Yoga and Glaucoma (Say that 5 times fast)

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness because of damage to the optic nerve when fluid pressure increases in the eye. Doctors advise patients to live healthy and active lifestyles, but there are certain activities that should be avoided by glaucoma patients like pushups and lifting heavy weights due to elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). A new study has shown the potential risk associated with various yoga positions and exercises that involve inverted poses. In this research, both normal and glaucoma patients did four yoga positions. The greatest increase in pressure was found with the downward facing dog position where you place both feet and hands on the floor while looking at the ground. “The measurements were taken after the participants retuned to a seated position and again after waiting ten minutes, the pressure in most cases remained slightly elevated from the baseline.” In previous studies, participants in the headstand position showed almost two-fold rise in IOP. It is now advised to inform and educate glaucoma patients about the risks of physical exercises like yoga, so progression of glaucoma doesn’t get worse. Many times we consider a point or two of pressure increase to be a reason to prescribe additional eye drops or to recommend a glaucoma surgery. When patients go to yoga, patients should tell their instructors their disease to modify their yoga practice.

Mount Sinai Health System. (2016, January 7). Certain yoga positions may impact eye pressure in glaucoma patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 20, 2016 from

Makeup, Keep it Clean!

A light application of makeup can often help you to look and feel your best. Without proper care, however, it may impair your capacity to see your best.  Whether you are going for a natural look or something more dramatic, it is important to use discretion when applying around your eyes.

Keep it clean:                                   

Make sure your hands are washed before you begin.  Use only your own makeup and brushes.  It may seem fine to borrow a swipe of mascara, but even your BFF may have germs that are harmful to you.  Infections from poor hygiene or contamination may lead to itchy, swollen eyes and light sensitivity.

Do not disturb:                                   

Only apply eye makeup in a setting where you can be relaxed and focused.  Putting on makeup in a vehicle risks injury at every stop and bump during your commute.  Take your time and don’t rush; not only will you get better results, but you’ll do better to avoid poking yourself in the eye or scratching your cornea.

Contact lens wearers:                 

It is better to put in your soft contact lenses before your makeup routine.  When choosing a mascara, avoid mascara with lengthening fibers, which can scratch, and waterproof mascara, which may stain your lenses.  At the end of the day, remove your contacts, clean them, and place in fresh solution before you wash off your makeup.

It can be rewarding to use cosmetics, but safety should always be top priority.  If your makeup causes you to experience irritation or injury, discontinue use and contact your optometrist.


Blog contribution by Kaitlyn Sanchez, Optometry Intern, College of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences.

Healing the Eye

Our eyes are exposed to a wide variety of environmental conditions such as extreme weather, work environment and wearing contact lenses.  Sometimes these conditions may be so harsh that they stress the cornea, the outermost eye structure. Occasionally a patient will present in my office with an extremely compromised cornea. Such cases sometimes need a form of an eye band-aide to properly heal.

Enter the Amniotic Membrane

Such a bandage is an amniotic membrane which is derived from the placenta of an elective c-section. Human amniotic membrane is a unique collagenous membrane derived from the innermost submucosa of the placenta. Harvested under sterile conditions from the placenta of elective C-section after a full term pregnancy in medically cleared donors. This type of tissue has been used widely in the treatment of surface ocular diseases as it aids epitheliazation, reduces inflammation and fibrosis, prevents structural damage, and is also known to have some antimicrobial properties. It is used for a wide variety of ocular surface disorders such as: corneal ulcers, chemical or thermal burns of the cornea, and persistent epithelial defects.

An example used in our office is the ProKera Ring. It is a cryopreserved, sutureless amniotic membrane clipped to a plastic ring. ProKera is placed on the eye in a similar fashion as a large contact lens. ProKera does not require an operating room and can be performed in the office. Most importantly, it is reasonably well tolerated by patients.

Blog contribution by Lilia Babakhan, Optometry Intern, College of Optometry, Western University of Health Sciences.


The Future of Glasses?

In recent years, there have been innovations in eyewear aimed at helping those suffering from presbyopia, the gradual inability of the eyes to focus due to age. Presbyopia usually begins starting at around age 40 and can affect anyone, even if you have never worn glasses before. According to the World Health Organization, more than one billion people in the world were presbyopic as of 2005. Current eyewear treatments include bifocal and Progressive lenses, but advancements in technology offer new solutions.

One example is Superfocus, which is based in California. These glasses have an adjustable slider on the bridge that lets you change the prescription from distance to near or anywhere in between. This is accomplished by a pocket of soft silicone between two lenses that changes the shape of one of the lenses, and therefore the prescription. This mimics the movements of the lens in the pre-presbyopic eye. The other lens is removable and can be switched to a tinted lens, for example.

Another lens innovation was called emPower, a line of electronic eyeglasses offered by Virginia-based company, PixelOptics from 2011 to 2013. These glasses allowed the wearer to switch between two prescriptions, near and distance. They could be programmed to react either to a fingertip pressing the temple of the frame or to a downward tilt of the head, which triggered an accelerometer. The lenses consisted of LCD materials between two layers of plastic and when an electrical charge hit the LCD, the molecules realigned and the prescription changed. The near prescription was made up of an oval-shaped area in the bottom half of the lenses that disappeared instantaneously when the distance prescription was triggered. In terms of price, the glasses retailed from $1,000-$1,500. Besides being a costly investment, there were issues with emPower’s optics, electronics and design, and PixelOptics declared bankruptcy in November 2013. Although these particular glasses are no longer being offered, the technology exists and perhaps with some modifications, a similar concept could revolutionize the presbyopic eyewear industry.

We’ll keep our eyes open and report on it here at the BOG Blog when a new prospect arises!

Blog contribution by Lorraine Lopez, Optometry Intern, College of Optometry ,Western University of Health Sciences