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5 Common Keratoconus Questions, Answered

5 Common Keratoconus Questions, Answered 640If you’re reading this, you or someone you care about may have been recently diagnosed with keratoconus. We’ve compiled a few commonly asked questions about keratoconus to help you understand what it is, what causes it, and how your eye doctor can help.

1. What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a progressive, non-inflammatory disease that causes the cornea to thin and bulge, resulting in a cone-shaped cornea. Over time, this bulge leads to myopia and irregular astigmatism, and vision becomes progressively distorted. Ongoing treatment is crucial to prevent significant vision loss.

2. What Are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?

Many patients aren’t aware that they have keratoconus, which typically begins during the teenage years.

Symptoms of keratoconus include:

  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Blurry vision
  • Halos and glare around lights
  • Increased sensitivity to bright light
  • Headaches or eye irritation associated with eye pain
  • Progressively worsening vision that’s not easily corrected

3. What Causes Keratoconus?

While there is no one cause of keratoconus, a paper published in Biomed Research International (2015) identified these risk factors:

  • Genetics. About one in 10 people with keratoconus also has a family member with the condition.
  • Inflammation. Irritation and inflammation from allergies, asthma and other atopic eye diseases can lend to the development of keratoconus.
  • Frequent eye rubbing. Intense and frequent eye rubbing is thought to thin out the cornea and can worsen the condition.
  • Underlying disorders. Keratoconus has been associated with several conditions, including Down syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Leber congenital amaurosis, Marfan syndrome and Osteogenesis imperfecta.
  • UV light. UV light can cause oxidative stress, which weakens the corneas in predisposed eyes.
  • Weak collagen. In a healthy eye, small protein fibers called collagen help keep the cornea in a dome-like shape and free from bulges. In the case of keratoconus, the collagen fibers become weak and therefore can’t maintain the shape of the eye, which causes the cornea to bulge.

4. How Is Keratoconus Treated?

Scleral lenses are the most common and successful treatment for patients with keratoconus. These are specialized rigid, gas permeable contact lenses that have a very wide [diameter] and vault over the entire corneal surface, making them effective and comfortable for people with keratoconus.

5. Is There a Cure for Keratoconus?

Currently, there is no cure for keratoconus. However, in most cases, it can be successfully managed.

For mild to moderate keratoconus, scleral contact lenses are typically the treatment of choice, as they provide clear, comfortable vision.

A relatively non-invasive procedure called corneal cross-linking (CXL) can stabilize and strengthen a thinning and irregularly shaped cornea.

At Gulf Coast Vision Center, Inc, we can recommend the best treatment options for your keratoconus, to help preserve your vision, and ensure the highest level of comfort and visual acuity. Call to schedule an appointment to start discussing your keratoconus treatment options.

Gulf Coast Vision Center, Inc serves patients from Houston, SugarLand, Bellaire, and Missouri City, all throughout TX.

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

Q: Can You Go Blind If You Have Keratoconus?

  • A: Keratoconus does not typically cause total blindness. However, as keratoconus progresses it can cause visual impairment including blurred distance vision, distortion, glare, astigmatism, extreme light sensitivity and even vision loss that can be classified as “legal blindness.

Q: Does keratoconus affect both eyes?

  • A: Yes, in approximately 90% of keratoconus cases, the disease will manifest in both eyes. However, the rate of progression and the timing of the onset of the disease is different for each eye.



Request A Scleral Lens Appointment
Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 713-790-0513

How Eye Disease And Cataracts Affected The Work Of Famous Artists

For many art enthusiasts, analyzing the differences in color choices and techniques that an artist employed over the course of their career offers a window into the artist’s soul.

But to eye doctors, these changes in color and style offer a glimpse into the artist’s eye health.

When comparing the paintings from an artist’s youth to their older years, the changes suggest that eye disease may have affected their vision — and, consequently, their artwork.

Did Eye Conditions Affect the Work of Famous Artists?

Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s crystalline lens and a natural part of the aging process. People with cataracts eventually develop blurred vision and perceive colors as faded or yellow-toned.

