Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Macular Degeneration (AMD OR ARMD)

Definition:
Macular degeneration is a medical condition usually of older adults which results in a loss of vision in the center of the visual field (the macula) because of damage to the retina. It occurs in “dry” and “wet” forms. It is a major cause of blindness in the elderly (>50 years). Macular degeneration can make it difficult or impossible to read or recognize faces, although enough peripheral vision remains to allow other activities of daily life.

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Human eye cross section view

Macular degeneration doesn’t cause total blindness, but it worsens your quality of life by blurring or causing a blind spot in your central vision. Clear central vision is necessary for reading, driving, recognizing faces and doing detail work.

The deterioration occurs in the macula (MAK-u-luh), which is in the center of the retina — the layer of tissue on the inside back wall of your eyeball.

The inner layer of the eye is the retina, which contains nerves that communicate sight, and behind the retina is the choroid, which contains the blood supply to the retina. In the dry (nonexudative) form, cellular debris called drusen accumulate between the retina and the choroid, and the retina can become detached. In the wet (exudative) form, which is more severe, blood vessels grow up from the choroid behind the retina, and the retina can also become detached. It can be treated with laser coagulation, and with medication that stops and sometimes reverses the growth of blood vessels.

Although some macular dystrophies affecting younger individuals are sometimes referred to as macular degeneration, the term generally refers to age-related macular degeneration (AMD or ARMD).

Signs:
Drusen
Pigmentary alterations
Exudative changes: hemorrhages in the eye, hard exudates, subretinal/sub-RPE/intraretinal fluid
Atrophy: incipient and geographic
Visual acuity drastically decreasing (two levels or more) ex: 20/20 to 20/80.

Symptoms:
Dry macular degeneration usually develops gradually and painlessly. You may notice these vision changes:

* The need for increasingly bright light when reading or doing close work
* Increasing difficulty adapting to low light levels, such as when entering a dimly lit restaurant
* Increasing blurriness of printed words
* A decrease in the intensity or brightness of colors
* Difficulty recognizing faces
* Gradual increase in the haziness of your overall vision
* Blurred or blind spot in the center of your visual field combined with a profound drop in the sharpness (acuity) of your central vision
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Normal Vision.……………………………...Vision with AMD

Your vision may falter in one eye while the other eye remains fine for years. You may not notice any or much change because your good eye compensates for the weak one. Your vision and lifestyle begin to be dramatically affected when this condition develops in both eyes.

Hallucinations

Additionally, some people with macular degeneration may experience visual hallucinations as their vision loss becomes more severe. These hallucinations may include unusual patterns, geometric figures, animals or even faces. You might be afraid to discuss these symptoms with your doctors or friends and family for fear you’ll be considered crazy. However, such hallucinations aren’t a sign of mental illness. In fact, they’re so common that there’s a name for this phenomenon — Charles Bonnet syndrome.

The Amsler Grid Test is one of the simplest and most effective methods for patients to monitor the health of the macula. The Amsler Grid is essentially a pattern of intersecting lines (identical to graph paper) with a black dot in the middle. The central black dot is used for fixation (a place for the eye to stare at). With normal vision, all lines surrounding the black dot will look straight and evenly spaced with no missing or odd looking areas when fixating on the grid’s central black dot. When there is disease affecting the macula, as in macular degeneration, the lines can look bent, distorted and/or missing. See a video on how to use an Amsler grid here:  and watch an animation showing the Amsler grid with macular degeneration here: .

Macular degeneration by itself will not lead to total blindness. For that matter, only a very small number of people with visual impairment are totally blind. In almost all cases, some vision remains. Other complicating conditions may possibly lead to such an acute condition (severe stroke or trauma, untreated glaucoma, etc.), but few macular degeneration patients experience total visual loss. The area of the macula comprises about 5% of the retina and is responsible for about 35% of the visual field. The remaining 65% (the peripheral field) remains unaffected by the disease

The loss of central vision profoundly affects visual functioning. It is not possible, for example, to read without central vision. Pictures which attempt to depict the central visual loss of macular degeneration with a black spot do not really do justice to the devastating nature of the visual loss. This can be demonstrated by printing letters 6 inches high on a piece of paper and attempting to identify them while looking straight ahead and holding the paper slightly to the side. Most people find this surprisingly difficult to do.

There is a loss off contrast sensitivity, so that contours, shadows and color vision are less vivid. The loss in contrast sensitivity can be quickly and easily measured by a contrast sensitivity test performed either at home or by an eye specialist.

Similar symptoms with a very different etiology and different treatment can be caused by Epiretinal membrane or macular pucker or leaking blood vessels in the eye..

