Tag Archives: Dr S.S. Gill Consultant Ophthalmologist

Inflamed Eyelids

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. Gill talking to us about BLEPHARITIS, or inflammation of the eyelids.

Blepharitis, or “inflammation of the eyelids”, comes from the Greek word “blepharos”, which means “eyelid” and “itis” which means inflammation.

WHAT DOES BLEPHARITIS APPEAR LIKE?

The eyelids usually appear crusted, red and swollen. The crust is yellowish-white and powdery, like the scalp of a person who suffers from dandruff. There may be varied symptoms. In most cases, the eyes become itchy, irritated and sometimes feel dry due to the disruption of the layer of tear film that is normally present in the eye. Contact lens wearers may complain of discomfort and a gritty sensation. This is often mistaken by the layman as “dry eyes”.

When blepharitis becomes chronic, there may not be much signs of inflammation such as redness but just a visible crusting on the eyelid and eyelashes. This may appear a little unsightly especially when the crusting on the eyelashes is visible. You may liken it to a skin condition except that in the case of blepharitis, it affects the eyelid margins where the eyelashes arise. Blepharitis can affect any age, both young and old.

Inflamed eyelids - dr gillWHAT CAUSES BLEPHARITIS?

When the oil glands at the eyelid margins malfunction and produces too much oil (sebaceous secretions), blepharitis can occur. At times, it may be associated with an underlying skin condition called Acne rosacea where there is already a generalised illness of the oil glands of the skin. Allergies to certain cosmetics like mascara, eyelid lotions, contact lens solutions, allergens in the air and some chemicals may also trigger blepharitis.

WHAT ARE THE COMPLICATIONS OF BLEPHARITIS?

Blepharitis usually does not cause any serious eye conditions. However, it may cause the following:

1. Stye:

    This occurs when the oil glands of the eye gets infected. A lump appears on the eyelid margin in a localised area. There may be some pus seen on the tip of the stye (appearing like a pimple about to rupture), with surrounding redness of the eyelid.

2. Chronic Conjunctivitis:

    Blepharitis may cause recurrent bouts of conjunctivitis or pink eye. If this happens, eliminating this underlying problem is essential.

3. Chalazion:

    Occurs when the oil glands of the eyelid get blocked. This is painless but appears unsightly with a lump appearing on the eyelid.

4. Cornea Ulcers:

    Due to chronic irritation by the inflamed eyelids and/or a misdirected eyelash growth, an ulcer may form on the cornea. Corneal ulcers are serious conditions.

HOW IS THIS PREVENTED AND TREATED?

Good eyelid hygiene is essential to prevent blepharitis. Frequent face washing, warm compresses over the eyelids and removal of eye makeup is important. Remove any crusting present on the eyelid margins. Cleaning the eyelids with a cotton bud soaked in a very dilute (5 parts water to) baby shampoo is helpful to control any excessive oiliness and crust. Basically, every effort must be made to keep the eyelid clean. The other alternative is to use a special over-the-counter Lid Care cleaner. Keep the eyes closed when cleaning. Be especially careful to avoid rubbing or scratching your eyes.

If you are in doubt about any eyelid problems, do seek professional help.

World Sight Day 2013

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

World Sight Day 2013

In conjunction with WORLD SIGHT DAY on the October 10, Ipoh Echo talks to Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr S.S. GILL on ways to prevent visual impairment.

Visual impairment is a term used to describe any kind of vision loss to the extent that even with conventional forms of correction or treatment, the person’s vision remains poor.

The World Health Organization lists the following facts:

  • About 285 million people are visually impaired worldwide:
    • 39 million are blind and
    • 246 million have low vision (severe or moderate visual impairment)
  • preventable causes are as high as 80% of the total global visual impairment burden
  • About 90% of the world’s visually impaired people live in developing countries
  • Globally, uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment
  • Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness
  • 65% of visually impaired, and 82% of blind people are over 50 years of age, although this age group comprises only 20% of the world population

What Causes Visual Impairment?

Many factors can cause visual impairment. Cataracts, or the clouding of the eye’s lens preventing light from passing through to the retina, are common causes for loss of vision. Because cataracts form slowly, causing gradual vision loss, it may not be noticeable to the patient. Cataracts usually affect people in their 60s and 70s, but may sometimes appear earlier in people who are excessively exposed to sunlight.

Many patients who present early are golfers and sports people who are not in the habit of wearing sunglasses. The general rule is that you should always wear good sunglasses whenever you go out during daylight hours. Symptoms of cataract include double vision, cloudy or blurry vision, difficulty seeing in poorly lit spaces, and when colours seem faded. Replacement of the eye’s cloudy lens with an intraocular lens (IOL) implant through cataract surgery usually restores vision in these cases.

If you have diabetes, you need to be screened regularly for Diabetic Retinopathy, which is a condition where the tiny blood vessels in the retina (back of the eye) are damaged due to diabetes. People with retinopathy may not have any problems seeing at first. But if the condition gets worse, they can become blind. To help prevent retinopathy, people with diabetes should avoid smoking, keep their blood pressure under control, and keep their blood sugar at an even level.

Another common cause is Glaucoma, a condition where an increase in pressure inside the eye impairs vision by damaging the optic nerve. Any damage to the optic nerve is irreversible so it is important to find out if there is any history of glaucoma in your family as the condition is hereditary. Early detection and treatment is crucial or the vision will gradually deteriorate over time to a small tunnel vision, and then blindness can occur.

Most people may also find it surprising to note that injury is one of the commonest cause for vision loss. Examples like getting hit with a hockey ball or a shuttlecock, or children playing with sharp objects, and injuries from car accidents are common factors. These incidences are potentially devastating and a drastic accident can cause blindness.

Macular degeneration is a gradual deterioration of the macula (centre point at the back of the eye), which is the most sensitive region of the retina. The condition leads to progressive loss of central vision (the ability to see fine details directly in front). Excessive exposure to sunlight and smoking can increase the risk for age-related macular degeneration. Symptoms may include increased difficulty reading or watching TV, as vision becomes distorted and straight lines appear wavy or objects look larger or smaller than normal.

In children, amblyopia or “lazy eye” in early childhood can drastically reduce vision in an eye if the weak eye is not corrected. It is important to detect and treat the lazy eye before the age of 7 or 8 years, before the “vision center” in the brain completes development.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Dr S.S. Gill

Drooping Eyelid in Old Age

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about DERMATOCHALASIS.  

A common kind of droopy eyelid seen in old age is called dermatochalasis. If you look carefully, you will find that no one is really spared from this as they age. It does happen to almost everyone to a lesser or greater degree as they move onwards into their seventies and eighties. In dermatochalasis the eyelids appear to sag with excess “baggy” skin surrounding them that contributes to the typical droopy eyelid in old age.

       Dermatochalasis will almost definitely affect a person’s appearance, making a person look “sleepy”. Droopy eyelids are generally referred to as Ptosis (pronounced “toe-sis”) which is the general term for a droopy eyelid (discussed in the last issue).

Why does it happen?

In general, a person’s skin tends to sag with age, losing it’s’ elasticity. Skin is made up of components called elastin and collagen. The COLLAGEN is a structural protein that functions by giving the skin turgor, support or form. The ELASTIN works by allowing the skin to stretch and contract to its original state. This stretching and contracting of eyelid skin occurs every time you blink your eyes. With aging there is an overall loss in amount and quality of this collagen and elastin in the eyelids, making them sag or droop. Gravity of course does not help and hastens the process of eyelid sagging along with genetics, weight changes, and exposure to the sun.

Dr S.S. Gill
Upper pic shows what dermatochalasia will look like when compared to normal (lower pic) after blepharoplasty

Dr S.S. GillSymptoms

Apart from the cosmetic appearance of a person looking tired that results from dermatochalasis, a patient may complain of some visual difficulties. These visual difficulties may present as loss of vision in the upper part of the field of vision, reading difficulties and loss of peripheral vision when driving if the sagging eyelids overhang the side of the eyes. When the vision compromise occurs, the condition should be treated. Some patients compensate unconsciously by using the muscles of the eyebrows to lift the affected eyelids up. This effort may cause frequent headaches.

