Cataracts Reading, MA

Straight Talk about Cataracts

Cataracts Reading, MACataracts are a common occurrence among people all around the world; tens of thousands, to be blunt. Having cataracts puts a person at risk of vision loss, so we take the spread of information seriously. If you do not have a good understanding of cataracts, or how they are diagnosed and treated, there is a chance that you could inadvertently put yourself at risk for mismanagement. Here, we want to point out a few of the common fallacies about cataracts so you can avoid unnecessary frustration as you progress in your understanding of your eye health.

  • You only get cataracts when you’re old. If you look at statistics, you will see that cataracts do, in fact, primarily affect people older than age 65. However, this does not mean that cataracts are necessarily an age-related eye problem. There is such a thing as a congenital cataract, which is present at birth. Also, general conditions like diabetes can lead to the early development of cataracts.
  • Cataracts develop on the surface of the eye. Because the lens of the eye does sit pretty much front and center, we can see why many people perceive cataracts as growths. They aren’t. Cataracts describe the clouding of the eye’s lens, which occurs as proteins accumulate on this part of the eye.
  • Cataracts can be removed. This is another common idea about cataracts, largely perpetuated by the term “cataract removal.” If you believe cataracts can be removed, you may be surprised when your eye doctor explains the procedure of removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an artificial lens or IOL. To remove a cataract means to remove the lens.
  • One cataract will lead to another. Some people believe that a cataract can be spread, like a virus or infection. Cataracts develop because the eye’s lens has formed a film of proteins within its structure (not on top). If both eyes develop cataracts, it is due to isolated protein buildup, not spreading.
  • Straining the eyes can make cataracts worse. Most people with cataracts notice cloudiness more when they are reading or performing other up-close tasks. This does not mean that cataracts are worsened by those activities, though. Cataracts worsen only as a greater number of cells accumulate on the lens.

We’ve got offices in Reading and Melrose, MA, where we are happy to provide you with friendly care. Contact us to schedule your consultation for cataracts.

eye irritation MA

Tears are your Friend

eye irritation MAOften, if a person sheds a few tears, there is an apology made. There are several purposes for tears, the sharing of emotion is just one of them. This fluid is quite interesting when we dive deeper into their function and makeup.

Types of Tears

Perhaps there would be a better way to phrase this. We don’t have different types of tears regarding what they are made of. The way tears differ in their purpose. In addition to the emotional tears we cry when we are moved to joy or sadness, there are also reflex tears and basal tears. Reflex tears are produced when something gets in the eye. This could be a speck of debris, or it could be the “fumes” from an onion that has been cut. Basal tears may just be the most important. These are the tears that lubricate the eyes day in and day out, all the days of our lives.

The Layers of a Tear

Tears are not just water. In fact, too much water content in tears could be a factor in the development of dry eye syndrome. For tears to be efficient, they also need to contain a layer of oil and a layer of mucus. Each layer is necessary. Water adds moisture, but oil keeps that water from evaporating too quickly. Without proper balance among these layers, tears become impaired.

Tears Know Where to Go

The process of tear production, use, and excretion from the eye is truly fascinating. Tears do not dry up on the surface, at least they shouldn’t. After this fluid has moistened the surface of the eye as we blink, it moves toward the puncta, located at the inside corner of the eyelid on each eye. A tiny tubule in the puncta escorts tears into the nasal cavity, where they may stay. Otherwise, tear fluid swallowed.

Tears are Important

In case you haven’t gathered, tear production is necessary for the eyes to stay nourished, comfortable, clean, and functional. If you have noticed frequent eye irritation, a scratchy sensation, redness, excessive watering, or other unpleasant symptoms, it’s possible that you are not making enough tears. Schedule a visit with Dr. Latina to find out why, and what you can do about it.

Vision Assessment MA

Blue Light: Is it Really Good for your Eyes?

