Acupuncture for Glaucoma?

With so many advances in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, could it be possible that acupuncture could be a beneficial treatment option for glaucoma patients? Researchers reporting in the American Journal of Ophthalmology evaluated whether the use of acupuncture was an effective treatment for primary open angle glaucoma-the most common type of glaucoma that we diagnose and treat. The researchers carefully considered the effect of acupuncture on intraocular pressure (IOP), best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), visual field testing and using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), the health and integrity of the nerve fiber layer around the Optic Disc-all important criteria we use for diagnosing and managing glaucoma. Their study showed that acupuncture has no overall effect on changes in IOP throughout the day and that IOP actually increases immediately after an acupuncture treatment. Further, they found no effect on best uncorrected visual acuity, OCT or visual field tests and thus concluded that acupuncture may offer other health benefits but was not an effective treatment option for glaucoma.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma or needs a glaucoma eye exam and testing please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+  or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

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 HoustonGalvestonLeague City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 775737111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.

 

Aging eye problems are a fact of life for adults growing older just like wrinkles, slowing metabolism and graying hair. Eventually, your eyes are affected by age so it’s important to understand how your eyes change with age and what you can do to preserve your eye health and vision. Some aging eye changes and problems are expected and normal and others indicate the presence of eye diseases that need to be detected, diagnosed and treated or changes that need to be addressed to preserve vision. For these reasons having regular eye exams at the intervals recommended by your eye doctor is key-especially after the age of 40 years old.

Presbyopia

Beginning in the late 30s and early 40s, the crystalline lens in your eye loses flexibility, making it difficult to focus and read up close. Your “arms seem “too short.” This condition is called presbyopia, which literally means “aging eye”, and is most often treated with reading glasses, progressive lenses or bifocals depending on how you need to use your eyes for various tasks throughout the day, for work or recreation.

Dry Eye

Dry eye often develops with age and is a common problem for women during pregnancy and menopause. These hormonal changes cause changes in the eye’s tear production. Certain medications can also cause dry eye. If you have dry eye, you may be prone to an eyelid irritation called blepharitis, a common cause of irritation or swelling of the eyelids. The cause of your dry eye-either too few tears being produced or too rapid evaporation of tears will need to be diagnosed and then your eye doctor can prescribe a range of treatments including eye drops that add artificial tears, prescription eye drops that help you make more of your own tears called Restasis®, tiny punctal plugs to help you retain more of your own tears, anti-inflammatory eye drops and many other treatment options to get you help for dry eye symptoms and discomfort.

Diabetic Retinopathy

People in their 50s, 60s and 70s with diabetes are most at risk for this disease. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels inside the retina swell, leak fluid or close off completely due to damage from elevated blood sugar levels. But, you can take steps to prevent diabetic retinopathy with tight control of blood sugar, low fat diets, regular exercise and controlling blood pressure levels. It is also critical to see your eye doctor regularly for diabetic eye exams as with early detection, diagnosis and treatment the vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be slowed and often prevented.

Cataracts

Cataracts are very common in older people. As you age, proteins in your crystalline lens begin to clump together and cause the lens to be cloudy. This is the development of a cataract where the lens has become less transparent, causing blurry, cloudy or dim vision and increased glare and haloes around lights. Many people with the condition describe it as similar to looking out of dirty windshield. Cataracts can interfere with daily activities like driving at night and distinguishing colors. While treatment of early cataracts with changes in eyeglass prescription may provide some benefit, the only really effective treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery where the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a permanent artificial lens implant which can correct the cataract as well as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and even presbyopia.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve that damages the fibers that transmit visual information to the brain. This damage often leads to loss of side vision or peripheral vision. If left untreated, glaucoma will certainly lead to progressive vision loss and ultimately total blindness. Glaucoma is most common in people age 55 and older. One of the problems with glaucoma, especially the most common type of glaucoma, called chronic open-angle glaucoma, is that there are typically no symptoms in the early stages. Many people who have the disease do not know they have it. This is why it is important, especially as you get older, to have regular medical eye exams at intervals that depend on your risk factors-such as smoking, sleep apnea, age, diabetes, high blood pressure, early menopause-as recommended by your eye doctor. 

