Women (and Especially those Over 40) – It is Time to Pay Attention to Your Eye Health!

April is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month, which may, at first glance, seem a bit of a niche concern. However, according to the organization Prevent Blindness, women make up the majority of the 4.4 million Americans, age 40 and older, who are visually impaired or blind.  More women than men have age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.  These numbers will only continue to increase in the years to come.

Although there are no cures for some of these diseases, many of the effects may be lessened through early detection and treatment.  A 2015 survey found that one in four women had not received an eye exam in the past two years. Since women may not be aware that they are at greater risk than men of developing eye disease that could lead to serious vision impairment, practitioners can take the opportunity during Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month to stress the importance of paying attention to eye health and the importance of an annual eye exam.

A comprehensive eye exam should include a thorough examination of the retina, including an optomap, which is complementary to a DFE and an excellent tool for screening and for patient education. Because an optomap image can be obtained in less than ½ second, it leaves ample time for the practitioner to educate on eye health.

Click on image to read full story

Dr. Germain Burke and Britta

Dr. Germain Burke, of Burke Optometry in Lodi, California, understands the value of optomap in communicating with and educating her patients. She recounts a story about her patient, Britta, that demonstrates how an optomap screening can reveal issues in asymptomatic patients, as well as, patients who have trouble communicating or who may minimize health issues or concerns.

In July 2017, Britta made an appointment with Dr. Burke for a routine eye exam.  She did not share that she had been concerned about some vision distortion in her left eye.  However, Burke approached the exam as she would any routine visit, and fortunately for Britta, that included an optomap. The ultra-widefield digital retinal image provides a 200° view of the retina, out to the far periphery, and this .04 second capture revealed a large shadow OS.  Burke realized immediately that she was looking at a well-progressed melanoma.

“The melanoma was in the periphery but very clear.  It was a Friday afternoon so she took a picture of the optomap image on the screen and sent that immediately to her primary care physician through a secure portal.  Her PCP responded quickly and got her set up for a retinal exam on Monday.  On Tuesday she was in to see the oncologist and a PET scan, thankfully, showed that the cancer had not spread.”  A week later Britta had a radioactive plaque sewn into the sclera opposite the lesion and is now being monitored for efficacy and progression.

“I believe I am a good doctor but with optomap I feel like I am going to be able to catch big or small issues that I might not have seen otherwise.  I can provide more accurate notes and detailed information when I refer a patient on to a specialist. It facilitates the communication for follow-up care as well, and monitoring is more accurate,” says Burke.

She notes that they brought optomap technology into the practice shortly before she saw Britta, and stresses that this case is one of the reasons that she and the staff at Burke Optometry are glad that they did not wait to make that purchase. “Because we had that optomap image, the communication and the responsive action worked as smoothly and quickly as it possibly could have.  I really believe there was no other way it could have gone as well.  This is one of the reasons I sincerely feel everyone should have an optomap taken as part of a comprehensive exam.”

Visit our website to find a doctor such as Dr. Burke, who has optomap in their practice.

 

Doctor Discovers His Own Pathology with Proven UWF Technology

When Vince Young, OD introduced the Daytona from Optos in his practice, he volunteered to be the imaging guinea pig while his staff was being trained on the device.  He was unnerved when he reviewed his images with the trainer and somewhat uncertain about what he was actually seeing.  He knew what a posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC) looked like through the slit lamp but was surprised by what the optomap image laid evident.  While optomap is known for being able to penetrate through medial opacities far better than white light modalities, a PSC, which tends to be denser than other types of cataract, will cast a shadow on the retina revealing the issue. A concerned Dr. Young sent the image to his wife, Lindsey Brewer Young, OD.  When she reviewed the image on her phone she immediately responded, questioning whose eye she was regarding.  Learning it was her husband’s image she returned to the clinic, conducted a dilated exam, and confirmed that it was indeed a PSC that had been revealed in the optomap image.

