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News and Events

Keep up to date on the latest vision news from our practice.

How To Make That Eye Twitch Go Away

eye twitch infographic 700×2364

2017 Total Solar Eclipse

Date of Eclipse: Monday, August 21, 2017

WHAT IS A TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE?

solar eclipse 1A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the Earth and the sun, so it totally or partly obscures the image of the sun.

Everyone in the U.S. will be able to see at least a partial eclipse on Monday, August 21, 2017. And those in the path of totality will see the moon completely cover the sun in this exciting celestial event!

 

FAST FACTS

  • The total solar eclipse will begin at 10:15 a.m. PDT near Lincoln City, OR
  • Totality ends at 2:48 p.m. EDT near Charleston, SC
  • Totality will last for about two minutes and 40 seconds
  • The path of totality is about 70 miles wide and extends from Oregon to South Carolina
  • A total solar eclipse can only be observed when the moon is approximately 400 times closer to the earth than the sun
  • The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979, although there is only one other coast-to-coast eclipse to compare this upcoming eclipse to, and that happened nearly 100 years ago on June 8, 1918
  • It is predicted that between 1 and 7.4 million people may commute into the path, causing heavy traffic delays that day
  • The next total solar eclipse in North America (after August 21, 2017) will occur on April 8, 2024

ECLIPSE EYE SAFETY

solar eclipse 4It is never safe to look directly at the sun, even when wearing eyeglasses with Transitions® lenses.

Don’t be fooled by the eclipse – it’s still not safe to look at the sun! The ONLY exception to look at the total eclipse safely is if you’re in the path of totality and the moon completely covers the sun and there is no longer any direct sunlight coming toward you.

If you’re in the path of totality, it is still very important to be vigilant to protect your eyes before and after totality. The total eclipse only lasts a minute or two in some locations.

It’s important to check local information on timing of when the total eclipse will begin and end in your area. Check out NASA’s website to get started.

Solar Retinopathy

  • Solar retinopathy occurs when bright light from the sun floods the retina and is caused by staring at the sun for too long. Most people can’t stand to look at the sun long enough to cause damage, but the eclipse (partial or total) makes it more comfortable to stare at the sun.
  • The retina is home to the light-sensing cells that make vision possible. When they’re over-stimulated by sunlight, they release a flood of communication chemicals that can damage the retina. This damage is often painless, so people don’t realize they’re damaging their vision.

Sunglasses and Transitions lenses block harmful UV rays, but not harmful infrared or intense visible light that can cause solar retinopathy from staring at direct sunlight. They are never safe for looking directly at the sun.

  • Photokeratitis is a painful eye condition that happens when your eyes are exposed to UV rays. It is like having sunburned eyes. This condition can be prevented by wearing eye protection that block UV radiation, such as Transitions lenses.

The only safe way to look directly at the sun is through glasses that meet the ISO 12312-2 international standard.

  • Only four manufacturers have met this standard: Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.

Solar eclipse glasses have met the following standards for becoming ISO certified:

  • 100% harmful UV
  • 100% harmful infrared
  • 99.99% of intense visible light

An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is pinhole projection. Visit https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/safety for directions on this indirect viewing method.

YEAR-ROUND EYE SAFETY

  • The eclipse is only one day, but eye safety should be practiced year-round!
  • Sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays: UVA rays and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin – leading to signs of premature aging such as wrinkling or age spots. UVB rays are the sun’s burning rays and are the primary cause of sunburn.
  • Excessive UV exposure is dangerous for eyes as well as your skin. It can lead to a number of serious, sight-stealing diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration down the road – making ongoing protection from UV rays a must.
  • You don’t have to avoid enjoying the sun – but you should wear Transitions lenses to help protect your eyes from glare, harmful UV rays, and harmful blue light.
  • Transitions lenses block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays.
  • Transitions lenses help protect against harmful blue light emitted by the sun and electronic devices and screens to reduce eye strain and fatigue.

This Halloween Be Wary of Costume Contact Lenses

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As Halloween approaches and costume planning gets more serious, many consider the use of novelty or costume contact lenses as a way to add that extra flair. Whether you are dressing up as a cat, a vampire, or looking for something fun that glows in the dark, dressing up your eyes can certainly add the finishing touch to your outfit. However, most people are unaware that costume contact lenses can pose a serious danger to your sight. If used improperly and bought without a medical prescription from an eye care professional, costume contact lenses can cause serious infection, corneal abrasions and in some cases lead to permanent vision loss. 

As contact lenses are considered a medical device they need to be prescribed and fitted by a licensed eye care professional, according to the FDA and Health Canada. Most of the lenses sold in novelty and retail stores are not approved by the FDA or Health Canada. This is because the material they are made from can scratch your cornea, distort your vision or cause an infection. In fact it is illegal for retailers to sell any kind of contact lenses without a prescription. That’s why contact lenses for costumes are often purchased at discounted rates online, where regulations are negligible.

Here are a few tips to take into consideration if you decide to use costume contact lenses on Halloween or at any other time during the year.

1.     Visit your eye doctor for a thorough eye exam. Your doctor will also measure your eyes for the correct contact lens fit and explain the correct way to use and care for your lenses. This rule applies even if you have perfect vision.

2.     Purchase costume contacts only from a retailer that requests a prescription and sells FDA approved colored lenses.

3.     Be sure to follow the instructions for contact lens usage, care and cleaning.

4.     If you experience redness, swelling or discharge, remove your lenses and seek medical attention from your eye doctor.

5.     Do not share your contact lenses with anyone else.

6.     Schedule a follow up eye exam with your eye care professional.

Don't let an impulsive buy from a costume store ruin your vision.

For more information, watch the FDA's video on improper use of decorative lenses below:

How to Prevent Dry Eyes During Air Travel

backpack 20man

Many travelers experience dry eyes after extended travel by air. The dry environment of a temperature- and pressure-controlled air plane cabin can take its toll on your eyes.

The good news is there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the uncomfortable symptoms associated with travelers’ dry eye. Here are some tips to keep in mind when traveling to help prevent dry eye:

  1. Since dehydration makes dry eye symptoms worse, drink consistently before, during and after the flight. If you enjoy an on-flight alcoholic drink or caffeinated tea or coffee, be sure to drink extra fluids to rehydrate.
  2. Make sure to pack a bottle of artificial tears to apply as needed. If you suffer from dry eyes on a regular basis, consult with your eye care professional before you fly as you might need a more effective lubricant to keep with you on the flight.
  3. Use an eye mask to protect your eyes while sleeping.
  4. If you wear contact lenses, switch to a pair of glasses for the duration of the flight to avoid additional dryness that often accompanies contact lens use.
  5. Turn off the air conditioning vent above your seat to prevent dry air from blowing directly into your face.

10 Tips to Protect Your Vision

eyes female blue

Did you forget to put on your sunglasses today? Are you constantly sitting in front of a computer screen without taking breaks to look away? Maybe you also skipped your yearly eye exam, again. These are just some of the things we tend to overlook when it comes to our eye health. But these seemingly innocent oversights, along with small decisions that we make on a daily basis can eventually take a toll on our eyes and our vision.

Now is the time to make changes to safeguard your vision – it's never too late to change a routine or break a habit. Here are a few tips that will help you get your eye health and vision on track in the blink of an eye.

1.     Keep Screens at a Distance.
Screens and monitors are part of our everyday lives. We encounter them everywhere, from our personal smartphones, desktop computers, tablets and MP3's to movie theatres, sports games, airports, train stations and subways. Throughout the day, we tend to look at screens for long periods of time and we may work from handheld devices at much closer distances than we would read printed pages. Glare from screens can lead to eyestrain and computer vision syndrome. It’s recommended to position your computer screen at least an arm's length away and hold handheld devices 16 inches away from your eyes.

2.     Blink, Blink, Blink. Another result of extensive device use is that your blink rate tends to drop when you stare at text on a screen. Not blinking often enough can lead to dry, irritated eyes.  Apply the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds and don’t forget to blink!

3.     Always wear your sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays when you are outside or driving during daylight. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays during any time of year can lead to cataracts or age-related macular degeneration (AMD) as well as sunburns on your eyes in extreme cases. Make sure that your sunglasses block 99 percent of UVA and UVB rays.

4.     Eat seafood with Omega -3’s. Omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold-water fish such as tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines, may help lower the risk of dry eyes and eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. If you don’t like seafood, consider taking fish oil supplements or other supplements that contain omega 3’s such as black current seed or flaxseed oils.

5.     Go for Greens. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, zucchini, peas, avocado and Brussels sprouts contain lutein and zeaxanthin. The AREDS 2 – Age Related Eye Disease Study – research conducted by the National Eye Institute (NEI) demonstrated that certain dietary supplements including these important pigments help prevent the progression of some eye diseases.

6.     Drink green tea. Green tea is another great source of antioxidants which keep eyes healthy and defends them from cataracts and AMD development.

7.     Care for your contact lenses. Always wash your hands before inserting or removing contacts and store them properly in cleansing solution. Never use any substances other than proper contact lens solution and make sure you follow your eye doctor’s instructions for proper use, because some eye drops contain ingredients which can react badly with your contact lenses. Keep a backup pair of glasses for days when the contacts “don’t feel right” or if you develop an eye infection. Do not wear contacts for longer than they’re supposed to be worn. If you keep waiting until your eyes begin to feel irritated before you change to a new pair of lenses, the eyes can gradually get desensitized, and damage may occur before the lenses feel dry.

8.     Throw away old eye makeup such as mascara that is over four months old. Sharpen eyeliner pencils regularly and don’t put liner on the inside of your eye lid. If your eyes become irritated, stop using eye makeup until they heal.

9.      Protect your eyes from danger. Always wear protective eyewear or safety goggles if your work requires eye protection and when working in the garden, doing home repairs or when dealing with strong cleaning substances such as bleach or oven cleaners.

10.      Visit your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year. Yearly eye exams are not only helpful in detecting early signs of eye disease, they are also an important indicator of your overall health. An eye exam can detect signs of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, brain tumors, aneurysms, and multiple sclerosis. Proper attention to vision problems can also enhance your safety and quality of life.

Knowing what you have to do is the first step in keeping your eyes and vision safe. Thinking about your eyes and vision and forming the right habits will lead to a lifetime of good vision.

Does Chlorine Hurt your Eyes?

little girls swimming

Summer is starting so thoughts turn to the effects of chlorine on your families eyes.

Swimming pool water is chlorinated to keep it sanitized. The chlorine helps reduce water-borne bacteria and viruses to prevent pathogens and disease from spreading. While chlorine is a successful water sanitizer, its efficacy depends on a number of factors including how recently it was added to the water, the concentration of the chemical and how much the pool is used.

When your eyes are submerged in chlorinated pool water, the tear film that usually acts as a defensive shield for your cornea is washed away. This means that your eyes are no longer protected from dirt or bacteria that are not entirely eliminated by the treated pool water. So, swimmers can be prone to eye infections. One of the most common eye infections from swimming is conjunctivitis or pink eye, which can either be viral or bacterial.

Another eye issue that often develops from contact with chlorinated water is red, irritated eyes. When your cornea dehydrates as a result of exposure to chlorine, the irritation is often accompanied by blurriness, which can result in distorted vision temporarily. Although these symptoms usually disappear within a few minutes, the recovery time tends to increase with age. Using lubricating eye drops can help alleviate symptoms by restoring the hydrating, protective tear shield in your eye.

If you wear contact lenses, be sure to remove them before jumping in the pool. Contact lens patients are prone to an eye infection called acanthamoebic keratitis, which develops when a type of amoeba gets trapped in the space between the cornea and the contact lens and begins to live there. This infection can result in permanent visual impairment or lead to ulcers on the cornea. If you have taken a dip with contacts on, be sure to remove your lenses, rinse them with lens solution and refrain from sleeping in them after you've had a swim.            

There is no way to be one hundred percent sure of what is floating around in a swimming pool, so the best way to protect your eyes is to use water-tight goggles that fit you well. This way you can enjoy your swim without risking your eyes or your vision.

Technology in the Classroom and the Eyes

boy 20in 20front 20of 20eye 20chart

The use of technology has become commonplace in the classroom. So much so that today’s generation of students, from kindergarten to university, navigates computers, smartphones and tablets all the time.  Many schools have even implemented the use of smart boards and bring your own device (BOYD) programs.

However, as amazing as this educational technology can be, it is important to be aware of the potential visual challenges that can arise from prolonged use of digital technology.

According to a recent study by the American Optometric Association's (AOA), 85 percent of parents surveyed said their children use an electronic device for up to four hours every day. The survey also found that 41 percent of children have their own smartphone or tablet while 32 percent use both e-books and textbooks at school. Additionally, 66 percent of children use a computer or tablet to do homework or study.

Staring at a screen for a few hours a day can cause visual discomfort and interfere with your child's ability to focus. Although regular use of digital devices won't damage vision, extended use of technology at school or for homework can lead to a temporary vision condition called computer vision syndrome (CVS). Symptoms of CVS include eye strain, fatigue, burning or tired eyes, the inability to focus, headaches, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain. To alleviate and prevent CVS, teach your child the 20-20-20 rule when using technology or doing near work: take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 feet away.

There are also a number of physical indicators that parents should be aware of that point to vision problems. These include squinting or covering an eye to see a screen, repeated eye rubbing and excessive blinking. If your child complains of headaches or swimming words on a screen, consistently performs below his or her potential and has challenges completing homework, it is important to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to assess whether there may be any vision problems.

In addition, your child should hold any digital device a half to a full arm's length away from the eyes and slightly below eye level. Parents should encourage children to take breaks regularly while at the computer. Kids should also use ergonomic desk areas or gaming chairs to ensure comfort and proper posture. You can prevent glare on screens by using low-wattage light bulbs, dimmers, or curtains in the room. Avoid staring at screens in a completely dark room, and adjust the brightness and background color settings on the device.

Usage of digital devices will likely increase as technology advances. Teach your children good habits to keep their eyes comfortable and to protect their vision. 

Treating Vision Problems Lowers Risk of Falling in Seniors

senior man in thought2

For adults over the age of 65, the right pair of vision correcting glasses can literally be a life saver. Seniors aged 65 and up are at increased risk of falling, which is the leading cause of injury, injury-related death, and hospitalization for this age group. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, one in three adults over 65 falls but less than half talk to their healthcare providers about it.

According to a recent study, 65% of those who wear glasses and break a hip as a result of a fall were not wearing their glasses at the time of the fall. Whether it is a pair of corrective glasses or surgery to remove a cataract, treating vision problems promptly can have a huge impact on preventing injury related to falling in seniors.

It is important to raise awareness with your loved ones about the need to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year. This is vital as there are often no noticeable warning signs that vision problems such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration are developing. Additionally, a simple reminder to loved ones to wear their glasses as prescribed by an eye doctor will go a long way to help to maximize vision.

Poor vision doesn’t only increase the risk of falling; it also has an impact on the quality of daily life. If left untreated, a visual disorder can affect both social and physical activities. A person who is unable to see clearly will have difficulty participating in stimulating activities such as reading, playing cards and board games as well as day-to-day physical exercise such as walking.

Vision difficulties for seniors can often be treated once detected, but a thorough eye exam is necessary to determine the cause. With most vision diseases, earlier detection leads to increased chances of vision improvement. Raise your awareness about the relationship between vision difficulties and health problems for seniors to increase quality of life and help lower the risk of serious injury associated with avoidable falls. 

The Great Glasses Play Day 2013

The first weekend of August (August 3rd and 4th) has been marked as the 2nd annual Great Glasses Play Day. The event, which first launched in 2012 was created for parents, eye care professionals, educators and children who wear glasses or have other vision challenges to celebrate and create awareness about the positive aspects of children wearing glasses. The event also aims to bring to light the importance of early vision health. The day will include parent organized meet ups that will take place online, as well as at parks and other locations around the United States and internationally.

The Great Glasses Play Day is a day to let children who have glasses enjoy all the amazing things their glasses allow them to do. It was initially conceived when Peeps Eyewear founder, Kristin Ellsworth, teamed up with Great Glasses Play Day co-sponsor Ann Zawistoski, the creator of Little Four Eyes, an online support community for parents of young children who wear glasses. Both women were inspired to create an event to show how proud they were of their children who adjusted to life with glasses.

The day also serves to celebrate the unique style of children with glasses and how advances in eyewear allow them to see more clearly. Additionally, it is an opportunity to raise awareness of children’s vision challenges and highlight how vital it is to give your child an eye exam at an early age, as well as follow up treatment of any issue identified.

Here are a few ways you can celebrate Great Glasses Play Day:

  • Spread the word about the event, particularly to anyone you know who has children with glasses
  • Wear your own glasses or pick up a fun non-prescription frame to show your support and encourage your child as to how fun wearing glasses can be.
  • Read your child a positive book about children who wear glasses or make glasses for their toys and dolls.
  • Discuss or participate in an activity that was difficult for the child before she began wearing glasses and how that is now improved due to enhanced, clear and comfortable vision and the ability to concentrate, such as puzzles, word games and baseball.
  • Throw a glasses party on the day or make a glasses party when your child starts wearing glasses.
  • If you have a child with a vision problem, this is your chance to reach out to other parents and tell your story. Explain how you had your child’s eyes examined and how correcting your child’s vision made a significant, positive change in his life. This is the best way to help other parents understand how vital it is to take visual health seriously and to follow up on any referrals or instincts that something isn’t right.

