Contact Lenses vs. Glasses

Contact Lenses vs. Prescription Glasses: The Choice is Yours

Whether you swear by contacts or glasses, the choice is really up to you. If you’re unsure how to choose, there are multiple factors to consider such as your lifestyle, budget, comfort level, and how you want to look.

Both options are solid and have their benefits and downsides. Every person is unique so there is not necessarily a bad choice between the two.

Gearing Towards Glasses

If you like the look and ease of glasses, then they may be a great option for you. Here are some of the advantages of glasses:

  • Low maintenance and easy to clean
  • You don’t have to touch your eyes like you do with contacts
  • Less expensive long term as they don’t have to be replaced (unless you break or misplace them)
  • Can be a fashionable choice showing off your unique style
  • If your eyes are more sensitive, then they won’t be as irritated as they would be with contact lenses
  • Glasses can protect your eyes from wind, dust and debris

Glasses can be a wonderful choice, but it’s important to consider the cons involved. Here are some disadvantages of glasses:

  • Peripheral vision can be blurry due to the location of where the eyeglasses sit
  • When first wearing glasses, things may appear blurry and they can give you a headache
  • Although some love making a fashion statement with glasses, others feel it may cover up their looks or they don’t like their appearance in glasses
  • If your prescription is on the stronger side, the lenses may be so thick that your eyes look out of proportion
  • Weather can be a real drag in glasses – rain, snow or other weather can fog up your glasses
  • Certain frames can put pressure on your nose or behind your ears, which can be very uncomfortable

Choosing Contact Lenses

Some people swear by their contact lenses. Here are some reasons why contact lenses are appealing:

  • They wrap around the curve of your eye, which helps to see better than in glasses
  • You can use contacts when playing sports or doing physical activity
  • The weather does not interfere with contacts
  • With the latest technology, some contact lenses can correct myopia and give you clear vision the next day

Contacts aren’t perfect and include downsides as well. Here are the disadvantages of contacts:

  • Application can be difficult
  • Contacts decrease oxygen in the eye which can lead to dry eyes
  • If your job requires you to work at a computer, your contacts could make it easier to develop computer vision syndrome
  • The care required for contacts can be high maintenance
  • People who have slept in contacts can tell you how horrible this experience is – eyes become dry, agitated, and bloodshot

If you’re having trouble choosing between the two, there is always the option of using both contacts and glasses. Because there are so many advancements coming out in eye care technologies, some people opt to try contacts and then resort to glasses when they’re at home or doing something low key.

All in all, wearing glasses or contacts is ultimately up to you. However, our staff would recommend that if you need to stop wearing your contacts due to an infection, then having a back up pair of glasses would be of benefit to you.

If you want to ditch the glasses and contacts, our clinic also specializes in Lasik eye surgery. Not everyone will be eligible for this type of surgery, but it’s always a good idea to check in with us and see if this can be an option for you. You can refer to our previous blog post about Lasik for more information, or you can get in touch with our friendly team to book a free consultation.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Eye Health and Women

Common Risks to Eye Health for Women

A seldom known fact is that women suffer worse from eye health issues than men do. There are many different types of eye ailments that pose a high risk for women, but luckily there are solutions that can lower your risk.

The Main Culprits

There is a spectrum of eye-related diseases that women encounter in life, but the following are more common and severe.

  • Cataracts – Cataracts cloud your lens. As a result, vision can become impaired.
  • Glaucoma – Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerve. This is dangerous because it can lead to blindness.
  • Macular Degeneration – Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) affects people 50 or older, and is quite common. It damages the macula, which controls central vision and sharpness.
  • Dry Eye Syndrome – Dry Eye Syndrome is an uncomfortable sensation causing irritated, stinging, and burning eyes. It occurs when your eyes are not able to produce enough tears, or the quality of these tears is too poor to develop proper eye function.

