Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Intraocular Lens Implants: What Are They?

When a cataract develops in an eye, the natural lens becomes cloudy, resulting in blurred vision. Fortunately, cataract surgery is a quick, simple process that can dramatically improve the lives of patients suffering from this condition.

An Effective Artificial Lens

When contact lenses or prescription glasses prove inadequate in correcting cloudy vision, the typical solution involves replacing the affected lens with a new, artificial one called an intraocular lens implant (IOL). These lens replacements focus light entering the eye through the cornea and pupil and onto the retina, where images are relayed to the brain. IOLs can solve multiple problems. They fix the visual impairment caused by cataracts and, in many cases, eliminate the need to wear prescription glasses, as they contain a patient's appropriate prescription. Some patients do, however, still benefit from reading glasses.

Made of Flexible Material 
Image of an eye after intraocular lens implant

IOLs are typically made of a soft and flexible silicone or acrylic. To protect eyes from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, these implants are coated with a special material that blocks these light frequencies. During a procedure, a small insertion is made to remove the affected lens, and then the eye doctor rolls the implant into place. The process is quick, typically lasting less than half an hour.

Several Options Are Available

The monofocal IOL is commonly used with cataract surgery and, as the name indicates, has one focus distance. This focus is set to close, medium-range, or distance vision, with most people opting for distance-vision IOLs. Glasses are no longer needed for seeing objects at a distance, but reading glasses may be recommended for up-close work.

Another option is the multifocal IOL, also called accommodative lenses. These lenses provide different zones for near or far viewing. The brain learns how to automatically select the right zone for the situation at hand, such as driving or reading the newspaper.

Toric lenses are an excellent choice for people with significant astigmatism. This IOL compensates for the curvature of the eye, eliminating the image distortion that can result from astigmatism.

With so many options, it's a good idea to check with an ophthalmologist to determine the best approach. An eye doctor will inform patients of the pros and cons of each lens type so that they know exactly what to expect before and after the lens replacement procedure.

Friday, April 21, 2017

How Blue Light Damages the Eyes

Blue light is visible, high-energy light that increases memory, cognitive function, and alertness. By regulating the natural circadian rhythm of sleep and wakefulness cycles, blue light helps control the mood, memory, and hormonal balance of an individual.

Threats of Increasing Blue Light

About 30 percent of all visible light is high-energy visible (HEV) or "blue" light. While the primary source of blue light is the sun, experts in optometry express concerns about the rapid increase of manufactured blue light. Fluorescent and LED lights transmit significant levels of blue light, as do the screens of TVs, computers, smartphones, electronic notebooks, and other digital devices. In today's modern workforce, approximately 60 percent of people spend more than six hours a day in front of a digital device, which significantly increases exposure to blue light.

Dangers of Blue Light

Staring at screens all day and night creates unfocused visible "noise" that reduces contrast and leads to digital eye strain. Also, excess reading on a tablet computer at bedtime can disrupt the sleep cycle, leading to daytime fatigue. As a result, the cumulative effect of rising exposure to blue light indoors can damage the retina's light-sensitive cells, causing cataracts, and increasing the risks of macular degeneration. In fact, 70 percent of adults who regularly use media devices have reported symptoms of digital eye strain.

Schedule an appointment with an optometrist to discuss the type of filters or glasses best suited for protecting eyes against the threats and dangers of blue light.

Monday, March 20, 2017

4 Things You Didn't Know Your Eye Exam Checks For

Anyone who has had an eye exam knows that the eye doctor checks for healthy vision. However, most people don't know that a comprehensive eye exam can also reveal these other conditions.

1. Thyroid Disease

Bulging or protruding eyeballs are a symptom of thyroid disease, also known as Graves disease. An eye doctor may be able to diagnose this problem early to prevent it from worsening.

2. Diabetes

Diabetes may cause a condition known as diabetic retinopathy, in which capillaries in the eye release blood or a yellowish fluid. This will be easily visible during an eye exam.

3. High Cholesterol

High cholesterol can be diagnosed during an eye exam if the cornea is yellow or has a yellow ring around it. In addition, blood vessels in the retina may show plaque buildup.

