Review Category : Dr. Mark Siegel, MD FAAO

The benefits of exercise and alcohol

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel In 2020, the number of people in the United States with visual impairment – sight loss often caused by eye disease, trauma, or a congenital or degenerative condition that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses – is projected to increase to at least four million. This is a 70 percent increase from 2000 and is due to the growing aging population and prevalence of age-related eye diseases. To help determine ways to decrease the incidence of visual impairment, researchers at the University of Wisconsin examined the relationships between the incidence of visual impairment and three modifiable lifestyle behaviors: smoking, drinking alcohol and staying physically active. The research was conducted as part of the Beaver Dam Eye Study, a long-term population-based cohort study from 1988 to 2013 of nearly 5,000 adults aged 43 to 84 years. The researchers found that regular physical activity and an alcoholic beverage every now and then is associated with a lower risk of visual impairment. The data showed that... ...

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Leave fireworks to professionals this Fourth of July

By Dr. Mark S. Siegel I recall a few extraordinary patients during my ophthalmology residency who have left an indelible memory. One such patient was a 13 year old who was playing with an M-80 explosive device that he placed in a soup can. The subsequent explosion sent shards of metal that were absorbed by his face and one of his eyes. The metal perforated his cornea and lens and lodged in the back wall of his eye in his retina. After multiple surgeries, he can see a hand waved in front of his face. I really hate to be a buzz kill before this Fourth of July holiday — what should be a time when wonderful memories are made with family and loved ones. Unfortunately, more than 9,000 fireworks injuries happen each year on average in the United States, with roughly 1 in 8 fireworks injuries harming the eyes, according to the most recent fireworks injury report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Common fireworks eye injuries include... ...

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June is Cataract Awareness Month

By Mark Siegel, MD, FAAO Throughout the month of June, Sea Island Ophthalmology would like to help people become more aware of the serious eye disease of cataracts. There are about 22 million Americans aged 40 and older who suffer with cataracts, and more than half the people over age 65 have some degree of cataract development. Cataracts are now the leading cause of blindness among adults over 55 years of age. Moreover, a study out of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston indicates that seniors suffering from poor vision have shown evidence of a premature mental decline. Additionally, a study found that patients who received cataract surgery had a significantly reduced rate of hip fractures from falls. The results of these studies clearly bring to light the importance of routine eye care for older adults, who are at increased risk of eye conditions that cause severe visual impairment such as cataracts. The good news is that vision loss caused by cataracts can be easily treated. Cataract surgery... ...

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Protect your eyes from the sun

By Mark Siegel As you rub on sunscreen to protect your skin this summer, don’t forget to protect your eyes as well. Summertime means more time spent outdoors, and studies show that exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and growths on the eye, including cancer. May is UV (ultraviolet light) Safety Awareness Month and Sea Island Ophthalmology wants to remind everyone of the importance of protecting our eyes from the sun’s haarmful rays by wearing proper protection. It also wants to remind the public of the importance of protecting eyes from indoor UV light when using tanning beds. UV radiation, whether from natural sunlight or indoor artificial rays, can damage the eye’s surface tissues as well as the cornea and lens. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the dangers UV light can pose. By wearing UV blocking sunglasses, you can enjoy the summer safely while lowering your risk for potentially blinding eye diseases and tumors. It is important to start wearing... ...

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Exercise and lifestyle can affect visual impairment

By Mark S. Siegel, MD In 2020, the number of people in the United States with visual impairment — sight loss often caused by eye disease, trauma, or a congenital or degenerative condition that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses — is projected to increase to at least four million. This is a 70 percent increase from 2000 and is due to the growing aging population and prevalence of age-related eye diseases. To help determine ways to decrease the incidence of visual impairment, researchers at the University of Wisconsin examined the relationships between the incidence of visual impairment and three modifiable lifestyle behaviors: smoking, drinking alcohol and staying physically active. The research was conducted as part of the Beaver Dam Eye Study, a long-term population-based cohort study from 1988 to 2013 of nearly 5,000 adults aged 43 to 84 years. The researchers found that regular physical activity and an alcoholic beverage every now and then is associated with a lower risk of visual impairment. The data showed that... ...

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Prevent injuries with 10 eye safety tips during Workplace Eye Wellness Month

By Mark S. Siegel More than 700,000 work-related eye injuries occur each year. March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month — a good time to refocus attention on your eye protection program. Get the facts here, plus 10 tips for injury prevention. As the National Safety Council points out, “All it takes is a tiny sliver of metal, particle of dust, or splash of chemical to cause significant and permanent eye damage.” OSHA’s eye and face protection standard requires employers to “ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids, or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation.” Share these injury-prevention tips with managers and supervisors. 1. Look carefully at plant operations, work areas, access routes, and equipment. Study injury patterns to see where accidents are occurring. 2. Conduct regular vision testing, as uncorrected vision can cause accidents. 3. Select protective eyewear based on specific duties or hazards. 4. Establish... ...

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Can cataract surgery help you live longer?

By Mark Siegel, MD, FAAO A recent study indicated that people who suffer from vision loss related to cataracts that proceed with cataract surgery lower their long-term mortality risk by 40 percent compared to people that choose not to have surgery.  The data used for the research study came from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a group that researches vision and common eye diseases in an older Australian population. The study that was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology studied a total of 354 patients over the age of 49 who suffered from visual impairment that was caused by cataracts. This study took place over a 15-year time span and evaluated patients who elected to have cataract surgery and patients who did not have surgery to correct cataract-related vision impairment. The study took adjustments into account such as age and gender as well as mortality risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking, co-morbid disease and cardiovascular disease to name a few. The correlation between living longer... ...

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A healthy New Year’s resolution for your eyes

By Mark Siegel, MD, FAAO Each year as the New Year approaches, people around the world resolve to make changes that will result in longer, happier and healthier lives. Often people are determined to lose weight while others are committed to kicking unhealthy habits such as smoking. This year I would like you to add, “Get a Glaucoma Eye Exam!” to the list of healthy resolutions, and Glaucoma Awareness Month in January is the perfect time to do it. Glaucoma normally progresses so slowly that there are usually no warning signs before permanent damage has occurred to the eye. Therefore, it is vital to educate the American public about the importance of a yearly eye exam to increase early detection and treatment of glaucoma to help prevent vision loss. What is glaucoma? In a healthy eye, clear fluid is constantly being made behind the iris and leaving the eye through a microscopic drainage canal in the front of the eye. If this drainage channel becomes blocked, the pressure inside the... ...

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Choose safe toys this holiday

By Mark S. Siegel, MD 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 toys 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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Vitamins reduce risk of age-related macular degeneration

By Mark S. Siegel, MD, FAAO More than a decade after the first age-related eye disease study (AREDS) showed that taking daily high doses of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper can slow down the progress of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) a second study (AREDS 2) has revealed that adding certain antioxidants to the original formula does not provide any extra benefit to patients. Advanced AMD can lead to significant vision loss, and in the United States it is the leading cause of blindness. About 2 million Americans have advanced AMD; another 8 million are at risk. The first AREDS study was conducted by the National Eye Institute and concluded in 2001. It showed that the original AREDS formula could reduce patients’ risk of the advanced form of AMD by about 25 percent. The formula helps protect people’s central vision, which is needed for reading, driving, recognizing faces and other daily activities. AREDS2, which concluded in 2011, tested several antioxidant nutrients that earlier research had suggested might protect... ...

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