Vision Assessment MAThe more that we have collectively turned toward the daily use of digital devices, the more we have heard about vision problems in people of all ages. Energy efficiency, digital use, and our basic lifestyle habits routinely put us in direct contact with blue light. In recent years, there has been quite a bit of media attention placed on this chronic exposure to blue light. So much so, that the term “good blue light” has become increasingly common. This is an important detail that deserves its discussion.

A Look at Blue Light

Light occurs across a spectrum of wavelengths. The natural human visual system can process wavelengths in the range of 400-750 nanometers. Blue light falls in the 400-500 range on this spectrum. Interestingly enough, these cooler colors of light have higher energy output. This means it is advantageous to investigate the effects that various wavelengths have on health and wellness. In particular, how light affects the eyes.

What’s Good and What’s Bad?

Eye strain is often linked to the use of digital devices. These devices often have the blue light that is below 430 nanometers. According to research, blue light that is less than 460 nanometers presents a risk of oxidative retinal damage. The effects of blue light are cumulative, meaning that the more exposure that occurs over time, the more damage adds up. This damage could result in a serious eye condition, such as age-related macular degeneration. Because of this link, lower wavelengths of blue light have become notoriously “bad.”

In the good old days, before alarm clocks and 9 to 5 jobs, the body was allowed a natural sleep rhythm. The change in natural light at nightfall would prompt the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone. At sunrise, the bright light of morning would halt the production of this hormone, making us feel awake and energetic. Because this natural process involves blue light higher than 460 nanometers, wavelengths above that range have been called “good.”

The Bottom Line

The full range of blue light, which is present in digital devices, is 400-500. That means some wavelengths are generally “good,” while others will stand in the way of melatonin production. Perhaps you have noticed that, if you work on the computer too late at night, you cannot sleep until well past midnight. That’s the workings of shorter wavelengths of blue light. Children are also susceptible to the hazards of blue light from electronic devices, increasing the risk of poor academic performance and behavioral issues stemming from a lack of sleep.

Blue light is still under heavy investigation by researchers. During the daytime hours, higher wavelengths of 460-500 are beneficial, but not after a certain time. Ultimately, “good blue light” seems to be more a matter of timing that wavelength.

Do you have questions about eye health? Call our Reading or Melrose office for friendly service.

Not your Average Eye Clinic

Eye ExamGoing to the eye doctor often means that you are undergoing an eye exam to see how well you see. Sometimes, going to the eye doctor means obtaining care for a specific condition, such as cataracts. Each situation requires a particular level of care. What many people don’t know is that this means they need to see a particular type of eye doctor.

Differentiating Between Two Options

General eye exams and the treatment of minor eye problems is often conducted in an eye clinic operated by a licensed optometrist. This eye doctor can perform certain tests that assess visual acuity. The dilated eye exam lets the optometrist look at the structures of the eye. The skills of the optometrist are obtained through 4 years of college followed by an additional 4 years of training.

The ophthalmologist has the same basic skillset as the optometrist, plus a little more. After the initial 4 years of college, ophthalmology education continues in medical school, and then through internship and residency programs. This extensive training takes the ophthalmologist through surgical eye procedures, sophisticated treatments, and complex diseases that affect the eyes. The ophthalmologist can diagnose and treat diabetic retinopathy, manage and treat cataracts, address chronic conditions such as dry eye syndrome, and perform laser eye procedures such as LASIK.

Typically, the optometrist is the first eye doctor that a person sees. In many cases, the optometrist is the only eye doctor that is needed to make sure that vision remains as clear and crisp as it should be. Ideally, a comprehensive eye exam will be obtained from an ophthalmologist at some point, simply due to the wider range of diagnostic testing that occurs in such an office.

Here’s the Good News!

Advanced Glaucoma Specialists has offices in Reading and Melrose that offer both the basic level of vision care and the higher level of care needed to assess and manage eye health. When you visit one of our friendly offices, you have access to the full spectrum: eye exams and prescription lenses through our optical shop, and eye services such as cataract surgery.