Why Women Suffer More from Eye Health Problems

Women differ from men in multiple ways, and for this reason, they are more prone to eye diseases. Some of these factors can include a previous disposition to certain diseases, and the kind of lifestyle that women can lead. Here are some specific reasons why women are geared towards eye diseases more than men:

  • Women live longer – According to statistics, it is well-known that women live longer than men. Since eye disease is often related to age, the chances of a woman developing eye issues are much higher.
  • Hormones – Women deal with hormones in various ways. Whether it’s pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, or menopause, this exposure to greater hormonal changes can cause eye-related issues.
  • Diabetes – The statistics for diabetes are staggering. About 1/10 women over the age of 20 have developed diabetes. With diabetes comes a higher risk for eye-related issues such as diabetic retinopathy.
  • Medications – Statistically, more women take a higher amount of prescription and non-prescription medications than men do. With any drug comes side effects, and some of them affect eye health.
  • Lifestyle – An unhealthy lifestyle has a detrimental effect on overall health. If you are overweight or obese, have an unhealthy diet, and/or have a sedentary lifestyle, this can have a negative impact on your eye health.

Prevention is Crucial

Age is a huge factor in eye-related diseases, but they can occur at any age. You can take the following precautions, especially if you’re a woman, to reduce your risk:

  • Get a checkup – Getting in your regular eye exam is important in monitoring your eye health. It is recommended to see your eye doctor every two years. It’s also necessary to book an appointment with your physician to get a physical exam and to rule out other diseases that may be impacting your vision.
  • Be mindful of your diet – A diet high in nutritious vitamins like Vitamins C, E, and beta carotene, among many others, can reduce the risk for poor eye health. Exercise is always a great idea, as well, to maintain a healthy weight and prevent diseases that can impact your eye health.
  • Avoid smoking – Smoking is a contributor to poor eye health. Smoking even doubles the risk for developing dangerous eye diseases. It may be a good idea to seek help and quit your smoking habit.
  • Always sport your shades – Wearing the right sunglasses will help protect your eyesight. Ensure that your sunglasses have 100% UV protection. It may also be a good idea to invest in a hat that will shade you from the sun. If you use birth control, your eyes will be more sensitive to light; so it is especially important to wear the right type of eyewear to block harmful UV rays.

We hope that all our female patients will find these tips beneficial. If you have any concerns about your current eye health or think it’s time for a checkup, be sure to get in contact with us at Advanced Eye Medical.

Resting Your Eyes and Its Health Benefits

The Value of Resting Your Eyes

Getting adequate rest is crucial to functioning better in day-to-day life. If you haven’t gotten enough sleep, and you aren’t able to nap, there are ways you can still rest your eyes, which is valuable for both eye health and overall health. If you’re at work and feeling like you need to rest your eyes, take a moment to close your eyes, meditate for a few minutes, and relax. It may not be as advantageous as getting extra sleep, but it can help rest your eyes.

Eye fatigue is also a common condition that can occur if you eyes aren’t well rested. This can include unpleasant symptoms such as the following:

  • Irritated eyes
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Dry eyes or watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • An increase in light sensitivity
  • Back, shoulder, and neck pain

These symptoms can negatively impact your day, so it is so important to get adequate rest.

Put Your Mind at Rest

You can still be awake, but take a break to rest your eyes. This calms your mind. Some people even practice a yoga called “yoga nidra,” which puts people in a yogic sleep between the two worlds of being awake and asleep. Resting your eyes also allows your muscles and body parts to relax, resulting in stress reduction, mood enhancement, and a clearer mind. Being in a calmer state can increase your creativity, motivation, and ability to be productive.

Other techniques you can use are visualization or deep-breathing. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of your day, these solutions allow you to center yourself and calm the mind. Taking a break to rest your eyes can even enhance memory. Sleep or rest is beneficial for declarative memory (the ability to remember facts) and procedural memory (how to remember abilities that you have such as bike riding). In a high-speed life full of distractions and constant information, taking the time to settle down and rest is a great idea for any person. Down time should be a daily occurrence just to reset your mind and slow things down.

Lay Your Head Down

If you do have the opportunity, lying down is a great way to relax all your organs and muscles. You don’t even have to be napping – just taking a break and laying back can have the exact same effect.

Some people have difficulties taking naps during the day or can’t get to sleep. If this is the case for you, getting up and doing a mellow activity like reading (especially something on the more boring side) will help you feel more tired and get you to sleep. Avoid looking at computer screens, your phone, or other technologies as the light from the screen can play a trick on your body by preventing the release melatonin, which aids in sleep. Also, clearing your head of distracting thoughts can help immensely.

