Low Vision Awareness Month: What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly three million Americans suffer from low vision, a visual impairment that cannot be corrected through medical treatments such as surgery, medication, or specialized eyewear. Low vision is most common among people aged 40 years and older.

One of the most common causes of low vision (and the leading cause of vision loss in people aged 50 and older) is age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which impairs a person’s central vision and interferes with tasks such as reading or driving. Your risk of developing this condition increases as you age, but this risk may be higher for people who have a family history of AMD, are Caucasian, or smoke.

This condition can occur as either “dry” (also known as “atrophic”) AMD or “wet” (also known as “advanced neovascular”) AMD. The majority of AMD cases involve dry AMD, which occurs in three stages: early, intermediate, and late.

Early dry AMD usually doesn’t involve any obvious symptoms, but during the intermediate stage, you may experience mild blurry vision or difficulties seeing in low lighting. Late AMD may cause symptoms such as straight lines appearing crooked, increased blurry vision, greater difficulty seeing in low lighting, colors appearing less bright, and visual blank spots.

There are no specific treatments available for the early stage of dry AMD, but during its intermediate and late stages, special dietary supplements may be able to slow or halt the progression of the disease. These supplements contain:

  • Vitamins C (500 milligrams)
  • Vitamin E (400 International Units)
  • Copper (2 milligrams)
  • Zinc (80 milligrams)
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein (10 milligrams)
  • Zeaxanthin (2 milligrams)

Wet AMD is a form of late-stage AMD that progresses quickly as abnormal blood vessels grow in the back of the eye, damaging the macula. It always begins as dry AMD and can occur during any stage of the condition. Unlike late-stage dry AMD, however, it can be treated through anti–vascular endothelial growth factor drugs or through photodynamic therapy (PDT), which combines injectable medications with laser treatments.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of dry or wet AMD, schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ophthalmology Center now by calling (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 Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is an eye condition that causes damage to your optic nerve, which transmits signals from your eye to your brain and allows you to see. This causes blind spots in your vision to develop over time.

Glaucoma often occurs due to increased pressure in the eye, which is itself typically caused by a buildup of fluid in the eye. However, it can still develop in an eye with normal pressure.

Glaucoma is also one of the most common causes of blindness for people over the age of 60, but it can occur at any age. Other risk factors for this disease include:

  • A family history of glaucoma
  • Eye injuries
  • Chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or sickle cell anemia
  • Extended use of corticosteroids
  • Extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness

Glaucoma encompasses several different conditions that present varying symptoms, making it potentially challenging to identify. Additionally, many forms of glaucoma, such as open-angle and normal-tension glaucoma, may not present any symptoms in their early stages. Forms of glaucoma include:

  • Open-angle glaucoma
  • Acute angle-closure glaucoma
  • Normal-tension glaucoma
  • Pigmentary glaucoma
  • Pediatric glaucoma

There is no cure for glaucoma. However, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing it. The first is to regularly visit an ophthalmologist for eye exams, including a comprehensive dilated eye exam by the age of 40. The second is to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle by maintaining a healthy weight, blood pressure, and physical activity level.

You can schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist for glaucoma diagnosis or treatment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ophthalmology Department by calling (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.

Jamaica Hospital Opens New, State-Of-The-Art Pediatric Eye Center

Earlier today, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its new pediatric ophthalmology center. Construction of the state-of-the-art facility and the purchase of equipment was made possible thanks to a generous donation of $1 million from Maspeth Federal Savings, one of New York City’s strongest community banks.

Maspeth Federal Savings has been working with Jamaica Hospital throughout the pandemic and has provided mission-critical equipment and supporting donations. Today, the organization is the sole donor to the pediatric ophthalmology center, which addresses an urgent need in the local area.

“As a community bank, it’s incredibly important to us that the people and facilities in our community have the resources they need to do what they do best; in this case, providing care that our children desperately need,” said Thomas Rudzewick, President and CEO of Maspeth Federal Savings.

Jamaica Hospital provides quality healthcare to an underserved community, including much-needed vision services to children who have limited access to comprehensive ophthalmologic care. By creating a dedicated ophthalmology center for children, the hospital aims to address the lack of access to care and other healthcare disparities that impact its community.

