Category Archives: Eye Disease & Problems

Nearly Half of the Global Population May Be Nearsighted by 2050, Researchers Say

February 2016 — Researchers at the Brien Holden Vision Institute in Sydney, Australia, recently poured over data from 145 studies and analyzed the prevalence of myopia and high myopia among 2.1 million study participants. The group also used data published since 1995 to estimate trends from 2000 to 2050.

Eyeglasses on a globe map of the earth

What they found was alarming.

An estimated 1.4 billion people worldwide were nearsighted in 2000. That’s about 23 percent of the total global population. But by 2050, the researchers predict this figure will soar to 4.8 billion, afflicting 49.8 percent of the world’s population.

The good news is, there are ways to protect your children from landing on the wrong side of this statistic. One key may be to encourage them to turn off their electronic devices and head outdoors.

The study points out that the projected increases in myopia are driven principally by lifestyle changes characterized by more near-work activities, like using computers and portable electronic devices, including smart phones. Other proposed risk factors for myopia include long hours spent in the classroom and less time outdoors, especially among young children in countries such as Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and China.

Although the vision of most people with nearsightedness can be restored with glasses and contact lenses, high levels of myopia increase the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and myopic macular degeneration — all of which can cause irreversible vision loss.

The study report authors concluded that the prevalence of high myopia is likely to increase seven-fold from 2000 to 2050, which would make myopia a leading cause of permanent blindness worldwide. The report appeared online this month on the website of the journal Ophthalmology.

Regular eye exams are important to maintaining your eye health. Fine Eyewear and Eyecare provides advanced vision care to the families of Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Round Rock and surrounding communities.  Visit our main website for more information.  http://www.fineeyewear.net

Vision Council report – Sunglasses are a must – protect your eyes!

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—More than one in four American adults are risking serious eye damage through exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, according to a new report from The Vision Council, “Protection for the Naked Eye: Sunglasses as a Health Necessity.”The report, which is intended to educate consumers about the importance of wearing sunglasses to protect against UV, was released yesterday to 250 consumer reporters and editors. It finds that more than 25 percent of U.S. adults rarely or never wear sunglasses, and nearly two-thirds are unaware of the link between UV exposure and serious eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. An abbreviated overview of the report was also shared with long-lead magazines in March of this year, promoting story ideas and supplements for their summer issues.

“Our goal at The Vision Council is to raise awareness about the risks of exposure to UV rays, and the sunglass options and other UV protective eyewear available, so that more and more Americans are protecting their eyes,” said Mike Daley, the CEO of The Vision Council. “Consumers of all ages need to be aware of these issues, and the steps that they can take to prevent damage to the eyes throughout their lifetime.”

The report also finds that more than one-third of parents report that their children 13 and under rarely or never wear sunglasses, despite the fact that children are at increased risk for UV overexposure.

“Because UV exposure happens over a lifetime and doesn’t always produce immediate symptoms, people of all ages must be aware of the negative impact sunlight can have on our eyes—without adequate protection like sunglasses,” said Justin Bazan, OD, medical adviser to The Vision Council.

The release of the report, which coincides with May as UV Awareness Month, supports The Vision Council’s many UV protection activities including an ongoing partnership with Lifetime Fitness as well as a widespread National Sunglasses Day campaign. The Lifetime Fitness partnership directly reaches 6.25 million consumers each month, promoting the importance of UV protection with indoor posters, digital signage, and multiple 30-second TV spots as well as sunglasses-related activities in 12 Lifetime Fitness locations throughout the country to celebrate National Sunglasses Day, June 27.

To view or download a copy of the report, Protection for the Naked Eye: Sunglasses as a Health Necessity, click here.

