Health Blog - Page 7 of 7 - All About Eyes

5 Reasons You Should Wear Sunglasses in the Summer

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This month’s post about the importance of wearing sunglasses is written by a guest blogger from the vision insurance professionals at VSP and approved by Dr. Dave and Dr. Cheryl.

Beyond being one of summer’s most trendy accessories, sunglasses are easily the most practical. You may be under the impression that sunglasses are just a fashionable way to keep the sun out of your eyes but they are actually doing much more than just keeping you from squinting or improving your fashion sense.

The following are characteristics of your summer eye wear that you may have never considered your sunglasses capable of.

Prevent eyelid cancer

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, eyelid cancer accounts for about 5% to 10% of all kinds of skin cancer. The two most common forms of eyelid cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, are found predominantly in people who have had extensive exposure to the sun throughout their lives.

Protect Your EyesWhen not diagnosed and treated right away, eyelid cancer can spread rapidly and damage vision as well as disfigure the face. Another form of cancer that can affect the eyelids, melanoma, can be deadly if it’s allowed to spread.

Frequent sunburns and sun exposure has been linked to skin cancer. Since the eyelids and skin surrounding the eyes are so thin and sensitive, they are much more susceptible to damage from the sun.

Wearing sunglasses with adequate UV protection is an effective way to limit your eye’s exposure to the harmful rays of the sun, especially on bright days or around water and snow, which reflect sunlight making it more intense.

Protect the retina

The retina, where images are formed and sent to the brain, can deteriorate over time, causing macular degeneration, which leads to vision loss. Macular degeneration (the macula is the area of the retina with the sharpest focus) is common in the U.S. among people 60 and older, and some studies have pointed to UV exposure as a possible link.

More research is needed, but in the meantime, we do know that sunglasses can help protect your retina. This means sunglasses are at least one way of prevention against macular degeneration.

Stop cataracts from forming

UV rays are a contributor to the forming of cataracts, which is clouding on the crystalline lens. Cataracts often lead to blindness, since the crystalline lens is responsible for focusing your eyes. However, cataracts can be treated with surgery (over one million procedures are performed in the U.S. every year to remove cataracts).

Protect the cornea from sunburn

Another area of the eye susceptible to damage from UV rays is the cornea, which is the clear, refracting membrane outside the retina. The cornea can literally be burned by UV light, leading to corneal sunburn, or keratitis.

A good pair of sunglasses with UV protection helps prevent corneal sunburn, and it’s especially important to wear eye protection when using a tanning machine or while skiing.

Protect the whites of your eyes

The conjunctiva is the thin membrane that covers the white area of your eyes, and excessive exposure to the sun can cause it to become inflamed and irritated. As it gets more inflamed, the conjunctiva can swell over your cornea, partially blocking your vision (a condition referred to as pterygium or “surfer’s eye”). In extreme cases, surgery is required to remove pterygium.

Not all sunglasses are created equal

Wear Sunglasses to Protect Your EyesSince virtually all areas of the eye can be damaged by overexposure to sunlight, sunglasses can go a long way to ensure long-lasting eye health. Choosing the right kind of sunglasses is important, and some brands may offer little or no protection.

When shopping for a pair of sunglasses, look for a pair with a label that clearly states that they offer at least 99-100% UV protection. Wider lenses and wrap-around styles will also provide more protection, simply because they cover your eyes from more angles.

Early detection

While prevention is critical, all of the eye conditions described above can be detected during a routine eye exam.  Getting your eyes checked regularly is crucial to maintaining normal eye health.

So while it’s important to shield your eyes from the potentially damaging effects of the sun, there’s no reason you can’t do it in style with your favorite pair of sunglasses.

 

Post Provided by VSPDirect      Photo Credit: Clint, Chris


Nearsightedness (Myopia)

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Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/haglundc/4736600901/Myopia or nearsightedness causes you to see close objects clearly, but objects that are farther away appear blurry. A nearsighted prescription begins with a minus symbol, for example, -2.5.

An adult may notice the onset of myopia when driving – road signs are blurred or stop lights and head lights have a pronounced halo effect. A child may have difficulty reading the whiteboard at school or may come home from school complaining of headaches caused by squinting when trying to focus on the front of the classroom.

Causes

Nearsightedness can be caused by either an elongation of the eyeball, a hyper curved cornea or lens, or a combination of the two. When light rays hit the eye, they focus at a point in front of the retina.

Nearsightedness often begins in childhood with a genetic predisposition – if your parents wear glasses, you have a greater chance of wearing glasses, too. Your myopic vision prescription may progress with age, especially during childhood and teenage years, but usually will level off as you enter adulthood.

Treatment

The good news is that there are now several ways to correct myopia:

  • Eyeglasses
  • Contact Lenses
  • LASIK
  • Photorefractive Keratectomy (PRK)

 
If you suspect you are experiencing nearsightedness, schedule an appointment at our office by calling 609-653-9933 or use our online appointment scheduler. Dr. Dave or Dr. Cheryl will examine your eyes and talk with you about the pros and cons of each type of treatment while determining if you are a candidate for contacts or photorefractive surgery. Together you can choose the best type of correction for your myopia, and you’ll be seeing clearly in no time.


Dry Eyes

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dry eyeIf you experience dry eyes, you are not alone. Nearly half of all American adults experience dry eye syndrome on a regular basis. Dry eye syndrome occurs when the glands near your eyes don’t produce enough tears or your tears evaporate before they can lubricate your eye.