The need for a comprehensive pediatric ophthalmology service is reflected in current statistics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in four preschool-aged children and approximately 6.8% of children younger than 18 years of age in the United States has undiagnosed or untreated vision problems. These numbers are amplified in communities that encounter disparities in receiving optimal healthcare. Children who reside in underserved communities are found to be at nearly twice the risk for developing eye disorders compared to children living in neighborhoods that are supplied with sufficient health services.

The Maspeth Federal Savings Pediatric Ophthalmology Center at Jamaica Hospital will be the only one of its kind to service Queens. “We are bringing a world-class, state-of-the-art center to Queens. Residents who live in our community no longer have to travel outside their local area to receive high-quality pediatric eye care. Our center is staffed by physicians who are among the best in their specialty and are highly skilled in performing a wide range of services to diagnose and treat pediatric ocular conditions,” said Bruce J. Flanz, Jamaica Hospital’s President and CEO.

“We are thrilled to have a center of excellence in pediatric ophthalmology in Queens County. This center will allow us to provide cutting-edge technology and treatment to our youngest patients,” shared Dr. Julia Shulman, Chairperson of Ophthalmology at Jamaica Hospital. The newly constructed 2900 square foot center consists of a modernly designed area waiting area, four spacious examination rooms, two testing rooms, three consultation offices, and two charting workstations. Each room is equipped with amenities to provide a comfortable environment for children.

“Our community needed a facility like this in Queens for a very long time. When our board member Dr. Cono Grasso came to us and explained the importance of the center, we immediately made it a priority,” stated Mr. Rudzewick of Maspeth Federal Savings.

“Jamaica Hospital is grateful to Maspeth Federal Savings for their generous donation to our pediatric ophthalmology center. Their philanthrophy and commitment to helping our communities thrive has helped our hospital make critical advancements that will greatly benefit our growing patient population,” said Mr. Flanz.

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.

Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

This August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, a time to learn more about some of the most common problems affecting children’s vision and ways to prevent and treat those conditions.

According to the CDC, about 1 in every 4 children in the United States suffers from an undiagnosed eye health problem. These issues come in a wide variety of different forms, but some are more frequent than others, including:

Strabismus: This condition causes crossed eyes, preventing both eyes from focusing on the same object.

Amblyopia: Also known as “lazy eye,” amblyopia disrupts communication between the brain and the affected eye, leading to a greater reliance on the stronger eye and deteriorating vision in the affected eye.

Blurred vision: This issue can result from a few different conditions, including refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), or astigmatism (a misshapen cornea). Convergence insufficiency can also blur your child’s vision when looking at an object up close.

Binocular vision dysfunction (BVD): This problem occurs when your child’s eyes are misaligned and failing to work together, leading to symptoms like double vision and light sensitivity.

Nystagmus: As many as 1 in 1,000 school-aged children suffer from nystagmus, which causes uncontrollable eye movements that may lead to dizziness, balance problems, and shaky vision.

You can prevent these problems from negatively impacting your child’s quality of life in a few different ways, including getting recommended vision screenings during your child’s regular checkups with a pediatrician or other healthcare professional.

If any signs of an eye health issue are found during a vision screening, an eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist can more accurately diagnose the cause of that problem and help create an effective treatment plan. Protective eyewear, adequate sleep, and limited screen time also go a long way toward preserving your child’s eye health.

To schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ophthalmology Department, 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.

Pink Eye Or Allergies?

Allergies of the eye and pink eye are both types of conjunctivitis, which is an inflammation of the outer membrane that covers the eyeball.

Many of the symptoms of pink eye and eye allergies are similar, and this can sometimes make it difficult to tell each condition apart.  However, it is important that we learn about the characteristics that make them distinct- especially now that pink eye is considered a warning sign of a COVID-19 infection.

The symptoms of eye allergies can include:

  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Itchiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Swelling of the eyelid

Symptoms of bacterial or viral pink eye can include:

  • Redness
  • Tearing
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Itchiness
  • A  green or white discharge in one or both eyes, that can result in crusting at night
  • Soreness of the eyes

Although eye allergies and pink eye share common symptoms, the causes of each condition are different. Allergies are typically caused by a reaction to an allergen such as pollen while pink eye can be caused by bacteria or a virus.

An additional distinction between the two conditions is viral or bacterial pink eye is extremely contagious and can be spread by contact with an infected individual or exposure to a contaminated surface. Eye allergies on the other hand are non-infectious.

