All posts by Thomas House

what are cataracts?

Learn about cataracts

What are cataracts?

According to the National Eye Institute in the United States more than 30 million Americans are living with cataracts – including 68.3% of all Americans aged 80 or older. This number is projected to grow beyond 50 million individuals by the year 2050.

Cataracts begin appearing in individuals around the age of 50 or so (though they can begin to establish themselves even earlier than that). Between the ages of 50 and 60, nearly 10% of both men and women in this age bracket have developed cataracts already – and later in life these numbers get even worse.

Thankfully, cataract treatment options exist today to help save the vision of individuals that would have otherwise had to struggle with this medical condition. More than 3.5 million cataract surgery procedures are performed in the US every year, and the overwhelming majority of the surgeries eliminate cataracts completely and restore the vision of these individuals.


What exactly are cataracts, in the first place?

Cataracts are essentially a clouding of the lens that covers and protects our eyeballs. Initially, cataract symptoms are only going to present themselves as a bit of clouding in our vision. But over time, cataracts have the ability to completely rob us of our ability to see clearly – and in some cases render people legally blind.

Cataracts can occur independently in one eye or another as well as both, though the condition isn’t communicable. It isn’t going to jump from one eye to the other if the second eye hasn’t already begun to develop cataracts in the first place, and it isn’t a medical condition that you can spread to anyone else, either.

The root cause of cataracts has been linked to a breakdown of the proteins that are contained within the lens of our eyes. The light that enters into our eyes is reflected through this lens (made up almost entirely of water and protein elements), and over time that light may cause the proteins to breakup and clump together with one another – causing the cataract and the cloudiness.


What are the signs and symptoms of cataracts I should be on the lookout for?

Risk factors for this kind of surgery are low (and the technique and technology used to perform the surgery has only improved over time), but like any other surgery there are risk factors that you’ll need to be aware of before you proceed.

This includes risk factors like infection and bleeding, a slightly higher risk of retinal detachment, and a cataract surgery treatment that wasn’t able to remove the cataract situation itself – leaving your vision impaired afterwards.

At the same time, it’s important to highlight (as we touched on above) that more than 3.5 million successful cataract surgery procedures are performed in the United States alone each and every year. Your odds of clearing out your cataracts are better than ever before with this kind of approach, and the benefits almost always outweigh the minor and often mitigated risk factors associated with this procedure.

There are quite a few common symptoms of cataracts that you want to remain vigilant for, especially after you hit 50 years of age.

These symptoms include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Vision that becomes cloudy or blurry over time
  • A general sensation of faded colors in the world around you
  • Headlights, lamps, or sunlight that feels way too bright or has a “halo” effect
  • Poor lowlight and vision capabilities
  • Seeing double or multiple images in one of your eyes
  • Needing to regularly upgrade your prescription for your eyeglasses or your contacts

Individuals that are most at risk for developing cataracts later in life are those that have medical conditions like diabetes, have lifelong habits of smoking or alcohol abuse, as well as those that have had extreme exposure and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet sunlight or light from computer monitors/televisions.

On top of that, cataracts have also proven to be rather indiscriminate about who they impact. As you age the lenses in your eyes degrade naturally over time. You’ll want to have routine checkups on your eyesight to get out ahead of cataracts situations as early as possible so that you can move forward with effective cataract treatment options to resolve these problems and restore your vision ASAP.


What treatment options exist for cataracts?

There are a variety of different cataract treatment options that you can take advantage of, ranging from leveraging new eyeglasses with ultraviolet blocking technology built right in, avoiding overexposure to sunlight or bright lights, using magnifying lenses to improve your vision, and improving the overall lighting in the environments that you spend the majority of your time in.

