Sunday, September 6, 2009

Can Allergies Affect My Eyes?

Approximately 22 million people in the United States suffer from seasonal itchy, swollen, red eyes. Airborne allergens, such as house dust, animal dander, and mold, constantly bombard the eyes and can cause ocular allergies at any time. But when spring rolls around and the plant pollen starts flying, it seems as if almost everyone starts crying.

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, or hay fever, is the most common allergic eye problem. Various antihistamine and decongestant eye drops and sprays can soothe your irritated eyes and nose.

Make every effort to avoid allergens. An allergist can help determine what you are allergic to so you can stay away from it. Staying away from outdoor pollen may be impossible, but remaining indoors in the morning when the outdoor pollen levels are highest my help control symptoms. If you are allergic to house dust, open the windows and keep household filters clean.

Applying cool compresses to the eyes helps decrease swelling and itching. Artificial tears dilute the allergens and form a protective barrier over the surface of the eye. Avoid rubbing the eyes, which makes symptoms worse.

If seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is a problem, see an ophthalmologist. Your ophthalmologist can prescribe several safe and effective anti-allergy drops. In some cases, oral medications are needed. Your ophthalmologist can also make sure that your symptoms are not being caused by a more serious problem.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Am I A Candidate For Topical Anesthesia For Cataract Surgery?

Topical anesthesia is now a very frequent and effective method of pain control utilized in short surgical procedures such as cataract surgery. The topical anesthetic is applied directly to the surface of your eye and affects only the area to which it is applied. Topical anesthesia is usually given in the form of eye drops or gels, or applied with sponges to the surface of the eye.

In some cases, if surgery time is relatively short, you may only require topical anesthesia. If this is the case, anesthetic drops or gel will be applied to your eye and you will need to follow instructions from your ophthalmologist during surgery to keep eye movement to a minimum. If you need to sneeze or shift position, you will simply need to alert your ophthalmologist beforehand.

Often, if surgery is longer and more involved, the topical anesthetic will be supplemented with other forms of anesthesia to make you more comfortable and perhaps to immobilize your eye.

By using topical anesthesia, your ophthalmologist ensures that you are as comfortable as possible during and following surgery. Since you will not be put to sleep using general anesthesia, your recovery time after surgery will be much quicker, and you will be able to go home soon after surgery is completed. There are usually few side effects or complications due to topical anesthesia.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Conscious Care Sedation Anesthesia

Conscious care sedation is used in most Ophthalmic surgical procedures. It minimizes pain and anxiety during the surgery. At the same time, this type of anesthesia allows the patient to be conscious, able to respond to verbal commands, and able to breathe without assistance.

With conscious care sedation, medication is introduced using intravenous means in my practice. It is a very safe method for achieving the goal of comfort and cooperation for the patient during the surgical procedure. In addition, this method of anesthesia allows patients to feel well and alert after the procedure.

After conscious care sedation, you may not remember all or part of the procedure, and rarely, you may experience headache, nausea, and vomiting. You will be monitored closely during the procedure and immediately following your procedure. One should not drive or operate dangerous equipment for 24 hours after sedation.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What Are Corneal Abrasions and Erosions? What Is The Treatment?

Corneal Abrasions

The cornea is the clear front window of the eye. It covers the iris (the colored portion of the eye) and the round pupil. The cornea is composed of five layers. The outermost layer is called the epithelium.

Injuries to the epithelium, such as scratches, cuts, or scrapes, are known as corneal abrasions. Usually, these injuries are caused by fingernail scratches, makeup brushes, paper cuts, or rubbing of the eyes. Sometimes conditions like dry eye can cause abrasions. Symptoms associated with corneal abrasions include tearing, redness, pain, soreness, and blurred vision.

Treatment options for corneal abrasions include patching the injured eye, dilating pupils to relieve pain, wearing special contact lenses that promote healing, taking antibiotics to prevent infection, and using lubricating eyedrops.

Minor abrasions usually heal within a day or two, while larger abrasions take about a week.

Corneal Erosions

Corneal erosion is caused by a loose attachment of the epithelium to the underlying tissue. This often happens at the site of an earlier abrasion. Some patients have an underlying condition called “map-dot-fingerprint dystrophy” that predisposes them to having recurrent corneal erosions.

Symptoms of corneal erosion are similar to those of abrasions: pain, soreness, redness, and blurred vision.

