Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cataract Surgery Can Save Your Life

Everyone understands that cataract surgery improves vision, but it may even save your life!  Vision is our most important sense; we are very dependent on sight for almost everything we do in life, and by restoring better vision, it can impact our driving, our walking, and our ability to take care of ourselves.

A 2012 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that having cataract surgery was associated with a decreased risk of hip fractures.  The researchers examined at the records of over one million Medicare patients over a 7 year period who had cataracts. Of these, 36% had cataract surgery.  In the following year, the seniors with cataract surgery were 16 percent less likely to have a hip fracture than the seniors who did not have surgery.  For those with severe cataracts, the protective effect was even greater.
Dr. Ethel Siris, director of the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, has commented, "This really does make complete sense and documents nicely what we have always said: Any improvement in vision that can be accomplished easily in an elderly patient would be expected to reduce the risk of falling and therefore of fractures -- especially hip fractures."
Another study published in September 2013 in the Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that patients with cataract surgery were more likely to live longer.  The fifteen year study looked at a total of 354 Australians older than 49 years and diagnosed with cataracts. Some of these people had cataract surgery and others did not.  After adjusting for a variety of factors,  the data showed a 40 percent lower mortality risk in people who had cataract surgery.
Jie Jin Wang, Ph.D., a lead researcher of the study, surmised, "It suggests to ophthalmologists that correcting cataract patients' visual impairment in their daily practice results in improved outcomes beyond that of the eye and vision, and has important impacts on general health."
It’s very important for seniors to have their eyes checked and consider cataract surgery whenever their vision is compromised.  It’s not just that the TV picture will be clearer, it might just save their life. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013


When you hear the word Botox, cosmetic surgery quickly pops into your mind.  But Botox originally was originally approved by the FDA for medical conditions.  In the 1960's, an ophthalmologist in San Francisco, Alan Scott, pioneered work using Botox for crossed eyes and for a rare condition called blepharospasm.  I have treated Blepharospasm for over twenty years, and it continues to be a strange disease that troubles one person out of every 20,000.

Imagine losing control over your facial muscles.  People with blepharospasm have twitching of the muscles around both eyes and end up blinking uncontrollably.  Sometimes it is so bad that they can't even open their eyes.  Stress, lights, or other irritants can set off these spasms.  Since we normally talk with other people by looking them in the eye, this constant blinking and twitching causes embarrassment and distracts from everyday interactions.  Before the discovery that Botox can stop this twitching, these patients sometimes endured surgery where the muscles that cause blinking were removed from the face.
Today, we have effective treatment that improves the quality of life for all these patients.  Unfortunately, it sometimes takes years before they are referred to the proper specialists.

Recently, the CDC has recommended that all patients who receive Botox get a freshly mixed bottle and that multiple people should NOT be treated from the same bottle to avoid any chance of contamination.  At Dupage Ophthalmology, we are experts in treating hemifacial spasm and blepharospasm with Botox.