RETINAL TEAR treatment Mililani HI

Give Up Dry Eyes and Get Back Your Quality of Life

Most of us experience dry, irritated eyes every now and then. The environment can cause our tear film to evaporate too quickly. Getting engrossed in a good novel or social media can cause us to neglect to blink, resulting in temporary redness and grittiness, too. These temporary bouts of dry eye can be frustrating, but they don’t degrade the quality of life for very long. Dry eye syndrome is another story. When eyes are chronically dry, it may not be long until the quality of life diminishes.

It has been estimated that dry eye syndrome affects approximately one-third of all adults. The condition does not stem from the use of a digital device or even dry air. Dry eye syndrome is related to the tears themselves. The ongoing lack of tears can bring a person to rely on eye drops far more heavily than is healthy. Actress Jennifer Aniston confessed that, until her eyes were properly diagnosed, she couldn’t get through the day without eyedrops nearby at all times.

Tears are necessary for the eyes to function properly. The tear film is made up of water and also oil and mucus. Every aspect of the tear film is intended to keep the ocular surface moist; water lubricates, and oil and mucus prevent rapid evaporation. When dry eye develops, we look at the value of the tear film and overall production.

How We Test for Dry Eyes

Symptom assessment can provide a good amount of information to help us diagnose dry eyes. More than identifying the problem, though, we want to understand where the tear film is lacking. Tests like the Schirmer eye test show us how much fluid is being produced by the glands in the eye. A tear breakup test shows us how quickly tears are evaporating from the ocular surface, and a tear osmolarity test helps us measure the content of the tear film, namely water to salt ratio. Depending on the severity of symptoms and how long they have existed, an additional test may be performed to observe the cornea. Excessive, ongoing dry eye can cause damage to this structure of the eye.

Your Mililani eye doctor can help you understand symptoms like grittiness and burning. To learn more about dry eye and how to treat it, call 808.625.5577.

Eye Surgery, Honolulu, HI

Posterior Vitreous Detachment: What is it and is it Serious?

When discussing matters of the body, there are very few instances in which the word “detachment” may sound anything other than frightening. Retinal detachment is an example of an eye problem for which prompt medical attention is necessary. It is one your Mililani eye doctor is familiar with and able to treat if necessary. Another term that is common in ophthalmology is posterior vitreous detachment. Here, we discuss what this condition is and what it could mean for your eyes.

Spotting the Need for Help

We want to begin by saying that posterior vitreous detachment isn’t always serious. In fact, many people who experience this condition never need to be treated. The thing about it is that the symptoms of posterior vitreous detachment are nearly identical to the symptoms of retinal detachment. In either situation, it is the sudden onset of floaters (and possibly some flashes, too) that indicate the need for a prompt eye exam.

Floaters in Posterior Vitreous Detachment

The vitreous is a sometimes referred to as vitreous fluid. It is more like a gel-like matter that sits in the space between the front of the eyeball and the back. In both positions, front and back, the vitreous is attached to other structures by strands of collagen protein. At the back of the eye, these strands connect the vitreous to the retina.

As we age, the body doesn’t produce as much collagen as it once did. This means that the deterioration of aging collagen strands is not met with new, strong fibers. In the eyes, deteriorating collagen coincides with softening of the gelatinous vitreous. Instability between the fluid and collagen is compounded by the contraction of the vitreous. Due to the weakness of the collagen fibers, they typically break away and the vitreous separates from the retina and other posterior structures. The floaters that occur during this time are the shadows that are cast onto the retina by fraying collagen. This is a normal process that usually is not a cause for concern.

Concern arises when declining collagen strands don’t quite break free as the vitreous contracts. Instead, these strands pull on the retina, causing this vision-producing structure to separate from the back of the eye. If this happens, surgery may be needed to reattach it.

In most cases of posterior vitreous detachment, no complications occur. However, we advise any person who is experiencing a sudden onset or increase in floaters across their field of vision to schedule an eye exam. To contact us, call 808.625.5577.

Glaucoma, Mililani HI

Do You Know the Do’s and Don’ts of Living with Glaucoma?

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, during which we typically discuss the dangers of this group of eye diseases and how to identify the risks associated with them. Because glaucoma comes in second only after cataracts as a leading cause of blindness, awareness if a vital aspect of preserving vision. There is no cure for glaucoma, but several effective treatments have been developed to slow or halt the progression of vision loss.

