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Does Cigarette Smoking Lead to Vision Problems?

Smoking poses a threat to nearly every organ in your body, and the eyes are no exception

“I regret the day I ever started,” a friend once told me in reference to smoking. “I wish I’d put all that time, money, and effort into something else.” At the time, I didn’t really know what my friend was saying, so I brushed it off. But now, I completely understand and offer the following advice (better late than never, I guess). By the Numbers: If it’s not yet completely obvious, smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease in the United States (it outpaces obesity and alcohol by a long shot). According to the Centers for Disease Control and […]

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“Turning Off the Faucet” – The Importance of Prevention

It's extremely important for a doctor and patient to work as a team, especially when it comes to chronic disease prevention

In my opinion, it’s best for a doctor to get to know his/her patients and to work as a team (with any given patient). Moreover, no matter where a patient stands on the healthcare spectrum, the topic of prevention should always be a priority. Understandably, we live in the “real world” and “real world problems” need to be solved with “real world solutions”. But keep in mind that healthy habits usually lead to healthier results, and the sooner those healthy habits can be incorporated, better outcomes can be expected. “Mopping the Floor” Cardiologist, Dr. Steven Lome, recently wrote an inspiring […]

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A Healthcare Moment with Malcolm Gladwell

Patient engagement is extremely important, especially in this time of nonstop information

You may not be able to tell, but I’ve been very busy over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been on-the-go nonstop in places such as Boston, Texas, and California. One highlight of my recent travels (and there were many) was a layover at the American Academy of Optometry medical conference in Anaheim. Our industry conference takes place every year (in different cities), and it’s something I absolutely look forward to. Attending academy provides a chance to gain new clinical insights and interact with the world of optometry. Moreover, it’s also a chance to catch up with some old friends […]

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Advancements in Eye Pressure Monitoring from Home

One key to the successful management of glaucoma is to keep eye pressure at a set target and monitor it regularly

In the world of health and eye care, glaucoma is considered a silent disease. Most patients just don’t see it coming when they get diagnosed. In a way, glaucoma can be similar to hypertension (or high blood pressure). It can lead to blindness (if untreated) the same way untreated hypertension can lead to a heart attack or stroke. That being said, glaucoma can certainly catch a patient off guard. But frustration exists on both sides of the ball (doctor and patient). Since there aren’t many noticeable symptoms in the early stages of glaucoma, it can be easy for patients to […]

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Anterior Uveitis – Red and/or Light Sensitive Eye(s)

Anterior uveitis needs to be monitored on a regular basis, but with proper treatment, it can be put into remission

I often like to think of our eyes as windows to the soul. But more appropriately, the eyes are more like a window into systemic health. I’ve talked in the past about diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, and how those diseases affect the eyes. Many times, younger patients diagnosed with these particular diseases get tipped off during a routine eye exam. When the eye(s) starts to get red, a whole host of issues can be assumed. However, a patient really won’t know what’s going on until he/she consults his/her eye doctor. Most patients assume abnormal redness is irritation or “pink […]

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Seasonal Affective Disorder, Indoor Lighting, & Eye Health

It's common that depression increases during winter months when there is a lack of light and warmth

Every year around mid-February it starts to hit me. The winter blues. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy having the seasons here in the northeastern part of the United States. But the lack of warmth and daylight does start to take its toll. As far as my daily affairs are concerned, this is where grit kicks in. The holidays are well behind us and there’s not much to look forward to. On top of that, Punxsutawney Phil says there’s still six more weeks of winter, which leaves me feeling a bit like Phil Connors (Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog […]

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Making a Connection Between Oral Health and Glaucoma

If oral hygiene can be significantly linked to glaucoma, it will provide another tool in the battle against vision loss

I recently came across an article in the Optometry Times entitled: “How Oral and Dental Hygiene Plays a Role in Glaucoma,” by Benjamin P. Casella, OD, FAAO. Interestingly enough, the article talks about a possible link between our “oral biome” (or mouth bacteria – the good, the bad, and the ugly) and one of the more severe ocular diseases (glaucoma). Citing a case-control study (where 119 case subjects with primary open-angle glaucoma and 78 control subjects without glaucoma were tested), researchers found that the case group “had fewer remaining natural teeth than the control group,” which suggests that “having more […]

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Multiple Sclerosis – Neurological Disorder with Ocular Setbacks

While the main cause of multiple sclerosis is still unknown, scientists believe several different factors are at work

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is “an abnormal response of the body’s immune system directed against the central nervous system.” In simpler terms, when a person has MS, their immune system attacks the cells that protect the brain, spinal cord, optic nerves, etc. When these cells become damaged, the nerves gets exposed, which makes it hard for the brain to send signals to the rest of the body. This process can result in coordination problems, muscle weakness, vision issues, and more. While the main cause of MS is still unknown, scientists believe several different factors […]

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How Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) Affects the Eyes

Blood pressure rises & falls throughout the day, but it can damage the heart AND the eyes if it stays high for a long time

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), “Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries which carry blood from the heart to other parts of the body. It normally rises & falls throughout the day, but can damage the heart and cause health problems if high for a long time.” Since a vast amount of American adults have high blood pressure (or hypertension), it’s easily the most common systemic disease in the United States. The condition occurs when blood pressure reads 140/90 mmHg or higher (normal resting state is 120/80 mmHg). […]

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Avoiding Eyelid Infections (Styes) by Reducing Blepharitis

Patients who consistently suffer from eyelid infections are relieved to find out that pain can be minimized

Outside of the eye care world, the term blepharitis doesn’t get much use. Let’s face it, it’s a long/funny word. And you’ve probably never even heard of it. However, you should be aware of blepharitis (inflammation of eyelid margins) because untreated it can lead to a hordeolum (fancy name for stye). If you’ve experienced a stye firsthand, chances are your experience wasn’t pleasant. If you’ve never had a stye before, consider yourself lucky. The onset of a stye can be unexpected, annoying, and painful, all at the same time. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), a stye (infected oil […]