4 Ways to Ensure Good Vision

healthy eyes

It is never too soon to take steps to protect your vision. Ensuring we have good vision care should be a high priority in your families health care. Establishing a good vision specialist will protect your eyes in the future. Many of us take for granted our vision care despite the fact that we only have one pair.

Here are 4 things your family can do to ensure good vision:

1. Choose a good vision clinic:

Ensure that your eye clinic has good customer service and is not too busy to give you an appointment in a reasonable time. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the staff when looking. Note how helpful the staff are and whether they answer your questions without hesitation.

2. Choose an compatible doctor:

Make sure the doctor you choose for your family is one that is concerned with their patients, and has the time to see them. Many times the doctor is good but very busy and doesn’t have sufficient time to dedicate to you and your family. You want to choose a doctor that has time for you! Ask questions to the patients as well. Some doctors have testimonials on their websites; feel free to research them as well. Be serious about your vision care.

3. Get regular checkups:

Make sure your family is being seen every two years. If you have risk factors for eye conditions like Diabetes you should be seen every year. If you have trouble remembering your appointments put it on your calendar. Ensuring your families eyes are checked regularly could save them hassles or catch conditions early on.

4. Educate yourself:

Don’t be afraid to do the research and take some initiative in your vision care. Write down any questions you have for your eye doctor and address them at your next appointment. If you don’t understand the answers they are giving you ask them until you do. This is your vision, and your care.

Remember:

                                                    “You are your best advocate”

Patient Education: Significant Causes of Keratoconus

Keratoconus is a frustrating disease. It effects the lives of the patients significantly and understanding the cause can often help us understand the disease. Here are a few under laying causes of Keratoconus that can help you get started.

Genetics: Though genetics plays a part in keratoconus so does the environment. Keratoconus in a family typically effects more then one family member. The chances of keratoconus is higher in first degree relatives however it is unlikely that one will pass keratoconus to their children. There is only a 6% chance that the disease can be passed from parent to children. However there are precautions you can take to catch keratoconus in your children early. Treatments are available to help stop the progression of early keratoconus.

Generally at the ages of 8-10 a baseline mapping of the eyes or a Topography can be taken. Additional topography’s can be taken each year after to compare results. If changes are found steps to stop the progression can be made before the problem increases.

Free Radicals: Free radicals are the byproducts of the cell metabolism. Unfortunately most of our bodies tissues create byproducts and our bodies defend against them daily. There is a barrier or wall that protects against damage to your corneal fibers by the byproducts called anti-oxidants. Keratoconus develops because the anti-oxidants are not working properly to protect the cornea against the byproducts. The collagen fibers in the cornea are attacked by the byproducts breaking down the fibers like a hammer on a brick wall. As the fibers weaken you develop a bulge in the cornea that creates vision changes, and other complications.

Keratoconus generally develops slowly over time and if you are evaluated properly the damage can be minimal. It is important to find a doctor who is familiar with early stage keratoconus and obtain treatment before it gets too bad. With the new technologies and mapping you can keep ahead of the disease.

For more information about keratoconus visit Wikipedia

Keratoconus Evaluation and Confirmation

There are several things you can do if you feel you are suffering from Keratoconus. The professionals will help not only evaluate your physical status but also take a thorough examination of your medical history.

The Visit:
When visiting the Ophthalmologist or Optometrist they will gather important medical and vision history. It is important to tell them everything you can about your history as well as family history. They will pay attention to your vision complaints to understand better what you have been going through. They will also ask you several questions about your history to try and determine if you have had an eye injury.

The Ophthalmologist or Optometrist will also give you tests to check your visual acuity. This means reading letters from an eye chart much like a general eye evaluation. It can also include measuring the curvature of the corneas using a topographer. Having an irregular curvature could mean possible Keratoconus.

Keratoconus Diagnosis:
Once you get to this point of the evaluation the doctor may conduct several tests to confirm the diagnosis. Retinoscopy is one test the doctor can preform to confirm Keratoconus. This would involve focusing a light beam on the retina. The Reflex or (Reflection) is observed. If there is a scissor reflex, more tests will be needed to confirm Keratoconus.

One additional test that is often performed is a cornea ultrasound(Pachymetry). This will measure the cornea thickness. A thin cornea can be a sign of Keratoconus.

Another test examines your cornea with a slit lamp(Microscope). More advanced cases can be determined right away with this test, because of the yellow-brown or olive-green rings or a (Fleischer ring)

Fleischer Ring-

Seen in 50% of patients with Keratoconus. Also caused by Iron Oxide Hemosiderin that is deposited in the Corneal Epithelium.

Vogt’s Striae- These are fine lines or (stress lines) caused by stretching and can be seen on the front of the cornea.

