About Retinitis Pigmentosa Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a progressive inherited disease of the eye, in which the light-sensitive photoreceptor cells located in the retina degenerate. This results first in the loss of night and peripheral vision, eventually progressing to the loss of central vision and total blindness. It is the leading cause of inherited blindness in the developed world.
The disease, which affects approximately 1.5 million people in the world, has no cure, but thanks to research done at the University of California-Santa Barbara, a new stem cell therapy may soon be available that protects photoreceptor cells from the damaging effects of the gene mutation. So far, only a small number of legally blind patients with RP have begun a trial. The trial is the first attempt to use stem cells to prevent the loss of vision from RP. An experimental injection of retinal stem cells is placed in the eye with the hope that the growth factors from these cells will protect the retinal cells and prevent them from dying, thus preserving the patient’s remaining vision.
“Why did I wait so long? That is the question I asked myself after I had lasik. I had thought about doing it for years and always put it off. I never had the money or the time or my kids needed braces and they always come first. I had started a new job as a swimming instructor and that helped me make my decision. I could no longer stand wearing glasses in the pool and contacts would always be irritated by the time I got through the first hour of my shift. So I made an appointment with Dr. Buck and was ready to have lasik! The process was so quick and easy. I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner!”
Everyone has heard that carrots are good for your eyes. Many folks are probably even aware that eating green leafy vegetables is helpful for those at risk for age related macular degeneration (AMD). But, have you ever heard that blueberries are good for your night vision? Blueberries are considered “super stars” among health food advocates, who tout the fruit for not only promoting heart health, better memory and digestion, but also for improving night vision. Now, scientists have taken a closer look at this and have found reason to doubt that the popular berry helps most healthy people see better in the dark. Their report appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. Blueberries were thought to be possibly be helpful for your night vision because they contain anthocyanins, which are pigment molecules in blueberries and other plants, that promote the regeneration of key molecules in the eye involved in perceiving light. But reviews of the earlier clinical research that tested the effect of blueberries on night vision in human subjects revealed that the studies were poorly controlled. The researchers found that a blueberry-supplemented diet did not improve sight in the dark, but they did help subjects recover normal vision after exposure to a bright light. The enhancement, however, was small and not likely noticeable to most healthy people, the researchers concluded. So, if you like blueberries feel free to eat and enjoy them, but don’t wait for your night vision to improve.
Why Do Children Need Glasses? Kids can need glasses to correct common refractive errors that can blur their vision-like nearsightedness or myopia, farsightedness or hyperopia or astigmatism, or they need glasses to help correct an eye muscle imbalance, or strabismus such as “crossed eyes’ or esotropia or provide help with a vision development problem such as “lazy eye” or amblyopia. The reasons children can need to wear glasses really depends on the nature of their vision development and eye coordination and focusing ability. The reasons can be somewhat different than for adults in certain cases. Depending on the problem they may have to wear the glasses through their developmental years and could “outgrow” the need in certain development instances.
“Let me start off by saying I do not like going to doctors and will do anything to avoid them. While I take great care of myself i have neglected to see an eye doctor because i wasn’t having any problems until I started noticing things were getting fuzzy and i was having problems driving at night. I made an appointment with Dr. Buck and he not only diagnosed me with cataracts but i have glaucoma as well. I was in complete shock and was terrified! Dr. Buck assured me that by having the cataract surgery it would clear things up for me and that I would now be putting glaucoma drops in my eyes on a daily basis. I was not happy about doing drops everyday but I have to save my vision. The procedure itself was very quick and the ladies at Dr. Buck’s office and the surgery center were very attentive and kind. I appreciate Dr. Buck’s honesty and I won’t be avoiding the eye doctor anymore.”
If you or someone you know suffers from cloudy, blurry vision with night vision problems or fading of colors you should be checked for cataracts and learn more about cataract surgery and lens implants. Please call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center, Google+ or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser to schedule an appointment.
Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 502 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354.
About Nearsighted or Myopic Progression Myopia is a common disorder, affecting approximately one-third of the U.S. population. High myopia is associated with an increased risk of sight-threatening problems, such as retinal detachment, choroidal degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. Slowing the progression of myopia could potentially benefit millions of children in the U.S. To date, few clinical approaches for myopia control and slowing myopic progression have proven to be consistently effective. Treatment options such as undercorrection of myopia, gas permeable contact lenses, and bifocal or multifocal spectacles have all been proven to be ineffective for myopia control, although one recent clinical trial using executive top bifocal spectacles on children with progressive myopia has shown to decrease the progression to nearly half of the control subjects. The most effective methods are the use of orthokeratology contact lenses, soft bifocal contact lenses, and certain eye drops not specifically approved for this use. We encourage parents children experiencing rapid myopic progression to discuss which if any of these options might be helpful or appropriate for their children.
Patient Satisfaction after Cataract Surgery The benefits of cataract surgery in restoring poor vision as well as quality of life are very obvious. As cataract surgeons we are also very pleased to report that cataract surgery has an extremely high level of overall patient satisfaction-in our practice as well as in national surveys collected by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) Institute for Quality Improvement. By 2030, 38 million Americans will suffer from cataracts, a number that will increase to 50 million by 2050, according to the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health. According to the study, from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) Institute for Quality Improvement, 99.7% of patients would recommend the procedure to friends or relatives suffering from cataracts. 96% of patients reported that their vision was better post-surgery, and 98 percent said they were comfortable during the procedure and right after their surgery. What’s more, 96% returned to normal activities of daily living within one week of their cataract surgery procedure. This is very typical of what we see at Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center and the data clearly shows that patients find value in cataract surgery and are generally very pleased with the outcomes of the procedure,” said Scott Buck, M.D.