Is it time to see the eye doctor? Contact us for your visit.

Dry Eyes don’t have to Come Between you and your Contacts

Dry Eyes As much as we know that dry eye syndrome exists, we also know that many of the people who suffer the uncomfortable symptoms of this condition do not talk with their eye doctor about their concerns. This is especially true among people who wear contact lenses. This form of vision correction is chosen by those who do not want to wear eyeglasses throughout their waking hours. It’s understandable that, if you wear contact lenses and also frequently experience scratching, redness, and other irritation associated with dryness, you may fear being told you have to give up your contacts.

If this is your assumption, we should talk.

Historically, the existence of dry eye syndrome has been a contraindication for contact lens use. The issue was cut-and-dry; you have dry eyes, no contacts for you! This isn’t the case anymore. Advances in technology have led to great strides in the availability of treatments and remedies specifically for contact-lens wearers. So much improvement has been made, in fact, that we routinely see terminology such as “contact lenses for dry eyes.”

What does this even mean, contact lenses for dry eyes? The phrase essentially describes manufacturing practices that are aimed at reducing dry eye symptoms related directly to contact-lens use. If you wear contact lenses and frequently encounter unpleasant problems such as a foreign body sensation, your first step in resolving the issue is to consult with your eye doctor.

In our Melrose and Reading ophthalmology practices, we conduct a thorough assessment for dry eyes. Many patients are surprised to learn that their comfort can be improved without having to discontinue their use of contact lenses.

Options for Contacts and Dry Eyes

If contact lenses and dry eyes don’t seem like a good pairing, it’s because they’re not. That is unless you give innovative products or treatments a try.

  • Some manufacturers, like Bausch + Lomb, are now making contact lenses with silicon hydrogel that retains moisture all day long.
  • Eye drops are available for contact-lens wearers, and also for dry eye sufferers. Finding a product that addresses both is possible when you consult with your eye doctor.
  • Laser dry eye treatment treats the lids with IPL or Intense Pulsed Light. This unclogs the glands that facilitate tear production, achieving longer lasting relief than is possible with eye drops.

Do you have questions about contacts for dry eyes? Contact us in Melrose or Reading for personal care.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Managing your Risk

Age-Related Macular DegenerationWhen you hear the term “age-related macular degeneration,” there is a clear perception of a later-in-life type of scenario. Indeed, of the more than 200,000 cases expedited this year, a large majority of patients will be over the age of 50. Age aside, because macular degeneration can slowly steal your sight, it pays to learn about risks and rewards.

The risks of age-related macular degeneration may seem beyond your control. Research indicates that there are genetic factors that may predispose certain people to this condition. But that isn’t the end of the story. Recently, studies related to macular degeneration in women have revealed that there may be ways to mitigate the genetic risk.

Learning from Research

The study, funded by the National Eye Institute, observed women between that ages of 50 and 79 who had taken part in the much wider Women’s Health Initiative, conducted from 1991 onward. What researchers discovered by reviewing medical data on these 300+ women was that, as much as their genetic risk, their lifestyle habits also affected their risk for age-related macular degeneration. Specifically, the risk quadrupled for women who:

  • Were not very physically active
  • Smoked daily for at least 7 years (a pack a day)
  • Did not consume much, if any, fruits or vegetables
  • Carried more than one predisposing gene for age-related macular degeneration

The observational study led researchers to conclude that genetic makeup was only one factor in a woman’s risk for AMD and that this risk could be offset to some degree when nutrition and lifestyle factors leaned toward health and wellness.

Are you Predisposed?

If you have a parent or other close family member who is or was affected by age-related macular degeneration, there is one crucial step you can take to protect the future of your vision: don’t smoke.  This may, perhaps, be one of the most significant factors in age-related macular degeneration, aside from age. Additional steps that can be taken include adding more fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, to your diet, and exercising regularly. According to the above-mentioned study, rigorous exercise is not necessary. The risk is reduced in individuals who get several days of light activity each week.

