All posts by reinventingvision

I am a doctor who started my practice as a general ophthalmologist a few years ago. Because of my experiences with visually impaired patients, I realized that patients who are visually impaired with no more treatment options but who still have vision, are left with no hope and have no idea that life can go on. So i subspecialized in Low vision and Vision rehabiliataion. I want to help them maximize their visual potential and improve the quality of their lives. I want to offer a glimmer of hope in their cloudy world.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a progressive disease characterized by damage to the optic nerve usually caused by increased pressure within the eye.

The optic nerve is like a cable that connects the eye to the brain and functions to transmit visual impulses from the eye to the brain enabling us to see what is directly in front of our eyes or what we are directly looking at (central vision) as well as what is around what we are directly looking at (peripheral vision). The central vision and peripheral vision are what comprise our entire field of vision or the entire area that we see.

This optic nerve, however, is a sensitive part of the eye that functions normally within an optimal range of eye pressure. Beyond this optimal eye pressure range, the optic nerve can get damaged as what happens with glaucoma. When damaged, the optic nerve’s ability to transmit visual impulses becomes impaired, thus causing the visual symptoms. What usually gets affected first is the peripheral vision and it usually occurs gradually. That is why persons with glaucoma may not notice the visual disturbance in the early part of the disease. Without proper control of the disease, the damage to the optic nerve may progress and cause progressive narrowing of the field of vision making the area the eye can see smaller until it is as if you are looking through a peephole. With further damage glaucoma can cause blindness.

Aside from narrowing of the field of vision, glaucoma has other symptoms depending on whether it is the open-angle type or closed-angle type of glaucoma. It will also depend on the severity of the disease.

With the open-angle glaucoma, there is no detectable symptom during the early part of the disease. It is only in the latter part when vision is significantly affected that patients begin to notice they are unable to see certain portions of their vision or that vision is not as clear as before.

Symptoms are usually noticed earlier with closed-angle glaucoma. There may be recurrent headaches or heaviness in the eyes in the late afternoon or when in dark places. This may be accompanied by seeing haloes around lights and blurring of vision or even slight eye redness. When the increase in eye pressure is sudden, all the symptoms of eye pain, headache, blurring of vision, and eye redness are more dramatic and severe. The severe pain usually prompts these patients to seek consultation and treatment.

Symptoms include cloudy vision. Sometimes there is glare, and double vision with one eye. Cataracts are usually caused by age. Our natural lens ages and changes in color, as we get older. There are however other causes of cataracts. These include those who have them at birth (congenital), those who develop them in young adulthood (developmental), those acquired from diseases like diabetes mellitus, and those that result as a complication of the intake of some medications like steroids.

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Haloes around light

 

Some forms of glaucoma have a hereditary factor but not everyone born to a parent with glaucoma would get the disease. However, it is advisable that people with a family history of glaucoma get screened and examined regularly, even in the absence of symptoms, because while there may be no symptoms in the early part of the disease, signs of glaucoma may be detected through a thorough eye examination. As with other diseases, the earlier glaucoma is detected and treated the greater the chances of preserving vision. Therefore, periodic eye examinations on people with a family history of glaucoma especially those over the age of 40 is recommended.

Glaucoma can also be a complication of trauma to the eye, overusing or misusing of steroids, or from inflammatory diseases of the eye.

To test for glaucoma, your pressure of the eye will be determined, the optic nerve will be examined in various ways, and your field of vision will be tested. Your glaucoma eye doctor can discuss the different tests needed.

Treatment of glaucoma would depend on how severe the damage has been, or how fast the disease is progressing. This consists of eye medications in the form of drops, laser to help maintain the pressure within the eye, and if medicines and laser do not prevent further damage, surgery may be needed to create a passageway for the fluid when the pressure is too high. When a patient has glaucoma, regular follow ups with the eye doctor is necessary to check if the disease is progressing or not.

The best way to deal with glaucoma is to prevent progression of damage to vision. However, glaucoma despite all efforts to control the disease can significantly damage sometimes vision. When glaucoma significantly damages vision, one’s activities and lifestyle may be affected. Many people with uncontrolled glaucoma are unable to do what they used to do because of they have been incapacitated by damage to their vision. The degree to which activities and lifestyle can be affected depends on which part they cannot see and the size of the non-seeing part of the visual field. For those who have lost their peripheral vision and can see only what is directly in front of them, crossing the street is a real challenge and driving becomes very dangerous. Many people with glaucoma have lost their jobs because they could no longer read. Depression is common among them too. Fortunately, while it is true that damage to vision caused by glaucoma is irreversible, there is hope for them. While it is true that damage to the visual field due to glaucoma is irreversible and that vision that has been lost cannot be regained, something can be done for them. The answer is maximizing what is left of the vision through visual rehabilitation. A Low Vision Specialist can evaluate these people and help find ways to help them cope with their difficulties.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes when the blood sugar goes up and causes the blood vessels of the retina to break and leak. The damage to the retinal blood vessels may appear as spots in the field of vision.

The blood vessels can get blocked which may cause a lack of oxygen, and this will make the retina swell. This is called the nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy. In the more advanced stages, the lack of oxygen will stimulate the growth of new blood vessels that are very friable and that easily break and bleed. This can cause additional hemorrhage that will decrease vision further. This is the proliferative diabetic retinopathy stage. Sometimes, scar tissue can form which can pull on the retina causing a detachment of the retina. Eventually, if left untreated, diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness.

People with diabetes must have a regular eye check up. The key to not getting the complication of diabetes is still to maintain the proper blood sugar level. It is essential to have regular visits to their doctor, to maintain good diabetic management.

The treatment for diabetic retinopathy varies depending on the stage. For the nonproliferative stage, if the central portion of the retina or the macula is swollen, laser can be done to help reduce the swelling. In the proliferative stage, laser therapy can be done to prevent the growth of new vessels, and to stop the progress of the retinopathy. If bleeding has occurred in the gel of the eye called the vitreous, removal of the vitreous is done (vitrectomy). However, at this stage, the goal of treatment is not to cure the retinopathy, but to prevent further damage. Despite all these measures the disease can progress to blindness. Early detection and control of diabetes is important. If your vision loss has affected your quality of life, ask for a low vision specialist.

Vision rehabilitation can help people being treated with vision loss from diabetic retinopathy, by devices and solutions that enable them to do the activities they value in daily life.

Cataract

A cataract is an opacity or a clouding of the lens of the eye. It is one of the most common leading causes of visual impairment. This however can be treated by removal of the lens of the eye or cataract extraction, and then replacing the lens removed, with an intraocular lens. Many people suffer from blurred vision due to a cataract and if undetected, glasses or contact lenses cannot improve vision.

Symptoms include cloudy vision. Sometimes there is glare, and double vision with one eye. Cataracts are usually caused by age. Our natural lens ages and changes in color, as we get older. There are however other causes of cataracts. These include those who have them at birth (congenital), those who develop them in young adulthood (developmental), those acquired from diseases like diabetes mellitus, and those that result as a complication of the intake of some medications like steroids.

There is no medical treatment for a cataract. Once it affects your function in daily activities, it would be recommended to remove the lens surgically and replace it with an intraocular lens. Vision may then be restored.

To know more about cataracts and how they are removed, go to American Eye Center’s cataract page

OCUTECH TELESCOPIC DEVICES

 

SIGHTSCOPE

NEED A LOW VISION SPECIALIST IN PLACING YOUR ORDER.                  OVERSEAS SHIPMENT  25-30 days

VES SPORT II

NEED A LOW VISION SPECIALIST IN PLACING YOUR ORDER.              OVERSEAS SHIPMENT  25-30 days

VES FALCON AUTOFOCUS BIOPTIC

NEED A LOW VISION SPECIALIST IN PLACING YOUR ORDER.                    OVERSEAS SHIPMENT  25-30 days

Stand Magnifiers

These are commonly used for tasks such as reading, writing, or doing hobbies. This is especially for extended near tasks. Since there is a fixed distance between the lens and the object you are looking at, accommodation is required so you should use your reading glasses if you have one. This causes less fatigue because the magnifier rests flat on the page. However, it is not a hands free device, and it is not that portable. Children have and easier time using stand magnifiers.

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Illuminated LED stand magnifiers come in different magnifications. 3x, 5x, 7x, 10x

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They stay flat on the page so fatigue is less.

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When used with a bookstand, the hand holding the stand magnifier rests and does not shake.

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Dome magnifier, bar magnifier and a page magnifier. The page and bar magnifier come in low magnifications 1.5x to 2x, while the dome magnifier comes in 5x magnification.

SCRIBOLUX STAND MAGNIFIER

MAKROLUX STAND MAGNIFIER

DOME STAND MAGNIFIER

4.4X TWIN LUX LED STAND MAGNIFIER

POWERLUX STAND MAGNIFIER

10X / 15X PEAK LUPE STAND MAGNIFIER

3X STAND MAGNIFIER

7X STAND MAGNIFIER

3X LED STAND MAGNIFIER

4X /5X /6X LED STAND MAGNIFIER

Around the Neck Magnifier/ DESK LAMP / POCKET MAGNIFIERS

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Perfect for tasks where you need both hands like sewing, knitting, or other hobbies. This also provides a large field of view. Magnification is usually 2x but some have an additional bifocal lens of about 4x magnification. The cord that hangs it around the neck allows you to adjust the distance.

Hands free stand magnifier attached to a gooseneck lamp

POCKET MAGNIFIERS

2.5X,3.5X FOLDABLE POCKET MAGNIFIER

3X FOLDABLE POCKET MAGNIFIER

4X,10X FOLDABLE POCKET MAGNIFIER

Multipurpose CCTV

This multipurpose video magnifier attaches to an LCD screen. It can magnify objects for near vision, and can magnify images at a distance. This is ideal for classroom activities to see the blackboard, then read and write notes. It also comes in a portable travel bag. You can also use this to put make up on. There is a large magnification range and you can also change the display mode to what suits your vision. It also has the function for left or right handedness.

HAND MAGNIFIERS

3X LED HAND MAGNIFIER

4X LED HAND MAGNIFIER

5X LED HAND MAGNIFIER

7X LED HAND MAGNIFIER

ERGO LUX HAND MAGNIFIER

3.5X ERGO LUX HAND MAGNIFIER (LEFT/ RIGHT)

3X ERGO LUX HAND MAGNIFIER (LEFT/RIGHT)

ERGO LUX HAND AND STAND MAGNIFIER

3X ERGO LUX HAND AND STAND MAGNIFIER

4X /5X / 6X/ 7X ERGO LUX HAND AND STAND MAGNIFIER