A Live Surgical Demonstration: DMEK + Cataract Surgery

CorneaGen is delighted to help support this phenomenal educational opportunity you won’t want to miss.

During this live surgical demonstration, James D. Lehmann, M.D. will perform two DMEKs using the Geuder Pre-Loaded Glass Cannula in patients with corneal edema from Fuch’s Dystrophy. The demonstration will cover donor selection as well as the surgical steps and pearls involved in this revolutionary surgery.

dr lehmann focal point vision san antonio lasik surgeon

Surgeon/Lecturer: James D. Lehmann, M.D., former Orbis staff ophthalmologist (2005) and current cornea surgeon at Focal Point Vision in San Antonio, Texas, USA Time.

Click Here to Register

CUSTOMFLEX® ARTIFICIALIRIS: Photo of the Month – June 2019

We are pleased to announce the CUSTOMFLEX® ARTIFICIALIRIS Photo of the Month. We’d like to thank Dr. James Lehmann for sharing this complex case. Dr. Lehmann is in private practice in San Antonio, Texas, and is also adjunct faculty for UT Health San Antonio. His patient has a history of penetrating trauma, vitrectomy, lensectomy, and corneal laceration repair. Dr. Lehmann performed a sutured IOL/CUSTOMFLEX® ARTIFICIALIRIS implantation and penetrating keratoplasty.

CUSTOMFLEX ARTIFICIALIRIS Photo of the Month - June2019

Top 6 Benefits of Lasik Eye Surgery

45 million people in the United States wear contact lenses. If you’re one of them, do you enjoy having to wear them – or glasses, for that matter?

Some people do. But if you’re one of the many who doesn’t, we feel your pain. Having to put on your glasses or contact lenses every day can be a hassle.

Still, you need them to read, drive and accomplish most of your day-to-day activities. But what if you could reduce the need to wear your glasses or contact lenses?

LASIK eye surgery could be a solution. Whether you’re nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism – it may be the solution for you.

Not sure if it is? Here are 6 benefits you could reap from having LASIK surgery!

1. Corrected Vision

Repaired vision may be the most obvious benefit to LASIK. But what is LASIK eye surgery exactly and how does it correct vision problems?

To understand how it works, we must first establish what the cornea is and how it correlates with our vision.

What Is the Cornea?

The cornea is a dome-shaped, clear outer layer that rests over the eye. It protects against dirt, debris, and germs. It also serves as a window that allows and focuses light through our eyes.

When light enters our eyes, the curved shape of the cornea refracts that light. There are other things that can impair one’s ability to see. But often times the shape of the cornea can have a lot to do with one’s vision.

What Is LASIK Eye Surgery?

LASIK surgery reduces one’s need for contacts and eyewear. It’s not meant to restore 20/20 vision. Though, many LASIK patients are able to get their vision to a 20/20. Some even wind up with 20/15 vision – or better!

During LASIK, surgeons make a small incision with a laser across the surface of the cornea. This creates a flap right over the surface of the cornea. After they making the incision, they lift this flap.

Then, they use a second laser to reshape the cornea. Doing so allows the cornea to better retract light along the retina, located in the back of the eye.

LASIK surgery is not perfect. Around two-thirds of LASIK patients need to wear glasses or contacts on occasion. All around speaking, 80% of patients reported full satisfaction from their LASIK experience.

2. No Pain

The thought of having a laser create an incision on one’s eye sounds painful and scary, right?

Not as much as you would think! In fact, one of the reasons why LASIK is so popular is because it causes very little pain – if none at all.

Before the procedure begins, your surgeon will administer numbing eye drops. These feel no different to other prescription or over-the-counter eye drops. However, they contain a local anesthetic which numbs the eye.

As soon as you blink after administering the eye drops, they infiltrate the entire eye. Only your eye will feel numb. Your eyelids and the surrounding areas will not.

The only thing you’ll feel during the procedure is the speculum used to hold your eye open. This may seem off-putting and uncomfortable for some patients. But it feels no different than when you hold your eye open to apply contact lenses!

What About During & After the Procedure?

You will not feel any pain during the incision and reshaping parts of the procedure. You may feel a bit a pressure or discomfort when your surgeon uses a suctioning device to create the flap. However, any pressure or discomfort will be minimal.

Throughout the rest of the procedure, your surgeon will have you look at a light. As you look at the light, your surgeon will administer the laser as they excise and reshape your cornea. This process usually takes less than a minute.

Afterward, your surgeon will lower the flap – no stitches or bandages required! Your surgeon will then administer drops and send you home wearing protective goggles.

Patients need about a day to recuperate after the surgery. Some may experience tearing, mild irritation, and sensitivity on the day of surgery. These side effects will subside after 1-2 hours as the eyes heal.

3. Immediate Results

Patients can expect significantly improved vision the day after surgery. Some patients may not need to wear glasses at all right after surgery. Others may still need to but much less than before.

Patients can also resume their normal activities the day after surgery. They should refrain from swimming and wearing eye makeup for about 2 weeks.

As the point of incision heals, it’s not uncommon for patients to experience halos and glares. However, these resolve in the following weeks after surgery.