Doctor discovers his own pathology with optomap

Read the entire story by clicking on the image

Young, who is 40, had no reason to suspect he would have cataracts which are more typically associated with the elderly population.  A subcapsular cataract occurs at the back of the lens and can be caused by a variety of circumstances such as systemic issues and some forms of medication. Posterior subscapsular cataracts are also more difficult to remove, due to adhesion of the cataract to the lens capsule, and there is an increased risk of capsule rupture during removal.1   However, Young’s cataract surgery on both eyes was successful and his vision is fine.

This discovery has become an excellent tool in communicating the importance of optomap to his patients.  The image hangs in the exam room while Young and his staff frequently share the story. “If the doctor didn’t know he had a cataract, how would anyone else know?” they say, underscoring how valuable the screening can be.  This unusual story has assisted with the elevated level of acceptance the optomap receives in the office.

Blanchard Eye Care sits in a quiet community outside Blanchard, OK and Young was concerned that he would have difficulty getting people in the rural community to embrace the technology.  He, however, was convinced that if he at least broke even it would be worth the investment based on the clinical value.  “Before purchasing the Daytona, I asked several of my colleagues about their experiences and they referred to it as a ‘no—brainer’,” says Young. He stresses that while the technology has without a doubt brought a financial bonus, the value of what it provides clinically far outweighs the monetary gain.

Young stresses how the exam experience has changed with optomap in an extremely valuable way when it comes to patient education.  The optomap image enables him to help his patients understand exactly what is occurring in their eye, or even just to provide reassurance that all is well.  “Even if there is no pathology, patients want me to take the images every year. They want to see what I see.”

Young happens to be color blind and further identifies another contribution that optomap brings to him, personally.  Because of this, a slit lamp view can sometimes make it difficult for him to distinguish between a hematoma and a nevus.  “However, the optomap image allows me to look at the different channels, and these features really jump out on some of the layers.  I’m much more positive about my diagnoses now.”

Dr. Young’s story demonstrates that it is not only possible for practitioners to image themselves and discover retinal pathology but also discover if significant opacities reside in the media as well.

Today, cataracts affect more than 22 million Americans age 40 and older. And as the US population ages, more than 30 million Americans are expected to have cataracts by the year 2020.2  optomap technology is being increasingly utilized in cataract surgery clinics for immediate views of the retina.  The ultra-widefield view is obtained through problematic, medial opacities, where white light has difficulty, revealing any retinal issues that might be a concern prior to surgery, as well as, following surgery. The ability to quickly and easily observe and document retinal health before and after cataract surgery provides both the patient and practitioner a tremendous peace of mind.

optomap, helping doctors identify pathology, even on themselves. Let us know if you are ready to bring optomap to your practice or clinic.

1http://optometrytimes.modernmedicine.com/optometrytimes/content/tags/cataract/types-cataracts-and-their-underlying-conditions?page=full

2 http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/cataracts.htm

 

Early Detection ‘Crucial’ in AMD Patient Management

Shown to occur in 18 percent of patients over a five year period, the development of choroidal neovascularization (CNV) has been determined the cause of vision loss in patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Furthermore, it has been determined that since there are successful treatments available for CNV before there are visual changes, if it is detected early enough, vision loss due to AMD can be mitigated.

 

Source: Attila Barbas via iStock

Source: Attila Barbas via iStock

Since treating CNV once damage and vision loss have occurred is not a successful method of restoring vision or reversing damage to the macula in most people, early detection in AMD patients is crucial to maintaining functional vision. By the time changes in vision are noticed by patients, permanent damage has already occurred. Clinical evidence has sufficiently proven that treatments of small AMD lesions has been highly successful, so the earliest possible detection provides the best outcomes in AMD patient management.

 

Early detection of AMD requires sophisticated equipment and testing processes if sight preservation is to be successful, due to the rapid progression. According to an article published in Retina Today and written by Anat Loewenstein, M.D., early detection “…means a significant gain of vision for most patients.” Not only can this outcome preserve quality of life for the aging population, Loewenstein details that it can generate savings into the billions of dollars annually just in Medicare for people suffering significant vision loss.

