Astigmatism is often incorrectly thought of as an eye disease or eye health problem. It is simply a very common focusing problem that is caused by an irregularity of the curvature of the cornea (the front of the eye). Often in layman’s terms, the astigmatic eye’s curvature is compared to the shape of a football as opposed to a basketball.
Astigmatism is a refractive error just like nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia). When light enters the eye, it is not evenly distributed on the retina. This causes your eyes to have blurry vision.
Most people are born with some degree of astigmatism. Both children and adults can have it. In children, it can affect their school work and learning. The higher the amount, the worst the vision. You may just have it by itself, or in conjunction with nearsightedness and/or farsightedness. Some common symptoms of astigmatism include headaches, blurred vision both near and far, eye fatigue, and eye strain.
Can I have Astigmatism and not know it?
Vision screenings, especially school screenings, often do not catch small amounts of astigmatism. It may only be found during a comprehensive eye examination. The reason is because there may be such a small amount and the person doesn’t realize that he/she is not seeing the best they can. Astigmatism is very treatable with glasses, contact lenses, LASIK, Clear Lens Replacement, Bladeless LASER Cataract surgery and high tech lens implants.
Astigmatism and Cataract Surgery
If you have astigmatism, it is very important to consider it during the cataract surgery decision process. It can be corrected during upgraded cataract surgery and give you clearer, more crisp vision. Your choice of standard vs upgraded cataract surgery cannot be changed after the surgery. That is the reason it is a decision that should be carefully considered before surgery. Even those with nearsightedness and farsightedness have more vision correction options than ever before. This makes the decision process for cataract surgery more important than ever.
Be sure to ask your eye doctor during your eye exam if there are recommendations relating to astigmatism correction for your eyes. Call 1-866-865-2020 for a comprehensive exam appointment.
Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS)
In 2001, Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) researchers reported that a vitamin supplement called the AREDS formulation could reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
In 2006, the same research group, based at National Institute of Health’s National Eye Institute, began a second study called AREDS2. They wanted to determine if they could improve the AREDS formulation. They tested the following: adding antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids, removing beta-carotene, and lowering the dose of zinc.
What is the original AREDS vitamin formulation?
-500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C
-400 international units of vitamin E
-80 mg zinc as zinc oxide
-15 mg beta-carotene
-2 mg copper as cupric oxide
What modifications were tested in AREDS2 vitamins?
-10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin
-1000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (350 mg DHA and 650 mg EPA)
-25 mg zinc
Why did they change the AREDS2 formulation? Why add lutein/zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids? Previous studies had found that dietary intake of lutein/zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a lower risk of developing advanced AMD.
Why eliminate beta-carotene? During the AREDS trial, two large trials funded by the National Cancer Institute found that beta-carotene may increase lung cancer risk among people who smoke. Lutein and zeaxanthin are in the same family of nutrients as beta-carotene and are believed to have important functions in the retina. Therefore, the researchers theorized that lutein/zeaxanthin might be a safer and possibly more effective alternative than beta-carotene.
Why reduce the vitamin zinc? Although zinc was found to be an essential component of the AREDS formulation in the original trial, some nutritional experts recommended a lower dose.
You can buy AREDS2 formula eye vitamins at all of The Optical Gallery locations at The Eye Associates.
Dark skin people can have skin cancer too.
According to SkinCancer.org, here are some statistics that you should keep in mind, no matter what your skin color.
-Melanomas in African Americans, Asians, Filipinos, Indonesians and Hawaiians most often occur on non-exposed skin with less pigment. These melanomas are often discovered on the palms, soles, mucous membranes and nail regions.
-Skin cancer represents 1 to 2 % of all cancers in African Americans and jumps to 2 to 4 % in Asians.
-While melanoma is more uncommon in African Americans, Latinos, and Asians, it is frequently fatal for these ethnicities. Late-stage melanoma diagnoses are more prevalent among these patients than Caucasian patients, resulting in the 5 year melanoma survival rate for African Americans being only 77 % when compare to 91 % for Caucasians.