Fine Eyewear and Eyecare offers an extensive sunglasses collection that not only look great, but protect your eyes. Our eye doctors also provide advanced vision care to the families of Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Round Rock and surrounding communities.  Visit our main website for a preview a few of our sunglasses : Fine Eyewear Sunglasses Collection

Study: Comprehensive Eye Exams Can Help Re-Engage Patients into Care for Certain Chronic Conditions, with the Potential to Help Improve Health and Reduce Costs

UnitedHealthcare study shows that 57 percent of patients with chronic conditions who receive a comprehensive eye exam became re-engaged with a primary care physician or specialist in managing their ongoing illness
Employers that adopt integrated eye health and medical benefits, along with health and wellness programs, may improve employee well-being and reduce medical costs

MINNETONKA, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Comprehensive eye exams can help re-engage patients into care for certain chronic conditions, with eye care professionals encouraging people to seek follow-up treatments from primary care physicians and specialists, according to a new study by UnitedHealthcare.

This Smart News Release features multimedia. View the full release here: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150519005338/en/

Eye Exam Impacts on Re-engagement for Chronic Conditions demonstrates for the first time how eye care professionals can play a key role in helping re-engage patients with chronic conditions into care. This may help enable cost savings and prevention of disease progression and complications. Study results showed that 33 percent of previously unengaged patients, defined as lacking medical care for any chronic conditions over the previous 18 months, were re-engaged into care with a primary care physician or specialist within 60 days following an eye exam. Another 24 percent of patients were re-engaged after 60 days following an eye exam.

The study followed more than 2,300 UnitedHealthcare plan participants enrolled in employer-sponsored health plans to determine whether patients lacking care for chronic conditions followed up for treatment with a primary care physician or specialist after an eye exam. The study examined re-engagement rates for people with seven chronic conditions: Crohn’s disease, diabetes, Graves’ disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. The results are important considering many people visit their eye care doctor more frequently than their primary care provider.

More than 117 million people nationwide, or nearly one of every two adults, suffer from at least one chronic condition, while one quarter of adults have two or more conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 29 million people have diabetes; 73.5 million have high LDL cholesterol; and 70 million have hypertension, according to the CDC.

“This study demonstrates the important role comprehensive eye exams play in re-engaging patients into care, especially for chronic conditions,” said Linda Chous, O.D., chief eye care officer for UnitedHealthcare Vision. “When patients are reconnected into care, the prevention of disease progression and complications can be realized, which may contribute to improved patient health and reduced costs.”

The new report builds on the findings of a previous UnitedHealthcare study, “Impact of Eye Exams in Identifying Chronic Conditions,” published in 2014. That study demonstrated how comprehensive eye exams can help eye-care doctors identify some chronic conditions – such as high cholesterol, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and Graves’ disease – helping with early diagnosis so people can obtain appropriate treatment sooner and take steps to better manage their disease.

“The eyes are the only place on the body to offer a noninvasive view of the blood vessels, which means a comprehensive eye exam can reveal important information about a patient’s overall health, as well as their vision,” Dr. Chous added.

Employers are increasingly recognizing the role eye health plays in overall health, adopting integrated vision and medical benefits programs such as UnitedHealthcare’s Bridge2Health®, which supports patients and health care professionals with information, decisions and outcomes. Bridge2Health does the following:

integrates medical and vision data to close gaps in care and identify opportunities for interventions, including monitoring of 23 chronic conditions;
identifies people with chronic conditions for eye care providers, and helps ensure that patients’ eyes be dilated during the exam to provide a better view of eye health and overall health;
contacts plan participants by phone with eye exam reminders for people with chronic conditions who have not had an exam; and
refers people with diabetes to disease management programs that may save more than $1,800 per patient per year, according to the 2014 UnitedHealthcare study.

More than 170 companies representing 5.3 million plan participants have already selected Bridge2Health’s integrated approach for vision benefits to help create healthier employees, lower health care costs and increase productivity. With wellness as a core value for many companies, programs such as UnitedHealthcare’s Bridge2Health provide employees with the most advanced programs and resources that encourage a healthier workforce.

