Dr. Anthony Roberts: Eye Movement Speed Reduced in People with Glaucoma

Since 2003, Dr. Anthony Roberts has served as the Chief of Ophthalmology at Shady Grove Ophthalmology in Rockville, Maryland. Dr. Anthony Roberts has performed over 55,000 refractive eye surgeries during his career, including Lasik surgery. He also treats many patients with severe eye diseases such as glaucoma.

New research from the Glaucoma Research Society of Canada suggests that people with glaucoma lose more than just their visual fields. In a recent study, scientists tracked the saccadic eye movements of people who suffer from glaucoma. (Saccadic eye movements occur when both eyes move together to scan the environment. They play an important role in reading, walking, and driving.) The researchers discovered that for all patients with glaucoma, even those in the very early stages of the disease, the saccadic eye movements were 15 percent slower than for the general population. This delay is similar to the one that occurs in people who are drunk, and explains why people with glaucoma have trouble reading, fall frequently, and are involved in car accidents, even when their visual fields are only mildly impaired.

Currently, a cure for glaucoma does not exist, but therapies can slow its progression. If a person experiences frequent falls, experiences a series of car accidents and near misses, or has trouble reading, he or she should schedule an appointment with a qualified ophthalmologist for further evaluation.

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Dr. Anthony Roberts on Treating Macular Degeneration (part 2 of 2)

Dr. Anthony Roberts, a Washington-area ophthalmologist who runs Shady Grove Ophthalmology in Rockville, Maryland, answers questions about research on macular degeneration and treatments for the condition.

Once a person is diagnosed with macular degeneration, how do doctors treat the disease?

According to Dr. Roberts, there is no treatment to reverse dry macular degeneration, but some research suggests that increased intake of Vitamins A, C, and E as well as copper and zinc may slow the disease’s advance. Drugs and laser therapy can also halt further degeneration. In severe cases, lens implants may restore some clarity to a patient’s vision. Regular check-ups are important, so that people who suffer from dry macular degeneration can monitor the progression of the disease.

If you’re at risk for either variant, it’s important to see your eye doctor on a yearly basis.

Is there any hope that researchers will be able to cure macular degeneration?

According to Dr. Roberts, researchers continue to study the disease and its causes. Recently, scientists discovered 20 genes that can predict whether a person has macular degeneration, how advanced the disease is, and what variant is present. Scientists hope to target these genes to create a new generation of macular degeneration tests and treatments.