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Shingles in the Eye: Symptoms and Treatment

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Thu, Aug 01, 2019 @ 01:55 PM

Eye shinglesIf you’ve ever had the chickenpox, there is a chance you may develop shingles. Shingles is a painful rash caused by the reactivation of the chickenpox virus. This rash will break out across one side of the body with a burning or tingling sensation. It may also cause flu-like symptoms. There are more 200,000 cases in the United States each year. If you develop shingles, it is possible for the rash to appear on your face, and can even get into your eyes.

If shingles develops on your face, pay close attention to your eyes. Shingles in the eyes can create serious vision problems.  The ocular surface can become swollen and inflamed, causing pain and blurry vision.  Corneal ulcers can also develop and may lead to permanent scarring.   The virus may even damage the corneal nerves causing chronic problems with ocular healing.

Signs of Shingles in the Eye

Shingles in the eye is called herpes zoster ophthalmicus. Symptoms of this condition include:

  • Redness and swelling around the eyelids
  • Irritated and itchy eyes
  • Blistering on the upper eyelid, typically on one side of the face
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity

These are all signs that you may have shingles in your eye; however, they can also be representative of other eye conditions. Whether you have shingles or not, you should see an ophthalmologist immediately.

Treatment for Shingles in the Eye

With a simple eye examination, your doctor can determine if you have shingles in your eye. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, you will be prescribed an antiviral medication. This medication can be in a liquid or tablet form and should be taken as soon as possible for the best results. Eye drops may also be recommended to reduce any inflammation.

 Shingles in the eye can cause severe complications and must be addressed promptly. If you’ve had shingles in the past, or believe you may currently have shingles and are experiencing any of these symptoms, the experts at Eye Specialists of Louisiana are to help.

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Yellowing of the Eyes: What Does it Mean?

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Tue, Jul 30, 2019 @ 01:48 PM

Yellow eyesDid you know that your eyes can give clues about your health? The portion of the eye known as the sclera should appear white. If discolored, something has likely gone wrong. Yellowing eyes can be a result of various medical conditions, with jaundice being the most likely culprit.

Jaundice is a condition that occurs when the oxygen-carrying components in the blood, called hemoglobin, break down into bilirubin and are not cleared by the body. Bilirubin is supposed to move through the liver and be expelled from the body, but if this doesn’t occur, it builds up and causes the skin – and in this case, eyes – to yellow. Alcoholic hepatitis, a condition that can develop in those who drink alcohol heavily, is linked to jaundice, as it takes a toll on the liver and prevents it from functioning properly. Those suffering from jaundice as the result of an infection may need to take antibiotics, antifungals or antivirals in order to begin improvement. If jaundice is the result of dietary habits, eating more fruit, vegetables and whole grains is recommended. Jaundice can also be a side effect of taking certain medications like acetaminophen, penicillins, oral contraceptives and anabolic steroids. Yellowing eyes as a result of jaundice is extremely common in newborns, as their livers haven’t matured yet. A medical professional should see to a newborn who has been afflicted with jaundice, however, most cases are harmless and will be resolved on their own with time. In older children and adults, yellow eyes usually indicate a more serious problem.

A number of medical conditions can also cause jaundice, including subconjunctival hemorrhage, leptospirosis and pancreatitis:

Jaundice from Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

A subconjunctival hemorrhage refers to the blood vessels in your eyes bursting or breaking and causing your eye to become discolored, usually a red or yellow hue. This condition doesn’t cause any pain but can cause the eye to feel itchy. This condition can be caused by trauma, hard coughing or sneezing, vomiting and heavy lifting, among others. To ease the feeling of scratchiness, artificial tears may be applied.

Jaundice from Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis is a condition caused by a bacterial infection and shows up in warmer climates where contaminated water can be found. Other side effects may include a cough, sore throat, headache, stomach pain and swollen lymph nodes. Antibiotics are used to treat this infection.

Jaundice from Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis, an infection of the pancreas, causes the pancreas to swell. This triggers stomach pain and can affect the liver, causing jaundice of the eyes and skin. Perhaps more serious than the previously mentioned conditions, those suffering should request a doctor’s care immediately.

If you have noticed yellowing eyes in yourself or a loved one, make an appointment with a medical professional immediately. Contact Eye Specialists of Louisiana and request an appointment with any one of our dedicated ophthalmologists.  

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How Your Eyes Work & How to Keep Them Healthy

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Tue, Jul 23, 2019 @ 04:13 PM

eyes workAs you read this blog, your eyes are working feverishly.  They are taking in bits of information and processing them non-stop.  The muscles around them are working hard to move and adjust them, and as you focus more on the screen, they blink less.  Those two eyes are among your bodies most impressive organs, but chances are, you rarely think about them.  They seem to work so effortlessly that you’d probably never imagine how incredible they really are.

How Your Eyes and Brain Work Together

Think for a moment of all the amazing things those eyes allow you to do, of all the beauty they allow you to take in.  Furthermore, consider that 80% of all that you learn is directly connected to your vision, and you will realize just how important they really are.  Did you know that they process about 36,000 pieces of information every hour?  Their job is never really done.  Even as you sleep, you go through a cycle of rapid eye movement (REM) when most of your dreaming occurs and larger, voluntary muscle groups undergo paralysis.

How the Body Supports Your Eyes

To function so skillfully, your eyes require a lot of support.  They are aided by the brain, external eye muscles, your tear ducts, eyelids, and even your eyelashes.  All of these parts coordinate to keep the eyes protected and in top working order.  Thanks to this incredible support system, what could be a very vulnerable area is amazingly resilient. 

