Review Category : Dr. Mark Siegel, MD FAAO

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, an important time to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease. Currently, more than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58 percent increase. Glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight”. There are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it’s permanent. Nearly 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing. Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. Moreover, among African American and Latino populations, glaucoma is more prevalent. Glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians. And among Hispanics in older age groups, the risk of glaucoma is nearly as high as that for African-Americans. Also, siblings of persons diagnosed with glaucoma have a significantly increased risk of having glaucoma. Over 3 million Americans, and over 60 million people worldwide, have glaucoma. Experts estimate that half of them don’t know they have it.... ...

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Choose safe toys this holiday season

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel No one chooses gifts with the intent to harm, but some popular children’s toys can cause serious eye injuries. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 265,000 toy-related injuries were treated in emergency rooms in 2012, and almost half of these injuries affect the head or face – including the eyes. Unfortunately, most of these injuries happen to children under age 15. ‘You’ll shoot your eye out’ Some propelling toys, like air soft guns, BB guns, paintball guns and darts can be particularly hazardous, with the potential to cause serious eye injuries such as corneal abrasion, ocular hyphema (bleeding inside the eye), traumatic cataract, increased intraocular pressure and even permanent vision loss. Another dangerous toy category is those with laser components, which have increased in power and decreased in price over the years. Lasers can be especially hazardous when used in toys that are aimed, such as a laser gun. Blue light lasers are particularly dangerous, as they are more likely to... ...

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Are you a candidate for laser cataract surgery?

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel The femtosecond laser technology that brought new levels of safety, accuracy and predictability to LASIK surgery is also advancing cataract surgery. In our office, we call the procedure Refractive Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery (ReLACS), but it also is known generally as laser cataract surgery. In laser cataract surgery, an advanced femtosecond laser replaces or assists in the use of a hand-held surgical tool for the following steps in cataract surgery: 1 The corneal incision 2 The anterior capsulotomy 3 Lens and cataract fragmentation 4 Astigmatism correction at the time of surgery Use of a laser can improve the precision, accuracy and reproducibility of each of these steps, potentially reducing risks and improving visual outcomes of cataract surgery. The Corneal Incision Traditional cataract surgery is one of the most frequently performed surgeries and also one of the most safe and effective, with predictable outcomes. It is highly dependent on surgeon skill, volume and experience. The first step in cataract surgery is making an incision in the cornea.... ...

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Avoid an eye nightmare this Halloween!

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel If you want your Halloween look to include cat, zombie or glow-in-the-dark eyes, or if you’d like to use lenses to change your eye color or appearance, obtain prescription costume contact lenses from an eye care professional. It’s crucial that your lenses fit properly, and your individual prescription can only be determined by an eye exam. Skipping this step and buying lenses online or over the counter can set you up for serious eye problems, infections or even permanent vision loss. What are costume contact lenses? Costume contact lenses – also known as cosmetic or decorative contact lenses – are any type of contact lenses that are meant to change the appearance of your eyes. They include colored contacts, fashion lenses and lenses that can make your eyes look like vampires, animals or other characters. Websites often advertise colored contacts as if they were cosmetics, fashion accessories or toys. With whimsical packaging and names, their targets are often teens and young adults. The truth: claims... ...

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September is Healthy Aging Month!

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel There are over 76 million baby boomers today over the age of 50 and the first of the 82.1 million Generation X-ers are turning 50 in 2015. Aging is a process that brings many changes and baby boomers, as well as gen x-ers, share an interest in staying active, vibrant, and independent as long as possible. Traveling, biking, boating, kayaking, hiking, learning new skills and many other exciting activities become very difficult without healthy vision. Taking steps to maintain healthy vision as we age is one of the most critical things we can do to ensure our activity options remain virtually limitless. Follow these tips for healthy vision all year and enjoy healthy aging for the years to come: #1. Get a Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam in September Starting at the age of 40, getting an annual dilated eye exam with an ophthalmologist is the most important step you can take – even if you have no vision problems. So take the month of September... ...

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Is it time for you to have cataract surgery?

