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What you should know about Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is defined as the loss of macular function from the degenerative changes of aging. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in the U.S. It destroys the macula, the part of the eye that provides sharp, central vision needed for seeing objects clearly.

• 2.1 million people in the U.S. have AMD
o 4 % Hispanic
o 5% African American
o 89% White
o 2% other

• As the population ages the number of cases is expected to increase
o 2010 – 2.1 million
o 2030 – 3.7 million
o 2050 – 5.4 million

• AMD risk factors
o Being over the age 50
o Smoking
o White race
o Family history of AMD

• Reduce risk
o Avoid smoking
o Exercise regularly
o Maintain normal blood pressure and cholesterol
o Eat a healthy diet

• The bottom line
o Early detection- get a dilated eye exam & OCT scan once a year

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February 14th is National Donor Day – Eye Donation

An observance day originally designated in 1998 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to raise awareness for organ, eye, tissue, marrow, platelet and blood donation.

You may have heard about someone having an "eye transplant," but what exactly does that mean? As it turns out, only one part of the eye can be transplanted. Medical science has no way to transplant whole eyes. When someone receives an "eye transplant," they are being given a donor cornea, at this point in time, much research is being done with the use of stem cells, but that is another subject for another day.

The cornea is the transparent outer portion of the eyeball that transmits light to the retina. It is a ½ inch wide film of tissue that forms a protective covering on the front of the eye. The cornea can become cloudy or damaged/distorted from diseases, infections or eye injuries.

Everyone is a universal donor for corneal tissue. Blood type does not have to match. Age, eye color and eyesight do not matter. Aside from those suffering from infections or a few highly communicable diseases, most people are suitable cornea donors.

Corneal blindness can be cured in many cases through the transplant of a donated cornea. Since there is limited blood supply to the cornea, matching is not usually a problem. The first corneal transplant was performed in 1905. During the last 40 years, more than 700,000 corneal transplants have been performed in the U.S., with a success rate of more than 90 percent.


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Amsler Grid
One of the more important things to do for a person concerned with AMD, is to check their vision with an Amsler grid.

They are easy to print, we have provided a link

While the test is easy to use, it is important to remember a few helpful hints. Avoid taking the test in a room with glare and try to keep the chart at a consistent distance. Remember to test both eyes separately! And follow these simple steps:
1. Hold the Amsler Grid at eye level and at a comfortable reading distance.
2. Wear the eyeglasses or contacts you normally use for reading.
3. Cover one eye.
4. Fix your gaze on the center black dot.
5. Try to notice if any portion of the grid is distorted, blurred or missing. Be sure to check the edges and corners too.
6. Repeat with the other eye.
If your view of the grid has changed, contact your eye doctor.

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Types of Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. The disease affects the retina, the paper-thin tissue lining the back of the eye.

In the very center of the retina is the macula, which contains the highest concentration of light-sensitive cells, called cones.

• Cones provide sharp, detailed, central vision used in activities like driving and reading.

• In macular degeneration, cells in the macular region begin to die, causing blind spots and distorted central vision.

The two types of macular degeneration are dry and wet.

• People can develop both types of the disease.
• The disease can affect one or both eyes.
• The disease may progress slowly or rapidly.

Dry macular degeneration may advance and cause vision loss with or without turning into the wet type of the disease. However, not everyone with early AMD will develop the advanced form of the disease.

• Dry form. The "dry" form of macular degeneration is characterized by the presence of yellow deposits, called drusen, in the macula. A few small drusen may not cause changes in vision; however, as they grow in size and increase in number, they may lead to a dimming or distortion of vision that people find most noticeable when they read. In more advanced stages of dry macular degeneration, there is also a thinning of the light-sensitive layer of cells in the macula leading to atrophy, or tissue death. In the atrophic form of dry macular degeneration, patients may have blind spots in the center of their vision. In the advanced stages, patients lose central vision.

• Wet form. The "wet" form of macular degeneration is characterized by the growth of abnormal blood vessels from the choroid underneath the macula. This is called choroidal neovascularization. These blood vessels leak blood and fluid into the retina, causing distortion of vision that makes straight lines look wavy, as well as blind spots and loss of central vision. These abnormal blood vessels and their bleeding eventually form a scar, leading to permanent loss of central vision.

