Dry Eye Syndrome

In the Las Vegas desert, Dry Eye Syndrome is a common condition especially among resident who relocate to the desert from typically moist climates like the southeast, northeast or even the Midwest. Not just the dry environment of the desert, but also sun exposure, smoke exposure and allergy medications can cause severe dryness.

Eye surgery is usually not necessary to treat dry eye syndrome. Lubricating drops known as artificial tears used several times a day can alleviate many of the symptoms associated with dry eye. Symptoms like blurry vision, burning, itching, or gritty feeling and an extreme sensitivity to light are all typical of dry eye syndrome.

If the first line of defense doesn’t work, there are medicated drops that ophthalmologists prescribe to increase tear production such as Restasis.

As a last line of defense, a quick procedure in which your tear ducts are plugged may be necessary. This procedure isn’t the type of surgery requiring a surgery center. Rather, it can be performed in your local ophthalmologists office. Tear duct plugs sounds a lot worse than they actually are.

We all have four tear ducts. Your ophthalmologist may opt to plug 1, 2, 3 or all 4 of your ducts. The plugs are no larger than a cupcake sprinkle. They are inserted with tweezers within a matter of seconds. You should not feel the plugs whatsoever after they are in place. The plugs serve to keep a thin layer of water over the surface of your eye rather than allow the water to drain through the tear ducts.

If you suspect you may be suffering from dry eye syndrome in Las Vegas, Henderson or Summerlin call the Shepherd Eye Center to schedule an appointment to be seen. Shepherd Eye Center ophthalmologists will examine your eyes to determine if you have the condition, and what course of action will be most effective to alleviate your symptoms.

Eye Health Studies

At present, there are a number of studies being conducted by the National Eye Institute focusing on factors associated with age-related cataract development.

The first study aims to measure levels of sunlight exposure and how that may increase risk for cataracts. The second study looks at vitamin supplements that show varying results in delaying the onset of age-related cataracts. Third, a series of studies on how genetics impact cataract development have shown the most promise so far.


An Iridotomy is a laser procedure used in the treatment of acute, closed-angle Glaucoma. With Iridotomy, a laser creates a hole on the edge of the iris that allows fluid to move from the front through the back of the eye, reducing the pressure inside the eye. This opening created by laser prevents spikes in pressure inside the eye.

Patients have a tough time understanding exactly why they’d need an iridotomy because it is a matter of narrow angles in the eye. When eye surgeons describe these narrow angles to acute, closed-angle Glaucoma patients, patients hear only abstract terms and confusing technical explanations.

The Visante OCT is a mapping technology that lets eye doctors capture images of a person’s eye. Eye doctors can illustrate to the patient exactly what’s happening with the narrowing angles inside their eye. The printout helps to determine if iridotomy treatment is necessary or not.

Ptosis Surgery

Ptosis is the term for drooping eyelids, so ptosis surgery is the procedure to lift the droop that can happen from skin around the eyes. Dryness. Long periods of being awake. Aging. For these and other reasons the muscles in the eyelids weaken, skin loses its elasticity causing lids to droop.

An incision is made along the crease of the lid so that no scar is noticeable after the fact. To attain the best result, it is important to research your eye surgeon to make sure he or she is well-trained and has a clean surgery record.

After the surgery, you might have swelling on the eyelids. You will usually recover fully within 3-6 months after ptosis surgery. After surgery,the wound should be cleaned regularly to avoid infection.

Eye Surgery on Cadaver Eyes

In the past decade or two, a trend has begun among medical device corporations building out their own or making use of bioskills labs to educated their surgeons and salespeople how to use a medical device on cadaveric tissue. It’s the old adage that you’d rather have your surgeon practice on a cadaver than learn a surgery on you. It’s no different for eye surgeons, who also gain invaluable experience practicing on cadaver eyes.

The problem is that diseased, donor eyes are hard to find. Birds eyes and that of mice have been used in some surgical trainings. But a disease of the macula requires only primate eyes since only primates have maculas. It is very difficult for surgical training facilities to collect a supply of human cadaver eyes who had geographic atrophy. For this reason, progress in the investigation of diseases of the macula is slow.

Eye Surgery Adhesive

The less glamorous side of eye surgery is the notion of sutures being used to stitch up the eyeball after, say, a cataract removal or a problematic LASIK flap creation. Last January’s issue of EYE NET covered a host of new products under development that would work as a clear adhesive on the eye’s surface to seal a wound after surgery.