The Great Glasses Play day is supported by the American Optometric Association, the Children’s Eye Foundation and Prevent Blindness Wisconsin. Take part and help spread the word about children’s eye health.

Learn more about how you can participate by checking out the Great Glasses Playday website.

First Aid for Eye Injuries

To ensure that your eyes remain healthy, it is essential to protect them from injury and to take proper care measures if an injury has occurred. As July is Eye Injury Prevention Month, here are a number of practical first aid tips to remember if you or anyone you know suffers an eye injury.

The very first step with any eye injury is of course to consult with your eye doctor or get a medical doctor to examine your eye as soon as possible. This is true even if the injury does not seem to be extensive, as often signs of a serious eye injury are not apparent immediately. When it comes to eye injury it is important not to rub, touch, or apply pressure, ointment or medication to the eye. Try to leave the eye alone as much as possible until you are in proper care of a doctor.

Common eye injuries include foreign particles that scratch the eye, foreign bodies that penetrate the eye, a blow to the eye and chemical burns. Here are some tips for each of these common injuries:

Foreign Particles

  • If you have a foreign particle in your eye, refrain from rubbing it.
  • Blink and apply artificial tears to attempt to loosen and flush out the particle. If blinking this way is unsuccessful in providing relief, keep your eye closed and see your eye doctor right away.

Chemical Burns

  • Flush your eye for 20-30 minutes, preferably with sterile saline, but tap water is acceptable. Copious but gentle irrigation is needed right away to avoid acid or alkali burn penetrating into the deeper tissues of the eye.
  • Contact your eye doctor or the emergency room to find out the next step to take.
  • Be sure to identify the substance that entered your eye and tell your doctor.
  • If your vision is extremely blurry or your eye very red, place a cool compress or icepack on it until you receive medical attention.

Blow to the eye

  • A minor blow can cause significant damage to the eye. Apply a small cold compress to reduce swelling and pain but be sure not to apply any pressure.
  • If you develop blur, floaters or flashes of light, pain or a black eye seek immediate assessment from your eye doctor or the emergency room.

Cuts, Penetrating or Foreign Objects

  • If possible, protect your eye with an eye shield such as a paper cup taped around the area.
  • Seek medical help immediately.
  • Do not rub, attempt to remove the object or apply pressure to the eye.
  • Even small cuts can pose a risk for infection so it is important to consult with a doctor for any penetration injury.

Most eye injures occur at work, at home, in the garage or the garden. The best way to prevent one is to ensure that your eyes are protected during any potentially dangerous activity. Wear protective eyewear if your job requires it and when you play sports that involve flying objects of any kind. Preventing damage to your eyes can be as simple as wearing a pair of ANSI (American National Standards Institute) approved protective eyewear. Don’t take any risk with your eyesight. Treat all eye injuries as emergencies and seek medical care as soon as possible.

Understanding the Eye Chart

Eye charts of different variations have become a standard in vision screenings and eye exams. One of the most familiar charts associated with vision is the Snellen eye chart, designed by Dutch ophthalmologist Hermann Snellen in 1862 to measure visual acuity- how well you can see at various distances.

Although there are variations of the Snellen chart used today, a traditional Snellen chart has eleven lines of block letters. The first line has one very large letter, which is one of several letters, for example E, H, or N. The following rows have increasing numbers of letters that become smaller in size as you read from the top to the bottom of the chart. The letters used on the chart are C, D, E, F, L, N, O, P, T, and Z.

When taking a vision exam, one eye is covered and you are asked to read the letters of each row aloud beginning at the top of the chart. The smallest row that you can read correctly indicates the visual acuity in the eye being tested.

The chart is positioned at a distance of 20 feet in the United States or 6 meters in the rest of the world. The term 20/20 vision is used to indicate the clarity and sharpness of your vision measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet objects that can normally be seen at that distance. If you have 20/40 vision, it means that you need to be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 40 feet. The largest letter on an eye chart often represents an acuity of 20/200 which is associated with the term “legally blind.”

You will be asked to read the letters one eye at a time. Some people can see well at a distance, but are unable to bring nearer objects into focus, while others can see items that are close, but cannot see them far away. By having you read the chart, your eye doctor is able to ascertain whether you have difficulty with distance vision and can determine which corrective lenses can be used to improve it. Near vision problems or other vision and eye health issues may not be detected with the Snellen eye chart alone, so a comprehensive eye exam is always recommended.

The next time you hop into the chair at your optometrists’ office, you’ll be able to understand why you have to read the letters on the chart in front of you and what the results mean for your vision.

June is Cataract Awareness Month

Cataracts, one of the most common causes of blindness, develop when the lens of the eye, located behind the iris and pupil, becomes opaque or cloudy. A cataract can result in loss of vision as it prevents light from passing into your eye and focusing on the retina.

While cataracts most frequently result from the natural aging process, other risk factors include exposure to UV radiation, medical disease or a family history of the condition, trauma to the eye and smoking.

Cataracts occur when over time, pigment or protein is deposited in the lens and this, together with disruption of the normal structure of the lens fibers, can lead to reduced transmission of light, which causes visual problems. The condition can affect one's ability to see colors, drive, read, and recognize faces. Although cataracts aren't painful, the following signs could indicate cataract development:

  • Blurry vision or distorted vision, or the sensation that there is a film over your eye. You may also notice that colors appear to be dull.
  • Sensitivity to light. Sunlight or light from a lamp seems to be too strong and glare while driving may be worsened, especially at night.
  • Worsened vision that does not improve with a new glasses prescription or a new pair of glasses.

Cataract surgery can be avoided in the early stages as you may be able to improve your vision on a short term basis by using new glasses, strong magnification, appropriate lighting or other visual aids. Once the cataract progresses to a stage where it interferes with your vision and daily functioning, the best option is to have it treated surgically. Cataract surgery is a simple, relatively painless procedure that is usually very successful in restoring vision. The surgery, which is actually one of the most common surgeries in America, involves removing the clouded lens and in most cases replacing it with a plastic lens called an intraocular lens (IOL). Nine out of 10 patients recover near perfect vision after cataract surgery.

While there is nothing proven to prevent cataracts, there are number of steps you can take to reduce your risk.

  • Ensure you use adequate UV protection from the sun such as sunglasses and a hat.
  • Studies show that eating a diet rich in antioxidant foods, may prevent the formation of cataracts. Vitamin E, vitamin C, lutein, zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids are known to have significant benefits to your eye health.
  • Have a comprehensive eye exam including a dilated eye exam every year.

Pay attention to your eyes and your vision and make your eyesight a priority. If you notice any changes in your vision, make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately.

Age Related Macular Degeneration and Your Central Vision

Did you know that age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness among adults aged 50 and above?

AMD occurs when the part of the retina responsible for your sharp central vision, the macula, begins to deteriorate. Central vision is the visual field that you rely on to focus on objects clearly, to read or to drive. As AMD affects your macula, the condition often results in gradual central vision loss. AMD does not cause complete blindness, as those affected by the condition are able to see by relying on their peripheral or side vision.

AMD is usually diagnosed as either dry or wet. The dry form is more common than wet macular degeneration. In dry AMD, light-sensitive cells in the macula gradually break down and slowly begin to blur central vision in the affected eye. Over time, central vision in the affected eye can be slowly lost as the macula begins to further deteriorate.

In its wet form, macular degeneration can lead to more severe vision loss, as the more advanced stage of the disease causes new blood vessels to grow beneath the retina. These new blood vessels are delicate and can leak blood and fluid, causing damage and scarring of the retina, leading to further vision loss.

The early and intermediate stages of AMD usually occur without symptoms. Only a comprehensive dilated eye exam can detect AMD. The eye exam includes a visual acuity test that measures how well you see, a dilated eye exam and the use of an Amsler grid. An Amsler grid consists of a grid of straight lines with a central focus point in the center. Someone with AMD may see the central area darkened or will report that the lines are wavy. This is a very effective and easy way for you and your eye practitioner to monitor changes in your central vision.

Aside from age, other risk factors that can increase your chances of developing AMD include smoking, high blood pressure, UV exposure and family history of the disease. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, which includes quitting smoking, exercising regularly and maintaining normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Eating a diet rich in colorful vegetables and fish can boost the vitamins that naturally protect the eyes from AMD. We may recommend vitamin and mineral supplements based on your risk factors and level of developing macular degeneration.

Early detection of AMD is the best way to control the condition and reduce damage to your eyesight. That’s just one of the reasons why it’s so important to get a comprehensive eye exam from an eye care professional at least once a year.

How to Choose the Right Sunglasses

Do your sunglasses have what it takes to protect your eyes? As the summer heats up and people spend more time outdoors, it is very important to wear UV blocking eyewear to protect against exposure to ultraviolet rays that can cause damage to your eyes.

Damage caused by UV from the sun can occur without you even being aware of it, as often symptoms are delayed. Intense, short-term exposure to UV rays can lead to sunburn of the eye, or photokeratitis, while long term exposure can lead to and intensify ocular damage which can result in the development of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Although it is convenient to grab a cheap pair of sunglasses from the drugstore, they often won’t do the trick. Always look for a sticker that says they have 100% UV filtration, but unfortunately even sometimes that is not enough. Depending on the lens material there can be degradation in UV protection over time. In some cases the UV protection can begin to wear off your sunglasses as a result of extensive cleaning or from contact with certain substances such as sunscreen.

In order to really protect your eyes from the sun, you should look for a good quality lens that will block 100 percent of UV rays. Polarized lenses are an added feature on some glasses. They block glare coming directly into your eyes or reflected off surfaces such as water, roads, and buildings. Often polarization and UV protection will come together, and some polarized lenses manufacturers guarantee that they will retain their protection for the life of your sunglasses.

The shape of your sunglasses also plays a role in protecting your eyes from the sun. Try to find a pair of sunglasses with large lenses or a wraparound style to protect as much of the skin around your eye as possible and to prevent the sun from creeping in along the sides. You can also explore the option of performance sunglasses or sport sunglasses if you spend a good deal of time outdoors, or engage in activities that may require more durable shades. Sports sunglasses are made to address the particular light conditions that you may encounter during different activities in addition to providing stability and durability to enhance performance.

It’s important to pick the right sunglasses to prevent damage to your eyes. Speak to your eye doctor to discuss your options and to make sure that you are doing all you can to protect your eyes from harmful UV.

Women’s Eye Health Month: An Eye on Cosmetics

Women’s eyes are regularly exposed to potential irritants through the use of cosmetics. As eye shadow, mascara and eye liner can breed unseen dirt and bacteria, it is vital to ensure that the products you use to apply and remove your makeup are hygienic to prevent irritation that can cause redness, discomfort and the potential development of an eye infection.

Here are a few tips to help ensure that your beauty routine is safe and hygienic:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before you start and make sure that any applicator you use near your eyes is clean.
  • Make sure that the containers housing your products are dirt free and that you don’t leave brushes or applicators on a surface where they can pick up germs.
  • Avoid dampening or adding saliva to your makeup as this can introduce bacteria and reduce its shelf life.
  • Discard any product that you know was exposed to germs or dirty surfaces.
  • Steer clear of sharing eye cosmetics, whether it is with family or friends. It is likely to transfer bacteria to your eyes.
  • Stay away from testers in stores unless they use single-use applicators or brushes.
  • If you wear contact lenses, insert the lenses before applying eye makeup to avoid getting makeup underneath the lens.

It’s also important to be aware of injuries that can be caused by applying and removing eye makeup.

  • Never apply mascara or eye shadow in a moving vehicle or in a location where a sudden bump will cause the applicator or cosmetic brush to jab your eye and scratch the eye surface. In addition to scratching or injuring your eye, this could allow chemicals to enter the eye and can cause burning and inflammation.
  • Don’t use your fingers to put on eye makeup as they might accidentally touch the surface of your eye in the process, leading to irritation.

As many cosmetics contain chemicals, it is likely that they will cause irritation if they come into close contact with your eye. This is especially true if a product you use is not intended for use on your eyes (make sure to use your lip liner on your lips and not on your eyes)!

If you do experience redness, irritation, discharge or itching of your eyes, speak to your eye doctor to find out the best way to get relief from your symptoms. Do not apply makeup if your eyes are infected as this will only make the infection worse. If you were diagnosed with an eye infection, dispose the eye makeup previously used as it is contaminated and the infection could recur.

Lastly, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for discarding products such as mascara (which should be changed every few months) and throw away any dried up products. Even though cosmetics can be expensive, it is not worth risking damage to your eyes.

A Recipe for Eye Health

Did you know that your dietary choices have an impact on your eye health and vision? Opting for appetizing food that at the same time provides you with all the nutrients that are essential for preserving your vision, is taking a major step towards minimizing the risk of eye disease and age-related vision changes.

To consume an eye healthy diet, choose foods rich in antioxidants like Vitamin C and E, zinc and copper, Lutein, zeaxanthin and Omega 3 fatty acids. This includes leafy green vegetables, orange peppers, eggs and fish.

Vitamin A is found in colorful fruits and vegetables such as apricots, papaya, carrots, and tomatoes as well as in fortified milk, beef, chicken, cod liver oil and eggs. This vitamin is vital for night vision and helps prevent dry eye syndrome, eye infections, cataracts and macular degeneration.

Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits such as grapefruits, oranges and strawberries as well as in red and green bell peppers, broccoli and kale. This vitamin helps support blood vessels in the eye and reduces the risk of cataracts.

Vitamin E is found in nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts and peanut butter as well as spinach avocados, olive oil and whole grains and is thought to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. It is also a powerful anti-oxidant and protects your eyes from free- radical damage.

It is also worthwhile incorporating foods containing lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants that may help protect against retinal damage and the onset of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration to your menu. Lutein and zeaxanthin can be found in green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, collard, turnip greens and broccoli.

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for eye health as well as general health. It is an essential fatty acid which means that your body cannot manufacture them without dietary intake. They provide anti-inflammatory protection to the delicate blood vessels of your eyes, and can help with age-related macular degeneration as well as dry eyes.

This is best obtained through 2 servings/week of deep ocean cold water oily fish e.g. salmon, mackerel, sardines, char fish.

If you have trouble keeping up with fish intake or are concerned about mercury or PCBs, a good solution is to take an omega 3 supplement with DHA and EPA.

Research also suggests that obtaining a combination of eye health nutrients from a variety of food sources provides the best results for slowing the progression of eye diseases. So do your eyes a favor and ensure that your diet includes a rich assortment of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and healthy oils.

Here is a recipe courtesy of Dr. Laurie Capogna and Dr. Barbara Pelletier, optometrists who specialize in nutrition and eye health. As you can see this recipe is filled with important nutrients that help save your sight.

Chicken Almond Wraps

These tasty wraps can be enjoyed as a nutritious lunch or a light snack. They are filled with nutrients that help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts, including lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin C and zinc.

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and pulled into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
  • 1 orange pepper, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 large orange, peeled with a knife, quartered and sliced
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • Leaf lettuce leaves, Romaine lettuce leaves or kale leaves, washed and dried completely
  • Optional zeaxanthin boost: garnish with goji berries.

Dipping Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons natural almond butter (or natural peanut butter)
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons honey
  • Dash hot sauce
  • Hot water

Directions

  1. Mix poultry, peas, pepper, green onion, orange, almonds and cilantro in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine almond butter, rice vinegar, soy sauce, honey and hot sauce.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons hot water and stir well. If sauce is too thick, add another tablespoon hot water. Continue until the sauce has the consistency of a thick salad dressing.
  4. Use 2 tablespoons of the sauce as dressing for the poultry mix. Toss gently to combine.
  5. Separate remaining dipping sauce into an individual bowl or ramekin for each person.
  6. Spoon chicken mixture into a lettuce or kale leaf and fold.
  7. Enjoy with the dipping sauce.

Tip: The chicken mixture can be refrigerated for up to two days. Serve cold or warm.

Serves 4

Spring Eye Allergies

Spring is right around the corner, as the winter begins to wind down and the fresh, warmer air begins to rear its head. Unfortunately for many, it’s often hard to enjoy nature’s blooming beauty as the warmer weather also brings about the onset of itchy, watery eyes that come with spring eye allergies.

Seasonal eye allergies are the eyes’ reaction to allergens such as pollen, mold, dust mites and pet dander that enter your eyes and cause inflammation of the tissue that lines the inner eyelid. In addition to causing significant discomfort, eye allergies can have an effect on many areas of daily life, from work to driving, to watching television.

Although the majority of individuals suffering from seasonal eye allergies use anti histamines to treat and alleviate itchy, watery eyes, it’s best to speak to your optometrist about the most effective allergy relief. In most cases, allergies can be treated with prescription medications or over the counter eye drops. Cool compresses can alleviate itchiness and swelling – a towel and some cold water may be all you need to inhibit the allergic cascade reaction and curb the urge to rub your eyes.

In addition, here are a few tips to help you minimize the effect of spring allergens on your eyes.

  • Don’t rub your eyes as this actually makes the allergic reaction you are experiencing worse.
  • Be sure to wash your hands often with soap and water and wash bed linens and pillowcases in hot water to minimize allergens.
  • Avoid walking, exercise and outdoor activities in the early morning when pollen counts are high.
  • Check your weather forecast for the daily pollen count and wait till midday if possible to go out.
  • When maintaining your garden, it’s preferable to have someone else mow your grass and limit your exposure to wooded areas.
  • Keep windows closed and run your air conditioner, ensuring that it is properly filtered and clean. Alternatively, use a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter. These filter systems are very effective at removing allergens from the air in your room or house.
  • If you wear contact lenses, try to reduce your wearing time or talk to your optometrist about changing your cleaning method or using single-use contact lenses during allergy season.

