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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes and Your Eyes


Diabetes affects your entire body, including your eyes. According to The American Academy of Ophthalmology, diabetics are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those without this disease. The most common complication of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, and the longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is that you'll develop diabetic retinopathy.

High blood sugar levels, as associated with diabetes, often affect blood vessels in the retina of the eye, causing diabetic retinopathy. There are 2 stages of classifications of diabetic retinopathy: non-proliferative or proliferative.

Non-proliferative retinopathy, sometimes known as background diabetic retinopathy, is the most common form of the disease. This condition is first diagnosed when small retinal blood vessels start to swell. As the disease progresses, these blood vessels break and leak blood.

Proliferative retinopathy is the more advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy. As the condition progresses, more and more blood vessels are blocked. Sensing the need for new blood vessels to supply nourishment, new blood vessels grow, but they are frail and abnormal, often hemorrhaging and scarring. Patients with this type of diabetic retinopathy can experience severe vision loss, and even blindness.

At both the early and advanced stage, fluid can leak into the macula, the center of the retina that allows you to see fine detail. Known as macula edema, it is another common cause of vision loss in diabetics.

It is worth noting that smoking does accelerate the damaging effect that diabetes has on the retina. Several other influencing factors include your genes, your blood pressure levels, how long you have had diabetes and of course, your blood sugar level.

In the early and most treatable stages of diabetic retinopathy, there are usually no visual symptoms or pain. In fact, many times the disease can even progress to an advanced stage without your noticing the gradual change in your vision.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may include:

    Abnormal patterns in the field of vision
    Dark streaks in your vision
    Sudden onset of decreased vision
    Distorted central vision
    Floaters
    Red film that blocks vision
    Blind spots
    Poor night vision
    Items may have a blue-yellow color tone, interfering with color perception

We strongly recommend that all diabetics have yearly comprehensive medical eye exams. Your eye doctor will dilate your eyes and check your retina, blood vessels and optic nerves for changes. We may also order a fluorescein angiography to track and photograph dye as it flows through the retina to look for leaking blood vessels.

We also commonly perform an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to assess fluid accumulation (macular edema) in the retina of diabetics. The OCT can show areas of retinal thickening and is often a useful tool in assessing a patient’s response to a treatment.
Treatment

The most important tool for treating diabetic retinopathy is good management of the underlying diabetic condition. Nevertheless, once diabetic retinopathy has presented itself, there are several methods of treatment. Lasers are the mainstay; often used to treat the early stages of diabetic retinopathy by sealing leaking blood vessels. More advanced cases may require a vitrectomy, a surgical procedure needed when the vitreous, the gel in the eye, contains a great amount of blood.

The optimal time for treatment is before the patient experiences visual symptoms so early detection and treatment is the best protection against significant vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy can progress into its advanced stages with no pain, no recognizable vision loss. That’s the reason it is so important for all diabetics to get a yearly comprehensive medical eye examination.

Please take time to educate yourself, and any loved ones with diabetes, on how to preserve their vision.


If you are diabetic and would like to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive medical exam at The Eye Associates, please call 1-866-865-2020.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Is Eyelid Surgery for you?

Is Eyelid Surgery for you?

Your eyes are one of the first things people notice, and unfortunately your eyes are also one of the first features to show signs of aging. Hooded, sagging upper eyelids can give you an older, tired appearance, and often even obstruct your vision, making everyday activities like driving more dangerous. Eyelid surgery can improve your vision as well as take years off your looks.

Eyelid surgery, known as blepharoplasty, is a common outpatient surgical procedure which removes excess skin and fatty tissue from around the eye area. Whenever eyelids are interfering with the field of vision, causing difficulty with everyday activities such as driving and reading, eyelid surgery can vastly improve the peripheral vision.

 “Our goal at The Eye Associates is to enhance the appearance of your eyelids without the slightest hint of a surgical look” says Dr. Prabin Mishra, Fellowship Training Cosmetic Surgeon. “People often remark about what a dramatic difference it makes in their looks and attitude as well as vision.”

