Eye Candy for Today: Claude landscape with … – Lines and Colors

Lines and Colors is a blog about drawing, sketching, painting, comics, cartoons, webcomics, illustration, digital art, concept art, gallery art, artist tools and techniques, motion graphics, animation, sci-fi and fantasy illustration, paleo art, storyboards, matte painting, 3d graphics and anything else I find visually interesting. If it has lines and/or colors, it’s fair game.

Penetrating the Eyeball – medicalgrapevineasia.com

Ms J, a 36-year-old banker with myopia, consulted Dr R, an ophthalmologist, with a one-week history of pain and blurring of vision in the left eye. Dr R diagnosed anterior uveitis and prescribed corticosteroid eye drops, and proceeded to give a sub-tenon’s injection of 0.5ml depomedrol under local anaesthesia in the lower outer corner of the left eye.

The patient felt minor pain with the local anaesthetic injection but felt excruciating pain with the depomedrol injection. Within seconds a black spot blocked the central vision in the left eye. The spot expanded rapidly until the vision was completely lost. Dr R continued injecting till the full dose was given. On examining the left eye Dr R found that the eye was filled with fluid – he arranged a follow-up consultation the next day.

Ms J called later that afternoon to ask if she could see Dr R immediately but was advised to return the next day. Ms J chose to see another ophthalmologist who diagnosed a localised retinal detachment and referred her to a retinal surgeon, who performed surgery eight hours later.

The retinal detachment was caused by two needle punctures penetrating the eyeball and injecting depomedrol into the eye instead of the intended sub-tenon’s space. She underwent surgery to repair the retinal detachment and remove the intraocular drug, but complete removal of the steroid was not possible.

Postoperatively, the retina was flat, but scattered retinal haemorrhage and macular nerve fibre layer oedema was noted. About three weeks later, Ms J developed an inferior retinal detachment, epiretinal membrane and retinal necrosis. She underwent further surgery to remove the epiretinal scar membrane and correct the retinal detachment. Her intraocular pressure was raised postoperatively but was controlled with medical treatment.

The iritis subsided, the intraocular pressure normalised and the remaining subretinal steroid dissipated completely within three months. Her final visual acuity was hand movement in the left eye and 6/6 in the right eye. The left eye remained painful and uncomfortable. Ms J had difficulty with near work and computer work, suffered eye strain and easy fatigue in the right eye and experienced frequent headaches and imbalance when walking downstairs.

She was assessed as having 20% impairment of vision and 20% impairment of the whole person, with 50% loss of capacity. She also developed depression and was under the care of a psychiatrist. She returned to work six months later but, due to mental distress and intense eye pain, she had to work part-time in a less intense position, and with a lower salary.

Ms J made a complaint and a civil claim. The claim was indefensible and was settled for a substantial sum.

Learning Points

• Ample guidance is available through professional bodies and the scientific literature on the management of common eye conditions. Periocular corticosteroid is not indicated for uncomplicated anterior uveitis. Where topical corticosteroids are ineffective, a sub-conjunctival injection of a short acting corticosteroid may be considered. Dr R chose the wrong primary method of treatment, the wrong injectable drug and the wrong route of injecting the drug.

• Periocular injections carry a risk of globe penetration that is much higher in myopic eyes. The records showed no evidence of discussion of indication, risks or alternatives. No written consent was taken. When a non-standard treatment is offered, a thorough discussion of the indications, risks and alternatives is mandatory and written consent is advisable. Guidance on the principles of taking informed consent is available in a number of different countries.

• Dr R failed to discontinue the injection when the patient had severe pain and loss of vision. Even though the globe had been injured, the extent of damage may have been reduced had he stopped immediately. Immediate exclusion of a penetration either by ultrasound or by clinical examination is mandatory when patient symptoms suggest globe penetration. Failure to do this established a breach in the duty of care. Early diagnosis and referral for emergency intervention may have reduced the extent of the irreversible damage.

• Adverse outcomes and complications are part of a doctor’s working life. Responding to these events in a timely manner, showing respect, being open and communicating honestly help to reduce the impact of these events on both the patient’s wellbeing as well as the doctor’s professionalism.