Would you like a full eye exam to assess your overall eye health? Call our Reading or Melrose office for your appointment.

 

 

 

Does 3D Send you Spinning? Let’s see Why!

eye exam3D entertainment is nothing new. Many of us basked in the boldness of these special movies throughout childhood. The moment we donned that plastic, red and blue spectacles, we entered into a magical world in which nothing looked normal. That is until we looked at the mega-on screen in front of us. If you were like many children who put those glasses on, you probably didn’t want to take them off. They were evidence of your special break from reality! Alas, nothing in the real world can be observed through those glasses. And for many people, nothing on the screen can be, either.

Not everyone loves or can tolerate, 3D movies and other entertainment. The interaction between what is on the screen and the natural eye doesn’t always play out the way it should, and one may become nauseous or dizzy. If this has happened to you, we can tell you why.

Altering the Natural

You are well aware that your eyes work naturally, and that when you alter their function, things get a little wonky. You can observe how the eyes work naturally is to look through only one eye at a time. When you look only through the left, you get one view. When you switch, the view changes; only slightly, but it changes. This is nature’s way of creating our optimal field of vision, and our ability to perceive dimension and depth. Those technically advanced 3D movies; they recreate this very function on the big screen.

How it’s Done

A 3D movie is filmed with these two separate lenses, always positioned a couple of inches apart. The result is an overlap of two perspectives on the big screen. Because your eyes naturally overlap what they observe in the natural world, they cannot perceive the 3D film without a little help. That’s where those lovely plastic glasses come in. They alter what we see by filtering color.

When 3D Goes Awry

So, if special spectacles are intended to help the eyes acclimate to the unnatural programming of the 3D movie, why do some people wind up feeling more motion sick and masterful during such flicks? It is simple, and it, fortunately, does not affect your day to day vision. The eyes work somewhat like binoculars, overlapping those two perspectives we discussed to create a clear image. Sometimes, the eyes and brain do not connect the dots as needed, and some of the information entering the eye is not observed by the brain.

How is your real-life vision? We are happy to schedule an eye exam for you in our Melrose or Reading office.

 

 

The Issue of Light

proper lightingLight is essential to our vision. It is the reflection of light off of an object that allows us to visualize it in the first place. Fortunately, light is pretty much always present; at least it is available when we need it. What has been discovered over the years, as new light sources have been developed, is that not all light is created equal. Some types of light could create the risk of strain. To reduce these risks, consider these suggestions:

Be Watchful of your Workspace

According to the American Optometric Association, eye strain is a common problem for individuals whose work environment includes a computer monitor. This is a large percentage of the population! The problem with eye strain related to computer usage is not only the screen itself, but that is where most attention goes. To minimize eye strain while at work, adjust your environment by:

  • Lowering the harsh lighting. If the bulbs in your office are extra-bright, remove a few!
  • Minimize glare from windows. External light shining in from behind your desk, or in front of it, can create reflections and glares on your screen. If possible, close the blinds to reduce the amount of light directed at your computer. There are also anti-glare coatings and covers that can be placed over your monitor.

Adjust the Lighting in your Abode

There is an interesting switch that happens from the office to spaces within the home. In one environment, the lighting is usually quite harsh and bright. In the other, the lighting may be too low to support good vision. Now, contrary to what your parents may  have told you, reading in low light won’t permanently damage your eyes. However, doing so may cause an unnecessary headache. To give your eyes the best lighting for various tasks doesn’t mean you have to increase the brightness of all of your bulbs. Instead:

  • Read with lighting from a desk lamp or other appropriate lighting for the area. A bedside table lamp may be sufficient for reading, whereas an overhead light may be too dim.
  • Use a lighted makeup mirror to apply cosmetics and perform tasks such as plucking eyebrows. These fixtures can sit on the counter when in use and be easily tucked away at other times.

