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Important Reason for Eye Exams – Safety

<img alt; "safety of mom important to family"

Happy Mom with daughter and granddaughter.

Safety as we age is the most important thing. We all worry about the safety of our parents. Poor vision can have many adverse effects, such as depression, car accidents, and medication errors, but none of these are more concerning than a fall. Falls are among the leading cause of death for people age 65+, and people with low vision are at even greater risk. Reduced contrast, decreased depth perception, and a reduced field of vision can inhibit balance and the ability to detect obstacles. Increased safety is one of the most compelling reasons to have an annual eye exam.

Visual Factors That Impact Falls

Reduced field of vision – Objects that cannot be seen are a common cause of falls. Eye diseases such as Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy can rob one’s vision. Glaucoma affects ones peripheral vision, while Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy can cause blind spots in the central vision.
Reduced depth perception – People with vision in just one eye may have problems judging distances, making it more dangerous to negotiate obstacles.
Reduced contrast sensitivity – Reduced vision also causes reduced contrast making obstacles and clutter hard to see. Curbs become nearly invisible and many objects can fade into the background.

Eye Exams Save Sight and Increase Safety

Increased safety is one of the most compelling reasons to have an annual eye exam. Did you know that some eye diseases do not have warning signs, and many can only be detected with a dilated eye exam. Cataracts can affect sight so gradually that you don’t notice the decreased vision. And half of all people with glaucoma are unaware that they even have the disease. Also, diabetics with diabetic retinopathy often do not experience symptoms when the disease is at its most treatable stage. The key to keeping good vision starts with the early detection and treatment.

Call 1-866-865-2020 or click here for a comprehensive eye exam today!

Who has a higher risk for glaucoma?

Glaucoma

 

Aging is one of the risk factors for glaucoma and every birthday make you at higher risk for the disease.

Birthday seniors

Birthdays increase the risk for glaucoma

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?

Open Angle

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.

 

 

True or False: Everyone Knows What Glaucoma Is

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.(15) 27894850 senior couple cropped

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 http://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.

Blindness – a Major Fear


<img alt= "blindness would inhibit bikers taking an early morning ride"

Blindness causing fear of losing the active lifestyle that you now enjoy.

Blindness – Third Biggest Fear

A Prevent Blindness America Survey found that blindness ranked third as a major fear. Number 1 and 2 were cancer and heart disease. Of course, there are ways to prevent vision loss. The best way is to have a yearly comprehensive dilated eye exam. Being proactive always has positive benefits on your health and your eye health.

Common Causes of Blindness

Cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. Cataract surgery is a very common surgery in the United States, but in less developed countries, people often go blind. This is due to the inaccessibility of eyecare. But even here in the US, we find that since cataracts are slow growing and they usually affect the vision in such a gradual way. Often people are unaware they have them and don’t realize they have such poor vision.

Diabetic retinopathy is another common cause of blindness in people under age 65. Diabetes affects your entire body, including your eyes. According to The American Academy of Ophthalmology, diabetics are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those without this disease. Diabetic retinopathy is the most common complication of diabetes. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is that you’ll develop diabetic retinopathy.Many patients with this condition are asymptomatic at its most treatable stage, so diabetics are strongly advised to have routine yearly comprehensive dilated eye examinations.

Another cause of vision loss is glaucoma. Half of all people with glaucoma risk permanent damage because they are unaware that they have it. A comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to determine whether these problems are present so appropriate treatment can be initiated.

As you can see, serious and sight-threatening eye diseases do not always present symptoms, but they can be diagnosed during a eye exam. Often treatment can be given before damage occurs. Vision is your most valued of all senses, for everyday activities and even your safety. An eye exam should be part of your yearly schedule. It could save your sight!

Click here or call 1-866-865-2020 for a comprehensive eye exam with one of our Board Certified Physicians.

Glaucoma drops-Can I get rid of them?

Is it possible to get rid of expensive glaucoma drops?  YES!

Denny was always afraid of losing his eyesight due to open angle glaucoma. And then when he got a cataract, he thought ‘Oh boy. Just another thing going wrong.’ But then his ophthalmologist, Dr. Brian Foster, a Bradenton glaucoma treatment specialist, explained that it might actually be good news. Now there is a NEW procedure for glaucoma patients having cataract surgery that may reduce or eliminate the need for expensive drops. The iStent is the smallest medical device ever approved by the FDA. It is so small that that it can’t be seen or felt, and it adds almost no extra time to the surgery. By implanting this tiny titanium device in the eye during normal cataract surgery, a permanent new channel is created for excess fluid to drain; thereby lowering the eye pressure.  The IStent is the only FDA approved device for the treatment of mild to moderate open angle glaucoma.

