May 31st, 2017 - Age-related Macular Degeneration Affects More Than Just Your Vision

Recognizing the Mental Health Changes that May Come with a Diagnosis of AMD May is Mental Health Awareness month. With the end of the month and the joys of summer fast approaching, it is now or never to recognize the links your health diagnosis may have on your mental health. A prior study reported that patients with low vision experienced twice the depression that the blind experienced and five times more depression compared with normal populations. A 2013 national study of adults aged 20 and older published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Ophthalmology (JAMA) concluded that, "self-reported visual function loss...is significantly associated with depression." Also, AFB's Aging and Vision Loss Fact Sheet notes an increased risk of depression among older people with vision impairment.


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April 17, 2017 - Macular Degeneration Risk Reduced by Sunglasses Limiting HEV Rays

As the weather gets warmer people spend more time outside, but risk increased exposure to the sun’s rays. If you are living with Low Vision, sunglasses are a simple option to protect your vision and improve comfort while in the sun. They shield your eyes from harmful UV rays and can limit the amount of high-energy visible radiation (HEV) that reaches your eyes. HEV light, or blue light, is made up of the high energy and short-wavelength rays within the visible light spectrum. Approximately one-third of all visible light is considered blue light. Extended exposure to HEV light can cause eye damage and increase the long-term risk of developing Macular Degeneration and other eye conditions.


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March 14, 2017 – Tips to Maintaining Eye Health

Maintaining good overall health is just as important as maintaining good eye health. Here are a few quick tips to implement into your daily lifestyle and improve your overall and eye health for the benefit of your future. Don’t take your eyes for granted. 1. Eat WellGood eye health starts with the food on your plate. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. To get them, fill your plate with:•Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards•Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish•Eggs, nuts, beans, and other nonmeat protein sources•Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices•Oysters and porkA well-balanced diet also helps you stay at a healthy weight. That lowers your odds of obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.2. Quit SmokingIt makes you more likely to get cataracts, damage to your optic nerve, and macular degeneration. If you've tried to kick the habit before only to start again, keep at it. The more times you try to quit, the more likely you are to succeed. Ask your doctor for help.3.


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February 6 – How Does a Stroke Decrease Vision?

Strokes can affect vision in a number of ways, including decreased vision and double vision:•Decreased vision is caused by damage to the fibers that transmit visual information from the eyes to the brain. This can occur in a variety of locations, since the nerve fibers that transmit vision have a long course from the eyes to the rearmost part of the brain, called the occipital lobe.•Double vision is caused by damage to nerves responsible for moving the eyes and ensuring that both eyes are aligned (i.e. looking at the same place).In the long term, in some cases, visual field defects from stroke may improve, although there are often permanent deficits. After a stroke, the patient should undergo formal visual field testing by an eye doctor or neurologist to identify precisely the part of the visual field that has been affected.


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January 20, 2017 – Can Changing your Diet Promote Eye Health?

Adding certain nutrients to your daily diet—either through foods or supplements—can help preserve your vision. Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc, to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases. If you are living with Macular Degeneration, Glaucoma or another form of Low Vision, members of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists are trained to assist those with vision loss in a variety of ways including nutritional counseling. Always consult your eye doctor or physician before making changes to your nutrition regimen. Lutein & Zeaxanthin: These two important nutrients are found in green leafy vegetables, as well as other foods, such as eggs. Many studies show that lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Lutein and zeaxanthin can be found in kale, spinach, collards, corn, green peas, broccoli and green beans. The recommended daily amounts are 10mg of lutein and 2mg of zeaxanthin.


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October - Are you at an increased risk for macular degeneration?

A patient called in to an IALVS doctor’s office concerned their mother lost vision from Macular Degeneration before she died and now that the patient was age 65, she was concerned she may get it.

There is an increased risk if a parent or sibling has the disease by three to four times. But the good news is there are things you can do to protect your eyesight, and a number of treatments that are available if you do happen to get it. Here's what you should know.

What is AMD?

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 50, affecting about 10 million Americans.

AMD is a progressive eye disease that damages the macula, the part of the eye that allows us to see objects clearly, causing vision loss in the center of your vision. This affects the ability to read, drive, watch television and do routine daily tasks, but it does not cause total blindness.

There are two types of AMD — wet and dry.

Dry AMD, which affects about 90 percent of all people that have it, progresses slowly and painlessly over a period of years. Wet AMD is much more aggressive and can cause severe vision loss in a matter of weeks or months.

