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Monthly Archives: December 2018

Snellen Eye Chart

Visual acuity is measured from a distance of 20 feet. The patient is required to stand from a distance of about 20 feet to read the letters without the assistance of glasses or contacts. The patient is asked to cover one eye and read the smallest letter that he can see from the eye chart. If you have 20/20 vision this is considered normal eyesight. 20/20 vision means that you can see clearly at a distance of 20 feet what the average person is able to see at that particular distance.

The Snellen eye chart has its limitations due to the fact that it only measures visual acuity. Therefore, it cannot detect whether or not you have any underlying medical problems associated with your vision condition. According to developmental optometrist Dr. Kellye Kneuppel, the Snellen chart only detects nearsightedness and misses other vision conditions such as Astigmatism and farsightedness.

Furthermore, Dr. Knueppel explains that vision problems that kids experience associated with the lack of teamwork between both eyes and difficulty tracking lines are all vision problems that go undetected even with a Snellen eye chart test. These undetected problems can lead to academic problems and learning difficulties. For this reason, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a baseline eye exam that gives a comprehensive examination of a patient’s eye health. Such a comprehensive eye exam can detect underlying problems such as Glaucoma, vision issues related to the retina, eye problems associated with Diabetes or high blood pressure to name a few. Additionally, it can detect problems focusing when reading and vision issues related to lack of teamwork between both eyes.

When it comes to getting a comprehensive examination that determines the state of your overall eye health a baseline eye exam is recommended. On the other hand when it comes to correcting vision conditions a reliance on glasses or contacts will not address the underlying causes of your vision problems. If you are looking for a natural solution to solve your vision problems while addressing the root causes of poor eyesight, then, an eye exercise program to improve your vision naturally is highly recommended.

Such a program corrects or reduces vision conditions related to nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. You will also find that the regular and diligent practice of these easy eye exercise techniques can provide certain fringe benefits. These include an improvement in mental focus and concentration, the teamwork of the eyes and the vision correction of problems focusing while reading. Ultimately, these are all skills that are necessary for academic achievement and lead to an increase in your overall eye health.

Struggling With Antibiotic Resistance

I never saw it coming. The process started with a small, but painful sensation right in the middle of my right butt-cheek. A very annoying problem because I am a writer squirming around as I try to fill up empty screens with words.

At first, I downplayed it as just some stupid little irritation that would go away as soon as it came. Being a diabetic for about 25 years now I am prone to inflammations and infections. This was just another in a long succession of intermittent, annoying, health problems.

At the onset, the thought never occurred that it might be an infection. I had not had any accident, no cuts, abrasions or scrapes so that did not pop up as the culprit. That is until it persisted and grew into an open sore. The pain level also rose dramatically.

I went to the doctor. He did not think it was serious. He wrote a prescription for a mild antibiotic and a cream. I left the office confident that the problem was in hand. Back home I took a pill, applied the cream and applied a bandage.

By that point sitting at my computer and performing my daily writing ritual was growing into a serious challenge. The pain was so intense that I had to force myself not to move at all. That worked for a while. I took the full antibiotic course and got into the habit of cleaning and dressing the open wound three times a day.

The process began last November. As I came to the end of the bottle of pills I was hit by a wave of disappointment and confusion. I had to face the fact that the infection had gotten worse, not better. Had the doctor misdiagnosed it? Had he given me the wrong antibiotic? Worse, did I have some rare new infection?

I went back to his office in a far more worried state than I was during my first visit. He admitted he was puzzled but brushed that aside. I got a new prescription for a stronger antibiotic that was going to require four consecutive injections.

Once again I returned home feeling a bit numb but optimistic that this stronger injectible antibiotic would do the trick. I got the injections and waited for the medication to build up in my system and wipe out the infection. I waited and waited. The situation did not get better it got even worse.

By then I could not sit and also had a hard time walking. The pain was constant even when I was trying to write while lying down. This time when I returned to the doctor’s office he told me to go to the emergency room. He would not try another antibiotic. In fact, he seemed at a loss.

