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All Posts in Category: Health Basics

Community Eye Screening @ Kim Seng Community Centre

Community Eye Screening @ Kreta Ayer – Kim Seng Active Ageing Health Fiesta – 23 July 2017

Bright and early on Sunday morning (23 July 2017), the Atlas Eye team team was all geared up to meet 200 elderly residents at Kim Seng Community Centre for an eye screening.

The eye screening was conducted as part of Atlas Eye’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme to promote good eye and vision health amongst Singaporeans.

The event was graced by Dr Lily Neo, Member of Parliament for Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng constituency.

Most of us would agree that sight is the most valuable of our 5 senses. Our eye health plays an important role to help us see and feel the world around us.

During the eye screening, common eye conditions such as presbyopia, cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration were detected and referred for further management.

Age-related eye conditions may be present without symptoms in their early stages. If left undetected, these conditions may lead to permanent loss of vision. That is why regular eye examinations are recommended, especially for the elderly, to ensure good eye health and optimal vision.

Atlas Eye was proud to be able to play our part for the community. We were thankful for the appreciative smiles from residents who benefited from the eye screening.

 

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GLAUCOMA: the silent thief of sight

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma, commonly known as ‘the silent thief of sight”, is a chronic eye disease whereby increased intraocular pressure in the eyes causes damage to the optic nerves at the back of your eyes. These delicate nerves are responsible for sending messages from the eye to the brain.

What causes glaucoma?

 There are different types of glaucoma, each with different causes.

Open angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. It is due to an imbalance in the production and drainage of fluid in the eye. This condition progresses slowly, and patients might not be aware until it is picked up at a routine eye examination. Patients might not notice the deterioration of their vision until the late stages as there are no symptoms.

Narrow angle glaucoma is caused by a blockage of drainage canals in the eye. This causes a sudden increase in intraocular pressure in the eye, and requires immediate medical attention. Patients will experience headache, nausea and vomiting. They might also see rings of circles around lights.

 

Normal tension glaucoma is a unique form of glaucoma whereby there is damage to the optic nerve and loss of vision although intraocular pressure in the eye is normal. Japanese people are more at risk of getting normal tension glaucoma.

Secondary glaucoma may develop as a secondary condition after surgery eg diabetes, cataracts, or if there is trauma to the eye.

Who is at risk of glaucoma?

  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Age
  • High myopia or short-sightedness
  • Use of steroids
  • Diabetes
  • Previous trauma to the eye

At the initial stages of glaucoma, there are no symptoms such as pain or discomfort and often, the condition will progressive gets worse. It is only when the patient experiences symptoms such as poor night vision or tunnel vision before the disease is picked up. Unfortunately, the damage caused by glaucoma is irreversible, and may lead to blindness in serious cases. Hence, it is important to schedule regular eye examinations, especially if you are over the age of 40 or have any family history of glaucoma. During the eye examination, the eye doctor will carry out comprehensive testing such as visual acuity, eye pressure check, visual field and a thorough examination of your retina.

If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, the ophthalmologist will decide if eyedrops to reduce eye pressure or surgery is required, depending on the severity of your condition. You are advised to follow up with the eye doctor regularly to keep the condition in control and to preserve your eyesight.

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4 Most Common Eye Diseases that can cause Blindness

1.Cataracts

Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness. It is due to the clouding of the natural lens in the eye and is most commonly due to aging. It can also be caused by the use of medications such as steroids, smoking, trauma to the eye and prolonged UV exposure.

The first few signs of cataracts are blurring of vision, glares or haloes at night or discolouration of objects.

Thankfully, blindness caused by cataracts are reversible via surgery. With advancements in technology, cataract surgery is performed as a day surgery, needing only topical anaesthetic eyedrops.

2.Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a chronic eye disease whereby increased intraocular pressure in the eyes causes damage to the optic nerves at the back of your eyes. The optic nerves are responsible for sending messages from the eye to the brain.

Glaucoma is commonly known as ‘the silent thief of sight”. During the early stages of glaucoma, there are no symptoms and hence the condition progresses undiagnosed. Often times, it is only when the patient experiences symptoms such as poor night vision that it is diagnosed. By then, the damage caused by glaucoma is irreversible, and can lead to blindness in serious cases. Glaucoma accounts for 40% of blindness in Singapore.

3.Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye disease that affects patients with diabetes. Blood vessels at the retina, the light sensitive portion of the eye is being affected. Diabetic eye disease can also cause swelling at the back of the eye, affecting patient’s vision. People who have had diabetics for many years or have poorly controlled diabetics are at higher risk of having diabetic eye disease.

4.Age-Related Macular Degeneration

AMD commonly affects patients over the age of 50. In this condition, the macula, the back of the eye that is responsible for sharp, central vision is being affected. Patients who smoke or have family history of AMD are at higher risk of being affected by AMD.

