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Healthy Vision: A Look at Eye Protection and Conditions

July 18, 2011 12:59 PM with Dr. Manvi Maker

Learn more about the conditions involving your vision and what you can do to protect your eyesight. She will also address your questions relating to the ophthalmic complications of diabetes, as well as retina conditions. 

Catherine (Moderator) - 12:50 PM:
Welcome! Today’s chat: Healthy Vision: A Look at Eye Protection and Conditions will begin shortly. Please start submitting your questions and Dr. Manvi Maker will begin answering them as soon as we get started. While you are waiting for the chat to begin, feel free to visit the Ophthamology Section to obtain more information about vision. We will do our best to answer all of your questions, but because this is such a popular chat, the physician may not be able to answer all of your questions in the time allowed. Your understanding is greatly appreciated.

Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore) - 12:59 PM:
Good afternoon and welcome to the on-line chat about eye and vision health. Let's get started!

  Elizabeth (Chicago, IL) - 1:00 PM:
I have two cataract surgery on my both eyes, if it gets worse again am i going to have another surgery? How can I prevent it getting worse? I'm a diabetic.
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Thanks for the question. During cataract surgery, the actual structure that forms the cataract is removed, and an implant is put in its place. That cataract cannot come back. However, after cataract surgery, sometimes the thin layer that sits behind the implant can become cloudy, and some people refer to this as a "second cataract". This thin cloudy layer can be addressed in the office by a laser procedure.

  Barbara (Chicago, IL) - 1:03 PM:
I went to the eye doctor this year and before he finished my eye exam he put drops in my eyes that cleared my vision some. Is there a eye wash or is it the regular eye drops that was used. What can I use to clear my eyes every so often and not hurt my eyes.
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Dear Barbara, Artificial tears are drops that you can safely use in your eyes as often as you need, and will not harm the eyes. If you are using them frequently, you may wish to get "preservative-free" tears, as sometimes the presertavies can be irrtating for some people. Also, if you are finding you need the artificial tears often, it may be a good idea to speak with your eye doctor, incase there is an underlying dry eye condition that needs further treatment.

  Lawrence (Chicago, IL) - 1:06 PM:
I am type 1 diabetic. I have an annual eye checkup and keep my blood sugar in good control. What else can I do to protect my eye sight?
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Dear Lawrence, Keeping your blood sugar under control is a great start. Other things you can do are regular exercise, blood pressure and cholesterol control, and also go for a yearly dilated fundus eye exam by an ophthalmologist. Early diabetic eye changes may not initially affect your vision, so can unfortunately go undetected and untreated by patients. Therefore a good eye exam is an important factor in taking care of your diabetes.

  Susanne (Chicago, IL) - 1:08 PM:
I have what looks like reticulation or vein patterns in the visual field of my left eye that makes the edges of objects look squiggly and squirmy, especially if out of focus. I also have a large floater and sparkles that look like miniature fireworks displays when I move that eye, especially noticeable in the dark. There is also a slight reddish tint to everything seen with that.
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Dear Susanne, This is an interesting, which has many different potential answers. Your symptoms could mean a few different things, but we would need to get a more detailed history of when they started/your family eye history and test your vision formally in the clinic with an eye exam. A good dilated eye exam could answer a lot of questions, and give you access to further testing if that was necessary. Your symptoms could mean something benign like ocular migraines or could be something more serious requiring attention. I would strongly urge you to make an eye appointment with an eye doctor to better address these concerns.

  Ackson (Chicago, IL) - 1:11 PM:
I am 40 yrs old and I have painful eyes and sometimes a headache, which is persistent, what could it be?
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Dear Ackson, Eye pain and headaches can sometimes be related, especially if you are requiring glasses (distance or near), but are not properly corrected, or with more serious eye conditions like increased eye pressure. Other times, headaches may be more musculo-skeletal in nature and involving the muscles around the eye, but the eyeball itself is not involved in the process. A good eye exam may help tease out the details of your discomfort more clearly.

  Dorothy (Chicago, IL) - 1:14 PM:
I have been diagnosed with galucoma. I am 60. Besides taking the drops at night, is there anything else like vitamins that can help? Also, do the drops make your eyes dry.
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Dear Dorothy, In general, glaucoma drops usually decrease the eye pressure through a variety of mechanisms. Taking the drops on a regular schedule, and not missing any doses is very important. It is also important to maintain your regular ophthalmology visits to make sure the drops are still working for you. As of now, there are no eye vitamins that can help with glaucoma (though there are some vitamins available for certain kinds of macular degeneration). Some of the glaucoma medications can cause eye dryness, redness, or even allergic reactions in extreme cases. Over-the-counter artificial tears may help with the dryness, but should not be taken within 5 minutes before or after your glaucoma drop. If the dryness is becoming a daily problem, I would discuss this with your ophthalmologist to ensure it is nothing more serious.

  Rita (Chicago, IL) - 1:19 PM:
I suffered a retinal horseshoe tear, then detachment in my right eye. I had the schleral buckle. Developed cataracts, those were removed. Developed CME in right eye. Has improved somewhat but vision is not great in that eye . I did have a small tear in the left eye, which was treated with laser. Although I'm doing okay, I continue to have wisps, some floaters and some cloudiness at times. My ophthalmologist says all is well and do not need to be seen for another year. I guess I am satisf
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Dear Rita, I am sorry to hear about the course with your right eye. It appears your question exceeded the character limit, but I will answer as best I can. Regarding your left eye, if the retinal tear has been successfully barricaded by laser around it, and there is no surrounding detachment, then that is good news. Sometimes, you may continue to see occasional floaters or even flashes after having a retinal tear and laser treatment. Typically, someone is followed a bit more closely soon after the tear and treatment, and then if things are stable, the visits can usually be spaced out. Given the right eye course, I agree that your risks are a little higher for the left eye. Things you can do are to be vigilant of any changes in your current floaters or wisps. If there is any change in their character, number or frequency, those would be reasons to seek immediate help. If you note any increase in flashes or a curtain over part of your vision, also seek immediate help.

