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Glaucoma: Closed-Angle – Part two

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closedangleglaudoma

Graphic: Glaucoma Research Foundation

This is part two of a two-part series on glaucoma that includes the main types of the disease, the symptoms and risk factors, and treatments available to combat the disease.

In last week’s post, the focus was on the most common form of glaucoma, open-angle, which affects about three million Americans and accounts for 90 percent of all glaucoma cases. The next most common type is called closed-angle glaucoma (also known as narrow-angle glaucoma and/or angle-closure glaucoma).

Closed-Angle Glaucoma

While the drainage canals are also blocked as with open-angle glaucoma and this causes eye pressure, in this form of the disease, the angles are narrow or closed, which can result in sudden, severe pain, requiring immediate medical attention.

Risk Factors

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, people with a family history of closed-angle glaucoma, those of Asian descent, and people with hyperopia (farsightedness) tend to be at risk of developing this type of glaucoma. As with glaucoma in general, age is also a factor. 

Symptoms and Treatment

Typically, closed-angle glaucoma is a medical emergency with an onset of severe eye pain, blurry vision, a headache, nausea, and seeing halos around lights. People at risk for developing this form of glaucoma often have no symptoms ahead of an acute attack. Once an acute attack happens, the patient will need to seek medical care straight away, otherwise, they risk permanent vision loss in that eye.

However, yearly eye exams can help in detecting this form of the disease, which can allow the patient the opportunity to have an iridectomy performed in a non-emergency situation. An iridectomy is a procedure whereby a laser beam is used to create a drainage hole in the iris, which provides relief of eye pressure. The procedure is done on an out-patient basis and has minimal recovery time.

Don’t let glaucoma steal your vision, contact All About Eyes and get your eyes examined today!


Glaucoma – A two-part series

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This will be a two-part series on glaucoma that will include the main types of the disease, the symptoms and risk factors, and treatments available to combat the disease.  

What is Glaucoma? 7544734516_bc4180a6f4_z

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases which produces increased pressure within the eye, due to a fluid build-up. Over time, according to the Glaucoma Foundation, this pressure can cause damage to the optic nerve and cause vision loss. The optic nerve is part of the central nervous system and carries the visual information from the eye to the brain. Once pressure builds on this nerve, it can start to die, and may lead to blindness.

There are several types of glaucoma, but the two most common are open-angle and closed-angle, with open-angle being far more common of the two. In fact, it is estimated that at least 90 percent of all glaucoma cases are this type, affecting about three million Americans.

Open-Angle Glaucoma

Open-angle glaucoma tends to develop slowly over time and does not present with noticeable symptoms until well into the disease. The Glaucoma Research Foundation says, “Glaucoma is an eye disease that gradually steals vision.” By the time the patient is aware of vision loss, it is often too late to prevent it. Vision loss due to glaucoma is permanent. Open-angle glaucoma is caused by the slow clogging of drainage canals within the eye structure, which results in increased eye pressure. The aspect of “open angle” refers to the angle where the iris meets the cornea is as wide and open as it can be.

Risk Factors 

So the question begs, if you don’t know it’s happening, how can you prevent it or stop it? One way is to understand common risk factors. Knowing your family medical history is an excellent place to start since glaucoma tends to be hereditary. Those of African-American or Latino descent are also at risk. And those who are diabetic, obese, or have cardiovascular disease may also be at higher risk of developing glaucoma. Of course, age plays a factor as well.

Prevention

Knowing if you are at risk is just one part of the equation, however. The best line of defense is getting annual check-ups with your eye-care professional. They will perform a comprehensive dilated eye exam, which will help to diagnose early signs of glaucoma.

Treatment

If it is determined that you have open-angle glaucoma, medications are available to help reduce eye pressure, and several different types of surgery are available as well, including selective laser trabeculoplasty and argon laser trabeculoplasty.

Part two of this series will focus on closed-angle glaucoma and will be posted on Monday, October 10. 

 


Aging Eyes

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 Reading Newspaper It starts out simply enough. One day, you hold the newspaper, magazine, book, or menu you’re reading a little farther away than you did before. Time marches on and a while later – after you’ve been slowly adjusting – you realize that you’ve run out of arm to hold your newspaper and that’s when it dawns on you: either your arms have gotten shorter or your eyes are starting to go.

Welcome to middle age.

According to the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons), right around the age of 40, many adults begin to develop age-related eye conditions. The most noticeable one is called presbyopia (prez-bee-OH-pee-uh), a loss of near vision. This happens when the lens of the eye starts to stiffen, making it harder to see close objects. In addition to your vision changing, the National Institute on Aging says presbyopia can cause headaches or strained, tired eyes. A visit to an optometrist will help you to identify if just a pair of reading glasses or a bifocal or multi-focal prescription is necessary. All About Eyes has a wide variety of eyeglasses available to choose from.

Aging Eyes

In addition to presbyopia, some adults will begin to see a need for better lighting when they read. When the lens of the eye becomes less transparent, it makes it harder for light to pass through to the retina. The Merck Manual, a reference for doctors, says that adults ages 60 and above need three times more light to read than a 20-year-old.