Damage caused by AMD is irreversible. Hence, it is important to carry out comprehensive dilated eye examinations yearly

These conditions are commonly found in patients above the age of 40. Schedule a yearly eye examination to detect these eye conditions early.

Book your appointment with us now.

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8 Eye Myths

We have all heard about eye myths since growing up. Are they true? Or are they just old wives tales? Read on to find out!

  1. Carrots will improve eyesight.

Since young, we were told by our parents to finish the carrots on our plates as they would help us to see better. This old rumour started since World War 2, when the British boasted that their pilots were better able to see at night due to carrots. In actual fact, it was their secret radar system.  Carrots contain Vitamin A and Lutein, nutrients that are beneficial to the eye. Eating carrots will provide you with the small amount of Vitamin A needed for good vision, but the belief that carrots help improve vision is a stretch.

  1. Reading in low light environment will affect the eyesight.

Contrary to popular belief, reading in poor illuminations do not affect eyesight. It may cause headaches or eye fatigue, but it is only a temporary discomfort. While it is more difficult to read in the dark, reading in low light conditions will not damage the eye in any way. Centuries ago when electricity was not available, people read and worked by candle lights that offered far less light than now.

  1. Wearing glasses, especially in your youth, is detrimental to your vision and will make it worse.

Spectacles are prescribed to correct blurry vision. Some people feel that wearing spectacles would cause an increase in their prescription or cause them to be more reliant on their glasses due to the wearer getting more used to sharp and crisp vision that was not available before. Refractive errors are actually due to the length of the eyeball being too long or short, causing light to fall elsewhere other than the retina.  In fact, not wearing prescription glasses when needed may lead to even poorer vision than before.

  1. Vision loss/impairment with old age is not preventable (or rather inevitable).

With age, there are many types of changes that can occur in the eye. Common conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy are a few of them. The vision loss caused by cataracts are inevitable and progresses with age, but they are reversible via a simple surgery. Unfortunately, for the other conditions mentioned, they can only be detected during eye checks or when the symptoms are experienced. In those cases, vision impairment would have occurred and is unfortunately irreversible. It is therefore important to have annual eye exams to detect any eye conditions. Earlier treatments allow a better visual outcome for most people.

  1. “Overusing” the eyes can wear them out.

Over using anything will wear things out, and the same goes for the eye. Nowadays, many people spend a large amount of time behind the computer and phone for work or leisure. Doing near work for long hours can cause dry eyes due to reduced blinking rates, redness and also headaches. In some cases, it might even lead to accommodative spasm, whereby the muscles remain in a constant state of contraction. This would lead to blurring of objects at a distance. Overusing our eyes for their intended purpose will not cause blindness, but it can lead to varying degrees of eye fatigue. It is hence advisable to take regular breaks while doing intensive near work.

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  1. Lifestyle can/cannot affect your vision.

There are many lifestyle choices we make that can affect our vision. Having a diet that is high in sugar can lead to increased glucose levels, which would then cause fluctuating vision. Smoking, drinking and spending long hours under the computer can also lead to problems like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts and dry eyes.  It is important to lead a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Wearing contact lenses at campfires or barbeques can cause them to melt in your eyes.

While enjoying a barbeque or a campfire, the usage of contact lenses is still reasonably safe if a safety distance is ensured. Contact lenses are sterilized in high temperatures of up to 121 degrees Celsius. The heat from BBQ and campfire should not melt the contact lens as the melting point of the contact lens is higher the boiling point of water. Also, at high heat levels, the human skin on the face would be affected by the heat way before the contact lens is affected.

  1. Sitting too close to screens/extensive use of screens will ruin the eyesight.

This myth started back in the 1960s when colour TV sets that were sold were found to emit amounts of radiation that were much higher than the safe limit. The TV sets were recalled, but the stigma still remains today. The act of reading and sitting close to computer screens and iPads do not ruin eyesight. They can, however, cause Asthenopia, known as fatigue or eye strain.   Staring closely at a screen forces our ciliary muscle, which affects how well we focus, to remain contracted without rest. This tires the eyes out after prolonged hours of near work. Blinking rate is also reduced when we stare at the screen. Blinking is important as it keeps the front surface of our eyes moist and lubricated. If the surface is dried out, the user would experience blurry or foggy vision, which would get better after blinking. It is therefore important to take regular vision breaks to protect our eyes from eyestrain and dry eyes.
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Types of Cataract Surgery & Intraocular Lens

During the initial stages of cataract, prescription eyeglasses are changed or sunglasses are worn to counter the glare from bright lights. However, these are only considered temporary measures. If not treated properly, the cataract will gradually worsen. Symptoms of Cataract vary with severity and once it starts affecting your quality of life, treatment should be considered.