Eye allergies can affect anyone, but don’t let them prevent you from enjoying the gorgeous spring outdoors! Taking the proper preventative measures and finding the right treatment can make a huge difference in your comfort level and your ability to enjoy the nicer weather.

The Right Way to Clean Your Eyeglasses

We all know how frustrating it can be trying to see clearly through a smudged pair of glasses; clean lenses can really make a world of difference. While it may not be something that you pay much attention to, the way you clean your lenses can also make a difference, not only for your vision, but for your eyewear as well.

Unfortunately, most eyeglasses owners are guilty of the number one crime when it comes to caring for their eyewear: breathing onto the lens and then wiping the resulting vapor away using the corner of a shirt or garment. Not only is this an inefficient way to remove dirt, it actually can damage your lenses as clothes carry dust, which when wiped onto the surface of your lenses, can result in scratches. Sometimes hard fabrics can also damage lenses.

The easiest way to get rid of dirt and residue on your glasses is simpler than you’d think. Start by running the front and back of the lens under warm water. Next wash the lenses carefully with a mild soap such as dish soap together with warm water. Once that is done, wipe the soap off in a circular motion as you once again rinse the glasses under warm water. Repeat if necessary and then dry your glasses using a soft cotton towel. There are also cleaning solutions that can be purchased to protect the anti-glare and anti-scratch coatings on glasses.

Although tissue, paper towels and napkins are often convenient to use for a quick cleaning, they are not a wise option as they are made up of rough fibers that more often than not leave debris behind. Another common cleaning substance – saliva – is not only unhygienic but also ineffective in properly removing dirt and smudges. Additionally, it is crucial to avoid using ammonia, bleach, vinegar and window cleaner to clean your specs as these substances contain chemicals which can damage the coating on your lenses.

Of course the next time you visit your eye doctor feel free to ask us for one of the microfiber cloths made especially for cleaning eyeglasses, which are helpful for a dry touch up of your glasses during the course of the day. Try to keep the cloth in a contained place away from dirt such as inside your eyeglasses case.

Another cause of dirty glasses is poor alignment – when the skin or eyelashes touch the lens, smudging is a never-ending problem. You can return to the eye doctor and ask the optician if it is possible to adjust the glasses for optimal alignment of the glasses. Be careful when you first purchase eyewear that the frame fits well so you can avoid this problem.

Get the most out of your eyewear. Keep your lenses clean and clear so you can see your best.

Dry Eye Syndrome: When Dry Eyes are Chronic

Dry eyes are a common problem for many individuals particularly during the winter months when exposure to dry air and whipping wind is increased. However, if you are suffering from dry eyes that just won’t go away, you may have what is known as Dry Eye Syndrome – a condition in which the tears that lubricate and nourish the eye are not being produced sufficiently.

Tears serve to keep the surface of the eye moist, smooth and clear, to reduce the risk of infection and to remove foreign substances. Tear ducts in the corner of the eyelid drain the excess tears. Dry eyes syndrome is a chronic condition characterized by inadequate tear production or poor quality of the tears produced. A number of factors contribute to the condition including advanced age, female gender, environmental conditions, medication or particular medical conditions. Extended periods reading or working on a computer without blinking, prolonged use of contacts or refractive eye surgeries can also contribute to decreased moisture and tear production.

An optometrist will be able to determine whether you have chronic dry eye syndrome by examining your eye and your blinking pattern, measuring the amount and quality of your tears and assessing your medical and environmental history.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome include:

  • Persistent dry eyes
  • Scratchiness or gritty sensation
  • Burning sensation
  • Feeling like there is something is in your eye
  • Excessively watery eyes
  • Blurred vision

If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is worthwhile to schedule an appointment with your optometrist. If you have dry eye syndrome, there are treatments available to relieve your discomfort.

UV Protective Sunglasses: Winter Sports and UV Rays

Sunglasses are an essential part of your wardrobe, even in the winter. While many people associate the need for 100% UV protective sunglasses with warm weather and glaring sun like you find on the beach, harmful UV radiation is present even on a gloomy, cloudy day.

No matter where you live, sunglasses should be a year-round accessory when you go outside. If you participate in winter sports, durable sunglasses or ski-goggles are a must. Snow and ice reflect UV rays more than almost any other natural substance on earth. At higher altitudes, such as mountain ridges, UV radiation is even more intense. There are many fun activities to enjoy outdoors during the winter months and it is important that you don’t go outside without the proper protection. Whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, sledding, hiking, ice skating, or playing hockey, you need the right eyewear to protect your eyes from painful (temporary) snow blindness and dangerous overexposure to ultraviolet rays.

Even though we can’t see them, ultraviolet rays from the sun affect our body in many ways. Our eyes are particularly sensitive to UVB radiation. UV exposure contributes to the development of dangerous eye conditions and diseases, including macular degeneration and cataracts.

UV exposure is particularly threatening for children, who have sensitive eyes and spend a lot of time outdoors. Protective children’s sunglasses don’t have to cost a fortune, but it is important to make sure that they are 100% UV protective – no matter how cute they may be. Bring your child along to ensure the sunglasses fit properly. If you have the child help you pick them out, he or she may be more likely to wear them.

If you wear prescription glasses or need vision correcting contact lenses, there are lots of options for UV protection. In addition to non-prescription or prescription sunglasses, you could add sun-clips to your regular prescription eyeglasses, or get a pair of glasses with “photochromic” lenses such as Transitions, which darken when you go outside. You can also get a UV coating on your lenses or opt for a pair of full-out sports goggles, depending on your needs.

When deciding what type of UV eye protection is best for you, it is important to think about how you will be using it. If you participate in high impact sports, you want durable frames and strong lenses that can handle a fall. Polarized lenses, which reduce glare, are popular for driving and water sports such as fishing and boating, but may be problematic for sports such as skiing in which glare off of an ice patch may prevent injury. Before you rush into a purchase, think about the activities you love year round and speak to a knowledgeable optician about your options.

Going outside this winter? Don’t forget to protect your precious eyes. Whether you are vacationing at a beachfront resort, hitting the slippery mountain slopes or building a snowman with the kids, be aware of the harmful affects of UV on your eyes and wear your sunglasses year-round!

Diabetes and Vision

Did you know that being diabetic increases your chances of vision loss? Diabetes is the number one cause of loss of sight in adults under 75 years old according to the National Institute of Health. One of the most serious complications of diabetes is when the retina is damaged by excessive pressure in the blood vessels of the eye, which is called diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy causes severe vision impairment and even blindness. Anyone with the disease is at risk and it is projected to affect 11 million people by 2030.

In its early stages, this condition is often asymptomatic. Loss of sight occurs when the retinal blood vessels begin to leak fluid, oil and small amounts of blood. When it is not diagnosed, blood vessels may become blocked or new vessels may form on the retina leading to permanent loss of sight.

Because signs are often not noticed until it is too late it is imperative to schedule an annual diabetic eye exam if you are diabetic. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include fluctuating vision, eye floaters and spots, shadows in the field of view, blurry vision, corneal abnormalities, seeing double, eye pain and near vision problems that have nothing to do with presbyopia. Cataracts and glaucoma are also more common in individuals with diabetes than in the average population.

All diabetic eye diseases are more damaging when glucose levels are uncontrolled. Carefully monitoring your sugar levels through diet, exercise and staying healthy and yearly eye exams is the best combination for keeping your eyes healthy.

This month, spread awareness of the risks of diabetic retinopathy and speak to your optometrist if you have any questions. In this case, ignorance could cost you your precious eyesight

Astigmatism Doesn’t Rule Out Contact Lenses

Are you aware that there are contact lenses especially for people with astigmatism? An eye with astigmatism has an oddly shaped cornea (football-shaped, as opposed to a normal, spherical cornea), and that changes how light enters the eye. The light doesn’t hit the retina properly, which dramatically affects one’s ability to see clearly.

Contact lenses that correct astigmatism, which are called toric contact lenses, are made from exactly the same material as regular spherical contact lenses. What differs between these and common lenses is the design. Compared to ordinary lenses, which have the same power throughout the lens, toric lenses have two different powers; one which addresses astigmatism, and one for trouble with distance vision. They have curvatures at various angles. Because of their multiple powers, toric lenses must remain in place on your eye. This is not the case with regular lenses, which can move around on your eye without affecting your sight. Contact lenses for astigmatism are therefore heavier on the bottom, and this helps them stay in place on your eye.

Toric lenses come as soft disposable contact lenses, daily disposable lenses, and frequent replacement lenses. If you are used to multifocal or even colored contact lenses, then don’t worry, there are toric lenses for you. Hard contact lenses are made from a tougher substance that remains in form even when you blink, and sometimes provide better vision than other lenses. However, they are usually not as comfortable to wear. There’s a contact lens which perfectly suits your unique needs, and your eye care professional will find it for you.

When it’s time for your toric lens fitting, it’s going to take some time, due to the complexity of the product. It might seem like a bit of effort, but it’s worth the end result; getting treated, glasses-free. Being fitted with the right product will only improve your vision, and thus your everyday life.

Helping Lazy Eyes Get Active

Lots of our younger patients have a lazy eye. A lazy eye develops when the brain turns off or suppresses vision in one eye. This can occur if your child can’t see well through one eye because of issues with distance vision, and in some cases, astigmatism, or something else that’s obstructing clear vision in that eye. Coupled with corrective glasses, a common treatment option is putting an eye patch on your child’s eye for a number of hours per day to boost sight in the lazy eye. Patching.

In some cases, it can be extremely hard to have your child fitted with a patch, and no less when they’re really young. When the stronger eye is covered, it infringes on their ability to see. It’s a confusing conundrum- your child is required to wear the patch to better their weaker eye, but can’t happen unless their strong eye is patched, which temporarily limits their sight. But don’t worry; there are a number of tricks that make eyepatches a bit funner for children to wear. Using a reward system with stickers given when the patch is worn can be great for some kids. Eye patch manufacturers understand the challenge; patches are made in loads of patterns and colors that kids can get excited about. Take advantage of all the options and make it an activity by allowing them to choose a different patch each day and then putting a sticker on the chart when the patch is properly worn. With kids who are a little older, break down the helpfulness of patching, and refer to it as a way to help their vision in the long term.

Another trick some parents have found success with is also putting a patch on their child’s favorite doll or stuffed animal. Flotation wings are also helpful when it comes to keeping young children from removing their patches.

A good result needs your child’s cooperation and your ability to stick to the long-term goal of helping your child’s vision.

Eye Exam Coming Up? Here’s What You Need to Know

Ladies and gentlemen with eye examinations scheduled for the near future, can we have your attention please? There are several things you should inform us of so that we can guarantee your eyes are analyzed adeptly and thoroughly.

Because eyes can be affected by seemingly unrelated health conditions, you’ll need to let us know about any differences you might be aware of. What are the sorts of things we’d need to know about? Here are some examples: diabetes, pregnancy, high blood pressure or allergies.

Habits like drinking or smoking can have a poor effect on eyesight, so if these are a part of your lifestyle, tell us about it. Tell us how you use your eyes everyday. Are you an artist who spends time focusing on fine details? Knowing these details can help us to determine the solution to your vision problems.

And if there are any eye diseases effecting members of your family, you should let us know, because a few of them are hereditary. Knowing which eye diseases you may be vulnerable to will help us to keep an eye out for and monitor any red flags.

Give us a call if you notice any changes to your sight including double vision, blurriness, flashes of light or spots. With the information we have about your history, coupled with our expertise, we’ll ascertain what’s causing the symptom, and then recommend the best possible treatment plan. Another thing that will help us provide a thorough exam are your most recent pair of glasses. They provide important information, even if you wear contact lenses. So don’t forget all this when you next see us. Together, we’ll figure out the best way to rectify whatever issue you may be experiencing!

Seeing in the Dark

Imagine there’s a blackout and you’ve got to find a flashlight or the fuse box. A number of minutes pass before you are able to distinguish between the objects in the room and the darkness around you. This process, ”dark adaptation,” causes our eyes to adjust to the dark.

Night vision requires a whole assortment of biochemical, physical and neural mechanisms – for granted. But how does this work? The retina is a layer of cells at the back of the eye. The area of the retina opposite the pupil which produces the point of focus is called the fovea. The retina comprises cone cells and rod cells, named for their respective shapes. The rods are able to function even in low light conditions. Those cells are absent from the fovea. What’s the functional difference between rods and cones? Basically, details and colors we see are sensed by the cones, and the rods help us visualize black and white, and are light sensitive and detect movement.

Considering these facts, if you’re trying to find something in the dark, like a small star in the night sky, instead of focusing right on it, try to use your peripheral vision. You want to maximize the use of the rod cells in low light, and avoid relying on your cone-rich fovea, even though it seems counter-intuitive to look away from the object you want to see.

Another mechanism your eye implements to adjust to the dark is pupil dilation. It requires less than a minute for your pupil to completely dilate but your eyes will continue to adapt over a half hour time frame and, as everyone has experienced, during this time, your ability to see in the dark will increase enormously.

Dark adaptation occurs when you go from a very bright place to a dim one for example, when coming inside after being out in the sun. Despite the fact that your eyes require a few noticeable moments to get used to the dark, you’ll quickly be able to re-adapt upon your return to bright light, and this resets any dark adaptation that had developed where it was darker.

This explains one reason behind why a lot people prefer not to drive when it’s dark. When you look right at the headlights of an oncoming car in traffic, you may find yourself momentarily blinded, until that car is gone and your eyes readjust to the night light. To prevent this, try not to look directly at the car’s lights, and learn to try to allow peripheral vision to guide you.

There are several things that could potentially cause trouble seeing at night. These include diet-related vitamin deficiencies, cataracts, glaucoma, or some other visual interference. If you suspect that you have problems with night vision, book an appointment with one of our eye care professionals who will be able to shed some light on the issue.

Dealing with Presbyopia

Frequently, around age 40, folks start to have some trouble reading. Having the ability to see clearly things that are up close is an age related function of your vision which gets weaker as you become older. Here’s why: Because as you age, your eye’s lens grows less flexible, decreasing your ability to focus on near objects. This is called presbyopia.

People with undiagnosed presbyopia tend to hold books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm’s length to be able to focus properly. Additionally, engaging in other close-range activities, like embroidery or handwriting, could also result in eyestrain in people with presbyopia. When it comes to handling presbyopia, there are a number of alternatives, regardless of whether you wear eyeglasses and contact lenses.

The thing with reading glasses is that they are only efficient for contact lens wearers or for people who don’t already wear glasses for issues with distance vision. You can purchase these glasses at lots of shops, but it is not recommended to purchase a pair until you have seen the results of a proper eye examination. Too often simple reading glasses may be handy for brief blocks of reading time but they can eventually lead to fatigue when worn for long stretches of time. A better alternative to pharmacy reading glasses are custom made ones. They can do a number of things, like correct astigmatism, accommodate prescriptions that are different between the two eyes, and, the optic centers of every lens can be specially made to meet the needs of the wearer. The reading distance can be adjusted to meet the individual’s needs.

And for those who already have glasses, but don’t want to switch back and forth between pairs of glasses, consider bifocal or multi-focal corrective lenses, or PALs (progressive addition lenses), which a lot of people find really easy to wear. PALs and multi-focals are glasses that have multiple points of focus; the lower portion helps you see text and tasks at close distances. If you use contacts, meet with us about multifocal contact lenses. There’s also a treatment technique which is called monovision. Monovision is when one eye wears a lens for distance vision and one eye wears a lens for close vision.

Since your eyesight changes as you grow older, you should anticipate adjusting your prescription periodically. But it’s also important to understand all the options before you decide the direction you want head in when it comes to your vision; presbyopia can affect you, even if you’ve had refractive surgery in the past.

We recommend you speak to your eye care professional for an unbiased opinion. We can help you deal with presbyopia and your changing eye sight in a way that’s both beneficial and accessible.

Toys and Eye Safety

Buying the right toys with eye safety in mind is something all parents worry about. How do parents choose toys that keep their kids’ eyes in mind?

Infants are born with an immature visual system which, through stimulation, develops throughout their growing years. Few things stimulate a child’s visual development better than playing, which encourages hand-eye coordination and a clearer understanding of spaces and distances between objects. Good toys for stimulating an infant’s sight in their first year of life include toys with basic shapes or bright primary colors and activities with detachable and changeable objects, puppets and books. Between the ages of 0-3 months, babies can’t completely see color, so simple black and white pictures are most engaging.

Children spend a considerable amount of time with toys, so it’s crucial to know those toys are safe. Firstly, to be safe, a toy should be age-appropriate. And up there with age appropriateness is to make sure that the toy is suited to their developmental stage. Even though toy manufacturers mention targeted age groups on packaging, as a parent, you still need to make the call, and prevent your child from playing with anything that could lead to eye injury and loss of vision.

Avoid toys with edges or sharp components for a young child, and if your kids have toys with long handles, like pony sticks, make sure the end is rounded. Always pay attention when they play with those kinds of toys.