Treatment

May be divided into SURGICAL and NON-SURGICAL. Surgical treatment is of course a more permanent solution to the problem.

Non-surgical options
The non-surgical options are of course great for patients who would like to address this problem but aren’t quite ready for surgery. Some of the common non-surgical options are:

The age old remedy of avoiding salty food, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep still holds good to this day. A good moisturizer may help in hydrating the eyelid skin to reduce the sagging effect.

Over the counter Vitamin A skin creams have also been known to give some benefit but you do not have to spend an arm and a leg to get any of those super expensive creams having the same ingredients in them.

BOTOX® injections can be injected into the eyebrows which will elevate them and therefore relax the eyebrow depressors, so that the unopposed muscles in the forehead will raise the position of the eyebrows,

Surgical option

This is the gold standard in the treatment of dermatochalasis. The surgery is called blepharoplasty.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah

(05-5455582) or email gilleyecentre@dr.com.

The Twitching Eyelid (Part 2)

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Eye Health

Ipoh Echo’s Eye Health series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. Gill talking to us about The Twitching Eyelid.

Most eyelid twitches are MINOR and not dangerous. Thankfully, they also do not last for very long although sometimes that may rarely last for a few months. The MORE SERIOUS or problematic form of eyelid twitching is called blepharospasm or hemifacial spasm. Here, Dr Gill speaks to us more about the other causes of eyelid twitching.

Fatigue: A lack of sleep, whether due to stress or other reasons, can trigger eyelid spasms. A good night’s rest may not only affect your mood the next day, but also your eyes. Sleep is a way to rejuvenate and refresh not only your body but also your eyes, “recharging” them for the day ahead. When you don’t get sufficient sleep, your eyes will feel tired, just like how the rest of your body may feel, says Dr Gill.

We spend about one-third of our entire lifetime sleeping. This is not wasted time because from the moment we slip into sleep, a whole cascade of events take place involving the brain, eyes, immune function, hormones, skin, respiratory system and digestive system. Inadequate sleep results in fatigue that can only be replaced by the natural process of getting the hours of sleep you have been deprived of. There is no other way to solving this!

gillDry eyes: Dry eyes are very common among postmenopausal women, the elderly, those who spend hours at the computer, those who are on medication such as antihistamines and antidepressants and also among those who wear contact lenses for long hours. Should you start getting an eyelid twitch, it’s best to see your eye doctor for a dry eye evaluation, because many treatments are now available.

Eye allergies: People who suffer from eye allergies with symptoms of itchy and watery eyes may have twitching eyelids too. This is because histamine is released into the eyelid tissues and this results in twitching of the eyelids. If you self-medicate with antihistamine eye drops, do be careful because this can cause some dry eyes too. Remember, dry eyes can be an underlying cause for eyelid twitching! So, it would be best to seek professional advice should you suffer from this.

Nutritional imbalances: Nutritional deficiencies like magnesium deficiency can trigger spasms of the eyelid. Having a balanced diet and eating healthy will definitely help.

Remedies for eye twitching

The first thing to do is to identify the underlying cause or trigger factor for the eyelid twitching. If it is excessive caffeine, then it’s time to take it easy on those cups of coffee. If it is stress, do find ways to de-stress from time to time. If it is dry eyes, then lubricant eye drops will often help. These can be purchased over the counter quite easily. If it is because of lack of sleep, then there is no easy way out but to get that sleep that you lack!

For the more serious blepharospasm and hemifacial spasms, you would need to see the ophthalmologist or neurologist. Medication like anxiolytics (anti-stress medication) may help some patients. If this does not help, then BOTOX (botulinum toxin) injections into the muscles surrounding the eyes (periorbital area) may help. This relaxes the muscles for several months. The BOTOX injection does not last forever and so may need to be repeated at three to six months intervals. This form of treatment has proven to be successful in most cases.

As a last resort, and only if absolutely necessary, a neurosurgical procedure may be done to relieve pressure on the nerve. This is only performed as a final measure if other forms of treatment do not help, as this type of surgery runs a risk of serious complications.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-5455582) or email: gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Eye Myths or Facts (Part 2)

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us about EYE MYTHS AND FACTS.

