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What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye syndrome is caused by a chronic lack of moisture and lubrication of the eyes. Your eye’s tears keep the surface of the eye moist and lubricated, as well as washing away dust, debris, and other microorganisms.

What causes dry eye?

Typically dry eye occurs when there is a problem with your tears. Tears are made up of an oily, watery, and mucin component. Any issue with those components could cause dry eye. It could be tear instability, tear film evaporation, or insufficient tear production. The only way to detect the cause of your dry eye is an eye exam.

Symptoms

  • Burning sensation
  • Itchy eyes
  • Aching sensations
  • Heavy eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Dryness sensation
  • Red eyes
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Blurred vision

Who gets dry eye?

Dry eye can happen to anyone at any age. Each case of dry eye varies in severity and individual tolerance. However, there are certain factors which can increase your risk for dry eyes. These factors include:

  • Computer use: Humans blink less frequently when working at computers, allowing for increased tear evaporation.
  • Smoking: Causes eyes to dry over time and is the root of various other eye problems.
  • Aging: Dry eye syndrome is more common after the age of 50.
  • Menopause: Women who have completed menopause are at a higher risk for dry eye than men of the same age.
  • Health conditions: Certain diseases have a higher risk of contributing to dry eyes- such as diabetes or thyroid diseases.
  • Medications: Prescription and nonprescription medicines can have dry eye as a side effect.

Visiting The Doctor

Getting an eye exam by an eye doctor is the only way to know for sure you have chronic dry eye syndrome. Symptoms of dry eye can vary significantly from person to person and may even be symptoms of other eye problems. Personal perception of dry eye severity does not indicate whether or not an individual has chronic dry eye syndrome. Some individuals with mild dry eye may feel their eyes are very bothersome, while some individuals with severe dry eye may not consider their symptoms significant.

If you are showing symptoms of dry eye, schedule an appointment with our office as soon as possible. The only way to know the medical severity of your dry eye is through an eye exam.

The Importance of Sports Eyewear

Whether you’re playing or watching the game, one incident everyone dreads is an injury. Injuries can prevent players from finishing the game, or worse, end an athletic career. Protective sports eyewear helps to prevent injuries and allows players to continue to play their sport. In today’s world, many sports facilities and fitness clubs require athletes to wear proper eye gear in order to minimize injury.

Why is it important to wear protective eyewear?

Emergency rooms treat more than 40,000 sports-related eye injuries every year, and up to 90 percent of those injuries could have been prevented by using protective eyewear. Any sport in which a ball, racquet, or other flying object is present poses a risk for injury. However, injuries can also result from close contact with others in the way of pokes or jabs with fingers and elbows. Protective eyewear is important because it keeps your eyes safe from a variety of injuries. As an additional bonus, the sharper your vision, the better you will perform in your sport of choice.

Features to look for:

  • Various sizes and shapes designed to fit the user.
  • Customized to best suit the sport including reflective lenses, space for headgear, and wrap around bands.
  • User’s prescription can be added to the lenses, which allows for better clarity during the game and increased overall performance.
  • Lenses are often made of polycarbonate, an impact-resistant material, to protect eyes from high speed and high impact objects.
  • Sports frames are also made of impact resistant material and often come with rubber padding where the frame comes in contact with the head or nose.
  • Wraparound sports glasses help to ensure the eyewear remains in place for the duration of a sporting event and prevents dust or debris from entering through the sides of the glasses.

Get the Facts

Experts agree sports-related eye injuries can be prevented by wearing protective eyewear. Parents and coaches should ensure athletes are wearing safety glasses during sporting events, especially considering 43 percent of all sports-related eye injuries occur in children younger than age 15. Regular eyeglasses are not safe to use as protective sports eyewear because they do not have impact resistance and could shatter or break upon impact.  

It is imperative that protective eyewear properly fits the user. Resist the urge to buy children’s eyewear with “room to grow.” Purchasing protective eyewear too large for the user could cause eyewear to be less effective and increase the risk of injury. Additionally, be sure the user has not outgrown protective goggles as this increases the risk of injury as well.  

