AMD Awareness Month

Did you know February is AMD & Low Vision Awareness Month? California Retina Consultants wants to help bring awareness to AMD, its symptoms, and the steps that can be taken to help prevent vision loss. Age-related Macular Degeneration, or AMD, is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the country, affecting over 2 million people over the age of 50 in the U.S. AMD is the breakdown of the macula, which is a small spot in the retina that is responsible for our central vision and allows us to have sharp and clear vision.

The primary risk factor for AMD is age. However, the condition can occur at any age, and certain factors can increase the chance of developing AMD. These risk factors include smoking- which can double your risk, genetics- if you have a family history of AMD, and race- Caucasians are more susceptible.

The symptoms of AMD are usually gradual, painless, and can vary from person to person. Most of the time, people will not realize they have AMD until vision loss has already begun. This is why it is crucial to see your ophthalmologist regularly in order to catch early warning signs of the disease. The visual symptoms of AMD include blurry central vision, distortion of straight lines or objects, difficulty reading, difficulty recognizing faces, and decreased brightness of colors.

Although there is no “cure” to reverse vision damage caused by AMD, there are therapies that can help stabilize or reduce the rate of vision loss. Antioxidant vitamins and zinc supplementation, and consuming dark leafy greens and colorful fruits and vegetables are beneficial steps than can be taken in your everyday lifestyle. Also, keeping an Amsler-Grid at home will help alert you if your vision might indicate a potential problem.

For severe vision loss, there is treatment option available called an Anti-VEGF injection. This injection is designed to block a molecule called Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) which can help those with the wet form of AMD. Another treatment option is called Photodynamic

Therapy that utilizes a cold laser to treat areas of the retina, as well as traditional laser therapy that utilizes a hot laser. California Retina Consultants is proud to have participated in dozens of FDA research studies to help pave the way for retinal disease treatment.

Early detection is the key to slowing vision loss associated with AMD. It is important to constantly monitor the symptoms and make sure to see an ophthalmologist regularly. To learn more about AMD treatments, call any of our Central California locations or click here.

Retinal Detachment Symptoms

The retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the inside of the eye, similar to the film in a camera. The retina is responsible for sending visual messages through the optic nerve to our brain. Retinal detachment occurs when the retina is lifted or pulled from its normal position, and vision loss can occur. If not promptly treated, retinal detachment can cause permanent vision loss.

Our eye is filled with a gel-like substance called the vitreous and as we get older, the vitreous slowly begins to shrink. If this shrinkage pulls on the attached retina hard enough, it could result in a tear. Then, fluid is able to pass through the small tear and when this happens it can lift the retina off the back of an eye- a retinal detachment.

A retinal detachment is more likely to occur in those who have:

  • Severe nearsightedness
  • A previous retinal detachment
  • A family history of retinal detachments
  • Had cataract surgery
  • Had an eye injury
  • An eye disease such as uveitis, degenerative myopia or lattice degeneration

The most common symptom of retinal detachment is either a gradual or sudden onset of eye floaters and flashes. Floaters are dark colored specks, clouds, or web-like images that drift across the field of vision. Flashes on the other hand, are sparks or flashes of light that are seen out of the corner of the eye and are more common at night. In addition to floaters and flashes, another common symptom is having a shadow appear in your peripheral vision that eventually spreads to the central vision. Similarly, you may notice a transparent or grey colored “curtain” that is coming down over your field of vision. Additionally, straight lines may begin to appear curved. It is important to note that there typically is not any pain associated with a retinal detachment.

Contact California Retina Consultants at any of our locations across Central California to learn more about Retinal Detachment or to schedule an appointment.

Giving Back: The Gift of Sight


Giving Back the Gift of Sight

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has everyone out and about shopping to find gifts for friends and loved ones. However, vision is an amazing gift that is often taken for granted. Unfortunately one in 12 American adults cannot afford proper vision care, along with over a billion people around the world. However, there are several charitable ways to give the gift of sight this holiday season.

Donating your glasses is a wonderful way to give the gift of sight to those who are less fortunate. Regardless if you no longer need them due to clear vision resulting from a vision correction procedure or if you just get a new pair, your old glasses can be cleaned and repaired. They are then given to those with the same prescription, or very close, that might otherwise not be able to afford glasses.

To learn more about glasses donation, visit or

Another way to give the gift of sight is through organ donation. Eye donation involves just the cornea, which is the protective front layer that allows us to see, and not the actual iris itself. Whenever you sign up to be an organ donor, you can also opt to be a tissue donor as well which has less restrictions than standard organ donation. Fortunately, corneal donations do not require the need for a “match,” because donors are universal. It does not matter the blood type, age, eye color, or vision quality.

To learn more about cornea donation, visit

In addition, there are several charitable and non-profit eye organizations across the world that can make a difference, including:

  • PreventBlindness America
  • SEE International
  • Two Billion Eyes
  • Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity


November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month and California Retina Consultants wants to bring attention to this condition, which is now the leading cause of new cases of blindness in American Adults.

This diabetes complication is also known as Diabetic Retinopathy and is caused by damage to the blood vessels of the retina. If blood sugar is not well controlled, too much sugar in the blood leads to the blocking of blood vessels, cutting off the supply of blood. As a result, the eyes attempt to grow new vessels, but they do not develop properly and often leak, which in turn damages the retina. Most of the time, in the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, symptoms usually go unnoticed. However, as the condition progresses, patients may experience symptoms such as blurred or fluctuating vision, floaters, and even vision loss. The key to preventing vision loss from diabetic retinopathy is to detect the condition early on. This is accomplished by having a dilated eye exam performed by your eye doctor at least once every year. Early findings your eye doctor might detect are small spots of blood in the retina, swelling or macular edema, and even vitreous hemorrhages or ruptured blood vessels in severe cases.

Diabetic Retinopathy often shows no early warning signs and can lead to vision loss if left undiagnosed.  The absolute best way to prevent damage to the eyes or vision is by practicing good blood sugar control, exercising often, smoking cessation, and annual eye exams. Protect your vision by having a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year by a specialist at California Retina Consultants.

Halloween Eye Safety Tips

Halloween is just around the corner! Every year there are hundreds of costume-related eye injuries that are treated in emergency rooms throughout the United States. What’s even worse is that these injuries are completely avoidable! California Retina Consultants is here to provide eye safety tips for both children and adults on Halloween.

The best place to start is with Halloween costume safety. Avoid costume features that either fully or partially block the vision such as masks, eye patches, wigs, floppy hats, or droopy headpieces. Also try to avoid sharp or pointed costume props such as wands, swords and sticks that may harm other children’s eyes. Finally, avoid costumes that are excessive in length and drag on the ground in order to prevent tripping and falling.

Also, cosmetic contacts have become more popular in Halloween costumes. However without the proper precautions, they can cause various eye conditions such as bacterial infections, conjunctivitis, corneal scratches, and even vision loss. That being said, it is important to never wear cosmetic contacts without a prescription! Also, do not share contacts with others or let others use yours. Finally, when trick-or-treating, be sure to carry a flashlight or lantern to prevent falls or running into hazardous objects in the dark. You can also safeguard your porch and walkway by removing any hazardous obstacles and making sure the area is well lit.

With these simple eye care precautions, everyone can enjoy an eye-safe Halloween!

Treament Options for Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)


Age-related Macular Degeneration is a common condition that is the number one cause of vision loss among people 50 years of age and older. AMD is the breakdown of the macula, a small spot in the retina, which is responsible for our central vision and allows us to see sharply and clearly. There are two forms of AMD, “dry” or non-exudative AMD and “wet” or exudative AMD. Dry AMD is often the milder variation while “wet” AMD is the more advanced form and it is usually more sight-threatening.

Unfortunately, there is no “cure” that can reverse the effects of AMD, however there are therapies that have been developed to help stabilize or reduce the rate of vision loss. California Retina Consultants offers multiple treatments for AMD, including anti-VEGF injections which are designed to block the molecule that causes the growth of leaky blood vessels. Other treatment options provided include photodynamic therapy which utilizes a cold laser, and laser surgery which uses a hot laser to treat the leaking blood vessels.

Early detection is the key to slowing vision loss associated with AMD. It is important to constantly monitor symptoms and make sure to see your ophthalmologist routinely. Call California Retina Consultants at any of our locations across Central California to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms & Treatment


One of the major complications of diabetes is an eye condition called diabetic retinopathy. This condition is caused by high blood sugar levels which causes the blood vessels behind the retina to leak fluid behind the sensitive nervous tissue, resulting in blurred vision or vision loss. Patients with either type of diabetes have the potential to develop diabetic retinopathy, and the more blood sugar is uncontrolled, the more likely the condition will develop. Also, the longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they are to develop the disease. It is estimated that nearly 80% of patients who have had diabetes for at least 10 years have some degree of diabetic retinopathy.

Initially, diabetic retinopathy may not show any symptoms. However, as the condition progresses, the common symptoms include:

  • Floaters
  • Light flashes
  • Blurred vision
  • Color vision impairment

The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy is careful and proactive management of diabetes. If you have diabetes, it is crucial to see your eye doctor every year for a dilated eye exam, even if you are not experiencing any vision problems. It is also important to manage your diabetes through medicine, diet, and exercise, as well as test your blood sugar levels regularly.

California Retina Consultants offer various treatments for patients dealing with diabetic retinopathy. Focal photocoagulation is a procedure that addresses proliferative diabetic retinopathy by destroying abnormal or leaking blood vessels, while scatter photocoagulation targets a wider range of abnormal growth. Additionally, a vitrectomy is a procedure that can help remove blood or clouded fluid from vitreous that is preventing the light to properly focus onto the retina.

To learn more about the treatments for diabetic retinopathy, call California Retina Consultants at any of our locations across Central California, or request an appointment here.

How Smoking Affects Your Eyes

We all know that smoking, whether it be in the form of cigarettes or cigars, has a multitude of adverse effects on our bodies and overall health. But did you know smoking has several negative effects on our eyes specifically as well?

May 31st is World No-Tobacco Day. The purpose of this day is to encourage people to reduce or stop tobacco use and to highlight all of the preventable health risks. Smoking tobacco in particular harms your eyes, increases your risk for eye disease, and can even lead to vision loss.

Among the eye conditions that are worsened by smoking are:

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is a condition in which the macula becomes damaged and central vision is lost, while peripheral vision stays the same. Studies show that smoking greatly increases your risk for AMD and unfortunately there is no cure for the disease.

Diabetic Retinopathy
This condition is caused by high blood sugar levels which causes the blood vessels behind the retina to leak or become blocked, which results in blurred vision or vision loss. Smoking is also said to increase the risk of diabetic retinopathy.

A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s lens, which inhibits the light from passing through to the retina clearly and causes blurred vision. Smoking can speed up the progress of cataracts, making colors look dull or yellowish.

These are only a few eye conditions that are worsened by smoking. Others include glaucoma, dry eye, optic nerve issues, and uveitis. If you are a tobacco user, there is no better time than right now to quit! Invest in your long-term eye health.

Nika Bagheri, MD – Retina Today

Nika Bagheri, MD of California Retina Consultants wrote about “Starting off as the First Female Physician in an All-Male Practice” in Retina Today Magazine. Based on her unique experience, she gives her ten tips regarding making this transition.


Click here to read the full article

The Great American Eclipse of 2017 & Solar Retinopathy

What is Eclipse Blindness, Also Known as Solar Retinopathy?

Although this anticipated astronomical event is very exciting, it can also be extremely harmful to your vision unless proper precautions are taken before viewing. We all know that you should never look directly at the sun. But even during an eclipse, the sun’s light can cause permanent damage to the eyes which is referred to as “eclipse blindness” or solar retinopathy. Exposure to direct sunlight can cause permanent and irreversible damage to the retina. The retina is a thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye on the inside. Light rays are focused onto the retina through the cornea, pupil and lens. The retina then converts the light into neural signals, and sends these signals on to the brain for visual recognition.

Take Precautions for Safe Viewing

So how do you safely watch this wonder? The safest way is to view the eclipse through solar filter glasses that meet the worldwide standard known as ISO 12312-2. These solar glasses must be in perfect condition with no scratches, and should be less than three years old. The only time that you can safely look at the sun without a solar filter is if you are within the path of totality, and the moon completely covers the bright surface of the sun and it suddenly gets dark. As soon as the sun begins to reappear, you must immediately use the solar filter again to watch the remaining phase of the eclipse. When viewing the eclipse from other areas outside of the 70-mile totality range, it is not safe to look at the sun at any point with the naked eye. It is also important to remember to never view an eclipse through an unfiltered telescope, camera, or binoculars, as this can cause severe permanent retinal damage as well. Make certain to educate and supervise small children, as young eyes are more susceptible to vision damage.

READ MORE about the Great American Eclipse of 2017 and solar retinopathy at