Munson’s Sign- is another give away of Keratoconus. This is a V-shaped indentation and sometimes seen in the lower eyelid when the sufferer moves their line of sight in the downward direction. Most signs are detected before this stage and is seldom used for diagnosing keratoconus.

It is important to get a definitive diagnosis for keratoconus. Many times it requires several tests to make an absolute confirmation. There are numerous other conditions that have similar symptoms of keratoconus. Make sure you are being seen by a specialist in diagnosis of keratoconus and ask questions if you do not understand your diagnosis. After all it is your health at stake.

For more information about keratoconus visit the American Academy of Opthamology

Keratoconus: Daily Life….

Understanding that Keratoconus is a progressive disease and causes stress on the patients should be important to your health care provider. The use of our vision is something we often take for granted until something like this happens. Although we learn the signs, symptoms, and treatment for Keratoconus the medical side of the disease is not the only area we need to manage.

As human beings we are emotional. Our feelings and emotions can play a big part, especially if the disease progresses and how we take care of our disease. Learning to cope with Keratoconus and not let it break us down in our daily life is equally important. We need to know how this can effect us at home and where to look for help.

Below are a few tips to help keep you focused and cope:

Tip 1: Remember we are not alone- There are several places that provide support Online and off to Keratoconus patients. The American Keratoconus Association is a great resource and provides lots of support and information on this disease. Also the Global Keratoconus Foundation provides support groups and activities to help Keratoconus patients. Turning to family and friends to support you and talk to you also helps relief the stress of this progressive disease.

Tip 2: Enjoy yourself- Spend some time pampering yourself. Doing the things you enjoy doing. If you aren’t as able to do the things you have always done…remember you can always try some new ones. Finding activities to occupy your time will help you focus on the happy times and deal with your situation with a clear mind….remember you must not dwell on what can’t be changed.

Tip 3: Participate in your treatment- One thing we take for granted is that we can be our own advocate. You can learn more about your options, ask questions, and decide who your doctor is going to be. The important thing is to make sure you are comfortable with them. That they have your best intentions at heart.

Know that you are not alone. That there is help for you and others going through the same things you are. Reach out for them…share your experiences you maybe able to ease someone else’s pain while you are at it. Keratoconus is progressive but there is help and remember to take it one day at a time!

For more information visit the American Academy of Opthamology

Signs of Keratoconus

The eyes are a complex organ with all its layers and parts having an examination regularly is important. However knowing the signs of serious eye conditions can help it be detected and treated early. Keratoconus is a progressive eye disorder. It changes the shape of the cornea and damages the vision severely if not treated.

Below are some signs of Keratoconus:

There are many ways to tell if your eyes are in distress. It is important to see an eye doctor as soon as these signs make themselves apparent. Below are a few signs to look for:

  •  Itchy eyes
  • Poor vision at night
  • Sensitivity to light
  •  Blurred vision with new glasses or contacts
  •  Ghost images
  • Difficulty seeing far away
  •  Flares and streaks around light
  • Eye strain

Keratoconus doesn’t usually cause pain so you should be getting regular checkups. There are several symptoms related to keratoconus so you should consult your eye doctor at the first sign of symptoms, so treatment can be determined and started.

Treatment for Keratoconus:

After you have been diagnosed with keratoconus there are many treatment options that can relieve the symptoms you and your doctor can discuss. Typically in the early stages glasses are worn to help improve the patients vision. However as the disease worsens the use of glasses to correct vision isn’t enough. At that stage it is usually recommended use of special contact lenses.

The special contact lenses will help smooth out the cornea so vision can improve. This is done when the tear fluid fills gaps that keratoconus causes, between the cornea and the lens. If the lenses are not properly removed and replaced they can create more damage to the cornea and hinder the vision more. Once contact lens become uncomfortable for patients many option for corneal implants (INTACS) surgery or insertable contact lenses surgery. Many patients prefer the insertable contact lens and they require less care and are easier to maintain. A new procedure C3-R (Corneal Collagen Crosslinking)which involves one at a time application of a special solution to the eye, supervised by an eye doctor, is showing promise on stopping the progression of the disease. Many patients are apt to have this treatment to avoid the need for surgery and stop the loss of vision.

Lasting Effects of Keratoconus:

Diagnoses of the disease is usually in adolescents however it seems to worsen the most in the 20’s and 30’s. Keratoconus is unpredictable and can vary from patient to patient. How fast or slow the disease progresses will depend on the patient. When the disease progresses to both eyes it is difficult for the patient to live normally. It is harder for the patient to drive or even read. The implants are a good relief at this stage, in some severe cases a cornea transplant is needed to relieve the patient. Though this condition is a serious disease if you are seen regularly the disease can be managed and treated. If left untreated it can severely impair your vision. Seek a doctor immediately if you feel you may suffer from this condition, and protect your sight!

