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What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular Degeneration is presently considered an incurable eye disease, and is the leading cause of vision loss – it affects more people than glaucoma and cataracts combined. Macular degeneration affects over 10 million Americans.

For more information on macular degeneration and receiving Orange County LASIK eye surgery, visit Advanced Eye Medical today.

Macular Degeneration

The macula is the central and most sensitive area of the part of the eye that “sees.” In a healthy eye, the macula records detailed images and sends them up the optic nerve to the brain, so they can be recorded as “sight.” As the macula deteriorates, the quality of these images is affected. At first, there may be little to no change in sight. But as the disease progresses, central vision may become blurry or wavy, and eventually central vision may be completely lost, leaving the patient with only their peripheral vision. At these advanced stages, patients may be considered legally blind.

Types of Macular Degeneration

There are two basic types of macular degeneration: “wet,” or exudative, which affects approximately 10-15% of patients, and the far more common type which is “dry,” or atrophic, which affects 85-90%.

There is also a third type which is much less common and occurs in children, called Stargardt disease.

Wet (exudative) Macular Degeneration

In this type, abnormal blood vessels known as CNV (choroidal neovascularization) grow under the macula and retina. After a while, the new blood vessels can bleed or leak fluid, causing a bulge which lifts the macula from its normally flat position. For people with “wet” macular degeneration, this is the cause of their distorted or lost central vision. In these cases, vision loss can be rapid and severe.

Dry (atrophic) Macular Degeneration

In this type, small yellow deposits known as drusen form under the macula. This leads to a thinning and drying of the macula in the areas where the drusen are present. This causes the macula to lose its function, and the patient to lose his or her central vision.

An interesting fact: nearly all people over the age of 50 have at least one small drusen in one or both eyes. However, only eyes with large drusen are at risk for “dry” macular degeneration.

This type of macular degeneration is much more common than the “wet” type, and progresses much more slowly. In some cases, people with the “dry” type can develop the “wet” type over time.

Stargardt Disease

This type of macular degeneration is passed down genetically from the parents. It develops in children ages 6-20. “Stargardt Disease is the result of a gene called ABCA4 and is usually a recessive trait. When both parents carry the ABCA4 mutation, there is a 25 percent chance their children will have Stargardt disease.”

What happens in Stargardt disease is that flecks of waste material build up in the nutritional support layer (RPE) for the rods and cones of the retina, causing all three to break down and impair vision.

Stages of Macular Degeneration

There are three stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Early AMD

Most patients do not experience vision loss at this stage. This highlights the need for regular eye exams, so that onset can be detected by your ophthalmologist. In the early stage, AMD is diagnosed by the presence of medium-sized drusen (yellow deposits beneath the retina.)

Intermediate AMD

At this stage there may be some vision loss in some patients; others still may not notice any symptoms. A comprehensive eye exam with specific tests will look for larger drusen and/or pigment changes.

Late AMD

Vision becomes noticeably impaired at this stage.

Macular Degeneration Risk Factors

The most important risk factors for macular degeneration are:

Age

The largest risk factor for AMD is age. Those who are 55 or older are most likely to experience AMD, and your risk factor increases as you age.

Genetics

If you have a family history of AMD, you are at a higher risk. For Stargardt disease, you are at risk if both your parents carry a recessive gene.

Race

Caucasians are more likely to develop AMD than African-Americans and Latinos.

Smoking

Smoking Cigarettes doubles (!) your risk of developing AMD.

Treatment

There is currently no known cure for AMD, but there are things you can do to keep your eyes as healthy as possible. Staying healthy will reduce your risk of developing AMD and might even slow the disease’s progression once it has developed. Don’t smoke, get enough exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet light.

Read about some promising new treatments for AMD here.

Orange County LASIK

Since 1982, our optometrists and ophthalmologists have delivered a premier Orange County LASIK center. Dr. Gosheh has authorized several books on high definition LASIK and custom cataracts surgery. Email your info requests to info@laserforeyes.com or call us at (866)997-2020 (LASIK) or (888)439-6565 (Cataracts) for a free consultation!

Top Myths About Our Eyesight

Just like any health checkup, it is important to get your eyes checked regularly. Making sure you are doing all you can to keep your eyes healthy is important but there are many myths out there that can make this difficult. Read on to put some of the top eyesight myths into perspective.

For more information about eye health and Orange County LASIK eye surgery, contact Advanced Eye Medical today for a consultation!

Wearing the Wrong Glasses Will Hurt Your Eyes

This is only a true statement for a very small percentage of people. For example, children who have corrective eye problems should definitely wear the proper glasses. However, it is important to understand that corrective glasses and contacts are used to improve eyesight. Not wearing your glasses will not do further damage.

Reading in Low Light Hurts Your Eyes

Reading in light that is too low or dim, will cause your eyes to become fatigued, but it will not damage your vision permanently. Reading in dim light is not a great idea because it can cause you to have a slight headache, and as your eyes become tired your vision may become a bit blurry. However, this is not permanent.

