Diabetes and its Effect on Eyes

Many people don’t know that diabetes can influence eye health and vision. When someone has diabetes, the body either can’t make insulin or does not use insulin properly. This, in turn, causes blood glucose (blood sugar) levels to increase. When glucose increases its presence in the blood, adverse effects can occur.

Millions of Americans suffer from diabetes, and even more are “prediabetic,” meaning that they’re at risk of developing diabetes. Doctors estimate than a third of people with diabetes don’t even know they have it, and thus, cannot be treated. Symptoms of diabetes include numbness or tingling in the appendages, difficulty healing abrasions or bruises, persistent thirst or hunger even after consuming adequate food and water, fatigue and blurry vision.

The blurry vision associated with diabetes is caused by elevated blood sugar. Blurred vision is actually a sign that the condition is not under control. When blood sugar levels are elevated for a long time, fluids from the body are pulled into the lens, causing it to swell, resulting in the blurred vision.
diabetes eye health diabetic retinopathyAlso associated with diabetes is a condition called diabetic retinopathy, which occurs in more than half of people with diabetes. Elevated levels of blood glucose cause damage to the blood vessels of the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye. These changes are called diabetic retinopathy. This condition affects more than half of people with diabetes. The more out of control the blood sugar, the more likely the possibility that diabetic retinopathy will develop. Left unchecked, this condition can lead to blindness.

In addition, people with diabetes have a greater probability of developing glaucoma. In fact, they are at least 40 percent more likely to suffer from glaucoma than people without diabetes. This risk increases with age. Cataracts are also a threat to people with diabetes, and they often strike at an earlier age. Both of these conditions put those with diabetes at risk for becoming blind.

Of course, not only can diabetes harm the eyes, it can also wreak havoc on the rest of the body. Those with diabetes are at greater risk for heart problems, strokes and renal failure. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to serious, deep-seated foot infections, which sometimes can only be treated by amputation of a toe, foot or leg.

Because diabetes is such a dangerous disease, the American Diabetes Association has designated November as American Diabetes month in order to bring further attention to the disease and its effects.

It is recommended that anyone diagnosed with diabetes have an examination each year with an ophthalmologist. In taking this initiative, those with diabetes can make sure they are not at risk of developing one of several eye disorders associated with the disease.

The Atlanta Vision institute is proud to support the American Diabetes Association during the month of November by bringing attention to diabetes and the risks that accompany the disease.

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LASIK Eye Surgery is Less Costly in the Long Run


Some Americans wake up in the morning to the sight of the sun peeking through the blinds, a glimpse of a loved one or the face of a sweet pup. Millions of other Americans are greeted by blurry blobs of light and color until they can put in their contacts. While it might seem like there’s no alternative, LASIK eye surgery can correct vision to 20/20.

Those with poor eyesight might think LASIK is too costly and not consider it as an option. However they may be surprised to learn that their contacts and glasses are setting them back much farther over the long run than LASIK ever would.

Each box of contacts costs about $25, and the average contact-wearer will purchase about 10 boxes of contacts per year. The cost of contact solution is estimated to be about $100 per year. Add all of this up over 40 years, the cost of daily contact use will total $14,000! On the other hand the total cost of LASIK eye surgery ranges from $3,000 to $8,000 and it will last a lifetime. So while the cost of LASIK might seem like a lot at first, there can be no denying that it is the better deal.

There can be additional costs with eye glasses. A prescription can change as often as every year, often for the worse, and glasses must be replaced as these changes occur. In contrast, with one-time LASIK eye surgery, vision will remain perfect and consistent permanently.

But it’s not just about the cost. LASIK eye surgery, while an economical option, enhances quality of life. From morning until night, there’s no reason to be concerned about dry eyes from contact wear or which surface the glasses were last set down on. LASIK can relieve patients from the stress of financing poor vision and the daily care of contacts. Seeing that clearly is the first step to seeing clearly – always.

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Halloween Contact Lenses Cause Serious Eye Damage

halloween contact lenses

Costume contact lenses, also referred to as decorative or cosmetic contacts, include any type of contact lenses that do not correct vision, but are meant to change the appearance of your eyes. These specialty contacts might put a finishing flourish on your costume, but you might want to reconsider using creepy contact lenses this Halloween.  From blackout lenses that truly turn you into a vampire, to lenses shaped like cats’ corneas, these lenses seem like the perfect way to pump up your costume this year, but these lenses could put your eyes at risk for irritation, infection or even blindness.

According to the Baltimore Sun, a whopping 28 percent of people buy contacts from shady sources like gas stations, salons and online. Buying from these places can have consequences — according to the FDA, selling lenses without a prescription is illegal!

These lenses also put your eyes at risk. The American Optometric Association recommends all contact lenses should be fitted by a physician, because poorly fitted or cheap contact lenses can introduce bacteria to the eyes, causing allergic reactions or even blindness. Lenses that aren’t fitted properly can scratch the cornea or prevent it from getting the moisture it needs from tears which can lead to irritation and infection. At the most extreme, these lenses can lead to painful corneal ulcers which cause light sensitivity and vision changes.

To add these lenses to your Halloween style, visit your ophthalmologist who can provide you with a quality brand that’s the right size for your eye. Protect your peepers and avoid online sellers, and don’t purchase these lenses from other sources. Children should be careful using contact lenses and should always be supervised by an adult. As with regular contact lenses, use good hygiene practices too: make sure to wash your hands before handling lenses, keep them properly cleaned and disinfected and never share or swap contacts with friends.

