Thursday, May 31, 2012

What is the best kind of refractive surgery, LASIK or PRK?

I will begin by stating that I am not a surgeon/ophthalmologist, still I am able to provide some information on this topic as it is an alternative to corrective vision.  I'll explain the different in surgeries and advice at least two consults with different ophthalmologist to best determine your desired outcome.

PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is procedure first performed in 1987 in order to correct vision.  The laser used has changed throughout the years however the technique has remained the same.  Essentially the corneal epithelium (front surface cells) is reshaped to mimic the shape of corrective lenses in your glasses.  The cornea, which is made of many layers, is reformed to the best possible shape without increasing complications for the ocular health in the future.  PRK lasers the immediate surface of the cornea and enter the stromal cornea (deeper tissue), vaporizing tissue one layer at a time.  Following the procedure the patient will be given a bandage contact lens to wear to protect the recently re-shaped tissue (considered an open wound).  The recovery is considered more painful and vision is blurred for a longer period of time. Most patients will claim better clarity within two weeks and up to 6 months.  With proper post-op care from your doctor the results can be wonderful.  

LASIK (Laser assisted in situ keratomileusis) was first performed in 1989 with use of lasers and a microkeratome (creates a perfect cut on the epithelial layer to separate from the stromal cornea).  The use of these two instruments allow the surgeon to peel the first couple of corneal epithelial layers, laser only the stromal tissue and replace the epithelium back to it's normal position (epithelium will have a loose attachment post-surgery).  As you can guess this will reduce pain and increase clarity post-operatively.  This extra loosely attached epithelium is referred to as the flap.  Most military facilities will suggest PRK surgery for their pilots, having a flap during a flight can be a huge risk for the pilot's vision. 

LASEK (Laser assisted sub-epithelial Keratectomy) is almost exactly like PRK with one difference.  The first couple of epithelial layers of the cornea will be peeled back with an alcohol solution to save some healthy surface tissue (this will not create a flap), the laser will only work on stromal cornea.  This will reduce the pain and visual recovery will be faster.  The procedure is taking the place of PRK and LASIK, however in some cases those are best recommended.    

For a list of requirements, complications, systemic contra-indications or more questions simply comment on the bottom of this blog and will forward you more helpful material.  Keep in mind refractive surgery isn't a permanent solution to visual discrepancies.  The success depends on the stability of your body's changing system, which is unpredictable.  

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Should I swim with my glasses on?


Have your doctor fit you for daily wear contact lenses for beach days.  Even if you don't wear contact lenses that often, dailies are great for outdoor events.  Imagine diving into the ocean from your friend's boat and thinking mid-jump that you are still wearing your expensive eyeglasses, yikes.  Make it easy on yourself this weekend (and for the rest of the summer) and book an appointment with your optometrist and ask for daily disposal contact lenses.  They require no cleaning and offer amazing clarity for watching the shore while enjoying the waves.  

Warning: if you do wear contact lenses do not open your eyes under water.  Not only would the lenses possibly float away but also microbes can enter.  Oceans are generally safer environments for eyes, however pools, lakes and Jacuzzi's are known to carry many more germs.  If you're eyes are irritated/red by the end of a water play day, make sure to remove the lenses into disinfecting solution and give your eyes the night off by wearing glasses.  If they are daily wear, simply toss them and start a new pair the next day.  Infection prevention is the name of the game.  

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Friday, May 4, 2012

Are polarized sunglasses that much better then just UV sunglasses?

UV protection should be on the tip of everyone's mind nowadays in regards to their skin and eyes when they take a stroll on Santa Monica beaches or any outdoor space.  Protecting your eyes from harmful rays can prolong healthy, clear vision for years to come.  Lately optometrist have been recommending polarized lenses over usual sunglasses; what is the real difference?

Most sunglasses you find in optical shops have UV protection, however not all are polarized.  Polarization of a lens means the lens is able to reduce not only direct light but also indirect light.  If you think about the sunlight it comes from one source; the sun (direct light).  There is also light that reflects from other surfaces, like puddles of water reflecting light from the sun (indirect light; glare).  The polarized lens will block the sunlight and this annoying glare; increasing comfort mostly.  Some motorcycle shields will add this to help motorist view puddles of oil on roads.  I find them especially useful on cloudy days when I can't seem to stop squinting from the glare leaving every cloud (light is bouncing from cloud to cloud to increase glare).  They allow me to view the world clearly and reduces my potential for wrinkles near my eyes.  

The UV protection exist in both polarized and non-polarized sunglasses; they are equal in benefits but different in visual comfort.  My personal advice would be to consider polarized lenses (Maui Jim sunglasses are known as world leaders in best polarized sunglasses, we are an official dealer at Eyed LA Optometry) if you spend a lot of time outdoors near reflecting surfaces like the ocean; you're eyes will thank you.   

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How soon can my kids get an eye exam?

A pediatric optometrist or ophthalmologist can see children as early as 6 months old (Eyed LA's favorite patients are kids).  Often times parents don't notice any abnormalities and so the first time we see most children is in middle school with a note from the school nurse requesting further testing.  As grateful as we are to the education system for helping health care professionals to detect blurry vision, I find it lacking that our laws have not yet enforced parents to take their children before the beginning of each school year.

The eyes are normally still developing until the age of seven on average.  This means the eye is still learning how to function in a 3D world.  Amblyopic (lazy eye) eyes can occur during these developmental years (not at birth as commonly believed); eye doctors screen for this constantly with children.  If only one eye is blurry it's easily overlooked by the visual system; try and think of the last time you covered one eye to check the other.  Children are highly adaptable and sadly never even notice until the eye turns or is discovered years later when treatment becomes more challenging.  The sooner your eye care professional detects an abnormality of vision or health, the higher success there is for treating the issue.

Here is my checklist for parents regarding their children's ocular health:

1. Find a pediatric optometrist (Call us for appointments: (424) 208-3107); it's very helpful if the doctor knows how to exam children and prescribe.

2. Child's age is irrelevant.  If you notice an eye turn, the child is getting close to objects to see them, constant eye rubbing or health issue just take them.  If you are being a preventive care parent, know that they don't need to read letters for eye doctors to evaluate their vision.  The exam is more objective (doctor takes notice) and much less subjective (patient participates; adults).  

3. As parents I know it can be hard to accept the reality your child might need glasses, so take the time to ask a lot of questions.  Be present in the exam room so you can view the results live.  Remember your doctors cannot predict the future of their development, however optometrist can improve the present to inspire the future to be more clear and comfortable for them.

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles