Tag: Disease

Literacy Deficiency Found in Children with Uncorrected Farsightedness

USC Pediatric OphthalmologyThe University of Southern California (USC) Eye Institute, one of the nation’s Top 10 ophthalmology programs according to U.S. News & World Report, is announcing a call to action for all parents and educators to ensure children receive proper eye exams at an early age. Through awareness, education and early interventions, the USC Roski Eye Institute believes we can stem the tide of recent pediatric eye disease sight that may contribute to a reduction in the younger generation’s quality of life.

A new National Eye Institute (NEI)-funded study highlights that preschoolers ages 4 and 5 with uncorrected farsightedness (hyperopia), where children have difficulty seeing close-up, performed poorly on literacy tests relative to those with normal vision.

Researchers in the Vision in Preschoolers-Hyperopia in Preschoolers (VIP-HIP) study implemented a Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL) test to examine the reading skills of 492 children.  Eye exams were conducted on all children prior to administering the TOPEL.  In the reported results, a substantial literacy deficit was observed in children with moderate farsightedness (3-6 diopters).  Relative to the mild form, moderate farsightedness is associated with an increased number of diopters, which is the unit of measure of lens power that is required to correct vision. Most notably in this study, children with moderate farsightedness and reduced near visual function such as depth perception, had significant challenges in the print knowledge domain of the test, which assesses the ability to distinguish letters and words.

Elise Ciner, O.D., professor at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University in Philadelphia, and co-investigator of the study stated that, “Preschool children with moderate hyperopia and decreased near vision may benefit from referral for assessment of early literacy skills.” Ciner also indicated that early interventions in these children might provide a better educational outcome.

While a small percentage of children known to have severe farsightedness are corrected with prescription eyeglasses, it is common for cases of moderate farsightedness to go undetected.  “This study adds to the growing concerns surrounding the prevalence of eye conditions such as moderate farsightedness in children,” says Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, who is the Chair of the USC Roski Eye Institute, Interim Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and epidemiology expert in eye diseases.

The results of the VIP-HIP study come on the heels of the recently completed Multi-Ethnic Pediatric Eye Disease Study (MEPEDS), conducted by researchers and clinicians from the USC Roski Eye Institute at Keck Medicine of USC in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, which assessed childhood eye disease in over 9000 Los Angeles area children ages 6 months to 6 years.

While 4-14% of children overall are found to have moderate farsightedness, the MEPEDS found that children in specific racial/ethnic groups are at higher risk of developing farsightedness. The prevalence of farsightedness (+2 diopters or greater) was highest in Hispanic (26.9%) and Non-Hispanic White children (25.7%), but lower in African American (20.8%) and Asian children (13.5%). Thus, non-Hispanic white and Hispanic children are twice as likely to be farsighted than Asian children. Two other significant observations made in the study were that moderate levels of farsightedness was associated with the development of both amblyopia (lazy eye- poor visual development in an eye) and strabismus (misalignment of the eyes).

“Studies such as these are crucial.  Knowing the risk factors associated with farsightedness along with the impact that it can have on the intellectual development of our children, should be considered when creating guidelines for screening and intervention in preschool children,” says Varma. “The results emphasize the importance of vision screening in children at an early age, as detection and treatment of farsightedness, can lead to a more promising future for our children.”

About the USC Roski Eye Institute

The USC Roski Eye Institute, part of the Keck Medicine of USC university-based medical enterprise, has been a leader in scientific research and innovative clinical treatments for 40 years. Among the top three funded academic-based medical centers by the National Eye Institute (NEI) research grants and ranked in the Top 10 ophthalmology programs in U.S. News & World Report‘s annual “Best Hospitals” issue for more than 20 years, the USC Roski Eye Institute is headquartered in Los Angeles with clinics in Arcadia, Beverly Hills and Pasadena.

