Skip to main content

Cove Eyecare is committed to caring for our patients.
Our Temporary Hours of Operation are Monday thru Friday, 8:15am to 3:45pm.
Please read here about our new safety protocols.

Book Exam
Map
Call Us
Menu
Home »

Uncategorized

Contact Lens Basics: Daily Disposable

Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

Great Benefits of Dailies for Kids, Teens, and Adults

Daily disposable contact lenses are rapidly rising in popularity to be many people’s favorite type of vision correction. These convenient contacts are usually very comfortable and provide crisp vision immediately after they are first inserted – with no adaptation period. At Cove Eyecare, we fit patients of all ages – young kids, teens, and adults – with daily disposables in Copperas Cove.

If you have a distant memory of hearing that daily disposables were made from cheap materials and that’s why they are “disposable,” it’s time to bury that thought. While it may have been true years ago, nowadays, dailies are constructed from high-quality, state-of-the-art materials that provide enhanced comfort and eye health. Many of our Copperas Cove patients claim that they have never experienced such comfortable contacts!

The basics of daily disposables

Contacts come in many types and with a variety of wearing schedules. Daily disposables are designed to be worn only once, for a single day. You insert them in the morning, wear them all day, remove at bedtime, and throw them in the garbage. The next day, you open a new package and insert a fresh pair of contacts. Does the convenience and ease of this sound appealing? Most adults love the simple, low maintenance of dailies. And for kids and teens, who usually have a more erratic schedule and also tend to be less vigilant with hygiene, daily disposables can be a perfect, healthy solution for vision correction. Call to book a contact lenses fitting with our Copperas Cove, Texas, eye doctor today!

A clear look at the benefits of dailies – at any age

To help you understand the big picture of what adults, kids, and teens can gain from daily disposables, our optometrist, Dr. Micheline Young, prepared this list:

  • No routine cleaning and disinfection before you go to sleep. That means you don’t need to buy any costly cleaning solutions, and bedtime prep each night is much shorter!
  • Dailies leave no time for allergens, such as dust or pollen, to build upon your contacts, so symptoms of eye allergies are often alleviated
  • Protein deposits, cosmetics, and hairspray residue don’t accumulate on your lenses surface, so they are always comfortable
  • Remembering when to discard your lenses is simple. No need to mark reminders on your calendar
  • Frequent travelers love the simplicity of packing only spare pairs of contact lenses, instead of a whole kit with disinfectants and supplies
  • Kids and teens (and busy adults) tend to neglect proper contact lens hygiene. With daily disposables, cleaning is a thing of the past
  • Daily disposable contact lenses can be healthier; studies have shown that dailies lead to less eye irritation and infections. And because the lenses are thrown out daily, the risk of corneal injury from wearing a damaged or torn lens is reduced

Full inventory of contact lenses in Copperas Cove, Texas

Not sure if daily disposables are right for you? We stock a complete selection of premium, brand-name contact lenses at Cove Eyecare, and Dr. Micheline Young will check your eyes and listen to your lifestyle needs in order to recommend the best type of contacts. Contact us to book a consultation, or stop by anytime to replenish your supply of contact lenses!

What are the Benefits of Daily Contact Lenses?

See the benefits of dailies for kids, teens, and adults

Daily disposable contact lenses are rapidly rising in popularity to be many people’s favorite type of vision correction. These convenient contacts are usually very comfortable and provide crisp vision immediately after they are first inserted – with no adaptation period. At Cove Eyecare, we fit patients of all ages – young kids, teens, and adults – with daily disposables in Copperas Cove.

If you have a distant memory of hearing that daily disposables were made from cheap materials and that’s why they are “disposable,” it’s time to bury that thought. While it may have been true years ago, nowadays, dailies are constructed from high-quality, state-of-the-art materials that provide enhanced comfort and eye health. Many of our Copperas Cove patients claim that they have never experienced such comfortable contacts!

