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6 Ways To Maintain Eye Health If You’re Over 50

Aging and certain lifestyle choices can affect your vision, especially if you’re in your 50’s and up. While it’s normal for your eyes and vision to change, there are certain actions you can take to protect your sight. 

6 Tips for 50+ Eye Health

  1. Eat Well

    A well-balanced diet helps maintain a healthy body including healthy eyes, and reduces your odds of developing some very serious eye diseases. Nutrients and nutritious foods, which help prevent vision loss include:

    • Vitamin A: Carrots, spinach, kale, egg yolks, dairy products
    • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits and juices, broccoli, potatoes, green peppers
    • Vitamin E: Whole grains, eggs, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils
    • Fatty Acids: Coldwater fish, such as mackerel, rainbow trout and salmon; corn oil, sunflower oil
    • Lutein: Kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, corn
    • Zinc: Poultry, meat, fish, dairy products, whole grains
  1. Quit Smoking

Smoking can significantly increase the chances of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as diabetic retinopathy in diabetics. So if you’re a smoker, the sooner you quit, the better. 

  1. Exercise

Exercising for at least 20 minutes a day is great for your whole body, including your eyes, by increasing blood flow to the optic nerve and retina! It isn’t necessary to engage in strenuous exercise—in fact, a brisk walk will suffice. 

  1. Protect Your Eyes

Sunglasses

Protecting your eyes from ultraviolet rays with UV-blocking sunglasses can slow down the development of cataracts, prevent sun damage to your retina, and lower the risk of skin cancer near your eyes.

Protective eyewear

Another way to protect your eyes is to wear protective eyewear. If you play sports or work with materials such as wood, glass or metal, protective eyewear can shield your eyes from splinters and shards, as well as fast-moving objects like balls and hockey pucks.

  1. Give Your Eyes a Rest

If you spend a lot of time reading, driving or looking at digital devices, you may develop eye strain and eye fatigue. By implementing the 20-20-20 rule, especially during prolonged computer or smartphone use, you can give your eyes some much-needed rest. All you need to do is this: every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. 

  1. Have Regular Eye Exams

And finally, a comprehensive eye exam is crucial, as it can detect eye conditions that don’t display any symptoms until vision loss has already occurred.

These conditions include:

    • Age-Related Macular Degeneration
    • Cataracts
    • Glaucoma
    • Diabetic Retinopathy

When detected early, treatment can often prevent permanent vision loss or even blindness. Less serious and more common, presbyopia or age-related farsightedness, develops with age, and simply updating your prescription for glasses or contact lenses at your routine eye checkup can keep you enjoying the arm’s-length activities you love.

Age-related vision changes can be challenging, both emotionally and physically. However, some of these can be mitigated by implementing the tips above. Schedule an eye exam with The Contact Lens Institute of Nevada in Las Vegas to check your eye health today! 

 

Q&A

How does aging affect your eyes?

Aging causes changes in every part of your body, including your eyes. As you age, the lens inside your eye begins to harden, which leads to presbyopia (age-related farsightedness). This makes it more difficult for your eyes to focus on near objects and tasks like reading. Other common age-related eye problems include:

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Dry Eyes
  • Floaters
  • Changes to Peripheral Vision

Can I do anything about my chances of vision loss?

It is estimated that half of all visual impairment and blindness can be prevented through early diagnosis and treatment. So make sure you get regular eye exams to ensure that all is in check. 

 

Why Does Bono Always Wear His Signature Shades?

Ever wonder why Bono always wears shades, even indoors? U2’s frontman doesn’t sport sunglasses simply as part of his image. Bono has had glaucoma—a build-up of pressure in the eyeball, which can damage the optic nerve and potentially lead to blindness if untreated—for over two decades now. 

The real reason he wears his trademark shades is due to this progressive, sight-robbing eye disease, to protect his sensitive eyes from light and glare. 

How Do Sunglasses Help People With Glaucoma?

People with glaucoma experience sensitivity to light (or photophobia) and glare, among other symptoms. When the sun is strong, those with this condition will be more affected by glare emanating from a variety of surfaces, like water, snow, sand or pavement, than the average person. Furthermore, certain glaucoma medications constrict the pupils, which can further contribute to acute sensitivity to glare and light, as well as redness and irritation.

That’s why people with glaucoma — and lots of people without glaucoma — feel best wearing sunglasses when outdoors on a sunny day, in a bright indoor space, or while driving in the early evening. 