Patients from across the country come to see the USC Roski Eye Institute experts who treat a comprehensive array of eye diseases across the life spectrum from infants to aging seniors. The USC Roski Eye Institute is known for its scientific research and clinical innovation including: creation of the Argus implant (also known as the “bionic eye”) for retinitis pigmentosa (RP) patients; stem cell therapies for those who have age-related macular degeneration; discovery of the gene that is the cause of the most common eye cancer in children; treatment for eye infections for AIDS patients; inventors of the most widely used glaucoma implant in the world; pioneers of a device for long-term intraocular drug delivery; and the first to use telesurgery to train eye doctors in developing countries.  For more information visit: eye.keckmedicine.org. or eye.keckmedicine.org.

Next, read USC Study Uncovers New Approach to Treating Dry Eye Syndrome

USC Study Uncovers New Approach to Treating Dry Eye Syndrome

USC Eye Injury Prevention TipsMillions of people suffer from the discomfort of dry eye syndrome. From irritation, redness, and sensitivity to light, dry eyes can make everyday life uncomfortable, to the say the least. Fortunately, researchers from the Fini Lab at Keck Medicine USC may have found that a possible solution to this overwhelmingly common condition could lie in a tear protein called clusterin.

“It is well known that clusterin protects cells and proteins,” said Shinwu Jeong, assistant professor of research ophthalmology in the Institute for Genetic Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC and the senior author of the study. “A problem in dry eye appears to be that natural clusterin is depleted. We predicted that adding it back would be beneficial. However, the novel mechanism of sealing was unexpected.”

During the study, researchers noted that clusterin helps seal the ocular surface, creating a protective barrier that helps prevent further damage.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is caused by chronic dehydration and poor lubrication of the ocular surface, causing a disruption of the barrier function. Many people develop dry eye as a result of environmental exposure, allergies, eye surgery, medications, or the effects of aging. While it may seem like a mild irritation, the condition can lead to vision loss if the cornea is scratched or damaged if left untreated long enough. Common symptoms include:

  • Inflammation
  • Burning sensation
  • Aching feeling
  • Soreness
  • Red appearance
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Fatigued eyes

Typically, dry eye symptoms are treated with lubricating eye drops or artificial tears, as well as taking breaks from reading or using a computer or smartphone. Additionally, prescription eye medications may help increase tear production or reduce eye inflammation and irritation, but these treatment options fail to prevent the symptoms from returning.

A Promising Solution

Rather than studying the tear production, inflammation, and chemistry that causes or contributes to dry eyes, the USC researchers focused on the protecting the ocular surface barrier. By strengthening the barrier with clusterin, the researchers hope to not only prevent and treat dry eye, but also other corneal disorders in which the ocular surface barrier is damaged. The researchers were the first to examine how the clusterin tear protein functions in dry eye.

Other USC co-authors include faculty members Wendy Mack of preventive medicine, J. Martin Heur, MD, PhD of ophthalmology and Janet Moradian-Oldak of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC.

Learn More from USC Roski Eye Institute

If you or someone you love is suffering from dry, irritated eyes or other eye conditions, the USC Roski Eye Institute is committed to providing the solutions to make everyday life easier. To learn more from our renowned ophthalmology team and our treatment options, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (323) 348-1526 or submit a contact form today.

For more information about the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute by making a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323.442.5396 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu.

Next, read USC Roski Eye Institute Improves Image Sharpness in Retinal Implants

USC Roski Eye Institute Improves Image Sharpness in Retinal Implants

FDA Approved Retinal Prosthesis, Argus IIRetinitis pigmentosa (RP) is an inherited eye disease that causes gradual degeneration of the light sensitive photoreceptors in the retina, which eventually leads to total blindness. Roughly one in 4,000 people suffer from the debilitating disease; however, according to a recent study by researchers from the USC Roski Eye Institute and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, patients who have regained some vision with the help of revolutionary retinal implants may gain even better, sharper vision.

