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Archive for August, 2006

Increasing treatment of keratoconus in San Francisco Bay Area

Friday, August 25th, 2006

More and more patients from Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, and Concord are undergoing treatment for keratoconus with Dr. Stephen Turner. Since obtaining FDA approval for intacs for treating keratoconus, patients with keratoconus are now seeking help from one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most experienced corneal surgeons, Dr. Stephen Turner.

At one time, patients with keratoconus were forced to use either hard contact lenses or they had to undergo a corneal transplant. The hard contact lenses were often uncomfortable and even worse could hasten the need for a corneal transplant. With newer treatments, such as intacs, patients with keratoconus are now receiving medical care to strengthen their corneas more quickly and might be able to avoid the need for a corneal transplant.

Dr. Turner has performed hundreds of procedures for patients with keratoconus in the San Francisco Bay Area at his clinics in Concord, San Leandro, San Jose, and San Francisco. These procedures are very important in improving the eyesight of people with keratoconus.

Non-profit organizations seek cornea donors to prevent blindness

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

A former keratoconus patient with the eye patch she wore after a cornea transplant saved her from blindness in her left eye. She may need a transplant in her right eye as well.

Despite her diagnosis of a progressive eye disease 18 years ago, the keratoconus patient has not only Rollerbladed in 23 different countries, but she has also lost her delicate $80 gas permeable contact lenses in many of those countries as well.

“Down the drain in London, and on the dance floor in Rome,” she said. “It’s actually kind of depressing to think of how many I’ve lost.”

This long time flight attendant for American Trans Air is now able to enjoy her active lifestyle of travel thanks to what she calls her new youngest part. Last November, she received a cornea transplant in her left eye from a 24-year-old male. The transplant at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary stopped the disease, keratoconus, from eventually blinding her.

Keratoconus causes thinning of the cornea, the clear outermost layer of the eye, producing a cone shaped bulge. Many people suffer from refractive errors, like nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism that also affect the shape of the cornea, but these disorders may be corrected with soft contact lenses. However, in the early stages of keratoconus, the only way to correct for vision is to wear gas permeable contact lenses. Over time, the disease causes intense blurring and sight impairment due to tissue scarring.

She still wears one gas permeable lens for the keratoconus in her right eye. Even though it’s uncomfortable, she is thrilled to have one eye strong enough not to require a second gas permeable lens. “They’re very painful,” she said of the lenses. “Any time you blink, it rubs up and down.” Optometrists have to constantly refit her gas lenses because the disease causes the shape of the cornea to change.

The rubbing from the left lens created so much scar tissue that her doctors told her a cornea transplant would be the only thing saving her from eventual blindness in one eye. Her name was placed on a waiting list and for a week, she was prepared to be rushed to the hospital for the surgery. On Nov. 15, after the three-hour procedure Heap left with a brand new cornea.

Her transplant was made possible through The Eye Bank for Sight Restoration Inc., located at 120 Wall St. The world’s first eye bank, since 1944 it has collected, processed and distributed donor eye tissue for thousands of sight saving cornea transplants throughout the city, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley. The Eye Bank works with a number of hospitals, including New York Downtown Hospital in Lower Manhattan.

The Eye Bank’s executive director said the process of matching donors and recipients was gratifying.

“Working here gives you a perspective that you don’t get in other places because on a daily basis we’ve got this list of patients waiting for cornea transplants,” she said. “How is that going to happen? To know there is only one way for that to happen; that life and death are what makes the world go round and each day we hope that someone does hear the message that they can make a difference in somebody else’s life and consent to donate.”

Currently there is state legislation being debated which would give people who join the New York State Organ and Tissue Donor Registry the final say in the decision to donate organs. Today, even if a person is listed in the registry, the family of the deceased still makes the final decision if the organs are donated. The Eye Bank encourages early discussion among family members of wishes for organ donation, and hopes more people sign up for the registry.

