Eye on New Vision Procedures

WebMD Live Events Transcript

It's Healthy Vision Month. Would you like to see what's new in eye care? WebMD vision expert Bill Lloyd, MD, discussed the latest vision procedures on May 18, 2005.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

MODERATOR:
Welcome to WebMD Live, Dr. Lloyd. Thank you for joining us today.

LLOYD:
It's great to be here. Summer and springtime is a great time to celebrate our wonderful vision over the months ahead. We're going to be spending lots of time outdoors, lots of time with family, and lots of time engaged in fun activities. Hopefully, we will learn some important ways to preserve our precious vision during this exciting time of year. Who wants to be first?

MODERATOR:
So many wonderful things to see! But is it inevitable that as we age we are going to lose our visual acuity?

LLOYD:
Vision changes throughout life. The vision you have at birth is very different than what you have at 35 and 65. Having said that, you should be able to see clearly throughout your life. Changes occur, just like life, but by taking good care of your health, you should be able to hold on to precious eyesight.

One way to ensure continued clear eyesight is to make sure you have a periodic eye examination. That way, early detection can prevent/treat the most common causes of vision loss in adults -- cataract, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.

MODERATOR:
How often should you get an eye exam?

LLOYD:
For folks without active eye problems, every one to two years is acceptable. If you are at risk for eye diseases like glaucoma (perhaps because of your family history) you'll need more frequent exams -- at least once a year. Everyone is different, so your eye doctor will tailor an examination schedule that best meets your needs.

"I cannot encourage patients already diagnosed with clinical dry eyes to use contact lenses. It just doesn't make sense to put up with all that irritation."

MEMBER QUESTION:
I have inflammation of the blood vessels on the whites of my eyes. I wore contacts for only one-and-a-half years and everything was fine until I noticed some red veins. I took my contacts out and everything calmed down, but one or two remained. I didn't think anything of it. However after four months it got worse and the blood vessels are becoming more prominent. They always burn -- while in front of my CPU, watching TV -- anything. I have been diagnosed with dry eyes, but the drops don't do a thing. I am going to see an ocular surface specialist. Can my dry eyes stabilize?

LLOYD:
Thank you for that very clear, yet complex, history.

Let's talk first about those pesky blood vessels. The truth is -- those tiny vessels have always been there! It's just that when the eye is irritated, these tiny vessels enlarge and become very visible. By alleviating the irritation, you can maintain a white and quiet appearance to your eyes.

Now, you've introduced some extra information. You mentioned your eye doctor's suspicion for dry eyes and you still wear contact lenses. It's a great idea to see an ophthalmologist specializing in ocular surface problems, because contact lenses compete with the eye for those moist tears. Contact lenses work because they utilize the tear film to help focus a clear image. However, the eyeball needs that same fluid for oxygen and nutrients. It's a tug of war! In folks with borderline dry eyes or full-fledged dry eyes, you could see how the surface of the eye can really suffer.