Optometrist or Ophthalmologist: Which Eye Specialist Is Right for You?

Are you among the 14 million Americans dealing with some form of visual impairment?

If so, then we know that you’re interested in finding the right solution that will help you to see the world around you more clearly — and eliminate those headaches and forehead lines that come from squinting!

But can you correct your vision by upgrading your glasses or contacts prescription, or is having cataract surgery the better choice for you?

And what kind of eye specialist should you see — an optometrist or an ophthalmologist?

This post is here to help you understand some of the most important differences between an ophthalmologist vs optometrist.

Read on to learn more about the type of care that you should seek depending on the kinds of eye conditions that you’re dealing with.

Understanding Optometry

In order to better understand what separates optometry vs ophthalmology, let’s take a look at the former first.

An optometrist attends university for four years, has four years of medical school, and then has about a year of residency training afterward. They’ll graduate as a Doctor of Optometry, which means that they can prescribe glasses or contact lenses for vision issues.

They can conduct eye exams, prescribe medications that can help you to handle more basic eye conditions like dry eyes or redness, and more.

Depending on the specific rules and regulations surrounding what optometrists are licensed to do within a specific state, they may be able to help patients with aftercare when it comes to eye surgery.

However, even this is rare.

This is because the main difference between an optometrist vs ophthalmologist is that an optometrist cannot perform any kind of eye surgery — including but certainly not limited to LASIK.

For most people dealing with minor eye issues, the services of an optometrist will be able to give them what they need.

But if you suspect you may be suffering from an eye disease, or if you need LASIK or another form of surgery?

Then you’ll need the services of an ophthalmologist.

What Does an Ophthalmologist Do?

Now, let’s take a look at the other kind of eye specialist — an ophthalmologist.

An ophthalmologist will go to university for eight years, and, like an optometrist, they’ll also complete about a year of a medical internship afterward. But they’re also required to do a residency in ophthalmology for at least three years after that.

This means that not only can they help to prescribe you contacts or glasses, as well as to administer basic vision tests.

They can also diagnose eye conditions and diseases, prescribe medications and treatments for those issues, and, most notably, actually perform corrective surgery.

These eye specialists are also often leaders in eye care research and new treatment methods, and will likely choose one specific area of eye care to focus on.

This means that an ophthalmologist can help you to diagnose and treat things like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, or problems within the retina or the cornea. They may also be interested in pediatric eye care.

In addition to laser cataract surgery and keratoconus treatment, an ophthalmologist can also perform LASIK eye surgery to correct your vision.

Optometry vs Ophthalmology: Which Is Right for You?

Now that you have a better understanding of an what an optometrist vs ophthalmologist does?

Let’s talk more about which kind of eye specialist you should see depending on the specific problems with your vision that you’re dealing with.

In general, if you need contact lenses or a thicker glasses prescription, you won’t have any issues if you visit an optometrist. However, you could also choose to see an ophthalmologist for an eye exam and a glasses/contacts prescription.

However, because optometrists are more experienced with fitting complicated contact lenses, if you’re a contacts wearer, you may want to rely on them for help.

If you’re dealing with a serious eye issue, like diabetic retinopathy or cataracts, you should unquestionably seek out the services of an ophthalmologist. You may also look for an ophthalmologist that specializes in the eye problem or disease that you have or suspect you may have.

Are you interested in getting LASIK surgery performed? Need to have cataracts surgery completed on your eyes?

If so, then you’ll be required to go to an ophthalmologist for any kind of eye surgery.

Symptoms to Watch out For

Though no one other than an eye care professional should diagnose you with any sort of condition or disease?

There are a few key signs of eye trouble that you can watch out for.

If you experience any of the following issues, then you should consider making an appointment with either an ophthalmologist or an optometrist as soon as you can.

Things to monitor include:

  • New floaters
  • Bulging eyes
  • Watery, itchy eyes
  • Double vision
  • History of eye disease in the family
  • Overly red eyes
  • Limited peripheral vision
  • High blood pressure
  • Eye pain

Looking for an Ophthalmology Eye Specialist?

We hope that this post has helped you to better understand the main differences between optometry vs ophthalmology.

Though both types of eye specialist receive rigorous training and can help you with getting a glasses or contact lenses prescription?

If you know that you’ll require surgery, or if another eye specialist or doctor suspects you may have an eye disease, you’ll need to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist.

We can help you with that.

Spend some time on our website to learn more about the types of surgeries and treatments that we have to offer.

When you’re ready to see more clearly, reach out to us to book your appointment.

What a Burst Blood Vessel In Your Eye Means

If you recently woke up with a bright red spot in your eye, you’re probably feeling a little nervous. You’re probably anxiously typing a lot of different questions in your favorite search engine, including some variation of:

  • What is it?
  • Why is it there?
  • Is it dangerous?
  • Should I call the doctor?

If you’re worried about what a burst blood vessel in eye means for you, keep reading. Everything you need to know about causes and treatment options is explained below.

What is a Burst Blood Vessel?

A burst blood vessel in the eye is also known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage. It may look and sound like a serious health issue, but that’s not always the case.

The blood vessels in the eye are very small and easily breakable. When they do break, blood gets trapped under the conjunctival membranes. This creates the bright red spot that startled you when you looked in the mirror this morning.

This red spot is the most common symptom of a burst blood vessel. Over time, it may take on a green or yellowish color, like a bruise.

Some people notice floaters, which are small shapes that look like little dots or squiggly lines in front of your eye. You may also notice a little bit of sensitivity or irritation.

Burst Blood Vessel Vs. Pink Eye

When they see their eye turning red, some people might panic and assume that they’re suffering from pink eye.

While the results of a pink eye infection (also known as conjunctivitis) may appear similar to a subconjunctival hemorrhage, they are two very different conditions.

You’ll usually be able to tell the difference between pink eye and a burst blood vessel by the presence or absence of other symptoms.

With the exception of floaters and mild sensitivity, there usually are no other symptoms that accompany a burst blood vessel. If you have pink eye, though, you’ll notice several other unpleasant symptoms, including the following:

  • Irritation and itchiness
  • A yellow, white, or green discharge
  • Dryness
  • Wateriness

If these symptoms accompany the red spot in your eye, you may actually be suffering from pink eye.

