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Why You Should Keep an Eye on Age Related Eye Disease

We all know our bodies change as we age, whether we like it or not! But there are things you can do to stay on top of these changes and proactively manage your health. 

As you age, you will become more vulnerable to age-related eye disease and conditions. According to the National Eye Institute, it is recommended that you have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at age 50, or before – by an experienced ophthalmologist. Many diseases of the eye have no outward symptoms or obvious warning signs. With a dilated exam, your doctor can diagnose issues like:

Glaucoma
Glaucoma is a slow, progressive, and asymptomatic disease of the eye. It is painless and vision loss is not noticed until the disease is already advanced. It is the second-leading cause of blindness (after diabetes) for Caucasians and the leading cause of blindness for African-Americans in the United States.

Glaucoma is caused by irregular eye pressure.  Since elevated eye pressure isn’t something you can feel or detect on your own, it is important to visit an ophthalmologist regularly to get evaluated, particularly if you have any risk factors that may lead to developing glaucoma.

Diabetic Retinopathy
Anyone with diabetes is at risk of Diabetic Retinopathy. In early stages of the disease, there may not be symptoms. But without proper treatment, it can permanently damage the retina. If not caught early, it can produce symptoms that affect vision like mild blurriness, floaters and even the sudden loss of vision. Left untreated, it may cause severe vision loss and even blindness. Eye surgeons cannot reverse damage that has already occurred, but If caught in time, modern treatment options can slow its progression and prevent further vision loss. 

Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration is a retinal disease. The retina is the back portion of the eye 
containing the cells that respond to light, or photoreceptors. With AMD, the part of the retina called the macula is damaged.  According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you are more likely to develop AMD if you:

  • eat a diet high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
  • are overweight
  • smoke cigarettes
  • are over 50 years old
  • have a family history of AMD
  • are Caucasian (white)

Having heart disease is another risk factor for AMD, as is having high cholesterol levels.

Many people don’t realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. A retinal screening by an ophthalmologist can provide insight into your vascular health, catching signs of damage that otherwise could go undetected.

Cataract
Cataracts will affect almost everyone eventually. Cataracts occur when the lens inside the eye gets cloudy and thick. Changes in vision resulting from cataract development can range from very subtle to extreme. Increased glare or trouble with night driving and difficulty reading are the most common presentationse

The timing of surgical intervention is critical to achieve the best outcome and quality of vision possible. Good timing can also lower the rate of complications and prevent blindness or permanent vision impairment in many cases. 

See what you’ve been missing!
Age related eye disease is very common. Start protecting your eyes today - don’t wait until it’s too late. Learn more about compassionate medical and surgical eye care. Trust ZIEKEREYE Ophthalmology for leading-edge solutions to your vision problems. Call us at 518.450.1080 or use our convenient online Request an Appointment form to connect with our scheduling team.

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June Declared as Cataract Awareness Month

Prevent Blindness has declared June as Cataract Awareness Month to educate people on risk factors, symptoms and treatment options.

There are several possible risk factors for cataracts, such as:

  • Aging
  • Intense heat or long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun
  • Certain diseases, such as diabetes
  • Inflammation in the eye
  • Hereditary influences
  • Events before birth, such as German measles in the mother
  • Long-term steroid use
  • Eye injuries
  • Eye diseases
  • Smoking

In anticipation of Cataract Awareness Month, here are some common questions and answers about cataracts from the experts at Your Sight Matters.com:

What is the Treatment for Cataracts?

Even though cataracts are so prevalent, they are very simple to treat. Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye, which prevents passage of light into the eye. The solution to cataracts is cataract surgery, which requires a surgeon to remove the deteriorated lens and replace it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens or IOL

According to the National Eye Institute, cataract removal is one of the most common operations performed in the United States. In about 90 percent of cases, people who have cataract surgery have improved vision afterward.

Over 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery annually, making it one of the most common surgeries in the United States. In fact, the entire surgery lasts only about 20 minutes, and most people can resume normal activities fairly rapidly.

Do Cataracts Only Affect Seniors?

Cataracts can affect anyone! Although most people do not show symptoms of cataracts until at least the age of 40, cataracts can also affect young adults or even children. Heredity, disease, eye injury and smoking could cause cataracts to develop at an earlier age. 

Can I Prevent Cataracts?

There is no proven way to prevent age-related cataracts. However, choosing a healthy lifestyle can slow the progression of cataracts. Some ways to delay the progression of cataracts include avoiding smoking, reducing exposure to UV rays, eating healthy foods, and wearing proper eye protection to avoid eye injury.

