5 Reasons to Consider the Alcon PanOptix Lens for Cataract Surgery in Buffalo

cataract treatment buffalo NY

As you age, you’ll likely have cataract surgery. Cataract surgery in Buffalo is a routine surgery to restore vision in older patients suffering from the condition. According to one study, “Cataract extraction is the most prevalent surgical procedure of all medical specialties with an estimated 3.7 million cases per year in the USA, 7 million in Europe and 20 million worldwide.” Since 1995, more than 500 million cataract surgeries have been performed successfully on more than 130 million people. One estimate suggests doctors will perform close to 100 million of these procedures annually by the year 2050.

These are astonishing numbers that place modern cataract surgery at the top of the list for the most performed medical procedure in the world. However, cataract surgery is also one of the most effective clinical procedures on the body, with a 99% success rate. The procedure continues to evolve and improve. One of the latest innovations is the Alcon PanOptix Lens for cataract surgery. It’s being used today for cataract surgery in Buffalo and around the U.S. What is the PanOptix Trifocal Lens? Why might it be a better option for your cataract surgery?

What is the Alcon PanOptix Trifocal Lens?

The Alcon PanOptix Lens for cataract surgery is a trifocal intraocular lens, or IOL, designed for cataract surgery. This technology is designed to provide clear vision at near, intermediate, and far distances after cataract surgery.

The Alcon PanOptix Trifocal Lens is used in cataract surgery as a replacement for the natural lens that is clouded and blurred. The surgical procedure involves removing the cloudy lens and implanting the PanOptix trifocal lens.

Surgeons typically perform cataract surgery in Buffalo and around the country as an outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. The surgeon will make a small incision in the cornea and use ultrasound to break up and remove the cloudy lens during the process. The new PanOptix Trifocal lens is inserted through the same incision and positioned in the lens capsule.

After surgery, your vision should gradually improve over a few days and weeks. The trifocal technology in the PanOptix Trifocal Lens allows for clear vision at near, intermediate, and far distances without the need for glasses or contact lenses in most cases. After surgery, your vision should gradually improve over a few days and weeks. The trifocal technology in the PanOptix Trifocal Lens allows for clear vision at near, intermediate, and far distances without the need for glasses or contact lenses in most cases.

What Technology is Used in PanOptix Trifocal Lenses?

The Alcon PanOptix Trifocal Lens uses copyrighted, FDA-approved trifocal optical technology. This technology divides incoming light into three focal points, providing clear vision at near, middle, and far distances. The trifocal design leverages diffractive zones in the lens that split light into several focal points. The zones provide a patient with clear vision at different lengths without needing other corrective lenses. This technology offers an improved range of vision that single-focus intraocular lenses do not.

To understand how the PanOptix Trifocal Lens works, you must first understand how the eye sees. Your eyes see by capturing light and transforming it into electrical signals transmitted to the brain. When you look at an object, several things happen:

  • Light enters the cornea, the transparent outer layer that helps to focus incoming light back toward the brain.
  • The light passes through the pupil, the adjustable opening in the center of the eye. The pupil opens and closes to adjust how much light hits the retina at the back of the eye.
  • The light passes through the lens of the eye, which is the clear covering that is replaced with an interocular lens during cataract surgery.
  • Light hits the retina at the back of the eye. The retina is a thin layer of tissue that contain photoreceptor cells called rods and cones. These cells convert the light (and what you see) into an electrical signal that transmits to the brain through the optic nerve.
  • The brain processes the electrical signals, forming an image. This process is what allows you to see and perceive the world around you.

When a cataract clouds the eye, this disrupts the normal process of clear vision. Your vision can also be disrupted by nearsightedness, farsightedness, or other problems that prevent perfect 20/20 vision. These issues stem from having an improperly shaped eye so that light does not adequately focus on the retina. For example:

  • Nearsightedness or myopia occurs when the eye is too long or the cornea is too curved. When light enters the eye, it focuses in front of the retina instead of directly on it. This results in clear close-up vision but blurry distance vision.
  • Farsightedness or hyperopia happens when the eye is too short, or the cornea is too flat, causing light to focus behind the retina. Farsightedness lets you see in the distance, but up close, vision is blurry.

Corrective eyewear, in the form of glasses or contacts, corrects where light focuses in the eye Corrective eyewear, in the form of glasses or contacts, corrects where light focuses in the eye to improve your vision. That’s the power of this technology to help you see clearer. Interestingly, the Alcon PanOptix Lens for cataract surgery does something similar, except the corrective technology is built into the interocular lens. Now, your cataract surgery in Buffalo will not only eliminate the cloudy vision that comes with a cataract. If the PanOptix Trifocal Lens is suitable for you, it can also stop your need for other types of corrective vision wear.

Is the PanOptix Trifocal Lens Right for Everyone?

The Alcon PanOptix Trifocal Lens may not be the right choice for everyone. Some factors that may impact the suitability of the Alcon PanOptix Lens for cataract surgery include:

  • Your existing visual impairments.
  • Your overall health.
  • Your lifestyle.
  • Your expectations.

You may not be an ideal candidate if you have very high visual demands, such as frequently driving at night or needing precise intermediate vision. You must have an open discussion with your eye doctor to determine the best type of interocular lens or whether cataract surgery is the right option for you at this time.

Benefits of the Alcon PanOptix Trifocal Lens for Cataract Surgery in Buffalo

The Alcon PanOptix Trifocal Lens is considered better than a regular intraocular lens in several ways:

  • Improved vision at multiple distances: the technology built into the PanOptix Trifocal lens turns the average cataract surgery in Buffalo into a vision correction dream. You can emerge from the surgery with clear vision at near, mid, and far distances without needing glasses or contact lenses. This makes the Alcon PanOptix Lens for cataract surgery a better option over traditional single-focused IOLs.
  • Improved night vision: The Alcon PanOptix Trifocal Lens is designed to offer improved night vision, particularly when compared to traditional intraocular lenses, by reducing glare and halos that muddy your vision in the evening.
  • Increased patient satisfaction: Patients who undergo cataract surgery in Buffalo prefer the PanOptix Trifocal Lens, reporting higher levels of satisfaction with their vision after the surgery.

It’s important to note that not all patients are suitable for the PanOptix Trifocal Lens. Your cataract surgery in Buffalo will include a comprehensive eye exam and discussion of your vision needs and goals. Talk to your doctor about whether the Alcon PanOptix Lens for your cataract surgery is the best option.

#1 The PanOptix Lens Offers Three Clear Vision Distance

The Alcon PanOptix Trifocal Lens offers three corrective vision distances:

  • Near vision: Improvements in your near vision happen through a series of small diffractive zones within the lens that split light into a nearby focal point. This vision correction lets you see objects up close without needing contact lenses or glasses.
  • Intermediate vision: Better middle-distance vision occurs through a series of larger diffractive lens zones that split light into an intermediate focal point. This correction lets you see objects at a middle distance, such as a computer screen or a car dashboard, without needing additional corrective lenses.
  • Far vision: Seeing far away is better with the Alcon PanOptix Trifocal Lens for cataract surgery. Better far vision happens through the center of the intraocular lens, which is dedicated to providing a clear view of the distance.

The combination of trifocal (near, intermediate, and far) vision in the Alcon PanOptix Lens allows you to see clearly at different distances without the need for glasses or contact lenses. With traditional single-focus interocular lens, patients often still need reading or other corrective lenses to see clearly, even after their Buffalo cataract surgery.

#2 Experience Blue Light Protection with PanOptix Trifocal Lenses

The PanOptix Trifocal Lens is permanently coated to protect the eyes against blue light from computer screens and the sun’s ultraviolet light. However, the Alcon PanOptix Lens isn’t light responsive, meaning, they don’t operate like photo gray glasses that darken under the sun’s rays. It’s generally a good idea to protect your eyes from excess sun exposure and to take breaks from your computer screen to allow the eyes to rest.

#3 The PanOptix Trifocal Lens Can Correct Astigmatism

The PanOptix Trifocal Toric Lens corrects astigmatism. The Toric Lens is the only FDA-approved trifocal IOL that corrects astigmatism after cataract surgery. Astigmatism is a common refractive error of the eye that causes blurred vision. The condition occurs when the cornea or the lens inside the eye isn’t evenly curved, causing the light entering the eye to focus unevenly on the retina. This results in eye blur at near and far distances. The Alcon PanOptix Lens for cataract surgery can take care of this condition and restore your vision

#4 PanOptix Trifocal Lenses Improve the Quality of Your Vision

PanOptix trifocal lenses improve the quality of your eyesight by providing clear vision at all distances. The Alcon PanOptix Lens for cataract surgery not only eliminates the gradual clouding of your vision caused by the condition, this procedure can help eliminate your glasses entirely.

Additionally, the PanOptix Trifocal Lens has a unique design that helps reduce visual distortions and aberrations, providing clear and stable vision in all lighting conditions. This leads to improved visual quality, reducing the visual strain and discomfort often associated with traditional multifocal lenses.

#5 With the PanOptix Trifocal IOL You Can Maintain an Active Lifestyle

The Alcon PanOptic Trifocal Lens for cataract surgery can help you maintain an active lifestyle without needing multiple pairs of glasses or switching between contacts and glasses. This implant makes it easier to participate in activities requiring visual acuity at multiple distances, such as playing sports and using a computer, driving, or reading.

The Alcon PanOptic Lens is surgically implanted inside the eye, so it isn’t necessary to remove or clean it. This convenience can give you the peace of mind to participate in an active lifestyle without requiring contacts or glasses.

Is the Alcon PanOptix Trifocal Lens Right for You? Consult with the Top Cataract Surgeons in Buffalo, NY

If you’re experiencing the cloudy, blurry vision common to cataract sufferers, the ophthalmologists at Eye Care & Vision Associates can determine if PanOptix cataract surgery is right for you. We offer four locations for cataract surgery in Buffalo and the surrounding region: Elmwood Village, Southtowns, Niagara Falls, and Williamsville.

Request an appointment with the cataract surgeons at ECVA today to learn more about the Alcon PanOptix Trifocal Lens. We can help!

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About AMD

Receiving a diagnosis of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is often startling and concerning, particularly if you aren’t overly familiar with AMD. As a result, it’s wise to prepare questions that you can ask your ophthalmologist after being referred for an appointment. If you aren’t sure what to ask, here are a few questions that will help you understand the diagnosis and get the conversational ball rolling. 

Is It Wet or Dry AMD, and Is It Affecting One or Both Eyes? 

AMD comes in two primary forms, wet and dry. Each type has a unique cause and requires different treatments to manage. As a result, it’s critical to learn which kind of AMD you have early in the process. 

Additionally, finding out if it’s affecting one or both eyes is wise. Either is a possibility, so learning whether both eyes are impacted is essential. 

What Stage Is My AMD? 

Knowing the stage of AMD lets you know how advanced the condition is, and it may make it easier to determine which treatment options are worth pursuing at that time. By asking your ophthalmologist whether you’re in an early, intermediate, or advanced stage, you’ll have a better understanding of your current diagnosis. 

Is My AMD Likely to Progress? 

When, how, or if a condition progresses depends on multiple factors. With this question, you can find out how quickly your AMD may advance, allowing you to determine whether various treatment options make sense at this time. 

Will Any Lifestyle Changes Slow Progression? 

In some cases, lifestyle changes – like altering your diet, adjusting your exercise schedule, or taking supplements – can impact the progression of specific eye conditions. However, whether any changes are right for you depends on many factors. For example, whether there are other medical conditions you have that would be negatively impacted by an adjustment is something you need to discuss with your care team before making lifestyle changes. 

Should My Blood Relatives Get Checked for AMD? 

Genetics can play a role in some eye conditions, including whether someone is potentially at greater risk of developing AMD. By asking your doctor this question, you can find out if your blood relatives – such as siblings or children – may need more frequent screenings to ensure the health of their eyes. 

How Frequently Should I Schedule Follow-Ups with My Eye Care Provider? 

With conditions like AMD, it’s wise to schedule follow-up appointments with your eye care provider to monitor how your AMD progresses and whether various treatments are effective. Speak with your ophthalmologist to determine an ideal schedule and prioritize those appointments. That ensures your eye care provider can adjust the treatment plan quickly if necessary, increasing the odds that your vision is preserved as much as possible. 

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. If you were recently diagnosed with AMD and want guidance on treatment options, our board-certified ophthalmologists are here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

Ways to Take Better Care of Your Eyes in 2023

Caring for your eyes is an excellent way to help keep them healthy. Specific eye care habits can reduce your odds of developing specific conditions, while others can keep your eyes comfortable during changing environmental conditions. 

Fortunately, creating an effective eye care routine is typically far simpler than most people expect. If you are prioritizing your health this new year, here are a few simple ways to care for your eyes every day. 

Wash Your Hands Regularly (and Avoid Touching Your Eyes) 

Regular hand washing helps remove bacteria, dust, and dirt, reducing the odds of transfer if you contact your eye area. By also avoiding touching and rubbing your eyes, you make it even less likely that any substance or bacteria will infect your eyes. Plus, not rubbing can reduce irritation if anything is in your eye, making injuries less likely, too. 

Adopt Healthy Eating Habits 

Eating a healthy, balanced diet and drinking enough water can improve your eye health. Remaining hydrated can prevent your eyes from getting dry and irritated. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, lycopene, lutein, beta-carotene, and others also help ensures your eyes have what they need to stay healthy. 

Quit Smoking 

Smoking isn’t just harmful to your lungs; it also negatively impacts your eyes. Smokers are more at risk of developing certain conditions, including cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and others. Smoking also leads to optic nerve damage that can reduce your visual acuity over time, even if it doesn’t lead to another condition. By quitting, you reduce your risk significantly, so it’s worth doing. 

Where UV-Blocking Glasses 

Ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your eyes in several ways. Corneas are susceptible to sunburns which, along with being uncomfortable, can potentially lead to vision issues. Exposure to UV rays is also associated with conditions like photokeratitis and age-related macular degeneration. 

By wearing UV-blocking sunglasses or getting UV-blocking coatings on regular glasses lenses, you can filter out harmful UV light. Coupling those with hats or visors can also make the approach more effective. 

Use Screens Correctly 

Digital devices and screens can lead to a variety of eye issues. Improper distances, excessive glare, or extended durations classically lead to problems like eye strain and dry eye. 

When you’re using screens, keep the brightness and angle appropriate. For computer screens, that generally means keeping the monitor about 20 degrees below eye level and the distance close to arm’s length. For any screen, make sure you look away every 20 minutes and focus on a spot that’s about 20 feet away from your position. It’s also wise to take breaks regularly, giving you a chance to move around and rest your eyes before returning. 

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. We recommend that everyone get their eyes checked annually by an eye doctor to ensure eye health and early detection of any problems. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today, we’d love to see your family for a checkup. 

Standard vs. Premium IOLs for Cataract Surgery: Is it Worth it to Upgrade?

Most people who live into their 70s will develop cataracts in one or both eyes. Cataracts cause a gradual dimming of vision and, if not corrected, may cause blindness. Fortunately, cataract lens replacement can restore clear vision. Cataract surgery is one of the most highly effective medical procedures of all time

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a common condition that occurs when the eye lens becomes cloudy or opaque, causing vision to blur or distort. The eye lens is the clear dome located behind the iris (the colored part of the eye) and the pupil (the black circle in the center of the iris). The lens is essential for focusing light into the retina, the layer of cells at the back of the eye that converts light into electrical signals. But as you age, the proteins in the eyes can break down, causing the cloudy film known as cataracts to occur.

What Happens During Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is a simple, safe procedure where the surgeon makes a small incision in the front of the eye and removes the cloudy lens. The surgeon will then replace the lens with an intraocular lens implant. More than 3.7 million people every year have cataract lens replacement surgery. Beyond choosing your doctor, each patient also has options when selecting their intraocular lens implant. 

Types of Replacement Lenses for Cataract Surgery

Once you’ve decided on cataract lens replacement, you will need to decide if standard or premium IOLs are right for you. There are several different types of IOLs available. The type that is best for a particular patient will depend on several factors, including their age, overall health, and specific vision needs.  

Talk with your eye doctor in Buffalo about the premium IOLs available and the benefits of premium intraocular lenses over standard.   

What is a Standard IOL?

A standard IOL is designed to provide good distance vision but may not provide optimal vision for reading or other close-up tasks. Standard IOLs are suitable for people who do not need correction for presbyopia, a common age-related condition that causes problems focusing on up-close objects.  

Standard IOLs are typically the most affordable type of IOL and are often covered by insurance. Because they are single-vision, you may still need to wear glasses for up-close or distance vision. However, they may not be suitable for everyone. Some people may prefer to pay extra for a more advanced type of IOL that provides better vision for a wider range of distances. Your ophthalmologist will be able to discuss the different types of IOLs available and help you choose the one that is best for you. 

What is a Premium IOL?

Premium IOLs are more advanced and designed to provide a wider range of vision than standard IOLs. There are several types of premium IOLs available, each with unique features and benefits. Some premium IOLs are designed to correct presbyopia by correcting your near vision. Some premium IOLs are multifocus lenses for cataract surgery that can do the work of glasses and eliminate your cataracts. Premium IOLs may be more expensive than standard IOLs and may not be covered by insurance. However, they can provide a broader range of vision and may be a good option for people who want to minimize their reliance on glasses and contact lenses. 

Toric IOLs

Toric IOLs are designed to correct astigmatism, which causes distorted or blurry vision due to an irregularly shaped cornea. Astigmatism occurs when the front surface of the eye (the cornea) is not perfectly round, but rather has a more football-like shape. This irregularity causes light to focus at two different points on the retina, rather than one, resulting in distorted or blurry vision. Toric IOLs are shaped differently from standard IOLs and are designed to correct this distorted focus by realigning the cornea’s irregular shape.

Multifocal IOLs

Multifocus lenses for cataract surgery, also called multifocal intraocular lens implants, are designed to correct presbyopia. Multifocal IOLs redirect light into the eye to correct your inability to see items that are close-up. This causes problems reading, working on a computer, or performing other tasks. Presbyopia typically worsens as you age, requiring reading or computer glasses. But multifocal premium lenses for cataract surgery can eliminate your need for vision correction while also eliminating a cataract.

Accommodating IOLs

There is another type of premium intraocular lens called accommodating IOLs. These IOLs work with your eye muscles to help with the natural process of focusing your eye. An accommodating IOL moves forward when the muscles around the eye tighten to look at close-up objects, then moves backward with the eye relaxes to allow you to look at more distant objects. 

Your ophthalmologist can discuss the different types of premium IOLs available and help you choose the best option.

What are the Benefits of Premium Lenses for Cataract Surgery?

Selecting premium lenses for cataract surgery means you receive the more advanced IOL designed to provide a wider range of vision options. Premium IOLs are a good option for people who want to minimize their need for corrective lenses after cataract surgery. Some of the benefits of premium IOLs for cataract lens replacement include: 

  • Improved distance and close-up vision without glasses. 
  • Correction of astigmatism, a condition where the cornea is irregularly shaped. 
  • Improved night vision that reduces glare and light halos. 

Costs of Premium Lenses for Cataract Surgery

Premium IOLs are generally more expensive than standard IOLs and may not be fully covered by your insurance carrier. While the typical standard lens, the cost can range up to $4,000 or so per eye. Premium IOS procedures can range closer to $7,000 per eye, depending on several factors. The cost can vary depending on the type of IOL chosen, the geographic location of the surgery, and your insurance coverage. But every doctor is different, so speak with your provider about cost, insurance coverage, and the treatment that’s right for you.

Alcon Premium Lenses for Cataract Surgery in Buffalo, NY

The cataract surgeons at ECVA have a variety of premium Alcon IOL options, including:  

Our team is standing by to provide you with the highest quality cataract surgery in Western New York. We have offices in Buffalo, Orchard Park, Niagara Falls, and Williamsville. Contact the ophthalmologists at ECVA today to learn more about our selection of Alcon premium lenses for cataract surgery.  

What Are the First Signs of Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye condition involving damage to the optic nerve, at times also including increased intraocular pressure. Over time, glaucoma typically leads to permanent vision loss as the optic nerve deteriorates. 

Anyone is technically at risk of developing glaucoma, so understanding what the first signs of the condition are critical. That allows you to take swift action if symptoms develop, making it easier to preserve your vision through proper treatment. 

The First Signs of Glaucoma 

There are a few early warning signs that glaucoma is developing. Some patients may only have a single symptom, while others may experience several. Regardless of the number of symptoms, it’s critical to understand that they’re potentially indicative of a serious condition. 

Here’s a look at some of the first signs of glaucoma. 

Blurry or Hazy Vision 

Intraocular pressure and optic nerve damage both impact visual acuity. As a result, one of the first signs may people with early-stage glaucoma notice is blurriness or hazy vision. In some cases, patients may also experience other visual distortions. Regardless of its nature, any vision changes are worrisome, as they’re often indicative of an eye condition. 

Eye Redness 

Increased pressure in the eye can lead to redness. Its severity can vary, as well as its persistence. However, eye redness without a clear cause is a potential sign of glaucoma. 

Halos Around Lights 

Halos around lights are potentially a symptom of several eye conditions, including glaucoma. In some cases, the halos experienced by those developing glaucoma are described as both colorful and bright. However, any halos that aren’t attributed to a known condition are potentially concerning. 

Eye Pain 

Glaucoma can cause eye pain, even in the early stages. Additionally, headaches can also occur in the eye area. Often, the pain is severe, often so much so that it differentiates itself from other types of headaches. 

Nausea or Vomiting 

Typically, nausea or vomiting alone aren’t symptoms of glaucoma. However, if they’re accompanied by vision changes and eye pain, they’re potentially symptoms of the condition. 

What to Do If You Have Signs of Glaucoma 

If you’re experiencing any of the early signs of glaucoma above, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your eye care provider right away. They can formally evaluate you for the condition, and if glaucoma is responsible for your symptoms, they’ll develop a plan to reduce damage and alleviate symptoms. 

Even if glaucoma isn’t responsible, some of the symptoms above are associated with other serious eye conditions. As a result, it’s always best to get evaluated right away if you’re experiencing vision changes, eye pain, unexplained redness, or halos, including if it is or isn’t associated with nausea or vomiting. 

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above that could indicate glaucoma or simply haven’t seen your eye care provider in the past year, the ECVA team is here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

What Is Thyroid Eye Disease?

hyroid eye disease (TED) is an autoimmune condition that impacts eye tissues. Typically, TED leads to inflammation, swelling, and damage to the muscles, connective tissues, and fatty tissues in the eye area. 

Since TED can cause permanent, lasting damage, understanding what it does, who’s at risk, early systems, and why prompt treatment is critical is essential. Here’s a closer look at thyroid eye disease. 

What Thyroid Eye Disease Does to Eye Tissues 

As commonly occurs with autoimmune conditions, the person’s immune system is essentially attacking their own body. With TED, the eye tissues are targeted by the immune system. 

TED occurs in two phases. First, there’s the active phase, which is also known as the inflammatory phase. This period can last up to three years, and it’s generally marked by ongoing inflammation and inflammation-related symptoms and damage. Second, there’s the stable phase, where inflammation subsides. 

TED can cause lead to other conditions, such as secondary glaucoma. Regardless of whether that occurs, the damage created by TED is potentially impactful. 

Who Is at Risk of Thyroid Eye Disease? 

In many cases, TED is connected to Graves disease, an autoimmune condition that affects the skin, thyroid, and eyes. Graves disease can lead to hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, both of which can trigger TED. 

Hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism not related to Graves disease may also result in TED. However, TED can occur without Graves disease or thyroid hormone abnormalities. Another risk factor is low levels of selenium in your blood. 

The Early Symptoms of Thyroid Eye Disease 

There are many symptoms associated with TED. While one of the most pronounced is proptosis (bulging eyes), dry eyes, watery eyes, irritation caused by a gritty feeling, redness, and double vision may occur before there are obvious physical changes. 

Vision changes can occur, as well as pain with eye movements or discomfort behind the eyes. Trouble closing your eyes fully is also a potential symptom and may lead to a corneal ulcer. 

In some cases, symptoms may only affect one eye. However, they can also occur in both. 

Why Regular Eye Appointments Are Crucial 

Scheduling regular eye appointments is critical regardless of whether you currently have TED. Your eye care provider can look for signs and symptoms that may indicate TED or conditions that may lead to thyroid eye disease. 

If you have TED, frequent appointments allow your eye care provider to monitor your condition and provide treatment options. This may include over-the-counter options to relieve irritation or dryness and reduce inflammation, selenium supplements if the levels in your blood are low, or prescription medications. 

Your eye care provider may also recommend certain home remedies or lifestyle changes. For example, using cool compresses to reduce swelling and discomfort may be part of the plan. Keeping your head higher when lying down, wearing sunglasses when in well-lit spaces or outdoors, eyelid taping, and similar steps may also be included. 

In some cases, surgical treatments might be on the table. This can include eyelid, eye muscle, or orbital decompression procedures. Radiation therapy is a potential option for combating inflammation, as well. 

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. If you are concerned about thyroid eye disease or simply haven’t seen your eye care provider in the past year, the ECVA team is here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

Do I Have a Blocked Tear Duct or Stye?

For many patients, issues like bumps on your eye are immediately concerning. One common condition is a stye, which usually presents on the eyelid, is typically a bit red, and may or may not come with soreness. 

Blocked tear ducts are different. Your tear ducts – also referred to as nasolacrimal ducts – are positioned near the inner corners of the eyes close to the nose, and their main purpose is to drain tears from the eye surface. 

If you’re wondering if you have a blocked tear duct, here’s what you need to know. 

Symptoms of a Blocked Tear Duct 

One of the most common symptoms of a blocked tear duct is watery eyes. When there’s a blockage, tears don’t drain properly, causing them to pool and leading to watery eyes. However, there are other signs of a blocked tear duct, including: 

  • Blurry vision 
  • Eye Redness 
  • Eyelid crusting 
  • Recurring eye infections 
  • Mucus or pus discharge 
  • Ongoing inflammation 
  • Swelling in the inner corner of the eye 

It’s important to note that the symptoms above can also point to a range of other eye conditions. As a result, if they’re present and persistent, it’s best to meet with your eye care provider for a formal diagnosis. 

Will Blocked Tear Ducts Clear Up on Their Own? 

Blocked tear ducts can clear up on their own. For infants, there is often a membrane that covers the duct, resulting in a blockage. As they grow, the membrane usually opens on its own, resolving the issue. 

With adults, blocked tear ducts may resolve if the blockage ultimately clears. In some cases, specific eye care steps can encourage this process, though it may also occur naturally. 

However, if there are signs of an eye infection, that may not clear up on its own. Additionally, if the blockage is due to a structural issue, such as an overly narrow tear duct, it often requires treatment from an eye care professional to resolve. 

Home Care for Blocked Tear Ducts 

There are home treatments for blocked tear ducts. Begin by washing the eye with warm water and a gentle soap to remove any eyelid crusting and reduce the odds of infection. 

You can also carefully massage the lacrimal sac, which is the spot where tears drain. Twice a day, use clean fingers to gently rub the lower corners of the impacted eye or eyes for a few seconds to encourage the tear duct blockage to clear. 

When to Seek Medical Treatment 

Generally, it’s best to speak with your eye care provider if you experience excessive tearing for more than a couple of days. Additionally, if there are signs of infection – such as mucus, pus, or eyelid crusting – making an immediate appointment is best. 

Recurring infections also signal the need for treatment from an eye care specialist, ensuring that the root cause of the ongoing problem is addressed. Pain that impacts your daily activities should also be evaluated, as well as long-term discomfort that could signal a persistent issue. 

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. If you are experiencing symptoms that could indicate a blocked tear duct or simply haven’t seen your eye care provider in the past year, the ECVA team is here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

How to Choose a Cataract Surgeon in Buffalo, NY

If you live long enough, the chances are high that you will end up with at least one cataract in your eyes. The American Academy of Ophthalmology says by age 75, 50% of Americans will have cataracts. Today, more than 24.4 million Americans over age 40 have cataracts.  

Cataracts are a filmy blur that covers the lens of your eye as you age. A cataract is caused by the natural breakdown of proteins in the eye that gradually build up to produce a film. If you have cataracts, you will gradually lose your vision. 

Surgery for cataracts is both highly effective and safe. Fortunately, treatments are available to remove the cataract and restore your vision. If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, your next step is to look for an eye specialist for cataract surgery. This article will help you find the best cataract surgeons in Buffalo to help you get your eyesight—and your life—back. 

Who Performs Cataract Surgery in Buffalo?

The doctor who performs surgery for cataracts is called an ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who receive additional surgical training and are qualified as eye specialists for cataract surgery. An ophthalmologist is different from an optometrist, who is the doctor you might visit when you need an eye exam. Optometrists often refer cataract patients to ophthalmologists to receive vision-saving cataract treatment. 

What Should You Look for in a Buffalo Cataract Surgeon?

We know a diagnosis of cataracts can be disconcerting or even frightening. But the disorder can easily be corrected with a common outpatient surgery known as cataract removal. During cataract removal, your surgeon will remove the lens of your eye and replace it with an artificial (intraocular) lens to clear up your vision. The type of intraocular lens (OL) the doctor uses depends upon your overall vision. Some OLs can improve your long distance vision or help correct astigmatism.  

There are many cataract surgeons in Buffalo that can perform this procedure. What should you look for if you’re seeking the best possible treatment? 

Education/Board Certification

Start with the educational background of the cataract surgery provider. Credentialing serves as the baseline for a cataract surgeon. The doctor you choose should be board certified in ophthalmology. An ophthalmologist goes through four years of undergraduate study, four years of medical school, and an additional four or five years of specialty training. Then the new doctor must pass their medical exam and board certification. Board certification means the ophthalmologist has received a certificate from the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO), the oldest medical specialty board in the U.S. today. Certification requires both an oral and written exam. Certification is re-upped every ten years or so to ensure the ophthalmologist stays on top of the latest advances in the field. 

Next, look at Healthgrades.com to ensure the surgeon has no history of complaints, disciplinary actions, or malpractice. Healthgrades is an excellent resource for patient ratings as well as details on a doctor’s practice history. 

Experience Performing Cataract Surgery

Experience matters when performing any task, but certainly when you’re choosing an eye specialist for cataract surgery. Beyond credentials, you’ll want to look at the surgeon’s experience performing cataract surgery. The more experienced the surgeon, the better they’ll be at meeting the standard success rate for cataract removal—which is high. The overall complication for cataract surgeries is less than 5%. 

Even new ophthalmologists have performed 200 to 300 surgeries before they enter practices. Cataract surgery is a fairly routine procedure. With that said, there is a difference in the skill levels of surgeons who have done 300 surgeries versus 600 or even 3,000. When you ask cataract surgeons in Buffalo how many cataract surgeries they’ve performed successfully, you’re looking for that higher number.   

Cataract Surgery Success Rate

The next criterion for choosing your eye specialist for cataract surgery is to look at patient outcomes. Only one out of every 2,000 patients experience any sort of complication during these surgeries, making them one of the safest procedures in all of medicine. You can use a site like Healthgrades to check for surgery complications, but you should also as the doctor about the last complication they experienced and what was the outcome? 

3 Tips for Choosing a Cataract Surgeon in Buffalo

Basic research can move you closer to selecting the top doctor for cataract surgery in Buffalo. Some of the best questions to ask your cataract surgeon include the following: 

  • What are the benefits and risks of cataract surgery? 
  • What will my recovery process be like? 
  • Is this surgery covered by my insurance? If not, what will I owe? 
  • How will my vision be after the surgery? 
  • What will my aftercare be like? 
  • Will I need any follow-up surgeries? 

Surgery for cataracts is routine, but you should feel comfortable asking questions anytime a doctor operates on your body. Pay attention to how the doctor or their clinical and administrative staff treat you as you’re asking questions. They should be patient and have clear communication to answer any queries you have. If you don’t feel comfortable with how they handle your questions, it’s a red flag. 

We have three additional tips for selecting from all of the cataract surgeons in Buffalo. Follow these steps to help ensure you find the perfect surgeon for your cataract removal procedure. 

#1 Read Online Reviews

Online reviews are the top tip for choosing a cataract surgeon in Buffalo because healthcare patients today increasingly use this forum to select doctors in every specialty. Inc. says 84% of people trust online reviews more than they trust a referral from a friend. In healthcare, patients trust online reviews as much as a doctor’s referral. With 91% of the population reading online reviews before they select any service provider, you better believe these consumer portals are important to your doctor.  

Where can you look for online referrals for cataract surgeons in Buffalo? 

  • Doctor.com 
  • Google 
  • Healthgrades 
  • RateMDs 
  • Vitals 
  • Wellness.com 
  • Yelp 

What should you look for when choosing an eye specialist for cataract surgery? 

  • Lots of stars and happy patients. Would you trust your eyes to a provider with only three stars? 
  • A lot of reviews. The more reviews the better, in fact. Most healthcare patients (74.7%) want at least seven positive ratings before they say they’ll consider the doctor. 
  • How does the practice handle the reviews? Pay particular attention to whether the practice responds to any negative patient reviews.  

#2 Referrals

Since surgery for cataracts is so common, you may have friends, neighbors, or family members who have undergone the procedure. Ask around. Also, your optometrist refers patients to ophthalmologists regularly, so ask their office what specialist for cataract surgery they recommend. You can also seek out referrals from: 

  • The American Academy of Ophthalmology. 
  • The department of ophthalmology at your closest hospital. 
  • Your insurance company. 

#3 Schedule a Consultation

It’s a great idea to visit the practice and meet the staff and doctor before you select the doctor that will do your cataract surgery. Cataract surgeons in Buffalo frequently offer a no cost consultation with the surgeon before scheduling the appointment. After the visit, ask yourself these questions to see if you feel comfortable with the practice: 

  • What does the office feel like?  
  • Is the office conveniently located? 
  • Do the practice office hours fit within your schedule? 
  • Were you welcomed warmly?  
  • Was the staff inattentive? 
  • How was the doctor’s bedside manner?  
  • Did the doctor explain the procedure clearly? 
  • Was the doctor patient when answering your questions? 
  • Did the office seem modern? 
  • What kind of technology will the practice use to perform your cataract surgery? 
  • How rigorous were the hygiene standards at the practice—were the restrooms clean? 
  • What did your instincts tell you about the practice? 

Another consideration is whether your insurance will cover the cost of the cataract surgery with the physician you choose. What is the cost of the treatment? Talk to the practice manager or other administrative staff member about what out-of-pocket costs you’ll incur. 

You have a lot riding on the success of your cataract surgery. Since cataracts come on gradually, you can be as thorough as you need to be when selecting your eye specialist for cataract surgery. Your thorough efforts to find the right fit will help you achieve a more successful and comfortable surgery. 

Choose WNY’s Top Ophthalmologists for Cataract Surgery

Eye Care & Vision Associates is leading the Buffalo region in innovative, high-quality eye care for you and your family. In addition to surgery for cataracts, our practices offer lasik eye surgery, medical retinal exams, management of glaucoma condition, diabetic eye care, and of course, comprehensive vison exams.  

We care for patients at all stages of their lives. With four offices in the Buffalo area, there’s sure to be a practice that’s conveniently located near your home. Contact us if your eyes are troubling you—we can help.

Schedule a consultation with one of the top cataract surgeons in Buffalo, NY today!

ECVA Giving Back to the Community

Every year, ECVA gives back to the community by adopting a local veteran family for the holidays. This ECVA tradition started in 2015, and it’s become a moment our team and patients look forward to every year. 

ECVA aims to make supporting its community and giving back a joyous occasion for all involved, including our employees and patients. Here’s a look at how ECVA gives back and how you can take part in this holiday tradition. 

Supporting Veterans and Their Families Through Basket Raffles 

At ECVA, we hold a basket raffle every year that benefits a veteran and their family during the holiday season. The baskets are created with donated items from staff members. Once they’re put together, raffle tickets are purchased by employees and patients, and the money raised through ticket sales is matched by our doctors. 

Every ECVA office has its own raffle. Once winners are selected in early December, staff members contact the winners the following week, allowing them to pick up their baskets. 

After gathering the donated funds, the money is used to purchase gifts for the veteran and their family members. Along with traditional presents, ECVA aims to provide gifts that are enjoyable all year-round, such as annual passes to the Buffalo Zoo & Aquarium and movie theatre gift cards. In some years, furniture and appliances were also given as presents. 

Partnering with WNY Heroes to Connect with Veteran Families in Need 

ECVA is proud to partner with WNY Heroes to connect with a veteran family in need this holiday season. Since 2007, WNY Heroes has worked diligently to provide veterans and their families with critical support, ensuring they have access to essential services, financial assistance, and more. 

WNY Heroes identifies veteran households during the holidays that could use help to have a brighter holiday season. ECVA adopts a family in need every year, raffling off gift baskets to gather donations that are then used to purchase items for the veteran and their family. 

How You Can Help Give Back and Support Local Veterans 

Patients and other community members are always welcome to get involved and help support local veterans and their families. You can purchase raffle tickets at our offices, allowing you to donate funds for a good cause and have a chance at taking home an amazing gift basket. 

Raffle tickets are still available, and this year’s drawing will occur on December 2. If you want to participate, stop by one of our offices at any time before the drawing and speak to the receptionist about raffle tickets. Each office has a unique raffle, so feel free to head to other offices to have a chance at winning one of the many fantastic gift baskets our teams created this year. 

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. If you haven’t seen your eye care provider in the past year, the ECVA team is here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

Family looking at eyeglasses

Night Blindness and Trouble Seeing at Night

Many people struggle with seeing clearly at night. This is particularly true under specific conditions. For instance, glare created by headlights on oncoming vehicles may result in temporary vision difficulties. 

However, trouble seeing at night might be more severe. With night blindness, there are broader issues with seeing in the dark or in dimly lit spaces. If you’re wondering if your issues seeing at night are genuinely night blindness, here’s what you need to know. 

What Is Night Blindness? 

Night blindness – which is formally known as nyctalopia – is a vision impairment that results in poor vision when in dark or dimly lit spaces. It often leads to difficulties when driving at night, but it can also make dining in dim restaurants, moving through movie theaters, and similar situations hard to navigate. 

Often, the issues are most noticeable when transitioning from a well-lit space to a darker one. For example, heading into a dimly lit restaurant on a bright, sunny day may cause struggles. Similarly, oncoming headlights or streetlamps along the road at night may result in definitive symptoms. 

What Causes Problems with Night Vision? 

Night blindness may occur for a variety of reasons. Certain medical conditions that impact how light moves through the eye are common examples. This can include anything from general nearsightedness to cataracts to retinitis pigmentosa. 

In some cases, medications may result in night blindness, as the condition is a known potential side effect. Specific birth defects or genetic disorders – such as congenital stationary night blindness or Usher syndrome – may also cause the condition. 

Temporary issues with night vision can also occur after vision correction surgery like Lasik. At times, a vitamin A deficiency may result in night blindness. However, this is generally rare and is more common in individuals with cystic fibrosis or conditions that cause pancreatic insufficiency. 

Can You Correct Night Vision Issues? 

Whether night blindness is correctable depends on the root cause. If nearsightedness is responsible, specific vision correction options – such as glasses or contacts – may solve the issue. For vision correction surgery-related night blindness, the situation may resolve after a patient fully heals from the procedure. 

With cataracts, cataract removal surgery may restore night vision. If the issue is caused by a medication, switching to a new treatment can be effective. For vitamin A deficiencies, a supplement or diet change may work well. 

However, night blindness related to other conditions may be uncorrectable. That’s the case for night blindness caused by specific birth defects or genetic disorders, such as retinitis pigmentosa. 

When to See an Eye Care Provider 

If you’re experiencing difficulty seeing at night or when transitioning from brightly lit to dim spaces, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your eye care provider. They can gather information and perform tests to determine if night blindness is occurring, its cause, and what treatment options are available based on the results. 

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. If you are experiencing symptoms of night blindness or simply haven’t seen your eye care provider in the past year, the ECVA team is here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.