At the end of the day, however, the only way to completely remove your cataracts and to clear your vision completely is to move forward with cataract surgery.


eyeball macular degeneration

February is Age Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

February is Age Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month, shedding light on a degenerative condition that destroys the eyesight of nearly 11 million Americans every single year – with medical researchers believing that more than 20 million Americans will be fighting age-related macular degeneration by the time 2050 rolls around. More people lose their vision to age-related macular degeneration than both cataracts and glaucoma combined. Even worse is the fact that macular degeneration is as yet incurable.

According to the University of Wisconsin School of medicine, in conjunction with the US CDC, nearly 6.5% of all Americans 40 years of age or older are already dealing with some degree of macular degeneration. While this medical condition is certainly more prevalent in the older white population (affecting 14% of white Americans 80 years of age or older), minority groups are being hit by higher instances of macular degeneration at an increased rate as well.

What exactly is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is essentially the deterioration of the most central portion of your retina, the part of your eye responsible for recording the images that the eyes detect and sending them via your optical nerve to the “eye of your brain” to be decoded and recognized. The central portion of your retina is known as your macula, and it does all of the heavy lifting as far as focusing your central vision in your eye is concerned. This is the part of your eye that helps you read, helps you recognize people, colors, and objects, gives you the ability to play sports and drive a vehicle, and grants you the ability to see the finest details in life.

When macular degeneration starts to hit, that part of your eyes starts to degrade – faster and faster as you get older – and that’s when your vision starts to go. You’ll still be able to see blurry images at the periphery of your vision, but your central focus (the majority of your focus) is going to be blocked out, blurred out, and unrecognizable. Breaking down the two different types of age-related macular degeneration

There are two specific types of age-related macular degeneration, the “dry” and the “wet” conditions.

  • Nearly 90% of all age-related macular degeneration situations are of the “dry” variety, with only about 10% being of the “wet” variety.
  • Dry macular degeneration (sometimes described as non-neovascular) happens in the early stages of this disease and results mostly from the overall aging and breakdown of the macular tissue in the eye itself. Deposits of pigments and proteins are going to occur inside of the macula, and this is where your “blind spots” are going to start to present themselves.

This process happens on a much more gradual basis compared to the “wet” form of macular degeneration (sometimes described as neovascular). This is a much more advanced and damaging form of eye degradation and occurs when new blood vessels begin to grow beneath your retina and start leaking blood and fluid into your eyeball.

This leakage causes your light-sensitive retinal cells to die off, causing permanent damage and creating blind spots in your central vision that cannot be recovered or repaired. Occult wet macular degeneration is a little bit less severe than the classic type of wet macular degeneration, but both are far more serious and destroy your vision far faster than dry macular degeneration.

Highlighting the root causes and symptoms of macular degeneration

Medical researchers still do not have a full picture of the specific route factors that cause macular degeneration in the first place. There are research teams working around the world to uncover exactly why this condition happens in the first place, but limited funding for this specific disease has hindered progress significantly.

Researchers do believe that the overall root cause of macular degeneration is a more complex intermingling of numerous factors, ranging from hereditary and genetic issues intertwined with environmental and lifestyle choices that combined to create a perfect storm of sorts that works to degrade your vision. Researchers do know that the cells that cause our macula is to deteriorate are different than the cells that cause the Stargardt disease – another disease that robs our vision. Specific genetic factors trigger the Stargardt disease while age-related macular degeneration is a combination of genetic factors and environmental issues.

What can you do to fight back against macular degeneration?

As highlighted above, there is no currently known cure for macular degeneration but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything you can do to prevent this problem from taking hold or to slow down the degradation of your eyesight after you have been diagnosed. Early detection is critical, and your doctor will tell you that there are a number of different lifestyle changes you can make – including changes to your diet and exercise habits, encouraging you to avoid smoking if you still do, and providing you with tools to help you protect your eyes from ultraviolet light moving forward.

Hopefully more answers will come from the awareness generated by the initiatives held every February as part of Age Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month.

kid's eyeglasses

How To Choose A Great Pair of Kid’s Eyeglasses

Are you on the hunt for a new pair of kid’s eyeglasses?