Claude Monet struggled with cataracts in his 60’s. Upon noticing that his eyesight was changing, he wrote the following to an eye doctor in Paris:

“I no longer perceived colors with the same intensity… I no longer painted light with the same accuracy. Reds appeared muddy to me, pinks insipid, and the intermediate and lower tones escaped me.”

monet paintings2.jpegMonet’s early and well-known paintings of water lilies are full of vibrant blue and purple tones, with clear and sharp lines. As his vision deteriorated, his portrayal of nature became more abstract, and increasingly infused with yellow and red tones.

When Monet’s cataracts became very advanced, he could no longer rely on his eyes to select the correct paint colors; he had to read the labels on the paint bottles to know which color was inside. This is because cataracts caused light to scatter within his eye, blurring his vision.

Monet eventually had cataract surgery, which allowed him to see blue and purple again. However, he wrote to his eye doctor complaining that he couldn’t see yellows and reds anymore, which frustrated him. In those days, cataract surgery was fairly new and couldn’t fully perfect vision.

Eventually, he wore tinted lenses to help correct his color vision problem.

Degas retinal diseaseRetinal Disease

Macular degeneration affects the central portion of the retina, called the macula. The main symptoms of macular degeneration are poor central vision, perceiving straight lines as distorted, and blurred vision.

Medical experts believe that Edgar Degas suffered from retinal disease. Furthermore, he frequently complained about his declining eyesight in letters.

When comparing Degas’ paintings from his 40s to the ones from his 60s, the lack of shading and less-refined lines are glaring and may have been due to the deterioration of his retina.

Strabismus

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Strabismus, or an eye-turn, is a misalignment of the eyes. The most obvious symptom of strabismus is that the two eyes don’t point in the same direction. This condition can also cause double vision, lazy eye and poor depth perception.

Rembrandt, whose eyes appear to be misaligned in his self-portraits, was thought to have strabismus. It is speculated that he needed to close one eye to avoid double vision, allowing him to accurately replicate what he saw onto the canvas. This would have affected how he painted his own eyes.

Don’t Let Eye Disease Change Your View of the World

Whether or not you are an artist, vision is one of your most precious senses and affects how you interact with the world around you.

Eye diseases and conditions that interfere with the way you see can significantly impact your quality of life. That’s why it’s our goal to help our patients maintain crisp and clear vision for a lifetime.

At , we diagnose, treat and manage a wide range of eye diseases and conditions using the latest in diagnostic technology. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff will answer all of your questions and make your visit as pleasant as possible.

To schedule your appointment, contact today.

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

Q: #1: How often should I have my eyes checked for eye disease?

  • A: Having your eyes tested on an annual basis is recommended for all adults, especially those over age 40. Early detection of ocular disease offers the best chance of effective treatment and vision preservation.

Q: #2: Can vision loss be prevented?

  • A: Certain conditions can be treated or managed to prevent vision loss. If you are at risk of any eye conditions, speak with your eye doctor about the best prevention plan for keeping your eyes healthy.


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

 

4 Reasons Why Scleral Lenses Are a Big Deal

happy girl wearing contact lenses 640Scleral contact lenses have been called “life-changing” and “transformative” by patients who wear them.

What makes these contact lenses so revolutionary?

What Are Scleral Lenses?

Scleral lenses are contacts that vault over the entire cornea and rest on the white part of the eye (sclera). Their diameter is much larger than standard lenses, which adds to their comfort and compatibility with hard-to-fit eyes.

Here’s why they’re gaining popularity in the contact lens world and why patients and doctors are calling sclerals a big deal.

1. Sclerals are Ideal for People with Corneal Irregularities or Dry Eyes

There was a time when patients with corneal irregularities or severe dry eye syndrome weren’t able to wear contact lenses at all, due to the discomfort associated with direct corneal contact. Nowadays, patients with keratoconus, other corneal aberrations or dry eye can successfully wear scleral contact lenses and enjoy comfortable and crisp vision.

Scleral lenses are also great for patients with corneal dystrophy, high astigmatism, Sjorgren’s syndrome, corneal trauma and corneal ectasia, or who have undergone cataract surgery.

2. They’re Completely Custom-Made

Each pair of scleral contact lenses is custom-designed to gently and securely rest on your unique eyes. The fitting process for scleral lenses starts with corneal topography, where the optometrist creates a digital map of your eye’s surface. This information is then used to customize your perfectly fitted pair of sclerals.