Here’s How You Can Protect Your Eyes 

By wearing sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection, you can reduce your risk of developing sight robbing diseases, like cataracts and macular degeneration, and reduce glaucoma symptoms. Polarized lenses, in particular, can help with glare. With yearly comprehensive eye exams, early diagnosis and consistent treatment, you can prevent vision deterioration from glaucoma or similar sight-threatening eye diseases. Contact The Contact Lens Institute of Nevada in Las Vegas to book your eye doctor’s appointment today.

Q&A

Can glaucoma be cured?

While there is currently no cure for glaucoma, there are many effective treatment options available. Treatments that can help stop or slow the progression of glaucoma include eye drops, oral medications, as well as laser and surgical procedures. 

How can glaucoma vision loss be prevented?

The best way to avoid glaucoma-related eyesight deterioration is to undergo regular eye exams, as glaucoma can be detected and treated even in its early stages, which can prevent significant vision loss or blindness. That’s why routine eye exams that include glaucoma testing are so important.

Is There Hope For Severe Dry Eye Patients?

Such gratitude helping complex patients!

Our 62 year old female returned to clinic for a second EyePrint Prosthetic dispense. She suffers from severe glaucoma in both eyes, and only has vision out of the right eye. She also suffers from autoimmune issues and recurrent uveitis in both eyes.

Dr. Saboori performed glaucoma surgery on her right eye and saved her vision and she has done well over the past year. She has been able to see about 20/50 out of the right eye. Unfortunately, over the past few months, she has developed severe ocular surface disease, and her eyes are extremely dry. Dr. Lin did an excellent job managing her with all sorts of dry eye treatments such as Restasis, Xiidra, artificial tears, gels, amniotic membranes, and serum tears.

Despite all of these treatments, her eye remains very dry, which is debilitating for her. She complains that her eyes are in constant pain. She also complains her eyes are so dry, she has to constantly use artificial tears to lubricate the surface. She is also very sensitive to light. She walks around indoors and outdoors with dark sunglasses due to her light sensitivity.

She was kindly referred to us for a specialty contact lens evaluation. When we saw her, she had declined and was seeing 20/200. She explained that her eyes were in constant pain and she was miserable all the time.

At this point, we recommended something called the EyePrint Prosthetic. Because she has a very large tube shunt, it is important to fit the lens exactly to the contours of her eye. We performed the eyeprint fitting in office and designed a custom lens based on that impression.

She arrived for the EyePrint dispense when the lens arrived, and with a small prescription added to the lens, she could see about 20/50. She was thrilled that she had functional vision and her eye was no longer in pain. She felt immediate relief with the lens. We checked on the lens about 1 week later to confirm that the lens was resting on the tube shunt properly. After we confirmed the fit to be ideal, we re-ordered the lens with a new prescription.

We saw her for a dispense today with the new Rx and upon insertion, she achieved 20/30 vision! She was so incredibly happy with how well she could see and her eye felt so much better.

The lens was finalized and she will return to Dr. Lin and Dr. Saboori for dry eye management, glaucoma management, and all other eye care needs. It is such an honor to help these types of patients.

Find out what Toni has to say about her experience at our office:

EyePrint Prosthetic And Glaucoma

eyeprint+over+tube+shunt

Very exciting and fun case today!

We saw a very special glaucoma patient today. Patient’s history: She has always had good eyes and never any eye issues until a few years ago. She was diagnosed with glaucoma, and was put onto eye drops, but her condition quickly declined. The left eye ended up getting so severe, that she is legally blind in that eye. She can only see hand motion in the left eye. Since there is no cure for glaucoma, she will not be able to regain any vision in the left eye unfortunately.

The right eye also has severe glaucoma, but luckily, she still has vision in that eye. She has a tube shunt, which you can see in the photo. This tube shunt is used for patients with severe glaucoma. The tube helps to drain fluid out of the eye, which decreases the pressure in the eye. Decreased pressure is the only treatment for glaucoma at this time. The tube helps to keep her eye pressure low.

Since she only has vision in one eye, we have to tread VERY lightly with this case. Any patients who only have vision in one eye must be treated with extra caution because if anything happens to the good eye, they could go blind.

Over the last few months, her primary care doctor noticed that her ocular surface had become excessively dry. This was causing the patient to have eye pain, redness, foreign body sensation, sensitivity to light, and blurred vision.

With the best glasses prescription, she could see about 20/50 a few months ago, which is still considered functional vision. However, her ocular surface has become more and more dry, which has caused all of the above symptoms to worsen. When she saw me a few weeks ago, she was only seeing 20/400, which is very poor vision. 20/400 vision is the big E at the eye doctor’s office, which is very poor vision.

To further complicate things, she has a very large tube shunt that you can see in the photos. A normal scleral lens cannot vault over this area, so a more custom lens must be used to create a device that is safe for the eye. If you put a regular scleral lens on the eye, the tube creates a speed bump, so the scleral lens cannot align with the white part of the eye (the sclera) properly. Additionally, if a scleral lens presses down too hard on the tube, it can prevent the tube from draining properly, which could cause a spike in her eye pressure, which could be detrimental to her eye health.

Another issue with a scleral lens is that the pressure of a poorly fitting lens could rub the tissue on top of the tube (Called the conjunctiva), and erode that tissue. That would cause a further complication and she would require another glaucoma surgery.

To provide the safest option for this patient’s delicate eye, we decided to try the EyePrint Prosthetic, which is a very custom scleral lens.

We took an impression of the right eye and had the EyePrint team was able to use a 3 D scanner to design and fabricate an EyePrint Prosthetic.

Today, we dispensed the EyePrint device, and she felt immediate relief! Because this type of lens is filled with liquid, it can act as a liquid bandaid, protecting the eye from the outside world. The lens was fitting perfectly too. Since she has the tube shunt, we have to use a special instrument to view the shunt and the tissue between the tube and the EyePrint very carefully. The goal is about 300 microns of tissue between the tube and the contact lens, so this looked great today.

With an over-refraction of +3.75, she achieved 20/30 vision! She was incredibly excited about how well she could see. For the next few weeks, I instructed her to get the stronger power of over the counter cheater reading glasses so that she can see. We will remake the lens with a new power once I see her back and confirm the EyePrint device is fitting well.

Very exciting case, and thank you to Dr. Lin and Dr. Saboori for thinking of me to help.

How Sleep Apnea Affects The Eyes

Did you know that some eye conditions are associated with sleep apnea? According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and Health Canada reports similar prevalence. It’s a sleep disorder where people stop breathing — often multiple times per night — while sleeping.

If you have sleep apnea: it tends to take longer for your tears to be replenished, you’re more likely to have ocular irritation, you have a higher chance of developing floppy eyelids, and you’re at increased risk for glaucoma.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

There are different types of sleep apnea. The most common one is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). During OSA, your airway becomes partially blocked due to relaxed muscles in your nose and throat. This causes apnea (the absence of breathing) or hypopnea (abnormally shallow, slow breathing). It’s twice as common in men, and is more likely to affect people with obesity, hypertension, diabetes or heart disease. 

What are the common symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing. These temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and affect the body’s oxygen supply, which can lead to potentially serious health consequences. 

While snoring is a common symptom, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Interrupted sleep can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability or depression, headaches in the morning, difficulty concentrating and thinking, and a sore throat.

Which Eye Conditions Are Associated With Sleep Apnea?

Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when increased pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, leading to vision loss and sometimes blindness. In some cases, it might be due to a drop in blood oxygen levels, which happens when you stop breathing. However, CPAP machines, one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea, can also cause glaucoma. 

So, people with sleep apnea — even if it’s being treated — need to get their eyes checked on a regular basis for glaucoma.

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome 

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES) is an eye condition where a person has an unusually large and floppy upper eyelid. It can cause eye redness, irritation, discharge, or blurry vision — and over 90% of people with FES also have sleep apnea.

Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is an eye condition that occurs when there is a loss of blood flow to the optic nerve. Patients typically complain of significant vision loss in one eye without any major pain. Approximately 70-80% of patients with NAION have been found to have OSA.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Also referred to as an ‘eye stroke,’ retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina. A recent study of 114 RVO patients found that sleep apnea was suspected in 74% of the patients that had previously been diagnosed with RVO. 

Other Eye Health Issues Associated With Sleep Apnea

Some other ocular conditions that are more common in patients with sleep apnea include: papilledema, keratoconus, and central serous chorioretinopathy. Furthermore, in addition to glaucoma mentioned above, CPAP machines are associated with dry eye syndrome and bacterial conjunctivitis.

Talk To Your Doc

Get eye exams regularly to rule out eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss, especially if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. At The Contact Lens Institute of Nevada in Las Vegas we encourage you to share your medical history with us so we can better diagnose and treat any eye conditions or ocular diseases you may have, and help you keep your eyes nice and healthy.

Glaucoma patient with extreme dry eyes

A very nice patient with an incredibly long history was referred to us for a specialty contact lens consultation. About 5 years ago she noticed her vision was declining, and ended up being diagnosed with glaucoma. She also developed visually significant cataracts, which were removed. She’s also developed severe dry eyes over the past few years, which are very bothersome. Dr. Saboori also performed glaucoma surgery in each eye to help with her eye pressure and rapidly progressive glaucoma.

