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2502 E. Oakland Park, Fort Lauderdale

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What to Expect at Your Annual Eye Exam

eye exam, optometrist, Ft. Lauderdale, FLOur Fort Lauderdale doctors and staff strive to provide you with the highest quality eye care services in a caring and professional environment. The following will provide you with some information to get you prepared for your examination and allow us to assist you as efficiently as possible during your visit.

Please allow 45 minutes up to one hour for your examination and additional time to select new glasses, if desired.

If you have not yet scheduled your eye exam you can schedule online or by calling our office at 954-320-0048.

Before your visit to our Fort Lauderdale eye clinic

If you are a new patient, please complete your medical history online here.

What to bring to your visit

  • Please bring all of your prescription glasses with you
  • Whether or not you wear glasses, bring sunglasses with you (it helps with bright lights after your exam)
  • If you wear contact lenses, arrive wearing your contact lenses. If you are new, please bring your contact lens boxes or foil packet of your current contact lenses
  • Bring identification (driver’s license, government issued ID, or student ID)
  • Your medical card and your vision card. Some plans only have medical cards, which we keep in your records

Initial Testing

  • We will review your medical history and discuss visual concerns and ocular complaints
  • The highly trained technician will utilize advanced testing equipment to collect valuable data for the doctor to review during your examination
  • Dilation drops will be instilled in your eyes to allow time for them to begin working before the doctor sees you. To learn more about why dilating the pupils is necessary and side effects click here

Comprehensive Examination By Our Optometrist In Fort Lauderdale

  • The doctor will begin the examination by reviewing your concerns, medical history, and the data collected by the technicians
  • A refraction will be performed which allows the doctor to determine a prescription to help you see you are very best. The doctor will discuss all your visual correction options including glasses, contacts, and refractive surgery.
  • If you wear contact lenses or decide to be fit with contact lenses then further testing and evaluation will be performed to evaluate how your eyes are tolerating contacts lens wear, if the lenses fit properly on your eye, and assess how well you see with the contact lenses
  • Our doctors will then perform a thorough examination of all parts of your eyes utilizing specialized lights, lenses, and microscopes. This is how diseases such as dry eye, cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma are detected
  • The doctor will review the iWellness results with you and compare the data from prior years. In many cases, a disease can be detected with the iWellness even before the disease presents with the doctor’s direct examination

Eyewear and Contact lenses

At the conclusion of your eye exam an Optician will be available to explain your insurance in detail, make any adjustments or repairs to your current eyewear may require, and can assist you with your eyewear and contact lens purchases. You will be provided with a copy of your glasses prescription and contact lens prescription when finalized.

Your Scheduled Return

In the event, the doctor requires a follow-up visit we will schedule your appointment for your convenience. We will set a recall for 1 year or as recommended by your doctor.

Schedule An Appointment Call Us 954-320-0048

A Vision of Back to School

back to school ft Lauderdale flThe new school year is coming up fast, and parents and students are getting ready to embark on new adventures and experiences. But this is also a reminder to parents that good eyesight is possibly the most important school supply your child may not have. A good education for children doesn't just mean good schools, good teachers, and good friends. Good vision is just as important.

Testing Children For Basic Vision Skills In Pompano, Imperial Point, Oakland Park & Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Dr. Paul Klein in Ft. Lauderdale, FL explains, “Your child’s eyes are his/her gateway into the world of learning. When your child’s vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. Children are not likely to recognize vision problems or report them, and it is, therefore, the responsibility of parents and teachers to recognize signs of visual problems in their children.” There is a basic set of vision skills that are needed for school. The first is near vision. This is the ability to see clearly at a distance of about 10-13 inches. This is obviously important for reading, writing and close work at your child’s desk. Distance vision, the ability to see clearly and comfortably beyond arm’s reach, is also important in order to see the board in the classroom, and Binocular coordination, or the ability to use both eyes together, is important for extra-curricular activities. Both are vision skills needed to be successful in school. Additionally, focusing skills, peripheral awareness, and eye-hand coordination are also important. As a parent, it is your job to be alert for symptoms that may indicate your child has a vision or visual processing problem. A few examples of common conditions that may effect your child's ability to learn are below:

If your child gets headaches while trying to read or do other close work, exhibits a short attention span during visual tasks, and/or has to use a finger to guide reading, it is possible your child may have a condition called convergence insufficiency. This is a condition in which the eyes have a hard time converging on a certain point close up. This may also cause the words to “jump” or “blur” when your child attempts to read.