Pediatric eye care doesn’t have to be complicated. Promoting eye health and early care is essential for the lifetime health of your children’s eyes.

Teaching your child to take care of their eyes and pursue good vision through the use of glasses is a life lesson that will stick with them forever.

Glasses can make or break a child’s confidence during the early stages of their life, so choosing the right pair is really important.

In this guide, we’ll help you find ways to choose the best eyeglass option for your child’s eye care needs. Read on to learn more.

Style and Design

The style and design of your kid’s eyeglasses are usually one of the first things people notice when they look at your child.

Because it has such a major impact on your child’s overall look, choosing an appealing style is important when shopping for glasses.

Glasses come in all kinds of frame styles and lens sizes. From thick rims to clear, thin rims and from round lenses to frameless ones, there are a nearly endless amount of options.

Start by asking your kid what he or she seems to like best. You’ll of course want to consider other factors like what looks good on his or her face, but the general style should appeal to them, too.

Some types of glasses look bookish and smart, while others appear more businesslike and sleek. What style does your child prefer?

Ask him or her to point out people in his or her life that wears glasses that he or she likes. Or, ask them to look up photos of famous people who they think look good in their glasses.

That will let you get a feel for the kind of styles your child tends to lean toward. Once you have a general design in mind, you’ll be able to narrow down the options to select the right pair for your child.

Prescription Strength

Another thing to consider when choosing the right kid’s eyeglasses is the prescription strength.

Some prescriptions can only fit in a certain type of frame. Other less strong prescriptions can be made into any glasses.

Of course, getting an accurate prescription is the most important part of selecting eyeglasses for your child. Wearing the wrong prescription can be painful. Worse, it could permanently damage your child’s eyesight.

You will need an eye examination from a doctor to find the right prescription for your child. The amount of correction needed can even differ from eye to eye.

Until they’re old enough for LASIK surgery, your child will need to wear a proper amount of vision correction.

After you know your child’s correct prescription, you’ll be able to select frames that will work with the correction. Getting this right is essential.

There may be a limited amount of options available to your child depending on the prescription strength, but if you work together, you’re sure to find a set that he or she loves.

Face Fitting

One of the most important factors when browsing for kid’s eyeglasses is how the glasses look on their face.

Round faces need a very different shape and style of frames than more elongated faces. The frames should fit your child’s face perfectly, adding to and enhancing their overall look rather than taking away from it.

More square faces do best with oval or round frames. Square frames will only accentuate a square face’s sharp angles.

In the same way, the sharp angles of a square lens look best on more curved or softly rounded faces.

Tall frames look good on long faces, but narrow frames do not. A heart-shaped face looks great in bottom-heavy frames to balance out the proportions of their look.

When shopping for kid’s eyeglasses, you’ll want to bring them along for the experience. Try all kinds of styles and frames on for size and decide together what fits their face best.

Lifestyle Considerations

Is your kid an active, on-the-go soccer player or more of a bookworm? Does he or she tend to roughhouse a lot or stay calm, cool, and collected?

The lifestyle your child chooses to lead will have a major effect on what kind of glasses will work best for them. Kids that play hard will need an extra sturdy pair of glasses for their life.

You don’t want fragile, impractical glasses for a sport playing kid. And you don’t want bulky, heavy duty frames for someone who doesn’t plan to put them under a lot of abuse.

Taking your child’s lifestyle into consideration as you choose the right pair of glasses will ensure that the glasses complement their life, not hinder it.

You want their daily activities to be enhanced by their new glasses, making their usual daily routine easier and more enjoyable.

Boost of Confidence

Eyeglasses can make a major statement about your child’s personality.

You should brainstorm together with your child about what she or he wants to say through their choice of glasses.

At the end of the day, it’s important that kid’s eyeglasses add to their self-esteem, not detract from it. Being a kid can be tough among picky peers, and your child’s glasses should not be a reason for mockery or shame.

