Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cataract Surgery Patients Live Longer

People with cataract related vision loss who have had cataract surgery to improve their sight are living longer than those with visual impairment who chose not to have the procedure, according to research published in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. In fact, the researchers found a 40 percent lower long-term mortality risk in those who had the cataract surgery

This research is from data gathered in the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a population-based study of vision and common eye diseases in an older Australian population. Adjustments were made for age and gender as well as a number of mortality risk factors, including hypertension, diabetes, smoking, cardiovascular disease, body mass index and measures of frailty and other disease. Follow-up visits took place after five and ten years since the baseline exam.

Previous research had indicated that older persons with visual impairment were likely to have greater mortality risk than their age peers with normal vision, and that cataract surgery might reduce this risk. These studies – unlike the Blue Mountains Eye Study – compared people who had undergone cataract surgery with those in the general population or with those who had not had cataract surgery, and did not link vision status to the surgical status.

The association between correction of cataract-related visual impairment and reduced mortality risk is not clearly understood, but plausible factors may include improvements in physical and emotional well-being, optimism, greater confidence associated with independent living after vision improvement, as well as greater ability to comply with prescription medications.

Cataract is a leading cause of treatable visual impairment that will affect more than half of all Americans by the time they are 80 years old. Cataract surgery to remove the opaque lens and replace it with an artificial lens implant is one of the most common surgeries performed in the U.S. today and is regarded as a very successful procedure of cataract treatment. Today, at Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center we provide cataract surgery in conjunction with advanced technology lens implants to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and even the near vision focusing problems of aging to help patients be independent of eyeglasses after their cataract surgery.

If cataracts have made completing everyday tasks difficult, if you are having difficulty with night driving or feel your are not quite as mobile as you would like-cataract surgery should be discussed with Cataract Surgeon Scott Buck, M.D. to help determine the best course of action.

If you or someone you know has a question about cataracts, cataract surgery, lens implants or driving please feel free to call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 522 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354. 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cataract Awareness Important for Seniors

Developing an awareness of cataracts and cataract symptoms is important for seniors as we observe that poor vision in seniors is often associated with premature or accelerated mental decline and creates challenges in terms of mobility and safety that can also put patients at increased risk for orthopedic injury-especially hip fracture. So, helping seniors restore vision with cataract surgery has an important place in securing senior health, well being, mobility, safety and mental state.

More than 20 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts and more than half of all Americans over 65 have some degree of cataract development. In fact cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss among seniors.

A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye preventing light rays from passing through it easily. This results in a clouding and blurring of vision. Patients should understand that cataracts are not a growth or a film over the eye. For many patients cataracts start out slowly and have little effect on vision at first. But, as the cataract becomes denser, so does the impact on vision. The most common symptoms that bother patients with cataracts can include blurring of vision, sensitivity to light and glare, double vision in one eye, poor night vision, fading or yellowing of colors and frequent changes in glasses or contact lens prescriptions.

When cataracts begin to interfere with daily activities or with patient comfort, mobility and safety, they can be treated with cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most frequently performed surgeries in the United States. Today, we have a full range of lens implants available that allow us to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and even near vision problems after cataract surgery, as well as distance vision, without requiring bifocals or reading glasses for the vast majority of patients.

If you or someone you know has a question about cataracts, cataract surgery, lens implants or driving please feel free to call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser to schedule an appointment.

Northwest Indiana Eye & LaserCenter offices are located at 522 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354 to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Patient Understanding of Diabetic Retinopathy Limited

Patient understanding of diabeticretinopathy is rather limited according to a recent study exploring patients’ knowledge of the risk factors, cause and controllability of their own diabetic retinopathy. The study revealed considerable misunderstanding, gaps in knowledge and potentially damaging beliefs about the cause and treatment of diabeticretinopathy.


Focus groups and interviews were conducted with 57 patients with diabetic retinopathy (DR), nearly half of whom had severe proliferative DR-a serious complication. Most of these patients had also undergone laser treatment. At the conclusion of the study, patients were found to have had a reasonable understanding of the basic risk factors for DR, such as diabetes control, but they were less clear about specific risk factors such as blood pressure and lipid control. Most patients attributed their DR either to poor diabetes control or to failings of the health care system, rather than having a basic understanding of the small blood vessel disease including circulatory and oxygen deprivation that results from the damaged blood vessels in the retina. Some patients believed that their DR was a result of health aspects beyond their control or environmental factors, whereas others were unsure about the cause.

Improving patients' understanding of the major risk factors for DR as well as helping them have a better understanding of the causes of diabetic retinopathy and being able to grasp expectations of realistic outcomes of laser treatment may improve patients' coping mechanisms, adaption to disease and ocular outcomes.

If you or someone you know has a question about diabetic retinopathy, please feel free to call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser.

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 522 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Dry Eye Common after Cataract Surgery

Developing a dry eye after cataract surgery is actually pretty common especially since the incidence of mild to moderate dry eye in a cataract aged population prior to cataract surgery-and exacerbated by cataract surgery makes dry eye a rather frequent complaint among this group.

