Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cataracts are common

Cataracts, other eye conditions affect many seniors. U.S. News and World Report (1/29, Shute) reports, "Cataracts are the most common age-related eye disease, with more than 17 percent of Americans age 40 and over affected. The main cause, aside from plain old aging, is exposure to ultraviolet B radiation in sunlight." People can reduce their risk "and delay the need for surgery to remove a clouded lens" by "wearing sunglasses and brimmed hats while outside." At present, "cataract surgery has been refined so that the super small incisions are self-sealing." Besides cataracts, eye conditions such as "glaucoma and macular degeneration" also affect seniors, although they "are more insidious." Typically, medications are used to slow the damage caused by glaucoma. Meanwhile, "high doses of supplements, including vitamins C and E and beta carotene and the mineral zinc, have been found to slow the progression of AMD in several trials."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Prevalence of Diabetes

UPI (1/28) reports, "Nearly one-third of U.S. adults age 65 and older have diabetes, while an additional 30 percent have pre-diabetes," according to the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey published in Diabetes Care. The survey "also found 13 percent of adults age 20 and older have diabetes, but 40 percent of them have not been diagnosed."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Second leading cause of Blindness

CHICAGO – Glaucoma is often called the "sneak thief of sight" because half of all patients have it and do not know it. Although some may consider the eye disease something that only happens to older people, the truth is, even children and teenagers can be diagnosed with it.

A.J. DeGeorge is now 27 years old but has been receiving treatment for juvenile open-angle glaucoma since he was 13. At the time of his diagnosis, he exhibited no signs or symptoms of the potentially blinding eye disease. His glaucoma was only discovered because of a routine eye exam.

Glaucoma causes loss of sight by slowly damaging a part of the eye called the optic nerve. When the optic nerve becomes damaged, it usually begins to damage peripheral vision. Without treatment, central vision becomes diminished. It is the second leading cause of blindness, second only to cataracts.

"There were no warning signs. I had very close to 20/20 vision and never had any pain," said DeGeorge. "But, when the doctors checked the pressures in my eyes, they were unbelievably high and my optic nerves had shown signs of damage."

After his diagnosis, DeGeorge began treatment with a glaucoma specialist, Mildred M.G. Olivier, M.D. of the Midwest Glaucoma Center. Initial treatment included medications but later a Trabeculectomy (surgery) was needed in the right eye to lower the eye pressure so that no further damage would occur. Today, thanks to the early detection and consistently following his doctor’s directions, DeGeorge needs only to take eye drops in his left eye once a day.

"Although having glaucoma at such a young age is rare, I think A.J.’s story demonstrates the need for everyone, including those young and more mature, to receive an eye exam," said Dr. Olivier. "There is no cure for glaucoma, but with early treatment, we can lessen the risk of severe vision loss."

As of today, there are more then 2.2 million Americans over the age of 40 who have been diagnosed. Unfortunately, once glaucoma takes away sight, it cannot be restored. That is why Prevent Blindness America, the leading volunteer eye health and safety organization, has joined other leading eye care groups in designating January as National Glaucoma Awareness Month in an effort to educate the public on the disease.

Prevent Blindness America offers free informational resources, including treatment options and general information through its Web site and toll free number. The Glaucoma Learning Center, at, contains a variety of resources including an adult vision risk assessment and an interactive guide on how to take eye drops. The Web site also includes The Glaucoma Web Discussion Forum that allows patients and caregivers the opportunity to discuss online all subjects related to the disease.

Prevent Blindness America also offers free printed materials including the Guide for People with Glaucoma. This comprehensive booklet serves as a handbook for patients and includes information on what to expect during treatment and even a list of questions to ask the eye doctor.
And, Prevent Blindness America offers a resource directory for those who may require financial assistance. And, consumers can obtain free printed materials on glaucoma in either English or Spanish by calling 1-800-331-2020. Additional information can be found online at

photo by orange acid

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reducing risk of myopia

Writing in the Los Angeles Times (1/12) Booster Shots blog, Shari Roan observed that, according to a study published in the Jan. issue of the journal Optometry and Science Vision, "spending two or three hours outdoors each day appears to lower a child's risk of developing" myopia, a condition that "affects about one-third of U.S. adults." In analyzing "several large studies examining large populations," researchers found that "the risk of myopia drops in
children who spend more time outdoors." Yet, "the authors of the analysis say they cannot explain why outdoor time lowers the risk of nearsightedness. It could be related to more time spent on distance viewing or to being in sunlight."