Instead, they should be something your child feels proud to wear and eager to show off. Make them feel like the cool kid on the block in their new frames.

You want their new frames to be a boost of confidence and add to their blooming personality, so make sure to take great care in making eyeglass selections with your child.

Need Help Finding Kid’s Eyeglasses?

We supply frames for both children and adults.

We offer frames, lenses, digital lenses, and protective eyewear in our shop. Purchasing your corrective eyewear needs in-store will assure that you receive a precise and personalized fit.

We can also help with your contact lens supply.

Come by our Optical Center for all of your vision needs. We have three locations in the Atlanta area.

7 Signs You Need to Visit an Atlanta Eye Doctor

It’s dreadful thinking what the future holds if your vision deteriorates. You’ve considered swinging by that Atlanta eye doctor office on the way home for work many times. It’s clear because road signs are difficult to read and headaches are frequent.

You’ve seen the I85 billboards advertising vision exam and glasses. They’re not too expensive, you think, and make the appointment. While waiting, eyes dilated, your Atlanta eye doctor gives you the bad news… they confirm your dread.

You never really batted an eye at picking up eye insurance. But, now it’s looking like your prescription isn’t the typical costs. If only you had taken action sooner.

Here are those tell-tale signs your vision is suffering (to act before it’s too late).

These Troubling Signs Are Clear as 20/20 Vision

You beginning to notice the signs of eye problems is the bad news. The good news is that an Atlanta eye doctor is minutes away.

Here are those signs to watch out for:

1. Squinting (Frequently)

Squinting to read literature or focus on an object are signs of macular degeneration. Several contributors including race, smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure cause macular degeneration.

Images begin to turn blurry as it affects the central vision.

Most cases of macular degeneration happen in older individuals. Though, it’s not uncommon for younger individuals to see the early signs.

2. Troubled Night Driving

Blinding headlights and trouble reading road signs are glaring signs of vision issues. Many are quick to dismiss their trouble with night driving. They place their issues on “high beams”. Fractaling headlights aren’t normal.

Correctly treating vision problems will improve night driving safety. Lights remain bright but won’t starburst as harsh. Signs and lane guides are visible from a great distance.

3. Floaters and Flashes

Floaters are small pieces of collagen creating a shadow in your vision. These are quite common. Dust and dirt may also be the reason for seeing these anomalies.

The problem arises when floaters become frequent. These floaters are a breakdown of the vitreous. A sudden flood of floaters and an accompanied light flashes state an eye care emergency.

The vitreous is detaching from the retina — leading to blindness.

4. Tension and Recurring Headaches

Digital eye strain is normal from our constant use of phones and computers. General eye strain from our activities may cause tension headaches. These problems go away from taking a break from such activities.

Yet, recurring headaches are problematic signs.

Glaucoma and astigmatism may be the cause of these frequent headaches and tension. Keep a journal of these incidents to understand if they’re simply from screens or a real problem.

5. Irritated Eyes

Red and itchy eyes may be from simple things like allergies or foreign objects. The eye will take care of these problems. Else, allergy medications and eye drops will work fine.

The problem begins if these are too frequent. See an Atlanta eye doctor if redness and irritation persists. Also, if you begin seeing floaters and flashes (as discussed above).

6. Light Sensitivity

Light sensitivity is called photophobia.

The discomfort may be the cause of an eye infection or an oncoming migraine. Serious problems may be the root of the issue. A detached retina or a corneal scratch could be the cause of this light sensitivity.

Immediately visit an Atlanta eye doctor if problems result from daily activities.

7. Infections

It’s easy to pass off an eye infection. Most symptoms appear mild and only slightly irritable. Infections will typically begin with redness and irritation. These infections could result in eye damage if untreated with proper antibiotics.