The basics of daily disposables

Contacts come in many types and with a variety of wearing schedules. Daily disposables are designed to be worn only once, for a single day. You insert them in the morning, wear them all day, remove at bedtime, and throw them in the garbage. The next day, you open a new package and insert a fresh pair of contacts. Does the convenience and ease of this sound appealing? Most adults love the simple, low maintenance of dailies. And for kids and teens, who usually have a more erratic schedule and also tend to be less vigilant with hygiene, daily disposables can be a perfect, healthy solution for vision correction. Call to book a contact lenses fitting with our Copperas Cove, Texas, eye doctor today!

A clear look at the benefits of dailies – at any age

To help you understand the big picture of what adults, kids, and teens can gain from daily disposables, our optometrist, Dr. Micheline Young, prepared this list:

  • No routine cleaning and disinfection before you go to sleep. That means you don’t need to buy any costly cleaning solutions, and bedtime prep each night is much shorter!
  • Dailies leave no time for allergens, such as dust or pollen, to build up on your contacts, so symptoms of eye allergies are often alleviated
  • Protein deposits, cosmetics, and hairspray residue don’t accumulate on your lenses surface, so they are always comfortable
  • Remembering when to discard your lenses is simple. No need to mark reminders on your calendar
  • Frequent travelers love the simplicity of packing only spare pairs of contact lenses, instead of a whole kit with disinfectants and supplies
  • Kids and teens (and busy adults) tend to neglect proper contact lens hygiene. With daily disposables, cleaning is a thing of the past
  • Daily disposable contact lenses can be healthier; studies have shown that dailies lead to less eye irritation and infections. And because the lenses are thrown out daily, the risk of corneal injury from wearing a damaged or torn lens is reduced.

Full inventory of contact lenses in Copperas Cove, Texas

Not sure if daily disposables are right for you? We stock a complete selection of premium, brand-name contact lenses at Cove Eyecare, and Dr. Micheline Young will check your eyes and listen to your lifestyle needs in order to recommend the best type of contacts. Contact us to book a consultation, or stop by anytime to replenish your supply of contact lenses!

At Cove Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 254-549-1142 or book an appointment online to see one of our Copperas Cove eye doctors.

 

Want to Learn More? Read on!

What are the Benefits of Daily Contact Lenses?

Daily disposable contact lenses are rapidly rising in popularity to be many people’s favorite type of vision correction. These convenient contacts are usually very comfortable and provide crisp vision immediately after they are first inserted – with no adaptation period.

FOLLOW US:

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes is becoming much more prevalent around the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults were living with diabetes in the year 2017 and 352 million more people were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2045 the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise to 629 million.

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness as well as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, neuropathy (nerve damage) and lower limb amputation. In fact, in 2017, diabetes was implicated in 4 million deaths worldwide. Nevertheless preventing these complications from diabetes is possible with proper treatment, medication and regular medical screenings as well as improving your diet, physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the hormone insulin is either underproduced or ineffective in its ability to regulate blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which damages many systems in the body such as the blood vessels and the nervous system.

How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions which are caused, or worsened, by diabetes; including: diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes increases the risk of cataracts by four times, and can increase dryness and reduce cornea sensation.

In diabetic retinopathy, over time, the tiny blood vessels within the eyes become damaged, causing leakage, poor oxygen circulation, then scarring of the sensitive tissue within the retina, which can result in further cell damage and scarring.

The longer you have diabetes, and the longer your blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, the higher the chances of developing diabetic eye disease. Unlike many other vision-threatening conditions which are more prevalent in older individuals, diabetic eye disease is one of the main causes of vision loss in the younger, working-age population. Unfortunately, these eye conditions can lead to blindness if not caught early and treated. In fact, 2.6% of blindness worldwide is due to diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

As mentioned above, diabetes can result in cumulative damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy.

The retina is responsible for converting the light it receives into visual signals to the optic nerve in the brain. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or hemorrhage, causing bleeding and distorting vision. In advanced stages, new blood vessels may begin to grow on the retinal surface causing scarring and further damaging cells in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can eventually lead to blindness.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have no symptoms, which is why it’s vitally important to have frequent diabetic eye exams. As it progresses you may start to notice the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or fluctuating vision or vision loss
  • Floaters (dark spots or strings that appear to float in your visual field)
  • Blind spots
  • Color vision loss

There is no pain associated with diabetic retinopathy to signal any issues. If not controlled, as retinopathy continues it can cause retinal detachment and macular edema, two other serious conditions that threaten vision. Again, there are often NO signs or symptoms until more advanced stages.