Eating Carrots Improves Vision

Carrots are definitely a great source of Vitamin A and beta-carotene. However, just a small amount of Vitamin A is actually necessary for good vision. It doesn’t matter how many carrots you eat, it will not drastically improve your eyesight. But they are part of a healthy and well-balanced diet.

An Exam is Only Necessary if You Are Having Problems

As with any potential health issue, everybody should get regular eye exams, even if they are not having any noticeable problems. It’s just like going to the dentist. If you wait until you have a cavity or an infection, then the issue becomes painful and expensive. Regular eye exams can help to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear.

Watching Too Much TV Can Damage Your Eyes

There is absolutely no proof that watching television for too long or sitting too close to the TV will damage your eyes permanently. You may notice your kids sitting close to the television and this is not something you should be overly concerned with. Children are able to focus on objects that are closer more easily than adults. As an adult, if you have to hold a book at arm’s length or examine that restaurant menu from across the table then you understand what we’re talking about here. However, if you find yourself needing to sit close to any object to see it better, you might be nearsighted and you should definitely talk to your doctor.

There is Nothing You Can Do to Prevent Losing Your Sight

It is true that as we age, our eyesight can naturally deteriorate. However, you can slow this process down through eating a healthy diet, wearing protective eye gear, such as goggles or sunglasses and by having regular eye exams.

Crossing Your Eyes Will Make Them Stay That Way

This is something you may have told your kids to get them to stop crossing their eyes to get a laugh out of you. But, this is actually not true. Your eyes will naturally return to their normal placement and no permanent damage will be done.

Staring at the Computer All Day Will Ruin Your Eyes

Staring at anything for an extended period of time typically causes us to blink bless frequently which can cause dry eyes and fatigue, however, it won’t permanently impact our vision. Experts recommend taking “breaks” regularly where you take your eyes off the computer screen a focus on something else for a few seconds. This will help you blink more and get some moisture back into your eyes and help reduce strain and fatigue.

Orange County LASIK

If you are suffering from prolonged eye issues, visit Dr. Ghosheh and his team at Advanced Eye Medical. Don’t let issues with your vision become a more serious health problem. Schedule your consultation today to learn more about Orange County LASIK eye surgery.

How Much of Life Affects Your Vision?

If you are seeking an Orange County Lasik center, eye surgery, cataract surgery, or are even just starting to think you may need eye glasses for the first time, you might be wondering what you can do in your daily life to keep your eyes healthy. After all, you want to maintain your vision at its best, right? It turns out that some eye health factors are more important than others. While some are biologically inherited and out of your control like genetics, many can be managed by good decision-making and a healthy lifestyle. Although we cannot always prevent worsening vision as we age, we can combat it with proper knowledge of the factors that affect our eyesight. Read on to find out what parts of your life are affecting your vision the most.

For more information about the top Orange County Lasik center and how Lasik surgery can benefit you, contact Advanced Eye Medical.

1. Genes

We all inherit our genetic makeup from our parents. In our genes are biological codes that predict factors like our hair and eye color, our height and metabolism rate, and the diseases that we will be susceptible to developing during our lifetimes. Some of the diseases that affect eyesight which can be inherited genetically include glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. The only way to predict your chances of developing these eye problems is to have your family’s medical history checked. The good news is, studies show that making proactive, health-related decisions can potentially override your genes, and even change your genetic makeup so that your children will be less susceptible to some maladies.

2. Age

Aging is, of course, a factor in nearly all bodily processes. After our mid-twenties, our bodies begin a deterioration process which goes on for decades, and we slowly lose the strength we once had as teenagers. Even those who in their youth enjoyed 20/20 vision cannot count on that perfect vision continuing into their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. We begin to wear glasses and pursue alternative treatment options. Beginning in our 50s and 60s, proteins may start to clump together within the corneal lens, shrouding our vision. These are known as cataracts. Other common age-related problems are loss of focus-ability, nearsightedness, and farsightedness.

3. Stress

The current emphasis on mindfulness, including meditation, yoga, and other de-stressing practices, shows just how badly our society needs to unwind. It has been shown over and over again that stress causes many kinds of health problems in the body, and this includes problems with eyesight. Aside from a generalized decline in eyesight, there are three known stressors that can cause temporary declines in vision. They are:

Tiredness: Fatigue makes your whole body start to shut down, and when you are too tired your eyes can get blurry.

Muscle tension: If you tire your eyes out from reading, staring at the computer, or watching too much tv, you may also experience blurry vision.

Boosts in adrenaline: Increases in adrenaline can have a dramatic effect on eyesight. You may experience anything from simple blurriness to tunnel vision all the way to visual hallucinations.

4. Diet

The food we choose to put in our body is considered to be the number one determinant of overall health. Our bodies need all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to function properly. Without them, we invite disease. “If you want to have good vision, consume foods high in beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, and antioxidants.”