When to see a doctor
See your eye doctor — particularly after age 50 — if:

* You notice changes in your central vision
* Your ability to see colors and fine detail becomes impaired

One way to monitor your eyes to determine if you may need to visit your eye doctor is to check your vision regularly using an Amsler grid. This simple test may help you detect changes in your sight that you otherwise may not notice.

Here’s how to perform the test:

* Hold the grid 14 inches (about 36 centimeters) in front of you in good light. Use your corrective glasses or reading glasses if you normally wear them.
* Cover one eye.
* Look directly at the center dot with your uncovered eye.
* While looking at this dot, determine whether all of the lines of the grid appear straight, uninterrupted and have the same contrast.
* Repeat the above steps with your other eye.
* If any part of the grid is missing or looks wavy, blurred or dark, contact your eye doctor immediately.

Causes:
The exact cause of dry macular degeneration is unknown, but the condition develops as the eye ages. The initial site of change is not in the light-sensitive cells of the macula, but in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE), a single layer of cells located just behind the retina close to the back wall of your eye.

Your macula is an area about two-tenths of an inch (5 millimeters) in diameter at the center of your retina. This small part of your eye is responsible for clear vision, particularly in your direct line of sight.

The macula consists of millions of densely packed light-sensitive cells called cones and rods. Cones and rods have two segments: An inner segment controls cell functions and produces proteins responsive to light, and an outer segment stores and makes use of these proteins.

As they absorb light, outer segment proteins become degraded and eventually are shed as waste. Meanwhile, the inner segments continuously provide replacements for the outer segments. One function of the cells of the RPE is to remove the outer segments that are shed.

As the eye ages, cells in the RPE begin to deteriorate (atrophy) and lose their pigment. As a consequence, the RPE becomes less efficient in removing outer segment waste. When that happens, the normally uniform reddish color of the macula (as seen with an ophthalmoscope) takes on a mottled appearance. Drusen — yellow, fat-like deposits — begin to appear under the cones and rods. As the drusen and mottled pigmentation continue to develop, your vision gradually deteriorates.

Based on this progression, dry macular degeneration is categorized in three stages:

* Early stage. Several small drusen or a few medium-sized drusen are detected on the macula in one or both eyes. Generally, there’s no vision loss in the earliest stage.
* Intermediate stage. Many medium-sized drusen or one or more large drusen are detected in one or both eyes. At this stage, your central vision may start to blur and you may need extra light for reading or doing detail work.
* Advanced stage. Several large drusen, as well as extensive breakdown of light-sensitive cells in the macula, are detected. These features cause a well-defined spot of blurring in your central vision. The blurred area may become larger and more opaque over time.

Macular degeneration almost always starts out as the dry form. Dry macular degeneration may initially affect only one eye but, in most cases, both eyes eventually become involved.

Risk factors:
Contributing factors for development of macular degeneration include:

* Age. In the United States, macular degeneration is the leading cause of severe vision loss in people age 60 and older.
* Family history of macular degeneration. If someone in your family had macular degeneration, your odds of developing macular degeneration are higher. In recent years, researchers have identified some of the genes associated with macular degeneration. In the future, genetic screening tests may be helpful for assessing early risk of the disease.
* Race. Macular degeneration is more common in whites than it is in other groups, especially after age 75.
* Sex. Women are more likely than men to develop macular degeneration, and because they tend to live longer, women are more likely to experience the effects of severe vision loss from the disease.
* Cigarette smoking. Exposure to cigarette smoke doubles your risk of macular degeneration. Cigarette smoking is the single most preventable cause of macular degeneration.
*Stargardt’s disease (STGD, also known as Juvenile Macular Degeneration) is an autosomal recessive retinal disorder characterized by a juvenile-onset macular dystrophy, alterations of the peripheral retina, and subretinal deposition of lipofuscin-like material. A gene encoding an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter was mapped to the 2-cM (centiMorgan) interval at 1p13-p21 previously shown by linkage analysis to harbor the STGD gene. This gene, ABCR, is expressed exclusively and at high levels in the retina, in rod but not cone photoreceptors, as detected by in situ hybridization. Mutational analysis of ABCR in STGD families revealed a total of 19 different mutations including homozygous mutations in two families with consanguineous parentage. These data indicate that ABCR is the causal gene of STGD/FFM.
*Drusen CMSD studies indicate that drusen are similar in molecular composition to plaques and deposits in other age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and atherosclerosis.
While there is a tendency for drusen to be blamed for the progressive loss of vision, drusen deposits can, however, be present in the retina without vision loss. Some patients with large deposits of drusen have normal visual acuity. If normal retinal reception and image transmission are sometimes possible in a retina when high concentrations of drusen are present, then even if drusen can be implicated in the loss of visual function, there must be at least one other factor that accounts for the loss of vision. Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a genetically linked dysfunction of the retina and is related to mutation of the ATP Synthase Gene 63.
* Obesity. Being severely overweight increases the chance that early or intermediate macular degeneration will progress to the more severe form of the disease.
* Light-colored eyes. People with light-colored eyes appear to be at greater risk than do those with darker eyes.
* Exposure to sunlight. Although the retina is more sensitive to shorter wavelengths of light, including ultraviolet (UV) light, only a small percentage of ultraviolet light actually reaches the retina. Most ultraviolet light is filtered by the transparent outer surface of your eye (cornea) and the natural crystalline lens in your eye. Some experts believe that long-term exposure to ultraviolet light may increase your risk of developing macular degeneration, but this risk has not been proved and remains controversial.
* Low levels of nutrients. This includes low blood levels of minerals, such as zinc, and of antioxidant vitamins, such as A, C and E. Antioxidants may protect your cells from oxygen damage (oxidation), which may partially be responsible for the effects of aging and for the development of certain diseases such as macular degeneration.
* Cardiovascular diseases. These include high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack and coronary artery disease with chest pain (angina).
*High fat intake is associated with an increased risk of macular degeneration in both women and men. Fat provides about 42% of the food energy in the average American diet. A diet that derives closer to 20-25% of total food energy from fat is probably healthier. Reducing fat intake to this level means cutting down greatly on consumption of red meats and high-fat dairy products such as whole milk, cheese, and butter. Eating more cold-water fish (at least twice weekly), rather than red meats, and eating any type of nuts may help macular degeneration patients.
*Oxidative stress: It has been proposed that age related accumulation of low molecular weight, phototoxic, pro-oxidant melanin oligomers within lysosomes in the retinal pigment epithelium may be partly responsible for decreasing the digestive rate of photoreceptor outer rod segments (POS) by the RPE. A decrease in the digestive rate of POS has been shown to be associated with lipofuscin formation – a classic sign associated with macular degeneration.
*Fibulin-5 mutation Rare forms of the disease are caused by geneic defects in fibulin-5, in an autosomal dominant manner. In 2004 Stone et al. performed a screen on 402 AMD patients and revealed a statistically significant correlation between mutations in Fibulin-5 and incidence of the disease. Furthermore the point mutants were found in the Calcium binding sites of the cbEGF domains of the protein. there is no structural basis for the effects of the mutations.

Diagnosis:
Diagnostic tests for macular degeneration may include:

*An eye examination. One of the things your eye doctor looks for while examining the inside of your eye is the presence of drusen and mottled pigmentation in the macula. The eye examination includes a simple test of your central vision and may include testing with an Amsler grid. If you have macular degeneration, when you look at the grid some of the straight lines may seem faded, broken or distorted. By noting where the break or distortion occurs — usually on or near the center of the grid — your eye doctor can better determine the location and extent of your macular damage.

Regular screening examinations can detect early signs of macular degeneration before the disease leads to vision loss.
*Angiography. To evaluate the extent of the damage from macular degeneration, your eye doctor may use fluorescein angiography. In this procedure, fluorescein dye is injected into a vein in your arm and photographs are taken of the back of the eye as the dye passes through blood vessels in your retina and choroid. Your doctor then uses these photographs to detect changes in macular pigmentation or to identify small macular blood vessels.

Your doctor may also suggest a similar procedure called indocyanine green angiography. Instead of fluorescein, a dye called indocyanine green is used. This test provides information that complements the findings obtained through fluorescein angiography.
* Optical coherence tomography. This noninvasive imaging test helps identify and display areas of retinal thickening or thinning. Such changes are associated with macular degeneration. This test can also reveal the presence of abnormal fluid in and under the retina or the RPE. It’s often used to help monitor the response of the retina to macular degeneration treatments.

Treatment:
There’s no treatment available to reverse dry macular degeneration. But this doesn’t mean you’ll eventually lose all of your sight. Dry macular degeneration usually progresses slowly, and many people with the condition are able to live relatively normal, productive lives, especially if only one eye is affected. Dry macular degeneration can, however, develop into the more rapidly progressive wet type of macular degeneration at any time.

Taking a high-dose formulation of antioxidants and zinc may reduce progression of dry macular degeneration to advanced macular degeneration. The National Eye Institute-sponsored Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) showed that a daily supplement of 500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, 400 international units (IU) of vitamin E, 15 mg of beta carotene (often as vitamin A — up to 25,000 IU), 80 mg of zinc (as zinc oxide) and 2 mg of copper (as cupric oxide) reduced the risk of progressing to moderate or severe vision loss by up to 25 percent.

Life Style & Home Remedies:
Macular degeneration doesn’t affect your side (peripheral) vision and usually doesn’t cause total blindness. But it can rob you of your central vision — which is important for driving, reading and recognizing people’s faces. A low-vision center may be able to assess your visual capabilities and suggest certain optical and household devices that can be helpful for some near-vision tasks. Ask your eye doctor if there are any low-vision centers in your area.

