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Archive for August, 2015

Cataracts explained

Monday, August 31, 2015 @ 09:08 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

Cataracts-treatment

Cataracts are responsible for half of blindness and a third of visual impairment in the world. They cause a clouding of the lens that blocks light from getting to the retina. One or both eyes can be affected. The likelihood of cataracts increases with age.

Cataracts are more common in the developing world than they are in western countries. They often develop slowly and go unnoticed until vision problems develop. Usually cataracts are diagnosed during an eye exam.

Symptoms

Since they develop slowly cataracts are hard to notice at the beginning. Proteins or pigment slowly build up on the eye. Blurred or hazy vision is often the first thing that a patient notices. Other symptoms include poor night vision, light glare, colors looking dull and halos. If you are having trouble reading or driving go see your eye doctor.

Causes

The most common cause of cataracts is aging. After turning 40 the risk of cataracts increases significantly. Conditions like diabetes, obesity and hypertension increase the risk of cataracts. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause cataracts. Smoking and heavy drinking contribute to an increased likelihood of cataracts. Use of corticosteroid medications, statin medication and hormone replacement therapy is a risk factor. Previous eye trauma or eye surgery can also cause cataracts to develop. Individuals with a family history of cataracts or strong near sightedness are at a higher risk.

Prevention

Prevention can be done by reducing certain risk factors and making healthy choices. Wearing sunglasses to prevent UV exposure protects the eyes. Not smoking or drinking heavily and managing diabetes, obesity and hypertension will help prevent cataracts. Regular eye exams and going to the eye doctor when you notice a problem can help to catch a problem early.

Good diet is linked to preventing and managing diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Foods that are rich in antioxidants can help prevent cataracts as they are thought to be caused in part by oxidative processes in the human body. Getting lots of vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin can reduce the risk of getting cataracts later on in life. Sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, kale and leafy greens are rich sources of vitamin E and carotenoids.

Treatments

Early on cataracts can be treated with glasses. These help to improve vision and compensate for changes occurring in the eye. Surgery becomes an option once the cataract has begun to have a serious impact on everyday life and vision. Cataract surgery is simple and has strong results in improving vision.

During the surgery the clouded lens is removed and a clear plastic lens is put in instead. It is usually an outpatient procedure using local anesthetic. Patients can move around following the surgery but are encouraged to refrain from intense physical activity for a month after the procedure.

The two biggest complication risks are retinal detachment and endophthalmitis. In retinal detachment the retina moves away from its supportive tissue. Symptoms include flashes of light or floaters in the vision, shadow and vision loss. Endophthalmitis is an inflammation of the eye. Symptoms include loss of vision, pain and redness.

Glaucoma explained

Monday, August 24, 2015 @ 09:08 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

Glaucoma-treatment

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness. It refers to a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve. It is often called the silent thief of sight because vision loss progresses slowly and is difficult to notice during the early stages.

Types and symptoms

Peripheral vision is usually lost first and slowly. As a result patients often don’t notice problems until the condition is fairly far along. There are standard tests that eye doctors can do for glaucoma. These are often performed as part of your routine eye exams.

The term glaucoma broadly refers to a group of conditions that cause damage to the optic nerve. They are associated with increased eye pressure. There are two main types: open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma.

Open-angle glaucoma progresses slowly and has no symptoms until the later stages. It can be treated with medication or surgery that tries to reduce the pressure in the eye. This is the more common type of glaucoma.

Closed-angle glaucoma presents as sudden and very serious symptoms. It involves eye pain, redness, nausea and vomiting. If these symptoms occur seek immediate medical attention.

Treatment

After vision loss occurs it is usually permanent. Glaucoma treatment seeks to prevent additional vision loss. Once it is diagnosed it is possible to slow or prevent vision loss with medication and surgery.

Risk factors

As you age the risk of glaucoma increases significantly. Those over the age of 50 are at a much higher risk than younger individuals. Diabetics are twice as likely to get glaucoma. People of East Asian, African and Inuit ancestry are more likely to develop glaucoma. Women are more at risk than men.

Prevention

The best way to prevent glaucoma is to get regular eye exams. Open-angle glaucoma rarely presents symptoms before causing damage. Your eye doctor can detect signs of glaucoma early and help stave off further damage.

