Save Your Vision Month

March is Save Your Vision Month
How often should you have your vison checked?
A) Every year
B) Every two years
C) Every three years
D) Only when something is wrong
According to the American Optometric Association a healthy person should have a regular eye exam once a year. People who have any conditions that may affect their eyesight, for example diabetes, glaucoma, macula-degeneration, should be examined more frequently.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-5900

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Do You Have Dry, Itchy, Irritated Eyes?

There are a number of ailments that can cause your eyes to be red, dry and itchy.  The two most common are Pinkeye and Dry Eye Syndrome.

Pinkeye, also known as conjunctivitis, is the redness and swelling of the mucous membrane that lines the lid and surface of the eye causing a discharge and can be caused by many things including, but not limited to, an infection, dry eyes from lack of tears or over exposure to wind and sun, chemicals, allergies and smoke.

Pinkeye is very common, is usually not serious, can be viral or bacterial, is highly contagious and can spread very easily. Therefore, preventing its spread is important.

There are home remedies such as removing your contacts and applying cold or warm compresses. These remedies may help reduce your pain and keep your eye free of drainage. Symptoms usually last 5 to 7 days, but some cases can last for up to 3 weeks.

Dry Eye Syndrome is a more chronic condition in which you don’t have enough tears to lubricate and nourish your eyes.  A lack of sufficient or quality tears in the eyes can be problematic since tears are necessary for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye, as well as providing clear vision.

According to the American Optometric Association, some symptoms of dry eye are:

  • Gritty, irritated, scratchy or burning eyes
  • The feeling of something in the eyes
  • Excess watering
  • Blurred vision

Dry eyes can develop for a number of reasons including environment, medical conditions such as diabetes and thyroid disease, aging, your gender or certain medications you are taking that can reduce tear production.

In mild cases of dry eyes, symptoms can often me managed using over the counter artificial tear solutions.

In either case, if symptoms persist you should seek medical attention.  If you are experiencing prolonged symptoms and would like to make an appointment to see one of our doctors, please call the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center Ambulatory Care Center at 718-206-7001 for an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Do You See “Floating” Spots in Your Field of Vision?

Have you ever experienced small specs or thin lines in your field of vision? Those spots, lines, or other shapes you see before your eyes are commonly referred to as “floaters.”  In almost all cases floaters, while annoying, are no cause for concern and should not interfere with your sight.

Floaters earn their name by moving around in your eye. They tend to dart away when you try to focus on them. They usually come and go over time and appear most often when you look at something bright.

The onset of floaters usually occurs in individuals 50 years and older and once you get them, they usually don’t go away. Most people who experience floaters state that they notice them less over time.

Floaters come in many different shapes, such as:

  • Black or gray dots
  • Squiggly lines
  • Threadlike strands, which can be knobby and almost see-through
  • Cobwebs
  • Rings

Most floaters are small flecks of a protein called collagen that are part of a gel-like substance in the back of your eye called the vitreous. As we age, these protein fibers that make up the vitreous shrink down and clump together, forming a shadow on our retina – or a floater.

Floaters are more common in those who are nearsighted or have had cataract surgery. It’s rare, but floaters can also result from:

  • Eye Disease
  • Eye injury
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Eye tumors

Most people ignore floaters and learn to live with them. Only in rare cases do they get bad enough to require treatment. The best way to temporarily remove floaters from your field of vision is to circulate the fluid in your eyes by shifting your eyeballs up and down.

If however you have so many floaters that your vision is compromised your doctor may suggest surgery called a vitrectomy. During this procedure, the vitreous is removed and replaced with a salt solution.

If you only have a few eye floaters that don’t change over time, don’t sweat it, but go to the doctor immediately if you notice:

  • A sudden increase in the number of floaters
  • Flashes of light
  • A loss of side vision
  • Changes that come on quickly and get worse over time
  • Floaters after eye surgery or eye trauma
  • Eye pain

The risk is low, but these symptoms may indicate a tear or a more serious break in your retina. You should treat a possible retinal break or detachment as an emergency. Treatment may save your sight.

To speak to an eye specialist at Jamaica Hospital’s Ophthalmology Center, please call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that mainly affects people who are middle-aged or older, but it can affect anyone at any age. There are more than three million people in the United States and 60 million people worldwide who suffer from glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness.Typically the disease starts to develop suddenly, often without symptoms,  and once vision is lost, it is permanent. As much as 40 percent of vision can be lost before some people even notice a problem. It usually starts with loss of peripheral vision.Glaucoma is caused by damage to the optic nerve so that the brain isn’t able to receive images from the eyes. There are two types of Glaucoma, Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma where pressure inside the eye increases on its own and damages the optic nerve and Secondary Glaucoma where another disease causes the pressure in the eye to increase and that results in optic nerve damage. Both types will eventually lead to blindness.

