Monitoring the eyes is important! Did you know that your eyes can clue you into other conditions you may not have symptoms for? A recent study suggests that the eyes can even predict Alzheimer’s disease.
What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder found in people beginning in their sixties. This disorder erodes the brain causing severe memory loss.
When Alzheimer’s advances, even the simplest of tasks become impossible. Alzheimer’s is irreversible and gets worse with age. It is the most common cause of dementia.
People with Alzheimer’s show physical signs of deterioration in the brain. As the disease progresses, symptoms get worse and worse.
Large clumps of matter and tangled fibers in the brain may be the main culprits behind Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s seems to originate in the hippocampus of the brain.
By the time it has taken over, tissue all over the brain is affected and shrunk. Alzheimer’s can take anywhere from 4 to 10 years to take its course. There is not currently any known cure, though some treatments may help with symptoms.
Recent research suggests the structure of the retina correlates with early Alzheimer’s development. This has been considered before because the retina is actually made up of brain tissue. The retina is also connected to the brain by the optic nerve.
The retina is inside of the eye on the interior back wall. The retina contains photosensitive cells. These photosensitive cells translate the images produced by light into electrical impulses.
It is also made up of distinct layers and contains blood vessels that supply nutrients to the tissue. Researchers used an advanced scanning technique called an optical coherence tomographic angiography (OCTA) to create maps of the subject’s retinas.
They detected loss of blood vessels as well as thinning of a retinal layer in patients with Alzheimer’s. Their control groups of people without the disease had normal retinas. The study took factors like age and sex into consideration and still found the changes were statistically significant.
So why is this such an incredible and important find? It’s an important first step towards diagnosing early signs of Alzheimer’s. Although it’s not definitive, if the method can be proven effective, it would provide a safe alternative for patients.
Current testing involves taking PET scans of the brain or examining spinal fluid. These tests can be expensive and pose risk to patients. They may not even be an effective indicator for all patients with Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is also usually diagnosed through behavioral tests. For most patients with Alzheimer’s, by the time they show signs, the disease has progressed.
Further research and testing is necessary to determine if using OCTA works. But in the fight against Alzheimer’s, this is a positive step in the right direction!
Wondering if your eyes are at their best? Contact Takle Eye Group in Locust Grove and Griffin, GA to schedule your appointment! You owe it to your eyes to keep them as healthy as possible.
Cataracts are something we associate with failing vision brought on by old age. They form when the lens begins to get cloudy. This cloudiness is due to proteins in the retina clumping together over time.
Cataracts cause blurred vision, glare, and nearsightedness. Many people think of cataracts as an inevitable hassle that we have to deal with when we get older.
But there’s a lot more that not everyone knows about cataracts and how they’re treated. Keep reading to learn 5 things you didn’t know about cataracts!
You Can’t Prevent Cataracts, But You Can Lower Your Risk
Almost half of adults over the age of seventy develop cataracts. Like the rest of the body, the eyes age. This makes cataracts extremely common! There’s no known way to prevent cataracts, as they are a natural part of aging.
Studies show that a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risks of developing cataracts. This means eating well, exercising, and avoiding UV damage. There is no guarantee that you won’t get cataracts, but you can reduce your risks with these choices.
Cataracts Can Happen At Any Age
Cataracts are typically associated with elderly patients, but they can occur anytime. Cataracts don’t develop overnight. Instead, they may start developing when you’re as young as forty. Most patients don’t realize they have cataracts until their vision has begun diminishing.
If you have conditions like diabetes, you could develop cataracts earlier than forty. You’re also predisposed to cataracts if you’ve suffered from eye trauma.
Cataracts Aren’t Affected By Activities
Like most medical things, there are myths surrounding cataracts. One popular myth is that straining your eyes makes cataracts develop faster. This means tasks like sewing or reading, which need up close vision would be bad for your eyes.
Thankfully, this is a myth! A cataract forms in the lens, not because of the activities you complete. If you’re completing up-close tasks, your ability to see a contrast in low light gets impaired. This can make cataracts more noticeable to the naked eye.
Cataract Surgery Is One Of The Most Common Procedures
The only real way to treat cataracts is to have them removed through cataract surgery. Not everyone gets cataract surgery to treat their cataracts, but it is recommended. This is especially true for cataract patients who have difficulty completing everyday tasks.