5. Exercise

Most people don’t sit around doing eye exercises, and that’s not what we’re talking about. We mean for you to get out there and walk, swim, take a cardio class, lift weights, or do whatever physical activity suits your body, your lifestyle, and your preference best. Exercising regularly helps prevent diseases which can cause a serious decline in vision, such as diabetes (which is usually linked to obesity.) Like maintaining a healthy diet, exercise keeps your body healthy. It also allows you to keep in a healthy weight range and avoid the onset of disease.

6. Direct Damage

This doesn’t necessarily mean injury, though it can. Most loss of vision due to direct damage occurs by too much exposure to the sun. Believe it or not, exposing your eyes to the sun without UVA/UVB protective sunglasses for too long can cause vision loss over a relatively brief period. The overexposure to ultraviolet rays can also lead to glaucoma, cataracts, and other disorders. The moral of the story: buy a good pair of sunglasses, and wear them.

Orange County Lasik

Dr. Ghosheh at Advanced Eye Medical and his team of optometrists and ophthalmologists deliver the clearer vision you expect from the premier Orange County Lasik Center. Call 866-997-2020 (Lasik) or 888-439-6565 (Cataract and others) for a FREE consultation today!

The Dangers of Neglecting Our Eyes

As age begins to creep up on all of us, the inevitable aches and pains start to become more prevalent. Our joints don’t work quite as well as they used to. We wake up with back, shoulder or neck pain we never noticed before. And around age 40, many of us notice that our eye sight isn’t as sharp as it used to be.

If you have further questions or concerns about your eye health and options for treatment, Advanced Eye Medical takes pride in providing state of the art procedures such as custom cataract surgery in Orange County.

Age brings with it its own set of health challenges and without proper care your eyes can really deteriorate as you age. Read on to learn what signs to be aware of and how to prevent problems before they start.

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are a common problem and happen when our tear glands can’t produce enough tears or produce low-quality tears. Symptoms include itching, burning and red eyes. If left untreated, vision loss can occur. Common treatments include using a humidifier and special eye drops that simulate tears.

Tearing

The opposite of dry eyes is tearing, when your eyes produce too many tears. This can happen if you are sensitive to light, wind or temperature changes. Common treatment includes wearing sunglasses to shield your eyes. If not addressed properly, you can develop an eye infection or you may suffer from a more serious issue like a blocked tear duct. Check with your eye doctor if your symptoms worsen.

Floaters

Ever notice any tiny spots or specks that drift across your field of vision? These are called floaters and you are most likely to notice them in well-lit rooms or outside on a very bright day. Floaters are a normal occurrence but if you notice them along with a flash of light, it be a more serious issue, such as your retina being detached from the back of your eye. Keep an eye (no pun intended) on the number of spots or flashes you see and if you notice a difference, check with your eye doctor.

Presbyopia

Presbyopia is what happens when you can no longer read that restaurant menu or see any other close objects or small print clearly. This is perfectly normal as we age and is easily treated with reading glasses or contacts.

Cataracts

Many older adults suffer from cataracts or cloudy areas that cover all or part of the lens of the eye. Cataracts form slowly, without pain, redness or tearing and will begin to block the lens of your eye making it difficult to see. Some cataracts stay small but those that don’t require surgery to remove.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma happens when there is too much pressure inside your eye. If not caught early, permanent vision loss and blindness can occur. Symptoms and pain may not be present until it is too late so make sure you get your eyes regularly checked. Treatment includes prescription eye drops, other medication or surgery.

Other Disorders and Symptoms

Retinal disorders such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal vessel occlusions and a detached retina all affect the thin lining on the back of the eye. Another reason to get regular eye checkups as early detection and treatment of these issues can help you keep vision loss to a minimum.

Conjunctivitis is common and happens when the tissue covering your eye gets inflamed. This inflammation can come from an infection, allergies or exposure to chemicals or other irritants. Symptoms include burning, itching, red eyes or the feeling that something is actually in your eye.

Corneal disease is much more serious and can happen from disease, infection, an injury or exposure to toxins. The cornea is what allows the eye to focus light. Symptoms include pain, redness, reduced vision, watery eyes or a “halo” effect. Treatment includes glasses, medicated eye drops or surgery for more severe cases.

As we get older, drooping or twitching eye lids can cause all kinds of problems. If you eyelid isn’t functioning the way it should, it can’t properly protect your eyes, spread out your tears and limit the amount of light. You might experience pain, itching, tearing and the outer edges of your lids might become inflamed. Treatment options include medication and surgery in more severe cases.

Eye Exam & Custom Cataract Surgery in Orange County

Just like any health checkup, it is important to get your eyes checked regularly. If you are suffering from any of the issues mentioned above, visit Dr. Ghosheh and his team at Advanced Eye Medical. Don’t let issues with your vision become permanent. Schedule your consultation today to find out more about custom cataract surgery in Orange County.