You may also find that your child's eyes do not seem to move together, that the eyes do not face the same direction, and/or that your child tilts his/her head or squints in order to see better. This could indicate a condition called Strabismus. This results from muscles in one or both eyes being misaligned or underdeveloped. This can cause severe difficulty for your child and may cause more significant problems, including loss of depth perception, if not treated promptly. Dr. Klein adds, “Other symptoms to look out for that may signal vision-related problems are difficulty remembering or identifying shapes, difficulty remembering what was read, excessive blinking or rubbing of his/her eyes, or placing his/her head very close to the book or desk when reading or writing”.back to school ft Lauderdale fl

Because changes in your child’s vision can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the eye doctor every year or more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist. Remember, school vision or pediatrician’s screenings are good, but they are not a substitute for a thorough eye exam. To learn more, contact Dr. Klein today.

Schedule Your Child’s Back-To-School Eye Exam In Pompano, Imperial Point, Oakland Park & Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Schedule An Appointment

Call Us 954-320-0048

Geriatric Eye Care Services In Fort Lauderdale, FL

geriatric eye care services fort lauderdale fl

A relatively new subspecialty of Optometry, geriatric eye care services are provided as an important part of one’s overall health management. With aging comes an increased need for comprehensive eye exams and for high-level, advanced treatment of many common ocular diseases. In addition, more and more of the global elderly population is enjoying their golden years with an active and healthy lifestyle. Nowadays, there is an unprecedented quality of life for seniors that makes quality geriatric eye care even more important than ever.

Eye Exams to Diagnose Ocular Disease In Fort Lauderdale, FL

As our eye doctor can explain during your next eye exam, complete ocular evaluations for the geriatric population pay special attention to signs of age-related diseases, such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and cataracts. These exams are recommended annually past the age of 65, even if there are no visual complaints or reported symptoms. Many common eye diseases progress very slowly and don’t generate symptoms until it is too late to prevent a degree of vision loss.

Physical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which rise in frequency as people age, are strongly associated with eye health problems. A total geriatric eye exam will inspect for the signs or effects of these risk factors. Cataracts are perhaps the most prevalent ocular disease in the elderly, and another significant feature of geriatric eye care is quality preoperative and postoperative management for cataract surgery. The specialized attention given by dedicated geriatric optometrists has been linked with more successful outcomes from surgical procedures to remove cataracts.

Visual Acuity Testing In Fort Lauderdale, FL

Fortunately, many visual conditions in seniors are treatable, and optometric experts are now being specially trained to evaluate geriatric eyesight. An assessment of visual acuity is a vital part of complete eye examinations for seniors. Statistics report that as many as 94% of patients in nursing homes require eyeglasses for myopia or presbyopia, yet sadly only 31% may be wearing appropriate eyewear vision correction!  Untreated visual impairment can put the elderly at risk for many negative consequences, such as eyestrain, blurred eyesight and increased incidences of falls due to decreased coordination and lost balance. These falls are particularly hazardous, as they lead to a higher risk of injury and dependence, which severely impacts the quality of life for the aged. An up-to-date vision prescription and adequate eyeglasses are imperative for the long-term health of the whole body.elderly woman geriatric eye care services fort Lauderdale fl

Low Vision In Fort Lauderdale, FL

If Low Vision is diagnosed, qualified eye specialists can provide advice and assistance regarding specialized devices and aids to maximize any remaining vision. Low vision can have a negative impact on the ability to perform routine tasks, such as driving, cooking or reading. This lack of mobility and total dependence on friends and family often leads to debilitating depression. Optometrists who specialize in geriatric care understand the need to help older adults maintain as much independence as possible. Proper eye care services can prevent this whole deterioration. One-on-one consultations allow eye doctors to respectfully determine the best low vision treatments for a senior citizen’s individual lifestyle and visual requirements. When seniors are homebound, these consultations are offered as in-home visits – making geriatric eye care as easy and convenient as possible.

