A Look at the Progression of AMD | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | Minneapolis MN

A Look at the Progression of AMD

A Look at the Progression of AMD | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | Minneapolis MNAge-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is attributed to thousands of instances of low vision and blindness. This eye disease typically occurs later in life and involves the central part of the retina. It is understandable that any person diagnosed with macular degeneration, wet or dry, would feel a great deal of concern. Part of our role as retinal specialists is to diagnose and manage age-related macular degeneration. Another aspect of personal care, one that is no less important, is our support of patients who are in need of ongoing information. One of the questions that patients may have about this condition is how fast it will progress. We’re going to touch on that here.

Rate of Progression Can Depend on the Type of AMD

Wet macular degeneration is the more severe if the two types. This condition involves blood and fluid leakage from cells that grow beneath the retina. The progression of dry AMD is slower and usually, does not cause as extensive vision loss as does wet AMD. This type of macular degeneration may involve a thinning macula, or the deposit of pigment on this part of the retina, ultimately causing blind spots in central vision.

Progression of AMD Risk Factors

Research suggests that smoking significantly increases the risk of macular degeneration. This is because caustic chemicals in cigarettes can damage blood vessels. Free radicals are also more challenging to fight when the body is also cleansing out toxins from cigarette products. This is a risk factor that one can control. Since hereditary factors are uncontrollable, healthy lifestyle habits such as eating foods rich in antioxidants can help offset them.

Early Diagnosis is Key

Ideally, macular degeneration is a condition that can be diagnosed early. When we can identify the early warning signs of this condition, patients have the best possible opportunity to respond to treatment. There is no cure for AMD, therefore only therapeutic treatment can help preserve eyesight for the greatest length of time. Yearly eye exams become even more important as adults reach the age of 60, but should begin much earlier.

Schedule a Consultation

Vitreo Retinal Surgery has multiple offices in Minnesota, including St. Paul and Minneapolis. Call (800) VRS-2500 for more information on age-related macular degeneration.

Caring for a Child’s Eyes | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | St. Paul MN

Caring for a Child’s Eyes

Caring for a Child’s Eyes | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | St. Paul MNVitreo Retinal Surgery, PA offices throughout Minnesota are devoted to advanced eye care for retinal diseases. However, we understand that eye care is an important factor in the quality of life of all people. Because August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, we find it a great time to bring up the value of eye exams for children. If you have children in your life, you want to know how to act in their best interest. To do that, you’ve got to know how.

The common school of thought about childhood eye exams is that they revolve around school. It used to be that vision exam were performed on school-aged children at school. We’re not even sure if this is common practice anymore; but if it is, the screenings performed at school are not enough. In fact, they are a bit of a late start.

Ideally, a child will have a formal eye exam between the age of six and 12 months. The closer to six-months, the better. Before this time, an infant observes relatively little. Vision is not yet sharp and clear. But at six months of age, it all comes together. That makes the age an excellent time to evaluate ocular structures, muscles around the eyes, and vision.

It may seem that six months is too early to start testing the eyes, but research suggests that problems such as amblyopia, nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism can be detected very early in life. Refractive errors can be treated with eyeglasses. Amblyopia, which is known as “lazy eye,” can be treated by covering the strong eye with a patch for a short time.

Eye exams are necessary throughout childhood and are recommended to occur every year once a child starts elementary school. Children are not openly expressive about many subtle health matters. Vision is one of them. A parent or teacher may not realize a child’s vision is poor until they notice a constant frown or squinting. A better approach is to talk with a trusted pediatrician to obtain a recommendation for a pediatric ophthalmologist in your area.

Our staff is here to serve your eye health needs, and to provide information that can benefit those you love. For retinal care services, contact us at (800) 877-2500.

Are your Sunglasses Doing the Job? | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | St. Paul MN

Are your Sunglasses Doing the Job?

