Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Eye Problems from Medications


About Medications and Eye Problems
Did you know that a number of medications for various health problems can cause eye problems? If you get any new prescription filled you should be aware of whether it can have any eye or vision side effects by itself or in combination with other medications-prescribed, or even over the counter (OTC) or even supplements you might purchase. Medications can have a variety of effects on your eyes, ranging from minor, temporary issues such as blurred vision to permanent damage. Here are some things to know about medications and your eyes.

Which Drugs Pose the Most Risk?
Some medications that stand out when it comes to causing eye and vision problems include: Corticosteroids-People take steroids for a range of conditions, from asthma and allergies to arthritis and skin conditions. But whether in cream or pill form, steroids can cause swelling in the back of the eye or retina and potentially even lead to cataracts. Even an over the counter spray for allergies such as Flonase® comes with risks.


Antihistamines-They may fight allergies, but they also can raise certain patients’ risk for glaucoma. Even over the counter antihistamines can be trouble for those who are at risk for some types of glaucoma.

Mental Health Medications-Medications such as Thorazine and Mellaril, used as antipsychotic treatments, can be toxic to your retina. A number of antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa and Tofranil may put certain individuals at risk for angle closure glaucoma.

Anti-Malaria & Anti-Arthritic Medications-Medications such as Chloroquine, under the brand name Plaquenil, which is used to treat malaria but also Lupus and some forms of arthritis can have toxic effects on the retina.

What to Watch For with New Medications
If you get a new prescription or even start a new OTC medication, be aware of anything that causes pain to the eyes, or distorted or blurred vision. If you do experience a problem, talk to the doctor who prescribed the medication. Don’t stop the medication without your doctor’s advice. They’ll want to assess whether the medication is the likely culprit-and sometimes the benefits outweigh the side effects. Always read the warning labels, too- especially if you have a condition such as glaucoma or diabetes. A variety of medications have warnings that patients with glaucoma shouldn’t take them.

There are many other drugs that can have eye side effects and may increase your risk of complications if you need eye surgery. During your eye exam, be sure to ALWAYS tell us if you are taking ANY medications whether prescribed or purchased over the counter (OTC) as well as any supplements of vitamins you are taking. Also, if you or someone you know is taking any medication with known side effects as listed above, or is at risk for glaucoma or has diabetes, it is important to schedule a routine eye exam. Please call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center, Google+ or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser.

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 502 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Eyes Can Help Monitor Huntington’s Disease

About Huntington’s Disease

We now know that certain eye tests may help serve as “biomarkers” for the progression of Huntington’s Disease as well as help understand whether some of the new medications prescribed might be helping to slow its progress. Huntington's Disease is an inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown and degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. Huntington's disease has a broad impact on a person's functional abilities and usually results in movement, thinking and psychiatric disorders. Most people with Huntington's Disease develop signs and symptoms in their 30s or 40s, but the onset of disease may be earlier or later in life. Medications are available to help manage the symptoms of Huntington's Disease, but treatments can't prevent the physical, mental and behavioral decline associated with the condition.


Eye Problems with Huntington’s Disease

One of the earliest and most recognizable eye problems of Huntington’s Disease is a change in eye movements or “saccades” where there is a lag initiating an eye movement to look at something and/or an involuntary reflex saccadic movement that the person can’t control. This loss of eye movement control is quite common. Recent research using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) testing that we do right in our offices allows us to study the health of the retinal nerve fiber layer and the health of the nerve fibers around the center of vision, called the macula. What we know is the thinning of the nerve fiber layer on OCT, along with a loss of the macular volume is an indicator of the progression of the disease and can serve to monitor that progression.

If you or someone you know has Huntington’s Disease or questions about eye problems with Huntington’s Disease please call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center, Google+ or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser.

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 502 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Lazy Eye or Amblyopia: What is it?

Lazy Eye Amblyopia: What is it?
Amblyopia or “lazy eye” is a very common vision problem that we see in children. In fact it is responsible for more vision loss in kids than all other reasons combined. Amblyopia is a decrease in the child’s vision that occurs even without any structural problem being present. The decrease in vision results when one or both eyes send a blurry image to the brain. The brain then “learns” to only see blurry with that eye, even when glasses are used. Only children can get amblyopia. If it is not treated, it can cause permanent loss of vision. There are a number of types of amblyopia including strabismic amblyopia which is caused by an eye alignment or eye turning problem, deprivation amblyopia which is caused by cataracts or other condition that “deprives” the eye of a visual image and refractive amblyopia which is due to an uncorrected refractive error such as farsightedness or astigmatism.

Depending on the cause of the amblyopia and whether there is an underlying uncorrected refractive error sometime glasses can help but will not correct the vision to 20/20. With amblyopia, the brain is “used to” seeing a blurry image and it cannot interpret the clear image that the glasses produce. With time, however, the brain may “re-learn” how to see and the vision may increase. Remember, glasses alone do not increase the vision all the way to 20/20, as the brain is used to seeing blurry with that eye. Because of this most of the time the normal eye is treated with patching or eye drops to force the amblyopic eye to be used and make it “stronger.” to make the amblyopic (weak) eye stronger.


If you or someone you know wishes to learn about “lazy eye” or amblyopia or has questions or concerns about amblyopia or needs a kids eye exam, please call Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center, Google+ or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser.

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 502 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

A LASIK Patient Story

“I had lasik a couple of months ago and couldn’t be happier. I am a truck driver so my schedule is all over the place. I was excited to hear that the healing time was minimal and i could return to work relatively quickly. I was nervous about my vision during nighttime driving. At first it was a little difficult to due to glare from oncoming headlights but after a few weeks that went away and is no longer a problem for me. One of the best things I have ever done!”

If you or someone you know wishes to learn more about freedom from the hassle of glasses and contact lenses with LASIK or schedule a Free LASIK Consultation, 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.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Spring & Pollen Means Itchy, Watery Eye Allergies

Help for Itchy, Watery Eyes & Allergies

Spring is beautiful, except for pollen and itchy eyes! While many people enjoy the spring, millions of others live with hatred of those times when the trees, grass and weeds begin to pollinate. People who are sensitive to these allergens experience seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, the most common type of eye allergy. Allergic conjunctivitis-which causes red, itchy, watery eyes-results in the conjunctiva, the clear membrane like skin that covers the eye, becoming inflamed when triggered by an allergen. It is estimated that in the United States, some 20 percent of the population suffers from eye allergies making them anything but unusual. Further, the incidence appears to be on the rise. Some researchers believe that our increasingly clean, modern society which no longer requires our bodies to fight off multiple childhood infections has caused our immune systems to shift from an infection-fighting stance to more of an allergic stance. When the body's immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to substances such as seasonal pollens and pet allergens, an allergic reaction can occur whenever they come in contact with your eyes.

If you or someone you know suffers when pollen season and spring arrive, resulting in red, itchy, watery eyes, please call us at 219-464-8223, or visit Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center, Google+ or facebook.com/nwindianaeyeandlaser.

Northwest Indiana Eye & Laser Center offices are located at 502 Marquette Street, Valparaiso, Indiana 46383 and 1001 South Edgewood Drive, Knox, Indiana 46354.