Eye Talk Episode 6 - Special Eye Concerns for Senior Adults with Dr. Linda Hsu

As our bodies age, new health conditions often arise in our eyes. Dr. Linda Hsu talks about eye care for senior adults, and how some common conditions can be managed or even avoided.

Then, have you ever looked at a cloud or a bagel and suddenly saw the shape of a face? Dr. John Demshar has been so fascinated by this phenomenon that he wrote a book about it! And if you want to hear a story about free eye exams, suspicious border authorities, and the no-fly list, give this episode a listen!

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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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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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Common Vision Conditions: Glaucoma

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Glaucoma is generally thought of as a disease whereby the pressure of the fluid inside your eye rises to the point of causing damage to your Optic Nerve. Inside your eye, there is always a fluid being produced to bathe the eye tissue with new nutrients. Then this fluid cycles out and new fluid is secreted back into the eye chamber to replace it.

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Low Vision and Community Center for the Blind

February is designated as National Low Vision Awareness Month. Low vision is the term used to describe the visual performance of eyes impacted by any condition that renders a person’s visual acuity to 20/70 or poorer in the better-seeing eye and cannot be corrected or improved with regular eyeglasses. Most people know this term as being “legally blind”.

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Blogging about Macular Degeneration

As I examine patients and ask about eye disease in their family, nearly everyone has heard of glaucoma and cataracts (although only occasional patients can remember which is which!). Relatively few patients are familiar with Macular Degeneration, also known as Age-Related Maculopathy (ARM), even though it is far more devastating to their loved one’s vision. Remarkably, ARM is the leading cause of permanent vision loss in Americans over 65 years old, and affects 2 million people.

First, a little anatomy lesson to help you understand ARM: the macula is the portion of the retina we use for all our detail vision. Whenever you look directly at something, you are using your macula to see it. For still unknown reasons, in some older folks, the vision-sensing cells in the macula selectively get destroyed. The cells can either atrophy (or degenerate), called “dry” ARM, which makes up 80% of cases, or they can become scarred, called “wet” ARM, which makes up the remaining 20% of cases.

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What are Cataracts?

“You’ve got cataracts”. These three words can still fill a patient’s mind with worry and fear when their doctor has to utter them. Memories still linger of parents and grandparents going to the hospital and needing a week of bed rest only to be chained to thick glasses for the rest of their lives once the surgery was complete. Luckily for all of us those days are a thing of the past. These days cataract surgery is a 20-minute procedure that should not be feared. With modern implant surgery bed rest is not necessary and the visual outcomes are often nothing short of miraculous. So what are cataracts and how do you fix them? Everyone’s eyes have two lenses they use to see with. The cornea is the lens on the front of the eye where contact lenses are placed. The cornea’s job is to help you see distance objects clearly....

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Glaucoma Diagnosis

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Glaucoma is a disease where a person slowly loses their peripheral due to an increased pressure within the eye that damages the optic nerve. In the early days of glaucoma detection doctwere mainly concerned about the level of intra-ocular pressure (pressure within the eye). If it was high you had glaucoma-simple as that. We also looked at the appearance of the nerve and tested the level of their peripheral vision by having them stare at a large blank area of black cloth and brought in a white marker on a stick to see when they first noticed it. Those days are all but forgotten now. Today’s diagnoses of glaucoma require sophisticated equipment since our understanding of the disease has evolved. We now know that glaucoma is a caused when the delicate balance between a person’s intraocular pressure and their unique tolerance for these changes are not in harmony. In fact, roughly 5%...

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What's the problem with cataracts?

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Normal Vision
Vision with Cataract
An advanced "Mature" cataract
"What are cataracts?” and "Do I have cataracts?” are two of the most common questions asked during an eye examination. What are cataracts? A cataract is formed when the lens of the eye becomes cloudy. The lens is the part of the eye that helps focus light or an image on the retina, the light sensitive tissue at the back of the eye, similar to film in cameras. When the lens is cloudy, it will interfere with the light entering the eye and imaging on the retina. Hence, vision will be blurred or hazy. Colors will be less vivid or intense and more difficult to distinguish. There may be increased sensitivity to glare from lights, especially when driving at night and difficulty seeing at night. Reading and other routine activities become more difficult to perform. The two pictures below illustrate the difference in vision between an eye with a normal lens...

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January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is a disease where the pressure in the eye rises and slowly kills off the optic nerve and leads to blindness. Here are just a few facts about Glaucoma:

  • It is estimated that over 2.2 million Americans have glaucoma but only half of those know they have it.
  • In the U.S., more than 120,000 are blind from glaucoma, accounting for 9% to 12% of all cases of blindness.
  • Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization.
  • After cataracts, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among African Americans.
  • Blindness from glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.
  • African Americans are 15 times more likely to be visually impaired from glaucoma than Caucasians.
  • The most common form, open-angle glaucoma, accounts for 19% of all blindness among African Americans compared to 6% in Caucasians.
  • Other high-risk groups include: people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted.
  • Estimates put the total number of suspected cases of glaucoma at over 60 million worldwide.

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