  Jacci (Chicago, IL) - 1:25 PM:
Do MS and Diabetic affect the same way? I have both and my vision is weak and I wear reading glasses until I get medicare to have an eye exam. Question, will the reading glasses make my vision weaker and due to high blood sugars?
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Dear Jacci, I am sorry to hear about your conditions. MS and Diabetes can affect some of the same structures in th eeyes, but in different ways and require different treatments. If you require reading glasses, it is a good idea to use them. They will not make your vision weaker, and they may reduce some of the strain from your eyes. Your blood sugar can affect your glasses prescription, but using the correct prescription eye glasses will not make your vision weaker.

  Kimberly (Chicago, IL) - 1:29 PM:
What are the symptoms of vision problems caused by complications of diabetes. I have been having eye problems since last June involving blurriness and stringing mucous. I just found out earlier this year that I have had diabetes left untreated since my last child, three years ago. I have told I have allergies now, and have been given prescriptions medication for the eye infections, but these problems still persist.
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Dear Kimberly, Symptoms of diabetes unclude blurry vision, fluctuating vision, and in some cases, blindness. Signs inside the eye can include swelling of the retina (the layer that lines the inside of the eye), bleeding from blood vessels, and actual new blood vessel formation inside the eye. These problems do not typically lead to external symptoms like mucus discharge, however, which may be due to other conditions affecting the surface of the eye or the eyelids. Diabetes can make some of these conditions worse. A good dilated eye exam should be able to help you and your doctor distinguish between some of the external versus internal eye conditions.

  Abraham (Chicago, IL) - 1:33 PM:
Is eye pressure a danger for day to day life? Can it be cured through Laser treatment?
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Dear Abraham, Persistent or repeat episodes of high eye pressure can damage the optic nerve inside the eye. This can in turn lead to decreased vision. Depending on the cause of the high eye pressure, it can sometimes be corrected with laser treatment. Other times, however, it may require drops, or in advanced cases, surgery.

  Josephine (Chicago, IL) - 1:44 PM:
I was recently diagnosed with Narrow Angle Glaucoma and had a procedure called iridotomy, now I am seeing a glare in the bottom of my eyes. Is this normal? I am also diagnosed with Fuch's, when is the best time to consider surgery? Does the Fuch's have anything to do with me developing the N.A.G.
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Dear Josephine, An iridotomy is a very commonly performed procedure which is usually quite safe. Serious complications are very rare. The risk of any complication is generally outweighed by the risks of not performing the iridotomy. One of the complications does include glare and/or haloes in one's vision. Sometimes glare exists alone, other times it may be associated with other processes as a result of the iridotomy, so it is important to speak with your ophthalmologist to make sure no serious complications have occurred. Regarding the Fuch's and "surgery", I am uncertain of which surgery you are referring to. If it is corneal surgery, then it is best to wait until the iridotomy procedure has been done and your pressure is stable. Generally, Fuch's and narrow angle glaucoma are not realted. Thank you.

  Vicky (Chicago, IL) - 1:49 PM:
I was diagnosed with diabetes about 3 years ago. I do not take insulin, but I do take Rx meds. My glucose readings are usually in the 130's. Is that a danger to my vision? My eyes are sometimes "dry" and tired. I am 62 years old. Female.
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Dear Vicky, Monitoring your blood sugars at home is a great way to take charge of your health. Your doctor will also check your blood level of HbA1C and this is equally important to keep in mind. Generally, HbA1C values below 6 are considered a good target. If the blood sugars fluctuate significantly, or are consistently high, then that is a danger to your eye health and vision. If your sugars are stable and within the target range, your chance of severe vision loss from the diabetes are significantly decreased. However, having diabetes itself does cause some damage to the back of the eye. How significant those changes are and how they impact your vision, depends on what the sugar control has been to that point. Keeping your sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol in control will also help the health of your eyes. I would encourage you to keep up with at least yearly apppointments for a good diabetic eye exam.

Catherine (Moderator) - 1:50 PM:
Thank you everyone for your great participation, the chat will be ending in approximately 10 minutes. Please submit any final questions you have.

  Jo (Evanston, IL) - 1:54 PM:
what are some of the problems people have with maculer degerneration?
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Dear Jo, People can have a variety of symptoms with macular degeneration. Mostly commonly, people report blurry vision, distorted vision, or haze in their vision. These changes tend to affect the central part or one's "straight-ahead" vision, rather than the side vision.

  Barbara (Skokie, IL) - 1:56 PM:
For migraine type headaches, is it better to use a hot or cold compress? Also, why have my headaches been less frequent since I started the medication bisoprolol (for supra ventricular tachycardia)?
Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore)
Dear Barbara, It is difficult for me to comment on the headaches and the medication, as this might be a question better suited for your primary care provider. However, as a general recommendation, I would use cold or hot compresses during your migraine, based on which ones provide you more relief.

Catherine (Moderator) - 2:00 PM:
Thank you again for participating in our chat today. For more information please visit our Ophthalmology pages.

Also, a transcript of this chat will be available shortly.

Dr. Manvi Maker (NorthShore) - 2:01 PM:
Thank you all for your questions. I hope you found this chat helpful. Best Regards, Manvi Maker, MD.

This chat has ended.

Thank you very much for your participation.