What You Should Know About Your RA


It is estimated that approximately 1.3 million people in this country are impacted by the painful and often disfiguring effects of rheumatoid arthritis. RA can be a very troubling condition for those diagnosed because there is no known cure. One can only hope to stave off the damage done as the bone and tissue of their joints is deteriorating. There are a number of concerns that new RA patients should be made aware of. Some of those problems will be addressed by a primary care physician, others may require a specialist, and a few will even call for a Waco dental professional.

Osteoporosis Unfortunately, these two conditions often go hand-in-hand. The RA can cause the bone thinning and deterioration known as osteoporosis. It is important for RA patients to find low impact forms of exercise to maintain strength and slow bone loss. There are also corticosteroids used to slow this progression.

Sjögren’s Syndrome This is an autoimmune disease that causes dry mouth and dry eyes. It can be very uncomfortable, but also poses other risks including gum disease and tooth decay, as saliva is used to clear away decay-causing bacteria. While there is no cure, there are treatments to maintain healthy eyes and oral conditions.

Heart Disease There are several factors that can increase one’s risk of heart disease. One of the most significant is the presence of RA. In fact, the RA diagnosis automatically doubles a person’s risk of this life threatening condition. Prevention measures and regular exams should be implemented as soon as possible.

Anemia This is a condition that causes a reduced number of red blood cells. These cells, of course, are responsible for the transportation of oxygen through the body. Therefore, too few cells can lead to serious complications. The longer RA symptoms – especially inflammation – go untreated, the greater the risk of anemia becomes. This is due to the fact that the swelling slows the rate at which bone marrow can regenerate red blood cells.

General Infections Perhaps one of the most important things for an RA patient to understand is that, while the medications are important for treating the symptoms of the disease, those drugs can also lead to a depressed immune system, less capable of fighting off infection. This can lead to RA patients becoming more susceptible to contagious illnesses that they are exposed it. It can also increase the risk of bacterial infections, including gum disease.

TMD Temporomandibular Disorders cause problems in the hinging joints of the jaw. These can include significant pain and discomfort, clicking, locking, as well as swelling at the sides of the face. Because RA attacks the joints, it is not surprising that this condition can often accompany it. There are treatments that a
TMJ Dentist in Waco
can provide patients and recommendations that can be made to keep the symptoms of RA at bay so the TMJ is not so directly impacted.

Rheumatoid arthritis can really cause havoc in the body. It is important to maintain constant communication with doctors and dentists to ensure that the problem does not escalate to dangerous levels.

Steven T. Cutbirth DDS
1613 Lake Success Drive
Waco, TX 76710
(254) 772-5420 ?

Rheumatoid Arthritis Fingers (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cloudsoup/6942317880/) / CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Med Spa Services: What Do You Need?

Laser Studio

When you want a med spa, what is it you’re looking for? By definition, a med spa is a spa that provides medical or quasi-medical services. While a regular Austin, Texas, spa may offer massage and hot tubs, a med spa probably offers laser hair removal, HCG diet treatments, and the like. So what can you expect from a med spa? Services will differ between locations, but here’s a general list:

Botox. You may think this is only for dermatologists, but some places offer Botox treatments. After all, med spas help you feel better, so why not help you look better as well? You can help deep-six your wrinkles the same day you go to enjoy a relaxing massage. Plenty of skin-care services besides Botox are generally offered as well – simply ask around to find out what different spas offer. You can usually get your skin fixed while also relaxing and having a good time.

Body Sculpting. While liposuction proper tends to be reserved for the bona fide medical office, CoolSculpting, LipoSonix, and other lipolysis/body sculpting treatments can be found at many med spas. Unlike liposuction, these procedures are non-invasive and require no downtime. They don’t come with liposuction side effects like soreness at the site and swelling. Liposuction can cause swelling of the treated site for a long time, and many people who undergo the procedure wear compression gear to combat long-term swelling. These body-sculpting treatments are lower-risk, and you can walk out of the med spa on the same day. The lack of sedation is a major plus.

HCG Diet. In most of the HCG diet information you’ll read in Austin, you’ll find out that this plan is a controversial one, but in some case the results are wonderful. Some doctor’s offices offer this treatment, and many med spas do as well. It can be a nice addition to existing treatments, or it can be a complement to body sculpting or something else. HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone produced by pregnant women that allows them to burn calories even when they don’t eat a lot. HCG diets tend to require you to eat few calories, but they stop your body from going into starvation mode. The jury is out on whether this diet is completely useful or completely useless, but for some people, it has definite results. If you have a consultation with a med spa, you can find out your options.

Chemical peels. Sometimes, your skin just needs a fresh start, and this is just the way to get it. A chemical peel can allow your skin to rejuvenate itself. It can make you look younger and tends to be more effective than spot treatments and the like. You don’t want to overdo chemical peels and other skin treatments, but done in moderation, they can be very helpful. There are myriad other skin treatments available at most med spas…just ask!

When you are ready to improve your life, head over to your nearest med spa and prepare to revolutionize yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, even spiritually. It’s an experience you won’t regret or forget.

Quan Spa-1 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/yungke22/4326449239/) / CC BY-ND 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/)

Laser Studio
4613 Bee Caves Rd #105-B
Austin, TX 78746
(512) 337-2466

Prevent Water Damage: What You Should Know About Sump Pumps

sump pumps

Flooding has been a major issue and a source of vast financial loss in several corners of the world in recent years. While Santa Cruz residents have escaped the worst of the water damage and wreckage associated with the strong storms, the local residents should not become too complacent. If nothing else, we should have learned that one can never know what to expect from Mother Nature.

If your home is prone to flooding, then you may want to have sump pumps on hand. While most people have heard of these devices, there are many misconceptions that linger. In order to know what to expect from your own sump pump and to know what is best to invest in, consider the following.

Sump pumps are often the first defense against rising waters. They can keep your home dry even as water rise to dangerous levels. This can save you a great deal of water damage during minor high water situations, but it can also provide you the time needed to secure the rest of the belongings in the home should a major flood move into the area. There are two varieties of sump pumps. Each has a list of advantages and based on these lists, you can better decide which is right of you.

Pedestal Pump the up-right variety of sump pump is referred to as a ‘pedestal pump’. This pump features a motor atop and a pump at the base. There are a number of clear advantages that come with the investment. First of all, it features a clearly visible on/off switch, which makes it easier to control and monitor. Pedestal pumps also boast longer life spans than the other variety of sump pump. In fact, they can often last for up to thirty years. Despite this advantage, they are actually the more affordable of the two types and are much easier to repair should any damage be sustained.

Submersion Pumps While pedestal pumps are certainly worth consideration, there is much that makes submersion pumps worthwhile as well. This is the more common variety and can be installed into water trenches, beneath the water. A special casing protects the motor and on/off switch. There are actually two different on/off switches, depending on the model — the internal pressure switch and the sealed, mercury-activated float switch. Submersion pumps have a lifespan of up to fifteen years and they will not be an eye sore in the basement, nor will they be in the way of other basement fixtures, such as the furnace. Perhaps the greatest advantage of the submersion pumps, however, is the fact that they are equipped with greater horsepower than pedestal pumps, which means that they can pump out more water faster.

Sump pumps should be tested regularly. Homeowners should inspect cords and plugs, ensure that the pumped water is being directed away from the house and that nothing is clogged. It is important to regularly test sump pumps by introducing water and gauging the automatic on/off function. Unfortunately, as with any piece of equipment, it is possible for sump pumps to fail. Typical problems with sump pumps include outdoor pipes that can freeze or clog and plugging of the small screen where water enters the pump. These problems can be easily repaired, which is why it is important to inspect and test the pumps regularly.

As a final note, it should be mentioned that a sump pump should never empty into floor drains. This can overwhelm sewer or septic system and cause much bigger problems. Water damage repair can be difficult enough, but if your Scotts Valley, CA home suddenly has sewer backup, you will be facing a much greater headache.

Grinder Pump (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gtzecosan/3191496272/) / CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

Is Your Roof Fire Resistant?

There are many reasons to fear a nearby blaze. The possible sources of house fire are not confined within its walls. They may include many outdoor causes as well, such as chimney sparks, brush fire, or airborne materials from a nearby bonfire or house fire. If the roof is the first to make contact with the fire source, one wants to know that it will resist it, rather than allowing the burning embers to eat through to the attic. A cheap roof repair is much preferred to having to start from scratch after losing everything.

