Eye Doctors Test Out Google Glass

iStock_000004508456XSmallThe future of wearable gadgets is here, and it has caught the eye of doctors all over the country. Before we explore the medical implications of Google Glass, a miniature computer-smartphone hybrid, let’s take a closer look at the device.

Google Glass looks like a pair of eyeglasses that has a smartphone-like interface (including a built-in computer, camera and mini projector) above the field of vision and beams a translucent image into your eye. With the Glass, you can take a photo, record a video, search the Internet and communicate via audio, text or video — all wirelessly and hands-free. You control the device with voice commands or head gestures. The Glass can be fitted with prescription frames.

This technology is certainly remarkable, but it has people wondering about the effects of the device on eyesight. A select group of eye doctors around the country had the opportunity to sample the Glass during its beta testing, and have happily shared their experiences.

One Eye Doctor’s Account

In an article written for the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeNet Magazine, Dr. Omar Ozgur described his experience testing the Glass, noting that he videoed both eye exams and surgery for an unobtrusive, hands-free experience. He said the Glass could be very helpful in the future when training budding ophthalmologists and performing clinical evaluation exercises.

As for the patient response to his use of the Glass, Dr. Ozgur reported that his patients appreciated that “new technologies are being used to help improve patient care.”

Other Applications in Medicine

In June, the New York Times reported that a growing number of doctors (called “Explorers”) were selected to test out the Glass, specifically during surgery. Hand-held devices are not useful in the sterile world of surgery, NYT noted. However, “Because Glass is voice-activated and hands-free,” they pointed out, “it may be particularly well suited for the surgical suite, where camera-guided instruments, robotics and 3D navigation systems have been commonplace for years.”

Doctors who use the Glass during surgery can record their procedures and even stream them live to fellow doctors. Software developers have also created apps that turn the Glass projector into a virtual electronic record of patients’ vitals and lab results, all of which can be pulled up with a virtual blink of an eye.

Will the Glass Affect My Eyesight?

If you’re considering the Glass, the American Optometric Association has a few suggestions:

  • Users with poor vision in one eye should wear the screen over the dominant eye (which could be a problem for some, as the Glass currently only offers a right-eye version).
  • Excessive use of the Glass screen may exacerbate dry eye symptoms. It’s better to glance the screen instead of staring at it for prolonged period of time.

Also, the Glass is set up to project an image approximately nine feet away. Thus, to use the Glass successfully, you should have clear distance vision.

For more information about the vision-enhancing technology that we currently use at Laser Eye Center, or to schedule a consultation with our team, give us a call at 800-80-LASER or contact us via email.

The Protective Powers of Coffee

A study from Cornell University found that one of your favorite morning routines — drinking a cup of coffee — may prevent eyesight deterioration and even blindness.iStock_000013420290_Medium

According to the research, one of coffee’s main ingredients, an antioxidant called chlorogenic acid, may protect against retinal degeneration from glaucoma, aging or diabetes that can cause blindness.

The study compared two groups of mice eyes treated with nitric oxide (which causes the retina to degenerate). One group of mice eyes were pretreated with chlorogenic acid, and the other was not. The group pretreated with chlorogenic acid did not develop retinal damage.

It helps to understand a little bit about how the eye works. The retina is a thin layer of tissue on the back wall of the eye with millions of cells that receive and organize visual information. This tissue demands higher levels of oxygen than any other tissues, including the brain, and is prone to diseases (like age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma) caused by oxidative stress. Past studies have suggested that chlorogenic acid may prevent the deprivation of oxygen and overall degeneration in certain parts of the body.

Dr. Robert Bittel, a spokesperson from the American Optometric Association and a regular coffee-drinker, believes the Cornell study deserves follow-up research.

“As with any study that cites commonly used food items as therapeutic in some way, caution has to be taken so that the public understands the negative as well as the positive potential implications of drinking coffee,” Bittel said.

If future studies find that chlorogenic acid does, in fact, prevent retinal damage, companies could produce a synthetic compound and deliver it with eye drops.

Applications in Dry Eye Treatment

Several years ago, researchers at the University of Tokyo’s School of Medicine found that caffeine can increase tear production and may be helpful for people who suffer from dry eye syndrome. Participants in the Tokyo study produced more tears after consuming caffeine than after taking a placebo.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 5 percent of Americans have dry eye syndrome, meaning they are not able to produce enough tears to keep their eyes moist and maintain clear vision.

