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Smoking is one vice that is more harmful than it looks. It is linked to numerous health problems and is a leading cause of high number of deaths across the world. It affects nearly every organ in the body. It’s common knowledge that it causes cancer and heart diseases, but not many know that smoking greatly affects the eyes and vision as well.

Exposure to cigarette smoke causes biological changes in the eye which leads to loss of vision. The chemicals present in tobacco smoke hinder with the body’s ability to protect itself from high levels of oxidants and decreases the antioxidants levels in the body. Further, smoking constricts the blood vessels to the eye and reduces the amount of oxygen reaching the macula causing macular degeneration.

Smoking-Related Eye Diseases

Cataracts

Cataracts cause blurry and clouded vision, loss of contrast, and sensitivity to bright light and glare. Smoking increases the risk of developing cataracts at an early age and impairs your vision. In most cases, surgery is the only option to get rid of cataracts. Smokers double their chance of forming cataracts, and continue to increase the risk with constant smoking.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration affects the center of retina and causes ‘blind spots’. It impairs central vision severely and is the leading cause of permanent vision loss and blindness in those over the age of 65. Smoking triples this risk and increases the severity of the disease.

Uveitis

Uveitis is a condition where the eye’s middle layer, uvea, gets inflamed. It’s a serious eye disease that leads to complete vision loss. When you smoke, you double the risk of developing uveitis. This can further lead to glaucoma and cataracts.

Diabetic Retinopathy

This eye disease is caused when the blood vessels of the retina are damaged, resulting in vision loss. High sugar content in the blood stream further promotes this condition. Studies suggest that smoking may be linked to diabetic retinopathy. Smoking is known for increasing the risk of diabetes, thus affected your eyes as well since diabetes is a leading cause of cataracts. There is a causal relationship between smoking, and the development and progression of diabetic retinopathy apart from other diabetic complications.

Dry Eyes

Eyes get dry when you don’t produce enough tears to keep them comfortably lubricated. This condition is call dry eye and can get quite itchy. Smoking worsens this condition as it acts as an irritant and worsens the symptoms of itchiness, scratchiness and burning of the eyes. The cigarette smoke makes the eyes really red and causes excess tearing from the irritation. Smokers are nearly twice as likely to have dry eyes.

Infant Eye Disease

Smoking during pregnancy affects the eye sight of the baby and it increases the risk of having a baby with facial detects involving eyes such as crossed eyes or underdevelopment of the optic nerve. The chances of lazy eyes in the baby also shoot up. Additionally, smoking during pregnancy is associated with premature birth and low birth rate. Premature babies are given oxygen therapy to sustain their lives, which can cause retinopathy of prematurity, leading to permanent vision loss or blindness.

Resources that help you quit smoking

If you are a smoker who’s always looking for a smoke break, it is crucial that you make a serious effort to kick the habit. You can reduce the risk of developing serious eye diseases as soon as you quit. Don’t hesitate to take help from your doctor or a local community associated with the cause. Make annual eye check-ups a priority to detect any smoking-related eye disease at early stages.

Eyelid surgery is a surgical procedure to improve the appearance of eyelids by removing the skin from the eyelid or adding/removing fat from them. Also called as blepharoplasty, it can be performed on either the upper and lower lid or both. It is done to either improve the facial appearance or to cater to any functional problems caused by the eyelids. People in good health are good candidates for eyelid surgery. At the same time, it is crucial to have realistic expectations from blepharoplasty.

Prepping for the Surgery

Preparation is an absolute must before any type of eye surgery. Without the right kind of preparation, the number of risks increases and you may not get the desired results.

The first step of preparation is a physical examination. Your surgeon will conduct a thorough examination that may include testing your tear production and measuring parts of your eyelids. Once that is done, you have to take an examination to test your vision, including peripheral vision. Doing this will support an insurance claim. Lastly, the surgeon will take multiple photographs of your eyes from different angles. This helps in planning the surgery and assessing its immediate and long-term effects in addition to supporting an insurance claim. (read more here about the costs: Final Expense Insurance 101: What You Need to Know).

The Procedure

If you are undergoing upper and lower eyelid surgery, the surgeon would generally start with the upper lids first. The doctor will deliver anesthesia and once it is under effect, he/she will cut along the fold of the eyelid. Then the excess skin, fat or muscle is removed. Once the required amount is taken away, the incision is closed.

For lower lid surgery, the surgeon will make a cut just below the lashes on the eye’s natural crease or inside the lower lid. The excess fat, skin or muscles are either removed or redistributed. The final step is to close the cut carefully. A procedure called ptosis can also be performed if your eyelid droops close to your pupil.

The entire procedure takes about two to three hours, depending on the amount and location of the tissue being removed.

Recovery After the Eyelid Surgery

Blepharoplasty has a short recovery period. There will be immediate bruising and swelling after the surgery, and it may worsen the next day. However, it starts subsiding quickly. To reduce the swelling and bruising in the first 48 hours, you can use cool compress around the eyes and on your face. Thin bandages will be placed over the incisions sites and the stitches will remain for almost a week. Some doctors may even use self-absorbing stitches that don’t require removal. You may experience blurred vision, watery eyes, sensitivity to light or even double vision. There will be some redness and pain where the cuts were made. Your eyelids might even feel puffy and numb. All these conditions are temporary, so there is nothing to worry.

While resting is important, you can indulge in light physical activities. However, avoid strenuous activities such as going to the gym, swimming etc. Do not strain your eyes and avoid rubbing them if it itches around the stitches. Avoid contact lenses for 2 weeks if you use them and use sunglasses for a few weeks after the surgery. You can return to normal activities after 7 to 10 days.

At the end of week 2, a majority of the bruising and swelling will be resolved. You should avoid certain medicines; consult with your doctor and avoid using those for a few days. There will be a significant change to the shape of the eyes after the surgery.

Eyelid surgery is a common procedure like LASIK eye surgery in Fresno. So, if you are considering it make an appointment with us soon.

As you age, the lens of your eyes also age. As it grows old, a few of its cells die and accumulate, thus turning the lens cloudy and yellow. This results in problems like blurry vision, fuzzy images of yellowed or fading colors. This condition is known as cataract. Anyone can be at a risk of cataract. Let’s understand more about this condition and its various types.

Types Of Cataracts

  • Sub-capsular cataract
    This occurs when the back of the lens gets clouded and blurs the vision. Those suffering from diabetes or people taking high doses of steroids are at a higher risk of developing this kind of cataract.
  • Nuclear cataract
    This is usually associated with aging and forms deep in the nucleus of the lens.
  • Cortical cataract
    This type of cataract is seen in the part surrounding the central nucleus called the lens cortex. It is characterized by white colored wedge-shaped opacities that start at the periphery of the lens and reach the center, resembling white-colored spoke.

Cataracts Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms of cataract differ based on the type of cataract you have. If you experience any of the following signs, consult an eye doctor immediately.

  • Cloudy and blurred vision: Cataract will start out small and will hardly affect your vision initially. Eventually, the blurriness will increase and your vision will start getting hazy.
  • Enhanced brightness: The sun, lamp or headlights will seem too glaring and bright as compared to before. On the other hand, brightness of colors will decrease. There will be an increased difficulty with vision at night
  • Halo effect: You will see halos around any light source.
  • Frequent change in lens or glass prescription

Different types of cataracts will give different symptoms. In case of nuclear cataract, you might experience a temporary improvement in your near vision, known as ‘second sight.’ This will be a short-lived phenomenon and will disappear soon, worsening the cataract. Contrarily, a sub-capsular cataract may not produce any symptoms until it’s well-developed.

What Causes Cataracts

The lens inside the eye focuses light onto the retina and allows us see things clearly. This lens is made up of protein and water, and the arrangement of protein is such that it keeps the lens clear and allows the light pass through it. However, with age, some of this protein starts clamping together and clouds a part of the lens. This is cataract, which may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.

Age is the primary reason for causing cataract, but there are other factors that elevate the risk. Some include:

  • Diabetes or hypertension
  • UV radiation from sunlight
  • High myopia
  • Family history
  • Excessive smoking or drinking
  • Previous eye surgery, eye injury or inflammation
  • Prolonged use of corticosteroid medications

Preventing Cataract

Though there is no concrete proof that cataract can be successfully prevented in a patient, there have been studies that suggest that certain nutrients and nutritional supplements may reduce the risk of cataracts. Vitamin E, Vitamin C and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids may reduce cataract risk. Covering your eyes every time you step out in the sun will greatly help.

It should also be noted that eye drops will not help prevent or dissolve small cataracts because they are not a particular ‘substance’ which can be dissolved. Even the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) hasn’t approved of any eye drops which can cure or delay cataracts. Any such eye drops only lessen the burning and itching sensation in your eyes.

Cataract Treatment

As soon as initial symptoms begin to appear, you can aid your vision through glasses, appropriate lighting, strong bifocals and other visual aids. As the condition worsens, surgery is the only option.
Cataract surgery is a simple, painless and most commonly performed treatment which helps regain a clear vision. The surgery is recommended when the vision is seriously impaired and starts affecting your daily life. Cataract extraction is done with this surgery in a 15 minutes procedure which involves the use of a laser. This surgery gives really successful results. 9 out of 10 people who underwent this surgery are known to regain a vision as good as 20/20 and 20/40.
The surgery involves removal of your clouded lens and in most cases replacing them with clear, plastic intraocular lens (IOL). Cataract surgery recovery is a must after the operation.