All skin types should always apply sunscreen 30 minutes before they go out into the sun, and then reapply every 2 hours. Of course, if you sweat or go in the water, it is necessary to reapply more often. Avoid peak burn hours from 10 AM to 4 PM. Clothing, unless specifically treated for sun protection, is not enough to give you the sun protection needed. Be safe by wearing sunscreen.
What to do next!
For some serious cases, Sarasota patients can find skin cancer treatment by visiting our facility’s expert skin and eye care surgeons and having a face to face consultation or exam.
Click here to make an appointment our Board Certified Dermatologist or call 1-877-816-DERM (3376).
The quickest way to explain melanoma is to simply say that it is a mole that has gone bad. It is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. According to SkinCancer.org, everyone is at some risk for melanoma. Those with a family or personal history, lighter skin color, a weakened immune system, and excessive moles are at an even higher risk.
And melanoma is on the rise! The good news is that melanoma is almost always curable AS LONG AS IT IS TREATED EARLY. What does that mean to you? You need to get a yearly skin check as well as keep an eye on your own skin for any signs of skin cancer.
Look out for the ABCDEs of melanoma.
A for Asymmetry
If you were to draw a line through the middle of the mole and the 2 sides don’t match, then you should have it checked immediately.
B is for Border
If the borders are not smooth, have it checked.
C is for Color
If the is an unusual color, you should have it checked.
D is for Diameter
If the diameter of the mole is larger than a pencil eraser, it could be melanoma…even though some melanomas can be small.
E is for Evolving Keep a watch on your moles and if you see it changing in any way, or if it starts to bleed, make an appointment.
No one likes to go to the doctor and especially if it is for something scary like melanoma. We also hate to waste our money. What if it is ‘nothing’. It is better to have wasted an appointment for a ‘perfectly normal’ mole than to miss catching this deadly cancer early. Click here or call 1-877-816-DERM (3376) for an appointment.
NOTE: You will be seeing Doctor; not a PA or NP.
Dry Eye Disease was hard to diagnose in the past. Therefore, there was not an easy, accurate way to measure the osmolarity of tears (or in other words… the quality of your tears and just how dry your eyes are). Also there were not many good dry eye treatments. Today we have many Dry Eye Disease treatments. These include Restasis and Xiidra prescription eyedrops, punctual plugs, amniotic membrane, conjunctivochalasis treatment (known as CCH), vitamin therapy, scleral lenses and even eyelid revision surgery. But before we can recommend a treatment, we need to find out how dry your eyes really are.
Tear Osmolarity Testing
What is Tear Osmolarity and what does it have to do with my dry eyes?
One of the latest in dry eye technology is the TearLab Osmolarity System. The TearLab is the first objective and quantitative test for diagnosing dry eye patients. By using the TearLab, The Eye Associates can quickly and painlessly measure a small sample of tears to determine your dryness. As a result, this helps your dry eye doctor understand the ‘level’ of Dry Eye Disease (sometimes referred to as Dry Eye Disease) to decide the best treatment plan.
The TearLab testing provides you with a unique tear number. Consequently, the higher the number means the less quality tear film, the more inflammation, and the greater chance of damage to the ocular surface of the eye.
Does it really work for dry eye testing?
Yes. A 300 patient dry eye study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology reported that TearLab outperformed both the old-standard Schirmer’s testing and corneal staining tests for correctly identifying mild to moderate dry eye patients. Why is that important? Because treating this disease in the early stages can prevent damage to the eyes.
Accredited Dry Eye Center
We are proud to announce that The Eye Associates has been named an Accredited Dry Eye Center. Our doctors use the TearLab Osmolarity System as part of their advanced dry eye treatment plan. If you would like to make an appointment at The Eye Associates at Sun City Center, Ellenton, Sarasota, Venice, and Bradenton, just call 1-866-865-2020.