She has hand motion in the left eye due to glaucoma. She saw 20/400 with the right eye today, and she states that her vision is very poor. She states that she has a very small window of vision in the morning and then it rapidly declines over the day. Her eyes are very painful, red, and she is very sensitive to light. She is constantly using artificial tears, gels, serum tears, and other lubricating drops with little relief.

After evaluating her ocular surface and reviewing her entire history, I felt the best approach was an EyePrint Prosthetic. A traditional scleral lens will not work due to the large blebs in each eye. We took 4 different impressions within the office, and she tolerated the procedure well. I will work with the EyePrint team to help design her custom device. I am really hoping this works well for her- even if she is a little more comfortable throughout the day, I think that would be worth it for her.

Stay tuned for updates!

What You Should Know About Night Blindness

If you don’t see well while driving at night, there’s a chance you have night blindness. Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is the inability to see well at night or in dim lighting. It’s not considered an eye disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem.  

Our eye doctor can help diagnose, manage and treat your night blindness so that you can enjoy being out at night again. 

Here are 4 things you should know about night blindness:

Causes of Night Blindness 

The inability to see well at night can be the result of a condition such as:

Vitamin A Deficiency — Vitamin A helps keep your cornea, the layer at the front of your eye, clear; it’s also an important component of rhodopsin, a protein that enables you to see in low light conditions. Although uncommon in North America, deficiency of this vitamin can induce night blindness. 

Cataracts — A buildup of protein clouds the eye’s lens, leading to impaired vision, especially at night and in poor lighting conditions.

Diabetic Retinopathy — Damage to the eyes’ blood vessels and nerves can result in vision loss, including difficulty seeing at night.  

Glaucoma — This group of eye diseases is associated with pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve. Both glaucoma and the medications used to treat it can cause night blindness. 

Myopia — Also called nearsightedness, myopia makes distant objects appear blurry, and patients with it describe a starburst effect around lights at night.

Keratoconus — An irregularly shaped cornea causes blurred vision and may involve sensitivity to light and glare which tend to be worse at night.

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) — A progressive genetic eye disease which can be associated with other diseases, RP leads to night blindness and peripheral vision loss.

Usher Syndrome — This genetic condition causes both hearing loss and vision loss, including night blindness and RP, mentioned above.

Symptoms of Nyctalopia

Since night blindness is a symptom of some serious vision problems, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice that you don’t see as well in dim light as you used to, such as when driving at night or when adjusting from being outdoors in the sunshine to being indoors. 

Symptoms of Night Blindness Include:

  • Reduced contrast sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing people outdoors at night
  • Difficulty seeing in places with dim lighting, like a movie theater
  • Trouble adapting to the dark while driving
  • Excessive squinting at night 
  • Trouble adjusting from bright areas to darker ones 

Treatments for Night Blindness

Your eye doctor will want to diagnose the cause of your night blindness in order to treat it. For example, in the rare case of vitamin A deficiency, it can be treated with vitamin supplements and vitamin-A rich foods; myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Other conditions may require medications or surgery. 

If night blindness is caused by a birth defect, Usher syndrome, or retinitis pigmentosa, low vision aids and devices can help you make the most of your remaining vision. 

Prevention

While there is no proven way to prevent night blindness resulting from genetic conditions or birth defects, consuming healthy, nourishing foods and taking certain vitamin supplements may prevent or slow the onset of some eye conditions that cause night blindness. 

If you experience poor vision at night or in dim lighting, we can help. Contact The Contact Lens Institute of Nevada in Las Vegas to schedule your appointment today. 

6 Common Myths About Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disease in which increased pressure causes progressive, permanent vision loss and even blindness. Unfortunately, many misconceptions about the disease can leave you misinformed. Below we sort fact from fiction by debunking 6 of the most common glaucoma myths.

Glaucoma Facts vs. Myths

MYTH 1: Glaucoma is a single disease

FACT 

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases; the most common ones are open-angle glaucoma (OAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG). 

In open-angle glaucoma, the drainage structure in your eye (called the trabecular meshwork) doesn’t allow the fluid inside the eye to flow out as it should, causing an increase in internal ocular pressure that damages the optic nerve. OAG develops slowly, and usually by the time people perceive symptoms, such as peripheral vision loss, they already have optic nerve damage. 

In angle-closure glaucoma, the eye doesn’t drain fluid as it should because the drainage channel between your iris and cornea becomes too narrow, causing increased eye pressure. This pressure damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. ACG can occur suddenly or gradually.

MYTH 2: Only the elderly suffer from glaucoma

FACT

Although it’s true that people over 60 are at a greater risk of developing open-angle glaucoma compared to people in their 40s, there are other types of glaucoma that can affect people aged 20 to 50 and even young infants (due to abnormal ocular development). 