There is so much value in just taking the time to rest your eyes and relax. It causes a healthy level of productivity, is good for eye health, and can have a calming effect on the body.

The team at Dr. Ghosheh Medical Clinic want our patients to be at their very best. We hope these tips can help you rest your eyes, and give you a nice boost for your day! If you find that resting your eyes isn’t helping reduce certain problematic eye conditions, be sure to book a free consultation with us.

The Bionic Eye

The Future of the Bionic Eye and Fighting Visual Impairment

For decades, science fiction spun its tales about overcoming our limitations: war veterans who push on with prosthetic limbs; deaf people who open their ears with implants. And the blind, on behalf of their readers and watchers, triumph with technology and rediscover the world. But this doesn’t really read like fiction anymore, does it? People today literally jump hurdles on prosthetic limbs. Hundreds of thousands use cochlear implants—bionic ears. And as for bionic eyes, well, they may not be old news, but they are news.

Engineers and ophthalmologists, physicists and computer experts around the world devise the bionic eye in varying forms. The technologies use internal implants, and external cameras on glasses.

There’s a good market for them. Around the world, 285 million people qualify as vision impaired. 39 million of them are blind. The vast majority are over 50 years old, and earn little money. The bulk of these cases could have been prevented, but things are getting better. Over the past 20 years, many countries have made great progress preventing eye problems, through reforms to national health policies.

And where policy leaves off, scientists work hard to keep things moving.

Technological Innovations to Eye Care

Different medical challenges are shaping different emerging technological solutions. Bionic Vision Australia makes glasses for those afflicted with retinal disease. A mounted camera sends its image to a microchip in the back of the eye. For the clinically blind, the Monash Vision Group offers to bypass the eye altogether and send images directly to a brain implant.

These advances aren’t just hypothetical. Success stories have been told since 2014, when the first procedure was performed. An elderly British fellow, Raymond Flynn, received an “Argus II” last summer, to correct for age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Last month, John Jameson of Texas got some sight back, 4 decades after an infection took it away.

Fans of Star Trek or the Six Million Dollar Man may feel these glasses lack a certain glamour. But no doubt they’re as proud now as when smart phones came to be. Their favorite franchises saw it coming.

Other companies work to enhance vision to restore certain features that have been lost or degraded. Some people, though legally blind, aren’t totally blind. At the University of Oxford, they’re working on Smart Specs. The device uses a color and depth camera, which enhances vision to make the most of what remains. For the millions who are color blind, EnChroma makes glasses to approximate what the rest of us see. These solutions aren’t technically “bionic”, but it’s hard to quibble with improving lives.

Fixing Problems at the Microscopic Level

Some treatments have even evolved beyond mechanical intervention.

Gene therapy offers great hope for the future. It aims to correct faulty genes. Scientists believe their work in this field one day could cure not one, but many types of inherited conditions. Groundbreaking trials have given vision back to some patients who faced utter blindness. By injecting new DNA into the retina, patients have enjoyed ongoing vision improvements. According to Professor Robert MacLaren, “Gene therapy is a new technique in medicine that has great potential. As we learn more about genetics, we realize that correcting faulty genes even before a disease starts may be the most effective treatment.”

At the Mayo Clinic, they’re working with stem cells these days. Stem cell treatment opens the door to replacing cells lost to retina disease. It’s a very meaningful way of fighting off the eventual loss of vision that would otherwise occur. On its own, it’s an effective treatment—but not a cure. Here, again, they place a lot of hope on gene therapy for really changing the game.

The Nuts and Bolts of Keeping Eyes Healthy

But most of what goes into eye care in the future will probably be the same as in the past: take care of the body and it will take care of itself.

  • Don’t smoke. It can cause nerve damage, cataracts and AMD.
  • Eat well! The eyes use muscles to focus, and cells to pick up light and send clear signals. They need to be nourished with the raw materials of a healthy diet.
  • Clean your hands and contact lenses, because eye infections are hardly helpful.
  • Finally, try to learn your family medical history. Vision problems can be hereditary, including degenerative diseases like retinitis pigmentosa. If there’s a history of vision loss, you may be genetically prone. Knowing that, and making it known to your doctor, will mean your best possible chance for timely and effective treatment.