Instead, I went to a clinic. The doctor there did prescribe another antibiotic, took a culture for the lab and had nurses scrub the wound. It just kept growing as if the antibiotic cream was a placebo and the injections had been nothing but water.

At that point, I had added symptoms including chronic fatigue and the first signs of depression. These two are features of a diabetic’s life and I knew what they were as soon as they arose. My immune system was beaten down and using whatever energy it could get from whatever source was available.

I did not get my hopes up during the third two-week course of the latest antibiotic. In fact, I was on pins and needles the whole time. When I finished I was not surprised that it too had failed at its job. Still, it never occurred to me that I might be antibiotic resistant.

By that point, I began to consider the possibility that my 71-year old body was running out of gas. My energy level was so low, and pain level so high that I could not write. I could only walk the short distance to the corner store to ship and my mood was buried in the pits.

When I returned to the doctor’s office he did not seem too surprised by the fact his prescription had failed. He put the lab report up on the lightbox and pointed to it. “I am afraid the results show you are resistant to every type of antibiotic we have.”

I simply could not wrap my mind around his statement. I had never thought that I had overused antibiotics to the point my immune system built up a total tolerance. Then again, nobody ever tells you where that line is.

In fact, I had taken at least one course each of the 3 previous years to cure sinus infections. I left the office completely confused and with no idea of what to do next. The doctor suggested that I schedule an operation to remove the infected area. My thought was that hospitals are great places to contract infections. I was not eager to take that option especially when it would mean I could not sit at the computer and work for a much longer period of time.

Believe it or not, that whole process went on for four months and I still had the infection. I decided to tough it out and see if my body would mobilize and get rid of it. Then I had an impulse to try one more doctor, a female who I had seen before and was impressed by.

She gave me a spray that the other doctors never mentioned, Microdacyn. This spray is a biologically active treatment for the treatment of acute and chronic wounds that are difficult to heal. I applied and applied it every day and started seeing improvement much to my relief.

My status now is guarded and uncertain. I do now I cannot afford one more sinus infection. I did discover one effective treatment, Phage Therapy. However, that is only available in Eastern Europe. I advise a very conservative approach when it comes to taking antibiotics, only do so when it is truly necessary.

Antibiotic resistance is on the rise and it can shorten your life… I launched a GoFundMe campaign to help me get back on my feet.

Different Hammertoe Surgery Procedures

Flexible Procedures

If performed while the toe, or toes, is still in the flexible stage, a simple tendon release is often the choice. During this technique can take the bottom tendon, known as a flexor, and reposition to the top of the toe. This relieves the buckled joint and allows the toe to lay flat. There are times when the top or bottom tendon are released from the joint but not repositioned.

A simple tendon release is the easiest in terms of recovery. There is usually no more than a small incision, which is closed with a single stitch and covered with a Band-Aid. Those who have to have several toes operated on at the same time, recovery may take slightly longer.

Rigid Procedures

However, for those who put off hammertoe surgery until the joint is rigid, the operation becomes slightly more complex. One method used is arthroplasty. In this procedure, the surgeon removes part of the joint in order to straighten the toe. In extreme cases, the doctor may remove the entire joint and insert an implant. As the area heals, scar tissue connects the joint or implant to the area, which allows the toe to be flexible once again.

Sometimes an arthroplasty is not an option. In this case, the doctor will perform a fusion operation. Instead of removing the joint, or part, and inserting an implant in its place, the doctor has to remove cartilage and some of the bone around the joint. After removing the damaged bone and cartilage, the toe is straight and the doctor inserts a pin into the bone. Several weeks later, the doctor removes the pin. You will regain some flexibility in the toe, although it is limited.

Recovery

For the most part, recovery only takes a couple of weeks. For those who have hammertoe surgery for a rigid phalanx, the surgeon will place a bandage over the foot, which does not require removal until you return for your follow up visit. You should stay off the foot as much as possible during your recovery and should be able to return to stiff soled walking shoes in a couple of weeks. Those who had to have bones fused will experience several more weeks of recovery.

