DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Is it possible to get wet macular degeneration from a scratch on the left eye during cataract surgery, or could it have been a cyst that caused wet macular degeneration? I am 85, and my right eye is perfect. I had cataract surgery on that eye also. — C.
ANSWER: A scratch on the eye isn’t likely to cause macular degeneration. The possibility of cataract surgery leading to macular degeneration is a remote one. More than 6,000 people who had had a cataract removed were followed for five years after the operation. Slightly more people who had the operation developed macular degeneration, dry or wet, in the operated eye than did a similar group of people who had not had an operation. This isn’t proof that cataract surgery leads to macular degeneration. The same risks that cause cataracts also cause macular degeneration. The numbers that do develop it after cataract removal are small. A cause-and-effect relationship has not been proven.
I am not clear what you mean by a cyst causing the degeneration. In what part of the eye was the cyst? I have not seen a link between cysts and macular degeneration.
The retina is the back layer of the eye, the layer that converts incoming images into nerve signals that can be transmitted to the brain so we can see. The macula is a small, round area of the retina where there’s an aggregation of cells that are essential for central vision — the kind of vision needed to read a paper, watch TV and drive. Dry macular degeneration, accounting for 85 percent to 90 percent of cases, is a wasting away of macular cells. Wet macular degeneration results from a sprouting of blood vessels in that region. Those newly formed blood vessels leak fluid and destroy macular vision. Procedures are available that can halt the progression of wet macular degeneration.
The booklet on macular degeneration explains both kinds and what is available to help those with this common eye problem. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Donohue — No. 701W, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Canada. with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: My son-in-law insists on lifting his small children by their arms. I am terrified that he will pull their arms out of joint. I know this isn’t the proper way to lift children. Would you give your opinion about this so I can show him? Maybe he will listen to you. — A Worried Grandpa
ANSWER: Sons-in-law should listen to their fathers and mothers-in-law. They have experience in child-rearing. Lifting young children by grabbing onto their hands or arms can cause the radius (the larger of the two lower arm bones) to slip away from the ligament that keeps it in place. This disruption has the name “nursemaid’s elbow.” I guess nursemaids must have lifted children in this way. It’s painful for the child, and the bone has to be manipulated back in place.
Children who are 5 and older aren’t in danger of this happening.
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