Early detection of Glaucoma can help to slow down the progression of the disease. Regular eye exams are very important. To schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Why Eye Exams Are Important For Your Overall Health- What Will Your Doctor Check For?

Many people decide to see an eye doctor when they have experienced a change in their vision. However, it is advised that whether or not there has been a change in your sight, you should make checking your eyes a priority.

Comprehensive examinations can help doctors to not only detect existing and potential eye problems but can also provide signs of other health complications that may be developing in your body.

Routine exams can identify signs of eye problems that develop silently as well as serious illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and brain tumors.

How often you receive a complete eye exam depends on several factors including, age, family history, if you wear glasses or contacts and if you are at risk for developing eye disease. Most eye experts agree that you should have your eyes examined every one or two years.

During your visit, your doctor may perform the following tests or procedures to help determine the current status of your health:

  • Visual Acuity Tests- to measure the sharpness of your vision.
  • Cover Test- to check how well your eyes work together.
  • Slit Lamp Exam- to examine the structures of your eye. Several eye diseases and health conditions can be detected during a slit lamp exam such as diabetic retinopathy, corneal ulcers, macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Glaucoma Test- to measure the pressure of your eyes and identify signs of glaucoma.
  • Pupil Dilation- to obtain a better view when looking inside your eyes. This allows the doctor to perform a thorough examination which is crucial for people who are at risk for developing eye disease.

Getting your eyes checked as recommended is highly important for your vision and overall health.  Your doctor can identify and create a successful care plan for many diseases while in their early stages.

The Division of Ophthalmology at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center offers a full range of comprehensive medical, diagnostic, and surgical services. From annual eye examinations to surgical procedures, our board certified and fellowship trained ophthalmologists are dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of eye disorders and ophthalmic conditions. To schedule an exam, please call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Contact Lenses and Children – When Are They Ready?

This week is Contact Lens Health Week and Jamaica Hospital wants to answer a common question that many parents who have children that wear glasses ask –  When is my child old enough to start wearing contact lenses?

The answer to that question is less about their age and more about their level of maturity. Physically, a child’s eyes can tolerate contacts at a very young age. Before considering contact lenses for your son or daughter, you should consider how they handle other responsibilities. The fact is, there are some eight year old children who are ready and there are some teenagers who are not. Wearing contacts is a major responsibility and children not only need to display that they can apply them, but they also need to exercise proper hygiene and grooming habits to handle wearing and caring for them.

While a child’s ability and maturity to handle contacts might vary from age to age, research has shown that the majority of children (51 %) receive them between ten and 12 years of age, while over 22% receive them when they are either 13 or 14 years old. Only 12.4 % of kids are prescribed contacts between the ages of eight and nine.

If they can handle the responsibility, most doctors believe that wearing contacts is a good thing for children and teens as they are generally more motivated to get fitted for and adapt better to wearing them than other age groups. They are also less likely to develop dry eyes or other issues that are common in adults who wear contact lenses.  Another reason to have your child consider wearing contact lenses is that in some cases they can actually slow down the progression of nearsightedness. In fact, a number of studies have proven that certain types of contacts offer significant control for many nearsighted children.

Professionals have also noted that there has been great advancement in the production of contact lenses over the years, which has contributed to more and more children now opting for them over glasses.  The progress in the development of disposable contacts makes maintenance easier and improved materials provide more durability and safety.

One of the biggest reasons more and more kids and parents are switching to contact lenses over glasses is the benefits to children who play sports. Even the safest eyeglass frames and lenses can cause injuries if they break. As opposed to sports goggles, contact lenses also offer better peripheral vision and an unobstructed view of the playing field. Contacts also remain stable on an athletes face while they are running, and unlike many sports goggles, they don’t not fog-up during competition.

A less common yet potentially important consideration for switching to contact lenses is how it affects a child’s self-esteem. In a recent poll, 71% of children asked cited self-esteem as a ‘very important” factor when determining whether or not to be fitted for contacts.  Additional research found that wearing contacts “significantly improves” how children and teens feel about themselves.

The best thing about making a decision to switch to contacts is that it isn’t permanent. If you think your child is ready and willing, speak to your eye doctor about getting fitted. If he or she tries it, but isn’t ready, they can always go back to wearing glasses. Together, you, your child and their doctor can decide if the time is right.

To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Ophthalmology Center, please call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Facts About Macular Degeneration

Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in older adults. It affects approximately 10 million Americans – more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. With an aging U.S. population, that number is only expected to increase.

AMD occurs when the central portion of the retina, known as the macula, which is responsible for focusing central vision, deteriorates.

senior elderly man holding book, glasses having eyesight problems unable to read

In its early stages, Macular Degeneration does not affect vision, but as the disease progresses, people may experience wavy or blurred vision or blurred spot in the center of their vision. If the condition continues to worsen, central vision may be completely lost.

Advanced stages of AMD can affect one’s ability to read, drive a car, watch television, or perform many visual tasks. In fact, those living with AMD are considered legally blind.