The Argus II retinal implant, also called the bionic eye, was developed by ophthalmologists and engineers at USC to help people once again perceive light through a pair of eyeglasses that feature a video camera mount and a video processing unit. The implant transforms images via the camera into electronic signals that are wirelessly transmitted to implanted electrodes in the eye in order to stimulate visual neurons.

While retinal implants have been able to provide blind individuals with some degree of vision, such as the ability to find large objects or detect motion, the devices also inadvertently triggered axons in the retina, resulting in reduced vision quality. When the axons are triggered, patients would see large, unusual shapes of light that interfere with the patients’ overall vision.

The USC researchers determined that by using various durations of stimulus pulses, it was possible to create more precise stimulus that would not interfere with the axons in the retina nearly as much as with shorter pulses. For example, electrical pulses of only eight milliseconds or shorter would stimulate the axons and obscure the patients’ vision, whereas pulses of at least 25 ms did not produce any signs of axonal stimulation, providing a clearer focal spot of light.

“Our findings further support that it is possible for patients with RP to see forms using artificial vision,” said James Weiland, PhD, professor of ophthalmology and biomedical engineering. “This makes a strong case for developing high-resolution retinal implants.”

What is Retinitis Pigmentosa?

RP occurs when the light sensitive cells (rods and cones) of the retina on the back of the eye begin to degenerate and die. The condition causes a gradual loss of vision as more and more of the retina cells stop working. The progression of RP will depend on which rods and cones are affected first. Some patients experience night blindness initially, while others may notice a decrease in central vision and color. The rate of progression will also depend largely on each patient.

Contact Our Expert Ophthalmologists Today

To protect your vision and ensure the highest quality of care, schedule an annual eye exam with the professional ophthalmologists at USC Roski Eye Institute. Regular screenings and exams will help accurately catch potential issues that may develop into serious eye conditions, such as retinitis pigmentosa. Take preventative action early. Make an appointment with a skilled ophthalmologist today.

Help support the USC Roski Eye Institute by making a tax-deductible gift! Contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323.442.5396 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu today!

Next, read Prescription Medication May Help Reverse Vision Loss Caused by Diabetic Eye Disease in Certain Populations

Prescription Medication May Help Reverse Vision Loss Caused by Diabetic Eye Disease in Certain Populations

Diabetes and EyesA common prescription medication for age-related vision loss called ranibizumab may hold the key to successfully treating vision loss caused by diabetes in Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites, according to a recent study led by researchers at USC Roski Eye Institute.

Currently, the standard treatment for diabetic macular edema and diabetic retinopathy, which are the leading causes of vision loss in working-age adults in the U.S, is typically laser surgery. Unfortunately, laser surgery has had relatively low success in treating the blurred vision of more advanced stages of diabetic eye diseases. Previous studies have found that only 30 percent of patients who underwent laser surgery experienced vision improvement.

What are Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema?

Diabetic retinopathy causes damage to the small blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in distorted vision or blindness. The condition progresses through four stages, in which the tiny blood vessels swell, potentially bleed, become blocked, and increase in number, ultimately damaging the cells of the retina if not treated.

Diabetic macular edema occurs when fluid builds up in the central region of the retina called the macula. The macula helps provide sharp, clear details and allows people to recognize faces and read. This condition develops as a result of diabetic retinopathy and can occur at any stage.

The symptoms of both of these diabetic eye diseases include seeing floating spots, blurred vision, or total vision loss.

Groundbreaking Research

Using a population-based model, director of the USC Roski Eye Institute, professor and chair of ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and Interim Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Rohit Varma, M.D., M.P.H., and his research team determined that providing at least .3 milligrams of the prescription medication ranibizumab every four weeks to patients with diabetic macular edema could reduce the number of vision loss cases by at least 45 percent and the number of legal blindness cases by up to 75 percent.

Nearly 37,000 Hispanic and non-Hispanic white adults who had been diagnosed with diabetic macular edema in the U.S. participated in the study. The researchers believe that even more populations and ethnic groups may benefit from the vision-saving effects of ranibizumab.