4. Save More Money

The cost of contact lenses, frames, and contact solutions can add up in time. Even the occasional optometrist appointment can cost a lot of money. Because LASIK reduces the need for eyewear, patients can save money in the long run.

And because you’ll wear your glasses less frequently (or not at all), your frames will last much longer.

5. Improved Self-Confidence

If you’re self-conscious about the way you look in glasses, you won’t have to worry about that after LASIK. You’ll also feel more comfortable, active, and spontaneous. Without the hesitation of needing to look for your glasses!

Plus, you can play sports more freely after LASIK. No more goggles. No more adjusting your frames or worrying about knocking them off.

Are you in the military or do you work a job where your vision is crucial to the work? You won’t need to worry about glasses interfering with your ability to carry out your duties.

6. Allergy Relief

Do you wear contact lenses and suffer from seasonal allergies?

Chances are itchy, watery eyes are a daily, uncomfortable occurrence for you. That’s because your contact lenses likely trap in pollen, further irritating your eyes.

After LASIK, you won’t have to suffer through your seasonal allergies anymore. Instead, you’ll get to experience the changing seasons without discomfort.

Experience the Benefits of LASIK Eye Surgery

It’s not always certain if LASIK can restore a person’s vision to a perfect 20/20. It may not be the right solution for every patient. But one thing is certain:

After undergoing LASIK surgery, you’ll experience an improvement in your quality of life. From many different angles!

Are you located in San Antonio, Texas? To find out if LASIK eye surgery is truly right for you, contact us today!

Top 10 Eye Health Tips Everyone Should Follow

Want to take better care of your eyes? Good idea!

Eye health is a very important yet often overlooked part of the body. Many times, people don’t even pay attention to their eye health unless there is an issue.

But just like any other part of the body, you want to treat your eyes with care and take preventative measures to decrease your risk for problems down the road.

Read on to learn more about the top eye health tips to keep yours healthy for the years to come!

Get a Regular Exam

Some people wait years in between eye exams because they don’t think there’s an issue only to find they’ve been suffering from something they were totally unaware of. You should get a regular eye exam the same way you get a regular physical from your general practitioner.

A comprehensive eye exam is the only way to verify your eyes are in good health. You may think you’re seeing fine only to discover you’re living with an impairment and could see better with contact lenses or glasses. This information can be a game changer and you’ll never know if you don’t see a doctor!

Regular eye exams can also check for common eye diseases like cataract, glaucoma, or other age-related eye degeneration you don’t know you’re dealing with.

Many of these issues are treatable and preventable so it’s important to have a regular exam to get ahead of any serious problems.

Know Family History

Just with many other health issues, problems with the eyes can be genetic and it’s important to know your family history so you can alert your doctor.

Talk to your family. Ask them about their past eye health and ask if they’ve been diagnosed with any kind of degenerative condition or disease that you should know about.

Once you tell your doctor of your family history, he or she can keep a better watch on any issues that may be hereditary so you can take preventative measures and avoid being shocked by something down the road.

Protect Your Eyes

Accidents can happen anytime and anywhere. Many bodily injuries occur around the home doing mundane tasks that result in harm. If you’re working around the house with tools or taking on a certain activity that could put your eyes in danger, wear protective glasses or something to shield your eyes.

You can purchase protective eyewear at many sporting goods stores or at home improvement stores. Most protective eyewear is stronger than plastic alone and can do a better job of protecting your eyes from harm’s way.

Rest Your Eyes

If you spend a lot of your day looking at a screen, be sure to make time for breaks. We’re constantly looking at our smartphones or working on our computers and this can cause strain to your eyes.

In order to protect them and give them a rest, make a conscious effort to look away from the screen for at least 30 seconds or a minute every thirty minutes or so. It will give your eyes a break from the blue light and from focusing on an area so close to the body.

Be sure to look away into the distance while you rest your eyes so they can relax as much as possible. This will help your eyes from being so fatigued at the end of the day and limit any permanent damaged caused by too much screen time.

You can also purchase a pair of glasses with yellow tints that are specifically made to keep your eyes from experiencing too much of the blue light from a screen. This helps them strain less and they won’t feel as tired after a work day.

Thoroughly Clean Your Hands and Contact Lenses

Touching and rubbing your eyes frequently makes you more susceptible to germs an infection. This can cause problems with your eye but also make you sick overall since our eyes are access points for viruses and even the common cold.

Try to avoid touching your fingers to your eyes and if you can’t, be sure you wash your hands frequently so they’re as clean as possible.

If your eyes are already irritated, try to keep from rubbing them as this can further increase the irritation and even result in a broken blood vessel. Keep in mind your eyes are gentle and should be treated as such.

Wear Sunglasses

Exposure to the sun can seriously damage your eyes. You need to protect them from the UV rays the same way you would protect your face and the rest of your body.

Invest in a pair of sunglasses with UV protection and wear them anytime you’re exposed to the sun. If you wear a prescription already, you can get that same prescription put into sunglass form so you have no reason to avoid wearing them.

Overexposure to the sun can cause damage later on when it comes to your vision and can result in needing cataract procedures to correct the problem.