The future of eye health and the providing solutions for those with limited or no vision is looking bright. But proper eye health remains important, as does addressing any potential issues before they could become problematic. If you’re concerned about your vision or would simply like to have a checkup to see if anything needs addressing, be sure to get in contact with Advanced Eye Medical today.

Foods for Maintaining Eye Health

Which Foods Assist in Maintaining Proper Eye Health?

Remember the games we played as children? What If. What if you had to lose one of your senses? Which would be the worst? No doubt a common answer would be vision, and that’s what makes maintaining your eye health so important. The good news is that with the right diet, you can do wonders for your eye health.

Your Diet Affects Your Eyesight

Losing your sight isn’t at all hypothetical. Age and the eyes go hand-in-hand, and the population is aging. By 2030, 6.5 million people in the United States will have poor or no vision. People over 55 are more prone to get cataracts. They should also consider their chances of being affected by age-related macular degeneration (AMD)—which damages the retina. AMD afflicts over 25 million people. And climbing rates of diabetes puts more people at risk of problems like diabetic retinopathy.

The connection between healthy eyes and a healthy life is well established, but people could be taking better precautions. Almost 90% of Americans fail to eat enough vegetables, and three quarters don’t eat enough fruit.

Look for Antioxidants

  • Everyone knows about vitamin C, the star of orange juice commercials. Easily found in fruits and veggies, it discourages cataracts and, in combination with other foods, slows the onset of AMD.
  • Vitamin E. From nuts, cereals and sweet potatoes; it fights free radicals, which fight healthy tissue.
  • It’s a “helper molecule”! The retina needs vitamin A, and zinc helps it get there from the liver.

Eat berries! Who doesn’t like berries? They help against high blood pressure and inflammation, which are culprits for glaucoma and cataracts. Teas are good, green tea is great. Again, zinc is especially important: get it from red meat, liver, oysters, poultry, shellfish, or baked beans.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

They sound like outlying countries from a fantasy novel, but they’re really good for the eyes, and found in leafy green veggies. Spinach and kale will get you there, to discourage AMD and cataracts. The list goes on: corn, collards, broccoli, green peas, bell peppers, and oranges.

Essential Fatty Acids

Two of those three words sound fairly negative. But these fats are not an option: they maintain both the nervous and the immune systems, the cells need them, and they’re very important to healthy vision. Eat fish, canola oil, flaxseed oil, nuts and seeds, and eggs.

Whole Grains

Fiber in the diet is famous for at least one good reason, but here’s another: it could prevent AMD when you get older. Studies show that fiber puts the brakes on the overly quick digestion of modern, refined foods, and gives the body more time to absorb the nutrients it needs. Whole grain cereals and breads are the way to go.

Supplements

Well, one could argue that dietary supplements are part of the diet. Some supplements offer nutrients of which we’re deficient; others help the body extract nutrients that it otherwise couldn’t. Zinc and selenium can help the body absorb vitamins. B12 can help with glaucoma.

What to Avoid

Stay away from too much sodium—don’t be so generous with the salt. By all means, read the labels on what you buy at market. Try to keep your daily intake under 2,000 mg. Stay hydrated; letting your eyes get dry doesn’t help them one bit. And eyes tissues can get irritated by cigarette smoke or too much sun. Use those sunglasses.

Not all protein sources are equal: their fat content and how they’re prepared can make a big difference. Red meat and dairy products, as they have higher proportions of saturated fats, may contribute to an eventual problem with macular degeneration. While that doesn’t mean you should avoid them, it does mean that you should ensure your diet is more balanced.

If you have concerns regarding possible eye health issues or you feel it’s time for a checkup, don’t hesitate to contact us and book an appointment.

Eye Care After LASIK Eye Surgery

Looking After Yourself After LASIK Eye Surgery

LASIK is an eye surgery that involves the creation of a thin, hinged flap in the cornea of the eye. Then, a laser is used to modify and reshape corneal tissue to help resolve refractive vision problems, improving vision and reducing the need for glasses and contacts. 21 million patients had received LASIK as of 2015. Like with most popular surgeries, LASIK patients often have questions about their recovery after their LASIK eye surgery.