For more info : http://www.uhc.com/employer/health-plans/ancillary-specialty-benefits/vision/bridge2health-vision

Fine Eyewear and Eyecare optometrists provides advanced vision care to the families of Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Round Rock and surrounding communities. Stop by and check out our world class optical studio.  Our mission is to help you look and see your best!  More info can be found at www.FineEyewear.Net

 

Sunglasses, UV Protection and What You Need to Know to Protect Your Vision

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Vision Council held a briefing on Capitol Hill last week about the impact of UV exposure on vision health. The presentation on “Sunglasses, UV Protection and What You Need to Know to Protect Your Vision” covered both long-term and short-term concerns related to exposure to ultraviolet radiation. Among the vision disorders that can occur from UV exposure that were discussed included cataracts, abnormal eye growths, cancer of the eye, and macular degeneration.Although the summer is almost over, the briefing remains topical because Americans must take appropriate measures to protect their eyes from harmful UV radiation year-round, according to a statement from The Vision Council. Although it can be easier to feel the impact of sun in the summer, UV radiation is always present and can be even more damaging during colder months when adults and children stop wearing UV protection. While the UV index is highest in the spring and summer, it can still reach moderate to very high levels in September and October. In winter months, UV rays can reflect off of snow and into the eyes, especially after a fresh snowfall or during winter sporting activities, when individuals can experience photokeratitis, or “snow blindness,” The Vision Council stated.

The Vision Council further reported: “Despite data about the dangerous effects of UV radiation, Americans are still exposing their eyes and skin to harmful UV exposure, putting them at risk for serious health problems later in life. In fact, 47.6 percent of adults do not protect their eyes simply because they forget to wear sunglasses.”

Fine Eyewear and Eyecare offers an extensive sunglasses collection that not only look great, but protect your eyes. Our eye doctors also provide advanced vision care to the families of Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Round Rock and surrounding communities.  Visit our main website for a preview a few of our sunglasses : Fine Eyewear Sunglasses Collection
In recent years, many smartphone apps that are aimed at blind people have appeared.
In recent years, many smartphone apps that are aimed at blind people have appeared.

Luis Perez loves taking photographs. He shoots mostly on an iPhone, snapping gorgeous pictures of sunsets, vintage cars, old buildings and cute puppies. But when he arrives at a photo shoot, people are often startled when he pulls out a long white cane.

In addition to being a professional photographer, Mr. Perez is almost blind.

“With the iPhone I am able to use the same technology as everyone else, and having a product that doesn’t have a stigma that other technologies do has been really important to me,” said Mr. Perez, who is also an advocate for blind people and speaks regularly at conferences about the benefits of technology for people who cannot see. “Now, even if you’re blind, you can still take a photo.”

Smartphones and tablets, with their flat glass touch screens and nary a texture anywhere, may not seem like the best technological innovation for people who cannot see. But advocates for the blind say the devices could be the biggest assistive aid to come along since Braille was invented in the 1820s.

Counterintuitive? You bet. People with vision problems can use a smartphone’s voice commands to read or write. They can determine denominations of money using a camera app, figure out where they are using GPS and compass applications, and, like Mr. Perez, take photos.

Google’s latest releases of its Android operating systems have increased its assistive technologies, specifically with updates to TalkBack, a Google-made application that adds spoken, audible and vibration feedback to a smartphone. Windows phones also offer some voice commands, but they are fewer than either Google’s or Apple’s.

Among Apple’s features are ones that help people with vision problems take pictures. In assistive mode, for example, the phone can say how many heads are in a picture and where they are in the frame, so someone who is blind knows if the family photo she is about to take includes everyone.

All this has come as a delightful shock to most people with vision problems.

“We were sort of conditioned to believe that you can’t use a touch screen because you can’t see it,” said Dorrie Rush, the marketing director of accessible technology at Lighthouse International, a nonprofit vision education and rehabilitation center. “The belief was the tools for the visually impaired must have a tactile screen, which, it turns out, is completely untrue.”

Ms. Rush, who has a retinal disorder, said that before the smartphone, people who were visually impaired could use a flip-phone to make calls, but they could not read on the tiny two-inch screens. While the first version of the iPhone allowed people who were losing their vision to enlarge text, it wasn’t until 2009, when the company introduced accessibility features, that the device became a benefit to blind people.

While some companies might have altruistic goals in building products and services for people who have lost their sight, the number of people who need these products is growing.

