What is Low Vision?

Low vision is most common in adults age sixty and over, though, vision impairment can affect younger people as well and because it can affect people of all ages, vision loss can make day-to-day tasks difficult. The best way to keep up an active lifestyle while dealing with the effects of low vision is to learn what it is, what causes it, and how best to manage it.

If you or someone in your life has low vision, you may find it comforting to learn that this is a common condition. You might also take comfort in knowing that you are certainly not alone, since the National Eye Institute (NEI) reports that millions of Americans will experience visual impairment in their lifetime.

Signs of Low Vision

Low vision is a term that encompasses a variety of sight problems. According to Whatislowvision.org, the ailment is typically characterized by eye problems including:

  • Blurred vision
  • Tunnel vision
  • Blind spots
  • Legal blindness

Such problems can limit a person’s ability to complete daily tasks and enjoy their beloved hobbies. Past times, such as reading and  sewing, can be compromised dramatically by visual impairment. Important daily takes, like maintaining personal hygiene, getting dressed, and preparing food, can also become increasingly difficult for individuals experiencing low vision. More alarmingly, tasks like driving, operating machinery, and reading signs can become extremely difficult for people with vision problems. It requires the affected person to make lifestyle changes to accommodate their visual impairment, and that, in turn, requires consultation with an eye care professional.

Common Causes

A variety of factors can contribute to the loss of sight. Genetics, aging, birth defects, and eye traumas are well documented causes. Age-related Macular Degeneration (ARMD) is the most common cause of vision loss, accounting for up to half of all reported cases of low vision in the USA (according to data from The Vision Council). Glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy are also frequent causes of impairment, especially in older adults.

Although, it is not always possible to restore vision after it has been lost, it is possible to treat the underlying causes. If you are experiencing any signs of visual impairment, or have an eye disease or disorder that can lead to loss of vision, don’t hesitate in contacting your vision specialist, it might lead to saving your vision.

Living with Low Vision

Although most people with visual impairment will need to use therapeutic devices to complete certain tasks, it is also important to work with a qualified ophthalmologist who specializes in treating patients experiencing low vision. Only an ophthalmologist can diagnose and treat the eye diseases and disorders which cause visual impairment for you or your loved one.

In Orange County, the ophthalmologists at Advanced Eye Medical are qualified help you manage your visual impairment and, most importantly, treat its underlying cause. With the help of your ophthalmologist, you can address the underlying cause, treat it, and develop a plan for completing daily activities with highest level of comfort and convenience possible.

Top 10 Reasons iLasik Trumps Traditional Eyeglasses

LASIK is the procedure of correcting vision using a laser to reshape the inner cornea. It is well known for changing people for the better by allowing them to live their lives without the inconvenience of eyeglasses and contact lenses. iLASIK is considered by many to be the most advanced of all the LASIK systems due to its highly customizable nature; it’s the only laser eye surgery procedure that is approved by NASA and all branches of the US military.

Here are the Top 10 Reasons Why iLASIK is Better than Wearing Glasses

Improved Quality of Vision

The most important benefit of iLASIK is the superior quality of your vision after the procedure. Though the results of each patient may vary, the vast majority of iLASIK patients achieve 20/20 vision or better, which is usually not the case with glasses or contacts. To accomplish this, iLASIK creates a unique image of your eye, which creates a fully-customized procedure that allows specialists to cater to a patient’s specific anatomy and medical needs.

Lower Costs

There are a large number of people that believe laser procedures are overly expensive compared to traditional eyewear; however, that is certainly not the case when looking at the overall costs during a person’s lifetime. North Americans spend billions of dollars on corrective eyewear each year. For example, the average cost of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses are within the range of $263 and $325, respectively, while contacts can cost on average $240 in addition to more than $145 dollars in lens solution and other supplies each year. Those fees can certainly add up to thousands of dollars over the years, as prescriptions constantly change and children grow. A one-time iLASIK procedure averages between $2000 and $3000 per eye, which translate up to tens of thousands of dollars in savings.

