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Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

Wednesday, February 03, 2021
Author Montgomery Eye

Tags macular degeneration

What is Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?

AMD is a disorder of the macula. The macula is the part of your retina where your central and color vision calls home. AMD is a complex disorder where degenerative protein/lipids (called "drusen") deposit under the retina. These deposits are seen in early macular degeneration. As the disease progresses, the retina's structural support system breaks down and can allow abnormal blood vessels to grow or leak fluid and further disrupt the retinal cells. If these blood vessels grow in the macula, then you will lose your central.

AMD is the leading cause of central vision loss in Americans over 50 years old. There are two types of age-related macular degeneration (AMD):

Dry or Nonexudative – This form is quite common. About 80% (8 out of 10) of people who have AMD have the dry form.

Click the American Academy of Ophthalmology link and learn the dry form of age-related macular degeneration.

https://youtu.be/VhGo1jGHFps

Wet or Exudative – This form is less common but much more serious. Wet AMD is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina.

What are the risk factors?

  • Age: AMD affects more than 2 million Americans over 50 years old. The prevalence of ARMD in the USA is around 6% when 65 and almost 20% when 75 years old.
  • Genetics: have a family history of AMD
  • Smoking: Increases your risk for progression
  • Diet: eating foods high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
  • Have Certain Diseases: hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, cardiovascular disease
  • Are Overweight

What is the treatment?

Depending on your type and severity of macular degeneration, many new and exciting treatment options can not only prevent further vision loss, but they can help you regain vision, sometimes even back to 20/20. Discuss your options with your eye doctor.

Look Out for Your Eyesight

Keep up with your eye exams, maintain healthy habits and good safety practices. Your eyes will love you for it!

Show some LOVE to your EYES and Call TODAY to Schedule your Appointment!

334-271-3804

Simple Lifestyle Adjustments to Help Those With Low Vision

Simple Lifestyle Adjustments to Help Those With Low Vision

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Author Montgomery Eye

What Does “Low Vision” Means?

As we age, our eyes change too. Many of these vision changes can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses. However, if your eye doctor tells you that your vision cannot be fully corrected with ordinary prescription lenses, medical treatment, or surgery, and you still have some usable vision. In this case, you have what is called “low vision.” Patients diagnosed with low vision may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks with low vision, such as reading, shopping, preparing meals, and signing your name on the dotted line.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, low vision can be a significant challenge for persons of any age trying to maintain their independence. Low vision can make everyday activities difficult, increasing reliance on loved ones and caregivers while increasing the risk of falls.

Here are a few simple adjustments that can be done to lessen the dependency for those with less severe forms of low vision:

Increase Contrast and Color

Bright living room with different contrasting colors.

Set brightly colored accessories around the home to help with locating the items around them. Use contrasting colors to define doorknobs, steps, doorframes clearly, switch plates, outlets, or stairway landings to help decrease the risk of missteps and falls.

Let the Light Shine Bright

 Bright living room with light shining brightly.

Brighter lighting can help with reading and activities such as sewing or cooking. Provide plenty of floor lamps and table lamps to enhance overhead lighting. Remove mirrors that reflect lights to create a glare. Use window coverings that can allow natural light through.

Embrace Technology

Senior citizen using Bluetooth earphones with tablet computer.

There are a variety of technology-based tools for smartphones and tablets designed to aid people with low vision. One example is Spotlight Text, which can be configured to help people with particular patterns of low vision to read with greater comfort.

Remove Hazards

Hardwood floor with a carpet rug on top.

Use non-glare products to clean floors instead of wax. Tape down area rugs and remove electrical cords from pathways to decrease the risk of falling and injury.

Don’t Delay Eye Exams

Eye doctor examining patient’s eyes.

Several diseases that cause low vision, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma, are progressive and can get worse without proper monitoring and treatment. During a comprehensive eye exam, an eye doctor can identify both the type and severity of vision loss and, in some cases, refer patients to low vision rehabilitation.

Having low vision can be challenging, but it does not have to mean giving up your independence. Just a few adjustments around the house can make a big difference in maintaining comfort and strengthening your ability to accomplish your normal daily activities with partial sight.

Our First Goal Is Our Patients’ Lifelong Vision Health

Call today to schedule your appointment!