With advances in technology, patients can now undergo surgery to effectively remove cataract. During the surgery, the cataractous lens in the eye will be removed and and an intraocular lens will be implanted.

Types of cataract surgery:

Micro-incision Phacoemulsification Surgery – This is the current standard of cataract removal. This procedure uses ultrasound energy to liquify the cataract in patient’s eye. It allows the emulsified cataract to be removed through a narrow incision of 2 to 3 mm. The wounds are self-healing, so stitches are not required. This allows the patient’s eyes to recover and heal faster.

Laser-assisted Cataract Surgery  This procedure is known to have great potential in treating cataracts and is considered as the next phase in the improvement of minimally invasive cataract surgery. In LACS, there is improved wound construction, it is gentle on the eye and allows greater predictability in lens positioning. It also offers advantages for certain forms of complex cataract surgery.

There are different types of intraocular lens available in the market:

Multifocal IOLs – These lenses have different zones in different areas of the lens, enabling the patient to clearly see objects at both near and far. It decreases the need for computer or reading glasses after cataract surgery. This is ideal for patients who find that prescription glasses are a hassle and want to be rid of them.

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The above picture demonstrates vision through a multifocal lens implant. Both far and near objects are clear.

 

Toric IOLs Astigmatism occurs when the cornea or lens are misshaped. Toric lens implants are intraocular lenses that are used to correct astigmatism using the different powers in different meridians of the lens.

 

Monofocal IOLs – These lenses provide corrective power in only one portion of your visual range, typically distance vision. We may select monofocal IOLs that are for near, mid or distant focus. Only one of these 3 can be selected and the focus will not change after surgery. During your eye examination and consultation, we can help you choose the an IOL best suited for your needs.

monoiol monovision

The above picture demonstrates vision through a monofocal lens implant.

 

Before any lens implant can be selected, you will need to let the surgeon know your lifestyle needs and requirements so that he is able to select a lens that is most suitable for you.

 

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Is Everyone a Candidate for LASIK or Refractive Surgery?

Very often, we know of many people who wear glasses or contact lenses and are keen to get rid of them through some form of Refractive Surgery. Majority of people are suitable for Refractive Surgery. However, some may be excluded due to underlying eye conditions. Here are some requirements to ascertain a person’s suitability for Refractive Surgery:

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  1. Healthy Eyes

There should not be any eye diseases (especially corneal abnormalities) prior to Refractive Surgery. Any untreated eye diseases or corneal abnormalities can affect the result of the procedure, which is why we advise a pre-LASIK evaluation before you proceed with any surgery. In fact, everyone above the age of 40 should have a general eye check on a yearly basis.

  1. Stop Contact Lens Wear

Before you go for a pre-LASIK evaluation or Refractive Surgery, your doctor will advise you to refrain from wearing your soft contact lenses for 3 days and hard contact lenses for 14 days. This is because contact lens wear can change the shape of your cornea and result in inaccurate examination and treatment planning.

  1. You Must Be Above 18 Years Old

A patient must be at least 18 years old to undergo Refractive Surgery. Most doctor will not perform Refractive Surgery for those below 18 because they tend to have unstable eye prescription.

  1. You Must Be Able to Lie Flat without Discomfort

Although the laser correction is usually done within 1 minute, the whole procedure will take approximately 20 minutes to complete as your eye doctor needs to clean your eyes after the procedure. Patients need to lie on the bed throughout the procedure. For patient who cannot lie flat due to any health issues,  we advise them to have the condition treated before going for Refractive Surgery.

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How will ReLEx SMILE benefit me?

Before we delve deeper into how ReLEx SMILE surgery can help you, let us first define what this procedure is.

SMILE stands for Small Incision Lenticule Extraction. It is the 3rd generation of laser vision correction which melds the qualities of both LASIK and Advanced Surface Ablation. During SMILE, a 4mm incision is created with a laser. A lenticule is created with the same laser, and then extracted through the incision.Relex

What are the advantages of ReLEx® SMILE?

  • Comfortable and gentle

Many patients prefer ReLEx SMILE surgery as it is relatively painless and comfortable. As compared to LASIK, the surgeon will no longer need to create a thin, circular flap in the cornea that is needed to access the underlying cornea to remove corneal tissue. During the surgery, the patient’s eye will be numbed using eye drops. A single 24 second laser is then used to create a small incision of less than 4mm. This is gentler on the eye and allows a faster recovery period.

  • No flap complication

ReLEx® SMILE is carried out under the surface of the cornea. As ReLEx® SMILE is flapless, it means the patient will not need to worry about flap dislodgement or displacement. This procedure is ideal for people who do contact sports such as boxing, mixed martial arts or soccer.