• A patient can withdraw consent at any time during the procedure. When pain is not what you expect, it is good practice to stop and reconsider your treatment.

Eye Candy for Today: Grimshaw's Evening Glow – Lines and Colors

Lines and Colors is a blog about drawing, sketching, painting, comics, cartoons, webcomics, illustration, digital art, concept art, gallery art, artist tools and techniques, motion graphics, animation, sci-fi and fantasy illustration, paleo art, storyboards, matte painting, 3d graphics and anything else I find visually interesting. If it has lines and/or colors, it’s fair game.

Steve Jobs' final vision is coming true thanks (in part) – MacDailyNews

“Last week more than a dozen companies had IPOs and among them was an interesting bio-tech company called Foundation Medicine,” Julie Bort reports for Business Insider.

“Foundation offers to the public the kind of in-detailed genetic cancer testing made famous by Steve Jobs. Jobs was the first well-known person to try this sort of thing,” Bort reports. “In the end, it obviously didn’t save him… but he deeply believed in the value of the attempt, saying ‘I’m either going to be one of the first to be able to outrun a cancer like this, or I’m going to be one of the last to die from it,’ reports Antonio Regalado, MIT Technology Review.”

Bort reports, “After Jobs died, the doctors who worked on the test at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, left Broad to start Foundation. Bill Gates and Larry Page both visited Jobs shortly before his death, according to Isaacson, and while they could do nothing to help him, they did help fund Foundation.”

Read more in the full article here.

Open Your Eyes! – Buddy Howard



Do you wish you could see the way that Jesus sees?  In a recent post, 3-D Vision, I discussed how Jesus saw things perfectly.  Jesus saw people, circumstances, situations, conversations — everything with perfect vision because his vision always came from the inside perspective of love.  On the other hand, we often have flawed vision.  Our vision can be distorted, seeing only from our own needs and our own perspective.  In this post, “Open Your Eyes”, I want to expand on that idea of vision and discuss how our vision becomes “distorted” and what we can do to correct it.

Distorted Vision Comes from Self-Pity

In Luke 24, we read the story of two pilgrims traveling to a village called Emmaus.  It was just after Jesus had been crucified.  These men had been followers of Jesus.  Now, with Jesus killed, they were walking back home, disillusioned.  “As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them” (Luke 24:15) but they did not recognize him.  Even as Jesus spoke to them, they did not recognize him as Jesus.  Instead, the Bible says “they stood still, their faces downcast” because they had “hoped that [Jesus] was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” (Luke 24:21.

These men had Jesus right next to them.  He was personally walking with them.  But they didn’t even realize who He was.  Why?  Because they were absorbed in their own self-pity.  What these two men had hoped for from Jesus hadn’t come true.  Their own desires had not been met.  And, because of that self-pity, they couldn’t even recognize their Savior when He was right next to them.

Aren’t we like that at times?  Don’t we also let our vision of Jesus and what He is doing in and around us become distorted and even blocked because we didn’t get what we wanted from God?  It can happen easier than we want to admit.  A boyfriend or girlfriend breaks up with us.  We don’t get the job we wanted.  It rains on parade day.  Whatever it might be for you or for me, the truth is that sometimes when we don’t get what we want, and we wallow in self-pity, distorting our ability to see Jesus right next to us.

Distorted Vision Comes from Self-Focus

Unfortunately, self-pity multiples into self-focus.  What happens next in the story in Luke is that the two men relate how some of their companions “confused” them. (verse 22).  The two travelers were confused by the stories of some of their friends.  Some said that they had gone to Jesus’ tomb and it was empty and that they had seen an angel who said that Jesus was alive.  Some others double-checked the tomb and also found it to be just as the first friends had said although they “did not see” Jesus. (verses 23-24).

The “companions” whom the travelers were talking about were Jesus’ closest disciples.  They had been on the front lines with Jesus.  They were the leaders that these men were starting to look up to.  But, now, these two travelers refused to join in this wonderful, fantastic miracle experience that the “companions” had.  Instead, the travelers remained self-focused and self-reliant.