Post-Surgery Care

  • Do not rub or press your eyes
  • Don’t lift heavy-weight for the next few weeks
  • Heavy exercises should be avoided
  • Normal routine activities can be resumed the day after, once the eye patch is removed

If you or a loved one is suffering from cataract or is showing symptoms of the same, contact cataract care in Fresno immediately.

Which LASIK Eye Surgery Is Right for Me and How Much Would it Cost?

There are three kinds of people: those who love flaunting their quirky and cool glasses, second who swear by contact lenses and the third group consists of those who can’t wait to get rid of glasses/contact lens. If you fall in the third category, then LASIK is your savior.

LASIK, which stands for Laser in-situ Keratomileusis, is a corrective surgery used to fix common vision problems such as near-sightedness, far-sightedness or astigmatism. It uses specialized laser known as ‘excimer’ laser which reshapes the cornea to give better, clear and focused vision. Excimer laser precisely removes extremely tiny amounts of tissue without disturbing adjacent tissues.

Types of LASIK Eye Surgery

There are three types of LASIK procedures. Consultation with your doctor will help in determining which one will give you the best results.

    • Conventional LASIK:

This primarily uses your prescription for contact lenses or eye-glasses. Based on that, laser settings are determined to reshape the cornea. The level and accuracy of vision correction is similar to that of the familiar procedure of choosing glasses in a vision test – “which offers better clarity: this or that?”

    • Custom LASIK: 

Custom LASIK allows surgeons to customize laser treatment according to patients’ individual eyes. It uses Wave Front technology that creates a customized map of all unique attributes of your eye. This further enables your surgeon to address unique visual correctional requirements of an individual. Surgeons can achieve sharper and clearer vision by addressing higher order aberrations and correcting refractive errors, including subtle vision problems.

    • Bladeless LASIK: 

Bladeless LASIK eliminates the need of blades to cut corneal flaps before surgery. It uses a gentle laser instead of a manual blade to create a uniform and precise corneal flap. The laser is operated at an extremely high speed and is controlled by a computer, which allows the tissue to be targeted and divided at a molecular level without damaging the surrounding tissue. Recovery time is faster since the flap is more accurate and falls back naturally into place.

    • Costs of LASIK Eye Surgery:

The cost of LASIK surgery varies according to geographic location, surgical experience of the doctor and technology used. Avoid those who present extremely low prices and shady offers. Risking the safety of your eyes to save a few bucks may end up costing you more in the long run.On an average, LASIK eye surgery (bladed) costs about $1,700 per eye. Alternatively, state-of-the-art technologies such as bladeless Custom-Wavefront LASIK can be around $2,500 per eye. Depending on eye’s health and magnitude of vision problem, the cost may even go up to $4,000 per eye.

Typically, insurance does not cover the cost of laser eye surgery unless your job requires perfect vision. Combat fighters and athletes usually qualify for full insurance cover. Feel free to ask your insurance company for negotiated rates and membership discounts that are applicable for AAA holders or those in military. US employees have an FSA, HSA, or HRA to cover health expenses with income-tax-free accounts. The cost of laser eye surgery is an eligible expense for all these accounts. Check with your tax preparer if you qualify for the same.

Book an appointment to visit us and know more about the options.

An Early Diagnosis And Timely Treatment Can Prevent The Primary Cause Of Blindness – Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a fatal disease that strikes the optic nerve, causing irreversible damage to eyesight that eventually leads to blindness.Roughly, 2.7 million people in the U.S.A have glaucoma and it is estimated that these figures would go up to 4.2 million by 2030. Owing to the serious damage it may cause to the eyes, it is advised that you get a comprehensive dilated eye test done every 1-2 years.Your ophthalmologist may prescribe drops or pills to prevent permanent impairment. However, if medications do not achieve the desired results, you might have to get surgically operated.