"The critical factor for reducing the development of myopia in children seems to be total time spent outdoors during daylight hours," and not what the children are doing outside, UPI (1/13) points out. In fact, "both active and passive outdoor activities had a protective effect on vision, while sports played indoors were found not to have this effect." Donald Mutti, guest editor of the journal, explained that "a child's chances of becoming myopic -- if he or she has two myopic
biological parents -- are about six in 10 for children engaging in zero to five hours per week of outdoor activity, but the risk drops to two in 10 when outdoor activity exceeds 14 hours a week."

Monday, January 12, 2009


If you want to win contacts text EYECARE to 84043. Our contest includes consultation and free trial lenses. A winner will be chosen at the end of January.

More on orthokeratology

What Orthokeratology Is

In the most basic of terms Accelerated Overnight Orthokeratology or Ortho-k is the science of changing the curvature or shape of the cornea to change how light is focused on the retina at the back of one's eye. Think of the cornea as the eye's equivalent of a watch crystal. It is a clear, dome shaped structure that overlies the colored iris. Its tissue is most similar to clear, wet skin; and like skin it is very pliable. Because the cornea separates the eye from air and the rest of the outside world and because it has a curvature that bends light towards the back of the eye, it is responsible for most of the eye's corrective power and contributes to various conditions such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and the blur of astigmatism.

When you choose Ortho-k a few key tests must be performed. Chief among these tests is the determination that your eyes are healthy. The Orthokeratologist will examine the retina and also the health of the outside of the eye. The other key procedure is the mapping of your cornea. To do this an instrument called a Topographer is used. Just like a topographical map of a camping area show hills, plains, and valleys; the topography of the eye shows your doctor exactly how your cornea is shaped. The information from your corneal mapping plus the size of your cornea and the prescription needed to correct your vision are all used to design the retainer lenses or corneal molds needed to create the Ortho-k effect.

On the day you pick up your Ortho-k retainer lenses you will be instructed in how to insert, remove, and take care your vision retainers. The fit of your retainers will be evaluated and you will be scheduled to be seen after your first night of wear. On day 1, your doctor will re-evaluate your fit and newly corrected vision and another mapping of your cornea will be performed. Throughout your initial fitting period, your Orthokeratologist will monitor your corneal health and the effectiveness of treatment. At certain times your retainer lens fit may be modified to achieve your goals.

Orthokeratology can produce results in a surprisingly short period of time. The length of treatment to achieve your goals can vary from patient to patient. Factors which can affect the speed of treatment include:

* your initial prescription
* corneal rigidity
* tear quality and quantity
* your expectations.

We advise patients that they may need to use their retainers every night to maintain their newly corrected vision although some patients are able to vary their wearing time to once every two to four nights. The reason for this is due to the flexibility of your cornea.

To get a sense of how this all works, just remove a ring from one of your fingers. You may notice an indentation where the band was. In a way, you've been doing "orthokeratology on your own finger". Over time if you stop wearing your ring this indentation will go away. Ortho-k has a similar effect on your cornea; stop wearing your retainers and your cornea and your vision will return to their original state before treatment.

And that's really the beauty of Orthokeratology; it is the NON-SURGICAL, NON-INVASIVE, FULLY REVERSIBLE alternative to refractive eye surgery!
Source: Orthokeratology Academy of America

Friday, January 9, 2009

Dilation is good during an exam

In the Healthbeat column in Iowa's Quad City Times (1/8), Deirdre Cox Baker observed that having the eyes dilated as part of an eye examination is a "weird experience," as well as a necessary one, because "glaucoma -- one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States -- can be caught if a doctor uses dilation to clearly see the retina, optic nerve, and vessels in the back of the eye." While "glaucoma is not can be controlled to some extent if detected early." According to the American Optometric Association, "there are two types of glaucoma," a "common kind" that "develops painlessly and gradually, typically without symptoms," and another kind that comes on "rapidly," with symptoms including "blurred vision, loss of peripheral vision,colored rings around lights, and pain or redness in the eyes."

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Yearly exam

UPI (1/7) reports that people who have hyperopia (farsightedness) may need glasses if they "can...see far away objects clearly, but find close up ones blurry." Other symptoms of hyperopia "include eyestrain, headaches, and excessive blinking." Conversely, those whose "close-up
vision is fine," but those "distance vision is less than perfect," may have "myopia, or nearsightedness." Other signs of myopia "include difficulty seeing clearly while driving...frequent squinting, and difficulty seeing writing on signs and television." While "not all
vision problems warrant glasses or contact lenses, the American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends yearly eye exams for both children and adults to keep prescriptions current and effective."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Win contacts

We are trying out new things. Though January if you text the word EYECARE to 83043 you will be entered to win a contact lens package from Clear View Eye Care. This includes a contact lens consultation trial contacts, solution and case.