Listen to what Denny had to say about having glaucoma, and how he feels after having cataract surgery with the IStent.

Have cataracts and want more information about iStents? Click here to make an appointment with one of our award winning cataract surgeons at The Eye Associates or call 1-866-865-2020!

8 Warning Signs of Serious Eye Problems



Early detection is key to saving sight.

8 Warning Signs of Serious Eye Problems

It is important to catch serious eye problems early in order to preserve vision. Your sight is one of your most precious senses. Maintaining healthy eyes should be a priority.  How do you know if an eye problem is the start of something serious? We hope this guide helps you identify problems that can’t wait.

If you experience any of the following symptoms of a serious eye problem, call your eye doctor immediately.
1) A sudden decrease in vision in one eye.
This could indicate a problem with the retina; perhaps a macular hole. The chance of this happening increases as we age, and women are at higher risk than men.

2) A flood of spots, floaters or debris in the eye or a dark curtain across your field of vision.
Most floaters are benign, but if you experience a sudden onset, it could indicate a retina problem, such as a tear or retina detachment. If it is a retinal detachment, it needs to be treated immediately. If left untreated, vision loss can be permanent.

3) A gradual loss of central vision and distortions when looking at straight lines.
Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans, with central vision loss as a common symptom. Dry Macular Degeneration can turn into Wet Macular Degeneration overnight. That is why every senior should test their eyes daily with an Amsler Grid. It is important to do the test one eye at a time. Click the following link to print out your FREE Amsler Grid.

4) Loss of peripheral vision.
This symptom is hard to notice and could mean that you are developing glaucoma. The loss happens so slowly that many times it is not noticed until damage is done.

5) A sudden onset of eye pain, nausea, vomiting, and redness.
These symptoms could indicate an attack of narrow-angle glaucoma that can permanently damage your optic nerve and vision.

6) Double vision or ‘ghost like’ images.
Double vision can be related to many eye problems, and even other health conditions such as strokes. We recommend that you take immediate action and see a doctor.

7) Scratchy, irritated, watery eyes.
Frequently these symptoms indicate Dry Eye Disease. There is no cure for it but there are many treatments. If left untreated, loss of vision and serious eye problems could occur in extreme cases.

8) If you are diabetic and have blind spots, accompanied by floaters and blurred vision.
This could definitely indicate the onset of diabetic retinopathy. Daily use of  an Amsler Grid is recommended for this as well.

Another common condition that is not an emergency or serious eye problem: Cataracts
‘Halos’  around lights and cloudy, blurry vision.
Cataracts could be the cause here. Luckily cataract surgery is quite commonplace these days and can quickly return good vision.

Saving sight is our most important mission at The Eye Associates!  Should you or someone you know experience one of the symptoms serious eye problems above and vision loss, call immediately 1-866-865-2020. After business hours, our answering service will contact the doctor-on-call for emergencies.

Are You at Increased Risk for Glaucoma?


<img alt="mom with glaucoma and daughter hugging"

If your mom has glaucoma, there could be a good chance you will get glaucoma.

Do you have a family member with Glaucoma?

Glaucoma occurs twice as much among people who have a blood relative with the disease. Ask your family members if they have glaucoma, as it may not be a general topic of conversation. The only way to know for sure that you do not have this sight threatening disease is to have a comprehensive medical eye examination. So if you have a family member with this eye disease, you should consider glaucoma treatment at our ophthalmology clinic located in Sarasota.

Risk Factors

Glaucoma is an eye disease that slowly and painlessly steals away your sight. It does this by destroying the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the all-important connection between your eye and the brain. It carries visual data to be translated into the images you see. Damage to the optic nerve is permanent. The cause of this condition is unknown, but several factors increase the risk. These include being over age 60, being of African-American or Hispanic descent, having a family history of glaucoma, having certain medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, and being nearsighted. Anyone with one or more of these risk factors should get yearly eye exams.

A dilated eye exam is the only way that this eye disease can be diagnosed. If a glaucoma diagnosis is given, there are several kinds of treatment available to lower IOP and stop nerve damage. These include prescription eye drops, laser therapy, and surgery. A treatment plan must be followed for the rest of a patient’s life in order to keep the progression at bay.  Some eye drop medications are expensive, may have side effects, and it’s easy to forget to take them on a daily basis. Therefore, in some patients, laser therapy or a surgical procedure is recommended instead. Although there is no cure for this disease, combining medical treatment with regularly scheduled eye exams can reduce the risk of vision loss. Schedule your comprehensive dilated eye exam today.