The eyes are windows to the world around us. There are many myths that surround the eyes. You may not be blessed with perfect vision but you can take your blinkers off when it comes to eye-care. Here are some common myths about eye-care:

When you get something in your eye, it’s alright to rub it out

Tired Boy Rubbing EyesThis is the big mistake that many make. Never rub your eyes because it can damage or injure the eye. When you rub the eye with a foreign particle still in your eye, it would have a sandpaper effect on your eye, invariably resulting in injury to the eye. The commonest injury from rubbing the eye with a foreign body in it is a corneal abrasion. If this corneal abrasion gets infected, you end up with a corneal ulcer that can have serious implications including blindness.

The correct thing to do is to flush out the foreign particle from the eye with water or saline. If it still remains in the eye even after flushing the eye, do not attempt to use the edge of a tissue paper or a toothpick as these potential sources of infection. You are advised to see your medical practitioner without delay. Remember that serious eye injuries may seem minor at first.

Wearing prescription spectacles makes you dependent on them

Should you be required to wear a pair of corrective (powered) spectacles in order to improve your vision because it is blur, it will not result in dependence on them or further weakening of your eyes. Wearing these glasses only helps you to see better and therefore puts less strain on your eyes. In short, the prescription spectacles just allows you to enjoy good vision. It does not result in dependence.

The darker the sunglasses the more protection your eyes get from the sun

This is not true. The colour of the sunglasses you wear does not have anything to do with eye protection. Always look for sunglasses that will block off both harmful ultraviolet rays of both UVA and UVB rays. It is important to get a good pair because exposure to bright sunlight can increase your risk for cataracts and age-related vision loss. The ability to block off UV light does not depend on how expensive are the sunglasses, or how dark the sunglass lenses are. Brand also does not matter! Choose sunglasses that either has a CE mark, a label that says 100% UV protection from UVA and UVB rays, or has a UV400 tag.

 

Your regular prescription glasses can double up as safety glasses

This again is not true. While your regular prescription spectacles may be able to prevent most of the hazards of working with flying splinters and some chemicals, it cannot protect our eyes from flying objects with high velocity. Always wear proper safety goggles over your spectacles whenever you are doing any work such as hammering nails, mowing the lawn or tinkering with sharp objects.

Using artificial sweeteners will make your eyes more sensitive to light

Some sugar substitutes like cyclamates may cause eyes to be more sensitive to light. Some medication such as oral contraceptives and diuretic medication may also cause the eyes to be more sensitive to light (photophobia). Should you have any undue sensitivity to light, do discuss this with your physician.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah

(05-545 5582) or email: gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Nutrition for the Eyes

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us more about NUTRITION & VITAMINS for the eyes. 

It is important to eat the right foods that contain the right vitamins to help keep your eyes healthy. Good nutrition with vitamins and minerals are important for the eyes to function normally.

In this issue, Dr Gill speaks about antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin – known as ‘carotenoids’ that are important for the eyes.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are important nutrients that have been found to reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. These carotenoids are powerful antioxidants that protect the cells of the body from damage caused by free radicals.

What is the Meaning of Antioxidant?

Antioxidants are substances that protect cells in your body from free radicals. Free radicals are produced when your immune system fights off bacteria. Free radicals are also produced as by-products when the foods that we eat are broken down into energy.

These free radicals are unstable and can damage the cells in our eyes and organs as a whole. Our bodies including our eyes are constantly exposed to these free radicals (oxidative stress). In fact, every cell in our body comes under attack from a free radical once every ten seconds.

Some things that cause free radical production (oxidative stress):

  • Ultraviolet light in sunshine – those exposed to the sun are more likely to get cataracts and skin cancer.
  • Toxins: cigarette smoke, poisonous wastes of our own metabolism, the chemicals invariably found in our food, pesticides and air pollution.
  • Antioxidants are like the “body-guards” for the cells in our body. They protect the cells from damage by the free radicals. This is why antioxidants are important.

How does Lutein and Zeaxanthin work?

Antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin filter the harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light and help to protect and maintain healthy cells in the eye.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin Slowing Cataract Formation

Lutein and zeaxanthin may play a role in cataract prevention. In fact, studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin along with vitamin E was associated with a decreased risk of cataract formation. This is because these antioxidants may slow down the oxidation of the lens and therefore slow down cataract formation.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin in Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) results in visual loss. Clinical studies have shown that high levels of antioxidants and zinc significantly reduced the risk of advanced AMD.

Foods Rich in Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Green vegetables such as: kale, spinach, turnip, broccoli, garden peas and eggs. To get the best nutrients, avoid excessive cooking and storage as heat and storage reduces the antioxidant effectiveness.

Key points to remember:

  • Eat a good balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Discuss improving your diet or taking vitamin supplements with your GP.
  • Avoid smoking. A healthy lifestyle makes all the difference!

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or email: gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Nutrition & Vitamins for the Eyes

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill, Consultant Ophthalmologist

Ipoh Echo’s Eye Health series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. Gill talking to us more about Nutrition & Vitamins for the eyes.

Good nutrition with vitamins and minerals is important for the eyes to function normally. That is why it is important to be eating the right foods that contain the right vitamins to help keep your eyes healthy.

In this issue, Dr Gill speaks about vitamin E that is important for the eye.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is important to maintain strong immunity and healthy eyes. Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from damage by free radicals that result from exposure to environmental pollutants around us including cigarette smoke.

When we say vitamin E, it does not mean one vitamin but actually a group of eight vitamins called tocopherols and tocotrienols. The most active form of vitamin E is Alpha-tocopherol.

How does vitamin E help the eyes?

There was a study on cataracts involving 764 people with the average age group of 65 years. The study showed that the regular users of vitamin E supplements were less likely to have an increase in lens opacity or cataracts. Vitamin E not only helps to possibly prevent cataracts, it might help prevent macular degeneration (AMD) which is a disease affecting aging people.

Should you choose natural or synthetic vitamin E?

When you read the label on the bottle of vitamins, how would you know whether it is natural or synthetic vitamin E? Well, when vitamin E is in its natural form, it is designated with a “d-” prefix (d-alpha-tocopherol). When it is a synthetic vitamin E, it will have a “dl-” prefix (dl-alpha-tocopherol). As with most things, the natural vitamin E is more beneficial than the synthetic forms of vitamin E. So, be sure to look at the source of the vitamin should you be purchasing a bottle of vitamin E. Just look for the “d-” prefix that indicates it is from a natural source.

Does our food have enough vitamin E?

almondsIf you have a balanced diet and avoid processed foods, you should be able to get adequate vitamin E from foods such as:

  • Green leafy vegetables, example – spinach
  • Eggs
  • Nuts, Almonds
  • Vegetable Oils

How much vitamin E should you take?

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) includes the vitamin E you get from both the food you eat and any supplements you take. Be sure to follow this. The RDA (recommended dietary allowance) for men or women older than 14 years old is 15 milligrams (or 22.5 IU).

Does vitamin E have Side Effects?

As with anything else, too much of vitamin E is not good. This vitamin is a fat-soluble vitamin which means it can accumulate in the body if taken in large quantities, causing unwanted side-effects. It can interfere with the body’s blood clotting ability and this can be dangerous if you are taking blood thinning medication. Overdoses also can cause nausea, headache, bleeding and fatigue.

Key points to remember:

Eat a good, balanced diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Discuss improving your diet or taking vitamin supplements with your GP.

Avoid smoking. A healthy lifestyle makes all the difference!

Dr Gill will talk more about other aspects of nutrition for the eyes in the next article.

For more information, call Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah (05-545 5582) or
email: gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Dr. S.S. Gill Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist

Eye Health: World Sight Day 2012

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

In conjunction with WORLD SIGHT DAY on the October 11, 2012, Ipoh Echo talks to Consultant Ophthalmologist Dr S.S. GILL on the Top 3 causes of visual impairment.

Visual impairment is a term used to describe any kind of vision loss to the extent that even with conventional forms of correction or treatment, the person’s vision remains poor. A visually impaired person usually requires some form of visual support such as a low vision aid and is usually unable to enjoy what most people would take for granted.

“Being visually impaired can be frightening, especially when it affects those who once had good vision,” says Dr Gill. “In fact, just taking into cognizance the facts on visual impairment should send the message that we cannot take our eyes for granted”.

