Set Your Sights on Glaucoma Awareness

Approximately 120,000 Americans have gone blind from glaucoma, accounting for 9-12% of all cases of blindness. January has been named National Glaucoma Awareness Month as an important time to spread knowledge of the sight-stealing disease. Typically starting in the periphery, glaucoma has no onset symptoms and once vision has been lost, it will not return.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that progress gradually, stealing sight, without showing symptoms. The word ‘glaucoma’ is actually an umbrella term for a group of eye diseases that damage the delicate fibers that run from your eye to your optic nerve, which is the nerve that carries information about the images your eye sees to your brain. Damage is often the result of high fluid pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma can affect people of all ages but is most prevalent in middle-aged adults and the elderly. While there is no cure, surgery or medication can slow its effects and help to prevent further vision loss.

Types of Glaucoma

There are two main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), and angle-closure glaucoma. These are marked by an increase of intraocular pressure (IOP) or pressure inside the eye. When optic nerve damage has occurred despite a normal IOP, this is called “normal tension” glaucoma. Secondary glaucoma refers to any case in which another disease causes or contributes to increased eye pressure, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss.

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world and as previously stated, the most common form exhibits virtually no symptoms. Peripheral vision is often the first to go but is often unnoticed which is why glaucoma in many cases goes undetected. The best way to detect, prevent, treat and protect vision from glaucoma is routine, comprehensive eye exams. It is also important to know who is at risk of developing glaucoma in order to adequately prepare. Those at higher risk include people of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent. Other high-risk groups include people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted. 

CSS – optomap Shows Equivalence for Glaucoma Assessment

Results from published clinical studies suggest that optomap may play an essential role in glaucoma management.  optomap provides details needed for specialty exams, while simultaneously delivering an integrated view to the eye.

optomap enables eyecare professionals to discover, diagnose, document and treat ocular pathology that may first present in the periphery, such as glaucoma. Currently, the gold standard tool for glaucoma detection is a clinical examination with a dilated slit-lamp bio-microscopy carried out by a glaucoma specialist to assess the optic disc. Recent studies suggest that UWF imaging may be suitable for diagnosing glaucoma in situations where slit-lamp biomicroscopy or digital color stereoscopy are not available. Another study also confirms that optomap has almost perfect agreement with color digital stereoscopy when assessed by a glaucoma specialist. Continued reading on this study can be found here

optomap is a fast and easy addition to a standard comprehensive eye exam. To find out more information on how optomap can enable you to detect and manage glaucoma in your patient base, contact Optos, today.

2020 Vision: A Look into Your New Year

As 2019 has come to a close and 2020, also known as “the year of the eye” is upon us, it is important to focus on new habits that promote good health. At Optos, we stand by the idea that eye health, including regular comprehensive eye exams, including optomap, should always be at the top of your list.

Eye health is very commonly left off the list of resolutions made. Many resolutions encompass things such as eating habits, exercise and other surface health conditions, where eye health is often overlooked.

The first step to preserving eye health is scheduling a comprehensive eye exam that can assist in detecting any changes in vision and overall health. A commitment to a yearly eye exam can aid in the strides to prevent illness rather than treat it as it appears. Many adults with no eye-related symptoms will often forgo an annual eye exam, while many ocular diseases are asymptomatic in early stages.  Early detection of these diseases can have a significant impact on courses of treatment and the probability of positive outcomes. Your eyes are windows to the live action of blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues throughout your body. Abnormalities spotted in the eye are often the first signs of disease lurking elsewhere.

Following a healthy diet is often a popular New Year’s resolution and an important one at that. Many of us indulge throughout the holidays and look forward to a healthier new year. Eating a balanced diet is good for not only overall health, but also aids to promote good eyesight. Vitamins A, C, E and omega-3 can do wonders to help keep your eyes healthy. Alternately, a poor diet can contribute to vision loss.

Cutting back on smoking and alcohol consumption can also be a beneficial resolution to promote both overall and eye health. These habits can have a negative impact on vision and can increase the risk of eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Optos offers optomap, an ultra-widefield retinal imaging method that facilitates early detection from vision impairment or blindness, and other systemic disease. optomap captures more than 80% of the retina in a single image, whereas small-field methods reveal only 10 – 15%. Our eye care partners generally include optomap as part of their standard comprehensive eye exam.