Our vision to see Jesus and to see the world the way that He sees it becomes impaired when we refuse to participate in the God-experiences of others.  We see and hear stories of lives being transformed by Jesus, marriages being healed, addictions being overcome, relationships being restored, forgiveness being offered, baggage being left behind.  But, if they aren’t MY STORIES then I am not going to allow them to change my sight.  “I’m only going to see God through my experiences,” we say.

“How foolish you are!” Jesus said to those two travelers (verse 25).  He says the same to us when we refuse to participate in the experiences of others.

The Word Comforts

When our vision becomes blurred, distorted and impaired, there is still hope.  In the story were are reading in Luke, the Bible says that Jesus heard the disillusionment of the travelers so He “explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”  (verse 27)   Then, when they had reached their destination, we are told that Jesus acted as if He was going farther but the pilgrims urged Jesus to stay with them.  (verse 28).  The travelers had heard the Word and they wanted more of it!

When we become disillusioned and distracted with self-pity, when we become self-absorbed in our own lives without seeing what God is doing in others, the one thing that can begin to clear our vision, the one thing that can give us hope, is the Word.  As we read the Bible, as we study what God has said and is saying to us in Scripture, we gain new perspective, new vision.  And, just like the pilgrims on the road to Emmaus, we want more!

Jesus: The Eye-Doctor

What happens next in the story is remarkable.  It can be life-changing when you “grasp it.”  Jesus sits down to eat with the pilgrims.  While “at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him!” (Luke 24:30-31).  Jesus “gave” them something that caused these men to see Jesus for who He was; he “gave” them something that opened their eyes.

And He does the same for us.  When we spend time with Jesus, He will do something that will open our eyes and repair our vision.  Jesus is the perfect eye-doctor.  He may “give” us a verse that especially speaks to us on a particular day.  He may give us a conversation that we so desperately need.  He may give us insight and wisdom into a situation.  He may give us peace that is beyond our understanding.  And, on and on.  That’s who God is — He is a graceful, merciful, loving God who desires for us to know Him, relate to Him and commune with Him so that we might see Him and the world around us better.




Make Money in Eye Care

Hi there! Today, I have a post from Kim at Eyes on the Dollar. Kim is a private practice optometrist by day and financial blogger by night. You can follow her on Twitter @Eyesonthedollar. Let me know if you would like to guest post on Make Money Your Way.

We are all looking for ways to make more money. I have been a private practice optometrist for over thirteen years, and I have seen just about every way to make money in the eye care industry. Some ways might be pretty obvious, but I bet there are some relatively easy ones that you might not have considered.


This would be the obvious one. An ophthalmologist is an eye surgeon. An optometrist does vision exams and medical eye treatment that doesn’t require surgery. Both hold a doctorate degree, and you can work for someone else or be your own boss.

The big hurdles are the amount of school and training and the high cost of professional school. You’ll be putting in 8-12 years after high school, and you need very good grades and an interest in science and math. You could also come out owing over six figures in loans if you aren’t careful.

In recent years, there has been some oversaturation of providers in popular areas, like Southern California. However, there is a shortage of providers in some rural areas or in smaller urban areas that aren’t on the coasts. Think very carefully about where you want to live before racking up student loan debt.

Potential starting salary: Optometrist- $80,000 per year. Ophthalmologist-$250,000 per year.


An optician a person who repairs and makes glasses. You don’t need a degree to be an optician, but it would help your job prospects to take a certification course and become licensed.

You have to be a detail oriented person, have good fine motor skills, and be able to deal with difficult patients. You also have to be a salesman because many jobs offer commissions.

Potential Salary-Varies, but my head optician makes $55,000 per year.

Insurance Billing

Medical insurance billing in general is a hot topic these days. Eye care billing is especially difficult because there are insurance codes for routine vision exams and medical eye visits. Billers need to know the difference and how to maximize insurance payments with the least amount of work.

You don’t need a degree, but there are courses online or at community colleges that can help.

