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5 Common Myths About Cataracts

5 Common Myths About Cataracts 640Most people have heard of cataracts, or know someone who has undergone cataract surgery. But despite it being a well-known eye condition, there’s still a lot of confusion around cataracts.

Below, we’ll clear up some common misconceptions and set the record straight.

Myth #1: Cataracts are Growths Within the Eye

FACT: Cataracts aren’t growths—rather, they’re changes in the eye’s natural lens. Cataracts occur when the protein cells in the lens start to deteriorate and clump together, resulting in cloudiness. A person with cataracts will typically have cloudy vision accompanied with a yellow or brown tint.

Myth #2: Only Older People Get Cataracts

FACT: People of all ages—even newborns—can have cataracts. While it’s accurate to say because cataracts are a natural process of aging, and affects the elderly more often than the young, certain medications and eye trauma can also lead to cataracts.

Myth#3: Lifestyle Changes Can Treat or Reverse Cataracts

FACT: Once you have a cataract, the only way to cure it is with surgery in order to remove the cataract and implant a new clear lens. Healthy lifestyle choices like eating well, getting regular exercise, and sleeping enough can all impact eye health and overall health, but they cannot reverse cataracts.

Myth #4: You Can’t Do Anything to Prevent Cataracts

FACT: While there is no surefire way of preventing cataracts, wearing 100% UV blocking sunglasses outdoors and incorporating eye-healthy foods into your diet, like leafy greens and colorful vegetables, may delay their onset.

Myth#5: If You Have Cataracts, You Definitely Need Cataract Surgery

FACT: You only need to have your cataracts surgically removed if they interfere with your vision and impact your lifestyle. If you’re able to safely perform activities, such as driving at night, you don’t necessarily need surgery right away. However, be sure that your eye doctor monitors you for cataract-related vision loss.

At , we help patients navigate a wide range of eye health matters, and can help you decide whether to undergo cataract surgery or other treatments. To schedule your consultation, call today.

serves patients from Houston, SugarLand, Bellaire, Missouri City, and throughout TX.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Jelita Green-Dathorne, OD

 

Q: Can cataracts return after surgery?

  • A: No. During surgery, the natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one that will remain clear. If the membrane that holds the artificial lens starts to deteriorate, your vision may turn cloudy again — but this is easily treatable with a quick laser procedure to restore sharp vision.

Q: What other symptoms are associated with cataracts, aside from cloudy vision?

  • A: Cataracts are usually a painless condition, but you may experience the following symptoms associated with your cataracts: double vision, seeing halos around lights, perceiving colors as faded or yellowed, and changes in your lens prescription.


Don’t Let Glaucoma Blindside You

senior man and woman 640At least 3 million North Americans have glaucoma, but only 50% know they have it! Glaucoma starts off asymptomatic in 95% of cases, and by the time the condition is noticed, the vision loss is irreversible.

That’s why regular eye exams are so crucial, even if you don’t suspect a problem. At , we provide patients with comprehensive eye exams, the latest treatments for eye disease, and other eye services to ensure the best possible outcome — no matter the diagnosis.

But First – What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases caused by a buildup of pressure within the eye. The longer the pressure builds, the more damage it causes, especially to the optic nerve.

Without any medical intervention, the nerve will continually deteriorate, resulting in permanent vision loss or blindness.

How Is Glaucoma Detected?

Glaucoma is detected through a comprehensive eye examination. During your exam, your eye doctor will test your eye pressure, examine your optic nerve, and assess your visual field, among other things.

Yearly eye exams (or as often as your eye doctor recommends) are necessary to diagnose and treat glaucoma. And when it comes to glaucoma, early detection is key.

Here are the different ways to test for glaucoma:

  • Air Puff Test – A puff of air is used to gently bounce off the front of your eye. The machine then calculates how much resistance your eye displayed to the air puff, revealing the amount of internal eye pressure.
  • Tonometer – After applying some numbing drops to your eyes, the eye doctor will gently touch your eye with a small device that measures the eye’s resistance and internal pressure.
  • Blue Light Test (Goldmann tonometry) – After inserting numbing drops, your eye doctor will use a device called a slit lamp biomicroscope to slowly move a flat-tipped probe until it gently touches your cornea. Although this method is considered the gold-standard for measuring eye pressure, all methods mentioned here are safe, comfortable, and accurate.