How Long Does LASIK Recovery Take?

Recovery typically only takes a few days, though patients that need very significant vision correction may take up to a week to recover. Results are also not instantaneous and may take up to several days to become apparent. Your ophthalmologist may provide temporary glasses or contacts for you to wear while you heal. Patients may experience some redness or spotting in their eyes, similar to bruising, for a day or two after their LASIK eye surgery. This will appear in both the appearance of their eyes and in their vision, but will not continue.

Is Medication Necessary During Recovery From LASIK?

Ophthalmologists usually prescribe two sets of eye drops for patients to administer themselves following their LASIK procedure. The first set prevents inflammation and infection, while the second set prevents dryness of the eyes. These drops may cause slight burning or pain when applied, but this abates quickly. After your LASIK eye surgery, do not use any medication or eye drops that were not provided or recommended by your LASIK eye surgeon.

Is LASIK Recovery Painful?

The LASIK procedure itself is virtually painless and uses a topical anesthetic applied through eye drops, as well as a possible mild sedative. Patients may experience some discomfort in the first 24 hours after their LASIK eye surgery in the form of dryness or the feeling of sand in the eye, but all discomfort should have faded by 24 hours following the LASIK eye procedure. As stated before, patients may experience some discomfort when administering their prescribed eye drops.

Some evidence shows that resting the eyes for a few hours following LASIK eye surgery can make recovery easier, faster, and less painful. Patients should be careful not to rub their eyes to prevent further pain or damage.

How Does LASIK Change Vision?

Many LASIK patients may experience blurry vision up to a few days after their LASIK eye surgery, but 99 percent of LASIK patients do not need to use glasses or contacts for long distance vision after their LASIK eye surgery. A few patients need to continue to use glasses or contacts for up close work like reading.

Do I Need to Follow Up with My Eye Surgeon After My LASIK Surgery?

While specific requirements for follow up vary from patient to patient and surgeon to surgeon, follow up visits are almost always required so that the eye surgeon can check the progress of the patient’s healing process. The first follow up is usually a day or two after their LASIK eye surgery. Later follow ups will occur at regular intervals for the first six months following the LASIK procedure.

What Makes a Good LASIK Doctor?

Just like with any other eye procedure, or medical procedure in general, a good ophthalmologist for LASIK eye surgery is experienced and passionate about his or her branch of medicine. He or she should have excellent patient reviews and should make you, the patient, feel comfortable and informed during your consultation.

Doctors R.K. Ghosheh and Faris Ghosheh at Advanced Eye Medical are experienced ophthalmologists with a passion for helping patients get the best vision possible. They, along with our team of optometrists, can help make sure you feel ready for your LASIK eye surgery procedure. If you or a loved one are interested in LASIK surgery or curious about whether this eye procedure can help you, don’t wait to act. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

Eye Exercises for Better Vision

Eye Exercises to Better Maintain Your Vision

Almost all of us know that we can improve our aging by exercising our bodies and many of us know that we can exercise our minds to do the same. Very few people, however, know that we can exercise our eyes to better maintain vision as we age.

Eye exercises can help patients strengthen muscles, stimulate the vision center of the brain, and improve eye movement and focusing. This means that eye exercises may be helpful for patients who have trouble focusing their vision, have an eye that drifts, have strabismus (“crossed eyes”), have amblyopia (a “lazy eye”), have double vision, have problems with depth perception, or have recently had surgery and suffer from weakened muscles.

Patients who have these symptoms will generally benefit the most from eye exercises, but some research also suggests that eye exercises can help improve vision around the blind spots all people have naturally, as well as delay the need for glasses or contacts for some patients; so whether you have vision problems or not, you may want to consider working a few eye exercises into your daily routine. Here are five eye exercises that you can try on your own.

1. Switching Focus

This simple exercise can help strengthen your eyes’ ability to adjust and can help patients who suffer from age-related farsightedness. First, focus on an object far from you. When the object becomes clear, switch your focus to an object near to you. Once this object becomes its clearest, switch back to the distant object. Continue switching between the two objects to strengthen the muscles that help your eyes change focus.