“We found that ranibizumab can save the sight of thousands of working-age individuals suffering from diabetic eye disease, as standard treatments such as laser are not as effective,” said Dr. Varma.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Our expert ophthalmologists at USC Roski Eye Institute have extensive training and experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of vision-threatening conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema. To receive a comprehensive exam and ensure that your eyesight is carefully monitored, please complete our online contact form or call 323-348-1526 today! Remember that annual eye exams are an essential step in long-term eye care.

To learn more about our services or to support the Institute with a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu or by calling USC Roski Eye Institute.

Next, read February is National AMD and Low Vision Awareness Month

Today’s Cutting-Edge Advancements in Glaucoma Treatment

Diabetes and Eyes, Jet-Setting Health and MoreThe USC Roski Eye Institute has always been on the forefront of the latest advancements in glaucoma treatment. Our exceptional team of ophthalmologists have helped pioneer many of the life-changing treatment options now available for one of the most common causes of preventable blindness in the U.S. and worldwide.Interim Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, Director of the USC Roski Eye Institute, and glaucoma expert, Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, has not only led the way in improving glaucoma treatments, but he has also co-authored and co-edited several textbooks on the subject, including the recently released Advanced Glaucoma Surgery, to help provide a comprehensive source of cutting-edge information regarding advanced glaucoma surgical techniques for other ophthalmologists, researchers, and students.

The Glaucoma Service at the USC Roski Eye Institute offers comprehensive care and treatment for the full range of glaucoma conditions. The following are some of the most state-of-the-art advancements available for preventing, diagnosing, and treating the group of diseases that make up glaucoma.

Glaucoma Drainage Devices

The USC Roski Eye Institute researchers have developed an effective alternative to trabeculectomies and tube shunts that have traditionally been used to relieve intraocular pressure (IOP) issues that damage the optic nerve. The stent is no wider than a human hair and consists of collagen-derived gelatin. The stent can be safely injected into the eye to allow the eye’s anterior chamber to continue circulating and draining fluid in the inner eye. The glaucoma stents, such as iStent, can be implanted within a matter of minutes.

Intraocular Pressure Sensors

Researchers at the USC Roski Eye Institute are also currently working on novel intraocular pressure sensors that would be implanted in the eye to accurately and continuously measure IOP on a daily basis. While it is possible to gauge intraocular pressure during an eye exam, the internal pressure of the eye changes regularly throughout a single day. If the pressure raises too high, even temporarily, the optic nerve can be damaged, leading to vision loss. An intraocular pressure sensor would track an individual’s IOP and transmit the information to a wireless receiver for an ophthalmologist to analyze and monitor for signs of glaucoma.

Drug Delivery Systems

Glaucoma is a chronic eye disease that can be managed or slowed down with certain medications depending on the patient. However, administering the appropriate medication on a consistent basis, especially as eye drops, can be difficult for many patients. The USC Roski Eye Institute researchers have developed a minuscule implantable pump that can deliver medication at regular intervals directly into the eye. The implant is refillable and can be programmed and recharged with the convenience of a wireless device.

Advancing Eye Care at USC Roski Eye Institute

The board-certified ophthalmologists at the USC Roski Eye Institute are experienced at diagnosing and treating glaucoma as well as conducting clinical trials to help advance eye care treatments to prevent vision loss. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by completing our online contact form or simply calling (323) 745-2223. We are located in Los Angeles, Arcadia, Beverly Hills, and Pasadena.

For more information about the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute by making a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323.442.5396 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu.

Next, read Find Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Glaucoma Awareness Month

Find Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma-awarenessJanuary is Glaucoma Awareness Month and the ophthalmologists at the USC Roski Eye Institute understand that the more people know about this serious condition, the better equipped they are at finding treatment for their conditions. With the following answers to frequently asked questions, you can find the help you need to preserve your eyesight.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a complex eye condition that causes high eye pressure, damaging the optic nerve, which is the nerve that connects the eye to the brain and is responsible for transmitting images to the brain. There are two main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma, both of which damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss.

