Glaucoma Awareness Month is a Great Time for Eye Exam

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

January is a great time to look after your health – and your eyes – during National Glaucoma Awareness Month.

It’s estimated that half of those with Glaucoma do not know they have the disease – that’s over one million people in the US. Glaucoma is characterized by progressive damage to the optic nerve that can cause irreversible damage if not discovered early.

“Glaucoma is a stealth disease that initially causes no symptoms. The slow loss of vision is barely perceptible,” says Karen Todd, MD, Glaucoma Fellowship Ophthalmologist at Florida Eye Institute. “Certain factors put you at risk, such as family history and age. But, the only way to definitively discover Glaucoma is with a comprehensive eye exam,” she emphasizes.

There are two major types of glaucoma, Open-Angle, and Closed Angle.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Primary Open-Angle is the most common type of glaucoma. It happens gradually, where the eye does not drain fluid as well as it should (like a clogged drain). As a result, eye pressure builds and starts to damage the optic nerve. Damage can occur even at normal pressures due to sensitivity of the optic nerve. Open-angle glaucoma is painless and causes no vision changes at first.

Closed-Angle glaucoma, or narrow-angle glaucoma, happens when the iris is very close to the drainage angle in their eye. The iris can end up blocking the drainage angle. You can think of it like a piece of paper sliding over a sink drain. When the drainage angle gets completely blocked, eye pressure rises very quickly. This is called an acute attack. It is a true eye emergency, and you should be treated immediately by an ophthalmologist.

Signs of an acute angle-closure glaucoma attack:

  • Vision is suddenly blurry
  • Severe eye painFEI_Glaucoma-Month_2019
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Seeing colored rings or halos around lights

Many people with angle-closure glaucoma develop it slowly. This is called chronic angle-closure glaucoma. There are no symptoms at first, so they don’t know they have it until the damage is severe or they have an attack.

Dr. Todd reminds people that “both types of glaucoma can lead to blindness if not treated early. That’s why we encourage all patients to have an annual exam to monitor for signs of the disease, especially if over the age of 60.”

Florida Eye Institute, a multi-specialty ophthalmology center, has offices in Vero Beach and Sebastian. Contact 772.569-9500 or visit www.fleye.com for more information.

Information provided by Florida Eye Institute and American Academy of Ophthalmology.

“Timmy, that’ll shoot your eye out!!” Five Tips to Avoid Toy Related Eye Injuries

Santa
Santa recommends safe toys for Christmas!

With the holiday shopping season in full swing, Florida Eye Institute joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology to remind you of important safety guidelines when choosing the perfect gift children. Recent studies show that many popular toys are commonly associated with childhood eye injuries including air guns, toys that shoot projectiles, high-powered lasers, and sports equipment.

Ophthalmologists – physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care – encourage parents to follow these tips when shopping this holiday season.

  1. Beware of airsoft, BB guns, and other projectile toys. Every year ophthalmologists treat thousands of devastating eye injuries caused by toys. Avoid items with sharp, protruding or projectile parts such as airsoft guns, BB guns, and other gun–related foreign objects can easily propel into the sensitive tissue of the eye.
  2. Never allow children to play with high-powered laser pointers. A number of recent reports in the United States and internationally show that children have sustained serious eye injuries playing with high-powered lasers (between 1500 and 6000 milliwatts). Over the years, these lasers have become increasingly more powerful, with enough potential to cause severe retinal damage with just seconds of laser exposure to the eye. The FDA advises the public to never aim or shine a laser pointer at anyone and to not buy laser pointers for children.
  3. Read labels for age recommendations before you buy. To select appropriate gifts suited for a child’s age, follow the age recommendations and instructions about proper assembly, use, and supervision.
  4. Don’t just give presents. Make sure to be present. Always make sure an adult is supervising when children are playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.
  5. Know what to do (and what not to). If someone you know experiences an eye injury, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist. Make sure to never touch, rub, apply pressure, or attempt to remove objects in the eye. If an eye injury occurs, follow these important care and treatment guidelines.

“Even though we often kid around about “poking your eye out” with certain toys, injuries to children during the holidays are no laughing matter,” states Dr. Wilson Wallace, board-certified ophthalmologist at Florida Eye Institute. “It’s easy to get distracted during this busy time of year and we forget how quickly inquisitive kids can get injured playing with certain toys. Remember these basic tips to keep your little ones healthy. And if accidents do happen, seek help right away.”

For more information on toy safety, see the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s toy safety page or watch the toy safety video.

Florida Eye Institute has locations in Vero Beach and Sebastian. Appointments are appropriate for all ages including children. Medicare and most insurance are accepted. For more information call 772.569.9500 or visit www.fleye.com.

Content courtesy of AAO and Florida Eye Institute

 

It’s National Diabetes Month – Are you at risk for serious eye disease?

