Glaucoma affects 2.7 million Americans aged 40 and over. While this eye condition is often associated with age, glaucoma can develop earlier.
In fact, it can start developing in someone’s forties. Glaucoma has few noticeable symptoms and is often diagnosed once vision loss occurs.
Glaucoma is a degenerative eye disease. Untreated glaucoma will result in eventual blindness, but the condition is treatable! Keep reading to learn more about this eye condition!
Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness
Glaucoma is one of the top causes of blindness worldwide and is second behind cataracts. Glaucoma affects about 2.7 million Americans. Cataracts affect 24.4 million Americans.
Both conditions begin developing as early as a patient’s forties. The big difference between cataracts and glaucoma is there’s no cure for glaucoma. If someone has a cataract, they can have it removed by undergoing cataract surgery.
Vision lost to glaucoma can’t be restored
Early detection and glaucoma treatment is key to minimizing vision loss. Unfortunately, any vision lost to glaucoma is gone for good.
It’s only through regular eye examinations that you can stay ahead of glaucoma. If you are diagnosed with glaucoma early, there are treatment options to consider.
With an early diagnosis, you can save more of your vision being lost to glaucoma. This makes it essential for adults who are 40 and over to see their eye doctors regularly. With comprehensive eye exams, you can stay a step ahead of glaucoma!
Why a dilated eye examination is so important
Your eye doctor will need to dilate your eyes during your eye examination. By dilating your eyes, it is the best way to detect early-stage glaucoma.
Without dilation, the chances are high your eye doctor could miss signs of glaucoma. Nobody likes getting their eyes dilated, but it’s a necessary part of getting eye exams!
How often do you need an eye examination?
How often you will need your eyes examined depends on both your age and your risk level. It’s best to discuss this with your eye doctor.
If you know that you are “high risk” for developing glaucoma, you should go at least every one to two years. For people that are not at high risk, you should still go every few years.
Ultimately, ask your eye doctor if you’re unsure about how often to get a comprehensive eye exam.
Who is at risk?
The simple truth is that every adult 40 and over is at risk of developing glaucoma. Higher risk individuals are people who have a family history of glaucoma.
Other people at higher risk are those that are of African American or Hispanic descent. If you have a condition like high blood pressure or diabetes, you are also at a higher risk for glaucoma.
It’s rare, but babies and young children can also develop congenital glaucoma.
Glaucoma treatment options
Glaucoma might be one of the top causes of blindness, but it is also very treatable in its early stages.
Treatment options include prescribed eye drops, special pills, and laser eye surgical procedures. How your glaucoma will be treated depends on how severe your intraocular pressure is.
Concerned that you may have lost vision due to glaucoma? Schedule a consultation at Takle Eye Group in Griffin, Georgia today!
Losing even part of your vision can be devastating. It’s common for anger, grief, and depression to accompany any loss of sight. However, with determination and persistence you can make the most of your remaining vision and continue to find much happiness and fulfillment in your life. Following these eight tips can go a long way toward refocusing your outlook.
Take ownership of your condition. Know that much of what must be done to maintain your independence and quality of life must be done by you.
Learn all you can about your eye condition. The more you understand, the less fear you may experience. Educating yourself helps pinpoint your concerns and assists you in talking to your eye doctor and others about your vision problems.
Write down questions for your eye doctor before your next visit. Ask a family member or close friend to go with you into the examining room, and feel free to express your questions and concerns.
Enlist the experts. Along with your team of professionals at Takle Eye Group, there are many agencies and organizations across the country where you can find information on support and rehabilitation services, as well as other resources. Call us for recommendations on where to get started.
Get devices working for you. Prescription magnifiers, telescopic aids, closed-circuit TV, and other products can help you make the most of your limited vision. Let us know what your specific challenges are, and we’ll do our best to help you meet them successfully.
Find support in others who are dealing with low vision. Learn how others have coped with their vision loss. They can explain how they learned to do old things in new ways and provide empathy, encouragement, and hope.
Stay realistic and positive. Unfortunately, some eye conditions can worsen despite the best of care. If your condition means that you could lose more of your vision, prepare yourself for the potential changes and stay positive about the challenges. You may need to develop new skills for daily living. Learn as much as you can about resources and rehabilitation services that are available. It will make adjusting easier if you are prepared ahead of time.
Stay hopeful about the future. Many exciting advances are continually being made through medical research. A cure may be found in the future for many eye conditions and diseases. But, whatever the future holds, be assured that you are getting the best in knowledgeable and compassionate care with your team of professionals at Takle Eye Group.