Are your Sunglasses Doing the Job? | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | St. Paul MNWe’re right in the midst of the gorgeous summer months, and that means you may be spending more time outdoors. Whenever you are, it is vital that you protect your eyes. UV rays are harmful enough that they could cause permanent damage. When you wear sunglasses, you do more than diminish the glare of sunlight. You also filter the rays that enter the eye, which eases the stress on internal structures.

UV exposure can be decreased approximately 30% behind absorptive lenses and by topping off sun protection with an appropriate, wide-brimmed hat. This is especially critical when vision is already impaired. Individuals with retinal conditions, diabetic eye disease, or glaucoma benefit significantly from an increase in contrast and a decrease in glare during the daytime hours.

We are now seeing, more than ever, that sunglasses are far more than a fashion accessory. The filtering of sunlight is necessary in order to reduce the risks of cataracts later in life, and also of macular degeneration. In order to gain all of the benefits offered by sunglasses, though, you’ve got to have the right pair.

Choosing the Right Pair

It is possible to filter 99 to 100% of UVA and UVB rays with a good pair of sunglasses. An eye care professional can assist you in identifying your needs, and also in understanding the specifications that your spectacles need to have.

Some simple tips for choosing sunglasses include:

  • Ultraviolet-blocking is a coating applied to a lens. This is less efficient than a protective lens.
  • Dark lenses are not better. It’s the claim of absorbing a high percentage of UVA and UVB light that matters. This should be stated on the product label.
  • Polycarbonate lenses are durable, will not shatter, and they offer UVA and UVB blocking. These lenses are only available from eye care professionals.
  • Individuals with low vision can still benefit from sunglasses. We recommend scheduling a consultation with an experienced ophthalmologist.
  • Polarized lenses reduce glare and are optimal for use near the water. These lenses may also improve comfort for individuals who are photosensitive.

Schedule a Consultation

There are several ways you can take great care of your eyes. When advanced treatments are necessary, we’re here for you. Vitreo Retinal Surgery has eight offices throughout Minnesota to serve you. Contact us at (800) 877-2500.

Why Diabetic Eye Care Must be Proactive | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | MN

Why Diabetic Eye Care Must be Proactive

Why Diabetic Eye Care Must be Proactive | VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA | MNOften, we have the tendency to schedule medical care when we think something may be wrong. We have largely gotten out of the habit of seeing our doctor every year for a good old-fashioned checkup. Likewise, this is how a large majority of people manage eye health. Eye care is something we primarily consider for vision correction. However, there is much more to taking good care of your eyes, especially if you have diabetes.

First, there is an alarming estimate that millions of people in our country have diabetes mellitus or Type 2 diabetes, and they do not know it. This goes back to the value of the general physical on an annual basis. Current diagnoses are upwards of 30 million, with more people diagnosed each year. If diabetes is in your family history, it is a good idea to see your doctor for glucose testing. Doing so protects your general health and can also protect your eyes.

Diabetes is not just Common; it is a Leading Cause of Blindness

There are several eye diseases that are associated with diabetes. The concern with them is that symptoms may not become obvious until irreparable damage has occurred. If you frequently have blurry vision, you may be receiving a warning sign that you have diabetes. The earlier that diabetes management can be implemented, the better you and your ophthalmologist can monitor eye health, watching for clues to:

  • Glaucoma, a condition in which pressure builds inside the eye. Increased pressure can damage the optic nerve, sometimes to the extent of vision loss.
  • Diabetic retinopathy involves the restriction of the blood vessels that nourish the retina. 12 percent of new cases of blindness each year are attributed to this condition.
  • Cataracts can severely impede vision, and people with diabetes have a 60% higher risk for clouded lenses than individuals with healthy blood glucose levels. If vision becomes low, cataracts can be removed and the lens replaced with an appropriate IOL.

Do you need care now?