Last week, The Eye Bank honored its first recipient Young Ambassador Scholarship. The program was created to encourage young people’s efforts to educate the community about eye donation. The recipient won the $1,000 scholarship for collecting the largest number of donor registration forms recorded in a single drive.

The patient with keratoconus wrote to her donor family through the Eye Bank, thanking the family for the donation and telling them a little about herself. She hasn’t heard back yet, but understands that it may take some time before a family is ready to communicate.

“I can see now because of someone that gave up their cornea. I’m able to travel the world, I’m able to Rollerblade, I’m able to be normal,” she said. “You just get a very different perspective; I think you’re more thankful of little things when you receive a gift like that.”

Since keratoconus worsens over time, the keratoconus patient knows her right cornea may reach the stage where it will also need to be replaced. If she reaches that point, she is willing to go through with another transplant. Until then, she takes the recovery process very seriously and looks forward to an even more active life full of scuba diving and traveling.

“I think about the guy that gave up his cornea for me and the people that donate,” she said. “They really gave me a gift.”

To learn more about becoming a cornea donor, call 212-742-9000 or visit www.eyedonation.org.

LASIK in China

Monday, August 21st, 2006

I witnessed a LASIK procedure performed in China. The operating room was not sterile and there was significant dust and debris. I am certain not all LASIK in China is like this however.

Keratoconus Patients and LASIK Surgery

Thursday, August 17th, 2006

Keratoconus patients are suffering from a disease that weakens the collagen structure within the cornea. This results in vision with decreased clarity. Many patients with keratoconus seek out surgical vision care in order to improve their vision. Some even wonder whether LASIK can correct their vision.

I recently read a story of a Merritt Island doctor who was fined and ordered to perform 50 hours of community service for inappropriately performing Lasik surgery on a patient in 2000. According to board documents, the LASIK surgeon failed to recognize that the patient had a condition — keratoconus — that prohibits Lasik surgery.

LASIK eye surgery thins the cornea. It can also lead to a condition known as ectasia. In this condition, the cornea bulges outward as the pressure within the eye pushes on the thinned cornea. Ectasia can appear remarkably similar to keratoconus and often a patient with ectasia following LASIK surgery will be diagnosed as having keratoconus.

With a keratoconus diagnosis the patient can then sue the LASIK surgeon for malpractice in performing LASIK upon an eye with keratoconus. The question is whether the eye had keratoconus prior to LASIK or if the thinning of the cornea caused ectasia which was then diagnosed as keratoconus. Other factors can also exacerbate the condition. Some medical problems, such as uncontrolled diabetes, thyroid conditions, or collagen vascular diseases, could also weaken the cornea and result in problems following LASIK eye surgery.

Certainly any patient considering LASIK eye surgery must feel comfortable with the experience and qualifications of the surgeon that they are choosing. The higher the prescription the more thinning is required so patients with a high amount of near-sightedness would then be at a higher risk for corneal ectasia. There are in fact other options, besides LASIK, that do not thin the cornea.

While ectasia resembles keratoconus, they are not considered the same disease. Keratoconus occurs in an eye that has not had LASIK treatment. Ectasia is the bulging of the cornea that is resulting from a cornea that is too thin, perhaps caused by LASIK treatment.

Both conditions can often be treated similarly however. Some LASIK patients who are suffering from ectasia can benefit from intacs treatment to strengthen the corneal foundation. Patients undergoing intacs for ectasia are very similar to patients having intacs for keratoconus.

If you are interested in having an eye examination to determine if intacs, LASIK, or other treatment is right for you, please contact Turner Eye Institute. Turner Eye Institute is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and has vision clinics in San Francisco, San Jose, San Leandro, and Concord. Dr. Turner treats patients throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, including Oakland and Walnut Creek as well as Santa Clara, Hayward, Fremont, and other East Bay cities.

