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10 warning signs of eye defects in children

Imagine living the rest of your life in total darkness. It’s not a very pleasant thought, is it? Unfortunately, that is the fate of thousands of children globally who miss out on an opportunity to see and explore the world, all because of a delayed diagnosis of eye disease. Detecting eye-related problems in a child, is not always an easy task. Doctors are often unable to gauge visual complication in children because of their inability to communicate effectively. Parents may also fail to disclose crucial details pertaining to the child’s blindness. However, the role of early detection of visual problems in the prevention and treatment of pediatric eye disease cannot be overemphasized. Parents play a vital role in the detection of childhood blindness. Since parents are the ones who have most contact with the children, it is imperative that each parent is well-versed in identifying symptoms of eye deviation. Here are 10 signs that your child may have a visual problem: Squinting: If your child squints or has a cross eye and frequently closes one eye, it could be an indication of underlying visual complications. Make sure to take your child to the eye doctor at the earliest opportunity. Holding objects closer than otherwise necessary: If your child has the habit of holding books or toys closer than required, he/she might be facing difficulty in focusing on objects due to a visual defect. Inability to track objects/people: If your child has difficulty following a moving object with his/her eyes or cannot track other people’s movements, it could be another important cue in the diagnosis of visual complications. Rapid and excessive blinking: If your child displays excessive blinking without any external factors, it is better to visit an eye doctor and get the issue inspected. Cloudy layer around the child’s lens: This is usually a case of pediatric cataract and should not be neglected at any cost. While Cataract is usually an eye illness associated with older people, children can contract cataract at the time of birth or shortly after. Pediatric cataract is the second leading cause of childhood blindness and should thus be treated at the earliest. Frequent rubbing of eyes: If your child exhibits frequent rubbing of eyes or constantly has teary eyes, it is better to visit an eye doctor for an examination. Persistent redness or eye irritation: If you notice constant redness around your child’s eye or if he/she seems to show signs of eye irritation, it may be a symptom of eye disease. Warning signs of eye defects in school-age children: Difficulty in reading: This is an important factor in determining problems related to visual development in slightly older children. If your child has trouble while reading and tends to skip small words, or takes an exceptionally long time to put two words together, it could be a sign of visual impairment. Difficulty in writing: If your child has difficulty in memorizing how to write different alphabets or writes backwards and cannot replicate text or images, it should set off alarm bells. While typically, these are symptoms of a learning disability, the root cause of the problem could stem from a vision impairment. Your child may also exhibit poor hand-eye coordination, which is also a tell-tale sign of visual problems. Complains of blurred vision, double vision: If a slightly older child raises complains of blurred or double vision, be sure to take the child to the doctor for an eye examination. Such complaints cannot be taken lightly and need to be attended to. While the above pointers are a general list of signs you need to watch out for to detect visual impairments in children, there are a few other reasons to visit a pediatric eye doctor. If your child suffers an injury to the eye, rush to your nearest eye doctor immediately If your child complains of loss of vision in one eye Pus or crust formation in either eye If your family has a history of eye disease, be sure to schedule regular eye checkups for your child. While examining visual inconsistencies in children can be challenging to most Ophthalmologists, our doctors at Eye Consultants, are proficient in identifying eye problems in children from the very start, thus facilitating early treatment and possible prevention. Our specialists at Eye Consultants are experts in enhancing pediatric visual development. Our services include pediatric eye check-ups, screening for any hidden vision threatening conditions, eye infection therapy, and congenital disease. We also do our best to preserve visual acuity in a child-friendly manner.

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April 29, 2020
Dr. Walid Abdalla
Ophthalmologist
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Can cosmetics be harmful to your eyes?

