Are Eye Supplements Beneficial?

We often assume that we will absorb all the nourishment the body needs by eating a well-balanced diet. Numerous factors may affect this, from poor soil conditions in farming to the body’s ability to capture nutrients through digestion. For this reason, many people consider the value of supplements. Beyond a daily multivitamin, several types of supplements can be taken, including some that are formulated specifically for the eyes. Here, we discuss why and what those supplements could do for you.

AREDS: What Is it and What Does it Mean for Eye Health?

AREDS is not a product, it is a body of research. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study was one of the most influential studies conducted in recent years. An initial study, and also a follow up, AREDS2, were sponsored by the National Eye Institute to observe the effects of two multivitamin formulations on the development and progression of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. These common eye diseases typically affect people over the age of 55 and can be difficult to slow without consistent management. Each AREDS study determined that the risk of disease progression in high-risk patients could be reduced by approximately 25 percent through the consumption of specific supplementation.

Vitamins and Minerals for Eyes

Studies have identified a variety of nutrients that are known to have benefits for eye health. Many of them are antioxidants, chemicals that combat the cellular damage done by toxins and reactive oxygen. According to the AREDS clinical trial multivitamins, the following ingredients offer significant eye health benefits:

  • Beta-carotene. This precursor to vitamin A is in carrots, kale, beef or chicken liver, and sweet potatoes. It is an essential nutrient for night vision.
  • Vitamin C. When we eat oranges, kale, broccoli, and grapefruit, we get a dose of vitamin C. Known for its ability to ward off the average cold, vitamin C also reduces the risk of cataracts.
  • Vitamin E. Available in peanuts, almonds, and wheat germ, vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant known to act against risks for cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that this nutrient, contained in many supplements, is protective against dry eye syndrome and macular degeneration.
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin. These plant pigments were incorporated into the AREDS2 study in place of beta-carotene. Found in kale, spinach, and turnip greens, lutein and zeaxanthin may be protective against cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Before taking new vitamins and supplements, it is important to speak with your healthcare provider. Our board-certified ophthalmologists offer comprehensive care and can provide information about clinically tested eye supplements. To learn more, call (800) VRS-2500.

What is Macular Pucker and What Would One Do About This Condition?

Here is an interesting detail about being a retinal specialist: you diagnose and treat conditions that many people have never heard of. If you’ve heard the term “macular pucker” before, you are among a very, very small group. For the most part, one only becomes familiar with this problem if they or someone they love is diagnosed with it. Here, we discuss what macular pucker is, who may develop it, and what we do about it when we find it.

Macular pucker is an eye disease that develops in the macula. The macula is the central part of the retina, which sits at the back of the eye. The macula is responsible for forming central vision. A macular pucker, as it may sound, involves bulging or wrinkling in this part of the retina. Normally, the macula lies flat. This position is necessary for normal function. A wrinkle or bulge will interrupt the clarity of central vision. People with macular pucker may experience cloudiness, a graying of their central field of vision, or blank spots in central vision. In some cases, no symptoms develop. Macular pucker may affect any person. However, studies indicate that there are certain people who have a higher risk of developing this condition.

People with Retinal Conditions

Eye conditions that affect the retina may increase the risk for macular pucker. Common retinal conditions include:

  • A torn or detached retina
  • Posterior vitreous detachment
  • Damaged or abnormal blood vessels in the retina
  • Swelling in the eye, increased intraocular pressure
  • Injury to the eye
  • Inflammation in the eye

Older Adults

Macular pucker is more commonly found in older adults. This could be because, as we age, the vitreous fluid that fills the center of the eye shrinks. The vitreous is normally gel-like and viscous. With age, it becomes more fluid, which could cause it to separate from the retina. Tiny fibers in the vitreous can tug on the retina, resulting in tears or other damage. Where there is damage, there will be scar tissue, and scar tissue could lead to macular pucker. The American Society of Retina Specialists reports that 2% of adults aged 50 and over show signs of macular pucker. Approximately 20% of adults aged 75 and older show signs of the condition.

VitreoRetinal Surgery, PLLC provides services to diagnose and treat conditions like macular pucker, macular holes, and several other problems. We are honored to accept referrals from physicians in our area and are committed to helping each patient address their eye health needs. To schedule a visit with us, call (800) VRS-2500.

Cloudy Vision or Blurry Vision? There is a Difference!

When a person doesn’t see as well as they used to, the common ways they describe their vision are “blurry” and “cloudy.” Often, the terms are used interchangeably, at least by patients. Doctors know that there are unique differences between cloudy vision and blurry vision. They also know that the causes of either blurriness or cloudiness can vary widely. Because your doctor relies somewhat on your description of what you are experiencing, it is important to know how to accurately describe your situation. Here, we’ll provide some assistance.