As you finalize your resolutions this year, whatever they may be, we urge you to make preventative eye health a priority. Ask your eye care professional about optomap today.

Top Tips for a Safe Holiday Season and Winter Eye Health

Remember Eye Safety this Holiday Season

With the holidays upon us, it’s important to note the extra care we need to take to make sure the toys and gifts our children receive are safe and age-appropriate.  For this reason, Prevent Blindness America has declared December “Safe Toys and Gifts Awareness Month”.

Look at every toy before you buy it. Is the toy durable? Can it stand the wear and tear of everyday use without breaking, cracking or coming apart? Does it shoot objects or have sharp edges? Toys that fail these tests should be reconsidered.

Tips for gifts your child receives:

  • Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
  • Ask yourself if the toy is right for your child’s ability and age.
  • Avoid toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.
  • Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
  • Look for the letters “ASTM.” This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by ASTM International.
  • Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.

Winterize your Eyes

Aside from the holidays, there are certain winter precautions to take involving eye protection and safety.  Protecting your eyes from the sun’s UV rays is just as important in January as it is in July. Most of us remember to wear eye protection and sunscreen in the summer, but we often don’t think about it as much in the winter months. It is a common misconception that eye damage cannot occur during the winter months. Sun exposure can increase the development of cataracts, and cause growths on the eye regardless of the season.

Excessive exposure to UV light reflected off snow can damage the surface of the eye surface. In addition to cataracts, sun exposure can lead to lesions and tumors that may require surgical removal. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people be especially careful to protect their eyes in the winter months and only wear goggles or sunglasses with UV protection.

Common Winter Eye Problems

Knowing what your eyes are up against will help you understand why you need eye protection in the winter. There are several ways your eyes can suffer during the cold season. These are the most common winter eye problems, but you can avoid them with the right eye protection.

Dry eyes – Many people experience dry eyes in the winter. This is because cold air contains less water than warm air, and wind can further minimize the moisture. Dry eyes can look red, feel itchy, or even have a burning sensation.
Watery eyes – Watery eyes are another frequent problem in the winter. The dry air leaves our eyes with a thinner layer of tears to protect the surface of the eye, which may lead the eyes to over-compensate by producing extra tears.
Snow blindness – When the snow reflects sunlight, it can create an intense UV light that is very dangerous to the eyes. Snow blindness happens when the cornea is damaged by this strong UV light and causes temporary blurry vision.
Altitude problems – If you spend time on the slopes in the winter, you may experience even more risk of winter eye problems, including dry eyes, watery eyes, and snow blindness. This is because there is even less protection from UV light at higher elevations.

In order to combat these common problems, here are some recommendations for when you step out into the blistery cold this winter

Wear sunglasses

Snowy and icy conditions double the sun’s effects as ultraviolet rays have access to your eyes from both above and as reflections off the snow. Wearing the correct sunglasses can block 99% of UV light, therefore taking the pressure off your eyes. Many people aren’t aware that the sun’s harsh effects are not specific to sunny days.

Moisturize your eyes

If you already suffer from dry eye, it’s likely for you to have difficulty in keeping your eyes moist and comfortable – even more so in the winter. It’s important to try to use eye drops, sit farther away from heat sources, or use a humidifier to alleviate dryness in the environment for your eyes.

Use goggles during winter activities

Goggles help protect your eyes during activities where dirt, slush, snow and ice can get into your eyes while outdoors. Find goggles that either have enough room to wear UV protection sunglasses underneath them or find a pair with UV protection already built-in.

If you experience discomfort with your vision when the temperatures cool off, be sure to ask your eyecare professional to include optomap in your comprehensive eye exam. optomap can help diagnose and treat early signs of retinal damage. To find a provider near you, visit

Embrace the benefits of Cutting Edge Technology and Gift yourself Optos UWF!

Dr. Rachael Wruble, OD knew that when she went out on her own to practice that she wanted to bring in Optos ultra-widefield (UWF™) imaging for her patients. Wruble was already familiar with the cutting-edge technology and valued that it could capture 82% of the retina in a single, high-resolution image in less than ½ second. She embraces the concept that the eye is a part of a puzzle and is interconnected with the entire body, providing important information on systemic health, therefore proving her need to invest in a technology that supports a truly comprehensive eye exam.

