Friday, November 8, 2013

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

As we leave the mildness of early autumn behind and prepare for the approaching colder months, it is important not only to take preventative measure to protect our bodies against illness (getting flu shots, taking a multi-vitamin supplement, dressing for the weather), but also to take care of our eyes. This is especially critical for those diagnosed with diabetes. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), between 12,000 and 24,000 new cases of blindness related to diabetic retinopathy occur in the United States each year. It is the number one cause of blindness in the United States. Diabetes retinopathy occurs in the retina with what are collectively called microvascular abnormalities. The small blood vessels develop microaneursyms, which are weakened areas in the walls of tiny blood vessels in the retina. Ruptures result, which lead to hampered blood flow, as well as swelling and leakage that causes scarring, blind spots and ultimately, blindness. Often these microaneursyms are caused by abnormally high blood sugar levels. You first may notice diabetic retinopathy (DR) or other eye problems related to diabetes when you have symptoms such as: • Fluctuating vision • Eye floaters and spots • Development of a scotoma or shadow in your field of view • Blurry and/or distorted vision • Corneal abnormalities such as slow healing of wounds due to corneal abrasions • Double vision • Eye pain • Near vision problems unrelated to presbyopia • Cataracts The best way to treat diabetic retinopathy is to control your blood sugar. Diabetic retinopathy is not the only eye disease associated with diabetes. Diabetics are also more likely to contract bacterial infections, such as pink eye and/or eyelid styes. Diabetes affects the autoimmune system, lowering resistance to infection. Some of the best ways to avoid contracting these infections include keeping blood sugar levels low, practicing good hygiene by washing hands frequently, and avoiding rubbing and touching the eyes and the skin around the eyes. Fluctuating blood sugars are known to cause fluctuating vision. There is a direct correlation between the change in blood sugar levels and the ability of the crystalline lens in the eye to maintain sharp focus. Blood sugar levels must be under control at all times in order to be prescribed glasses or contacts. Because of the nature of diabetes, changes in vision may occur more than once over a period of months. However, glasses or contacts cannot be prescribed unless glucose levels are stable. A good rule of thumb for knowing when to get new glasses is to monitor blood sugar levels for three months. If they are relatively stable, your glasses prescription will be accurate, especially if your glucose reading stays below seven percent. Being able to monitor any vision changes, as well as any abnormalities in vision is essential in keeping diabetic eyes health, thus making it essential for yearly, and in some cases, bi-annual, eye exams.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Welcome Dr. Haigh!

The Nielsen Eye Center is pleased to welcome Dr. Douglas Haigh, O.D., to our practice! Dr. Haigh specializes in Contact Lens Fittings , Ocular Disease, Sports Vision, Low Vision, and Dry Eye Management. His subspecialty is in Orthokeratology and refractive surgery care and management. He is committed to patient education and preserving excellent eye health. Dr. Haigh also believes that patients should be offered the best technology available to provide the clearest vision possible for his patients. Dr. Haigh earned his optometry degree from the New England College of Optometry. He completed specialized training at the Eastern Blind Rehabilitation Center in West Haven, Ridgefield Family Eye Care, and Newington VA Hospital in Connecticut. Dr. Haigh is a member of the American Optometric Association, Massachusetts Society of Optometrists, Connecticut Association of Optometrists and a proud volunteer for the Special Olympics and optometric screenings within the community. Welcome, Dr. Haigh! We are happy to have you as part of our team!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Another Success!

Doug Meehan of WTKK Talk Radio 96.9 is estatic about his LASIK result! Check out his YouTube video!

If you want to experience the same fanastic results, please contact The Nielsen Eye Center to schedule a consultation with a Patient Advocate today!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dry Winter Can Mean Dry Eyes

Check out this great article, "Dry Eye: Symptoms and Solutions," about the symptoms of Dry Eye and the treatment options available.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please contact The Nielsen Eye Center to schedule an appointment. Dr. Nielsen and his staff care about the health of your eyes and quality of life great vision offers!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Glaucoma: The Sneak Thief of Sight

Janauary is Glaucoma Awareness Month. As such, we thought it important to share information regarding this condition with you.