Diabetic eye care is slightly more involved than the norm and requires patients to know when they need to see their ophthalmologist sooner rather than later, and by that we mean within a day or two. Symptoms that require prompt medical attention include:

  • Flashes of light either in your field of vision or when you blink.
  • Sudden changes in vision, including blurriness or double-vision.
  • Eye pain.
  • Black spots in your field of vision.

We care about your eye health. Vitreo Retinal Surgery, PA has offices across Minnesota to serve you. Call (800) VRS-2500.

Diabetes and Protecting your Eye Health

Diabetes and Protecting your Eye Health

Diabetes and Protecting your Eye HealthMost diabetic patients understand that the disease can put their vision at risk. That’s because, over time, high blood sugar can damage retinal blood vessels, causing a variety of diseases and complications. That’s why it’s vitally important for diabetics to have regular eye exams so that treatment to stabilize vision can begin early when there is the best chance of providing long-term help. Call for your appointment today: 800-VRS-2500.

Regular eye exams can help diabetics begin treatments for such problems as:

Macular Edema

A common cause of central vision loss, it causes swelling in the central retina.

Retinal Ischemia

Causes poor blood flow in the eye

When identified by your doctor, diabetic macular edema (DME) can be treated

Laser therapy can be used to decrease retina swelling and reduce the risk of future vision loss. Other treatment options include:

  • Eye injections
  • Steroids
  • Surgical treatment

DME is the main cause of vision loss associated with diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetics should be aware of non-proliferative and proliferative retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy causes damage to the light-sensitive retina at the back of the eye.

Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) can cause

  • Retinal hemorrhages
  • “Cotton wool” spots from poor blood flow

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) can cause

  • Damage to the retinal blood vessels

This leads to a secretion that causes abnormal blood vessel growth and can threaten vision.

  • Neovascular glaucoma

This occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow and can lead to elevated eye pressure, pain, redness and vision loss.

Non-Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy can be managed

Managing your diabetes is always the first step toward preserving vision. Regular eye examinations are also crucial because they can detect changes caused by diabetic retinopathy that may not be noticed by patients.

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy can be treated

Laser treatment is one of the most effective procedures for retinopathy and has saved the vision of millions of patients. An alternate treatment is:

  • Injections

These can be beneficial for many patients when it to comes to managing the effects of PDR, particularly for those with problems that put them in the category of high risk for developing the disease.

 

 

Don’t Be Part of A Vision Loss Statistic

eye care MinneapolisYou may not have even noticed, but if you’re around 50 years old, you could be suffering from the most frequent cause of vision loss for those 50 and over: age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD does have symptoms, but you might not see them

Many people who have AMD may not have noticed that their vision is deteriorating. The disease can particularly go unnoticed if it is only affecting one eye.

Another obstacle to noticing AMD

Many people assume their vision loss issues are simply a natural and inevitable part of aging. AMD symptoms are more serious and can be recognized if you know what to look for. Patients with certain types of AMD can benefit from recent developments in treatment if diagnosed early. This is also why it’s important to see your eye doctor annually for vision checks.

Call for an appointment today (800-VRS-2500), especially if you have any of these symptoms:

  • A blurry area near the center of your vision that may be increasing
  • Blank spots in center of your vision
  • Things not appearing as bright as they normally do

AMD’s two classifications: dry and wet

Dry AMD doesn’t usually cause severe vision loss

  • It’s characterized by the accumulation of small yellow deposits underneath the retina.
  • It can cause severe vision loss if central atrophy develops.
  • An eye doctor should closely monitor patients with dry AMD, as it may progress to wet AMD.

Wet AMD accounts for approximately 90% of severe vision loss due to the disease

  • It’s characterized by the presence of abnormal new blood growth underneath the retina.
  • The main symptoms are worsening central vision, blind spots, and distorted vision.

There are ways to manage progression and preserve vision

Presently, there is no strategy for reducing the risk of developing dry AMD and no treatment to reverse the condition. However, the Age-Related Eye Disease Study did show that vitamins might help visual atrophy from progressing from intermediate to severe. And wet AMD has several treatments that can help keep the condition stable over the long term.