Improved Social Life

People who don’t grow up with eye glasses and then receive a prescription later in life often find it very hard to adjust. For example, most of these people prefer to socialize without wearing them, as it feels very awkward when talking to people face-to-face, even if it’s just going out for lunch with a few friends. Some people simply just don’t like how they look when they wear glasses. As a result, they spend a lot of time without wearing them and thus not being able to see. In addition, if you have a relatively strong prescription, the edges of lenses tend to be very thick and might make your eyes appear unnaturally minified or magnified. This can certainly affect their social life to a certain degree. iLASIK completely eliminates this social anxiety and inconvenience.

Remove Irritation and Discomfort

Many people experience unnecessary annoyances when wearing glasses, including bruises caused by pinching as well as irritation around the nose during hot and humid weather. Some frames even cause constant pressure on your nose and behind your ears, which can lead to headaches and general discomfort.
In addition, eyes can become irritated when environmental allergens such as dust or dander stick to the surface of lenses while long days at work can tire your eyes making contact lenses very uncomfortable and straining. Your first response is to remove your contact lenses or glasses, even though your vision will be impaired. With iLASIK laser surgery, you will only feel temporary discomfort, which will completely go away soon after your eyes have healed. For many, this benefit alone is important enough to go the iLASIK route.

No Issues with Field of Vision

Because they sit roughly a half inch from your eyes, glasses can also affect your field of view, distorting peripheral vision. Additionally, people often complain about struggling to focus on objects indicating that their vision is somewhat blurry when they begin wearing glasses or when they change prescriptions.

Gain Back Your Everyday Life Luxuries

Laser eye surgery procedures like iLASIK allow their patients to enjoy some non-monetary benefits that eyeglass and contact wearers won’t. For example, people who chose iLASIK are able to lie down, read or watch TV without eye glasses getting in the way, go to bed without having to remove contacts, and play sports without worrying about vision equipment fogging up or getting in the way.
Being able to simply wake up and see at any time during the night or in the morning is a major advantage that can’t be overlooked. Though these might not seem as a big advantage to some, but to those struggling with their vision it is a luxury.

Wearing Contact Lenses Can Be Potentially Harmful

Many people who wear contact lenses argue that, they are virtually the same as people who have had laser eye surgery and thus believe think they do not need the procedure. Because for them, wearing contact lenses either for long or short term has potential to cause serious and permanent vision damage. In other terms, you are inserting a foreign piece of plastic on top of your eye. This can cause things such as infections, bacterial irritation, altered corneal thickness, corneal ulcers and micro-cysts if you aren’t careful. Research has proven that 1 in 2000 people who regularly use contact lenses are susceptible to vision-threatening infections, while just 1 in 10,000 LASIK recipients experience complications.

Zero Upkeep

Contacts require proper lens care and lens case cleaning each day to avoid potentially serious eye infections. If you can’t commit to the care and recommended replacement cycle of your contacts, consider daily disposables. Patients who choose iLASIK procedures only have to worry about being careful during the healing process, which only last roughly two weeks. After that, you are ready to enjoy your life without having to worry about the inconvenience of wearing contact lenses in addition to their long list of upkeep tasks.

No Dry Eyes

As a consequence to the upkeep section above, many contact lens users often suffer from dry eyes due to its inherent restriction of tears and lubrication. The only way to potentially prevent this is to strictly follow the already mentioned maintenance and replacement schedule, which can cause quite a bit of annoyance. If they are not followed closely, the dry eyes phenomena will likely occur, which can create serious issues with vision, comfort and other safety concerns. iLASIK procedures completely eliminates this threat.

No Risk of Chronic Fatigue and Other Long-Term Effects

Fatigue is yet another issue for contact lens wearers; specifically corneal exhaustion syndrome (or CES), which is caused by longtime chronic depletion of oxygen to the cornea. This can occur due to the long-term use of both non-oxygen permeable and soft contact lenses mainly due to being poorly sized for their patients. This can also lead to long-term wearers suddenly becoming intolerant to contact lenses. In addition, wearers sometimes forget to remove their lenses before they go to sleep, which is essentially the same thing as smothering your cornea. This will also limit oxygen and fluid flow around the eye, resulting in sometimes irreparable damage after long-term use. The only effective way to mend corneal fatigue is to completely discontinue usage of contact lenses and wait until the corneal topography stabilizes.
There are a lot of myths and misunderstandings about iLASIK technology and others like it, so it’s good to be knowledgeable about the procedure if you are thinking about improving your quality of life and ultimately your vision.