Floaters and Flashes

As people grow older, the gel, called the Vitreous-that fills the inside their eye starts to shrink, forming clumps, liquid or strands. These strands and clumps can appear as “floaters” that appear as small specks or lines moving in your field of vision. As it shrinks, the gel can also pull away from the back wall of the eye, causing you to see “flashes” which appear as flashing lights or lightning streaks in your vision. While this is normally harmless, in some cases it can lead to retinal detachment and cause serious vision loss and even blindness. If you experience new floaters and flashes, it’s important to see your eye doctor as soon as possible, especially if you are over age 45, are nearsighted or have had eye injuries in the past.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is a senior eye problem that affects the central vision, limiting a person’s ability to read and recognize faces. This can be caused by a thinning and deterioration of the macula which is the center of the retina or by the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina. AMD can lead to blindness if not treated and it continues to be the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 65. Fortunately with early detection, diagnosis and treatment, vision loss from AMD is preventable or at least manageable so that we can reduce vision loss and in many cases, recover vision.

If you or someone you know is concerned about ageing eye problems such as presbyopia, dry eye, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration (AMD) or cataracts please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+  or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

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 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.

About Angle Closure Glaucoma

Angle Closure Glaucoma is a type of glaucoma caused by a blockage or complete closure of the drainage structure of the eye called the trabecular meshwork. The trabecular meshwork is actually a fine filter, and if it is blocked or obstructed by any alteration in the size or shape of the surrounding structures, or by change in the size or shape of the tissue itself, it will cause the intraocular pressure (IOP) to elevate. In instances where the meshwork becomes blocked abruptly, it will cause a sudden rise in the intraocular pressure (IOP), resulting in Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma. Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma is characterized by this sudden rise in pressure which will cause pain, redness, light sensitivity, colored haloes around lights, nausea or vomiting, and blurred vision, and if left untreated permanent loss of vision.

Medications Can Cause Angle Closure Glaucoma

In patients who may already be at risk for Angle Closure Glaucoma because they have certain tissue and anatomical features inside their eyes, certain medications can significantly increase their risk. Two medications that are worth mentioning are the antidepressants Wellbutrin (Buproprion) and Topamax® (Topiramate). While both of these are often used to treat mild to moderate depression, they are also used to help patients stop smoking! Researchers reporting a study in Archives of Ophthalmology found that the risk of angle-closure glaucoma in patients younger than 50 years was twice as high in patients taking Wellbutrin and more than 5 times higher in patients taking Topamax®.

If you or someone you know is being treated for depression or has been prescribed Wellbutrin or Topamax® to help stop smoking, please make sure you tell your eye doctor and ask about your risk of Angle Closure Glaucoma, as well as become familiar with the symptoms above. If you have not had an eye exam with glaucoma testing and are taking these medications, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+  or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

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 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.

The early onset of menopause is a known risk factor for primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) with the associated hormonal changes seeming to play an important role. This begged the question of whether postmenopausal hormone therapy could actually play a role in reducing the risk of glaucoma and act in a protective fashion.

Research on Glaucoma Risk & Postmenopausal Hormones

According to researchers publishing in JAMA Ophthalmology taking estrogen only postmenopausal hormone (PMH) treatment may help reduce the risk for primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). By reviewing data from 152,163 women 50 years or older the researchers found that 1.9 percent of enrollees developed POAG. Each additional month of use of PMH containing estrogen only was associated with a 0.4 percent reduced risk for POAG whereas each additional month of use of estrogen + progesterone or estrogen + androgen hormones did not affect risk for POAG. This is interesting information and will require further clinical studies to understand fully but may offer some novel treatments for primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), an insidious sight threatening eye diseases and the most common type of glaucoma.

If you or someone you know has questions about glaucoma, glaucoma risk factors and the role of postmenopausal hormone therapy in glaucoma risk, or needs to schedule an appointment, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik. 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 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.

As January 2015 come to an end, The Eye Clinic of Texas wants to remind patients and their families that as Prevent Blindness America has designated January as National Glaucoma Awareness Month. This is a reminder that if you have not already done so, you should remember to schedule a regular eye exam with glaucoma screenings as this is a key to early detection, diagnosis and treatment and goes a long way to maintaining eye health and vision. While we have made enormous progress in reducing glaucoma blindness, the fact remains that some 13%-15% of patients with glaucoma still do go blind. The best way to avoid vision loss from glaucoma is to help us find it early so that we can achieve the best treatment results and outcomes for you should it be necessary.

If you or someone you know has questions about glaucoma, glaucoma eye exams, glaucoma risk factors or needs to schedule an appointment, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

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 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.