If research continues to support this trend, caffeinated products, including coffee, could be used in dry eye treatment.

For more information on eye health-friendly foods, please contact the Laser Eye Center at 800-80-LASER or via email.

All About Color Blindness

shutterstock_19519732Contrary to what the name may suggest, color blindness is not a form of blindness. Actually, a more accurate name for color blindness is “color vision deficiency.” People who are color blind have trouble with their color vision. Depending on the specific person, this could mean that they cannot tell certain colors apart, or they cannot identify any color.

What Causes Color Blindness?

Color blindness is caused by problems in light-sensitive cells in the retina called “cones.” There are three types of cone pigments crucial to normal vision; they are sensitive to either blue, green or red-colored objects, and work together to enable you to see a wide range of colors. If a cone pigment is abnormal or missing, the result is a type of color vision deficiency. Someone who is born without any cone pigments is literally “color blind.”

Color blindness is typically a hereditary condition — in other words, passed down from your parents. If you are color blind, you have received a faulty color vision gene from one of your parents. The gene that is responsible for color blindness is carried on the X chromosome; since men have just one X chromosome, they are more likely to inherit color blindness, whereas women have two X chromosomes, and may overcome the faulty gene with a second, normal X chromosome.

According to the organization Prevent Blindness America, approximately 8 percent of men and less than 1 percent of women have color vision problems.

Other causes of color vision deficiency include Parkinson’s disease, cataracts and an injury/trauma to the area of the brain responsible for vision processing.

Signs You Might Be Color Blind

You may be color blind if: a) you have difficulty telling whether colors are blue, yellow, red or green; b) certain colors are washed out; c) people tell you that the color you think you see is wrong.

If you suspect that you have color vision deficiency, your eye doctor can perform testing to confirm it.

How Color Blindness Can Affect You

Here are a few examples of how color blindness can affect your everyday life:

  • You cannot tell the difference between a ripe/unripe banana (to your eyes, the yellow and green colors look the same).
  • You cannot tell whether a piece of meat is cooked or rare.
  • You do not notice that your child is becoming sunburned.
  • You cannot detect a change in someone’s mood as their face changes color.
  • You have trouble selecting clothing that matches.
  • You have trouble gardening.
  • Certain foods (e.g., green vegetables) look unappetizing.
  • You cannot detect whether a battery is charging (as evidenced by a red or green LED display light).
  • You cannot detect the different colors on a traffic light.

Color Blindness Coping Strategies

There is currently no cure for color blindness. However, there are ways to cope with the condition. For example, some people use special lenses (either contact lenses or eyeglasses) to enhance their color perception. Also, learning to remember items by their order (instead of their color) or label is helpful. For example, have a friend or family member help you organize and label your clothing so you can put together matching outfits. Or, remember simple orders, such as the order of the lights on a traffic signal, without having to rely on your color vision.

For more information about color blindness or any other vision disorders, please call Laser Eye Center at 800-80-LASER or contact us via email.

Nutrient Rich Recipes For Eye Health

As we age, the chance of experiencing vision impairments greatly increases. In fact, one out of every four people, over the age of 40, deal with a vision problem. Not all vision issues are preventable, but with a healthy diet you can protect your eyes from further degeneration. The best nutrients to promote healthy vision are; beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fats. The American Optometric Association recently posted delicious recipes that are rich in these eye saving vitamins. Here are two of our favorites!

Laser Eye Center Blog Healthy Eye Recipes

Whole Wheat Penne with Spinach and Gorgonzola

Contains: lutein, zeaxanthin, folate, and zinc, and vitamin C.

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. uncooked whole wheat penne pasta
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced (~ 1 medium onion)
  • 3 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped (~2 cups)
  • 1 (6-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, without salting water.
  2. While pasta is cooking, spray a large, non-stick frying pan with cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat. Add onions, then stir and cook until slightly transparent, approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic, stir and cook for another minute. Add broth and let simmer for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, toss, and simmer for 2 minutes. Add spinach and basil, cook and stir for approximately 2 minutes, or until leaves wilt. Remove from heat and salt/pepper to taste.
  3. Drain pasta and add to spinach mixture. Thoroughly toss. Serve on a platter and top with gorgonzola and pine nuts.

