The Importance of Elderly Eye Tests

Why Elderly Eye Tests are So Important

As we get older, our vision starts to change. However, these changes don’t have to alter your entire life, and there are many ways you can protect your eye health.

After the age of 60, there can be warning signs of potential eye problems which lead to loss of vision. Some of these conditions are asymptomatic but if you get regular eye exams, then these disease can be detected as early as possible.

The most common eye problems as you age include the following:

  • Reading difficulties. Starting at the age of 45, muscles in the eye start to weaken as a process from aging. As you get to age 60, most people need reading glasses in addition to their prescription.
  • Floaters are small spots or specks that float across your vision. In general, these are harmless. However, if they pop up too often, it could be a sign of another health condition.
  • Cataracts are a clouding of the eye lens that commonly develops after the age of 60. The good news with cataracts is that they can be easily detected in an eye exam and a simple operation can restore your sight.
  • Glaucoma results from pressure in the eye that damages the optic nerve (a nerve that connects the eye to the brain). If left undetected, glaucoma can severely damage your vision and cause tunnel vision, sometimes even blindness. With early detection, complications from glaucoma can be treated with eye drops.
  • Macular degeneration. As people age, they can develop a disease of the retina called macular degeneration. The retina is located in the back of your eye and is made up of nerve tissue. There are two types of macular degeneration. The first kind develops slowly and get worse as it progresses. The second type gets worse very rapidly. If this occurs, you need to seek medical attention right away.
  • Diabetic retinopathy. In patients with diabetes, they can develop a condition called Diabetic retinopathy, which affects both eyes. The tiny vessels in the retina become progressively damaged, and they can leak blood or fluids that swell retinal tissue, as well as cloud vision. If you have diabetes for a longer period of time, your odds of developing this condition are much higher. In addition, if a person has an unstable glucose measurement, this can also increase the severity of diabetic retinopathy. In the most extreme cases, this condition can cause blindness.
  • Retinal detachment. Retinal detachment is when the retina detaches from its underlying tissue. This condition can happen instantly when there are changes in the fluid from the back of the eye. The most common causes include a traumatic blow to the eye or head, health issues such as advanced diabetes, and inflammatory eye disorders. If a retinal detachment is left untreated, you could lose your vision permanently.

Don’t Forget Your Trusty Eye Test

Some people may think that an eye test is to determine whether you need glasses or to adjust your current prescription. Eye tests also are an important step in determining the health of your eyes. These tests will check your vision from all angles, and look for age-related changes in the eyes. If you notice anything is wrong with your eyes or you haven’t had an exam in a while, be sure to make an appointment right away. Eyes should be tested every 2 years, or more if requested by an optician.

The team at Dr. Ghosheh Advanced Eye Care want to make sure all of our patients are well looked after. If you have any concerns with your eye health, be sure to get in touch with us today.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy Stages

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness or vision loss throughout North America. People with this disease can develop a condition called diabetic retinopathy. If you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, then you are 25 times more likely to experience vision loss from diabetic retinopathy than people who do not have diabetes.

Diabetic retinopathy develops when there is a change of blood vessels in the retina. In its earliest stages, people won’t often notice any symptoms. However, as it progresses, vision loss can take place, and when it gets to that stage, it cannot be reversed.

If you are at risk for having diabetic retinopathy, there are many steps you can take to prevent this disease from occurring.

More on Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy has two different types:

• Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR)
• Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR)

NPDR is the earliest form of the disease. In this stage, the retinal blood vessels leak fluid or blood, and this can cause swelling of the macula (macular oedema). If this takes place, central vision can be damaged.

PDR is the more advanced stage of the disease. During this form of the disease, the blood vessels in the retina vanish and are displaced by new vessels that bleed easily. As a result, vision loss can occur quite suddenly.

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

There are no symptoms in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy. Unfortunately, there likely won’t be signs of vision loss until the disease is more advanced. However, if you have late stage symptoms, these include the following:

• Eye strain
• Blurred vision
• Headaches

Diabetic Retinopathy Causes

All people with diabetes are at risk for developing this condition, and diabetic retinopathy usually results from a diabetic complication. Here are other risk factors of this disease:

• Race (Hispanics and African Americans are at greater risk)
• Medical conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol
• Pregnancy (pregnant women can develop gestational diabetes, which could increase the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy)

Getting a Handle on Diabetic Retinopathy

If you are worried you are at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, there are many steps you can take to ensure that your vision is protected. Here are some strategies that can help with prevention:

• Maintaining control of your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol
• Getting regular eye exams (it is especially important to have eyes tested once diabetes is first diagnosed)
• Taking diabetes medication regularly
• Sticking to a healthy diet
• Regular exercise
• Avoiding alcohol and smoking

If you do develop diabetic retinopathy, the proper treatment for this disease is extremely important. If diabetic retinopathy is not treated, vision loss or blindness can occur.

A family doctor, optometrist, or specialist can help provide treatment. This may include laser treatment to prevent vision loss (for macular edema and proliferative retinopathy). This type of procedure seals leaking blood vessels and can also shrink new vessels and prevent them from growing.

If the case is severe and a patient does not respond to the laser treatment, they can undergo surgery. The surgery is called a vitrectomy and entails removing the vitreous gel in the patient’s eyes. This surgery is particularly helpful in improving vision in people who have bleeding in the vitreous gel (vitreous hemorrhage), retinal detachment, or a severe case of scar tissue formation. However, a vitrectomy will not cure the disease, but it will drastically improve the symptoms.

Contact Dr. Ghosheh Today!

Dr. Ghosheh and the staff at Advanced Medical Care is dedicated to providing every patient with the gift of clearer eyesight. Clearer vision can give you a better quality of life, so if you have any concerns regarding your vision health, please do not hesitate to call.  Contact Dr. Ghosheh today for a consultation.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration and Aging

The macula is the most sensitive part of the retina, the thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye. It is made of millions of light-sensitive cells that communicate information about central and defined vision.

The macula aids us in seeing objects that are straight ahead. If damaged, the information the macula sends to the retina, which in turn is sent to the optic nerve to produce the images we see, appears dark and distorted.

Symptoms of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is the most common cause of vision loss among individuals over 50. It is a degenerative condition. Depending on the patient, AMD can progress slowly or quickly and can appear in one or both eyes.

Objects may appear less bright, and central vision will become more damaged over time, that is, you will have spots in the center of your eyes that grow progressively.

While AMD does not cause complete blindness, it affects quality of life (reading, driving and other daily tasks become more difficult or impossible).

AMD Diagnosis and Risk Factors

An eye exam for AMD may include a visual acuity test, a dilated eye exam, an Amsler grid, a fluorescein angiogram or an optical coherence tomography. The early signs of AMD are often not apparent.

Although AMD usually appears after the age of 60, it can occur earlier. There are other risk factors. Smoking could double the risk of AMD; AMD is more is more common for Caucasians; and family history and/or genetics can affect your risk of AMD.

Treatment for Different Stages of AMD

There are three stages of AMD, depending on how much drusen are under the retina:

In early AMD medium-sized drusen, lay under the retina and typically there are no symptoms associated with the AMD. Additionally, there are no current treatments for early AMD. However, you should have your eyes examined regularly and live a healthy lifestyle (avoid smoking and eat well).

Individuals with intermediate AMD have large drusen under the retina, and possibly changes in pigment. It may cause vision loss for some, however there are typically no noticeable symptoms and it can be detected with an exam only. Treatments include taking nutritional supplements such as beta-carotene, although this solution is debated amongst eye professionals.

In late AMD drusen is accompanied by vision loss because their macula is damaged. Late AMD comes in two types, geographic atrophy or dry AMD, and neovascular AMD or wet AMD.

In patients who have geographic atrophy or dry AMD, the light-sensing cells and tissue in the macula that transmit information to the retina, and in turn the optic nerve and brain, break down. This is what causes the loss in vision.

In patients with neovascular AMD or wet AMD, blood vessels are stimulated to grow underneath the retina. These blood vessels are abnormal and hemorrhage (leak fluid and blood). This leads to damage to the macula via swelling of the blood vessels and retina.

Geographic atrophy is not as rapid or severe as neovascular AMD. Treatments for Advanced AMD may not stop progression of the disorder, but they are an attempt to help stop the profression. Different types of treatments may be used such as, injections, photodynamic therapy and laser surgery. Neovascular AMD usually results in vision loss that is severe and rapid.

Worried About Macular Degeneration? Call Dr. Ghosheh Today.

More research is currently being done about AMD, but at present the progression usually ultimately results in vision loss over an indeterminate period of time. Depending on what type of AMD you have may depend on the effectiveness of the treatment you receive and what treatment your doctor recommends.

If you are over the age of 50, it is important to maintain regular visits to your eye doctor to ensure you do not have early AMD and can attempt to prevent severe progression.

Schedule a visit with Dr. Ghosheh of Laser for Eyes. If you have more questions about AMD or other eye conditions that may be affecting you, you can also take a look at Dr. Ghosheh’s medical blog for further consultation.