Eye Symptoms and Warning Signs

Routine geriatric eye examinations are the best preventive medicine, however, there may be significant symptoms that appear in between eye doctor exams, and these should not be ignored!

If you experience any of the following signs, it’s advised to schedule a visit to your eye doctor:

I’m seeing floaters across my vision…

Noticing tiny shapes that seem to drift across your field of vision may be meaningless, or it may indicate a retinal detachment.

I think I am having vision loss…

This could be due to macular degeneration or a severe migraine, or it could point to various other eye conditions. It could also mean that a stronger eyeglass prescription is needed.

My eyes are tearing a lot…

Excess tears could be the result of many culprits, including allergies, an irritating substance in the eye, corneal abrasion or infection.

I am having trouble with my eyesight…

Any change in eyesight, such as trouble focusing, double vision, blurry or cloudy sight, seeing halos around lights, poor night vision, sensitivity to light, seeing spots or flashes of light, viewing wavy lines instead of straight and trouble identifying colors, is a warning sign to call an eye doctor.

My eyes always seem to twitch…

This may be a sign of a muscle problem or other health condition.

If you notice any of the following signs in an elderly person, it’s recommended to book an appointment at the eye doctor. These include:

    • Excessive blinking or squinting
    • Loss of coordination, such as tripping or bumping into things all of the time
    • A change in the appearance of his eyes:  this could be described as crossed eyes, a change in the color of his irises, redness or swelling, bulging eyes or a bump on his eyelid.
    • Trouble reading signs or recognizing people
    • Wearing clothing that is mismatched or stained
    • Complaints about how his eyes feel:  examples include discharge, itching and burning, pain, eye fatigue or trouble with closing his eyelid.
    • Bringing objects and text close to his eyes in order to view them 

    Collaboration is Necessary for Top Geriatric Care

    When providing optometric care for seniors, collaboration between all medical providers is critical. Many elderly patients take a variety of medicines, and there’s often a complicated medical picture. Communication and the full sharing of information is the best way to ensure that the patient receives the most appropriate, individualized eye care.

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Diabetes and the Eye

Diabetes Mellitus has been diagnosed in over 14 million individuals in the United States. There are two basic forms of diabetes. Type II diabetes or non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDDM) is also known as adult onset diabetes. It is most typically diagnosed in adults who tend to be overweight. Type II diabetes is most typically treated with oral medications; however a significant number of these individuals do require insulin therapy.

A more severe form of diabetes is termed Type I diabetes, or insulin dependent diabetes. Also known as juvenile onset diabetes, this form tends to require insulin therapy. Although eye complications can be found with both forms of diabetes, Type I diabetes has more frequent and severe ocular complications.

diabetes

Our Optometrist Treats Eye Complications Related To Diabetes

There are numerous complications that can occur in the eye secondary to diabetes, some of which are mild, insignificant, or transient and others of which are severe and vision threatening. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness among patients under the age of 65. Eye complications of diabetes include:

  • Significant and sudden shifts in vision prescription (large increases in nearsightedness or farsightedness). This is associated with changes in blood sugar levels and its effect on the focusing lens of the eye.
  • Acute diplopia (double vision). Double vision associated with diabetes tends to be binocular (one of the two images will go away if you close or cover one eye). It tends to be transient, lasting generally days to weeks at most. It is due to compromised blood flow to the nerves that control the external eye muscles.
  • Cataract development. Cataracts tend to develop earlier and more significantly in people with diabetes.
  • Glaucoma. Diabetes is a relative risk factor for the development of glaucoma. A rare, but very severe form of glaucoma called “neovascular glaucoma” is found in advanced diabetics.
  • Diabetic Retinopathy is the most feared complication of diabetes.

Laser Vision Correction

Now you can reduce or totally eliminate your dependency on glasses or contacts. Today may be the last day you ever have to wear bulky glasses, or deal with the routine of contact lenses. Through advances in modern technology, we can now offer patients Laser Vision Correction.

The staff at Broward Eye Care has extensive experience in Laser Vision Correction. We have been providing our patients with Laser Vision Correction as an alternative vision correction option since its approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1995. Dr. Klein has had extensive training in the co-management of Laser Vision Correction, has published and lectured on the subject, and has trained other optometrists across the US.