What is blurry vision?

When you look through a camera lens to snap a photo, there may be an instant during which objects are out of focus. Using an old-school camera, one could manually alter the focus of objects in their frame. The out-of-focus sensation is what we describe as blurry. Objects may be blurry when you look straight at them or when they sit to one side or the other of your peripheral vision.

Blurry vision may be a sign of:

  • Infection
  • Retinopathy
  • Nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Injury or abrasion to the cornea
  • Corneal scarring
  • Optic neuritis

What is cloudy vision?

Just like a cloudy day, cloudy vision feels as though you are looking through fog or a dirty window. When vision is cloudy, there may be an urge to blink or wipe the eyes to remove the “film.” When a person develops cloudy vision, they may also experience additional symptoms, such as:

  • Double vision
  • Halos or glare around lights
  • Poor night vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Cloudy vision may be a sign of:
  • Cataracts
  • Macular degeneration
  • Inflammation or infection
  • Dirty or damaged contact lenses

Both cloudy and blurry vision may be caused by potentially serious eye conditions. If either symptom persists or becomes severe very quickly, a comprehensive eye exam should be scheduled right away.

VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA proudly serves multiple Minnesota cities with friendly, experienced care. To schedule a consultation with one of our retina specialists, call (800) VRS-2500 to find an office near you.

If You Have Diabetes, You Need a Different Kind of Eye Exam

Certain medical conditions have a far reach in the body. Diabetes is one of them. Research has linked several risks to the continual elevation of blood glucose levels. Many of the secondary concerns related to diabetes involve the effect that too much glucose has on the walls of the veins throughout the body.

As you may know, the eyes have a complex network of tiny blood vessels. Because these vessels are so small and delicate, they are susceptible to the weakening that diabetes can cause. For this reason, people who have been diagnosed with diabetes are strongly encouraged to undergo a thorough diabetic eye exam as recommended by their physician.

Diabetic eye conditions that are concerning include general blurriness and a significant increase in the risk of glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is a direct result of chronically high blood sugar. Over time, the deterioration of blood vessels in the eye leads to fluid seeping into the ocular structure. The retina is a vital part of the eye, located at the back wall adjacent to the optic nerve. The retina is responsible for passing light to the optic nerve so it can be transmitted to the brain. When fluid continually leaks from ocular blood vessels and onto the retina, damage occurs little by little. Without detection and proper treatment, diabetic retinopathy can cause vision loss.

Diabetic retinopathy is reportedly one of the leading causes of blindness. What we want our patients to know is that they have some degree of control over this risk. Clinical practice has demonstrated a high rate of success in the management of diabetic retinopathy when treatment is conducted early. Diabetic eye exams assist in this goal.

What is Involved in a Diabetic Eye Exam?

One of the primary differences between a routine eye exam and a diabetic eye exam is the inclusion of special tests that observe the retina, blood vessels, optic nerve, and other structures. These include:

  • Retinal photography using a special digital camera
  • Fluorescein Angiography is a special form of imaging that involves an injection of dye into the arm. The dye travels to the blood vessels of the eye, which are then observed with a special digital camera.
  • Ocular Coherence Tomography is a noninvasive type of imaging that observes the retina in real time, providing immediate results.

VitreoRetinal Surgery, PA proudly serve physicians and patients in areas including Plymouth, Duluth, Minneapolis, St. Cloud, and more. To locate an office near you, call 800) VRS-2500.

Is Posterior Vitreous Detachment Serious?

Eye conditions have a way of sounding complicated. What sounds complicated, especially as it pertains to our health, can also sound frightening. Posterior vitreous detachment may be a mouthful but, rest assured, a retinal specialist knows how to diagnose and treat this condition efficiently. The key is getting the right care at the right time.
Vitreous detachments can set off a sudden flurry of floaters. Floaters are the appearance of dark or lighted spots that travel across the field of vision. The condition is relatively common and can usually be treated successfully after a thorough, dilated eye exam confirms the extent of detachment.

What is Vitreous Detachment?

Between the lens and cornea at the front of the eye and the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye is a substantial area of space (80 percent of the total volume). This space is filled with what we call vitreous or vitreous fluid. The vitreous is typically gelatinous, somewhat like Jell-O. As we age, the collagen fibers that stabilize the vitreous to structures at the front and back of the eye begin to degrade. This deterioration of collagen subsequently causes the vitreous to break down into more of a liquid substance. The destabilized gel contracts and tugs on the retina. Sometimes tugging is all that happens but, in some instances, the vitreous separates from the retina altogether.

This Sounds Serious!