Factors that can increase your risk of getting AMD include age (60 and older); smoking; excessive exposure to sunlight especially if you have light-colored eyes; certain genetic components; a family history of AMD; high blood pressure; obesity; and being Caucasian.

For anyone over the age of 60, it's a smart idea to get your eyes examined by an every year – especially if you are at a higher risk, or are showing symptoms of vision loss. Early signs may include shadowy areas in your central vision or unusually fuzzy or distorted vision. If you are experiencing any early signs, it is a good idea to have a specific low vision exam performed by an IALVS trained optometrist.

Preventing AMD

While there's currently no cure for AMD, there are some things you can do if you're high risk.

One option is to talk to your IALVS doctor about taking a daily dose of low vision vitamins and minerals known as AREDS — vitamins C and E, plus copper, lutein, zeaxanthin and zinc. Studies by the National Eye Institute have shown that AREDS can reduce the risk by about 25 percent that dry AMD will progress.

Other lifestyle adjustments that may help prevent or delay AMD include eating antioxidant-rich foods such as dark green, leafy vegetables, and cold-water fish for their omega-3 fatty acids; protecting your eyes from the sun by wearing UV protective sunglasses; controlling high blood pressure; exercising regularly; and if you smoke, quit.

July 2016 - Helping with Vision Loss

People who have vision loss commonly experience depression, anxiety, and confusion. The consequences of vision loss however, often extend beyond the person who has low vision. The family members, friends, and caregivers of people experiencing vision loss also are affected.

When a loved one becomes visually impaired, you are likely to feel overwhelmed. You also may experience a range of feelings, from sadness to guilt, and there are many day-to-day adjustments to make. You may find yourself putting aside your feelings and needs to focus on helping your loved one cope. Yet, in many cases, you may feel alone and at a loss about what to do or how to help.

You and your loved one are not alone. You may have been told “nothing more can be done,” but that simply is not true. Something can always be done.

Many people with low vision already have an eye doctor who is treating them for an eye disease such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa or other genetic diseases. However, if your eye doctor doesn't specialize in low vision, he or she may have only a limited knowledge of the many choices that exist in low vision aids and treatment options.

The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists consists of intensively trained Low Vision Optometrists that have extensive experience in providing customized low vision devices and low vision prescription glasses enabling patients to achieve maximum functional vision and independence.

Take the first step to a Better Life with Low Vision and call an IALVS low vision optometrist today. 888 778 2030.

April 2016 - Lower Risk of Macular Degeneration

You may want salmon, mackerel, herring or tuna on your menu at least once a week if you want to reduce your risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School followed up on 38,022 women during the 10 years after data had been collected on them for the Women's Health Study.

After adjustments for factors including age, they found that women who consumed the most DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish) had a 38 percent lower risk of developing AMD than those who consumed the lowest amount of DHA. They found similar results for EPA, another omega-3 fatty acid, as well as for consumption of both acids together.

Low Vision Optometrists who are members of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists are trained to assist those with vision loss in a variety of ways including nutritional counseling. They agree with the study, having one or more servings of fish per week produced a 42 percent lower risk of AMD, compared with less than one serving per month. Canned tuna and dark-meat fish were the primary types of fish that produced this lower risk.

The omega-6 fatty acids linoleic acid and arachidonic acid were also evaluated. Higher intake of linoleic acid, found in many fruit and vegetable oils such as safflower oil, grapeseed oil and corn oil, was associated with a higher risk of AMD, but not significantly so.

If you are unsure what to take, how much to take or how ofter, consult contact the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists today to find a Low Vision Optometrist in your area and schedule a phone consultation.

February 2016 - Peripheral Vision Loss (Tunnel Vision)

Peripheral vision problems mean that you don't have a normal, wide-angle field of vision, even though your central vision may be fine. Moderate and severe cases of peripheral vision loss create the sensation of seeing through a narrow tube, a condition commonly referred to as "tunnel vision." Symptoms of peripheral vision loss also can include difficulty seeing in dim light and decreased ability to navigate while you are walking

What Causes Peripheral Vision Loss?

A common cause of loss of peripheral vision (also called a peripheral field defect) is optic nerve damage from glaucoma. Eye "strokes" (occlusions) that block normal blood flow to the eye's internal structures, including the optic nerve, also can lead to loss of peripheral vision. A stroke or injury also may damage portions of the brain where images are processed, leading to blind spots in the visual field.





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January 2016 - Exercise for People Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision

People with low vision can be active in many ways! Before you start an exercise routine, however, talk with your medical doctor and your eye doctor, since bending, lifting, or rapid movement can affect some medical and eye conditions.