Sports using Protective Eyewear

  • Badminton: sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses
  • Baseball/softball: batting and baserunning- helmet with polycarbonate face shield. Fielding- sports goggles or sports sunglasses with shatterproof lenses and head strap
  • Basketball: wraparound sports goggles
  • Bicycling: performance sunglasses with anti-fog and anti-scratch lenses
  • Fencing: full face mask made of rigid metal
  • Field hockey: all players- sports goggles with a head strap. Goalies- full helmets and face masks
  • Fishing: polarized sunglasses
  • Football: polycarbonate shield attached to a helmet
  • Hunting and shooting: polarized shatter resistant shooting glasses
  • Ice hockey: full face helmet
  • Lacrosse: form fitting and padded face mask
  • Paintball: full face helmet
  • Racquetball: sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses
  • Skiing and snowboarding: ski goggles or wraparound polarized sunglasses with mirror coated lenses
  • Soccer: sports goggles
  • Squash/Tennis: sports goggles with wraparound frame
  • Swimming and diving: swim goggles and diving masks
  • Volleyball: sports goggles or sunglasses
  • Water Polo: swim goggles with polycarbonate lenses

Reasons Not to Compromise on Price

Have you ever been tempted to buy cheap glasses you see online or the reading glasses you found at a discount store? They look just as good as the prescription eyeglasses you paid full price for, right?

The hard truth is they are not the same as the high-quality prescription eyewear provided by our office. Unreliable eyeglasses are more likely to break, scratch, and discolor over time. Your goal should be to buy glasses that will last and will not need frequent replacement. The cost of replacing cheap glasses can add up to the same cost as purchasing a more expensive, quality pair, originally.

Know what you lose

When comparing costs, there is always a compromise to be made. One of the biggest elements lost when buying cheap eyeglasses is individual care. Opticians recommend eyewear based on your daily routine, provide professional fittings, and ensure the quality of your eyewear is examined.

Same top quality?

Online glasses retailers often state that they offer the “same top quality” as eyecare practices. How do you know what their definition or range of top quality is? Cheap price often means cheaper materials.

Try before you buy

Usually, when buying glasses from an online retailer, you sacrifice the opportunity to try the glasses on and see how they fit your face. A virtual try-on does not allow for an accurate representation of how glasses look and fit on your face.

You cannot receive a proper fitting

If you choose to purchase eyeglasses from an online supplier, you forfeit a proper fitting. As a result, you may purchase a pair of glasses that are too tight or loose for your face.

Cheap frames

A downside to cheaper frames is they are more likely to cause skin irritation. Cheaper metal frames can discolor your skin or even cause a skin rash due to allergy. With prolonged wear, cheap plastic frames will discolor in sunlight and the smooth finish will diminish.

Durability

Another inevitable loss with cheaper eyeglasses is durability. Frames made with inexpensive materials are not designed to withstand extended use as well as eyeglasses sold by eye practitioners are able to.

Reading glasses

A wide-spread myth: all reading glasses are the same whether you purchase them at a discount store or at an eye practitioner. The truth is, your eye practitioner is able to customize the lenses to fit your exact eye and lifestyle needs. Read more about progressive lenses available at our office here.

Sunglasses lose UV protection

It’s tempting to buy cheap sunglasses because you are worried you might misplace or scratch them. However, it is crucial to protect your eyes from UV radiation damage. Don’t give up 100% UV protection for a cheap sticker price.

Nutrition and Your Eyes

The foods you eat and the dietary supplements you take affect your overall health and the health of your eyes. Nutrition and your eyes are linked together and can help prevent certain eye diseases along with other health problems.

Healthy Foods

Choosing healthy foods improves your overall health as well as your eye health. Dark green or brightly colored fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy diet. These fruits and vegetables may also help to reduce the risks of developing eye diseases. Sugars and white flours may increase your risk of age-related eye disease, instead, opt for whole grains which do not have the same risks. Healthy fats containing omega-3 essential fatty acids are critical to your diet. These healthy fats can help prevent dry eyes and cataracts.

Hydration

Staying hydrated is essential to the health of your eyes. Drink plenty of water every day! We also recommend choosing healthy beverages and avoiding high sugar beverages. Proper hydration is linked to the reduction of dry eye symptoms.