334-271-3804

Montgomery Eye Physicians

American Academy of Ophthalmology

Give Yourself A Gift That Will last A LIfetime

Give Yourself A Gift That Will last A LIfetime

Wednesday, December 09, 2020
Author Montgomery Eye

It is that magical time of the year, a season of giving and being merry! What a year we have had so far, where you might have placed your needs at the bottom of your to-do list. At Montgomery Eye, we want to remind you to give yourself a gift that you will cherish for a lifetime – the gift of healthy vision.

As we age, we should be vigilant in watching for signs of age-related vision loss because early diagnosis is critical in preventing many sight-threatening conditions from progressing. We want our patients empowered with information that they can minimize their risks. Have you scheduled your comprehensive eye exam?

Eye Exam 101

A comprehensive eye exam is a painless procedure that can detect potentially sight-robbing conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, even before a patient experiences any symptoms. A comprehensive eye exam should cover the following: 

  • Medical history ‒ assessed through questions about vision and family history.
  • Visual acuity ‒tested by reading a standardized eye chart.
  • Pupils ‒ evaluated to determine how well they respond to light.
  • Eye movement ‒ tested to ensure proper eye alignment and ocular muscle function.
  • Prescription for corrective lenses ‒ evaluated to ensure proper vision correction.
  • Side vision ‒ tested for possible vision loss and glaucoma risk.
  • Eye pressure ‒ tested as a possible glaucoma symptom.
  • Front part of the eye ‒ examined to reveal any cataracts, scars, or scratches on your cornea.
  • Retina and optic nerve ‒ assessed through a dilated eye exam using special eyedrops, which allows your eye doctor to thoroughly examine the back of the eye for signs of damage.

Helping Your Vision Stay Healthy

Between those regular eye exams, there is a lot we can do in our daily lives to safeguard our eyesight. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses outside (no matter what season it is), stay active, eat healthy foods, and avoid harmful habits like smoking. Following these tips will greatly reduce many risk factors for eye diseases, let alone improving your overall health!

Give yourself the gift that does not come wrapped in a beautiful box but a gift that will be cherished for a lifetime – healthy vision. Do not delay or deny yourself a comprehensive eye exam.

Keep the holidays happier and healthier.

Dr. Mitchell Retirement

Monday, November 23, 2020

Dear Patients,

I have enjoyed caring for you and your families over the years. With mixed feelings of happiness and sadness, I am writing to let you know of my intention to retire from the practice of Medicine. My last day with Montgomery Eye Physicians will be on December 31, 2020.

Over the years, I have had the privilege to be involved in caring for the eye health needs of several generations of families in the area. Together we have shared both heartaches and joys. I truly appreciate your loyalty and the confidence that you have placed in me throughout the years. It has been an honor that you have entrusted me with the care of your precious gift of vision! I will take the memories of our shared experiences with me into my retirement years.

As you all know, this practice is comprised of a group of very knowledgeable and caring eye doctors supported by an excellent staff. Our Ophthalmologists include Dr. John Swan, Dr. In Shin, and Dr. Katherine Donnithorne. In addition to our board certified Ophthalmologists, we are supported by our highly trained and board certified Optometrists; Dr. Michael Bradford, Dr. Tim Meadows, Dr. Tyler McFaden, and our newest addition, Dr. Amanda Duty.

Montgomery Eye remains commited to providing you with the best eye care in Central Alabama. As such, your medical records will remain on site at the practice and accessible by all of our skilled providers. To schedule an appointment, just call 334-271-3804.

It has been a great pleasure meeting and caring for you all. I sincerely appreciate your friendship and loyalty. I wish you continued good health, happiness, and all the best in the coming years.

Sincerely,

Dr. Tom Lyle Mitchell, Jr.
Montgomery Eye Physicians
Phone: (334) 271-3804
Fax: (334) 270-3375

Diabetic Retinopathy: What You Need To Know

Diabetic Retinopathy: What You Need To Know

Thursday, October 29, 2020
Author Montgomery Eye

Tags diabetic retinopathy, prevention

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body's ability to produce or use insulin effectively to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause damage in many parts of the body. Diabetes can damage the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels. It damages small blood vessels in the eye as well.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that about 90% of vision loss from diabetes can be prevented. Early detection is key. It is critical that people with diabetes should get annual eye exams even before they have signs of vision loss. Studies show that 60% of diabetics are not getting the exams their doctors recommend.