A person with diabetes can do their part to control their blood sugar level. Following the physician’s medication plan, as well as diet and exercise recommendations can help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Retinal Detachment

Scar tissues caused by the breaking and forming of blood vessels in advanced retinopathy can lead to a retinal detachment in which the retina pulls away from the underlying tissue. This condition is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately as it can lead to permanent vision loss. Signs of a retinal detachment include a sudden onset of floaters or flashes in the vision.

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Diabetic macular edema occurs when the macula, a part of the retina responsible for clear central vision, becomes full of fluid (edema). It is a complication of diabetic retinopathy that occurs in about half of patients, and causes vision loss.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema

While vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and DME often can’t be restored, with early detection there are some preventative treatments available. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (when the blood vessels begin to grow abnormally) can be treated by laser surgery, injections or a procedure called vitrectomy in which the vitreous gel in the center of the eye is removed and replaced. This will treat bleeding caused by ruptured blood vessels. DME can be treated with injection therapy, laser surgery or corticosteroids.

Prevent Vision Loss from Diabetes

The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease is early detection and treatment. Since there may be no symptoms in the early stages, regular diabetic eye exams are critical for early diagnosis. In fact diabetics are now sometimes monitored by their health insurance to see if they are getting regular eye exams and premium rates can be affected by how regularly the patients get their eyes checked. Keeping diabetes under control through exercise, diet, medication and regular screenings will help to reduce the chances of vision loss and blindness from diabetes.

 

Top 7 New Year’s Resolutions for Healthy Vision

uv protection copperas cove, txReal Ways to Protect Your Eyes from Disease

The countdown is on, with only days left to satisfy the resolutions you made at the start of the year. Whether or not you achieved your past goals, a new year is about to begin. Instead of looking back, it’s time to focus forwards. What are your goals for the upcoming year?

You may work out at the gym daily to keep yourself in shape. Yet, what about your eyes and vision? We constantly use and rely upon our eyes, and when something breaks down – it can be scary and stressful. Throughout the year, our Copperas Cove eye doctors aim to help you prevent eye disease and maintain your clear vision for as long as possible. Join us in this resolution! Let’s look at some lifestyle changes you can implement to protect your eyes from common eye disease, such as macular degeneration, cataracts and digital eyestrain.

1. Reserve Regular Eye Exams

Don’t wait for a problem before you book an appointment with your eye doctor. Many eye complications do not appear until the eye disease has advanced to a serious stage. Common conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts can remain silent for a long while – and the only way to uncover them is with a thorough eye exam.

When you visit your eye doctor, speak up about your health history. A number of traits increase your chances of developing eye disease and it’s important to know your risks. If you have diabetes or hypertension (or a family history of these conditions), it is even more critical to visit your eye doctor. African Americans over 40 are also at a higher risk of eye disease. Ask about whether you are a candidate for advanced testing, such as digital retinal imaging that provides more precise and detailed diagnoses.

2. Eat Well

Quality eye health needs the right nourishment, just like your whole body works more efficiently when you eat nutritiously. In specific, healthy eyesight benefits from a diet rich in lutein, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients can be found in many typical foods, such as oranges, nuts, spinach, brown rice, salmon, sardines and avocado. Also, ask your eye doctor about whether you should be taking eye health supplements, and which one is most appropriate for your health condition, such as diabetes.

3. Stay in Motion

Did you know that exercise promotes the absorption of many nutrients? Now that you’re eating well, make the most of the nutrients and antioxidants in your foods by exercising regularly. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, scientific studies demonstrate that exercise can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration significantly.

4. No Smoking

You know that smoking can damage your health, causing a whole slew of dangerous, life-threatening conditions. It can also damage your eyes, leading to eye disease that threatens your vision. Smokers are at an increased risk of optic nerve damage, cataracts and macular degeneration.

5. Shade Your Eyes from Sun

Sunglasses protect your eye health in the same way that sunscreen protects your skin health. Wear sunglasses that block a minimum of 99% of UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays. Recent studies have associated these harmful sun rays with macular degeneration and cataracts.

