What are scleral lenses? Scleral lenses are large diameter gas permeable contact lenses that vaults over the cornea and lands on the white of the eye (the sclera) and is supported by tear fluid that fills in between the lens and the eye – providing hydration for the surface of the eye. Continue reading
Over the holidays, I fit my son into orthokeratology lenses, commonly referred to as Ortho-K or CRT (Corneal Refractive Therapy) lenses. These are rigid gas permeable contact lenses that are worn only at night while asleep. They reshape the cornea temporarily so that upon awakening, you have normal vision at all distances without the need for glasses or contact lenses! The effect lasts the entire day, even two days for those with lower prescriptions. Continue reading
Have you ever heard your parents or grandparents say, “I think my vision is getting worse, but it’s just because I’m old”? While there are age-related changes that occur in the eye, many are correctable or can be prevented with regular eye exams and early intervention. The most common cause of preventable vision loss in the world is cataracts. Cataracts are the gradual clouding of the lens inside the eye. This occurs to everyone with age, but can happen more rapidly due to certain medications, fluctuating blood sugar levels (diabetes), and also significant or extended exposure to UV light. Sometimes vision can be improved by simply changing the eyeglasses prescription, but most people eventually need surgery to remove the cataracts. Cataract surgery is the most performed surgery in the world with a very high success rate. Most patients report improved clarity and brightness of vision after surgery.
While cataracts are an aging process of the eyes that occurs in everyone, diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration can cause permanent vision loss and your risk of these conditions increases with age. Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve, usually associated with high pressure within the eye. Unfortunately, vision loss begins peripherally and some people do not realize they have lost vision until it is severe and involves central vision. However, with annual eye exams, your doctor can check your eye pressure and optic nerve appearance for any signs of glaucoma. Lowering the eye pressure reduces the risk of further eye damage and vision loss and can be as simple as using an eye drop once daily. Macular degeneration is another disease that can cause permanent vision loss and is in fact the leading cause of vision loss in those ages 60 and older. There are two forms of macular degeneration: dry & wet. Luckily the dry form is the most common (90%) and least severe. The wet type causes bleeding and swelling inside the eye and can lead to significant vision loss. However, there are treatments that can reduce your risk of progression from dry to wet (over-the-counter vitamins) and laser procedures or ocular injections for bleeding within the eye. Again, having annual eye exams to check for macular degeneration can prevent vision loss by early detection and treatment.
So, what impact does visual impairment have on us as we age? A recent study published in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of American Geriatrics Society looked at just this topic. The conclusion of the study indicated a “causal” link between severe visual impairment and declines in physical and cognitive function in the study participants. Activities measured were walking, swimming & gardening, as well as reading, memory & social engagement, among others. Therefore, postponing or eliminating vision loss can help maintain good physical and mental ability as we age. What can we do to prevent/postpone vision loss?
- Have annual comprehensive eye exams for preventative care and timely treatment
- Maintain a healthy weight with a well-rounded diet and exercise
- Take all medications (over-the-counter and prescription) as directed by your doctor
- Keep blood pressure and blood sugar values within the normal range
Taking a quick glance through Google images reveals quite a few depictions of what vision is like with glaucoma. Usually a couple of kids or scenery is shown in the middle with darkness surrounding it, otherwise known as “tunnel vision.” While this may be jarring for some, it’s not entirely accurate until an individual reaches end stage glaucoma. What’s more frightening to me is that vision “loss” for the vast majority of glaucoma is just subtle peripheral blur well before dimming or darkness manifests. In fact, it’s so subtle that you would never notice it in everyday life. Continue reading
With the holidays fast approaching, shopping for toys is a past-time many parents are only too familiar with. Choosing the perfect gift for a child is a difficult task in itself, but what parents may forget to consider during the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping is the eye safety of certain toys for their children.
As you begin preparing your holiday dinner menus, make sure to add in a few foods that are rich in nutrients that keep your eyes and body healthy!
November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, so let’s take this opportunity to learn more about how diabetes can affect your vision and eye health. In the United States alone, approximately 29 million people have been diagnosed with some form of diabetes, making it one of the most common diseases in this country. Diabetes is a condition in which your blood sugar levels are too high. This increase causes damage throughout your body, but specifically affects your kidneys, lungs, and eyes. Continue reading