Increased ocular pressure is the major concern associated with glaucoma. It is the increased and unmanaged pressure in the eyes that can lead to vision loss. When pressure is consistent, it compromises the optic nerve, the structure that transfers light from the retina to the brain. Damage to the optic nerve affects different fields of vision at a time and, once this happens, vision cannot be reinstated regardless of treatment.

For people who have a high risk of glaucoma or have been diagnosed with this eye disease, there are some do’s and don’ts that can help them manage their eye health. While early diagnosis and proper care are vital to the quality of life, so is the development of strategies revolving around ocular pressure. Do’s and don’ts that patients need to know include:

-DO see the eye doctor regularly even if you only have a slight risk for glaucoma. If someone in your family has been diagnosed with this condition, or if you are over age 60, you have enough risk to be assessed regularly for signs of this condition. Individuals who have hypertension or diabetes or who have taken corticosteroid medication for a long period also have a higher risk of glaucoma than the average person. So, the first DO of glaucoma is to see your eye doctor to assess your risk and follow-up on eye health regularly. Also,
-DO maintain good dietary habits. Studies have indicated that leafy greens and fresh fruits and vegetables contain vital antioxidants that could lower the risks of glaucoma up to 30%.
-DO exercise. A study conducted by scientists at UCLA reported that physically active people are up to 75% less likely to suffer glaucoma than individuals who are inactive.
-DON’T do inversions. Over the past several years, yoga and conventional inversion therapy have become popular methods of managing health and wellness. For the person with glaucoma, being upside-down is anything but healthy. Inverted postures send blood into the head and increase ocular pressure.
-DON’T smoke marijuana. Since marijuana has become a widely accepted form of natural medicine, more high-profile people are talking about how they smoke pot to ease the pressure in their eyes. The danger of marijuana use for glaucoma is that some patients have a wide variant of ocular pressure throughout any given day. Using marijuana may decrease ocular pressure but then create a bounce-back effect in which ocular pressure increases dramatically.

Learn more about glaucoma and how to preserve your vision. Call our Mililani office at 808.625.5577.

Eye Care Honolulu, HI

How High Blood Pressure Can Affect Eye Health

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition that we commonly associate with heart health. According to studies, high blood pressure often goes undetected for years due to a lack of consistent medical care. Annual physicals with your general health practitioner are as important to your eyes as they are to the rest of your body. Here, we discuss the way that high blood pressure can degrade eye health.

Hypertension in the Eye

High blood pressure means that there is an excessive amount of force being placed on the walls of blood vessels when the heart beats. This increase, over time, causes damage to the various vessels in the body. The blood vessels in the eyes are particularly small and delicate. Without showing symptoms such as pain, these tiny vessels can suffer damage, which we refer to as hypertensive retinopathy.

Ideally, the effects of high blood pressure on the eyes are discovered during a routine annual eye exam. During this assessment, the eye doctor observes the various structures of the eye using an ophthalmoscope, a lighted instrument that illuminates the back of the eye. Signs of hypertensive retinopathy may include visible narrowing of the blood vessels around the retina, macular edema (swelling in the center of the retina), swelling around the optic nerve, and tiny hemorrhages in the eye.

Obvious symptoms of hypertensive retinopathy do not typically occur until the latter stages of disease. By this time, it is possible that vision has been irreparably affected. Symptoms of retinal damage include double vision, cloudy vision, and a sudden loss of vision.

Treatment for Hypertensive Retinopathy

There is currently no treatment available for latter-stage hypertensive retinopathy. Eye doctors grade the stage of retinopathy based on the severity of symptoms and, once the optic nerve has been damaged by hypertension, lost vision may not be recovered. For this reason, it is vital that patients with high blood pressure obtain annual dilated eye exams and annual wellness checkups with their primary care provider.

The best way to treat hypertensive retinopathy is to reduce blood pressure by using lifestyle strategies and medical therapies as needed. In many cases, a reduction in blood pressure leads to an improvement in the condition of the blood vessels in the eye.

Get a detailed view of your eye and eye health. Call our Mililani office at 808.625.5577 to schedule a dilated eye exam with Dr. Omphroy.