Treatment is the same as for corneal abrasion and may also include saline solution eyedrops or ointments. However, if the erosion keeps occurring, further treatment may be necessary. These treatments may include procedures to remove the damaged epithelium, removal of corneal cells using a laser, or performing an anterior stromal puncture, which involves making tiny holes on the surface of the cornea to promote stronger attachments between the top layer of corneal cells and the layer of the cornea underneath.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Will I Need A Posterior Capsulotomy After Cataract Surgery?

During cataract surgery, a part of the front (anterior) capsule of the natural lens of the eye is removed to gain access to and remove the lens. The clear, back (posterior) capsule remains intact and supports an intraocular lens (IOL), a plastic or silicone disc that is implanted in the eye and replaces the natural lens. As long as that capsule stays clear, you will experience good vision. However, in 10 to 30 percent of cases, the posterior capsule loses its clarity. When this happens, your ophthalmologist can create an opening in the capsule using a laser in order to restore normal vision. This procedure is called a posterior capsulotomy.

Before the procedure, the ophthalmologist does a thorough ophthalmic examination to make sure there is no other reason for vision loss.

The posterior capsulotomy is painless and takes approximately five minutes. Vision usually improves within hours. A Yag laser is usually used for this procedure.

Potential but rare complications following laser posterior capsulotomy are increased intraocular pressure and retinal detachment.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, May 25, 2009

Am I At Risk For Macular Degeneration?

The most important risk factor for macular degeneration is getting older. There are other risk factors involved which include smoking, genetics, obesity, poor nutrition, and lack of exercise. People who eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, do not smoke and are not obese, will be at less risk for developing this disease.

Your ophthalmologist can look in your eyes and see if you are at risk. If she/he sees drusen, then you are at risk. Drusen are collections of waste consisting of left over oxidized fats that have accumulated over time. When there is too much of this waste, the eye can not rid itself of all of it and then we see drusen.

There are two types of macular degeneration, wet and dry. The dry form is when the rods, cones and pigment cells just die. The wet type is when new blood vessels form behind the retina and leak fluid and bleed.

Our current research suggests that high daily doses of vitamin C (500 mg), vitamin E (400 IU), beta-carotene (25,000IU), and zinc (8 mg for women and 11 mg for men) may help patients with large drusen or advanced disease in one eye. The supplements in these patients lower the risk of severe disease by 25 percent. These results were published in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) completed in 2001.

There are other drugs that can be used in patients with wet macular degeneration that include injections into the eye which stop blood vessels from growing. Those drugs are Avastin or Lucentis.

Right now there is a new study being conducted to see whether lutein supplement will be more effective than beta-carotene. When smokers took high doses of beta-carotene (33,000 to 50,000 IU per day, they seemed to have a higher risk of lung cancer. Therefore, this new study will be looking into whether this risk is real. In addition, Omega-3 fatty acids will be used to see if adding them to the diet will benefit patients with large drusen. Other studies being conducted at this time are assessing the incidence of macular degeneration relative to meat consumption, vitaimin D levels, and glycemic indexes.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, May 18, 2009


People with dry eyes often experience sandy, gritty, irritated, or burning eyes. Often patients describe that they have a feeling that there is trash in their eyes. Patients are surprised to discover that they have dry eyes, as they frequently notice excessive tearing.

The tear film consists of three layers. The outside layer is the oily layer and it functions to decrease evaporation of the tear film. The middle layer is the aqueous or water layer. The inner layer is the mucous layer that helps to lubricate the eye.

Dry eye is caused by any condition that can decrease tear production or increase tear film evaporation. Often, this can be caused by a dietary insufficiency of omega-3 essential fatty acids. These fatty acids can be found in foods such as salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel.

Sometimes dry eyes are seen in young adults, but it becomes more prevalent increases with age. Women are affected more frequently than men.

The sensation of feeling like your eyes are tearing are due to the loss of the oil layer that helps hold tears tight to the eye surface. With this coating impaired, the tears will splash around more when you blink, and it feels like you are tearing.

Artificial tears are the basic treatment for dry eyes. In addition, eating the above fish that are high in Omega 3 fatty acids are helpful, or second best, taking a supplement containing Omega-3 fatty acids. If these drops do not sufficiently take care of the problem, then tear duct plugs can be used. These plugs are temporary and do not allow the tears to drain from the eye, allowing the eye to stay wetter, longer. For more severe cases, a drop such as Restasis may be used twice a day with excellent results.

Labels: , , , , , , ,