2. Palming

Cover one eye with your cupped palm (Don’t press against your eye, even when it’s closed, as this can damage it). Keeping your eye covered, look around you with the uncovered eye, constantly moving your line of sight, rather than concentrating on particular objects. Repeat with the opposite eye covered.

3. Eye Circles

Just like stretching your body can help to wake your body up in the morning, stretching your eyes can help wake them up, too. To do so, move your eyes slowly in a clockwise circle, making your circles as wide as you can. When you’ve made about 20 circles, relax for about 10 seconds, then repeat your circles, but going in the opposite direction. It’s recommended that this exercise is performed with the eyes open, but this can cause discomfort. If this is the case, you may want to try doing the exercise with your eyes closed. Regardless, this exercise gives the most benefit if practiced three times throughout each day.

4. Smooth Transition

This exercise is another that helps your eyes’ ability to focus and can also help with the eyes’ ability to work together (binocular vision). It is best performed sitting upright or standing. Hold a pen or similarly shaped item upright in your hand with your arm straight out in front of you. Focus on the point of the pen for 10 seconds before bending your arm to bring the pen slowly towards your nose, maintaining focus on the pen’s tip. When the pen is directly in front of your face, hold it there for five seconds before slowly moving it back to the starting position. Repeat this three times with a 10 second break in between. Don’t forget to breathe throughout the exercise, and don’t blink except during the breaks between repetitions.

Can Eye Exercises Benefit Me?

Of course, not all eye exercises can help all patients and not all conditions can be helped by eye exercises. These exercises can be helpful, but a qualified and experienced doctor can recommend an eye exercise plan that will best suit you.

Doctors R.K. Ghosheh and Faris Ghosheh at Advanced Eye Medical are experienced ophthalmologists with a passion for helping patients get the best vision possible. They, along with our team of optometrists, can help you determine which eye exercises can best benefit you and your sight. Contact us now.

How the Sun Can Affect Your Vision

Bright Eyes: Effects the Sun Can Have on Your Vision

Sporting those summer shades aren’t just for looking cool. UV light can damage eyesight in a serious way. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is getting more attention regarding the dangers of skin damage and how it can cause cancer. However, UV radiation and eye damage is also a major concern that should be taken seriously. Protecting your eyes is crucial in your current and future eye care.

Shedding Some Light on UV Radiation

The sun is dangerous as a result of UV light or radiation. However, this type of light and radiation can come from other sources like tanning beds, lasers, and welding machines. UV radiation comes in various types: UV-C, UV-A, and UV-B. Since UV-C is absorbed by the ozone layer, it poses no threat or danger to human beings. However, UV-A and UV-B radiation can have damaging effects on skin, eyes, and your vision. UV Light directly impacts eyesight by causing many eye diseases and conditions. Eye conditions that result from exposure to UV rays include the following:

  • Macular Degeneration (AMD) – Damages your retina and is the leader in age-related blindness
  • Cataracts – Causes clouding of the eye’s natural lens
  • Pterygium – Commonly known as “surfer’s eye” and is a pink, non-cancerous growth. It forms over the white of the eye
  • Skin Cancer – Can develop around the eyelids when exposed to UV light
  • Photokeratitis – A corneal sunburn that can be extremely painful or result in temporary vision loss

Risky Business

Anyone can be at risk for eye damage from UV light. If you are exposed for long periods of time in the sun without sunglasses, this can increase your risk. Here are other ways you can be at risk:

  • Using a tanning bed or sunlamp
  • If you have a preexisting condition such as cataracts or a retinal disorder
  • Certain medications can increase your risk because they cause higher eye sensitivity to light (these can include tetracycline, sulfonamide drugs, birth control pills, diuretics and tranquilizers)
  • If you’re a welder or medical technologist

Protect Yourself

Now that you know the dangers of UV rays on vision, there are many steps you can take to protect your eyesight. If you wear adequate eye protection and a sun hat, this should help a great deal. When looking for sunglasses, they should have the following specifications:

  • Sunglasses that block UV-A and UV-B radiation by 99-100%
  • They should screen out visible light by 75-90%
  • Buy grey lenses – they cause proper color recognition
  • Use wrap around frames for extra protection if you spend a lot of time outside

If you have children or teenagers, make sure that you share these tips with them as well, as they usually spend more time outside. It’s also important to go to your eye appointments and get an exam at least every two years. This is a good habit for maintenance of your vision and for any more information you want to know about eye health related to UV rays.