Electing laser vision correction requires preparation as not all patients are ideal candidates. The doctors at Broward Eyecare will prepare you for the procedure and its aftermath with the following services:

  • No charge, no obligation LASIK screening to determine if you are a candidate
  • Pre-operative examination and surgical clearance
  • Interim eye glass or contact lens management
  • Schedule procedure
  • Perform all post-operative follow-up visits

Pediatric Eye Exams In Fort Lauderdale, FL

child teen sitting technology

According to experts, 80% of learning is visual, which means that if your child is having difficulty seeing clearly, his or her learning can be affected.  This also goes for infants who develop and learn about the world around them through their sense of sight.  To ensure that your children have the visual resources they need to grow and develop normally, their eyes and vision should be checked by an eye doctor at certain stages of their development.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA) children should have their eyes examined by an eye doctor at 6 months, 3 years, at the start of school, and then at least every 2 years following. If there are any signs that there may be a vision problem or if the child has certain risk factors (such as developmental delays, premature birth, crossed or lazy eyes, family history or previous injuries) more frequent exams are recommended. A child that wears eyeglasses or contact lenses should have his or her eyes examined yearly.  Children’s eyes can change rapidly as they grow.

Eye Exams in Infants: Birth - 24 Months

A baby’s visual system develops gradually over the first few months of life. They have to learn to focus and move their eyes, and use them together as a team.  The brain also needs to learn how to process the visual information from the eyes to understand and interact with the world. With the development of eyesight, comes also the foundation for motor development such as crawling, walking and hand-eye coordination.

You can ensure that your baby is reaching milestones by keeping an eye on what is happening with your infant’s development and by ensuring that you schedule a comprehensive infant eye exam at 6 months.  At this exam, the eye doctor will check that the child is seeing properly and developing on track and look for conditions that could impair eye health or vision (such as strabismus(misalignment or crossing of the eyes), farsightedness, nearsightedness, or astigmatism).

Since there is a higher risk of eye and vision problems if your infant was born premature or is showing signs of developmental delay, your eye doctor may require more frequent visits to keep watch on his or her progress.

Eye Exams in Preschool Children: 2-5

The toddler and preschool age is a period where children experience drastic growth in intellectual and motor skills.  During this time they will develop the fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and perceptual abilities that will prepare them to read and write, play sports and participate in creative activities such as drawing, sculpting or building.  This is all dependent upon good vision and visual processes.

This is the age when parents should be on the lookout for signs of lazy eye (amblyopia) - when one eye doesn’t see clearly, or crossed eyes (strabismus) - when one or both eyes turns inward or outward. The earlier these conditions are treated, the higher the success rate.

Parents should also be aware of any developmental delays having to do with object, number or letter recognition, color recognition or coordination, as the root of such problems can often be visual.  If you notice your child squinting, rubbing his eyes frequently, sitting very close to the tv or reading material, or generally avoiding activities such as puzzles or coloring, it is worth a trip to the eye doctor.

Eye Exams in School-Aged Children: Ages 6-18

Undetected or uncorrected vision problems can cause children and teens to suffer academically, socially, athletically and personally.  If your child is having trouble in school or afterschool activities there could be an underlying vision problem. Proper learning, motor development, reading, and many other skills are dependent upon not only good vision, but also the ability of your eyes to work together. Children that have problems with focusing, reading, teaming their eyes or hand-eye coordination will often experience frustration, and may exhibit behavioral problems as well. Often they don’t know that the vision they are experiencing is abnormal, so they aren’t able to express that they need help.

In addition to the symptoms written above, signs of vision problems in older children include:

  • Short attention span
  • Headaches
  • Frequent blinking
  • Avoiding reading
  • Tilting the head to one side
  • Losing their place often while reading
  • Double vision
  • Poor reading comprehension

The Eye Exam You Can Trust In Ft. Lauderdale, FL

In addition to basic visual acuity (distance and near vision) an eye exam may assess the following visual skills that are required for learning and mobility:

  • Binocular vision: how the eyes work together as a team
  • Focusing
  • Peripheral Vision
  • Color Vision
  • Hand-eye Coordination
  • Tracking

The doctor will also examine the area around the eye and inside the eye to check for any eye diseases or health conditions. You should tell the doctor any relevant personal history of your child such as a premature birth, developmental delays, family history of eye problems, eye injuries or medications the child is taking. This would also be the time to address any concerns or issues your child has that might indicate a vision problem.