Insurance Coverage of Eyelid Surgery
You’ll also be happy to know that Medicare and private insurance usually covers “functional” eyelid surgery, when a minimum criteria of vision loss is met. A test, called a Visual Field, will be performed to document this loss of visual field. 

However, cosmetic eyelid surgery is not usually covered by insurance. “Cosmetic" is defined as a procedure that is undertaken to improve appearance instead of visual function. While upper eyelid surgery is often considered medical in nature, lower eyelid blepharoplasty is 
always considered to be cosmetic.

The best way to determine if you should consider blepharoplasty surgery is simple: Look in the mirror. Do you appear tired even though you aren't? Is the skin of your upper eyelid hanging over the normal lid crease and nearing the eyelashes? If the answer is YES, call toll free 1-866-865-2020 for your FREE eyelid screening at The Eye Associates today.


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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dark skin people need skin cancer checks too!

Dark skin people need skin cancer checks too!

According to SkinCancer.org, here are some statistics that you should keep in mind, no matter what your skin color.

-Melanomas in African Americans, Asians, Filipinos, Indonesians and Hawaiians most often occur on non-exposed skin with less pigment. These melanomas are often discovered on the palms, soles, mucous membranes and nail regions.

-Skin cancer represents 1 to 2 % of all cancers in African Americans and jumps to 2 to 4 % in Asians.

-While melanoma is more uncommon in African Americans, Latinos, and Asians, it is frequently fatal for these ethnicities. Late-stage melanoma diagnoses are more prevalent among these patients than Caucasian patients, resulting in the 5 year melanoma survival rate for African Americans being only 77 % when compare to 91 % for Caucasians.

All skin types should always apply sunscreen 30 minutes before they go out into the sun, and then reapply every 2 hours. Of course, if you sweat or go in the water, it is necessary to reapply more often. Avoid peak burn hours from 10 AM to 4 PM. Clothing, unless specifically treated for sun protection, is not enough to give you the sun protection needed. Be safe by wearing sunscreen.

Click here to make an full body check with our Board Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Gary Rosen of Dermatology at The Eye Associates or call 1-877-816-DERM (3376). 




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Monday, September 29, 2014

DIABETICS – Preventing Eye Disease

DIABETICS - KICK THE SMOKING HABIT!


Diabetes is hard enough to live with without having permanent vision loss. The NUMBER 1 way to prevent vision loss is to have an dilated eye exam EVERY YEAR. During the eye exam, your eye doctor will be looking at your retina for early signs of diabetic retinopathy (leaking blood vessels), retinal swelling and deposits on the retina – all of which are early signs of eye problems related to diabetes. Remember early detection is the key to keeping your eye healthy for a lifetime.



OTHER FACTORS THAT DIABETICS CAN CONTROL:
1) Keep your blood sugar levels under tight control by testing yourself several times a day.

2) Get your blood pressure under control. High blood pressure can contribute to damaging blood vessels.

3) QUIT SMOKING. This should probably #1 on the list of things to do to keep your eyes healthy, whether you are a diabetic or not.

4) Maintain a healthy diet full of colorful vegetables.

5) Exercise regularly.


Click here to request an appointment at The Eye Associates or call 1-866-865-2020.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Is it really possible to get rid of expensive glaucoma medications?

Is it really possible to get rid of expensive glaucoma medications?  YES!

Denny was always afraid of losing his eyesight due to open angle glaucoma. And then when he got a cataract, he thought ‘Oh boy. Just another thing going wrong.’ But then his ophthalmologist, Dr. Brian Foster at The Eye Associates, explained that it might actually be good news. Now there is a NEW procedure for glaucoma patients having cataract surgery that may reduce or eliminate the need for expensive glaucoma drops. The iStent surgery is performed during normal cataract surgery by implanting a tiny titanium device in the eye to create a new channel for excess fluid to drain; thereby lowering the eye pressure. And it adds almost no extra time to the surgery. 
Listen to what Denny had to say about the surgery.


Have cataracts and want more information about iStents? Click here to make an appointment with one of our award winning cataract surgeons at The Eye Associates or call 1-866-865-2020!  

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Monday, September 22, 2014

8 Warning Signs of Serious Eye Problems


Warning Signs of Serious Eye Problems



Your sight is one of your most precious senses. Maintaining healthy eyes should be a priority. It is important to catch serious eye conditions early in order to preserve vision. How do you know if an eye problem is the start of something serious? We hope this guide helps you identify problems that can’t wait. 

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your eye doctor immediately.  
1) A sudden decrease in vision in one eye
This could indicate a problem with the retina; perhaps a macular hole. The chance of this happening increases as we age, and women are at higher risk than men. 

2) A flood of spots, floaters or debris in the eye or a dark curtain across your field of vision
Most floaters are benign, but if you experience a sudden onset, it could indicate a retina problem, such as a tear or retina detachment. If it is a retinal detachment, it needs to be treated immediately. If left untreated, vision loss can be permanent. 

3) A gradual loss of central vision and distortions when looking at straight lines 
Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans, with central vision loss as a common symptom. Dry Macular Degeneration can turn into Wet Macular Degeneration overnight. That is why every senior should test their eyes daily with an Amsler Grid. It is important to do the test one eye at a time. Click the following link to print out your FREE Amsler Grid.

4) Loss of peripheral vision
This symptom is hard to notice and could mean that you are developing glaucoma
. The loss happens so slowly that many times it is not noticed until damage is done. 

5) A sudden onset of eye pain, nausea, vomiting, and redness
These symptoms could indicate an attack of narrow-angle glaucoma that can permanently damage your optic nerve and vision. 

6) Double vision or ‘ghost like’ images
Double vision can be related to many eye problems, and even other health conditions such as strokes. We recommend that you take immediate action and see a doctor.

7) Scratchy, irritated, watery eyes
Frequently these symptoms indicate Dry Eye Disease. There is no cure for it but there are many treatments. If left untreated, loss of vision could occur in extreme cases. 

8) If you are diabetic and have blind spots, accompanied by floaters and blurred vision
This could definitely indicate the onset of diabetic retinopathy. Daily use of  an Amsler Grid is recommended for this as well.

Another common condition that is not an emergency: Cataracts

‘Halos’  around lights and cloudy, blurry vision
Cataracts could be the cause here. Luckily cataract surgery is quite commonplace these days and can quickly return good vision. 

Saving sight is our most important mission at The Eye Associates!  Should you or someone you know experience one of the serious symptoms above and vision loss, call immediately 1-866-865-2020. After business hours, our answering service will contact the doctor-on-call for emergencies. 

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Understanding Vitamins for Macular Degeneration

Understanding Vitamins for Macular Degeneration

                          

       AREDS vs AREDS2

In 2001, Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) researchers reported that a nutritional supplement called the AREDS formulation could reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

In 2006, the same research group, based at National Institute of Health’s National Eye Institute, began a second study called AREDS2 to determine if they could improve the AREDS formulation. They tested the following: adding antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids, removing beta-carotene, and lowering the dose of zinc.


What is the original AREDS formulation?
-500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C
-400 international units of vitamin E
-80 mg zinc as zinc oxide
-15 mg beta-carotene
-2 mg copper as cupric oxide

What modifications were tested in AREDS2?
-10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin
-1000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (350 mg DHA and 650 mg EPA)
-25 mg zinc
-No beta-carotene

Why did they change the AREDS2 formulation?
Why add lutein/zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids? Previous studies had found that dietary intake of lutein/zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a lower risk of developing advanced AMD.

Why eliminate beta-carotene? During the AREDS trial, two large trials funded by the National Cancer Institute found that beta-carotene may increase lung cancer risk among people who smoke. Lutein and zeaxanthin are in the same family of nutrients as beta-carotene and are believed to have important functions in the retina. Therefore, the researchers theorized that lutein/zeaxanthin might be a safer and possibly more effective alternative than beta-carotene.

Why reduce zinc? Although zinc was found to be an essential component of the AREDS formulation in the original trial, some nutritional experts recommended a lower dose.


Watch Fellowship Trained Retina Specialist, Dr. Katia Taba talk about AREDS vitamins! 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzJ_4MyEBGY&list=UUtwSepgGY2fJH_VZD4iDIxA

You can buy AREDS2 formula eye vitamins at all of The Optical Gallery locations at The Eye Associates.



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