Most eye infections are caused by a strain of the common cold. Serious infections like herpes or tuberculosis can damage the inner eye and retina. These typically lead to vision loss.

Visit a doctor if the irritation continues for a few days. Or, if discharge and discharge begins. Avoid further irritation by not touching or scratching the eyes. Use prescribed medications. Or, antibiotics to end the issues before they become a serious problem.

The Benefit of an Early Atlanta Eye Doctor Visit

Ideally, regular eye exams should be part of the bi-yearly routine. Many forgo these appointments. The problems usually take a backseat to other health issues.

However, an early Atlanta eye doctor visit can prevent issues from becoming worse. An eye care specialist can detect early signs of eye damage; a field test will verify the results.

Glaucoma and cataracts — along with macular degeneration — are the leading causes of vision loss throughout the world. Specialists can provide an eye care routine to slow or prevent worsening.

On Lifestyle Changes

The eye care professional will offer suggestions to lead a better lifestyle. These suggestions for exercise and dieting will curb eye problems caused by weight.

The lifestyle changes are typical professional suggestions. Though, them combined with exam results may be a strong motivator to heed their warning.

On Insurance

Vision insurance is low-cost. The basic coverage will offer low copay’s for regular checkups and basic eye care.

Medical insurance covers serious eye care and surgery needs via ophthalmologist. Surgeries have a high success rate; don’t use them as an excuse to avoid checkups and an eye care routine.

Come See Us: The Eye Consultants of Atlanta

We’re located throughout the Atlanta area represented by 11 offices. Our network of skilled medical practitioners has extensive knowledge and expertise. We are a one-stop location for all your eyecare needs — including:

Our optical center ensures 100% satisfaction offering hundreds of frames and lenses. You’ll find dozens of styles from the biggest brands. We’ll have you seeing through new eyes and making sure everything is great with routine eye care.

Don’t wait longer if the signs are clear. Request an appointment or stop by our locations for a consultation, today.

Solar Eclipse Eye Safety

Looking forward to the next solar eclipse? On August 21, 2017, a little over a month away, a solar eclipse will be visible in North America. The entire continent will experience a partial eclipse for a period of anywhere from 2-3 hours. During this time, the moon will completely cover the sun for roughly a two minute period.

Planning on viewing the eclipse? Great! The next solar eclipse will not occur for another 2 years, so this is a great opportunity to do so! However, there are special precautions that must be taken when viewing an eclipse, as looking directly at the sun (even just the edges) can seriously damage your eyes.

In order to view the solar eclipse, you must use special solar filters, which can often be found in special glasses or solar viewers, which are often handheld. These filters must meet a standard known as ISO 12312-2. It is important to note that ordinary glasses, even those which are very dark, are not adequate for protecting your eyes from the sun!

Here are some great steps to safely enjoy an Eclipse, from the American Academy of Ophthalmology:

  • Carefully look at your solar filter or eclipse glasses before using them. If you see any scratches or damage, do not use them.
  • Always read and follow all directions that come with the solar filter or eclipse glasses. Help children to be sure they use handheld solar viewers and eclipse glasses correctly.
  • Before looking up at the bright sun, stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter—do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the only time that you can look at the sun without a solar viewer is during a total eclipse. When the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets dark, you can remove your solar filter to watch this unique experience. Then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear very slightly, immediately use your solar viewer again to watch the remaining partial phase of the eclipse. We still recommend not removing your lenses/glasses unless you are 100% sure it is a total eclipse when doing so.
  • Never look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other similar devices. This is important even if you are wearing eclipse glasses or holding a solar viewer at the same time. The intense solar rays coming through these devices will damage the solar filter and your eyes.
  • Talk with an expert astronomer if you want to use a special solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars or any other optical device.