6. Let Your Eyes Rest

A recent study in the US estimated that people spent about 7 hours per day staring at a digital screen! This stresses healthy vision, leading to fatigue and digital eyestrain. When you are viewing a monitor of any type, our Copperas Cove eye doctors encourage you to take a break at least every 20 minutes. Raise your eyes and gaze into the distance, and remember to blink frequently.

7. Proper Contact Lens Hygiene

Contact lens wearers must be extra cautious about eye hygiene. Disinfect your lenses according to the instructions and discard them according to your wearing schedule. Neglecting good hygiene can lead to eye irritation and infection.

The leading causes of blindness and low vision in American are eye diseases related to aging, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts, as well as diabetic retinopathy in people who have diabetes. To keep your clear vision for as long as possible, follow these tips to protect your eyes as you age. For more information and expert management of your eye health, schedule an appointment in Copperas Cove!

Wearing Contact Lenses in the Summer

eye-technology-femaleTips from Your Copperas Cove Eye Doctors

Contact lenses can be worn safely throughout all months of the year. However, every season brings different environmental conditions and activities to take into consideration. Both air conditioning and the bright sunlight of long summer days may lead to scratchy dry eyes, which can make it hard to wear your contacts. Blossoming flowers and freshly cut grass can contribute to annoying symptoms of eye allergies. In addition, you may wonder if it’s safe to keep your contact lenses in while diving into a chlorine-rich swimming pool or riding the ocean waves.

Contact Lenses Underwater

In general, eye doctors do not recommend wearing contact lenses when swimming in any type of water, be it a chlorinated pool, lake or ocean. Yet realistically, we know that many Copperas Cove contact lens wearers don’t switch to eyeglasses every time they spend a day in water. If you intend to wear contacts while swimming, our best recommendation is to wear daily disposable contact lenses.

Many dangerous organisms, such as acanthamoeba (which can threaten your healthy vision), live in water. We advise our Copperas Cove patients to wear daily disposables and toss them in the garbage immediately after swimming. This will prevent harmful bacteria from clinging to the lenses, breeding on the surface of your eye and causing infection. It is also recommended to wear goggles over your contact lenses (although prescription goggles are the ideal solution!).

Air Conditioning and Contact Lenses

A/C is a lifesaver from the harsh summer heat, yet it also dries out your indoor environment. When you’re in the car, point the vents away from your eyes. Lubricating eye drops for contact lenses may also keep your eyes moist.

Protect Your Eyes from UV Rays

Nowadays, there are contact lenses with UV protection. Ask us to show you the options in our Copperas Cove contact lenses collection! However, even though these contact lenses do protect part of your eyeballs against ultraviolet light, they don’t do anything for the parts of your eyes and eyelids not covered directly by the contacts. That’s why a pair of quality sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection is essential! Even when you’re wearing contact lenses, you need sunglasses for healthy vision in the summer.

Summer Allergies

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, pollen and other airborne irritants can adhere to your contact lenses and irritate your sensitive eyes. Rubbing your eyes to relieve the itchiness will only make your symptoms worse. Daily disposables can offer a great solution – as the problematic allergens don’t have time to collect on the contact lens surface before you throw them out.

With a little planning and attention to summer safety, you can enjoy your Copperas Cove contact lenses throughout the whole season of lazy hazy crazy fun!

A Vision of Back-To-School

Asian Girl Reading BookThe new school year is coming up fast, and parents and students are getting ready to embark on new adventures and experiences. But this is also a reminder to parents that good eyesight is possibly the most important school supply your child may not have. A good education for children doesn’t just mean good schools, good teachers, and good friends. Good vision is just as important. Dr. Micheline D. Young at Cove Eyecare in Copperas Cove, TX explains, “Your child’s eyes are his/her gateway into the world of learning. When your child’s vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. Children are not likely to recognize vision problems or report them, and it is, therefore, the responsibility of parents and teachers to recognize signs of visual problems in their children.”