There are ways to cope with impaired vision. Below are a few suggestions:

* Use caution when driving. First, check with your doctor to see if driving is still safe based on your current visual acuity. When you do drive, there are certain situations to avoid. For example, don’t drive at night, in heavy traffic or in bad weather.
* Seek help traveling. Use public transportation or ask family members to help, especially with night driving.
* Travel with others. Contact your local area agency on aging for a list of vans and shuttles, volunteer driving networks or ride shares.
* Get good glasses. Optimize the vision you have with the right glasses, and keep an extra pair in the car.
* Use magnifiers. Large-print books and magazines can help you read more easily.
* View with large type on the Internet. Look for Web sites that use large-sized type fonts, or change the font size on your display.
* Obtain specialized appliances. Some clocks, radios, telephones and other appliances have extra-large numbers.
* Have proper light in your home. This will help with reading and other activities.
* Remove home hazards. Eliminate throw rugs and other possible tripping hazards in your home.
* Ask friends and family members for help. Tell them about your vision problems so that they can help you perform certain tasks and help you recognize people.
* Don’t become socially isolated. A common frustration of people with macular degeneration is the inability to recognize other people and greet them by name. If this happens to you, try asking people you know to say hi and tell you their names when you meet them on the street or in other situations so that you can greet them back.
* Take advantage of online networks. The Internet is a good source for support groups and resources for people with macular degeneration.

Alternative Medicine:
Some people have turned to complementary or alternative therapies, such as bilberry, ginkgo and shark cartilage, in the belief that they can help prevent the progression of macular degeneration.

However, there’s no conclusive evidence that any of these products are effective for macular degeneration, and some may interact with other medications you’re taking. Check with your doctor before taking any dietary or herbal supplement.

Prevention
The Age-Related Eye Disease Study showed that a combination of high-dose beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc can reduce the risk of progressing from early to advanced AMD by about 25 percent.  Studies are underway with the goal of reducing lipofuscin accumulation.

Studies have found that Lutein and zeaxanthin (Carotenoid nutrients found in green vegetables such as Kale, Spinach, Collards, spices such as Saffron, and egg yolk) protect against and possibly reverse macular degeneration and Retinitis pigmentosa.  Studies found that antioxidants disrupt the link of two processes that cause macular degeneration and extend the lifetime of irreplaceable photoreceptors and other retinal cells (Lutein is known to have antioxidant properties).

Eating spinach or collard greens five times a week decreases the risk of AMD by 43%

Studies reported in the British Journal of Ophthalmology suggest that while beneficial for those in advanced stages, antioxidant supplements can be counterproductive for people with early stages of AMD as antioxidants can potentially negate the beneficial effects of Omega-3 fats. It has been found that Omega-3 fatty acids can prevent or even halt the progress of degeneration. However, moderation of oily fishes in patients’ diets is suggested as they can lead to a build up of pollutants such fishes may contain.

The following measures may help you avoid macular degeneration:
*Eat foods containing antioxidants.
*Take antioxidant and zinc supplements.
* Eat fish.
*Stop smoking.
*Manage your other diseases.
*Get regular eye exams.
*Screen your vision regularly.

If you have some vision loss because of macular degeneration, your eye doctor can prescribe optical devices called low-vision aids that will help you see better for close-up work. Or your doctor may refer you to a low-vision specialist. In addition, a wide variety of support services and rehabilitation programs are available that may help you adjust your lifestyle.
Impact:
Macular degeneration can advance to legal blindness and inability to drive. It can also result in difficulty or inability to read or see faces.

Adaptive devices can help people read. These include magnifying glasses, special eyeglass lenses, desktop and portable electronic devices, and computer screen readers such as JAWS for Windows.

Composer Josef Tal checks a manuscript (2006)Accessible publishing also aims to provide a variety of fonts and formats for published books to make reading easier. This includes much larger fonts for printed books, patterns to make tracking easier, audiobooks and DAISY books with both text and audio.

Because the peripheral vision is not affected, people with macular degeneration can learn to use their remaining vision to continue most activities. Assistance and resources are available in every country and every state in the U.S. Classes for “independent living” are given and some technology can be obtained from a state department of rehabilitation. You can also search for macular degeneration on the internet and contact one of the non-profit organizations for assistance.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.
Resources:
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/macular-degeneration/DS00284
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macular_degeneration

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Categories
Ailmemts & Remedies

Presbyopia

Definition:
Presbyopia (Greek word “presbys”, meaning “old person”) describes the condition where the eye exhibits a progressively diminished ability to focus on near objects with age. Presbyopia’s exact mechanisms are not known with certainty, however, the research evidence most strongly supports a loss of elasticity of the crystalline lens, although changes in the lens’s curvature from continual growth and loss of power of the ciliary muscles (the muscles that bend and straighten the lens) have also been postulated as its cause.