You’d need to be very detail oriented and able to speak with insurance companies if necessary. A bonus is the ability to work from home, and you could potentially bill for several different offices.

Potential income- Insurance billers often take a percentage of the total revenues billed, generally 5%-10%. As an example, my small office bills about $20,000 to insurance each month.

 Optical Equipment Repair/Maintenance

In my opinion, this is the hidden gem of making money in eye care. When something breaks in my office, I can’t see patients until it’s fixed. If I can’t see patients, I don’t make money. As a result, I recently paid a repair man $120 per hour to fix my visual fields machine, plus $220 per hour for travel.

Most ophthalmic equipment needs yearly cleaning and maintenance as well. Cleaning generally costs $300 for less than 30 minutes of work. There seems to be almost no one who does this type work, at least in my area, so you pay what is charged without question.

You don’t need a degree, but technical or computer skills are helpful. You can work for an ophthalmic company or be on your own. This job would require travel, paid for by the client, of course. You’d have to apprentice with someone or take courses to get certified, and you’d need to do some marketing to be successful.

Potential income: $120 per hour!

 Cleaning Service

I’ll throw this last one out there for those who are not technical people, aren’t interested in sales, and don’t want to take classes. For me, it has been a huge effort to find quality cleaning people for my office. They all start out great, then, either the quality drops off,  they are irresponsible with office security, or things go missing.

If you are reliable, willing to learn and sign off on patient privacy rules, and don’t mind working in the evening or on weekends, I think there is a bonanza of commercial cleaning jobs in all medical offices, and they really are not that dirty in most cases.

Potential Income: $25-$50 per hour

These are a few of the ways eye care can be profitable. Most of them could apply to any medical industry. Find a need that matches your skills, and fill it. That’s how to Make Money Your Way!



Scientists Reveal How Organic Mercury Can Interfere With Vision

This cross-section of a zebrafish eye shows the localization of mercury in the outer segments of photoreceptor cells. Image: Malgorzata Korbas, Barry Lai, Stefan Vogt, Sophie-Charlotte Gleber, Chithra Karunakaran, Ingrid J. Pickering, Patrick H. Krone, and Graham N. George.

September 11, 2013 View Comments

Saskatoon, SK, Canada (Scicasts) – More than one billion people worldwide rely on fish as an important source of animal protein, states the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. And while fish provide slightly over 7 per cent of animal protein in North America, in Asia they represent about 23 per cent of consumption.

Humans consume low levels of methylmercury by eating fish and seafood. Methylmercury compounds specifically target the central nervous system, and among the many effects of their exposure are visual disturbances, which were previously thought to be solely due to methylmercury-induced damage to the brain visual cortex. However, after combining powerful synchrotron X-rays and methylmercury-poisoned zebrafish larvae, scientists have found that methylmercury may also directly affect vision by accumulating in the retinal photoreceptors, i.e. the cells that respond to light in our eyes.

Dr. Gosia Korbas, BioXAS staff scientist at the Canadian Light Source (CLS), says the results of this experiment show quite clearly that methylmercury localizes in the part of the photoreceptor cell called the outer segment, where the visual pigments that absorb light reside.

“There are many reports of people affected by methylmercury claiming a constricted field of vision or abnormal colour vision,” said Korbas. “Now we know that one of the reasons for their symptoms may be that methylmercury directly targets photoreceptors in the retina.”

Korbas and the team of researchers from the University of Saskatchewan including Profs. Graham George, Patrick Krone and Ingrid Pickering conducted their experiments using three X-ray fluorescence imaging beamlines (2-ID-D, 2-ID-E and 20-ID-B) at the Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, US, as well as the scanning X-ray transmission beamline (STXM) at the Canadian Light Source in Saskatoon, Canada.

After exposing zebrafish larvae to methylmercury chloride in water, the team was able to obtain high-resolution maps of elemental distributions, and pinpoint the localization of mercury in the outer segments of photoreceptor cells in both the retina and pineal gland of zebrafish specimens. The results of the research were published in ACS Chemical Biology under the title “Methylmercury Targets Photoreceptor Outer Segments”.