The thought of different structures in the eye separating sounds serious. We understand why. However, research has indicated that a detached vitreous is less of a concern than one may imagine. It is better for collagen fibers to disconnect than to remain attached and pull on the retina. When this happens, there is a risk that the retina could tear or separate from the back of the eye. It is these two issues that cause a concern for vision loss.

Retinal Tears and Detachments can be Treated

The team at VitreoRetinal Surgery has extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of retinal tears and detachments. We can also help our patients understand their risk for vitreous and retinal detachments.
We are proud to offer advanced retinal services to patients in Minneapolis, MN and surrounding cities. Call (800) VRS-2500 to schedule a visit with us.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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
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.

Prescription Eyeglasses Minneapolis | St. Paul MN

Prescription Eyeglasses

More than 140 million people in the United States wear eyeglasses. Eyeglasses improve vision by adjusting the way the eyes bend and focus light. Ideally, light rays are refracted, or bent, as they pass through the cornea so that they focus on the retina in the back of the eye. In a healthy eye, this means that objects can be seen clearly. Most people have corneas that have a shallow or steep curvature which causes light rays to focus in front of or behind the retina. Objects may then appear blurry at certain distances or at all distances.

Glasses can correct these refractive errors. Prescriptions are measured for each eye so patients can enjoy optimal vision clarity, usually 20/20. Eyewear may be used for certain activities, such as reading for farsighted, or hyperopic patients and driving or watching television for nearsighted, or myopic patients, or may be worn at all times.

Regular eye exams test for the development and progression of refractive errors and help your doctor provide a proper prescription if eyeglasses are needed. Exams are also an invaluable tool in the early detection of eye disease.

Retinal Vein Occlusion Minneapolis & St Paul, MN

The retina is a thin sheet of nerve tissue located in the back of the eye where light rays are focused and transmitted to the brain. Tiny blood vessels supply the retina with oxygen and other nutrients. Arteries deliver blood and the retinal veins carry it. Sometimes one of these arteries hardens or swells and presses on a nearby vein. The vein can then become blocked, or occluded, making it difficult for blood to leave the eye. This condition is called a retinal vein occlusion, or RVO. A retinal vein occlusion is also known as venous stasis retinopathy or hemorrhagic retinopathy. The blocked circulation caused by a retinal vein occlusion can lead to:

  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Growth of abnormal blood vessels
  • Partial or total vision loss

Retinal vein occlusions are the second most common cause of blood vessel-related vision loss, the first being diabetic retinopathy. A retinal vein occlusion typically occurs in men and women over the age of 50, particularly those in their 60s and 70s.

Types Of Retinal Vein Occlusions

Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion (BRVO)

A branch retinal vein occlusion is the blockage of a vein in the inner portion of the eye, where retinal veins “branch out” to smaller veins.

Central Retinal Vein Occlusion (CRVO)

A central retinal vein occlusion is a blockage that occurs in the central or main retinal vein located at the back of the eye.

Risk Factors For A Retinal Vein Occlusion

Risk factors for a retinal vein occlusion include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Glaucoma
  • Vitreous hemorrhage
  • Macular edema
  • Inflammatory conditions

Symptoms Of A Retinal Vein Occlusion

Symptoms of a retinal vein occlusion include a sudden loss of vision or blurring of vision in all or a part of the eye.

Diagnosis Of A Retinal Vein Occlusion

A retinal vein occlusion is detected during a retinal exam of the eye. After a thorough medical examination of the eye, the following diagnostic tests may be conducted to confirm the diagnosis of a retinal vein occlusion:

  • Fluorescein angiogram
  • Testing of intraocular pressure
  • Pupil reflex response
  • Slit-lamp examination
  • Visual field testing
  • Visual acuity
  • Retinal photography
  • Blood tests

The initial bleeding can prevent the ophthalmologist from seeing any other symptoms for three to six months or longer. The patient is monitored during this time until the blood clears.

Treatment Of A Retinal Vein Occlusion

Treatment of a retinal vein occlusion depends on the severity and location of the blockage. Most patients vision will be restored but their vision is rarely is the same as it was before the occlusion.

There is no cure for a retinal vein occlusion. Emphasis is placed on prevention of the condition by treating the symptoms and preventing further vision loss. A retinal vein occlusion is an indication of vascular disease. It is critical to reduce the risks of vascular disease by adhering to the following guidelines:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a diet low in fat
  • Maintaining weight
  • Exercising regularly

Complications Of A Retinal Vein Occlusion

Complications of a retinal vein occlusion occur and require treatment that may include:

  • Focal laser treatment for macular edema
  • Intraocular injections of an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor
  • Laser treatment to prevent the growth of blood vessels that can cause glaucoma