A New Year brings new reasons to focus on eyecare!
Once again, a new year is here and we at Moulton Eye Clinic are ready to help our patients see his/her best in 2011. Whether it's getting new glasses, updating to a healthier, more breathable type of contact lens, or just simply making sure that a patient's eyes are still healthy, we make each patient experience benefit that individual as much as possible.
Although it's simple to assume that you are seeing your best and that your eyes are healthy, patients cannot see everything that goes on with his/her eyes and we recommend a thorough examination to determine if this is true. We have served Lawrence County and the surrounding areas for over four years now and we continue to build lasting relationships with our patients.
I invite you to see for yourself the difference that Moulton Eye Clinic provides its patients -- personalized and complete care for your eyes. I hope to see you in the office soon!
Dr. David Cole -- 1/15/2011
Knowledge of ALL medicines that a patient takes is very important - even for your eye doctor...
Throughout my years of practice, I've been surprised about how much patients know (and don't know) about the prescription medicines that they take and how some of them can cause profound changes with vision. For most patients, he/she cannot recall all of the medicines that he/she is taking or they did not bring them to the eye exam. I always encourage patients to bring their medicines to future exams so that I can have an idea of what, if any, effect the medicines are having with the patient's eyes and vision. Either physically bringing them to the exam or bringing a complete list of medicines is encouraged.
Even though most patients assume that eye doctors do not need to know all of the medicines that they are taking, it's absolutely the opposite. For most medicines, and especially if someone is taking over four different medicines, most have side effects on vision, commonly causing a dry eye effect. High blood pressure medicines are notorious for this -- their main job in the body is to reduce the volume of fluid in the bloodstream which causes the pressure in the bloodstream to also become reduced. Yet, when the body loses this fluid, it can cause dehydration in other areas. Most people experience a dry throat/mouth along with the gritty, sandy feel of dry eye syndrome.
There are other well-known side effects of other common medicines but I wanted to finish this discussion concerning the importance of letting your doctor know about ALL medicines you are taking -- even the ones you are embarassed to reveal that you are taking. For example, most men will not tell other physicians (optometrist, ENT, etc.) about erectile dysfunction (ED) medications due to embarassment. But, these ED medicines can actually cause permanent blindness in rare cases. Listen to these commercials on TV (they are on all the time it seems) and they always recommend seeing a doctor if any loss of vision or hearing occurs. Regular eye exams can determine if a patient is at risk for potiential damage from these medicines.
Dr. David Cole 8/25/09
Protect Your Eyes from Harmful Ultraviolet Rays! May is UV Awareness Month!
Over our lifetimes, our eyes are exposed to sunlight when we are outdoors. Natural sunlight contains both visible light rays, which are not harmful to our eyes, as well as ultraviolet (UV) rays, which, over time, can cause damage to our eyes, somewhat like those seen on our skin. We can also get UV light exposure from such things as tanning beds and welding torches.
Studies have shown that we have the most exposure to UV rays from the sun before the age of 20. Just like excessive UV damage can cause skin damage and skin cancer, it can also cause adverse eye conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Cataracts are common in people over 50 years of age and surgery can easily remove the cataract and restore good vision. Yet, macular degeneration is a permanent vision problem that can only be slowed down. This is caused by damage to the macula, which is the area located at the back of the eye that determines how we see small, detailed objects and colors. Certain vitamin supplements and UV protection (sunglasses) can help slow down the progression of macular degeneration.
As an eye doctor, I always educate my patients to protect their eyes from dangerous UV rays -- and start early in life! Children should have sunglasses and/or Transitions® added to his/her spectacle lenses in order to block these UV rays. Along with the above mentioned treatments for UV eye damage, a healthy diet rich in green leafy vegetables can help protect your eyes. Antioxidants in these vegetables help fight UV damage at the cellular level and keep our eye tissue working properly.
Dr. David Cole
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month!
Glaucoma is the collection of conditions which cause progressive damage to the optic nerve, the structure that sends signals from the eye to the brain. Most commonly, an increase in intraocular pressure (IOP, pressure inside the eye) causes glaucoma to develop. Also in most cases, glaucoma is hereditary, meaning a person that develops glaucoma most likely has a blood relative that also has glaucoma. Other causes of glaucoma include trauma, inflammatory disease, and diabetes.
Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness, with cataracts a close second. But, unlike cataracts, once damage is done by glaucoma, it cannot be corrected. The optic nerve is a part of the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and cranial nerves. Central nervous system nerves do not regenerate (ex. most paralysis patients do not regain function of affected limbs due to damage to the spinal cord). Glaucoma is nicknamed by some as, "a silent blindness," because most patients will not see the actual signs of the condition until 50% of the damage caused by glaucoma occurs. Glaucoma affects vision by damaging and blinding one's peripheral (side) vision first, then progressively works toward central vision. Uncontrolled, glaucoma can eliminate the peripheral vison, leaving sight through the eye similar to looking through a tunnel or towel roll.
Reducing IOP is the main way of preventing further damage by glaucoma. The first treatment usually involves topical drops applied to the eye, which helps reduce the IOP. Other surgical options are available if topical drops do not reduce the IOP enough to prevent further damage.
Persons with glaucoma require close, periodic exams to monitor their IOP in each eye, making sure that their ocular health and vision is stable. If you or a loved one has glaucoma, it is important to know if his/her glaucoma is being controlled. For further information concerning glaucoma, please click on "Glaucoma Research Foundation" below OR contact our office.
Dr. David Cole