The Truth About Cataracts

By Dr. Jay Fiore

A main fallacy with cataracts is that it “has to be ripe” before it can be removed.  While it is true that Medicare and insurance companies won’t pay for clear lenses to be removed just so an intraocular lens can be placed, one does not have to be blind in the eye in order to qualify for surgery. Typically, a visual acuity of 20/40 or less under normal lighting or glare testing, in a patient with cataract related visual complaints, is reason enough to remove the cataract.

Cataract surgery in today’s world has moved from being a purely therapeutic procedure to a refractive procedure.  Not only is the visual obstruction to vision removed, but a lens is placed in the eye that can compensate for one’s eyeglass prescription.

For those willing to pay a premium, lenses are available that can correct both distance and near vision or astigmatism.   While not perfect, these technologies are great for the right patient.

If you or someone you know feels their vision is being affected by a cataract, schedule an evaluation with our specialists at Heimer Eye Care Associates.

Shingles and Your Eyes

Shingles is a common viral infection that often appears as a painful, burning, or itchy rash. About one in three adults in the United States will experience shingles.  This infection occurs when the childhood chicken pox infection reactivates during a period of stress or with weakened immune system. This infection frequently appears on the torso of the body, however, up to 20% of shingles infections can affect the nerves of the head.

When shingles occurs in the nerves of the head, it can frequently cause a rash on the forehead, eyelids, and even a red, irritated eye. This infection could damage both internal and external structures of the eye. If you develop shingles on your forehead, upper face, or scalp, it is important to have a full eye examination with your eye care provider to protect your vision.

The key to overcoming shingles is quick diagnosis and treatment. However, shingles can also be prevented. The best way to prevent shingles is with a newer, more effective shingles vaccine, Shingrix. Shingrix is a two-dose vaccine recommended for adults over age 50. If you would like to learn more about preventing shingles or its painful companion, post-herpetic neuralgia, schedule an appointment with your medical doctor to discuss your options.

If your eyes are currently red or irritated, schedule an appointment with your eye care doctor. He or she will help you to determine the cause of your discomfort and find a treatment plan that works for you.

 

Dry Eye

By Dr. Jill Finke, OD

Our eyes need moisture to be able to function well. Normally, a healthy tear film covers the eye with every blink to keep the eye surface moist and healthy. When there is not enough moisture on the surface of your eyes, it is called dry eye. Dry eyes can cause more than eye irritation and redness. A dry eye surface can also be the cause of visual blur, excessive eye watering, and even ocular inflammation.

Dry eye is common–affecting millions of American each year. Dry eye can affect men and women of all ages. There are many reasons for dry eye. Some common causes of dry eye include aging, hormonal changes, environment, medications, infections, and systemic diseases. Also, nutrition plays a part in moisture of the eye surface. In particular, vitamin A (found in carrots and broccoli) and omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish, walnuts, and vegetable oils) are essential to helping your body make healthy tears.

The good news is that there are many options for improving the health of your tears, as well as relieving dry eye. The most common treatment for mild dry eye is to use over-the-counter moisturizing drops for your eyes. Adding moisture to the eye surface can help dry eyes to feel better. Additionally, your eye care doctor can recommend lifestyle changes, eyelid health treatment, and prescription medications to improve the health of your eyes.

If your eyes are irritated, talk over your options with your eye care doctor. He or she will help you to determine the cause of your discomfort and find a treatment plan that works for you.

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