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Cataracts: Symptoms, Treatment, & Surgery


“Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that is performed to restore vision in the lens”

Cataracts are a condition that clouds the lens of the eye, and one of the leading causes of blindness. The lens of the eye is what allows light to be focused on the retina to ensure good vision. With age, this lens becomes cloudy and, like having smudges on your glasses, the images you see become blurry. This cloudy lens is referred to as a cataract. Besides normal aging, cataracts can be caused by an injury to the eye or genetics. 


Symptoms of Cataracts

The progression of cataracts is slow and gradual.  When they begin, most people don’t even notice the slight loss in vision. Early signs can be very subtle. You could have blurry vision and think that it is just the result of aging.  Individuals can actually lose a lot of their sight before they begin noticing the symptoms. In some cases, patients only notice a difference after having the cataracts surgically removed from their eyes; they hadn’t realized how bad their vision had become.

The symptoms of cataracts include blurred vision, a decrease in object and color sharpness, and glares and halos around certain objects, especially at night.  These glares are especially noticeable with oncoming headlights in the darkness, and this can cause problems when driving at night.

The good news is that ophthalmologists can diagnose cataracts before patients even know there is a problem. This is why it is so important to have an annual eye checkup, especially for individuals 55 years and older. Having your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist is necessary to diagnose and treat this condition before the symptoms get worse and result in permanent blindness.


Treating Cataracts

Initially, prescription glasses can help with cataracts. Surgery is seen as the last resort. Despite that, cataract surgery is one of the most common surgical procedures in the United States. Three million Americans have this surgery performed every year. In addition to being one of the most common surgeries, it is also one of the most successful operations performed.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that is performed to restore vision in the lens. In the past, patients were put to sleep or placed under anesthesia using a needle to the eye. Technology has improved a great deal and eye drop anesthesia is now more commonly used.

Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure performed by Farooq Ashraf, MD, FACS.  The procedure takes less than 30 minutes to perform, and patients are able to return home within about an hour of having surgery. Dr. Ashraf performs what is known as laser refractive cataract surgery using highly-advanced, state-of-the-art laser technology. The LensX Femosecond laser that is used was designed with improved accuracy and precision to break up the cataract and replace the eye lens with an artificial lens. Using this advanced technology, there is no need to cut the eye with blades anymore. Instead, with laser precision, those undergoing the procedure get even better results. 


For more information on Cataract Surgery by the Atlanta Vision Institute, visit http://cataractsatlanta.com/.

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5 Tips to Relieve Eye Allergies

eye drops


With spring comes allergens like pollen, spores and grasses that can cause severe reactions upon entering the body. Eye allergies in particular can be irritating, impair vision and cause lasting damage at worst. The most common type of eye allergy is Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (SAC), which affects individuals only during certain seasons. When an allergen comes into contact with your eye, your immune system sometimes overreacts, releasing histamines and other chemicals to fight the allergen. This can result in tiny blood vessels bursting, leaving eyes itchy, watery and red. Symptoms of eye allergies can include itching, red eyes, burning, watery eyes, and dark circles under the eyes (known as an “allergic shiner”). Triggers will vary from person to person, but are frequently caused by specific pollens or spores released from grasses, trees and weeds. The number one way to treat eye allergies is to avoid the allergens. Symptoms can be managed with over-the-counter products, but you should seek professional medical advice if you have severe or prolonged symptoms.


Check the Pollen Counts

During allergy seasons, many news and weather stations will broadcast the pollen count and severity, even mentioning what specific pollens are present on any given day. Avoid going outside when pollen counts are high, noting that they typically peak during mid morning and early evening. Avoid windy days as well, which stir up and cause more pollens to enter the air. Staying inside as much as possible during allergy season can help you avoid (or at least minimize) itchy, red, watery eyes.

Wear Sunglasses

Not only do sunglasses protect retinas from harmful ultraviolet radiation, they also serve as a great barrier between your eyes and airborne allergens. Large, wrap-around sunglasses will provide the most protection, allowing you to enjoy the outdoors while experiencing lessened eye allergy symptoms.

Wash Your Hands Often

Washing your hands will remove the vast majority of lingering pollens or other allergens that have adhered to your skin, especially if you spend most of your time outdoors. We absentmindedly touch our face and eyes frequently, and this will easily transfer allergens, causing your eye allergies to flare up.

Close the Windows

While it may be tempting to open the windows to let fresh air in, you will also invite millions of microscopic allergens into your home, and the itchy, red eyes will soon follow. Running your air conditioner and changing your air filter regularly will help keep the air in your home fresh and clean, sparing your eyes from allergic distress. This also applies to the car; resist the temptation to roll down the windows or put your convertible’s top down during allergy season…your eyes will thank you.

Control Your Symptoms

To treat the eye allergy symptoms you already have, there are a variety of non-perscription, over-the-counter solutions. A cool compress can sooth irritated, itchy eyes. Saline eye drops and lubricating drops can help soothe stinging and itchy eyes and can help flush out allergens. Decongestant eye drops made specifically for allergies can provide significant symptom relief but may sting at first; these should not be used for more than a few consecutive days or they can aggravate and worsen your symptoms. Oral antihistamines can calm down your body’s reaction to allergens, which can reduce your symptoms, but may dry eyes out. By being conscientious about your eye allergies and carefully treating the symptoms, you can significantly lessen or even eliminate symptoms and enjoy the spring again.

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