4. Tumors

Believe it or not, an eye doctor may be able to detect tumors in the neck or brain from a simple eye exam. Early detection can be a lifesaver, so be sure to get your eyes checked regularly.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

How Early Detection and Treatment Can Help to Prevent Blindness

Many people may not be aware of the several changes that occur while aging, and only a visit to an optician could help detect an underlying condition. The good news is that small preventive measures like eating greens and wearing sunglasses can help to protect a person's vision. But it is still necessary to pay a visit to the eye doctor for eye care services.

Commonly Detected Vision Problems

Glaucoma and diabetic eye are some of the problems that could potentially lead to eye blindness if a victim does not seek early treatment. Today, glaucoma affects more than three million Americans and early diagnosis is the key to preventing permanent blindness, as stated by the National Eye Health Education Program. It causes blindness by destroying the optic nerves of the eye. The baseline for regular eye exams is age 40.

Smokers Can Get Help Too

Smokers are exposed to cyanide, which travels through the bloodstream to the eyes where it can destroy cells. This increases the risk of developing cataracts and eye dryness. It also increases the chances for experiencing macular degeneration, which is incurable and destroys one's vision. With regular checkups and treatments by eye doctors, smokers can avoid getting these eye problems.

Friday, September 30, 2016

What is Glaucoma and How Does it Occur?

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve. A human eye contains an intraocular fluid, which is created, circulated, and then finally excreted before the process begins again. If an imbalance occurs between the intraocular fluid produced and the amount that drains away, eye diseases such as glaucoma can develop, resulting in a loss of vision.

To get a better understanding of the importance of this fluid in the eye, one can compare the eye to a soccer ball. For a soccer ball to maintain its function, it must be filled with air. Just like a soccer ball, the eye also requires a certain amount of air pressure to keep its shape and to properly function.

There are a variety of issues which can affect an eye's ability to regulate intraocular fluid, including eye injuries, medical reactions, and abnormal blood vessel formation from diseases like diabetes. These issues can lead to a pressure change in the eye. If an eye is unable to regulate this itself, this pressure can push against nerve fibers, which can eventually damage the optic nerve.

However, it is also possible for glaucoma to occur when eye pressure is normal. Poor blood flow to the optic nerve may also be a cause. This happens when there is a narrowing of the blood vessels that nourishes the optic nerve.

Currently, there is no cure for glaucoma. Vision loss through the disease can’t be restored. For this reason, it is important to visit your ophthalmologist for a yearly screening. An early detection and treatment can help delay the progression of the disease.

Monday, July 18, 2016

How Do Cataracts Develop?

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye, which can cause blurred vision. The development of cataracts is primarily age-related, but other diseases, such as diabetes, and lifestyle factors, such as smoking and alcohol use, can also play a role. Cataracts affect more than half of Americans by age 80, though some people in their 40s and 50s can develop age-related cataracts as well. They can occur in one or both eyes, but they do not spread from one eye to the other.

Patients with cataracts may experience blurry or clouded vision or poor night vision. Colors may seem tinted or faded, and they may notice excessive glare from headlights, lamps, or sunlight. They may also need frequent eyeglass prescription changes. These symptoms can be caused by other conditions as well, so patients should consult with an eye care professional if they experience them.

If a patient’s cataracts are advanced enough to interfere with daily life, cataract surgery may be recommended. Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures performed in the United States with 90 percent of patients who undergo the procedure reporting improved vision afterward.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Facts You Should Know About Laser Cataract Surgery

Traditional cataract surgery is safe and effective, and now even more so with the option of laser surgery. There is no urgency to cataract surgery, but anyone with cataracts will not see very well until the cataracts are fixed, so it is a good idea to open up this discussion with your doctor.

The First Step

Discuss your concerns, apprehensions, and expectations about cataract surgery with a skilled cataract surgeon. In addition to answering your questions, he or she can outline a plan of surgery tailored to your specific needs.

Why Laser Cataract Surgery?

This state-of-the-art procedure delivers the best chances for success with minimal undesirable side effects.

Differences Between Traditional and Laser Cataract Surgery

Traditional cataract surgery employs an ultrasonic needle to remove a cataract through a tiny incision in the eye made by tiny blades. Laser cataract surgery uses a laser to create an opening in the lens without blades. Laser surgery increases precision and safety while also decreasing the time a surgeon spends inside the eye.

Cost of Cataract Surgery

Although quality laser cataract surgery is not cheap, it is affordable for most through various payment plans. However, if a quoted price sounds like a bargain, beware. You only have one pair of eyes. Don't place them at risk. Instead, fix them right the first time.