The Year in Review Lynn Ashby looks back at the headlining stories of 2006

December 1, 2006 by  
Filed under Blogs, Hot Button / Lynn Ashby

Although 2006 was an even year, for Houston it was odd. It was the year of company executives doing the perp walk, the Katrina Kriminals, hot elections and a sports front so dismal that only one major Houston team got into the playoffs (and managed to win the MLS Championship). We saw fire – no-smoking laws – and we saw rain – 12 inches during two days in October. So let us look back in anger, or at least in frustration, at the way it was in ’06.

First, we had an Enron around the law. Andy Fastow was so much help to the feds he got four years shaved off the 10-year prison time he had agreed to serve. Give Fastow our Cell Phony Award. His accomplice in crime, Jeff Skilling, receives our Make a Skilling Trophy (along with 24 years). Finally, our famed Who Says You Can’t Take it with You? Medal goes to Ken Lay.

But the biggest honor – Man of the Year – doesn’t go to Tom Delay. He’s dead meat. We have new red meat, Dan Patrick. To run for District 7 in the Texas Senate, he rented a condo in the district and loaned his campaign $250,000. He vowed not to take more than $1,000 in individual donations, but after he won the primary, he raised the donation limit to $5,000. He ran as an opponent to the power of the lobbyists. Within days of his nomination, an Austin lobbyist held a fundraiser for Patrick.

He promised not to accept funds from trial lawyers and gambling interests. The lobbyist sponsor of the fundraiser represented trial lawyers and gambling interests. So, our coveted Man of the Year Award (Way Down Deep He’s Shallow Dept.) goes to Dannie Scott Goeb (yes, he changed his name, too).

If a debate is held in the forest…
The Boss Tweed Good Government Award goes to Houston Congressman John Culberson who agreed to debate his Democratic opponent, Jim Henley, only if the debate was closed both to the media and to the public.

Reigned out
In a move to strengthen his power in the U.S. House, Sugar Land Rep. Tom DeLay lost all his power, his House seat and still faces expensive legal battles.

And the beat goes on dept.
Even after DeLay announced he would no longer run for Congress, DeLay’s campaign manager, Chris Homan, organized the disruption of an opponent’s campaign rally with signs, shouts and air horns.

Who’s on 22nd?
Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, a Republican, won the race for the 22nd Congressional District to replace DeLay. Well, sort of. Sekula-Gibbs will serve the remaining two months of the Hammer’s term, then will be replaced by former Congressman Nick Lampson who won the next two-year term.

Ma’am, you’re no Tom DeLay
After working for Sekula-Gibbs for less than 48 hours, seven congressional staffers who previously worked for DeLay resigned because they felt they were treated terribly.

Deja Vo
Once again Hubert Vo defeated Talmadge Heflin for state rep. in the 149th District. Are we going to be seeing this every two years forever?

Take that, John Deere
AARP’s 50 Best U.S. Employers for Older Workers contains only one in Texas: M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, squeaking in at Number 48. Moline, Ill.-based John Deere finished at Number 50.

With loyal workers like these, who needs detractors?
Billboards posted at major entrances to Houston welcomed new arrivals with: “A rising crime rate, an undermanned police force, a dysfunctional dispatch center and a no-chase, no-catch policy. Nowhere else but Houston.” The billboards were financed by the Houston Police Patrolmen’s Union.

Re-assigned
A 24-year veteran of the Houston Police Department and father of five, Sgt. Jack Oliver, is now female officer Julian Christine Oliver.

Don’t pry for me, Argentina
After airport security in Buenos Aires cleared college student Howard MacFarland Fish, customs officials in Houston found in his baggage a small stick of dynamite, a fuse, electrical blasting caps, white granular explosives and, in his carry-on, two black powder-based fuses.

Lushes who lunch
Jordy Tollett, executive director of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau took a leave of absence after a TV news spot showed him at a two-hour lunch with several drinks.

Hi, society
During the past 12 months the Houston Chronicle mentioned party animal Becca Cason Thrash 87 times.

In deep I doo-doo
Eric Eugene Cooper, married seven times but not with that many divorces, was convicted of altering one ex-wife’s car title.

Red light district
In the first two weeks of operation, Houston’s red-light-cameras recorded 1,729 violators. Of these, 1,040 violations were approved and 695 citations were issued.

The sound of one mouth flapping
After comparing his liberal debating opponent to Josef Goebbels and calling him a clown, over-bearing conservative radio host Chris Baker of KPRC stormed off the set of MSNBC, saying, “I’m through with this jackass.”