Often referred to as “the sneak thief of sight, glaucoma is the second leading cause of preventable blindness globally. It is important to note that glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among those of African-American and Hispanic descents. Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that lead to optic nerve damage. In most cases, this damage is associated with a dangerous build up of internal eye pressure, known as Intraocular Pressure (IOP). Because there are no symptoms or warnings, as much as 40 percent of vision can be lost without a person noticing. Glaucoma usually progresses undetected until the optic nerve has been irreversibly damaged, with varying degrees of permanent vision loss.

There are two major types of glaucoma: Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma. Open-Angle Glaucoma is the most common type. Its cause is unknown; however, it does tend to run in families. Risk is higher if a parent or grandparent has open-angle glaucoma. With this type of glaucoma, Intraocular Pressure (IOP) increases due to blockage of the channels, or angles, that allow the clear fluid behind the eye to drain. The resulting pressure causes damage to the optic nerve, thus hindering the visual information carried to the brain.

The first sign of POAG is often the loss of peripheral, or side, vision, which can go unnoticed until late in the disease. This is why annual routine eye exams are critical. During this exam, an ophthalmologist dilates, or enlarges, the pupil of the eye using dilating drops. Once dilated, the appearance of the optic nerve can be studied. The ophthalmologist also performs a procedure called tonometry to check eye pressure, and a visual field test to determine whether or not any peripheral vision loss has occurred. If glaucoma is detected, a treatment plan is determined. While detecting glaucoma early will not reverse any vision loss that has already occurred, measures can be put in place to reduce, and in many cases, stop any further vision loss.

The goal of treatment is to reduce pressure in the eye. Open-angle glaucoma is most commonly treated with various combinations of eye drops, microsurgery, and a laser procedure called laser trabeculoplasty, in which a laser is used to pull open the meshwork drainage area behind the eye. The microsurgical procedure is called trabeculectomy. During this procedure, a new channel is created to drain the eye’s clear fluid, thereby reducing the intraocular pressure causing glaucoma. While these surgical procedures are used to slow or prevent further vision loss, most people can be successfully treated with eye drops. As with any treatment plan, success depends on consistency and following the treatment plan as prescribed.

Angle-closure glaucoma occurs when the exit of the eye’s clear fluid is suddenly blocked, causing a quick, severe and painful rise in the pressure behind the eye. Angle-closure glaucoma is an emergency, and medical attention should be sought immediately. Other symptoms associated with this type of glaucoma include cloudy vision, nausea and vomiting, rainbow-like halos around lights, and red eye.

Again, while glaucoma is a serious condition, early detection is the key to preventing further vision loss or blindness. Having routine annual eye exams not only aids in the detection of this eye disease, but also increases the ability to maintain healthy eyes for years to come.

Friday, November 11, 2011

FSA, the holidays and you: giving the gift of LASIK

Falling leaves, pumpkin pie and crisp air can only mean one thing: the holidays are right around the corner! Black Friday and food comas are at our doorsteps - the hustle and bustle of purchasing the perfect gifts as arrived! This time of year also signals the beginning of selecting employee benefits for the coming year, including Flexible Spending Account (FSA) options. Why not plan to give yourself of someone you care about the gift of LASIK surgery using this benefit?

FSA is a great way to plan for medical/health procedures that may not be covered, or only partially covered, by your health insurance plan. This pre-tax portion of your salary can be used to cover the cost of LASIK surgery. At The Nielsen Eye Center, our Patient Advocates are happy to assist you in understanding the cost of the LASIK surgery that would work for you. We also offer many forms of financing, as well as some discounts, to fit your budgeting needs.

For people over the age of 40 who are considering laser vision correction, Monovision LASIK is one option. After the age of 40, we begin to lose the ability to focus, or accommodate, the lens of our eyes. This is not caused by disease or illness – it is just a natural part of the aging process.

When the ability to focus is lost, the eyes cannot adjust or focus images at different distances. This issue is called Presbyopia. Bifocal glasses are usually prescribed to correct this, enabling vision to be acceptable for both distance and near vision. Presbyopia can also be corrected with Monovision LASIK. In this laser procedure, one eye is corrected for distance and one eye for near vision. Typically, the eye that is corrected for distance is the dominant eye.

Dr. Steven A. Nielsen has performed over 25,000 successful LASIK surgery procedures. He and his staff offer the care and latest technology to ensure that you receive the best vision care available.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Diabetes Affects Both Young and Old

World Diabetes Day is fast approaching! Check out this video made by a 16-year-old girl who has diabetes. Remember to take care of your eyes, too! Schedule your annual exam with The Nielsen Eye Center today!