Getting cataract surgery can restore and improve vision. During cataract surgery, the lens of the eye gets replaced with an IOL. An IOL or artificial intraocular lens does the job that the lens used to.
Cataract surgery may seem like a hassle, but it’s one of the most common procedures! It is safe and effective at restoring vision stolen by cataracts.
After Cataract Surgery, Cataracts Cannot “Grow Back”
Some people wary of cataract surgery may worry about their cataract growing back. This cannot happen because cataract surgery removes your natural lens. When the lens is then replaced with an IOL, a cataract can’t develop.
An IOL is not made from organic tissue, meaning it cannot become clouded. After cataract surgery, you can develop a “secondary cataract”.
This is also known as clouding around the IOL. If this happens, it’s treatable with a minor procedure that takes about 15 minutes.
Think it could be time for you or a loved one to take care of your cataracts? Schedule an appointment at Takle Eye Group today!
These days, few smokers could claim that they don’t know about the dangers to their health. Lung cancer, emphysema, and other smoking-related diseases are well known. But, aside from these potentially life-threatening illnesses, can smoking affect your vision? And, if so, how?
In 2014, the Surgeon General published an extensive report on The Health Consequences of Smoking – 50 Years of Progress. The report highlighted the progress and new data available on the known effects of smoking and discussed opportunities to bring the smoking epidemic in the United States to an end.
First, the big picture: Since the Surgeon General’s first report on smoking and health in 1964, more than 20 million Americans have died of smoking-related illness, and it’s projected that nearly 500,000 will continue to die prematurely each year as a result of smoking. The annual economic costs of tobacco use are nearly $300 billion annually.
Smokers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to develop dry eye syndrome
Smoking can increase the risk of developing diabetes, make diabetes management more difficult, and can lead to more diabetes complications.
Smoking may also increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy (if you are already diabetic).
Many employers now offer smoking cessation programs to their employees. If you don’t have access to those, there is plenty of free support available from various organizations. Also, enlist the help of family and friends. Living longer and healthier for our loved ones can be a powerful incentive to overcome the addiction.
The good news from the report is that quitting smoking now may reduce your risk of ever developing AMD, cataracts, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy, along with many other ailments. The professionals at Takle Eye Group are excited to monitor your eye health throughout your smoking cessation journey. Call us to make an appointment!
For more information from the 2014 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, click here.
Takle Eye Group is thrilled to announce that Dr. Benjamin Baumrind is now a full-time member of our retinal surgery team!
Dr. Baumrind began with Takle Eye Group as his primary practice location in July 2016. As a surgical retina specialist, he brings his expertise in treating such conditions as diabetic retinopathy, retinal tears and detachment, macular degeneration, vein occlusions, hereditary retinal issues, and more. With board certification from the American Board of Ophthalmology
and a focused clinical interest in the treatment and management of diabetic retinal issues and macular degeneration, Dr. Baumrind has proven to be an invaluable addition to our practice.
From the outset, Dr. Baumrind, an Atlanta native, has been eager to use his skills and training to serve the needs of our local community. Get to know Dr. Baumrind better and learn what life-changing experience caused him to break from his family line of dentists and become an eye surgeon. Read Dr. Baumrind’s full bio here.
A refraction test is what most of us refer to as a routine eye exam used to determine how well you can recognize symbols on a wall chart at a specific distance. Your eye doctor will insert lenses of different strengths into the device you look through, called a phoropter, and ask whether each one improves the clarity of your vision, or makes it worse. This test is part of a normal eye examination to determine whether you have normal vision, and is used to determine the prescription for glasses or contacts, if you need them.
For Medicare patients, the problem with this “routine” eye exam is just that. Medicare does not approve tests that it considers “routine,” like the refraction test. Many commercial insurance plans likewise consider the refraction test a non-covered service.
Your family eye doctors at Takle Eye Group know how important your vision is, and think nothing should stand in the way of your receiving the very best care for your vision. We are pleased to offer the CareCredit credit card, which allows you to choose between zero interest and extended payment plans. Let us get your vision right today – you may be amazed at what you see!
What is blue light? And how does it affect your eyes? If you think of the visible, white light we see as made up of all the colors in the rainbow, blue light has shorter wavelengths and more energy than warmer light. In general, the whiter the light appears, the higher amount of higher-wavelength blue light is entering your eyes.
The largest source of blue light is sunlight. In addition, there are many other sources, including fluorescent and LED light, as well as the light emitted from computer monitors, smartphones, and tablet screens.