What Causes a Burst Blood Vessel in Eye?

If you’ve ruled out pinkeye and are fairly certain you’re dealing with a burst blood vessel, you’re now probably wondering what caused this issue to occur.

There are a number of potential causes of a burst blood vessel, including the following actions:

  • A violent cough
  • A powerful sneeze
  • Straining while lifting a heavy object
  • Vomiting

A subconjunctival hemorrhage can also result from an eye injury. If you’ve been roughly rubbing your eyes, or if a foreign object hit your eye at some point, that may be the cause of your burst blood vessel.

Are Some People More Prone to Burst Blood Vessels?

Some people also suffer from medical conditions that increase their chances of experiencing a burst blood vessel. If you have one of the following conditions, your risk of bursting a blood vessel increases:

People who are on blood-thinning medications like warfarin and aspirin are also more prone to burst blood vessels.

How Can You Treat a Burst Blood Vessel?

Generally speaking, there’s not a lot that you can do to treat a burst blood vessel. Most of the time, the best thing to do is to just wait and let it heal while avoiding further irritating the area.

The broken blood vessel will usually naturally heal itself within one or two weeks. The blood will be reabsorbed and the appearance of your eye will return to normal.

While it heals, you can use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to help get rid of any irritation.

It’s also important to avoid rubbing or touching your eye. This can cause more irritation, increase your risk of infection, and potentially break more blood vessels. None of these situations is ideal when you’re trying to recover from a burst blood vessel.

When Do You Need to See a Doctor about a Burst Blood Vessel?

You usually don’t need an eye doctor’s help when you’re dealing with a burst blood vessel. But, if it lingers for more than two weeks, it could be a symptom of a more pressing issue that your doctor should take a look at.

You should also contact your doctor if you notice new symptoms like eye discharge, swelling, or sharp pain. These symptoms are often indicative of an infection like pink eye.

If your burst blood vessel lingers and is accompanied by changes in vision, pain, or strong light sensitivity, it could be an early sign of glaucoma.

Can You Prevent Burst Blood Vessels?

Since a burst blood vessel can be brought on by something as simple as a sneeze, they’re not always preventable. But, at the same time, there are a few things you can do to keep them at bay:

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes, and, when necessary, rub them as gently as possible
  • If you have something in your eye, use artificial tears to flush it out rather than using your fingers
  • Manage conditions like diabetes and hypertension as carefully as possible to prevent burst blood vessels as a side effect

If you’re taking a medication that increases your risk of burst blood vessels, you can also talk to your doctor about additional steps to prevent them.

It’s also important to schedule regular eye exams. When you meet with an eye doctor regularly, you can avoid or catch early more serious conditions like glaucoma that could lead to a burst blood vessel.

Do You Need to See a Doctor?

Hopefully, you can now rest easy after having your questions about a burst blood vessel answered.

But, if you still have questions, or if your burst blood vessel in eye has lingered for a few weeks, you can and should schedule an appointment with a vision specialist.

If you live in or around the San Antonio area, contact us at Focal Point Vision today for answers to all your questions.

The Common Causes of Keratoconus and How to Treat It

In 1859, British sugeon William Bowman accurately explained how to use mirror in a ophthalmoscope to see the shape of the cornea. Keratoconus could then be identified.

Keratoconus occurs in 1 out of every 2,000 people. Diagnosis often occurs in youth.

This eye disease causes the normally round cornea to become thinner. Over time, a cone-shaped bulge develops. This distortion causes visual impairment. Keratoconus is present in both eyes but can affect one eye more severely than the other.

Read on for the basics about keratoconus including causes and keratoconus treatment.

What Causes Keratoconus?

There is no conclusive data on keratoconus causes. Several factors have been named as contributing to this eye condition and so it is likely that there is no one single cause.

Allergies, asthma and eczemas are commonly associated with this disease. Eye rubbing aggravates the condition and people with allergies and eczema likely rub itchy eyes frequently.

Keratoconus can also be hereditary. Children of people with the condition should be checked annually by an optometrist for signs of the disease.

Some studies point to a decrease in protective antioxidants in the cornea as a cause of keratoconus.

If there are fewer antioxidants in the eye, the collagen is no protected and so weakens. As a result, the cornea develops the bulging, cone shape indicative of keratoconus. If antioxidants levels are low, the collagen weakens and the cornea bulges out.

Symptoms of Keratoconus

The symptoms of keratoconus change as the condition worsens. In the early stages of keratoconus, people will notice distorted or blurry vision. Eyeglasses prescription may change frequently in the early stages.

This is often the first indication that someone has keratoconus. It’s important to have your eyes checked by an eye care professional if you suspect you have keratoconus.

Other symptoms include seeing a glare on objects and seeing ghost images. In other words, seeing several copies of one object at once.

Keratoconus Treatments

There are many treatments that can help correct the vision and strengthen the cornea.

Glasses

In the mildest cases of keratoconus, prescription glasses can fix the vision problems caused by the disease. Often a prescription for astigmatism will also be needed.

As the cornea gets thinner and thinner and more cone-shaped, glasses will no longer be able to offer the right amount of vision correction. So this option is only viable in the early stages of keratoconus.

Contact Lenses

When glasses no longer provide good vision, contact lenses become a good solution.

Hard or custom soft contact lenses are specifically designed to correct vision problems due to keratoconus. They even out the irregularities in the cornea.

Gas permeable lenses cover the cone-shaped portion of the cornea and provide a smooth surface for refraction.

Scleral contact lenses have a much larger diameter. These contact lenses rest on the whites of the eyes. The whites are called sclera.

The benefit of these lenses is that because they are so large, the entire eye is protected from dust and debris. Because the edges of the contact rest above and below the eyelid margins, wearers do not see the edges of the lens.

In some cases of keratoconus, contact lenses are no longer an option due to fit or comfort. In these cases, surgical options should be considered.

Surgery

When keratoconus progresses beyond the help of contact lenses, your eye care professional may recommend corneal surgery.

Corneal Transplants

One option for a surgical keratoconus treatment is a corneal transplant. This procedure involves replacing the affected cornea with a healthy cornea from a human donor.