Sometimes the rules are modified, sometimes adaptive techniques are used, and other times adaptive equipment may be required. It is important to continue to exercise.


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October 2015 - New Survey: Less than Half of United States Adults with Diabetes Understand Their Risk for Vision Loss

A new survey released this month by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. reveals that less than half of recently surveyed United States adults with diabetes recognize their risk for vision loss. Regeneron is a science-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, invents, develops, manufactures, and commercializes medicines for the treatment of serious medical conditions.

[Please note: Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., which commissioned this survey, is also the developer of the injectable drug EYLEA, approved by the FDA in 2014 for the treatment of diabetic macular edema.]


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September 2015 - Side Vision Awareness Glasses Help Those With Loss of Visual Field Due to Brain Injury

Hemianopsia and Neglect

Patients who have had a stroke or traumatic brain injury, may lose one half of their side vision to the right or left. This type of side vision loss is called" Hemianopsia" (hemi field loss). Patients who just have a hemianopsia are aware of the side vision loss and often can be easily taught to scan their eyes in the direction of the hemianopsia, in order to compensate for the field loss. This allows them to not miss things on the side of the hemianopsia.

"Neglect" is the inattention to, or lack of awareness of visual space to the right or left and is most often associated with a hemianopsia. The lesion in the brain causing neglect usually occurs in the right frontal-parietal lobe, resulting in a left side neglect. Some patients just have a hemianopsia with no neglect, but others may experience a lot of "neglect" and may be unaware that they can not see to the affected side.

Signs and Symptoms of Hemianopsia and Neglect

·    Can not or does not readily/spontaneously scan into the area of the hemianopsia.

·    Bumps into things on side of the hemianopsia but doesn't learn to compensate for the problem

·    Says doesn't see out of the eye (on the side of the neglect)

·    No awareness that a hemi field loss exists

·    Misses parts of words on the side of the neglect when reading

·    Misses parts of eye chart line on the side of the neglect

·    Tendency to orient head or body turned away from the neglect, and the patient may ambulate/drift in direction away from the neglect.

Treatment for Hemianopsia

IALVS optometrists have successfully treated hundreds of patients who have hemianopsia. These custom made "Side Vision Awareness Glasses" allow an immediate increase of about 15° in side vision awareness. This helps reduce hemianopsia-related safety issues and enhances the patient's performance of many activities of daily living. "Side Vision Awareness Glasses" were developed by, Dr. Errol Rummel, IALVS member.

Texas Optometrist Utilizing Miniature Telescopes to Help Those Diagnosed With Macular Degeneration See Better

August 19th, 2015

As seen on PRweb TYLER, TX


One Texas Optometrist, Dr. Larry M. Chism, is developing innovative solutions for patients living with Macular Degeneration and other vision limiting conditions.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of severe vision loss in older Americans. It affects central vision and may interfere with daily tasks, such as reading and driving. One Texas optometrist, Dr. Larry M. Chism, has been instrumental in developing innovative solutions for patients living with AMD and other vision limiting conditions.

“Sight is a precious gift and no one knows that more than someone who is losing it,” says Dr. Chism. Macular Degeneration affects the retina in two forms – dry and wet AMD. The dry form of AMD is more common, and is generally not associated with severe loss of vision. Wet AMD is frequently accompanied by relatively sudden loss of vision. Recent advances in technology are making it possible for many patients with either form of AMD to maintain their independence and continue doing the things they enjoy.

Dr. Chism is a member of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists, (IALVS), an organization of optometrists across the country dedicated to improving the way of life for those living with vision loss. “Many of our patients have been told nothing more can be done,” says Dr. Chism. “However, while there is no cure for macular degeneration, recent advances in technology are making it possible for patients to see better and maintain independence, offering new options and hope.”

A technology once used only by physicians and scientists, Miniature telescopes and Microscopes are now emerging as viable options for many patients with vision-limiting conditions such as macular degeneration. “These low vision devices, are allowing patients to see the faces of loved ones, read and maintain their independence.”

After a low-vision evaluation, IALVS optometrists work with whatever vision the patient has and are often able to prescribe mini-telescopes or microscopes that are built into glasses. The specific type of glasses a patient receives will depend on the specific tasks a patient is interested in accomplishing. More information about living with vision loss can be found on The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists website: www.IALVS.com.

If you are interested in learning more about the low vision technology, contact Dr. Chism and he will speak with you over the phone, at no cost, to see if you are an ideal candidate for a low vision evaluation or special glasses. Visit www.chismlowvision.com or
call (888) 243-2020.

