Author Archives: JayLCEyes

How can you tell if you have cataracts?

How can you tell if you have cataracts?

The symptoms of cataracts can include some or all of the following:  

  • the need for more light to do ordinary tasks
  • cloudy, foggy, filmy, hazy, or blurry vision 
  • loss of night vision, glare from headlights blinds you 
  • sensitivity to glare during the day
  • poor depth perception 
  • loss of contrast sensitivity, colors appear dull and less vivid or bright 
  • Nearsightedness (in older people) 
  • double vision in affected eye 
  • trouble with eyeglasses not working well

Can you see cataracts in the mirror?

At the later stages, when you look in the mirror, you might see a milky white covering over the pupil.

How long do Cataracts take to develop?

Most age-related cataracts typically develop over a span of years, even decades. It’s a comparatively slow process. There are types of cataracts, though, that may develop faster, such as cataracts caused by diabetes, trauma, illness, or radiation where they can develop rapidly in younger adults or even children. These types of cataracts may require treatment within a few years of the initial diagnosis, rather than decades. 

What will happen if cataract is left untreated?

Untreated cataracts can lead to hyper-mature cataracts, which in turn, can lead to total blindness. Delaying treatment of age-related cataracts can increase a seniors’ risk of both physical and psychological damage due to permanent blindness. For seniors, all surgery is risky, but having hyper-mature cataracts is a condition that makes removal more difficult and may cause surgical complications. As soon as cataracts are diagnosed, whether age-related, congenital, or whether due to injury or sickness, a qualified eye doctor should be consulted to determine when surgery is indicated.

If you have a cataract don’t delay. Contact us at (843) 553–2477 to speak with a specialist that can find the answers you need and walk you through the entire process.

Can stress cause cataracts?

Can stress cause cataracts?

A new analysis of existing research suggests that emotional or psychological stress can be a consequence and a cause of vision loss. In the case of cataracts, the exact origin is not known. But, doctors believe that oxidative stress may play a part in the damages to enzymes and proteins in the lens.

Oxidative stress is an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants in the body, which can lead to cell and tissue damage. Although oxidative stress occurs naturally and plays a role in the aging process, it has also been linked to emotional or psychological stress as well. Because emotional or psychological stress is associated with increased oxidant production and oxidative damage, long-term exposure to emotional or psychological stressors may enhance the risk of many diseases associated with oxidative stress, including cataracts.

In fact, some of the risk factors associated with cataracts are also associated with oxidative stress: exposure to radiation, smoking cigarettes or other tobacco products, alcohol consumption, certain prescription medications, pollution, exposure to pesticides or industrial chemicals, obesity, diets high in fat, sugar and processed foods.

Can you prevent Cataracts?

There are several ways you can keep your eyes healthy, which may slow down cataract formation. Wearing UV protective sunglasses when in sunlight or in the car can protect your eyes from sun damage. Adjust your diet to include antioxidant rich foods, especially spinach and other leafy green vegetables. Take antioxidant supplements for the eye lens such as vitamins C, E, and A, lutein, meso-zeaxanthin, zeaxanthin, astaxanthin, saffron and glutathione.

Click here to learn more about some of the common causes for cataracts.

Do cataracts grow back?

Do cataracts grow back?

It is impossible for cataracts to “grow back”. Cataracts grow inside of the lens of the eye. During the cataract surgery, the lens is completely removed. However, people who have had cataract surgery may develop a secondary cataract.

The medical term for this common complication is known as posterior capsule opacification (PCO). It happens when the back of the lens that now supports the lens implant becomes cloudy and impairs your vision. Posterior capsular opacification is a long-term complication of cataract surgery that causes decreased vision, glare, and other symptoms similar to that of the original cataract.

cloudy cataract in right eye

A painless, five-minute outpatient procedure called yttrium-aluminum-garnet (YAG) laser capsulotomy rectifies the problem. In YAG laser capsulotomy, the doctor uses a laser beam to make a small opening in the clouded capsule to provide a clear path through which the light can pass.

Complications are rare but can include increased eye pressure and retinal detachment. Click the link for more detailed information or get in touch with us today to get your questions answered.

Contact us at (843) 553–2477 to learn about cataract surgery options and speak with a specialist that can walk you through the entire process.

What types of cataract surgery are there?

What types of cataract surgery are there?

Phacoemulsification

This is also known as ‘Phaco’ and is the most common technique used for cataract removal today. It usually takes less than half an hour to remove a cataract through phacoemulsification, and requires only minimal sedation. Once the clouded lens is removed, an intraocular lens implant, also referred commonly as an IOL, is implanted in the natural lens capsule.

