Watery Eyes

June 5th, 2017

Watery eyes are also known as epiphora or tearing, which is a condition that results in an overflow of tears. Usually this occurs without any clear explanation. As a result, there is insufficient tear film drainage from the eye(s) that cause it to overflow on the face rather than through the nasolacrimal system.

Tears serve an important purpose to the eyes such as keeping your eyes lubricated, and keeping away dust and/or foreign particles. It also protects your immune system from any other infection. Without the right balance of water and oils, your eyes can become too dry.

However, it is very common to temporarily produce excess tears when being emotional, coughing, laughing and vomiting. Among these, several other causes can result in watery eyes, too, such as:

  • Eye strain
  • Common cold, allergies and sinus problems
  • Blocked tear ducts
  • Cut or scrape on the eye
  • Cancer treatments including radiation and chemotherapy
  • Weather conditions can also come into play such as wind, sunshine and cold
  • Foreign objects, chemicals, or irritating liquids and gases in the eye

Watery eyes are temporary and can be resolved on their own when the cause is addressed and your eyes have healed without treatment. If not, an eye exam or physical can help answer your questions. Remedies for watery eyes include prescription eye drops, warm, wet towel places on your eyes several times a day to block tear ducts, as well as treating allergies that make your eyes watery.

However, keep in mind conditions may persist. Consult your physician if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Discharge or bleeding from your eye
  • Vision loss or visual disturbances
  • Injured eye
  • Red, irritated or swollen eyes
  • Eye issues accompanied by a severe headache

 

What Causes Blindness

May 10th, 2017

Blindness is a debilitating eye disease. It is the inability to see anything, even in the light or light itself.

There are several different types of blindness that are important to recognize:

  • Partially Blind –  having limited vision. This includes having blurry vision or the inability to distinguish objects.
  • Complete Blindness – this means you can’t see at all and are in complete darkness.
  • Legal Blindness – is vision that is highly compromised. For example, a person with healthy eyes can see up to 200 feet away, but someone who is legally blind can only see 20 feet away.

So what causes blindness? Blindness can be caused by eye diseases–less than 4 percent of blindness are caused by eye injury or trauma. There are four types of conditions that cause blindness:

 

  • Cataracts – Cataracts occur when the crystal clear lens of your eye becomes cloud. This results in blurry vision, faded colors and seeing through glare. Cataracts are the world’s number one cause of blindness, which increases in numbers as a person ages. .
  • Glaucoma – This condition mostly happens when fluid pressure inside one or both eyes slowly begin to increase. The pressure then damages the optic nerve and the retina causes a decrease in peripheral vision. Most vision loss due to glaucoma cannot be reversed, but this disease is manageable through prescription eye drops and/or surgery. It is vitally important to have regular eye exams to catch glaucoma early.
  • Macular Degeneration – This disease involves the gradual deterioration of the macula, or the nerve endings in the retina that are vital for sharp central vision. Although there is no cure for macular degeneration, treatments such as vitamin therapy, laser surgery, and special medications help to slow its progress.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy – When the systemic damage caused by diabetes begins to affect the retina, diabetic retinopathy occurs. It is specifically caused by the blood vessels, which nourish the retina, being negatively affected by diabetes. This causes vision loss through bleeding and direct damage to the retina. The most reliable treatment for this is close control of diabetes. If it is, however, more advanced than those affected can undergo eye surgery to further protect their sight.

Always remember to seek medical attention if suddenly you lose the ability to see, and never wait for your vision to return. Depending on the cause of your blindness, immediate treatment can increase your chances of restoring your vision.

Retinal vascular occlusion treatments

April 4th, 2017

Retinal Vascular Occlusion affects the eye, specifically the retina. It’s also a serious condition, especially if hardening of the arteries already exists. The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of your eye which is covered with special cells called rods and cones.These convert light into neural signals that are sent to the brain, giving you vision. The vascular system includes blood vessels such as arteries and veins, which transports blood throughout the body, including your eyes. Blood also removes the waste your retina produces. However, when one of the vessels carrying blood to or from the retina becomes blocked or even cause a blood clot it is called an occlusion.When this occurs, the occlusion can cause blood or other  fluids to build up and prevent the retina from correctly filtering light. As a result, when light is blocked or fluids are present, loss of vision can occur.