The precise lasers that are used in laser vision correction techniques have been adapted for corneal transplants.

The entire cornea may be replaced in severe cases. Other times, a corneal transplant may just replace a few layers of the cornea. Your eye specialist can recommend the best procedure for you.

Corneal Crosslinking

Corneal crosslinking is a procedure that stops the progression of the disease. An eye specialist will drop vitamin B2 into a patients eye. Then the cornea is exposed to UV rays.

Together, these two processes form a chemical reaction that stiffens the cornea and stops the progression of the disease. This treatment is pretty new and more studies are required for accurate statistics.

However, studies show that the failure rate is less than 3% and the complication rate is less than 1%.

Though this procedure can’t bring back the cornea to the normal shape, it can stop the keratoconus from becoming any worse.

Intracorneal Rings

These rings are inserted into the irregular-shaped cornea using a laser. The rings flatten the shape of the cornea back to a regular round, dome shape.

This option is for people who can no longer wear contact lenses but where the disease has not progressed extensively yet. Intracorneal rings improve vision and allow the patients to possibly wear contact lenses again.

Toric implantable Contact Lenses

This surgery is basically implanting permanent contact lenses into the patient’s eyes. This option is available to those who have keratoconus that is no longer progressing.

These implanted contacts make it possible for patients to stop using glasses or contacts to correct their vision in some cases. Depending on the severity of the condition, glasses might still be required for good vision.

Final Thoughts

We hope you found this guide on keratoconus treatment informative. As you can see, there are a variety of treatments available for this eye disease.

Contact Focal Point Vision to make an appointment to discuss the right treatment plan for your needs.

A Brief Guide to Corneal Cross-Linking (CXL) for the Treatment of Keratoconus

As common as vision problems are, most people expect that their vision will be healthy until they’re older. After all, many of the most popular eye-related illnesses like cataracts tend to develop later in life.

That’s why it can be so shocking for a young person to hear about their keratoconus diagnosis.

The good news is that keratoconus is a treatable condition. In the past few years, the FDA has approved a highly successful keratoconus treatment called corneal crosslinking.

Here’s what you need to know about keratoconus and about this unique treatment.

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye condition that affects your cornea. Your cornea is the dome-shaped, clear tissue at the front of your eye. It’s the part of your eye that focuses light into your eye.

In a typical eye, the cornea is round. However, in a patient with keratoconus, the cornea gradually gets thinner and this causes it to bulge into a cone-like shape. When the cornea is shaped differently, light doesn’t focus correctly in your eye. This leads to blurry vision and can make you more susceptible to light sensitivity or night blindness.

It’s unfortunate, but we don’t know what causes keratoconus so there isn’t a known way to prevent it. It appears to have a genetic link, but it isn’t always a condition families share. Keratoconus is also more common in people with Down syndrome, although researchers don’t know why.

How Keratoconus Progresses

In most cases, keratoconus starts to develop in a patient’s late teens or early 20s. It gradually gets worse over the following years or decades, and it tends to stop progressing by age 40.

While keratoconus doesn’t tend to cause blindness the way most people think of blindness, it can make your vision so blurry that most tasks are difficult. If the condition becomes severe, some patients may need a cornea transplant.

The good news, though, is that corneal crosslinking is an effective way to slow or stop keratoconus’ progression.

What is Crosslinking for Keratoconus Treatment?

Corneal crosslinking, sometimes called CXL, is a way to strengthen the cornea. This stops the thinning and bulging that keratoconus causes.

How Corneal Crosslinking Works

The term “crosslinking” means to form new bonds between molecules, that that’s what CXL does. Corneal crosslinking is a procedure that strengthens the molecular structure of your cornea, protecting you against the progressing effects of keratoconus.

CXL was first performed in 1998 in Germany. However, it finally gained FDA approval in 2016. CXL works because of the reaction between riboflavin (vitamin B2) and precise UVA light. When your eye has enough topical B2 and the right amount of UVA light is applied, it produces new bonds between the collagen fibers in your cornea, creating a strengthening effect.

Two Types of Corneal Crosslinking

There are two basic approaches to CXL: removing an area of epithelial tissue (Epi-Off) or keeping the epithelial tissue intact (Epi-On).

While Epi-On is a less invasive procedure, Epi-Off can provide a more substantial result. Your eye doctor will determine the best option for you based on your keratoconus’ progression and your specific needs.

The Corneal Crosslinking Procedure

Whether or not our doctor starts by clearing epithelial tissue, the next step is to apply riboflavin drops. The riboflavin needs to saturate your corneal tissue to a certain level, which typically takes about 30 minutes.

As the riboflavin saturates, it also helps to protect your lens, retina, and other eye tissues from the effects of the UVA light.

After 30 minutes, your doctor will check to ensure that your corneas have enough riboflavin. When they reach this level, your doctor will use a specialized device to apply targeted UVA light to your eyes. The UVA exposure will last for about 30 minutes, and the doctor will apply more riboflavin every few minutes along the way.

When your procedure is finished, our doctors will rinse away the remaining riboflavin. They will apply a topical antibiotic, a topical anti-inflammatory, and a bandage contact. They will give you instructions about what drops to apply and how to care for your eyes as they heal. If you had an Epi-Off procedure, you’ll keep the bandage contact on for up to five days while your epithelial tissue heals.

After Your Corneal Crosslinking Procedure

For most patients, their vision is worse in the first month or two after their CXL procedure. This is because your eyes are healing, and it shouldn’t worry you. In most cases, by the third month your vision will be back to what it was before the procedure.

Some patients see improvements in their vision after this point, potentially continuing until a year after their procedure. While this can be a great result, keep in mind that the purpose of CXL is to stop your keratoconus from progressing, not to reverse its effects. Don’t expect your vision to improve, but see it as a happy side effect if it does happen.

Overall, CXL has a great success rate. Over 93% of corneal crosslinking patients saw a reduction or a stop in their keratoconus progression. While it doesn’t cure keratoconus, corneal crosslinking is a great way to keep the symptoms to a minimum.

Is Corneal Crosslinking the Right Choice for Your Keratoconus?

Corneal crosslinking has a proven record of success. Especially for patients who get treatment early, it can slow or stop the progression of keratoconus to protect your vision.