Extracapsular Cataract Surgery

This cataract procedure is used in cases of highly advanced cataracts, which are too dense for phacoemulsification or when phacoemulsification is not possible for various other reasons. The cataract is removed in one piece instead of being fragmented within the eye as is done in Phacoemulsification. Just like phacoemulsification, an artificial lens (IOL) is placed inside the same natural lens capsule. Extracapsular Cataract Surgery results in slower recovery of the wound as well as visual function.

Intracapsular Cataract Surgery

Though rarely used nowadays, Intracapsular Cataract surgery requires an even larger incision as compared to Extracapsular surgery, through which the entire lens with surrounding capsule is removed. The IOL (intraocular lens) is placed in a different location, in front of the iris, in this surgical procedure.

Laser Assisted Cataract Surgery

This uses a femtosecond laser system to assist in portions of the cataract surgery. This is an optional service that offers the most precise incisions and reduces the amount of energy needed to remove the cataract.

Contact us today at (843) 553–2477 to speak with a cataract surgery specialist that can find the answers you need and walk you through the entire process or learn more here.

Is cataract surgery painful?

Is cataract surgery painful?

No one should delay their decision to have cataract surgery due to concerns that the procedure will be painful. Quite the contrary, there is little or no discomfort during cataract surgery for most people. On the day of your surgery, you will most likely be given a mild sedative to help you relax and then numbing eye drops will be applied to your eye to prevent discomfort.

To eliminate the risks associated with general anesthesia (where you are put to sleep), you will be given medications before and during surgery to insure you won’t feel any pain. You will be awake during the short procedure, enabling your surgeon to communicate with you to ensure you remain comfortable. Your cataract surgeon may ask you how you are feeling throughout the surgery even though you probably won’t remember much of anything due to the medications administered before and during the process.

As the medications wear off after the procedure, you could feel some slight eye discomfort. It is usually mild and can be managed with short-term use of over-the-counter pain medication. You will be given instructions on handling post-surgical discomfort before you leave the surgery center.

What are the disadvantages of cataract surgery?

It is important to know that cataract surgery complications are few, and cataract surgery is among the most common and most successful surgical procedures performed today. According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS), 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery each year, with an overall success rate of 98 percent or higher. Also, a study of more than 200,000 Medicare beneficiaries who underwent cataract surgery between 1994 and 2006 found that 99.5 percent of patients had no severe postoperative complications and the risk of severe complications has decreased with advances in surgical tools and techniques. Nevertheless, there are potential cataract surgery complications and risks, which include:

  • Posterior capsule opacity (PCO)
  • Intraocular lens dislocation
  • Eye inflammation
  • Eye infection or bleeding
  • Light sensitivity
  • Photopsia (perceived flashes of light)
  • Macular edema (swelling of the central retina)
  • Retinal detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Loss of vision
  • Ptosis (droopy eyelid)
  • Ocular hypertension (elevated eye pressure)

Your cataract surgery risk is greater if you have another eye disease or a serious medical condition. Rarely, cataract surgery fails to improve vision because of underlying eye damage from other conditions, such as glaucoma or macular degeneration. If possible, it may be beneficial to evaluate and treat other eye problems before making the decision to have cataract surgery.

Most cataract surgery complications are minor and can be successfully treated medically or with additional surgery. If possible complications or surgery risks are of concern, you should discuss them with your eye doctor before having surgery.

What are the benefits of cataract surgery?

Cataract surgery successfully restores vision in the majority of people who have the procedure. Colors will once again appear sharper than when the cataracts dulled their distinct hues and your ability to see at night will greatly improve. The greatest benefits of cataract surgery, for most people though, is the restored and improved quality of life, being able to read, watch TV, use a computer, sew, cook, do yard work, and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you everyday.

Doctors now believe that having cataract surgery may even reduce the risk of cognitive decline in the elderly as well as reducing the risk of falls and hip fractures. 

Contact us today at (843) 553–2477 to speak with a specialist and schedule an appointment or click here to learn more about the surgery.

What causes eye cataracts?

What causes eye cataracts?

Before discussing what causes cataracts we should briefly discuss what a cataract is. If you already know feel free to skip down to the next section.

What is a cataract? 

A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it difficult to read, drive a car or even see the smile on your grandchild’s face. The loss of depth perception can cause a miscalculation in how close an object is or isn’t. Cataracts make vision blurry and can make it harder to see in bright light or at night and colors may appear to be duller. They are a common eye problem associated with aging that usually develop slowly. They typically don’t affect your eyesight early on, but will eventually interfere with your vision and thus, your quality of life. Untreated cataracts can lead to blindness.

By age 65, around a quarter of people develop cataracts, according to the National Eye Institute. Starting at around age 40, the chance of developing cataracts increases until by age 80, the possibility of advanced cataracts increases to more than 50%.

How do cataracts form?