Nutrients

Nutrients are an essential part of a healthy diet. These nutrients can be found in foods but can also be taken in supplements to ensure you are receiving the proper amount in your diet. Consult with your primary care provider before taking any dietary supplements. Here are a few nutrients that may have a link to eye health:

  • Vitamin A: may protect against night blindness and dry eyes
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: may prevent macular degeneration and dry eyes
  • Vitamin C: may reduce risks of cataracts and macular degeneration
  • Vitamin D: may reduce risks of macular degeneration
  • Zinc: may reduce risks of night blindness
  • Vitamin E: may reduce the risk of advanced macular degeneration

Aging Eyes

As you age, it is essential to consider all factors that could affect the overall health of your eyes. Not only should you adopt a healthy diet, but you can also do several other things to protect your eyes. One way to protect your eyes is to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet rays, which includes wearing sunglasses outdoors and staying away from tanning beds. Now is the time to quit smoking, not only is smoking harmful to your overall health it also increased your risks for many eye diseases. Finally, ensure that you are getting annual eye exams to detect any eye diseases before they cause permanent vision loss.

Nutrition and your eyes are highly connected, continue to find ways to feed your body the food and nutrients it needs to live a healthy life with healthy eyes.

Non-Glare: See Better and Look Better

We understand your eyewear has become part of your style and fashion. Not only do you want to show off your cool new frames, but you also want to make sure to reduce the glare on your lenses so people can see the natural beauty of your eyes. A non-glare coating is a simple lens treatment virtually eliminating those unattractive glares and reflections!

Benefits of Non-Glare Coating:

  • Reduce eye strain
  • Invisible-looking lenses
  • Sharper vision with less glare
  • Anti-scratch for better cleaning

Improve Vision

The non-glare coating allows 99.5% of light to pass through the lenses and reach your eyes. Regular plastic lenses only allow 92% of light to pass through, and high index plastic lenses only allow 88% of light to pass through. Why does this matter? The smaller amount of light that gets to your eyes the more work your eyes have to do to see. Non-glare coatings have become popular because they allow for clearer vision and reduces eye strain.

Eliminate Reflections

Non-glare coatings eliminate distracting reflections from the front and back of your lenses. With reflections gone, light is able to pass through the lens for better visual acuity. This becomes particularly noticeable during night driving. Individuals with a non-glare coating on their lenses find night driving less difficult because the coating reduces glare and halos around lights.

Enhance Appearance

Overall, non-glare lenses improve the visual appearance of your glasses. Have you ever looked at someone and the overhead light was reflecting off their lenses so you could barely see their eyes? A non-glare coating prevents those reflections which then allows you to see better through your glasses and for others to see you better! It helps to draw more attention to your eyes and provides the opportunity for better eye contact. Additionally, a non-glare coating will help to eliminate the distracting reflections off your lenses in photos.

The non-glare coating makes your lenses appear nearly invisible. What’s stopping you from adding non-glare to your next pair of eyeglasses? Chat with our staff today about the potential of non-glare lenses!

Know the Facts About Cataracts

Did you know, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world? Cataracts affect nearly 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older.* If you are over the age of 50, you should have a yearly comprehensive eye exam to detect cataracts as they develop.

A cataract is the clouding of the lens in your eye. Many people describe the feeling as if you are looking through a foggy or frosted window.

What causes cataracts?

Clouding of the natural lens in your eye is caused by proteins clumping together within the lens. It is unknown why the eye changes as the body ages, but these changes may cause cataracts to grow larger over time, resulting in an increased difficulty to see clearly.

Some factors that have been linked to cataract development are diabetes, obesity, smoking, ultraviolet radiation, and family history.

Symptoms

Symptoms associated with cataracts can vary from person to person. However, there are a few key symptoms associated with most cases of cataract development. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, schedule a visit with your eye doctor to discuss your risk or development of cataracts.

  • Slight blur in vision
  • Vision is cloudy
  • Sunlight or lamps feel too bright
  • Headlights have more glare and/or a halo around them
  • Colors no longer appear as bright as they once did

Types of cataracts

Subcapsular

Subcapsular cataracts typically occur in the back of the lens and are most common in individuals with diabetes or those taking a high dose of steroid medication.

Nuclear

Nuclear cataracts are associated with aging and occur in the central zone of the lens.

Cortical

Cortical cataracts occur in the lens cortex and are associated with streaks which interfere with light passage through the eye.

Congenital

Congenital cataracts are present at birth and may be due to genetics or intrauterine infection.

Are cataracts preventable?

No studies have shown a way to prevent cataracts, however, there are recommended practices to help maintain eye health and lower your risk of developing cataracts.