Florida Eye Institute specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of Diabetic Eye Disease.
Florida Eye Institute specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of Diabetic Eye Disease.

Did you know that 95% of diabetes-related vision loss could be prevented with a regular eye exam?

Diabetes increases the risk of developing serious eye disease, yet most people do not have sight-saving, annual eye exams, according to a large study. Florida Eye Institute joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in recognizing the importance of eye health this November, observed nationally as Diabetes Awareness Month.

One in 10 Americans has diabetes, putting them at heightened risk for visual impairment. Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions that include retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME), cataract, and glaucoma. Fluctuating blood sugar creates fragile, abnormal blood vessels that grow and leak within the eye, distorting vision. Distortions can advance to blindness if left untreated.

Researchers at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia found that more than half of patients with the Diabetes skip annual eye exams. They also discovered that patients who smoke – and therefore more likely to have signs of diabetic eye disease – were most likely to neglect to have annual check-ups.

Collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, researchers reviewed charts of nearly 2,000 patients age 40 or older with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to see how many had regular eye exams. Their findings over a four-year period revealed that:

  • Fifty-eight percent of patients did not have regular follow-up eye exams
  • Smokers were 20 percent less likely to have exams
  • Those with less severe disease and no eye problems were least likely to follow recommendations
  • Those who had diabetic retinopathy were 30 percent more likely to have follow-up exams

“The bottom line is – if you have Diabetes you need a retina eye exam every year,” states Thomas Baudo, MD, fellowship trained retina specialist with Florida Eye Institute.

“Eye exams are critical as they often reveal hidden signs of disease, and that allows us to begin treatment early,” he emphasizes. “Patients are also pleased to discover that a baseline exam with a retina specialist costs no more than any other type of eye care professional.”

Looking for a Good Eye Doctor?

Florida Eye Institute specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diabetic eye disease as well as advanced procedures for cataract, glaucoma, and corneal conditions.   Comprehensive care is available for the entire family, including designer eyewear and the latest bladeless laser vision correction.

Florida Eye Institute has locations in Vero Beach and Sebastian. Most health insurance plans, including Medicare, cover an annual exam with an ophthalmologist. For more information call 772.569.9500 or visit www.fleye.com.

Content Courtesy of AAO & Florida Eye Institute

 

Can Sunglasses Protect Your Eyes from Serious Damage?

Cute girl with Sunglasses
The right sunglasses can protect your eyes AND look awesome.

Summer is in full swing. Days are longer, the sun hotter, and the threat of eye damage from ultraviolet exposure is stronger greater than ever. Florida Eye Institute, along with the American Academy of Ophthalmology, warn that excessive sun exposure can put you at risk for serious short-term and long-term problems. Especially in Florida, this is true for young and old, all year-round.

To bring attention to this important eye health matter, ophthalmologists — physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care — are sharing information on how to keep eyes safe from sun damage.

There is no doubt about the consequences of not protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. If eyes are exposed to strong sunlight for too long without proper protection, UV rays can burn the cornea and cause temporary blindness in a matter of hours.

Long-term sun exposure is linked to more serious eye disease, such as cataract, eye cancer and growths on or near the eye. A lifetime of exposure also likely increases progression of age-related macular degeneration, a condition that can cause blindness.

Prevention is simple. Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet radiation. But how do you know if your sunglasses are up to the task of protecting your family’s sight?

UV protection is the essential piece to look for in a pair of sunglasses. When choosing sunglasses, look for a tag that confirms 100% protection against both UVA/UVB rays, or 100% protection against UV 400. Darkness and color do not indicate the strength of UV protection, and neither does the price tag. Even the least expensive sunglasses can offer adequate protection.

If you doubt your sunglasses have the UV protection claimed by a retail tag, take them to an optical shop. Any shop that has a UV light meter can test your sunglasses. A UV light meter is a handy test for when you doubt your sunglasses have the UV protection claimed by a retail tag or if they are simply old and you want to make sure.

Lee Hudgins, Licensed Optician and Manager of the Optical Gallery at Florida Eye Institute states, “In addition to quality UV protection, look for polarized lenses. Polarization reduces glare by controlling how light is reflected back to your eyes. Polarized lenses are especially helpful around areas that are highly reflective, like water and sand. They are a necessity in the Florida sun.”

In addition to protective sunglasses, consider wearing a broad-brimmed hat. They have been shown to significantly cut exposure of harmful rays. Also, don’t forget the sunscreen!

Looking for a good eye doctor? Florida Eye Institute specializes in the advanced treatment of retina, cataract, glaucoma, and corneal disease. You’ll find complete eye care for the entire family, including the latest bladeless LASIK vision correction.

Florida Eye Institute has locations in Vero Beach and Sebastian. Medicare and most insurance are accepted. For more information call 772.569.9500 or visit www.fleye.com.

Content Courtesy of AAO & Florida Eye Institute