Makes 6 servings. Nutritional Information (per serving): 300 Calories; 25% fat (8.3 g total, 2.8 g saturated), 57% carbohydrate (43 g), 18% protein (13.5 g), 8 mg cholesterol, 8.6 g fiber, 27 mg vitamin C, 1.33 mg vitamin E, 271 mg sodium.

Laser Eye Center Blog Healthy Eye RecipesRoasted Butternut Squash with Bacon and Pistachios over Baby Lettuce or Baby Wild Greens

Contains: lutein/zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and omega-3s.

Ingredients:

  • cooking spray
  • 1 1 /2 lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 1 /2″ cubes (~ 4 cups)
  • 1 lb beets, peeled and cut into 8 to 12 cubes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 slices bacon
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1 /2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 2 (4.5 ounce each) bags baby greens, such as Tender Ruby Reds and/or Sweet Tender Greens
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts

Directions

  1. Coat cookie sheet with cooking spray. Heat oven to 425°F
  2. Spread squash on half a cookie sheet, one layer thick and beets on other half. Spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cooked but firm, tossing once. (Do not let squash and beets touch, since beets will color the squash.) Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. While vegetables are roasting, cook bacon in a small, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove, pat dry, and crumble. Retain 2 teaspoons of the drippings. 3) In a small bowl, blend vinegar, mustard, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, bacon crumbles and bacon drippings. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, toss onion, lettuce, and dressing until thoroughly coated. Arrange on 6 salad plates, place equal amounts of the roasted squash in the middle and the beets around the edges. Sprinkle with pistachios.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional Information (per serving): 171 Calories; 35% fat (6.7 g total, 1.7 g saturated), 124 mg omega-3s, 55 % carbohydrate (23.5 g), 10% protein (4.3 g), 4 mg cholesterol, 7 g fiber, 33 mg vitamin C, 1 mg vitamin E, 0.72 mg zinc, 116 mg sodium.

10 Eye Myths

Laser Eye Center LASIK 10 Eye MythsAs children we were all warned the perils of sitting too close to the TV, or the dangers of crossing our eyes. But it turns out there are a number of eye myths we believe to be fact that are actually incorrect. Read on to learn what separates truth from fiction.

  1. Cross your eyes and they will stay that way: False. Our eyes naturally cross whenever we’re viewing objects up close. When a person purposefully crosses them, they are simply exaggerating what nature already does.
  2. Reading in the dark can ruin your vision: False. While reading in the dark isn’t a good idea, it will not cause any permanent damage. The worst it will do is cause eye fatigue, which can lead to headaches or strain to the eyes.
  3. Sitting too close to the television is bad for your eyes: False. Children often sit close to the television simply because it is easier for them to focus on the screen when they’re closer. There is no scientific evidence that actually proves sitting close to a television can ruin a person’s vision. However, this action could possibly be a sign of a nearsightedness issue that already exists.
  4. A child will outgrow misaligned or crossed eyes: False. Sadly, some parents believe this to be the case. In actuality, crossed eyes will stay misaligned forever unless the affected eye is forced to correct. This can be done with surgery, glasses and sometimes even by wearing an eye patch.
  5. Carrots are the one food that will improve your vision: False. It is the vitamin A that is good for your eyes, and there are several foods besides carrots that are packed full of this vitamin.  So simply maintaining a healthy diet will help to promote good vision.
  6. Eyeglasses can ruin your vision: False. For some reason, people started claiming that corrective lenses would make a person’s eyes become dependent. Corrective lenses simply allow a person to focus on what they’re seeing. When things get fuzzy without the use of these lenses, it’s only because a person has become used to being able to see.
  7. Those with vision problems should avoid fine print: False. Some believe that a person with bad vision will further wear their eyes out by reading small print. This is untrue. The eye is not a muscle, so straining it will not cause it to wear out prematurely.
  8. Squinting can damage your vision: False. A person who frequently has to squint is most likely experiencing a vision problem, but it wasn’t caused by squinting. A person can squint all day and not suffer any negative consequences.
  9. You only need to see the eye doctor if you are experiencing symptoms: FALSE. Getting regular eye check-ups is as important as going to the dentist. Many early warning signs can only be detected by an eye doctor, helping you to prevent diseases.
  10. There is nothing you can do to help your eyesight as you age: FALSE. There are several things you can do to help your vision, from eating a well-balanced diet to LASIK surgery. Contact the Laser Eye Center to learn about all the different procedures available to help you obtain clear vision.

