Thursday, April 30, 2009

Preventable deaths linked to smoking, hypertension

Following a WebMD article, HealthDay (4/28, Doheny) reported that smoking and high blood pressure "account for about one in five deaths among US adults," according to a Harvard study of data collected in 2005. "Although both factors had previously been shown to be linked with premature death, the magnitude of the effect found in the new study was not expected," said lead investigator Majid Ezzati, PhD. Apparently, public health officials and their "efforts to reduce smoking and lower blood pressure...have run out of steam."
That assumption was made in light of the 467,000 deaths per year that were attributable to smoking and the 395,000 deaths induced by hypertension, according to MedPage Today (4/28, Phend). "Obesity and overweight [216,000] were the next most common preventable causes, according to" the Harvard group's "analysis of mortality from modifiable dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors." There were, however, "some surprises on the list," as "high salt intake [102,000 deaths], low intake of omega-3 fatty acid from seafood [84,000 deaths], and high trans fat consumption [82,000 deaths]" rounded out the top ten. Co-author Dariush Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, said "these are 'things really aren't on the radar the way they should be.'" The results are based on a review of "nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, as well as disease-specific mortality statistics from the National Center for Health Statistics."
MedWire (4/28, Cowen) quoted Dr. Ezzati as saying, "The large magnitude of the numbers for many of these risks made us pause." He added, "To have hundreds of thousands of premature deaths caused by these modifiable risk factors is shocking and should motivate a serious look at whether our public health system has sufficient capacity to implement interventions and whether it is currently focusing on the right set of interventions."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Eating Eggs is good for your eyes.

In a syndicated column appearing in Canada's Niagara Falls Review (4/27), W. Gifford-Jones, MD, wrote that eggs "contain lutein and zeaxanthin, known as carotenoids, that help to decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)," a disease that "affects central vision and is the leading cause of blindness for people over 65 years of age." According to research done by Dr. John Landrum, of Florida International University, who "is a world authority on macular pigments," patients "with the highest intakes of lutein and zeaxanthin had 43 percent less chance of developing" AMD. In addition, a "study from the National Institute of Health...found that those with the lowest level of carotenoids had the highest risk of AMD." Recent data from the National Cancer Institute "show the overall decline of lutein intake. This decrease in dietary lutein was particularly striking in those groups at risk of macular degeneration." Scientists "believe that lutein and zeaxanthin protect the macula by absorbing harmful blue light rays from the sun's rays," and may "act as antioxidants that neutralize free radicals, the end products of metabolism that are believed to cause aging."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bifocals help you use your cell phone

Optometrists discuss difficulty reading displays on cell phones, PDAs.
In the Boston Globe (4/24) Voices column, Alex Beam writes that, according to optometrist Jeffrey Anshel, OD, "who consults in the field of visual ergonomics," human "vision is engineered for about 30 years of use." Because "nobody was texting in prehistoric times," humans "are outliving our focusing ability," thus encountering difficulty reading displays on cell phones and PDAs. Jeffrey Weaver, OD, "clinical care director for the American Optometric Association," pointed out the "huge difference between typing...on a regular computer keyboard and thumbing out messages on a PDA." People "can type on a computer with crummy vision, as bad as 20/2100," Dr. Weaver said, but the "BlackBerry or cellphone keypad requires greater concentration and much better vision -- or glasses." Even "the dean of American visual researchers," James Sheedy, OD, PhD, of Pacific University, must use multifocals to read the display on his Apple iPhone. (courtesy AOA)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tips for ithcy eyes

California's San Fernando Valley Sun (4/23) reports that, "according to the California Optometric Association (COA), 20 percent of adults and children suffer from allergies." Many "who endure red, itchy, watery eyes usually try over-the-counter drops that promise immediate relief," but "find short-lived or little-to-no relief," and so "continue to rub their eyes throughout the day." A number of "COA members report seeing an increase in patient complaints during April and May, and offer tips on relief, as well as a warning that symptoms may indicate a more serious condition." COA president Hilary Hawthorne, OD, said that "increased amounts of swelling, redness, and pain should lead to a visit to the optometrist." That's because "self-diagnosis and treatment can potentially make the condition worse, because allergies and bacterial or viral infections can exhibit the same symptoms." Meanwhile, "ways to temporarily relieve discomfort until you see your eye doctor" include cold compresses, chilled sterile saline solution rinses, and "preservative-free over-the-counter eye drops," but not the kind that "get the red out." (courtesy AOA)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Stem Cell cure for macular degeneration in the works

The following was provided by the AOA.