 

So how is this treatable? Although many who have this condition will have permanent changes to their vision, your doctor may recommend medication such as injections to the eye to control the swelling called corticosteroid drugs. Other drugs could also include Lucentis or Eylea. Often times, laser therapy can also be used to break down blockage in the blood vessels, keeping more damage from occurring.

What is Myasthenia Gravis?

March 16th, 2017

Although it’s known as a common primary disorder of neuromuscular transmission, Myasthenia Gravis only affects between 14 and 20 people out of every 100,000 in the US.

What exactly is it? Myasthenia Gravis causes weakness in your voluntary muscles, the muscles your body uses for movement. In basic terms, it occurs when communication between nerve cells and muscles become impaired because they can’t respond to nerve impulses. As a result, this impairment prevents crucial muscle contractions from occurring causing muscle weakness.For example, people suffering from Myasthenia Gravis suffer from weakness in the eye muscles, facial expressions and other muscles.

 

Some symptom of MG can include trouble walking, getting double vision, and frequent drooping of eyelids. It can even include difficulties in breathing, swallowing and even chewing. However, It’s important to note that not everyone will have the same symptoms and they can increase over time if it continues untreated.

 

So how can you treat it? Although there is no cure for MG, the ultimate goal for treatments is to control the activity of your immune system which often allows it to get much better. Tests used to make a diagnosis of MG include blood, nerve, muscle and imaging tests, where doctors look inside your body for key indicators.

 

Medications such as immunosuppressants can be used to suppress the immune system and minimize the abnormal responses that occurs in MG.These medicines may have major side effects, so they should be taken cautiously. There are also ways to help alleviate symptoms of MG in your everyday life. This includes getting plenty of rest to help lower muscle weakness, considering eye patches if you are bothered by double vision, even avoid stress and heat exposure can make a huge difference.
Talk to your doctor today about what you can do to minimize the severity of your MG.

Signs You Need an Eye Exam

February 8th, 2017

If there is ever a moment you question whether you should get an eye exam, chance are that you, in fact, should. If you are questioning it, it is probably because you are having eye complications or cannot remember the last time you had an eye exam. To help make your eye exam decision more clear, we have gathered some signs for you to look out for.  Here are some signs you need to have an eye exam:

  1.     You can’t remember the last time you had an eye exam.
  2.     Your eyes are red, itchy and/or dry.
  3.     You experience light flashes, floaters and/or spotty vision.
  4.     You are over 50 years old
  5.     Your family has a history of diabetes and/or glaucoma.
  6.     You have diabetes or other vision risk diseases.
  7.     You experience eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision constantly.
  8.     You experience motion sickness, dizziness, or difficulty following moving objects.
  9.     You have experienced head trauma that has affected your vision.
  10. You have difficulty seeing at night.
  11. You are constantly squinting to see well.

Remember that you should generally aim towards having one eye exam a year, especially if you are over the age of 50. Frequent eye exams can help catch potential vision risks earlier in time. Don’t wait until these signals become apparent. Contact Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons if you are having any of these signals.

 

Bad Habits that Hurt your Eyes

January 11th, 2017

Many times, the bad habits we pick up seem insignificant. In reality, many of such habits could actually be harmful for your well being and even your vision! Ensuring optimal vision is part of our job, so follow along to learn what bad habits could be negatively affecting your vision.

Pulling all nighters:

Not getting enough sleep does not only result in blood shot eyes and dark circles. It can also result in pesky eye twitches, dry eyes and blurry vision.

Not drinking enough water:

If you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day, the chances of dehydration are high. Dehydration is not only bad for your health but could also cause dry eyes, red eyes and puffy eyelids. This is due to your tear dots not having enough fluid to produce tears.

Staring into the Sun:

Although this is usually obvious, there are times when people tend to look at it anyway. This however can be dangerous to your vision since the ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause damage to eye tissues and lead to muscular degeneration and cataracts.