Most cataracts develop when aging or injury changes the tissue that makes up your eye’s lens. When the lens of your eye becomes cloudy due to crystallin protein clumping, the resulting image is blurred and less bright. Crystallin is a water-soluble protein found in the lens, which makes the structure transparent. A healthy lens is transparent and allows maximum light to enter the eye. Cataracts occur when crystalline proteins within the lens become damaged, triggering them to misfold and aggregate into clumps inside a normally clear lens leaving them cloudy or hazy, blocking some of the light. It can cause the loss of some or all of your eyesight.

In addition to age-related cataracts, there are congenital cataracts. This is what doctors call it when babies are born with cataracts. These cataracts may be caused by infection, injury, or poor development in the womb. Or, cataracts can form during childhood. These can happen as a result of other medical conditions, such as diabetes.

Other causes for the progression of cataracts can be attributed to being around toxic substances, UV light exposure, or radiation, or from taking medicines such as corticosteroids or diuretics. Smokers are at risk for cataracts because smoking produces free radicals, which cause damage to cells, proteins and DNA and smoking increases exposure to toxins. Heavy drinking of alcohol can also increase the chance of developing cataracts.

Another risk factor for cataracts can be nutritional deficiencies from poor digestion, or inadequate intake or absorption of nutrients. Trauma can cause cataracts, as well, which can form after an injury to the head or eye or after ocular surgeries or they can occur due to other eye conditions. Some inherited genetic disorders that cause other health problems, such as diabetes can increase the possibility of forming cataracts as well.

You can click on the link to learn more about cataracts or contact us today to schedule an appointment by calling (843) 553-2477 or click here to schedule online.

Is it better to have cataract surgery early?

Is it better to have cataract surgery early?

It is always better to have cataracts removed while they are immature, since doing so will reduce the length of surgery as well as the recovery time. However, it’s never too late to have cataracts taken out. The sooner cataracts are removed after diagnosis, the less likely that the significant visual impairment associated with very mature (hyper-mature) cataracts will manifest. Yet, some people believe that since waiting to have cataract surgery won’t harm most individuals, it is good to take time to consider the options. In fact, some people consider that if your vision is still fairly decent, you may not need cataract surgery for many years, if ever.

Cataract Senior woman's eye closeup

Can you wait too long to have cataracts removed?

Cataracts can become “hyper-mature”, which makes them more difficult to remove. In some cases, this can cause complications during surgery. Usually, the best results for cataract surgery occur when surgery is performed soon after vision problems develop, whether it is due to age, disease, or injury.

When should you have cataracts removed?

As soon as you experience symptoms such as blurred vision, sensitivity to light, double vision, difficulty seeing or driving at night, you experience a loss in depth perception, or muting or fading of colors occurs, you should visit an ophthalmologist to have your vision assessed by an expert. When considering visiting an eye doctor, ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I see clearly to safely drive?
  • Can I see the road and road signs at night?
  • Do bright lights make it more difficult to see at night?
  • Do I need more light to read or do other close work?
  • Do the lights from the television or my computer bother my eyes?
  • Has it become difficult to perform normal tasks such as yard work, sewing, cooking, climbing stairs or seeing medication labels clearly?

You should also consider cataract surgery when a cataract interferes with the treatment of another eye problem. For instance, if a cataract makes it difficult for your eye doctor to examine the back of your eye to treat or keep an eye on other eye problems, such as age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, your doctor may advise you to have cataract surgery.

Contact us today at (843) 553-2477 to schedule an appointment.

Ophthalmologists in Charleston, SC

Ophthalmologists in Charleston, SC

If you are looking for an ophthalmologist in Charleston or the Summerville, SC area then chances are you already know what an ophthalmologist is or you may be wondering what type of eye doctor you should see. Our eyes are so important to us so it is crucial that you visit a doctor with whom you feel comfortable and can trust.

Blurry vision affecting ability to drive at night

Are you wondering if anything can be done to regain your sight and improve your vision? You are not alone!

 In fact, it is more common than you may think. We hear these same questions every day and have helped countless people live happier, more fulfilling lives.

Contact us at (843) 553–2477 to schedule a consultation and speak with someone on our team that can help you take the next step towards vision correction.

Having an experienced expert that has helped many patients with the same types of issues you have is so important. With so many different types of eye doctors and specializations in the field it can get confusing so we are going to answer the most common questions related to ophthalmology and what to expect from an ophthalmologist.

Patient talking to an experienced ophthalmologists in Charleston, SC.

What is an ophthalmologist?

An ophthalmologist is a surgical specialist and medical doctor that focuses on diagnosing and treating eye conditions and performing eye-related surgeries. These doctors focus on assessing comprehensive eye health and helping you to manage various conditions. They can analyze function, structure, and other relevant details of eye health, as well as precisely diagnose and prescribe treatments for various eye diseases.