The next time you travel to the Napa Valley, do your Dry Eyes a favor. Visit the wonderful OLIVE OIL tasting rooms. Yes, there are now several excellent olive orchards producing extra-virgin olive oil, some describe as “liquid gold” , right here in the good ole’ US of A.
Right behind the Omega 3 fish oils is extra-virgin olive oil. That is why it should be on the top of every dry eye patient’s cooking list. It is a member of the “short list” of foods that offer our body assistance in reducing inflammation our joints, but also the inflammation in our tear producing glands that leads to our dry eye symptoms. Use it as often as you can for cooking or take it straight. I call it the “dry eye shot”. Pour out the tequila and fill your shot glass with olive oil (flavored, if you would prefer). The chocolate-infused oil is said to be great over ice cream. Wow, we can now enjoy our ice cream AND feel good because we are improving our dry eye condition at the same time. From one ice cream lover to another, Richard Hector.
Another favorite oil we recommend as part of your dry eye solution is Omega 3 fish oils is Omega Cure by Omega3 Innovations. It is made with wild cod caught off the coast of Norway, eliminating the fishy taste while still achieving the omega 3 health benefits. The super food can also be used in juices, smoothies and even salad dressings to help you get your daily servings. Omega3 Innovations even has breakfast cookies, chocolate cookies and the tasty dark chocolate truffle surprisingly containing omega 3 fish oil. You can find out more information on Omega Cure at https://www.omega3innovations.com/omega-cure/
If you have dry eyes and would like to be evaluated by our Fellowship Trained Dry Eye Specialist, Richard Hector MD, or one of our board certified eye physicians, please call toll free 1-866-865-2020 or contact The Eye Associates.
There has long been speculation by the eyecare community about Van Gogh’s eyesight and why he used so much yellow in his paintings. Some have suggested that he may have been over-treated with a medication called digitalis. In toxic yet non-lethal doses, digitalis is known to cause Xanthopsia, commonly referred to as ‘yellow vision.’ The extensive list of disorders treated with the medication during that period include headaches, mental illness, nausea, melancholy and inflammation of the eyes, just to name a few. We know from Van Gogh’s own letters that he suffered from mental illness and that he often complained about his eyes, so digitalis causing the yellow vision is entirely possible.
Another theory about his yellow vision is that it could have been caused by absinthe, a known side effect from excessive drinking of the potent liquor. Absinthe was very popular in France at that time, with bars actually hosting ‘the hour of absinthe’.
Maybe, just maybe, none of this is true. Perhaps Vincent Van Gogh just loved the color YELLOW.
Another visual effect in Van Gogh’s paintings is the halo swirling effect as seen in his painting, The Starry Night. It has been suggested that he may have suffered from lead poisoning, caused by the use of lead-based paints used at that time. One visual symptom of lead poisoning is the swelling of the retina, causing a halo effect around lights. Others have suggested that Van Gogh suffered from narrow angle glaucoma attacks which can also cause colored halos. Of course, cataracts cause halos around lights at night but since Van Gogh committed suicide at the early age of 37, it is unlikely that he had cataracts.
Van Gogh was also quite famous for his multitude of Self Portraits. He painted over 30 ‘selfies’, but his choice of his eye color varied from portrait to portrait. Some have hinted that he might have had 2 different colored eyes. Or perhaps he was just colorblind and didn’t really know the true color his eyes.
Whatever is the case…he certainly had an eye for beautiful paintings.
Aging is one of the risk factors for glaucoma and every birthday make you at higher risk for the disease.
Unfortunately, the older you are over 65, the higher your risk for this disease. It affects over 3 million Americans, and it is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States. Fortunately, if it is detected early and properly treated, most vision loss is preventable.
What Is Glaucoma?
It is a disease that is often linked to a buildup of pressure in the eye. The increased buildup can cause damage to your optic nerve, thereby causing a loss of vision. The two most common types of glaucoma are Open Angle and Narrow Angle.