If you are experiencing symptoms associated with either type of conjunctivitis, it is important that you consult your eye doctor.  Your physician will be able to examine your eyes or order tests to determine the reason for inflammation and provide the appropriate treatment.

To schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical 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.

Laser Eye Surgery

Laser eye surgery Laser eye surgery is one of the most popular, elective vision correction surgery procedures performed in the United States.   It is estimated that over 10 million people have received laser eye surgery since it was first approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1999.

While there are different types of laser eye surgery procedures, laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK) is the most commonly utilized to correct the vision of people who are nearsighted, farsighted or diagnosed with astigmatism. LASIK surgery involves the use of a laser to reshape the tissue underneath the cornea, allowing it to focus light properly and improve vision.

Other types of laser eye procedures include photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) eye surgery- best for those with mild or moderate vision problems and laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK)-a good option for those with thin corneas or at an increased risk for eye injuries.

LASIK remains the most commonly performed procedure due to its efficiency and the potential benefits patients could receive. These benefits may include:

  • Shorter recovery times
  • Improved vision
  • Long-lasting results
  • Eliminating or minimizing the need for contacts or glasses.

Along with the benefits, there are certain complications patients should consider before opting for surgery.   Although rare, complications can include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Glares, halos or double vision
  • Discomfort
  • Dry eyes
  • Flap problems
  • Infection
  • Overcorrection, undercorrection or regression of vision

Choosing an experienced doctor can minimize the risk of complications. According to the FDA, if you are considering surgery; you should compare doctors (choose surgeons who have performed several procedures and meet industry standards). Do not base your decision simply on cost, and be wary of eye centers that guarantee 20/20 vision.

To speak with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital about laser surgery, 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.

Blepharitis

Eye doctor in QueensBlepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid- typically involving the part of the lid where our lashes grow.   It is a disorder that can affect anyone of any age; however, people with oily skin, dandruff or rosacea are more prone to getting infections.

There are several possible factors that can contribute to blepharitis, including:

  • A buildup of bacteria
  • Dandruff of the scalp and eyebrows
  • Clogged or malfunctioning oil glands of the eyelids
  • Eyelash mites or lice
  • Allergic reactions to eye makeup, eye medications or contact lens solutions.
  • Rosacea

Blepharitis can result in the following complications:

  • Excess tearing or dry eyes
  • Burning or stinging eyes
  • Crusty debris at the base of the eyelid
  • Loss of lashes
  • A sty
  • Chronic pink eye
  • A chalazion ( a blockage of an oil gland at the margin of the eyelid)
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Red and swollen eyes or eyelids
  • Scarring of the eyelids

Unfortunately, there is no cure for blepharitis but there are a number of treatments used to control symptoms.  Treatments an eye doctor may prescribe or recommend include:

  • Warm compresses
  • Eyelid scrubs
  • Medications such as antibiotics to fight infection
  • Medications such as steroid eye drops or ointments to control inflammation
  • Medications to treat underlying conditions such as dandruff or rosacea
  • Procedures to remove mites or open clogged glands

Practicing good eyelid hygiene tips can help to reduce the risk of inflammation.   Doctors recommend practicing daily self-care regimens which can involve applying a warm compress to break down the buildup of debris, cleaning your eyelids daily with a solution such as baby wash diluted with water or using dandruff- controlling shampoos.

If you are experiencing symptoms of blepharitis and would like to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital Medical 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.

Retinal Detachment

retina, retinaldetachment, eyeexam, ophthalmology

 

According to the Mayo Clinic, retinal detachment is an emergency situation in which a thin layer of tissue (the retina) at the back of the eye pulls away from its underlying support tissue.

The warning signs of retinal detachment are:

  • The appearance of tiny specks that seem to drift through your field of vision commonly referred to as floaters
  • Flashes of light in one or both eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • A gradual reduction in peripheral or side vision
  • A shadow over the visual field

There are three different types of retinal detachment:

Rhegamtogeneous – The most common type of detachment which occures slowly over time.

Tractional – A detachment that occurs when there is scar tissue growing on the retina’s surface

Exudative – Occurs when fluid accumulates beneath the retna without any tears or holes in the retna.