Keep in mind that even without CXL, only a fraction of people with keratoconus will develop symptoms severe enough to warrant a corneal transplant. However, depending on how your condition is progressing, CXL can be a great way to keep your symptoms at bay so you may still have adequate vision with glasses or contacts.

At the end of the day, your eye doctor is the only person who can determine if you’re a candidate for CXL or another keratoconus treatment. To find out if it can help you, contact our corneal crosslinking experts for a consultation. If you’re a current patient, schedule your appointment online.

Keratoconus Causes, Symptoms and 10 Treatment Options

Scientists used to believe that the degenerative eye disease, keratoconus, occurred in one in every 2,000 people. With the advance of LASIK technology, however, it’s been found that there are many more cases which have been previously undiagnosed or misunderstood. The rate of the disease could be five times higher than ophthalmologists had thought.

While it is a progressive disease, there are many keratoconus treatment options which can help to prevent the condition from getting worse. This article will show you the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available to someone diagnosed with keratoconus.

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus, also known as KC, is a non-inflammatory progressive eye disease. The cornea is usually a dome shape, but this changes and thins over time in a keratoconus patient. The dome gradually forms a cone shape instead, affecting a person’s vision until it becomes a significant impairment.

The average age of diagnosis is 28 years old, although some younger people will show signs earlier.

Causes of Keratoconus

Nobody really knows what causes this non-inflammatory eye disease. Some studies have suggested a genetic link, which means people whose parents have had keratoconus are more likely to get it.

Symptoms of Keratoconus

There are several symptoms of KC which may all be signs of different eye diseases. When two or more are present then it increases the likelihood of KC being the cause.

Sudden Change in Vision in One Eye

A rapid change in vision is most likely to occur in just one eye when it is KC related. This is due to the cornea shape altering over a short amount of time.

New Near-Sighted Vision

If you can only see things when they are close to you, and far away objects look blurry, this can be a sign of KC when you experience several other symptoms at the same time.

Halo Vision

Bright lights may look like they have halos around them, especially at night, in a KC case. This is due to the warped cornea providing a wavy surface that refracts light differently to a domed cornea.

You may also experience generalized sensitivity to light. This could include needing to wear sunglasses on a cloudy day or finding bright lights in darkness, such as at nightclubs, overwhelming.

Double Vision in One Eye

If you close one eye and start seeing double then you could be showing signs of keratoconus.

Eye Swelling or Persistent Redness

The changes in the cornea can cause your eye to swell. This may result in persistent redness or swelling in your eye.

Keratoconus Treatment Options

KC takes a long time to progress in most cases. It will deteriorate over ten to twenty years in most patients, then often stabilize at a stage of significant vision impairment.

There are many treatment options for keratoconus, depending on the severity of the case and how quickly it has been diagnosed. The change in the cornea presents as astigmatism, which can often be corrected with glasses or contact lenses to prevent significant deterioration for a long period of time.

1. Prescription Eyeglasses

For mild or early keratoconus, the first step to treatment is prescription eyeglasses.

The lenses will help to correct vision and add clarity, but will not prevent the long-term progression of the disease.

2. Custom Soft Contact Lenses

Soft contact lenses designed for a KC patient will correct presenting astigmatism without the need for eyeglasses. These custom lenses are made entirely bespoke for the individual based upon their exact measurements and sight correction requirements.

3. Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Gas permeable contact lenses can also work for keratoconus as they allow more oxygen to the eye than standard lenses. This means they can be worn over a longer period of time with a higher level of comfort.

The shape of a gas permeable lens is also slightly different from other contact lens options like hybrids. Instead of sticking to the eye, a gas permeable lens sits above in an arc to allow gas to permeate and circulate. This provides a smooth surface for light refraction, which makes these lenses an option for moderate KC patients.

4. Hybrid Contact Lenses

Hybrid lenses have a hard central element surrounded by a soft border. The hard central part gives a smooth surface to correct the problems experienced with a wavy KC cornea. The soft outer ring helps to add comfort to the lens.

5. PhotoRefractive Keratectomy

For very mild and early cases of KC, PRK can help to reshape the cornea. It is similar to LASIK eye treatment except there is no flap created on the cornea.

PRK is ideal for those showing early signs of astigmatism and can help slow down the need for glasses or contact lenses.

6. Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses are larger than standard hybrid, custom, or gas permeable contact lenses. The outer edge of the lens sits on the white of the eye, called the sclera.

The shape of this lens relieves pressure on the eye as the dome arcs over the center instead of sitting directly on top.

7. Intacs

When contact lenses or eyeglasses no longer fully correct vision in a KC sufferer, intacs may be used. These tiny plastic inserts are placed on the outer edge of the cornea to help reshape it.

8. Corneal Transplant

A corneal transplant is for KC patients who no longer have success with the other keratoconus treatment routes.

The cornea is surgically replaced with a donor cornea. Sight will improve but the patient is likely to have a continued need for prescription glasses.

9. Keratoplasty (TPK)

Topography-guided conductive keratoplasty is a new treatment that can help to smooth the irregular surface of the cornea in a KC patient.

A small probe is placed in several areas around the cornea and radio waves are applied. This system can reshape the surface of the eye to reduce KC symptoms with significant effect.

10. Corneal Crosslinking (CXL)

Corneal crosslinking can stop the deterioration of corneal bulge by improving the strength of the tissues in the cornea. There are two approaches: one removes the external layer of the cornea while the second approach leaves it intact.

The first approach, epithelium-off CXL, will work more quickly but does have a longer recovery time. There is less evidence of the efficacy of epithelium-off CXL at this point in time.

Vitamin B, riboflavin, is added to the cornea before being exposed to UV light. This strengthens the corneal tissues to prevent further bulging.

Find a Specialist for Treatment

If you have experienced symptoms of keratoconus, or received a recent diagnosis, it’s important to seek out a specialist for ongoing help.

Keratoconus treatment can be tailored to each individual case depending on the severity and progression of the disease, as well as the lifestyle of the patient.

Contact us today to find out how our services could help treat your keratoconus.

Is Lasik Safe? Here’s What You Need to Know

Around 75% of adults in America wear either glasses or contacts.