Korbas said zebrafish are an excellent model for investigating the mechanisms of heavy metal toxicity in developing vertebrates. One of the reasons for that is their high degree of correlation with mammals. Recent studies have demonstrated that about 70 per cent of protein-coding human genes have their counterparts in zebrafish, and 84 per cent of genes linked to human diseases can be found in zebrafish.

“Researchers are studying the potential effects of low level chronic exposure to methylmercury, which is of global concern due to methylmercury presence in fish, but the message that I want to get across is that such exposures may negatively affect vision. Our study clearly shows that we need more research into the direct effects of methylmercury on the eye,” Korbas concluded.

Publication: Methylmercury Targets Photoreceptor Outer Segments. Malgorzata Korbas, Barry Lai, Stefan Vogt, Sophie-Charlotte Gleber, Chithra Karunakaran, Ingrid J. Pickering, Patrick H. Krone, and Graham N. George.  ACS Chemical Biology (2013): http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cb4004805

Do I Need Vision Insurance? | Eyes on the Dollar

One question I get asked frequently  is, “Do I need vision insurance?  Maybe your job offers vision coverage, or you are thinking about adding a rider to your current health insurance plan. Are you having eye problems and think you should have insurance before scheduling an appointment? Maybe you should just go to Cheapskate Eye Care, Hair Salon, and Donut Shop. Don’t they sell glasses? Do I really need vision insurance?

Vision Plans Only Cover the Basics

The honest answer is no. Vision insurance only covers routine testing of your vision to check if you need glasses or not. It usually has some sort of benefit for glasses or contacts.

Vision insurance doesn’t cover medical problems. If you have cataracts, glaucoma, cancer of the eyeball, or have a dagger sticking out of your eye, your vision plan will not help at all. However, if you know you need vision correction and are good about getting regular eye exams, vision insurance could save you some money.

What Does Vision Insurance Cover?

There are way too many types of vision plans to mention them all, but they tend to have several areas in common. Generally, vision plans cover these things.

  • A routine eye exam every 12 to 24 months.
  • Coverage for a basic pair of glasses or an allowance for contacts every 12 to 24 months.
  • Polycarbonate lenses for children under 18. These are the more impact resistant type.
  • Discounts on non-covered products like anti-glare coatings or no line bifocals. Some really good plans might cover options like this, but most charge a separate fee.
  • Many vision plans offer a percentage discount on LASIK surgery with specified surgeons.

But I Never Go to the Doctor

Vision plans are not like health insurance plans. They offer their benefit every cycle. If you don’t use it, you are throwing away money. It kills me to have patients who have vision insurance but only get an exam every five years.

Does Vision Insurance Make Sense for Me?

Just like everything else that takes your hard earned money, you should look at the numbers. For example, most vision plans cost around $10-$20 per month. If yours is $15 per month, you”d be paying $180 per year to have a vision plan. Let’s look at some examples to see if this makes good financial sense.

Example #1: I have perfect vision but have a family history of glaucoma. I want to make sure I’m not developing glaucoma.

This patient would be better off to drop the insurance and pay for an annual exam. In my office, you could get a full exam and do additional retinal screening photos for less than the price of the policy. If you do develop glaucoma, your health insurance would take over from there.

Example #2: My glasses are really nice and expensive so, I try to make them last a long time.  I only get an exam and glasses about every five years.

This patient has a really high prescription and gets all the bells and whistles. I realize prices vary, but let’s use these for this example.

Without Insurance

  • Exam:$145
  • Frame: $150
  • Premium No Line Bifocals: $225
  • Anti-Glare Coating: $100
  • Extra Thin and Light: $100

Total cost of glasses and exam without insurance: $720

With Insurance (Based on the most common plan I see)

  • Exam:$20 copay
  • Frame:$25 copay
  • Premium No Line bifocals:$93
  • Anti-Glare Coating:$72
  • Extra Thin and Light: $40

Total cost of glasses and exam with insurance: $250

It may seem at first like this patient is saving a ton of money, but remember that he only gets and exam and glasses every five years. He is paying $180 a year to keep the plan, so he has really paid $1150 to change his prescription every 5 years. He would be better to save the money and pay out of pocket. If he gets and exam and glasses every year, he would be paying $430 a year with insurance. Every two years would be $610. At year three, it would make more financial sense to just pay out of pocket instead of carrying a vision plan. 

