Dry eyes are one of the most common conditions that can affect our eyes and is estimated to affect millions of Americans. As you’ve probably guessed, dry eyes occur when tears fail to provide enough natural lubrication for the eyes to be comfortable and healthy. Exactly what causes dry eyes can vary significantly, from side effects from medications to prolonged computer use. What is clear is that while the condition isn’t sight-threatening, it can make day to day life much harder than it needs to be. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help, and arguably one of the most effective is Lipiflow.
What is Lipiflow?
Lipiflow is a new technological solution that addresses the underlying cause of your dry eyes, rather than simply treating the symptoms. It is most effective at helping patients whose dry eyes are caused by meibomian gland dysfunction – a condition characterized by problems with the way that the meibomian glands produce the oil that forms an essential part of our tear film. The meibomian glands can become less productive, or in some cases, even blocked by hardened oil deposits. This prevents the oil from reaching your tear film, making it less effective. Lipiflow targets the meibomian glands, warming them to break down oily blockages and massaging your eyes to make sure that the oil, and then the tear film, is evenly dispersed. This helps to combat the symptoms associated with dry eyes, which can include:
Dry, scratchy and uncomfortable eyes
Sensitivity to light
Difficulty wearing contact lenses
Your eye doctor will be able to advise you if Lipiflow has the potential to be a suitable solution for your dry eyes.
Lipiflow treatment is a simple, painless process that is performed in the comfort of your eye doctor’s office. There is no need for anesthetic. Once you are settled in your chair, your eye doctor will open the sterile, single-use applicators which are placed over your eyes. These are connected to a machine that causes the inner eyelids to heat to approximately 42.5°C to, while simultaneously placing gentle pressure on the outer eyelid surfaces. Lipiflow takes around 12 minutes per eye, during which time you can relax. You can even listen to music if you’d like to. There is no downtime, and patients can return to their usual activities right away. It takes around 3 days for patients to begin to see an improvement in their dry eye symptoms, although they may require further treatment in the future to maintain them. Optimal results are usually achieved around 6 to 8 weeks following your Lipiflow treatment.
For more information about Lipiflow, or to schedule a consultation to talk about this treatment for dry eyes, please contact our office.
Wearing contact lenses gives patients the flexibility and freedom to live life to the fullest, without some of the difficulties presented by wearing glasses. Many people who choose contact lenses do so because they don’t like the way that glasses look or feel, or because wearing glasses compromises their ability to perform certain tasks or activities, such as sports or jobs that require the use of safety goggles.
There are lots of different contact lenses to choose from, with two of the most popular being daily disposables and toric lenses.
As their name suggests, these daily contact lenses are disposable. This means that they can and should be discarded at the end of each day rather than re-worn. Disposable lenses do tend to be a little more expensive than some repeat-wear varieties, but the benefits usually outweigh the cost.
Some of the advantages of choosing daily disposable contact lenses include:
You don’t have to clean them, which saves patients a great deal of time and hassle. It also helps save money in terms of the ongoing cost of cleaning solution.
Disposable lenses are also great for people with eye allergies. This is because with ordinary lenses, there’s an opportunity for deposits and microorganisms to build up. With daily disposables, allergens have less chance to attach themselves to the lenses and cause irritation and other allergy symptoms.
You don’t need to schedule regular replacements either, which makes wearing contact lenses easier on your schedule.
Disposable contact lenses are particularly good for people who have busy lives and are likely to cut corners when it comes to caring for their eyes or contacts since there is no cleaning or maintenance required.
Daily disposable contact lenses are available in a wide range of prescriptions, including those for patients with nearsightedness and farsightedness. Your eye doctor will be able to advise you if you are a candidate for disposable contact lenses.
Toric contact lenses are recommended for patients who have a refractive eye problem called astigmatism. Patients with astigmatism have corneal abnormalities that cause the refraction of the eye to be different between the vertical and horizontal planes, causing blurred vision and difficulty seeing fine details. Toric contact lenses are shaped in a particular way that creates the different focusing powers needed in each part of the lens to correct your vision. For this reason, it’s essential that Toric lenses are placed into the eyes in the correct position.
Fortunately, manufacturers design Toric lenses with features that help them to stay in place, including:
Creating areas of the lens that are thicker or heavier which helps secure it in position
An area where the bottom of the lens is slightly cut off
To keep them stable, Toric lenses are a little firmer than conventional soft lenses. This means that some patients can find them a little less comfortable, but the superior vision they obtain outweighs this. Your eye doctor will be able to advise you if you are a good candidate for Toric contact lenses and which variety would best suit you.
To find out more about daily contact lenses, speak to our friendly and knowledgeable team.
We all want to look our best and in the last decade, we have seen a significant increase in the number of people seeking cosmetic services in order to enhance their appearance. With our eyes being our most distinguishing feature, we want to make the most of them. Thankfully there is now a range of cosmetic services that can help to rejuvenate our eyes and the area around them to keep them fresh, young and wrinkle-free.
Let’s take a look at some of the services on offer.