Hey, we’re over here
“Houston is invisible. People don’t know about Houston. They don’t think of Houston.” So said Rice sociology professor and surveyor Stephen Klineberg, responding to a nationwide poll of young, college-educated workers on where they would like to live. Houston failed to finish in the top or bottom 20.

Directionally challenged
MapQuest rated Houston the nation’s most difficult city for visitors to navigate.

Bonus babies
Mayor Pro Tem Carol Alvarado’s staff was charged with ripping off the city with unauthorized raises and bonuses to the tune of $200,000. Alvarado said she knew nothing about it.

Remember the Alamo, forget San Jacinto
More than 1,000 Hispanic high school students – who have the highest dropout rate in Texas – left their classrooms and paraded through Houston streets waving Mexican flags, chanting in Spanish to protest proposed immigration laws and demanding U.S. citizenship for illegal aliens.

José can you see
Reagan High School Principal Robert Pambello was ordered to remove a Mexican flag that he had hoisted below the U.S. and Texas flags to show support for his demonstrating Hispanic students.

Soccer to me
UH Prof. Raul A. Ramos wanted to erase the picture of Sam Houston from the logo of the city’s new soccer team, Houston 1836, calling the name and logo “retribution” and “sinister towards Hispanics.” So, now we have the Houston Dynamos (which is Spanish for “cratered”).

No good deed goes unpunished
Jennifer McLaughlin from Mississippi, wrote to the Memorial Sun objecting to a Houston rodeo announcement, “welcoming our friends from Louisiana,” and not including her state. “I am requesting an apology…” she concluded.

Shoot friendly
Gun shop owner and talk-show host Jim Pruett ran radio ads warning: “When the ‘Katricians’ themselves are quoted as saying the crime rate is going to go up if they don’t get more free rent, then it’s time to get your concealed-handgun license.”

No more taxes
George and Barbara Bush made a tax-deductible donation to a Katrina relief fund with the stipulation that part of the money go toward buying educational tools from a firm owned by their son, Neil. HISD then purchased the software project for $200,000.

Quota quote
“I had observed that the colorful characters and the artists and the musicians have gone back to New Orleans finally, and that the thugs and the crackheads have decided they like Houston and want to stay.” – Kinky Friedman

A profit in his own land
Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church who dropped his annual $200,000 salary after making $10 million on his first book, signed a second book deal that, experts say, should bring him another $10 million.

Coffee, tea or a fat lip?
Osteen’s wife, Victoria, who shares billing with him on the church’s sign, was fined $3,000 by the FAA after determining she had assaulted a female flight attendant.

Practice. Practice.
The Houston Symphony Orchestra played in Carnegie Hall! Of course, it was not paid to do so. Actually, our musicians had to rent the place for $12,000 and pay another $30,000 to stagehands.

The torch is passed
Former Aldine chemistry teacher Tramesha Lashon Fox pled guilty to charges of arson and insurance fraud after arranging for her car to be stolen and burned by two students in exchange for giving them passing grades.

Devine intervention
A Bible was put in a case in front of the Harris County Court House years ago. No one cared. In 1995, arch-conservative Judge John Devine sought to bring more attention to the Good Book by refurbishing the monument and adding neon lights. This year an appeals court ruled that, by making the changes, Judge Devine “essentially had commandeered the monument for religious purposes…” Out it went.

She meant to say “Macaca music”
Port Commissioner Cheryl Thompson-Draper resigned after a fellow commissioner said that, during a business trip to Shanghai, Thompson-Draper referred to music performed by a Houston band with black musicians as “jungle bunny music.”

The war of fog
In Hitchcock, an apartment complex maintenance worker and a resident set off foggers for pests. The instructions called for one fogger per room, but police said there were 18 foggers in the two-bedroom apartment. The fumes hit the pilot light in the hot water heater, causing an explosion. The maintenance worker and resident were treated for minor burns. Eight other apartment units sustained damage and were condemned.

But I’m the president!
Texas Southern University’s regents fired President Priscilla Slade, who made more than $340,000 a year in cash compensation, after discovering she had charged the university roughly $87,000 to furnish her new, sprawling house – plus $138,159 for the cost of landscaping; $56,010 in security equipment, furniture and traveling; and $146,000 for maid service. Over seven years, Slade, who holds a doctorate in accounting, spent nearly $650,000 of the school’s money on purchases that personally benefited her. Slade was later re-hired by TSU as an accounting instructor.