Example #3: I only wear contacts and wouldn’t be caught dead in my glasses.

Without Insurance

    • Exam: $145
    • Contact Lens Fitting Fee: $60
    • Year Supply of Contacts:$200

Total cost without insurance: $405

With Insurance

  • Exam:$20 copay
  • Contact Lens Fitting Fee: $60-15% discount offered by most vision plans=$50.40
  • Year Supply of Contacts: $200-$120 contact lens allowance offered by most vision plans=$80

Total with insurance:$150.40 +$180 per year for vision insurance premiums=$330.40, a savings of about $75 per year.

4 Questions to Answer Before Getting Vision Insurance

I could list a hundred more examples, but to determine if you need vision insurance, there are really four important questions you need to answer.

-How much do I spend annually on vision care and products?

-How much would my premiums cost?

-What does the plan actually cover?

-Is there a provider I like who accepts this vision plan?

If your plan is confusing, ask a provider to give you a cost breakdown. Calling the insurance company often leads to more confusion.

If you do sign up, make sure you use the plan. Paying for years of premiums and never going to the doctor is a great way to waste money. If you will use it and need help with your vision, insurance might be a really smart investment.

What are your experiences with vision plans? If you have one, do you use it? If you don’t live in the US, what is vision care like for you?

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Ask Dr. K: Eye exams can halt vision loss in diabetics – Monterey …

Dear Dr. K:

Could you explain how diabetes affects vision?

Dear Reader: The high blood sugar levels that occur in people with diabetes can have serious consequences throughout the body, including the eyes. Many of my patients with diabetes are most concerned that diabetes will rob them of the precious gift of sight.

People with diabetes are at greater risk of developing cataracts and glaucoma, and keeping blood sugar under control can reduce your risk of developing them in the first place. But if you develop either of these two conditions, fortunately there are effective treatments. These days, no person with diabetes should go blind from cataracts or glaucoma.

However, a third eye problem — diabetic retinopathy — is more likely to cause severe vision loss or blindness. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when abnormal blood sugar levels damage small blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensing area in the back of your eyes. The retina sends visual images to the brain.

Diabetic retinopathy begins when the walls of small blood vessels in the retina weaken. They leak fluid into the surrounding tissue, often leaving protein and fat deposits in the retina. The vessel walls also develop tiny bulges or balloons called “microaneurysms” that leak red blood cells into the retina.

As the condition progresses, the abnormal vessels begin to close, robbing the retina of its blood supply. Nerve fibers in the retina that are necessary for vision begin to

die from poor circulation and lack of oxygen. (I’ve put an illustration of this process on my website, AskDoctorK.com.)

These changes may not alter your vision. But if fluid leaks into the center of the macula — the part of the retina responsible for sharp, central vision — your sight will be impaired. Swelling of the macula is called macular edema.

As retinopathy advances, the damaged retina tries to repair itself by sprouting new blood vessels. However, these new vessels are very fragile and don’t grow normally; they tend to leak blood and break apart. This can cause a sudden loss of vision.

Treatments can help to prevent vision loss, or slow its progression. But there is no cure for diabetic retinopathy. You’ve got to catch it early and stop it from getting worse.

You can significantly reduce your risk of eye diseases by keeping your blood sugar at near-normal levels. Controlling your sugar levels also will protect against damage to other parts of your body, including your kidneys, heart and brain.

Regular vision testing is also vital. Get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. These exams can detect macular edema and diabetic retinopathy in the earliest stages. Prompt treatment can help prevent severe vision loss and blindness.

Dr. Komaroff is a physician and professor at Harvard Medical School. To send questions, go to AskDoctorK.com, or write: Ask Doctor K, 10 Shattuck St., Second Floor, Boston, MA 02115.