  • Stable refractive outcomes

As compared to LASIK, ReLEx® SMILE surgery is not just effective but also predictable.  This procedure provides stability that is superior to other laser treatments.

  • Minimally invasive

Due to the smaller wound created, ReLEx® SMILE results in a much stronger eye and less discomfort and tearing right after the surgery. With a small incision, fewer corneal nerves are disrupted during the procedure, resulting in lower incidence of dry eye compared to LASIK. Patients are also less or totally not dependent on lubricating eyedrops after the procedure.

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  • Changes in vision can be seen in just a few hours

Another great thing about ReLEx SMILE is that your vision will start to improve in just a few hours after your surgery. You will achieve functional vision within the first 24 hours, and vision will continue to improve steadily in the coming days and weeks after surgery. You are advised to take at least 3 days off work to allow your eyes to heal. You will need to return to the clinic the next day for a follow-up.

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How Do I Know If I Have Cataracts?

How Do I Know If I Have Cataracts?

Cataracts begin to develop when the lens inside the eye has started to become cloudy. This occurs due to aging. In some cases, younger people may also develop this condition due to other medical conditions. These include patients with diabetes or any other inflammatory conditions. Patients with previous history of trauma to the eye may also develop cataracts at a younger age.

Below are some signs that you may have a cataract:

  • Cloudy vision
  • Colours appear less rich as before
  • Night vision problems such as glares and haloes
  • Seeing a ‘film’ over the eye
  • Blurred vision that is not able to be corrected by glassescataract

Patients may not notice the effects of cataracts during the initial stages as changes to vision are usually minimal. As the cataract progresses, patients may notice that their vision is gradually affected and might find it hard to complete their day-to-day tasks such as driving, cooking or reading. Once this occurs, you are advised to visit an eye specialist to get your eyes checked.

What treatments are available for cataracts?

The progression of cataracts may be slowed down by wearing sun protection such as sunglasses and hats, having a balanced diet and controlling systemic conditions such as diabetes. However, the only effective treatment available for cataracts is surgery. It is commonly misunderstood that a cataract should be “ripe” before it can be removed. Surgery may be advised once the doctor examines your eyes and patients find that impaired vision caused by the cataracts is interfering with their daily activities.

With advancements in technology, cataracts can now be treated via keyhole cataract surgery. A small incision is made and the cataract is broken down and removed via that small incision. An intraocular lens implant is then inserted. With the suitable lens implant, patients can achieve good satisfactory vision.

Post-operatively, patients are required to instill eyedrops to prevent infections and to allow quick recovery. They are also advised to return to see the surgeon for regular post op follow-ups.

Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedures performed today. It is safe, fast and reliable, and is also Medisave claimable.

 

 

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Why Is My Vision Blurred?

Blurred vision may be an indication that your prescription of your glasses had gone up but it can also be a indication of other eye or general conditions too.  Sudden blurry of vision is NOT normal. If you experience it, consult your eye doctor immediately.

There are several reasons for the cause of blurry vision.

 1. Your eye prescription had really gone up

As simple as it sounds, yes, it could be one of the many reasons why you are experiencing blurred vision. The Optometrist determines the degree of refractive error you have by performing a test called refraction. Your optometrist present different powered lenses to find the best combination of lenses for you to see clearly.

Treatment options: Prescription glasses, contact lenses, Orthokeratology, or refractive surgery.

Refractive surgeries options: PRK (1st generation), LASIK (2nd generation), ReLEx SMILE (3rd generation)

 

  1. Vision is cloudy or blurred due to cataract

Patients aged 40 and above are at a increased risk of cataract formation. Cataracts occur when there is a build-up of proteins in the lens of your eye that makes it cloudy. Patients with cataracts may complain of reduction in vision in both distance and near vision, experiencing glares, difficulty with night vision and report that colours are not as bright as before.

Treatment options: Cataract Removal Surgery

 

  1. Your Cornea Shape is Changing

A condition known as keratoconus is a disorder which results in a conical abnormal bulge to the front part of the eye. Keratoconus has been shown to have associations with hereditary predisposition.  Symptoms include blurry vision, distortion, multiple images seen, sensitivity to light, and mild eye irritation. 

Treatment options: Cornea cross-linking (CXL), gas permeable contact lenses, scleral and semi-scleral lenses or corneal transplant.

 

  1. Uncontrolled diabetes

Sudden blurry of vision may be due to condition like diabetes affecting your eyes. In cases of patient with diabetes, they experience fluctuating vision, blurred vision, or even vision loss. This condition may lead to an eye disease known as diabetic retinopathy. If left untreated, it may eventually lead to blindness.

Treatment options for diabetic retinopathy: Laser Photocoagulation

 If you do experience blurred vision, schedule an eye appointment with our ophthalmologist to identify the true cause of it.

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