3. They Offer Optimal Visual Clarity and Comfort

The liquid reservoir that sits between the lens and the eye helps enhance the visual optics of the lens. Moreover, scleral lenses are made of very high-grade materials and don’t place any pressure on the cornea, delivering ultimate all-day comfort. Many patients have reported that they comfortably wear sclerals for up to 14 hours a day, which is longer than the wear time for standard soft contact lenses.

4. They Promote Eye Healing

Scleral contact lenses protect the eye by surrounding it with an oxygen-permeable, liquid-filled chamber. This hydrating environment gives the eye the moisture and oxygen it needs to stay healthy and ward off outside irritants.

This can also explain why scleral lenses promote healing of the eye’s surface, whether after a corneal transplant or when recovering from a chemical burn or other eye injury.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a corneal condition that prevents you from wearing standard lenses, consider scleral lenses. To schedule an appointment or to learn more, call Gulf Coast Vision Center, Inc in Southwest Houston today!

Gulf Coast Vision Center, Inc serves patients from Houston, SugarLand, Bellaire, Missouri City and throughout TX.

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

Q: #1: How long do a pair of scleral lenses last?

  • A: Scleral lenses can last 1-2 years before requiring replacement. Your optometrist will provide you with instructions on how to wear and care for your lenses to keep them feeling fresh and clean, day in day out.

Q: #2: Are scleral lenses expensive?

  • A: Just like any other customized product, scleral lenses tend to be more expensive than standard soft contact lenses. Although they have a higher price point, most patients who wear them will tell you that their comfort, visual clarity and stability make them worth the cost.


Request A Scleral Lens Appointment
Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 713-790-0513

Living With Keratoconus | Kenneth’s Story

Kenneth’s Story 640From the time Kenneth was 11 years old, he wore glasses to correct his quickly deteriorating vision. He was always forced to sit at the front of the classroom and felt embarrassed by it. This time in his life marked the beginning of seemingly endless visits to various eye doctors to try and figure out what was causing his vision problems.

Four years later, at the age of 15, Kenneth was diagnosed with keratoconus, a progressive eye disease that affects the shape and condition of the cornea. Kenneth was referred by his ophthalmologist to an optometrist who [specializess] in treating keratoconus.

The optometrist explained that keratoconus is a condition that causes the cornea to thin and bulge out in a cone-like shape, leading to visual impairment. The early stages of this progressive eye disease usually cause mild to moderate vision problems that can be corrected with eyeglasses. But as the cornea’s shape continues to distort, glasses are no longer suitable and rigid contact lenses must be prescribed.

The optometrist prescribed rigid gas permeable contact lenses, which significantly improved Kenneth’s vision. But Kenneth sometimes found his contacts hard to manage, and even uncomfortable at times. People would tell him to just ‘switch back to glasses’ and ‘stop wearing the lenses if they give you so much grief.’

That wasn’t possible. He simply couldn’t see without the contacts.

Thankfully, before Kenneth’s condition progressed to the point where cornea surgery was required, new technology gave him fresh hope.

At the age of 20, Kenneth was fitted for scleral contact lenses for the first time. The day of the fitting was an emotional one for him and his family, as he was truly able to see the world around him in detail—and with great comfort.

Kenneth walked out of the optometrist’s practice, looked around, and saw leaves on the trees for the first time in 5 years. Prior to this, his perception of trees were brown stumps with green shrubbery—but never leaves.

He noticed that the cars driving past him on the street looked astonishingly clean. Nothing seemed faded anymore. Colors were vivid, lines were sharp.

The detail and clarity of each object were genuinely overwhelming for him. His mom, who also suffers from keratoconus, was overcome with emotion as she watched her son visually experience his surroundings in a whole new way.

From that day forward, Kenneth’s life changed drastically. His scleral contact lenses enabled him to function normally and achieve his goals. Wearing his sclerals allows him to work, exercise, socialize and be his authentic self.

Kenneth confesses that when he doesn’t wear his sclerals, his entire personality changes. He becomes timid, quiet and apprehensive.

Having keratoconus will no longer hinder Kenneth from living his best life, and it doesn’t have to hinder you or an affected loved one.

To a person with corneal disease, scleral lenses can be truly life-changing. If you or a loved one has keratoconus or other corneal irregularities, contact Gulf Coast Vision Center, Inc today.