How Is Glaucoma Treated?

While glaucoma cannot be prevented, several treatments can help prevent eye damage and vision loss.

Eye drops

Prescription eye drops are usually the first-line treatment for early stages of glaucoma. These drops are used to help decrease eye pressure by limiting the amount of fluid your eye produces, or by improving how fluid drains from your eye.

Oral medications

Oral medications to lower eye pressure are usually prescribed when eye drops alone are ineffective.

Surgery and other therapies

Aside from eye drops and oral meds, here are some other glaucoma treatments your eye doctor may recommend.

  • Laser therapy – Laser trabeculoplasty is used to treat open-angle glaucoma and helps the fluid easily drain from the eye.
  • Filtering surgery – this surgical procedure allows fluid to drain from the eye to decrease eye pressure.
  • Drainage tubes – a small tube shunt is placed into the eye and acts as a ‘pipe’ for excess fluid drainage.
  • Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) – This option tends to cause fewer side effects and complications than standard glaucoma surgeries.

What’s the takeaway?

Glaucoma can be sneaky, so make sure to catch it in its tracks with a yearly eye exam. If glaucoma is detected, can provide effective treatments and glaucoma management to help preserve your vision.

To schedule your consultation, call us today.

serves patients from Houston, SugarLand, Bellaire, Missouri City, and throughout TX.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Jelita Green-Dathorne, OD

Q: Who’s at risk of developing glaucoma?

  • A: The following are risk factors for developing glaucoma: a family history of the condition, being over the age of 60, diabetes, heart disease, previous eye injury or surgery, having thin corneas, high blood pressure, sickle cell anemia, and extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Q: What are the first signs of glaucoma?

  • A: The early stages often have no symptoms, but as the condition progresses, the patient may notice patchy spots in the peripheral vision or tunnel vision. The more severe type of glaucoma (acute closed angle glaucoma) may cause symptoms like severe eye pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and red eyes. Promptly seek medical care if you experience any of these symptoms.


Should Patients With Glaucoma Switch To Decaf?

woman drinking coffee 640For many people, their day doesn’t begin until they’ve had their hot cup of coffee. But does their beloved brew heighten their risk of developing glaucoma? As for patients who’ve already received a glaucoma diagnosis—should they steer clear of all caffeine?

At , we frequently receive these types questions from our patients, especially if they have a family history of glaucoma. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with glaucoma, can help.

But First, What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by increased pressure within the eye. While ocular pressure affects all structures of the eye, it can severely damage the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss.

There are two main types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of preventable blindness and vision loss, and often starts with no noticeable symptoms. That’s why regular eye exams are so vital.

Does Caffeine Affect Glaucoma?

Several studies have been conducted to determine whether there is a link between caffeine and the development and progression of glaucoma. While there isn’t yet a unanimous agreement, researchers generally agree that heavy caffeine intake can significantly increase your risk of developing glaucoma, especially if you are genetically predisposed to the disease.

One study published in the Journal of Glaucoma observed the effects of caffeine and coffee-drinking in patients with open-angle glaucoma. They found that intraocular pressure (IOP) was higher among those in the coffee-drinking group, who consumed at least 2 cups of coffee a day.

Another study found that heavy coffee drinkers (5 or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day) were more likely to develop glaucoma than those who don’t drink coffee.

In contrast, a third study (that used information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) found that caffeinated coffee was not a risk factor for glaucoma. Even more noteworthy: those who regularly drank hot, caffeinated tea had a lower risk of glaucoma. The researchers theorized that the antioxidants in tea counteracted the caffeine.

So, what’s the bottom line?

If you have glaucoma or if it runs in your family, speak to your eye doctor about limiting your caffeine intake as a preventative measure.

How We Can Help

Here’s some good news: a glaucoma diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean vision loss. With the help of your eye doctor, glaucoma can be effectively managed to delay or even prevent vision loss.

The best way to ensure a healthy outcome for your eyes and vision is to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams with your optometrist.

To schedule your appointment, call today!

serves patients from Houston, SugarLand, Bellaire, and Missouri City, all throughout TX.

 

What to Expect Following Glaucoma Surgery

happy senior couple 640Glaucoma is a sight-threatening eye disease that can start as early as age 40 and often has no signs until it’s too late and permanent damage to your eye has already begun. Left untreated, glaucoma leads to vision loss (‘tunnel vision’) or even total blindness. While there’s no cure for glaucoma, the earlier it’s diagnosed, the better the outcome.