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Similar to grey hair and wrinkles, presbyopia is a symptom caused by the natural course of aging presbyopia is the gradual loss of your eyes’ ability to focus actively on nearby objects — is a not-so-subtle reminder that you’ve reached middle age. A natural, often annoying part of aging, presbyopia usually develops after age 40.The first symptoms (described below) are usually first noticed between the ages of 40-50. The ability to focus on near objects declines throughout life, from an accommodation of about 20 dioptres (ability to focus at 50 mm away) in a child to 10 dioptres at 25 (100 mm) and leveling off at 0.5 to 1 dioptre at age 60 (ability to focus down to 1-2 meters only).

Symptoms
The first symptoms most people notice are difficulty reading fine print, particularly in low light conditions, eyestrain when reading for long periods, blur at near or momentarily blurred vision when transitioning between viewing distances. Many advanced presbyopes complain that their arms have become “too short” to hold reading material at a comfortable distance.

Presbyopia, like other focus defects, becomes much less noticeable in bright sunlight. This is a result of the iris closing to a smaller diameter. As with any lens, increasing the focal ratio of the lens increases depth of field by reducing the level of blur of out-of-focus objects (compare the effect of aperture on depth of field in photography).

A delayed onset of seeking correction for presbyopia has been found among those with certain professions and those with miotic pupils. In particular, farmers and housewives seek correction later, whereas service workers and construction workers seek eyesight correction earlier.

Focusing mechanism of the eye:
In optics, the closest point at which an object can be brought into focus by the eye is called the eye’s near point. A standard near point distance of 25 cm is typically assumed in the design of optical instruments, and in characterizing optical devices such as magnifying glasses.

There is some confusion in articles and even textbooks over how the focusing mechanism of the eye actually works. In the classic book, ‘Eye and Brain’ by Gregory, for example, the lens is said to be suspended by a membrane, the ‘zonula’, which holds it under tension. The tension is released, by contraction of the ciliary muscle, to allow the lens to fatten, for close vision. This would seem to imply that the ciliary muscle, which is outside the zonula must be circumferential, contracting like a sphincter, to slacken the tension of the zonula pulling outwards on the lens. This is consistent with the fact that our eyes seem to be in the ‘relaxed’ state when focusing at infinity, and also explains why no amount of effort seems to enable a myopic person to see further away. Many texts, though, describe the ‘ciliary muscles’ (which seem more likely to be just elastic ligaments and not under any form of nervous control) as pulling the lens taut in order to focus at close range. This has the counterintuitive effect of steepening the lens centrally (increasing its power) and flattening peripherally.

Presbyopia and the ‘payoff’ for the nearsighted
Many people with myopia are able to read comfortably without eyeglasses or contact lenses even after age 40. However, their myopia does not disappear and the long-distance visual challenges will remain. Myopes with astigmatism will find near vision better though not perfect without glasses or contact lenses once presbyopia sets in, but the greater the amount of astigmatism the poorer their uncorrected near vision. Myopes considering refractive surgery are advised that surgically correcting their nearsightedness may actually be a disadvantage after the age of 40 when the eyes become presbyopic and lose their ability to accommodate or change focus because they will then need to use glasses for reading. A surgical technique offered is to create a “reading eye” and a “distance vision eye”, a technique commonly used in contact lens practice, known as monovision. Monovision can be created with contact lenses or spectacles so candidates for this procedure can determine if they are prepared to have their corneas reshaped by surgery to cause this effect permanently.

Causes:
Presbyopia is caused by an age-related process. This is different from astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness, which are related to the shape of the eyeball and caused by genetic factors, disease or trauma. Presbyopia is generally believed to stem from a gradual loss of flexibility in the natural lens inside your eye.

These age-related changes occur within the proteins in the lens, making the lens harder and less elastic with the years. Age-related changes also take place in the muscle fibers surrounding the lens. With less elasticity, the eye has a harder time focusing up close. Other, less popular theories exist as well.

Most experts agree that presbyopia is caused by a hardening of your lens, which in turn develops with aging. As your lens becomes less flexible, it can no longer change shape, and close-up images appear out of focus.

Tests and diagnosis:
Presbyopia is diagnosed by a basic eye exam. This exam is generally administered by either an ophthalmologist or an optometrist. An ophthalmologist, who has a doctor of medicine (M.D.) degree, is a specialist trained to diagnose and manage eye disorders, including those that may require either medical or surgical treatment. An optometrist, who has a doctor of optometry (O.D.) degree, can perform many of the same services as an ophthalmologist, such as evaluating your vision, prescribing corrective lenses and diagnosing common eye disorders. In some states, optometrists also treat selected eye disorders with drugs. However, an optometrist may refer you to an ophthalmologist for more complex eye problems and for surgical procedures.