Eye Floaters and Flashers: Should I Be Concerned?

Eye floaters are specks, flecks, spots and cobwebs that appear in your field of vision. In addition, eye flashers are flickers of light or the appearance of lightning bolts that are not there. Both are quite common in fact 7 out of 10 people have experienced the phenomenon of eye flashers and floaters. And while in most cases eye floaters and flashers are harmless, they can be a symptom of a severe eye condition.

What causes eye floaters and flashers?

The eyes is filled with vitreous gel which helps the eye keep its shape and also allows light to pass through it. When we’re young the gel is liquid and fluid, but as we age, the gel begins to thicken. As the gel thickens, particles can become trapped inside of the gel, casting shadows as light passes through the eye. These shadows move as the gel moves around in the eye, which gives the appearance of floating. Eye floaters are more visible if you stare at a light, clean backgrounds such as a white wall or an overcast sky.

When the Gel shrinks, it pulls on the Retina and Causes Blood Vessels to Burst.

This happens if there’s a small Hemorrhage in the eye and can be seen as black dots, a cloud of gnats or smoke. These floaters will dissipate when the blood is reabsorbed but can last for several months.

Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD)

This happens when the vitreous gel actually pulled away from the retina. The debris that is forms because of the dislodgement can be seen as floating specks and flecks.

Eye flashers are caused by the retina being physically touched or tugged and an electrical impulse being created and then seen as a flash or a bolt of light.

When should I be concerned?

In most cases eye floaters and flashers are not dangerous and will dissipate over time. However, a sudden onset of a high concentration of floaters and flashers together can be an indication of a retinal tear or detachment, which is a medical emergency. When the retina is dislodged from the inner eye, there may be a small tear or hole which may cause the vitreous gel to enter the opening and push the retina further away. If left untreated, it can cause significant and permanent vision loss. Other symptoms that may occur in the event of retinal detachment are the loss of peripheral vision, the appearance of a shadow moving toward the middle of the eye and vision becoming blurry and distorted. Surgery is the only treatment for retinal detachment and if you experience any of these symptoms you should see an eye doctor immediately. The sooner you seek medical attention, the more likely more likely it is your vision will be saved.

How are they treated?

In most cases eye floaters and flashers do not require any further treatment. However, in some instances, they can be so annoying that medical treatment is warranted. The vitreous gel can be replaced by a saline solution this procedure is called a vitrectomy. However, over most patients find that the need to rid themselves of eye floaters and flashers. Laser vitreolysis is a new, safer and highly effective treatment for floaters and flashers.

Now that you have more information about eye floaters and flashers hopefully it helps you decide whether you need to reach out to an Eye Care Professional. If you have further questions about eye floaters and flashers, please contact us soon. And schedule a consultation visit laserforeyes.com.

Driving Safely with Aging Eyes

Once your vision begins to go due to age, you may think that it is unsafe to drive a car. However, it is completely possible to still drive safely once your vision begins to age if you’re careful. As driving is fundamental to a person’s freedom and sense of self, it makes sense that people would want to be able to drive as long as possible. If you are going to drive into your senior years though, you need to be aware of your vision limitations and how they will affect your driving. With that in mind, here are some tips you can use to make sure that you drive safely as your eyes age, both for yourself and for other drivers.

Problems That Affect Your Eyes As They Age

In order to successfully drive with aged eyes, you need to be aware of the problems that can and will occur and how this will affect your driving. For one, your eyes will lose a certain amount of flexibility, which will make it harder for you to focus on fast moving objects on the road or change your focus quickly. This will also make it more difficult to drive at night, as the headlights of other cars will make refocusing on the on the road difficult. Make sure that you focus solely on the road and don’t get distracted, as you need to keep in mind that your eyes will be more sensitive to brightness and that your peripheral vision will make hazards on the road less obvious.

What You Need To Do To Drive More Safety

Once you are aware of what problems your aged vision is causing, it will be easier to drive around them and be safe and careful on the road. If you have any sort of vision disorder, you should be wearing eyeglasses while driving, as this will improve your focus and help you to detect any vision problems you may have not been aware of. You should also go for regular eye exams and check your mirrors and blind spots frequently, as your vision will be less reliable as you age.

If you make sure that you are driving in safe conditions and using a clean and reliable vehicle, you will have less problems on the phone. While you will always need to compensate for your aged vision, being safe and driving at appropriate speeds will allow you to take risk and maintain the freedom that driving a vehicle provides.