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Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1.8 million people have AMD and another 7.3 million are at substantial risk for vision loss from AMD. Caucasians are at higher risk for developing AMD than other races. Women also develop AMD at an earlier age than men. This eye disease occurs when there are changes to the macula, a small portion of the retina that is located on the inside back layer of the eye. AMD is a loss of central vision that can occur in two forms: “dry” (atrophic) and “wet” (exudative). Most people with macular degeneration have the dry form. While there is no specific treatment for dry AMD, studies have shown a potential benefit from vitamin supplements, a Mediterranean diet, protection from the ultraviolet light of the sun and cessation of smoking. The less common wet form may respond to intraocular injections of anti-VEGF medications if detected and treated early.

Causes & risk factors

  • Heredity.
  • UV Light exposure.
  • Smoking.
  • Poor nutrition.
  • Lack of exercise.

Symptoms

In its early stages, the following signs of macular degeneration can go unnoticed.

  • The gradual loss of ability to see objects clearly.
  • The shape of objects appears distorted.
  • Straight lines look wavy or crooked.
  • Loss of clear color vision.
  • A dark or empty area in the center of vision.

Diagnosis

If experiencing any of the above signs or symptoms, contact a doctor of optometry immediately for a comprehensive eye examination. Tests will determine if one has macular degeneration or any other eye health problems. A doctor of optometry can also provide a simple take-home screening test called an AmLer Grid. Central vision that is lost to macular degeneration cannot be restored. However, low-vision devices, such as telescopic and microscopic lenses, can maximize existing vision.

Treatment

With “dry” macular degeneration, the tissue of the macula gradually becomes thin and stops working properly. There is no cure for dry AMD, and any loss in central vision cannot be restored. However, researchers and doctors believe there is a link between nutrition and the progression of dry AMD. Making dietary changes and taking nutritional supplements can slow vision loss. Less common, “wet” macular degeneration occurs when fluids leak from newly formed blood vessels under the macula. This leakage blurs central vision. Vision loss can be rapid and severe. If detected early, wet AMD can be treated with intraocular injections of anti-VEGF medications. Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin, omega 3 supplements or consumption of fatty fishes, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases, including macular degeneration. For more information on the importance of good nutrition and eye health, please see the diet and nutrition section.

Prevention

  • UV protective glasses.
  • Cardiovascular health and exercise.
  • Properly controlling and monitoring diabetes and hypertension.
  • No use of tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, vapes, etc.)

Nutrition and AMD

There’s no substitute for the quality of life good vision offers. Adding certain nutrients to a diet every day—either through foods or supplements—can help save the patient’s vision. In a large human clinical trial, AgeRelated Eye Disease Study (AREDS2) by the National Eye Institute Researchers, linked lutein and zeaxanthin, omega 3, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc to reducing the risk of AMD.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin—Need 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin per day to slow AMD progression

Lutein and zeaxanthin are found in green leafy vegetables as well as other foods such as eggs. Many studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including AMD.

Vitamin C—Need 500 mg per day to slow AMD progression

Scientific evidence suggests vitamin C, when taken with other essential nutrients, can slow the progression of AMD and visual acuity loss. The first AREDS clinical trial, AREDS1, established AMD as a “nutrition-responsive disorder.” The study showed that taking 500 mg/day of vitamin C, along with antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin E and zinc, slows the progression of AMD by about 25%. Seven smaller studies have confirmed these results.

Vitamin E—Need 400 mg per day to slow AMD progression

AREDS showed that taking 400 IU/day of vitamin E, along with antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin C and zinc supplementation, slows the progression of AMD by about 25% in individuals at high risk for the disease.

Zinc—Need 40 to 80 mg daily to slow AMD progression

AREDS showed that taking 40-80 mg/day of zinc, along with antioxidants beta-carotene, vitamin E and vitamin C, slows the progression of AMD by about 25% and visual acuity loss by 19 % in individuals at high risk for the disease. Higher levels of zinc may interfere with copper absorption, which is why the people in the AREDS study also took a copper supplement. Omega 3s need study data for recommended dosage and types.