The roof resistance of roofing materials is rated on a three stage scale – Class A, Class B, and Class C. There are also unrated roofing materials, which fail to meet the requirements of any of these three stages. Those, of course, would be the least likely to be recommended by Plano roof repair companies. Ratings are determined by Underwriters Laboratories, Inc, which is a non-profit, private organization founded in 1894.

To understand how the ratings are assigned, one must understand the tests performed.

* Intermittent Flame Will a flame touching the outer surface of the roof reach the interior of the home? That is the question explored in this test. The flame is issued in intervals – turned on for two minutes, turned off for two minutes. The number of cycles performed depends on the class. Class A materials must pass the test guidelines over fifteen cycles, whereas Class C materials will only be exposed to the flames three times.

* Flame Spread This measures the potential for flames to spread along the surface of the roofing material. There is a constant flame source used for the testing over a pre-determined amount of time.

* Ignition From Burning Brands Burning debris can also be the source of fire in a home. The experts want to know how roofing will hold up against the brands, should be deposited and left on the surface.

So, how do the roofs fall into the established classes?

* Class A: This is the best possible rating and suggests that the roofing would stand up against a severe fire. It showcases a flame spread of six feet or less during the testing phase, but also demonstrates an ability to hold the fire at the surface, not allowing it to reach the interior of the home. This better ensures that roof repair in Arlington TX will be the only expense faced by the occupants. Furthermore, there is little chance that this type of roofing with put off sparks and flaming debris that could result in the fire spreading elsewhere.

* Class B: While the flame may spread a bit further, between six and eight feet during testing, Class B is still a respectable rating and suggests that the roofing material is capable of withstanding moderate fire. Observers should act fast to have the fire extinguished to prevent it from entering the home.

* Class C: When the flame spreads beyond eight feet, but not much further, Class C rating is likely to be given. This roofing is not ideal for homes in a high fire risk area, as it will only hold up against minor threats. There is a very real possibility that flames taking the roof will claim a portion of the house as well.

* Unrated: If the roofing material is unrated, do not believe that it will provide any fire protection at all. The burning roof will quickly give way to the attic below. Fast action is absolutely necessary to safe the home.

Affordable Dallas Roofing Solutions
3102 Maple Ave #400-A1
Dallas, Texas 75201
(972) 916-9600

Check Your Roof to Avoid Winter Issues

With winter weather coming on, homeowners are weatherizing their homes, worrying about the cost of heating and otherwise preparing for winter. They would do well to consider preparing for winter weather! Winter storms are on the rise across the country, leaving damage and power outages in their wake. But it doesn’t take a severe winter storm to pose problems for a homeowner. Even regular, steady precipitation can create the same problems.

While homeowners prepare for winter weather, many do not stop to include roof maintenance in their preparations. While they may be weatherizing windows or worrying about the cost of heating, there are other simple maintenance steps to take in order to save money and prepare for winter. The roof, for example, is perhaps the most overlooked part of the house. But there is no better time than now to prepare to avoid winter roofing issues. Consider the following roofing issues and schedule your roof repair as soon as possible.

Is the roof properly insulated? If not, poor insulation can lead to ice damming. Those pretty icicles do not allow water to drain from the roof, causing moisture to penetrate and damage rooftops. Even without freezing temperatures, too little insulation can lead to energy loss, costing you, the homeowner, hard earned money. High quality ceiling insulation and proper ventilation can also prevent ice damming as well as better controlling internal temperatures in the home. Venting helps control air flow and reduce moisture in attic areas. Check for any animal damage (the attic is a great place to start). This is particularly important if you live in an area where animals may wanting a safe, warm spot for colder weather.

Lack of proper maintenance over time can lead to issues with the roof. A homeowner doesn’t necessarily need to know a lot about roof installation in order to spot critical issues. Taking a pair of binoculars and examining the roof can often turn up signs of a bigger problem. Look for any blown off or curling shingles, vegetation growth on the roof or signs of sagging or buckling. Look for ponding water on the rooftop. Check any chimneys for signs of damage. If you see these things, schedule a maintenance appointment right away. Regular inspection can save a lot of headaches and expense in the future.

If you discover any of these winter issues, scheduling proper roof repair right away is important. Putting off maintenance and repairs only generates a larger and more expensive problem. Find a roofing contractor who has specific experience with winter roofing issues. Make sure all licensing is up to date and that the contractor understands the local permitting process. Ask for examples of previous roof repair jobs so that you have something to compare to the work your home needs. Finally, make sure to establish an ongoing relationship with your roofing contractor; simple regular maintenance can ensure the roof of your home is prepared for any weather!

Affordable Houston Roofing Solutions
5100 Westheimer # 200-A1
Houston, Texas 77056
Phone: (832) 730-2500

Understanding The Energy Performance Of Your Windows

There are two numbers to pay special attention to when buying new home windows. The first is the U-factor, which is how fast heat transfer occurs between the inside air and that outdoors. The second measure is the SHGC, or Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. This figure measures the amount of infrared light allowed to enter through the windows. Infrared light is heat and it can quickly raise the temperature of a home, which not a good thing in Texas. Consider the differences that can be made with the use of different window materials today.

Metal Frame Versus Wood or Composite – Older windows were often made with metal frames, which did not make for good insulation. The metal allowed easy temperature transfer between the indoors and out. This is amplified by the fact that metal frames often featured a single pane of glass that did little to help break the heat transfer. Clear glass allowed all length sunlight rays free access to the home, which means that infrared rays make it in and quickly raise the temperature of the house, especially in the warmest months of the year, when air conditioning is working overtime anyway. The U-factor of these windows often soared very high, at number of 0.56-0.7, and SHGC was almost always greater than 0.60. While there are many new varieties of glass today that can help control these measures, even the frame was an issue. The same glass framed with a wood or manmade composite produced much lower U-factor and SHGC figures. These newer frames did not promote heat transfer and therefore boasted a U-factor in a range of 0.41-0.55 and SHGC of 0.41-0.6.

Tinted Glass, Insulated Glass, and Low-E Coating – The next thing to address in the efforts to lower these measurements was the glass used. The first approach was to tint the glass, thereby limiting all light allowed to pass, which mean less IR light as well. However, this did little to impact the U-factor; window insulation was needed, which is why manufacturers developed insulated glass. The air pocket between the double panes slowed heat transfer through the glass. The result was lower U-factor counts. Matched with the tinted glass, the outcome was wonderful (U-factor: 0.31-0.40, SHGC: 0.26-0.40). Even better numbers came with the invention of Low-E coating. When two sheets of glass concealed an inner coating and argon fill, the Low-E was allowed to prevent long light waves. There was no longer a need to tint the glass. The visible sunlight could still be enjoyed, but the IR light (longer waves) were blocked. While the U-factor was not impacted, it was already at a very good level, thanks to the insulated glass. The Low-E pushed SHGC lower, however, so that homes in the hot south could enjoy very little added heat. An SHGC count lower than 0.25 could finally be achieved with new Houston windows.

Today, in Texas, homeowners can enjoy true energy efficiency by choosing window installation with new replacement windows featuring insulated glass and Low-E coating. The argon fill ensures the longevity of the coating so the windows can be enjoyed and appreciated for years to come.

When Should I Replace my Windows?

You are well aware of the fact that it is time to invest in replacement windows. In Austin, though, there is no hurry to get them done in the summer months, as might be the case in other parts of the country. In fact, nearly any season in this area will work for the exchange of old windows for new. However, you may be wondering about price fluctuations throughout the year, or about energy efficiency during the process, or about convenience for you and your family. Whatever your reasoning may be, it is understandable why you would carefully consider the best time to buy and install replacements.

Maintaining Energy Efficiency In the cooler northern climate, the contractors would likely recommend (if not demand) that windows be replaced in the warmer months of the year, but when it comes to preserving the comfortable temperature of a home in the south, the summer months can be a bad (and very uncomfortable) time to be without windows. Even if the air conditioning can keep up, the added cost of it running longer and harder could add up quickly. That is not to mention the increase in the size of your ecological footprint. Early spring and later in the fall, when the temperature is cool, but not cold, may be the best option for those trying to preserve the level of comfort in their home while paying a Leander window contractor. That being said, it is possible to replace one window or a couple of windows at a time to preserve the temperatures in the other areas of the home, should you opt for a summer or winter replacement.