How the Eye Works – What to Know About Your Vision

As long as they are working fine, your eyes are probably a part of your body that you take for granted. We all feel that way, but have you ever stopped to think about how the eye works and what you need to know about your vision, to preserve it for a lifetime? Your eyes are among the most vulnerable organs of the body, with little to protect them from hazards. To understand how best to upkeep your vision, you need to know how your eyes work and what can potentially go wrong with them.

Here is a quick rundown of functions of the main parts of the human eye:

The Cornea

The cornea is the outer layer of the human eye. When rays of light reach the eye, it first meets with the cornea, which aids in focusing the incoming light. The cornea is important to a person’s overall visual acuity because it accounts for most of your overall eyesight. Interestingly, and somewhat uniquely in the human body, no part of the vascular system reaches the cornea, so tear ducts and fluids produced in the anterior chamber (which is deeper within the eye) give the cornea its only nourishment.

As an unshielded surface of the body, the cornea is subject to some serious health concerns which have a strong bearing on overall vision. Cornea diseases and disorders include:

  • Corneal abrasions
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)

The cornea is generally very resilient to minor abrasions; however, serious traumas or any signs of cloudiness of the eye demands immediate medical attention. As the starting point for visual information in human neurological processes, the cornea is a critical organ that demands prompt and proper care at the first sign of trouble.

In non-life threatening eye care treatments, the cornea performs an important role in treating common sight problems. The shape of the cornea itself can affect whether or not a person needs to wear corrective lenses. Refractive eye surgery is a common procedure that can improve natural eyesight, potentially without the need for eyeglasses or contacts.

The Iris

The iris rests just underneath the cornea. The iris is a circular elevation that dictates the diameter of the pupil. The iris gives your eyes their distinctive coloration. The iris consists of two layers: the stroma and, beneath that, pigmented cells. The muscular system connects to the stroma of the iris, allowing it to dilate the pupil dynamically.

Aside from injury, the major health concern for the iris is conjunctivitis – commonly called pink eye – which can indicate infection, inflammation, or acute glaucoma.

The Pupil

The pupil is the circular black hole at the center of the eye. The iris regulates the amount of light coming into the pupil. When light enters your eye, a neurological response feeds signals into the oculomotor nerve which causes the iris to expand or contract accordingly.

The pupil is subjected to nerve damage, which can cause chronically dilated pupils in some cases. Conversely, some people experience chronically narrowed pupils, which makes it very difficult to see in the dark.

The Inner Eye – the Lens, the Vitreous Humor, and the Retina

The eye’s lens performs an important function. The lens allows you to focus on small details. The lens is also a trouble spot for aging adults, as it is the area of the eye which loses elasticity with age, resulting in cataracts.

The vitreous humor is the gel-like substance of that eye which gives your eyeballs their unique shape. As you age, floaters, or imperfections in the static fluid of the vitreous humor, can occur. These are sometimes visible to the affected person.

Although, the brain sometimes learns to “ignore” floaters, in extreme cases, a laser procedure called vitreolysis is occasionally necessary to evaporate them. The vitreous humor is also prone to shrinkage during the aging process, which can lead to detachment of the vitreous humor from the retina, requiring surgery.

The retina is the back portion of the human eye. It receives the focused visual information from the outer parts of the eye and, importantly, translates that information into neurological information. The retina is also subject to the following diseases and disorders:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Cone-rod dystrophy (CORD)
  • Retinoblastoma (cancer of the retina)
  • Retinitis pigmentosa

As an important hub for translating visual stimuli into neurological information, any problem with the retina calls for a consultation with a qualified ophthalmologist.

Visit Dr. Ghosheh for An Eye Exam

What most patients do not realize is that their eyes do more for their bodies than they imagine. If you are looking for more information regarding eye care exams and services, please contact the Advanced Eye Medical Group and we will help guide you in the right direction.