Glaucoma

What you need to know about glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60. When found early, glaucoma can be treated and slow or prevent vision loss. Read on to learn more about glaucoma, the signs and symptoms and treatment options.

What is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions responsible for damaging the optic nerve, which is essential for good vision. It is caused by abnormally high pressure in the eye. 

Signs and symptoms

Unfortunately, many forms of glaucoma have no waning signs. The change is so gradual that you may not notice anything is wrong with your vision until the condition has reached an advanced stage. 

If you have frequent, patchy blind spots in your peripheral or side vision or central vision or tunnel vision, you may have open-angle glaucoma. Acute angle-closure glaucoma presents with severe headache, eye pain, nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, halos around lights and eye redness. 

Regular eye exams

If left untreated, glaucoma will eventually cause blindness. Since glaucoma often comes with no warning signs, it’s vital to have regular eye exams. An eye exam should include measurements of your eye pressure. When a diagnosis can be made in the early stages of glaucoma or any eye disease or condition, it can be treated more appropriately. If glaucoma is caught early, vision loss can be slowed or even prevented. 

Prevention

In addition to getting regular eye exams, it’s important to know your family’s eye health history, as genetics play a role in glaucoma development. Follow a moderate exercise program. Take prescribed eye drops regularly, even if you don’t exhibit any symptoms. Also wear eye protection as serious eye injuries can lead to glaucoma.

Treatment

If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, the damage done cannot be reversed. Treatment options may include prescription eyedrops, oral medications, laser surgery or traditional surgery. 

If you are concerned about glaucoma and want to learn more about prevention or treatment, it’s important to schedule an eye exam today by calling Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser at 808.955.3937. 

Are you at risk for cataracts?

If your vision has been getting blurry or you have an increased sensitivity to glare, you may be starting to develop cataracts. Over time, this slow-progressing condition will interfere with your vision and may lead to cataract surgery. Can you prevent cataracts? Read on to learn more about cataracts and treatment.

What are cataracts?

The lens of your eye is normally clear. It’s positioned behind the colored part of the eye called the iris. The lens focuses light that passes through your eye and produces clear images on your retina. The retina function like the film in a camera. Age-related conditions and other medical conditions can cause tissues in the lens to break down, causing a clouding within the lens. A cataract develops slowly as the clouding becomes denser and consumes a larger part of the lens. Over time, your vision will become blurred.

What are the risk factors?

Age, smoking, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes and excessive exposure to sunlight are some of the risk factors for cataracts. Previous eye injuries or surgery also increase your risk. Prolonged use of certain medications may be a factor as well.

Can you prevent cataracts?

While there isn’t a way to prevent cataracts, there are some things you can do to improve your risk factors. Be sure to have regular eye examinations based on your age and family history. If you smoke, quit. It’s important to manage certain health conditions such as diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure that increase your risk. Consume a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables. If you drink, reduce your use of alcohol. Be sure to wear broad-spectrum sunglasses that block ultraviolet B rays when you’re outside.

What are the treatment options?

Once your lenses have started to cloud, they will not stop and won’t return to their original clear condition. The only treatment for cataracts is surgery to replace the lenses. Surgery consists of replacing the clouded lens with an intraocular lens implant, or IOL. It’s a minimally invasive, small-incision, no-stitch procedure. Vision begins to improve a few days after surgery, and full healing can take up to two months. If both eyes require surgery, the second surgery will be done 1-2 months after the first surgery.

If you’re concerned about cataracts or other eye conditions, schedule an eye exam today by calling Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser at 808.955.3937.

Why the eyes are getting more attention

With the increasing, often mandated, use of masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, there is an increase desire by patients to help wake up tired-looking eyes and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles in the upper third of the face. Read on to learn more about Botox treatment and why it may be a treatment you want to consider.

What is Botox?

Botox is the best-selling cosmetic treatment of its kind. It’s FDA-approved to improve the appearance of moderate-to-severe forehead lines, frown lines (what looks like “11” lines between the eyebrows) and laugh lines (crow’s feet around the eyes).

Dynamic wrinkles

Botox treats dynamic wrinkles, which are wrinkles that are formed by repeated facial expressions such as smiling, laughing, squinting or frowning. These wrinkles form in the skin when the muscle beneath contracts. Botox temporarily blocks the nerve signal from reaching the muscle, which relaxes the skin and smooths out wrinkles.

The magic ingredient

Botox is made from the botulinum toxin type A, which is the same bacteria responsible for botulism. It is not harmful, however. Scientists discovered years ago that a tiny injection of this toxin into the muscle can stop the muscle from contracting safely and effectively.

