cataracts, eye news

Waiting Game

ophthalmologist dr. alan mendelsohn

Tragic story emanating from England where it’s revealed that patients are waiting up to six months for cataract surgery.

For those patients in this unfortunate position, not only due to have to live with the pain of cataracts for much longer than they would want, but their visions could deteriorate even more.

It degenerating into permanent blindness is not out of the question.

There is no easy solution here. Cataract surgery is highly specialized and they may not have that many capable of performing it.

Additionally the operating theaters may not be available.

The two factors combine to produce the long wait.

This is why it’s so critically important to have regular checkups. If you do, something can be detected at a very early stage and if there is a wait  for surgery, it won’t have the same consequences as if it was already fully developed.

People don’t think of the eye doctor like they do the dentist, but those who go to the dentist regularly for a checkup are in a position where they can detect something in the preliminary stages.

You may have a cavity coming, why don’t we treat it in the next month, before it becomes too serious.

as opposed to

I’m in serious pain and have to have a cavity treated right now.

There may not be anything we can do about long waiting lists but we can be pro-active about our own health and wellbeing.

cataracts, eye news

Harnessing the Power of Technology

I’ve been working as an ophthalmologist for 30 years and the profession is unrecognizable today from what it was in the late 1980s.

And this stands to reason – what would the people then think of cell phones, Facebook, Uber, email and the internet??

There were no websites.

If you wanted to take a picture, you had to use a camera. If you wanted to watch a TV show, you had to do it on your television.

So much technological change to our lives and for the betterment of both doctors and patients, it’s penetrated the medical profession.

We have tools and instruments that are so much more sophisticated than what we used back then. Now comes news that an engineer is developing  a retina scanner that will diagnose eye diseases before any vision loss occurs.

At the end of the day, we can never lose sight that there has to be a skilled practitioner using that piece of technology. It can never replace a doctor, just assist him or her as they go about their business as a professional.

Similarly, it’s incumbent upon every doctor to make sure they are up to date with the latest medical developments, tools and procedures. There can never be a point where we can stay we know it all and stop learning. We always have to be striving to improve so our patients can receive the best possible ophthalmological care and treatment.


cataracts, Macular Degeneration

You Eye What you Eat

When food and diet is discussed, it’s usually always in reference to our weight.

What foods will help us lose weight? What food will see us put on weight?

As an ophthalmologist, I can tell you that diet has a significant impact on our eyes.

In this great article by Joy Bauer, she discusses how foods can affect macular degeneration.

Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Beta-Carotene, Zinc, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Omega-3 fatty acids and the B Vitamins all help our eyes in a variety of different way.

Many of these foods also have a positive impact on our eyes in terms of preventing cataracts.

If you already have a balanced diet you wouldn’t have to change your diet too much in order to receive a decent intake of these vitamins, but if you eat a lot of low-quality carbs and sugars you may want to consider cutting down on them. It’s no coincidence that drinking a lot of alcohol will also have a adverse impact on your vision.

So eat well and you are sure to take great care of your eyes!


cataracts, eye news

Strength in Numbers

The Jama Networks publishes some great studies and in October ran a study concerned with mortality rates in older women and the impact cataract surgery as on them.

Famed NYT Health columnist, Jane Brody, picked up the story today and this has garnered a lot of attention for the power of cataract surgery, especially in older people.

This in turn has seen the story picked up even more.

As I’ve written previously, the body is susceptible to all sorts of ailments and illnesses as we age and the eyes are no different. Once you hit 40 and definitely 50, you want to be going for regular check-ups to make sure everything is working as it should.

This is especially the case as if you are found to be suffering from something, you want to pick it up as early as possible. The more advanced the cataracts, the more complex the surgery will have to be.

A person who is 80 years of age who is starting to have their eyesight go, may feel they’ve lived a long and fulfilling life and may not bother about going to have eye surgery but they could have a further 10 or even 20 years of wonderful quality life. If they have great-grandkids or even great-great-grandkids, they should be able to see them and enjoy them.

Every day is a gift to be enjoyed and savored and part of that means having the best eyesight you can possibly have.

cataracts, eye news

Power of Sight

They say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone and this is definitely the case with sight.

We can take it for granted – after all – we don’t know a life without it until we do.

Take this story of a dying man who just wanted to see his family before he died. Think about it, you’re about to pass away and you can’t even see your loved ones. Imagine the quality of life in those last few weeks.

It truly is a heart wrenching tale and one that deserves a happy ending. Thankfully for this patient he was able to see his family, but we owe it to ourselves and our families to be proactive in the care of our eyes.

Whether it’s our sight or our family, we need to appreciate them every single day.