The UK's Daily Mail (4/19, Templeton) reported that scientists in the UK "have developed the world's first stem cell therapy to cure the most common cause of blindness," age-related macular degeneration (AMD). In fact, "surgeons predict it will become a routine, one-hour procedure that will be generally available in six or seven years' time." The new "treatment involves replacing a layer of degenerated cells with new ones created from embryonic stem cells," and was "pioneered by scientists and surgeons from the Institute of Ophthalmology at University College London and Moorfields eye hospital." Currently, the researchers are "applying for regulatory approval for trials from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the Human Tissue Authority, and the gene therapy advisory committee." The Daily Mail noted that "the clinical trial, due within two years, is expected to be the second in the world to use embryonic stem cells on humans."
About "30 million" people "around the world are affected by AMD, in which the part of the retina responsible for central vision gradually thins, leaving one in 10 sufferers totally blind," the UK's Telegraph (4/20, Jamieson) points out. "It is thought" that the stem cell "therapy could help those [with] both the 'dry' form of the condition, which is currently untreatable, and the 'wet' form, which can be mitigated with injections." This week, pharmaceutical maker "Pfizer is expected to announce financial backing for the therapy."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Why do we need yearly contact lens exams?

It is common to get asked why we need to do a separate service for contact lenses. Some people even wonder why it would be necessary if they are simply wearing color contact lenses. It is common to see Hollywood stars wearing cosmetic lenses to change their eye color or to make their eyes look crazy in one way or another. Other people have been wearing the same lens, or same prescription, for years. In these cases it would seem natural to ask why it is neccessary to have a doctor be the gatekeeper.

A few years ago, contact lenses were designated a medical device by the FDA. Injury, infection and abuse prompted this classification. Contact lenses increase the risk of certain complications. For instance, a lens that does not move well on the eye can 'suction' to the eye and cause inflammation that can be quite painful. While wearing contact lenses there is an increase for infection. Proper care is vital to prevent infection and there is need to be in contact with a and optometric physician incase an infection does occur. Allergy and hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the eye) are two other common complications to contact lens wear.

A thorough exam by an optometrist can identify potential problems before they occur. Careful selection of appropriate lens material and design followed by evaluation of the movement can help to prevent many of these problems. Yearly examination can then identify issues before they become serious. I had one patient recently who came into the office. He went to college in Cedar City. His mother spoke to me and indicated that he had a history of contact lens abuse. When I spoke to him it was stressed that he needed to order contact lenses because wearing lenses too long can cause complications and that new contacts cost less than fixing an eye infection. Three months later he called our office with a ragin red eye.

Contact lens wear can be a great modality. Recent studies indicate that children may have a better self image if they wear contact lenses instead of glasses. People with large prescriptions can avoid fishbowl glasses by wearing contacts. The important part is that they are managed and cared for well. That is where facilities such as Clear View Eye Care can help; they can service most contact lens fittings and issues to help maintain healthy vision.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Don't loose sight of Diabetes

Diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of blindness in the USA. High blood sugar can damage the tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye called the retina. The vessels can bleed and leak and sometimes grow new, fragile vessels. These new blood vessels can form scar tissue increasing the risk of retinal detachment.

Common symptoms may include fluctuating or decreased vision. Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed by an optometrist during a dilated eye exam. It is recommended that everyone who has diabetes obtain a yearly dilated exam.

There are two types of diabetic retinopathy: nonproliferative and proliferative. Retinopathy will often begin in the nonproliferative stage and move on to the proliferative. When the retinopathy has reached the proliferative stage the risk for major loss of vision increases dramatically.

