Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Have Floaters!

They're kinda like little bugs flying around, except there are no bugs there! Lots and lots of little spots in front of your eyes all of a sudden, and it seems like they are always RIGHT in front of your vision when you are trying to read. Or it feels like there's a spot just outside your field of view--is that the bug? You just can't shoo it away.

They're floaters!

Wait...what the heck's a floater, anyway? Well, a floater is a little speck of protein debris in the vitreous jelly, the jell that fills up the middle of the eye. The vitreous jelly (you may have heard it called vitreous humor in school) is very important for the development of the eye until we're about 2 years old. After that point it's really just there to cause mischief. One of the mischievious things it does is shrink.

The thing that make the vitrious a gel is the same thing that makes Jello a gel. There's a microscopic protein skeleton and as we get older that skeleton collapses upon itself. Little areas that used to be just barely microscopic are now just dense enough to be macroscopic. They form a little clump and VOILA...a floater.

So you've got floaters, what do you do about them? In time your brain will learn to ignore them. They become like background visual noise and your brain just ignores them, just like the old fashion elevator operator who didn't hear the elevator music any more because it was always there!

For some more information check out this Eyemaginations video here. If you DO have floaters make sure to get them evaluated at Skyvsion Centers.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Exciting Developments in Macular Degeneration Treatment

Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of blindness in older Americans. It come in two general varieties: wet (exudative) and dry (non-exudative). The defining difference between the two types is the presence or absence of bleeding and leaking from abnormal blood vessels.

Wet macular degeneration is potentially devastating, with rapid visual loss that can occur very suddenly. Several effective treatments have developed over the last 15 or 20 years, from laser photocoagulation to the injection of substances that cause the leaking and bleeding blood vessels to shrivel up and close. Wet macular degeneration is no longer a sentence to a lifetime of blindness.

On the other hand, up until very recently there hasn't really been any treatment for dry Macular Degeneration other than taking high doses of the anti-oxidant vitamens A, C, E, zinc, and copper. Formulations like Ocuvit PreserVision have been shown to slow the progression of dry AMD. There are now two exciting medicines in the FDA pipeline to treat dry AMD, one oral medication and one that is an eyedrop.

The oral medication is called Fenritinide and it is made by Sirion Therapeutics. This medicine has been shown in phase I and II studies to decrease the rate of worsening of dry AMD by up to 50%. The only side effect thus far is a decrease in night vision in some of the study patients. The results have been so positive that Fenritinide has been "fast-tracked" to phase III by the FDA.

The second exciting development is OT-551, an eyedrop made by Othera Pharmaceuticals. This medicine is in phase II after showing a positive effect with little to now side effects. We are very hopeful that it, too, will emerge from phase II with a "fast-track" designation so that  we will potentially have TWO options to treat dry AMD.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More on Sunglasses--Visible Light Transmission

It's a beautiful, bright sunny day in Cleveland, Ohio! We don't get too many of these for most of the year, but Spring and Summer around here can be magnificent. Let's talk about another thing that you should think about when you are choosing what sunglasses to wear, how dark should your sunglasses be.

The technical term for this choice is "Visible Light Transmission". When Eye Doctors and Opticians think about sunglasses we think about how much light actually gets through, the VLT. It's funny because when we talk about UV protection we talk about how much UV light DOESN'T get through. With VLT the darker the lens the lower the VLT in general. But sunglass lens technology has become so advanced that some relatively light lenses actually block out lots of visible light!

Your activity and your environment will help you choose your sunwear. Let's think about Cleveland for a minute. Right now it's pretty sunny. We're a lake community with Lake Erie just to the north of everyone and everything. Lake activities make you want POLARIZED sunglasses, and today you would look for something that has around 20% VLT. Two super examples would be the Nike Brown (16% VLT) or Grey (17% VLT) Max Tint Polarized lenses.

Now, it IS Cleveland, and we get lots and lots of cloudy, overcast days around here. On days like that it's not so important that you wear polarized sunglasses, but you could if you wanted. On cloudy days you want UV protection, decreased transmission of blue light waves, and a slightly higher VLT, usually around 40%. Good choices from Nike would be the Max Tint Orange (60% VLT) or Smoke (50% VLT). We often see Dr. White with his Max Tint Orange Nikes on cloudy days.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why a Bowtie?