For children below 6 years old, be wary of toys with flying parts, like slingshots. Even when they’re older than 6, always pay attention with toys like that. Whereas, when it comes to older kids who play with chemistry sets or woodworking tools, always make sure they wear protective eyewear.

So the next time you’re thinking about a special gift for your child, look for the manufacturers’ advice about the intended age range for the toy you had in mind. Ensure that there’s no harm posed to your child’s eyes.

A Strong School Year Starts With Good Vision

A huge percentage of school-based learning is achieved visually. But even with this obvious correlation between vision and learning, many parents seem to be unaware of this, and as a result, don’t include comprehensive eye exams as part of their child’s back to school preparations. It’s important to know that because vision in children changes, regular eye exams are necessary for success at school.

It is even more important to keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms of vision problems as your child progresses through school.

Impaired vision and growing visual demands like homework and small print in textbooks may impact his or her performance. New educational technology, such as interactive whiteboards, can sometimes provoke previously hidden vision problems. If a child doesn’t have good enough vision, it isn’t just their academic life that suffers. It’s mentally and emotionally taxing too.

If your child already has glasses, the start of the school year is a perfect time to see if their current frames are suitable and comfortable. The more your child likes and feels comfortable in his/her glasses, the more likely he or she will wear them.

Find a good time to visit us when you’re gearing up for the new school year. We want to help all the kids we treat start the year afresh with vision that’s in excellent condition.

Struggling with Convergence Insufficiency

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Too often, children are misdiagnosed with all kinds of behavioral issues, when the problem is something else completely. He or she may be one of many kids who have a hidden but very real condition that impacts learning at school. It's known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

CI is a near vision issue that impacts a child's capacity to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would have trouble reading, writing and working on things, even if it's a book or activity right in front of them. A sufferer of CI struggles to, or is entirely not able to coordinate his or her eyes at close range, which impairs things like reading. In order to avoid double vision, people with CI try harder to make their eyes turn back in (converge). This added effort can lead to a whole range of uncomfortable symptoms including eyestrain, headaches, blurry or double vision, fatigue and decreased concentration, and the inability to comprehend during brief periods of reading. In worse instances of CI, the eyes tend to turn outwards. This is referred to as strabismus.

You may have also noticed that your son or daughter often loses his or her place while reading, squints, rubs, closes or covers an eye, struggles to remember what they just read, or says that words they look at seem to be moving. Some children also get motion sickness. It is not uncommon for these symptoms to be even harder to deal with as a result of illness, not enough sleep, anxiety or too much time spent working.

CI is often misdiagnosed as learning or behavioral issues like ADD, ADHD, dyslexia or anxiety. This eye problem often goes undetected when a child gets a simple eye exam using only an eye chart. A child can have 20/20 eyesight, but also have CI, and the resulting difficulties with things like reading.

Despite all this, the fact is that CI can be expected to respond positively to professional treatment. These treatments are usually comprised of supervised vision therapy with practice sessions at home, or the use of prism glasses, which will lessen some symptoms. Sadly, people aren't examined adequately, and because of this, aren't receiving the help they need early enough. So if you've noticed that your child is having a tough time coping with any of the symptoms mentioned above, see your eye doctor to discuss having your child tested for CI.

Understanding 20/20 Vision

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It's safe to say that everyone has stumbled upon the terms visual acuity and twenty-twenty vision. Yet, do people understand what these terms actually mean?

20/20 vision actually refers to the clarity and sharpness of sight from 20 feet away. If you have 20/20 eyesight, that means that from a distance of twenty feet you can see what normal-sighted people can see from that distance. And did you know that 20/20 is just a standard measurement? Many people have vision that's better than 20/20; for instance, 20/15, so what they could see at 20 feet, a person with normal vision would only be able to discriminate as close as 15 feet.

Each eye is evaluated separately. When you're asked to look at the eye chart and read out the letters, the smallest letters you can properly read determine the visual acuity in the eye that's being evaluated.

But 20/20 eyesight actually doesn't mean that your eyesight is perfect, because, after all, it can only judge your distance vision. There are lots of equally necessary vision skills; your ability to focus on objects that are close by, contrast sensitivity, peripheral vision, depth perception, eye coordination and color vision – these also contribute to your overall ability to see. More importantly, someone with 20/20 vision can still have unhealthy eyes. Even people who have damage to the retina as a result of diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, or other diseases might still have 20/20 vision without needing to wear eye glasses. And because of this, your optometrist should always perform a comprehensive eye exam, rather than just a plain visual acuity exam.

The next time you find yourself at an eye exam, you'll know exactly why you're asked to read letters from the eye chart, and more!

A Fresh Look At Contact Lenses

How would you like a new look for your eyes? FreshLook® provides a vast assortment of color contact lenses, allowing you to slightly enhance or distinctly alter your natural eye color.

This range of lenses includes such an extensive amount of choices, that you're sure to find what you're looking for. It doesn't matter if your eyes are blue, brown, green or hazel, FreshLook® contacts are able to transform your eye color, resulting in a fresh, captivating and most importantly, natural look. Each kind of contacts comes in two week or daily disposable options.

When it's time to choose a color contact lens for your eyes, think about the natural color of your eyes, hair and skin, and the type of change you would like to see. Additionally, if you want to experiment with different color choices to see how the contacts transform your look, you can virtually ''try on'' many different color contact lenses by visiting the FreshLook® website and just uploading a snapshot of yourself, before seeing your optometrist.

Color contacts can be used as prescription lenses or just to enhance your natural color, they will still need to be fitted by a specialist, so come by to visit us to look into your color contact lens options.

Keeping Your Eyelids Clean

Have you ever experienced inflamed eyelids, otherwise known as blepharitis? It's a common eyelid inflammation, usually associated with an already existing bacterial eye infection, specific sorts of skin conditions, or dry eye symptoms.

Generally, symptoms include itching, burning, redness, the feeling of a gritty or foreign body in your eye, tearing and some crustiness in or around the eye. The condition can actually be tricky to manage, because it's chronic.

The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to treat blepharitis and make sure your eyes stay clean and healthy. A good first step is to place a warm washcloth to the outside of your eye to help the crust begin to loosen prior to cleaning them. The heat from the washcloth will also help dislodge any clogged residue in the oil-secreting glands in your eyelids. At the start of your treatment, you'll need to do this several times a day for approximately five minutes every time. Later on, you may only need to use the compress for a few minutes, once a day.

Washing your eyelids well is a necessary part of blepharitis treatment, so you should use a commercial lid cleanser or whatever product your optometrist recommends. Try to carefully massage your outer eyelids and all residue should be rinsed off after the cleansing process.

Although unpleasant, blepharitis isn't contagious and for the most part, does not cause any permanent damage to your vision, so have a talk with your eye care professional about eyelid hygiene, to maintain eyelid hygiene.

A Lens a Day Keeps the Redness Away

Do you ever leave your soft contact lenses in for a little too long? Everyone knows that things are a whole lot better when they're new. You won't be surprised to hear that the same idea is also applicable to your lenses. There are so many reasons why you shouldn't keep your lenses in longer than you need to. Even though it might seem okay to wear them just one more time, if you want your eyes to see their very best, keep to the replacement and wearing schedule that your eye care professional decides on. In other words, if you've been told to change them daily, change them daily, because they're not made to withstand reuse.

So many people think, would it be so bad if I got two or three more wears out of them? To explain this, let's talk about protein – and we don't mean the kind you eat, but the natural protein in your tears that builds up gradually on your lenses and forms a thin haze. Unclear vision is just the start.

Sooner or later, these proteins evolve and make your immune system think the formation is a foreign particle, and this can result in itchy, swollen and irritated eyes. Which means a toll is taken on your vision. Dust and pollen also build up on the lens, slowly make it less clear Even when you're thorough about caring for your contacts, sooner or later they'll become less clear and smooth, which is the result of normal wear and tear.

So stick to the routine your optometrist decides on for you. If you throw out and replace your contact lenses on schedule, you will never even see the difference that is so apparent when you use them longer than you're supposed to.

Cataracts: Common but Treatable

It's June, which means it's Cataract Awareness Month. Did you know that cataracts are the main cause of vision loss among patients who are over 55 years old? More so, more than half of all people 65 or older have at the very least, partial cataract development. As stated by the National Eye Institute, by the time they reach 80 years old, in excess of 50% of all Americans will either have a cataract or had cataract surgery.

So what exactly is a cataract? A cataract is a fogging of the lens in the eye, which blocks or changes the how light enters into the eye. For a lot of people, cataracts are an expected side effect of aging. Additional causes for developing a cataract include family history, long-term steroid use, smoking and eye injuries.

During the first stages of cataract development, stronger lights and eyewear may be implemented to minimize the vision issues you may be experiencing. At a certain point, though, cataract surgery might be needed to fix your vision. But, it's comforting to know that more than 90 percent of people who have undergone cataract surgery regain great vision.

If you are in your fifties and noticing low vision symptoms, you ought to discuss cataracts with your eye doctor. The prognosis for cataracts is excellent, and we know you want to be able to see well throughout your golden years.

Quality Protection from UV Rays

It's a fact that basically everybody is exposed to UV rays. Even though this is the case, the possible risks of long-term exposure to these harsh rays aren't really thought about, to a point where many take little action to protect their eyes, even if they're expecting to be exposed to the sun for many hours. Overexposure to UV is unsafe and irreversible, and may also lead to more than a few serious, vision-stealing conditions later on in life. This means that ongoing protection from UV rays is extremely important.

UV radiation, which originates mostly from the sun, consists of two sorts of damaging rays: UVA and UVB. Although only tiny amounts of UVA and UVB light enter the inner eye, the eye cells are incredibly susceptible to the damaging effects of their rays. Intense, short-term of exposure can lead to sunburnt eyes, also known as photokeratitis. When UVB rays enter the cornea, the outer cells are destroyed, which can be expressed as pain, blurred vision or even temporary blindness. UVA rays can enter the eye more deeply, which harms to the retina. Of the 20 million people with cataracts, about 20 percent are partly caused by long-term exposure to UV rays.

An ideal way to shield your eyes from UV rays is by wearing high quality sunglasses. Check that your sunglasses or prescription glasses block both UVA and UVB rays completely. Wearing an insufficient pair of sunglasses can sometimes be more harmful than using no sunglasses at all. Consider this: if your sunglasses don't give you any UV protection, you're actually getting more UV rays. The inadequate sunglasses will reduce the light, forcing your iris to open and let even more light in. This means that more UV will be hitting your retina. It's important to check that your sunglasses offer effective UV protection.

Talk to your optometrist about all the different UV protection choices, including adaptive lenses, polarized lenses and fixed tint sunglasses.

How Do I Know When I Need a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

It's May, and that means that it's Healthy Vision Month. When was the last time you had a comprehensive eye exam? Getting your eyes tested periodically is one of the best steps you can take to make sure your eyes remain in top form. During the procedure, your optometrist examines your eyes, looking for frequently occurring eye diseases and vision issues, several of which lack early modes of detection.

The procedure will begin with what's referred to as a visual acuity test, which uses an eye chart to assess how your vision behaves at several different distances. The outside of your eye also gets tested.

When these tests are finished, your optometrist may go ahead and examine your retina using specialized diagnostic technology. This is very important, because it provides vital information about the health of your eyes, as well as information concerning your general health. For example, it can show signs of diseases such as diabetes and also point to unhealthy blood pressure.

You will also be screened for signs of glaucoma. Your optometrist will do this by checking the pressure in your eye, with a rapid puff of air aimed straight onto the eye.

It's time to care for your eyes. Commit to making your eye health come first, and remember to schedule an eye exam today.

Introducing Transitions® Optical’s Vantage™ Lens

One of the most reputable lens manufacturers, Transitions® Optical, have just put out the newest addition to their popular range. It's called the Transitions® Vantage lens. Transitions® Optical has increased the features of their popular light adapting lens with the addition of groundbreaking variable polarization.

Sunlight that shines off surfaces like glass and water can mean limited and uncomfortable vision. The process that filters these reflections, to provide better visual clarity, is referred to as polarization.

The new and impressive lens is the very first photochromic lens with polarization that increases as the lens darkens in sunlight. This is called variable polarization.

As the lenses darken, your sight gets clearer and crisper while glare is significantly reduced, no matter what the lighting conditions are.

This revolutionary lens is designed for everyday wear, and are perfect for a broad assortment of activities, from reading or writing and using a computer, to working outside and driving. The lens is completely clear when you're inside and turns into a highly effective dark lens in sunlight.

When looking for glasses that can be worn daily, both indoors and outdoors, go see your optometrist about Transitions® Vantage lenses and how they can improve your vision.

Keeping An Eye On Poor Vision

Often, when either children an adults experience poor vision, it can be due to several possible factors such as changes in the body or in the eye or visual system, eye diseases, side effects of medicine or injury. Commonly, people also report visual disturbances resulting from aging or eye stress. This can result in changes in your vision, which can sometimes make it painful or difficult to get through normal activities, like reading fine print or using a computer for long periods. Common signs and symptoms of such vision problems include blurry vision, headaches, eye strain, and struggling with short or long distances.

Blurred vision is one of the most common signs of a vision problem. If you report blurred vision when focusing on distant objects, you might very well be myopic or nearsighted. Blurred vision that's present when you are looking at something close by may be a sign of hyperopia, or farsightedness. It can also be a symptom of astigmatism which occurs because of an irregularity in the shape of the cornea. In all cases of blurry vision, it's vital to have your eye doctor examine your vision and decide on the most effective way to improve your sight.

Sudden flashes of light, together with floating black spots and what may feel like a dark curtain or veil blocking a section of your vision indicates the possibility of what's known as a retinal detachment. In this case, visit your eye doctor as soon as you can, because it can have long-term consequences for your eyesight.

Another common warning sign of a vision problem is difficulty discerning different colors or strength of color. This indicates color blindness. Interestingly, this condition is often not known to the patient until discovered by testing. Color blindness is mainly something that affects males. If a woman has problems perceiving color it could indicate ocular disease, in which case, an eye doctor needs to be consulted. For those who struggle to distinguish between objects in dim light, it is a sign of possible night blindness.

Cataracts, a condition frequently seen older people have a number of telltale signs including: unclear vision that is worse in bright light, weak night vision, difficulty seeing small writing or details, colors that appear faded or yellowed, improvement in near vision but a decline in distance vision, painful puffiness of the eye, and a milky white appearance to the usually dark pupil.

Pulsing eye pain, headaches, unclear sight, inflammation in the eye, rainbow coronas around lights, nausea and vomiting are indicators of glaucoma, an acute medical illness, which requires immediate medical attention.

With younger patients, it's useful to watch for weak eye movement, or crossed eyes, which could indicate a condition known as strabismus. Some behavior, such as rubbing eyes, squinting, head tilting, or the need to close one eye to see things better, often point to strabismus.

If you are familiar with any of the symptoms mentioned here, see your eye doctor as soon as possible. While clearly some conditions are more serious than others, anything that restricts normal eyesight can be something that compromises your quality of life. A quick consultation with your optometrist can save you from being avoidably uncomfortable, or even more severe eye and vision problems.

Women’s Eye and Vision Health

This month, Prevent Blindness America is focusing on Women's Eye Health and Safety.

Women go through various stages throughout their lives, and each can impact vision differently. Eye disease in women is being diagnosed in growing numbers, especially in aging women. In fact, studies show that most women going through middle age experience some type of eyesight impairment, and risk developing conditions like dry eyes, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or glaucoma. It's worth noting that the chance of women experiencing vision impairments has become more common as a result of women's growing longevity.

For women, the first step you can take to maintain good vision is to make a proper eye test part of your normal health check up. Be sure that you have an extensive eye exam before you hit forty, and that you adhere to the advice your eye doctor suggests. Secondly, be familiar with your family history, because your genes are a key factor in understanding, diagnosing and preventing eye diseases. Don't forget to look into your family's medical history and alert your eye doctor of any illnesses that show up.

When it comes to nutrition, maintain a healthful, well-balanced diet and make sure to include foods full of beta carotene, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids, all which help protect against vision loss from eye disease. It's recommended that you also take vitamin A, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and vitamin C supplements, which are all good starting points to keeping up optimal eye health.

For women who smoke, make a commitment to stop, as even second-hand smoke can raise the danger of eye disease and is a known cause of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also lead to the development of cataracts and AMD, are extremely harmful to your eyesight. When you go outside, and during the summer AND winter, make sure to put on 100% UV protective sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat that will protect your eyes from harsh rays.

Hormonal shifts like what might take place during pregnancy and menopause, can also influence your sight. Sometimes, these shifts can even make contact lenses less effective or slightly painful. During pregnancy, you might want to decrease contact lens wearing time and update your prescription if necessary. It's worthwhile to schedule an appointment with your optometrist during your pregnancy to discuss any eye or vision changes you may be experiencing.

There are also several precautions to take to shield your eyes from household dangers, like domestic cleaners. Be sure that domestic chemicals, including cleaning agents, paints and strong detergents are kept safely and properly, and are out of reach of young children. Wash your hands properly after working with all chemicals and invest in eye protection when using strong chemicals. Wear proper safety goggles when repairing things around the house, especially when working with potentially dangerous objects or power tools.

When used carelessly, eye makeup might also be a safety hazard for your eyes. Particularly when it comes to eye makeup, you should never use anyone else's products. Avoid using old eye shadow, mascara or eyeliner and discard anything that's been open for more than four months, especially anything that's liquid based. Watch for any allergic reactions and cease use immediately if you notice redness, itchiness or puffiness in or around the eyes. Be aware also that you might actually develop allergies to products you've been using for years. And of course, be sure to avoid touching the eye when putting on eyeliners, shadows and mascara.

Women need to be aware of the risks and considerations when it comes to your eye care. And also, it can never hurt to educate the other women in your life, like your daughters and friends, about how to look after their eyes and vision.

This month is national Sports Eye Safety Month

With the spring, as well as often warmer weather, comes an increase in the risk of sports related eye injuries. Every year, many children and adults suffer sports related eye injuries that could be prevented with suitable protection. Protecting your eyes while playing sports is essential particularly in contact sports or those that bring you out into the sun's rays such as ice hockey, softball, football, tennis, boxing, volleyball, or golf.

You can avoid the majority of sports related eye accidents by wearing the proper protective eyewear best suited for the activity you might be involved in. The right eyewear will keep you safe from injury and will also have additional protection to block ultra-violet light for outdoor activities. Eye wear made specifically for sports is designed especially to prepare you for certain accidents. Conventional frames and lenses typically won't provide full protection, meaning that even just the smallest collision can become a serious eye injury that could potentially threaten your eyesight.

Sports vision means more than choosing the right eyewear. Eyesight is a primary factor of how well you perform, so you must have good vision. For people who already wear glasses, you'll need protective sports glasses that have a prescription to make it easier to be safe. For contact lens wearers, you may need a slightly different lens than the ones you wear on a daily basis. Call your optometrist about the options that are right for you.

All sports have different dangers and demands, so it's important to let your eye care professional assess your specific needs and provide the correct glasses or contact lenses that best fit your vision. This is key in helping you gain the winning edge you need to excel and have fun safely.

All sports have differing demands and dangers, so it's important to allow your eye care professional to determine your specific needs and suggest the right glasses or lenses to maximize your vision. This is key in helping you gain the winning edge you need to excel and have fun safely.

Eye Care on The Go

Safe driving is dependent upon on adequate eyesight. If you think about it, staying safe on the road relies on several different visual capabilities – for example, the ability to see both near and far ahead, side or peripheral vision, seeing at night and color vision, plus many others.

Being able to see well into the distance is highly necessary because of how it helps you to observe the stretch of road in front of you and become aware of any risks that might appear. Being able to see ahead gives you more time to respond quickly and stop any accidents. On the other hand, if you struggle with distance vision you might not see the dangers in time to stop an accident.

Distance vision is also affected by the condition of your windshield and glasses (including sunglasses), so ensure both are consistently clean and clear of both scratches and dust which can negatively affect your vision, specifically when it's dark or sunny.

You also need peripheral or side vision, which allows you see the sides of your car, which is crucial to be aware of other cars, animals and pedestrians without having to even glance away from the road ahead. Being able to see peripherally is also crucial for changing lanes and making turns. Use your side and rearview mirrors. Make sure they're adjusted correctly, to help your view of the road to your sides and back.

Road safety is also highly dependent on good depth perception. It helps you evaluate distances correctly in crowded traffic, switch lanes and overtake other vehicles on the road. Good depth perception requires proper sight in both eyes. In cases of people that have lost vision in one eye, it's essential to consult with your optometrist to determine whether it is okay for you to get behind the wheel. You may need to stop driving until your vision is corrected to achieve proper depth perception.

Near vision focusing or the ability to accommodate properly also comes into use when driving. If you're unfamiliar with the term accommodating, it is the ability to shift your focus from a view far to something close, for example, from the road to the dashboard. For those 45 or older it's common for you to have increasing difficulty with near vision, and it might be helpful for you to get glasses or another vision correction solution to make it easier to see objects up close. Speak to your optometrist to talk about the options.

Color vision also comes into play while driving. Drivers need to be able to quickly recognize traffic lights, indicator signs and hazard signals. If you've got color blindness, your reaction time may be a little slower than that of others. If this sounds familiar, it's best not to wear medium or dark colored sunglasses, as these can seriously inhibit the ability to differentiate between colors.

At the first sign of a vision problem, consider how it affects your ability to drive. You don't want to risk your own life or those of the others on the road! If you feel your vision isn't up to par, visit your eye doctor, and get a thorough eye exam right away.

Vision Wellness in the Workplace

Prevent Blindness America (PBA) has set aside March as Workplace Vision Wellness Month. The goal of this directive is to teach corporations and their workers about the necessity of eye wellness, including safety tips on how to prevent vision-impairing eye incidents.

Every day, workers are inflicted by job related eye injuries that demand the attention of an eye care professional or doctor. Workplace safety experts and healthcare professionals believe the two main reasons that people sustain eye injuries is because they fail to protect their eyes or they are using the incorrect form of eye protection.

Typical Eye Injuries

Most commonly, eye injuries that occur in the workplace are a result of flying particles or falling objects such as dust, concrete, metal or wood that can enter or cause abrasions on the eye. Chemical splashes, fumes and radiation can also burn and seriously damage the eye tissues.

Keeping your Eyes Protected

Your optometrist can help you determine possible eye hazards at work and determine the best kind of eye safety for you.

Some working conditions have multiple risks for eyes and finding proper eye protection needs to consider all possible risks.
If you work with chemicals you should wear goggles, and if you work in an area where you encounter flying objects or dust, use safety glasses that have side shields.
For those who work in close proximity to dangerous radiation when welding, using lasers, or fiber optics calls for the use of special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields, or helmets designed especially for what you will be doing.

Healthy Screen Vision

Working on computers or using mobile and hand held devices like phones or readers can also be dangerous for your vision. Due to the prevailing use of computers in our lives, these dangers are becoming increasingly prevalent.

Below are a few ways to avoid putting your eyes under unnecessary pressure when working on a computer or using a hand held device:

Learn the 20-20-20 rule which will help your eyes rest. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you're using a hand-held device, enlarge the text so you'll be able to use it at a distance more comfortable for your eyes.

Additionally maintain the light intensity of your screen to a comfortable resolution and place your screen right under eye level to be less of a strain on your eyes. You should also consider the option of computer glasses.

If you have any further queries relating to vision care at work, please give us a call today!

What is Astigmatism?

Surrounding your iris and pupil is your cornea, which is, under normal conditions, spherical. As light enters the eye, part of the job of your cornea is to focus that light, directing it at the retina, right in the rear part of your eye. But what is the result when the cornea is not perfectly round? The eye can't focus the light correctly on one focus on your retina's surface, and your vision becomes blurred. This condition is called astigmatism.

Astigmatism is actually a fairly common diagnosis, and frequently comes with other refractive errors that require vision correction. It frequently appears early in life and can cause eye fatigue, headaches and the tendency to squint when uncorrected. With children, it can cause challenges in the classroom, especially when it comes to highly visual skills such as reading or writing. Sufferers who work with particularly small or detailed objects or at a computer for excessive periods of time may experience more difficulty with astigmatism.

Astigmatism is detected by an eye test with an eye care professional and afterwards properly diagnosed with an automated refraction or a retinoscopy test, which measures the amount of astigmatism. Astigmatism is easily tended to by contact lenses or eyeglasses, for those who prefer a non-invasive procedure, or refractive surgery, which alters how that light enters the eye, allowing your retina to get the light correctly.

Toric lenses are commonly prescribed for astigmatism because they permit the light to bend more in one direction than another. Standard contact lenses have a tendency to move when you blink. With astigmatism, the most subtle eye movement can completely blur your sight. Toric lenses are able to return to the exact same place right after you blink. Toric lenses can be found as soft or hard varieties, to be chosen depending on what is more comfortable for you.

Astigmatism may also be rectified by laser surgery, or by orthokeratology (Ortho-K), a non-surgical alternative involving wearing hard contacts to slowly change the shape of the cornea over night. You should discuss your options with your optometrist to decide what your best option might be.

When demonstrating the effects of astigmatism to children, show them a round teaspoon and an oval teaspoon. In the round spoon, an reflection will appear normal. In the oval spoon, their face will be stretched. This is what astigmatism means for your vision; those affected wind up viewing the world stretched out a bit.

A person's astigmatism evolves over time, so make sure that you are regularly making appointments to see your eye care professional for a proper exam. Additionally, be sure that you have your children's eyes checked before they begin school. Most of your child's education (and playing) is largely visual. You'll help your child get the most of his or her schooling with a comprehensive eye exam, which will pick up any visual abnormalities before they affect academics, athletics, or other activities.

Conjunctivitis: Don’t Let it Go Untreated

Pink eye, formally referred to as conjunctivitis, is a frequently encountered eye infection, especially with children. This condition can be caused by bacteria, viruses or evenallergens like pollen, ingredients in cosmetics, and chlorine in swimming pools, or other chemicals, which touch the eyes. Many forms of pink eye can be fairly contagious and easily spread at school and in the home.

Pink eye is seen when the thin clear layer of tissue covering the white part of the eye, or conjunctiva, becomes inflamed. You can recognize the infection if you notice eye itching, redness, discharge or swollen eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes early in the day. The three main kinds of pink eye are: allergic, bacterial and viral conjunctivitis.

Viral conjunctivitis is often caused by the same virus that makes us have those recognizable red, watery eyes, sore throat and runny nose of the common cold. The uncomfortable symptoms of viral conjunctivitis are likely to stick around for seven to fourteen days and then will clear up on their own. You may however, be able to reduce some of the symptoms by applying soothing drops or compresses. Viral pink eye is transmittable until it is completely cleared up, so in the meanwhile maintain excellent hygiene, remove eye discharge and avoid using communal towels or pillowcases. Children who have viral conjunctivitis should be kept home from school for three days to a week until symptoms disappear.

Bacterial pink eye is caused by a common bacterial infection that enters the eye typically from an external carrier such as a finger, makeup or lotion. This form of infection is most often treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. Most often one should notice the symptoms disappearing within three or four days of antibiotic drops, but make sure to follow the complete antibiotic prescription to stop conjunctivitis from recurring.

Pink eye caused by allergies is not contagious. It usually occurs in individuals who already suffer from seasonal allergies or allergies to substances such as pets or dust. The red, itchy, watery eyes may be just part of their overall allergic reaction. First of all, to treat allergic pink eye, you must eliminate the irritant. Use cool compresses and artificial tears to relieve discomfort in mild cases. In more severe cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and antihistamines might be prescribed. When the pink eye persists for an extended period, topical steroid eye drops might be used.

With any form pink eye, practicing proper hygiene is the best way to keep it from spreading. Try not to touch your eyes, and if you do, be certain to clean your hands well.

While pink eye is usually a highly treatable eye infection, it can sometimes deteriorate into a more serious problem. If you think you have pink eye, be sure to have your optometrist examine you in order to see what the best treatment will be.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness

February has been designated by Prevent Blindness America to creating knowledge about age related macular degeneration (AMD) and low vision.

Are you aware that age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading culprit for vision loss in those over age 65? AMD is a condition that affects the macula of the retina which is responsible for clear central vision.

AMD Symptoms

Early signs of age related macular degeneration are often blurred eyesight and spots in the center of vision. Due to the fact that the loss of vision typically occurs at a slow pace and painlessly, the effects are often not noticed until more severe vision loss is apparent. This is why every individual over 65 years of age should be sure to schedule a routine eye examination at least annually.

What are the Risk Factors for AMD?

If you are of Caucasian decent, over 65 years of age, who smokes, is obese and has high blood pressure or has family members that have had AMD, your chances of developing AMD are higher. Any individual that possesses these risk factors should be sure to schedule an eye exam on a yearly basis. Speaking to your eye doctor about proper nutrition including antioxidants and omega-3 is also a good way to protect yourself.

Two Kinds of AMD

AMD is divided into two categories, dry and wet. The dry version is more commonplace and may be caused by aging and macular tissue thinning or pigment deposits in the macula. Wet macular degeneration, also known as neovascular age related macular degeneration, results from the growth of new blood vessels beneath the retina which seep blood, which destroys the retinal cells and results in vision loss in the central vision. Usually wet macular degeneration is the more serious of the two.

Is There a Cure for Macular Degeneration?

Although there is no cure for macular degeneration, certain treatments exist that can delay the progression. Depending on the type of macular degeneration the course of treatment may involve nutritional supplements, laser surgery or medical injections. In either case, early detection and treatment is essential. An optometrist may also be able to recommend devices to help you cope with any visual difficulty that has already occurred. Such loss of sight that cannot be improved by the usual measures such as eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgical procedures is called low vision. There are many low vision devices available today that can help individuals to preserve independence in routine activities.

It's possible to save your eyesight by being aware of the risks and signs of macular degeneration. Contact your optometrist to find out more about AMD and low vision.

The Importance of Proper Contact Lens Hygeine

Contact lens wearers practice proper eye care. A study conducted by Bausch & Lomb in August determined that a large number of people regularly use strange chemicals rather than contact lens solution to keep their lenses moist. Everything from baby oil, to beer to petroleum jelly was reportedly used as an alternative to proper contact lens solution by 20% of the two thousand adults that responded in the survey conducted in the UK.

Even more of those surveyed reported that they use saliva when putting lenses in their eyes. Since we know that the mouth of the average adult is known to contain hundreds of varieties of bacteria, this is clearly not a good idea. Further, an alarming number of individuals presume that tap water, bottled water or distilled water are a safe replacement for contact lens solution, nevertheless even those may contain parasites that can damage the eye and have been linked to Acanthamoeba keratitis, a sight-threatening infection. In fact, if water enters your eyes when swimming or bathing while your contacts are in, it's a good idea to take out your contacts as quickly as possible and thoroughly rinse them so no microorganisms can get trapped to the surface of your eye.

The only liquid that should be used to rinse, cleanse, lubricate or soak your lenses is proper contact lens solution. Never keep your contacts in water! Storing contacts in water isn't effective in sterilizing them and harmful pathogens can multiply on your lenses almost instantly and eventually enter your eyes. Further, contact solution is made to match the acidity of the tear film in your eyes and water on the other hand can cause a reaction which makes your contacts change shape or stick causing discomfort and blurred vision.

If you know that you do not have the means to properly disinfect your contact lenses, definitely consider using one-use contact lenses instead of resusable lenses. Be sure to think about daily routine when you are deciding between daily disposables and reusable contacts.

Before you begin to wear contacts be sure you learn with your eye care professional the proper way to care for and store them.

Only those who can understand how to properly care for contacts and how important this is should use contact lenses, especially reusable brands. Failure to do so can result in permanent eye damage or even complete vision loss.

Protect Your Eyes From Dry Eyes This Winter


Your eyes need tears to stay healthy. They flush out any small particles caught in the eye and keep the eyes moist and comfortable. They also contain enzymes that protect the eyes from microorganisms that are sometimes found in the eye.
In instances where the eyes do not produce sufficient tears, the results are often discomfort such as perpetual feelings of dryness, stinging, scratchiness or a foreign body sensation. To the surprise of many, dry eyes occasionally cause watery eyes if the eyes over-stimulate tear production to defend against inadequate tearing.


Dry eyes are caused by a number of factors. Dry eyes are often age related since it is usually adults that complain of dry eye syndrome, and often women going through menopause. Reduction in tear production can also result from certain medicines. Dry or dusty air, and excessive heating or air conditioning can also cause or worsen dry eyes. In addition, some diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or others, prolonged sitting in front of a computer screen which can reduce blinking, or contact lens wear can add to the chances of dry eye syndrome.


The first treatment to try is usually artificial tears which often work to make up for the lack of natural tears. It’s advisable to consult with your optometrist to know which drops to buy and how to use them. If over the counter drops aren’t helpful your doctor might prescribe Rx drops that stimulate tear production.


If those don’t relieve your discomfort, your eye care professional might recommend Lacrisert, an insert placed inside the eyelid that periodically lets out lubricating ingredients throughout the day. You may also want to try lacrimal plugs which help keep the eye moist by slowing the drainage of tears. Some eye care professionals may suggest you try ways for you to change your environment or your diet to relieve the symptoms as well.


In most cases, dry eye syndrome does not harm your vision permanently but can be a nuisance. However, very serious dry eyes increase the risk of infection so it is a good idea to consult with your optometrist.


Especially in the cold season, you should to try to protect your eyes from arid air, biting winds and dust. Wearing sunglasses when going outdoors, and trying out humidifiers inside when the heat is blasting are ways to reduce exposure and dryness.


It’s not necessary to suffer from dry, itchy, burning eyes – make an appointment with your optometrist right away!

The Dangers of the Sun to Your Eyes – In the Winter


Winter is officially here, which means in some parts of the country stinging winds and freezing rain, snow and sleet aren't far behind. You would never even contemplate of leaving the house without a coat in icy conditions, but surprisingly, far too many people don't think to put on their sunglasses. Although many of us aren't thinking about the glaring sun during times that we are battling the freezing winter climate, the sun is still in full force in colder climates, and sometimes can be even stronger.


For times when you find yourself snowed in, it is wise to be even more cautious. Particularly following a blizzard, the world around takes on a sparkling glow due to the sun's rays reflecting off of the snowy cover blanketing the ground and the trees. In fact, for many it can downright hurt your eyes when you first step outdoors after a glistening snow. The UV exposure that we are all so vigilant to avoid in the summer may actually be more hazardous in the winter months because it bounces off the snow or ice, giving you double exposure. This is why proper sunglasses are a crucial part of your winter wardrobe.


Although it's important to pick a style you look good in, the most important consideration when choosing sunglasses is checking that they will properly do their job. Make certain they are 100% UV blocking by checking for confirmation that they block all light up to 400 nanometers – UV400. Don't worry, you don't necessarily have to purchase designer glasses for full coverage for your eyes. Many of the more reasonably priced brands are made with full protection.


Another important feature in choosing sun wear is size. You will have the most protection when the lenses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful UV rays will be able to enter. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also stop UV waves from sneaking in from the sides.


For those who enjoy snow or ice sports, it’s important to be aware that ultraviolet radiation is stronger at higher altitudes, so be even more sure to keep your eyes guarded on the slopes. For additional protection put on a wide brimmed hat that covers your eyes.


Make a point to be knowledgeable about proper eye protection all year long. Don't leave home without your shades.

Raise Your Awareness of Glaucoma this Month


Since this month marks National Glaucoma Awareness Month, in this article we are here to stress the importance of recognizing the threat of glaucoma. Glaucoma is a class of progressive ocular diseases that damage the optic nerve, which can cause blindness. If untreated, the disease often initially shows up as vision loss in the periphery of the visual field and ultimately ends up causing total blindness. Glaucoma is thought to be the primary cause of avoidable blindness and according to estimates, over 60 million people worldwide have the vision threatening condition.


The main source of glaucoma is known to be an increase in pressure around the optic nerve referred to as intraocular pressure. As pressure around the eye increases, this damages the optic nerve which is responsible for delivering messages from the eye to the vision centers in the brain. In instances where this pathway is damaged eyesight is affected. Regrettably, optic nerve damage can't be corrected.


Glaucoma is particularly dangerous because unlike other forms of vision impairment, it is asymptomatic until it may be too late.
It is due to this that glaucoma is described as the "sneak thief of sight." The quandary is: how can one detect an illness which has no obvious symptoms?


Prompt detection of glaucoma is crucial to effective treatment. Although glaucoma risk is universal, particular populations are at higher risk than others. Risk factors for glaucoma may include adults over 45 years old, those having a family history of glaucoma, diabetes, or other eye conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, eye injuries or elevated intraocular pressure.


An effective way to detect glaucoma is to find a qualified eye doctor. There are a number of diagnostic eye examinations relied on by doctors to measure intraocular pressure and the risk of glaucoma. Particularly if you are over 45 or know that you are at risk, it's important to plan for a routine eye exam annually.


The truth is that most forms of glaucoma are not preventable. Nevertheless the damage to the optic nerve and deterioration of vision can be stopped by timely diagnosis and treatment. Don't delay! Contact Family Eye Care of Medford today, for your annual screening for glaucoma.

Presbyopia and Aging


Contact your Medford, NY Eye Doctor to Learn More About Treatment Options


Many adults eventually experience presbyopia or a diminished ability to focus on things at a close range, as they age. With the increasing international population of older adults, a larger number of people develop presbyopia, which currently cannot be escaped.


Your eye's lenses curve to focus on objects at varying distances. Some theories are that as you grow older, that flexibility gets diminished since the natural lenses thicken. This condition is known as presbyopia and is often first noticed by an increased difficulty focusing on things right before your eyes. This often starts to happen any time after the age of 40. Those with the condition usually cope with the situation by holding the paper away from their eyes or standing at a distance from the object they want to focus on. Transitions from looking at distant things to closer ones can often be tiring for people with presbyopia. This tension can add further discomfort resulting in eye strain, fatigues or headaches.


Most often bifocals or progressives (PALs) are used to resolve this issue. Bifocal lenses have two prescriptions for vision, the main part of the lens has a prescription for distance vision and the lower portion of the lens is for seeing objects nearby. Progressive addition lenses work similarly to bifocal lenses, but the transitions between the two prescriptions are more gradual. Users will more easily change visual focus, as they could if they had uninhibited eyesight. An alternative would be reading glasses which are usually worn just when needed as opposed to all day.


If contact lenses are preferable, there are other alternatives such as multifocal lenses. Different people respond differently to multifocal lenses, so it may take a few tries to decide if and in what combination they work for you.


Furthermore, there are surgical options that could be considered that you may want to discuss with your eye doctor. A lot of people are most successful using a combination of options for presbyopia. Additionally, because your eyesight will continue to worsen with age, it is likely that you will need to keep adjusting the strength of your correction. The positive news is, there is a significant amount of experimental treatment on the market currently to discover other effective treatments for presbyopia.


Noticing symptoms of presbyopia? Schedule a check up with your Medford, NY eye doctor. A return to normal eyesight is worth it!

Fun and Safe Toys for the Holiday Season


Holiday season is almost here and we all know what that means, gifts and new toys. Well meaning grandparents enjoy surprising the children with the ''in'' toys to start off the New Year.
Leading optometry specialists advise that family members explain to others some restrictions when it comes to eye-safe toys. Mishaps with unsafe toys and games often take place, sometimes causing damaged eyes.


So what are some rules to protect kids from toy related eye injuries?


  1. When purchasing a toy, make sure it is developmentally appropriate. Be careful not to permit little siblings to play with toys and games meant for older children.

  2. Teach children the proper use of new toys and games. If possible, before allowing children to play, carefully look at new toys and games for safe construction.

  3. Try not to let small kids play unsupervised.

  4. Protect little eyes by discarding toy or games with jagged or staggered edges or plastic or wooden missiles, commonly found in war-themed toys.


Before purchasing that game that your child has been begging for, spend a moment to review toy safety guidelines. Anyone who has ever watched ''A Christmas Story'' should have learned that already. Avoid a trip to the ER this year and have a joyous holiday.

Don’t Throw Away Your FSA Credit!


The end of the year is coming fast which means that flex spending credits will soon run out for the year. If flex spending doesn't strike a familiar chord you likely don't have an FSA (or flex spending account) but you might want to check your insurance plan to clarify.


If you have a Flex Plan with your employee benefits be sure to plan ahead. The majority of plans obligate you to use all money you've contributed no later than December 31st or you will lose it!


You can use your FSA to save big on your eye care necessities. Eye and contact lens exams, glasses, contacts, even laser vision correction may all qualify for repayment. Be aware that some procedures, such as laser vision correction have advanced screening which could cause a delay so call us sooner than later.


If you have any questions, we are happy to go over your eye care benefits with you. Our Medford, NY Eye Care Professionals are here for you!

Understanding Color Blindness


Color vision problems are generally a hereditary disability which impairs the ability to differentiate among colors. Color blindness is caused by damage to the cones in the eye's macular area, commonly preventing a viewer's capability to distinguish between variants of red or green, but it can influence the ability to see other shades too.


The discernment of color is dependent upon cones located in the eye. People are usually born with three varieties of pigmented cones, each of which perceive differing wavelengths of color. This is similar to wavelengths of sound. When it comes to pigment, the length of the wave is directly linked to the resulting color. Short waves produce blue tones, medium-length waves produce greens and long waves produce reds. The pigmented cone that is affected impacts the nature and severity of the color deficiency.


Because it is a sex-linked genetically recessive trait, many more men are found to be green-red color blind than females. Still, there are plenty of women who do experience varying degrees of color vision deficiency, particularly blue-yellow deficiencies.


There are many cases where people obtain color vision problems later on as a result of another condition such as medicinal side effects, aging and especially macular degeneration. But, it might be possible to reverse the condition if the underlying cause is corrected.


Optometrists use numerous exams for the condition. The most widely used is the Ishihara color exam, named after its inventor. In this test a patient views a plate with a group of dots in a circle in differing colors and sizes. Inside the circle one with proper color vision can see a numerical figure in a particular tint. The individual's ability to make out the number within the dots of clashing colors examines the level of red-green color blindness.


While genetic color vision deficiencies can't be corrected, there are some steps that can assist to improve the situation. Some people find that wearing colored contacts or glasses which block glare can help to perceive the differences between colors. Increasingly, new computer applications are being developed for standard computers and for smaller machines that can help people enhance color distinction depending upon their specific diagnosis. There is also promising research underway in gene therapy to enhance color vision.


How much color blindness limits a person is dependent upon the variant and severity of the condition. Some individuals can adapt to their deficiency by learning alternate clues for colored objects or signs. For example, many people can learn the order of traffic signals or contrast objects with reference objects like green grass or the blue sky.


If you suspect that you or a child might have a color vision deficiency it's recommended to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. The sooner a diagnosis is made, the sooner you can help. Feel free to call our Medford, NY eye doctors to schedule an exam.

Diabetes and Eyesight


Did you know that diabetes is the leading precursor to vision loss for men and women aged 20-74 years? If not, you are not alone. In just the last four years, over four million people in North America living with diabetes were subsequently diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. Of this group, 70,000 had advanced diabetic retinopathy, which may result in irreversible loss of vision.


While not every individual is at risk of diabetic retinopathy, it is important to know the relation between the disease and vision loss.


To start, adults diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at risk. Anyone in this category should ensure that they have an eye exam yearly. The longer the affliction goes unmonitored, the greater the risk of diabetes caused vision loss. Quick treatment is necessary to preventing further deterioration.


Women who are pregnant that are afflicted with diabetes are at greater risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. It is crucial to schedule a complete dilated eye exam after diagnosis as well.


Maybe you are wondering, why all the worry? Wouldn’t there be symptoms of sight deterioration?


Well the answer shockingly is no. There are many types of diabetic retinopathy, and only those which are in the severe stages are easily discernible. Proliferative diabetes and macular edema is diabetes related diseases which result in severe vision loss. Both conditions may develop with no obvious signs. This is a reason that early recognition is the key to halting any permanent deterioration.


An extensive assessment will look for precursors of diabetic retinopathy. There are individual stages to this exam which will detect the standard signs, such as a swelling of the retina, the presence of fatty deposits on the retina, leaky blood vessels, and damaged nerve tissue. Want to know what are the steps in a comprehensive vision exam?


First of all you will undergo a visual acuity examination by means of an eye chart which is used to assess how correctly you see at varying distances. This is just like the visual acuity checks given by your optometrist, to see if you require corrective lenses.


In a dilated eye exam, the optometrist places drops in your eyes to amplify the size of your pupils. Though not a favorite of most people, it can prevent deterioration in your sight in 10-15 years. This procedure makes it feasible to see more of the inside of your eyes to check for unique signs that reveal the presence of diabetic retinopathy. The fleeting discomfort will probably save your ability to see.


Regularly monitor your health. Even a little hesitation might cause severe damage. If you are diabetic, it is essential to book a vision exam with an eye doctor as soon as possible.

What is Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)? Treatment in Medford, NY


In order to have optimal eyesight, the eyes must work together with each other and with the brain. In instances when this process doesn’t function properly, a condition called amblyopia, or lazy eye, can occur. In the majority of cases of lazy eye the eyes themselves are usually in good health yet the condition is not correctable by just the use of prescription lenses. When not treated appropriately amblyopia can result in severe visual disability, even loss of sight in that eye.


Amblyopia is the most common cause of sight impairment in childhood. Since it usually starts in the developmental stages of infancy, the condition can be difficult to discern. Early diagnosis and treatment increase the possibility of complete recovery. Treatment usually works faster and more effectively for patients who start before entering pre-teen years.


Therefore it is crucial to have your child’s eyes tested at an early age. The American Optometric Association suggests that children have a complete eye examination by half a year and another by age three.


What Causes Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)?


Lazy eye occurs when the eyes or visual system do not function in unison. One common cause is strabismus, a condition where the eyes are not properly aligned. Such misalignment results in eyes that cross in (estropia) or turn out (exotropia) and therefore aren’t able to work together. Amblyopia can also be caused by a condition where the eyes have different levels of acuity. This is the result of a condition called anisometropia. On occasion, amblyopia is the result of other optical conditions such as a cataract or some other pathological problem.


How is Lazy Eye Treated?


Treatment for lazy eye is directed at attaining proper binocular vision. Along with the use of prescription eyeglasses or contacts, one of the most common approaches involves strengthening the weaker eye by limiting the use of the better eye. A few treatment options exist to do this and the treatment is chosen according to the patient’s situation and the decision of the eye care professional.


Very often you will see patching, where a patch is used to cover the stronger eye. The patient is then compelled to use the weak eye, which stimulates vision in the weaker eye and helps the visual processing system to develop properly. However success using a patch is dependent upon cooperation with wearing the patch, which can be a factor with many children.


An alternative to patching is the use of a drug known as atropine. When a drop of atropine is applied to the good eye, this will impair the vision to force the preference of the weaker eye.


Some patients can be treated by vision aides alone, such as prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses that restore vision to each eye, yet this is rare. Additionally, vision therapy to train the eyes to function together or in some cases surgery might also be suggested.


Because amblyopia is caused by a disruption in the vision process, the younger the age of treatment, the more chance there is of success. Nevertheless, there have been many instances where teenage patients were successfully treated and therefore anyone who thinks they or their child has lazy eye should consult immediately with their eye doctor If you are looking for amblyopia consultation in Medford, NY, contact us to schedule a visit. Amblyopia won’t get better on its own so don’t delay in starting to repair your sight!

Medford, NY Vision Exams: What Does 20/20 Eyesight Really Mean?

 

Have you ever wondered why 20/20 is the standard for ''perfect'' eyesight and what it truly represents? 20/20 vision is a phrase used to express normal visual acuity or clarity of vision. In other words someone with 20/20 visual acuity will be able to see an object clearly from 20 feet away that the majority of individuals are expected to be able to see from such a distance.

For those who don't have 20/20 visual acuity, their visual acuity score is assigned based on where they begin to see clearly in relation to the norm. As an example, 20/100 acuity means that you have to be at a distance of 20 feet to see what a person with normal visual acuity can see at a distance of 100 feet.

A person who is assessed with 20/200 eyesight is considered legally blind but can often see normally by using glasses or contact lenses or by having LASIK if they are eligible.

A typical vision screening is performed by using an eye chart usually the classic Snellen eye chart developed by Dutch eye doctor, Herman Snellen in the mid-1800's. While there are a number of versions, the chart typically shows 11 rows of uppercase letters which get smaller in size as one looks downward. The chart begins with one capital letter – ''E'' and gradually adds more letters as they get smaller. During the vision screening, the eye doctor will examine which is the line with the smallest lettering you can read. Every row is given a rating, with the 20/20 line usually being assigned forth from the bottom. In cases where the patient isn't able to read, such as young children or disabled persons, a variation of the chart is used called the ''Tumbling E''. At the same scale as the regular Snellen chart, the ''Tumbling E'' is composed of only the capital letter E in different directions. The eye doctor asks the patient to indicate the direction the ''fingers'' of the E are pointing: right, left up or down. In order for the results to be accurate the chart must be placed 20 feet away from where the patient is viewing it.

Despite common conception, 20/20 vision doesn't indicate someone sees perfectly but rather that they see normally from a distance. There are many other essential abilities needed to make perfect vision such as peripheral sight, perception of depth, color vision, near vision and focusing and eye coordination to name a few.

While a vision screening with a Snellen chart can determine whether you require a visual aid to see clearly at a distance it will not give the optometrist a complete perception of the overall health of your eyes and vision. Make sure you still schedule an annual comprehensive eye exam to screen for potential conditions. Call us now to book an eye exam in Medford, NY.

Medford, NY Treatment for Fall Eye Allergies

 

While seasonal allergies are more frequently talked about in springtime, just as many individuals experience symptoms during the fall months as well. In addition to nasal symptoms such as sneezing and congestion, symptoms that affect the eyes can be the greatest causes of discomfort.

When suffering from allergies, the eyes are often itchy, swollen, and red and often burn or water. Often vision becomes blurry or eyes become sensitive to light. These effects can make it so uncomfortable for allergy sufferers that they prohibit an individual's ability to perform in work, school, sports and leisure activities.

When an individual with allergies is exposed to an allergen he or she has a sensitivity to, the immune system sends out histamines to defend against the ''invader''. This hypersensitive immune response results in typical allergic symptoms which include general symptoms as well as eye related symptoms.

For contacts wearers symptoms can frequently be exacerbated since lenses can often attract allergens. Additionally, when our eyes are itchy, our first reaction is usually to rub them which can cause even more discomfort for those wearing contact lenses. Use of artificial tears can sometimes alleviate discomfort but many contact wearers decide to switch to glasses. If you wear contacts and experience fall allergies, you may want to consider switching brands, particularly to single use, daily disposables which reduce the potential for pollen accumulation. If you are experiencing problems from your contacts, visit our Medford, NY optometry practice to discuss your condition.

Whether you wear contacts or not, here are a few tips to minimize autumn ocular allergies:

  • Check the area pollen count and stay indoors when counts are high, particularly at peak times such as midday.
  • Use large sunglasses to help block the pollen from entering your eyes.
  • Wash carpets and draperies frequently to get rid of pollen that has entered the house.
  • Instead of a broom, use a damp mop to clean floors, which is more effective at cleaning away allergens.
  • Try not to rub your eyes. Use a cool compress for soothing irritation or itchiness.
  • Shower each night to wash off any pollen you may have collected throughout the day.

If over the counter medications are not helping a prescription medication may be more effective. In this case, make an appointment with your optometrist now to discuss your options and begin proper treatment. Our Medford, NY eye care office would be happy to help you in regaining your comfort this fall!