Almost all visible blue light passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina. The good news is that blue light is what helps you maintain a healthy circadian rhythm (your natural waking/sleeping cycle). It helps keep you alert, lifts your mood, and sharpens your thinking and memory. And kids need blue light for the healthy development of their eyes.
However, most of us get too much blue light from long hours on, and proximity to, our computer screens and digital devices. This could adversely affect vision and prematurely age the eyes. Early research shows that too much exposure to blue light could lead to:
Digital eyestrain: Blue light from computer screens and digital devices can decrease contrast, leading to digital eyestrain. Symptoms of eyestrain include sore or irritated eyes and difficulty focusing.
Retina damage: Studies suggest that continued exposure to blue light over time could lead to damaged retinal cells. This can cause vision problems like age-related macular degeneration. And, according to a recent study funded by the National Eye Institute, children’s eyes absorb more blue light than adults from digital device screens.
If constant exposure to blue light from smartphones, tablets, and computer screens is an issue, there are a few ways to decrease exposure to blue light:
Filters: Screen filters are available for smartphones, tablets, and computer screens.They shift the colors of your display to the warmer end of the spectrum, reducing the blue light that reaches your retina.
Computer glasses: Computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses that block blue light can help ease computer digital eye strain by increasing contrast.
Anti-reflective lenses: Anti-reflective lenses reduce glare and increase contrast and also block blue light from the sun and digital devices.
Intraocular lens (IOL): Cataract surgery replaces the cloudy lens with an intraocular lens (IOL). These lenses can naturally protect your eye and retina from almost all ultraviolet light and some blue light.
Keeping your eyes healthy today will actually save on future healthcare costs. Call Takle Eye Group and talk to us about your options to protect your eyes from blue light. Our trained specialists can direct you toward the best eye protection for any activity.
People are relying on apps more than ever to monitor and analyze their own health and well-being. So it’s not surprising to find apps that allow you to check your own vision and even order your own contacts online. Of course, before you can take an online vision test, you’ll see a disclaimer, stating that they are “not a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam.” But can an app actually replace your annual trip to the eye doctor?
Vision testing apps are a form of “telemedicine” that was originally developed as a quick way to screen for disease or illness. Moreover, if you have a fairly routine prescription, some of the apps have actually proven to be fairly accurate at determining your prescription. And for early detection, especially in remote places where conventional medical attention isn’t available, or for those who can’t afford basic eye care, telemedicine may be the best option – because it’s the only option.
However, even if an app declares that you have 20/20 vision, here are 7 reasons why you’ll still want a qualified human being to look you in the eyes:
Your eye health goes far beyond your prescription. Even if you have good vision, there are things that are detected through a comprehensive eye exam that have nothing to do with your prescription. At Takle Eye Group, when we perform a comprehensive eye exam, we’re looking at the overall health of your eye. We check your eye pressure; we check your corneas, lenses, and retinas. Online exams cannot detect the medical well-being of your eyes.
Your eyes are spherical. Vision apps take a picture of only the posterior pole (this includes some of the blood vessels, optic nerve and the macula). These pictures only show a small part of the eye. Our trained Ophthalmologists, on the other hand, examine the anterior and posterior of your eye. Patients with an astigmatism or who have higher than a -6.50 prescription need to have their eyes dilated yearly. Dilation is the only way to make sure that there is nothing abnormal happening in the back of the eye.
You wear contacts. Contact lenses are a medical device, and how they fit on your cornea can change from year to year. In addition, many contact lens wearers get so used to their contacts that they don’t follow all the guidelines: They sleep in their contacts, wear them too long without replacing them, and wear them too many hours in the day. Doing these things can cause corneal ulcers, inflammation or swelling of the cornea, infections, etc. This swelling can change your prescription and can be detected with a slit lamp during an exam. That’s something online exams simply can’t do. If you rely solely on an “eye exam” on an app and order contacts without having an eye doctor monitor the changing condition of your eyes, you’re putting your eyes at risk and potentially causing permanent vision loss.
Your prescription needs a major change. Making huge jumps in a prescription is often uncomfortable, making it tempting not to wear those new glasses. At Takle Eye Group, we can adjust your prescription gradually to allow your eyes to adapt, maintaining your vision at the best it can be, every step of the way.