If one were to carefully analyse social media trends today, there is a clear emphasis on the notion of flawless beauty. From having the perfect body type to having the right facial features, every little detail related to physical appearance has become extremely important. To keep up with the trend, there has been an exponential increase in the number of cosmetic eye products as well. This brings us to another question: Are cosmetic products harmful to the eyes? Team Eye Consultants tells us how cosmetics can affect eye health: If eye cosmetics were to be classified broadly, they could be categorized into 3 types: Eye liner and mascara Artificial and extendable eye lashes Colored Contact lenses Eye Liner and Mascara: Using an eye liner/eye pencil has become such an essential part in the lives of most women that we barely even consider it to be eye makeup anymore. However, leaving your eyeliner/mascara on when you sleep, could severely impact your eye health and lead to an eye infection. Some eyeliners can also block oil glands around the eyes, leading to other kinds of eye complications. Another aspect that most women tend to overlook while using an eyeliner is the product’s expiration date. Eye makeup tends to be moist and is perfect breeding ground for scores of bacteria. When you apply such makeup on your eyes you expose yourself to the possibility of eye irritation and infection. Artificial and extendable eye lashes: Artificial eye lashes seem to be the perfect alternative to naturally thick, long and dense eye lashes. However, the glue in these eyelashes are not particularly eye-friendly and can lead to a nasty eye infection. Prolonged usage of artificial eye lashes can also cause damage to your real eyelash follicles, leading to stunted growth of real eyelashes. Failure to properly preserve and maintain artificial eyelashes can also lead to growth of bacteria, which will invariably be transferred into your eye when you use them. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, many people have reported allergic reactions while using artificial eyelashes. Colored contact lenses: Colored contact lenses that come in various designs and attractive patterns are worn on the eyes, purely for ornamental purposes. Without any medical benefit, these lenses are merely plastic pieces that are often sold without prescriptions. What most people fail to realize is that there is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to contact lenses. Wearing colored contact lenses that are not customized based on your eye measurements can lead to eye complications, including dry eyes. They can also cause vision-threatening problems like corneal abrasions, which is caused due to scratches on the cornea. While the improper use of makeup can be hazardous to your eye, we understand that it may be difficult to avoid eye makeup completely. Here are a few precautions you can take to ensure that your eyes are protected even when you use makeup: Throw out old mascara: Yes, we understand that makeup is not cheap and you may want to hold on to that branded eye liner which you have barely used. However, using eye products that are more than 3 months old, could do significant damage to your eyes and lead to a serious case of eye infection. Make it a point to avoid sharing your makeup: Answer this: Would you be comfortable sharing your toothbrush with someone else? The very thought of it evokes a sense of disgust, doesn’t it? The same rule applies to eye makeup as well. Whether it is an applicator, mascara, cotton swabs or contact lenses, make sure to avoid sharing these products and keep them exclusively personal. Do not sleep with your makeup on: No matter how tired you are, make sure to always wash your eye makeup off, before you hit the bed. Your eyes will thank you for this in the long run. If you suffer from eye diseases like Blepharitis or Dry eyes, you may need to avoid the use of makeup altogether, as these conditions can typically aggravate eye dryness and crusting. Moreover, if you have had eye surgery in the recent past, it is best to ask your Ophthalmologist if you can resume wearing eye makeup. If you suspect that you have an eye infection that is a result of improper use of cosmetics, do not hesitate to walk into our center. Our team of professional doctors are experts at determining the cause of eye ailments and will assist you in every possible way. Additionally, if you are looking for a permanent solution to enhance your eyelashes/eyelids, Eye Consultants is here to help. Our expert surgeons at Eye Consultants are proficient in Blepharoplasty surgery in Dubai and have years of experience in upper and lower lid surgery. 

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March 03, 2020
Dr. Nadire Erdogan Dib
Ophthalmologist
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Time for an eye exam: 7 clear signs to knowing when to schedule one

As adults, we are quite often caught up in a world of constant motion, with no time to rest, pause or even take a short break and focus on ourselves. We are so immersed in our roles as company owners, employees and caregivers, that we forget to notice when our perception of the world and people becomes hazy. Though this may sound philosophical, what we are referring to, is the ignorance most people exhibit, towards the onset of visual complications. Here are 7 signs that indicate that you need to schedule an eye exam at the earliest: If you have a family history of eye disease: If you have a family history of eye diseases like Glaucoma or macular degeneration, you might need to schedule an eye exam more often than others. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes: The influence that diabetes can have on a person’s vision is often understated. The build-up of sugar levels causes fluid to accumulate in the eye which then leads to blurry vision and more severe conditions like macular edema and diabetic retinopathy. Regular eye exams are an absolute necessity when you have been diagnosed with diabetes. If you experience blurred vision: If you notice a loss of sharpness when you perceive objects or if objects appear to be hazy, you may be suffering from a case of blurred vision. Though this may just be a case of fluctuation in your eye power, it may also be an indication of refractive errors like farsightedness or nearsightedness. If you suffer an eye/head injury: If you suffer any external trauma to the head or any area near the eye, you need to schedule an eye exam at the earliest possible opportunity. External eye injuries could lead to blurry vision, or in more severe cases lead to retinal detachment or tears in the eye due to trauma. Symptoms may be noticed in either one eye or both eyes. Rush to an eye doctor as soon as you detect any symptoms after an injury. If you cannot remember when your last eye exam was: Needless to say, not being able to remember when your last eye exam was, is a sure shot sign to schedule your eye exam. The American Optometric Association prescribes an eye exam once in 2 years for adults aged between 18 and 60 and an annual eye exam for people above 60 years of age. If you have not had an eye exam in the recent past or if you have a family history of eye disease, you will need to schedule your eye exam more frequently. If you have trouble driving at night: If you experience immense difficulty while driving in the night, due to a glare from oncoming traffic headlights, it might be the onset of night-blindness or Nyctalopia. In addition to facing trouble while driving, you may also find it hard to focus in dimly-lit environments. These could be symptoms of underlying complications related to eye cataract as well. If you have frequent and unexplainable headaches: In most cases, frequent headaches due to strain on the eye can be avoided with small lifestyle changes. If your headache is a result of staring at a computer screen for too long, simply take a short break every hour to reduce strain on the eye. However certain conditions like Glaucoma, that lead to pressure build up in the eye or cataracts can also lead to headaches. It is advisable to schedule an eye examination, when you feel that your headaches have no credible explanation.