A complete eye examination involves a series of tests. Your eye doctor may use odd-looking instruments, aim bright lights directly at your eyes and request that you look through an array of lenses. Each test is necessary and allows your doctor to evaluate a different aspect of your vision.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, if you don’t wear glasses or contacts, have no symptoms of eye trouble and are at a low risk of developing eye disease, you should have your eyes examined at the following intervals:

*Every five to 10 years under age 40
*Every two to four years between ages 40 and 64
*Every one to two years beginning at age 65

However, if you wear glasses or contacts, have your eyes checked more often. And if you notice any problems with your vision, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor as soon as possible, even if you’ve recently had an eye exam. Blurred vision may suggest you need a prescription change or have another eye problem that may need evaluation and treatment.

Treatment:
Presbyopia is not routinely curable – though tentative steps toward a possible cure suggest that this may be possible – but the loss of focusing ability can be compensated for by corrective lenses including eyeglasses or contact lenses. In subjects with other refractory problems, convex lenses are used. In some cases, the addition of bifocals to an existing lens prescription is sufficient. As the ability to change focus worsens, the prescription needs to be changed accordingly.

In order to reduce the need for bifocals or reading glasses, some people choose contact lenses to correct one eye for near and one eye for far with a method called “monovision”. Monovision sometimes interferes with depth perception. There are also newer bifocal or multifocal contact lenses that attempt to correct both near and far vision with the same lens.

Controversially, eye exercises have been quoted as a way to delay the onset of presbyopia, but there is no evidence that they work.

Nutrition
At least one scientific study reported that taking lutein supplements or otherwise increasing the amount of lutein in the diet resulted in an improvement in visual acuity, while another study suggested that lutein supplementation might slow aging of the lens. Lutein is found naturally in both the lens of the eye and the macula, the central area of the retina.

The goal of treatment is to compensate for the inability of your eyes to focus on nearby objects. Treatment options include wearing corrective lenses, undergoing refractive surgery or getting lens implants.

Corrective lenses
If you had good, uncorrected vision before developing presbyopia, you may be able to use nonprescription reading glasses. But check with your eye doctor about what’s right for you.

Reading glasses sold over-the-counter are labeled on a scale that corresponds to the degree of magnification (power). The least powerful are labeled +1.00, and the most powerful +3.00. When purchasing reading glasses, try out a few different powers until you find the magnification that allows you to read comfortably. Test each pair on printed material held about 14 to 16 inches in front of your face.

You’ll need prescription lenses for presbyopia if over-the-counter glasses are inadequate or if you already wear corrective lenses for nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Your choices include:

Prescription reading glasses. If you have no other vision problems, you can have prescription lenses for reading only.

Bifocals. These glasses come in two styles — those with a visible horizontal line and those without a line (progressive bifocals). When you look through progressive bifocals at eye level, the lenses correct your distance vision. This correction gradually changes to reading correction at the bottom.

Trifocals. These glasses have corrections for close work, middle-distance vision — such as for computer screens — and distance vision. Trifocals can have visible lines or progressive lenses.

Bifocal contacts. Bifocal contact lenses, like bifocal glasses, provide distance and close-up correction on each contact. The bottom, reading portion of the lens is weighted to keep the lens correctly positioned on your eye. These are frequently difficult to fit and often do not provide altogether satisfactory visual results.

Monovision contacts. With monovision contacts, you wear a contact lens for distance vision in your dominant eye and a contact lens for close-up vision in your nondominant eye. Your dominant eye is generally the one you use when you’re aiming a camera to take a picture.

Modified monovision. With this option, you wear a bifocal contact lens in your nondominant eye and a contact lens set for distance in your dominant eye. You use both eyes for distance and one eye for reading. Your brain learns which lens to favor — depending on whether you’re viewing things close up or far away — so you don’t have to consciously make the choice of which eye to use.

Refractive surgery:-
Refractive surgery changes the shape of your cornea. For presbyopia, this treatment — equivalent to wearing monovision contact lenses — may be used to improve close-up vision in the nondominant eye. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people try monovision contacts to determine if they can adjust to this kind of correction before considering refractive surgery.

Most refractive surgical procedures were developed to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Few studies have been published about the long-term effectiveness of monovision refractive surgery for people with presbyopia, but some evidence suggests that the surgery may help some people with presbyopia reduce their dependence on corrective lenses. Eventually, though, many people who have had refractive surgery will still need corrective lenses for reading.