There is a basic set of vision skills that are needed for school. The first is near vision. This is the ability to see clearly at a distance of about 10-13 inches. This is obviously important for reading, writing and close work at your child’s desk. Distance vision, the ability to see clearly and comfortably beyond arm’s reach, is also important in order to see the board in the classroom, and Binocular coordination, or the ability to use both eyes together, is important for extra-curricular activities. Both are vision skills needed to be successful in school. Additionally, focusing skills, peripheral awareness, and eye-hand coordination are also important. As a parent, it is your job to be alert for symptoms that may indicate your child has a vision or visual processing problem. A few examples of common conditions that may affect your child’s ability to learn are below:

If your child gets headaches while trying to read or do other close work, exhibits a short attention span during visual tasks, and/or has to use a finger to guide reading, it is possible your child may have a condition called convergence insufficiency. This is a condition in which the eyes have a hard time converging on a certain point close up. This may also cause the words to “jump” or “blur” when your child attempts to read.

You may also find that your child’s eyes do not seem to move together, that the eyes do not face the same direction, and/or that your child tilts his/her head or squints in order to see better. This could indicate a condition called Strabismus. This results from muscles in one or both eyes being misaligned or underdeveloped. This can cause severe difficulty for your child and may cause more significant problems, including loss of depth perception, if not treated promptly. Dr. Micheline D. Young adds, “Other symptoms to look out for that may signal vision related problems are difficulty remembering or identifying shapes, difficulty remembering what was read, excessive blinking or rubbing of his/her eyes, or placing his/her head very close to the book or desk when reading or writing”.

Because changes in your child’s vision can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the eye doctor every year or more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist. Remember, school vision or pediatrician’s screenings are good, but they are not a substitute for a thorough eye exam.

To learn more, contact Dr. Micheline D. Young today.

New Tech that is Worth Looking At!

Allergan Dry Eye Device Receives FDA Approval

Dry eye is a hot topic, with a countless number of patients visiting our eye doctor for dry eye treatment in Copperas Cove. At present, there are various treatment options, primarily including warm compresses, punctal plugs, lubricating eye drops, gels and ointments. Yet the development and approval of TrueTear may offer a new, alternative way to relieve the irritating symptoms of dry eyes. Our optometrist, Dr. Micheline D. Young, stays focused on all the latest developments and technology in optometry, and TrueTear deserves a closer look!

The TrueTear Intranasal Tear Neurostimulator, released by Allergan PLC, uses electrical stimulation to increase tear production temporarily. According to Allergan, it is the first and singular FDA-cleared device that applies neurostimulation for the sake of triggering natural tears. Neurostimulation is already used effectively and widely in other areas, such as movement disorder treatment and as a method of pain control.

What is TrueTear?

It is a non-surgical, handheld stimulator that must be inserted into the nasal cavity to apply neurostimulation. Your tear film is comprised of 3 components, all of which have nerves and a reflex pathway that can be activated. In case the thought of putting this tool in your nose has you scared about hygiene, don’t worry – it comes with daily disposable tips.

Allergan PLC is based in Dublin, Ireland, yet they have a Specialized Therapeutics unit in Irvine, CA, with innovative departments in eye care, therapeutics and aesthetic medicine. TrueTear is one creative example of a technological breakthrough designed by Allergan for eye care professionals.

Does it work, and is it safe?

According to Allergan, two clinical research studies demonstrated the positive effectiveness of this nifty device. 145 patients with dry eye participated in the study, and they experienced a temporary rise in tear production.

TrueTear is non-invasive and drug-free, with a high level of patient safety. Additionally, patients can treat themselves with this system, which makes it very convenient.

If you suffer from dry eye in Copperas Cove, don’t suffer alone! Visit Dr. Micheline Young to ask about the best dry eye treatment to alleviate your pain.

Latisse Can Fulfill Your Dream of Thicker, Lusher Eyelashes!

Lastisse in Copperas Cove, TXHave you always longed for luscious lashes? Are you tired of coating your eyelashes with mascara or gluing fake extensions to achieve dark, dramatic eyes? Latisse can make it happen!

Approved by the FDA as the only treatment for light, thin or sparse eyelashes, this prescription medication has helped many people look sensational. If you are interested in hearing more about Latisse in Copperas Cove, TX, and whether it can work for you – we can help!

