Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can affect vision.

Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is one of the most preventable causes of mental retardation in children. One third to on half of children born to alcoholic mothers show signs of fetal alcohol syndrome. It is estimated that the incidence is somewhere around three per 1,000 people.

FAS can affect the eyes causing severe vision development issues. Sometimes refractive error such as myopia or hyperopia can lead to blurred vision. Glasses can correct problems caused by nearsightedness or farsightedness. However, incomplete development of the optic nerve can lead to permanent visual impairment. Other problems may include malformations of the cornea or the iris. Up to half of children with FAS manifest Strabismus (eye turn). Other possible problems include cataracts and nystagmus (involuntary eye movement). Ptosis (saggy eyelids) is also a common sign seen in children with FAS.

FAS is a serious problem that can cause permanent damage to a child's eyes.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I am a little troubled about something recently. I have been trying to use twitter. It seems like a good tool to me. Little blips that go into the tweeting community with the possibility of being heard by someone who finds my little microblog useful. How do you get your voice hear? There are so many bleeps and blips out there I'm not sure how useful information is picked up? If I had more followers perhaps. I have a friend who has surpassed 1000 followers. I find that amazing. I do pick up followers here and there but I will be old and gray before I reach  that point at the rate I am going.

Perhaps I just need to be more active in the tweetly dee community. I think it is a fun concept, if you want to be my tweep come join me, my user name is clrvue.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Stem cell cure for damaged eye.

Russell Turnbull lost vision in one of his eyes by having ammonia squirted in his eye. The article outlines the stem cell treatment and the potential for vision restoration using this procedure.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Lacrisert takes a different approach to dry eye.

Artificial tears are often used in the treatment of dry eye. A new product on the market may help those with moderate to severe dry eye. According to a recent study "significant reductions in the mean severity of dry eye symptoms also were seen, including discomfort (24.9% reduction), burning (34.9%), dryness (41.9%), grittiness (29%), sensitivity to light (18.9%), and stinging (28.5%)."

Lacrisert works differently than artificial tears. Artificial tears supplement existing tears while Lacrisert helps stabilize the tear film. It is meant to work for a full 24 hours. Many people who use the product may be able to reduce or eliminate their use of artificial tears to relieve their dry eye symptoms. One touted benefit is the once per day application, decreasing the need to constantly insert drops. On the other hand 8% reported having blurred vision.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The world is becoming more blurry.

A recent population study by the National Institute of Health found that myopia (nearsightedness) has increased from 25% in 1971 to 41% in 1990-2004.

There are a number of reasons that this could be occurring. One thought is that increased near work and reduced time outdoors can be a leading factor in the increase of myopia. Kids are spending much less time outside. They are growing up in front of the computer and television. School work is demanding and competitive, leading to more near work than has been required in years past.

One way to combat myopic progression is with orthokeratology (ortho-k). Recent studies have indicated that ortho-k can slow the lengthening of the eye that causes myopia. This can be important as myopia not only causes blur but can increase risk of glaucoma, retinal detachment and blindness.

Fortunately, ortho-k is safe for children and the technique is becoming more popular as the benefits, such as freedom from glasses and contacts and the health benefits are better understood.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Show us your flexibility.

Do you want a way to give yourself a Christmas present? Budget is tight but you need glasses? If you have a flex spending account or a cafeteria plant then make use of those dollars. When the year is up those dollars expire and the money you set aside for health care expenses go away. The best part of this plan is that you can use them for vision services. You know you're not going to get the swine flu in the next two weeks so endulge. Get those Juicy Couture glasses that you've been craving and treat yourself to a very merry Christmas. Treat yourself.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Amblyopia or Lazy Eye

Amblyopia, often referred to as a lazy eye is generally develops in young children, before the age of 6. It affects just two to three percent of the population but left untreated can have a large impact on learning and development.
What is Amblyopia? Amblyopia is when central vision fails to develop properly, usually in one eye. Strabismus or untreated refraction can be common causes of this problem.

If left untreated Ambyopia can cause functional blindness, which means the eye can still see but the brain has essentially turned off because of the blurry vision.

Signs of Amblyopia include:
-Overall poor visual acuity
-Squinting or completely closing one eye to see

What causes Amblyopia? A strong uncorrected refractive error (nearsightedness or farsightedness) or strabismus. Trauma to the eye can also cause Amblyopia at any age.
It is very important to find and treat as early as possible, before the brain completely shuts down vision to the affected eye.

Treatment for Amblyopia:
Children can be treated with vision therapy which may include patching one eye, atropine eye drops, prescription eyeglasses, or even surgery.

Amblyopia will not go away on its own, and as always is better treated sooner than later.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

20 years of laser eye surgery.

A small article reminds us the history behind LASIK. "The surgery first took place in 1989 and since, thousands of people have undertaken the procedure.

According to the Times, 100,000 people every year have eye laser surgery, proving the popularity of the operation."

Lasik has been a great procedure for many people. It can free you from glasses and contacts. It has that wow factor of instantly curing a lifetime of blurry vision. Still, it is not for everyone. For those who are nervous about surgery and the potential complications therein they could choose orthokeratology. It is non-surgical, non-permanent and safe for children.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Aspirin may not benefit AMD

From Medpagetoday: "Theoretical benefits of regular aspirin use in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) failed to pan out in a review of data from a large cohort study of female health professionals." After 10 years of study there was not a significant difference in the incidence of AMD in those who took daily aspirin vs. the placebo group.

There may still be benefits with the more aggressive form of AMD but that has yet to be determined. Though aspirin may not reduce the risk of AMD, there are supplemental vitamins that can help reduce the risk. Vitamins A,C,E and Lutein are known to help prevent the progression of macular degeneration.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How to know if you have cataracts.

(HealthDay News) -- Cataracts are an eye condition characterized by a cloudiness of the eye's lens. They usually develop slowly as a person gets older.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine offers this list of cataract symptoms:

  • Vision that appears foggy or cloudy; as if there's a film over the eye.
  • Inability to see colors as vividly as before.
  • Seeing double.
  • Problems seeing well at night.
  • Seeing an aura or halo surrounding lights.
  • Increased sensitivity to glaring lights.
  • Difficulty in differentiating shapes or similar colors.

If you do have cataracts, don't panic. They are very common and easy to treat. I've had cataract surgery and it took about 15 minutes. There are several surgeons in town who do a great job with it.