Avoiding Harsh Weather Snow may be a rarity in the south, but rain can sure wield its ugly head numerous times and particularly at certain times of the year. Replacing the windows in a rain- or wind storm can be damaging to the home and dangerous for everyone involved. In fact, window contractors may refuse to do the replacements until the weather clears. To avoid such nuisances, it can be a good idea to choose drier months of the year. April, May, and June are typically the wettest months of the year in this part of the country, while the driest are in the dead of winter. Fall is also fairly dry and it is the time of the year when many Texans are eager to open their windows anyway. As a result, it can be a very appealing time for window replacement.

Best Pricing One of the biggest questions that you are likely asking is what the price difference is between the varying times of the year. Round Rock window replacement doesn’t vary a great deal from month to month, but, that being said, winter is the slowest time for contractors in this field. As a result, it might be possible to work out a better deal on the associated labor expenses, thereby saving yourself some money and getting the job done during a dry, cool time of the year.

LASIK Learning

Learning about Lasik and Ophthalmology

Your eyes are the only organ that is truly vulnerable, because it is the only organ that shows any part of itself outside of the body. They’re also very fragile. It doesn’t take much for an eye to become injured, even if it is just temporarily. That’s why it is so important to find an ophthalmologist that you can trust in. One that can take care of your eyes in the right way. And, if you currently have glasses, you may also be considering helping your eyes to focus better by getting Lasik correction. Here you’ll find all of the information you need to make the right decision in finding the right LASIK md that can perform such treatments as a cataract surgery procedure, or implanting a toric iol.

Finding a Texas Ophthalmologist

When you look in Texas for the best ophthalmologist, you’ll find that there are a number of them. This doesn’t mean, however, that they’re all going to offer you the type of services that you’re looking for in an ophthalmologist. That’s why it is important to make sure that you know what you’re looking for when you begin your search for a new ophthalmologist. There are a number of things that you should look for, including the proximity of the office building to your home (you don’t necessarily want to be driving 3 hours just to have an eye exam), as well as what types of services the ophthalmologist offers and what type of insurance they accept. It doesn’t matter whether you’re in the Round Rock area, the Georgetown area, the Cedar Park area, or the Austin area, there are a number of ophthalmologists available who are highly trained and ready to help you to keep your eyes safe in the areas such as corneal transplant Round Rock or glaucoma treatment Austin.


One of the latest breakthroughs in eye care is the ability to make someone who has always needed to have glasses able to see without them. This is done through Lasik. Lasik surgery is still very confusing for many people. They don’t understand what Lasik eye surgery is all about, or how it works to help the patient to be able to fix their vision. Most people seriously doubt that the surgery will be able to make their vision better or improve their chronic dry eyes. The truth is that there is a great deal to know about Lasik surgery, and it’s not all easy to take in. That’s why we have compiled a great deal of information, so that you can learn more about Lasik and how it works, enabling you to make a good decision about which Lasik provider to select and even to figure out if Lasik is the right choice for your needs.

Your eyes are extremely important, and extremely vulnerable, that’s why we focus on providing information that can help you not only in selecting an ophthalmologist and in learning more about Lasik or a retinal disease, but in learning about all kinds of different conditions and surgeries that can be done to help you to keep your eyes working perfectly. The more information you have about your eyes and how they work, as well as what types of diseases or conditions can befall them, the better armed you are to care for them properly.

About the Author: Mark Masters has authored may pieces on the eye care & surgery industry and enjoys keeping his readers up to date in this field


LASIK surgeries are the most common of all eye surgeries performed today. More than a million United States citizens have the procedure done on their eyes each year. Of those a fair portion resides in, or near Austin, Texas. It is often called LASIK Austin due to the growing LASIK industry preceding it.


Lasik (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) eye surgeries can work to correct farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism, but are most common in those suffering from the latter two. This provides many patients to ability to live with much reduced glasses prescriptions, or entirely free of the corrective lens all together.

Who is the Ideal Patient?

Those who suffer from near-sightedness may want to consider a LASIK procedure to correct their vision. However, there are other criteria that your surgeon will consider before moving forward with it. First and foremost, your eyes must be healthy. There are some conditions such as uncontrolled glaucoma and forms of macular degeneration that could prevent you from being considered an acceptable candidate for the procedure. However, less severe conditions such as conjunctivitis or dry eye syndrome can be treated or controlled in order to prep your eyes for the surgery. Those with the latter will likely be prescribed eye drops in order to ensure no complications arise post-surgery.