  • Yearly comprehensive eye exams help maintain eye health and detect the development of cataracts at an early stage.
  • Smoking has been linked to the development of cataracts. Quitting smoking provides a variety of health benefits lowering your risk for further cataract development.
  • Keeping up with treatment if you have diabetes or other medical conditions will help minimize your risk.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet, including fruits and vegetables, provides increased overall eye health.
  • Wearing sunglasses to prevent ultraviolet radiation will decrease your risk of UV damage which has been linked to the development of cataracts.

 

*National Eye Institute (https://nei.nih.gov)

Why Your Children Should be Wearing Sunglasses

As you may know, the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause damage to your skin, but how often do you think about the damage these rays can cause to your eyes? What about your child’s eyes? At a young age, children’s eyes are still developing, and with the substantial time they spend outdoors, it is important to purchase sunglasses to protect their eyes from harmful UV rays.

What Are UV Rays?

UV rays or ultraviolet radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation or energy. These rays are emitted from the sun as well as a few man-made sources, like tanning beds. A key factor in what makes ultraviolet rays so dangerous is our inability to see them. Ultraviolet rays fall outside the range of visible light for the human eye. To read more about UV rays, click here.

Your Exposure to UV Rays

Eye Development

The lens inside a child’s eye is still developing and is not as capable of filtering high energy rays similar to eye lenses in adults. This inability to filter and fully protect their eyes causes children to have a higher risk of damage from UV rays. Shielding your infant’s or child’s eyes from UV rays as early as possible will help prevent overexposure to UV radiation throughout their lifetime. For younger children and infants, a sun hat provides additional protection to their skin and eyes throughout the day as the sun shifts and in case they remove their sunglasses.

Environment

Exposure to UV radiation increases at high altitudes, tropical locations, and in reflective environments. Consider the level of risk in your environment and if protective eyewear should be worn. Here are a few environment aspects and how they could affect your exposure to harmful UV rays.

  • Altitude: At higher altitudes, the earth’s atmosphere is thinner and unable to provide the same protection from UV rays.
  • Location: As you move closer to the earth’s equator, the level of UV rays increase. If you and your family are visiting a tropical location near the earth’s equator, always wear 100% UV blocking eyewear when outdoors.
  • Highly reflective services: Areas with highly reflective services like pools, lakes, oceans, and snow reflect UV rays. Snow can reflect up to 80% of UV rays creating a higher risk of UV damage to your eyes.
  • Clouds: Keep in mind clouds do not block UV radiation. UV exposure can be high on cloudy days.

Time of Day

  • Time of day: UV levels are higher between 10 am to 2 pm when the sun is at its peak.
  • Setting: Highly reflective surfaces like sand, water, and snow provide a much higher risk of eye damage due to UV radiation.

Children’s Eyewear

We understand convincing your child to wear sunglasses can be a challenge. Use these pointers when talking with your kids about sunglasses! Don’t forget, you know your children better than anyone else, so some of these tips may not work for them.

  • Match the current trends. If your child loves a certain color, pattern, or shape, purchase sunglasses to match their unique style.
  • TV shows, young celebrities, and brands like Disney create sunglass lines to appeal specifically to children. That’s right, children notice and prefer brand named items just like teens and adults.
  • Keep frame in the family. If the child has an adult or sibling they look up to and admire, purchase your child similar sunglasses to what the adult or sibling owns. This will appeal to the child’s desire to look more like their older sibling or parent!
  • Let them do the shopping. Take children shopping specifically to pick out their very own special pair of sunglasses. The more they like their sunglasses, the more likely they are to wear them, and the better protected their eyes will be from harmful UV radiation from the sun.

Flashes, Floaters, and Spots: What’s in my Vision?

Have you noticed tiny shadows cast upon objects you are looking at? Do you see small spots in your vision when looking at a clear or overcast sky? You may be seeing floaters and spots in your field of vision.

What is the spot in my vision?

It is completely normal to see spots or floaters in your vision. As you age the gel-like consistency in your eyes begins to dissolve creating floaters in the watery center of your eye. While you cannot see the particle floating in your eye, a shadow of these particles can be seen reflected in the objects you are viewing.

Do I need treatment for my floaters?

No, most of the time treatment is not required for floaters in the eye. The floaters and spots are harmless, and most will fade over time. If your vision is inhibited by large floaters, give our office a call to discuss options available to reduce these symptoms.

Why is there a flash in my vision?

When light enters your eye it sends a message to the retina, the retina then produces an electrical impulse which is sent to the brain. The brain interprets this impulse as an image. If the retina is tugged, torn, or detached from the back of the eye it is common to see a flicker of light. The flashes or flickers of light can be temporary or continue indefinitely depending on the severity of the retinal issue.