You have diabetes. Patients with diabetes can have bleeding in any part of the eye, and patients who are having symptoms of flashes, floaters, and narrowing of periphery (signs of retinal detachments, holes, and tears) need to have their eyes examined by a professional. If you have suffered a retinal detachment or tear, you risk permanent vision loss or even blindness without professional care.
You’re a child. Apps are not a suitable way to check eyesight in children. The wrong eyeglass prescription could affect the way their eyes develop.
Diagnosis is not science alone; it’s also art. Apps are designed to provide a “yes or no” answer, but it takes a doctor to perceive a potential problem or assess the degree of an existing one. Even advanced diagnostic equipment can under-detect or even fail to detect certain medical conditions, which can give a false sense of security to patients who may already be experiencing symptoms of a disease. Our Ophthalmologists use our experience and judgement to interpret the findings of our equipment, and discover, diagnose, and treat conditions that advanced equipment fails to detect.
So, while strides in telemedicine have facilitated diagnosis and care in remote areas where secondary care is not that accessible, apps and online vision tests are no replacement for regular eye exams. Only your doctor can detect sight-threatening conditions such as glaucoma or diabetes retinopathy. At Takle Eye Group, ensuring your best vision is our only focus.
As 2017 draws to a close, the team at Takle Eye Group and their families are grateful to the community of patients that choose us for their comprehensive eye care. We are looking forward to an exciting and successful 2018! We can’t possibly highlight all that happened in a year but below is a brief recap of practice news and blogs.
On December 2, 2017, the Griffin Lion’s Club honored Takle Eye Group with an official proclamation of service. This award recognizes that for over 43 years, Dr. Leiv Takle Sr. and Dr. Leiv Takle Jr. carry on furthering healthy vision, promoting complete health awareness, and offering professional services to the indigent and insured alike.
The Lions Club International is widely known for its benevolent services in the areas of Youth, Environment Preservation, Diabetes Awareness and Hunger Eradication Programs. The Griffin Lions Club is best known locally for providing free vision screenings and financial assistance with vision care; and valued partnership between the Takle Eye Group and the Griffin Lions club has provided over 2000 vision screenings to local elementary and kindergarten students since August 2017, helping to ensure that no child in our community will be deprived of the opportunity to learn because of poor vision. Takle Eye Group is proud to lend financial support and encouragement to the Griffin Lions Club and all that they do.
We’ve probably all heard this as kids at some point, and with good reason. The UV light that the sun emits can cause damage to the cells of the cornea in your eye –much like a sunburn on your skin. Can the same damage be done by observing a solar eclipse?
On August 21, 2017, America will be experiencing its first total solar eclipse in 38 years. For a few brief moments, the shadow of the moon will completely obscure the sun, causing total blackness in certain places. People all around the country are selecting the best places to watch this rare celestial event. While it is exciting, watching a solar eclipse can be dangerous to your eye health if the proper precautions are not taken.
So what’s the risk, exactly? During an eclipse the sun is partially blocked; therefore looking directly at it doesn’t produce the same painful effect as it would in full daylight. Therefore, where you might be forced to look away away from direct sunlight, prolonged viewing during a solar eclipse could cause significant damage without your being aware of it.
According to the vision eye institute, Solar Retinopathy can happen when light enters the opening at the front of the eye (called the pupil) and is then focused through the lens of the eye, onto the retina at the back of the eye. There are three kinds of light – visible, infrared and ultraviolet (UV). UV rays in particular can cause damage to the structure of the eye.
With overexposure to UV rays, the radiation literally “cooks” the exposed tissue, destroying the rods and cones of the retina and creating a small blind area. Similar damage can be caused by other intense lights such as a welder’s torch (which is why welders wear highly protective goggles when they are working).
Symptoms often appear later in the evening or the next morning and can include:
Sore, watery eyes
Discomfort looking at bright lights
Difficulty discerning shapes, especially detailed objects
Visual distortion of objects
Blind spot in the center of your vision
While physicians can help ease discomfort, there is no one treatment or cure for Solar Retinopathy. So, prevention is key! WEARING SUNGLASSES IS NOT ENOUGH PROTECTION. You don’t have to miss out on observing this experience, but make sure you’re aware of the dangers and that everyone in your group wears specially designed solar glasses while viewing the eclipse. Another option is viewing online via NASA’s livestream view page.
For more information on how to experience the solar eclipse safely, read THIS ARTICLE published by the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider.