Archive for the ‘eye disorders’ Category

What is Myasthenia Gravis?

Thursday, 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

Wednesday, 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

Wednesday, 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.  

 

What is Retinal Detachment?

Wednesday, 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?

Wednesday, 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

Tuesday, 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.

 

What is Farsightedness?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Do you have trouble seeing things up close such as reading newsprint, a book or other activities such as sewing? Do you notice blurred vision at night, especially, or headaches after reading? You may have a common vision issue called farsightedness. Let’s review what this disorder and treatment options.

Farsightedness or hyperopia means that a person can see things at a distance more easily than they see things up close. Farsightedness occurs when light entering the eye is focused behind the retina instead of directly on it. This is caused by an eye that is too short, whose cornea is not curved enough, or whose lens sits farther back in the eye than normal. This vision disorder usually runs in the family so, if you have it, you may want to monitor your children as they grow and especially when they enter school.

Symptoms of Farsightedness:

  • Tension around the eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • blurry vision up close
  • squinting to see better
  • an aching or burning sensation around your eyes
  • a headache after reading or other tasks that require you to focus on something up close

Diagnosing Farsightedness:

It’s easy to diagnose farsightedness during a basic eye examination. Your eye doctor will dilate (widen) your pupils and examine the lenses in your eye.

Treatment Options

  • Contacts for farsightedness – Contact lenses correct blurry, farsighted eyesight. Be sure to consider all of your options, like how often you’d like to change your contacts or how long you’ll be wearing them in one day.
  • Prescription glasses – Eyeglasses are another option for correcting farsightedness. It’s a lifestyle choice between contacts vs. eyeglasses. Consider the options of both.
  • Laser surgery for the eye –  An ophthalmologist uses a laser to reshape part of your eye. Contact your insurance agent and ask what your policy covers.

Healthy Habits for Better Vision

Friday, June 17th, 2016

Like many people, you probably worry about your healthy. You may even exercise and take your vitamins daily but are you caring for your eyes enough? A recent Bausch + Lomb survey found that while 70 percent of people asked would rather lose a limb than their sight, they do not necessarily know how to take care of their eyes properly. What are you doing to maintain your vision?  Here are some tips so you don’t take your vision for granted.

 

  • Eat for Good Vision – Eating for good vision means eating a rainbow of foods.  Research suggests that a colorful array of fruits and vegetables, such as kale, spinach, carrots, and berries, also may help protect the eyes by providing lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants that may decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
  • Stop Smoking – Smoking puts you at risk for cataracts, optic nerve damage and macular degeneration.  Talk to your doctor about help with quitting.
  • UV Protection – Don’t just protect your skin with sunscreen protect your eyes from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun with protective glasses. Choose a pair of sunglasses that has 99 percent UVA/UVB protection. If you are planning to be near reflective surfaces such as snow, water or the beach, it may be best to wear wraparound sunglasses to block out as many UV rays as possible.
  • Unplug – Too many of us work at a computer all day and spend much of our free time surfing the net or checking social media. This can put serious stress on your eyes. A good rule to follow is 20/20/20. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid Makeup Issues – Regularly replace or clean all makeup that is used near your eyes. Brushes can accumulate bacteria over time causing infections and inflammation. Replace your mascara every four to six months and eye shadows every year — sooner if they’re made with a liquid or cream base.
  • Get regular exams – According to the National Institutes of Health, a complete eye exam is recommended every five to 10 years for those between the ages of 20 and 39, but if you wear contacts, you should see an eyecare professional annually. If you are over 40 and healthy, an eye exam every two to four years is recommended.

Infant Eye Issues

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

As new parents you have a constant cycle going: cry, feed, change, burp, comfort, and the cycle goes on for what may seem like a sleep-deprived level of infinity. There are so many things to do and worry about. Worrying about your child’s eyesight should be on your radar but not cause you more sleepless nights.  Here are a few things to be aware of when it comes to your infant and his/her vision.