Not wearing sunglasses all year round:

It’s true that we only remember to wear sunglasses on bright sunny and warm day like in those in the summer. For reasons mentioned above, sunglasses are important tools to help protect your eyes from sun damage all year round.

Reading and writing in the dark:

Maybe you enjoy reading before bed or writing in your journal about your day before going to sleep. Avoid doing these in the dark. Try having a small desk lamp on top of your nightstand to help you see. Otherwise, doing this can cause eyestrain and headaches.

Avoiding regular eye exams:

Many times, a regular eye exam is the only way to help catch some serious diseases that have no warning signs until they take a hold of your vision. Talk to an ophthalmologist to see how frequently you should be receiving an eye exam and make sure to schedule them as needed.  

 

Advantages of Laser Vision Correction Surgery

December 14th, 2016

Laser eye surgery procedure has become very popular over the past few years. For patients with impaired vision it can offer many advantages including immediate vision improvement and the ability to put away costly glasses or contact lenses. According to the Food and Drug Administration, about 600,000 Lasik procedures are performed annually in the U.S.. LASIK or Laser in-Situ Keratornileusis works fairly simply by treating refractive errors by removing corneal tissue beneath the surface of the cornea. This procedure combines the accuracy of the excimer laser with the benefits of Lamellar Keratoplasty (LK). LK has been performed on a limited basis since 1949 to correct higher levels of nearsightedness and moderate amounts of farsightedness. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of LASIK surgery.

  • Freedom from Glasses or Contacts – One of the top benefits of LASIK surgery is that many patients find that they have dramatic improvement in their overall vision. This may mean that the expense of buying glasses, contact lenses and the paraphernalia that goes with it has just gone away! Ask any contact lens wearer who totes around solution and cases and you know what a sense of freedom this can mean. Vision is corrected almost immediately or by the day after LASIK laser eye surgery.
  •  Little to No Pain – Most patients who opt for LASIK surgery report very little, if not zero, pain. Recovery is also fairly quick and usually no bandages or stitches are required after LASIK laser eye surgery. Many patients find that a few days of taking it easy and wearing sunglasses has them back to normal and back to work quickly. 
  • Job/Career Opportunities – Some patients find that after LASIK they have more opportunities in careers that do not accept employees with contacts or glasses such as some military positions. 

Talk to our specialists here at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons to discuss the advantages and risks of any surgery and whether you are a candidate for LASIK.

What is Retinal Detachment?

November 9th, 2016

As the leading cause of blindness in the United States, retinal disorders are serious conditions that require attentive medical care. One such disorder that you may have heard of is retinal detachment. Let’s examine the important function of the retina and the serious problem called retinal detachment.

The retina is the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of our eye. Light rays are focused onto the retina through our cornea, pupil and lens. The retina takes that light and converts it into impulses that travel through the optic nerve to our brain, where they are interpreted as the images we see. A healthy, intact retina is key to clear vision.

When a retina pulls away from the normal position it is in, it is called a retinal detachment. Symptoms that this may be happening include: an increase in floaters which are spots or cobweb type features that “float” into our line of vision, and/or light flashes in the eye that reduce the field of vision.  According to the National Eye Institute, a retinal detachment is also more likely to occur in people who: are extremely nearsighted, have had a retinal detachment in the other eye, have a family history of retinal detachment, have had cataract surgery, have other eye diseases or disorders, such as retinoschisis, uveitis, degenerative myopia, or lattice degeneration or have had an eye injury. If you have risk factors for retinal detachment, and know the warning signs you should seek immediate medical attention if you have any of these signs.

Your ophthalmologist can diagnose this if what you are experiencing is, in fact, a retinal detachment. A retinal tear or a detached retina is repaired with a surgical procedure usually a laser treatment or freezing treatment depending upon your situation. In some cases a scleral buckle, a tiny synthetic band, is attached to the outside of the eyeball to gently push the wall of the eye against the detached retina. If necessary, a vitrectomy may also be performed. Talk to your doctor about what procedure may be right for you.