Each January, Prevent Blindness America works with eye doctors to raise awareness about glaucoma, the risk factors for glaucoma and how to prevent vision loss from glaucoma. Houston patients should be especially sensitive to the fact that in African-American and Hispanic populations, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness. There is a considerable increase in the number of patients being diagnosed with glaucoma each year. This may simply reflect our aging population or the fact that people are being more diligent about getting regular eye exams. We know that glaucoma risk factors can include family history of glaucoma-especially among siblings, certain diseases like diabetes and other vascular diseases, sleep apnea and even the hormonal changes from early menopause can increase your risk of glaucoma. We also know that there is an increase is risk as patients transcend through their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. The key step in preventing vision loss from glaucoma is early detection, diagnosis and treatment and thus the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision especially for our aging population. We strongly recommend that siblings of glaucoma patients be screened each and every year as their risk of developing glaucoma is some 5 times higher than the typical population.

If you or someone you know has questions about glaucoma, their individual glaucoma risk or needs an eye exam for glaucoma please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, 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.

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 having eye exams in Houston who are told that they have “Bear Tracks”, “Retina Freckles” or “Pigment Spots” should be aware that there may actually have an increased need for colonoscopy to screen for polyps and colon cancer. You may wonder what having a colonoscopy for colon cancer risk possibly have to do with your eyes?  As it turns out-plenty! The retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) is a layer of the retina which can sometimes be thicker than normal at birth-or “hypertrophic”. “During regular eye exams when we find these areas of retinal pigmented epithelial hypertrophy they typically they do not cause any vision problems or symptoms and are pretty unremarkable,” commented Houston eye specialist Dr. Da-Thuy Van an Ophthalmologist at The Eye Clinic of Texas.

Congenital Retinal Pigment Epithelial Hypertrophy (CHRPE) is usually found before patients reach 30 years of age and although they may enlarge with time they usually do not lead to malignancies like colon cancer. However, there is an association between people with Gardner’s Syndrome-Familial Colonic Polyposes-or polyps of the colon, and CHRPE. If your eye doctor has told you that you have Congenital Retinal Pigment Epithelial Hypertrophy-perhaps called “Bear Tracks” or “Pigment Spots” or “Retina Freckles”, it is important to carefully explore and review your family history reasonable with a Gastroenterologist who will likely schedule you for a colonoscopy. CHRPE has a “statistically significant” correlation with hereditary colon polyps known as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, or FAP. It may be that the freckles are caused by the same genetic mutation that produces the polyps. A study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology concluded that patients with such freckles should be referred for colonoscopies.

Thus-when we are over 50 years of age, the reasons to have yearly eye exams includes not only detecting cataracts, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration (AMD) and other eye diseases, but regular eye examinations may very well be a reminder to be screened via colonoscopy to help detect early risks and potential indicators of colon cancer.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about Congenital Retinal Pigment Epithelial Hypertrophy (CHRPE) 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 area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.

“Given the size and ethnic makeup of our Houston community, glaucoma eye exams and glaucoma screening need to be an important part of what we discuss with patients and their families,” commented Galveston & Houston Ophthalmologist Dr. Da-Thuy Van of The Eye Clinic of Texas. Prevent Blindness America has designated January as National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Patients should be particularly sensitive to the fact that in African-American and Hispanic populations, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness. Additional glaucoma risk factors include any family history-especially among siblings-of glaucoma, certain diseases such as diabetes and an increase is risk as patients transcend through their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. The most recent statistical data provided by Prevent Blindness America indicates that 2,719,379 people age 40 and older have open-angle glaucoma, which reflects a 22 percent increase over 2000-a 22% increase!

“The key step in preventing vision loss from glaucoma is early detection, diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr. Van. “This is why we want raise awareness about the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision especially for our aging population. We strongly recommend that siblings of glaucoma patients be screened each and every year as their risk of developing glaucoma is some 5 times higher than the typical population.”

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about glaucoma or schedule a glaucoma eye exam or screening 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 a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area that provides all aspects of general, medical, surgical, laser and optical eye care services. Our Board Certified Ophthalmologists perform Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants using advanced technology IOLs to correct complex problems such as astigmatism and near vision focusing problems including presbyopia, diagnosis and management of glaucoma, diagnosis and management of diabetic retinopathy, diagnosis and management of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Pediatric Ophthalmology. Texas EyeWear at The Eye Clinic of Texas provides personalized consultation and fitting of eyeglasses and eyeglass lenses for greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City area patients.