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel A cataract diagnosis does not typically mean that surgery is required immediately. Cataracts occur as part of the body’s natural aging process and may not change vision significantly in the early stages. Small cataract-related changes may be improved with prescription glasses. But as the cataracts continue to mature over time, they may cause vision loss that can interfere with activities of daily living. Although the prospect of cataract surgery can be intimidating, the procedure itself is the most common elective surgery among Medicare beneficiaries in the United States. Multiple studies have demonstrated that cataract surgery can lead to improved quality of life, reduced risk of falling and fewer car crashes. In addition, one study found that those who had cataract surgery had a 40 percent lower long-term mortality risk than those who did not. The following four questions can help you determine whether or not you’re ready for cataract surgery: Are your cataracts impacting your daily or occupational activities? Symptoms of cataracts include dim, blurry... ...

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June is Cataract Awareness Month!

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel The American Academy of Ophthalmology has declared June as Cataract Awareness Month. Cataracts are the leading cause of treatable vision loss in the United States, and it is the leading cause of blindness in the world. There are 24 million Americans over the age of 40 who are affected by cataracts, so it seems fitting that an entire month should be dedicated to education and awareness. In honor of Cataract Awareness Month, here are some common questions and answers about cataracts: What is the treatment for cataracts? Even though cataracts are so prevalent, they are very successfully treated. Cataracts are a clouding of the human lens inside the eye, which prevents passage of light into the back part of the eye. The solution to cataracts is cataract surgery, which requires a surgeon to remove the deteriorated lens and replace it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens or IOL. Over 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery annually, making it one of the most common... ...

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‘Bionic eye’ is an incredible breakthrough…but not right for everyone

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel News stories about a ‘bionic eye transplant’ have gotten a lot of attention, but what is the reality of new technology for restoring sight to some blind patients? The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System has sometimes been called a ‘bionic eye transplant.’ Right now it is not possible to transplant an entire human eye – only corneas and some other specific eye tissues can be transplanted. And there is no electronic replacement for the whole eye. The Argus II is a three-part device that allows some perception of light and motion in patients who have lost their vision due to retinitis pigmentosa. Surgery is done to place a small electronic device on the patient’s retina. Later, the patient wears a camera mounted on a pair of glasses, and a portable video-processing unit. Images are taken in through the camera, processed, and then sent wirelessly to the implant in the patient’s retina. The implant stimulates the living cells in the retina, and the brain interprets these... ...

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Melanoma of the eye

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel Malignant “choroidal” melanomas arise from the blood-vessel layer “choroid” beneath the retina. In North America, 6 out of each million people will be diagnosed with a choroidal melanoma each year. Malignant choroidal melanomas can spread to other parts of the body. Ophthalmologists can determine if you have a choroidal melanoma by performing a complete eye examination. This includes asking questions about your medical history, examining both of your eyes, looking into the eye through a dilated pupil at the tumor, performing an ultrasound examination, and specialized photography (to examine the circulation within the choroidal melanoma). Your ophthalmologist will also request that you have a complete general medical check up and specific tests depending upon what they see inside your eye. Ophthalmologists can correctly diagnose an intraocular choroidal melanoma in over 96% of cases (without a biopsy). Though occasionally necessary, biopsies can be avoided because they require opening the eye (which risks letting choroidal melanoma cells out) and risk intraocular hemorrhage and infection. Symptoms Most patients... ...

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A cup of coffee a day may keep retinal degeneration away!

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel Here’s something coffee drinkers can get excited about. Aside from java’s energy jolt, food scientists say you may reap another health benefit from a daily cup of joe: prevention of deteriorating eyesight and possible blindness from retinal degeneration due to glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and diabetes. Raw coffee is, on average, just 1 percent caffeine, but it contains 7 to 9 percent chlorogenic acid (CLA), a strong antioxidant that prevents retinal degeneration in mice, according to a Cornell study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (December 2013). The retina is a thin tissue layer on the inside, back wall of the eye with millions of light-sensitive cells and other nerve cells that receive and organize visual information. It is also one of the most metabolically active tissues, demanding high levels of oxygen and making it prone to oxidative stress. The lack of oxygen and production of free radicals leads to tissue damage and loss of sight. In the study, mice eyes were... ...

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