Diabetic Eye Treatment Mililani, HI

Diabetic Eye Disease Needs our Attention

November may be the prime time to begin planning for a joyful holiday season, but it’s also Diabetic Eye Disease Month. Studies indicate that approximately 40 percent of those with Type I or Type II diabetes will at some point develop an eye disease related to their primary health condition. As much as we can, we do our part to reduce our patients’ risks. One of the primary ways to do this is through education.

The Progressive Nature of Diabetic Eye Disease

Having diabetes may mean that your blood sugar is typically higher than it should be. For some, blood sugar varies from the low spectrum to the high; rarely does it lie within normal range. Over time, this causes damage in the delicate blood vessels that sit around the retina at the back of the eye. The good news is that this occurs in stages. The bad news is that there are few, if any, symptoms to let you know that your vision is being threatened. Diabetic eye disease follows the progression of:

  • Mild blood vessel damage. This is called mild non-proliferative retinopathy, and it involves areas of swelling and weakening in the tiny blood vessels in the retina. In this stage, blood and fluid may leak from a few affected blood vessels.
  • Moderate blood vessel damage. This is called moderate non-proliferative retinopathy, and it includes swelling and leakage that is severe enough to decrease the circulation of blood in the eye. The retina relies on good circulation for nutrients. Without it, characteristics of this part of the eye change.
  • Retinal changes that occur in severe non-proliferative retinopathy involve growth factor secretion. This happens because the eye wants more nourishment and needs blood vessels to get it. In this stage of disease, new blood vessel growth occurs in and around the retina.
  • Bleeding and scarring. Advanced retinopathy becomes proliferative, meaning that the newly formed blood vessels lead even more fluid into the back of the eye. Furthermore, proliferative diabetic retinopathy may involve scarring around broken blood vessels. Scars can tug the retina away from surrounding tissue (retinal detachment), causing vision loss.
  • Macular edema. Edema is the medical term for swelling. Macular edema is swelling at the central region of the retina, the area that establishes the central field of vision.

Reducing Risks

Diabetic eye disease is a complication of diabetes that we would never want to overlook. While we must not gloss over the fact that diabetic eye disease can be serious, we can focus on how to protect vision. Patients are encouraged to obtain yearly dilated eye exams in our Mililani office for the earliest detection of changes in the retina. Diabetes management with the help of a trusted medical team is also beneficial.

Schedule a diabetic eye exam with us at 808.625.5577.

Cataract Surgery Honolulu, HI

Is there a Right Time for Cataract Removal?

Cataracts can cause vision to become excessively clouded. Next to glaucoma, cataracts account for many of the cases of vision loss that occur. The difference between cataracts and glaucoma, though, is that the clouded lens can be removed and replaced with an artificial lens to restore sight. To date, no non-surgical treatments have been found useful in the correction of cataracts. This leads many patients to question the right timing for cataract surgery.

Sooner or Later: The Matter of Timing

Just because a cataract has been found does not mean it should be removed immediately. If the lens of the eye is only slightly cloudy and this does not interfere with daily activities, surgical removal may not be indicated – yet.

People with cataracts who do not have coexisting conditions such as glaucoma may be monitored to observe how their cataracts progress. If the changes to the cornea become so great that visual disturbances occur, such as intense glare when driving at night, or cataracts pose a challenge to seeing street signs, the computer screen, or text in a book, surgery should be considered.

While there is no value in removing cataracts promptly after diagnosis, there is also no requirement for a specific degree of severity in order for the lens to be successfully replaced. During the early days of cataract surgery, it was believed that cataracts needed to be relatively advanced before they could be removed. Improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of cataracts have made it easier to address this problem at an earlier stage of development.

As cataracts continue to develop, the covered lens becomes more rigid. This could present a slight challenge for surgery. The advanced cataract may also cause inflammation that increases the overall pressure within the eye. For this reason, patients with both cataracts and glaucoma may be monitored more closely.

When cataracts are present in both eyes, surgical removal may occur in stages. Doctors often prefer to treat each eye individually, several weeks apart.

Patient Input

Ultimately, the choice to have cataracts removed is completely up to the patient who is able to make an informed decision about health care. It is our intent to provide the fullest extent of information to our patients so they can determine the timing of their cataract surgery with confidence.