Treatment time

Botox treatment only takes about 10 minutes. You may feel a slight pinch, but most patients don’t feel much or any discomfort. Treatment areas can be iced beforehand to help reduce discomfort.

Results

You’ll see final results in just a few days, and results last for about four months. After that time, the body absorbs the harmless ingredients and muscles will start contracting again. You’ll want to return for follow-up sessions to maintain your results.

Botox can help turn back time without the need for downtime that other wrinkle-reducing procedures may require. To set up a consultation and learn if Botox is right for you, call Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser today at 808.955.3937.

Why choose Bladeless LASIK eye surgery?

LASIK is the most commonly performed laser eye surgery to treat nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. But how much do you know about Bladeless LASIK? Read on to learn more about this vision correction surgery and why you should consider it.

How does it work?

LASIK, which is short for Laser-Assisted in Situ Keratomileusis, works by reshaping the cornea, which is the clear front part of the eye. Bladeless LASIK uses targeted excimer laser beam energy to gently ablate corneal tissue to correct refractive errors and help patients see more clearly.

Bladeless LASIK is an outpatient procedure that takes only a few minutes to perform on each eye. While you will be given medicine to help you relax, you are awake and asked to focus on a point of light during the procedure. This keeps your eye fixed as the laser reshapes the cornea. Your eyes will have numbing drops, so you will feel no pain or discomfort.

What is recovery like?

LASIK is a popular treatment as there is minimal downtime and little to no discomfort after the procedure. After the procedure, you rest in the office for a short time before a trusted friend or family member drives you home. Once at home, you should rest for a few hours before returning to regular activities. Avoid strenuous activity for at least a week.

What should I expect for results?

Full results may take several months, but you’ll notice significant improvements to your vision immediately after the Bladeless LASIK procedure. Many patients achieve vision that is 20/20 or better, eliminating or reducing the need for glasses or contact lenses.

Am I a candidate?

During your thorough consultation and evaluation, Dr. Maehara will determine whether Bladeless LASIK is right for you or if you would benefit from another procedure. Good candidates are age 18 or older, have had stable vision for at least six months, has a healthy cornea that’s thick enough for a flap, and have treatable refractive errors. Patients also need to have realistic expectations for procedure outcomes.

Interested in learning whether Bladeless LASIK is right for you? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Maehara at Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser today by calling 808.955.3937.

Smooth out lines and wrinkles in just minutes

Cosmetic injectables are a safe, quick and effective way to improve the signs of aging on your face. So how do you know which injectable is right for you? Here we discuss some of the more popular treatments and what wrinkles they address.

Dynamic wrinkles

Cosmetic injectables such as BOTOX and Dysport are FDA-approved to treat one of two types of wrinkles: Dynamic wrinkles. These wrinkles form when a muscle contracts from making facial expressions such as laughing, squinting, smiling and frowning.

Made from botulinum toxin type A, BOTOX is injected into a muscle to temporarily stop it from contracting. This smooths out and softens the look of lines and wrinkles on the upper third of the face, such as forehead lines, crow’s feet and frown lines between the eyebrows known as “11” lines.

BOTOX is the most popular non-surgical cosmetic treatment in the world because it’s fast, safe and effective. The treatment takes only about 10 minutes. It takes about one to three days for the full effect, and the results last for about four months. You’ll return to Dr. Maehara’s office for additional treatment at that time to maintain results.

Static wrinkles

While BOTOX and Dysport treat dynamic wrinkles, dermal fillers address static wrinkles, which are always present. These wrinkles are the result of our skin becoming less elastic and the decrease of underlying proteins as we age. Aging, sun damage, smoking, nutrition and genetics all factor into the formation of static wrinkles. Dynamic wrinkles can become static wrinkles over time.

Examples of static wrinkles include smile lines, nasolabial folds, marionette lines on the side of the mouths and wrinkles on the upper lip and under the eyes. Dermal fillers such as Juvederm are made of hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in the skin. They fill wrinkles and add volume. Results are instant, unlike Botox, and last for several months to a year or longer, depending on the filler.

Cosmetic injectables can work together to smooth out and improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles temporarily. If you’re interested in learning more about how to achieve a more youthful, rejuvenated appearance, set up a consultation with Dr. Maehara at Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser today by calling 808.955.3937.

Am I a candidate for LASIK?