There are a number of common childhood diseases and disorders to be on the look out for in the early months that you should bring to the attention of your pediatrician.

  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)- This very contagious eye disease is notorious for causing red, itchy, crusty eyes in infants and young children. Usually the pediatrician can prescribe ointment or drops to clear up a bacterial infection. If it is viral in nature, waiting it out is usually the best course of action. Warm compresses can also alleviate the pain.
  • Clogged tear ducts – It’s common for newborn tear ducts to clog and for tears to overflow onto a baby’s cheeks, or crusty build up to occur in the corners of the eyes.  Again, a warm cloth compress can help but if the pus drainage and crusting last throughout the day, call your doctor.
  • Crossed eyes – Many babies cross their eyes because the muscles that control them are still weak. However, if your child is 4 months old or older and frequently cross-eyed, or if it occurs at the same time each day or during the same activity, an eye exam is warranted.
  • Sty A sty looks like a red, sore lump near the edge of the eyelid; it is caused by an infected eyelash follicle. Talk to your doctor about treatment methods and relief of pain for your infant.
  • Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) – Amblyopia is a term used to mean poor vision in an eye that has not developed normal sight (usually during early childhood). It occurs when visual acuity is much better in one eye than the other. Amblyopia is common and affects two or three of every 100 people in the U.S. Amblyopia can be a result of strabismus (misaligned eyes). Again, discuss your observations with your doctor. They may recommend an eye appointment for further evaluation.

What is Photophobia?

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Ever feel like the lights are too harsh or bright?  Does the sun’s glare really bother you?  Do the florescent lights at work cause you to squint and give you a headache?  There is a chance that you may be photophobic. Sensitivity to light, the inability to tolerate light, is medically known as photophobia. For someone with this type of sensitivity, any type of light source, whether it is sunlight, fluorescent light, or incandescent light, can cause discomfort. What are the symptoms of this disorder? What causes it? What can possibly help? Let’s take a closer look.

 

What are the symptoms of photophobia?

Photophobia typically causes a need to squint or close the eyes. Some people may develop a  headache, nausea, or other symptoms that may be associated with photophobia

What causes this disorder?

While the origin and management of light sensitivity remain elusive even today there are some common conditions that can be related to photophobia. For example:

  • Migraines – Migraines are headaches that can be triggered by a number of factors, including hormonal changes, foods, stress, and environmental changes. Photophobia is a common symptom of migraine headaches. Many people report needing to be in a dark room with something shielding their eyes to receive any comfort.
  • Brain Conditions such as: Encephalitis, Meningitis or Subarachnoid Hemorrhage. Light sensitivity is commonly associated with a few serious conditions that affect the brain. Due to inflammation, bleeding or an infection in the brain, light sensitivity may result. Treatment for these disorders may help photophobia.
  • Eye Disorders such as: Dry Eye Syndrome, Conjunctivitis, Corneal Abrasion or Scleritis. These eye disorders that should be examined and diagnosed by your eye doctor and treated for the root cause, not just the symptom of light sensitivity associated with it.

What can help?

While there is no definitive cure, yet, there are some steps you can take to help alleviate the discomfort of photophobia.

Home-care – Stay out of the bright light when you are most affected. Use tinted glasses that can protect you from damaging rays of the sun and provide some protection from the glare and painful brightness.

Medical treatment – The type of treatment you need will depend on the underlying cause. Types of treatment include:

  • medications and rest for migraines
  • eye drops that reduce inflammation for scleritis
  • antibiotics for conjunctivitis
  • artificial tears for mild dry eye syndrome
  • antibiotic eye drops for corneal abrasions
  • anti-inflammatory medications, bed rest, and fluids for mild cases of encephalitis; severe cases require supportive care, such as breathing assistance
  • antibiotics for bacterial meningitis; the viral form usually clears up on its own within two weeks
  • surgery to remove excess blood and relieve pressure on your brain for subarachnoid hemorrhage