Those Houston seniors concerned about their aging eyes will be pleased to learn that there has been a significant decrease is vision loss in older Americans according to a study in the journal Ophthalmology-the official publication of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “The prevalence of activity-limiting visual impairment is decreasing and has been decreasing-and this is really great news for seniors. While the study wasn’t terribly specific, I believe that better cataract surgery and lens implants, better diabetes treatment and control and a sharp decrease in smoking all play a role in why seniors now have better overall chances of preserving their eye health and vision,” commented Bernard Milstein, M.D. of The  Eye Clinic of Texas.

Modern cataract surgery-with advanced technology lens implants has become routine and complications are pretty rare. Years ago, people waited until a cataract was so bad that even a poor surgical result was better than living with a cataract. Today, when the presence of a cataract impairs either the quality of vision or the quality of life, the techniques and procedures allow for safe and effective cataract surgery to be performed.

Today, only 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. smoke cigarettes as compared to 1 in 3 in the 1980s. Smoking is a major risk factor for macular degeneration, which is one of the most common vision impairing eye diseases in seniors.

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness and age and obesity are leading risk factors for diabetes. Even though diabetes rates in the U.S. continue to climb, better therapies are now available to prevent and treat diabetes-related eye health vision problems.

To some extent, seniors have helped preserve eye health and vision by taking the step of having regular eye exams which are quite important for everyone as they age, especially people with diabetes and other health conditions that can lead to vision loss.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about aging eyes and senior vision care, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texasis an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 7155 Katy Road, Houston, Texas 77573, 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 711 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas 77550 that provide all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services.

Contact lenses can help self esteem for teens according to Galveston & Houston Ophthalmologist Allan Fradkin, M.D. of The Eye Clinic of Texas. “Contact lenses can play an important role in helping adolescents-especially teenagers-with some difficult times for their self esteem and self image. Teens and tweens are often quite challenged during adolescence by the “Trifecta of Awkwardness-braces, acnes and glasses!” commented Dr. Fradkin. “I know all too well from my own kids, the peer pressure and insecurity created by concerns about appearance at these ages,” Dr. Fradkin stated.

Not being able to play sports or worrying about how they look can leave many teens feeling anxious, stressed out and unhappy. “We love fitting children in this age group with contact lenses because we routinely see that teens who wear contact lenses benefit beyond simply correcting their vision. They typically improve in how they feel about their physical appearance, their acceptance among friends and of course their ability to play sports,” further explained Dr. Fradkin.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about contact lenses or schedule an appointment for a contact lens fitting please call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 7155 Old Katy Road, Houston, Texas 77024, 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas 77550 that provide all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services.

Allan Fradkin, M.D., Galveston & Houston eye doctor at The Eye Clinic of Texas reviewed an iPhone app to help contact lens wearers. “A new app is available for use on iPhones and iPads that provides a convenient way to keep track of how many times you have worn your reusable contact lenses. No more having to wonder if it’s time to replace your contacts. This is a nice way to help keep your contact lenses safe and your eyes healthy,” commented Dr. Fradkin. “Proper lens replacement is critical to your eyes’ health when wearing contacts. The app is available at iTunes for contact lens wearers to have a look at.”

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the iPhone and iPad app for contact lenses, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 7155 Old Katy Road, Houston, Texas 77024, 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas 77550 that provide all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Regular eye exams are the best way to help prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy,” said Galveston & Houston Ophthalmologist Dr. Da-Thuy Van of The Eye Clinic of Texas. “The eye examinations for diabetic retinopathy need to be thorough and when necessary include advanced testing such as retinal photography, fluorescein angiography and ocular coherence tomography in order to really document how the retina and it’s blood vessels are functioning,” Dr. Van further explained. “Depending on the severity and the risk of progression of each patient’s diabetic retinopathy we will advise them of the frequency and intervals for their exams. But, patients with diabetes need to know that it is terribly important to keep their appointments.

Vision loss from diabetes and especially catastrophic vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented with early detection, diagnosis and treatment.

If you or someone you know has diabetes or even elevated blood sugar levels they should work to prevent diabetic eye disease and problems with regular eye exams by calling The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visiting The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 7155 Katy Road, Houston, Texas 77573, 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 711 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas 77550 that provide all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services.