According to the Prospective Health Assessment of Cataract Patients Ocular Surface (PHACO) Study some 60-75% of a cataract aged population had a meaningful deficiency in their tear film testing. Further, although cataract surgery is quite friendly to the cornea, it does require and incision which has the potential to temporarily interrupt corneal nerves responsible for reflex tearing and tear film integrity as well. This along with some of the solutions used during the cataract procedure can indeed result in a dry eye. The symptoms one might experience could include fluctuations of vision, dryness, grittiness, tearing, burning and a general tiredness as well as an overall sandy feeling. 

The good news is that for the vast majority of patients with dry eye there are potentially helpful treatment options that include specialized artificial tear lubricants and solutions, tiny punctal plugs to help you retain tears and prescription medication that stimulates production of your own tears. In addition there are more technological approaches such as lasers and other methods to treating underlying blepharitis, eyelid gland problems or eyelid inflammation that can contribute to dry eye as well.

If you or someone you know has a question about dry eyes, dry eye symptoms and dry eye treatment with cataracts, cataract surgery, lens implants please feel free to call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & LaserCenter or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 522 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Eye Health Problem Concerns at High Altitude

High altitude activities sometimes pose a bit of concern to those who might be at risk for certain eye problems such as corneal swelling problems and angle closure glaucoma. Have you ever been concerned about your eye health at high altitude? Sometimes patients who spend a great deal of time in high altitudes-skiing, mountain climbing or even just touring-are concerned about the effects on their eyes, especially if they have some other eye problems or diseases related to hypoxia or not enough oxygen.

Researchers from the Tübingen High Altitude Ophthalmology (THAO) reporting in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science examined the effect of high altitude on the cornea and on the drainage angle of the eye-a key anatomical landmark for predicting narrow angle glaucoma risk. Using the advanced imaging technique of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) they studied corneal thickness changes and the depth and shape of the “anterior chamber angle” to determine the effects of high altitude. In normal healthy eyes, they found that a significant degree of reversible corneal swelling occurred with increasing altitude but no effect was noted on the size or shape of the eye fluid drainage angle. Since the corneal swelling was reversible it was not damaging. However, for patients with corneal dystrophy problems such as Fuchs Dystrophy, any endothelial dystrophy or compromise there may be some delay in the deswelling of the cornea. For patients who might be at risk for narrow angle glaucoma, the researchers reported that no change in angle depth or shape occurred at the higher altitudes-and thus there was no increase in angle closure glaucoma risk.

If you or someone you know has a question about their risk of eye problems such as corneal swelling and angle closure glaucoma at high altitude, please feel free to call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 522 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354. 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

July 4th Fireworks Eye Safety Precautions


Taking some common precautions this July 4th regarding fireworks eye safety can go a long way to preventing eye injury and potentially catastrophic vision loss. To enjoy the fireworks this July 4th, it’s best to leave their use and display to professionals. Eye safety is pretty critical with fireworks displays as we know that eye injuries are the second most frequent injury we see from emergency room each July 4th weekend. The best defense against kids suffering severe eye injuries and burns is to not let kids play with any fireworks. Do not purchase, use or store fireworks of any type. Protect yourself, your family and your friends by avoiding home use of fireworks and attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators, but be aware that even professional displays can be dangerous.

If an eye accident does occur, there are a few things you should know:

·         Do not rub the eye.
·         Do not attempt to rinse out the eye. This can be even more damaging than rubbing.
·         Do not apply pressure to the eye itself-but protecting the eye from further contact with any item, including the person’s hand.
·         Do not stop for medicine! Over-the-counter pain relievers will not do much to relieve pain. Aspirin (should never be given to children) and ibuprofen can thin the blood, increasing bleeding. Take the person to the emergency room at once.
·         Do not apply ointments or drops. They may not be sterile and may make the area around the eye slippery and harder for the doctor to examine.

Once you are seen in the emergency room please feel free to have them call Northwest Indiana Eye &Laser Center at 866-522-3937 as we always have an eye doctor “on call” to provide consultation and continued care for you.

If you or someone you know has questions about fireworks eye safety and eye injuries please feel free to call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser

Northwest Indiana Eye & LaserCenter offices are located at 522 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Critical Retina Exam for Best Cataract Surgery Results

If you have been told that you have a cataract and are thinking about having cataract surgery and lens implants because it is disturbing your vision, daily activities or lifestyle, you should expect to have a thorough and critical retinal exam in order to carefully correlate the degree of vision loss with the density and position of the cataract. When cataract patients report a decrease in vision, it is important for us to correlate the visual symptoms and visual acuity to the degree of cataract present. If you have a considerable amount of vision loss but only mild cataracts, the actual cause of the vision loss must be identified. In many cases, a careful examination of the retina can reveal underlying pathology such as epiretinal membranes, retinal wrinkling or macular pucker with edema or retinal swelling. In fact, some studies report a prevalence of epiretinal membranes in 7% of patients older than 60 years and in 20% of patients aged 75 years or more-the prime demographic for cataract surgery. Therefore, before you have cataract surgery with Scott Buck, M.D., you should expect to have whatever level of examination and testing he requests in order to help you get the best results.

If you or someone you know has a question about cataracts, cataract surgery, lens implants or driving please feel free to call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 522 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354.