What to Expect from a LASIK Consultation

Over 100,000 people get LASIK eye surgery each year. LASIK is a simple outpatient procedure that can correct several different visual impairments such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (refractive errors that cause blurred vision), and presbyopia (the natural decline in vision that comes with age), ridding a person of glasses and contacts completely. Patients, as young as 18, are eligible for LASIK as long as they have had a stable prescription for 1-2 years. Of course to find out for certain, patients have to schedule a consultation with a surgery center that performs LASIK.

At the initial consultation an eye doctor meets with the patient to ask questions about their general health, current eye prescription and performs a thorough eye exam. There are some conditions that prohibit a patient from getting LASIK surgery, so the doctor will want to make sure none of those are present in order to ensure the best possible outcome. Certain eye conditions such as chronic dry eye, keratoconus or cataracts would need to be treated with a different procedure. It is also imperative that the patient is in good health, if there is any sign of an autoimmune disease or diabetes, the doctor will have to investigate further. Patients can also use this initial consultation to ask any questions they might have and review things like recovery time, and expected results with the doctor.

Right after surgery, patients need to have someone drive them home, and the patient needs to rest their eyes for several hours. However, a noticeable difference in vision should be apparent almost immediately. LASIK has a fast recovery period and most people are even back to work the following day. It is recommended while the cornea continues to heal that patients avoid nighttime driving – this restriction usually only lasts about one week.

There will be a post-operative appointment scheduled, as well as several other follow-up appointments and it is important that the patient make sure to go to all appointments; even though he or she may feel like they don’t need to. This check-up will allow for the doctor to make sure everything is healing properly and check the new vision. In some cases patients are able to get 20/20 vision back. To schedule a no obligation, complimentary consultation, contact Laser Eye Center today 800-80-LASER.

When Is The Right Time For LASIK?

Lasik Laser Eye Center  - Right Age For LASIKLASIK eye surgery can be life changing for people who have been hindered by corrective eyewear most of their lives. With one simple outpatient procedure, LASIK can completely take away one’s dependency on glasses or contacts. Over the past few years, LASIK has moved into the mainstream and has become more popular, especially with celebrities like Drew Carey and Cindy Crawford undergoing the surgery. For people who are extremely active or have a profession that relies on perfect vision, LASIK can be the perfect solution. With any medical procedure though there are always questions. Patients specifically ask, “When is the right time to get LASIK? How old should I be? Is eighteen too young?”

Younger than 18

It is extremely unlikely for children under 18 to have the LASIK procedure and only in rarest of pediatric cases would it be considered.

Over 18

Patients, as young as 18, are eligible to have the LASIK procedure done as long as their prescription has remained unchanged for at least a year. The stability of the eye is always a major consideration. Doctors will not perform LASIK if the eye is still developing or the prescription is constantly changing. This is the main reason why most LASIK patients are between the ages of 20 and 40; young adults need time for their vision to stabilize in order to get optimal results

Over 40

There is no age limit to LASIK, however, as people approach middle age there is a greater possibility of developing a separate condition that will impair the results of the LASIK procedure. For example, as patients age, they often have trouble with their reading vision, otherwise known as presbyopia, or in some cases find themselves with cataracts. Age-related conditions like these often mean that LASIK is no longer the best procedure. The easiest way to tell if LASIK is right for you is to meet with a doctor at the Laser Eye Center for a free consultation.

The Accidental Discovery of LASIK Eye Surgery

The breakthrough of LASIK eye surgery was unanticipated. Many of us ignore the source of LASIK surgery; it was discovered quite by mishap. It was astonishing how a corneal accident led to the discovery of vision corrective surgery and has played a key role in changing how doctors look at vision today. This article provides the interesting background of this incredible story as well as briefly covers the extensive evolution that LASIK eye surgery has reached thanks to research and technological development from all around the world.

In 1970’s Russia, a prominent eye surgeon, Dr. Fyodorov, was treating a severely nearsighted young boy who had pieces of glass in his eyes from a fall. Fortunately, the damage was minimal; a sliver was shaved off the cornea- the clear tissue that forms a protective layer over the eye. Following the accident the boy noticed a vast improvement in his vision. Dr. Fyodorov examined the child’s eyes and discovered that the tiny cuts made by the glass had reshaped the cornea and corrected the child’s focus. The doctor became exceedingly intrigued with this unforeseen discovery that he continued to study the matter and published his findings. It was not until a few American doctors with ample funding that the serious research began, bringing the procedure to the U.S. after observing the results in the former U.S.S.R. This is the manner in which the original LASIK vision correction began. They used a scalpel to create the cuts, calling the procedure Radial Keratotomy.