“Throughout Houston and Galveston we want to be sure patients with diabetes work to prevent diabetic eye disease and problems,” remarked Ophthalmologist Bernard Milstein, M.D. of The Eye Clinic of Texas. Prevent Blindness America has designated November as National Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. “What we know from the most recent Prevent Blindness America Vision Problems in the U.S. report is that diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20-74 years of age. Further, according to the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the United States. Although there is no cure for diabetic eye disease, annual eye exams for diabetes patients are essential to help slow the progression of the disease,” said Dr. Milstein.

The Prevent Blindness America Vision Problems in the U.S. identified that there are almost 8 million people ages 40 and older who have diabetic retinopathy. This represents an 89 percent increase between the years 2000-2012. “While it is not surprising that the incidence of some eye diseases and problems is increasing with the aging of the baby boomer population, it is terribly disturbing to see the dramatic spike in diabetic retinopathy cases, a consequence of the diabetes epidemic that this country is experiencing with no end in sight,” Dr. Milstein explained.

The vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented if it’s caught early and treated in time. More than one third of those diagnosed with diabetes do not adhere to vision care guidelines recommending a dilated eye exam every year. As part of Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month we are urging people with diabetes to have a dilated eye exam every year. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater his or her risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. However, diabetic retinopathy does not only affect people who have had diabetes for many years, it can also appear within the first year or two after the onset of the disease.

In addition to having regular eye examinations and testing at the direction of your eye doctor, patients can help to reduce the risk of developing diabetic eye disease  by not smoking, controlling their cholesterol and lipid profile and blood pressure, as well as working to eat a heart-healthy diet rich in fish, fruit and green leafy vegetables and exercising.

If you or someone you know has diabetes or even elevated blood sugar levels they should work to prevent diabetic eye disease and problems with regular eye exams by calling The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 7155 Old Katy Road, Houston, Texas 77024, 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas 77550 that provide all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services.

Houston cataract patients should have a clear understanding that if they experience night driving problems it may very well be due to their cataracts. “Patients constantly tell me that one of the most troubling things about their vision with cataracts is how disturbing they can be while driving at night,” said Dr. Da-Thuy Van, a Houston Cataract Surgeon at The Eye Clinic of Texas. “Driving at night is already difficult enough as reduced lighting can cause you to misjudge distances and boundaries like the edge of the road as well as simply causing an overall dimming of your vision,” Dr. Van further explained. “So, if you are becoming fearful of night driving with a cataract and you have been told that you have the beginning of a cataract it might well be time to consider whether cataract surgery might be a good option to help you regain your night driving comfort level,” Dr. Van recommended.

If you or someone you know feels they have night driving problems that might be related to cataracts or has a question about cataracts, cataract surgery or lens implants please feel free to schedule an eye exam by calling The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 7155 Old Katy Road, Houston, Texas 77024, 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas 77550 that provide all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services.

But Dr. Fradkin, how can I have glaucoma-I see well and I have no symptoms?” is a question that many patients have asked with great surprise at their glaucoma diagnosis,” commented Galveston & Houston Ophthalmologist Allan Fradkin, M.D. of The Eye Clinic of Texas.

Glaucoma is a sight stealing eye disease in which the most common form-primary Open Angle Glaucoma-has no symptoms that affected patients can readily be aware of. This is especially important as among African-American and Hispanic populations glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness. Further-primary open angle glaucoma-is hereditary. The Nottingham Glaucoma Study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology evaluated the risk that siblings of glaucoma patients would themselves develop glaucoma within their lifetime. The study demonstrated that there was a strong likelihood that family members of glaucoma patients were at greater risk and that siblings were 5 times more likely to develop glaucoma by age 70. “This is why we strongly recommend that siblings of glaucoma patients and glaucoma suspects be screened for glaucoma, each and every year, said Dr. Fradkin.

There is a real need for regular eye examinations and glaucoma screening by an eye doctor in order to help you preserve your eye health and vision. If you or someone you know has a question about glaucoma, glaucoma symptoms, glaucoma risk or to schedule a glaucoma eye exam please feel free to call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texasis an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 7155 Katy Road, Houston, Texas 77573, 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 711 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas 77550 that provide all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services.

“What does your risk of having a stroke have to do with age related macular degeneration?” asked Ophthalmologist Bernard Milstein, M.D. of The Eye Clinic of Texas with offices serving greater Houston & Galveston. Possibly quite a bit as it turns out. Older adults with late-stage, age related macular degeneration (AMD) may have a significantly higher risk for hemorrhagic stroke than do individuals without the eye disease, as reported from the Rotterdam Study at the International Stroke Conference. There may be a common underlying process contributing to both Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and bleeding strokes, but more research will be needed to determine if that’s the case. Researchers found that the risk for any stroke was 56% higher in participants with late-stage AMD than in individuals without AMD after they controlled for the effects of age, sex, diabetes, blood pressure, use of antihypertensive medication, smoking, cholesterol levels, carotid artery plaques, body mass index, alcohol intake, and C-reactive protein levels.