Don’t put off taking care of your eyes – see what you’ve been missing!

Click to see a video on The Benefits of Cataract Surgery.

Trust ZIEKEREYE Ophthalmology for effective solutions to cataracts, glaucoma and refractive vision problems. Call us at (518) 450-1080 or use our convenient online, Request an Appointment, form to contact our scheduling team. 

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5 Ways to Help Protect Your Vision as You Age

Did you know?: According to the American Foundation for the Blind, expertspredict that by 2030, rates of severe vision loss will double along with the country's aging population? 

So what can you do to help protect your eye health?

We’ve put together a list of 5 ways you can help protect your vision, and prevent vision loss:

  • Wear those sunglasses
    And start today if you don’t wear them already. According to Aging.com: “if left unprotected, UVA and UVB rays can harm your eyes and contribute to the formation of cataracts. When you're out in the sun (even in the wintertime), it's important to wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat for full protection from harmful radiation. Opt for lenses that offer 100 percent UV protection and be aware that this feature is not offered by all types of sunglasses.”
  • Look for warning signs of changes in your vision. 
    If you start noticing changes in your vision, see your eye doctor immediately,” recommend the experts at All About Vision.“Some trouble signs to look for are double vision, hazy vision and difficulty seeing in low light conditions. Other signs and symptoms of potentially serious eye problems that warrant immediate attention include red eyes, frequent flashes of light, floaters, eye pain and swelling.” 
  • Schedule a comprehensive eye exam.
    Many people wait too long, or wait until something is really wrong before scheduling a proper, thorough eye exam. According to the National Eye Institute, “having a comprehensive, dilated eye exam is one of the best things you can do to protect your eye health. A comprehensive dilated eye exam is a painless procedure in which an eye care professional examines your eyes to look for common vision problems and eye diseases, many of which have no early warning signs. These regular comprehensive eye exams can help you protect your sight and make sure that you are seeing your best.”
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise.
    Exercising is excellent for maintaining our overall health – and our eyes are no different. The American Academy of Ophthalmologysays “our eyes need good blood circulation and oxygen intake, and both are stimulated by regular exercise. Regular exercise also helps keep our weight in the normal range, which reduces the risk of diabetesand of diabetic retinopathy. Gentler exercise, including walking, yoga, tai chi, or stretching and breathing, can also be effective ways to keep healthy.” 
  • Quit smoking.
    Not only is smoking detrimental to your entire cardiovascular system, it can be devastating to your vision. According to Johns Hopkins University“current and former smokers have up to four times the risk of developing ARMD—the leading cause of blindness in the U.S.—than those who never smoked. The risk remains high even up to 20 years after quitting. In fact, an Australian study estimated that as many as one in five cases of ARMD-related blindness in that country could be related to smoking. Researchers say there are several reasons for the increased risk in smokers, including cellular changes, oxidative stress and vascular constriction.”

See what you’ve been missing!

Start protecting your eyes today - don’t wait until it’s too late. Learn more about compassionate medical and surgical eye care. Trust ZIEKEREYE Ophthalmology for leading-edge solutions to your vision problems. Call us at 518.450.1080 or use our convenient online Request an Appointment form to connect with our scheduling team.

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What is Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries in the United States. Cataract surgery is undertaken when the cataract begins to interfere with a patient’s quality of life or visual functioning. The cloudy lens is removed surgically and the artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted.

Did you know, according to American Academy of Ophthalmology, 50 Million people are expected to have cataracts by 2050? So, ensure that you know what to expect with cataract surgery. 

What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
Cataracts can progress to the point of complete loss of vision. They can lead to various visual complaints, such as:

  • Blurred or distorted vision
  • Difficulty reading, seeing up close, engaging in activities like knitting, word puzzles, card games, etc.
  • Difficulty seeing road signs; glare when driving at dusk, at night or on rain-slicked roads
  • Increased dependency on prescription glasses; frequent changes in glasses prescription
  • Bothered by bright sunlight, bright indoor lights, fluorescent lights

What to Expect Before Cataract Surgery?

You will need to see an ophthalmologist—a medical doctor who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of conditions related to the eye—who has advanced knowledge in identifying and treating cataracts. He or she will be able to diagnose the condition through testing. Make sure your surgeon has experience and an excellent success rate with a wide variety of advanced technology options.

What does Cataract Surgery Entail?