Did you know that glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in America?

  • Approximately 2.7 million Americans have glaucoma with over half who have gone undiagnosed
  • According to the World Health Organization it is the second leading cause of blindness in the world
  • Over 120,000 Americans are completely blind from glaucoma, and this number continues to rise

What are the risk factors for Glaucoma?

Those who are over 40, have a family history of glaucoma, poor vision, trauma to the eye(s) or are taking certain medications may be at risk of glaucoma. Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, Interim Dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology, Director of the USC Roski Eye Institute, conducted multiple epidemiological population based studies and determined that groups at higher risk for glaucoma are those aged 40 or older, most prevalent in general Hispanic population and African Americans.

Is glaucoma preventable?

In general, blindness from glaucoma is preventable through early detection. The USC Roski Eye Institute specialists encourage you to have regular eye exams. Glaucoma can remain undetected, in patients with the disease, as they may show little to no symptoms. Patients can however, experience symptoms like vision loss, headaches, severe eye pain, halos around light, nausea and vomiting. If diagnosed and treated early, your eye doctor can prevent permanent vision loss and blindness. For early detection, eye specialists must directly examine the optic nerve and peripheral vision, and not just rely on pressure tests such as the standard puff tests which checks for high pressure. Even people with “normal pressure” can also have glaucoma.

Can undiagnosed glaucoma lead to blindness?

Glaucoma is a complex eye condition that causes high eye pressure, damaging the optic nerve, which is the nerve that connects the eye to the brain and is responsible for transmitting images to the brain. There are two main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma, both of which damage the optic nerve, leading to vision loss.

Advancing Technologies and Treatments for Glaucoma

If you believe you may be at risk, are over 50 years of age, or have family members with glaucoma, please get your eyes examined with an emphasis on assessing the optic nerve and peripheral vision. In general it is good practice to get regular eye exams. To make an appointment, please call (323) 442-6335.

Next, read Top 10 Apps for Visually Impaired People

What Can You Do for Your Loved Ones in National Glaucoma Awareness Month?

USC Department of Ophthalmology Beverly HillsWith the new year, it’s safe to say that most people may be making plans to join a gym, adopt a new diet, or take up a new hobby. But what many people may not be thinking about when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions is their eyesight. Did you know that January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month? Glaucoma is a group of diseases that gradually causes vision loss by damaging the optic nerve in the eye. It is the second leading cause of blindness, according to the World Health Organization, and typically does not present any symptoms until vision is already lost. While there is no known cure for glaucoma, prevention is possible through regular screenings and early diagnosis.

At USC Roski Eye Institute, our glaucoma specialists are determined to help spread the word about how important it is to have your eyes checked on a regular basis to preserve your eyesight. This January, join us in raising awareness about how you and your loved ones can prevent glaucoma.

 

What is Glaucoma?

There are several types of glaucoma, but the most common is called primary open-angle glaucoma. This type of the disease occurs when the trabecular meshwork, which helps drain the clear fluid that maintains constant eye pressure, no longer functions correctly. As the fluid becomes trapped in the eye, it begins to build up and raises the eye pressure to a point where the optic nerve at the back of the eye is damaged.

In most cases, open-angle glaucoma does not cause any symptoms during the earliest stages, however, as the optic nerve becomes damaged, blank spots begin to appear and will become bigger over time until total blindness.

The optic nerve can be damaged at different eye pressures, depending on the patient. For example, some people suffer optic nerve damage and vision loss even through their eye pressure is at a “normal” level. This type of glaucoma is called normal-tension or low-tension glaucoma. It is very important to have your eyes screened on a regular basis by a skilled ophthalmologist to ensure that your sight is monitored for the various types of glaucoma.