Keratoconus Blog

Friday, August 11th, 2006

This keratoconus blog will help educate people about the effects of keratoconus as well as the experience of patients with keratoconus. This keratoconus blog will be updated weekly so that new information regarding keratoconus and keratoconus treatments can be made available.

Turner Eye Institute would like to offer the best possible information regarding keratoconus. Dr. Turner is a highly trained and experienced corneal specialist with a wide array of experience in dealing with patients with keratoconus. We appreciate the input from patients who visit our keratoconus blog and hope that we can provide helpful information that can assist you in receiving the best possible keratoconus treatment.

Please contact or refractive counselors if you would like to make an appointment to meet with Dr. Turner regarding treatment of keratoconus.

If you are uncertain if you have keratoconus or uncertain about the symptoms of keratoconus please examine are web site and then make an appointment for a keratoconus examination. Dr. Turner would be happy to provide further instructions regarding keratoconus.

Keratoconus San Jose

Friday, August 11th, 2006

Keratoconus Treatments require a trained corneal specialist with a high degree of experience. San Jose patients seeking to consult with a corneal specialist about keratoconus are frequently referred by other eye doctors to Dr. Stephen Turner. Dr. Turner is recognized as a top surgeon in the San Francisco Bay Area and San Jose and is frequently chosen by optometrists as the best selection for patients struggling with corneal problems such as keratoconus.

Dr. Turner has performed well over a hundred procedures on San Jose residents to improve keratoconus, using the intacs frequently to strengthen to cornea and improve stability. The results have been very promising and have given new hope to many San Jose patients with keratoconus who felt that they were doomed to poor vision without any alternatives. Dr. Turner’s experience in performing these treatments are further backed by 30 years of medical and ophthalmology experience, specializing in cornea and eye care.

Dr. Turner received specialty training at some of the most recognized eye surgical centers in the world:

  • University of California Medical Center in San Francisco, California, USA
  • Saint John’s Ophthalmic Hospital in Jerusalem, Israel
  • Moorfield Eye Hospital in London, England
  • While keratoconus is not extremely common, with millions of San Francisco Bay Area residents and millions of San Jose residents, it can be expected that hundreds if not thousands of people are suffering from the effects of keratoconus. If you live in Northern California, San Jose, or the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Turner Eye Institute. We can provide you with a complete examination to assess the cornea and determine the best treatment for your eyes.

    Turner Eye Institute has offices throughout the San Francisco Bay Area that serve residents of San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, Concord, Walnut Creek, and other Bay Area cities. If you are a San Jose who has been diagnosed with keratoconus are suspects keratoconus, please contact Turner Eye institute. We can provide you with a comprehensive eye exam to evaluate your condition and recommend the best possible keratoconus treatment.

    San Francisco Bay Area Keratoconus

    Friday, August 4th, 2006

    Keratoconus Treatments in the San Francisco Bay Area are frequently performed by Dr. Stephen Turner. Dr. Turner is recognized as a top surgeon in the San Francisco Bay Area and San Jose and is frequently chosen by optometrists as the best selection for patients struggling with corneal problems such as keratoconus.

    Dr. Turner has performed well over a hundred procedures to improve keratoconus, using the intacs frequently to strengthen to cornea and improve stability. The results have been very promising and have given new hope to many keratoconus patients who felt that they were doomed to poor vision without any alternatives. Dr. Turner’s experience in performing these treatments are further backed by 30 years of medical and ophthalmology experience, specializing in cornea and eye care.

    While keratoconus is not extremely common, with millions of San Francisco Bay Area resident, it can be expected that hundreds if not thousands of people are suffering from the effects of keratoconus. If you live in Northern California, San Jose, or the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Turner Eye Institute. We can provide you with a complete examination to assess the cornea and determine the best treatment for your eyes.

    Turner Eye Institute has offices throughout the San Francisco Bay Area that serve residents of San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland, San Leandro, Hayward, Concord, Walnut Creek, and other Bay Area cities.

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