If you’re a glasses wearer, you’ll know that there’s nothing more annoying than waking up to a blurry world every day.

This irritation is only heightened when you have a special occasion coming up and have to think about what to wear – contacts or glasses?

Maybe you’re someone who sits at a computer all day and hates having to pull your glasses on and off. I don’t blame you! If you know these problems well, you’re more than likely to have heard about the magic of laser eye surgery or Lasik.

Lasik has now been around for over 20 years. In fact, it was FDA approved in 1996.

As a result, the technology has only improved over time. But, many people still pose the question: “Is Lasik safe?” If this question is what’s holding you back from having surgery, we’ve got you covered.

But, please remember to always speak to your doctor and take their advice before making this decision!

In this article, we’ll look at some of the things you need to know before deciding whether or not to have Lasik. Let’s go!

Are You Even Eligible for Lasik Surgery?

Lasik provides treatment for people who are either near-sighted or far-sighted. It can also help those who have astigmatism.

But, you may not be eligible for the procedure. Your doctor will be the first person to answer the question is Lasik safe for you.

There are multiple steps to decide this and they start with an examination. The exam includes multiple checks on your health and medical history.

After checking your medical history, your doctor will check your eyes. They’re looking at; the dryness of your eye, the cornea’s shape, the pupil size and refractive errors.

There are many people who can’t undergo Lasik as it’s unsafe for them personally. You’re at risk of an unsafe procedure if:

  • You are pregnant
  • You are nursing a child
  • You are under 18 years old
  • You have large pupils
  • You have thin or scarred corneas
  • You have dry eyes

Although it can be irritating to be disqualified, at least you know that your doctor is keeping you safe!

If none of these apply to you, hopefully, you’ll be given the all-clear to receive Lasik surgery and will be one step closer to 20/20 vision.

Better yet, you’ll go into the procedure knowing there is little risk for you and can stop wondering, “is Lasik safe for me?”.

(Don’t worry if you’re not able to undergo this procedure as there are other options available to you.)

Deciding if Lasik is Safe by Judging the Results

You may be surprised by the number of people who you know that have undergone Lasik surgery.

You’ll find that many people don’t talk about it. This is usually because having 20/20 vision has quickly become their new normal.

As well as this, NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) explains that for properly vetted patients, the procedure “is safe and efficacious“.

Check out the overwhelming number of testimonials from people who are happy they can now see clearly! They will answer the question: “is Lasik safe?” with YES.

How Does the Procedure Work?

Before you decide whether Lasik is the right choice for you, it’s worth knowing a little bit about how it works.

However, if you’re squeamish, you may want to look away from this section and go into the procedure unknowing. Your choice!

Lasik involves having your doctor use a laser to open a thin flap in the corneal surface.

Another laser will then reshape the cornea. Finally, once the procedure is complete, the thin flap will be placed over the cornea.

Due to this flap, the eye will not require any stitches. This flap also means that eye infections aren’t as common, as it works as a bandage.

Of course, your doctor will be able to explain in depth! But, many of us prefer to know as little as possible and just enjoy the results.

Complications Which Could Arise After Lasik

It’s always wise to go into a procedure knowing the negatives that could happen.

But, be comforted by the fact that, in the case of Lasik, most complications can be fixed with a second procedure.

Some complications which can arise include:

  • Eye infections – although these aren’t common with Lasik.
  • Under-correction or over-correction – you may need glasses for some activities.
  • Dry eye syndrome – after the eye is healed, this is likely to go away but get in contact with your doctor if not.
  • Double vision – this can also be corrected with another procedure.

A Little Extra Info to Consider about Lasik

Scared of treatments? You’ll be pleased to learn that the Lasik procedure takes just 10 minutes per eye.

For some, this short amount of time can make the decision to undergo the procedure a lot simpler. Just 20 minutes for 20/20 vision!

However, the recovery phase will definitely take longer than just 20 minutes. In fact, it may take anywhere from a few days to weeks.

Of course, there have been some cases in which healing may even take a few years. But, if this is the case then speak to your doctor regularly.

How Much Does Lasik Cost?

If you’re feeling a lot less scared of Lasik after reading this article, then you may now be working out some figures.

When considering whether Lasik is right for you, it’s important to look at your finances first.

Consider how much money you’re currently spending on glasses, contact lenses and solution.

Lasik may be the most economical choice. For the procedure, you’ll need to pay anywhere between $299 to $4,000 per eye.

Of course, this procedure can be a lot cheaper abroad. But, make sure to always find the best doctor possible.

Lasik is a lot more likely to be safe when you’re speaking your native language and can discuss your options easily. (Rather than muddling through in German to save a few dollars!)

Is Lasik Safe? Ask Your Doctor!

There’s no better way to decide whether Lasik is safe than to ask a trained medical professional. By doing this, they will be able to judge your situation and health.

You can then be safe in the knowledge that most Lasik procedures go well.

Are you a potential Lasik candidate? Get in touch to register your interest!

How to Find the Best Lasik Surgeon Near You

There are over 800,000 Lasik surgeries performed In America. That number continues to grow, as the procedure has become even safer. Thanks to this, people with vision problems feel more comfortable now.

That doesn’t mean any doctor is right for you though.

You have to find someone who makes you comfortable and is transparent. Finding a professional who fits your insurance is also another concern.

But among the best Lasik Surgeons in San Antonio, there is one that’s right for you.

Read up on these 7 tips on how to choose a surgeon and soon you’ll know exactly who’s right for you.

1. Asking Friends Who’ve Had Eye Surgery

After suffering from eye problems for a long time now, you most likely have done some research. You’ve even Googled “where are the best Lasik surgeons near me.”

Well, before you choose any eye specialist, you should consider getting recommendations first. Asking people you know and trust is a great way to gauge a doctor’s competence. If someone you know already had Lasik surgery, ask them if they trust their doctor.

See if they can set up an appointment. Then ask them for further details. Find out if they left satisfied with the level of care they received.

Unexpected things can happen in surgery. This said, asking about any complications they experienced is also important.

It’s important that your family or friend came out fine after the crisis. That means their surgeon avoided a bad outcome.

Another good idea is to only ask friends who have a similar insurance plan as you. You want great care that won’t put you in major debt.

