Friday, July 27, 2012

Can Botox treatment help your vision?

Move over wrinkles. Botox has found a new use, and it’s not to help people look younger. All over the country, ophthalmologists are using the drug to correct adult strabismus, or lazy eye. Injected in small doses, Botox can help stop the muscle spasms that cause adults to experience double vision, blurred images, a loss of depth perception, and many other symptoms of strabismus.

During the procedure, an ophthalmologist on your True Care Advantage vision care plan will use a very thin needle to inject Botox directly into the eye muscles. Often, an anesthetic cream is applied to soothe the site of the injection. According to the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Botox lengthens the injected muscle while shortening the opposing muscle, which helps correct many cases of strabismus. In general, side effects from the treatment are rare, and the effects last approximately three months. Fortunately, the procedure only takes a few minutes in the office and can be repeated as necessary down the road.

If Botox treatments sound appealing, tell your eye doctor about all of the medications and supplements you are currently taking so he or she can determine if the procedure is right for you. The foundation suggests that good candidates are generally healthy people who are not pregnant or nursing.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

I’m losing my night and peripheral vision – what could be the cause?

Although many eye conditions develop later in life as an effect of aging, others are caused by genetic factors and may begin to present themselves much earlier. One such condition is retinitis pigmentosa – a disease that causes damage to the rods and cones in a person’s retina. Rods are responsible for both peripheral and night vision, and as they become damaged, the person with RP slowly begins to lose these types of sight.

The American Optometric Association suggests that signs of RP often become apparent in childhood or adolescence, with night vision typically declining first. Fortunately, the disease is gradual, meaning a person may not develop a severe case for many years. Once the disease does progress, however, the patient may only be able to see straight ahead in a form of “tunnel vision.” At this stage, people must adapt to their new range of vision and stay aware of their surroundings.

Otherwise, they may accidentally bump into furniture or other objects that are no longer in their peripheral vision. If you suspect you or your child may have retinitis pigmentosa, talk to an optometrist on your True Care Advantage vision care plan that specializes in low vision. He or she can provide you with valuable information about ways to slow the progression of vision loss, including making changes to your diet to include vitamin A and lutein. And although there is currently no cure for RP, your eye doctor can introduce you to several of the low-vision aids available, such as magnifying lenses and night-vision scopes. Such doctors are also good sources of information about living productively and independently with low vision. Find out more by scheduling an appointment today.

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