Friday, July 4, 2008
Medical Reports: Healthcast: Sun Damaged eyes
If you're a sun lover, it's time to take a close look at your eyes. Doctors seeing an increase in people with growths that come from the sun. But as Seven's Richard Lemus reports in today's Healthcast -- it's never been easier to get rid of them.
WSVN -- Not much tears Mickey Munoz away from the beach.
But after 60 years surfing, a growth on his eye forced him out of the water
Mickey Munoz: "I just kept holding off until finally it got to the point it where it started growing into the colored part of my eye."
The growths are called pterygiums. It's a yellow or pink growth similar to a callous that forms on the white of the eye. Left untreated, it can spread to the cornea, blocking vision.
It was fear of losing her sight that made Laree Soto seek medical help.
Laree Soto: "I mean, it hasn't affected my vision, but it has grown."
Removing them has never been easier. In a ten minute surgery, Dr. Hovanesian scrapes the growth off the eye.
To prevent re-growth, he covers the area with graft tissue from human placenta.
Dr. John Hovanesian, Harvard Eye Associates: "It's thin like parchment paper."
Protein glue instead of stitches holds the graft in place.
Dr. John Hovanesian: "It looks better because the eye is less red and inflamed. It is much more comfortable for patients because they don't feel stitches on the eye and it makes surgery much more quick. It cuts the time of surgery almost in half."
The re-growth rate drops from 50 percent to less than one percent, and it's much less painful.
Mickey Munoz: "It was no different than spending a day in the sun and being a little irritated. It wasn't any worse than that."
At 70, Mickey still has the moves, but his best move yet may be the hat he now wears to protect his eyes.
Redness and irritation in the eye are the first signs of a pterygium.
Most are caused by exposure to UV rays and dry, dusty conditions. Sunglasses and a hat can lower your risk.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Harvard Eye Associates