www.pacificvision.org     415.922.9500

Volume 3       March 31, 2007

  Eye Health

Wouldn't it be nice if a pill could reverse age-related eye diseases? The National Eye Institute is trying to find just such a thing. NEI conducted research into the possible benefits of vitamin and anti-oxidant supplements for cataracts and macular degeneration. The first Age Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) found that a combination consisting of vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper did help those with intermediate or advanced macular degeneration. Studies are currently on the way to test the benefits of lutein and zeaxantin supplement, among others, to help patients with mild macular degeneration. Vitamin and anti-oxidant supplements, however, have not been shown to slow down the development of cataracts. Protecting your eyes from ultra-violet light and stopping smoking does slow down cataracts. You can find the latest information at www.nei.nih.gov. In the meantime, follow your mother's advice; be sure to include plenty of dark green and orange vegetables in your diet.

  What's new in vision correction procedures

Every year, thousands of nearsighted people are disappointed to learn that they are not candidates for laser vision correction, but now there's something new. An ultra-thin collagen layer (called an ICL) can be placed in front of your natural lens to correct nearsightedness. Collagen co-polymer is the same naturally occurring substance present in all of our connective tissues, including the eye. Therefore, it is highly biocompatible. The power of the ICL's curvature is chosen based on your prescription. The ICL is designed to permanently correct vision. But, if the power of the eye changes, it can be replaced with an alternative power. The procedure is quick and so is the recovery of vision. Over 50,000 ICL procedures have been performed with excellent results. According the FDA studies, 95% of patients have vision good enough to drive a car and carry on their usual daily activities without glasses or contact lenses. To find out if you are a candidate for this technology, please call or e-mail at info@pacificvision.org to schedule your consultation.

  Tech Corner

We all know about CT and MRI scans to see inside the body. How about a micro CT scan to see inside the eye? Visante OCT scan is a revolutionary technology that uses 1310-nm infrared light to visualize cornea in great detail and let us accurately measure parts of the eye we couldn't see before. The longer wavelength of emitted light readily scans not only through all the layers of the cornea, but also through the opaque parts of the eye, to let us catch a glimpse of what goes on inside. We can measure the cornea in great detail to help us determine if someone is a good candidate for LASIK or PRK. We can measure the distance between the cornea and the iris to see if someone is a good candidate for an ICL procedure. We can see the parts of the eye that regulate eye pressure and follow patients who have been diagnosed with glaucoma or high eye pressure. The scan takes just a few minutes and creates images with 10 micron accuracy. At Pacific Vision Institute, we perform the OCT scan as part of the vision correction consultation on our patients.

  Fun Eye Facts

The great French Impressionist painter Claude Monet developed cataracts in his later years and art scholars point out a corresponding trend towards more yellow/brown tones in his later works. In 1923, while in his seventies, he had the cataract in his right eye removed, improving the vision in that eye from extremely blurry (perceiving light but no forms) to 20/30. This prompted him to retouch some of his earlier paintings once he saw them in a new light.

Though he also had a cataract in his left eye he did not have it removed, largely because his surgical experience was so negative. The cataract removal from the right eye required 3 separate surgeries, and recovery included time spent lying supine with both eyes patched and sandbags on either side of his head, and a diet restricted to broth and tea. Following the long recovery, thick glasses had to be worn that gave him clear central vision but markedly distorted peripheral vision. Monet described his frustrations and discomforts in several letters to his physicians. Thankfully, modern cataract surgery has come a long way. It is now an entirely different experience for patients. Modern cataract surgery is done with ultrasound. It is painless and quick, performed in an out-patient setting, and thanks to modern lens implants, there is no need for thick post-operative glasses. In fact, modern intraocular lenses can help most patients see both far and near without glasses at all. Once cataract is removed in one eye, most patients today want the other eye done as soon as possible.

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