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The silent disease a quick eye exam can detect

While the majority of adults over 40 frequently visit an ophthalmologist or optometrist, many are unaware of how much our eyes may reveal about our health. The eyes are truly the windows to your soul! According to the American Heart Association, before most individuals are even aware they have high blood pressure, the eyes may be one of the first parts of the body to exhibit symptoms.

Only half of the estimated 1.3 billion individuals who have hypertension (high blood pressure) around the globe are aware of it or have had a diagnosis. Due to the lack of symptoms or warning indications associated with high blood pressure, many people may be unaware they have it. It is known as “the quiet killer” for this reason.

How does high blood pressure develop?

It takes time for high blood pressure to develop. Risk factors such as having a family history of high blood pressure as well as other illnesses including diabetes and renal disease can lead to high blood pressure. It frequently occurs in individuals who have spent years leading a bad lifestyle of an unhealthy diet, insufficient exercise, smoking, and excessive alcohol intake.

High blood pressure increases the chance of developing heart disease, including heart attacks and heart failure, stroke, renal disease, vascular dementia, as well as eye issues, if it is not controlled. This is why it’s critical to identify high blood pressure early; doing so may be possible through routine eye exams.

How do I know if I have high blood pressure?

There are several methods you may use to determine if you have high blood pressure. You can use a home testing kit, visit a drugstore, or have it examined by your doctor. Typically, a stethoscope, an arm cuff, or an automated arm cuff that may be used at home are used for this. Checking your blood pressure every few years is recommended; more frequent checks may be required based on your lifestyle choices and family history. However, your Sunshine Coast ophthalmologist may be able to identify high blood pressure symptoms before your doctor does.

How does an Ophthalmologist identify high blood pressure?

Many elements of the eyes, including the tiny blood vessels, may be seen by peering inside the eye using a slit-lamp (a specialised microscope used during an eye exam) or taking a retinal snapshot. In order to determine if a person is likely to have high blood pressure, an ophthalmologist may be able to measure the diameter of blood vessels during an eye examination.

These blood vessels are extremely sensitive to changes in blood pressure and high blood pressure can damage these tiny blood vessels, causing blurry vision. This damage may cause red regions of haemorrhaging in the eyes making this a strong indicator of elevated blood pressure. Individuals with high blood pressure may experience an accumulation of fluid under their retina, which can harm the health of the eyes. High blood pressure is a known risk factor in the onset and/or progression of glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and other diseases.

Our eyes are often also referred to as ‘the window to the brain’ as the blood circulation of the eye and brain are similar and our eyes are created from brain tissue. Because of this, alterations in the blood vessels of the eye can serve as an indicator of not only high blood pressure but also potential problems in the brain and other parts of the body.

Although your ophthalmologist may notice these signs in your blood vessels, this is not a diagnosis as changes in the blood vessels may be caused by other disorders such as diabetes; a GP can confirm any suspicions of high blood pressure.

Ophthalmologists will examine a patient’s eyes to detect signs of high blood pressure, indicators may be fluid accumulation (which might result in edema), inflammation, and blood vessel malfunction. To determine who has a higher risk of getting high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, they can evaluate the diameter of the blood vessels in the eyes. To better detect risk factors for certain eye disorders – including high blood pressure – your ophthalmologist may additionally enquire about your health during an examination.

Although regular eye exams don’t replace regular medical visits, because patients are frequently asymptomatic, ophthalmologists are frequently the first-place high blood pressure is discovered. Your ophthalmologist may also be able to see symptoms of other conditions, such as diabetes, which can also potentially harm the eyes.