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.
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.
If you find yourself in need of eye surgery, the amount of information you receive can be overwhelming. Maybe you are dealing with a drooping eyelid (Blepharoplasty, Ptosis), need a Brow lift, or Eyelid reconstruction? You may be in need of an Orbital fracture repair, Entropion repair, Ectropion repair, Do you have a Blocked tear duct (Dacryocystorhinostomy)? Do you want to know more about Botox treatments both cosmetic and functional or Injectables and Fillers (Juvederm, etc.)? Are you considering Oculoplastic, Orbital, and Cosmetic surgery?
Here are 3 fundamental questions to consider when selecting your eye surgeon:
Is your Surgeon qualified?
Having a qualified Surgeon can ease the anxiety that sometimes comes with an operation. Knowing you have the most skilled and qualified surgeon can assure your surgery will go well. You want to be sure you get the optimal care when undergoing a procedure. Dr. Takle Jr has performed over 10,000 cataract cases over 10 years of operating.
Dr. Takle Jr. is fellowship trained in oculoplastic, orbital, and cosmetic surgery and specializes in blepharoplasty, eyelid and facial skin cancer reconstruction after Mohs Micrographic Surgery as well as nasolacrimal duct surgery. He is an expert in no injection, no stitch cataract surgery and Glaucoma laser surgery.
Is your Surgeon board certified?
Being certified means, your surgeon took the extra time commitment and education to be an expert surgeon. Being certified is not only recognition, but it is also a stamp of approval from the highest ranks in Ophthalmology.
Dr. Takle Jr is a board-certified ophthalmologist with the American Board of Ophthalmology.
2015 – Present: Chief of Surgery, Spalding Regional Hospital
2015 – Present: District 6, Board of Director, Medical Association of Georgia
What are your surgeon’s specialty and experience?
Go with the best when getting surgery. You want to make sure the operation does not cause extenuating issues beyond your initial problem. It is safer to go with someone who specializes in the treatment needed rather than a surgeon with general knowledge. Choosing a specialist can avoid any long-term negative consequences that often occur when going with a generalist.
Dr. Takle Jr. specializes in comprehensive eye care, no injection, no stitch cataract surgery, glaucoma laser and micro-device surgery, treatment of macular degeneration, dry eyes and diabetic retinal disease.
Dr. Takle Jr. did his internship and ophthalmology residency training at the well known Emory Eye Center. He has extensive training in the latest technology including no injection, no stitch, cataract surgery and the most recent in oculoplastic techniques including reconstruction of eyelids after skin cancer removal, blepharoplasty, ptosis repair, brow lifts, and Botox and fillers.
It is essential to seek out a qualified professional when seeking these services to avoid any recurring issues and to get the best surgical experience available to you.
At Takle Eye Group we want our patients to receive the best eye care possible, this includes making sure our patients are informed regarding exams and medical insurance. We are often asked about the difference between medical and routine eye exams. Both medical and routine eye exams may include the same components: such as refraction, dilation, intra-ocular pressure testing, and a personal examination by an eye care professional. Both medical and routine exams are completed by either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist.
The primary difference in medical and routine exams is often determined by insurance providers based on reasons (or a chief complaint) or the physician’s findings or diagnosis. A medical exam includes diagnosis and treatment of an eye disease or malady (like glaucoma, conjunctivitis, or cataracts). A routine eye exam, on the other hand, includes diagnosis and treatment of non-medical complaints, like astigmatism, or farsightedness.
Example: If you’re seeing the doctor because you’re having trouble with blurry vision, that’s a routine exam. If you’re seeing the doctor because you have pink eye, that’s a medical exam. Anything related to glasses or contacts prescription is considered a routine exam. If the doctor discovers that your vision is blurry because you have cataracts, and your final diagnosis is a medical diagnosis, then your exam becomes a medical exam. OR if the doctor gives you a diagnosis of myopia (nearsightedness), that’s a non-medical, “routine” diagnosis, and your exam is a routine exam.
What does this distinction mean for your insurance coverage?
Mainly, it depends on your provider, your policy, and your plan. Some insurance providers offer coverage for medical exams, but not routine exams. Some providers require a co-pay on routine exams, but cover a portion. Some offer discounts on glasses and contacts. Some will cover a medical exam annually, while others cover every two years. Please bear in mind that it is the patient’s responsibility for knowing coverage but we are here to help with questions. If you need any assistance determining what your insurance covers please reach out to our office.
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.