If you’ve been wearing glasses or contacts but are wondering what life would be like to be able to see without them, you should talk to your doctor about LASIK laser vision correction. A comprehensive consultation with Dr. Maehara will determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK or other vision correction options. Here are some criteria to consider:

  • You have a stable prescription, which means your prescription hasn’t changed for two consecutive years or longer. Once your prescription stabilizes, there is less likelihood of your nearsightedness or farsightedness progressing and negating any benefit from LASIK vision correction.
  • You are 18 years old or older and have achieved ocular maturity, which means your eyes have fully developed. LASIK is FDA-approved for people ages 18 years and older. The only way to know if your eyes have achieved ocular maturity is to have a consultation with your eye doctor to discuss laser vision correction.
  • Your eyes are healthy, free of diseases, injuries and infections, and you are in good general health. If you have an ocular disease such as cataracts, diabetes or autoimmune diseases like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, LASIK and other laser vision correction options make not be a good choice for you. It’s also important that you share your entire health history and current medical conditions with your doctor to determine whether you are a good candidate for surgery. Pregnancy and certain medications such as acne medications and corticosteroids may affect the healing process.
  • You have realistic expectations. It’s important to understand the limitation of laser vision correction and to have informed expectations for the procedure, recovery and results.

If you’re wondering if you’re a good candidate for LASIK, now is the time to have a conversation with your eye doctor and share your vision goals. Dr. Maehara will help you understand what your options are for laser vision correction and map out a plan. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Maehara at Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser today by calling 808.955.3937.

Protecting your eyes from the sun year-round

So much attention is given to protecting your skin in the sun, but it’s just as important to protect your eyes from the sun. Dangerous ultraviolet radiation from the sun can damage your eyes and delicate skin surrounding them. Read on to learn more about eye health and sun exposure and what you can do to protect your eyes.

Eye conditions related to sun exposure

UV radiation is a cause of several serious eye conditions. At least 10 percent of cataract cases can be attributed to UV exposure, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Cataracts cloud and yellow the lens of your eye, leading to progressive vision loss and blindness. Macular degeneration is a common cause of vision loss for people over the age of 60. It’s due to cumulative UV damage to the central portion of the retina.

Did you know you can sunburn your eye? UV exposure can cause a corneal sunburn, called keratitis. The cornea is the clear surface that admits light and images to the retina. This condition occurs in skiers and hikers because of how the sun reflects off of water, snow and ice.

Conjunctival eye cancers were once rare but are increasing, especially in older people.

Damage to the eyelids

UVA and UVB rays from the sun and indoor tanning produce DNA changes that can cause premature aging on the skin around your eyes and can lead to skin cancer on the eyelids. Eyelid skin cancer most often occurs on the lower lid because it receives the most sun exposure. Eyelid cancers usually respond well to surgery and post-surgical care when diagnosed and treated early. Left untreated, eyelid cancers can cause tissue damage and blindness.

How to protect your eyes in the sun

There are simple things you can do to protect your eyes and skin every day while also enjoying the outdoors:

  • First and foremost, wear sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of UVA and UVB light. Make sure you wear them anytime you are out in the sun and year-round as sun damage can occur any time of year. Also, be aware that the sun’s harmful rays can pass through clouds, so wear sunglasses even when there’s cloud cover.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and the top of your head.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Select one that is safe and for your face and eyes.
  • Seek shade whenever possible. The sun is most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

If you’re experiencing problems with your eyes, call 808.955.3937 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Maehara at Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser.

Tips for reducing eyestrain

If your eyes feel dry and tired, or your vision is blurry at the end of the day, you may be dealing with eyestrain. We’re looking at our digital devices all day, between work and home, so it’s no wonder all this screen time is affecting our eyes. There are several things you can do to reduce or prevent eyestrain when using your smartphone, computer or tablet or watching television.

Relieve dry eyes

  • Treat dry eyes with artificial tears. These ensure your eyes are well-lubricated and prevent dry eye syndrome. Your doctor can recommend eyedrops that are ideal for your eyes.
  • Reduce dry moving air by putting a humidifier in the room where you use your devices.
  • If you smoke, try to quit. Being around smoke can dry your eyes and make eyestrain even worse.

Give your eyes a break

  • Follow the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a break and look at an object that’s at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Take longer breaks if you plan on spending hours on your devices.
  • If you wear contacts daily, you can give your eyes a break by wearing your glasses.

Adjust your settings

  • Make sure your computer screen is an arm’s length or about 25 inches away from your face and just below eye level. Adjusting the contrast and brightness settings to your comfort can help as well.
  • Enlarge the text on the screen so it’s easier to read.
  • Lightning needs to be adjusted depending on what device you’re using and how you’re using it. The device should not be brighter than the surroundings. When watching TV, keep your room softly lit. When you’re reading, position the light source behind you so it’s directly in front of you.

See your eye doctor

  • There are glasses and contact lenses designed specifically for computer work. If your vision has changed, you may need a new prescription. And regular eye exams help to diagnose eye conditions and diseases at earlier stages when they are most treatable.

Taking these steps will help you reduce some of the aches and pains associated with screen time. To schedule an eye exam with Dr. Jeffrey Maehara at Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser, call 808.955.3937 today.

Risk factors for glaucoma and what you can do about them

Glaucoma is an age-related eye disease where increased pressure in the eye damages your eye’s optic nerves, getting worse over time. Too often, the people who have the most common type of glaucoma do not have any warning signs. By the time they notice symptoms, it’s usually in the later stages of the disease. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness for people age 60 and older. Read on for risk factors and what you can do to reduce your risk factors and protect your vision.

In healthy eyes, fluid is produced in the ciliary body, enters the eye and drains through tiny passages called the trabecular meshwork. If you have glaucoma, these passages become blocked and pressure in the eye rises.

What are the risk factors?

Risk factors for glaucoma include:

  • Ancestry is African American, Irish, Japanese, Hispanic, Russian, Inuit or Scandinavian descent
  • Over the age of 40
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or sickle cell anemia
  • Poor vision
  • Eye injury
  • Corneas are thinner than usual
  • High eye pressure
  • Nearsighted or farsighted

 Can I prevent glaucoma?

 You can help slow the progress of glaucoma or detect it in its early stages by doing the following:

  • Get comprehensive eye exams. You should get one every 5-10 years if you’re younger than 40; every 2-4 years for those ages 40-54; everyone 1-3 years for those ages 55-64; and every 1-2 years for those 65 and older. If you’re at risk of glaucoma, you’ll need more frequent screening. Your doctor can recommend the right screening schedule for you.
  • Regular exercise can help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure. Ask your doctor for recommendations.
  • Know your family health history. Glaucoma tends to run in families, so you may need more frequent screening if you are at increased risk.
  • Wear eye protection. Eye injuries can lead to eye conditions and diseases such as glaucoma, so protect your eyes when playing certain sports or using power tools.

 Glaucoma treatment

Some cases can be treated with medication. Other cases may require laser or traditional surgery to lower eye pressure.

Regular eye exams will help you stay on top of any eye conditions or diseases so you can address them at the earliest, most treatable stages. Call 808.955.3937 today to schedule an appointment at Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser.

6 simple steps to improve your eye health

It’s essential to be good to your eyes, especially as you age. Even if your eyes feel healthy and you don’t wear glasses or contacts, you need to think about how to maintain and improve your eye health. Here are six simple steps you can take to keep your eyes healthy and stave off age-related vision problems for as long as possible:

Eat a well-balanced diet. Eating well has many health benefits. Nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc and vitamins C and E may help prevent or delay the onset of vision problems such as cataracts or macular degeneration. Green leafy vegetables, oily fish such as salmon and tuna, eggs, nuts, beans and oranges or other citrus fruits are easy ways to get those essential vitamins and nutrients.

Maintain a healthy weight. Obesity can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes, which is a leading cause of cataracts and diabetic retinopathy, which can cause vision loss and blindness in adults.

Watch your blood pressure. High blood pressure can increase your risk of some eye diseases such as hypertensive retinopathy. This is when hypertension causes damage to the blood vessels in the retina of the eye.

Quit smoking. Smoking makes you more prone to getting cataracts and other eye diseases. Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation programs and medications to help you kick the habit.

Wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats. Protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays is an easy way to maintain eye health, as too much UV exposure increases your chances of cataracts and macular degeneration. Sunglasses that block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays are most helpful. Polarized lenses are designed to reduce glare while you’re driving.

Take a break from your computer and phone. Staring at a computer or phone screen for too long can cause eye strain, blurry vision, dry eyes, trouble focusing at a distance, and more. Be sure you take breaks every 20 minutes to rest your eyes. Look 20 feet away for 20 seconds at a time.

Get an eye exam. Regular eye exams are essential to staying on top of any problems and spotting any diseases and conditions early, when they’re easier to treat. To learn more about improving the health of your eyes, schedule your next exam with Dr. Jeffrey Maehara at Maehara Eye Surgery & Laser today by calling 808.955.3937