 

With early detection being crucial in AMD patient management, incorporating Optos’ ultra-widefield (UWF) retinal imaging technology into your practice can significantly impact the number of patients with vision loss due to AMD. With a view of up to 82 percent of the retina, multiple modalities, non-invasive scan and sophisticated software that enables image tracking for comparison purposes, you will be able to see more, discover more and treat more effectively.

 

View our full line of UWF retinal imaging equipment and contact us to learn more about how we can help your practice provide better patient outcomes.

 

What Causes Ocular Hypertension?

Ocular hypertension is a condition where the interior pressure of your eye is higher than what is considered normal. While some people who suffer from the affliction show no outward signs and maintain their vision, some people develop glaucoma and risk losing their vision. Knowing and understanding the causes of ocular hypertension may help you preserve your vision.

 

Source: monkeybusinessimages via iStock

Source: monkeybusinessimages via iStock

 

Causes of Ocular Hypertension

There are several factors that cause high eye pressure or contribute to the condition and they are closely related to the causes of glaucoma. The main cause of ocular hypertension is an imbalance of the clear fluid (aqueous humor) that flows through your pupil to the front chamber of your eye, between the colored portion (iris) of your eye and the cornea. When too much aqueous humor is produced, or the fluid is not able to drain as it should, the result is ocular hypertension. Other factors that may contribute are:

 

  • – Steroid medications taken orally or by eye drops may increase your eye pressure. If you have to take steroid medications, speak to your doctor about having your intraocular pressure (IOP) tested. Although steroids are most common to affect eye pressure, ask your physician or pharmacist if a higher IOP has been reported with any new medications.
  • – Eye injury or trauma such as an infection can increase the production of fluid or impair the drainage for you eye. If you have suffered either, the ocular hypertension may not be found immediately; it can appear months and even years later. Be sure your ophthalmologist is aware of any injury or trauma to your eyes.
  • – Cataract surgery and other eye diseases may cause increased pressure in your eyes. It is vital to have regularly scheduled with your eye care professional to monitor any conditions you may have.

 

Because ocular hypertension can lead to glaucoma, Optos would like to stress the importance of regular, comprehensive eye exams including optomap® to maintain your vision. While treatment is not always necessary, if it is required, early detection will provide you with the best possible outcome for your sight. Learn more about optomap and protecting your vision.

 

Know the Difference Between Dry and Wet AMD

As the leading cause of blindness in American adults age 65 and older, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is expected to affect as many as three million people by the year 2020. AMD occurs when the macula, which is responsible for fine detail and central vision, becomes degenerated with age. Dry vs wet AMD are the two forms of the disease and you should know and understand the difference.

 

Wet AMD

Sometimes causing straight lines to appear wavy in its earliest stages, wet AMD is more advanced than dry and can deteriorate your vision rapidly. Wet AMD is caused by abnormal, fragile blood vessels that grow behind the macula. These vessels are often very fragile and tend to leak blood and fluid, causing the macula to raise and become damaged. All patients who develop wet AMD started with the dry form so it is critical to get regularly scheduled comprehensive eye exams including optomap® to detect the disease in its earliest stages to prevent permanent vision loss.

 

Source: michaeljung via iStock

Source: michaeljung via iStock

Dry AMD

The dry version of AMD has three stages which can affect one or both of your eyes. The three stages are defined by the size and number of fatty yellow protein deposits that form under the retina called “dreusen.” While dreusen are not suspected to be the cause of AMD, their existence increases your risk of developing the condition.

 

  • – Early AMD causes no noticeable symptoms or vision loss. An optomap will show several small dreusen or a few medium-sized ones.
  • – Intermediate will show many medium or more than one large dreusen. At this stage, you may notice some blurring in your central vision and some people need more light for reading and other close tasks.
  • – Advanced dry AMD not only shows evidence of dreusen, photosensitive cells and other tissues will show degeneration. You may notice a blurred spot in the middle of your vision that increases in size and darkness over a brief period of time and you may have trouble reading and distinguishing faces unless they are very close to you.

 

At this time there is no treatment for dry or wet AMD. But regular comprehensive eye exams, including optomap, may help to stop or delay the progression of dry and wet AMD. Visit the optomap site to learn more about early eye disease detection.