This accidental discovery by Dr. Fyodorov then led to further research about LASIK eye surgery, encouraging American doctors like Dr. Leo Bores to conduct additional studies and undertake computer modeling as well as witness the first procedures in the Soviet Union. From there, the evolution of LASIK eye surgery began. American physicians migrated to Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK), which used a laser to reshape the cornea. Here began the advent of LASIK, which combined Keratomileusis and Photorefractive Keratectomy and helped to greatly reduce discomfort and sensitivity after surgery, leading to a faster recovery with the same incredible vision benefits. Today, patients can enjoy the latest, fastest and most precise vision correction technology such as Custom LASIK with Allegretto Wave, 400 hertz and the creation of the corneal flap with IntraLase, the safest and most precise bladeless technology today.

From an accidental discovery, a revolutionary and ideal solution was born that has improved vision for millions of people around the world. To find out if you are a candidate for LASIK eye surgery, please visit www.lasereyecenter.com or call 800-805-2737.

Lower the Risk of Macular Degeneration by Adding Spinach to Your Diet

The health of our eyes depends a lot on the care we give them over the course of our lives. Our doctors constantly remind us of smart ways to care for our eyes, such as wearing sunglasses to protect them from the sun’s harmful UV rays, taking supplements such as omega-3 for better overall visual acuity, and advising us not to rub our eyes so we avoid retinal and corneal damage. As much as they remind us, sometimes these suggestions are ignored, and eye conditions develop. 

One vision-related condition that affects many people today is macular degeneration. It is the most common cause of vision decline that usually affects adults over age 50. Macular degeneration occurs when blood and fluid slowly begin to leak in the back of the eye, causing blurriness and poor vision. Macular degeneration can make it difficult to decipher objects and people and makes it challenging to make out small details.

One natural and delicious way to receive important nutrients for the eyes is to include spinach in our diet. Spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin which have a generous amount of powerful antioxidants needed for lowering the risk of developing macular degeneration. Including raw spinach in our diet will benefit the health of our eyes over time. 

Check out this delicious spinach smoothie recipe:
Spinach Smoothie – 2 cups 

Ingredients:
1 banana, medium size, sliced
2 cups baby spinach 
1 cup Milk (dairy or non-dairy)

Optional ingredients:
10 almonds, soaked overnight
1 tablespoon flax seed oil
1 cup of any other fresh or frozen fruit like berries, mangos, peaches, etc. 
Crushed ice as needed

Instructions:
Blend together the sliced bananas, spinach and about 1/2 cup of milk to make it a smooth puree. There should not be any lumps. Next add the remaining milk and blend
it once again. You can adjust the quantity of milk to get the desired consistency. Serve it immediately.

Recipe and image from http://www.vegcorner.com

What is a Sty?

What is a sty?
A sty is an infection of the eyelid. It is usually painful, red, swollen and is not typically related to any disease. It is usually not harmful to the eye or one’s vision if it is properly treated.

What is the cause of a Sty?
A sty is caused when the Meibomian glands (the glands on your eyelids, where the lashes meet the lid), become clogged or infected. The infection is associated with bacteria; (Staphylococcus aureus) commonly found on a person’s skin and is usually the reason why a sty forms in the first place. Anyone can get a sty at any age.

How do you treat a sty?
A Sty is commonly treated with warm compresses. Applying the warm compress on the stye for about 10 minutes, 3-4 times a day helps the sty rupture.

Home remedy: We recommend using a clean cloth and adding two tablespoons of uncooked rice to it. Place the cloth in the microwave for 20 seconds so it warms up. The cloth/rice method helps maintain the heat longer than the traditional method of cloth/warm water. Continuing this treatment will generally improve the condition of a sty and within a few days the tenderness, redness and pain will subside. If there is no improvement, you should have the infection examined by an eye care specialist for further treatment.

Make sure to wash your hands often to avoid getting these painful bumps on the eyelid.

Dr. Sheila Tehrani, O.D.
Laser Eye Center
www.lasereyecenter.com

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