Pay Attention to Chronic Headaches

Chronic headaches should come up on your radar as a possible issue with the eyes. Headaches can be caused by many things but problems with vision and the need to strain your eyes in order to focus or see can lead to chronic headaches.

Some people who get frequent headaches found they were experiencing a simple eye issue that was fixed easily with a glasses or a contact lens prescription.

Tears Are a Good Thing

No one wants dry, red, or irritated eyes. Your eyes should naturally produce tears that help keep the eye moist and flush out debris and unwanted bacteria.

If you’re experiencing dry eyes or a lack of tear production, over the counter eye drops may feel good at the moment but they won’t do much to correct the problem. Talk to your doctor about artificial tear drops which can help get your eyes back into balance.

Stop Smoking

By now you know the health risks associated with smoking but did you know that lighting up can cause longterm problems with your eyes? It’s true. Smoking can lead to degenerative issues with your eyes.

It can cause permanent nerve damage or even blindness. So put that cigarette out now!

Get Plenty of Sleep

Let’s be honest, sleep helps your whole body heal and remain healthy. Just like any other part of the body, your eyes will benefit from a good nights rest. It allows them to recharge and keeps them from feeling strained and exhausted.

Sleep also helps prevent dark circles and bags which can make the eyes look heavy and tired.

Follow These Eye Health Tips Today!

Now that you have an understanding of these eye health tips, start implementing them into your care routine today.

Pay attention to preventative care options that could save you a lot of trouble and pain. Start a regiment and stick to it.

We’d love to help protect your eyes. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more tips!

Is Lasik Surgery Affordable?

Over 90% of Lasik surgery patients qualify for financing options.

Many of these plans have low monthly payments, and some do not require any down-payment.

If you have thought about Lasik surgery in the past, it may be more affordable than you think. And you will end up saving money and time in the long run since you will no longer be purchasing glasses or contact lenses every year.

How can you offset your Lasik surgery cost? Here are some ideas.

Why Lasik Surgery?

The average American who needs vision assistance buys glasses every other year and spends about $200 to $600 on each pair. Over the course of 20 years, they will end up spending between $2,000 and $6,000 on glasses.

For those who don’t wear glasses all the time, keeping track of your specs, and remembering to clean them, adds extra inconvenience and frustration to your daily routine.

Contact lenses are a great option for those who don’t find that the look of glasses works for them. Yet most lens-wearers will spend $250 a year on contact lens products, which amounts to $5,000 every 20 years.

The average cost of Lasik surgery in 2017 was $2,088 per eye, and the results last for a lifetime. The exact price could vary depending on the reputation of the surgeon, and the type of technology used. For example, wavefront technology is used for optimal vision correction.

Most people achieve a vision of 20/20 or better after surgery.

How Does It Work?

Lasik surgery works by reshaping the cornea to enable light entering the eye to be focused into the retina for clearer vision. It is a pain-free procedure that is completed in about fifteen minutes for both eyes.

For most people, vision improves immediately. You will need someone to drive you home, as your eyes may be blurry right after surgery. Yet clarity usually improves by the next morning.

It is recommended that patients take a day or two off from work, and avoid strenuous activity for a week after the surgery.

During your follow-up exam, doctors will check to see if it is okay for you to drive without glasses. Most people find that their vision is already 20/40 or better.

Who Can Get Lasik Surgery?

Good candidates for Lasik surgery need to be at least eighteen years old and in generally good health. They should not have diabetes or any immune problems that require medication.

Eyes need to be free of diseases, with no lazy eye or muscle imbalances. The patients should not have dry-eye and vision should be stable. During your free initial checkup, your doctor will let you know if your corneal thickness is right for surgery.

Eye surgery candidates should be free from mental health conditions. They should not be pregnant or nursing at the time of surgery.

Payment and Insurance Options

Lasik surgery is an investment that will pay off in the long run. However, affording it now may seem overwhelming.

You may be surprised to learn how many savings plans and discounts are available to those interested in Lasik surgery. Employers and insurance companies know that folks with better vision are happier and healthier overall. They are willing to help you invest in your future.

FSA

Many employers offer some kind of Flexible Spending Account to employees. After you complete your free Lasik consultation and preoperative exam, you can determine how much your surgery will be and how much you wish to begin putting aside.

The funds you put into an FSA are tax-exempt. As of 2018, the maximum allowable contribution for an FSA was $2,650.

HSA

Employers may also offer their employees tax-sheltered Health Savings Accounts. Unlike an FSA, an HSA will allow you to “roll money over” into the next year if it is not used in the year it is contributed.

In order to be eligible for an HSA, employees need to be enrolled in a high-deductible health plan at work. They can add tax-free contributions each pay period, with an annual limit of $3,450 per individual and $6,900 for a family.

You could save up enough money for Lasik surgery by contributing to an HSA for two to five years. After that, your budget for vision correction should be significantly smaller.

Insurance Options

Many health or vision insurance companies offer discounts on Lasik procedures.

Lasik Vision also offers insurance matching. They will match insurance discount benefits for up to 20% of the cost of the procedure. Your insurance provider or employer HR department can tell you if your plan provides a Lasik surgery discount.

If you are in the military, Lasik surgery could be free of charge, depending on the nature of your duties.