Refractive surgical procedures include the following:

Conductive keratoplasty (CK). This procedure uses radio frequency energy to apply heat to very tiny spots around the cornea. The degree of change in the cornea’s curvature depends on the number and spacing of the spots, as well as the way in which the corneal tissue heals after the treatment. The results of CK are variable and unstable in many people.

New surgical options to treat presbyopia are being researched and are already available in many countries. One example is Refractec Inc.’s conductive keratoplasty, or NearVision CK treatment, which uses radio waves to create more curvature in the cornea for a higher “plus” prescription to improve near vision. The method was FDA-approved for the temporary reduction of presbyopia in April 2004. (In 2002 it had been approved for mild farsightedness.) Click to read more about how CK works.
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The eye’s lens stiffens with age, so it is less able to focus when you view something up close. The result is blurred near vision. (Illustration: Varilux).
A highly experimental treatment is a soft, elastic polymer gel that researchers say would be injected into the capsular bag, the cavity that contains the natural lens. In theory, the gel would replace the natural lens and serve as a new, more elastic lens. Experiments also have centered on laser treatment of the eye’s hardened lens to increase flexibility and improve focus.

With the recent introduction of presbyopia-correcting intraocular lenses, some people undergoing cataract surgery may be able to achieve clear vision at all distances. Also, an elective procedure known as refractive lens exchange may enable you to replace your eye’s natural lens with an artificial one using presbyopia-correcting lenses.

Other methods are being researched as well. Click to read more about surgical options for presbyopia.

Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis (LASIK). With this procedure, your eye surgeon uses a laser or an instrument called a keratome to make a thin, hinged flap in your cornea. Your surgeon then uses an excimer laser to remove inner layers of your cornea to steepen its domed shape. An excimer laser differs from other lasers in that it doesn’t produce heat.

Laser epithelial keratomileusis (LASEK). Instead of creating a flap in the cornea, the surgeon creates a flap only in the cornea’s thin protective cover (epithelium). Your surgeon will use an excimer laser to reshape the cornea’s outer layers and steepen its curvature and then reposition the epithelial flap.

Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK). This procedure is similar to LASEK, except the surgeon removes the epithelium. It will grow back naturally, conforming to your cornea’s new shape.

Lens implants
Another procedure used by some ophthalmologists involves removal of your clear natural lens and replacement with a synthetic lens inside your eye (intraocular lens implant). The synthetic lens implant is designed to allow your eye to see things both near and at a distance. However, synthetic lens implants haven’t been entirely satisfactory; recipients have experienced problems with glare and blurring. In addition, this surgery carries with it the same risks associated with cataract surgery, such as inflammation, infection, bleeding and glaucoma.

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Lifestyle modification and home remedies:
Although you can’t prevent presbyopia, you can help protect your eyes and your vision. Follow these steps:

Have your eyes checked. Regardless of how well you see, have your eyes checked regularly for problems.
Control chronic health conditions. Certain conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can affect your vision if you don’t receive proper treatment.

Recognize symptoms. Sudden loss of vision in one eye, sudden hazy or blurred vision, flashes of light, black spots, or halos or rainbows around lights may signal a serious medical problem, such as acute glaucoma or stroke, or some other treatable retinal condition, such as a retinal tear or retinal detachment. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.

Protect your eyes from the sun. Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This is especially important if you spend long hours in the sun or are taking a prescription medication that increases your sensitivity to UV radiation.

Eat healthy foods. Try to eat plenty of fruits and leafy greens and other vegetables; these foods generally contain high levels of antioxidants as well as vitamin A and beta carotene. They’re also vital to maintaining healthy vision.
Use the right glasses. The right glasses optimize your vision. Having regular exams will ensure that your eyeglass prescription is correct.
Use good lighting. Turn up the light for better vision.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.
Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyopia
http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/presbyopia.htm
MayoClinic.com

Categories
Diagnonistic Test

Snellen Test for Visual Acuity

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Definition:
A Snellen test uses a chart with different sizes of letters or forms to evaluate your visual acuity-that is, the sharpness of your vision. The test shows how accurately you can see from a distance.
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A Snellen chart is an eye chart used by eye care professionals and others to measure visual acuity. Snellen charts are named after the Dutch ophthalmologist Herman Snellen who developed the chart in 1862.

Description
The traditional Snellen chart is printed with eleven lines of block letters. The first line consists of one very large letter, which may be one of several letters, for example E, H, N, or A. Subsequent rows have increasing numbers of letters that decrease in size. A patient taking the test covers one eye, and reads aloud the letters of each row, beginning at the top. The smallest row that can be read accurately indicates the patient’s visual acuity in that eye.
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The symbols on an acuity chart are formally known as “optotypes.” In the case of the traditional Snellen chart, the optotypes have the appearance of block letters, and are intended to be seen and read as letters. They are not, however, letters from any ordinary typographer’s font. They have a particular, simple geometry in which:

the thickness of the lines equals the thickness of the white spaces between lines and the thickness of the gap in the letter “C”
the height and width of the optotype (letter) is five times the thickness of the line.
Only the ten letters C, D, E, F, L, N, O, P, T, Z are used in the traditional Snellen chart. The perception of five out of six letters (or similar ratio) is judged to be the Snellen fraction.