Hand Eye Coordination

Improves Writing Ability: Due to the fact that these visual skills are an important part of the process of learning these techniques are helpful in improving reading skills related to tracking. This is due to the fact that they help individuals to use their eyes to guide the movement of their hands in such an activity such as writing. This is due to the fact that this visual skill is needed in helping individuals use their eyes to guide and direct the words that they are writing from line to line on a page.

Improves Many Other Visual Skills: If an individual possesses poor hand eye coordination skills then such an individual can perform poorly academically. This is due to the fact that these techniques are needed in other skills such as proper balance and coordination and motor skills. These techniques also relate to motor responses associated with the connection between the brain and the eyes to send messages to the hands to grip a pen firmly to write properly. Additionally, these techniques apply to other skills that are related to sports performance as we use our eyes to guide our hands in athletic activities such as goal keeping in soccer and other sporting activities such as ping pong and tennis.

Improves Communication Skills: A scientific research study established a connection between learning abilities and communication skills. This is due to the fact that these visual techniques actually play a role in the way that individuals communicate with one another. This is due to the fact that when you communicate you are using certain visual cues to get an important message across to the receiver of the message you are sending. Also, certain cues are also related to the gaze that you use, your hand gestures and other visual cues that are related to the way that you utilize the visual system to communicate messages with your hands.

Eye hand coordination techniques are useful in improving many different visual skills and abilities. Some of these are related to activities associated with improving hand writing skills and also visual skills that are also related to sports such as ping pong and tennis. One you practice these techniques on a regular basis you can do the things that you need to do to improve your hand eye coordination skills for better eyesight without glasses.

Prepare for Cataract Surgery

Cleaning Your Eyes

You won’t be able to get water in your eyes for about 2 weeks following the surgeries, this is to avoid getting an infection. You may find your eyes get sticky from the prescribed drops you will be using after surgery, so you might want to clean your eyes. It is a good idea to buy what you need to do this before you have the surgery. You will need a clean bowl, cooled boiled water and some gauze. Boil the water and pour it into the clean bowl and let it cool. Once cooled you can soak the gauze in the water, ring it out and very gently wipe over the eyes and eyelashes, being very careful not to push on the eyes or drag the skin.

Eating

Most patients will be awake during cataract surgery and will have local anaesthetic to numb the eye, therefore it is advised to eat a good meal and keep well hydrated before you come to the clinic/hospital for surgery. If you are going to be put to sleep using general anaesthetic or be sedated, then you will not be able to eat or drink before surgery, this can vary from 6-12 hours beforehand. Your eye clinic should advise you on eating prior to surgery, but also ask them to confirm this if you are unsure or have not been advised.

Transport Home

After surgery, you will not be able to drive yourself home so you must arrange for someone to collect you, whether this be a family member or friend or a taxi. Ideally it wouldn’t be recommended you take public transport as you may struggle getting around on this. Also, you may not be able to drive for several days after the surgeries, so it is always best to have someone that can drive you around or it’s a good excuse to put your feet up and rest.

Sunglasses

So, it may not be a sunny day when you have surgery and it may even be night time when you leave the clinic/hospital, but we would recommend you bring a pair of sunglasses. Even though it is likely that your eye that has been treated on will be covered, either by gauze or a plastic shield, you may find lights brighter than normal, such as the sun, car lights and street lights. Also, the sunglasses act as another shield to protect your eyes from dust, wind or any other debris that could get in your eyes which could potentially cause an infection.

Time Off Work

If you work, you will need to prepare taking some time off after the surgeries. This can depend on the type of job you do but can vary from 2 days to 1 week after each eye has been treated. When you return to work, you may need to take extra caution depending on your environment, for example if you work in a dusty atmosphere you will need to wear protective goggles for several weeks to protect your eyes. Speak to your ophthalmologist about the type of work you do and they will give the best advice on returning to work.