We value each and every patient that comes into our clinic. If you’re concerned about how the sun is affecting your eyes, we are happy to chat with you about it or any other eye-related issue. We have been serving the Orange County community for four decades, and pride ourselves in patient care.

Living with Macular Degeneration

How to Manage Living with Macular Degeneration

As we age, our vision degrades, affecting our ability to read, drive, use a computer, watch television, and even make out faces. Symptoms of age-related vision degradation include the need for more light, difficulty reading or doing close-up work, problems with glare, changes in color perception, and reduced tear production.

Cataracts and glaucoma are common age-related eye disease, but macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people over 60, affecting more than 10 million Americans, more than cataracts and glaucoma combined.

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration, also called age-related macular degeneration or AMD, specifically refers to the deterioration of the retina, the nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye and detects light. Though common, macular degeneration almost never leads to total blindness.

There are two types of macular degeneration:

Wet

The wet form involves the growth of abnormal blood vessels from the choroid, the vascular layer between the retina and the white of the eye. These abnormal blood vessels leak into the retina, leading to distortion of vision, blind spots, and the loss of central vision; this can eventually lead to the formation of a scar, causing permanent loss of central vision.

Dry

Dry macular degeneration refers to the presence of drusen, small yellow deposits, in the macula – the small, oval-shaped area near the back of the retina that aids in clear, detailed vision. These deposits generally don’t hurt vision as long as they are small and few in number, but growth in the size and number can lead to dimmed or distorted vision. These changes are most noticeable during reading. In more advanced stages, the light detecting layer of the macula can thin, leading to atrophy, causing blind spots and even the loss of central vision.

The dry form of the disease is more common than the wet form, which only affects about 10 percent of macular degeneration sufferers; but the dry form can lead to the wet form, and sufferers of the wet form make up the majority of macular degeneration sufferers who experience severe vision loss.

How is Macular Degeneration Treated?

There is no cure for macular degeneration, but there are a number of treatments that can be used to offset AMD’s effects. Vitamins, laser treatments, vision aids, and medications can all be used to treat macular degeneration.

Vitamins

Research shows that for some patients with moderate to severe dry macular degeneration, vitamins A, C, beta-carotene, zinc, and copper can decrease vision loss. Lutein and zeaxanthin can improve the effectiveness of these vitamins and minerals in patients who do not already get the daily recommended amount from their diet.

Laser Treatments

High-energy laser lights can sometimes be used to eliminate abnormal blood vessels. Another type of laser treatment is photodynamic laser therapy. To conduct this procedure, a doctor first injects a medication into the patient’s bloodstream where it is absorbed into the abnormal blood vessels in the eyes. After absorption, the doctor activates the medication by shining a cold laser into the patient’s eyes, damaging and eliminating the abnormal vessels.

Vision Aids

Patients can also use aids that utilize lenses or electronic means to produce larger images of objects. Of course, these aids don’t improve vision, but they can help patients see better with the vision they do have.

Medications

Anti-angiogenic drugs are injected directly into the eye to prevent the growth and leakage of the abnormal blood vessels that lead to the wet form of macular degeneration. Many patients regain vision following treatment, but the treatment may need to be repeated during follow up appointments.

How Can Living with Macular Degeneration be Made Easier?

In addition to the above treatments, patients can also take steps to make living with AMD easier. A healthy diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, in addition to the vitamins listed above, can delay the onset of macular degeneration and can help prevent further vision degradation, while high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol can worsen AMD. Doctors may recommend that they check their vision regularly using an Amsler grid to check for vision distortion.

The use of brighter lights around the home and magnifying tools when reading or doing other detailed work can help patients to continue the hobbies they love. Macular degeneration patients can be at higher risk for depression because of their vision loss. While feeling sad about vision loss is normal, if these feelings are prolonged or make you feel hopeless, talk to your doctor, who may refer you to someone who can help you transition and handle your vision loss. Talking to friends and family can help patients handle feelings of sadness, but is not a substitute for professional aid if a patient is feeling depressed.

