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Is Astigmatism a Disease? Can it be corrected?

astigmatism

Could astigmatism be inhibiting her learning?

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 ReplacementBladeless 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.

 

The World After Cataracts By Jean Steiger

I thought I was pretty well preserved for my age. A few friends made nice comments about my skin, sometimes new friends were surprised when they learned my age and I felt reasonably good about my image in the mirror.

Then I had cataract surgery in my right eye.

When the dilation and fog of surgery cleared after a few days, I gazed at my reflection and my heart sank. I had had the lens corrected for astigmatism and distance and I was seeing a whole new me. In fact, I was seeing a whole new world. When I closed the left eye (cataract and astigmatism still in place), objects were no longer fuzzy; everything had well-defined edges and colors were vibrant. My vision was clear and I could see far into the distance.

Which also meant I could see every wrinkle. When had those tiny lines on my cheeks appeared? And what about my forehead? The circles under my eyes made me look tired and – there it is – old! I would have to start wearing bangs that came down over my eyes.
Why hadn’t someone warned me about this aspect of cataract removal and vision correction? If they had, I might have gone on until the end of my life, believing I still looked 16. Okay, maybe not 16, but how about 60? I was probably a bit unrealistic. But, oh, how I loved my visual fog. Now I would have to get used to the new “mature” me.

Half-way into the first week with the new eyesight, I turned to the computer. At my last visit to the dermatologist, I had asked the doctor to recommend a face cream for wrinkles. I googled the brand he had mentioned and was immediately rewarded: a dozen sites appeared. When I hit one of them, I found the cream and almost closed the computer. Two ounces of the lotion cost $75! How long would two ounces last? The directions recommended two or three pump-fulls spread over your face every day. Maybe, if I was lucky, it would last a week!

I kept searching, desperate in my new awareness. Finally I found the cream on Amazon for half the price. I ordered two and watched for their arrival, meanwhile avoiding mirrors. When they came, I unwrapped one and carefully pumped out a few drops. Forget three pumps every day; I was going to get along on three drops. These two containers were going to have to last a long time!

When I returned to the Eye Associates for a check-up, I told Dr. McCabe, my cataract surgeon, about my mirror shock. She laughed and told me about one of her patients who, after cataract surgery, took a good look at the walls in her house and repainted every room. My brother, also an ophthalmologist, told me about a patient who bought a new wardrobe after cataract surgery and a third who complained about how old her husband had become. So I wasn’t alone!

With one eye changed, my glasses are no longer useful. In fact, it’s just the opposite; they cloud my vision. Of course, part of this problem is because they are so scratched. I’m one of those people who take my glasses on and off ten times a day, leaving them between couch cushions, under bed covers and in bathroom drawers. Then I spend 30 minutes searching for them while my husband is waiting for me or when I need to be out the door and on the way to an appointment. Now, with distance vision improved, I can buy inexpensive readers and leave them all over the house! Maybe this will make up for the new wrinkles!

It’s strange to drive the car without wearing glasses. I keep wondering what will happen if I get pulled over and a policeman looks at my license which specifies that I need glasses to drive. Will he or she believe my cataract story? On the other hand, this is Florida and I’m guessing I am one of thousands, if not millions in this predicament. When I made my appointment for the cataract surgery, the eye counselor told me the schedule was very full because this is “cataract season”. This is a new one. I know it is tourist season, but cataract season?

The other thing about cataract surgery is the drops; there are four of them – an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, pain-inflammation and lubricating drops. All of these are given at different times and for different periods of time and different amounts. The office does give you a nice sheet with everything clearly listed so you can actually cross off each drop after you’ve used it. At first I resisted this approach, certain I could keep track of this myself, but as the second eye approaches, I have given up. The check-list and a pen are in place by the little bottles of drops. And tomorrow I return to the eye surgery center for cataract removal, astigmatism and distance correction in the left eye. I’m just wondering how many new wrinkles I’m going to see by the middle of the week!

NOTE: The second eye is done and my vision is wonderful! I love my crisp new eyesight and my great distance vision; I’m even making peace with the previously invisible wrinkles. Thank you, Dr. McCabe.

Blog repost from: www.stayingyounginflorida.com and the entertaining writings of Jean Steiger

Comfort For Your Dry Eyes

7 Things You Might Not Know About Dry Eyes

1. Do you need another reason to quit smoking? Add Dry Eye Disease to the list. Recent studies have shown even second hand smoke is very harsh to the surface of the eye. There are so many toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke that can break down your protective tear film and the surface corneal tissue. If you are around a lot of cigarette smoke, you probably have noticed the need to increase the use of artificial tears. Also, smoking is known to be a strong contributor to the development of macular degeneration. Outside of family history, smoking is most common denominator in macular degeneration patients.

2. I know I’m spoiling your fun but alcohol is also not dry-eye-friendly. It causes dehydrate which is never good for Dry Eyes. And forget that drink on the plane because studies have shown that the atmosphere on a commercial aircraft is drier than any desert. Drink plenty of water on your trip instead.

3. Make-up and dry eyes: Make-up, such as waterproof eye make-up, mascara, shadow, etc., has a much higher discomfort rate and sometimes causes a toxic reaction to the sensitive skin of dry eye sufferers. Always keep your make-up fresh by disposing old bottles after 2-3 months. And thoroughly clean off your make-up every night before going to bed.