For more information about keratoconus visit Wikipedia

Determining the Stages of Keratoconus

Being diagnosed with Keratoconus is a hard thing. Learning what comes next in the process is most important. There are several tests that will be preformed on you to determine the condition of your cornea. This is one of the steps to determining how your doctor will treat your Keratoconus.

Slit-Lamp-

When you doctor is examining you he will want to look closer into you cornea. When he does this he will use a keratoscope. This device will help him see the surface of your cornea. It is not invasive and it will give him a better idea of the damage to your cornea.

Corneal Topography-

This instrument will give him more accurate details of the damaged area by looking at the cornea’s pattern. It analyzes the cornea’s topography and projects a digital image. The doctor can see the damage or scarring on the cornea and it can let the doctor see just how fast the disease is progressing.

Staging Keratoconus-

There are three levels of severity when it comes to Keratoconus. The doctor can use his topography and determine with close certainty how severe the disease is. Below are a few ways to tell:

Testing Steepness of greatest Curvature

40-45D is mild

52 D is considered advance

Above 52D is severe

Thickness of the Cornea

Mild- 506

Advanced- Less than 446

Morphology of the Cone-

If the cone is sagging it too is an indicator of the advancing of the disease.

Since the use of Corneal Topography we have not used the terms advanced and severe as we used to. However the image that they provide will help you doctor determine the next course of action. Making sure you ask questions and understand what is going on every step of the way will ensure a greater chance of full recovery. Trust your doctor and let him know you concerns I am sure he will listen!

For more information about keratoconus visit AllAboutVision.com

Progressive Keratoconus: 4 Tips to Improve Your Everyday Life

Our journey through life is often a bumpy one. Many of us have trouble coping with stress and the riggers life brings without throwing Progressive Keratoconus in the mix. However finding new ways to cope with your disease can help reduce extra problems along the way. Below are a few tips to assist you in making life a little easier:

Tip 1: Educate yourself:

Your doctor can do a lot for you but when you take the initiative to find out about your illness you can ask important questions, feel more comfortable with what they are telling you, learn whys you can help yourself.

Tip 2: Find a good doctor:

It is just as important to find a eye doctor you are comfortable with as it is to find a general physician. Make sure that the doctor you choose is comfortable with you asking questions, they are concerned about you, and that they have proper time for you. If you notice it is hard to schedule an appointment, or they take more than 24 hours getting back to you than you should find another doctor.

Tip 3: Reduce the amount of times you rub your eyes:

Progressive Keratoconus can be increased by excessive eye rubbing. To ensure you don’t create anymore damage speak with your doctor about dry eye, allergies, and other conditions that can cause itchy and irritated eyes. They may be able to prescribe drops or medications to help you combat these problems.

Tip 5: Find a good contact lens fitter:

Find a contact lens fitter that sees Keratoconus on a regular basis i.e. weekly or even better daily. It is important that they offer a full range of contact lens options, soft toric contacts, hybrid contacts, piggy back lenses, Rose-K, Dyna-Z intralimbal, and Mini-sclera are some of those options that should be available.

Most of all pamper yourself. Don’t worry about all the things that are wrong or what may happen 5 years from now find out how you can treat your condition now. There are many treatments out now that can greatly improve even reverse the damage of keratoconus. Focus on your treatment, taking care of yourself, and your education. You are your best tool.

For more information about keratoconus visit the American Keratoconus Association

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3 Tips For Managing Your Keratoconus

Progressive Keratoconus [a.k.a KC] can be a difficult condition to live with. The loss of vision can be frustrating and disruptive to regular daily activities we know and love. However Keratoconus can also be difficult for families with suffering loved ones.

Keratoconus affects about 1 in every 2,000 Americans. Keratoconus however is not just a problem in the US people are suffering everywhere. World-wide the disease is estimated to effect 50-230 in every 100,000 patients.

Many patients have to cope with symptoms of keratoconus daily. Managing symptoms can be difficult. They can consist of:

  • Eye Strain- producing headaches and blurred vision
  • Poor Night Vision- producing halos, double vision, and vision loss while driving at night
  • Photophobia- [Sensitivity to light]- producing headaches, watery eyes, and dark spots

Below are 3 helpful things to think of when managing your Keratoconus:

Tip 1: Finding the Right Doctor- Determining if your doctor is the right one for you can be difficult. Making sure you check the very basic of things is important. Here are a few things to ask to see if your doctor is right for you.

What do you specialize in? –  It is important your doctor works with patients with                      keratoconus.