Physician Financing

There are financial companies that specialize in financing elective surgeries like Lasik. Many offer fixed plans and long-term payments. Many Lasik centers and private practices offer financing provided by those companies.

As of 2017, 41% of refractive surgeons in the US offered special financing and payment plans.

Some employers make arrangements with Lasik Centers for special rates, and some offer subsidized health plans that will cover some of the cost. Check with your HR department or insurance specialist.

CareCredit

Lasik CareCredit allows you to defer payments and choose what you are comfortable paying each month. Check with your physician’s office or insurance company for more information.

The Payoff of Your Lasik Surgery Cost

After you have chosen the right physician, prepared for your surgery, and had someone drive you home with your brand-new vision, you will be thrilled that you made the investment in your health and quality of life.

An FHA, HSA, insurance options, physician financing, and CareCredit can all help to make Lasik surgery costs something you can afford.

For more information, contact us or give us a call today.

Lasik vs PRK: What’s the Difference?

Corrective lenses are both a blessing and curse to those who need them. A blessing because without them many people would not be able to function normally. A curse because, well if you’re one of the over 60% of Americans who need glasses you already know why all too well.

Whether you wear glasses or contact lenses, no doubt you suffer some sort of discomfort or inconvenience because of your corrective lenses.

Because of this, you may be considering corrective eye surgery. It would be nice to kiss your corrective lenses goodbye for good!

But now you need to determine which procedure would be right for you. Let’s look at Lasik vs PRK and help you decide which option is best for your circumstances.

Anatomy of the Eye

First, let’s take a quick look at the anatomy of the eye important to these two procedures.

At their most basic eye problems like myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness) happen because the shape of the cornea is not compatible with the length of the eye. Both methods of eye surgery work by changing the shape of the cornea.

The cornea is a clear surface covering the colored part of your eye or iris. It consists of 5 layers of tissue. The stroma or middle layer composes 90% of the cornea’s thickness and is made up of collagen fibers. The very front of the cornea is composed of epithelial tissue, which is basically clear skin that protects the eye.

Like skin, this epithelial tissue will grow back if damaged. The collagen fibers in the stroma, however, will not. This is the tissue that is removed during corrective eye surgery.

What Is Lasik Eye Surgery?

The procedure that is Lasik eye surgery sounds pretty simple. The surgeon creates a small flap of the epithelial layer and folds it out of the way. The surgeon then uses precise pulses from the excimer laser to sculpt the collagen fibers that are now exposed.

Once the proper amount of tissue has been removed, the surgeon replaces the epithelial flap and the healing process begins. The patient may feel a bit of discomfort during flap creation, but this is minimal due to numbing eye drops that the surgeon places in the eye at the beginning.

The whole procedure takes about 5 minutes per eye.

Most patients can see immediately after the procedure, albeit the view is a bit foggy. This will continue to clear up as the epithelial flap heals.

Some patients experience an irritation or burning sensation similar to opening your eyes in a chlorinated pool. This may last for a few hours post surgery but clears up quickly.

What Is PRK Eye Surgery?

The idea behind PRK is essentially the same as Lasik. In fact, this procedure was the precursor to Lasik eye surgery.

Instead of creating a flap, the surgeon will actually remove the epithelial layer. Then go about the same reshaping of the exposed stroma layer as in Lasik. This procedure also only takes a few minutes per eye.

Once the cornea is reshaped, the surgeon places a clear contact lens over the front of the eye. This serves as a bandage to protect the exposed cornea until the epithelial layer can regrow.

It is necessary to wear the contact lens bandage for 4 to 5 days. During this time, the patient usually experiences significant discomfort and light sensitivity.

Immediately after the procedure, most patients can see well. But their vision will worsen during the healing process finally clearing up completely once all is fully healed. This can take up to 30 days.

Why Choose PRK?

With the quicker recovery time of Lasik, you may wonder why eye professionals are still performing PRK. As with most medical procedures, there are pros and cons to both.

PRK Pros and Cons

The PRK procedure allows for a shallower treatment of the cornea. This makes the procedure more suitable for patients with a thin cornea.

Also, the stronger the vision correction needed, the more of the cornea needs to be reshaped and removed. Thus, PRK is an option for patients with high prescriptions who don’t have enough cornea to work with to be a candidate for Lasik.

Since there’s no flap to worry about, there’s no risk of complications with that. However, the downside is that there is an increased risk of inflammation and infection overall.

PRK is generally several hundred dollars less per eye. While we count that as a pro for PRK, the price should not be a deciding factor when it comes to something as delicate and important as your vision.

Lasik Pros and Cons

The main advantage of Lasik over PRK is the shorter healing period and virtually no discomfort. The flap is what makes this possible.

However, not having a flap is what makes PRK a better option for some patients. Flap complications are rare with Lasik but can be eliminated with PRK.

For patients who may sustain trauma to their face-MMA fighters for instance-this is important. The flap will secure itself back to the eye, but will always remain. This leaves the eye more vulnerable to damage than before.

Again because of the flap, Lasik patients tend to experience more problems with ongoing dry eye issues. Also, as we already touched on, Lasik requires a slightly thicker cornea to be successful.