With the use of optomap in her practice, Wruble explains how she sees subtle pathology and other retinal nuances that she had not seen on patients that she had been examining for years. According to Dr. Wruble, while the ease-of-use of optomap may expedite workflow in her practice, the real value of that rescued time lies in enhancing the comprehensive exam and further educating her patients.

Wruble shares a story of a recent patient who came in for a new glasses prescription. The patient complained of blurry vision but refused dilation because she had received a dilated exam 10 months prior. When she pulled up the optomap images, she immediately noted how swollen the optic nerve appeared in the patient’s left eye. Wruble immediately referred her for an MRI which revealed a tumor around the anterior cerebral artery, requiring the patient to undergo emergency brain surgery. Without the optomap image, the change in her eye might have been missed.

Additionally, Wruble’s practice boasts a high acceptance rate for optomap and her staff is very well versed in explaining to patients the importance of an optomap image for detection, diagnosis, and documentation for both ocular and systemic health. Wruble notes that she is able to provide a better exam experience for those patients that may be typically harder to examine, such as children and the elderly population. “I pride myself on finding pathology but optomap gives me the confidence that I am not missing anything. It is an amazing tool.”

Read Dr. Wruble’s full testimonial here

optomap is the only high resolution, single-capture UWF retinal image. Want to upgrade or add UWF to YOUR practice? Then we encourage you to take advantage of Section 179 tax incentives (US only) to gift yourself and your patients the technological advancements available with optomap. To learn more about our UWF devices please visit our website.

Optimize your Eye Health this Thanksgiving

As we roll into the holiday season, sharing meals with family and friends is at the top of the list for many.  Thanksgiving meals aren’t typically known for their health benefits, however, a few conscious choices could offer up healthy options that benefit both eye and overall health.  All the holiday greens, yellows, reds, and oranges on your Thanksgiving table contain eye-healthy ingredients galore.  This is excellent news for those of us who always end up with eyes bigger than our stomachs this time of the year! We are here to celebrate and share with you some of the most popular Thanksgiving dishes and how they correspond in benefiting your eye health.

Dishes containing food such as carrots, sweet potatoes, cherries, apricots, kale or pumpkin are all rich in the nutrient beta-carotene.  Beta-carotene is converted to retinol that is essential for vision.  It is a carotenoid and antioxidant that promotes night vision and overall good eyesight.  Most are familiar with this nutrient in carrots, but in the event you aren’t a carrot lover, there try one of the other options to get your fix.

Spinach, green bean casserole, asparagus, and Brussels sprouts along with other leafy greens are loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, both nutrients that help protect the retina as well as reduce the risk of cataracts.  Adding kale, spinach, or romaine lettuce to salads helps your eyes absorb damaging blue light, combats the effects of cigarette smoke and pollution, and also decreases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a condition that affects the macula, the part of your retina responsible for central vision.   You can also find lutein in grapes, kiwis, broccoli, peas, corn, swiss chard, and collard greens. 

Cranberries, contributing to a holiday favorite, cranberry sauce, contain bioflavonoids, which are a large class of antioxidants found in the pulp, skin, and rinds of foods containing vitamin C.  Both flavonoids and vitamin C help protect the eyes from free radical damage which can be caused by outside pollution or the body’s metabolic process.

Last, turkey and lean beef, our favorite for the holidays, do plenty of work to help keep your eyes strong and healthy.  Both of these foods are very high in zinc.  Zinc is a nutrient that is very important to the retina and the choroid (a layer beneath the retina) and is vital to good night vision.  In addition to other nutrients discussed, foods high in zinc can also reduce the risk of cataracts and AMD. 

Additional foods such as fish, fruits and whole grains also prove to boast many eye health benefits. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, reducing the risk of developing glaucoma in addition to dry eye or AMD.  Whole grains can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 

Proper nutrition, however, is only a part of the recipe for healthy eyes.  Regular, comprehensive eye exams represent the most important ingredient to preventative eye health.  Many eye diseases can often go undetected and without symptoms.  Early detection and diagnoses can often prevent or at least slow down vision loss.  optomap® can help doctors to detect vision problems earlier, in order to provide optimum treatment.  Visit our website to find a doctor in your area utilizing optomap today.