Gulf Coast Vision Center, Inc serves patients from Houston, SugarLand, Bellaire, and Missouri City, all throughout TX.

Q&A

Q: #1: How do scleral lenses work?

  • A: Scleral contact lenses are hard lenses that have a much larger diameter than standard soft contact lenses. They vault over the entire cornea and rest on the sclera (the white of the eye) so that no part of the lens is touching the cornea itself. The lens holds a reservoir of soothing and nourishing fluid between the eye and the lens, providing the best in visual clarity and comfort.

Q: #2: What other conditions do scleral lenses help with?

  • A: Any patient with irregular corneas can benefit from scleral lenses. They’re also suitable for patients with severe dry eye syndrome, as the fluid reservoir helps maintain comfort and ocular hydration. They’re also great for patients with very high refractive errors (high myopia, hyperopia, or astigmatism). Speak to your eye doctor if you think scleral lenses may be right for you.


Request A Scleral Lens Appointment
Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 713-790-0513

What’s The Link Between Obesity And Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

senior woman macular degeneration 640It’s well known that obesity is a risk factor for developing serious health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Now researchers are studying whether being obese raises the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — a leading cause of blindness in adults over the age of 60.

What’s Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

AMD is a progressive eye disease that damages the center of the retina, called the macula. The macula is responsible for the central vision that focuses on detail. As it deteriorates, patients may notice blurry or dark spots in their central visual field. This can make it difficult to read, drive and recognize faces.

Other symptoms of AMD are distorted vision, difficulty adjusting from bright settings to dim ones, and colors appearing dull.

There are two forms of the disease: wet and dry.

Dry AMD is much more common and less severe than wet AMD, which usually sets in quickly and progresses more aggressively. Both forms can lead to legal blindness, but treatments can help slow their progression and minimize vision loss.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with AMD or experience any of the above symptoms, call and ask how we can help preserve your vision.

Does Obesity Affect AMD?

Researchers are investigating whether there is a link between obesity and AMD.

Some studies suggest that people with a BMI over 30 have double the risk of developing age-related macular degeration than those with a lower BMI.

However, a study published in the journal Retina found that obesity was a predictor for the development of late-stage AMD. In simpler terms, being obese accelerated AMD progression in those who had it or were at a higher risk of developing this serious eye disease.

Another study, published in BMC Ophthalmology, supports these findings. Obesity was found to be a significant factor in the development of late-stage AMD, but this study also showed that age, smoking, and a family history of AMD are higher predictive factors.

What’s the Bottom Line?

These studies indicate that maintaining a healthy weight may lower the risk of late-stage AMD.

To reduce your risk of developing AMD, or to slow its progression, we recommend you quit smoking, eat more leafy greens and ask your eye doctor about the potential benefits of taking a supplement called AREDS 2.

If you or a loved one has received a macular degeneration diagnosis, it can be scary — but we are here for you. Our team of highly trained eye doctors can provide you with cutting-edge treatments in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Whether it’s AMD or any other eye health problem, can help. Call today to schedule your consultation.

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

Q&A

Q: #1: What treatments are available for AMD?

  • A: Although there isn’t yet a cure for AMD, treatments can help slow it down and even reverse eye damage. Treatment include eye injections, laser therapy, and vitamins. Your eye doctor will determine which treatment option is right for you.

Q: #2: How common is age-related macular degeneration?

  • A: Unfortunately, AMD is the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60, affecting about 196 million people around the world. That number is expected to double, to over 400 million people by the year 2050. AMD is a leading cause of permanent vision loss and blindness across the globe.


A Guide to Scleral Lenses

Vision And Medicine Concept. Accessories For Contact Lenses: Con

Many people can’t wear standard contact lenses. This is especially true of patients with severe dry eye syndrome, keratoconus, irregular astigmatism, among other conditions.

That’s why eye doctors often prescribe scleral lenses to such patients. These specialized rigid, gas permeable contact lenses have a very wide diameter and extend over the entire corneal surface, making them effective and comfortable for people with irregular corneas.

At first, some patients may find scleral lenses to be difficult to insert and remove. However, after some practice, you’ll find it easy to care for your sclerals!