2. Ask Your Pediatrician or Your Primary Physician

Doctors roam in close social circles, which give them professional connections. If you’re hesitant about looking for an eye surgeon by yourself, talk to your doctor.

Familiarity allows professionals to pair you with a doctor who fits your specific eye needs and preferences.

Since you visit them often (which you should), they’ll have a better gauge of what you need. These referrals also get you in the door sooner than a regular appointment.

It’s difficult to get schedules with doctors, especially specialists, out of the blue.

This advice goes the same for your child and their pediatrician. Kids are sensitive, so your pediatrician’s choice comes from a place of understanding.

3. Turn to Big Organizations Handling the Best Lasik Surgeons in San Antonio

Medical organizations have extensive record keeping. As such, when a doctor does something wrong, this will appear on the record.

The knowledge base they provide is invaluable for making informed decisions. Take advantage of this free resource and look up the doctors in San Antonio. From there, you can jump onto Google and search for their clinic.

If the database is not enough, you can turn to online testimonials. Listening to other patients is one of the best ways to pick the best Lasik surgeons.

4. The More Experience, the Better

While you shouldn’t overlook young doctors, important procedures need experienced hands. Once you find the professional you like, ask them about their history.

Have they done this procedure often? Did they experience any issues among those operations? What are the possible complications during surgery?

Open and honest doctors will give you this information. Dodging or redirecting your questions is a red flag.

But if you want more, check out these databases. They’ll show you whether your doctor participates in tough fellowships. Their participation is another way to gauge a surgeon’s abilities.

They also inform you of your eligibility. After a few tests, they can tell you if there are other eye issues you need to deal with.

Experience is how they prepare you for the best Lasik experience.

5. Checking Out the Hospital or Clinic

The best Lasik eye surgery comes from good clinics and hospitals. When you first enter the hospital or clinic, take a look around.

It’s supposed to be clean and maintained in a professional fashion. There should be lines, but not ones which are long. If there are complaints about the facilities, then the care might be suspect.

Location is also important because missed appointments are dangerous. Consistent care plays an important role in further recovery.

Don’t pick a hospital that’s an hour away from your home. The added cost of travel only adds to the problem.

6. Feel Out the First Appointment

Comfortable patients are important to doctors because it helps with their work. This is where your first impressions come in to help you.

Ask your doctor as many relevant questions as you need.

Do they answer you in a satisfactory way? Are they patient enough to walk you through your concerns? Communication is important to confidence building.

You should also consider whether you’re more comfortable with a surgeon of the same sex. Being open about personal issues is easier if you don’t feel embarrassed.

If the appointment doesn’t leave you satisfied, it’s okay to keep looking for another doctor. The person you choose will be your regular ophthalmologist.

Don’t make a decision without feeling 100% sure of it.

7. The Right Doctor for Your Insurance Plan

It’s never smart to overspend outside of an emergency situation. Lasik is an expensive procedure, but it’s not out of your reach.

When the time comes, you should talk to your doctor about the cost of the operation. Work with them and see if you can reach a suitable payment plan.

Be aware that some insurance doesn’t cover vision issues. Unless you have a pre-existing condition, you’re out of luck under government health care.

If you suffer from consistent vision issues, a private insurance plan is the way to go. It costs a little more but your health should be top priority in your life.

Good communication with your doctor is essential. Remember: This helps you learn whether you can afford a great Lasik surgeon.

Buying Only the Best for Your Eyes

When dealing with your eyes, you want to have the best Lasik surgeons in San Antonio working on them. But this shouldn’t be a rushed decision.

Remember that there are many options open to you. You’re not out of luck even on a tight budget.

Learning about your Lasik eligibility is the first step to improved eyesight. Check out these posts to learn more about what you can do to improve your eyes.

Everything You Need To Know About Cataract Surgery

Getting older has many unfortunate side effects. Joints start to wear down, aches start to creep up during the day, and everyday tasks become a little harder. If your vision is starting to become more blurry, you might be developing cataracts. Cataracts are a common symptom of ageing, but they can be corrected (and your vision will be better than ever before) with cataract surgery.

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are the clouding of the lens caused by clumping proteins. The lens in our eye is made up of water and protein that is arranged in a way that focuses light into the retina. When protein in the lens clumps up and make the lens cloudy, things start to become more blurry.

Cataracts can develop in one eye or both eyes, but cataracts will not spread from one eye to the other. They tend to develop slowly over time.

What Causes Cataracts?

A few different factors may lead to cataracts, including factors that aren’t preventable. The main cause for cataracts is aging; over 65% of people over the age of 80 have cataracts in at least one eye. Cataract symptoms often start around the age of 50.

Other types of cataracts may develop due to unhealthy diets and behaviors, eye injuries, or overexposure to UV rays and radiation. Once cataracts develop, you can slow their growth by quitting smoking or adding more omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. You cannot reverse the growth of cataracts.

Cloudiness and blurriness caused by cataracts can initially be treated with glasses, but once cataracts impair vision to a point that cannot be corrected by glasses or even Lasik surgery, cataract surgery is the best way to restore vision.

Is Cataract Surgery Safe?

Many eye surgeries can seem scary, but cataract surgery is very safe and effective at restoring vision for many people with cataracts. Over three million cataract surgeries are performed each year. Nine out of ten patients report having 20/20 or 20/40 vision after the surgery was completed.

Do You Need to Prepare for Cataract Surgery?

Cataracts are not the sole cause for blurry vision as you get older. In order to know whether cataract surgery is right for you, make an appointment with a trusted eye professional to get a comprehensive eye exam. The eye doctor will be able to determine whether cataracts are present and what type of lens is best for your ideal vision if you get cataract surgery.

What Is The Process Like?

Cataract surgery has evolved over time, and recent developments in laser technology has made the process faster and more efficient than ever before. Typical cataract surgeries are performed without the need to stay overnight in the hospital; you will be in an out in under half a day.

The surgery itself takes about 15 minutes to complete.

The first step of cataract surgery is phacoemulsification. Phacoemulsification is the process of removing the cloudy part of the lens. An ultrasound device breaks up the clouding proteins and sucks them out of the lens. As cataract surgery has developed over time, the incisions required to remove the clouding parts of the lens has gotten smaller and smaller.