What You Can Do About Glaucoma

According to the National Eye Institute, nearly 4.2 million people are projected to suffer vision loss due to glaucoma by 2030. However, while many people may have glaucoma without showing any signs or symptoms, it is possible to prevent the condition from worsening and preserve existing eyesight with early treatment. To help ensure that you and your loved ones are not part of the 4.2 million sufferers, remember the following:

Everyone is at risk of developing glaucoma. Schedule a simple eye exam with USC Roski Eye Institute today!

Some individuals are more at risk for glaucoma than others. Do not wait to schedule an eye exam for yourself or a loved one with one or more of the following risk factors:

  • Age 60 or older
  • Diabetes
  • Severely near-sighted
  • African, Asian, or Hispanic descent
  • Family history of glaucoma

Early detection is crucial. Be proactive about your eye health and discuss your options with your ophthalmologist. Ask to have a glaucoma test included in each exam and schedule regular eye exams based on your doctor’s recommendation. Lastly, let your loved ones know about the dangers of glaucoma and how they can take steps to keep their vision healthy and strong for as long as possible.

Comprehensive Eye Care at USC Roski Eye Institute

The board-certified ophthalmologists at the USC Roski Eye Institute are highly experienced at diagnosing and treating vision loss and can perform the most advanced tests and treatments available. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by completing our online contact form or simply calling (323) 745-2223. We are located in Los Angeles, Arcadia, Beverly Hills, and Pasadena.

For more information about the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute by making a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323.442.5396 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu.

Next, read Diabetes and the Eye

Diabetes and the Eye

Diabetes Eye Disease USCDiabetes is a group of metabolic diseases related to high blood glucose (blood sugar) as a result of inadequate insulin production or the body’s inability to respond to insulin. People who are overweight, have a family history of the disease, or have high blood pressure are more at risk of developing diabetes, especially over the age of 45. In addition to causing heart trouble, nerve damage, and kidney disease, diabetes is also the number one cause of blindness among Americans.

Unfortunately, many diabetics and those at risk of developing the disease are not aware of the potentially blinding effects of diabetes. In order to help increase awareness for proper eye health among diabetics and preventative measures for those at risk, USC Roski Eye Institute has compiled the following vital information.

What is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetes can affect people by causing early cataracts and severe glaucoma.  The most common and serious condition caused by diabetes is diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema (DME).  DME manifests from diabetic retinopathy and results in swelling in an area of the retina called the macula.

Diabetic retinopathy affects the blood vessels in the retina, which is the light-sensitive membrane in the back of the eye that helps register and process images. As the disease progresses, the blood vessels may swell and leak, become blocked, or form abnormal vessels on the surface of the retina. When the delicate blood vessels inside the retina are damaged, the retina itself can become distorted or can detach, resulting in permanent vision loss. “Many patients with diabetes have subtle early changes on their exam which may never manifest in permanent vision loss, if treated early by tighter blood sugar control in cooperation with their diabetes doctor or sometimes using clinic based eye procedures such as laser photocoagulation,” says Dr. Damien Rodger MD, PhD, one of the vitreoretinal surgeons and uveitis specialists at the USC Roski Eye Institute. “However, if these patients are seen later in the course of their eye disease, they often need more complicated surgeries to reattach their retinas, which can often prevent further visual decline but may not improve their vision dramatically. Early screening as part of their overall diabetes care is critical in decreasing the burden of diabetic eye disease.”

Steps to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease

One of the most important things to understand about diabetic eye problems is that there are typically no noticeable symptoms during the early stages of development. While it is possible to treat cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, vision loss can be reduced or prevented more effectively when diagnosed as soon as possible. Once the signs and symptoms become apparent, the risk of significant vision loss becomes more substantial.

Signs of diabetic retinopathy can include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Spots or strings floating in your vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Black areas in your vision
  • Vision loss

If you have type I or type II diabetes, it is crucial that you maintain strict control of your blood pressure and blood sugar levels in addition to seeing an ophthalmologist for at least yearly eye exams and diabetic retinopathy screenings, if not more frequently depending on the results of your assessment or treatment.