Is this ever a medical emergency?

Seeing a few new floaters is not an emergency, however, if you suddenly see a shower of floaters or spots this may be cause for concern. The sudden appearance of flashes of light could mean that damage is occurring to your retina. If any of these symptoms suddenly appear, call our office immediately to discuss with your eye doctor.

Conditions associated with eye floaters and flashes:

  • Bleeding inside the eye
  • Inflammation of the interior of the eye
  • Nearsightedness
  • Cataract surgery
  • Laser eye surgery
  • Diabetes
  • Eye infections

Eye Safety In The Home

Have you thought about eye safety in your home? Over 2.4 million eye injuries each year in the United States. Experts say wearing safety glasses and taking a few common-sense precautions can prevent or reduce the severity of eye injuries.

Common causes of eye injury in the home:

  • Household cleaners and chemicals
    Tip: Keep out of reach of children, high shelves in cupboards or childproof cupboards.
  • Toys and games (hard or sharp edges)
    Tip: Always check the age recommendation to ensure toys are appropriate for your child.
  • Eye makeup and applicators
    Tip: Throw out old or damaged products to avoid potential eye hazards.
  • Lawn, garden, and hand tools
    Tip: Wear protective eyewear when completing house or yard work.
  • Champagne Corks
    Tip: Never face the cork towards anyone’s face, including your own.
  • Fireworks
    Tip: Attend a professional firework show, avoid the risks associated with at home fireworks.

 

What to do in case of eye injury

If you or your child has an eye injury contact your eye doctor immediately. If it is after regular work hours, try an emergency contact number or call 911. It is always better to be over cautious when it comes to your eyes.

The next steps after your phone call vary greatly depending on the eye injury. Typically, we either recommend you come to our office or go to the emergency room. Depending on the situation your eye doctor may also ask you to flush your eye, remove your contact lenses, or cover your eye.

When in doubt treat all eye injuries as potential emergencies. You only have one pair of eyes, and we want to ensure they are taken care of.

What to look for in safety glasses

Safety glasses should be worn when doing any house repairs/renovations, yard work, or sports activities. This is the best way to protect your eyes from potential harm. When looking for safety glasses, it is important to have impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses and safety rated frame.

If you have additional questions about eye safety in the home, ask our staff. We want to help you keep your eyes safe and healthy!

Computer Vision Syndrome: Eye Strain

According to The Vision Council, 65% of adults experience some form of computer vision syndrome. Often individuals associate eye strain as a “normal” part of computer work. However, the eye strain you are experiencing is a symptom of computer vision syndrome and can be reduced or avoided!

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome is caused by the eyes and brain reacting to the characters on a computer screen. On-screen characters have less contrast than characters in print and are more challenging for our eyes to focus on. The difficulty of having to focus on the characters on computer screens is what causes eye fatigue and strain.

Symptoms of CVS

Depending on the individual they may experience one, several, or all symptoms of computer vision syndrome. These symptoms can cause discomfort for the individual and make it difficult to complete work effectively.

  • Headaches
  • Loss of focus
  • Burning eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Double vision
  • Eye twitching
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Ways to Combat CVS

Many computer users find their eyes feel strained working under fluorescent lights. Users feel more eye comfort when using floor lamps instead of harsh overhead lights. Minimize the reflection of glare off your computer screen by installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor. Consider closing the blinds to prevent the sun from reflecting off your computer screen as well.

The type of screen and settings of your screen can also impact your eye strain. We recommend making sure you have an LCD screen because it has an anti-reflective surface and is more comfortable for the eyes.

Additionally, you can adjust the settings of your screen for optimal viewing. A few settings to adjust are the brightness, text, and color temperature. The brightness should be the same as your surrounding workstation, the text size and contrast can be changed to your comfort level, and reducing the color temperature lowers the amount of blue light emitted by your screen.

Computer Eyewear

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of computer vision syndrome is to visit our office. Your eye doctor can perform a few tests to detect vision problems which could be contributing to your computer vision syndrome and help decide if computer eyewear is the solution for you. Many individuals discover computer eyewear helps reduce their symptoms and improves their productivity.

Schedule an appointment with our office to discuss the impact computer work is having on your eyes and the best ways to reduce your eye strain and fatigue.