In the early stages, medication can often control glaucoma by facilitating the drainage of excess eye fluid from the eye. Eventually, however, surgery may be necessary.

Glaucoma surgery stabilizes eye pressure and helps prevent future vision loss. Glaucoma surgery is successful in about 70-90% of cases and the benefits may be long-lasting.

Below Are the 5 Things You Should Expect as You Recover From Glaucoma Surgery

You’ve finally had your glaucoma surgery. Now it’s time to relax and give your eyes time to heal. It is crucial to take care of your eyes in order to protect them from injury.

Though recovering from glaucoma surgery usually involves only mild discomfort, each person’s general physical health and type of surgery will affect their recovery experience and time.

Blurred Vision and Minor Discomfort

Following glaucoma surgery, it’s common for your vision to become blurred. This can last from a few days to 6 weeks. Inflammation, swelling, redness, or irritation in the eye are all common during the first few days post-surgery. You may also experience a slight itchy feeling caused by the stitches and your eyes may also tear up or water more than usual during the recovery period.

If you experience a sudden loss of vision during this time, it’s important to contact your eye doctor immediately, as this could signal surgery-related complications.

No Driving

Driving is not recommended while recovering from glaucoma surgery, particularly right after the surgery. Make sure you have someone to drive you home after the surgery and to drive you to follow-up appointments with your eye doctor.

During your follow-up visits, your eye doctor will advise you when you can get behind the wheel again, but in general, most patients can resume driving approximately two weeks after surgery. But always discuss this with your eye doctor first.

Rest and Relaxation

During the recovery process, it’s important to take your time to relax and allow the eye to slowly heal. This means avoiding any heavy lifting and strenuous exercise. Restrictions can sometimes include simple tasks like reading, writing, or typing, as even these activities can place stress on the tiny surgical incisions made during the surgery.

Be sure to ask your eye doctor when you can resume certain daily tasks and hobbies.

Follow Doctor’s Orders

As with any surgery, a successful recovery depends on closely following the post-op care and instructions you receive. After glaucoma surgery, your your eye doctor will place an eye shield and padding or a bandage to protect the eye that has undergone surgery. Be sure to keep this in place until your doctor tells you to remove it.

Your eye doctor will likely recommend a series of eye drops that contain anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. It’s important to insert these drops as instructed to prevent infection, facilitate healing, and ease irritation.

The staff will set up your post-surgery follow-up appointments to ensure that your eyes are healing properly, with no signs of infection.

Proper Care and Hygiene

A few tips:

  • The eye shield is placed on the eye directly after the surgery in order to prevent you from rubbing or touching your eyes, as this can severely damage your delicate eyes.
  • Make sure you remember to wash your hands with soap and warm water prior to using eye drops.
  • Take care while showering the day after surgery. Make sure that shampoo, soap, hair spray, etc., don’t enter your eyes, especially during the first week.
  • It’s especially important to wear protective eyewear during your recovery, particularly during summertime. Eyewear protects your eyes from the sun’s UV rays, as well as from particles that can irritate sensitive eyes.
  • You may need to refrain from taking steroids for a period of time, since they can cause increased eye pressure and glaucoma risk. Your eye doctor will discuss all your medications with you.
  • Avoid swimming pools and hot tubs, as they can carry bacteria that can enter the eye and cause an infection. If swimming and other water sports are important to you, seek your eye doctor’s approval prior to jumping in.

Other things to consider:

  • Following glaucoma surgery, you should wear your glasses and not contact lenses
  • At night, you should wear the eye shield provided by your eye doctor
  • If you find your eyes are sensitive to light, wear sunglasses to reduce any discomfort
  • Do not wear eye makeup and avoid face cream for at least two weeks post-op

Protecting Your Vision and Eye Health

To protect your eye health and vision, it’s necessary to see your eye doctor for routine exams, as they can help catch glaucoma and other eye diseases early, when treatment is most effective.

To ensure that you have the best recovery possible, make sure to follow your eye doctor’s instructions. We will work with you to find the best treatment options. Contact today to consult with our optometric team and discover how we can help preserve your vision.

serves patients from Houston, SugarLand, Bellaire, and Missouri City, all throughout TX.