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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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Dry Eye Updates from #OM2017 in Washington DC

Optimal dry eye treatments should quell inflammation, which has been a major target of both Restasis and Xiidra

This past weekend, Optometry’s Meeting (OM2017) took place in Washington DC where several political aspects of eye health took center stage. One such instance was when 2300 students marched up Capitol Hill in an effort to urge congress to support the DOC Access Act (HR 1606). Events like this don’t happen often in our field, but advocacy is definitely important. And sometimes students are the best advocates, which is a good thing for me because they can yell louder than I can. But they also have the type of energy that persuades more experienced individuals to do right by them, […]

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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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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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Women’s Tennis Legend Battles Sjogren’s Syndrome

Venus Williams has long battled Sjögren's Syndrome, a systemic auto-immune disease that affects the entire body

It’s almost the end of August in New York, which means the US Open is right around the corner. For those who don’t know, the US Open is one of four major tennis events (or Grand Slams), and the only one that takes place on US soil. Action begins on August 29th and runs through September 11th. Novak Djokovic is the smart money on the men’s side, while Serena Williams has a chance to make history on the women’s. Speaking of Serena, as of right now, she’s tied for the most career US Open titles (6). If she takes the […]

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Emotional Reactions to a Glaucoma Diagnosis

Glaucoma may very well affect your vision, but you can still keep other aspects of your health intact

We’ve all heard of glaucoma. It’s the harmful eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve. If it goes untreated, it can lead to many surprises including peripheral vision loss, and even blindness. Early detection and treatment is the best way to prevent glaucoma, which is all the more reason to be mindful of your annual eye exam. I covered the disease extensively in Part One and Part Two of my Preventing Vision Loss From Glaucoma series. As an eye care provider, I’ve seen the entire spectrum of glaucoma presentations. I can equip myself with as much information as […]

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Xiidra (Lifitegrast) Approved for Dry Eye Relief

Xiidra (Lifitegrast) is the first eye drop to be developed for chronic dry eye in well over a decade

Earlier this week, the FDA approved Xiidra (Lifitegrast), a new treatment for dry eye. According to its press release, “Xiidra is the first medication in a new class of drugs, called lymphocyte function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1) antagonist, approved by the FDA for dry eye disease.” This is big news to me because Xiidra is the first eye drop to be developed for chronic dry eye in well over a decade. As of right now, Restasis (released by Allergan in 2003) is the only dry eye medication (in eye drop form) on the market. The approval of Xiidra paves the way […]