Testing

The test that you are most likely to get for glaucoma is the so-called puff of air test. This is done with a tonometer, which measures the pressure of the fluid in your eye. If you have an abnormal result then your eye doctor can proceed to further diagnostic tests. While this test can be uncomfortable it is important. Additional tests include ophthalmoscopy, perimetry, gonioscopy and pachymetry.

Ophthalmoscopy is used to examine the optic nerve for damage. Pupil dilating drops are used. A device with a light and magnifying glass is used to look at the optic nerve.

Perimetry is a field of vision test. Glaucoma often affects peripheral vision. You will be asked to look straight ahead while lights flash in your side vision.

During a gonioscopy exam drops are used to numb the eye. A contact lens with a mirror is used to determine the angle between the iris and the cornea. This angle helps determine, which specific type of glaucoma is affecting the patient.

An additional test that may be performed is pachymetry, which measures the thickness of the cornea. A pachymeter is placed on the eye during the test. The thickness of the cornea can influence eye pressure. Having this information can help your eye doctor to better understand the pressure in your eye.

How to avoid losing or breaking your glasses

Monday, August 17, 2015 @ 09:08 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

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There is nothing worse than that feeling of your glasses smashing under your feet or finding the frames twisted and bent or the feeling of knowing you set your glasses down somewhere but not knowing where. They are an important part of your life. Many people need to wear glasses and have them with them wherever they go.

Breaking or losing your glasses can be inconvenient and costly. Some breaks are unavoidable but most lost, broken and damaged glasses are preventable. It’s easy to make your glasses last longer and to take good care of them.

Here are some easy ways to avoid breaking your glasses.

Carry and use the case

When you get your glasses they will come with a case. Keep it with you wherever you go. Throw it in your briefcase, backpack or purse. Make it one of the essentials you don’t leave the house without. Then get into the habit of putting your glasses in their case whenever you take them off. They are either on your face or in their protective case. This way they are not going to get scratched, crushed or forgotten somewhere.

As an alternative you can buy a bag or purse that has a glasses pocket in it. These will be padded or fleece lined and make it easy to stash your glasses somewhere safe.

If you only wear your glasses some of the time be extra careful to put them in a safe place when you’re not using them. Create a routine around putting them away in the same place. You can also wear them on a string.

Have one place for them at home

When you’re at home there are certain times when you take off your glasses. Have a specific place for them where you put them every time. It can be your bedside table or on a dresser. If they are always in the same place you won’t have to worry about losing them or leaving them somewhere careless.

Look before you sit down and don’t leave them on chairs

Many people leave their glasses on a car chair or couch for a few moments when they pop out to do something else. By the time they get back they’ve forgotten about it and sit down on top of their glasses. Be careful where you leave your glasses. Try not to put them on chairs, couches or the seat in your car. Look down before you sit to make sure there is nothing below you.

Clean the lenses properly

You don’t necessarily need an expensive microfibre cloth to clean your lenses but there are some things you shouldn’t do. Don’t clean them on your shirt. It is dusty and may have skin particles or sweat on it. This debris could scratch the lens. Wet the lens before cleaning it. Normal soap and a cloth are good enough. You should clean them once a day.

Don’t leave them in the car

Cars magnify extreme temperatures. In cold weather they get really cold and in hot weather they become saunas. Leaving them in your car exposes them to extreme temperatures, which can damage them or wear them out more quickly.

Is LASIK Eye Surgery For Me?

Monday, August 10, 2015 @ 09:08 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

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If you are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism, you may have considered having LASIK eye surgery performed on your eyes.

But before having any time of surgery, whether it’s for your eyes, or another part of your body, it’s important to remember that surgery is an invasive procedure that brings with it risks, as well as rewards.

In this post, we’ll review what LASIK is, as well as the pros and cons to help you understand the procedure a little bit more. It’s always a good idea to speak with your doctor about the risks and dangers of any procedure before making up your mind. Sometimes these procedures aren’t for everyone so it’s a great idea to get a second opinion if you have to.

Let’s begin.

So What Is LASIK Anyway?

LASIK is an eye surgery that helps to fix a few of the most common eye disorders around: astigmatism, farsightedness and nearsightedness. These problems are a result of a misshapen cornea and can be fixed with a special laser that helps the surgeon reshape the cornea. Within a few months, the patient will slowly start to have improved eyesight.