Safety and Hygiene for Scleral Lenses

Handling scleral lenses incorrectly can increase your risk of eye infection. Additional risk factors include improper lens cleaning, poor hygiene, and smoking. Therefore, it’s important to follow your eye doctor’s instructions on how to handle your lenses hygienically.

Before handling, inserting, or removing scleral lenses, make sure to:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly with non-oily soap or antibacterial-based pump soap and dry them with a clean lint-free towel or paper towel.
  • Sit at a desk or table and place a lint-free cloth down to insert and remove lenses. Avoid bathrooms, as they often contain more germs than other rooms in the home.
  • Inspect your lenses for chips or cracks and protein deposits on the lens surface. If you notice any defects or are unsure whether your lenses are damaged, don’t wear them until your eye doctor has inspected them.

How to Insert Scleral Lenses

  1. Remove your scleral lenses from their storage case and rinse with them with saline. If you’re using a hydrogen peroxide solution, wait at least 6 hours from when the lenses were placed into the storage case for the solution to neutralize. Always rinse with saline before placing the lens on the eye.
  2. Either place the scleral lens between your middle, forefinger, and thumb — known as the tripod method — or secure the lens to a suction tool (plunger) supplied by your optometrist.
  3. Fill half the bowl of the lens with preservative-free saline solution to prevent air bubbles from forming between your eye and the lens. Insert the lens directly onto the center of your eye in a facedown position.
  4. Dry and wipe your lens case with a tissue and leave the case lid off to air dry.

How to Remove Scleral Lenses

There are two methods to remove scleral contact lenses: with your fingers, or with the aid of a plunger. First, to detach your scleral lenses from your eye, press firmly with your finger on your bottom eyelid just below the edge of the lens, then push upwards.

Method 1 – Manual Removal

  1. Try Scleral Lenses Thumbnail.jpg

    Insert a drop of preservative-free saline solution or artificial tears to loosen the lens.

  2. Look down onto a flat surface (a mirror or towel can be placed there).
  3. Use your middle finger to open your eyelid wider than the lens diameter.
  4. Apply pressure to the middle of the lid — as close to the lashes as you can — and push down on the eyelid to move your eyelid under the lens and lever it off the eye.

Method 2 – Suction Tool

  1. While looking at a mirror in front of you, hold your bottom lid open. Wet the tip of the suction tool to allow for better adhesion and attach it to the bottom of the lens.
  2. Using the suction tool, remove the lens by tilting the lens up and out of the eye.

How To Care for Your Scleral Lenses

The number one rule in contact lens care is always to follow the professional advice of your optometrist. If you need any clarification, always contact their office first.

Never ever use tap water in any area of lens care, whether to rinse or fill your lens case. Tap water contains a multitude of dangerous microorganisms, including acanthamoeba, that can cause a severe, painful, and sight-threatening infection. Be sure that your hands are fully dry after using a lint-free towel prior to handling your lenses.

Remove Before Going to Sleep

Most people can comfortably wear scleral contact lenses for up to 12-14 hours at a time. Approximately an hour before going to sleep is the best time to remove the lenses. If your lenses fog up in the middle of the day, it’s best to remove them and try various methods to clear up the fogginess before reinserting.

Use a Peroxide Cleaner

You can sterilize your scleral lenses by immersing them in 3% hydrogen peroxide. Over a period of 6 hours, the catalyst in the case transforms the hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen gas. This gives your lenses a deep clean and removes the need to rub them, thus decreasing the risk of accidental breakage. Do not use the lenses until they have been immersed for 6 hours, as the un-neutralized peroxide will painfully sting your eyes. Leave the lens case to dry when not in use.

Use a Filling Solution That Is Preservative-Free

When inserting scleral lenses, use unpreserved sterile saline solution by filling the bowl of the lens upon insertion. Don’t use tap water or a preserved solution as these can lead to an eye infection.

Remove Debris Using Multi-Purpose Lens Solution

Once you’ve thoroughly washed and dried your hands, remove your scleral lenses and rub them for 2 minutes in a contact lens case filled with saline solution. This effectively removes microorganisms and deposits, lowering your risk of infection. While scleral lenses are strong, too much force or an incorrect technique can cause them to break.

After rubbing your lenses, thoroughly rinse them using the solution for 5-10 seconds. Then place them in a case filled with fresh solution and leave them to disinfect for at least 4 hours.