We recently asked Dr. White why he wears a bowtie. Here’s what he said (after he stopped laughing!):

“Why a bowtie?’s been so long I haven’t given all that much thought to that. When I was in medical school my wife and I cleaned out the bargain tie bin at a local department store that was going out of business. Silk ties for 2 and 3 bucks! When we got home we noticed two bowties in the mix. I happened to be on call the next night so Beth tied one for me to wear—bowties stay out of the way of all kinds of icky stuff you encounter in a hospital.

Well, as luck would have it, the most popular show on TV was “Hill Street Blues”, and one of the detectives wore a bowtie. Whenever Henry Goldblum got stressed his bowtie came undone. Of course, my wiseguy fellow med students thought it would be fun to untie MINE...and I didn’t know how to tie it yet! Sooo, three hours in front of a mirror later and I was an expert on bowtie tying.

I must have gotten good feedback about the bowtie as a resident because I found myself wearing it more and more. Not everyone at NYU knew Dr. White the ophthalmology resident, but everyone knew Dr. Bowtie the eye doctor! Now if I go someplace without a bowtie I’m almost invisible.”

So there you have it, why Dr. White wears a bowtie. If you’re interested Dr. White gets his bowties from Beau Ties Ltd. in Vermont, and in Chicago. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It's Sunglass Season!

Hey! Even in Cleveland  the sun comes out. It's springtime… almost summer, and it's time to think about sunglasses. At Skyvision we have everything to meet your sunglasses needs. We have high fashion names like Fendi and Coach, and we have some of the most high-tech offerings from companies like Oakley, Maui Jim, and Nike.

So why would you want to wear sunglasses? Well, there are two very important reasons to think about wearing sunglasses, even when it's not terribly sunny out. The first, and most important reason, is to protect your eyes from ultraviolet light. UV light is actually toxic to many of the structures in the eye including the lens and the retina. There is some very good research that shows that prolonged exposure to UV light causes cataracts, and in people with light colored eyes there seems to be an association between ultraviolet light exposure and macular degeneration.

Why else might you wear sunglasses? Lens technology has advanced so far in sunglasses that it's actually possible to ENHANCE your vision for a particular activity by wearing the appropriate type of sunglasses. For instance, the Nike Speed lens is dynamite for baseball. Nike also makes the very best lens for golf with lenses that enhance your ability to see contour and multiple shades of green on the golf course.

And who hasn't seen a photo of Lance Armstrong in his Oakley Jawbones careening around the corner in the Tour de France?! Oakley has pioneered the technology of “swappable” lenses, and the Jawbone is a great example of how one frame can accommodate many different activities simply by swapping out the lenses.

Skyvision centers is your headquarters for all of your sunglasses needs!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Over 40 Eyes...Why Can't I Read?

We know what you're thinking...who shrunk my arms? It's happening a lot around the office at Skyvision Centers, too. We're all getting a little older  around here and it seems like there are a bunch of reading glasses lying around everywhere now. As a matter of fact, the only person in the office who can't seem to find Dr. White's readers is DR. WHITE!

Why do we start to have trouble reading when we get older? To answer that we have to go all the way back to age 2 or so. Almost all of us is born a little farsighted or hyperopic. We focus our eyes to overcome this little bit of farsightedness using the same muscles that we use to focus on objects up close. This muscular process is called ACCOMMODATION. When we look at things up close three things happen: our eyes come closer together, our pupils get smaller, and the lens inside our eyes gets fatter. We have massive powers of accommodation at age two and then we gradually lose those powers as wel get older.

The medical term for "Over 40 Eyes" is PRESBYOPIA. When we lose enough of our power of accommodation that we can no longer see things up close we become presbyopic. Of course your kids will just say you got old! Here's a LINK to the Eyemaginations video on presbyopia.

So what can we do? Well, there are a bunch of options, actually. If your eyes are health you can just buy reading glasses at the pharmacy. You might have a different prescription in each of your eyes, and if so your Skyvision Centers eye doctor can prescribe a pair of reading glasses that are specific to you. Many of us need to wear glasses to see things far away--a pair of bifocals takes care of the up-close problem. Bifocal contact lenses are available, and you can even correct your vision with something called MONOVISION, with one eye corrected for near and one eye corrected for far vision.

Whew! That's a lot of options! Don't worry...we'll have lots of answers for you in future posts, and of course, we bet we'll see an "At the Dr. Whiteboard" video or two on this subject, too!