Smoke Vision Care celebrates one year as ambassador for the Red Glasses Movement

What does the Red Glasses Movement have to do with Smoke Vision Care? In so many ways we see this message as perfectly fitting to our practice, patients and community. So much so, we decided to become an ambassador to help spread the message.

The Red Glasses Movement was started in honor of a very special 5-year old girl, Audrey Jandernoa, who passed away on Friday, January 26, 2018. Audrey was born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect, but these were not things that defined her.

Audrey was defined by her bright Red Glasses, her contagious smile, and her lack of inhibitions. She went through life like a little bulldozer, pushing her way through every door possible to achieve her goals again and again beyond the expectations of others. She had a way of loving indiscriminately and without restrictions. She was a shining example of love, kindness, and courage in this world.

We feel our practice is a perfect place to start sharing the message for many great reasons. First, we love glasses!! Especially big bold glasses that make a statement. Second, we love caring for patients who have special needs. Down’s Syndrome is associated with a high incidence of ophthalmic conditions that can negatively impact the life of these patients if they are not diagnosed or left untreated. Our practice is uniquely suited to spend the time and attention to the specific needs of Down’s Syndrome patients. Thirdly, the way Audrey lived was a great example to all of us. It can inspire each and every one of us to Live Boldly. Love Big and Pass it on.

The Red Glasses Movement is Audrey’s living legacy. We’re glad we get to share it with you.

Stop by any of our offices to pick up your FREE pair of Red Glasses so you can show your support for the power of this positive message or share with someone you love who needs a little motivation to keep living, loving and passing it on.

To learn more about the Red Glasses Movement or help spread the message please visit the Red Glasses Movement Website

Like the Red Glasses Movement Facebook Page to become inspired by the stories of other who are living and spreading the message!!

Our tools for early detection and proper treatment of AMD

Age-related macular degeneration is one of the number one causes of vision loss. Early diagnosis and intervention can help a patient retain vision but a majority of cases are diagnosed too late. Many others simply start taking “vitamins” they heard are good for the eyes when in fact, standard AREDS/AREDS2 formulas are not safe and may cause progression in some AMD patients.

Our comprehensive eye health and vision exams will help detect AMD in the earliest stages. We have the most advanced technology to evaluate the health of the macula through Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) , a quick and safe test enables an in-depth assessment of the retina to detect warning signs before they affect vision. Similar to an ultrasound or MRI examination,an OCT scan is a quick, easy, and comfortable experience. The images below show that OCT instrument and example of a scan of a macula with and without AMD changes.

oct machineoct amd and normal

We also offer a genetic test to patients who have a diagnosis of early or intermediate AMD. Using the complete combination of AMD genes and smoking history, the test identifies those most likely to progress to advanced AMD with vision loss. The test is a simple cheek swab that gets sent to a testing lab, and the results are returned to our office within four weeks. Most healthcare insurers including Medicare reimburse the test.

The test allows us to identify whether you are at an elevated risk of advancing to the more severe form of the disease because of a genetic predisposition and which if any nutritional supplements are right for our type of AMD. Knowing your risk of progression can help us better monitor and manage your disease with the goal of protecting your vision long term. Click the image below to visit the macula risk genetic testing website and learn more.

predict and protect

Don’t let an eye injury spoil your holiday season

Christmas Tree Tips: Who would think the eye-catcher and focal point of the season, the Christmas tree, could be the very thing to cause you injury? Christmas tree injuries are very common, and should be addressed.

1. Wear eye-protective wear when cutting your tree.

2. Hang glass ornaments out of reach for small children.

3. Do not put gifts too far under the tree for small children.

4. Be careful around the tree, especially when reaching for gifts to not be hit in the eye with a branch.

If your eye is scratched by a Christmas Tree branch, you should call us immediately. Fungus, tree sap, pesticides, bacteria and other harmful material that are often found on Christmas Tree branches can pose a significant risk to your vision .