Get Rid of Mosquitoes at Home

  1. Camphor: Its smoke is known to be harmful for mosquitoes and other insects. Close the doors and windows in the room and light a camphor tablet and leave the room closed for fifteen to twenty minutes and the room will be completely mosquito free. Ensure that no one is in the room for those 15-20 mins especially kids. Additionally, you can add 3-4 camphor pallets to a cup of neem oil and add the mixture into a vaporizer bottle to use as a natural mosquito repellent.
  2. Citronella oil: You can use citronella oil in an aromatherapy diffuser to create a 3-6meter circle of protection keeping the mosquitoes away. Additionally, you can use citronella oil in a base oil and use reed diffuser sticks to keep the annoying pests out of the house and away from your kids. Additionally, there is an option of using citronella candles and incenses to keep them at bay. Then there are the citronella oil mosquito repellent patches that come in super handy.
  3. Using essential oil: It is usually recommended to use a mixture of various essential oil like mint, eucalyptus, catnip, lavender, citronella oil etc. to keep away mosquitoes. Add oil and water in the aromatherapy diffuser and light the candle below to create your very own circle of protection in the house. Plus, it leaves your house smelling wonderful.
  4. Use a window mesh: This is one of the simplest and most effective ways to keep mosquitoes out of the house. These days’ window meshes come laced with mosquito repellents to make the mesh extra safe. Make sure that the window mesh is put up especially at dusk and dawn. During the monsoon season it is a good idea to use the mesh all day and night long.
  5. Plant holy basil shrubs: Tulsi leaves are known to be harmful to mosquito larvae and thereby help keep mosquito population in check. Plant holy basil in the garden and at entry points of the house to keep the mosquitoes in control. Similarly, mint shrubs in the garden and at entry points in the house also helps.

Vitamin Combination

If you are in your middle ages chance are you have concerns about eye health related to the likelihood of developing age related vision diseases and conditions. As we age the health of our visual system begins to decline. Therefore, it requires greater attention in terms of nutritional care to stay in top shape. One example of an age related vision disease that is very prevalent among the aging population in the United States is Macular Degeneration. It is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. However, the good news is that there are nutritional steps that you can take to reduce or slow its progression so that you can still enjoy a good quality of life.

A 2001 study conducted by the National Eye Institute, better known as AREDS( The Age Related Eye Disease Study),showed some promise in the reduction of this eye disease when a combination of eye nutrients were taken together. This study showed a decline in the risks for the age related eye disease macular degeneration when test subjects took combinations of vitamins that included the eye Vitamins C, E, Beta Carotene and Zinc. This study measured the progress of 3600 test subjects over a 6 year period of time. The best results were reported by the participants who took the vitamins C, E, and Beta – Carotene along with Zinc.

An additional study conducted by The National Institutes of Health revealed that people who took Beta Carotene alone saw no improvement in their macular degeneration. A helpful word of advice regarding vitamin supplementation is to consult your physician to find out if there are any adverse interactions between vitamins and prescription medications. Also you can consult pharmacists or nutritionists who are knowledgeable about vitamin supplementation as they can help you make informed decisions on what combinations and dosages of vitamin supplements are safe to take.

Mid Back Pain

Vertebrae surround the nerves that are wrapped around the spinal cord. Between the vertebrae are spongy discs which are made of cartilage. These discs provide smooth motion to the back and act as cushions to them. The ligaments, tendons and muscles also have a similar role in order to give support to the system and improve movement within the body. If any of these parts get inflamed, it can lead to discomfort and pain.

Some of the more serious conditions that may lead to problems in the area include spondylitis, fibromyalgia or a herniated disc. If a disc is bulging, it can put pressure on the surrounding nerves and cause intense sensations. Sometimes, other problems which may originate in another part of the body may just radiate to the middle section of the back. For example, a problem with the digestive organs may suddenly come out though back pain.

Another very common cause of problems with the mid back is when you make a sudden movement, especially while playing sports or when trying to do some physical activity. Those who do not exercise much and lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle are at a higher risk of having this problem.

This kind of pain can occur to anyone at any age but people who are between the ages of 30 and 50 are most likely to suffer from it. This is usually due to the kind of activities that are often associated with people who fall into this age bracket coupled with the increasing age of the different parts of the body, especially the spine and tissue around it. Other risk factors include obesity, a poor posture, a family history of back-related problems, pregnancy, smoking, weak abdominal muscles and stress.

The complications that are associated with this problem are usually related to the underlying reason for the pain. The best way to avoid these complications is to visit a healthcare professional and get a treatment plan which should be followed strictly. If it is not treated properly, it could affect your way of life.