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March 03, 2020
Eye Consultants
Dubai, UAE
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All you need to know about Macular Degeneration

It’s easy to take our eye health for granted if we’ve had problem-free vision our entire life. However, our vision starts to change as we age- it could mean sensitivity towards light or a sudden need for reading glasses. As we get older, our eyes tend to become more and more susceptible to several conditions, and one of them is macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is a disease that causes retinal degeneration leading to severe vision loss in most people over the age of 55. While it can affect people of any age including children, the most common type of macular disease is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Retina, a layer at the center part of the eye is packed with photoreceptors (the cell that enables us to see). Macula is a tiny area at the center part of the retina that is responsible for detailed vision which helps a person to recognize faces, read etc., in other words it is called vision acuity. This disease, as the name suggests, affects the macula. Even though it isn’t total blindness, it’s the cause of serious visual disability. As per the The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, approximately 5% of blindness universally is due to AMD. The study also estimates that globally, 196 million people will have AMD in 2020, increasing to 288 million in 2040. Causes Even though the specific cause isn’t determined, below are some factors that may lead to AMD: Age– Age is the most substantial risk factor for macular degeneration. Eye color– people with lighter eye color seem to be at greater risk. Premature menopause– Studies have shown that the risk is higher in women. Women with early onset menopause can develop macular degeneration sooner. Lifestyle factors– Smoking and exposure to direct UV-rays may also lead to AMD. Lifestyle diseases– People who suffer from heart disease, obesity and high BP also tend to be vulnerable to AMD Hereditary– It isn’t passed down genetically but if ancestors have had AMD, it increases the person’s risk by 50%. Symptoms: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is classified into dry AMD and wet AMD. The initial drying of the macula causing a yellow-ish area on the retina is considered dry AMD. As the disease progresses, abnormal blood vessels start to leak fluid into the macula causing wet AMD which is more sight threatening. One must seek immediate medical help if the following occurs: Visual distortion – straight line may seem distorted. Blurred vision / haziness Blurry whiteouts at the center of vision Decreased intensity or colors Treatment and Prevention: There isn’t an outright cure for AMD but there are treatment options to delay the progress of the disease and improve vision. For Dry AMD, doctors at Eye Consultants suggest nutritional therapy mostly with combination of carotenoids, antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients support the macula from deterring further. Treatment for Wet AMD: Laser photocoagulation: Treatment with high energy laser seals abnormal blood vessels under the macula. This procedure aims to minimize the damage to the macula by stopping any kind of discharge. Photodynamic therapy: This is to treat the abnormal blood vessels at the center of the macula. A special drug is inserted through the arms to reach the blood vessels in the eye. Then a specific type of laser is focused to the vessels that are abnormal causing the activation of the special drug. Photodynamic therapy closes the abnormal blood vessels and reduces the rate of vision loss. Prevention: The following measures help reduce the risk of developing AMD It is necessary to have a routine eye checkup after the age of 50. Follow a good diet that includes green-leafy vegetables, fruits, food rich in omega-3 acid (nuts, salmon, etc.) Smokers must stop smoking as it does no good. One can seek professional help if they have difficulty trying to stop. It important to exercise and maintain a healthy weight.