“The single most significant finding in the study was that participants with late-stage AMD-either the wet or dry forms-had six fold higher risk for intracerebral hemorrhage or stroke than did participants without AMD,” noted Dr. Milstein.”This is a critical piece of information and one we need to be responsive to and keep patients and their physicians abreast of.”

If you or someone you know suffers from or is concerned about age related macular degeneration (AMD), especially if they are concerned about their risk of stroke or have a family history of stroke please feel free to schedule an eye exam by calling please call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texasis an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 7155 Katy Road, Houston, Texas 77573, 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 711 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas 77550 that provide all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services.

Patients who are contact lens wearers and thinking about LASIK in Houston should be aware that contact lens induced dry eyes are a real clinical condition that we may need to address prior to your LASIK surgery. “Dry eyes can be a very real problem for both rigid and soft contact lens wearers. Researchers reporting in the Eye & Contact Lens: Science & Clinical Practice demonstrated that both rigid and soft contact lenses negatively impacted the tear film surface quality. This research is important to keep in mind when contact lens wearers present for LASIK consultations since the evaluation of the tear film quality and quantity is a critical consideration of determining the patient’s candidacy for any type of Laser Vision Correction-but especially for LASIK surgery,” commented LASIK Surgeon Dr. Da-Thuy Van of The Eye Clinic of Texas serving greater Houston & Galveston. “Given that a significant number of our Houston patients electing to have LASIK today are indeed contact lens wearers and that dry eye is probably the most common side effect of LASIK that we see with our patients, we need to be aware that some of the pre LASIK tear film abnormalities that we find are actually due to their contact lens wear and that with a sufficient amount of time without contact lens wear many contact lens wearers who want LASIK will recover a normal tear film surface quality and be able to proceed,” noted Dr. Van.

Contact lens patients considering LASIK or any type of Laser Eye Surgery for vision correction are encouraged to find the best LASIK Surgeons in their area and have a thorough evaluation, examination and consultation in order to find out if they are good candidates.

If you or someone you know has a question about LASIK, contact lenses, dry eyes or would like to schedule a Free LASIK Consultation please call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 7155 Old Katy Road, Houston, Texas 77024, 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas 77550 that provide all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services.

“Each Halloween we are reminded of the need for Houston residents to carefully consider the use of non prescription decorative contact lenses as part of their costume,” remarked Dr. Da-Thuy Van, an Ophthalmologist at The Eye Clinic of Texas serving greater Houston & Galveston. “While it can be really fun to change your eye color or make your eyes have stripes or a ghoulish look, Halloween, decorative contact lenses and your eyes may not be a great combination,” stated Dr. Van. “About this time each year we see the result of the Halloween participants who wish to turn their eyes from blue to some far out appearance or ghoulish look by using over-the-counter, decorative contact lenses,” said Dr. Van.  “Even someone with perfect vision would still require an eye exam and a prescription in order to wear any kind of contacts, including cosmetic lenses as they are a medical device and improper use can cause sight threatening problems.”

According to the Food and Drug Administration, all contact lenses are regulated medical devices that require a prescription and proper fitting by an eye-care professional. Some websites advertise decorative contacts as if they were fashion accessories or toys with fanciful, playful packaging in order to attract teens and young adults, especially girls. The problem is not that people use decorative, non corrective lenses-sometimes called Plano-or zero-powered lenses, but that they buy the devices without a prescription through unlicensed vendors on the Internet or at flea markets and specialty shops.

The buyer of these over-the-counter contact lenses faces a huge risk including scratched corneas, pink eye and more serious types of blinding infection as a result of a corneal ulcer.

In 2005, a federal law was passed that classified all contact lenses as medical devices and restricted their distribution to licensed eye-care professionals. Illegal sale of contacts can result in civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation. The safe and effective use of contact lenses-whether decorative or not-requires proper fitting and education about their care to prevent the potential for serious eye  problems from becoming a reality.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about contact lenses of any type including decorative non prescription contact lenses, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik to schedule an appointment.

The Eye Clinic of Texasis an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 7155 Katy Road, Houston, Texas 77573, 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 711 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas 77550 that provide all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services.