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Diabetes and Eye Disease: 3 Most Common Forms

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Tue, Nov 28, 2017 @ 09:00 AM

diabetic eye conditions.jpegBeing diabetic automatically places a patient in a much higher risk category for many health complications.  These include heart disease, nerve damage, skin infections, and eye disease.  In particular, there are three types of eye disease which are more likely to impact those with diabetes than the average patient, and it is of critical importance that each of these be understood and eye health actively monitored.  If you or a loved one live with diabetes, here are the eye conditions of which you should be most aware:

Diabetes and Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye condition in which fluid is unable to normally drain from the eye.  Over time, this buildup of fluid leads to increased intraocular pressure (IOP) and damage to the optic nerve.  Unfortunately, diabetic patients are especially susceptible to the condition which can cause gradual vision loss and often comes with no warning signs. 

Diabetes and Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a common cause of vision loss among diabetics.  Elevated levels of blood sugar over an extended period of time can lead to damage and blockage of blood vessels, particularly the tiny ones that feed into the retina.  The body will attempt to compensate by developing new blood vessels which are susceptible to microscopic hemorrhages.  In this case, dark splotches from the bleeding may be visible in the field of vision, and if allowed to advance far enough, blurred central vision, retinal detachment, and even blindness may occur.

Diabetes and Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens due to protein buildup and are a condition commonly associated with age.  In fact, the majority of Americans over the age of 60 will deal with cataracts to some degree.  However, those who are also diagnosed with diabetes are up to five times more likely to develop the condition than their peers.  Fortunately, treatment has come a very long way, and cataract surgery options ranging from traditional to laser to dropless are giving patients better outcomes and stronger vision than those in years past.

For patients with diabetes, there is no shortage of associated health concerns.  It’s an unfortunate reality of the disease.  However, careful monitoring of the condition and a healthy lifestyle and diet can keep many of these problems at bay.  In the case of diabetes-related eye conditions, a skilled ophthalmologist is a critical member of your medical team.

If you are in the Baton Rouge area and are living with diabetes, contact Eye Specialists of Louisiana, and request an appointment with one of our physicians to evaluate the current state of your eye health and for recommendations to keep your vision strong well into the future.

 10 Things You Should Know About Cataracts

Night Blindness: Causes and Baton Rouge Treatment Options

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Wed, Nov 22, 2017 @ 02:14 PM

night blindness.jpegHave you ever driven on the interstate at night and wondered how anyone could focus on the road with such little light and the added distraction of oncoming traffic? Staring straight ahead for miles on end, depending solely on your headlights to lead you down the correct path can be difficult with or without a vision problem, but for some, the task is exceptionally difficult. What could be causing the additional struggle? In many cases, the problem can be attributed to a condition known as night blindness.

What is Night Blindness?

Night Blindness (aka nyctalopia) is the inability to see well at night or in poor light. Nyctalopia is not a disease, but rather, a symptom of another optical problem. Many who suffer from nyctalopia also suffer from disorders such as nearsightedness, glaucoma, myopia, cataracts, vitamin A deficiency, Keratoconus, or other such eye condition.  These optic issues can each hinder your ability to see in dim light, which explains the challenge of driving at night or transitioning from a light to dark space.

What Treatment Options are Available for Night Blindness?

Successfully treating nyctalopia can typically be accomplished by first treating the underlying eye disorder. If a patient is nearsighted, for instance, a prescription for new glasses could do the trick. For cases caused by cataracts, surgical interventions such as dropless cataract surgery can lead to drastic improvement.  In the case of glaucoma, medication may be needed. 

Determining the source of night blindness, as well as the most appropriate treatment method, can be accomplished with a complete eye exam.  A board-certified ophthalmologist will have the skill and training needed to detect not only refractive errors, but any other conditions which may be affecting the retina, cornea, or other structure within the eye.  Additionally, they will be able to actively monitor your condition with regular visits and prescribe or update your treatment plan as needed.

Our team at Eye Specialists of Louisiana is committed to working diligently to diagnose and resolve your optical disorders. If think you may be suffering from nyctalopia as a result of an underlying optical disorder, contact our Baton Rouge ophthalmology practice to schedule your next appointment.

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3 Tips for Giving LASIK as a Christmas Gift

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Mon, Oct 30, 2017 @ 04:13 PM

LASIK for Christmas-1.pngIf you have a loved one who wears contacts or glasses, you’ve probably heard them lament their poor eyesight more than once.  You may have even heard them express their desire to get LASIK surgery.  It’s an option that seems to regularly cross the minds of those whose sight has become dependent upon corrective eyewear.  After all, it’s quite easy to take for granted the ability to simply wake up and be able to see or to dash out the door without regard for glasses or contact solution.  And, while your loved one may have expressed some of these same sentiments, there could also be a couple of hurdles that are preventing them from taking the leap.  However, with the help and encouragement of someone they love and trust, their dream of clear, unassisted vision could be a reality.

Tip 1: Understand Who is a Candidate for LASIK

Not all patients with refractive errors are candidates for LASIK, so it’s important to do some homework ahead of time to determine if your loved one would even be able to take advantage of the surgery.  Here are the requirements that patients must meet:

  • Over 18 years old
  • Eyes are generally healthy (i.e. – no infection, scars, etc.)
  • Have stable vision without prescription changes in the past year
  • Willing to stop wearing contacts 2 to 4 weeks prior to surgery

While there are certainly other factors that will come into play and that can be discussed during a consultation, meeting the above makes a patient a pretty good candidate for LASIK surgery.

Tip 2: Research LASIK Surgeons

You may see ads promoting discounted LASIK procedures or notice a physician’s television commercials, but these should not be the determining factor in which LASIK surgeon you choose.  When it comes to any surgical procedure, especially one involving an area as delicate as the eyes, due diligence in research is necessary to make the best possible choice.  Use search engines and social media to locate nearby doctors.  Read their reviews and talk to former patients.  You likely know at least one or two people who have already had LASIK.  Find out who they went to and if they would recommend them.  And, of course, always confirm your surgeon’s qualifications and experience.

Tip 3: Look for LASIK Financing Options

The average cost of LASIK is anywhere from $1500 to $3000 per eye.  Although some surgeons may charge slightly more or less.  This cost can be off-putting to some, but LASIK is actually quite cost effective, drastically reducing the amount of money that patients must spend on prescription eyewear and associated products such as contact solution over their lifetime.  Additionally, most practices offer financing options to help patients pay for their procedure over the course of several months versus one lump sum.  And, don’t forget other payment options that may be available such as a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account through an employer.

If you want to give the gift this Christmas that will last forever, give the gift of clear sight.  Not only is it something that will be used every single day, it can also greatly improve quality of life and even happiness.  You can begin by scheduling an initial consultation with a Baton Rouge LASIK surgeon such as those at Eye Specialists of Louisiana who will help guide yourself and your loved one through the process from evaluation to surgery to follow-up.  Simply click below to request your appointment.

Top 10 Things to Know About LASIK

4 Signs Your Child May Need Glasses

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 @ 01:24 PM

Child needs glasses.jpeg

Now that the school year is underway, your child is spending far less time playing and way more hitting the books.  Given the amount of time that kids spend looking at a screen or board at the front of the classroom, reading textbooks, and writing down notes, it really isn’t any wonder that this time of year is when potential vision problems are likely to come to the surface.  Your child may have seemed just fine during the summer, but now you may be wondering if it’s time to have their eyes examined.  If so, here are some clues that can help you decide if a visit to your ophthalmologist is in order.

Complaining of Headaches after School

While vision related headaches can occur at any time, you may notice that your child complains of them most often during the school day or after returning home.  These headaches typically occur at the front of the forehead or above the brows.  For a child who is attempting to strain in order to compensate for poor vision throughout the day, these types of headaches are not uncommon.

Sitting too close to the TV

This one doesn’t apply solely to the television.  If you see your child holding a book or tablet very close to their face during use, these can also be signs that they are suffering from nearsightedness.  In this condition, objects up close appear clear while those at a distance are blurry.  If you believe your child is compensating for poor distance vision by bringing objects closer to them, it is time to have their eyes checked.