Was 50th that much better?
UH Law Center Dean Nancy Rapoport resigned after the school dropped 20 spots in the US News &World Report rankings of law schools, from 50th to 70th.

Lean machine
Houston has been reduced, so to speak, from No. 1 to No. 5 on Men’s Fitness magazine’s annual list of the fattest U.S. cities.

Mean machine
Houston ranked seventh on a list of 20 of the nation’s “meanest cities,” because of laws that criminalize sleeping in public, begging or other behavior associated with homeless people and rules that prohibit people with “offensive bodily hygiene” from using public libraries.

Budget item #1: Quit holding these ridiculous meetings
Spring Branch ISD Superintendent Duncan Klussmann hosted a community meeting to explain the district’s budget and Five Year Educational Plan. Outside of the press and district employees, three citizens showed up.

Art with Heart

December 1, 2006 by  
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American Cancer Society’s annual Silent Art Auction

Join the American Cancer Society as they prepare for the upcoming Starlight Gala with a Silent Art Auction on Thursday, Feb. 1 at Gremillion &Co. In the heart of West University, guests will enjoy cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, culture and more as they support the many wonderful programs of the American Cancer Society of Houston.

You voted, so get there early for the special VIP Reception announcing H Texas’ 2006 Best Chefs — and be one of the first to read the magazine’s second official foray into book publishing: “Fab Food Finds.” With amazing art, the best culinary masters in the city and a new book lined up, it’s easy to support such a worthy cause!

Child Advocates

December 1, 2006 by  
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Local organization guides children through the system

Thousands of children in the Houston area are neglected, abused or abandoned each day. For more than 22 years, Child Advocates Inc. has been a voice for the abused and neglected children of Houston by training volunteers who become involved in the lives of children placed in protective custody.

“Our vision is to help every abused child in Harris County who needs us,” says Marketing Manager Dena Miller. “Our challenge is to find the volunteers, resources, commitment and compassion that will get us there.”

In addition to serving as a person of stability for a child during a difficult time, these volunteers contact case workers, interview parents, seek educational and medical needs, and make recommendations in court proceedings regarding permanent placement for a child.

Get involved
Court-appointed advocate volunteers’ overall goal is to assist in getting abused children out of the foster care system and into a healthy and loving family. Volunteers come from all types of careers, cultures and experiences, and include men and women who are at least 21 years of age. They average between two to five hours of casework per week, and more than 85 percent of these volunteers work full-time jobs.

“Child Advocates Inc. mobilizes court-appointed volunteers to break the vicious cycle of child abuse,” says Miller. “We speak for the abused children who are lost in the system and guide them into safe environments where they can thrive.”

Those wishing to become volunteers must register for an orientation, which is a one-hour session at the Child Advocates Inc. office, where they will receive information needed to get started. After attending the orientation, they will find out the requirements and steps necessary to becoming a court-appointed advocate volunteer. They will also begin their paperwork to enroll in Advocacy University (AU), which is a 30-hour training course offered five or six times a year.

Happy holidays
As a nonprofit organization, Child Advocates Inc. holds fundraisers through foundations, special events, places of worship and planned or individual giving. There are several opportunities to contribute during the holiday season, such as Santa’s Wish List. This program makes the season a little brighter for children who are often away from home during this time of year. Something as simple as a stuffed animal or a winter jacket can help put a smile on a child’s face.

“In order to work with our kids, you have to go through extensive background checks,” says Miller. “With the Santa’s Wish List program, the general public can get involved.” Those interested can sponsor a child by shopping for items on a child’s wish list or holding a toy drive by collecting new, unwrapped toys and clothing at his or her office or school.

Child Advocates Inc. started with three individuals, a $5,000 budget and a kitchen as its headquarters. From helping 18 children its first year to assisting more than 1,500 abused children in 2005, the program has come a long way. To ensure that the organization will reach its goal of helping 1,750 children this year, they will need the community’s help. Those interested in donating to or volunteering with Child Advocates Inc. should call (713) 529-1396 or visit www.childadvocates.org.