The word ophthalmologist comes from the Greek language. The word “ophthalmos” in Greek means eye, while “logia” describes studying something. The entire ophthalmology field is dedicated to eyes and their health, function, structure, etc. That is because eyes are a vital organ since they provide vision, which largely affects the quality of life of every person.

human eye anatomy infographic

Although the word ophthalmology originates from the Greek language, history indicates that an Indian surgeon was among the first to dedicate to this field. At around 800 BC, Sushruta wrote about different eye conditions noted in the people he treated. The subsequent periods all gave contributions to this field and influenced the shape of modern ophthalmology. Today, the best doctors have the privilege of using advanced technology and state-of-the-art equipment, but many surgical techniques were first established by ophthalmologists from the past. More information can be found in this in depth look at ophthalmology.

What does an ophthalmologist do?

Ophthalmologists put their focus on diagnosing and treating eye conditions that could cause partial or complete loss of eyesight. Everything starts by scheduling an exam. They will perform a comprehensive eye assessment, which includes a series of tests.

The idea of those tests is to find if any abnormalities exist. If they discover something unusual, ophthalmologists proceed to diagnose an eye condition. These conditions could be simple or complex and the therapy prescribed will depend upon that. An ophthalmologist will recommend any required course of treatment to preserve vision. That could include prescriptions for glasses, medications, or recommendations for surgical treatment.

Woman reaching for eye glasses

An ophthalmology expert specializes in eye surgeries of various types. That could include repairing retinal detachment, extracting cataracts, replacing lenses, treating glaucoma, transplants, reshaping of the cornea, etc. Although many ophthalmologists have sub-specialties such as cataract surgery, glaucoma treatment, eye lift surgery, or they may be a diabetic eyecare specialist, many are trained to perform all types of surgeries related to the eyes.

Wondering what may be causing your loss of vision? Schedule an eye exam today to take the first step towards seeing more clearly!

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What is the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?

Patients often get optometrists and ophthalmologists confused, which is perfectly fine and quite common. However, understanding what services you can expect from each is imperative to getting the best possible care.

optometrist with white coat showing elements for sight correction

An optometrist is capable of providing routine personalized eye care. These health care providers complete a postgraduate course that can last approximately four years. During the program, they learn various eye examination methods, as well as how to assess client case histories. An optometrist is a person to visit for a regular eye exam, or when you need a new contact prescription or eyeglasses refitted. While they are capable of issuing prescriptions for contact lenses and eyeglasses, and they can diagnose eye conditions, optometrists are not surgical experts.

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who are surgical experts that specialize in eye surgery procedures. They completed a comprehensive medical program and finished a residency, which often takes up to seven years. An Ophthalmologist might have sub-specialties in eye disease, but they also completed surgical training for all eye-related conditions.

Two ophthalmologist perform an operation in the operating room, delicate work with the eyes, eye surgery

An ophthalmologist not only provides all basic optometry services, but also medical and surgical treatments and post-operative rehabilitation. These medical doctors who are capable of performing various eye-related surgical procedures usually focus on surgical treatments and managing eye diseases, but perform comprehensive eye health assessments as well.

What can an ophthalmologist diagnose?

An ophthalmologist is a specialist for detecting different types of eye illnesses and conditions. These include:

Vision Impairment

Refractive imperfections are the most common cause of impaired vision. That could include far and near-sightedness, inability to focus on close objects, etc.

Cataracts

A relatively common eye condition that can cause loss of vision. A cataract clouds the lens of the eyes, and surgery is often the solution to the problem. Ophthalmologists perform these and other eye-related surgeries. Learn more about cataract surgery.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a condition that could lead to blindness, especially if left untreated. Medications, lasers, and surgeries are potential options for treating this condition that damages the optic nerve of an eye. Learn more about glaucoma surgery.

Macular degeneration

This condition is often caused by aging. Although there is no cure, the doctor will recommend a treatment to slow down the progression of degeneration. Learn more about macular degeneration.

Ptosis (Droopy Eye Lid)

This condition can have a number of causes and can often be improved with surgery. Learn more about eye lift surgery.

These are only some common eye conditions that ophthalmologists can diagnose. Principally, they are capable of detecting any eye-related illness and helping you manage it. That might include prescriptions for glasses, lenses, and medications, but it could also include laser, refractive, cataract, and other types of surgeries.

Serving South Carolina With Surgical Expertise and Exceptional Patient Care

Although our practice is located in the Summerville area our patients come to us from areas such as North Charleston, Monks Corner, Goose Creek, Ladson, Johns Island, James Island, Folly Beach, West Ashley, Mt. Pleasant, Sullivan’s Island, Isle of Palms, Daniel Island and even as far out as Awendaw, Kiawah Island, Seabrook Island, Beaufort, and Hilton Head due to our exceptional care.

Don’t Continue to Tolerate Eye Discomfort or Put Up With Blurry Vision For Even One More Day!

Contact us at (843) 553–2477 to speak with a specialist that can find the answers you need and walk you through the entire process.