Until recently, there was no medication for either type, but today we have help for wet macular degeneration. The best way to follow both types is with retinal photos and an OCT. Both of these cutting edge technologies are available at eyegotcha. Call today for an appointment to see if you have macular degeneration, or if you are a candidate for the medication. (412.331.9696)

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Dear Patient,
If you have ever had an exam by me, then I bet you know I like to talk! Explaining how the eye works and all the cool things you can tell about a patient’s health by a thorough eye exam gets me going!
But I bet you didn't know I taught school before I became an optometrist.
So I decided to put the two together and wrote a power point presentation titled "Eyes Are the Window to Your Health".
I believe this presentation is enlightening and fun.
I have spoken at many local Rotaries and business and thought this might be beneficial to other businesses and organizations so with this post, I am putting it out there that I am available to speak to local groups or businesses.
The lecture is about 20 minutes long and I usually answer questions for 20 minutes, however this is not written in stone. After going over the parts of the eye, I show how high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol can all be see in the vessels on the retina. I also touch on macular degeneration, stroke, retinal holes and detachments and a few others. This can be modified to fit the occasion.
There is no cost, and the lecture is not about sales, just education. However, in the lecture I mention the Optomap, which many of you know, is a state of the art digital image technology that takes the coolest photos of the back of the eye known as the retina.
I will bring brochures of the Optomap with a voucher for an Optomap test at no cost for someone that is having their first exam at our office.
If this sounds like something you feel would be beneficial for your organization, please show them this post and give my office a call at 412.331.9696.
I look forward to giving this presentation to your friends and co-workers!
Dr. Claudia Wendel
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May is Healthy Vision Month when the National Eye Institute (NEI) encourages everyone to make eye health a priority. This message is especially important for women, who make up two-thirds of all people living with blindness or visual impairment from diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, and cataract. Among women age 40 and older in the U.S., 2.7 million are blind or visually impaired.

There are often no early warning signs for the very conditions that most threaten your eyesight, in­cluding glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease, says Rachel Bishop, M.D., an ophthalmologist and researcher at the National Eye Institute. She suggests these proactive moves to keep your eyes healthy.

Have a comprehensive dilat­ed eye exam
This is more than just a vision screening. An eye care professional places drops in each eye to dilate, or widen, the pupil. This illuminates the back of the eyes so that he or she can see signs of damage or disease. Take the dilated eye exam a step farther and have a digital retinal imaging done so that you and your Doctor have even more information about your overall health and well-being.

Know your history
Eye diseases are often hereditary, so it’s important to know if anyone in your family has been diagnosed. This information will help determine your risk level and establish how frequently your eyes should be checked.

Eat right
Carrots are good for your eyes, but so are dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collard greens. You’ll also want to eat plenty of fatty fish, such as salmon, tuna and halibut. They deliver a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids beneficial for eye health, research shows.

Stub it out
Smoking is linked to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degenera­tion, cataracts and optic nerve damage, all of which can cause blindness. If you need help quitting, ask your doctor.

Wear shades
Choose sun­glasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation.

Take a break
When using a phone, computer or any elec­tronic screen, reduce eyestrain with the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.

Use protective eyewear to prevent injuries on the job, while playing sports or doing simple chores around the home.

In addition to your comprehensive dilated eye exams, visit an eye care professional if you have:
• Decreased vision.
• Eye pain.
• Drainage or redness of the eye.
• Double vision.
• Diabetes.
• Floaters (tiny specks that appear to float before your
• Circles (halos) around light sources; or
• If you see flashes of light.…/may-is-healthy-vision-month-6-proacti…/…/nei-s-healthy-vision-month-2017-p…
Photo: Eye-Health-Exam-FTR iStock
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Relieve Computer Eye Strain with These Simple Tips

Many of us spend a good portion of our day looking at a computer screen—some averaging as much as 10 hours of screen time per day!
Even if you don't have a desk job that requires a lot of time in front of a computer, it's important to understand the effects it can have on our bodies and our vision. Computer Vision Syndrome can cause headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision, and shoulder or neck pain. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) affects 64-90 percent of all office workers.

Computer Ergonomics Can Relieve Computer Eye Strain
Computer ergonomics is the science of designing a work environment to maximize efficiency and reduce the risk of injuries. Here are a few tips to reduce eye strain and other computer-associated issues.
1. Sit with your head and neck upright and aligned with your torso.
2. Always face your screen directly. Avoid having your back twisted or viewing your screen with your head turned.
3. If you wear glasses, position yourself so you comfortably view your entire screen without tilting your head.
4. Keep your mouse close to your keyboard so you aren’t constantly reaching for it.
5. Try to get your computer screen so the top of the screen is at or below eye level. This will reduce the strain on your neck.
6. Make sure your screen is the right distance from your face. It should be about an arm’s length away.

Give Your Eyes a Break
Try these tips to keep your eyes happier at work.

If you think you may be experiencing Computer Vision Syndrome, contact your local eyecare professional. There are a wide range of solutions to relieve your eye strain, from special lens coatings to adjusting your workstation. We can help you determine the best solution for your unique situation.
Thanks for being a valued patient and friend!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Author: Vision Source — Published: April 26, 2017
Posted In Eye Health Awareness

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Visit the eye doctor instead of buying drugstore readers

Many patients will ask “if I purchase a pair of reading glasses at the drugstore will using them weaken my eyes?