 

Where Best Practice Eyecare comes in…

At Best Practice Eyecare, our ophthalmologist sunshine coast team is led by Dr Karpa, a Fellow of RANZCO , a comprehensive Ophthalmologist and expert in Ophthalmology sunshine coast. Based in the beautiful coastal suburb of Golden Beach, Dr Karpa and this expert team provide eye care services of the highest standard with a relaxed, friendly patient-focused approach. We service patients across all areas of the Sunshine Coast including Caloundra, Kawana, Mooloolaba, and Maroochydore. As a leading cataract surgeon and ophthalmologist sunshine coast, Dr Karpa treats a wide range of eye conditions such as cataractsglaucomamacular degenerationdry eyes, and flashes & floaters.

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CPD Accredited Optometry Seminars Sunshine Coast

Best Practice Eyecare CPD Seminars

THE CPD POINTS/HOURS EARNED AT BEST PRACTICE EYECARE SEMINARS CAN BE USED TO STAY COMPLIANT

Throughout the year, Best Practice Eyecare hosts education events for optometrists on the Sunshine Coast where Ophthalmologist Dr Karpa presents information on the most up-to-date procedures and complex and interesting cases for review and discussion.

These events are free for optometrists and provide Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points from Optometry Australia. If you would like to join us for our next CPD event, please email our Practice Manager at practicemanager@bestpracticeeyecare.com.au for further details.

Our June 2022 event was held at Pier 33, Mooloolaba and was a very lively evening with 55 attendees. Topics included:

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Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Sunshine Coast Optometrists

In order to retain registration as an optometrist, optometrists must attain a minimum of 20 CPD hours each year. This includes:

  • Minimum of 5 hours of Interactive CPD
  • Maximum of 5 hours of non-clinical CPD
  • An additional 20 hours of Therapeutic CPD if therapeutically endorsed.

Optometrists are also required to maintain a professional learning plan detailing their learning goals, CPD points and the CPD activities that contributed these points. These requirements apply to all registered Optometrists holding a registration with AHPRA.

For further detail on optometry CPD requirements, please see Optometry Australia’s detailed description on CPD requirements or the Optometry Board of Australia’s official definition of the standards registrants are required to meet.

At Best Practice Eyecare we host CPD accredited seminars with Ophthalmologist, Dr Karpa, discussing a range of topics including different procedures and complex case examples. Contact us today to enquire about our upcoming CPD seminars.

Best Practice Eyecare

At Best Practice Eyecare, our ophthalmologist sunshine coast team is led by Dr Karpa, a Fellow of RANZCO , comprehensive Ophthalmologist and expert in Ophthalmology Sunshine Coast. Based in the beautiful coastal suburb of Golden Beach, Dr Karpa and this expert team provide eye care services of the highest standard with a relaxed, friendly patient-focused approach. We service patients across all areas of the Sunshine Coast including Caloundra, Kawana, Mooloolaba, and Maroochydore. As a leading cataract surgeon and ophthalmologist sunshine coast, Dr Karpa treats a wide range of eye conditions such as cataractsglaucomamacular degenerationdry eyes, and flashes & floaters.

What is the difference between an optometrist & an ophthalmologist?

Ophthalmologists (sometimes known as “eye doctors”, “eye surgeons” or “eye specialists”) are medical doctors who specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of eye and vision problems. Ophthalmologists sunshine coast are trained in the diagnosis and medicinal and surgical treatment of eye and visual system problems. An optometrist, on the other hand, is a health care professional who specializes in providing vision care services. They do not diagnose or treat eye diseases; they only prescribe corrective lenses and manage common eye problems.

What is an ophthalmologist?

Ophthalmologists are doctors and surgeons who specialise in eye health and vision and treat all illnesses of the eye. They are recognised by the Royal Australian and New Zeeland College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) as medical specialists in Ophthalmology. Ophthalmologists receive considerable training and must pass rigorous exams to enter medical school, progress through medical school, enter the highly competitive Ophthalmology training program, and finally complete the program. If the ophthalmologist is a surgical expert, they must also undergo extensive surgical training. More specifically, in Australia and New Zealand, an ophthalmologist must have completed a minimum of 12 years of training, which includes: 6-7 years gaining a degree in medicine, 2 years undertaking basic medical training, and 5 years specialising in Ophthalmology. All ophthalmologists must successfully complete the RANZCO examinations including up to 12,000 hours of training and surgeries.

