• Vision Like You’ve Never Seen Before

March is National Nutrition Awareness

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March is National Nutrition Month. Making better nutritional choices can lead to better eye health and better overall health. Foods rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA are good for eye health, according to the Age-Related Eye Diseases Study (AREDS) and other large research studies. Eye-healthy food choices include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, and cold water fish. Patients with Age-Related Macular Degeneration should ask their doctor if they may benefit from a specific formula of vitamin supplements called the AREDS II formula vitamins. Finally, diabetic patients can preserve their long-term vision by keeping their blood glucose under control with a low glycemic-index diet.


Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

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February is macular degeneration awareness month. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of decreased vision in the United States. As its name suggests, this disease is more common with increasing age, and it affects an area in the back part of the eye called the macula. The macula is the central portion of the retina, which is a thin layer in the back of the eye that is necessary for sight. The macula controls your central vision. It is what allows us to read, see people’s faces, and distinguish colors. In its severe stages, macular degeneration can cause a loss of this central vision.
Risk factors for macular degeneration include: increasing age, family history of AMD, cigarette smoking, Caucasian ethnicity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol; and possibly female gender and light blue eyes. While there is no “cure” for macular degeneration there are treatments that may benefit certain patients. There are two main types of macular degeneration, dry and wet. About 90% of people with AMD have the dry type. The dry type is generally slowly progressive, and can sometimes be treated with certain eye vitamins to slow this progression. The wet type can get worse very quickly and may need additional treatments such as laser procedures or injections of medicine. Patients with severe macular degeneration can have a significant loss of central vision in both eyes and may benefit from seeing a Low-Vision specialist to find tools to help them with their daily visual needs. If you have a family history of macular degeneration or some of the other risk factors listed above call today to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors for an evaluation.


Can I Fly With This Eye?

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Can I Fly With This Eye?
Written by: Dan Gudgel
Reviewed by: Raj K Maturi MD
Jan. 03, 2017
Learn what eye conditions should keep you on the ground and which won’t interfere with air travel
The American Academy of Ophthalmology often gets questions about whether recovery from eye surgery or having a specific condition means that the patient shouldn’t fly. If you have questions about your eye health, you should talk to your own ophthalmologist. But it’s important to know that there are some times when air travel really could be a danger to your eyes.

If you’ve had any kind of surgery, talk to your doctor about your travel plans. Find out what to expect after your surgery, so you know if you’re having a serious symptom. Consider staying close to home for a few days — or as long as recommended by your doctor — in case a problem comes up. And always keep your follow-up appointments so your doctor can make sure that you are healing as expected.

If you have been diagnosed with an eye condition, ask your ophthalmologist if there are activities you should limit or avoid. Make sure you understand the doctor’s recommendations and ask questions about specific activities if you’re unsure.

Can I fly after retina repair surgery?
If you’ve had your retina repaired, you should only fly when your doctor says it’s safe. To repair a detached or torn retina, the ophthalmologist often has to inject a gas bubble to hold the retina in place while it heals. A gas bubble in the eye can expand dangerously if the patient flies, goes scuba diving or undergoes any other major air pressure change. If the gas expands inside the eye, it can cause serious damage and blindness. You should stay at about the altitude of your surgery until your doctor has confirmed that the gas bubble is gone. Unlike a gas bubble, there are generally no restrictions for flying with a silicone oil bubble

Can I fly after cataract surgery?
Normal cataract surgery would not pose any problems for air travel, even right away. Once your doctor has cleared you for normal activities, flying is fine. Just don’t miss your follow-up appointments.

What about flying after complicated cataract surgery?
Even if the cataract surgery was more challenging or had complications, flying should be fine, unless air or gas had to be placed in the eye as part of the surgery.

When can I fly after surgery for glaucoma?
Whether it’s a peripheral iridotomy, laser trabeculoplasty, shunt implantation or another surgery for glaucoma, the pressure change from flying usually isn’t a concern after glaucoma surgery. You should be able to fly the next day. But talk to your doctor to get approval for your particular case, and follow up as necessary after the surgery

Is flying OK after a corneal transplant?
In some cases, an air or gas bubble is placed in the eye as part of cornea transplant surgery. If you have an air or gas bubble in your eye, flying can be extremely dangerous. Talk to your ophthalmologist about air travel if you’ve had a corneal transplant.

