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Understanding the 3 Most Common Types of Cataracts

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Fri, Apr 26, 2019 @ 01:36 PM

types of cataractsA great many Americans are familiar with cataracts and the problems they cause.  A largely age-related eye condition, cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens that worsens with time.  As the condition progresses, it will lead to increased blurriness.  If left untreated, complete blindness can ultimately result.  In fact, cataracts are currently the leading cause of blindness worldwide. 

Fortunately, most patients do not progress to this point before they are able to have medical intervention.  When diagnosed and treated appropriately, cataracts do not have to steal vision.  They can be removed and managed effectively in order to reduce their impact on the patient and their capabilities. 

There are three common types of cataracts that may affect adults.  Identification will depend of factors such as location within the lens, degree of clouding, and the believed cause of the cataract.

Nuclear Sclerotic Cataract

This is the most common type of age-related cataract and affects the center of the lens.  The first signs are typically nearsightedness and even temporary improvement in vision from reading distance.  Over time, vision will become increasingly cloudy and the color of the lens will gradually progress to a dense yellow or even brown.

Cortical Cataract

This type of cataract affects the edge of the lens.  With a cortical cataract, there will typically be white streaks or opacities on the outer edge of the cortex of the lens.  These streaks will move toward the center of the lens as the cataract progresses.  Patients with cortical cataracts often report issues with glare.  Diabetic patients are at an increased risk for this type of cataract.

Posterior Subcapsular Cataract

This type of cataract affects the back of the lens.  It will normally begin as a small, opaque area that will interfere directly with light making its way to the retina.  With this cataract, there may be multiple issues including poor reading vision, halos, glare, and poor vision in bright light.  Risk factors for posterior subcapsular cataract include diabetes, steroid use, and extreme nearsightedness.

If you are among the many Americans suffering from vision impairment due to cataracts, there are many effective treatment options available to you.  These include laser and dropless cataract procedures, as well as a wide range of lens options based on your specific needs and budget.  To learn more about your cataracts and how to best address them, contact Eye Specialists of Louisiana and request a consultation.

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What is Causing Your Drooping Eyelid?

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Tue, Apr 23, 2019 @ 11:58 AM

ptosisPtosis or blepharoptosis are the medical terms used to describe a drooping eyelid.  In the condition, the lower portion of the top eyelid begins to sag or droop, possibly to the point of vision interference.  The condition can leave patients feeling self-conscious about their appearance while also inhibiting their ability to see clearly.  It can even to lead to safety concerns, particularly during certain vision-based activities such as driving. 

Causes of a Drooping Eyelid

A sagging eyelid is not always the result of age.  In fact, there are many conditions which can result in this type of drooping, including:

Congenital Ptosis

As the name suggests, congenital ptosis is a condition that is present from birth.  It is due to underdevelopment of the muscles responsible for maintaining the eyelid’s position.  In the vast majority of cases, congenital ptosis affects only a single eye.  Depending on the severity of the condition and potential vision interference, surgical repair may be required.

Aponeurotic Ptosis

When a sagging eyelid is the result of age, it is known as aponeurotic ptosis.  As we grow older, all skin begins to lose its elasticity, including the skin surrounding the eyes.  Thanks to time and gravity, eyelids may begin to droop more and more.  This drooping may be bilateral, or it may be worse on one side.

Nerve Injury

Muscle movements are controlled by nerves that transmit signals from the brain.  When injury affects these nerves, it can result in weakness or paralysis of the muscles they control.  Situations which may impact the nerves responsible for the eyelid include stroke, diabetes, brain tumor and brain aneurysm.

Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia gravis is a rare medical disorder that impacts the way muscles receive and respond to information from nerves.  Over time, the affected muscles may become weaker and sagging can result.  This condition may affect not only the eyelids, but other facial muscles, extremities, and other body parts as well.

Muscle Disease

Ptosis can also be the result of one of two forms of muscle disease.  The first, oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy, leads to progressive weakness of muscles in the upper eyelids and throat.  It is a rare disorder that most often begins between the ages of 40 and 60.  The second is a condition most often seen in early adulthood called progressive external ophthalmoplegia.  It is characterized by loss of muscle function in the eye an eyelid and can lead to paralysis of the eye and drooping of the eyelid.

 

Treating a Drooping Eyelid

Treatment for a drooping eyelid will depend on the underlying cause.  However, in the case of aponeurotic ptosis, the most common cause of drooping eyelids in adults, a simple surgical procedure known as blepharoplasty can help.  For the best and safest results, this procedure is best performed by a skilled ophthalmologist who has intimate knowledge and extensive education surrounding the delicate eye area.  To learn more about this procedure, click below to request a consultation with Eye Specialists of Louisiana.