Factors That Increase The Chances of Glaucoma:

Generally, glaucoma can occur to anyone, irrespective of age and gender. However, there are certain factors that increase the chances. These are:

    • Aging: Increasing age is directly proportionate to the chances of developing glaucoma in a person. People over the age of 60 years are six times more likely to develop glaucoma.
    • Family History: People with family members who have suffered from glaucoma in the past are at a greater risk. Family history of glaucoma increases the risk by 4 to 9 times.
    • Ethnicity: Ethnicity plays a major role for developing glaucoma. For instance, people with Latino or African ancestry have a higher tendency for developing primary open-angle glaucoma as against people of other races. People of Asian descent are highly prone to developing normal-tension glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma.
    • Other Risk Factors: Other potential risk factors that lead to development of glaucoma include eye injury, eye surgery, or severe near-sightedness. Medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure also make the eye more vulnerable to develop glaucoma. Further, regular and long-term use of steroid or cortisone increases the risk for open-angle glaucoma.

Don’t Let Glaucoma Destroy Your Vision – An Early Detection Can Save Your Eyesight

Glaucoma develops slowly over time. It does not carry any symptoms or any noticeable vision loss. Almost 40 percent of your vision can be lost without you noticing it. Blind spots start developing gradually in the peripheral or side vision, as the disease progresses. By the time these spots come to your notice, the optic nerve has already been damaged significantly and the worst part is; this damage is irreparable!

For this very reason, early detection and treatment are the only defense systems to control the disease and prevent any loss in vision. The most common treatment of glaucoma is the administration of medicated eye drops to lower eye pressure and enhance vision. By controlling the eye pressure, continued damage to the optic nerve can be slowed down and further vision loss can be prevented.

An early diagnosis and treatment can save your eyesight! Since the year 1980, advances in treatment have reduced the possibility of eventual blindness by nearly half. Despite the advanced treatments available today, there is no sure shot guarantee. 15 percent of the people diagnosed with this disease still progress to blindness. Do not ignore the risk factors of glaucoma if you do not want to fall in that 15 percent. Instead, visit InSight Vision Center to get your eyes checked regularly and if diagnosed with this disease, visit the nearest eye care center in Fresno, CA to get your treatment initiated at the earliest.

Just as you experience the very unfortunate effects of aging like decreasing physical stamina, your eyes also exhibit an age-related decline in performance; especially after the age of 60.

Some people will experience more serious age-related eye diseases, which should be treated immediately. The common age-related eye problems are:

Presbyopia:

Presbyopia is just the gradual loss of the ability to see close by objects; this means that you can’t read books, sew or chop vegetables properly without a pair of reading glasses.

Floaters:

Floaters are an increasingly common ailment. They are those tiny specs or spots that float across the field of vision when we see bright lights. Remember seeing floating spots everywhere after a camera flash or those irritating flecks that appeared in your visual periphery out of nowhere after you stared directly at the sun? Those are floaters.

Though most often they are a benign problem, sometimes they may indicate the beginning of a more serious eye problem like retinal detachment.  If you notice a sudden change in the type or number of spots or flashes you see, visit your eye doctor as soon as possible.

Dry Eyes:

This is a common ailment, especially if you watch a lot of TV or sit in front of the computer a lot. This happens when tear glands cannot make enough tears or produce poor quality tears. Dry eyes can be uncomfortable, causing itching, burning, or in extremely rare cases, loss of vision.

Tearing:

Another not so serious eye problem, excessive tearing can cause a lot of itching and uncomfortable sensations in the eyes. If you are extremely sensitive to light, wind, or temperature changes, you might be plagued by this problem.

Cataract:

Cataracts are one of the most common health problems among old people. The symptoms are:

  • Cloudy, blurry or dim vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Fading or yellowing of colors

Cataracts, though not preventable can be corrected with a simple, no stress surgery.

Glaucoma:

Glaucoma, most commonly associated with diabetics, occurs because of unusually high pressure inside the eye. This pressure damages nerve fibers that carry visual information from your eye via the optic nerve to your brain. Advanced glaucoma can lead to patients seeing blind spots in their visual field. Glaucoma should be detected immediately because if it is left untreated, glaucoma can lead to irreversible blindness.

Retinal disorders:

The retina (a thin lining on the back of the eye) collects visual images and passes them on to the brain. Retinal disorders interrupt this transfer of images. Retinal disorders include age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinal detachment.

Conjunctivitis:

The pink eye’ causes redness and inflammation of the thin layer of tissue that covers the front of the eye because of a bacterial infection. Conjunctivitis can affect one eye at first, but usually affects both eyes after a few hours. It is an easily treatable disease with the help of a right doctor.

Corneal Diseases:

Disease, infection or injury to the cornea can lead to irreversible damage and compromise your visual faculties. The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped “window” at the front of the eye. It helps to focus light that enters the eye hence is a very important part of the eye.

Eyelid Problems:

Droopy eyelids, blinking spasms or infected and inflamed outer edges of the eyelids near the eyelashes are common eyelid problems. This can cause pain, itching tearing, and sensitivity to light.