Learn more about cataract surgery. Call our Mililani office at 808-625-5577.

Eye Exam Mililani, HI

The Kids are Back in School, but Are they Fully Prepared?

Usually, the beginning of a new school year is something to cheer. Many children look forward to all the things school offers, from challenging math problems to the release of energy during sporting activities. The weeks before children return to the classroom are often spent preparing. This can mean seemingly endless days of shopping for school supplies, sports gear, clothes, books, and more. In the controlled chaos, it is easy to overlook the vital necessity of eye exams for students.

Keep Your Student Healthy and Happy with These Tips for Eye Health

See the eye doctor.

Children should see the eye doctor before they begin elementary school. If there are risks for eye conditions or the child needs glasses, future eye exams are needed every year. Without risks or vision problems, eye exams are recommended every two years. This aspect of health care is vital to students because, when textbooks or the chalkboard are blurry, learning cannot happen as it should. Often, children with uncorrected vision problems suffer academically and then lose any excitement they had for education.

Protecting the eyes.

There are three things we need protection from:

  • The highest risk for pink eye occurs during childhood. Viral pink eye is spread quite quickly, and accounts for about 3 million missed school days, according to one study. One of the best ways children can protect themselves from pink eye is by washing their hands frequently throughout the school day. Merely touching an object that was handled by someone with pink eye is enough to contract this uncomfortable infection.
  • Statistics show that approximately 35,000 eye injuries occur during sporting activities each year. Every child who plays a sport should wear appropriate glasses. These might be goggles or clear lenses that provide some degree of protection if a collision with another player or ball were to happen. Some helmets come with or can be fitted with helmet-mounted shields to protect the eyes and face without impeding performance.
  • We have come to realize that sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory, they are vital eyewear to protect the structures of the eyes from unnecessary UV damage. Rays of sunshine permeate the eyes and can degrade structure, increasing the risk for future eye disease in adulthood. Children who wear sunglasses significantly reduce their risk.
  •  Digital eye strain can lead to dry eye and chronic headaches if care is not taken to limit the time spent staring at a screen or book. It is easy to close the eyes for a few minutes during those intense study sessions and to turn digital devices off long before bedtime to give the eyes time to rest.

We should point out that we can all benefit from these tips, and that your Mililani eye doctor is here to help you and your family. To schedule a visit with us, call 808-625-5577.

LASIK Eye Surgery Honolulu, HI

LASIK or PRK: Which is Right for You?

Most people have heard of the LASIK eye procedure, a surgery that is currently performed hundreds of thousands of times each year. Because LASIK is so familiar by name, many people who are considering laser vision correction to help them reduce their need for eyeglasses don’t even realize they may have another option. Here, we describe the details of LASIK and PRK refractive surgery, as well as a few questions you may ask yourself as you explore your treatment options.

LASIK eye surgery improves vision by reshaping the corneal tissue beneath the ocular surface. To achieve this, a small flap is made. This flap quickly re-attaches to the eye and is not visible nor noticeable in your vision.

The PRK procedure, or photorefractive keratectomy, is also performed to reshape the cornea so light can have a more direct path to the back of the eye. This procedure reaches the corneal tissue by removing the uppermost layer of the cornea. No flap. The tissue that is removed regenerates over time.

Deciding between LASIK and PRK may be challenging for some people, though most of our patients are most interested in being able to see their computer screen or street signs without their glasses or contact lenses. So how do you choose? You ask questions.

  • What is your vision like? The higher your corrective prescription, the better suited you may be to the PRK procedure. When we say “higher prescription,” we are describing a substantial deficit like -8.00. This is because some studies have suggested that individuals with a more significant deficiency in vision may also have thinner corneal tissue that may not be as supportive of the flap made during LASIK.
  • What is your timeline for recovery? One of the benefits of LASIK is that you can get back to normal activities quickly. Vision is clear within a few hours after this laser procedure. PRK heals more slowly because the corneal tissue has been removed. Approximately 70% improvement is gained within a week. After one month, the eyes are about 90% healed. PRK patients cannot drive for at least one week following surgery.
  • How active do you want to be? Most people who undergo laser vision correction have very little to worry about in terms of eye injury. Individuals who play competitive sports may want to consider their injury risks when choosing their procedure. PRK may take longer to heal fully, but the eyes return to a natural anatomical state after this procedure. With LASIK, the flap that is made re-attaches but is always there and may be more prone to damage.