Once the pieces of the lens are removed, the surgeon will insert an intraocular lens (IOL) where the lens used to be. Before you enter surgery, your eye doctor will determine what type of IOL will suit you and your vision needs.

The surgery is finished by the doctor closing up the places where incisions were made and adding protection that will help your eye heal during recovery. One stitch may or may not be needed.

Recently, developments in laser technology have allowed surgeons to complete cataract surgeries without as many incisions or blades. Laser-assisted cataract surgeries were approved in 2012, but have given many patients clear vision with less worry. Different types of laser cataract surgery are available for patients with astigmatism and other vision needs. This type of surgery is typically more expensive because it is new to the market, but many patients see the worth of getting optimal vision after a laser-assisted cataract surgery that doesn’t involve as many incisions.

What Does Recovery Look Like?

The surgery itself takes about 15 minutes, but you will most likely be spending more time after the surgery talking to the doctor about recovery and post-operation procedures.

After the surgery, your vision will be blurry; make sure you have someone to drive you home from the surgery and drive you around until a doctor approves your vision to drive. Most people take off work for a day or two after the surgery is completed.

Your doctor will go into the details about what your specific recovery will look like, but most patients usually have a recovery that includes:

  • Refrain from heavy lifting or strenuous activity for a week after surgery
  • Protective eyewear for outdoor activities
  • Eye drops for a few weeks after surgery
  • Care around dust, water, or bacteria that could get into your eye

 Will I Need Visual Assistance?

Many patients are able to restore their vision after cataract surgery, but other patients will have to wear corrective lenses in order to see.

Before you get cataract surgery, talk to an eye care professional about the different types of lenses that are best for your eyes. You may be able to qualify for IOLs that correct presbyopia (long-sightedness.) These IOLs include multifocal IOLs, accommodating IOLs, and extended depth of focus IOLs. These lenses are more expensive, but decrease the need for reading or computer glasses after cataract surgery.

Laser Cataract Surgery in San Antonio

Laser cataract surgery is not available in every eye care facility. If you are looking for laser cataract surgery in San Antonio, talk to the professionals at Focal Point Vision. We offer three different packages for patients with different vision needs, including cataract surgery that can address astigmatism.

Reach out to the professionals at Focal Point Vision for more information on your options for laser cataract surgery in San Antonio.

Everything You Need to Know About Laser Surgery

What is LASIK?

When we talk about eye surgery we are always invariably referring to LASIK Eye Surgery. Laser-Assisted in SItu Keratomileusis, commonly referred to as LASIK, is a laser-assisted eye surgery which is used to correct refractive errors of the eye. Lasik procedure uses a computerized laser to change the shape of the outer covering of the eye, the cornea. This allows the eye to focus light on the retina so that a clear image can be formed. Lasik is a blessing for those who are virtually blind without the glasses and are highly dependent on the contact lens as the means for avoiding glasses.

Ideal Candidate for Lasik:

You are an ideal candidate for LASIK if you are older than 18, have a stable eyesight or there have been no changes in the eyesight for at least one year. You have blurred vision without glasses and are either short sighted, far sighted with and without astigmatism and low night vision. Being older than 18 is important because before we reach that age, our eyes undergo a number age-related changes that can disrupt the changes brought about by the LASIK within a few months thereby rendering LASIK useless.

Patients with the end scale refractive errors such as short sightedness of more than −10 diopters, far sightedness of more than + 4 diopters and an astigmatism of more than 5 diopters are not considered good candidates LASIK. Some people might even have very thin corneas which also makes them unsuitable to undergo the procedure since it involves removing a small section of cornea further thinning it. There are certain eye diseases that make an individual unsuitable for surgery such as Glaucoma, in which the intraocular pressure in the eyes is raised, Strabismus, which consist of misalignment of the eyes or Herpes infection of the eye.

LASIK – Preoperative Assessment:

At Focal Point Vision (https://focalpointvision.com/), we meet with our patients to assess the need for LASIK and to answer all your questions and queries, so that you will be comfortable with the procedure as well as your surgeon. As part of the preoperative assessment, you will be asked to give a detailed ophthalmological history as well as undergo a complete eye examination. A number of eye test will also be done to look for any eye diseases, size, shape and the thickness of the cornea, as well as measuring the size of the pupil and the eye movements.

LASIK – Procedure:

LASIK procedure consists of anesthetization of one or both eyes undergoing the procedure. After anesthetizing the eye, an eyelid speculum is placed in the eye to keep the eye open for the duration of the procedure. The cornea is marked and the pupil is fixated with a suction ring. After that, a femtosecond laser is used to create a corneal flap. After the creation of the flap, it is moved away from the side. An excimer (ultraviolet) laser is used to reshape the eye centered around the pupil by removing the tissue around the cornea and the raised corneal flap is replaced.

LASIK – Post Operative Care:

The whole procedure, including the preoperative procedure, the surgery itself takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Immediately after the surgery the patient might feel mild discomfort for the first 4 to 6 hours and is recommended to close their eyes and rest or take a nap. Patients are also asked to avoid rubbing their eyes and looking directly into bright lights. The patient might also be prescribed antibiotics and steroids for 4 to 10 days. For dry eyes, artificial tears might be used for 2 to 3 months. In the follow up the patients are seen the day after the treatment and then one week later and further on a month later.

Recovery:

A difference can be felt immediately after the surgery and complete correction might take 3 months depending on the degree of refractive error and the amount of the tissue removed. For a higher degree of refractive errors and astigmatism sometimes a retreatment is required after the stabilization of the previous procedure. In this procedure, the flap is lifted again and ablated further. This procedure is known as Enhancement.

What are Refractive Errors?

Refractive errors of the eye are conditions in which the shape of the eye becomes fixed and does not bend the light adequately to form an image on the retina. This consists of 4 type of refractive errors and includes myopia (https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/myopia-nearsightedness), hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Myopia, also known as short or near -sightedness is the eye condition in which the near or close objects are clear and the distant objects are blurred. This is because the cornea becomes thick and the image is formed in front of the retina (the eye film) instead of on it.