Lasik vs PRK

Now that you know a little more about Lasik vs PRK. Which one sounds like a better option for you? Obviously, there are many things to consider and you should consult with an eye professional.

To learn more about which procedure would benefit you best, feel free to contact us today. We have three convenient locations in Texas and top notch surgeons who can help you achieve the clear eyesight of your dreams.

Maybe now you finally can kiss your corrective lenses goodbye for good!

Does Medicare Pay for Cataract Surgery?

By the time they reach the age of 60, more than 50% of people have dealt with at least one cataract. While some of these can be handled non-invasively, some people need cataract surgery to get by. If you’re not aware of the cost, your budget is subject to a big hit from the cost of cataract surgery.

Here is everything to know about dealing with cataract surgery when you’ve got Medicare.

What Happens In Cataract Surgery

If you’re averse to surgery, it’s hard to admit that you need to have it done. If you don’t know what happens in cataract surgery, learning about it can prepare you, even if you’re squeamish.

During your surgery, your doctor removes cataracts from the lens of your eye. You then get a new artificial lens to take the place of that old cloudy lens.

The operation takes an hour. Over the course of that hour, some doctors ask patients to stay awake for the procedure. However, some people choose to take general anesthesia if they’re uncomfortable or can’t hold their eye open that long on their own.

Once you’re finished you’re often free to, however, with an eye patch attached. You’ll need to have someone get you home or to hire a car from your doctor’s office to get home. Once your eye heals, go to your optometrist to see if you need a new prescription, now that your vision has cleared p.

The Risks of Cataract Surgery

While this is a powerful and life-changing surgery for most people, it’s not without its problems. Every surgery has risks and this one is no exception.

With this surgery, there are some risks that include double vision, loss of vision, inflammation, or even infection. Keeping the area clean and clear is the key to healing correctly.

While these are real worries, it’s actually one of the safest and most common ways to deal with cataracts. More than 90% of the people who get this procedure report improved vision and no problems at all.

If you’re worried about the risks, talk to your doctor about what you can do to prepare yourself. If you have a strong rapport with your doctor, they’ll give you a real assessment of just how risky this surgery is for someone like you.

Medicare Coverage From the Start

You’ll find that you can get Medicare to cover your surgery in some respects but not in others. For example, they’ll cover the surgery to implant an intraocular lens. They’ll even cover the doctor’s services during and after your surgery.

You may need corrective lenses following the surgery, which is typically covered by Medicare.

If you sign up for outpatient treatment, you’re covered by Medicare Part B. While there may be some deductibles or copays to manage, it should be within your budget.

If you’re in the hospital for surgery, admitted as an inpatient, you’ll be under Medicare Part A. The coverage you get and the costs you pay will be much different. Since those costs are going to vary depending on the service you get, clear things up beforehand.

Your doctor and the hospital should give you an estimate before you start the process. If not, get on the phone and ensure you have an understanding before you commit to anything.

How Medicare Covers You Later

Following your surgery, you’ll be covered by Medicare Part B for a few things. The aforementioned corrective lenses should be covered once you’ve gotten new intraocular lenses applied. Medicare might pay for a single pair of glasses or contacts through a Medicare-enrolled supplier.

If you usually pay a coinsurance on something like this, expect that standard 20% to come out of your pocket. Your Part B deductible applies in this case.

While Medicare avoids coverage of most vision services, don’t rely on them for frame upgrades or additional care. Once your cataract surgery is complete, they could leave you high and dry. Call ahead to clear everything up before you commit to a stressful surgery and recovery.

Medicare Supplements

Thankfully there’s potential to get some Medicare supplements to manage the cost of your cataract surgery. Medicare Supplement plans cover some of the out of pocket costs for people who struggle to pay their bills.

Those out of pocket costs like deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments add up for people on a tight budget.

Getting a Medicare Supplement or Medigap plan ensure you can cover these extended costs. Some plans help fund the charges that come up with Part B.

Since you have to pay for so many of the differences between what your doctor charges and what Medicare approves, these are a bit help. Shop around for the supplement that covers all the costs you need to worry about.

Medicare Advantage

On top of Part A and Part B, there’s actually a Part C to Medicare. If you’re able to get covered under the Medicare Advantage plan, you’ll have a lot of out-of-pocket costs covered.

You’ll get all the coverage of Part A and Part B while getting some extra benefits. You’ll have lower copayments and lower deductibles. You may even have some services not covered in A or B covered in C.

Medicare Advantage extends coverage to offer plans for vision and basic dental services. This ensures you get a 360-degree plan that covers all of your basic needs at a minimum level.

The Cost of Cataract Surgery Can Be Rough

While the cost of cataract surgery may be covered by Medicare, it’s all of the additional treatment that can bury you. If you’re not prepared, you’ll pay hundreds just to get the lenses you need to see after your surgery.

Follow our guide step by step to take care of yourself following your cataract surgery.

What is Asteroid Hyalosis?

Vision problems and eye diseases cost the American people roughly $139 million every year.

If you had a problem with your eyes, you’d know it right away, wouldn’t you? Don’t be so sure. Many people develop vision problems without even realizing it. These conditions come on gradually, and it’s easy to overlook subtle changes.