Today I saw a diabetic patient. I noticed a number of small hemorrhages(broken blood vessels). There was a collection of yellowy spots on her retina which was a sign that her blood vessels were leaking. When we checked her blood sugar it was far above normal for a screening. She has a risk of losing her vision if she cannot control the diabetes.

The best treatment for diabetic retinopathy, especially in the early stages, is blood sugar control. In later stages laser treatment may be necessary to control the growth of blood vessels.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Corneal Molding (orthokeratology) the LASIK alternative

Corneal molding or orthokeratology is a good alternative to LASIK. This is true for a number of reasons.

1. COST: The initial investment for corneal molding is about 1/2 that of LASIK. During our current recession this opens a door for those who would avoid LASIK because of its cost.

2. DRY EYES: The LASIK procedure requires that a flap is cut in the cornea (the front part of the eye). Regardless of the method used to cut the flap, the process severs nerves that regulate tear flow. Often this leads to dry eye syndrome that can be discomforting in the form of burning and stinging.

3. NON-SURGICAL: Corneal molding is non-surgical. If prescription changes then the mold can easily be adjusted. There is no anesthesia needed, it is not permanent and that is a plus for those who avoid surgery at all costs.

4. PRE-ADULTS: Young people can have this procedure done because it is non-surgical. The risks of corneal molding is equivalent to that of wearing rigid contact lenses. Kids who are active in sports can be great candidates for orthokeratology.

Corneal molding is a viable alternative to LASIK. Clear View Eye Care can answer any more questions you might have about the procedure.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Online Store

It seems like selling items in my brick and mortar store was too confined. I wanted to reach out beyond my small borders and offer my wares to a larger audience. I'm a small spec in a large sea but if it catches on, why not? The new website for Sunglasses can be found here.

If you want to share your opinions and feedback I would love to know what you think. Better yet, buy some sunglasses.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The difference in quality

I am preparing for a sunglasses sale on April 18th. I have been increasing my stock of sunglasses so I have a good selection to sell. I have a number of frames from Kate Spade to Elizabeth Arden to a discount frame called DG. One thing I noticed was the stark difference in quality between the "name" brands and the low cost brand. The plastic felt different, the way the frames were colored was different, the hinges were different. There is definitely a difference when it comes to quality sunglasses.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Sunglasses for sale - EA 5082 C3 $89

Elizabeth Arden sunglasses for $89. Red stripped. 61/11/130. Free UPS shipping.

Sunglasses for Sale - EA 5082

These sunglasses are Rx-able. They have a fun, brown streaked interior with a black exterior. The Elizabeth Arden logo is emblazoned on the front. Size is 61/11/130. Buy these now for $89. Free USPS shipping in the US.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Finding the niche

Have we reached a saturation point with the optometric profession? There was mention of over enrollment. I think that the demand for optometry should increase in coming years due the the aging of the baby boomer population. Still, it is a challenge and the way to overcome that issue is to find your niche. Corneal molding? Vision Therapy? Deluxe eyewear? People have needs that are not being met. It's just a matter of finding out what those needs are and servicing them. If you are reading this, what are some things that you wish an optometrist offered. Maybe Clear View is willing to help with your requests.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A response to a complaint

Someone blogged this complaint the other day and I thought it would be good to address this:

Ok here's the question for all you students of political economy. Which of the following two statements is most accurate.

1. It is important for people to get regular eye exams and therefore prescriptions should expire after a time. Without this requirement, people would wear prescriptions too long and would jeopardize public safety and their own health.

2. The Optometrists lobby wants more business for its clients and knows that requiring current prescriptions will increase the incomes of opticians.

Here's my response:
I think the reason for regular eye exams is more medical than optical. There are medical problems that can occur from wearing a prescription past its time. For instance, eye strain, excess convergence etc. There is a risk too when a prescription changes slowly. Someone may not be legal to drive and say "my glasses are fine." I've seen it. Still, more than just the spectacles it is important to be checked for medical problems on a regular basis. Glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and others can occur without any symptoms and may lead to blindness if not diagnoses in a timely manner. Clear View Eye Care believes in doing yearly eye exams to prevent these medical conditions regardless of how well the glasses are performing.