There are two types of macular degeneration; dry and wet.

  • Dry AMD is an early stage of the disease. Approximately 85% to 90% of AMD cases are the dry type. Dry Macular Degeneration is diagnosed when yellowish spots known as drusen begin to accumulate in and around the macula. It is believed that these spots are deposits or debris from deteriorating tissue. A few small drusen may not cause changes in vision; however, as they grow in size and increase in number, they may lead to a dimming or distortion of vision that people find most noticeable when they read.
  • Approximately 10 percent of the cases of dry AMD progresses to the more advanced and damaging form of the disease known as wet AMD. During this phase, new blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid. This leakage causes permanent damage to light-sensitive retinal cells, resulting in distorted vision including the appearance of wavy lines, as well as blind spots and loss of central vision. These abnormal blood vessels and their bleeding eventually form a scar, leading to permanent loss of central vision.

As the name implies, the biggest risk factor for AMD is age as the disease is most prevalent in those 55 and older. Another known link to AMD is smoking as it is believed to double the risk of developing the disease. AMD is most common in Caucasians and in females. People with a family history of AMD are also believed to be at a higher risk. Hypertension and obesity are also considered risk factors for Macular Degeneration by some, although there is no conclusive research linking these factors.

There is no cure for AMD, but if detected early, there are medical treatment and lifestyle changes that can delay the progression of the disease. Macular degeneration may not present any symptoms in the early stages and it may be unrecognized until it progresses. For this reason, it is important for older adults to monitor their eye site and visit their eye doctor regularly. Eye care doctors can often detect early signs of Macular Degeneration before symptoms occur. Usually this is accomplished through a retinal exam.

Jamaica Hospital’s Ophthalmology Center can diagnose and treat a wide variety of eye disorders. To make an appointment, please call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

National Save Your Vision Month

Ophthalmology eyesight examination

Ophthalmology eyesight examination

The month of March has been designated as “National Save Your Vision Month” by the American Optometric Association as a way to promote good eye health. This year, the campaign wants to bring attention to eye problems that can occur at work. More people are using electronic devices for both work and for pleasure than ever before and this can lead to eye problems for some people. This year the campaign wants to bring attention to eye problems that can occur at work.
People who use computers all the time, especially at work, should be aware of developing dry eyes, blurred vision and eye strain. This is because the eyes are focused for long periods of time on an object that is at a fixed distance rather than seeing objects that are moving or at varying distances which allow the muscles of the eyes to constantly move. Also, people who use computer screens for long periods of time don’t blink as frequently and this can lead to dry eyes. To alleviate some of these problems it is important to take a break from time to time and look out a window or at least look around the room.
Some tips for good eye health include keeping the computer monitor about twenty inches from your eyes, keeping the top of the screen tilted a little below eye level, the screen should be kept clean to avoid anything that can blur the images. It is also important to eat a healthy diet which will keep the eyes well nourished.
Regular eye exams can detect problems before they become serious. Correcting faulty vision early can prevent the problem from becoming serious later on. If you would like to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

History of Eyeglasses

Antique eyeglasses

Over 60 percent of the adult population in the United States today wears eyeglasses. Modern day eyeglasses have their roots that date back more than 1000 years. In the middle ages Monks were known to use reading stones that were glass spheres, sometimes filled with water,  that were placed on top of objects in order to magnify them. The first documented use of eyeglasses was attributed to being developed in Italy.  In the 13th century Venetian glass blowers made the first solid glass lenses that were held by frames and that were a primitive version of modern day wearable eyeglasses.
In the 17th century eyeglasses started to be made that could correct vision. Glasses could be made with either concave lenses, for nearsightedness, or convex lenses for farsightedness. Benjamin Franklin invented bifocal lenses in 1784. Glass was the material used in the production of eyeglasses for centuries until the latter part of the 20th century when plastic became widely used in eyeglasses as it was lighter and safer than glass. Now many eyeglasses are being made from polycarbonate which is lighter still and more resilient to scratches.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

ThinkstockPhotos-461212213Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that mainly affects people who are middle aged or older, but it can affect anyone at any age. There are more than three million people in the United States and 60 million people worldwide who suffer from glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Typically the disease starts to develop suddenly, often without symptoms,  and once vision is lost, it is permanent. As much as 40 percent of vision can be lost before some people even notice a problem. It usually starts with loss of peripheral vision. Glaucoma  is caused by damage to the optic nerve so that the  brain isn’t able to receive images from the eyes. There are two types of Glaucoma, Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma where pressure inside the eye increases on its own and damages the optic nerve and Secondary Glaucoma where another disease causes the pressure in the eye to increase and that results in optic nerve damage. Both types will eventually lead to blindness.
Early detection of Glaucoma can help to slow down the progression of the disease. Regular eye exams are very important. To schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718- 206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.