Why is it called the “Silent Thief of Sight”?
Glaucoma can slowly steal your eyesight without your even realizing that anything is wrong. The damage is usually painless, it progresses slowly and most often it is without noticeable symptoms.
How do you know if you have it?
This disease is usually discovered during a routine eye examination. Since it tends to run in families, it is important for the entire family to have regular eye examinations, especially if there is a family history of glaucoma. Even though the chance for developing it increases with age, it can strike at any age. The Eye Associates tests for glaucoma at every visit, even our younger patients.
What is the difference between Open Angle and Narrow Angle Glaucoma?
Our eyes have a constant flow of fluid that drains through the “angle” of the eye. In Open Angle, this drainage system becomes clogged, causing a slow buildup of fluid pressure in the eye. When this happens, it reduces the blood supply to the optic nerve, causing a loss of peripheral vision, most times without notice because of the gradual nature. Often it is only after irreparable damage has occurred that a person becomes aware they even have this disease. Since open-angle glaucoma is a chronic condition, it must be monitored for life.
Watch this animation to help you better understand Open Angle Glaucoma.
Narrow Angle (or Closed Angle)
Narrow Angle results from a sudden, complete blockage of fluid drainage, causing a rapid and painful rise in pressure. It can occur at any age, and can cause blindness in a day or two if no treatment is given. Narrow Angle occurs more frequently at night, during emotional stress and even with the use of some over-the-counter medicines such as Dristan, Contac, or Benadryl.
To learn more about this eye disease, go to our YouTube channel for more information:http://bit.ly/1U8k3ci
If you would like to be evaluated by our Fellowship Trained Glaucoma Specialist, Robert Friedman, MD, or one of our board certified eye physicians, please call toll free 1-866-865-2020 or contact The Eye Associates.
Everyone knows what glaucoma is. – That is FALSE – A Prevent Blindness America Survey found that 50% had heard of glaucoma, but weren’t sure what it was. Another 30% of people had never even heard of glaucoma. The ones that had heard of glaucoma thought it was easily cured and did not lead to blindness. In fact, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. And it is often called the ‘silent thief of sight’ because vision loss can occur gradually, without pain and without symptoms. Fortunately, if glaucoma is detected early and properly treated, most vision loss is preventable.
The two most common types of glaucoma are open angle glaucoma and angle closure glaucoma, sometimes referred to as narrow angle glaucoma.
Our eyes have a constant flow of fluid that fills the front chamber of the eye and then drains into the bloodstream. It drains through the ‘angle’ of the eye which is located between the cornea and iris. In primary open angle glaucoma, this drainage system does not function properly, causing a slow buildup of fluid pressure. When this happens, optic nerve damage may occur. As the optic nerve deteriorates, there is a loss of peripheral vision, most times without notice because of the gradual nature in which the deterioration progresses. Often it is only after irreparable vision loss has occurred that a person becomes aware they even have this disease.
Narrow angle glaucoma results from a sudden, complete blockage of fluid drainage from the angle of the eye, causing a rapid and painful rise in pressure. It generally occurs in people over 40 and may cause vision loss rapidly if no treatment is given. Patients may experience severe eye pain accompanied by nausea, redness, swelling of the eye, loss of peripheral vision as well as blurred vision and halos. These symptoms usually last until the eye pressure is lowered. It is important to reduce the pressure quickly because permanent vision loss can occur if the pressure is not reduced in a timely manner.
GET THE FACTS ON GLAUCOMA at https://www.theeyeassociates.com/services/glaucoma-services/ so everyone knows what glaucoma is. # glaucoma
If you have glaucoma and would like to be evaluated by our Fellowship Trained Glaucoma Specialist, Robert Friedman, MD, or one of our board certified eye physicians, please call toll free 1-866-865-2020 or contact The Eye Associates.