Because Lasik eye surgery treats vision, you will also be declined the procedure if your eyes are still fluctuating in eyeglass prescription level. Therefore, younger adults and children are not always considered good candidates for the surgery, simply because their eyes are still changing at such a rapid rate. The ideal person will have stable vision for at least one year. In other words, your eyeglass prescription has remained the same for that length of time. This prescription will also have to fall within a certain level. Too severe or too mild a vision problem may be declined. Though, for those suffering from extreme nearsightedness, there may be other options, so if in the Cedar Park or Georgetown vicinity, please contact us for more information.

Woman who are pregnant or have very recently given birth are likely to be declined because hormone levels can cause changes in vision and the medications that may be used during or after surgery could be considered a risk for an unborn child or an infant that is nursing.

Finally, certain diseases can rule out this procedure, simply because they make it too risky. Rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, HIV and AIDS are some of the examples that may be considered automatic disqualifiers.

Who performs the surgery?

To find out more about the procedure, to determine if you qualify for it and to have all your questions answered, you will want to speak to a licensed ophthalmologist. These are specialists with Doctorates of Medicine. They have spent eight years schooling and at least four years thereafter in internships and residencies in ophthalmology to be fully equipped to handle your eyes. They are licensed and equipped to test for serious eye conditions and diseases, such as Macular Degeneration treatment, as well as performing LASIK and other eye surgeries, such as implanting a Toric Lens. Ophthalmologist also have other duties that are performed regularly, these could range from a corneal transplant to glaucoma surgery and even things such as dry eye treatment.

What should I except from the procedure? This surgery does not require a stay in the hospital in the vast majority of cases. In fact, it typically takes less than an hour, after which patients are able to return home- though will require someone to drive them.

The eye is prepped with numbing drops prior to the surgery beginning. This reduces any discomfort related to the procedure. The lids are propped open with a special device, while you lie back and then he or she will mark the cornea with a special marker to give direction as the surgery progresses.

In most cases today, the cataract surgeon uses a laser to create a flap in the cornea to help improve macular degeneration. The laser is positioned and suction cupped to the eye to ensure that the eye does not move during the laser cut. This flap is then folded back, so the surgeon can reshape that portion of the eye by removing some of the tissue with another type of laser. The ultraviolet beam allows the doctor extreme control as he or she makes the judgment regarding which, and how much, of the tissue needs to be displaced For those suffering nearsightedness, the steepness of the cornea must be reduced, while just the opposite is necessary for those with farsightedness. Astigmatisms require that irregularities of the cornea be smoothed. The newly shaped cornea will better focus light onto the retina allowing it to send better messages to the brain, thereby providing the person a clearer picture of the world. Once the reshaping is complete, the flap is laid back in place.

What are the risks?

Though complications are rare, there are some risks that should be discussed between you and your surgeon. Many of these issues can be avoided if a proper eye examination, including a medical history review, is performed prior to the procedure. However, some, regardless of how ideal a candidate they may seem, will still suffer a negative side effect or complication. The FDA reports that fewer than five percent of patients could experience increased glare or sensitivity to light, visual fluctuations, or halos around natural or generated light sources. Approximately three percent of those that receive the surgery have reported that their vision became worse as a result of it.

Will insurance cover the procedure?

Unfortunately, most insurance will not cover the cost of Lasik surgery, unless special circumstances led to the need of the surgery. If you reside in the Round Rock area, contact us for more information regarding these special cases. For all others, this means that LASIK must be pair out of pocket. Though the cost will range drastically depending on the area where you live, there average prices for this country run between fifteen hundred and two thousand dollars per eye. You may find prices significantly less than this, but you will want to take special care to read fine print and to fully research the doctor performing the procedure. Remember, these are your eyes- your window to the world- that you are entrusting to another person.

About the Author: Mark Masters has authored may pieces on the eye care & surgery industry and enjoys keeping his readers up to date in this field

Retinal Disease

Understanding Retinal Disease

All of the organs in the body are delicate. Most of them, however, are safely tucked away inside of the body, and do not have any nerve endings, so it is impossible to feel when they are injured or hurt. There is one organ, however, that is actually on the outside of your body, and that can be harmed very easily. When this organ gets a disease, the person knows it very quickly. This organ is the eyes. The eyes, as with almost all organs, are extremely important, but this organ actually helps you to get around in the world. Learning how to live without your eyes, when you’ve had them for your entire life, can be extremely difficult, which is why it is so important to contact a professional, such as a doctor who specializes in ophthalmology or a LASIK Surgeon, who knows about retinal disease and what it can do to your body.