About 10 million people in the United States are blind or partly blind, according to statistics

from the American Foundation for the Blind. And some estimates predict that over the next 30 years, as the vast baby boomer generation ages, the number of adults with vision impairments could double.

Apple’s assistive technologies also include VoiceOver, which the company says is the world’s first “gesture-based screen reader” and lets blind people interact with their devices using multitouch gestures on the screen. For example, if you slide a finger around the phone’s surface, the iPhone will read aloud the name of each application.

In a reading app, like one for a newspaper, swiping two fingers down the screen will prompt the phone to read the text aloud. Taking two fingers and holding them an inch apart, then turning them in a circle like opening a padlock calls a slew of menus, including ones with the ability to change VoiceOver’s rate of speech or language.

The iPhone also supports over 40 different Braille Bluetooth keyboards.

On all the mobile platforms, people with vision loss say, the real magic lies in the hundreds of apps that are designed specifically to help people who are blind.

There are apps that can help people see colors, so pointing their phones at an object will yield a detailed audio description of the color, like “pale yellow green” or “fresh apricot.” People who are blind say these apps open up an entirely new way of seeing the world. Light detection apps can emit a sound that intensifies when someone approaches a light source. This can be used to help people find a room’s exit, locate a window or turn off a light. There are apps that read aloud e-mails, the weather, stock prices as well as Twitter and Facebook feeds.

In the United States, one of the biggest challenges for blind people is figuring out a bill’s denomination. While coins are different sizes, there is no such differentiation between a $1 bill and a $100 bill. In the past, people with impairments had someone who could see help them fold notes differently to know which was which, or they carried an expensive third-party device, but now apps that use the camera can identify the denomination aloud.

“Before a smartphone was accessible we had to carry six different things, and now all of those things are in one of those devices,” Ms. Rush said. “A $150 money reader is now a $1.99 app.”

She added: “These devices are a game-changer. They have created the era of inclusion.”

While some app makers have made great efforts to build products that help people with impairments, other developers overlook the importance of creating assistive components.

Mr. Perez said what he could do now with his smartphone was inconceivable just a few years ago. But even well-known apps like Instagram, which he uses to share some of his photos, do not mark all of their features.

“When some developers design their apps, they don’t label all of their buttons and controls, so the screen reader just says, ‘This is a button,’ but it doesn’t say what the button actually does,” Mr. Perez said. “That’s an area where we need a lot of improvement.”

Fine Eyewear and Eyecare optometrists provides advanced vision care to the families of Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Round Rock and surrounding communities. Stop by and check out our world class optical studio.  Our mission is to help you look and see your best!  More info can be found at www.FineEyewear.Net

Symptomatic Vitreomacular Adhesion

What is Symptomatic VMA?

As a person gets older, the central gel that fills the eye called the vitreous liquefies and loses shape, leading to separation of the vitreous from the retina located at the back of the eye. This separation is a normal part of aging and is called a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD). However, if the separation is not complete, small areas of the vitreous can remain attached to the macula, the part of the retina that is responsible for your sharp, central vision. If this attachment causes the retina to be pulled, the condition is called symptomatic vitreomacular adhesion (symptomatic VMA). It can lead to distortion of your vision, a decrease in vision, and/or a loss of central vision in more severe cases.

Who is at Risk for Symptomatic VMA?

Much like posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), symptomatic VMA typically occurs in individuals over the age of 50 and is most common in elderly individuals over the age of 70. It is also slightly more common in women and nearsighted individuals.
What are the signs and symptoms of Symptomatic VMA?

Symptomatic VMA may lead to various symptoms such as distortion of your vision, a decrease in vision, and/or a loss of central vision.

Distorted Vision

 

 

Loss of Central Vision

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Does Symptomatic VMA Damage My Eyes?

Symptomatic VMA is a result of the macula, center of the retina, being pulled. This pulling disrupts the retinal architecture and can lead to several problems such as vitreomacular traction and full thickness macular hole.
How Do Eye Doctors Check for Symptomatic VMA?