Glaucoma: The Silent Thief of Vision – Scott & White Healthcare …

eyesWhen a patient is diagnosed with glaucoma, many times they believe that they will go blind and there’s nothing they can do about it. But Scott & White ophthalmologist Glen O. Brindley, MD, who is the director of the division of glaucoma at the Scott & White Eye Institute, said that is not true.

“[Glaucoma] is one of the most treatable diseases we see,” Dr. Brindley said. “It’s tremendously well-treated if we get to it early.”

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damages the optic nerve in a very characteristic pattern, the doctor said.

“The optic nerve is made up of one and half million fibers that come from all over the retina,” he said. “These vision fibers come together in the optic nerve and then go into the brain.”

When these fibers are damaged, they don’t repair themselves. And that’s what glaucoma does. It kills visions fibers, and they don’t come back.

“In glaucoma treatment, all you can do is keep [the patient] where they are,” Dr. Brindley said. “That’s why early diagnosis is so important. The treatments are very good and can usually stop them where they are if they are treated early enough.”

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Unfortunately, there are no symptoms and no pain. Your eye will feel completely normal and look normal in the mirror.

“If you have enough damage that you can tell it in your sight, then the disease is very far advanced,” he said.

The only way to catch glaucoma in the early stages is to be seen by an ophthalmologist on a yearly basis.

How is glaucoma diagnosed?

The first method of determining if someone is suffering from glaucoma is to identify the amount of pressure in their eyes.

“Most people have a pressure in their eye that’s 20 or less,” Dr. Brindley said. “Most glaucoma patients have a pressure that’s above that.”

But finding out a patient’s eye pressure isn’t the deciding factor. The ophthalmologist must also look at their optic nerve to see the extent of the damage. They do this by dilating the patient’s pupils and looking at the optic nerve.

“If there’s suspicion of glaucoma, then you do what is called a visual field, where we bring little lights around the eye because that’s where the glaucoma damages first.”

The last test is to measure the thickness of the patient’s vision fibers with an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). The device takes cross-sectional pictures of the retina.With this machine, the doctor can see if the fibers are the right thickness.

The patient’s family history will also be taken to determine if a close family member suffered from glaucoma. Family history is one of the biggest factors in glaucoma. You are more likely to develop the disease if a close relative had it.

What is the average age of someone who gets glaucoma?

“Most people with glaucoma are over 60,” Dr. Brindley said. “However, you can be born with it. We’ve had children [in our practice] who at birth had pressures of 60 in both eyes.”

That is why it is important to have your eyes checked yearly because you never know what sort of damage your eye has suffered.

What are the treatments available?

Although there is research being conducted to find medications or other therapies that might help stop the effects of glaucoma, right now, the only treatment is lowering the patient’s eye pressure.

That can be done in one of three ways:

1.  Eye Drops – At least 80 percent of glaucoma patients can control the disease with eye drops. But they must be able to afford the medication, take the drops on time, not have too many side effects and the drops have to lower the pressure significantly to be effective. If all of these criteria are met, then eye drops work well.

2. Laser Therapy – We have a muscle in the eye that draws in clean, nourishing fluid from the blood stream into the eye. It circulates and drains out. In a glaucoma patient, the problem is the drains. Doctors can laser the drain, causing the drain to work more effectively.

3. Surgery – In the operating room, surgeons build a drain in the eye using the patient’s own tissue.  This can help to cleanse the eye and lower the patient’s eye pressure.

Can glaucoma be prevented?

Dr. Brindley said there is really no way to prevent this disease.

“You didn’t do anything wrong to get glaucoma,” he said. “It’s not like a smoker. If you’re going to get glaucoma, you’re going to get glaucoma. The best thing you can do is be proactive and see your doctor.”

If someone in your family has glaucoma, then you should get yearly pressure checks and have your doctor check your optic nerve.

“Most people think that if you’ve got it, then you’re going to go blind,” Dr. Brindley said. “But that’s not true. If you’ve got it and you jump on therapy quickly, then you’ll be able to save your sight.”