The Retina

Fist things first: let’s learn about the retina. Before you can understand how a disease can affect the retina, it is important to learn what the retina actually does. The retina is a complex part of the eye, but one that is extremely important. It is actually light sensitive tissue that resides in the inner surface of the eye. Your eye acts like a large camera. It makes out images through the light that is where you are. The light goes through the iris and cornea and the lens into the retina. When it strikes the retina it then travels through the optic nerve and into the brain, where the images that we look at are transformed into something that our brains can comprehend. The retina is extremely important to the eye, which is why, when you deal with a retinal disease, it can be very easy to lose your eyesight permanently. There are actually a few different types of retinal diseases that people need to be aware of and on the lookout for, such as dry eyes syndrome and macular degeneration.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is one of the most well-known types of retinal diseases that there is. Macular degeneration is a condition that can easily cause someone (usually an elderly someone) to lose all of their eyesight. Behind the retina is the part that is known as the choroid. This actually supplies blood to the central part of the retina, known as the macula. There are two forms of macular degeneration: dry and wet. In the dry form, a debris actually builds up between the choroid and the retina, which can cause the retina to become detached. With the wet form of macular degeneration, blood vessels actually grow up behind the retina and from the choroid, which can also cause the retina to become detached. The wet form is considered to be the more severe of the two forms of macular degeneration.


In most cases of macular degeneration, the person who has it experiences a slow loss of vision. With both wet macular degeneration and dry macular degeneration, the process can be slow or it can be immediate. Although in age related macular degeneration it is more likely that the symptoms start slowly. Patients who are dealing with macular degeneration may begin to see shadowy areas in the middle of their vision, or they may start to see distorted or fuzzy vision.

The way that many doctors test to see if their patient is dealing with macular degeneration is to do what is known as an Amsler grid. This is a grid that is basically a chart with a number of black lines. The doctor can then show the person the grid and will listen to what the patient tells them that they see. If they see anything other than black lines or small white dots connecting the black lines (an optical illusion), then there is a chance that they may be dealing with age related macular degeneration.

If macular degeneration is suspected, the doctor will then likely order a test known as a fluorescein angiography. This helps the doctor to examine all of the blood vessels that are around the retina and the macula to see if there is anything strange occurring.

What Causes It?

No one is quite sure exactly what causes macular degeneration, but it is known that age often plays a part. Some studies have shown that obesity and inactivity also raises the risk of a patient getting macular degeneration symptoms, while others also show that heredity may have a lot to do with the condition. Hypertension can also cause a person to have the symptoms of macular degeneration as can smoking. There are even some medications that can cause macular degeneration symptoms as a side effect. It’s best to visit a ophthalmologist who specializes in such procedures as LASIK correction.

Treating Macular Degeneration

If macular degeneration is not treated, it can lead to blindness. Unfortunately there is no cure for macular degeneration, and someone who has dry macular degeneration will likely have a much more difficult time getting their macular degeneration symptoms managed. Those who have wet macular degeneration, however, do have a few options available to them when it comes to macular degeneration treatment. The first few rounds of treatment options are mostly medicinal, but others are very similar to cataract lens surgery, retinal detachment surgery, or even a laser corneal transplant.

The most recent drug treatment for wet macular degeneration is Lucentis. This drug works by inhibiting vascular endothelial growth factor proteins, which can stimulate the growth of blood vessels in the body. This can help to prevent new blood vessels from growing in the back of the eye, allowing the condition to be halted in its tracks for awhile.

There is also wet macular degeneration surgery. This surgery is done with a thermal laser that actually treats the blood vessels that have formed on the retina, which can delay the advancement of macular degeneration significantly. This surgery, however, is only good for less than 20% of people who have macular degeneration, which is why most doctors will go for the medications first. Austin, Texas is one of the leading hubs that perform such procedures as glaucoma surgery austin and installing toric lense austin . Texas has a growing community of eye care doctors, it is often best to do your research to find one that suits your needs.

About the Author: Mark Masters has authored may pieces on the eye care & surgery industry and enjoys keeping his readers up to date in this field