4. Contact lenses are not just an aggravating factor for dry eye sufferers, but they can even cause dry eye damage to the cornea. Daily disposable lenses are the safest contact lens for dry eye patients. And never, never wear your contacts if your eyes are red and uncomfortable.

5. We used to recommend that you avoid too much caffeine because it is a mild diuretic. But some recent studies have shown a reduced risk of dry eye in coffee drinkers, and that caffeine might actually stimulate tear production.

6. Did you know that children can also suffer from dry eyes, secondary to congenital endocrine, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. If your child has persistent complaints of painful, irritated eyes, don’t ignore it… Bring it to the attention of your pediatrician or better yet, make a visit to an eyecare professional for an evaluation.

7. Those simple carbs that are bad for the waistline are also bad for your eyes. They compete with the complex carbs needed by ocular tissue and aggravate your dry eye symptoms.

If you are a Bradenton patient who’s concerned about the chronic discomfort of dry eyes or wish to seek dry eye treatment, then visit our eye surgery facility and meet with our expert ophthalmologists to discuss treatment options.

By Richard Hector, MD

Cataract Surgery: Bladelss Laser Cararact Surgery vs Traditional

Customized Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery

Alcon’s LenSx Laser used in Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery

Amazing New Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery Technology

Amazing breakthrough technology in medicine is happening every day, and ophthalmology is no different. One of the latest ophthalmic advancements has been in cataract surgery. Gone are the days of going to the hospital and wearing ‘coke-bottle’ eyeglasses. Today’s cataract surgery patients are in and out of surgery within a couple of hours, with no need for stitches or needles. Only eyedrop anesthesia is used.

The biggest advancement has been with the use of a laser to do the cataract surgery. The Eye Associates was the first in this area to get an Alcon LenSx Laser, and many Bradenton patients are choosing bladeless laser cataract surgery instead of traditional cataract surgery.

The traditional cataract surgery procedure involves the creation of small incisions made with a blade manually by the cataract surgeon. Our surgeons are very skilled and have done thousands of surgeries this way with great results, but they just can’t match the precision of a computer.

By adding the computer control of the Alcon LenSx Laser, Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery automates the most challenging steps of cataract surgery for the eyes, such as performing corneal incisions, opening the capsule, and softening, breaking up the cataract. This results in a higher degree of precision. The laser also has an advanced imaging system that provides both real-time video as well as three-dimensional visualization, enabling the cataract surgeons to custom design a treatment plan that is individually tailored for each patient.
It should be noted, however, that not everyone is a candidate for Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery. And while Bladeless Laser unquestionably offers a higher degree of precision, traditional cataract surgery has been providing successful outcomes for over 30 years.

How do I know which would be better for me?
Traditional Cataract Surgery or Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery?

-If you are on a budget and want to reduce your out-of-pocket cost, then traditional cataract surgery is a good choice for you.

-But if you want to have a higher probability of not wearing glasses after cataract surgery, then the Bladeless Laser is the way to go.

-And if you have astigmatism, then the Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery is the better choice.

If you would like to see an actual Bladeless Laser Cataract Surgery video narrated by cataract specialist Cathleen McCabe, MD, one of our experienced cataract surgeons here at The Eye Associates, watch the video below.

Been Told That LASIK Is Not For You?

Now there’s good news for you! Thanks to a procedure called Clear Lens Replacement, you have another option. Clear Lens Replacement, or CLR, is a surgical procedure designed to reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses for people with farsightedness or nearsightedness, and even those with astigmatism. Unlike other refractive procedures like LASIK that changes the shape of the cornea, CLR corrects your vision by removing the natural crystalline lens in the eye and replacing it with a new artificial lens, called an Intraocular Implant or IOL. The CLR procedure is similar to cataract surgery; however, the removed lens is clear instead of cloudy as in cataract surgery. Another great benefit is that once you have CLR, you will never get cataracts nor ever require cataract surgery.

State-of-the-art ultrasound instruments are used to measure your eye for the correct lens power, taking your lifestyle and desired activities into consideration. These custom measurements are entered into sophisticated formulas to calculate your personalized treatment plan and IOL power. If you wear reading glasses, you even have the choice of a high tech multifocal IOL, designed to allow patients to see distance AND near.For people over 40 who have begun to lose “accommodation” and now need reading glasses, bifocals, or progressive lenses, CLR is a much better choice than LASIK. In the past, CLR patients would automatically receive a single focus IOL. These single focus IOLs provided patients with good functional distance vision, but offered little benefit for a full range of distance, intermediate and near vision. Typically, reading glasses or bifocals were used for near vision, making most patients dependent on glasses even after the surgery. But now with the FDA approved high tech lens implants, we are able to offer patients the possibility of not needing glasses to see distance or up close. People often remark that their vision is better than it ever was before, since we are able completely customize their treatment.

Clear Lens Replacement has been performed extensively in Europe for years with excellent results. The number of CLR procedures performed in the United States has dramatically increased in the last few years due to the elevated interest in vision correction procedures.

Clear Lens Replacement is also sometimes call RLR (Refractive Lens Replacement) and RLE (Refractive Lens Exchange) and is an alternative you may not have considered previously. While not everyone is a candidate for this procedure, Dr. Cathleen McCabe or Dr. Brian Foster can help you determine the best choice for you and your eyes. If you would like to be evaluated for Clear Lens Replacement, please call The Eye Associates at 1-866-865-2020. We even offer FREE CLR screenings!

Hear how CLR changed this young man’s life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9jJmQ_0qhA