Seeing well now and maintaining your eye health for a lifetime are the top priorities for eye doctors including John Henahan, an optometrist at Spectrum Eyecare in Peachtree City, GA.
“Each year brings new information and studies that help us understand how our amazing visual system works”, says Dr. Henahan. Here are Dr. Henahan’s top 5 advances in eye research 2012.
1) US Glaucoma Cases Rising
“The prevalence of glaucoma in the United States is 22 percent higher than it was 10 years ago,” according to a report. “Researchers from Prevent Blindness America and the US National Eye Institute reported that more than 2.7 million Americans aged 40 and older are affected by this eye disease, which can damage the optic nerve and gradually lead to blindness.
2) Vision loss tied to diabetes rising
Vision loss likely related to diabetes in the United States increased by 20 percent over less than a decade, according to a U.S. study – a matter of concern as diabetes rates continue to rise, and hit younger and younger people.
“The nation’s diabetes problem is getting worse and Oklahoma, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama saw dramatic increases since 1995, the study showed. The South’s growing weight problem is the main explanation according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
3) Dry Eye Syndrome is the most common medical eye problem
Not including the need for eyeglasses, dry eye is by far the most common eye problem, affecting nearly 20% of the population over age 40. Dry eye disease has a number of risk factors: aging, androgen deficiency, chronic environmental stress, changes in blink patterns, systemic autoimmune disease, systemic drugs, corneal nerve damage during surgery, contact lens wear, and preservative toxicity of topical medications.
4) OCT Eye Exam continues to revolutionize eye care
As more and more software advances are deployed in doctor’s offices, the ability to diagnose glaucoma and a large number of retina problems including diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, macular puckering and many other conditions. This technology even can even uncovers vision problems before they cause irreversible damage. Dr. Henahan reports the case of a woman in his office for a routine eye exam with no vision complaints. Dr. Henahan noted that she had trouble seeing all the letters on the 20/20 line. An OCT eye exam showed that she was about to develop a macular hole, which can result in permanent vision loss. “The OCT allowed me to see what was happening and get her to a retina specialist for timely treatment”, says Dr. Henahan.
5) Contact lens wearers more likely than ever to avoid reading glasses
Advanced multifocal contact lens designs continue to reach the market. These designs are more likely than ever to minimize or eliminate reading glasses. “Most contact lens wearers do not like glasses of any kind, so being able to reduce their dependence on reading glasses greatly increases the patients satisfaction with wearing contact lenses”, reports Dr. Henahan.
With increasing incidence of diabetes, glaucoma and dry eye, it is more important than ever to get routine eye exams. An eye exam is advised once a year if you are over age 50, diabetic or have a family history of eye disease.
Dr. John Henahan is a fellowship trained doctor of optometry practicing and living right here in Peachtree City with his wife and two sons. You may call his office at (770) 487-0667 or visit him on the web at www.speceye.com.