A valid referral from a General Practitioner (GP), Optometrist, or medical specialist is required to see an ophthalmologist sunshine coast. They’ll next diagnose any eye disorders and talk about how to manage and treat them. They are able to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders that affect the eyes, as well as other parts of the eye-related system, including the eyelids, conjunctiva, lacrimal system, orbit, sinuses and eyelashes. Ophthalmologists are experts when it comes to managing serious eye problems, such as glaucoma, cataracts, and retinal detachments.

What is an optometrist?

An optometrist is a medical professional who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of the eyes. They are primary health care providers as they are often the first professionals that clients visit to discuss their eye health. Optometrists provide accessible and critical eye care to communities as clients can visit without a referral and receive Medicare coverage. They work with patients to find the best solutions for their eye health problems. This covers visual system research, refracting for glasses and contact lenses, and detecting common eye problems. For the visually challenged, optometrists prescribe eyeglasses, reading glasses, and contact lenses, as well as visual assistance devices. They can detect and treat common eye problems including dry eyes, near-sightedness, and reading difficulties. They also complete eye health tests to screen for dangerous disorders like glaucoma and macular degeneration. They are well-trained to recognise when to send such eye problems to an ophthalmologist, or a medical professional. Optometrists must undertake 5-7 years gaining a degree in optometry and 1 year of experience, but it is important to understand they are not doctors.

Why is this important?

Because of the difference in training and practical experience, ophthalmologists have more extensive knowledge of diagnosing and treating eye diseases, as well as comprehending patients’ overall health. Optometrists are educated in the detection of major eye diseases like glaucoma, but they are not doctors.

An optometrist should send you to an ophthalmologist if they see changes in your vision that might be an indication of anything serious. If you have a history of eye problems or notice a rapid change in your vision, you should see your doctor or optometrist and request a referral to an ophthalmologist.

Collaboration between optometry and ophthalmology is becoming increasingly important in providing the best eye and vision care. A collaborative approach to contemporary health care produces the best results. The talents of the two professions are different yet complementary. Patients and the general public benefit most when the two collaborate, support one another, and communicate effectively with one another, as well as with other healthcare professionals (such as the GP) and their patients.

Where Best Practice Eyecare comes in…

At Best Practice Eyecare, our ophthalmologist sunshine coast team is led by Dr Karpa, a Fellow of RANZCO , comprehensive Ophthalmologist and expert in Ophthalmology sunshine coast. Based in the beautiful coastal suburb of Golden Beach, Dr Karpa and this expert team provide eye care services of the highest standard with a relaxed, friendly patient-focused approach. We service patients across all areas of the Sunshine Coast including Caloundra, Kawana, Mooloolaba, and Maroochydore. As a leading cataract surgeon and ophthalmologist sunshine coast, Dr Karpa treats a wide range of eye conditions such as cataractsglaucomamacular degenerationdry eyes, and flashes & floaters.

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5 Tips To Help Prevent Cataracts

Can You Reduce Your Risk Of Needing Cataract Surgery?

As we age, our eyes are at risk of developing cataracts – is there any way to prevent them? According to the Australian Department of Health, over half of Australians over 50 are affected by cataracts and, by the age of 80, almost everyone develops cataracts.

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye and can occur in one or both eyes. Cataracts develop mostly in older people, but younger people can also get cataracts. When you first start experiencing the symptoms of cataracts they may only affect a small portion of your lens causing you to be unaware of the vision loss that you are incurring. As the cataracts progress, the normally transparent lens inside the eye becomes hazy or cloudy, making your world seem dim and blurry. Some patients describe this vision loss as though they’re looking through a dirty window. Over time cataracts will get worse, in fact, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide according to the World Health Organization.

