Category Archives: Macular Degeneration

Aspirin May be Tied to Vision Loss

A new study just out showed that took a baby aspirin were twice as likely to have wet age related macular degeneration. The study did not show that the aspirin caused the macular degeneration and the authors did not recommend that patients stop aspirin therapy. Here is a good video discussing the study.  Aspirin may be tied to vision loss

Selecting the Right Fish Oil Capsule for Dry Eye Relief

As eye doctors we recommend that our patients with dry eyes increase their dietary intake of omega 3 fatty acids. Our typical dosage is 2000 mg to 3000 mg in a combination of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). This translates into 4 oz of wild, Atlantic salmon per day. Regardless of how much we like salmon we probably don’t want it every day no matter how many different ways there are to fix it, therefore fish oil capsules are a necessary dietary supplement. Unfortunately, not all fish oil capsules are created equal. Often inferior and/or low dose varieties cause “fish burp” and indigestion while others can not be efficiently used by our bodies. Here is an article on how to evaluate the different types of omega 3 fish oil capsules.

This article is the second of a four part series on using omega 3 fatty acids in treating dry eye syndrome

Scanning Laser Technology Available for Patients With Glaucoma & Macular Degeneration

New technology now available at Total Eye Care allows us to scan a patient’s retina for glaucoma and macular degeneration, and the best part ….. it does it  WITHOUT DILATION! This new instrument is called the Zeiss Cirrus OCT and it is truly state of the art.

The Zeiss OCT uses infra-red light from a scanning laser to make a very high resolution, 3D image of the inside of your eye, much like that of an MRI. We can now identify retinal objects as small as 4 microns. So how small is 4 microns? A single sheet of 20 lb copy paper is 100 microns thick. This new technology allows us to detect glaucoma and macular degeneration much earlier as well as allowing us to detect and track subtle retinal changes.

Who is a candidate for this new technology? Anyone with a family or personal history of glaucoma, glaucoma suspect or macular degeneration should take advantage of this technology.

Call the Colleyville office at 817.416.0333 and let Rona or Kelsey know that you would like to take advantage of the new scanning laser technology right away.

Firefox Browser Tips and Addons for Low Vision Patients

lowbrowse-icon

I started to write this post to inform patients with low vision about the added utility of using Firefox to make the screen more readable.  Very simply you can magnify the Firefox window by holding down the CTRL key and then hitting the + key or the – key as appropriate to make the entire Firefox screen change size.  The post then grew to including useful Firefox addons, which will be our next blog post.   However, in researching other Firefox addons for low vision patients I came across LowBrowse™ and I am very glad I did.  It is a great program for patients with limited vision from diseases such as macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa or glaucoma.

First of all the easiest way to get LowBrowse™ is directly from its developer, the Lighthouse International.  The step by step instructions are very detailed and easy to understand.  LowBrowse™ was developed in the Arlene R. Gordon Research Institute by vision scientist Aries Arditi, Ph.D. under a research grant from the National Eye Institute.  Dr. Arditi has also developed larger mouse icons which are very essential to increasing a computer’s usability for patients with low vision as well as improving the functionality of LowBrowse™ for the severely visually impaired.

Installation was easy and no different than any other Firefox addon.  Once the browser restarted a window appeared just above the Firefox tabs and below the toolbars.  This window is where the magnified text appears and is referred to the reading window.  Below the reading window is the normal Firefox browser window which is referred to as the global window.

The reading window is configurable as to the size of text, font and color.  The default color of the reading window is white print on a black background.  Initially the reading window was blank for me.  I discovered that the Firefox extension “Tab Mix Plus” was interfering with LowBrowse™.  Once I disabled the offending extension and restarted my browser my magnification window, or reading window as it is referred to in the help file, displayed text that was about 2 inches tall.

LowBrowse-Screen-Capture

Once you place your cursor over any text in the global window, the text in that paragraph will be available in the reading window by scrolling through it with the left and right arrow keys.  If the LowBrowse™ extension is enabled you can not use the left and right arrow keys for navigation in the large global screen, they are only available for scrolling text in the reading screen.

LowBrowse™ also has a text to speech function that was developed in cooperation with Charles L. Chen.  I found the text to speech function to work very well and was quite accurate on my Windows Vista PC.  The speech function worked very much like the magnification window.  You place your cursor on the text you want to read in the global window and it reads the paragraph.

I found LowBrowse™ to be a great addition to our inventory of options available for patients with low vision.  When combining Firefox’s inherent ability to magnify the webpage in the larger navigation window with the speech function and greater magnification capacity of LowBrowse™ it truly opens up the Internet to patients with low vision.

Another device we have reviewed and found useful for some low vision patients is the Amazon Kindle, for more information see our review.  Also see our review of the 10 must have Firefox Addons.

Dr. Driscoll & The Eye Doc Blog Quoted in Publishers Weekly

Two weeks ago I received an interviewed request from Sarah Robbins for the May 18 issue of Publisher Weekly regarding a blog article I wrote last month on how the Amazon Kindle could allow patients with Macular Degeneration to continue to enjoy reading books.  You can read the entire article in Publishers Weekly here.  I still like the Amazon Kindle for patients that need assistance in reading.  Look for a review of the Kindle DX soon.

The Amazon Kindle as a Low Vision Device for the Visually Impaired

amazon-kindle2As with most doctors we are constantly on the lookout for items we feel may help our patients.  The Amazon kindle has been out for a few years now, however they recently upgraded it.  The Amazon Kindle, holds a lot of promise for patients that have poor vision as a result of macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma or any ocular condition that impairs vision.

What I like the most about the Kindle, for patients with low vision, is that it uses a high resolution screen with very high contrast letters, black print on a white background, just like a book, however, most importantly you can increase the size of the letters.  Changing the font size is a great option for patients with impaired vision that want to read books.  As you can see in the photo the Kindle is about the size of a paperback book, however it is as thin as a pencil, weighing in at just over 10 ounces, which is less than a paperback book.

Most new bestseller books are about $10, however many books are less than that.  There are currently 250,000 titles in the Kindle library.  It takes about 60 seconds to download a book wirelessly with the included wireless network (using Sprint’s Cellular Data Network), no WiFi necessary.  The Kindle holds 1500 books, with your library backed up by Amazon, so if you have to make room for a book and years later want to reread it you just download it again at no charge.

I also like the kindle for patients that find it difficult to hold a heavy book or have a hard time turning the page such as those with MS or patients that have had a stroke.  The Kindle also has a text to speech option so it can even read to you.  Subscriptions to major newspapers are available as well.

Let me know what you think.  I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.

The Optomap Retinal Exam Featured on The Doctors TV Show

The Doctors is a TV show carried on CBS featuring four doctors that discuss current medical topics and new technologies.  And yes one of the doctors you may recognize as “The Bachelor”.  Recently they featured the technology of the optomap® Retinal Exam.  Total Eye care is one of approximately 3000 offices nationwide that utilizes this great technology.  Check out the video below.  For more information on the Optomap Retinal Exam check out the Total Eye Care website.