Hyperopia (https://nei.nih.gov/health/errors/hyperopia) or far sightedness is a condition in which the cornea is too thin and bend light beyond the retina, which is why the far objects appear clear but the near objects appear blurry. Under normal conditions, the surface of the cornea is smooth and symmetrical to bends the light rays at one point on the retina on which a clear image is formed. Astigmatism (https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/astigmatism) is another one of the refractive errors in which the shape and the surface of the cornea is irregular and therefore the image gets distorted.

Presbyopia consists of the age-related changes in the eye. They are also known as the aging eye condition. The lens in the eyes consists of fibers that are flexible and change while focusing on near or distant objects. As we age these fibers become stiff and do not fully focus on objects thus causing blurred vision. There is no treatment for presbyopia as no treatment and or surgery can halt age-related changes and the individual will require glasses as the vision continues to deteriorate.

Contact Us:

If you have more question about LASIK surgery, visit us at https://focalpointvision.com/laser-cataract-surgery/. To learn more about Focal Point Vision, or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (210) 614-3600.

Everything You Need To Know About Keratoconus?

There is a common misconception that eyeballs do not grow after we are born. Our eyes do grow as the rest of our body grows, but at a slower pace than any other part. Different parts of the eye may grow at a different pace; if your cornea starts to grow and become more thin and out of shape, you may have trouble with your vision and experience the symptoms of Keratoconus.

What Is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus occurs when the cornea starts to thin out and the center of the cornea bulges out. This bulging causes a cone-like shape.

 

The cornea is important to our eyes for a variety of reasons. It is the outermost layer of the eye, and contains five layers of membranes that each have different functions. All five layers help to protect the rest of the eye from dirt, bacteria, and other substances that our eyes might come into contact with throughout the day.

 

Our corneas also focus 65-75% of the images that we see. Without this refractive process, the images that we see may become blurry. When the cornea becomes thin and misshapen, light cannot be reflected as effectively. This is why keratoconus can cause distorted vision and become an issue for patients. Everyday tasks like driving, reading, or typing can become difficult for patients with keratoconus.

What Are the Symptoms of Keratoconus?

Symptoms of keratoconus include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Double vision
  • Nearsightedness
  • Astigmatism
  • Sensitivity to light

 

Not all of these symptoms automatically point to keratoconus. If you are worried that you have keratoconus, call up your eye doctor for a regular eye exam. During this exam, your eye care professional will measure the shape and size of your cornea.

What Causes Keratoconus?

Eye care professionals do not know for sure what causes keratoconus. There are a handful of theories that point to enzyme imbalances and exposure to UV rays as possible causes for keratoconus. Excessive eye rubbing is also associated with keratoconus (if you have been diagnosed with keratoconus, be careful to not rub your eyes. Rubbing your eyes can cause further damage to the cornea.)

 

Similar patterns have been found in patients with keratoconus. If you have a parent that has keratoconus, for example, you might be at a higher risk of getting keratoconus. One in ten cases of keratoconus are genetic. Keratoconus is a corneal dystrophy that affects both eyes. This condition affects 1 in 2,000 people.

 

Symptoms usually appear in the late teenage years, and may continue to progress throughout the patient’s lifetime. This process happens more quickly for some patients than others.

How Is Keratoconus Treated?

Keratoconus symptoms range from mild to severe. When patients are first diagnosed with keratoconus, they may be able to address the problem with eyeglasses. Mild cases of keratoconus can be corrected with soft contact lenses, but as the condition progresses, contact lenses may no longer be a viable option.

 

If the condition becomes more severe, treatments are available to correct the cornea’s cone-like shape. Keratoconus treatments typically do not eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses to obtain perfect vision. Options for patients with keratoconus include:

Specially Designed Contact Lenses

There are many different types of contact lenses that patients with keratoconus can use to address their symptoms. If you have been diagnosed with keratoconus, talk to your eye care professional about:

  • Custom soft contact lenses
  • Gas permeable contact lenses
  • “Piggybacking” contact lenses (two types of lenses in the same eye)
  • Hybrid contact lenses
  • Scleral and semi-scleral contact lenses
  • Prosthetic contact lenses

Intacs

In some cases of keratoconus, contact lenses will not be able to correct vision problems or adjust to the curvature of the cornea. Intacs, or intrastromal corneal ring segments, are inserts that are surgically placed into the periphery of the cornea. The inserts reshape the eye and have been proven to improve vision by two lines on a standard eye test.

 

Intacs can be the sole treatment needed to fix keratoconus. The inserts are also removable or exchangeable. If keratoconus continues to worsen with intacs, the inserts can only delay the time in which patients will have to get a corneal transplant.

 

Corneal Transplants

When keratoconus continues to progress and contact lenses or intacs are no longer a solution, eye care professionals may recommend a corneal transplant. Corneal transplants replace diseased or affected corneas with a healthy and safe cornea donated by humans after their death. Depending on the severity of keratoconus, a corneal transplant may involve replacing one or more layers of the cornea. The entire cornea may be replaced if the keratoconus is severe.

Corneal Crosslinking

Corneal crosslinking is the newest treatment for keratoconus. This process involves dropping Vitamin B2 into a patient’s eye and exposing the cornea to UV rays. The combination of B2 and UV rays forms a chemical reaction that hardens the cornea and stops the keratoconus from becoming more severe. The process will not bring the cornea back to its original rounded shape, but it has been proven to halt the progression of keratoconus in 94% of patients.

 

Corneal crosslinking has only been around for 10 years, but provides a less invasive alternative to traditional treatments for severe keratoconus. Like other treatments, patients will still have to wear glasses or contact lenses in order to see with optimal vision.

Which Keratoconus Treatment is Right For Me?

If you are looking to correct keratoconus, you have a lot of options for treatment. Before you move forward with a treatment, talk to an eye care professional about your options and hear their recommendations. Some treatments, like the corneal transplant surgery, are more invasive than others, but are one of the few options available for more severe keratoconus. Cost may also play into which treatment is best for you; newer treatments like corneal crosslinking are more expensive due to the fact that they are new on the market.

 

If you want to learn more about treating keratoconus, reach out to the experts at Focal Point Vision. We have the sole corneal crosslinking device in San Antonio that has been approved by the FDA. Over 160 patients have gone through corneal crosslinking in our office and enjoyed better vision.