We recommend reading this article by the American Astronomical Society for more information on eyewear and handled viewers you can use in order to safely view the Eclipse. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends eclipse glasses manufactured by the following four companies:

VisionWalk 2017 in a forest

VisionWalk 2017

Thank you, everyone, who walked with us to help cure retinal disease! We’re thrilled to announce that we had excellent turnout, and with everyone’s support raised over $16,000 for the Foundation Fighting Blindness’ mission to end blindness. It was wonderful to see so many people involved, and we hope to make next year’s a success as well.


Dr. Hamilton performs surgery

Dr. Hamilton restores quality of life to patients

When you experience a traumatic eye injury, there’s an immediate emotional as well as physical toll. But what happens when you are told your symptoms can’t be fixed? That was the reality for Deborah Fontana and Iriondo Serrano, two different people from different states, who both faced the same prospect of life with reduced vision after each being in serious car accidents more than 20 years ago. They suffered damage to the iris, which controls how much light the eye lets in. If you have ever experienced bright sunlight after having your eyes dilated at the eye doctor, imagine living like that for the rest of your life.

While each was fortunate to emerge from the accidents alive, they both faced their own difficulties. Deborah, from Texas, and Iriondo, from Georgia, both needed to wear sunglasses daily to reduce the amount of light their eyes received due to iris loss, which along with cataracts, created irritating and painful aberrations in vision. This was a major quality of life issue for both patients.

At the time, and over the following years, each was told by physicians that no treatment was available. They were finally referred to Dr. Stephen Hamilton, a cataract surgery and cornea specialist with Eye Consultants of Atlanta, one of the few ophthalmologists in the United States able to perform a new and advanced surgical procedure, which replaces the missing iris tissue with an artificial iris that is custom created by artists to match the fellow eye.

We are thrilled to report that both patients are finally able to experience relief from their symptoms, thanks to the combination of cataract surgery and the artificial iris implanted by Dr. Hamilton. Deborah, who flew from Texas with her husband to see Dr. Hamilton, was greatly impressed with Dr. Hamilton’s quality of care and bedside manner, as well as the professionalism of his staff. Iriondo and his wife were similarly impressed with the care they received and commented that his vision had dramatically improved only a week after the surgery.

We’re happy for both patients, and wish them the best going forward while they experience life more clearly for the first time in years. For more information on Dr. Stephen Hamilton, please see his profile.


Eye with damage to iris. Before surgery.
Before surgery: dense cataract
Eye with damaged iris removed.
Before surgery: total loss of iris
Eye after receiving artificial lens.
After surgery: iris and IOL in place
optical beach contest photo

Optical Center Beach Contest!

We’re very excited to announce that our three optical centers (Cumberland, Marietta, and Fayetteville), are holding a fun, beach-themed contest! In a venture of creativity, each location has constructed their own beach-themed display right in their optical centers! We need your help to declare a winner. Which location has the best display? The contest starts today, April 3, and will end April 28, so vote now at the link below! Be sure to see the link for photos of the display as well or better yet, visit an optical center yourself to see one in person. Our optical centers won’t be the only winners – one of you will be randomly selected from every voter and will receive a free pair of sunglasses shortly after the contest ends.

Click here to vote!

VisionWalk 2017!

VisionWalk 2017 is coming up! Eye Consultants of Atlanta is proud to sponsor VisionWalk 2017, which supports the efforts of the Foundation Fighting Blindness. The walk will take place on Saturday, May 20, at the Historic Fourth Ward Park on 680 Dallas Street NE, Atlanta, GA. Registration begins at 9:00 AM, and the walk begins at 10:00 AM. Please join us for this fun, free, and family-friendly event. Your participation will help raise both awareness and funds for sight-saving research that combats retinal diseases. There will be activities for children, food, and refreshments, as well as entertainments, raffles, and more!

Also, our very own vitreo-retinal specialist Robert Halpern, M.D. is the Medical Chair for this event, and we’re excited to help support the Foundation in their efforts to prevent retinal diseases.

How to Register:

To register for our team or to make a donation to, please visit our team page.