What is your success rate in treatment of Keratoconus?

What treatments does your office provide for patients with Keratoconus?

Tip 2. Assess your treatment options- Don’t wait for your doctor to tell you what options are available. Do your homework, evaluate your options and write down any additional questions you have for your doctor.

Tip 3: Support Groups- Support groups not only assist you with coping with the daily stress of Keratoconus, but it helps your family deal with it as well. Finding a support group can give your and your family comfort, knowledge, and friendship while you are being treated for your condition.

For more information about keratoconus visit the American Keratoconus Association

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Understanding Keratoconus Symptoms

Generally when we think of Keratoconus what comes to mind? Well if you already a Keratoconus patient you may think of things like blurred vision, or nearsightedness, astigmatism, or even sensitivity to light. The truth is these are often generalized symptoms and are also associated with other conditions, making it hard to diagnose as Keratoconus. So what questions should you be asking your doctor and does your current doctor specialize in treating patients with Keratoconus?

First the symptoms of Keratoconus:

High Astigmatism
Increased Astigmatism
Blurred Vision
Distorted night vision
Sensitivity to light
Blurred Vision

Blurred Vision and sensitivity to light are also found in patients with diabetes. Patients with Diabetes also have trouble with cataracts and astigmatism. However in recent studies researchers have found that patients with diabetes are at less risk of getting Keratoconus. Why? It has been found that patients with Type 2 Diabetes often develop harder corneas, in turn causing the exact opposite of the effects of Keratoconus. However few Diabetics are checked for Keratoconus because the symptoms they are experiencing are also symptoms caused by the damage of the sugar to the eye.

Blurred Vision and Pain in the eyes can also be caused by dry eye. Doctors find that patients who do excessive reading or writing blink less causing the eye to dry out more. The effects of dry eye while the condition can be well treated and is not life threatening can cause some damage to the cornea, creating double vision, distorted images, and can cause a lot of comfort.

The most important thing is to be sure to rule out risk factors for Keratoconus, find the right doctor, and ask questions. Below is a guide to assist you:

Risk Factors:

Family History
Trauma or injury to eyes
Constant rubbing of the eye
Inherited Diseases: Down Syndrome, Some Renial diseases

Questions to Ask the Doctor:

If you have a family history of Keratoconus you might ask:

What area do you specialize in?
How much experience do you have diagnosing and treating patients with Keratoconus?
What tests and treatments do you have available?

If you notice symptoms of Keratoconus you might ask:

Can you explain the results of my tests?
If your sight is getting worse you might ask- Do you know why my vision is getting worse?
What can I do to help improve my vision or will It continue to get worse?

Make sure to log your symptoms and how long they last. If you have a family history of eye disease or you are not sure if you have a family history of eye disease make sure the doctor is aware of this. Above all don’t be afraid to ask questions no matter how small they seem. If the doctor doesn’t have time to answer your questions so you understand him- find one that will. Your Vision care should be your concern.

For more information about keratoconus visit the American Keratoconus Association

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Former Keratoconus Patient Steve Holcomb Enters Bobsled World Championships

This year in January Steven Holcomb had undergone a vision correction treatment that restored is vision. With his uncanny talent in bobsledding few knew of the troubles Steve suffered out there on the track. However his sight had become such a problem the extraordinarily talented athlete thought of throwing in the towel and retiring. In one last effort to help himself a few organizations pitched in an assisted the athlete in getting the experimental procedures done. His response to the procedures?

Quote from USA Today:

I could instantly see clearly. It’s an amazing feeling”

– Says a pleased Steve Holcomb

Now with the 2010 games coming up the athlete is back and stronger than ever. Holcomb entered the Bobsled World Championships on Friday in New York. His vision is almost perfect a far cry from his vision early last year at 20/1000 which for those of you that don’t know is quite poor -noted by doctors as profoundly poor in fact.

In further quotes Steve Holcomb states:

“Its life in high-definition”

His team was not aware of how bad Holcomb’s vision was until recently but says that he worked more off instinct than vision anyway. And Steve is more confident and amped about his vision than ever, no longer worrying about the constant hassle of his contacts and view life in a whole new way…as for the 2010 games will just have to wait and see!

Read the USA Today Article: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/olympics/vancouver/sliding/2010-01-27-holcomb-vision_N.htm

For more information about keratoconus visit the American Keratoconus Association

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         ©2019 BOXER WACHLER VISION INSTITUTE OF BEVERLY HILLS. 465 N. Roxbury Drive, Suite 902, Beverly Hills, CA 90210.                          Call: 310.594.5210  Or   Text: 424.666.8454  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. email: info@boxerwachler.com.

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