Toy Tips for Parents: Children so excited to open their gifts and play; the last thing on their mind is eye safety. Unfortunately, toy-related eye injuries are at an all time high in the holiday season according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Most of the injuries are preventable.

1. Supervise children with new toys they may not be used to operating.

2. Avoid buying toys with sharp edges or projectile parts.

3. Choose toys based on child’s age but most importantly, their maturity level.

4. Explain proper use of toys to children before allowing them to find out alone.

Ready to Pop Champagne: Social gathering, spreading the holiday cheer sounds like the ultimate plan. Adults, when ready to pop the champagne remember to be careful. No one wants to be hit in the eye with the cork.

1. Remember to hold the cork down firmly with the palm of your hand while removing the wire.

2. Use a towel and point it away from yourself and others.

3. Keep the bottle at a 45-degree angle.

4. Hold the cork down with the palm of your hand while you remove the wire hood.

Snow Glare while Driving: Those long drives to family and friends during the holidays are necessary but not with that blinding snow glare. It is a misconception that sunglasses are only needed in the summer.

1. Wear sunglasses with polarized lenses.

2. Keep windshield clean for smudges and particles that can distract clear vision on the road.

The holiday season is a joyous time of friends, family and food; lets keep it that way with close attention to eye-safety tips.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM ALL OF US AT SMOKE VISION CARE!!

Sports Eye Safety Awareness

Are you the parent of a child that wears prescription eyewear and participates in sporting activities? If you have answered yes then I encourage you to read on. It could be the most important decision you can make when it comes to providing your child with the best defense in eye safety and maximum visual acuity! Eye injuries are the leading cause of acquired blindness and visual impairment. Over 25% of those injuries occur during sports.

 

According to a recent study reported by Prevent Blindness America® (PBA), more than 38,000 sports-related eye injuries occur each year of the severity that requires a trip to the emergency room. School aged competitors are particularly prone to eye injuries since their athletic skills of coordination, balance, reaction time and speed are still being fine-tuned through their involvement in athletic programs. In one year alone, children between the ages of 5 to 14 endured a significant amount of injuries due to sports.

 

When your son or daughter participates in a sport activity, the impact of a ball or other equipment as well as an opponent’s fingers, hands, and elbows become a threat to a child’s visual safety. If they play a sport that requires a helmet or faceguard, don’t make the mistake of thinking their eyes are protected from injuries. Their eyes are still exposed to danger from sports equipment or an opponent’s finger penetrating the openings of a facemask. Likewise, if a child wears glasses, everyday street eyewear is not held to the same protective standards as are eyewear products labeled as protective eyewear for sports use. The lens in non-protective sports frames could easily pop out and puncture or cut the eye, as well as a frame mangled from impact.

The good news is that you can help prevent your child from being sidelined because of a serious eye injury. According to the PBA 90% of these tragic injuries are preventable. You can make the decision to help protect their eyes by adding protective sport goggles to their equipment bag. Remember, while protective sports eyewear can provide significant protection; they cannot guarantee to be unbreakable or guard against all foreseeable impacts. However, a quality pair of Rec Specs® equipped with the appropriate polycarbonate lenses to meet sport safety standards, can be sight savers since they help keep the eyes and surrounding ocular region protected.

Smoke Vision Care is a designated Performance Vision Center and working with Liberty Sport and Prevent Blindness America are working to increase awareness and availability of sports eyewear in our communities. We stock a collection of Liberty Sport Protective Sports Eyewear, the most advanced prescription and non-prescription F803 products, to meet the needs of your up-and-coming superstar!

Now through October 31st if you purchase a pair of Liberty Sport Eyewear you can get a pair of Liberty Everyday Indestructible Eyewear absolutely free for your child.

Back-to-School Eye Exams important for success

A comprehensive eye examination is as essential for back-to-school success as supplies for learning. The majority of demands in school are visual, whether a student is trying to see the board or sustain focus at near point. Knowing your child is prepared to meet those demands should be a relief for any parent.