The brown pigment spots that appear on the face are often referred to as age spots and are a result of sun exposure. With age, the repeated exposure to UV rays causes melanin, a compound that is responsible for pigmentation and protecting the skin begins to clump together to form an area of hyperpigmentation. Whilst they aren’t any cause for concern, many people feel that they look unsightly. Luckily, there are a number of different treatments that you can get to remove them including topical creams, laser therapy, and chemical peels.
If you are suffering from darker pigmentation then we strongly recommend that you make an appointment with a qualified dermatologist who will recommend the best course of treatment for you, based on your specific needs.
If you are one of the thousands of people considering LASIK laser eye surgery, then you will probably be gathering as much information as possible about the treatment. By this point, you are probably aware of the benefits that LASIK offers, such as a reduced or eliminated need for glasses or contact lenses and greater convenience in your day to day life. However, for many patients, despite the advantages of LASIK, the thought of surgery on their eyes is still a cause of anxiety and fear. One of the best ways to alleviate this concern is to find out more about what the procedure entails.
Before you can be approved for any form of laser vision correction, including LASIK, you will need to attend a consultation appointment with your surgeon. During the consultation, he will perform an examination of your eyes and use your medical and ocular history to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. He will also speak to you about the expected outcome from your surgery, making you aware that while LASIK will dramatically improve your eyesight, there is no guarantee that you will not need to wear glasses in some situations, such as while driving in the dark.
LASIK uses a cool, ultraviolet beam of light to reshape the patient’s cornea. Doing so will more accurately focus the light that enters the eye on to the retina, thus improving the patient’s vision. The way in which the cornea needs to be reshaped will depend on the visual needs of the patient. For example, a patient who is far-sighted will need their cornea reshaping to be steeper to experience better eyesight. Alternatively, a patient who is near-sighted will require their cornea to be flattened in order to improve their vision. LASIK can also smooth an irregular cornea into a more standard shape, meaning that the procedure can also be used to correct astigmatism.
The LASIK procedure is very fast and straightforward. Although you will probably be in the surgical suite for around half an hour, the actual process only takes a couple of minutes per eye. The rest of the time will be spent preparing and ensuring that you are comfortable. Anesthetic eye drops are given to patients before their procedure so that the entire process is pain-free. If you are particularly anxious, it may also be possible for you to be slightly sedated – this should be discussed with your doctor at your consultation appointment.
Once you are in position, we will use a femtosecond laser to cut a thin, circular flap into the outer cornea. This can then be pulled back to reveal the underlying corneal tissue, known as the stroma so that it can be reshaped using the laser. The exact path that the laser needs to take, known as the topography, will have been pre-programmed ahead of the procedure and can be followed with complete precision and accuracy.
Once the reshaping is complete, the flap is replaced back over the eye and the surgery is complete. There is no need for sutures or bandages as the cornea will start to heal immediately and without any medical intervention.
If you already rely on wearing glasses or contact lenses to be able to see clearly, you may be frustrated with the effect that they have on your life. Regular vision tests, finding glasses to suit your face shape, having to remember to take eyeglasses with you wherever you go, prescription sunglasses, fiddly contact lenses… the list of inconveniences associated with conventional ocular solutions is extensive.
LASIK is a modern, minimally-invasive procedure that can substantially reduce or eliminate your need to use eyeglasses or contact lenses, allowing you to enjoy life without limitations or inconvenience. The popularity and success of LASIK laser eye surgery have helped to make it the number one elective surgery across the globe.
LASIK has an extremely high success rate. According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, 96% of patients achieve 20/20 vision or better. However, it’s high success rate doesn’t make LASIK automatically the right solution for everyone.
Candidacy for LASIK is assessed by our doctors on a case by case basis so that you be certain that whatever treatment is recommended for you, it will give you the very best opportunity to improve your vision. During your consultation, our doctors will perform a thorough examination of your eyes and vision, ask you about your general health and talk you through both the procedure and aftercare.
The general guidelines for LASIK candidacy state that patients must:
be at least 18 years of age
have had stable vision with no prescription changes for a minimum of 12 months
have a current prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses that falls between specified parameters (Our doctors will be aware of what these parameters are)
have no significant medical or eye-related problems such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy
have no history of corneal disease
not be pregnant or nursing at the time of the procedure
If you thought that just laser eye surgery was impressive, then be prepared to be astounded by the arrival of iDesign custom Lasik. iDesign is the most advanced wavefront-guided laser treatment available. The system creates a uniquely accurate measurement of the entire optical system that can be relied upon completely without any guesswork. This is then used to create a highly detailed topography or map of your eye, making it easier for your surgeon to pinpoint the areas that need addressing with pinpoint precision.
iDesign is extremely accurate due to its diagnostic equipment that is able to determine 1,257 different micro eye prescriptions. Each one of these will measure the eye prescription to 0.01 of a dioptre strength – 25 times more than what a regular prescription for glasses or contact lens prescription is measured to.
While iDesign Custom Lasik can benefit almost any patient with refractive problems, it is particularly beneficial for people who have unusual corneas or have had eye surgery in the past.