 

Flatfeet in Children

Symptoms of Pediatric Flatfoot

Symptoms of flatfeet can vary, depending on the type, the severity, and the age of the child. When a child has a flexible foot disorder, it generally does not cause any pain or discomfort and no treatment is needed. Kids with a rigid foot disorder may have problems that require treatment or therapy by a podiatrist. If pain occurs, it is usually felt in the foot, ankle, or lower leg, and can range from mild to severe. Other symptoms include cramping in the feet or legs, a change in gait, or heels that tilt upwards.

Diagnosing the Problem

Your child’s pediatrician or podiatrist can usually provide a diagnosis upon examination. To make a proper diagnosis, the physician may ask your child to sit up, stand, sit down, walk, and stand on his or her tiptoes. If the problem seems severe, the physician may also have an X-ray taken of the foot to determine the extent of the deformity. If the ankle does not move much, the physician may associate the condition with a shortened or tight Achilles tendon, which may require additional treatment.

Surgical and Non-Surgical Treatments

There are both surgical and non-surgical treatments available for pediatric flatfoot. With the help of your podiatrist, you can work to determine the best solution for your child’s individual condition. Kids with flexible flatfeet and without pain do not generally require treatment. If pain only occurs after activities, a physician may recommend the use of over-the-counter cushioned arch support pads that can be inserted into supportive shoes or sneakers.

If the condition is associated with a short or tight Achilles tendon, the tendon may need to be stretched to reduce or eliminate pain. Those with a tight Achilles tendon should not use hard arch supports, as these can contribute to the discomfort. In rare cases, surgery may be needed to relieve pain. Surgery is generally recommended for children age eight or older, and those who have a short Achilles tendon that requires lengthening.

Endoscopic Spine Surgery

These days most surgeons try and manage your surgery using minimally invasive techniques, often referred to as “MISS,” which stands for minimally invasive spinal surgery. With open surgery you will be subjected to a long incision and the skin and muscle is pulled away from the area being operated on to give the surgeon access to the site and help them perform the surgery. This should be a last resort or only considered in the event that the surgery you require cannot be performed using endoscopic spine surgery.

The benefit to this particular type of surgery is that the risk of damage to the muscles surrounding the spine is reduced. With open surgery, the risk of muscle damage is exceptionally high, but with endoscopic spine surgery you will find that the chances of you struggling with muscle damage is greatly reduced, which is a major benefit on it’s own.

Further another benefit to endoscopic spine surgery is that the pain after surgery is dramatically reduced. As you can imagine, after open surgery you are not only dealing with the pain of the work that has been performed, but also with the sensitivity caused by a long incision and stitches. With endoscopic spine surgery you will have one or two small incisions to manage, which can help you speed up your recovery time considerably.

During surgery, the surgeon will use specialised instruments to access the spine through small incisions. The instruments help the surgeon pinpoint the problematic area and repair any damage. This also helps reduce the risk of heavy bleeding and keeps the area clean and clear for the surgeon to work with complete ease and confidence.

What many people appreciate about endoscopic spin surgery is that you will have a shorter stay in hospital. Let’s be honest, no one enjoys spending time in a hospital bed and you will find being able to go home to your own space and comfort can speed up your recovery time considerably.

It is important to note that not all spinal surgeries can be treated in this way and some do require open surgery. In the event you have been advised that you need spinal surgery, discuss the options with your surgeon. Remember in most instances it is your decision on whether to go ahead or not with the surgery. See if endoscopic spine surgery is an option with your particular condition to reduce your stay in hospital, reduce post surgery pain and help you recover that little bit faster.

Remember there are a few things to take into consideration when it comes to endoscopic spine surgery. You have the right to ask your surgeon about their experience, whether they will be performing the surgery and ask them to explain the surgery in detail, putting your mind at complete ease.

Ask your surgeon how long they will keep you in hospital and when you will be able to return home. It is also always worthwhile to identify how long recovery will take, giving you the ability to book your time off work and ensure that you have help at home to assist you when you first get out of hospital to ensure that you know exactly what to expect moving forward.