Can you fly if you have been diagnosed with retinal holes or wrinkles?
Flying won’t make retinal holes or wrinkles worse. However, retinal holes sometimes turn into a retinal detachment, which is an eye emergency. If you have retinal holes or wrinkles, talk to your doctor about any long or exotic travel plans so you aren’t caught in an emergency far from medical care.

What if I’ve had surgery for retinal tears? Can I fly then?
In most cases, retinal repair surgery is done with a laser. There is nothing wrong with flying after a laser retina surgery. However, retinal tears can become retinal detachments – and retinal detachment repair often involves injecting gas or liquid into the eye. That would be a serious problem if you flew in an airplane.

Can I fly after other eye surgery?
It’s safe to fly after most surgeries on the outer part of the eye or eyelids, like pterygium surgery (when a benign, fleshy growth is removed from the eye) or eyebrow-lifting surgery. The biggest concerns when flying after any surgery on the exterior of the eye are:

making sure you see your doctor for follow-up appointments as scheduled;
keeping the eye clean; and
keeping the eye and surgical wound from drying out on the flight.
Can I fly after I have my eyes dilated for an eye exam?
Yes, you can fly after you’ve had your eyes dilated. But bring your sunglasses since you’ll be sensitive to light.

Is it safe to fly if I have keratitis?
There is no danger from flying if you have keratitis. But the air inside airplanes can be very dry and make the symptoms of keratitis worse. Be prepared to keep your eyes comfortable with eye drops or other relief methods that work for you.

Can you fly with a posterior vitreous detachment?
Yes, you can fly if you have posterior vitreous detachment (when the gel-like liquid inside the eye shrinks and pulls away from the back of the eye). There is nothing about flying that would make a posterior vitreous detachment worse. However, PVD can lead to retinal detachment. Speak to your doctor about your posterior vitreous detachment and what could happen next. You don’t want to be caught away from medical care if a posterior vitreous detachment becomes a retinal detachment and requires immediate care.

Can I fly if I’m seeing flashes and floaters?
Yes, you can fly with flashes and floaters. Flying won’t make your flashes or floaters worse. But flashes and floaters can be a serious sign of a potentially blinding retinal detachment or other retina problem. See an ophthalmologist right away if you have a sudden increase in flashes or floaters, preferably prior to your flight


January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

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Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. The optic nerve is the nerve that carries signals from your eye to your brain and is therefore very important for sight. Damage to the nerve will initially decrease a person’s peripheral vision, causing tunnel vision. If the optic nerve sustains continual damage, the vision loss can start to extend into the central part of the vision. If it reaches end stages, glaucoma is one of the few diseases that can cause complete darkening blindness, where someone is unable to even perceive light.
Glaucoma is linked to high eye pressures and so treatment involves lowering the pressure in your eye. There are two main types of glaucoma, divided based on how they cause a person’s eye pressure to become high. One is when the drainage system of a person’s eye gets blocked by your iris, or the colored part of your eye. This is called Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma. Blockage of your drainage system usually causes a rapid (acute) increase in a person’s pressure, with very high eye pressures. This can sometimes cause very concerning symptoms including blurry vision, haloes around lights, eye pain, headache, and even nausea or vomiting. This type of glaucoma can be treated with a laser procedure that is done in the office. The second type of glaucoma is called Primary Open Angle Glaucoma. This is an eye disease of progression. In this type of glaucoma, there is no specific reason for the elevation in your eye pressure, and treatment usually starts with pressure-lowering eye drops. If eye drops are not enough to keep this type of glaucoma from progressing, sometimes laser treatments or surgeries may be considered. Risk factors for this type of glaucoma include age over 60, African American race, and positive family history. While glaucoma can be a serious disease, early diagnosis can prevent many of the serious consequences of glaucoma. If you have any concerns, ask your doctor or make an appointment with an eye doctor for further evaluation.


Weekly Eye Fact

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Weekly Eye Fact – Astigmatism

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Each week we will share some facts on terms you may have heard!

Have you ever been told you have an astigmatism? Ever wonder exactly what that meant?

An astigmatism is where your eye has more of an oval shape instead of being round. The oval shape of astigmatism makes it difficult for your eye to focus both near and far. It can be corrected many ways including, glasses, contact lenses, and laser surgery.


Contact Lens Foundation of St. Louis

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imageHere’s a unique group of eye care specialists made up of Ophthalmologists and Optometrists who are leaders in the St. Louis area. It is one of the few associations that combine these two professions for sharing ideas and developing educational programs. It has been in existance for more than 20 years and membership is limited to invited specialists who add unique abilities and experience to the group.