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How Eye Disease And Cataracts Affected The Work Of Famous Artists

For many art enthusiasts, analyzing the differences in color choices and techniques that an artist employed over the course of their career offers a window into the artist’s soul.

But to eye doctors, these changes in color and style offer a glimpse into the artist’s eye health.

When comparing the paintings from an artist’s youth to their older years, the changes suggest that eye disease may have affected their vision — and, consequently, their artwork.

Did Eye Conditions Affect the Work of Famous Artists?

Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s crystalline lens and a natural part of the aging process. People with cataracts eventually develop blurred vision and perceive colors as faded or yellow-toned.

Claude Monet struggled with cataracts in his 60’s. Upon noticing that his eyesight was changing, he wrote the following to an eye doctor in Paris:

“I no longer perceived colors with the same intensity… I no longer painted light with the same accuracy. Reds appeared muddy to me, pinks insipid, and the intermediate and lower tones escaped me.”

monet paintings2.jpegMonet’s early and well-known paintings of water lilies are full of vibrant blue and purple tones, with clear and sharp lines. As his vision deteriorated, his portrayal of nature became more abstract, and increasingly infused with yellow and red tones.

When Monet’s cataracts became very advanced, he could no longer rely on his eyes to select the correct paint colors; he had to read the labels on the paint bottles to know which color was inside. This is because cataracts caused light to scatter within his eye, blurring his vision.

Monet eventually had cataract surgery, which allowed him to see blue and purple again. However, he wrote to his eye doctor complaining that he couldn’t see yellows and reds anymore, which frustrated him. In those days, cataract surgery was fairly new and couldn’t fully perfect vision.

Eventually, he wore tinted lenses to help correct his color vision problem.

Degas retinal diseaseRetinal Disease

Macular degeneration affects the central portion of the retina, called the macula. The main symptoms of macular degeneration are poor central vision, perceiving straight lines as distorted, and blurred vision.

Medical experts believe that Edgar Degas suffered from retinal disease. Furthermore, he frequently complained about his declining eyesight in letters.

When comparing Degas’ paintings from his 40s to the ones from his 60s, the lack of shading and less-refined lines are glaring and may have been due to the deterioration of his retina.

Strabismus

image 01

Strabismus, or an eye-turn, is a misalignment of the eyes. The most obvious symptom of strabismus is that the two eyes don’t point in the same direction. This condition can also cause double vision, lazy eye and poor depth perception.

Rembrandt, whose eyes appear to be misaligned in his self-portraits, was thought to have strabismus. It is speculated that he needed to close one eye to avoid double vision, allowing him to accurately replicate what he saw onto the canvas. This would have affected how he painted his own eyes.

Don’t Let Eye Disease Change Your View of the World

Whether or not you are an artist, vision is one of your most precious senses and affects how you interact with the world around you.

Eye diseases and conditions that interfere with the way you see can significantly impact your quality of life. That’s why it’s our goal to help our patients maintain crisp and clear vision for a lifetime.

At , we diagnose, treat and manage a wide range of eye diseases and conditions using the latest in diagnostic technology. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff will answer all of your questions and make your visit as pleasant as possible.

To schedule your appointment, contact today.

Frequently Asked Questions with our doctors

Q: #1: How often should I have my eyes checked for eye disease?

  • A: Having your eyes tested on an annual basis is recommended for all adults, especially those over age 40. Early detection of ocular disease offers the best chance of effective treatment and vision preservation.

Q: #2: Can vision loss be prevented?

  • A: Certain conditions can be treated or managed to prevent vision loss. If you are at risk of any eye conditions, speak with your eye doctor about the best prevention plan for keeping your eyes healthy.


serves patients from Bradenton, Palmetto, Parrish, and Lakewood Ranch, all throughout Florida.

 

What’s The Link Between Obesity And Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

senior woman macular degeneration 640It’s well known that obesity is a risk factor for developing serious health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Now researchers are studying whether being obese raises the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) — a leading cause of blindness in adults over the age of 60.

What’s Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?

AMD is a progressive eye disease that damages the center of the retina, called the macula. The macula is responsible for the central vision that focuses on detail. As it deteriorates, patients may notice blurry or dark spots in their central visual field. This can make it difficult to read, drive and recognize faces.

Other symptoms of AMD are distorted vision, difficulty adjusting from bright settings to dim ones, and colors appearing dull.

There are two forms of the disease: wet and dry.

Dry AMD is much more common and less severe than wet AMD, which usually sets in quickly and progresses more aggressively. Both forms can lead to legal blindness, but treatments can help slow their progression and minimize vision loss.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with AMD or experience any of the above symptoms, call and ask how we can help preserve your vision.

Does Obesity Affect AMD?

Researchers are investigating whether there is a link between obesity and AMD.

Some studies suggest that people with a BMI over 30 have double the risk of developing age-related macular degeration than those with a lower BMI.