Visions of Sugar Plums

December 1, 2006 by  
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Houston Ballet embarks upon another memorable holiday season at Wortham Theater Center

While the holiday season brings families together, the revival of faith and the spread of goodwill throughout the city, for many Houstonians, the onset of winter also coincides with the arrival of one of their most beloved tales to town. From Nov. 24-Dec. 27 in Brown Theater at the Wortham Theater Center, Houston Ballet will give 31 unforgettable performances of “The Nutcracker,” the cherished production that tells the story of a little girl named Clara who is given a magical nutcracker doll on Christmas Eve. Although “The Nutcracker” brings an enchanting element to every holiday season, this year’s production marks a particularly special occasion, as 41-year-old principal dancer and native Houstonian Lauren Anderson concludes her historic career with Houston Ballet by performing her signature role as the Sugar Plum Fairy, opposite Cuban sensation Rolando Sarabia as the Prince, in “The Nutcracker.” Anderson’s 24 years with Houston Ballet have been anything but ordinary, as her distinguished career includes a promotion in 1990, making her Houston Ballet’s first African American principal dancer and one of only a few African American principal ballerinas to head a major American classical ballet company. Throughout the years, Anderson has captivated audiences in the United States and internationally, and some of the world’s most renowned choreographers have created ballets especially for her performance talents. Although Anderson will take her final bow as prima ballerina this December, she will remain with Houston Ballet, serving as the community outreach coordinator, while Leticia Oliveira will fulfill the position of principal dancer for the company.

Great expectations Without a doubt, Anderson’s remarkable career as a pioneer in the world of ballet exemplifies the quality of dancers who perform with, or are trained by, the internationally acclaimed Houston Ballet. Now hailing as the fifth largest in the United States, the ballet organization was originally established in 1955 by a group of individuals who aspired to create a resident ballet company in Houston, as well as a school that would train its dancers. Fourteen years later, the professional company was founded and directed by Nina Popova, a former dancer with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and American Ballet Theatre. In 1976, Englishman Ben Stevenson, O.B.E., a former dancer with Britain’s Royal Ballet and English National Ballet, took the reins as artistic director, elevating the company to a new level of distinction by assembling a group of permanent choreographers and enhancing the group of 28 regional artists to include more than 50 internationally acclaimed dancers. Throughout his 27 years with the company, he choreographed highly praised versions of full-length works, such as “Swan Lake,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Cinderella,” “The Nutcracker,” “The Sleeping Beauty” and “Dracula.” In July 2003, Stevenson assumed the artistic directorship of Texas Ballet Theater in Fort Worth while he was also appointed artistic director emeritus of Houston Ballet. That same year, Houston Ballet Academy was renamed Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy in recognition of his 27-year commitment and dedication to Houston Ballet. As artistic director emeritus, he continues to stage his works for Houston Ballet, as well as for ballet companies both nationally and internationally.

New direction Following Stevenson’s departure, Houston Ballet welcomed renowned Australian choreographer Stanton Welch as the company’s new artistic director. Since coming on board, Welch has choreographed six signature works for the company, including “Tales of Texas,” “Blindness,” “Bolero,” “Nosotros,” “Brigade” and a magnificent new staging of “Swan Lake,” in addition to two pieces he commissioned for Houston Ballet before permanently joining the artistic staff. By emphasizing the significance of classical technique and enabling some of the world’s most prestigious coaches to train the dancers, Welch has brought a sense of revitalization and excitement for the future of the company. Managing director Cecil C. Conner has also devoted a great deal of time and effort throughout the last nine years arranging artistic collaborations with other ballet companies throughout the nation. As a result, five major productions have been coordinated with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, American Ballet Theatre, Boston Ballet and the National Ballet of Canada.

Extraordinary times Throughout the years, Houston Ballet has grown into one of the largest and most distinguished dance companies in the nation. Consisting of 52 dancers, including many who have won gold and silver medals at major international ballet competitions, the company has achieved international acclaim, performing for audiences throughout Europe, Asia and Canada. Houston Ballet Foundation has also worked fervently to solidify the company’s significance in the city of Houston. Since 1975, the company’s operating expenses have grown from less then $1 million to more than $16 million today. In 1987, Houston Ballet kicked off a drive for the company’s endowment fund. That same year, Houston Ballet made its debut in the state-of-the-art Wortham Theater Center, where the company has continued to perform more than 75 productions seven months out of the year. As of June 2006, the ballet’s endowment reached more than $55 million, standing as one of the largest of any dance company in the United States.