Schedule a consultation

If you are interested in age-related macular degeneration, please call 800-VRS-2500 to schedule a consultation at one of our locations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Blaine, Edina, Oakdale, Plymouth, St. Cloud and Duluth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding Retinal Detachment

retinal detachment | minnesotaA retinal detachment happens to one in 10,000 people in the U.S. every year. If not properly treated, this serious eye problem can lead to loss of sight. As we age, the eye’s vitreous gel contracts and liquefies, making it more likely to cause a tear in your retina. The fluid inside the eye can then leak through the tear, and the retina may separate from the back of the eye.

Risk factors that could lead to retinal detachment

  • Nearsightedness
  • History of cataract surgery
  • Family history of retinal detachment
  • Retinal detachment in the other eye
  • Weak areas in the retina

Symptoms that could indicate a retinal detachment

Since retinal detachment causes no pain, contact your eye doctor if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Floaters
  • Flashing lights
  • Area of darkness that may enter your vision from the side

Can a retinal detachment be repaired?

The condition can typically be treated with surgery, performed under local anesthesia in about an hour. It can be accomplished by:

  • Bringing the retina back into position
  • Sealing the torn area

One of the most common surgical repair techniques is the scleral buckle, performed by placing a silicone band around the eye.

In some cases, if the detachment is minor, it can be treated with:

  • Laser therapy
  • Cryotherapy (freezing)
  • Pneumatic retinopexy (the injection of air or gas into the eye, along with laser or cryo)

This procedure is only for certain detachments and requires that the patient maintains a specific head position so that the air or gas bubble can float up against the retina to keep it in position as it heals.

After retinal reattachment

Your outcome will usually depend on:

  • The length of time your retina has been detached
  • How much of your retina is detached
  • Whether or not the center of your vision is affected

If the center of vision isn’t involved, close to full recovery of vision is possible. If the center of vision is affected, it’s likely you will experience some permanent vision loss.

Schedule a Consultation

If you are interested in learning more about Retinal Detachment, please call 800-VRS-2500 to schedule a consultation at one of our locations in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Blaine, Edina, Oakdale, Plymouth, St. Cloud and Duluth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Helping to block the effects of CRVO

Central retinal vein occlusionCentral retinal vein occlusion (CRVO) is a serious condition that occurs when the vein becomes blocked and vision is lost. In most cases, the severity of the blockage determines the severity and permanence of the vision loss.

You may experience partial or complete CRVO

The retina needs a healthy flow of blood in order to do its job. When the retinal vein becomes partially blocked, blood builds up and causes retinal swelling and vision problems. If the vein becomes completely blocked, your eye is starved of the oxygen and nutrients that the blood normally supplies.

Understanding a CRVO diagnosis

Most patients who develop CRVO either maintain the initial vision loss caused by the condition or it eventually gets worse. If your loss is mild due to partial blockage, it may improve without treatment.

The Central Retinal Vein Occlusion Study

This clinical study showed that in patients with partial CRVO:

  • 10% improved
  • 50% stayed the same
  • 33% worsened

With complete CRVO, spontaneous improvement is rare and vision loss is often permanent.

Severe CRVO

Abnormal blood vessels can grow into the drainage system of the eye, causing a severe form of glaucoma that can lead to pain and complete vision loss. Your eye will need to be monitored closely, especially in the six months after development.

Risk factors for CRVO

We can identify and treat your risk factors in order to decrease the possibility of progression or recurrence. Risk factors for CRVO may include:

  • Glaucoma
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Diabetes
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Stroke
  • Blood clotting issues
  • Blood vessel inflammation
  • Increased blood thickness
  • Oral contraceptive use

Treatment is available

Aspirin therapy may be recommended to help prevent further vascular damage. In addition, several medication therapies have been shown to be effective for managing CRVO. If abnormal blood vessels are detected, laser treatment combined with other therapies or surgery may be recommended.