What Is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetic eye disease is a term for several eye problems that can all result from diabetes. Diabetic eye disease includes:

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Diabetic macular edema
  • Cataract
  • Glaucoma

Let's take a closer look at Diabetic Retinopathy:

Diabetic Retinopathy and DME are when the blood vessels in the back of the eye leak blood into the fluid that fills the eye, appearing as dark blotches in the field of vision. Our eyes attempt to compensate for the damaged blood vessels by growing new ones.

High blood sugar puts a serious strain on blood vessels, which is why diabetes is such a serious risk factor for retinopathy. If it advances far enough, diabetic retinopathy can become DME, which involves blurred central vision and can lead to retinal detachment and blindness. People who have diabetes or poor blood sugar control are at risk for diabetic retinopathy. The risk also increases, the longer someone has diabetes.

View a video about diabetic retinopathy.

Stages of Diabetic Eye Disease

There are two main stages of diabetic eye disease.

NPDR (non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy)

NPDR is the early stage of diabetic eye disease, which many people with diabetes have.

With NPDR, tiny blood vessels leak, making the retina swell. When the  macula swells, it is called  macular edema. This is the most common reason why people with diabetes lose their vision.

Also, with NPDR, blood vessels in the retina can close off. This is called  macular ischemia. When that happens, blood cannot reach the macula. Sometimes tiny particles called exudates can form in the retina. These can affect your vision too.

PDR (proliferative diabetic retinopathy)

PDR is the more advanced stage of diabetic eye disease. It happens when the retina starts growing new blood vessels. This is called neovascularization. These fragile new vessels often bleed into the vitreous. If they only bleed a little, you might see a few dark floaters. If they bleed a lot, it might block all vision.

These new blood vessels can form scar tissue. Scar tissue can cause problems with the macula or lead to a  detached retina.

PDR is very serious, and can steal both your central and peripheral (side) vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

You can have diabetic retinopathy and not know it. This is because it often has no symptoms in its early stages. As diabetic retinopathy gets worse, you will notice symptoms such as:

  • seeing an increasing number of floaters
  • having blurry vision
  • having vision that sometimes changes from blurry to clear
  • seeing blank or dark areas in your field of vision
  • having poor night vision
  • noticing colors appear faded or washed out
  • losing vision

Take Steps to Protect Your Vision

To prevent eye damage from diabetes, maintain good control of your blood sugar. Follow your primary care physician's diet and exercise plan. If you have not had an eye exam with an eye doctor, it is crucial to get one now. Be sure to never skip the follow-up exams that your eye doctor recommends. Call TODAY to schedule an appointment.

334-271-3804

Six Says to Protect Your Eyes from Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Six Says to Protect Your Eyes from Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Wednesday, October 21, 2020
Author Montgomery Eye

Tags macular degeneration, prevention

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in Americans over 50, affecting about 2.1 million people nationwide. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to preventing vision loss. Montgomery Eye are educating our patients about the facts on AMD.

AMD is a degenerative disease that happens when part of the retina called the  macula is damaged. It's the part of the eye that delivers sharp, central vision needed to see objects straight ahead. Over time, the loss of central vision can interfere with everyday activities, such as driving, reading, and seeing faces clearly.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers these six steps to help patients take control of their eye health:

  1. Get regular comprehensive medical eye exams. AMD often has no early warning signs, so getting regular comprehensive eye exams from an eye doctor is critical to diagnosing and treating eye disease in its early stages. We recommend that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40 — the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. By age 65, we recommend getting an exam every year.
  2. Quit smoking. Numerous studies show smoking increases the risk of developing AMD and the speed at which it progresses. Smokers are twice as likely to develop macular degeneration compared with a nonsmoker.
  3. Eat a well-balanced diet. Many studies demonstrate that eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and nutrient-packed foods, such as salmon and nuts, may reduce AMD's risk. Research also suggests that patients who ate fresh fish, an essential source of omega-3s, were at lower risk of developing AMD.
  4. Exercise regularly. Exercising three times a week can reduce the risk of developing wet AMD by 70 percent. Studies also show that physical activity may lower the odds of AMD's early and late stages.
  5. Monitor your sight with an Amsler Grid. This simple, daily routine  takes less than one minute and can help people with AMD save more of their vision. Using this grid is essential to finding any vision changes that are not obvious so that you can report them to your eye doctor.
  6. Know your family's eye health history. If you have a close relative with AMD, you have a 50 percent greater chance of developing the condition. Before your next eye exam, please speak with your family about their eye health history. You may need more frequent eye exams based on your family history.