 

What is Strabismus?

October 12th, 2016

As parents we worry about so many aspects of our children’s lives. Are they eating healthy, getting enough sleep and progressing developmentally. These are among some of the worries. Even as infants we worry about all sorts of milestones like crawling, walking and talking. One common worry that parents face is their child’s eyesight. One such visual problem that is found in approximately 4 percent of all children in the United States is strabismus. What is this disorder, what causes it and how is it treated?  Let’s explore some of these questions.

 

What is Strabismus?

Strabismus, or crossed eyes, is a condition in which both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time. It usually occurs in people who have poor eye muscle control or are very farsighted. Strabismus is the misalignment or wandering of one or both eyes either inward (called esotropia), outward (exotropia), up (hypertropia), or down (hypotropia). Parents may notice that this occurs when a child is tired or may occur constantly. While it is fairly typical for newborn’s eyes to wander or cross occasionally during the first few months of life, they should straighten out by 4-6 months.

 

Causes

Many things and/or events can cause a strabismus. They include genetics, inappropriate development of the “fusion center” of the brain, problems with the controlled center of the brain, injuries to muscles or nerves or other problems involving the muscles or nerves. Strabismus can be present at birth or develop in childhood. In most cases, the cause is unknown, although kids with a family history of strabismus are at an increased risk for it. Strabismus is especially common among children with disorders that may affect the brain, such as: Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Hydrocephalus, Brain tumors, and Prematurity.

 

Treatment

There are several treatment options to to improve eye alignment and coordination. They include:

 

  • Glasses – For some patients this is the only treatment that is needed.
  • Prism Lenses – These special lenses have a prescription for prism power in them.
  • Vision Therapy – Vision therapy trains the eyes and brain to work together more effectively. These eye exercises can help problems with eye movement, eye focusing and eye teaming and reinforce the eye-brain connection.
  • Surgery – Surgery can change the length or position of the muscles around the eye so they appear straight.

 

Laser Vision Correction Surgery

September 13th, 2016

Boston Eye Physicians & Surgeons has served patients in New England and around the world for nearly 75 years. We are often asked about the procedure known as Laser Vision Correction Surgery or LASIK Surgery. LASIK or Laser in-Situ Keratornileusis treats refractive errors by removing corneal tissue beneath the surface of the cornea. This procedure combines the accuracy of the excimer laser with the benefits of Lamellar Keratoplasty (LK). LK has been performed on a limited basis since 1949 to correct higher levels of nearsightedness and moderate amounts of farsightedness.

Here at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons we are proud that we have one of the top Ophthalmologists in LASIK surgery on our team. Dr. Ernest Kornmehl has been recognized as Boston Magazine’s Top Ophthalmologist / LASIK surgeon in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. He is also internationally recognized for his expertise in vision correction surgery, including LASIK laser eye surgery, PRK, KAMRA Inlay, LASEK, CK Surgery, Dry Eye, Contact Lenses, Eye Exams, Cataract Surgery and external disease. With more than two decades of experience in ophthalmology, he provides comprehensive treatment for a variety of refractive errors including dry eye, cataracts, and presbyopia. Dr. Kornmehl understands the value of clear vision, and has the knowledge and surgical skill to make it possible for you. Contact his Boston laser eye surgery practice today to learn how he can help.

Refractive surgery includes several surgical techniques designed to improve problems in focusing the eyes, also known as refractive problems. Until recently only glasses or contact lenses could correct refractive problems. Refractive problems include light not being focused or “refracted” precisely on the retina. Vision will be blurred if the cornea, lens and eye length place an image in front of the retina. This is known as myopia, or nearsightedness. If the cornea is not round (like a basketball), but instead has unequal curves (like a football), the image is distorted. This is called astigmatism. An eye with astigmatism may have myopia as well. Refractive problems such as myopia and astigmatism are solved by helping the eye to focus light using glasses, contacts or refractive surgery. Refractive surgery techniques aim to change the eye’s focus by changing the shape of the cornea.

Make an appointment with Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons to find out if you are a candidate for laser vision corrective surgery and to meet our staff today.