The sooner the better Studies have consistently linked school performance to poor vision and visual disorders. Many parents may not realize that vision is involved in almost every aspect of development. Each stage of a child’s development is built on previous stages. When there is a disruption at any stage or the stage is not completed, the next stage will have insufficient foundation. Whether help is needed from glasses or more intensive treatments, it is important to initiate treatment as early as possible. Finding out that your child has difficulty with seeing near or distance tasks or being able to sustain those tasks gives parent and child a head start on identification and remediation.

Screenings fall short of comprehensive eye exams Some parents or caretakers rely on screenings conducted at their child’s school as a measure of their vision. But screenings can give a false sense of security to parents. Undue reliance on vision screenings alone can lead to major issues throughout their child’s school years. A few key things to note:

  • Vision screening programs at schools are only intended to help identify children with eye or vision problems and can give parents a false sense of security as they only indicate a potential need for further evaluation.
  • Even the most sophisticated vision screening tools, administered by the most highly trained screeners, miss one-third of children with eye or vision disorders, according to a study funded by the National Eye Institute.
  • According to Children’s Hospital of Orange County, screen time at school and home can expose a student 8-18 years of age to media for more than 10 hours a day, which can lead to a number of visual challenges-some of which children may not necessarily even realize.

Only a comprehensive eye and vision examination, conducted by a doctor of optometry, can detect and test for a full range of disorders that affect children’s learning. Parents of children who “pass” a vision screening are often given a false sense that their child’s eyes are healthy, when they may have a serious, undiagnosed eye or vision condition. In fact, these screenings provide less than 4% of the information generated during a comprehensive eye exam and they miss up to 75% of children with vision problems. These children are less likely to receive timely treatment for their vision problem, allowing the impairment to become worse and to have a greater impact on their health and development. And even if a child should pass a vision screening, they should receive a comprehensive eye exam if they:

  • Show any signs or symptoms of a vision problem.
  • Are not achieving up to their potential.
  • Are spending excessive time and effort to achieve academically even minimally.

 

Snowcones for Sight hosted during Buchanan’s Thrill on the Hill

It’s our 4th Snowcones for Sight Event!! A refreshingly fun treat on a hot summer day! The Smoke Vision Care team will be donating their time and all the fixings for delicious snowcones for donations that will be given to the Buchanan-Galien Lions Club supporting their work in helping the visually needy in our community.

The Lions club is know as the “champions of sight” helping people all over the world and locally preserve their vision and see clearly. Through their eye wear recycling program people in under developed countries who have very poor visual function have the opportunity to see clearly. Locally our Lions Club has raised money for community members who do not have the resources to obtain eye care or eye wear, provided for surgical assistance to improve sight, helped them obtain rehabilitative services and tools to function with visual handicaps. We thank our Lions for their tireless efforts to help those in need.

During the event we will also have our eye wear donation box on hand so please bring your used eye wear to be recycled for use by someone in need.

The weekend is full of other fun activities. Check out Buchanan’s Thrill on the Hill Event Calendar for all the exciting details.

“See” you on the hill Saturday, August 3rd starting at noon!!

Celebrate Sunglasses month, enter to win a pair of sunglasses !!! All Sunglasses 20% off

Top 5 Things You Should Know about UV Eye Protection

Despite the importance of always wearing UV-protective sunglasses while outside, many people are still unaware of these key points regarding UV eye protection.