Eye care professionals are able to detect symptomatic VMA through a complete, dilated eye examination including an optical coherence tomography (OCT) examination. During the eye exam, the eye doctor widens the pupil of the eye (dilates the eye) with eye drops to allow a closer look at the inside of the eye. The OCT examination provides images of the back of the eye including the vitreous and retina, allowing eye doctors to accurately diagnose symptomatic VMA. Diagnosis is difficult without an OCT examination.
How Do Eye Doctors Treat Symptomatic VMA?

Current options for patients with symptomatic VMA are “watchful waiting,” surgical removal of the vitreous gel (vitrectomy), and intraocular injection of medication.

Watchful waiting

Many patients undergo a period of “watchful waiting” during which symptoms are not treated until they get severe enough to warrant action.

Surgery

A doctor uses a small, combined cutting-suction instrument to remove part of the vitreous gel of your eye to relieve the adhesion between the retina and vitreous. The doctor then replaces the removed vitreous gel with fluid or a temporary gas bubble. This procedure is called a vitrectomy. Vitrectomy is used as a surgical option when patients have or are at risk of severe visual disturbance and/or loss of central vision.

Medication

Medication that is injected into the eye can be used as a treatment option for symptomatic VMA. It can lead to the release of the adhesion between the vitreous and the macula.

Fine Eyewear and Eyecare are able to detect symptomatic VMA through a complete, dilated eye examination including an optical coherence tomography (OCT) examination.  Our eye doctors provide advanced vision care to the families of North Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Round Rock and surrounding communities.

Visit our main website for to read more about our advanced testing :    Fine Eyewear Advanced Optometry

Have you got ‘screen sightedness’? Smartphones are causing sight problems to soar, warns eye surgeon !

  • David Allamby says there has been a 35% increase in the number of people with advancing myopia since the launch of smartphones in 1997
  • He believes the problem could increase by 50% in the next ten years
  • The problem is so common he has given it a name – ‘screen sightedness’
  • 50% of 30-year-olds could have the problem by 2033 due to smartphones

Rates of short sightedness among young people have soared because of smartphones, a leading laser eye surgeon has claimed.  David Allamby, Founder of Focus Clinics, says there has been a 35 per cent increase in the number of people with advancing myopia (short sightedness) since the launch of smartphones in 1997. He has warned the problem could increase by 50 per cent in the next ten years. Mr Allamby thinks the problem is so widespread that he has dubbed it ‘screen sightedness’.He says that half of Britons own smartphones and that they spend an average of two hours a day using them. This, along with time spent using computers and watching television, is putting children and young people at risk of permanently damaging their sight. New research found that the average smartphone user holds the handset 30 cm from their face – with some people holding it just 18cm away – compared to newspapers and books, which are held 40cm away from the eyes. According to Mr Allamby, excessive screen watching at close proximity keeps the genes that control myopia activated well beyond the age that short-sighted would historically have stabilised – about 21. Myopia used to stop developing in people’s early 20s but now it is now seen progressing throughout the 20s, 30s, and even 40s. Mr Allamby said: ‘If things continue as they are, I predict that 40 to 50 per cent of 30-year-olds could have myopia by 2033 as a result of smartphones and lifestyles in front of screens – an epidemic we call screen sightedness.

It is predicted that by 2014 teenagers aged 12 to 17 will be the second biggest market for smartphones behind 18 to 24-year-olds. Mr Allamby’s claims are supported by previous research which has shown that using a smartphone can damage people’s vision and cause headaches. Researchers at the University of California found that the problem is the demand on the eyes to focus on the screen and simultaneously adjust to the distance of the content.The phenomenon is known as ‘vergence-accommodation’ and experiments found people suffered discomfort when content from mobile phones appeared in front of the screen rather than behind it.

Fine Eyewear and Eyecare are experts in helping with “screen sightedness” !  We specialize in custom tailored eyeglasses lenses that are built specifically for you and your lifestyle.  Our eye doctors provide advanced vision care to the families of North Austin, Cedar Park, Leander, Georgetown, Round Rock and surrounding communities.

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