Other issues that can affect aging eyes are changes in how color is perceived, due to the lens yellowing over time, making it harder to spot the difference between shades of the same color or similar colors. Dry eyes can also start to happen, where the fluid lubricating the eyeball begins to diminish. And then, there are the floaters. As we age, more floaters will begin to appear in our field of vision. The spots can look like clear or dark strings. You may notice them more when looking at the sky during daytime or other bright, plain surface. They are made up of bits of normal fluid that have solidified. And finally, cataracts may also develop as we age. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens in the eye which causes the vision to progressively get blurrier. They can be removed by surgery.

Regular check-ups with your optometrist can help to identify – and in many cases – correct all of these aging eye issues.


Free E-book about Back-to-School Eye Exams

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August and September are busy months for us and many of our new patients are students who discover they are having trouble seeing the white board. If your child needs an eye exam for the first time, they may feel a little anxious or excited or both. To help them understand what will happen at the eye doctor, we recommend downloading and reading this free e-book from The EyeSolution called Howard and the Amazing Eye Exam. Howard is a hedgehog who goes to the optometrist and learns how his eyes work and how fun a visit to the eye doctor can be.

We encourage you to share this book with your child or grandchild and let us know if it was helpful. Enjoy the rest of your summer and don’t forget to schedule your child’s back-to-school eye exam!


Add to Back to School List: Eye Exams for Kids

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Child getting an eye exam.

Heading back to school often means loading up on supplies, new clothes, and a physical exam to ensure immunizations are all up-to-date. It’s also an optimal time to add in a trip to the eye doctor for your child’s annual exam (Schedule an appointment here). Given that an estimated 80 percent of learning is visual, it’s important for your child’s academic development to make sure that they’re seeing things as they should.

While most elementary schools in the United States and pediatricians’ offices provide vision screening, which may help to detect vision problems, nothing beats an actual visit to an optometrist or ophthalmologist for an eye exam.

Types of Vision Problems:

  • Amblyopia:  The medical term used when the vision in one of the eyes is reduced because the eye and the brain are not working together properly. The eye itself looks normal, but it is not being used normally because the brain is favoring the other eye. This condition is also sometimes called lazy eye.
  • Strabismus:  This condition is a misalignment of the eyes. When the eyes point inward, it is commonly referred to as “crossed-eyed” and when they point outward, it is commonly called “wall-eyed”. This can happen with one or both eyes.
  • Refractive Errors: These include nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism.
  • Color blindness: An inherited condition that affects the way your eyes distinguishes certain colors.

 

Early Signs of Vision Problems:

While the above conditions are best detected by your eye doctor, here are some signs of vision problems parents, teachers, and caregivers can look for in children:

  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Squinting
  • Tilting the head to look at objects

 

Many vision problems can be corrected if caught early! So book your back-to-school eye exam today!


Eye of the Beholder

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Check out this fun infographic, Eye of the Beholder,eye-of-beholder  with lots of information about taking good care of your eyes. The author, Mark Kirkpatrick, shares some quick and easy ways to look and feel better, including top tips for bright, beautiful eyes! Have questions about taking care of your eyes? Give us a call at 609-653-9933.


National Sunglasses Day – Cool Eye Safety Essentials

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June 27th is National Sunglasses Day and a good day to remember that sunglasses are more than a cool fashion accessory, they are instrumental in protecting your eyes from ultraviolet rays. Sunglasses can help block out 99-100 percent of these harmful UV-A and UV-B rays. And fortunately for those living in the United States, most sunglasses sold here — regardless of cost — meet that standard.

So what’s the big deal about National Sunglasses Day? Is it just another marketing day to sell products? Unlike say, National Donut Day, where we celebrate the deliciousness of donuts (and perhaps regret it later), National Sunglasses Day really is about promoting healthy vision. Trust us, you won’t regret it later …

According to the National Vision Council, “Prolonged exposure to UV light can cause serious long-term damage to the human eye. The negative effects can take years or even decades to show and can have a big impact on vision health later in life.” That’s why it’s important to start wearing sunglasses as a child on through to old age.

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Sunglasses can help to prevent serious damage such as eyelid cancers (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma) which, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, account for five to ten percent of all skin cancers. And note that it isn’t the upper eyelid that is usually affected, it’s primarily the lower lid. In addition to skin cancers, UV rays can cause cataracts, macular degeneration, and corneal sunburn. Yes, your eyeball can get sunburned, too!

So why not stop by All About Eyes and check out our wide array of sunglasses to protect your eyes?

#NationalSunglassesDay

 

 

 

 

 


Cataracts – Causes and Detection

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Cataracts cause a clouding effect in your vision but fortunately, they can often be corrected with surgery (click here for expanded information on what cataracts are, available treatments, and prevention tips). So, what actually causes cataracts and how can you detect them?

