Friday, September 12, 2014

Glaucoma Risk Increases with Early Menopause

Your risk of glaucoma may increase if you experience menopause at an early age. According to a study at the Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute in Amsterdam women who go through menopause early may be at risk of developing glaucoma. In a study of more than 3,000 women, those who went through a natural menopause before the age of 45 were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma as women who went through menopause at age 50 or older. The results indicate that female hormones may be protective against open-angle glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness. Of interest is that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is thought to reduce fluid pressure inside the eye. Similarly, as hormone levels rise during pregnancy, fluid pressure inside the eye decreases significantly, the researchers noted. This is the first study to examine the relationship between female sex hormones, as indicated by age of menopause, and open-angle glaucoma.

If you or someone you know has a question about cataracts, cataractsurgery, 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. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Bright Red Eye?

Patients sometimes call NorthwestIndiana Eye & Laser Center complaining of a “bright red eye” or “bleeding eye.” It seems to occur with a cough or a sneeze-or sometimes with some heavy lifting-or for no reason at all-and it doesn’t cause any discomfort or pain, blurry vision or discharge. What could it be? We will of course ask you to come in so we can evaluate the problem, but it is possible that it is a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

What is Subconjunctival Hemorrhage?
Subconjunctival hemorrhage is a benign disorder that is a common cause of acute eye redness or a “bright red eye.” The major risk factors include trauma and contact lens usage in younger patients, whereas among the elderly, systemic vascular diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and arteriosclerosis are more common. In patients in whom subconjunctival hemorrhage is recurrent or persistent, further evaluation, including a workup for systemic hypertension, bleeding disorders, systemic and ocular malignancies and drug side effects, is warranted.

If you or someone you know experiences a “bright red eye” please call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & LaserCenter or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser to schedule an appointment.

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 28, 2014

Reduce Cataract Risk by Running or Walking

Great news for patients concerned about their cataract risk-you may be able to reduce your risk of developing cataracts with either moderate exercise such as walking or more vigorous exercise such as running according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports.

Previous studies had demonstrated that the risk of cataracts formation was found to be lower in runners over time. In this Berkeley study when the incidence of cataracts was adjusted for sex, race, age, education, smoking, and intakes of meat, fruit and alcohol, lower cataract risk was significantly associated with both running and walking with no significant difference in risk reduction between running and walking, or between men and women. Further, the cataract risk appears to decrease linearly with increasing exercise energy expenditure.

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

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.