You should also be aware that you should only ever consider receiving LASIK surgery from either a medical doctor who has been specifically trained to use a laser during eye surgery or an ophthalmologist. Anyone else should not be trusted as this is still considered an invasive surgery and you want to make sure you’re trusting your vision to the experts.

Why Should I Get LASIK?

First and foremost it’s important to note that not everyone is a viable candidate for the LASIK surgery. It’s important to speak with your doctor to see if you are eligible for the surgery before even going further.

Though it’s not guaranteed that you will come out of surgery with 20/20 vision, LASIK is said to dramatically improve your vision so that you aren’t as dependent on your glasses or contact lenses. This means you won’t have to worry about packing a second pair of glasses when going away, you won’t need to worry about removing your contact lenses before bed, breaking your glasses, and so forth.

Many people opt to have LASIK surgery because it means they won’t need glasses or contact lenses to fix their vision problems anymore. For some, having to wear glasses or contact lenses is seen as a hinderance on their everyday lives and they would much prefer to do away with them.

What Can I Expect During Surgery?

The procedure is virtually painless. That is the first thing you should know. So that’s a good thing! What we describe next isn’t for the faint of heart, and you should remember that the surgery only actually takes a few minutes to perform.

*Read With Caution*

Excerpt taken from Lasik.com [http://www.lasik.com/articles/what-is-lasik/]

To reshape the cornea, a LASIK surgeon creates a protective flap of tissue in the outer layer of cornea and uses a laser to remove microscopic cells in the layer beneath. After just a few minutes, the surgeon is done and puts the flap back in place, which acts like a bandage as the patient’s eyes heal.

So What Are The Risks?

As with any invasive procedure, there are definitely risks associated with having LASIK. Some of the risks include dry eye, floaters, halos, double vision, infection, over- or under-correction, vision complications, or even regression (going back to your pre-surgery vision).

Please speak with your doctor to learn more about the procedure and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The more you know, the more confident you will be in your decision to either have the surgery or not have it.

What to do if your glasses break

Monday, August 3, 2015 @ 11:08 PM
Author: Amit Mathur

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Everybody who wears glasses has had that horrible moment where they hear a crunch beneath their feet or a crash to the floor. They look down and an arm is bent or the frame is cracked. Sadly if you own glasses chances are at some point in time they’re going to break. Whether it’s wear and tear, an errant foot or gravity your glasses will eventually need some sort of repair if you own them for long enough.

Knowing what to do if your glasses break is important. It can help get you back to your day or get by until you can get to an optician. There are also some things you can do to keep seeing while you get them fixed. Here are some basics of what you should do if your glasses break.

Take them in

Many glasses retailers offer free repairs. If yours does you can take your glasses in to get adjusted for free. If you bought your glasses online there is probably no such offer in place. You can take them into an eyewear shop where they may charge you a fee for repairs.

Wear a spare pair of glasses

If your glasses break and you can’t see clearly without them you can throw on an extra pair that you have lying around the house. Some people will have a second pair or a pair for specific uses like computer glasses. Otherwise you might have an older pair around that you can use in a pinch. If you have any prescription goggles, prescription sunglasses or safety glasses around you can wear those too. It might be a little bit weird but it will get you by until you get to a store.

You can order a cheap pair of glasses online to keep around the house as a spare, go to a discount retailer or take advantage of a two for one sale.

Put in your contacts

If you have contacts around you can wear those instead. Some people have them for sports and other part-time uses. If you’re like that then you can go grab them and pop them in. If you’re a full time contact wearer then you probably have them nearby and they quickly jumped to mind.

Tape them back together

In a pinch you can try to tape your frames back together. This is what Harry Potter frequently did. If you’re planning to take them in for more serious repairs this will enable you to see well enough to get to your eye wear shop. If you use masking tape or scotch tape it is easy to take off and should leave minimal residue.

Glue them back together

The results of your glue job will vary depending in part on your DIY skills, the glue used and the nature of the damage. If it’s a cracked frame then you can glue it back together and hope it holds. Many people swear by the magical powers of super glue.

It’s always unfortunate when your glasses break but a few DIY repairs and having a backup around will get you through it.