Glaucoma, which affects more than three million Americans and over 25,000 Arkansans, is the second leading cause of blindness in this country and is the leading cause of preventable blindness.
"There are no early warning signs. Once vision problems begin, the damage is irreversible,” says Dr. Evan Newbolt. “Glaucoma is not curable, but it can be managed if caught in time: that’s why early detection is critical.”
Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, leading to progressive loss of vision. It is often referred to as the “sneak thief of sight” because the progression is gradual, and many people do not realize they have Glaucoma until serious symptoms appear.
Glaucoma is often – but not always – a result of increased pressure within the eye. People of African and Asian descent have an elevated risk for Glaucoma, as well as those with a family history of the disease. While the elderly are at increased risk, nobody – regardless of age – is immune from Glaucoma.
Testing for Glaucoma requires an eye examination that includes an intraocular pressure check, a quick and painless test that monitors the eyes pressure. The Glaucoma Research Foundation recommends the following schedule to be checked for Glaucoma:
- before age 40, every two to four years
- from age 40 to age 54, every one to three years
- from age 55 to 64, every one to two years
- after age 65, every six to 12 months
- anyone with high risk factors should be tested every year or two after age 35
“We have patients who walk in every day who don’t know their vision is steadily being compromised by glaucoma,” says Dr. James Hoffmann. “We hope that during Glaucoma Awareness Month people will be reminded to see their eye doctor so we can diagnose and treat glaucoma before it becomes a serious health and lifestyle issue.”
During yesterday's Good Afternoon Arkansas, Dr. Newbolt dicussed the details of LASIK. Click below to watch!
In your eye, you have what is called a "lens". The lens allows your brain to see colors and shapes, as well as focus on objects at various distances. While your lens is typically clear, it can become yellowed or opacified due to the aging process, trauma, or congenital manifestation. This yellowing or clouding is called a cataract.
Most cataracts develop slowly over time and do not require immediate medical attention. Many patients begin to notice their cataracts when they start to impact their vision. For example, it may become difficult to drive at night, or difficult to see well at a distance. You may also notice that your prescription for glasses changes drastically. These symptoms can decrease mobility and independence, as well as general quality of life. Your eye doctor can help you determine if you have a cataract and when you need to start thinking about cataract surgery. It is always a good idea to see your eye doctor at least once a year.
Here are some common symptoms of cataracts:
- A gradual deterioration in vision over time
- Objects may appear yellow, hazy, blurred or distorted
- Hard to drive at night or see in low light
- Sensitivity to light and glare
- The need for brighter light for reading and other activities
- Difficult to read small print
The American Academy of Ophthalmology has a cataract vision simulator, located here.
We hear this question a lot.
And it's a great question to ask! Many people have questions about investing in LASIK. If you’ve ever considered LASIK surgery for yourself, you probably have a few questions about cost and payment options.
We encourage our patients not to think about LASIK in terms of what it may "cost" them. Rather, LASIK is an investment. This is money you will invest in your vision, in simplifying your life, having peace of mind and in saving you time. When deciding if LASIK is worth the investment, it might be helpful to consider these top questions:
What does LASIK treatment cover?
At McFarlands, we offer state-of-the-art, custom bladeless LASIK for all our LASIK patients. We do not have tiers of packages for features and ad-ons. We offer every single patient our best - safe and proven LASIK technology coupled with the personalized care of our skilled surgeon, Dr. Evan Newbolt, and his staff.
All visits prior to your LASIK surgery are completely FREE to you, regardless if you decide to have LASIK! Your LASIK fee covers your LASIK surgery and all postoperative care for a year.
What is the recovery time for LASIK surgery?
One of the great things about bladeless custom LASIK surgery is the fast recovery time. While we recommend that patients take it easy for the next day after their LASIK surgery, many patients are able to resume normal activities the very next day. Most of our patients do not have to take more than two days off of work. Many choose to go back to work the next day after their one day postoperative appointment. Each patient is different. Your doctor will explain your specific recovery time.
When does it makes sense financially?
Depending on the type of contact lenses and glasses you wear, LASIK vision correction may save you money! Just imagine if you never had to buy contacts, glasses and solution again! In addition, the FDA considers LASIK a safe, permanent procedure, which is great news! This means that you can enjoy the benefits of living life free of the inconvenience and expense of glasses and contacts for years!
There are a number of tools available to compare the cost of LASIK to the lifetime costs associated with glasses or contact lenses. BackInFocus.com has an easy to use calculator that can be found here.
Ultimately, you will determine if LASIK is worth the investment. We recommend gathering all possible information from your eye physician and determining what makes sense for you. We are happy to help answer any questions you may have about financing and payment options.
Don't miss out! Our LASIK Holiday Special is back!
On Monday, Dr. Jeffrey Johnson went on KATV's Good Afternoon, Arkansas to discuss the importance of eye exams when managing diabetic conditions. The video can be found HERE.
A big thanks to KATV for having Dr. Johnson on!
Diabetic eye diseases are a group of eye conditions or health risks that can affect those with diabetes. These conditions include diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema, as well as an increased risk of developing cataracts or glaucoma.
When unmonitored or untreated, high blood sugar levels can damage tiny blood vessels in the eye and cause irreparable damage. This condition is called Diabetic Retinopathy.
Another common diabetic eye condition is Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). This condition occurs when fluid builds up on the macula, a region of the retina. This is one of the most common causes of vision loss or blindness in people with diabetic retinopathy. When the macula is affected by DME, straight-ahead vision may be compromised, causing difficulty during activities such as reading, driving, or watching TV.
Fortunately, diabetic eye conditions can be managed very successfully, preventing future vision loss or damage. Early detection and treatment is the key, however, making it very important for people with diabetes to see their eye care physician regularly.
Some information for this article was taken from National Eye Institute research, and can be found here.