If the eye doctor does determine that your child has a vision problem, they may discuss a number of therapeutic options such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, an eye patch, vision therapy or Ortho-k, depending on the condition and the doctor’s specialty.   Since some conditions are much easier to treat when they are caught early while the eyes are still developing, it is important to diagnose any eye and vision issues as early as possible.

Following the guidelines for children’s eye exams and staying alert to any signs of vision problems can help your child to reach his or her potential.

Cataract Surgery Co-Management

Cataracts are part of the normal aging process. A cataract forms when the natural lens of the eye becomes clouded. The cause is usually unknown but can result from exposure to ultraviolet light, injury, heredity, disease and advancing age.

Cataract Diagnosis

Utilizing advanced diagnostic technologies and our ability to maximize visual function prior to surgery; we have enabled patients to function wonderfully with early stage cataracts for years before they need surgery. Initial diagnosis of cataracts can be made with the slitlamp biomicroscope.

Get Treatment From Our Cataract Surgery Specialist In Fort Lauderdale, FL

Eventually, changing the eyeglass prescription is no longer sufficient to maintain good vision. Surgical removal of the cataract may be indicated if blurring of the vision interferes with normal daily activities (reading, driving, etc.).

cataracts diagram

A cataract is removed using microsurgical techniques. This incision is so small that, in almost all cases, it is self-sealing and sutures are not required. Once the cataract (clouded lens) has been removed it is replaced with a new, clear lens.

Modern advances in intraocular lens technology has enabled us to treat vision conditions such as astigmatism with new “toric” intraocular lenses, and near vision correction with “multifocal” and “accommodating” intraocular lenses. Your doctor will discuss these options with you in advance of surgery.

The cataract procedure is most frequently performed under local anesthesia in an outpatient surgery facility. It does not require a stay in the hospital. Sedation is given to most patients to help them relax. The procedure is performed in about 30 to 45 minutes. Thanks to the anesthetic, patients do not feel or see the surgery.

After the procedure patients are instructed to spend a day relaxing at home. Most patients return to normal activities the day following the surgery.

Cataract FAQ

Can a cataract be removed with a laser?

This is a very common misconception. The most advance technique for removing a cataract (phakoemulsification) uses ultrasound, not laser. Currently, there are clinical trials being done to determine whether the laser can be used to remove a cataract. As of this writing, it appears that the laser technique has no advantages over the ultrasound technique. In fact, laser may not work as well as ultrasound at removing more advanced cataracts.l>

Will a cataract recur after surgery?

A cataract does not recur. However, behind the pupil there is a thin, clear membrane called the lens capsule. In approximately 30% of patients this membrane can become clouded. This may occur anytime from several weeks to many years following the cataract procedure. If the membrane becomes clouded, we often call it a secondary cataract, although that is not entirely accurate. The clouded membrane can be opened using a Yag laser. This painless, outpatient procedure is usually performed in the office.eyefocus

When is a cataract “ripe”?

The term “ripe” is obsolete. The last couple of decades have seen a tremendous improvement in the results of cataract surgery. Before these advances were made, patients had to be hospitalized for a week to ten days for a cataract procedure. The complication rate was higher and there were no intraocular lens implants. After the surgery patients had to wear thick “Coke bottle” type spectacles. In the past, “ripe” was a term used to describe a cataract that had become so advanced that the patient was nearly blind. In those cases the risks and inconveniences of cataract surgery were justified. With the modern techniques that we now use to remove a cataract the term “ripe” has become outdated. Patients are no longer hospitalized and the complication rate is one of the lowest in all of medicine. With the advent of intraocular lens implants, patients are no longer required to wear thick, heavy eyeglasses. Today, after cataract surgery many patients are now able to see well (for most activities) without wearing any glasses.

How do I know when my cataract is ready to be removed?