It is highly recommended that those who do not have diabetes continue to schedule complete eye exams every one to three years, and schedule more frequent exams as they get older and depending on their potential risk factors.

Schedule an Appointment at USC Roski Eye Institute Today

The exceptional eye doctors at USC Roski Eye Institute are experts at diagnosing and treating a wide variety of eye conditions, including diabetic retinopathy. To receive a comprehensive eye exam and ensure that your vision is protected from diabetes-related conditions, please complete our online contact form or call 323-442-6335 today!

To learn more about the health services at the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute with a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu or by calling USC Roski Eye Institute.

Next, read How Reliable are Online Eye Exams?

What Toll is the Sun Taking on Your Eyes?

USC Eye Vision HealthOur eyes play a powerful role in bringing the world around us into focus and giving us visual perception of our surroundings. But none of this would be possible without light. In order for us to see, light enters our eyes where it is refracted and focused into a specific point on the retina at the back of the eye called the macula and then translated into electrical signals that travel to the brain via the optic nerves. However, while light is essential for sight, certain types of light, particularly ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) light, can cause significant damage to the eye over time if not guarded against. Unfortunately, the source of harmful UV light is also the most prevalent and difficult to avoid – the sun.

At the USC Roski Eye Institute, our skilled ophthalmologists have extensive education and experience in diagnosing and treating various types of eyesight problems caused by the sun. To receive exceptional care from our team, please schedule an appointment online or call us at (323) 745-2223 today!

Common Types of UV-Related Eye Injuries

Over the years and depending on the length and duration of exposure, sunlight can take a heavy toll on the eyes, resulting in blurred vision, sensitivity to the light, excessive tearing, blindness, and more. The most common eye conditions and injuries caused by UV light include:

Cataracts – Research has linked UVB light directly to the development of cataracts, which occurs when the crystalline lens of the eye becomes gradually cloudy and opaque, potentially resulting in total blindness if not treated. Cataracts typically affect older individuals; however, excessive exposure to sunlight without adequate protection can increase the risk of developing this common eyesight problem.

Macular Degeneration – The macula is located at the center of the ocular membrane called the retina and is responsible for clear, detailed vision. Over time and with exposure to UV light rays, the natural lens of the eye filters out the vast majority of damaging ultraviolet light before it has a chance to damage the retina and macula. The same is true for most artificial cataract lens implants. However, there is some evidence that suggests the retina and macula can become damaged by ultraviolet radiation, resulting in significant vision loss and conditions such as farsightedness.

Pterygium – Also known as surfer’s eye, pterygium occurs when the protective membrane of the outside of the eye called the conjunctiva becomes inflamed and grows out toward the optical center of the eye. It is typically associated with prolonged exposure to sunlight, especially when reflected off the surface of water or snow. Symptoms include dry, itchy eyes, excessive tearing, and a gritty sensation in the eyes.

Keratitis – Excessive exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun and tanning beds can actually cause the cornea to burn, not unlike a sunburn. The cornea is used to refract light within the eye and directs light to the retina. Keratitis can also be caused by an infection or parasite and results in inflammation of the cornea, which if left untreated may result in permanent damage.

Skin Cancers of the Eyelid – As with the rest of the body, the eyelids are vulnerable to the harsh effects of UV radiation and can not only be burned by overexposure, but can also develop varying degrees of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Symptoms of eyelid cancer include a bump or lump on the eyelid that bleeds and does not heal or disappear, inflammation of the eyelids, sudden loss of eyelashes, or a lesion.

If you notice that your vision has been impaired by the harmful effects of the sun or would like to learn more about protecting your eyesight for years to come, make an appointment with an experienced ophthalmologist as soon as possible. In many cases, vision damage can be repaired or improved through laser surgery, medication, and other treatments. It is in your best interest to schedule a thorough annual eye exam as well.