Backing ballet Opportunities to support Houston Ballet are available through the endowment fund, corporate sponsorship programs, foundation support, individual donations or by joining one of the many membership groups. Each February, Houston Ballet also hosts its highly anticipated annual black-tie Ballet Ball to raise $500,000 for the institution’s operating fund and programs. In addition, since 1981, Houston Ballet Guild’s annual Nutcracker Market has contributed more than $24 million to support the academy and its scholarship programs, which help young, talented dancers fulfill their dreams of training with the world-renown ballet company. For more information about Houston Ballet, how to make a contribution, or the company’s upcoming performances, please contact info@houstonballet.org.

Houston Ballet
1921 W. Bell St.
(713) 523-6300
www.houstonballet.org

Holiday Helper

December 1, 2006 by  
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David Moore of Elves & More

On Dec. 12, nearly 4,000 volunteers will fill Reliant Center to construct 20,000 bicycles and wrap 5,000 additional presents for needy children. Donating their time to Elves &More, they are making sure that every child in the Houston area has at least one good Christmas — and a better chance at life.

Volunteers will donate $40, the cost of an unassembled bike, for the privilege of becoming an elf. Santa’s workshop stays fast and furious through Dec. 21. The next day, the bikes and presents will be loaded into trucks, and on Dec. 23, Santa and his elves will distribute them to every child in, yet undisclosed, neighborhoods.

The founder of Elves &More, David Moore and his wife, Jenny, have committed $2.5 million to the program. However, as the name indicates, there is more to this charity than holiday cheer. This year, David started a back-to-school program, and a summer camp is in the works. He is aiming to conquer poverty in Houston, then the entire country.

Planting the seed
David Moore grew up in the suburbs of Marshall, Texas. “So that’s pretty much the country,” he concedes. His dad was fighting the Korean War with the Marines until David was 3 years old and his older brother was 5. Another brother was born that next year.

When David was 8 years old, his 34-year-old father died of a heart attack. The family’s first Christmas without their dad was very sad. Their mother suggested they, “‘Give away Christmas,’ and that’s what we did,” he remembers. “We gave our Christmas to a poor family.” It was healing for his poor-in-spirit family.

At 13, David got his first job helping his grandfather build houses. At 14, he went to work for Jerrill and Louise May at the corner grocery store. “They were my real parents,” he says. “I slept at home, but they were my real parents.” His mother had remarried, and he now had a new stepfather.

The tool box
David’s career path peaked as a partner with Accenture. In the then-new field of privatization, he traveled to 40 countries, “helping nations modernize their oil economies; and reform pricing, taxing and regulatory systems,” he says. “Basically, [I was] helping turn their government monopolies into commercially competitive businesses.”

“When you’re born, you get a tool box of skills,” he says of business success, “things like strength of character, intelligence, determination. In my toolbox, I got an ability to squint my eyes at complex situations and see the truths, and the places to intervene in complex situations and find the golden thread that you can tug on and change the system. And I believe poverty is no different.”

David retired from the business world in 2001; his new career is finding and tugging on the “golden threads” that will help eliminate poverty. “Here, as much as one can criticize, we have a pretty good system with plenty of opportunity,” he says. “So, how can you fail in a system that has good government, a sound economic system and abundant opportunity?”

“Some subsets of our poor have had their spirits crushed for more than a century,” he explains. “It is no accident that the biggest groups of chronically poor are Native Americans and African Americans. Those groups of poor are fundamentally different in thinking than … recent immigrants, such as the Hispanics and Asians.

“Like previous immigrants who came here for the opportunity, the new immigrants come with determination, with families intact (even if they are not physically with them) and with a strong religion,” he says. “That means parents see it as their obligation to work hard to sustain their families and to motivate their children to ‘do better than I did.’ They are the working poor whose children and grandchildren are and will be in the mainstream of our society. They are thriving in our system. It is proof positive that our system works.”

Institutionally scarred
“I believe communities, which have been defeated and subjugated, have been institutionally scarred,” he says. “That scar manifests itself in false beliefs. A false belief of, ‘We can’t get ahead.’ And the big one, ‘They won’t let us.'”

“There is abundant evidence this is just not true,” he continues. “There are many people from our Native communities succeeding in our system; but step into poor communities, and you will find them ravaged by alcohol, drugs and crime. Marcus Aurelius said 2000 years ago, ‘Poverty is the mother of crime.'”

David goes on a long discussion about the huge numbers of young black males in prison, concluding with, “Psychologists tell us everyone always chooses the best option they can see. So, what must the options look like if the best option is to take a gun in your hand or stick a needle in your arm? If you want someone to change, you have to give them new options.”