We're happy to reassure you that using over-the-counter readers — or any kind of corrective lenses, for that matter — will not weaken or damage your eyesight. However, if you find you need to move to a higher level of magnification does indicate that your vision is changing. And considering that many adults begin to experience changes to their ability to see clearly at close range after age 40, it's not all that surprising.

The change in close focus is known as presbyopia, which occurs when the lens within your eye gradually becomes less flexible. This is believed to be the result of age-related changes to the proteins within the natural lens in the eye, and to the tissues of the surrounding muscles that cause the lens to focus. The loss in flexibility to the natural lens results in blurred vision when doing close-focus activities such as reading.

While you could certainly opt to buy a new pair of drugstore reading glasses with a higher level of magnification, we recommend that you use this shift in vision as an opportunity to visit an eye care professional.

One-size-fits-all reading glasses are certainly affordable, and a quick trip to the store is more convenient than a medical appointment. But chances are the generic readers will not correct your eyesight to the highest level of accuracy. That's because, for most of us, the prescription in each eye is at least slightly different. Many individuals also have a small amount of astigmatism correction in their prescriptions as well. Wearing the wrong glasses can lead to headache and fatigue as your eyes strain to achieve optimal focus.

A comprehensive eye exam not only yields a corrective prescription tailored to your specific needs, it also includes several other tests to detect vision problems, assess eye health and screen for eye disease along with other disease or illnesses such as High Blood Pressure and Diabetes. For example, your eye care professional will use special drops to dilate your pupil and examine the important tissues at the back of the eye, including the retina, the macula and the optic nerve. A test of the pressure within the eye, known as tonometry, screens for glaucoma.

If you already wear glasses to correct farsightedness, you have the option of blending the two prescriptions in a pair of bifocals, trifocals or progressive lenses. A pair of multivision glasses for life on the go, and a pair of reading glasses for sustained close work, will give you the best of both worlds. If you prefer contact lenses, multifocal contacts correct near, intermediate and far vision.

Age-related changes to vision, once begun, will continue. However, these changes can occur so gradually that they may be difficult to notice. That's why it's important to schedule regular eye exams and safeguard your vision.

The Danger of Forgoing an Eye Exam
The other, more serious problem with using pre-fabricated reading glasses has less to do with the glasses than with one of the reasons that people purchase them.
Some people head to the drugstore instead of the eye doctor when they notice that it's time for a stronger correction. In fact, a recent survey of presbyopes revealed that 17 percent purchased readers because they "didn't want to bother with an eye exam."
Common sense and good eye health dictate that you should consult your eye doctor when you need a change in prescription, or at least once every two years. The need for a new pair of reading glasses may be nothing more than the natural aging process at work. But it might also signal a serious problem with your eyes that can be treated if caught in time.
Glaucoma, for example, is a serious eye disease that has no symptoms at first but can steal your vision if it's not controlled with medication. A simple test can detect glaucoma in its early stages, but you'll need to visit your eye doctor for an eye exam in order to have the test.

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How Emotions Can Affect Color Perception

The way we perceive the world depends largely on our mood.

Have you ever felt angry and as a result, little things annoyed you that usually wouldn’t? Have you ever felt so happy that seemingly nothing could bring you down? We have all had these experiences, but did you know that something similar happens in the way that we perceive color? Our mood can even make the colors we see appear different than their actual hue.

Sadness Impairs Color Perception

A study consisting of 127 undergraduate students was done to assess the link between mood and color perception. Students were randomly assigned to watch an emotionally charged film clip—one sad, one happy. After the video, they were shown 48 muted color patches and were asked to indicate if the patch was red, yellow, green, or blue. The study concludes that the participants who watched a sad video clip were less accurate in identifying colors on the blue-yellow spectrum than participants who watched the happy video clip; accuracy was the same for colors on the red-green axis.

So, what does that mean exactly? It means that those who were actually “feeling blue” had a harder time identifying blue (and yellow)! Previous research shows that the neurotransmitter dopamine—the “happy” or “feel good” neurotransmitter—is specifically linked with color perception on the blue-yellow axis. Not surprisingly, dopamine is involved in vision, mood regulation, and some mood disorders. Our vision, perception, and mood are closely linked!

Seeing the World through Rose-colored Glasses

Although more research is being done on this subject and what exactly it means for us, in the meantime, it may be a good idea to try to see the world through “rose-colored glasses.” Happiness affects all areas of our life, even our vision as it turns out! It’s more than your eye health to us; we provide care that contributes to your whole body health. Our main goal is to keep your vision healthy so that you can be as happy as you can be!

Top image by Flickr user Andrés Nieto Porras used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Author Vision Source — Published November 30, 2015

Posted In Eye Health Awareness
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