Top 3 Causes of Visual Impairment

“Cataracts, or the clouding of the eye’s lens preventing light from passing through to the retina, is the most common cause of loss of vision,” says Dr Gill. “Because cataracts form slowly, causing gradual vision loss, it may not be noticeable to the patient until much later”. That is why annual eye checks for people above 50 years old are important.

Symptoms of cataracts include double, cloudy or blurry vision, difficulty seeing in poorly lit spaces, and colours that seem faded. Cataracts affect people in their 60s and 70s, but may sometimes appear earlier in people who are excessively exposed to sunlight. “Many younger patients who have cataracts early are golfers and sports people who are not in the habit of wearing sunglasses.”

Treatment with surgery involves replacing the eye’s cloudy lens with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). Wearing sunglasses and a hat with a brim to block ultraviolet sunlight may help to delay cataracts.

Dr. S.S. Gill Resident Consultant OphthalmologistGlaucoma, a condition where an increase in pressure inside the eye impairs vision by damaging the optic nerve, is the second leading cause of visual impairment. “Any damage to the optic nerve is irreversible so it is important to find out if there is any history of glaucoma in your family as the condition is hereditary. Early detection and treatment is crucial or the vision will gradually deteriorate over time to a small tunnel vision, and then blindness can occur,” emphasizes Dr Gill. Treatment for glaucoma usually includes prescription eye drops and/or surgery.

Dr. S.S. Gill Resident Consultant OphthalmologistDiabetic retinopathy, another leading cause of visual impairment, is caused by diabetes. It is a condition where the tiny blood vessels in the retina (back of the eye) are damaged due to diabetes. It affects the vision of more than half of the people diagnosed with diabetes age 18 or older.

People with diabetes should have a complete eye exam through dilated pupils at least once a year. Diabetic retinopathy is treated with surgery or laser surgery. With timely treatment, adequate control of blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, and regular follow ups, up to 90 per cent of all cases of blindness from diabetes can be prevented.

Preventing Visual Impairment

Treatment methods for cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and even age related macular degeneration (another leading cause of visual impairment) have improved over the years and can help slow or even halt vision loss, especially for those who are diagnosed and treated early.

Some final words from Dr Gill: “Many people will have some type of visual problem at some point in their lives. It is important that if you have an underlying condition like diabetes, hypertension or glaucoma that you visit an ophthalmologist regularly and comply with prescription medication and eye drops to prevent further vision loss.”

WHO Global Vision Facts:

  • 39 million people worldwide are blind
  • 246 million have low vision (severe or moderate visual impairment)
  • 80% of visual impairment can be prevented
  • 90% of the visually impaired people live in developing countries
  • Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness
  • Uncorrected refractive errors are the main cause of visual impairment
  • 65% of visually impaired and 82% of blind people are over 50 years of age

 

Should you require further information, please contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah 05-5455582 or email: gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Eye Health – Nutrition and Your Eyes

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr. S.S. GILL talking to us about NUTRITION & VITAMINS for the eyes.

Eating the right foods that contain the right vitamins do help to keep the eyes healthy. Good nutrition is important for both your general and eye health. It helps our body to grow, repair the wear and tear, protect against infections and to function properly. Likewise, good nutrition with vitamins and minerals are important for the eyes to function normally.

The main vitamins that are essential for the eyes include:

  • Vitamins A, C, E, B2
  • Minerals Zinc and Selenium
  • Antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthin – known as ‘carotenoids’
  • Omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.

In this issue we will cover Vitamins A and C.

ANTIOXIDANT – VITAMIN A

Vitamin A is also known as retinol because it produces the pigments in the retina (nerve) of the eye. Vitamin A promotes good vision, especially in low light. Night blindness is therefore an early symptom of deficiency because there is damage to the retina (nerve at the back of the eye).

Vitamin A deficiency is a clear example of how the lack of this vitamin can cause serious eye problems resulting in a condition called xerophthalmia.  It is a common cause of childhood blindness in developing countries especially in Africa and Latin America. It is caused by lack of Vitamin A in the child’s diet. This is simply because the poor child does not get to eat fresh green leafy vegetables and proteins in the form of meat, eggs, cheese, fish, poultry, milk, yoghurt, dairy products, nuts and grains.