About Dr. Larry M. Chism

Dr. Larry Chism received his Bachelor of Science in 1975 and went on to receive his Doctor of Optometry shortly after, concentrating in contact lenses and low vision. Since 1980, Dr. Chism has been the full owner and managing associate of Vision Source-Tyler, a private practice providing full scope optometric eye care services.

As a member of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists, Dr. Chism is committed to helping patients gain back their freedom. He has been providing low vision care for 20 years and has extensive experience in working with individuals who have suffered from decreased vision. These individuals desire to gain back control of their lives and not let decreased vision interfere with their happiness. For this reason, Dr. Chism is referred to by his patients as “the see better doctor.”

For your convenience, Dr. Chism commutes to six different locations throughout Texas as well as Phoenix, Arizona.

About Macular Degeneration

Age related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in those over 65. By definition, macular degeneration affects only the macular portion of the retina. The retina, like film in a camera, is the photosensitive layer of the eye. It is “wall-papered” to the back of the eye and is extremely thin. The macular portion of the retina, a very small area, is the part we use for sharp, clear central detail vision. The rest of the retina, the peripheral or side vision retina, is used for mobility and detecting motion. When the macula degenerates, whether it’s wet or dry, only the central vision is reduced. The side vision always remains.

Atrophic (dry) macular degeneration is when the cells in the macular die. Causes can be aging, nutrition, sunlight, smoking, genetics and other causes we may not know about yet. There is simply no medical treatment. Dead retinal cells cannot be brought back to life. Retinal cells cannot be regrown, replaced, moved or transplanted.

Exudative (wet) macular degeneration is caused by leakage of fluid from the blood vessels behind the macula. Because the macula has its own blood supply, only the macular area is affected. The peripheral retina has another blood supply.

July 2015 - Is Macular Degeneration Hereditary?

A patient called in to an IALVS doctor’s office concerned their mother lost vision from Macular Degeneration before she died and now that the patient was age 65, she was concerned she may get it. There is an increased risk if a parent or sibling has the disease by three to four times. But the good news is there are things you can do to protect your eyesight, and a number of treatments that are available if you do happen to get it. Here's what you should know.

What is AMD?

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 50, affecting about 10 million Americans. AMD is a progressive eye disease that damages the macula, the part of the eye that allows us to see objects clearly, causing vision loss in the center of your vision. This affects the ability to read, drive, watch television and do routine daily tasks, but it does not cause total blindness.


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June 2015 - What Factors Affect Road Test Results in Bioptic Drivers?



Article Abstract originally published on: medicalxpress.com

Bioptic telescopic devices attached to a pair of the glasses may permit driving with a special license by some people with decreased central vision but adequate peripheral vision. When they need to see more distant objects, drivers can tilt the head downward to obtain a telescopic view.

Forty-three states currently issue bioptic telescope licenses for appropriate candidates, after special training and testing. However, amid ongoing debate over these special licenses, there is little information on factors affecting driving performance or safety in bioptic drivers.

To address this issue, the researchers analyzed the results of Highway Patrol road tests in 74 Ohio drivers who received bioptic licenses, whether on their first test or on repeat testing. Participants were identified through the bioptic telescope driving program at Ohio State program, which trains about three-fourths of bioptic drivers statewide.

Previous driving experience—before telescopic lenses were needed—was the single strongest predictor of the road test results. "Forty-one percent of candidates without previous driving experience passed the Highway Patrol exam on the first attempt, compared to 81 percent of those with experience," Dr Dougherty and colleagues write.

Hours of bioptic training were also a significant factor—candidates who needed more training actually performed worse on the road test. Median training time was 33 hours for candidates who failed at least one portion of the road test, compared to 17 hours for those who passed on their first attempt.

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If you are interested in learning more about bioptic telescopic glasses, bioptic training or if your state allows driving with bioptic telescopes, contact your IALVS low vision Optometrist today.

May 2015 - Helping a Loved One With Vision Loss

People who have vision loss commonly experience depression, anxiety, and confusion. The consequences of vision loss however, often extend beyond the person who has low vision. The family members, friends, and caregivers of people experiencing vision loss also are affected.

When a loved one becomes visually impaired, you are likely to feel overwhelmed. You also may experience a range of feelings, from sadness to guilt, and there are many day-to-day adjustments to make. You may find yourself putting aside your feelings and needs to focus on helping your loved one cope. Yet, in many cases, you may feel alone and at a loss about what to do or how to help.

You and your loved one are not alone. You may have been told “nothing more can be done,” but that simply is not true. Something can always be done.