What Should I Do to Start Handling My Macular Degeneration?

If you or someone you care about suffers from macular degeneration or any other eye disease, don’t wait to act. Doctors R.K. Ghosheh and Faris Ghosheh at Advanced Eye Medical are experienced ophthalmologists with a passion for helping patients manage their vision. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment and start getting a handle on your macular degeneration.

Eye Care Tips for Elderly Patients

The Age of Eye Care: Tips for Elderly Patients

It’s no secret that as we age, our vision begins to suffer. If you are an elderly person who is struggling with their vision, these tips can help make things easier on you.

It’s All about Nutrition

We can’t stress enough how a nutritious diet is a key factor in improving eye health. Foods that are especially beneficial are those that contain antioxidants and vitamins (leafy greens, vegetables, fish). Fish also has high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that strengthen the macula, which is the area of the eye that controls central vision.

If you are lacking in vital nutrients, and have taken up bad habits like drinking too much alcohol or consuming a diet high in saturated fats, this could deeply harm your vision.

Say No to Cigarettes

Smoking is a bad habit that not only damages your overall health, but your eye health as well. Smoking can increase the risk of developing several detrimental eye conditions, and exposes your eyes to a wide variety of chemicals. It’s never too late to quit smoking, and there are resources out there that can help you put your health first.

Exercise Daily

Exercising is good for your heart, your mood, and it even helps improve your vision. Exercise stimulates blood flow, which increases oxygen levels to your eyes. As a result, toxins are removed from the eyes, enhancing vision. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, and you will notice vast improvements to your health.

Get in Quality Sleep

Getting proper sleep is one of the greatest things you can do for your health. People struggle with these sleep patterns constantly, and notice how it interferes with their wellbeing. Getting an adequate amount of sleep is also linked to eye health. When we go to sleep, our eyes go through a process of clearing out common eye irritants such as dust, smoke, or particles that our eyes have collected throughout the day.

If you’re worried about your sleep, there are several things you can do. If you have trouble getting to sleep at night, you can create a bedtime ritual, avoid drinking caffeine during the day, and try to stick to a sleep schedule. There are also certain apps that can help track the quality of your sleep to make sure you are getting the sleep your body needs.

Don’t Forget Your Sunnies

It’s hard to resist those sunny summer days. All you want to do is be outside and enjoy every minute of it. However, being outside too long in the sun can harm your eyes. Invest in a pair of sunglasses that blocks harmful UV rays to get the best protection possible. You can also buy a wide brimmed hat, which can block the UV radiation that the side of your sunglasses can’t prevent.

Be Mindful at the Computer

Staring at a computer screen for too long can tire out your eyes. If you stare at a computer screen for two hours, that eye strain is the equivalent of the strain your wrists would feel for typing for two hours. The following tips should help with eye stress that results from staring at the computer for too long:

  • Place the top of the computer screen below eye level
  • If your eyes become very irritated, use eye drops
  • Make necessary adjustments to lighting
  • Take breaks every 15 minutes and let your eyes rest away from any computer screens (this includes smart phones and tablets)
  • Blink as often as you can

Take Steps to Avoid Injuries

Eye injuries do happen, but there are preventative measures you can take to avoid these types of injuries. Approximately half of eye injuries happen around the home, especially during home improvement projects. If you are taking on a new project, always wear protective eye wear and make sure you own a pair of certified safety glasses.

Falls are another way in which eye injuries take place. As we age, falls become more commonplace as a result of changes in vision and difficulties with balance. To avoid falls, here are some tips that should keep you safe:

  • Make sure all railings are secure
  • Only purchases rugs, shower and bath mats that are slip-proof
  • If there are sharp corners and edges throughout the home, add some cushioning around them

We hope these tips will help improve your lifestyle and vision! The staff at Dr. Ghosheh Advanced Eye Medical, Orange County, values its elderly patients, and wants their eye health to be the best it can be. If you have any concerns regarding your eye health, do not hesitate to contact us.