Have Halloween Safe Eyes: Consult With your Eye Care Professional Before Purchasing Decorative Contacts

 

With the autumn comes Halloween and with that, dressing up. It's important to know of some dangers to your eyes and vision that could put a damper on the holiday spirit.

A popular costume addition in recent years has been special effect contact lenses and this is alarming eye care professionals. Contact lenses are a governmentally regulated medical device. It is against federal law to sell contact lenses without a license which applies to costume and party supply stores, however it is apparent that the regulations are often ignored. Unlicensed production may use inferior materials or even dangerous coloring elements to color the contacts. Further, use of contacts without proper instruction and treatment, can result in significant harm to the eyes such as infection, abrasion or even vision loss.

If you do decide to use cosmetic lenses, it is necessary to make an exam appointment with your eye doctor beforehand. After a comprehensive eye exam, the optometrist will determine the correct size, curvature and if needed prescription required for the contacts. The practitioner will also give necessary guidance on how to properly insert, remove and care for the lenses.

Failure to take adequate measures in handling contacts can result in painful infections, inflammation, or more dangerous eye abrasions or sores. The eyes are a serious matter and nothing should be applied in them without careful instruction from a professional eye care expert.

Only buy lenses from a licensed distributor that you can be sure sells products approved by the FDA. Even when purchasing lenses without corrective power, they must be regulated and require a proper prescription. Beware of e-commerce sites, flea markets or beauty supply stores that may carry homemade contacts colored with unapproved tinting agents. To find out if the retailer is authorized to sell lenses ask for their state license number and call the state Department of Professional Regulations (DPR) to check.

If your disguise just won't be the same without special effect lenses, call your local optometrist before making any purchase. Halloween shouldn't be a "Hallowed" night for your eyes. Be knowledgable about the hazards uneducated use of contacts can be to your eyes.

Medford, NY Management for Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS)

 

Findings from the American Optometric Association indicate that more than seven out of 10 of employed persons that sit daily on a computer monitor (over 140 million people) experience computer vision syndrome (CVS) or eye strain. Prolonged periods of sitting in front of the computer can cause eye strain and impact eyesight in children as well as adults. Anyone that works over 2 hours daily at computer is at risk of suffering from symptoms of CVS.

Signs of Computer Induced Eye Fatigue

Prolonged computer use may cause some if not all of the common symptoms of computer eye strain for instance:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty Focusing
  • Burning Eyes
  • Dry Eyes
  • Double Vision
  • Blurred Vision
  • Pain in Neck and Shoulders

What Are The Causes of CVS?
Eye strain from excessive computer use is caused by the need for our eyes and brain to compensate for processing characters on a digital screen in a different way than they do for printed words. While our eyes are used to keeping focus on printed content that contains dense black letters with distinct borders, they have more difficulty with texts on a computer screen that don't have the same degree of contrast and sharpness.
Words on a screen are created by pixels, which are brightest at the center and diminish in intensity toward the edges. Consequently, it is more difficult for our visual processing center to focus on on this text. Instead, our eyes want to drift to a lower level of focusing called the ''resting point of accommodation'' or RPA.

Our eyes involuntarily revert to the resting point of accommodation and then strain to regain focus on the text. This constant flexing of the eyes' focusing muscles results in the fatigue and eye strain that sometimes appear with extended use of a computer or digital device. CVS isn't just a concern for computer users. Other electronic devices such as smart phones or iPads can result in similar strain and in some cases even worse. Because handheld screens are smaller the user often struggles even more to stay focused on images.

CVS Treatment
CVS can be extremely uncomfortable so if you are suffering from these symptoms it is worthwhile to consult an eye care professional as soon as possible.

During an exam, your eye care professional will check to see if you have any vision issues that could contribute to CVS. Depending on the outcome of the exam, your doctor may suggest ophthalmic computer eyeglasses to help you work more efficiently at your computer . Additionally, you should consider an anti-reflective coating for computer glasses. An anti-reflective coating eliminates reflections on the front and back surfaces of the lenses that cause glare and affect your ability to see images clearly on your computer.

Ergonomics for Computer Vision Syndrome
Ergonomics, or setting up your computer workstation to limit strains in vision or posture, can help reduce some of the discomfort of CVS. A well lit work area and frequent breaks can cause some relief. However, since ergonomics alone cannot resolve problems with vision, wearing ophthalmic computer eyeglasses is also a must.

If you think you are suffering or at risk of CVS, contact our Medford, NY optometric office.

Eye Safety at Home

 

As September marks Home and Sports Eye Safety Month, we're going to highlight ways to keep your house eye safe specifically for kids. Don't wait until it's too late to ensure your house is safe for your children's eyes.

In general, children enter the world with an underdeveloped optical structure that progresses as they get older. In the beginning, babies can view objects only very close. Throughout their developing years, kids are visually stimulated. Children's games and toys can be one of the easiest ways to stimulate a youngster's sight. Keep in mind, you should remember that a lot of childhood accidents take place at home, many with games and toys.

What's the best way to prevent accidents? Here is some quick advice for selecting toys for the house to guarantee your child's eyes are safe.

Firstly, ensure toys with long handles – such as sticks- have curved edges, and carefully monitor children under two with such toys. Though building blocks are generally safe for children of all ages, it's best to make sure the sides are not sharp, in order to prevent eye or other bodily damage. It's advised that you avoid toys that shoot objects in the air, such as arrows or guns. If you can't eliminate them altogether, then use of these toys should be monitored by a responsible adult. If your older child works with a chemistry set or woodworking tools, make sure he or she wears protective glasses.

In addition to games and toys, other domestic dangers might be present that you should be aware of. Sharp corners on tables are a common source of injury for shorter children and should be protected. Cleaning solutions that are not stored properly are another culprit for injury for kids and need to be kept away or locked up to prevent curious children from obtaining them.

While it's true that toys may not always be totally safe, there are lots of great playthings that can benefit children's eyesight. There are many toys customized for specific stages that provide great ways to stimulate visual development. When buying toys for youngsters, go for those that emphasize coordination between the hands and eyes and will encourage children to learn about spatial relationships. It can also be a good idea to look on the Internet before making a purchase. This way you can do your best to make sure your purchase will protect your children and will enrich their visual development as well!

Contacts and Makeup: Tips from your Medford, NY Eye Doctor


For those who use contact lenses a few precautions should be taken when applying cosmetics. Here are some basic pointers on how to make sure you keep your eyes attractive and safe.


Buying Makeup


First and foremost, we recommend that you buy only cosmetics that are free of oils and fragrances. In addition, to prevent peeling or smearing, which could end up bothering your lenses, purchase water-resistant mascara and eyeliner. Finally it's important to switch cosmetics used for your eyes at regular intervals – ideally replace mascara once a month, eyeliner every three months and shadows after half a year.


How to Safely Apply Cosmetics


Make certain you rinse your hands prior to applying your lenses. Apply all eye makeup gently to avoid touching your contacts. Make sure you don't apply mascara or eye liner to the lid inside the lashes and start mascara from the midpoint of the eyelashes instead of the base. Don't use someone else’s makeup or put makeup on if your eyes are red or infected.


It's also very important to clean off eye makeup daily with a hypoallergenic, oil-free remover. Don't forget to take out contacts before removing cosmetics.


Being careful when using eye makeup when wearing contacts can avoid irritated, itchy or infected eyes as well as damage to lenses.


When your eyes become red or infected don't use makeup. Don't hesitate to call your eye doctor if you experience any redness, pain, or itchiness. Our Medford, NY eye doctor can assist you with any lens issues that you may be having.

Sunblock and your Eyes


Individuals who have unfortunately gotten sunblock in their eyes are aware just how much it can sting. A real strong rub in the eye can even result in stinging that lasts for hours. It can be a while until the victim can feel comfortable enough to open his eyes, particularly in the glaring sun.


Needless to say rubbing sunscreen in your eyes is likely to cause a quick stop to a day of fun in the sun instantly. Though the discomfort will likely last for a while, it is important to treat it as soon as possible.


The most effective way to treat the condition is to flush out the eye under running water for some time. Doing so will rinse the sunscreen out of the eye but it probably won't ease the discomfort immediately. For discomfort, cool, wet compresses to the eyes may cause some relief. Using eye drops such as ClearEyes may help in rinsing out the eye, but they will cause burning.


After rinsing, it is normal for vision to be somewhat blurry. If pain persists into the next day see your eye care professional.


Preventative Tips


  1. Do not spray sunblock directly on the face. Always apply to the hands and rub into the face.

  2. Never permit small kids to put on sunblock themselves.

  3. Don't leave spray lotions in reach of children and use the lock mechanism when not in use.

  4. Rub sunscreen in completely.

  5. Be very careful not to apply sunscreen too close to the eyes.

  6. Use sunglasses to guard the eyes and the surrounding areas from ultraviolet rays.

Schedule Your Eye Examination in Medford, NY, in Honor of Cataracts Awareness Month


Many adults don't know that cataracts are the leading culprit for sight loss for people over 54. In truth, over 50% of adults over 65 have some amount of cataract development.


What is a cataract?


Cataracts occur when the ocular lens becomes clouded. The clouding inhibits the passage of light needed for proper vision.


Signs of cataracts


Many adults attribute vision loss with age however cataracts do have some symptoms that are distinct from typical age-related vision loss. Depending on the type of cataract, you may experience slightly blurry vision, increased glare from sun light or artificial light or a noticeable dullness of colors. Some cataracts show no symptoms until they are well developed while others may even result in a temporary improvement in near vision known as ''second sight''.


The term cataract derives from cataracta which means ''waterfall'' in Latin. This may be because the appearance of white opacities in the eye resembles the cloudy rush of water which also appears white. Senile cataracts, which occur in the elderly typically appear as an initial opacity in the lens, followed by swelling and shrinkage of the lens resulting in eventual blindness.


Preventing and Treating Cataracts


Researchers have not yet determined guaranteed ways to prevent the development of cataracts but some say that reducing UV exposure your eyes from UV rays with sunglasses can reduce cataract development. Some studies indicate that antioxidants and limited salt intake can also be preventative.


Although initial loss of sight can be treated using corrective devices such as glasses or magnifying lenses, at some point vision will likely be impaired enough to require surgical treatment. Cataract surgery is actually the most frequently performed surgery in the United States and is generally a success. Generally, the doctor removes the opaque lens and implants a clear plastic lens called an IOL (intraocular lens). For 90% of patients, they are able to restore vision to between 20/20 and 20/40.


Don't let eye problems go undiagnosed. A yearly eye exam is advised for every adult, particularly those over 40. Contact our Medford, NY eye practice today to book your appointment.

Getting Your Child’s Eyes Ready for School: Medford Kids’ Eye Exams


Back to school season is in full swing. It's also the time to examine your children's vision . Healthy eyesight is key to the thinking process and accomplishments in school. There are many activities that demand visual skills, such as reading, writing and computer work, which children are required to perform daily. However, studies show that 86 percent of children return to school without ever having a vision exam.


A good number of the issues a child struggles with in the classroom may be the result of vision difficulties. The number of children who are affected by undiagnosed vision problems is exceedingly high. Studies prove that 60 percent of students classified as "problem learners" really have undiagnosed vision troubles. Your child will be much better off if you take a proactive role in ensuring your child's vision is up to par.


Don't wait until your child enters kindergarten for his first comprehensive eye exam. Pediatricians should perform a dilated eye exam to detect any major eye problems within the first two months of life. It's crucial to uncover any issues immediately, since children generally respond better to treatment when diagnosed early. In addition as a parent, it's important to see whether your child enjoys reading. Generally, most preschoolers enjoy looking at books and try and decipher words. Children that don't read books may suffer from a vision issue. A comprehensive vision examination by a pediatric eye doctor should be one of the methods used in making a diagnosis. For a pediatric eye exam in Medford, NY, call us to schedule an appointment.


Keep in mind that the earlier a vision difficulty is detected and taken care of, the greater the chances for successful treatment. And eyesight is a key component for school. If a child's vision is flawed, he will have a much harder time with assignments. At the same time new technological advances in the classroom, including using interactive whiteboards, can also potentially exacerbate less obvious vision impairments. Without healthy vision, children may struggle not only at school, but also socially. This year, ensure your child a great year in school, by making sure their vision is in perfect condition. Contact us to book a Medford, NY eye exam today.

Boosting Your Adolescent’s Self-Esteem with Contact Lenses


No teen likes to be seen wearing something out of style, and in the case of some teenagers, glasses can often seem that way. Just the thought of ''four eyes'' can send an adolescent running in the other direction. As opposed to glasses, children and teens who wear contact lenses feel a significant enhancement in their looks, a newly published report shows. The research results indicate that beginning from the age of eight, children may prefer being given the option of contact lenses. Researchers published the study in the November issue of Eye & Contact Lens, the official publication of the Contact Lens Association.


So why are contacts such a good option for adolescents? Teenagers are self-conscious, and they often feel more positive about themselves if they're not sporting a pair of eyeglasses. Lenses can help young adults have a sense of greater self-esteem and more ease around others by providing them a less visible alternative for vision correction.


While teens are frequently provided with contact lenses, children younger than thirteen are typically not given the option of contacts, due to the fact that eye doctors and parents don't feel that children have the proper maturity to deal with them sufficiently. In reality, with proper instruction, even at age eight, children are just as competent at using and caring for contact lenses and they should be given the choice.


Generally before your child buys lenses you should ask your optometrist to discuss any potential problems your child might have. Our Medford, NY, optometry practice can assist you in determining the right prescription for your young adult's contacts.


If your child or teenager needs vision correction, why not consider lenses? Through just a simple soft lens, you can really change your teen's life. With the large variety of contacts on the market, you and your optometrist can work with your child to determine what modality best fits their personality, maturity and lifestyle.

Treating Some of the Most Common Eye Injuries


There are a number of kinds of eye injuries that can take place, some more serious than others. Some might necessitate emergency treatment and immediate care by an optometrist, while others can be taken care of at home. Read this guide to routine eye injuries, to plan out your next step in case of an accident. Don't forget that general safety protections such as wearing protective glasses may be the smartest way to keep your eyes healthy.


An example of an injury that should not be taken lightly is a scratched eye. It can cause serious damage in a short amount of time and possibly result in vision loss. Abrasions are generally caused by a poke in the eye, or scratching the eye when there is a particle of dust or sand in it. Since a scratch can make your eye susceptible to bacterial infection it's very important that you contact your eye doctor or an urgent care center. The best care for a corneal abrasion is to cover it loosely and to visit your optician immediately to check it out. Touching the eye will only make it worse and entirely covering the eye provides the perfect environment for bacteria.


Another possible eye issue is chemical burn. It can be frightening to be splashed in the eye by a potentially dangerous substance. It's important to know which substance went into your eye. A chemical's fundamental makeup is the most important factor. Although acids can cause substantial swelling and pain, they can be washed out fairly quickly. However, alkali substances that are bases can be more severe but may not appear to be since they don't cause as much immediate burning or swelling as acids.


Though it is sometimes unpleasant to anticipate a serious eye injury, it's recommended to know how to react in serious emergencies. By being prepared you can feel confident that you'll be ready to handle most typical eye issues. Of course, extra safety measures can help you avoid this type of injuries altogether so speak to your eye care practitioner about preventative eye care!

Why We All Should Book a Routine Eye Examination


For those of us who have healthy eyes, we sometimes overlook the importance of a routine eye exam. However, early diagnosis of any eye or vision problems is necessary to maintaining healthy eyes. And all it requires is a simple eye test.


Numerous eye and vision ailments have no apparent warning signs. As a result, individuals are often unaware that problems exist. Book a thorough optical exam at our Medford office, where our highly-trained optometry team offers service suited to the needs of every patient. Our Medford vision center employs cutting-edge technology ensuring a thorough examination.


Glaucoma strikes more than three million Americans proving to be the leading source of vision loss. Glaucoma is often called ''the sneak thief of sight'' because it can strike without any symptoms. Most adults in America don't use eye glasses or contacts and don't schedule regular eye exams, thus putting their eyes at risk.


The problem is that most individuals don't know that sight-stealing diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration are often a-symptomatic and without a comprehensive exam are frequently diagnoses only when it's too late.


Early eye disease detection should be on your to-do list. Make sure to schedule regular eye exams with your local eye doctor in order to maintain healthy eyes for years to come.

10 Summer Eye Care Tips


It’s official – summer is here and it’s time to ensure you keep your eyes protected from the risks of UV exposure and other summertime dangers.


Here are some tips to stay safe in the sun:


  1. Buy glasses that provide proper UV protection. If your sunglasses don’t protect against 100% of UV rays, they may be resulting in more damage than benefit.  Not to fear, proper UV blockage doesn’t have to cost more – many reasonably priced brands give full UV protection.

  2. Choose shades that offer complete coverage. When choosing sunglasses, think big. Make sure to opt for glasses with wraparound frames and wide lenses.

  3. Wear a broad sun hat or visor. While glasses are a good first step, a large hat will give you the added defense you need to shade your eyes from UV.

  4. Wear sunglasses on cloudy days. Even on cloudy days, harmful UV light is still able to peek through the clouds and do damage to your eyes. Even when the sun is hiding, it’s important to keep protected.

  5. Have an emergency pair on hand. You never know when a mishap can happen causing your glasses to break or get lost. Having a spare will keep you from being left without eye protection.

  6. Drink enough. Drinking a minimum of 8 cups of water a day will not only keep you and your skin hydrated but it will keep your eyes moist and hydrated as well.