However, a study published in the journal Retina found that obesity was a predictor for the development of late-stage AMD. In simpler terms, being obese accelerated AMD progression in those who had it or were at a higher risk of developing this serious eye disease.

Another study, published in BMC Ophthalmology, supports these findings. Obesity was found to be a significant factor in the development of late-stage AMD, but this study also showed that age, smoking, and a family history of AMD are higher predictive factors.

What’s the Bottom Line?

These studies indicate that maintaining a healthy weight may lower the risk of late-stage AMD.

To reduce your risk of developing AMD, or to slow its progression, we recommend you quit smoking, eat more leafy greens and ask your eye doctor about the potential benefits of taking a supplement called AREDS 2.

If you or a loved one has received a macular degeneration diagnosis, it can be scary — but we are here for you. Our team of highly trained eye doctors can provide you with cutting-edge treatments in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Whether it’s AMD or any other eye health problem, can help. Call today to schedule your consultation.

serves patients from Bradenton, Palmetto, Parrish, Lakewood Ranch, and throughout Florida.

Q&A

Q: #1: What treatments are available for AMD?

  • A: Although there isn’t yet a cure for AMD, treatments can help slow it down and even reverse eye damage. Treatment include eye injections, laser therapy, and vitamins. Your eye doctor will determine which treatment option is right for you.

Q: #2: How common is age-related macular degeneration?

  • A: Unfortunately, AMD is the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60, affecting about 196 million people around the world. That number is expected to double, to over 400 million people by the year 2050. AMD is a leading cause of permanent vision loss and blindness across the globe.


5 Common Myths About Cataracts

5 Common Myths About Cataracts 640Most people have heard of cataracts, or know someone who has undergone cataract surgery. But despite it being a well-known eye condition, there’s still a lot of confusion around cataracts.

Below, we’ll clear up some common misconceptions and set the record straight.

Myth #1: Cataracts are Growths Within the Eye

FACT: Cataracts aren’t growths—rather, they’re changes in the eye’s natural lens. Cataracts occur when the protein cells in the lens start to deteriorate and clump together, resulting in cloudiness. A person with cataracts will typically have cloudy vision accompanied with a yellow or brown tint.

Myth #2: Only Older People Get Cataracts

FACT: People of all ages—even newborns—can have cataracts. While it’s accurate to say because cataracts are a natural process of aging, and affects the elderly more often than the young, certain medications and eye trauma can also lead to cataracts.

Myth#3: Lifestyle Changes Can Treat or Reverse Cataracts

FACT: Once you have a cataract, the only way to cure it is with surgery in order to remove the cataract and implant a new clear lens. Healthy lifestyle choices like eating well, getting regular exercise, and sleeping enough can all impact eye health and overall health, but they cannot reverse cataracts.

Myth #4: You Can’t Do Anything to Prevent Cataracts

FACT: While there is no surefire way of preventing cataracts, wearing 100% UV blocking sunglasses outdoors and incorporating eye-healthy foods into your diet, like leafy greens and colorful vegetables, may delay their onset.

Myth#5: If You Have Cataracts, You Definitely Need Cataract Surgery

FACT: You only need to have your cataracts surgically removed if they interfere with your vision and impact your lifestyle. If you’re able to safely perform activities, such as driving at night, you don’t necessarily need surgery right away. However, be sure that your eye doctor monitors you for cataract-related vision loss.

At , we help patients navigate a wide range of eye health matters, and can help you decide whether to undergo cataract surgery or other treatments. To schedule your consultation, call today.

serves patients from Bradenton, Palmetto, Parrish, Lakewood Ranch, and throughout Florida.

Frequently Asked Questions with our doctors

 

Q: Can cataracts return after surgery?

  • A: No. During surgery, the natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one that will remain clear. If the membrane that holds the artificial lens starts to deteriorate, your vision may turn cloudy again — but this is easily treatable with a quick laser procedure to restore sharp vision.

Q: What other symptoms are associated with cataracts, aside from cloudy vision?

  • A: Cataracts are usually a painless condition, but you may experience the following symptoms associated with your cataracts: double vision, seeing halos around lights, perceiving colors as faded or yellowed, and changes in your lens prescription.


Don’t Let Glaucoma Blindside You

senior man and woman 640At least 3 million North Americans have glaucoma, but only 50% know they have it! Glaucoma starts off asymptomatic in 95% of cases, and by the time the condition is noticed, the vision loss is irreversible.

That’s why regular eye exams are so crucial, even if you don’t suspect a problem. At , we provide patients with comprehensive eye exams, the latest treatments for eye disease, and other eye services to ensure the best possible outcome — no matter the diagnosis.

But First – What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases caused by a buildup of pressure within the eye. The longer the pressure builds, the more damage it causes, especially to the optic nerve.

Without any medical intervention, the nerve will continually deteriorate, resulting in permanent vision loss or blindness.

How Is Glaucoma Detected?

Glaucoma is detected through a comprehensive eye examination. During your exam, your eye doctor will test your eye pressure, examine your optic nerve, and assess your visual field, among other things.