What Can You Do To Protect Your Eye Health?

While it may not be possible to avoid cataract surgery, you may be wondering if there are any simple lifestyle modifications you can make to reduce your risks or at least delay the onset of cataracts and the associated vision problems. The causes of cataracts are quite varied and there are a number of health conditions that are known risk factors including diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, certain medications and eye injuries or diseases.

Here are 5 helpful tips to help protect the health of your eyes and lower your risks of developing cataracts.

1.  Wear a Hat & Sunglasses

Whenever you are outside and exposed to bright light, wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses with the highest possible rate of UV absorption to protect your eyes from ultraviolet radiation. Try to make sure you wear sunglasses year-round, especially when you are at the beach or while participating in outdoor activities.

2.  Quit Smoking

Not only is smoking bad for your heart and lungs, but it’s also really bad for your eyes! And when it comes to cataracts, smoking is a risk factor that’s very much in your control. Smokers are at a higher risk for developing diabetes and hypertension which are two of the health conditions that play a role in the development of cataracts. A study by the American Centers For Disease Control & Prevention found that smokers are 2-3 times more likely to develop cataracts compared with people who don’t smoke. If you can kick the habit, it may also help prevent cataracts.

3.  Eat a Rainbow of Antioxidant Rich Foods

When it comes to protecting your vision, what you eat may affect what you see. Eating a diet that includes foods rich in antioxidants such as fruit and vegetables may help to protect your eyes from cataracts. Researchers have linked eye-friendly nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, lutein and zeaxanthin to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases like cataracts. People who consistently follow a healthy diet that includes colourful fruits, vegetables and whole grains may show a decreased risk of cataracts.

4.  Take Multivitamins

A recent study from the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that long-term daily multivitamin supplement use may lower cataract risk. While nothing can replace a healthy diet, you can consider adding a multivitamin to your daily regime. Look for multivitamins that contain A, C, and E which promote overall eye health as well as lutein and zeaxanthin to aid in the eyes’ response to light and glare.

5.  Have Regular Eye Tests

As with many things in life, early detection is key to getting the best treatment. Changes to the health of your eyes can happen gradually and you may not aware of the subtle decline in your vision. Regular eye check-ups may help to detect problems at an early stage, which means you can start treatment as soon as possible to reduce the risk of any permanent damage to your eyes. Having regular eye tests should be an essential part of your healthcare routine.

Taking these 5 steps toward preventing cataracts can help keep the world you see bright and clear. No matter your age, it’s never too late to start protecting the health of your eyes. Contact the friendly Best Practice Eyecare team today on  (07) 5492 2822 to ask about our cataract treatments.

 

Dr Karpa is a leading Sunshine Coast cataract surgeon, ophthalmologist and eye care specialist at Best Practice Eyecare. Based in the beautiful coastal suburb of Golden Beach, Dr Karpa and this expert team provide eye care services of the highest standard with a relaxed, friendly patient-focused approach.

We service patients across all areas of the Sunshine Coast including Caloundra, Kawana, Mooloolaba, and Maroochydore. Our practice is led by surgeon Dr. Michael Karpa who treats a wide range of eye conditions such as cataractsglaucomamacular degenerationdry eyes, and flashes & floaters.

Eye Health Tips Best Practice Eyecare Ophthalmologists & Eye Surgeons Mooloolaba Sunshine Coast

Eye Health Tips For Over 50s

It’s easy to take our eyes for granted, but a 2018 Australian Institute Health & Welfare Report found that vision disorders affected 93% of people aged 65 and over.

As we age, the risks of developing various eye diseases and conditions increase —but the good news is that there are some preventative measures you can take to reduce your risk.

Learning how to take care of your eyes can make all the difference. Here are some of our top tips to keep your eyes healthy now and in the future:

1. Have Regular Eye Tests

In the early stages, many eye diseases can only be detected through a comprehensive eye examination with an eye care specialist. Cataracts and glaucoma are examples of conditions that are often discovered by eye health professionals during routine eye exams. The sooner these diseases are identified; the sooner treatment can begin, thereby reducing the risk of permanent damage.