The bicycle option
David Moore’s option is bicycles. “Why bikes?” he asks rhetorically. “A bike is an instrument to take a child to another place.” Metaphysically, as well as physically. “Another place where a mentor can be found who will guide that child and help that child see new options.” Like Jerrill May did for David.

David tries to pair bikes with neighborhoods that have mentoring programs like Scout Troops. “A study shows, the kids go to school more often, behave better in class and get better grades,” he says of one neighborhood that has had Scout Troops instituted for three years. However, many of these children need wheels to get to Scout meetings.

To David, it all comes down to numbers. “One person in prison for one year costs $30,000,” he says. “If that person were, instead, working for a year at minimum wage, he’d have earned $10,000. So, that person is costing society $40,000 a year.”

“We can buy a thousand bikes at $40 a piece,” he says. “There’s your $40,000. If one child served by our program meets a mentor and doesn’t go to prison for just one year, we’ve saved society $40,000. We’re at break-even. If more than one out of our 1,000 children doesn’t go to jail because the bike gets them to a mentor who saves them, it’s a win for society. That’s a fantastically successful program!”

“I believe we’re helping more than one out of 1,000, not for a year, but for a lifetime!” he says proudly.

Protecting Your Future

December 1, 2006 by  
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Your guide to vision care

While blindness affects more than one million Americans age 40 and older, the number of visually impaired in this country totals more than 3.4 million. Furthermore, the number of Americans with age-related eye disease or consequential vision impairment is expected to double within the next three decades. With such a rapidly increasing figure, eye disease and vision loss is undoubtedly emerging as a major public health problem. Engaging in annual eye examinations can lead to the prevention and/or delay of eye diseases that can result in blindness, especially for those individuals with diabetes, age 65 and older, or African Americans older than 40.

What is ophthalmology?
Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine encompassing the anatomy, function and diseases of the eye. Often referred to as “Eye M.D.s,” ophthalmologists are trained physicians who specialize in diagnosing and treating eye and vision problems, including vision services and surgery. Not to be confused with an optometrist (a Doctor of Optometry), an ophthalmologist is a medical doctor, or M.D., who has completed four years of medical school, a year-long internship and a minimum of three years of residency training in ophthalmology. Optometrists complete a pre-professional undergraduate college education followed by four years of professional education in a college of optometry. Some optometrists also fulfill a residency program.

Cornea and external disease
Ophthalmologists focusing on cornea and external disease diagnose and handle diseases of the cornea, sclera, conjunctiva and eyelids, including corneal dystrophies, microbial infections, conjunctival and corneal tumors, inflammatory processes and anterior ocular manifestations of systematic diseases. Ophthalmologists in this field often perform corneal transplant surgery or corneal surgery to correct refractive errors.

Glaucoma
One of the most common causes of preventable vision loss, glaucoma is a group of eye diseases resulting from intraocular pressure levels that damage the optic nerve and nerve fibers that form parts of the retina in the back of the eye. Individuals that suffer from glaucoma often experience no symptoms until they begin to lose part of their peripheral vision. Although visual loss is most often permanent and irreversible, many cases can be treated by prescription drugs, laser therapies and surgery. Increased intraocular pressure and the state of the optic nerve head are only detectable during an eye examination performed by an ophthalmologist.

LASIK
LASIK is a surgical procedure that is performed to correct nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and astigmatism. Permanently removing corneal tissue to reshape the eye in order to improve refraction, LASIK is a fairly safe procedure for permanent vision correction — with only a 2 percent intra-operative and 3 to 5 percent post-operative complication rate. More than 90 percent of patients with low to moderate myopia achieve 20/40 vision, while more than half achieve 20/20 vision or better.

Neuro-ophthalmology
While more than half of the brain is used for vision-related activities, vision problems can often be caused by the optic nerve or the nervous system. Neuro-ophthalmologists evaluate patients from a neurologic, ophthalmologic and medical standpoint to diagnose and care for a wide range of problems, including optic nerve problems, visual field loss, visual disturbances, double vision, abnormal eye movements, thyroid eye disease, unequal pupil size and eyelid abnormalities.

Do your research
The American Board of Ophthalmology can provide an abundance of credible resources to utilize if you are seeking the services of an ophthalmologist. Prospective patients may find out if an ophthalmologist is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology by visiting www.abms.org or by contacting 1 (866) ASK-ABMS.

Please click on the following links to view each Top Fertility Doctor’s profile and/or visit their website.

Houston Eye Associates
www.houstoneye.com

Rosa A. Tang, M.D., MPH
www.neuroeye.com