This is especially true in the case of conditions like asteroid hyalosis, which typically doesn’t affect a person’s ability to see.

Never heard of asteroid hyalosis? Not sure which symptoms you should be on the lookout for?

Keep reading. Everything you need to know about this condition is explained below.

What is Asteroid Hyalosis?

Asteroid hyalosis (also known as AH) is a degenerative vision condition. This condition is characterized by a buildup of calcium and lipids (fatty acid compounds).

In the case of AH, these compounds accumulate in the vitreous humor. Vitreous humor is the fluid found between the retina and the lens of the eye.

The calcium and lipid deposits often reflect the light. This reflection can create the appearance of stars in the night sky — hence the name, asteroid hyalosis.

Some people confuse asteroid hyalosis with another condition known as synchysis scintillans. This is a similar condition. But, it involves a buildup of calcium and cholesterol in the vitreous humor, rather than calcium and lipids.

AH is a relatively common vision condition. Approximately one in every 200 people struggles with it during their lifetime.

Symptoms of Asteroid Hyalosis

The primary symptom of asteroid hyalosis is the presence of white spots, or small floaters, in your field of vision.

Sometimes, these spots may move. But, they typically do not affect your vision. The spots can also be hard to see unless you look very closely under proper lighting.

Most people do not experience any other other symptoms. In fact, they often go quite a long time without even realizing that they have asteroid hyalosis.

In rare cases, though, individuals with this condition may experience some minor disruptions to their vision.

If you never look at your eyes in bright enough lighting, you may not notice that you’re experiencing AH. But, your doctor may notice it during your regular check-ups.

The deposits that characterize asteroid hyalosis can make it harder for an eye doctor to perform an eye exam. This is because the floaters can block the other structures of the eye (the blood vessels, the head of the optic nerve, etc.).

What Causes Asteroid Hyalosis?

Vision experts aren’t fully certain of the cause of asteroid hyalosis.

But, some researchers have noted a connection between this condition and chronic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease.

Age also plays a role in this condition. Asteroid hyalosis is more likely to affect older adults. Women are also more prone to developing AH than men.

How to Treat Asteroid Hyalosis

In most cases, treatment isn’t required for asteroid hyalosis. But, if it begins to affect your vision, a surgeon can remove the vitreous humor from your eye and replace it. This will get rid of the deposits and restore your vision back to normal.

Some people also have the vitreous humor from their eyes removed if they have other conditions like diabetic retinopathy, which are known to increase their risk of experiencing eye damage.

Adjustments During Vision Appointments

If you are suffering from asteroid hyalosis, you may find that your eye doctor has to make some adjustments during your regular appointments.

Your doctor may have a harder time checking the health of your eyes during a regular exam. As a result, they might need to dilate your pupils and examine your eyes using a slit lamp.

They might also look at your eyes using a type of scan known as optical coherence tomography. This makes it easier for them to visualize the layers of your retina and make sure everything is healthy and working as it’s supposed to.

Surgery Success Rate

Some people worry that an asteroid hyalosis diagnosis might disqualify them from other procedures like Lasik surgery or cataract surgery.

The good news, though, is that this condition doesn’t interfere with either procedure. Patients who have been diagnosed with AH can expect to see normal results from Lasik and cataract surgeries.

The deposits in the vitreous humor aren’t problematic, and some doctors find that they actually make it easier for them to see the vitreous humor while they’re performing the surgery.

What Should You Do if You Think You Have Asteroid Hyalosis?

As you can see, the development of symptoms of asteroid hyalosis isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm. This is especially true if you haven’t experienced any vision changes.

At the same time, though, if you think you have asteroid hyalosis, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as you can.

Having an eye doctor examine you will help you rule out any other vision conditions and ensure your eyes are otherwise healthy.

The development of asteroid hyalosis can also be a sign that you need to pay attention to other aspects of your health. Remember, this condition can be connected to illnesses like diabetes and hypertension.

If it’s been a while since you’ve had a physical exam, you might want to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to make sure everything else is working as it’s meant to.

Do You Think You Have Asteroid Hyalosis?

After learning more about asteroid hyalosis, do you think you have it? Asteroid hyalosis may not be a life-threatening condition, but it can still negatively affect your vision and your overall quality of life.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms described above, it’s important to see an eye doctor as soon as you can to figure out what’s causing them.

Not sure where to find a good eye doctor? If you live in or around the San Antonio or Schertz, Texas areas, we can help at Focal Point Vision.

Contact us today to book an appointment or learn more about our services.

A Brief History of Keratoconus

What is Keratoconus?

The word itself is quite a mouthful.

Keratoconus means “cone-shaped cornea.” The condition is characterized by a progressive thinning of the cornea. This causes the center of the cornea to bulge outward and form a rounded cone shape.

The National Eye Institute states that this disease is the most common corneal dystrophy in the country. It affects one in 2,000 Americans. For this reason, it’s important to understand what it is and what your treatment options look like.

Patients with keratoconus often report decreasing vision. They’ll also often experience multiple unsatisfactory attempts in obtaining optimum spectacle correction.

