The buzz of this summer’s solar eclipse had the nation discussing the importance of eye health and protecting vision. The eclipse lasts a total of just a matter of minutes for most viewers—but proper eye health and care has been a topic of expertise for decades among the doctors at Cincinnati Eye Institute, including Dr. Hisham Arar.
Dr. Arar, a Xavier University and University of Cincinnati graduate, practices comprehensive medical and surgical ophthalmology at Cincinnati Eye Institute (CEI). Since 1999, Dr. Arar has been heavily involved in CEI’s leadership and outreach programs, including The Cincinnati Eye Institute Foundation and various mission trips to Honduras and El Salvador. He is a leading doctor at CEI, and he shares his passion for his work with medical students and up-and-coming doctors through the organization’s training programs.
Dr. Arar is regularly honored as one of the Best Doctors in America and a Top Doctor in Cincinnati. Through his years of practice, Dr. Arar has seen a number of vision issues, particularly in his areas of expertise: cataracts and macular degeneration. He is also considered an expert in corneal wounds and injuries, and he regularly sees patients with emergency eye trauma—such as foreign bodies in the eye or corneal scratches—at CEI’s urgent clinic, which serves patients throughout the week as a best-in-class eye care center.
For non-emergency patients, Dr. Arar offers a bit of advice: keep your eyes healthy by keeping your body healthy. The number one risk besides age and genetics of eye conditions like macular degeneration is smoking. The toxins generated from smoking lead to harmful effects on the body in general and the eyes in particular especially when it comes to macular degeneration. Eating a healthy diet full of green vegetables and vitamins and regularly using sun protection can protect the eyes and offer years of healthy vision.
As individuals age, there are several conditions that become more prominent. Cataracts, or a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye, are a very common condition in individuals over the age of 65, and it can significantly reduce quality of life. Given a long enough life span, all of us will develop cataracts at some point. And, when we get them, the biggest decision comes down to deciding when to have surgery to correct the issue. For Dr. Arar, the quality of vision and its effects on daily routines are the biggest factors in deciding when to proceed with cataract surgery. In general, patients who are asymptomatic can be monitored routinely for any visual progression and proceed accordingly.
Two more eye conditions that Dr. Arar regularly treats are macular degeneration and glaucoma, both of which can be present in the eyes for decades without causing problematic symptoms. Dr. Arar recommends regular eye screenings around age 40 and every few years after depending on risk factors and the presence of any eye diseases. While most patients are asymptomatic, there are signs that can be detected earlier in patients who eventually develop cataracts, macular degeneration, or glaucoma. Certain symptoms should also warrant an eye exam and evaluation. For example, central or peripheral visual loss could imply a myriad of eye diseases from macular degeneration to glaucoma and everything in between. That is why it is advisable to have routine eye exams to detect such issues.
Dr. Arar, who celebrates the range of ages, specialties, and personalities of the doctors at CEI, encourages all patients who notice a difference in their vision to schedule an appointment with an eye care specialist. Preventive care can ensure healthy vision for decades to come.