History of Latisse

Using Latisse to boost eyelash growth originates in the discovery of an unexpected side effect of a glaucoma drug. Bimatoprost (the active ingredient) was used initially in prescription eye drops to treat glaucoma. Suddenly, patients who took this medication reported new growth of their eyelashes.

Scientific studies confirmed that over 40% of patients with alopecia areata (a medical condition characterized by hair loss) benefited from moderate improvement in the quantity of their eyelashes. Allergan, a manufacturer of premium eye care products, conducted years of research to develop Latisse.

Using Latisse is Simple

First, your eye doctor will check your eyes to make sure you are a good candidate for Latisse in Copperas Cove. In addition to being in good overall health, it’s also important that you have reasonable expectations about what Latisse can accomplish. Keep in mind that Latisse is a long-term treatment, and the striking results will not be instant.

“If you are a good candidate for Latisse, we’ll prescribe the eye drops and you’ll apply them once a day for a minimum of two months. It can take time until you look amazing – don’t give up!” says Dr. Micheline D. Young, of Cove Eyecare.

Latisse is intended only for use along the line of your upper eyelid lashes. It should not be applied to the lower eyelid. If you wear contact lenses, we’ll provide special instructions on how to use the eye drops.

When will I see results?

In general, Latisse must be used regularly and every day for at least two months before you’ll notice new eyelash growth. While some people experience a change within four weeks, others only notice significant growth after 16 weeks.

Your thicker, luxurious lashes will stay that way as long as you continue to use the product. When you stop, your eyelashes will gradually return to their previous natural state.

Are there any side effects?

Latisse may be accompanied by a few possible side effects, such as dry eyes, itchiness or redness, darkened eyelids, darkened iris color, and hair growth around your eyes (if the medication drips off your eyelids all the time). Please consult with our eye doctor in Copperas Cove to consider the pros and cons of Latisse.

Introducing Prevent Blindness Texas

Learn About this Inspiring Eye Care Initiative

By Dr. Micheline D. Young

It is wonderful to see how one organization can achieve so much towards promoting healthy vision! As the eye doctor at Cove Eyecare in Copperas Cove, Texas, I am always looking out for local and statewide healthcare initiatives. On a community level, our optometry office promotes regular eye exams in Copperas Cove, which is the only way to ensure early detection of any ocular conditions that may threaten your vision. On a larger scale, Prevent Blindness Texas promotes widespread patient education about how to care properly for your eyes. I admire the dynamic ambition and extraordinary success of this organization.

Prevent Blindness Texas has one primary focus – to prevent blindness and preserve quality vision. Since 1956, they have been active in educating Texans about proper eye healthcare. This incredible, voluntary healthcare initiative is the leading eye health and safety organization in the state. They have demonstrated that raising public awareness through education is one of the most powerful ways to make a difference.

Prevent Blindness Texas runs various education initiatives. They organize and hold informative workshops, such as the “Diabetic Eye Disease Educator Program”. This valuable course teaches health personnel about the many ways in which diabetes can affect the eyes. Another one of their successful programs for adults is the “Healthy Eyes Educational Series”, which involves teaching about age-related ocular conditions via innovative education modules.

Children need clear vision to develop, learn, and maximize their potential. Prevent Blindness Texas works hard to make sure every child benefits from optimal eyesight. Their “Star Pupils School Curriculum” was designed to provide teachers with the best resources for students to learn about top eye safety and health. Prevent Blindness also strives to give kids direct access to professional eye care, such as our office in Copperas Cove. Along with many national partnerships, they distributed over 300 free eye exam and eyeglass vouchers to kids in the past year!

Early detection of vision conditions goes very far towards preventing ocular complications and vision loss. This organization sets up vision screenings and risk evaluations for the public, and they raise the bar on quality control by certifying vision screeners with all the skills necessary to do an accurate job! They also train the screening staff to spot any potential problems that require a referral for an eye exam. With their far-reaching network of offices and volunteers, Prevent Blindness Texas has made great strides towards ensuring that people don’t lose their eyesight due to ignorance and unsafe practices.

I am personally inspired by Prevent Blindness Texas. As an optometrist in Copperas Cove, I feel proud and privileged to help people maximize their vision – and there is no greater reward than that!

 

What is Macular Degeneration and how can you treat it?