If you can't remember when your last eye exam, we can help you start your new eye exam appointment calendar today! Your eyes will be happier for it.

334-271-3804

Sources: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Foods Rich In Vitamin C Help Curb Cataracts

Foods Rich In Vitamin C Help Curb Cataracts

Thursday, August 27, 2020
Author Montgomery Eye

Tags cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye's lens that happens naturally with age. The condition is the leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

Researchers from King's College London examined data from more than 1,000 pairs of female twins to see what factors may help keep cataracts at bay. They tracked the intake of vitamin C and other nutrients from food and supplements. They also recorded how opaque the subjects' lenses were at around age 60, with a follow-up on 324 sets of twins about ten years later.

Women who reported consuming more vitamin C-rich foods had a 33 percent risk reduction of cataract progression over the decade, according to the study. Their lenses were also more transparent overall.

"While we cannot totally avoid developing cataracts, we may be able to delay their onset and keep them from worsening significantly by eating a diet rich in vitamin C," said study author Christopher Hammond, M.D., professor of ophthalmology at King's College London. The researchers noted that the findings only pertain to vitamins consumed through food and not supplements.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. The fluid inside the eyeball usually is high in a compound similar to vitamin C, which helps prevent oxidation that results in a clouded lens. Scientists believe more vitamin C in the diet may increase the amount present around the lens, providing extra protection.

Because the study was done in twins, the team was also able to calculate how much of a role genetics versus environmental factors play in cataract progression. While environmental factors, such as diet, accounted for 65 percent, genetic factors only accounted for 35, indicating that diet and lifestyle may outweigh genetics.

The human body cannot produce or store vitamin C. Therefore, it's essential to consume Vitamin C rich food regularly in sufficient amounts. The current daily value (DV) for vitamin C is 90 mg. A diet rich in vitamin C is an essential step toward good overall health and cataract prevention.

To learn more about your eye health call 334-271-3804 today to schedule an appointment.

The study, "Genetic and Dietary Factors Influencing the Progression of Nuclear Cataract," was published in Ophthalmology, the official journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.


 

June is Cataract Awareness Month!

Friday, June 12, 2020

Prevent Blindness America has declared June to be Cataract Awareness Month, an initiative aimed at raising awareness of and advocating for education on cataract risk factors, symptoms, and treatments. preventblindness.org/cataract-awareness-month-2020

The number of Americans with cataracts are expected to be 38.5 million by 2032 and 45.6 million by 2050, according to Prevent Blindness America.

Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and it is the leading cause of blindness in the world. There are 24 million Americans over the age of 40 who are affected by cataracts.

How Do Cataracts Form?

In a healthy eye, our lenses are filled with proteins that line up to be perfectly transparent. However, over time, they can clump together and become opaque, creating a cataract. The rest of the eye can be completely healthy, but a cataract can block some or all of the light from reaching the retina.

What Are The Symptoms Of Cataracts?

Cataracts can start small and subtle, so it’s not always evident that a cataract is developing. Over time, you may begin to notice the following symptoms:

  • Faded or yellowed colors
  • Reduced night vision
  • Light sensitivity and increased glare
  • Halo effect around lights
  • Dim, cloudy, or blurry vision
  • More frequent glasses prescription changes
  • Double vision in a single eye

Cataract Risk Factors

The main risk factor for cataracts is advancing age, but other factors can make them more likely to develop earlier. These include diabetes, smoking, a family history of cataracts, exposure to UV radiation over time, high blood pressure, previous inflammation or injury in an eye, previous eye surgery, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and prolonged use of corticosteroid medication.

The Good News: Cataracts Are Treatable

In the early stages, cataract symptoms can be combated with a stronger glasses prescription, but eventually, glasses or contacts won’t be enough. Luckily, cataract surgery is performed more often than any other surgery in the US. It’s low-risk, simple, and routine, involving one short procedure on each eye. Even better, if you have other vision problems like astigmatism, cataract surgery might fix that too!

How Is Your Eye Health? We ask because WE CARE.