Vitamin A helps the surface of the eye form an effective barrier to bacteria and viruses, thereby reducing the risk of eye infections. The lack of vitamin A causes the cornea to become very dry, leading to clouding of the front of the eye, corneal ulcers and finally vision loss.

ANTIOXIDANT – VITAMIN C

Vitamin C is good for our whole body and particularly good for your eyes. The aqueous humor is the fluid that fills the space between the cornea and the iris in the eye and  nourishes and protects the cornea and lens.

The aqueous humor has very high levels of Vitamin C, in fact much higher levels of Vitamin C than in our blood. Therefore, maintaining high levels of Vitamin C in the aqueous is essential to nourish the eyes and protect them from oxidative stress and to help maintain clarity of the lens of the eyes. So, make sure you eat diets rich in Vitamin C like citrus fruits, capsicum, broccoli and strawberries to maintain good eye health.

Generally, a good balanced diet that includes sufficient fresh fruits and vegetables should be adequate in providing all the vitamins and minerals that the eyes need in order to be healthy and function well. The problem lies in the fast-food diets that may lack the ingredients of a healthy meal. This is where vitamin supplements could help.

Dr Gill will talk more about other aspects of nutrition for the eyes in the next article.

Should you require further information, please contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah 05-5455582 or email: gilleyecentre@dr.com.

Eye Health – More on Ocular Migraine

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Resident Consultant Ophthalmologist, Hospital Fatimah Ipoh
Dr S.S. Gill

Ipoh Echo’s EYE HEALTH series continues with Consultant Eye Surgeon Dr S.S. GILL talking to us more about OCULAR MIGRAINES.

Ocular Migraine may be a terrifying experience when it happens to a person for the first time.  The person may actually feel as if they are going blind. Some have described Ocular Migraine as a feeling similar to having a stroke. The visual symptoms can often be quite dramatic and frightening. The good thing is, it usually lasts for only a short while.

Most of the time, it starts as a small, enlarging dark area (scotoma) in your central vision. The dark central area then usually enlarges to move across the entire field of vision and the person feels like he or she is losing vision quickly in the eye.

Although symptoms are in the eye, the actual seat of the migraine activity is in the brain located at the back of the skull (visual cortex). The blood vessels here go into spasm thereby causing the symptoms and later begin dilating causing the blood vessels to over-fill and result in a throbbing or “pounding” headache.

Eye Health - Dr S.S. Gill
Ocular Migraine

Some common causes:

  • Overtiredness, fatigue, lack of sleep, weather changes, stress and depression.
  • Hormonal fluctuations as in menstruation.
  • Some medications like oral contraceptives.
  • Foods containing MSG, alcohol consumption, caffeinated beverages, cheese, tea, coffee, chocolates, artificial sweeteners, meats preserved in nitrates.

What to do for an Ocular Migraine

  • WHEN DRIVING: If it occurs when you are driving, pull to the side until vision is clear.
  • WHEN OPERATING MACHINERY: Always move away from the machine!
  • Generally, ocular migraines do not cause any harm like a permanent visual or brain damage. Hence, it usually requires no treatment. Nevertheless, always consult your eye doctor when you have unusual vision symptoms to make sure that it truly is Ocular Migraine and nothing else.

Some home remedies:

  • Applying cold compresses over the head to relieve any nagging headache.
  • Closing the eyes to rest.
  • Retiring to a darkened room to relax and de-stress often helps.
  • Sleep adequately for at least seven to eight hours every day.
  • Hydrate well and drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid alcohol and limit caffeine intake as well.
  • Medication like analgesics may provide some relief should you have any headaches.
  • Medication that have effects on blood vessels such as cafergot and ergotamine can also be used for migraine relief.
  • It is important to take medication only on the prescription of a doctor. Avoid self-medication beyond a simple analgesic or a cool compress.

Should you require further information, please contact Gill Eye Specialist Centre at Hospital Fatimah 05-5455582 or email: gilleyecentre@dr.com.