A. Thanks to recent advances in cataract surgery, we no longer have to wait until a patient is nearly blind before removing a cataract. We now let the patient decide when they would like to have their cataract removed. In most cases we recommend waiting until your vision has become blurred to the point where it is interfering with work, reading, driving or other daily activities. This will be different for each patient. For instance, an airline pilot may want to undergo the procedure at a much earlier stage than someone whose daily activities are less visually demanding. After a thorough examination, your eye doctor will let you know if your vision can be improved with new spectacles or by other means. If that is not possible then it may be time to consider removing the cataract.

Glaucoma Testing & Treatment

Primary glaucoma is a progressive disease of the optic nerve characterized by specific loss of optic nerve fibers and associated vision loss. It is commonly, but not always associated with increased intraocular pressure.

Glaucoma 20Eye 20Diagram

Detecting Glaucoma

Early stages of glaucoma can fortunately be detected with simple, painless tests. A number of screening tests are performed as part of your annual comprehensive eye examination. Broward Eye Care doctors measure the internal eye pressure or intraocular pressure (IOP) with an instrument called a tonometer.

An evaluation of the optic nerve for signs of glaucoma damage is also performed during the comprehensive eye examination. A variety of methods may be used for this evaluation including the use of the retina imaging system, which allows for detailed imaging of the retina and optic nerve. If your doctor feels that there is a risk of having or developing glaucoma further testing may be ordered. Of greatest concern is the fact that over 50% of optic nerve fibers must be lost to glaucoma before current visual field procedures shows abnormalities! The very earliest abnormalities in glaucoma show up as changes in the physical appearance and structure of the optic nerve. In the past doctors had to depend on diagrams or photos of the nerve to document its appearance and to detect change over time. This method was very subjective and not very sensitive. Today great advances in optic nerve imaging have been developed. Broward Eye Care has been a leader in performing the newest technologies in optic nerve analysis.

We utilize OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) of the nerve fiber layer and the optic nerve head. OCT allows us to evaluate the thickness of the nerve fibers surrounding the optic nerve head.

Get Glaucoma Treatment From Our Glaucoma Specialist In Fort Lauderdale, FL

manandmachineUntil there is a cure for glaucoma, the best weapon against this potentially blinding disease is early detection, leading to a well-planned course of treatment. Predicated on evidence based medicine and contemporary research results, we can now begin preventative treatment in regard to glaucoma.

Treatment for glaucoma may begin if your doctor feels the pressure in the eye is high enough to pose a threat to your optic nerve, or if the risks factors for glaucoma are too great. Typical treatment for glaucoma involves controlling your IOP with drug therapy in the form of prescription eye drops. Modern glaucoma drugs are extremely effective in lowering IOP to acceptable levels. In comparison with therapies used a number of years ago, they are more effective, easier to use (due to less frequent administration per day needed), and have fewer side effects. At Broward Eye Care our goal is to control your glaucoma and prevent vision loss. With the use of the most up to date advances in diagnosis and treatment we are able to achieve this goal consistently.

Some of the most commonly used topical medications for the management of glaucoma include:

    • Prostaglandin Drugs: Travatan, Lumigan, and Xalatan
    • Beta Blocker Drugs: Timoptic, Betoptic, etc.
    • Alpha Adrenergics Drugs: Alphagan-P
    • Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitor Drugs: Trusopt, Azopt
    • Combination Agents: Cosopt, Combigan

For the small percentages of patients that do not lower their IOP sufficiently though drug therapy, there are other options. Laser treatment may be tried to open channels for fluid to escape. Laser therapy is relatively painless and is usually performed in the physician’s office in two sessions over the course of a month. Some patients may require additional laser treatments or a third form of treatment, filtration surgery. During this procedure, the physician surgically creates a valve in the wall of the eye using existing eye tissue, allowing the aqueous humor to drain. This therapy, combined with close follow-up, can halt the progression of glaucoma. At Broward Eye Care our goal is to prevent vision loss and provide new therapies and treatments as they become available.

Treating Macular Degeneration

Age related macular degeneration or AMD is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss for people over the age of 60. It is estimated that 2.5 million people in developed countries will suffer visual loss from this disorder and that there are approximately 200,000 new cases diagnosed every year. The macula is the small portion of the retina located at the center of this light sensitive lining at the back of the eye. The macula is responsible for sharp straight ahead vision necessary for functions such as reading, driving a car and recognizing faces.

macular degeneration diagram

The effect of this disease can range from mild vision loss to central blindness. That is, blindness “straight ahead” but with normal peripheral vision from the non macular part of the retina which is undamaged by the disease.