Are you interested in learning more about Keratoconus and Keratoconus care? If so, read this guide.

History of Keratoconus

A German professor, Burchard Mauchart, first described Keratoconus in a doctoral dissertation in 1748. He described it as “Staphyloma Diaphanum.”

Before this, there was little mention of the condition. Many physicians simply referring to it as “Ochlodes” meaning “annoying” in Greek.

In 1854, a British physician, John Nottingham, called the condition “Conical Cornea.” Many of his insights and features of it are still understood as true today.

In 1859, William Bowman was the first person to use an ophthalmoscope to observe Keratoconus. John Horner, a Swiss physician, finally gave the condition its modern name, Keratoconus, in 1869.

These days, the medical understanding and grasp of Keratoconus is extremely sophisticated. It’s now differentiated into a mild, moderate, and advanced disease.

What’s the Cause?

The cause of Keratoconus is relatively unknown. Although not definitely identified, doctors have formed a general understanding of the risk factors involved.

There is strong evidence showing that those with a parent who has KC, have a much higher chance of developing it.

Other than genetics, some other causes include: ocular allergies, systemic and ocular associations, eye rubbing and atopy. In several reports, it’s suggested there is an association between keratoconus and other corneal dystrophies.

Keratoconus Progression

In most cases, KC takes quite a while to progress.

Most people will experience a slow deterioration over 10-20 years. After this, it often stabilizes to a point where vision is severely impaired.

Each case will differ in severity and this will help guide what type of treatment is most appropriate. Luckily today, there are a variety of treatment options available to people in any stage of KC.

From prescription for astigmatism glasses and contact lenses to Keratoconus surgery. These treatments have developed and improved greatly over the years.

Cataracts & Care

Everyone has a clear, flexible lens in their eye called a ‘crystalline lens’. If this lens becomes less flexible and less clear, it’s called a cataract.

Cataracts cause problems with contrast and glare, and cloudy distance vision. Sometimes, poor near vision is a symptom.

These days, there are many different types of technology capable of removing cataracts. Cataract surgery will replace the cloudy lens with an artificial, clear lens.

With the advanced technology, different implants are available for distance, intermediate and near vision. If you’re asking, “how to correct astigmatism?”, you’ve come to the right place.

Ultrasound energy is the traditional way to remove cataracts. These days, lasers are also used to make incisions, disassemble cataracts, and correct astigmatisms.

Keratoconus Care

The past few years have seen a positive shift in the standard of care for Keratoconus.

A transition to a more effective use of contact lenses and earlier surgical intervention has prevented the disease from progressing.

Arrested or delaying the progression of the disease has proved much more effective than only treating the symptoms as they play out.

Collagen crosslinking and intrastromal corneal ring segments are examples of minimally-invasive surgical treatments. Their aim is to replace or delay the needs for corneal grafting.

Contact Lenses

In the first stages of mild keratoconus, eyeglasses may be all that’s required to improve vision. However, as the cornea becomes increasingly irregular, eyeglasses are less effective at correcting vision.

Contact lenses (CL) may get prescribed. They work by creating an artificial, smooth surface on the front part of the eye. This significantly improves the cornea’s ability to bend light.

Most people diagnosed with Keratoconus are prescribed contact lenses when diagnosed and will continue to wear them throughout their lives. Contact lenses have been shown to be very effective.

However, it’s critical that the contact lenses prescribed are correct for the individual patient.

In addition, KC patients should be carefully and regularly monitored with frequent progress visits. Changes in the contact lens shape may be necessary, because of changes in the shape of the cornea.

These days, there are a variety of specialty contact lens designs developed with the specific needs of those with KC in mind. These custom-made lenses will provide the best comfort and vision as KC progresses.

Keratoconus Surgery

It’s been over 80 years since the first corneal transplant was performed on a KC patient. Today, it is still the standard of care for the most severe cases.

Transplants usually last decades with proper care, but individual results will vary.

Corneal Transplant

In a corneal transplant, the cornea is surgically replaced with a donor cornea. The tissue used for corneal transplants is donated from deceased organ donors.

After the operation, the patient may have to wear prescription glasses, but their vision will be greatly improved. Usually, a corneal transplant is for KC patients who haven’t had success with other keratoconus treatment routes.

Keratoplasty (TPK)

In this procedure, a small probe gets inserted into a few areas around the cornea. Radio waves are then applied, causing the surface of the eye to reshape. This reduces the symptoms of KC.

This is a new treatment and is shown to be very effective in helping to smooth the irregular surface of the cornea.

Corneal Crosslinking (CXL)

This procedure stops the deterioration of the corneal bulge. It does this by strengthening the tissues in the cornea.

There are two approaches. The first removes the external layer of the cornea and the other leaves this layer intact.

Knowledge Is Power

Everyone reacts differently when they’re diagnosed with Keratoconus. A lack of understanding and knowledge can instill fear.

Thus, it’s essential to equip yourself with as much information as you can about KC. Research will help you understand everything from cornea function to astigmatism glasses. You’ll see there’s nothing to fear.

Today, there are a variety of treatment options, meaning you’ll find one to suit your situation.