Aging and family history of retinal detachment are the most common risk factors for this condition. Those who already have a retinal detachment in one eye, have severe nearsightedness, have had previous eye surgery, have received a trauma to the eye or have an eye disorder that thins the retina are equally at risk.

Retinal detachment is an emergency so if you are experiencing flashes of light, floaters or a darkening of your field of vision, you will want to contact your eye doctor immediately.  If a detachment isn’t repaired, you may have permanent vision loss.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of retinal detachment or would like to schecule an eye exam, please call the Jamaica Hospital Ophthalmology Center at 718-206-5900 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.

Over The Counter Readers vs. RX Glasses

If your vision is blurred or you are having issues with your sight, an eye doctor will conduct a regular exam, assessing your overall eye health.  At the end of the exam, it may be suggested that you are in need of glasses.  If you do not have a serious eye condition, the doctor may suggest magnifiers or over the counter (OTC) “readers.”

When making the decision to get glasses, many people wonder if there is difference between prescription lenses and OTC glasses.  The answer is, yes.

Some differences between OTC and prescription glasses are:

  • Over the counter (OTC) readers are best used for age-related presbyopia. Presbyopia is an age-related issue where your eyes become less flexible, making it harder to focus on close objects.
  • OTC readers have the same prescription in each lens. Having the same eyesight in both eyes is extremely rare. Therefore, your vision will not be properly corrected and you may still experience difficulty focusing even when wearing OTC readers.
  • Prescriptions glasses offer more options and benefits, such as quality in materials, accurate vision correction, lens clarity, as well as scratch and glare resistance.  Additionally, unlike OTC readers, prescription glasses can help with astigmatism, myopia or glaucoma.

If you are having difficulty with your vision, you should schedule an appointment to have your eyes examined.  To schedule an appointment with the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ophthalmology Center 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.

Jamaica Hospital Initiative Focuses on Vision Saving Service for Premature Babies

Retinopathy of prematurity Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a potentially blinding eye disorder that affects premature babies. It results in the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina (the layer of cells at the back of the eye that allows us to see).

According to the National Eye Institute, ROP “is one of the most common causes of visual loss in childhood and can lead to lifelong vision impairment and blindness.”  It is estimated that 15,000 children living in the United States are diagnosed with ROP each year. The disorder can occur in babies that are born before 31 weeks of gestation and weigh 2 ¾ pounds or less.

Although some premature infants are at risk for developing ROP, advancements in medicine such as timely laser therapy, intraocular medications, and initiatives such as Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s ROP Continuity of Care program reduces the chances for the disease to cause further complications.  Serious eye problems that can develop as a result of ROP include detachment of the retina, glaucoma, strabismus and blindness.

Jamaica Hospital’s ROP Safety Net program aims to educate the community about the disorder, provide quality care to premature infants, and improve follow-up rates for patients who required ROP screening or treatment during their stay in the NICU. “ROP is an issue that affects our community but many people are unaware of the disorder, we want to change that,” explained the hospital’s ROP Coordinator Maria Estevez.

The hospital’s multi-leveled approach to care has made its ROP Continuity of Care program a success.  At birth, premature babies who are at risk for ROP are screened for the disease by way of a thorough ophthalmological evaluation. If it is found that a baby has active ROP, a specially trained ophthalmologist will determine the best course of action to treat the patient.  Treatment can include a series of examinations, as well as laser therapy or intravitreal injections.   Education and support are offered from birth until the child matures to eighteen years of age. “Our team monitors the health of each patient diagnosed by constantly following up and coordinating their appointments. We send reminders and offer additional tools to help parents stay on top of their child’s healthcare and eye care,” said Estevez.

Since implementing the ROP Safety Net program in 2016, Jamaica Hospital has experienced a significant incline in follow up rates.  Prior to implementation, follow up rates were 58.2%; the hospital currently boasts a rate of 92.2%. “We are pleased with these numbers.  They are a reflection of our efforts to educate parents and encourage them to actively follow up with the necessary care for their children,” shared Dr.  Julia Shulman, Chairperson of Ophthalmology at Jamaica Hospital, and Director of the ROP Service.

ROP is an avoidable cause for blindness. Jamaica Hospital hopes that by initiating programs such as the ROP Continuity of Care, it can decrease the incidence of visual loss or blindness associated with the disorder. The hospital plans to link its community with a system of ROP care where support and comprehensive services are offered on a long-term basis.

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.