First, the bad news. Cataracts are mostly caused by age and there really isn’t anything any of us can do about that. Time marches on, proteins develop in the eye’s lens, and the cloudiness develops. According to the National Institutes of Health, by age 80, more than half of all Americans will either have a cataract or will have had surgery to remove them.

Sometimes, cataracts are caused by things that aren’t necessarily within our control, like a traumatic eye injury, diseases like diabetes and glaucoma, or in rare cases, you’re born with them or they develop in childhood because they’re congenital. However, cataracts can also be caused by things within our control such as smoking, alcohol consumption, steroid use, and prolonged exposure to sunlight without wearing sunglasses.

Dilated Eye

Dilated Eye

So the good news is, by living a healthy lifestyle, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and taking good care of ourselves, we can extend the health of our eyes. Part of taking good care of ourselves is making sure to get yearly eye exams, specifically a comprehensive eye exam, which may include dilation and/or Optomap retinal imaging. This type of exam allows the eye care professional to look deep into the inside of your eye. In a dilated exam, drops are placed in each eye which dilates the pupil (the black dot in the center of the eye), making it larger to allow more light in. A large magnifying lens is then used to see into the back of the eye. Optomap retinal imaging takes a 200-degree image of the back of the eye and often does not require dilation. Both of these tests are important, as they can detect early stages of disease, often before any other warning signs appear.

If you suspect you have cataracts in one or both eyes, make an appointment at All About Eyes. Dr. Dave or Dr. Cheryl will conduct a comprehensive eye exam and discuss cataracts with you in more detail. Give us a call at 609-653-9933 to set up an appointment today.


Eye Twitching Causes and Treatments – Myokymia

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Eye Twitching Cheif Inspector Charles Dreyfus

Eye Twitching Cheif Inspector Charles Dreyfus

We’ve all had that feeling: our eyelid starts twitching randomly and we are certain we look like Chief Inspector Charles Dreyfus of Pink Panther fame, only to be told by friends and family that they don’t see anything. But you certainly feel it and it’s annoying at best. Usually, it goes away as quickly as it appears, but sometimes that twitchy feeling can last for a couple of weeks, and that can be alarming.

Myokymia (mahy-uh-kim-ee-uh), the medical term for eye twitching, is an involuntary spasm of eyelid muscles. It usually only affects the lower eyelid, although the upper lid can be affected as well. While largely a benign condition in and of itself, the twitching can be symptomatic of other underlying issues and the chances are good that addressing those issues will resolve the eye spasms. The Mayo Clinic says culprits like overuse of alcohol, too much caffeine, lack of sleep, not enough water (dehydration), too much stress, and anxiety are the usual underlying suspects.

Dr. Cheryl Roell, an optometrist at All About Eyes, says another contributing factor to myokymia is a lack of Vitamin D and suggests increasing this vital nutrient in your diet may help to alleviate the spasms. Vitamin D is found in exposure to sunlight, some foods (see the National Institutes of Health for a complete listing), and dietary supplements.

Other irritants can trigger myokymia, such as smoking, wind, and bright lights. Conditions such as pink eye (conjunctivitis), dry eyes, and low-level allergic reactions can cause eye twitching as well. In the case of allergies, an antihistamine can help relieve both the allergies and the eye twitches.

Other home remedies include applying a warm compress to the affected eye, to relax the muscle, and increasing self-care: bed rest, cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, and drinking plenty of water. If these measures still don’t do the trick, then a visit to your eye care specialist is in order, as they can help to rule out other, more serious conditions.

Very rarely, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, persistent eye twitching can be an indicator of brain or nerve disorders such as Bell’s Palsy, Parkinson’s Disease, or Multiple Sclerosis.

If you experience persistent eye twitching for longer than a week, it involves other facial muscles, closes an eyelid, is accompanied by discharge, or you develop a droopy upper eyelid along with the twitching, you should see your eye doctor straight away.


Eye Injury Prevention in the Workplace

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Eye injuries at work are expensive for employers, obviously painful and disruptive for employees, and largely preventable. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that 90 percent of all eye injuries could be avoided by simply wearing proper eye protection. 

While most eye injuries occur in manufacturing and construction industries due to flying debris and chemicals, Prevent Blindnes, a volunteer eye health and safety group, cautions that overuse of digital devices is fast becoming a problem as well. The group says nine-in-ten adults spend more than two hours a day on a digital device such as a cell phone or computer, and one-in-ten will spend 75 percent of their waking days on a device. This is leading to eye strain, neck and back pain, as well as headaches. Other symptoms of eye strain include dry and irritated eyes, blurred vision, and eye fatigue. 

Selection of Protective Eyewear

Selection of Protective Eyewear at All About Eyes

Workplace eye injuries cost employers an estimated $300 million a year on lost productivity, medical expenses, and workers compensation insurance claims, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The typical cost of protective eyewear can range from $10 on up to $250 for more specialized and prescription frames. When nearly 1,000 injuries happen in the workplace every day, it’s a small price to pay for keeping eyes safe. 

All About Eyes has recently received new protective eyewear to choose from as well as OSHA approved profession-specific eyewear. Why not stop in at our offices to see which frames will work for you?