Many people with low vision already have an eye doctor who is treating them for an eye disease such as macular degeneration, glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa or other genetic diseases. However, if your eye doctor doesn't specialize in low vision, he or she may have only a limited knowledge of the many choices that exist in low vision aids and treatment options.

The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists consists of intensively trained Low Vision Optometrists that have extensive experience in providing customized low vision devices and low vision prescription glasses enabling patients to achieve maximum functional vision and independence.

Take the first step to a Better Life with Low Vision and call an IALVS low vision optometrist today. 888 778 2030.

April is Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month

The Optometrists at International Academy of Low Vision Specialists (IALVS) are dedicated to helping patients achieve and maintain good eye health. – especially during sports and outdoor recreation.

Tens of thousands of sports and recreation-related eye injuries occur each year. The good news is that 90 percent of serious eye injuries are preventable through use of appropriate protective eyewear. This month, the healthcare community is working to raise awareness of the importance of preventing and treating these eye injuries.

Protecting your eyes from injury is one of the most basic things you can do to keep your vision healthy throughout your lifetime. The proper eye protection is especially important if you are suffering from Low Vision. Often, such injuries are 100 percent preventable if the proper eye protection is worn.

If you suffer from Low vision, contact an IALVS Optometrist today for a low vision exam for an individualized recommendation to ensure the safety of your eyes.

March 2015 - Judy Dench – Macular Degeneration Can Affect Anyone

From People Magazine March 7, 2015 - She has been a big star for decades and is accustomed to being the main female lead in movies.

But sometimes Dame Judi Dench, 80, has much bigger scripts than her costars for another reason – her eyesight.

Dench, who revealed in 2012 that she suffers from macular degeneration that can lead to blindness, says that she has the typeface enlarged so she can read scripts.

"So, if six of us were coming in to read a sonnet they'd all have one piece of paper and I'd have two or three," she tells PEOPLE in the magazine's new issue.

Chuckling, she adds, "They'd think, 'why does she have a bigger part?' when it's all the same!

"While a diagnosis of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) can be devastating, like Judy, with proper diagnoses and treatment, you can still do the things you love.

February 2015 - National Low Vision Awareness Month – What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt You

As you are reading this, you have probably taken for granted the ease with which you are reading. For those afflicted with “low vision” reading their computer screen is a difficult task, even after enlarging the text. According to IALVS, Low vision is defined as visual impairment that is not correctible through surgery, (such as conventional glasses, contact lenses, LASIK, or cataract surgery), which is reduced to the point of interfering with everyday tasks. Vision may be reduced from medical, congenital, or traumatic causes. According to The National Eye Institute, 2.9 million Americans currently suffer from some type of Low Vision ailment. Someone with Low Vision may be struggling to read this article, write, drive, or watch television. Symptoms Most eye disease symptoms are painless and diseases may be advanced prior to any noticeable changes. However, when noticed, Low Vision is often characterized by partial sight, such as blurred vision, blind spots, or tunnel vision. Early Detection Annual eye exams are necessary, partially due to the speed at which vision changes occur in seniors. In some conditions, it may be too late to prevent blindness if not seen annually. There are no cures for diseases such as Age-Related Macular Degeneration, meaning the damaged cells will not regenerate and it can only be treated but not cured.


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January 2015 - Another Reason To Eat More Fish: Lower Risk of Macular Degeneration for Women

You may want salmon, mackerel, herring or tuna on your menu at least once a week if you want to reduce your risk for age-related macular degneration (AMD).

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School followed up on 38,022 women during the 10 years after data had been collected on them for the Women's Health Study.

After adjustments for factors including age, they found that women who consumed the most DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid found in fish) had a 38 percent lower risk of developing AMD than those who consumed the lowest amount of DHA. They found similar results for EPA, another omega-3 fatty acid, as well as for consumption of both acids together.

Low Vision Optometrists who are members of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists are trained to assist those with vision loss in a variety of ways including nutritional counseling. They agree with the study, having one or more servings of fish per week produced a 42 percent lower risk of AMD, compared with less than one serving per month. Canned tuna and dark-meat fish were the primary types of fish that produced this lower risk.

The omega-6 fatty acids linoleic acid and arachidonic acid were also evaluated. Higher intake of linoleic acid, found in many fruit and vegetable oils such as safflower oil, grapeseed oil and corn oil, was associated with a higher risk of AMD, but not significantly so.

If you are unsure what to take, how much to take or how ofter, consult contact the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists today to find a Low Vision Optometrist in your area and schedule a phone consultation.