Routinely Clean and Replace Your Lens Case

Regularly clean and replace your lens case to prevent infection due to bacterial contamination.

It is recommended to clean the storage case on a daily basis and to replace it monthly or as advised by your eye doctor.

Your optometrist will recommend when to get a new pair of scleral lenses, and will advise you when to schedule follow-up appointments. Failure to show up for scheduled appointments can compromise the lenses’ efficacy.

At Gulf Coast Vision Center, Inc, we can recommend the best wearing schedule for your contact lenses to ensure the highest level of comfort and visual acuity. Always follow the instructions provided by your eye care professional. Call to schedule an eye exam and a scleral lens fitting today.

Gulf Coast Vision Center, Inc serves patients from Houston, SugarLand, Bellaire, and Missouri City, all throughout TX.

Q&A

 

Q: Why do I need to use preservative-free solutions to fill the lens?

  • A: Long-term exposure to preservatives can cause corneal toxicity or sensitivity that results in irritation and redness.

Q: How long do my application and removal plungers last?

  • A: Plungers should be replaced every 3 months, or sooner if necessary.


Request A Scleral Lens Appointment
Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out! 713-790-0513

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.


Tips For Wearing Scleral Lenses

Pretty Cheerful Woman Gesturing With Two Fingers Near Eyes. Youn

Scleral lenses are ideal for patients with corneal irregularities, dry eyes, and hard-to-fit eyes. Their uniquely large circumference offers the best in visual comfort and clarity. But wearing and caring for your scleral lenses can take some getting used to.

Below are our top 5 tips for anyone who wears scleral lenses. If you have questions about scleral lenses or any other optometric matter, Gulf Coast Vision Center, Inc in Southwest Houston is here for you.

1. Lens Hygiene is Top Priority

Keeping your scleral lenses hygienic and free of buildup is key in ensuring the clearest possible vision. When you remove them from your eyes, rub them for several seconds with lens cleaner to remove surface debris and bacteria. Then, rinse them on both sides with saline solution before storing them.

Another hygiene tip: Before handling your lenses, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water, and to rinse and dry them with a lint-free cloth or paper towel. Good hygiene will significantly minimize possible complications and keep your eyes feeling fresh.

2. Manage Your Dry Eye

Many patients with dry eye syndrome (DES) choose to wear scleral lenses for their hydrating and soothing properties. While sclerals can offer substantial relief from their dry eye symptoms, patients shouldn’t forget to seek treatment for their DES.

That’s because scleral lenses help manage dry eye, but don’t actually treat it. So, it’s best to follow up with your eye doctor about any eye drops, medications, or at-home remedies to support healthy tears.

3. Use a Cotton Swab For Cleaning

Patients with long fingernails can find it challenging to thoroughly clean their scleral lenses. Rubbing the inside bowl of the lens with a cotton swab and cleaning solution can effectively remove the buildup from the lens. Then, rinse off the cleaning solution with saline to remove the cleaning solution and any lint from the cotton swab.

4. Try Different Insertion Tools

Is your current insertion method not working as smoothly as you’d like? No worries! Ask your eye doctor about different tools you can use, such as the O-ring or applicator ring.

But please only insert your lens with tools that your eye doctor recommends!

5. Follow Up With Your Eye Doctor

Because scleral lenses are customized, they often require a few visits with your optometrist to optimize their fit. Even after the fitting process is complete, follow-ups will help ensure that your lenses are still in good condition.

If your scleral lenses are giving you any trouble at all, we can help. To schedule your scleral lens consultation, call us today!

Gulf Coast Vision Center, Inc serves patients in Houston, SugarLand, Bellaire, Missouri City, and throughout Houston.

Frequently Asked Questions with Our Scleral Lenses Expert in Houston, TX:

Q: How do scleral lenses work?

  • A: Scleral lenses rest and vault over the entire sclera (white of the eye), encasing a hydrating reservoir in between the lens and the cornea (front surface of the eye). This allows people with irregular corneas to wear contact lenses, since the lens isn’t in direct contact with the cornea itself.

Q: How long do scleral lenses last?

  • A: Scleral lenses generally last 1-2 years, depending on how well you care for them and how your tear film reacts with them. Even so, check-ups every 6 months are recommended to ensure they still fit well and provide clear vision.


References

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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.