A yearly eye exam also provides an opportunity to identify any health issues or medications that could impact vision. An eye exam will check the following:

  • Visual acuity test to measure the ability to see fine detail
  • Condition of the eye including the cornea, retina, optic nerve, and lens
  • Eye movement and focusing ability
  • Refractive errors
  • Eye pressure

2. Eat A Healthy Balanced Diet

When it comes to protecting your vision, what you eat may affect what you see. According to Dr. Ivana Kim, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School, certain vitamins and minerals found in food may play a role in preventing two common causes of vision problems: cataracts—cloudy areas in the lens of the eye—and age-related macular degeneration – a condition that causes vision loss in the macula. “While there is no definite proof, some studies suggest that eating a diet rich in certain nutrients may help,” says Dr. Kim.

Nutrients that are thought to boost eye health include, selenium, lutein, zinc, beta carotene, and vitamins A, C, and E. These nutrients can be found in healthy foods like green leafy vegetables, fruits, dairy, nuts, seafood and lean meats.

3. Exercise Regularly

Not only can regular exercise keep you slim and lift your mood, but a study cited by the American Academy of Ophthalmology suggests that exercise may also guard against eye damage. This could help stave off macular degeneration and eye conditions such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Exercise also helps to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, which can all have a negative effect on your eye health and vision.

4. Wear Sunglasses

Ultraviolet light from the sun may contribute to the development of cataracts according to the Mayo Clinic. However, most of the time cataracts are just a result of your eyes aging naturally.

Always remember to wear sunglasses designed to block both UVA and UVB rays when you’re outside in the harsh Queensland sun. When it comes to choosing sunglasses, quality doesn’t have to mean expensive. Many lower-priced sunglasses offer UV protection, which should be designated on the label.

5. Quit Smoking

As well as being harmful to your whole body, smoking can increase your chances of developing an eye disease in later life. Smoking can cause vision loss by increasing the risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. Quitting smoking significantly lowers your risk.

6. Limit Digital Eye Strain

Many of us spend a large part of the day staring at our smart phones, computer and TV screens. All this screen time can lead to eye redness, eye strain, dry eyes and headache. To reduce symptoms try following the follow the 20-10-20 rule; every 20 minutes look 10 meters away for 20 seconds. This allows eyes to refocus.

It’s also helpful to use anti-glare screen guards, place computer screens 10cm below eye level, take frequent rest breaks and make a conscious effort to blink frequently.

7. Know Your Family History

Some eye problems have a family link and can be passed through generations. Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) are two examples of conditions that can be inherited. As such, people with a family history of eye conditions such as glaucoma and AMD should have regular eye tests to detect eye disease early.

If you’re diagnosed with an eye condition, encourage your parents, children and siblings to have regular eye tests. The earlier a problem is picked up, the better it can be treated. In Australia, 90% of vision loss is preventable or treatable.

Taking steps to preserve your vision now could be very beneficial to your eye heath in the long run.

 

Best Practice Eyecare is a leading ophthalmologist, eye surgeon and eye care specialist on the Sunshine Coast. We are based in the beautiful coastal suburb of Golden Beach and provide an eyecare service of the highest standard with a relaxed, friendly patient-focused approach.

We service patients across all areas of the Sunshine Coast including Caloundra, Kawana, Mooloolaba, and Maroochydore. Our practice is led by surgeon Dr. Michael Karpa who treats a wide range of eye conditions such as cataractsglaucomamacular degenerationdry eyes, and flashes & floaters.

Best Practice Eyecare Ophthalmologists

Based on the Sunshine Coast, we provide ophthalmologist, eye care and surgical services of the highest standard. We treat and manage a wide range of eye conditions including cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration and more.

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