Previously, there were two adhesives on the market. The first was called Fibrin, and it’s been around decades. It’s newer sibling is about 20 years old called Cyanacrolyates. Doctors say the Cyanacrolyates is too brittle and rough to use as an ideal adhesive. Fibrin is still a common suture substitute.

There are new adhesives that might replace these. Made of hydrogel, two are already approved for use in Europe: OcuSeal and ReSure Adherent. The third is called Biodendrimer, a polymer tissue sealant that showed less inflammation and clear vision while healing in a LASIK study compared to sutured LASIK patients.

None of the new adhesives are approved by the US FDA yet, but ophthalmologists agree a new suture substitute adhesive would be a welcomed addition for a variety of eye surgeries.


Your eye is full of a fluid knows as vitreous. A Vitrectomy is performed to remove vitreous from the central cavity in your eye if you have diabetic retinopathy, macular hole or a retinal detachment. A vitrectomy eye surgery is most often done on an outpatient basis.

As with some of the other surgeries we’ve mentioned like LASIK, Cataract Surgery and cosmetic eyelid surgery, a local anesthetic will be added to your eye to numb its surface so you don’t feel anything. Your ophthalmologist makes a small incision on the side of your eye and inserts a microscopic cutting device is insert to suck out the jelly-like fluid. The trick for the eye doctor is to maintain steady eye pressure during the surgery.

After vitreous fluid is removed, the ophthalmologist will fill your eye with a special saline solution intended to mimic the texture and function of the original vitreous. Sometimes the ophthalmologist will put a tiny stitch at the incision. The recovery is similar to LASIK and Cataract Surgery in that it is generally cleared up within a week, and you have a series of drops to use to stave off inflammation and infection.

Astigmatism Treatment for Cataract patients

Having an astigmatism isn’t a big deal, especially if you have a very mild one. An astigmatism basically means that the shape of your eye is more like a football than a basketball. It implies that there is a steepness to your cornea. Most people have a slight astigmatism. Nobody’s perfect, right?

While you may never have any vision problems as a result of your astigmatism, later in life it can become an issue when cataracts form. The cataract removal process occurs inside the eye, and the implant used matches your presription without accounting for the astigmatism. This means you’ll have trouble with your vision even after cataract surgery.

There are two methods that eye surgeons use to treat the astigmatism during cataract surgery. A specialty lens implant, called a TORIC LENS can accomodate the astigmatism. This means that you may have to pay a bit more than what Medicare would cover for a standard lens implant. If not, the other method is called “relaxing incision” in which the surgeon literally incises your cornea to relax it from being so steep; thus relaxing the astigmatism so that you can see just fine out of the standard lens implant.

According to the February 2012 issue of Eyenet, most ophthalmologists prefer to use the Toric lens implant than perform a relaxing incision.

New Eye Surgery called DSEK

Corneal surgery is risky because you are born with a finite layer of tissue. If your cornea swells from trauma or a symptom of disease, you would have to undergo corneal eye surgery.

DSEK is a less invasive, alternative surgery that replaces the traditional corneal transplant or cornea graft procedure in the event that the endothelial layer of your cornea swells due to disease or trauma. DSEK stands for Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty.

This new method of corneal eye surgery is preferred because it takes less time and heals faster than the alternative procedure which would be a full cornea transplant. Only a select few ophthalmologists have begun to perform DSEK in the U.S. because it requires extreme precision by the surgeon.

Las Vegas is lucky because there are two ophthalmologists at Shepherd Eye Center who perform DSEK: Dr. Steven Hansen and Dr. Robert Taylor.

Blepharoplasty, Eyelid surgery

We’ve touched on cosmetic eyelid surgery once in this blog already. It’s sort of a “mini facelift” that ophthalmologists perform on the sagging skin around your eyes. Let’s take a closer look at this type of eye surgery today.

Your ophthalmologist will evaluate your eye health before blepharoplasty. Details like vision, tear production, use of contact lenses and medications will be addressed. Your eye surgeon will also ask you what your expectations are for after the surgery. Then, a plan involving the surgical technique, amount of surgery needed, and the type of anesthesia will be made.

Blepharoplasty generally warrants local anesthetic. Sometimes, you might get a mild sedative to help you relax. For upper eyelid surgery, the eye surgeon removes excess skin, muscle and fatty tissue. Incisions are made along the natural folds of your eyelids so that once they heal they will not be noticeable. For lower eyelid surgery, the incision is made inside or behind the eyelid so the eye surgeon can remove fatty deposits that makes your undereyes look puffy.