced risk of AMD-but not when taken as supplements. Other nutrients that help eye health include lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and vitamin C.
  • Exercise can help protect your vision as you age
Many studies show getting regular exercise can benefit your eyes. One study found that exercising three times a week reduced the risk of getting wet AMD by 70%. Studies also show that exercise reduces the risk of all stages of AMD.

If you or someone you know is over 65, please schedule regular eye exams for common senior eye problems such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration (AMD) so you can maintain eye health. Schedule an eye exam at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or Facebook.

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.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

6 Tips for Using Glaucoma Eye Drops Effectively

Did you know that less than 50% of glaucoma patients use their eye drops properly and risk vision loss? Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in the United States. When glaucoma is treated in its early stages, vision loss can be prevented. Recent studies show that more than half of glaucoma patients do not adhere to their prescribed treatment plans due to factors including difficulty in applying eye drops, lack of medication education and forgetfulness. Here are 6 tips to help overcome glaucoma medication challenges:

·           Be honest with your eye doctor about your medication difficulties. Missed a dose? It may not seem to matter much, but research shows that skipping doses can cause your glaucoma to become more severe. Be candid with your eye doctor about any problems you face in taking your medicine regularly, and ask about the best way to make up for a missed dose. The more you tell your doctor, the better he or she can help you find ways to customize your treatment plan to make it more manageable for your lifestyle.

·           Ask for help from health professionals and loved ones. It can be difficult to keep track of which meds to take and when. Talk with your ophthalmologist or pharmacist about your medications, their impact and possible side effects. Also, use the buddy system and tell your friends, family and caregivers about your condition and treatments. Consider taking a loved one or caregiver with you to your eye appointments, so they can help you follow your treatment plan when you're at home. They may also be able to help you apply your eye drops at home.

·           Use memory aids. The most common reason for not taking eye drops is forgetfulness. Try simple memory aids like linking your eye drop schedule to other things you do routinely. For example, put your eye drop bottle next to your toothbrush or your pill box if you take other medications. Try using physical reminders such as marking off a calendar when you use your drops, or moving your eye drop bottle from one place to another after you've applied your drops. Also, take advantage of today's technology and set an alarm on your phone to help you make your medication a part of your daily routine, or look for free smartphone apps and other tools.

·           Perfect the "pocket." Giving yourself eye drops can be challenging. In fact, research has shown that nearly 30 percent of people taking glaucoma medication are not properly applying their eye drops. This should involve gently pulling and pinching the lower lid to make a pocket to catch your drops. Once the drops are in, close your eyes (do not blink) and apply pressure to the point where the lids meet the nose for two to three minutes.

·           Don't use pot as a glaucoma treatment. Don't fall for rumors that medical marijuana can replace glaucoma medications. Prescription medicated drops are much more effective at treating the condition and have fewer risks than marijuana. Marijuana can also affect memory, which could make it more difficult to remember your treatments.


Certain factors put people at higher risk of developing glaucoma. These include age, family history of glaucoma, African-American and Hispanic-American ancestry, diabetes and past eye injuries. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that all people get an eye exam by age 40, especially those who have a higher risk of glaucoma.  


If you or someone you know is over 40, or has other glaucoma risk factors please schedule a glaucoma eye exam at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham at 205-930-0930, visit Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or Facebook.


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.