In addition to age, those with a higher risk of developing glaucoma include:

  • African Americans and Hispanics 
  • Individuals with a family history of glaucoma 
  • Patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or sickle cell anemia
  • Those who have previously sustained an eye injury
  • People taking steroid medications over the long term

MYTH 3: Glaucoma shows symptoms early on

FACT

The most common form of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, shows virtually no signs or symptoms until its later stages when vision loss sets in. Despite what people may think, the increased eye pressure causes no pain. And since peripheral vision is the first to go, you may not recognize vision loss until your vision has become significantly impaired. The only way to detect glaucoma is to undergo a comprehensive eye exam. 

MYTH 4: Nothing can be done once you have glaucoma

FACT 

While there’s currently no cure for glaucoma, many effective treatment options exist: eye drops, oral medications, as well as laser and surgical procedures that can help slow glaucoma progression. Each treatment option is used to get the fluid to flow properly out of the eye, reducing pressure inside the eye and decreasing damage to the optic nerve.

MYTH 5: Testing for glaucoma is painful

FACT 

Actually, testing for glaucoma is practically painless. One of the tests includes a non-contact device that blows a gentle puff of air into each eye to test the intraocular pressure. The sound of the puff may be startling, but it’s over in a second and is painless. With the Goldmann applanation tonometry test, an anesthetic eye drop is inserted into each eye, which may cause a stinging sensation for a few seconds. Your eye doctor will then use a blue light to quickly and gently touch the cornea to precisely measure intraocular pressure. The most accurate of all, however, are visual field testing and OCT (optical coherence tomography), non-invasive imaging, both of which are also painless.

MYTH 6: You can’t prevent glaucoma

FACT 

Regular eye exams are the only way to prevent glaucoma, as blindness or significant vision loss can be prevented if the disease is diagnosed and treated in the early stages. That’s why routine comprehensive eye exams which include glaucoma testing are so important.

Getting your eyes checked regularly can ensure that any existing eye problems are detected early enough to prevent or slow ocular damage. Contact The Contact Lens Institute of Nevada in Las Vegas to book your comprehensive eye exam today!

Patient With Radial Keratotomy Finds Improvement In Vision With Scleral Lenses

A very nice 79 year old male presented to our office last week from a referral from his ophthalmologist. He has a history of glaucoma, radial keratotomy (RK) surgery, and cataract surgery. He also has a trabeculectomy on the left eye (a surgery performed on patients with severe glaucoma).

His left eye is blind from glaucoma, so he only uses his right eye to see.

With his glasses, he is able to achieve 20/70 vision, but complains that he sees double and he sees shadows. We decided to use the sMap 3 D scleral profilimeter to fit him into a custom scleral lens called the Latitude scleral lens.

We tried a diagnostic scleral lens on to see if an improvement in his vision was possible. With the lens, he could achieve 20/30 vision and stated that the ghosting and double vision is gone!

We ordered the Latitude scleral lens and once it arrives, we will schedule him in office for a contact lens dispense. We are very excited to see if this specialty contact lens will improve his vision and help him see better!

Since he only has one eye, it will be very important for him to properly clean and disinfect the contact lens every day. Since he only has one eye left for vision, we must ensure proper wearing time and lens care to minimize the risk of eye infections due to contact lenses.

Corneal Transplant Patient Fit With Gas Permeable Contact Lens

Kind referral of a corneal transplant patient from Dr. Shibiyama from UCLA/Jules Stein!

Older gentleman with a history of keratoconus in each eye. He had bilateral transplants back in the 1970’s and 1980’s and they held up for quite some time!

He also has a history of glaucoma with bleb surgery in each eye, and a shunt in the right eye.

The right eye underwent cataract surgery 2 years ago, and also received a new corneal transplant in March, and is ready to be re-fit into a new specialty contact lens.

The left eye transplant looks great, however, due to a large cataract, his vision is limited in that eye. He is wanting to get the right eye fit with a contact lens prior to proceeding with cataract surgery in the left eye.

The left eye has a hugely elevated bleb, so the corneal lens was specifically designed by Dr. Shibiyama to decenter laterally and inferiorly to protect the bleb.

The topography did not look severely irregular in the right eye, so I chose the ACE corneal gas permeable fitting set. The 7.0 base curve actually centered quite well, and I was pleased with the fluorescein pattern. With an over-refraction, he could achieve 20/80 vision. Despite a beautiful transplant and clear IOL, the vision is limited due to his advanced glaucoma.

With the help of Art Optical expert consultants Bethany and Erik, we designed the lens and got it ordered. Will keep you posted on his results!