Wall-mounted Snellen charts are inexpensive and are sometimes used for rough assessment of vision, e.g. in a primary-care physician’s office. Whenever acuity must be assessed carefully (as in an eye doctor’s examination), or where there is a possibility that the examinee might attempt to deceive the examiner (as in a motor vehicle license office), equipment is used that can present the letters in a variety of randomized patterns.

According to BS 4274:1968 (British Standards Institution) “Specification for test charts for determining distance visual acuity” the minimum illumination for externally illuminated charts should be 480 lx, however this very important parameter is frequently ignored by physicians, making many test results invalid.

Snellen fraction
Visual acuity = Distance at which test is made / distance at which the smallest optotype identified subtends an angle of 5 arcminutes.[citation needed]

“20/20” (or “6/6”) vision
Snellen defined “standard vision” as the ability to recognize one of his optotypes when it subtended 5 minutes of arc. Thus the optotype can only be recognized if the person viewing it can discriminate a spatial pattern separated by a visual angle of 1 minute of arc.

In the most familiar acuity test, a Snellen chart is placed at a standard distance, twenty feet in the US. At this distance, the symbols on the line representing “normal” acuity subtend an angle of five minutes of arc, and the thickness of the lines and of the spaces between the lines subtends one minute of arc. This line, designated 20/20, is the smallest line that a person with normal acuity can read at a distance of twenty feet.

Three lines above, the letters have twice the dimensions of those on the 20/20 line. The chart is at a distance of twenty feet, but a person with normal acuity could be expected to read these letters at a distance of forty feet. This line is designated by the ratio 20/40. If this is the smallest line a person can read, the person’s acuity is “20/40,” meaning, in a very rough kind of way, that this person needs to approach to a distance of twenty feet to read letters that a person with normal acuity could read at forty feet. In an even rougher way, this person could be said to have “half” the normal acuity.

Outside of the US, the standard chart distance is six meters, normal acuity is designated 6/6, and other acuities are expressed as ratios with a numerator of 6.

Acuity charts are used during many kinds of vision examinations, such as “refracting” the eye to determine the best eyeglass prescription. During such examinations, acuity ratios are never mentioned.

The biggest letter on an eye chart often represents an acuity of 20/200, the value that is considered “legally blind.” Many people with refractive errors have the misconception that they have “bad vision” because they “can’t even read the E at the top of the chart without my glasses.” But in most situations where acuity ratios are mentioned, they refer to best corrected acuity. Many people with moderate myopia “cannot read the E” without glasses, but have no problem reading the 20/20 line or 20/15 line with glasses. A legally blind person is one who cannot read the E even with the best possible glasses.

Criticism
Snellen charts have been the target of some criticism. The fact that the number of letters increases while the size decreases introduces two variables, rather than just one. Some people may simply (or unconsciously) memorize the Snellen chart before being tested by it, or between tests of one eye and the other, to give the impression that their vision is good. Several studies indicate that the crowding together of letters makes them inherently more difficult to read. Another issue is that there are fairly large and uneven jumps in acuity level between the rows. To address these concerns, more modern charts have been designed that have the same number of letters on each row and use a geometric progression to determine the size of each row of letters. Also, some letters are harder to distinguish than others, such as P vs F, C vs G, Q vs O, etc.

How to prepare for the test?
No preparation is necessary.

How the Test is performed?
You stand or sit at a specific distance from the eye chart. Usually you are told to cover one eye with a cardboard piece or with your hand while you read letters with the other eye and say them out loud for the doctor.

In an eye clinic, you may have a more sophisticated version of this test in which you look at the chart through different strengths of lenses (a little bit like looking through a telescope) so that your doctor can find the proper strength of glasses or contact lenses for you. Sometimes the Snellen chart you see in an eye clinic is actually a reflection on a mirror from a projector in the back of the room. This enables eye doctors to use a variety of charts without you having to move from your chair. The test takes only a few minutes.

Risk Factor:
There are no risks.

How long is it before the result of the test is known?
You can find out immediately whether your vision is normal (“20/20”) or whether you have a vision problem. Glasses do not correct every vision problem, but an eye doctor can tell you if they will help.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snellen_chart
https://www.health.harvard.edu/diagnostic-tests/snellen-test-for-visual-acuity.htm

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