Modern cataract surgery uses cutting-edge laser technology and ultrasound technology, with a micro-incision that doesn’t require stitches. Most surgeries are typically done on an outpatient basis, using mild sedation and local anesthesia. You may be awake during the surgery and you may see light and movement during the procedure, but you should not see or feel any pain or discomfort. 

The cataract is removed through a small corneal incision using ultrasound energy. This process is called phacoemulsification. The surgery can take from 10 to 30 minutes and patients are typically at the surgery center for three to four hours.

Did You Know? 

  • 18 million cataract surgeries are performed worldwide each year. 
  • Cataracts CANNOT be removed with LASIK. 
  • 95% of patients report much improved vision following cataract surgery. 
  • Complications following cataract surgery are less than 2% nationwide. 
  • Very good surgeons have complication rates less than 1%.
  • Those with astigmatism may be candidates for refractive cataract surgery and have both conditions corrected with one procedure, optimizing visual outcomes.

Is the Surgery Painful? 
Eye drops are used to numb the eye and it would be exceedingly rare to experience any discomfort whatsoever. Following surgery patients may experience dry eye or a slight burning sensation, but these symptoms typically go away after a few days.

What to Expect Post-Cataract Surgery?

You will need someone to drive you home from the procedure. Most patients are driving and back to work in one to two days. You will be seen for a postoperative visit the following day. You will begin an eye drop regimen that lasts four to six weeks. During that time, it is recommended that you avoid vigorous activity including heavy lifting or bending. You also need to avoid itching/rubbing the eye so that it can heal properly. 

Additional visits are typically scheduled for one week and one month post-surgery. If both eyes require surgery, they are typically scheduled two to three weeks apart. 

Even though there is no surgery, technology or technique that guarantees results, most patients enjoy improved overall vision after cataract surgery. A small percentage (less than 10%) of patients continue to have some dependency on glasses. 

Need more information on cataract surgery? Download our Free Consumer Guide or watch this free Cataract Surgery Video.

See what you’re missing. Discover advanced surgical eye care. Trust ZIEKEREYE Ophthalmology for effective solutions to cataracts, glaucoma and refractive vision problems. Call us at 518.450.1080 or use our convenient online, Request an Appointment, form to contact our scheduling team. 

What to Expect with Cataract Surgery

According to a recent article from AARP, getting treatment for cataracts, a common eye disorder for people 40 and older, not only has the potential to repair your vision; it could possibly increase your life span by improving overall health.

The 20-year study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology, was conducted on 74,044 women ages 65 and older who suffered from cataracts. It found a 60 percent lower risk of death among 41,735 women who had their cataracts removed, the New York Times reports.

The reason? Anne L. Coleman, M.D., and colleagues at the Stein Eye Institute of the David Geffen School of Medicineexplained that when people are able to see better, “they can also move more and get more exercise. They can see their pills better and may be more likely to take them and take the right ones. The surgery also improves visual contrast, which decreases the risk of accidental deaths from falls or driving. It’s important to get the best vision a person can have.”

Cataracts will affect almost everyone eventually. By 2050, the projected number of people in the U.S. with cataracts is expected to double from 24.4 million to about 50 million (NEI). 

So, what can you do to protect your vision?

  • Pay attention to changes in your vision
    Cataracts occur when the lens inside the eye gets cloudy and thick. Changes in vision resulting from cataract development can range from very subtle to extreme. Increased glare, trouble with night driving and difficulty reading are the most common symptoms.
  • Schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor
    The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends that you get a baseline eye examination at age 40, the time when early signs of disease or changes in vision may occur. A baseline screening can help identify signs of eye disease at an early stage when many treatments can have the greatest impact on preserving vision. AAO also recommends that if you have an eye disease, or a risk factor for developing one, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of eye disease, you should see an ophthalmologist even if you are younger than 40.
  • Address cataract issues promptly
    Waiting for a cataract to become “ripe” is an antiquated concept. Cataract surgery is undertaken when the cataract begins to interfere with quality of life or visual functioning. The cloudy lens is removed surgically and the artificial intraocular lens (IOL) is implanted.The timing of surgical intervention is critical to achieve the best outcome and quality of vision possible. Good timing can also lower the rate of complications and prevent blindness or permanent vision impairment in many cases.

See what you’ve been missing. Discover advanced surgical eye care. Trust ZIEKEREYE Ophthalmology for effective solutions to cataracts, glaucoma and other vision problems. Call us at 518.450.1080 or use our convenient online Request an Appointment form to reach our appointment schedulers. 

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