Eye Talk Episode 1: Children's Vision with Dr. Yolanda Scheer

In this inaugural episode of Eye Talk, Dr. Bob Melrose and Dr. Yolanda Scheer discusss the unique aspects of children's vision. When should children have their first eye exam, what is your optometrist looking for, and how do we even test the vision of kids who don't know their letters? We also explore the vision challenges for older kids who are now spending a large portion of their day on digital devices.

Plus, Dr. Rosemary Melrose explains the latest research in vision care for diabetics.

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Eye Care for Senior Adults

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Today’s seniors are more active than ever and life expectancy is longer than ever. That is why annual eye exams are very important as you get older. Seniors are more susceptible to developing diabetes and high blood pressure - both of which can affect your vision. Cataracts and macular degeneration are two more eye diseases that can develop over the years. Early detection for any of these eye conditions is important in maintaining good visual outcomes.

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Diabetic Vision Conditions

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A long-time patient made a comment that it seemed to her that “everyone” has either prediabetes or diabetes. She was not too far off. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 30.3 million Americans or 9.4% of the US population have diabetes; 23.1 million people have diagnosed diabetes and 7.2 million people have undiagnosed diabetes. The prediabetes statistic is even more staggering…84.1 million or about 1 out of 3 adults in the United States have prediabetes and 90% of them do not know they have it.

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Do I Have Cataracts?

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What are cataracts?

A cataract is formed when the natural lens of our eye becomes cloudy or opaque. The human eye contains a natural lens which provides much of the “power” that allows us to see clearly and focus on the things we see. Over time, this natural lens begins to lose its clarity, which in turn can affect your overall vision. I like to use the analogy of trying to see through a dirty or hazy windshield. The best way to know you have cataracts is by having your routine comprehensive eye exam.

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Why Lucky #7 Isn't Enough for Diabetic Management

Last month I posted a blog explaining how important the number 7 is to a diabetic when it comes to their A1C measurement. The A1C measurement reflects the average blood sugar levels in a diabetic for the last 90 days. Keeping that level low is indicative of good control but it does not tell the whole story.

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Diabetes and Your Eyes

One out of 10 adults over the age of 20 has been diagnosed with diabetes. Many adults can suffer from the effects of sugar fluctuations on their eye health. Diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of blindness in adults over 20 years old in the United States.

The three most common effects of diabetes on the eye are diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the back of the eye swell and leak fluid. This excess fluid causes vision loss. Cataracts (a clouding of the lens) can have an earlier onset in patients with diabetes. Glaucoma (an increase in the fluid pressure of the eye) can lead to optic nerve damage and consequently permanent vision loss. Diabetics are twice as likely to develop glaucoma as non-diabetics.

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Your Eyes: The Windows to Your Health

People say that the eyes are the windows to the soul yet they are actually a window to your health. Many people are unaware how many health issues can be detected or diagnosed in an eye exam.

The eye has two unique properties. The first is that the tissue on the back of the eye, the retina, is the only place in the body where blood vessels can be seen without any obstruction of other tissue. By examining the appearance of these blood vessels, your optometrist can see damage from systemic disease happening to the eye and if it is happening to the eye then it is also happening to the blood vessels throughout the body.

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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

I hope we find all of you in good health and good spirits. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Looking back at the late 80’s, students were trained to interpret a case history to determine what disease entities we should look for based on a patient’s race and age. For example, it you were middle aged and of Hispanic or American Indian descent, we would be concerned with diabetes, if you were of African American descent, we would be concerned with hypertension and glaucoma and so on. While this is not funny, consider it a medical form of racial profiling but it was clinically significant. Case histories are still important but the thinking has changed.

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Diabetes and Eye Health

Diabetes is a disease that affects approximately 29 million or 9 % of the American population and is the 7th leading cause of death in this country. Of those affected Americans 15% to 20% will suffer some visual impairment due to the disease. Diabetic patients are 60% more likely to develop cataracts at an younger age and 40% more likely to be diagnosed with glaucoma - both of which can cause severe vision loss if left untreated. Because diabetes is largely treatable with diet and medication, we can reduce the likelihood of these side effects from occurring or at least delay their severity.

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