  7. Avoid midday sun. Stay indoors as much as possible especially between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is at its strongest and the highest levels of UV are in the air.

  8. Consider purchasing polarized lenses. Polarized lenses reduce the reflection off of surfaces such as water. Perfect for water sports, beaching or driving, they provide more comfort during outdoor activities.

  9. When participating in outdoor activities such as boating, sitting by a campfire or hiking, be sure to use proper eye protection to avoid eye injuries.

  10. Be careful not to apply sunscreen too close to the eyes as it can enter the eye and burn.

All You Should Know About Children’s Eye Protection


Did you know that annual statistics show that sports-related eye injuries account for 40,000 emergency room visits? This is equal to an injury every 13 minutes! Eye Care professionals agree that most of those damage could be simply avoided by wearing protective eyewear. More often than not eye damaging accidents happen when people of all ages are enjoying sports or during household chores. Kids are especially at risk for accidents involving eye damage, which frequently happen during active play.


Having your kids use protective glasses when participating in sports will significantly lower the chances of eye injuries on the field. You can encourage your kids by purchasing a pair of new wraparound safety glasses for yourself to wear when involved in contact sports or working with dangerous equipment. Insist your children follow your example. Additionally, let your children choose safety glasses in the fashion they like.


In order to choose a pair with the right fit and the proper amount of protection, consult with a qualified optometrist for suggestions. Our staff members are happy to help you in purchasing the right pair of glasses for your child, depending on your child's particular needs. If your child has glasses, protective eyewear can be purchased with prescription lenses from your eye care center. Consider trivex or polycarbonate lenses for a child that engages in contact sports. They are not only more durable, but also more light-weight than plastic lenses, which tends to be less obtrusive during active play.


Don't skimp when it comes to buying a pair of protective glasses. It's worth it when it comes to safeguarding your child's vision!

Truth or Myth: Do Carrots Improve your Vision?

Can carrots really enhance vision? While eye care professionals affirm that carrots are made up of large quantities of a beta-carotene that has proven to be very good for your eyes, carrots can not replace suitable corrective eye care.

Beta-carotene is an orange colored pigment (carotenoid) that converts into vitamin A once digested in the body. Vitamin A strengthens the surface of the eye (cornea) and has been determined to prevent certain eye diseases such as corneal ulcers. Vitamin A, which is composed of a number of antioxidants, guards the surface of the eye to reduce the risk of ocular infections and other infectious diseases. Vitamin A has also shown to be a successful solution for dry eye syndrome and other eye disorders. A lack of vitamin A (which is exist more in poor and developing countries) is known to cause night blindness, corneal ulcers and retinal damage which can lead to complete blindness.

Two forms of vitamin A exist, which depend upon the nutritional source from which they come. Vitamin A originating from an animal is called Retinol and can be obtained from foods such as beef, liver, or dairy products. Vitamin A that is obtained from fruits and vegetables exists in the form of ''provitamin A'' carotenoids, which are converted to retinol after the nutrients are digested. In addition to carrots, carotenoids can be found in colorful fruits and vegetables such as oranges, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and cantaloupes.

It is proven that through most forms, vitamin A is beneficial to your eyes as well as your overall health. Although carrots themselves won't fix optical distortion which causes near or far-sightedness, mother had it right when she said ''finish your carrots.''

Know the Danger that UV Pose to Your Eyes

 

Because of education to inform the public of the dangers of Ultraviolet (UV) rays to your skin, (such as sunburn and skin cancer), most are aware of the need for using sunblock and avoiding direct contact with the sun particularly during the blazing summer months. What is less known is that ultraviolet rays and other harmful types of radiation from the sun also pose a risk to your eyes.

If you are considering going outside without proper eye protection, reconsider. Continual absorption of the sun's ultraviolet rays has been linked to eye damage.

Risks of UV Eye Exposure

Intense UV exposure over a short amount of time can result in a ''sunburn on the eye'', which results in pain, blurred vision or even temporary vision loss. In the long run, UV exposure can cause more threatening eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and others, which can be a threat to vision. Those who use welding machines, tanning beds and lasers are also at increased risk of exposure to UV radiation.

Selecting UV Protective Sunglasses

To guard your eyes from harmful UV rays, you should only purchase sunglasses that completely block all UV rays. Stick with sunglasses labeled ''UV 400'', which indicates that they block both UVA and UVB rays from entering your eyes (400 refers to the wavelength of light in nanometers).

You also want to choose sunglasses with full eye coverage. Sunglasses with side protection can prevent harmful UV rays from entering from the sides and back of the frame.

It's not necessary to pay a lot to have proper UV coverage, but it's essential to be certain the sunglasses give full UV coverage. Many less-exclusive brands do offer proper defense from the dangerous effects of exposure to UV light. The great news is that in addition to keeping your eyes protected from the harmful sunlight, trendy shades are at the height of fashion, so go buy yourself a pair (or two) and let the sun shine down!

The Do’s and Don’ts of Caring for Your Contacts

 

Contact lenses need proper handling in order to be a safe and feasible choice for those selecting corrective eye wear. Improper care can lead to damaged contacts, or even worse, eye infections or abrasions, which occasionally results in blindness. People of all ages that are not ready to take care of their contact lenses may want to opt for an alternate form of vision correction.

Not to worry, though… proper lens care is simpler than ever. With all-in-one treatments and disposable lenses, taking care of your lenses is cheaper, requires less time and involves less effort than in the past. Still, there are several essential instructions to keep in mind.

Firstly it's always best to consult with your optometrist to receive personalized advice. In addition, make sure you don't change your care routine without asking your eye doctor first. Certain solutions are not compatible with each other or with certain kinds of lenses and can harm your eyes. Our expert staff can help you determine the right care for your contacts.

Proper lens care necessitates cleaning and disinfecting your lenses daily. Make sure to wash your hands before inserting or removing your contact lenses. Your eyes are one of the most direct routes for dirt and germs to enter your body. Further, avoid the mistake of using saline solution for cleaning or disinfecting your contacts. This is only suitable for rinsing and storing soft lenses. In addition, be careful to clean your lens case with multi-purpose solution frequently and to let it air out between uses. Eye Doctors recommend that you switch your case at least four times a year.

It's true that there may be an array of lens care options, but with a little planning you can be sure you are treating your lenses properly, guaranteeing healthier eyes and clearer vision!

Why RGP’s Might be Great for You

 

While you may be most accustomed to soft contact lenses, another less familiar brand of contact lenses exists: rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lenses, also called oxygen permeable lenses.

In reality, hard lenses involve newer technology than soft lenses, which are longer-lasting, are often more successful in improving eyesight, and provide better durability and deposit resistance. Further RGP lenses may also be less expensive in the long run than soft lenses. Certainly, its best to first discuss with your eye doctor to determine whether hard lenses fit your lifestyle. Our optometry office can assist you in determining if you’re a candidate for hard lenses.

Because a GP is constructed from inflexible material, it retains its shape well when you blink, which tends to allow for sharper vision than the average soft lens. Additionally RGPs are extremely strong. Though they will break if stepped on, they don’t tear easily like soft lenses. Further, because they're composed of substances that don't include water, proteins or lipids from your tears don’t stick to RGPs as readily as they will to soft lenses. People that are especially fussy about vision quality will probably opt for RGPs.

One of the inconveniences of RGPs is that they need to be worn consistently to achieve maximum comfort. Further, some people report “spectacle blur” with RGPs, which is when eyesight is unclear when contact lenses are removed even while still wearing glasses. Although the effect is not permanent, it can require full-time GP usage.

When checking out GP lenses, make sure to first speak to your optometrist to find out if you definitely are a candidate. Who knows…hard lenses could be the perfect match for you!

Don’t Let Eye Allergies Get You Down

If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes it could be due to spring eye allergies. For some, March begins pollen season, marking the onset of uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Springtime eye allergies are largely due to an influx of tree and flower pollen into the atmosphere and can greatly inhibit everyday functioning for those that experience them.

What can you do to guard your eyes this pollen season? Whenever possible reduce exposure to pollen which means staying indoors, in particular when the pollen count is high. Keeping windows shut, using air conditioners and putting on full-coverage shades when exposed to the elements may also help to reduce contact with allergens in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used clear allergens from the air when you are inside.

Since most of us have to go outside on occasion, there are medicines that can treat symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. Often times a basic lubricating eye drop will moisturize and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and remove irritants. Medicines with antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers will allay inflammation of the eyes as well as non-eye related symptoms such as cold-like symptoms. Eye drops are sometimes recommended because they can work more quickly and effectively than pills or liquid medications to treat eye problems.

Contact lens wearers often have worse symptoms from eye allergy season since irritants can enter the eye and accumulate on the exterior of the lens, causing an allergic reaction. Further, oral antihistamines can dry out the eyes, worsening the situation. Those who wear contacts are advised to make sure to keep their eyes lubricated and switch contacts as directed. Many optometrists suggest the use of daily disposable contacts, since replacing your contact lenses daily lessens the opportunity for allergens to accumulate.

If your eyes are irritated, don't rub them. Doing so will only exacerbate the irritation. Since some of the products that work to alleviate symptoms do require a prescription, if over-the-counter medications do not help, see your eye doctor.

Purchasing Glasses Online…A Good Idea? Not Necessarily

While many Internet users have become used to buying more and more products on the Web, glasses are an item that you should consider purchasing in person. Why? Even though you may find cheaper rates on the Internet, the advantages of going to an optician far outweigh the ''deals'' you might score online.

One of the best reasons for purchasing glasses at an eye wear store is that you have an experienced optician to advise you through the process. Our staff can assist you with the numerous considerations you will account for in choosing the right pair of glasses. If you purchase through the Internet, you forgo the experienced advice of an eye care expert.

In addition to the help you will find at a real optical boutique, an additional advantage you have is that you get to try on the eyeglasses before you purchase. Frames that don't fit properly can cause annoyance and discomfort and may even affect your ability to see properly. Plus, you aren't able to see how they really look or how they feel until you have them in your hands to put on. Even more than your wardrobe, eyeglasses require accurate fit and comfort to work effectively.

Beyond the fit and feel of your glasses, proper vision requires accurate PD measurement. The optical focus of your lenses gives you the best vision, making it essential to correctly measure the space between your pupils, or PD. It can be complicated to measure your own PD, but without it, your lenses won't be placed properly in the frames.

Yes, online buying is often great for other types of purchases, but when it comes to eyeglasses you're better off staying with your local optometry office where you can benefit from the staff expertise and advice.

How to Protect Against Dry Eyes This Cold Season

While it is common to refer to winter as the wet time of year due to the precipitation, the air is actually a lot dryer in the winter, causing your eyes to be irritated more easily.

Our optometry staff is available to assist you in selecting the best ways to hydrate your eyes this winter. Even before you step outside you can help your eyes by using a humidifier. Optometrists advocate the use of humidifiers in spaces with forced air heaters, which can take away moisture from the environment.

Additionally, make sure to take additional precautions once you're going outside and will be exposed to the frigid air. You can further protect your eyes from the elements by putting on a brimmed hat and wearing sunglasses. The point is to keep the swirling winds away and stop evaporation of the tear film in your eyes.

Another practical tip for keeping your eyes moist this dry season, is using good eye cream. Our eye care center can suggest a good eye cream to help you care for the delicate eye area.

Don't forget that if you have contact lenses it’s important to be particularly careful in the colder months. If able, make use of rewetting drops as often as you can. While you may not recognize it, lenses are like sponges and are required to stay hydrated to keep their shape. Once they begin to dry out, the contacts can lose their shape and cling to the eyeball, causing discomfort and blurriness. So do your eyes a favor and keep them lubricated this winter. With a little awareness and planning, you can stay clear of the hazards of winter and keep your eyes clear and moisturized all season long!

February is AMD and Low Vision Awareness Month

February has been declared age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and low vision awareness month. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the number one cause of visual impairment for individuals age 65 and over. AMD often leads to low vision, a term eye doctors use to describe significant visual impairment that cannot be corrected by standard treatments such as regular eye glasses, contacts, medicine or even eye surgery. For those with AMD, a degenerative eye disease, damage is caused to the macula, the area of the retina which is responsible for sharp vision in the central visual field. The disease causes a vision loss relating to the central vision zone, but usually doesn’t affect peripheral vision.

Vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration usually comes on gradually and painlessly over time but rarely impairment can drastically appear seemingly overnight. Early signs of low vision from AMD include shadowy areas in your central visual field or unusually distorted sight. While AMD doesn’t have a cure yet, early diagnosis and attention can halt progression of the degeneration and subsequently prevent vision loss. For individuals who have already suffered from vision impairment, a normal life can be maintained with low-vision rehabilitation.

Those at higher risk of AMD include individuals over 65, females, Caucasians and individuals with blue eye color, severe farsightedness or family members with the disease. Risk factors that can be minimized include smoking, hypertension, exposure to UV light and inactivity. Proper exercise and diet including certain nutrients can reduce your risk.

Individuals who suffer from low vision should consult with their optometrist about low vision training and specialized equipment that can enable independence. After a proper examination, a low vision professional can suggest helpful low vision aids such as magnifiers and non-optical adaptive aids such as special light fixtures and signatureguides.

Although AMD is more likely in the elderly, anyone can be affected and therefore it is recommended for every individual to have a yearly eye exam to assess eye health and learn about ways to prevent AMD and low vision.

Be Informed About Glaucoma

In order to increase awareness about the ''silent blinding diseases,'' January has been declared National Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of permanent vision loss, accounting for 9%-12% of all cases of blindness in the United States and effecting nearly 70 million people around the world. Since the disease has no early symptoms, experts believe that nearly 50% of patients with glaucoma are unaware of their condition.

Glaucoma is actually a number of eye diseases that have the common affect of causing damage to the eye's optic nerve, the conduit that transmits images to be processed in the brain. Although anyone can develop glaucoma, those at higher risk include African Americans over age 40, senior citizens, in particular of Mexican ancestry, and those with a family history of glaucoma.

Because blindness due to optic nerve damage is irreversible, early diagnosis of glaucoma is essential. This is difficult however, because symptoms are often not present before the optic nerve is damaged, and usually start with an irreparable loss of peripheral (side) vision.

There is no treatment for glaucoma, however current methods of treatment, including medication or surgery, can halt the progression of the disease and reduce further vision impairment. Treatment depends upon a few variables, which include the type of damage and the extent of vision loss.

The NIH's National Eye Institute recently found that while ninety percent of people had heard of glaucoma, only eight percent were aware that it presents no early warning symptoms. Only a qualified optometrist can identify the early effects of glaucoma, by means of a comprehensive glaucoma screening. We recommend a yearly screening as the most effective way to prevent damage from this potentially devastating disease. Don’t delay in scheduling your yearly glaucoma screening before it’s too late.

Winter Eye Care Advice… It’s Time for Sunglasses

You read correctly. Sunglasses are not only an important accessory in the summer. Although many of us are informed of the damage the sun poses to our eyes in the summertime, we don't all realize that we need to take extra care in the wintertime as well.

In reality, those ultraviolet rays that beat down on you during the summer are still around in the winter. And they could be a threat to your eyes, particularly when bounced off a bright snow-covered ground. Those of you who love get-aways that involve snow-based activities should be especially careful if you plan to spend an extended amount of time in the intense reflected sunlight which is potentially damaging to the eye. It's very important to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

So what measures should you take to guard your eyes in the winter months? Eye doctors suggest wearing sunglasses with strong UV protection, so be sure to purchase a durable pair of sunglasses because you'll wear it the whole year. Purchase a pair that is comfortable and totally shields your eyes.

Our professionals can assist you to ensure you're getting sunglasses that provide you with the best protection. In addition, there are a variety of different lenses available and we can help you choose the combination that fits your lifestyle. Don't neglect your eyes on the ski slopes either. A good set of ski goggles preferably having polycarbonate lenses can help protect your eyes from renegade branches, reckless ski poles and other slope dangers.

This winter take out those sunglasses… your eyes will feel the difference.
 

Eyeglasses Are Back!

 

Eyeglasses Are Back!

Picking out new eyeglasses can be a daunting task, whether you're getting your very first pair or you've worn them nearly all your life. The sheer volume of eyeglass choices can be torture to work your way through if you don't have any idea what you're looking for.

Not only are there many different shapes and colors in eyeglass frames, but advances in technology have also brought us a variety of new materials, for both the frames and the lenses, which makes eyeglasses more durable, lightweight and user-friendly. Eyeglass frames are now created from high-tech materials such as titanium and "memory metal" for the ultimate in strength and style, while the lenses are now thinner and lighter than ever before, even in high prescriptions.

Lens options, such as anti-reflective coating, light-changing tints, progressive lenses and new high-tech, light weight materials such as Trivex(TM) and polycarbonate, let you choose a pair of eyeglasses that enhances your vision, no matter what you like to do.

Request Your Next Appointment Online

You can now request your next appointment online!

Visit the Contact Us section of our site at anytime and complete the form.  We'll receive the form via email and call you back to confirm your appointment request.  We'll be sure to call you back within one business day.

Online Registration Forms

You can now request your next appointment online. 

Visit the Contact Us section of our web site and complete the Patient Registration Form.  The form is secure and our office will be notified once the form is complete.  When you walk in for your next appointment, we'll already  have the information entered into our computers.  We're always looking for ways to serve our patients better.