Congratulations Helena High Science Olympiad Team!

Helena Eye Clinic would like to congratulate the Helena High School Science Olympiad Team for their state victory last month.   In addition to promoting a Vision of Health, Helena Eye Clinic encourages and supports our students as they pursue a future of excellence.  The HHS Science Olympiad Team will now represent the State of Montana and travel to Fort Collins, CO for the National Competition in May 2018; however they need your support to make the trip possible.  The Olympiad team is raising money to fund the trip to Nationals.  Helena Eye Clinic will match any donation until the team’s funding needs are met.  Please help support these bright students and this incredible journey they could experience!  All donations are tax deductible and can be sent to HHS Science Club 1300 Billings Ave Helena, MT 59601.  Thank you!


This week’s topic is a continuation of the topic of red eyes.  Last week I reviewed relatively minor causes of red eyes.  This week I will outline causes of red eyes that can cause significant damage to the eyes if not treated promptly.

This week’s article was written while I was in  Tanzania, where despite jet lag, I had a great time being part of a dedicated and talented team who also traveled to deliver eye care.  This week’s topic is the red eye.

When I began my ophthalmology training, I was given the “red eye lecture”.  This was a great lecture that covered the causes of red eye from the harmless to the dangerous. This topic is important because so many eye disorders starts out with the symptom of a red eye. 

Color Blindness

Color Blindness is a group of disorders affecting the ability to distinguish colors.  In most cases, the person can still see colors.  A person with red/green color blindness may confuse the two colors, but see blue and yellow without problems.  In extreme cases there is no color perception at all.


Corneal Transplants

I have been asked if the eye can be transplanted.  The short answer is no.  However, parts of the eye can be transplanted.  This week we’ll explore cornea transplants.

The cornea is the transparent portion of the front of the eye.  It is the window into the eye.  It maintains its clarity by having 
few cells or blood vessels in it.  It is mostly composed of proteins that arranged to allow light through.  If those proteins are altered light doesn’t pass through very easily.  The cornea has a layer of cells on its inner surface.  These cells are responsible for pumping water out of the cornea to prevent swelling.  Swelling can alter the proteins and lead to clouding of the cornea.


Medical Mission Trip

I have enjoyed a wonderful career full of challenges and great rewards.  Preserving and restoring vision have been the goals of every patient visit, every surgery and every article in this series.  The greatest potential for vision preservation and restoration during my career has been during overseas mission trips.

Mission trips often involve assembling a team of volunteers who travel, at their expense, to treat large numbers of patients in a short period of time.


This weeks topic…..Cataracts.  What are they? What causes them? How and where are they treated?

Eclipse vs Eyes 

On Monday the United States will witness the first total eclipse to be seen by the entire country in a hundred years.  The A partial eclipse of at least 50% will be seen throughout the country.  A 70 mile wide path of totality will strech from Oregon to South Carolina.

With millions of people viewing the eclipse there is a huge potential for widespread eye damage.  This week’s topic discusses how to keep your eyes safe while viewing the eclipse.

The Three O's of Eyecare

Providing eye care requires a team approach.  This week I will describe the different parts of the eye care team - the people who care for your eyes.  There is often confusion about "The 3 O's" of eye care - Ophthalmologists, Optometrists and Opticians.  Along with nurses and technicians, the 3 O's make up the eye care team.  There is overlap in the roles of the "3 O's", but there are important differences as well.

Macular Degeneration

Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common cause of blindness that affects people as they get older.  AMD affects the very back of the eye, the retina.  The retina consists of cells that detect light.  If the retina were a dartboard, the macula would be the bullseye.  It has the best vision of the retina and is responsible for the vision that we use to read or to recognize faces.