Laser eye surgery is generally considered a pain-free procedure by the majority of patients. Anesthetic eye-drops are used to numb the outer area of the eye during the course of the surgery. Once these have worn off, some patients do experience some mild discomfort during the days following the procedure, but over the counter pain relief is usually sufficient to relieve this.
Astigmatism is a relatively common eye disorder that causes the vision to be blurred or distorted. It occurs when the lens part of the eye, known as the cornea, isn’t perfectly curved and instead resembles a football rather than a soccer ball. This means that the light entering the eye comes through at a distorted angle, making the object appear blurry and out of focus. There are several ways in which it is possible to treat astigmatism, including laser eye surgery and corrective lenses. However, another possibility is a solution referred to as limbal relaxing incisions.
Limbal relaxing incisions are microscopic cuts to an area in the eye known as the limbus. This helps to relax the curve in the cornea and improve its ability to focus light correctly. It can significantly improve your astigmatism and the overall quality of your vision.
If you have astigmatism, are over 18, in good general health and have no major eye conditions, then chances are you are a good candidate for limbal relaxing incisions. Make an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss your candidacy further.
A refraction test, also called a vision test, is usually performed as a part of a routine eye examination. The purpose of this test is to determine if a person has a refractive error which would then mean the patient would need glasses or contact lenses.
A value of 20/20 is normal (optimum) vision. This means that individuals who have 20/20 vision are able to read letters that are 3/8-inch (1 centimeter) tall from 20 feet (6 meters) away. The normal uncorrected vision (without glasses or contact lenses) refractive error is zero (plano). Individuals who don’t have 20/20 vision, have what is called a refractive error. A refractive error means that the light is not bending properly when it passes through the lens of the eye. The refraction test will tell the doctor what prescription lens should be used in order to have 20/20 vision.
For people over age 40 who have normal distance vision but difficulty with near vision, a refraction test with a small type size is used to determine normal near vision and the correct power of reading glasses.
The test is performed by having the patient seated in a chair that has a special device (called a phoropter or refractor) attached to it. The patient looks through the device and focuses on an eye chart 20 feet (6 meters) away. The device contains lenses of different strengths that can be moved into the patient’s view. The test is performed one eye at a time. If the patient is wearing contact lenses, they should be removed before the test.
In case the final vision is less than 20/20 even with lenses, then there is probably another non-optical problem with the eye. The vision level achieved during the refraction test is called the best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA).
Abnormal results may be due to:
Astigmatism (abnormally curved cornea causing blurred vision)
Presbyopia (inability to focus on near objects that develop with age)
Other conditions under which the test may be performed:
Corneal ulcers and infections
Loss of sharp vision due to macular degeneration
Retinal detachment (separation of the light-sensitive membrane (retina) in the back of the eye from its supporting layers)
Retinal vessel occlusion (blockage in a small artery that carries blood to the retina)
Retinitis pigmentosa (an inherited disorder of the retina)
There is an art to refraction and the optometrist will always answer the patient’s questions and as well as discuss their findings. Based on the results of the refraction test, they can determine the amount of myopia, hyperopia or astigmatism.
The parts of a comprehensive eye examination vary according to the patient's age, date of last exam, and other factors. Not all parts of the eye exam may be needed or performed, but the first part of the eye exam will include documenting medical history. Here are some eye and vision tests that are likely to be encountered during a comprehensive eye exam:
Visual acuity tests measure the sharpness of vision and are usually performed using a projected eye chart to measure the distance visual acuity and a hand-held small acuity chart to measure the near vision (for reading).
A screening test that checks the color vision is often performed early in a comprehensive eye exam to rule out color blindness.
A test used to assess strabismus or a more subtle binocular vision problem that could cause eye strain or amblyopia (lazy eye).
Ocular motility testing is performed to determine how well eyes can follow a moving object and/or quickly move between and accurately fixate on two separate targets.
This is used to test perception of depth and 3-dimensional structure obtained on the basis of visual information deriving from two eyes by individuals with normally developed binocular vision.
This test is used to estimate which lens powers will best correct distance vision. Based on the way the light reflects from the eye, the doctor is able to obtain an approximation of the eyeglass prescription. This test is useful for children and patients who are unable to accurately answer the doctor's questions.
This is the test used to determine the exact eyeglass prescription.
Macular degeneration, commonly referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), is the single largest cause of sight loss in the developed world and affects more than 10 million Americans. It usually affects people over the age of 60, but has been known to affect those who are younger. It is a painless condition that usually affects both eyes with the loss being experienced in the central vision. It does not affect the peripheral vision, meaning that it does not cause total blindness.
The macula is the most sensitive part of the retina and is responsible for our central vision and what allows us to see fine details with clarity.
Wet AMD is one variety of the condition in which abnormal blood vessels grow into the macula, leaking blood or fluid which then causes scarring and a rapid loss of central vision. Wet AMD can develop suddenly and rapid referral to a specialist is essential as it can be treated if caught quickly.
Dry AMD is the most common variety of age-related macular degeneration and is a gradual deterioration of the retina as the cells die off over time and are not regenerated. Up to 15% of people with dry AMD go on to develop wet AMD, and so any sudden changes in your vision should be followed up with your optometrist as soon as possible.