Question: What is Macular Degeneration?

Dr. Young: Macular Degeneration is a condition which affects individuals later in life, although it can occur as early as in someone’s 40s. We have learned that it is a 100% genetic condition, that is also affected by lifestyle choices, such as smoking, and sun exposure.

Question: Wait. You just said it’s 100% genetic, but is affected by lifestyle?

Dr. Young: A person can have the genes for Macular Degeneration but may not experience vision loss or a severe form of the disease if they are not a smoker and protect their eyes from sun exposure. For example, smokers with this gene have a greater chance of having vision loss from Macular Degeneration.

Question: So, this is a senior people’s disease?

Dr. Young: It generally affects people in the 60s and beyond, but it can occur as early as in someone’s 40s.

Question: What part of the eye is affected by Macular Degeneration?

Dr. Young: Macular Degeneration affects the most sensitive part of the retina, which is called the macula. It is a condition where the outer layers of the retina become disrupted, which in turn affects the person’s ability to read, drive, and recognize faces.

There are two forms of Macular Degeneration. A dry form which is most common. This affects about 90% of people diagnosed with Macular Degeneration. The other is a wet form, or hemorrhagic type of Macular Degeneration.

This wet form if more visually disabling and more aggressive of the two. There are a percentage of people who transition from dry Macular Degeneration to wet Macular Degeneration and that’s why Macular Degeneration needs to be monitored very carefully.

We check the retina, and if we determine the patient has formations suggestive of Macular Degeneration, we will then do further imaging studies and genetic testing, called the Macula Risk Test, which allows us to determine a person’s specific phenotype for the disease, meaning the person’s particular genetic makeup of the disease. We like to do this test because it helps us determine which nutritional supplements are going to optimize their vision and decrease the chances for vision loss.

Question: If I don’t show symptoms of Macular Degeneration, or anything you might suspect, then you wouldn’t run the genetic test?

Dr. Young: Correct.

Question: What is the treatment for Macular Degeneration?

Dr. Young: There is no treatment for dry Macular Degeneration. We manage it with nutritional supplements. There is treatment for wet Macular Degeneration, to try and save the vision. This involves injections into the eye of Anti-VEGF. This decreases the blood vessel growth into the eye – shutting down the leaky blood vessels.

Question: Do people come to you complaining of symptoms or is Macular Degeneration more typically found during your testing?

Dr. Young: It’s more typical for me to find it, and the patient to not know they have it. That’s the dry form of the disease- the more common form. 90% of people suffering from Macular Degeneration have the dry form of the disease. They are older, their vision is declining, but they don’t yet know that they have Macular Degeneration. During the course of our exam, when we perform the retinal evaluation, we will see these formations in the retina, in the macula, and they are called “drusin”. These drusin spots are what make us begin our investigation for Macular Degeneration. If the patient has these drusin spots, we will explain everything about Macular Degeneration to the patient. We will ask if they have any family members that have it that they know of, and get more information from them about their lifestyle choices including smoking history.

We want to find out what stage they are at, the severity of the disease, do they have any blood vessel ingrowth, and whether it is the dry or wet form of Macular Degeneration.

We will then do a cheek swab for the Macula Risk Test. Once we get the results back, in two to six weeks, we can determine what nutritional supplements best fit their genetic profile, as well as determine what are their chances of progression to vision loss. Once we have all this information, we know how to monitor them to try to prevent vision loss.

Question: Does insurance cover the supplements?

Dr. Young: Yes. some insurance companies will reimburse for them. These antioxidant supplements are called nutraceuticals. They have been proven scientifically (during the AREDS studies, which provided information about the disease and how to prevent vision loss) to prevent further damage and to actually heal the eyes in some cases.

Question: Does insurance cover treatment for Wet Macular Degeneration?

Dr. Young: All treatment for Wet Macular Degeneration, including the injections, is covered by insurance.

Question: Is there anything else you would like to say about Macular Degeneration, which we haven’t addressed?

Dr. Young: I would like to say that knowledge is power. Nobody likes getting bad news, but it’s far better to know what could be ahead, and how to plan and prevent the most adverse of effects. It’s very important. That’s why everyone is urged to have their eyes examined annually.