Ninety percent of AMD is of the atrophic or dry variety. It is characterized by a thinning of the macular tissue, develops slowly and usually only causes mild visual loss. The main symptom is often only a dimming of vision when reading.

The second form of AMD is called exudative or wet because of the abnormal growth of new blood vessels under the macula where they leak and eventually create a large blind spot in the central vision. This form of the disease is of much greater threat to vision than the more common dry type.

Macular degeneration is most common in people over the age of 60 but there have been some cases affecting people as young as their 40s and 50s. Symptoms include blurry or fuzzy vision, straight lines like telephone poles and sides of buildings appearing wavy and a dark or empty area appearing in the center of vision.

Unfortunately, the cause of this eye condition is not fully understood but it is associated with the aging process. As we age, we become more susceptible to numerous degenerative processes like arthritis, heart conditions, cancer, cataracts and macular degeneration. These conditions may be caused by the body’s overproduction of free radicals. These extra electrons are quite destructive and cause cellular damage, alter DNA and are thought to be at least partially responsible for many of the degenerative diseases mentioned above. The production of these free radicals is normal during metabolism but the body produces its own “anti-oxidants” to neutralize them.

Some of the vitamins in the food we eat also have anti-oxidant properties. These are vitamins A, C, E and beta carotene. Unfortunately, smoking, poor nutrition and other lifestyle factors result in the body producing too many free radicals. For this reason, lifestyle factors may contribute to the risk of AMD. There is some evidence to suggest that AMD has a genetic basis as the condition does tend to run in families. Exposure to certain types of light may also play a role. Studies done on fishermen in the Chesapeake Bay suggest that long term exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun may increase the risk of AMD and other eye conditions such as the development of cataracts It has also been hypothesized that hyperopia or farsightedness may also play a role in the development of the disease. It is thought that the shortening of the eye in hyperopia may cause changes in the membrane below the macula and in its blood vessels. In the dry type of the disease, some form of inflammation may also be a factor although what causes the inflammation is not known.

Get Treatment From Out Macular Degeneration Specialist In Fort Lauderdale, FL

Although researchers are spending a great deal of time investigating the cause and treatment of AMD, there is no real cure available The goal of current treatment efforts is to attempt to stabilize the condition.

For the more severe wet form of the disease, doctors try laser photocoagulation. This treatment, however, is not without dangers and is only beneficial in the very early stages of the condition. That is why early detection is so important. This technique involves directing a beam of laser light at the abnormal blood vessels in order to destroy them and prevent their leaking. Provided that the blood vessels have not grown under the macula, this treatment can be helpful in arresting the progress of the disease. If the blood vessels are already under the macula, the laser may cause scarring and permanent vision loss.

A new type of treatment called photodynamic therapy is presently under investigation and shows considerable promise. A drug called BPD is put into the affected eye and in only a few minutes the eye is exposed to a non thermal red light. This light activates the drug to close and seal off the abnormal blood vessels. The entire treatment only takes about 30 minutes and requires no anesthetic. Preliminary results have been quite promising.

No treatment exists for the dry form but many doctors are convinced that a combination of specific vitamins and minerals helps slow the progression of the disease. This has yet to be confirmed scientifically but there are valid reasons for attempting this therapy. Anti-oxidant vitamins containing the pigment Zeaxanthin such as EyePromise may help to neutralize the free radicals that are associated with this degenerative process.

mac degen pillZinc, one of the most common trace minerals in our body, is highly concentrated in the retina and surrounding tissues and is a requirement for chemical reactions in the retina. Fat soluble anti-oxidant vitamins like vitamin A and vitamin E are stored in the body and can increase to toxic levels if over used and zinc may interfere with other trace minerals like copper. Caution should therefore be exercised in the use of vitamins and minerals.
Next time your in the office ask our Doctors about Ocuvite vitamins to prevent macular degeneration. All patients who are at high risk of developing or patients who have the beginning signs of the disease should be on specific vitamin dosage to help prevent the degenerative process.

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