Lighting is a necessary detail of good vision and less eye strain, as are healthy eyes. We would love to see you in our Reading or Melrose office for a full eye exam.

The Comprehensive Eye Exam: It’s all about the Pupils!

eye dilationEvery patient who visits our Reading or Melrose office receives an exam that is tailored to his or her needs. Sometimes, a basic exam is sufficient, allowing us to observe the pupils in relation to light. In some instances, the best approach to care is to look beyond the surface. In order to do efficiently do this, it is necessary to dilate the eyes.

What is Dilation, and Why is it Necessary?

To dilate the eyes means to open up the pupils. If you look into a mirror in bright light, you will see that your pupils become very small. Turn off the light momentarily, and observe your pupils as soon as you turn the light back on, and you will see how enlarged they become. The reason why pupils enlarge, or dilate, is to let more light in so you can see better. During the eye exam, the dilated pupil lets us observe the inner workings of each eye to a much larger extent.

There is good reason to have your eyes dilated for a full eye exam. A number of the conditions that could be quite concerning as you age are best detected in this manner. These include glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition in which the fibers of the optic nerve are involved. These fibers extend from the central nervous system into the eyes. When the eyes are dilated, your eye doctor can visualize the point at which these fibers enter the eye. Cupping of the optic nerve fibers could indicate the onset of glaucoma.

Diabetic retinopathy

This diabetic condition develops when the amount of sugar in the blood impedes circulation though the tiny blood vessels in the eyes. Usually, both eyes are affected; and , usually, there are very limited early signs of abnormality. As the condition progresses, symptoms such as floaters, blurred vision, and vision loss could occur. When we dilate the eyes, we can assess the macula in the retina for swelling or blood leakage, and can also evaluate the structural integrity of blood vessels.

Macular degeneration

It is possible to assess for the risk or early signs of age-related macular degeneration by dilating the eyes. If we notice swelling or clumps of pigment around the retina, we can schedule further testing through which an accurate diagnosis can be made.

For your eye exam, call our main office at  (781) 942-9876.

 

Winter Care Tips for Healthy, Comfortable Eyes

Winter Care Tips for EyesAs those holiday selfies are right around the corner, the last thing you want is to exhibit red, irritated eyes. The inherent weather changes that occur during this time of year make that a real possibility. We don’t tend to think about how harsh winter weather can be on the eyes, spending most of our time trying to protect our eyes during the summer months, when the sun is brightest and we are on the water more frequently. The truth is, we need to take precautions throughout the entire year if we want to enjoy long-term visual health.

1.Moisten as needed. Dryness and irritation from that dryness is probably the primary concern we hear during the winter months. The cold air outside is bad enough, and then dryness is exacerbated by the use of heaters in indoor settings. One of the ways that you can protect your eyes from dryness is to set up a humidifier in your home. You may also want to keep eye drops on hand for days when irritation occurs.

2.Consider eyeglasses. If you wear contact lenses to improve your vision, winter time may be a great time to switch to eyeglasses. Because contacts sit directly on the surface of the eye, dryness could be exacerbated more easily. Also, the nature of contact lenses means that they require more moisture to remain comfortable and functional. If dryness occurs, contacts could stick to the eye, creating discomfort. It is much easier to maintain adequate moisture without the added requirements of contact lenses, even if you only make the switch for a few hours a day.

3.Keep wearing sunglasses. UV rays don’t shine only during the summer months. In fact, if you are visiting a snowy location, know that UV rays are doubly intense. Quality sunglasses can filter over 95% of the UV light that can harm your eyes.

Eye protection and safety are important throughout the various seasons of the year. If you need more information on how to winterize your eyes, or want to use your eye care benefits before the end of the year, give us a call! We’re happy to schedule a convenient appointment time for you.