Temporal Arteritis:

When the temporal arteries which supply blood to the head and brain become inflamed or damaged, they can cause severe headaches, pain when chewing, and tenderness in the temple area. It may be followed by sudden vision loss in one eye. Other symptoms can include joint pain, weight loss, and low-grade fever.

The best solution to combat eye problems is early prognosis and detection. If you ever feel like you are experiencing these symptoms, then it would be best if you contact an eye doctor at InSight Vision Center, Fresno CA, immediately. Remember prevention is better than cure.

The human body, although amazingly designed, does suffer from some serious design flaws. An obvious example of this is the rate at which your vision deteriorates with age. With the dependence on technology and electrically operated gadgets increasing, more and more people, ranging from kids to the elderly, have started having vision issues.

Nearly two-thirds of the adult population wears prescription eyewear, according to the statistics from the Vision Council of America. Another twenty percent use contact lenses. However, wearing glasses and contact lenses have their own limitations. The good news is that with one simple LASIK eye surgery you can have restored vision. LASIK uses lasers to reshape the cornea, enabling proper focus of the light that passes through it onto the retina situated at the back of the eye. The inevitable result of this procedure is a significant improvement in eyesight.

How Is LASIK Performed?

  • First, your surgeon uses a femtosecond laser or a microkeratome, a mechanical surgical tool to create a circular thin flap in the cornea.
  • Thereafter, the surgeon folds the flap that was hinged back, in order to access the underlying cornea or the stroma, and uses an excimer laser to remove the corneal tissue.
  • An ultraviolet light beam is then used to remove the tiny amounts of tissue from the cornea in order to reshape it so that it can focus light more accurately on the retina for an improved vision.
  • For people suffering from nearsightedness, the goal is to flatten the cornea. For people with farsightedness, a steeper cornea will work.
  • Once the cornea is reshaped, the flap is then put back in its place, covering the area where the corneal tissue was removed. After this is done, the cornea is allowed to heal naturally.
  • This surgery involves application of only topical anesthetic drops for the healing to take place. No bandages or stitches are required. Quite a relief!

Preparing for LASIK

  • Before you undergo LASIK, your eye doctor will perform a thorough examination of your eyes to ensure that they are healthy enough to undergo this procedure. Important aspects such as the thickness and shape of your cornea, moisture content, pupil size as well as the presence of any refractive errors will be evaluated.
  • The curvature of the front surface of your eye is measured using an automated instrument called a corneal topographer which also creates a “map” of your cornea.
  • You also are likely to undergo a wavefront analysis to provide an even more precise map of aberrations that affect your vision.
  • Since contact lenses usually alter the natural shape of your cornea, you will be asked to discontinue wearing contact lenses for sometime as advised by your doctor, before you undergo the surgery.

What Happens During LASIK?

  • LASIK is performed individually on each eye, with each procedure taking just about five minutes. It’s really quite simple.
  • First and foremost, numbing eye drops are applied to your eye to prevent any sort of discomfort that you may face during the procedure. Required medication may also be administered to help you relax.
  • Thereafter, using an eye-lid speculum, your eye will be positioned under the laser. The speculum will keep your eyelids open throughout the surgery.
  • Your eye surgeon will mark the cornea using an ink marker before creating the flap. A suction ring is then applied to the front of your eye in order to prevent any eye movements or loss of contact that might affect flap quality.
  • Once the corneal flap is created, the surgeon will then adjust the excimer laser for your particular prescription, with the help of a computer.
  • Next, you will be asked to focus on a particular beam of light for a short time. Meanwhile, your surgeon, using a microscope, will watch the eye as pulses of light are sent upon the cornea with laser.

Post-Surgery Scenario

  • Once your LASIK eye surgery is over, your surgeon will have you rest for a while. You might feel momentary itching or burning sensations right after the procedure. You will also, most likely, experience some blurry vision and haziness immediately following the surgery. However, clarity should start improving by the very next morning.
  • You will be asked to take certain precautions post your LASIK and it is recommended that you refrain from doing any arduous exercise for at least a week, since this can traumatize the eye and affect healing.
  • You also will have to take care of little things such as not rubbing your eyes and making sure you wear glasses both during the day and nighttime.

LASIK eye surgery is a breakthrough for curing eye vision related issues. It is by far the most effective procedure for correcting common sight problems. It is relatively painless and quick and the benefits following this surgery make the entire process totally worth it. Say goodbye to your boring glasses and irritating contact lenses because what you now have is this brilliant treatment called LASIK.

Considering LASIK? To get the best rates book an appointment with Insight Vision Center, an eye care center in Fresno, CA.

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