Yearly eye exams (or as often as your eye doctor recommends) are necessary to diagnose and treat glaucoma. And when it comes to glaucoma, early detection is key.

Here are the different ways to test for glaucoma:

  • Air Puff Test – A puff of air is used to gently bounce off the front of your eye. The machine then calculates how much resistance your eye displayed to the air puff, revealing the amount of internal eye pressure.
  • Tonometer – After applying some numbing drops to your eyes, the eye doctor will gently touch your eye with a small device that measures the eye’s resistance and internal pressure.
  • Blue Light Test (Goldmann tonometry) – After inserting numbing drops, your eye doctor will use a device called a slit lamp biomicroscope to slowly move a flat-tipped probe until it gently touches your cornea. Although this method is considered the gold-standard for measuring eye pressure, all methods mentioned here are safe, comfortable, and accurate.

How Is Glaucoma Treated?

While glaucoma cannot be prevented, several treatments can help prevent eye damage and vision loss.

Eye drops

Prescription eye drops are usually the first-line treatment for early stages of glaucoma. These drops are used to help decrease eye pressure by limiting the amount of fluid your eye produces, or by improving how fluid drains from your eye.

Oral medications

Oral medications to lower eye pressure are usually prescribed when eye drops alone are ineffective.

Surgery and other therapies

Aside from eye drops and oral meds, here are some other glaucoma treatments your eye doctor may recommend.

  • Laser therapy – Laser trabeculoplasty is used to treat open-angle glaucoma and helps the fluid easily drain from the eye.
  • Filtering surgery – this surgical procedure allows fluid to drain from the eye to decrease eye pressure.
  • Drainage tubes – a small tube shunt is placed into the eye and acts as a ‘pipe’ for excess fluid drainage.
  • Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) – This option tends to cause fewer side effects and complications than standard glaucoma surgeries.

What’s the takeaway?

Glaucoma can be sneaky, so make sure to catch it in its tracks with a yearly eye exam. If glaucoma is detected, can provide effective treatments and glaucoma management to help preserve your vision.

To schedule your consultation, call us today.

serves patients from Bradenton, Palmetto, Parrish, Lakewood Ranch, and throughout Florida.

Frequently Asked Questions with our doctors

Q: Who’s at risk of developing glaucoma?

  • A: The following are risk factors for developing glaucoma: a family history of the condition, being over the age of 60, diabetes, heart disease, previous eye injury or surgery, having thin corneas, high blood pressure, sickle cell anemia, and extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Q: What are the first signs of glaucoma?

  • A: The early stages often have no symptoms, but as the condition progresses, the patient may notice patchy spots in the peripheral vision or tunnel vision. The more severe type of glaucoma (acute closed angle glaucoma) may cause symptoms like severe eye pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and red eyes. Promptly seek medical care if you experience any of these symptoms.


Should Patients With Glaucoma Switch To Decaf?

woman drinking coffee 640For many people, their day doesn’t begin until they’ve had their hot cup of coffee. But does their beloved brew heighten their risk of developing glaucoma? As for patients who’ve already received a glaucoma diagnosis—should they steer clear of all caffeine?

At , we frequently receive these types questions from our patients, especially if they have a family history of glaucoma. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with glaucoma, can help.

But First, What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by increased pressure within the eye. While ocular pressure affects all structures of the eye, it can severely damage the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss.

There are two main types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of preventable blindness and vision loss, and often starts with no noticeable symptoms. That’s why regular eye exams are so vital.

Does Caffeine Affect Glaucoma?

Several studies have been conducted to determine whether there is a link between caffeine and the development and progression of glaucoma. While there isn’t yet a unanimous agreement, researchers generally agree that heavy caffeine intake can significantly increase your risk of developing glaucoma, especially if you are genetically predisposed to the disease.

One study published in the Journal of Glaucoma observed the effects of caffeine and coffee-drinking in patients with open-angle glaucoma. They found that intraocular pressure (IOP) was higher among those in the coffee-drinking group, who consumed at least 2 cups of coffee a day.

Another study found that heavy coffee drinkers (5 or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day) were more likely to develop glaucoma than those who don’t drink coffee.

In contrast, a third study (that used information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) found that caffeinated coffee was not a risk factor for glaucoma. Even more noteworthy: those who regularly drank hot, caffeinated tea had a lower risk of glaucoma. The researchers theorized that the antioxidants in tea counteracted the caffeine.

So, what’s the bottom line?

If you have glaucoma or if it runs in your family, speak to your eye doctor about limiting your caffeine intake as a preventative measure.

How We Can Help

Here’s some good news: a glaucoma diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean vision loss. With the help of your eye doctor, glaucoma can be effectively managed to delay or even prevent vision loss.

The best way to ensure a healthy outcome for your eyes and vision is to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams with your optometrist.

To schedule your appointment, call today!

serves patients from Bradenton, Palmetto, Parrish, and Lakewood Ranch, all throughout Florida.