If you’ve noticed changes in your vision, schedule an appointment at Montgomery Eye Physicians (334)271-3804 so we can check for cataracts and make sure your eyes are healthy.

UV Rays Versus Healthy Vision

UV Rays Versus Healthy Vision

Tuesday, June 02, 2020
Author Montgomery Eye

We are on the heels of summer! Post COVID-19 this summer will be different than what we have experienced in previous summers. While you follow safety guidelines from the CDC and local health departments including proper social distancing. There will still be fun times spent outdoors, but it also means more exposure to harmful UV rays. Are you prepared with the proper sun protection?

UV Rays Versus Healthy Vision

Even being careful not to look directly at the sun, just being outside for extended periods can be enough to get sunburns on our eyes. These are called photokeratitis, and symptoms include redness, a grainy feeling when blinking, light sensitivity, tearing, and blurred vision. In snowy areas, photokeratitis is often called “snow blindness,” but it is also a problem spending extended amounts of time outside in the summer.

Long term, UV exposure can have cumulative effects on our vision, including increasing the risk of developing sight-threatening conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts. We also become more vulnerable to pterygium or “surfer’s eye” (an overgrowth of the clear tissue of the whites of the eyes towards the iris) and pinguecula (white or yellow bumps that form in the whites of the eyes).

Wear Sunglasses to Protect Your Eyesight from UV Rays

The first priority should be to have a pair of sunglasses and make sure they offer full UV protection. Check the label to see if your sunglasses block at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays. Large lenses are also a good idea because they offer more coverage. Polarized lenses provide even better protection because they eliminate the glare from sunlight bouncing off surfaces around us, including other cars and the surface of the water.

Other Tips for UV Protection

In addition to always wearing sunglasses when outside during the day, there are other things you can do to keep your eyes (and skin) safe from the sun:

  • Minimize the time you spend in the sun during the brightest hours of the day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats for additional shade.
  • Use sunscreen!

Please contact Montgomery Eye at (334) 271-3804 to discuss your eye health.

Practice Safe Hygiene

Practice Safe Hygiene

Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Author Montgomery Eye

While practicing social distancing as our state has begun reopening in phases, we have to be mindful of practicing safe hygiene. According to the CDC one of the general guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19, avoid touching your face — particularly your eyes, nose, and mouth. Visit the The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn more about other general guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Most of us rub our eyes many times in the day without really thinking about it.

Whether we’re tired, our eyes feel dry or itchy, or there’s something stuck in one of them, it seems like the easiest way to make it feel better is to rub them a little. Unfortunately, doing that is a great way to spread germs from our fingers to our eyes.

The Germs on Our Skin and Hands

Many types of microorganisms live on our skin all the time, including on our faces and hands. This microscopic ecosystem is known as “skin flora,” and it can contain around a thousand species of bacteria, as well as viruses and other germs. Some are beneficial, while others could lead to disease or infection, especially if they get into our eyes.

The Eye’s Natural Defenses

Eyes are more vulnerable than skin to disease and infection-causing germs, but they aren’t defenseless. The eyelashes help to keep irritants out, as does the simple action of blinking. Next, the tear film is a three-layer drainage system to protect the cornea from germs and debris that actually reach the eye’s surface. However, when we rub our eyes, we may accidentally cause tiny injuries to the cornea, giving germs an opening to get inside and cause an infection.

Protecting Our Eyes from Germs

Sometimes, touching our eyes is unavoidable. People who wear contact lenses obviously have to touch their eyes every time they insert and remove them. On the whole, it’s best to keep contact to a minimum, but at the very least, we should be thoroughly washing our hands with soap prior to touching our eyes.

It’s especially important to keep fingernails trimmed to prevent the transfer of germs to our eyes. All kinds of germs and debris collect under them from everything else we touch throughout the day, and it is almost impossible to clean them well enough when they’re long. In fact, germs collecting under fingernails is the main reason medical professionals wear gloves when interacting with patients! This goes for fake nails just as much as natural ones.

Worried About an Eye Infection? Let Us Know!

If you’re experiencing any symptoms like redness, itchiness, tenderness, burning, or a lot of eye-watering, they could be signs of an eye infection. Please give us a call 334-271-3804, so we can discuss the next steps to ensure that your eyes are healthy, and try not to touch them as little as possible in the meantime.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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