How to Protect Your Eyes from Disease

Surprisingly, despite this incredible resiliency, there are an estimated 285 million people in the world who are blind or visually impaired.  Astoundingly, 80% of these cases could have been prevented or even cured with proper eye care.  While our eyes may be among the human body’s most capable and complex organs, they still require maintenance.  Unfortunately, because they are so skilled at what they do, they are often overlooked when it comes to regular exams.  The American Optometric Association recommends that all individuals between the ages of 6 – 60 have an eye exam every two years and that those over the age of 60 see their optometrist annually.

To shed some more light on how remarkable your eyes are and why you should be diligent in their care, we’ve put together some fascinating facts that you probably didn’t know about them.  Simply click the button below to access this free download.  Of course, those of us here at Eye Specialists of Louisiana are passionate about your eye health and the quality of care that you receive.  

15 Facts About Your Eyes

Tags: Facts About Eyes, Eye Doctors

5 Surprising Facts About Your Eyes

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Mon, Jul 15, 2019 @ 04:50 PM

5 surprising factsThey come in many shapes, sizes, and colors and have been deemed the “windows to the soul”.  They are among the first facial features that others notice, and they can determine how attractive or even trustworthy you seem.  Undoubtedly, the eyes play a vital role in our day-to-day lives and interactions, but they are responsible for so much more than simply seeing all that surrounds us.  The eyes are constantly at work and sending signals to the brain that can instantly impact the rest of the body.  If your eyes detect a threat, for instance, it can trigger an entire chain of events that produces your natural fight or flight process, and this is just one example.  There are so many different functions of the eyes of which most are unaware.  So, let’s take a moment to appreciate them and explore a few of the most surprising facts about our amazing eyes!

The Seeing Process Involves About Half of the Brain

The area of the human brain responsible for all visual information is known as the visual cortex.  It is the largest system within the brain, with each hemisphere containing a visual cortex.  The visual cortex located in the right hemisphere receives information from the left visual field, and the one located in the left hemisphere receives information from the right visual field. 

Eye Muscles are Among the Strongest in the Body

The external muscles of the eye are among the strongest in the human body for what they have to do.  When considering their size, these muscles are often said to be 100 times stronger than is necessary.  They make constant coordinated movements to support and adjust the eye.  Even when we sleep, our eye muscles continue to work through rapid eye movement.

Every Eye has a Blind Spot

There is a point, where the optic nerve meets the retina, where the human eye contains no photoreceptors.  This spot has no response to light stimulation and results in a blind spot.  You don’t notice this spot, because your eyes work together to fill it in.

Eyes are Always Ready to Function at 100% Capacity

The eye is the only part of the human body that is constantly on its “A game.”  The eyelid and external muscles of the eye need rest, and the lubrication for your eyes needs to be replenished.  However, your eyes themselves are able to function at 100% any time of the day or night.

Your Eyes Have Over 2 Million Working Parts

After the brain, eyes are the most complex organs in the human body.  It takes over 2 million working parts for them to function properly.  These parts enable the eyes to do some incredible things, such as process 36,000 pieces of information every hour and focus on about 50 different things each second.

Keeping Your Eyes Healthy

Despite their incredible resilience and many amazing feats, the eyes require regular care to ensure that their job may be done well.  Regular eye exams are key to keeping vision and the eyes themselves healthy and strong.  In Baton Rouge, Eye Specialists of Louisiana offers a wide range of ophthalmologic services at our new, state-of-the-art office.  To learn more about our services or to request an appointment with one of our physicians, click the button below.

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Can Proper Nutrition Prevent Cataracts?

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Wed, May 29, 2019 @ 09:53 AM

nutrition_for_cataracts.jpg

A nutritious, well-balanced diet is essential for living a healthy life, but adding a few extra vitamins and antioxidants to your nutrition plan can have more benefits than you may think.

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a leading cause of visual impairment in Americans, as well as one of the most common surgical procedures performed in the U.S. with more than two million procedures done per year. Cataracts develop when proteins in the lens of the eye are damaged, causing the eyes to become ‘cloudy’ or opaque.

Reducing the Risk of Cataracts

Several factors can increase the risk of developing cataracts, among them include: age, genetics and ethnicity. While we have no control over these factors, there are some that we can control to reduce the risk of cataract development, such as not smoking, wearing hats or sunglasses to protect your eyes from UVA/UVB rays and of course, eating a healthy diet.

How Diet Affects Cataracts

Recent studies have shown a promising link to preventing or delaying cataracts by eating a healthy diet. Vitamins C and E are the strongest protectants due to containing antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Lutein and zeaxanthin are the only carotenoids found in the lens of the eyes. Both are promising nutrients that can prevent the development of cataracts, and eating foods containing high amounts of both antioxidants are associated with a reduced need for cataract surgery.

According to the American Optometric Association, numerous studies have found strong evidence that vitamins C and E may decrease the development or progression of cataracts. One recent analysis from the Second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that adding higher levels of vitamin C to the diet were associated with a lower risk of developing cataracts. You can read more about recent studies on cataracts on the AOA website.

Eating the recommended daily five servings of fruit and vegetables is the best and easiest way to incorporate more vitamins C and E into your diet. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans do not eat all five servings and in today’s fast-paced world, it can be difficult find the best food sources on-the-go. If you believe you may be at risk for developing cataracts, consider adding a daily multivitamin and eye health supplements containing at least 75 mg of vitamin C and 15 mg of vitamin E to your diet.

Treating Cataracts in Baton Rouge

For those in the Baton Rouge area who are concerned about the development of cataracts or just want help in maintaining their vision and eye health, contact Eye Specialists of Louisiana, and request an appointment with any one of our dedicated ophthalmologists.  

10 Things You Should Know About Cataracts

 

Tags: Cataracts, Healthy Eye Tips

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