  1. Despite the health risks of UV exposure, not all sunglasses have UV protection. Since UV protection is crucial to shielding eyes from damaging radiation, it is imperative to look for a label, sticker or tag indicating UV protection before purchasing a pair of sunglasses.
  2. UV protection has nothing to do with the darkness or color of a lens. Wearing sunglasses with dark lenses without adequate UV protection can actually be worse than wearing no sunglasses at all because they cause the eye’s pupil to dilate, which then increases retinal exposure to the unfiltered UV.
  3. Children receive three times the annual sun exposure of adults, increasing their susceptibility to UV eye damage. And, unlike the mature ocular lens of an adult eye, a child’s immature lens cannot filter out UV as easily. The need for UV protection for children is compounded by the fact that it is easier to find youth sunglasses that do not provide adequate UV protection. That’s why parents should always have their children‘s sunglasses tested for UV protection.
  4. UV rays are just as dangerous on cloudy days as they are on clear days. Just like skin, eyes can accumulate harmful UV radiation on overcast days so be sure to wear proper eye and skin protection while outside.
  5. Similar to cloudy days, cold days also carry UV risk. The sun is present year-round, which means UV rays are a constant regardless of weather. UV rays can’t be seen, but their long-term effects are extremely damaging to the eyes.

May is Melanoma Awareness Month

Ocular melanoma is the most common primary eye tumor in adults and the 2nd most common melanoma (after cutaneous melanoma) with around 2,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. Like other melanomas, it begins in melanocytes – the cells that produce the pigment melanin that colors the skin, hair, and eyes, as well as forms moles.

We have cells that produce pigment in our eyes. These cells are found in the Uveal tract of the eye which constitute the choroid iris and ciliary body. You can learn more about the uvea of your eye in this link Uvea definition and diagram

Melanoma of the eye often spread to other parts of the body. Most patients diagnosed with ocular melanoma will need to have their eye enulceated (removed) and will be fit with a prosthetic eye

Melanoma of the skin increased in frequency over the last several decades, while such a trend is less evident with ocular melanoma. About 6 people per 1 million are diagnosed with eye melanoma in the U.S. every year, while invasive melanoma of the skin occurs in approximately 1 in 50 Americans each year. The incidence is similar in other Caucasian populations worldwide. According to a 2017 article published in Clinical Ophthalmology, melanoma of the eye accounts for approximately 3-5% of all melanomas.

A variety of risk factors have been identified, including light eyes, fair skin type, dysplastic nevus syndrome and genetic mutation. The role of sun exposure as a risk factor for ocular melanoma remains unclear.

Melanoma of the eye tends to occur slightly more often in males than in females and overall risk tends to increase with age.

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Smoke Vision Care becomes ambassador for the Red Glasses Movement

What does the Red Glasses Movement have to do with Smoke Vision Care? In so many ways we see this message as perfectly fitting to our practice, patients and community. So much so, we have decided to become an ambassador to help spread the message.

The Red Glasses Movement was started in honor of a very special 5-year old girl, Audrey Jandernoa, who passed away on Friday, January 26, 2018. Audrey was born with Down syndrome and a congenital heart defect, but these were not things that defined her.

Audrey was defined by her bright Red Glasses, her contagious smile, and her lack of inhibitions. She went through life like a little bulldozer, pushing her way through every door possible to achieve her goals again and again beyond the expectations of others. She had a way of loving indiscriminately and without restrictions. She was a shining example of love, kindness, and courage in this world.

We feel our practice is a perfect place to start sharing the message for many great reasons. First, we love glasses!! Especially big bold glasses that make a statement. Second, we love caring for patients who have special needs. Down’s Syndrome is associated with a high incidence of ophthalmic conditions that can negatively impact the life of these patients if they are not diagnosed or left untreated. Our practice is uniquely suited to spend the time and attention to the specific needs of Down’s Syndrome patients. Thirdly, the way Audrey lived was a great example to all of us. It can inspire each and every one of us to Live Boldly. Love Big and Pass it on.

The Red Glasses Movement is Audrey’s living legacy. We’re glad we get to share it with you.

Stop by any of our offices to pick up your FREE pair of Red Glasses so you can show your support for the power of this positive message or share with someone you love who needs a little motivation to keep living, loving and passing it on.

To learn more about the Red Glasses Movement or help spread the message please visit the Red Glasses Movement Website

Like the Red Glasses Movement Facebook Page to become inspired by the stories of other who are living and spreading the message!!