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March 03, 2020
Dr. Ahmed El Khashab
Ophthalmologist
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Tips to Protect Your Eyes From Age-Related Problems

As you grow older, so will your body and your eyesight age too. Whereas some changes can be attributed to heredity and some others to the dry weather, yet others are worsened by bad lifestyle habits like smoking. On the flip side, age-related changes in eyesight can be treated by medicine or surgery, but why go into that when you can prepare for better eyesight even in old age by practising some good health tips. Here they are: Age-Related Dry Macular Degeneration (AMD) When the macula in the retina thins down with advancing age and forms protein clumps, it’s a sign that you suffer from AMD. Though you do lose a lot of your vision, AMD doesn’t cause total blindness. So, you won’t be able to read, drive, cook or be a handyman at home, but you will still have some vision. AMD tis hereditary and first shows up in one’s 60s and by the time one is 70, one’s vision may be seriously damaged. There’s no treatment for this condition but its appearance may be controlled or prevented by eating a fruit and vegetable diet, and using over-the-counter supplements to control it. Glaucoma Glaucoma is essentially a hereditary age-related problem that can lead to blindness when the optic nerve is damaged. It occurs when fluid builds up in front of the eyeball. Since its symptoms do not appear till the damage is acute, it is also known as the “silent disease”. To prevent such an outcome, it is recommended that after the age of 40, eye tests should be conducted every couple of years. Presbyopia Advancing age makes the eyes’ lenses lose their flexibility and therefore focusing on nearby objects becomes difficult. This condition is better-known as Presbyopia. To prevent getting Presbyopia, it si recommended that those in their mid-40s and 50s use reading glasses. If you already suffer from Presbyopia, eye surgery is the best way of correcting this problem. Once you are treated for this, your distance vision will improve. Cataracts When the natural lens of our eyes turn discoloured or cloudy and your vision is hazy, you cannot focus well and any glare also affects your vision. The solution to this is usually surgery which gives you’re your normal vision by replacing the hazy lenses with new and synthetic ones. You may experience this around the age of 50 but may go in for surgery only in your 60s or 70s. these days, cataracts are the No. 1 cause of loss of eyesight among senior citizens. Dry Eyes The lachrymal glands in our eyes produce tears to lubricate them and to protect the cornea. However, if your eyes have been exposed to many years of the harsh sun and wind, and you suffer from stress, high blood pressure and other ailments, your eyes could generate fewer tears. You suffer from dry eyes typically in your 50s when your eyes begin to sting or burn. Floaters As you age, experiencing floaters is very common. They are identified as black or white specks that float around in your line of vision. When the jelly-like liquid that is normally found behind the lens of the eyes begins to break down, floaters form. This is normally seen in one’s 50s and 60s. Floaters by themselves aren’t anything to worry about. However, if light flashes also occur, you need to have them checked by an eye doctor.   Prevention Tips: You may not be able to control advancing glaucoma or macular degeneration if you have a history of it, but with regular lifestyle changes, you can reduce the risk of suffering from it. You can do this in these ways: Take a Change in Your Vision Seriously If you begin to see any changes in your ability to see, see an eye doctor immediately. You might experience hazy or double vision, have red eyes or poor vision at night. Do flashes of light bother you or inflammation and swelling in the eyes or eyelids? If you say ‘yes’ to any of these symptoms, it’s time to see an eye specialist. Exercise Regularly Whether young or old, the benefits of exercise can never be underestimated. According to a study, over 15,000 people who exercised regularly and drank sometimes experienced less loss of vision in a 20-year period than others. Other studies say that with regular exercise such as jogging and walking, the risk of AMD can be reduced up to 70%. Eat a Nutritious Diet By eating a daily diet of antioxidants, Vitamin A and beta carotene, you can reduce your risk of glaucoma and presbyopia, among other eye problems. Plentiful colourful and green leafy vegetables in your diet will be extremely helpful to you. By taking Vitamin C fruits such as lemon, lime, orange,  lychee, papaya and strawberries, you can strengthen your vision. Besides, eating fish that have an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids will also reduce your risk of developing AMD and overall, you will have healthy eyes in old age. To reduce suffering from dry eyes, eat tuna, salmon or halibut regularly. Also, try adding chia or flax seeds to your diet, and walnuts. Ensure you eat eggs regularly and that your cooking medium is either palm or soybean oil.  Quit Smoking Smoking over a protracted period leads to eye problems in old age, such as AMD, cataracts, uveitis, etc. When you smoke about 15 cigarettes per day or more, you run the risk of developing cataracts and AMD. This problem is compounded when you smoke in addition to suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure. In such a situation, you can easily develop glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and Dry Eye syndrome. Wear Sunglasses Whenever you’re out during the day, remember to wear sunglasses that protect you from the harmful glare of UV rays, especially between 10 am and 2 pm. Wear them on cloudy days too because UV rays can penetrate through clouds too. By wearing sunglasses, you lower your risk of cataracts, which could, in turn, reduce your risk of cataracts, pinguecula and other eye problems.   Conclusion From the above list of age-related eye problems, we need to manage our eyesight right through life. We can never take it for granted, else we will land up with one or more of the problems outlined above. So, take care of your eyes and enjoy having good eyesight all through your life.

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March 03, 2020
Dr. Ahmed El Khashab
Ophthalmologist
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