Learn more about CRVO

Find out if you have signs of CRVO or risk factors that may lead to its development. Call for an appointment today: (800) VRS-2500.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treating your retina to help preserve sight

retinal conditionsAs we age, our vision can be affected by various problems with the retina. The retina is thin tissue in the back of the eye consisting of the nerve cells that capture the images we see.

The center portion of the retina does an important job that can be disrupted
This area is called the macula and is where our “best” vision emanates, allowing us to perform important functions, such as:

  • Driving
  • Reading

Branch retinal vein occlusion (BRVO)
BRVO is blockage of one of the venous branches of your retina and can cause vision loss and other complications. To help determine if you’ve experienced a BRVO, there are specialized tests we can perform in the office.

Risk factors for BRVO
People over 50 are mostly likely to experience BRVOs, but younger patients can also suffer from the disorder. Other risk factors include:

  • Atherosclerosis
  • History of stroke
  • Coronary artery disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated blood lipids
  • Glaucoma
  • Smoking

Symptoms of BRVO
This can depend on which venous branch is involved, but can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in area of visual field, such as peripheral vision
  • Significant amount of blood within the retina
  • May not cause any symptoms

Vision-threatening results of BRVO

  • Swelling from leaking blood vessels
  • Loss of blood flow
  • Growth of new abnormal blood vessels

Treatment is available
The Branch Vein Occlusion Study found that these treatments could improve vision prognosis:

  • Laser treatment
  • Medication injections
  • Aspirin therapy

Retinal neovascularization
This condition can cause abnormal, extremely fragile blood vessels to grow from the retina into the eye’s vitreous gel. This can lead to bleeding and formation of scar tissue, as well as floaters and loss of vision.

Treatment for the condition
Laser treatment can be effective for stabilizing and even reversing blood vessel growth. Bleeding will sometimes clear on its own, but surgery to remove the blood and the vitreous gel may be necessary. In severe cases, the retina may be pulled away from the wall of the eye, requiring surgical repair.

Call us for a consultation: (800) VRS-2500.
If you have any risk factors or signs of retinal conditions, make an appointment today.

3 Snacks to Help Protect Your Eyes

3 Snacks to Help Protect Your EyesDid you know that about 21 million Americans suffer from some sort of vision loss or impairment? And, did you also know that your diet can actually help influence how you see? Yes, you might want to grab for a Butterfinger or some potato chips when your stomach starts to growl mid-day. However, lacking any nutritional substance, these snacks won’t do your body any good— especially your eyesight. In order to help enhance your vision and stay healthy, try adding the following snacks to your diet. Give it a try— they won’t disappoint.

1.Carrots and Dip
Munching on carrots is not only great for your teeth but they are also great for your eye health. Plus, mixed with a little bit of vegetable or ranch dip, carrots make a tasty treat as well. Filled with vitamin A, carrots work to protect your cornea and the overall health of your eye— making your vision last longer and stay stronger.

2. Hardboiled Eggs
High in protein and healthy fats, hardboiled eggs will give your body that lean bit of protein boost it needs during the mid-day. Additionally, packed with Omega 3 fatty acids and lutein, hardboiled eggs will help to reduce your development of age related eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. In order to make eating hard boiled eggs an easy snack to take with you, simply boil a dozen eggs at the beginning of the week and place them in individual containers that you can easily slip into your bag or purse everyday.

3. Fresh and Dried Apricots
Whether you prefer fresh apricots or dried ones, this yellow/orange fruit is filled with the same beta-carotene that is found in carrots. Once it is digested by your body, beta-carotene is then converted into Vitamin A which is scientifically proven to help shield your eyes from developing eye diseases like macular degeneration.

Skip the cookies and other vending machine snacks and instead replace them with eye healthy snacks like carrots, hardboiled eggs, and apricots. If you would like to learn more easy tips on how you can protect your eyes, contact Vitreo Retinal Surgery to schedule an appointment today!