Squinting While Reading

By squinting our eyes, we can temporarily improve our vision by changing the shape of the eye and narrowing the field of focus.  This is a habit that many children with refractive errors will pick up unwittingly.  If you see your child squinting frequently, particularly while reading or attempting to view an object in the distance, it could be an indicator of underlying vision problems.

Covering One Eye While Reading

If your child covers one eye while reading or watching television, there is likely a vision-related issue at play.  By covering a weaker eye, they are eliminating its interference in their vision.  This can also be a sign of double vision caused by a condition such as strabismus.  Again, this is a strong indicator that an eye exam is needed.

Naturally, you want your child to succeed in school, and you understand that strong vision plays a major role.  While your child may have eye exams at school, these are often not enough.  If you notice any of the above signs or simply want to confirm that your child’s vision is healthy, make an appointment with a Baton Rouge ophthalmologist such as those at Eye Specialists of Louisiana, and ensure that your child is set up for a successful school year.

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4 Common Conditions that Affect the Cornea

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Mon, Aug 21, 2017 @ 11:07 AM

Funny amusing curly girl in checkered shirt showing okay gesture near her eye.jpeg

The eye is composed of many parts, each serving an important role in its health and function.  The iris controls the pupil, making it smaller or larger, depending on the amount of light needed.  The retina interprets the images we see and sends them to the brain via the optic nerve.  And, the cornea sits at the front of it all, a clear, dome-shaped covering that focuses light into the eye and helps protect it from outside elements. 

Injury or disease can negatively impact any part of the eye, but its forward placement makes the cornea uniquely susceptible.  Here, we will review four common causes of damage or irritation to the cornea, as well as how they may be treated.

Keratitis and Corneal Inflammation

Keratitis is a condition in which the cornea becomes inflamed.  This may be the result of an injury or of irritation from causes such as wearing contact lenses for too long.  It may also occur as the result of an infection from bacteria, a virus, or parasites.  When keratitis occurs, the eyes may become red and painful.  You may experience excess tearing, discharge, or have difficulty opening your eyes.  If any of these symptoms occur, contact your ophthalmologist to determine the nature of your keratitis and have it treated appropriately.

Injury from Corneal Abrasion

Abrasions to the cornea can occur easily when a foreign object, no matter how small, makes contact.  In most cases, these scratches are minor and generally heal quickly and without aid.  However, deeper eye injuries can result in a number of painful symptoms and can impede vision as well.  Similar to Keratitis, a more severe corneal abrasion can cause pain, sensitivity to light, blurry vision, and redness.  Again, any of these symptoms indicate a need to see your eye doctor at the earliest possibility.

Allergies and the Cornea

There are many types of allergies that we can encounter from food to environmental.  However, the one that is most commonly noted for its ability to produce red, itchy, watery eyes is pollen.  Most bothersome when the weather takes a warmer turn, pollen can lead to lots of sniffling and eye tearing.  Fortunately, it is rarely bothersome enough to seek medical attention, and antihistamines and time are generally enough to do the trick.

Types of Corneal Dystrophy

In some cases, an individual develops clouding of the cornea due to a condition that is typically hereditary.  These conditions range in severity from barely noticeable to severe visual impairment.  Which disease is present will not only determine the patient’s outlook, but it will also dictate optimal treatment.  Among these conditions are:

  • Keratoconus
  • Fuchs’ Dystrophy
  • Lattice Dystrophy
  • Map-Dot-Fingerprint Dystrophy

 

Aside from those listed above, there are other health conditions such as shingles that may impact the eye as well.  The bottom line is that any changes in your eye such as irritation or visual disturbances warrants an exam with your ophthalmologist.  While your condition is hopefully mild and passing, it’s important not to overlook a more serious condition that requires treatment in order to protect vision and eye health.

If you notice any bothersome eye symptoms, contact Eye Specialists of Louisiana and request an appointment with any one of our highly-skilled Baton Rouge ophthalmologists.

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Tags: Cornea

16 Reason To Visit An Ophthalmologist

16 Reasons To Visit An Ophthalmologist

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