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Tags: Blepharoplasty

The Effects of Chlorine on Eye Health

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Thu, Mar 14, 2019 @ 02:06 PM

happy teen  group  at swimming pool class  learning to swim and have funHave you ever spent a day at the pool and noticed that your vision was a little blurry after? Have you looked in the mirror after swimming and noticed that your eyes were red?  Chlorine is a chemical commonly used in pools for water purification and sanitation, but despite the benefits, it can also have some less than desirable effects on your eyes.  If you are looking forward to enjoying the pool as warmer days approach, keep the following in mind, and keep your eyes protected from chlorine’s ill effects. 

How Does Chlorine Harm the Eyes?

Our eyes are typically protected from outside bacteria and irritants with a tear film that coats the cornea.  When exposed to chlorine, however, this tear film can be stripped away, leaving the eyes vulnerable to not only the chemical itself but also to pollutants that may still exist in the chlorinated water.  Common eye conditions associated with chlorine exposure include:

  • Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye) – A viral or bacterial eye infection that is easily transmitted via water.
  • Irritation – This includes redness and blurriness that occur with damage of the tear film. These symptoms are usually temporary and resolve without treatment.

Protecting the Eyes from Chlorine

Chlorine is still a necessity for pool sanitation and the rewards of eliminating the spread of water-borne bacteria and illness far outweigh the risks, so it’s a chemical you are sure to encounter again and again.   However, rather than avoiding the pool altogether, take a few safety precautions to enjoy swimming while also keeping your eyes protected.

  • Use water-tight goggles when swimming in a chlorinated pool. Not only will you be able to see clearly underwater, you eliminate the risk of eye irritation and infection.
  • Do not wear contact lenses in the pool. Bacteria can become trapped between your eye and the lens and cause serious complications. If you do have to wear them, immediately clean with solution after leaving the pool.
  • When experiencing the symptoms of chlorine irritation, use lubricating eye drops to help rebuild the tear film on your eyes.

These simple steps can help keep your eyes safe and healthy both during and after swimming.  If you do happen to experience symptoms such as redness or blurriness, understand that these symptoms are a common side effect of chlorine exposure and that they will quickly resolve.  However, should the symptoms persist an infection may be present.  Contact Eye Specialists of Louisiana and request an appointment with one of our skilled ophthalmologists to assess your eye health.

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Tags: Healthy Eye Tips

Ophthalmologist vs. Optometrist: What is the difference?

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Tue, Mar 12, 2019 @ 12:43 PM

ophthalmologistWhen it comes to ophthalmology and optometry, the differences between the two professions can be unclear. We understand that it is hard enough learning how to spell ophthalmology, much less understanding exactly what an ophthalmologist does.  So, deciding on who you should consult for your eye care can be a bit overwhelming.  With that in mind, let’s explore the key differences between an ophthalmologist and optometrist and determine which may best for your own eye care needs.

Defining Optometrist

The American Board of Clinical Optometry defines optometrists as: “Optometrists, or Doctors of Optometry, are primary health care providers who specialize in the examination, diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye, and the eye's associated structures, as well as the diagnoses and management of related systemic conditions that affect the eye." 

Defining Ophthalmologist

The American Academy of Ophthalmology defines the profession of Ophthalmology or Ophthalmologist as: "An Eye M.D. is an ophthalmologist, a medical or osteopathic doctor who specializes in eye and vision care. Eye M.D.s are specially trained to provide the full spectrum of eye care, from prescribing glasses and contact lenses to complex and delicate eye surgery. Many Eye M.D.s are also involved in scientific research into the causes and cures for eye diseases and vision problems."

Between the two professions, there is some overlap in the types of care of provided. However, some very critical differences between the two should be noted and made clear. We have listed a couple of distinct differences below for your reference. 

Optometrist Treatments and Services

Optometrists are extensively trained in refraction and prescribing lenses.

An optometrist specializes in prescribing glasses and contact lenses.  An optometrist is trained to diagnose and treat vision conditions like farsightedness, nearsightedness and astigmatism, as well as fit and prescribe contact lenses and prescription eyeglass lenses. A large part of their job was is to perform “refraction” — or vision correction exams. To prescribe eye glasses, an optometrist must complete a refraction to precisely measure a patient’s far-farsightedness, nearsightedness, and/or astigmatism.  A refraction should also include measurement of accommodation (focusing) and binocular (eye teaming) function.   

Optometrist Training and Education

To become an optometrist, one must complete four years of education from a school of optometry after receiving an undergraduate degree. While in optometry school, four years of concentrated class and clinic work in refraction, optics, ophthalmic optics and contact lenses are the main objectives. Additionally, every optometry school curriculum includes many hours of course work in binocular function, which is the study of how the two eyes work together.

Ophthalmologist Treatments and Services   

The study of ophthalmology is heavily concentrated on performing surgery on eyes to treat eye disease.  While the treatment by optometrist involves prescribing medications up to the point of surgery, ophthalmologists are trained to treat eye conditions and disease through both diagnosis and surgical intervention.

Ophthalmologist Training and Education

Ophthalmologists are trained in surgeries and pathologies. 

Ophthalmologists have more of an extensive schooling than do the optometrist. Ophthalmologist take four or more years of premedical undergraduate education. Once the four years of undergraduate schooling is complete, four years of medical school is then required. Then, one year of internship is required to get a medical license. Once they become licensed physicians, they will then undergo a residency of three or more years, with medical and surgical training in eye care.

When to See an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist

Whether you see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist for any eye condition, if you need surgery, seeing an ophthalmologist is a necessity. Eye surgery is extremely serious, and you’ll want to find the ophthalmologist who specializes in the specific type of treatment you need.  Surgeries commonly performed by ophthalmologists include cataract removal, LASIK, corneal transplants, and more.

If you have symptoms that may warrant a visit to an ophthalmologist, contact Eye Specialists of Louisiana.  We have a team of board-certified ophthalmologists available to address your concerns and provide the highest levels of treatment. 

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Tags: Eye Doctors

What Your Eye Color May Say About Your Health

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Wed, Feb 27, 2019 @ 05:16 PM

AdobeStock_106404672Most of us try to keep our health in check by exercising, maintaining a well-balanced diet and sleeping an adequate amount per night, but despite all of our efforts, there are some conditions to which each of us are genetically predisposed.  Sometimes, we can pinpoint these by reviewing our family history, but that isn’t the only clue into our potential health risks.  Did you know that your eye color can reveal abnormalities your body is predisposed to as well? Research suggests that eye color is linked to risks of certain diseases, blood sugar levels and even how your body reacts to alcohol.

 

What Brown Eyes Say About Your Health

Those with darker eyes are 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to develop cataracts - a cloudy appearance over the pupil - than those with lighter eyes, according to a study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology. If you have black or brown eyes, make sure to take the necessary precautions to protect your eyes, like investing in high-quality sunglasses and avoiding excess sun exposure between noon and 3:00 PM.

Brown eyes could even be connected to how well you can hear.  Studies show that in loud places, brown-eyed people experience less hearing loss than blue-eyed people. While we aren’t certain why this is the case, it may be due to the greater amount of melanin that brown-eyed people have, both in their eyes and in their ears.

Furthermore, people with brown eyes tend to have a slightly shorter reaction time than those with lighter eyes suggests a study done at the University of Louisville, giving those with darker eyes a bit of an athletic advantage. Lighter eyes tend to be more sensitive to light, which is the most likely cause of longer reaction times. 

What Blue Eyes Say About Your Health

Research done at Georgia State University suggests that those with light eyes consume significantly more alcohol than those with darker eyes. This may mean that darker-eyed people are more sensitive to alcohol and therefore consume it less frequently. However, another study done at the University of Vermont concluded that those with European descendancy (i.e., those with lighter eyes - especially blue) had a much greater dependency on alcohol when compared to other nationalities. 

Lighter eyes have also been linked to a higher pain tolerance. A 2014 study at the University of Pittsburgh showed that women with lighter eyes experienced lower levels of pain during childbirth and were less prone to postpartum depression. Women with darker eyes also appeared to be more dependent on pain medication. This is most likely due to a genetic link that controls both eye color and pain tolerance.

What Heterochromia Says About Your Health

If you are one of the rarities with a blue or green patch in your brown eyes (heterochromia), this may be a symptom of Waardenburg Syndrome - a genetic condition that can cause hearing loss and changing in pigmentation of the hair, skin and eyes. It can also be linked to unique facial features like wide-set eyes. Those with this syndrome sometimes even have patches of differently colored hair.

Comprehensive eye exams assess your vision while allowing optometrists to gain a close-up look into the inside of your eyes. The blood vessels, veins and nerves of the eye can reveal deeper details about your overall health.  Remember, it’s all connected! The ophthalmologists at Eye Specialists of Louisiana can help you identify and appropriately address any issues with your vision or eye health.  Simply contact our office to request an appointment.

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16 Reason To Visit An Ophthalmologist

16 Reasons To Visit An Ophthalmologist

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