New Treatment for Macular holes

Recent approval of Jetrea (Ocriplasmin) to treat symptomatic VMA (Vitreo Macular Adhesion) has opened up a new era in non surgical management of macular holes. Previously only a hospital based surgery was able to reverse the process of macular hole development but now a new drug can be injected into the eye painlessly in the office and within a few weeks the process reverses back to more normal vision levels....  more

FDA Approves ASRS Leader's ArgusŪ II Artificial Retina

On February 14, the FDA approved the Argus II artificial retina developed by ASRS Executive Committee and Board Member Mark S. Humayun, MD, PhD.

This breakthrough technology is the first ever to offer limited vision to patients with late-stage retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

 Second Sight Medical Products (Sylmar, CA) manufactures the Argus II implant, which has 60 electrodes and a tiny camera mounted on eyeglasses to capture images.

 The FDA approved Argus II for adults age 25 years or older with severe to profound RP. About 10,000 to 15,000 of the 100,000 Americans with RP will qualify for Argus II. Up to 4,000 patients a year can be treated with the device.

...  more

Macular degeneration and Aspirin?

Aspirin and Macular degeneration... is there an increase in the wet form of macular degeneration in those patients taking aspirin? The wet form develops quicker than the dry form. It may only be related to the fact that you are more likely to take aspirin if you have medical problems like stroke or heart attacks in the past and these conditions are more commonly associated with wet age related macular degeneration. ...  more

Case Studies

Smoking: A Threat To Eye Health


If you smoke or know someone who does, you have probably heard that smoking is a risk factor for cardiovascular, respiratory and cancer diseases.  You may not know, however, that smoking is also a contributing factor in many common eye diseases.


Smoking causes morphological and functional changes to the lens and retina due to its atherosclerotic and thrombotic effects on the ocular capillaries.  Smoking also enhances the generation of free radicals and decreases the levels of antioxidants in the blood circulation, aqueous humor and ocular tissue.  Therefore, the eyes are more at risk of having free-radical and oxidation attacks if you are a smoker.


Effects of Smoking On…



Smoking is a key cause of the buildup of cholesterol and fat (atherosclerotic lesions) in the walls of arteries and blood vessels.  This buildup thickens and hardens over time, blocking blood flow through arteries and blood vessels.  In addition, nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke cause arteries to lose their elasticity, making them more likely to rupture or close under pressure.


Heart & Blood Pressure:

Smoking causes an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which in turn increases the body’s demand for oxygen.  However, smoking deprives the body of oxygen, replacing it instead with carbon monoxide, which affects muscle function and compromises other bodily systems.


Your Eyes:

The retina is preserved and nourished by a healthy supply of blood and oxygen.  Because both blood flow and oxygen supply are decreased by smoking, the habit is directly related to blood vessel damage in the eye and a gradual failure of vision. New, abnormal vessels that form as a result of the retina and macula being deprived of essential nutrients can result in scarring and severe vision loss.


Eye Disorders Caused By Smoking


Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)-  Tobacco smoking is one of the preventable risk factors for ARMD, the leading cause of vision loss in the United States for people over the age of 50. Studies have shown that current and ex-smokers are more likely to develop ARMD  that people who have never smoked.

Learn More about ARMD


Cataracts- A cataract blocks the passage of light from the lens to the retina at the back of the eye.  Smokers are at an increased risk for developing cataracts.


Diabetic Retinopathy-  Diabetic retinopathy is the most common eye disease caused by diabetes.  If you have high blood pressure and diabetes, you are at a greater risk for complications involving the tiny blood vessels in the eye.  Smoking increases blood pressure.

Learn More about Diabetic Retinopathy


Glaucoma- Glaucoma commonly results from an increase in the pressure of the fluid contained within the eye (vitreous and anterior chamber).  A recent study found that animals experienced a rise in intraocular pressure immediately after inhaling cigarette smoke.


Other Eye Conditions-  Smoking can easily cause damage to the optic nerve, which can result in several eye diseases. Individuals who have a combination of risk factors that include a poor diet, heavy smoking and heavy consumption of alcohol may develop tobacco-alcohol amblyopia.   Those with hereditary nerve problems such as Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy have an increased risk of vision loss if they smoke.


If you have thyroid disease, such as Graves’ disease, smoking can worsen symptoms and result in vision loss.  Smoking also proves to be a great irritant to those experiencing dry eye.


For More Information about Smoking and your eye health, contact East Carolina Retina Consultants.