Remember, accepting KC as a part of your life is important. But this doesn’t mean you must surrender to the condition. Lean on the support and advice of professionals.

For more information about Keratoconus and Keratoconus care, please contact us. We’ll guide you through your options for treatment.

What is Keratoconus

What is keratoconus? Do you have it? If you have blurry or distorted vision and glasses aren’t helping, then perhaps you are suffering from keratoconus.

In this article, we are taking a closer look at this relatively unheard of condition. It can help you understand your treatment options in case you have developed keratoconus.

What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is an eye problem that occurs in 1 out of 2000 people in the general population. It affects the cornea of the eye.

The cornea is the clear front part of the eye. It covers the pupil and the iris and is responsible for focusing light into the eye. Keratoconus happens when the cornea becomes thinner and bulges out like a cone. This gives the eye an unusual shape and distorts vision.

Keratoconus occurs in young age. Patients can develop keratoconus in one eye or both eyes.

Keratoconus Causes

Scientists are still not sure what causes keratoconus. There are several common causes that might be responsible, but so far there is no conclusive data.

People suffering from keratoconus often suffer from other conditions as well, and there might be a connection there. Commonly associated diseases with keratoconus include:

  • Eczema
  • Asthma
  • Allergies

Any behaviors that encourage eye rubbing can hasten the onset of keratoconus. There is also data suggesting that keratoconus may be hereditary.

If you suffer from keratoconus, you should get your children to an optometrist or an ophthalmologist every year to check for signs of keratoconus.

Keratoconus Symptoms

As we have seen above, keratoconus can occur in one or both eyes. The symptoms start out mild and worsen over time. Symptoms can also differ between the two eyes, leading to different vision in the eyes.

The first symptoms include blurry vision. This can cause your prescription glasses to feel useless. As your keratoconus progresses, you may need a new eyeglass prescription on an annual basis.

If you find yourself in need of new glasses months after your last prescription, then you should make an appointment with an eye specialist to get your eyes checked for keratoconus.

Other early symptoms include:

  • Mildly blurred and distorted vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Swelling
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Progressively worse myopia
  • Progressively worse astigmatism

More advanced symptoms include seeing ghost images or unusual glares. If you are “seeing double” then you might have advanced keratoconus.

The significant symptoms of advanced keratoconus include:

  • Significantly blurred and distorted vision
  • Noticeable change in the shape of the eye
  • Inability to wear contact lenses
  • Scarred cornea

Typically, keratoconus develops over the course of years. Sometimes keratoconus advances rapidly and the symptoms worsen in a matter of months.

Keratoconus Diagnosis

An optometrist or an ophthalmologist can easily diagnose keratoconus. There are no special examinations. A routine corneal exam will reveal if it’s thinned out or curved.

During a routine exam, your eye specialist will measure the curvature of your cornea for abnormalities. If keratoconus is suspected, your eye specialist will map the surface of your cornea in more detail.

Keratoconus Treatments

If you have been diagnosed with keratoconus, there are many ways to treat your condition. Let’s see all the available treatment options below:

Prescription Glasses

Glasses are only viable for early stages of keratoconus. They treat the symptoms of poor vision but do not correct the problem.

If you have keratoconus, you will need to get a new prescription every few years. Eventually, prescription glasses alone will not be able to correct the problem as the condition worsens.

Contact Lenses

Contact lenses can treat the symptoms of keratoconus and give you good vision while the condition progresses.

To correct the vision problems from keratoconus, your specialist will prescribe specially made contact lenses. These even out the bulge in the cornea and correct vision problems. Still, contact lenses might not be the solution as keratoconus become worse.

Surgery

If you suffer from advanced keratoconus, contact lenses alone won’t help. Corneal surgery is then the only option. Let’s see the types of surgery below:

Corneal Transplant

A corneal transplant will replace most or all of your cornea with health cornea tissue from a donor. This is the most drastic and permanent solution to keratoconus.

For this type of surgery, precision lasers remove the diseased tissue and your ophthalmologist implants the new layers to correct the problem. Depending on the severity, this can be a complete corneal replacement or just a few corneal layers.

Collagen Cross-Linking

This procedure uses UV light and vitamin B2 to halt the progression of keratoconus. This will stiffen the cornea and prevent it from bulging out further. This will not fix the problem, but prevent it from worsening.

Intracorneal Ring Implants

These are small rings that your ophthalmologist surgically inserts into your cornea. These implants will flatten the cornea, restoring it to its original form.

Permanent Implantable Contact Lenses

This surgical procedure implants permanent contact lenses to correct the vision of a patient suffering from keratoconus. This is less invasive procedure than transplants.

Permanent lenses will not provide a final solution if keratoconus worsens. You might still need prescription glasses if your keratoconus progresses.

What is Keratoconus? Now You Know

As we have seen above, there are several treatment options for keratoconus. Here at Focal Point Vision, we specialize in eye treatments for any type of condition, including keratoconus.

We aim to deliver the highest quality eye care, combining timely service, advanced technology, and compassion for our patients.

If you liked our “What is Keratoconus?” article, you can read more about this and other eye conditions at our blog. Contact Focal Point Vision today to make an appointment to discuss the right treatment for your eye conditions.