Discover more about the vision correcting treatments available in our Mililani office. Call 808-625-5577.

Eye Care Honolulu, HI

Is LASIK Surgery Right for You?

Many people who wear eyeglasses or contacts eventually become frustrated with the side effects of their necessary aids. Glasses slide down the bridge of the nose and need to be often cleaned. Contact lenses may feel uncomfortable if the eyes become dry. There are several reasons to wonder if corrective eye surgery might be right for you. Since LASIK is one of the most common procedures performed to improve vision, we want to discuss how to know if it may be the direction in which you want to go.

LASIK Has a Good Track Record

One of the primary objectives in treating refractive errors that diminish vision is to significantly reduce a person’s reliance on corrective lenses. LASIK’s track record is proof that reshaping the cornea works. Most patients who undergo this procedure achieve at least 20/25 vision, which enables them to engage in a wide variety of activities without needing vision-assistance. Where many LASIK patients still need glasses is when they drive at night.

The results that are achieved with LASIK are dependent on the extent of the refractive error, the type of refractive error, and extenuating factors such as concurrent eye disease like glaucoma. The greatest success has been achieved with patients affected by mild to moderate nearsightedness. When astigmatism and farsightedness are also in the mix, results are more difficult to predict, though improvement is possible.

How LASIK Works

You may recognize LASIK as laser eye surgery that can significantly improve your quality of life by reducing your need to wear contacts or glasses. Essentially, this is all you need to know. However, we like to discuss how innovative techniques work.

The reason that vision loses optimal clarity is that light does not travel to the back of the eye as it should. When there is a direct path through the eye to the retina, we can observe objects with a high degree of clarity. Changes to the structure of the eye, such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism, alter the path of light through the eye, so it lands somewhere other than the retina. Depending on where rays of light land, objects closer or farther away appear indistinct.

The way that eyeglasses and contacts work is by bending light before it enters the eye. LASIK, on the other hand, reshapes the cornea, so rays that pass through the front of the eye have a straight path toward the retina.

Learn more about LASIK and what it can do for you. Call our office near Honolulu at 808-625-5577.

Eye Conditions Honolulu, HI

Every Part of the Eye Matters

The eyes are complex structures that contain various parts. Each part, from the cornea to the retina to the optic nerve, has a role to play in the creation of sight. The retina sits at the back of the eye waiting for light to pass through the cornea and vitreous fluid. When light lands on the retina, it transforms into an image that is sent to the brain for recognition. This is all very fascinating. More importantly, it is integral to our understanding of how to keep our eyes as healthy and viable as possible. In our Honolulu area office, patients can receive comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services to support ongoing retinal health.

Promoting Ocular Health

Foods and lifestyle habits nourish the eyes just like any other area of the body. Therefore, habits like eating leafy greens and getting sufficient sleep are valuable to eye health. In particular, there are specific nutrients that are beneficial to the retinas. These include Vitamins C and E, Lutein, Zinc, and Zeaxanthin. Beneficial nutrients are found in nuts, fish, and citrus fruits, as well, but may also be obtained by taking a supplement formulated for eye health.

Does diet solve all concerns? No. Genetics also have a significant effect on a person’s risk for eye diseases like age-related macular degeneration and retinopathy. The objective of eating and living well is to offset the genetic risk over which we have no control. By living well, we don’t just mean getting plenty of rest and nutrition. The eyes are particularly vulnerable to a few lifestyle factors. These include:

  • People who smoke have significantly higher risks for all types of eye disease, including retinopathy, cataracts, and macular degeneration. Quitting this habit allows the eyes to heal over time, so risk is reduced.
  • Digital Devices. Research is continually discovering the downside to modern technology. As it relates to eye health, lifestyle factors like computer use present a risk for chronic eye strain that may lead to premature aging of ocular structures like the vitreous fluid that supports the retina.
  • UV exposure. Sunlight, as well as blue light from digital devices, can damage the internal construction of the eyes. Studies suggest that ongoing exposure to UV light increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

Retinal conditions may offer a few clues, such as floaters, flashes of light, and gradual loss of peripheral vision. Don’t wait for symptoms to alert you to a problem. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam at 808-625-5577.