Protect Your Sight from UV Light Radiation

The skilled ophthalmology specialists at the USC Roski Eye Institute strongly suggest that people of all ages take necessary precautions to protect their eyes from the damaging toll of UV light radiation, including:

  • Always wear UVA and UVB blocking sunglasses when outdoors or exposed to natural night
  • Do not use sunlamps, tanning beds, or tanning booths
  • Wear UV-blocking goggles when surfing, swimming, or snowboarding
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat when outdoors
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight by staying in the shade, especially between 10 am and 4 pm

Contact the Renowned Ophthalmologists at USC Roski Eye Institute

Receiving regular eye exams from a qualified professional and catching vision problems as soon as possible is vital for getting effective treatment and preventing an issue from becoming permanent. Please do not wait to make an appointment with a skilled ophthalmologist at USC Roski Eye Institute for a comprehensive eye exam and the most state-of-the-art, advanced treatment available.

To help support the USC Roski Eye Institute, make a tax-deductible gift today by contacting Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323.442.5396 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu.

Next, read Helpful Tips for the Visually Impaired

Helpful Tips for the Visually Impaired

USC Eye Visually ImpairedLearning to live with a visual impairment, whether partial or total, can be challenging to say the least, both emotionally and physically. If vision loss occurs suddenly as a result of injury, for example, the adjustment may be more drastic than if the vision loss was gradual, such as with cataracts; however, it is important to understand that vision impairment does not mean loss of independence or quality of life. Adapting takes time.

If you or someone you love is coping with vision loss of any degree, the USC Roski Eye Institute is committed to helping those with life-changing ophthalmic conditions find the solutions they need to excel and thrive. To learn more from our renowned ophthalmology team and our treatment options, please do not hesitate to give us a call at (323) 442-6335 or submit a contact form today.

In order to help you or a loved one adapt efficiently and comfortably while at home, we have compiled the following tips for the visually impaired.

Updating the Home for the Visually Impaired

Your home is the one place you should always feel safe, comfortable, and in control. Depending the degree of vision loss, the following tips can help you or a loved one continue to feel at home.

Contrasts and Color – Even with low vision, different colors or stark contrasting colors can help differentiate light switches on the walls, different steps and ramps, doorknobs, furniture, and various objects.

Lighting – Certain types and sources of light within the home can “wash out” or cause too much glare, interfering with an individual’s limited vision. Select curtains or blinds that can be easily adjusted depending on the amount of sunlight in the home. Incorporate a variety of artificial lights throughout the home to highlight steps, backlight cupboards, and illuminate walkways.

Organization – Stick to a simple organization method of keeping specific items in specific locations and placing distinctive labels or markers on items to help differentiate them. Different colored rubber bands, brightly colored note cards and stickers, safety pins, and Braille labels can make groceries, folders, outfits, and other items easy to identify.

Telling Time – It can be particularly difficult to tell time while indoors with limited vision, fortunately there are a variety of watches and clocks that can help those with low vision. Larger clocks with a black face and white dials or a tactile face can be easier to see or feel than standard clocks. Talking watches and clocks can tell time by just pushing a button.

Comprehensive Eye Care at USC Roski Eye Institute

The board-certified ophthalmologists at the USC Roski Eye Institute are highly experienced at diagnosing and treating vision loss and can perform the most advanced treatments available. If you are concerned about your eyesight or the sight of a loved one, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us by completing our online contact form or simply calling (323) 745-2223. We are located in Los Angeles, Arcadia, Beverly Hills, and Pasadena.

For more information about the USC Roski Eye Institute or to support the Institute by making a tax-deductible gift, please contact Rebecca Melville, senior director of development, at 323.442.5396 or via email at Rebecca.Melville@med.usc.edu.

Next, read What Can You Do to Help Your Eyes Age in a Healthy Manner?

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