There are many different causes of dry eyes, both physical and environmental. Regardless of the cause, it’s an ongoing condition with several treatments available to manage the dryness, burning, redness and irritation you may be experiencing.

Physical Causes

  • Several autoimmune diseases including thyroid disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Sjogren’s syndrome, and ocular rosacea
  • Aging and menopause
  • A person’s eyelid doesn’t close all the way, either because of a genetic condition or as a result of cosmetic eyelid surgery
  • A side effect of medication
  • Long-term contact lens wearing
  • Eyelid disease
  • Dehydration

 

Environmental Causes

  • Air conditioning or dry heating
  • Staring at a computer screen for too long
  • Smoking
  • Cold or windy weather

 

Treatment

The first and most important step in treating dry eyes is a visit to your optometrist or ophthalmologist who can help you determine the cause of dryness. He or she will provide a thorough examination and may even refer you to another doctor for testing if an autoimmune disease is the suspected cause or if your medication is causing dry eyes. During your exam at All About Eyes, Dr. Cheryl or Dr. Dave will recommend one or more of the following treatments for dry eye syndrome:

  • Artificial tear drops, available over the counter
  • Prescription eye drops
  • Contact lens rewetting drops
  • Silicone plugs inserted into the tear ducts
  • Washing of the tear ducts to remove built up oil that may stop tear production
  • Drinking more water to improve dehydration
  • Omega-3 or flaxseed oil nutritional supplements
  • Changing to a different brand of contact lens or discontinuing contact lens wear

 

Don’t put up with the uncomfortable, even painful feeling of dry eyes. Make an appointment with Dr. Dave or Dr. Cheryl Roell today by calling us at 609-653-9933.


What Optomap retinal imaging can reveal about your health

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Image of the eye taken with optomap retinal imaging machine

Image of the eye taken with optomap retinal imaging machine

When you visit your optometrist for an annual eye exam, you are put through a variety of tests to check for any number of conditions related to your eyes: nearsightedness, farsightedness, glaucoma, color blindness, retinal detachment, and loss of peripheral vision.

Thanks to technology called Optomap retinal imaging, your eye doctor can uncover several health problems that could otherwise go undetected. The Optomap provides your doctor with a digital ultra-widefield, high definition view of your retina (see image).  Retinal imaging provides a closer look at the blood vessels located at the back of the eye, the optic nerve, macula, and the retinal tissue.  This imaging can provide an early diagnosis of glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, melanoma, macular degeneration and many other systemic and ocular conditions.

In addition to these eye-related conditions, psychological scientists are discovering that retinal imaging can provide insight into the health of your brain. According to a study published by the Association for Psychological Science, the size of the blood vessels in your eyes may be linked with IQ and cognitive function.

The study reveals that

Retinal blood vessels share similar size, structure, and function with blood vessels in the brain and can provide a way of examining brain health in living humans. Individuals who had wider retinal venules [the very small blood vessels in your eyes] showed evidence of general cognitive deficits, with lower scores on numerous measures of neurospsychological functioning, including verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory, and executive function.

Although your optometrists will not be evaluating your IQ when they use retinal imaging to examine the health of your eyes, they will look for signs of an onset of retinal disorders.   Although Optomap retinal imaging is an elective test, it is recommended for everyone.  For best results, your doctor should take a baseline image when you are a new patient so that he or she can check annually for changes alerting them to problems even before you experience any noticeable symptoms. With early detection through retinal imaging, you can prevent long-term effects including vision loss. At your next visit to All About Eyes, ask Dr. Dave and Dr. Cheryl about how they use retinal imaging to help their patients.


Announcing Altair Sunlites – Sunshades for Eyeglasses

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Altair Sunlites frames with 2 sunshade clips and one 3D clip

Did you know that the sun’s rays can be just as damaging to your eyes in the winter as in the summer? According to The Vision Council, fresh snow reflects nearly 80% of UV radiation. If you enjoy skiing, sledding, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or just walking your dog on a sunny winter day, but you haven’t purchased a pair prescription sunglasses, now is the time to do so.  The Vision Council says, “Anytime an individual is outdoors they should limit winter UV exposure by wearing appropriate UV protection,” and we agree!

We know that not everyone wants the hassle of switching their eye glasses and sunglasses when they go in and out of doors. That’s why we are pleased to announce the newest line of sunshades at All About Eyes. Altair Sunlites are durable, stainless steel frames for clear prescription lenses that come with an optional package of three rimless magnetic clip-on lenses:

  • A polarized clip to filter glare, improve clarity, and block UV rays
  • A 3D clip so you can watch 3D movies without wearing bulky, uncomfortable 3D glasses when you go to the cinema (compatible with most passive technology 3D systems)
  • A contrast clip with anti-reflective coating for low-light conditions when you still need protection from glare

The frames are attractive, with spring hinges and no bulky magnets. The clips are custom-fit for each Sunlites style, and sold in a set of three for one low price. Protect your eyes in comfort and style. Stop in today to see if Sunlites are a good fit for you and your lifestyle.


Cataracts

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drawing of an eye with and without a cataract

Cataracts occur when the protein in a person’s eyes clumps together, causing a cloudy area on the lens of the eye. A cataract may occur in one or both eyes, at the back, center, or edge of the lens. Cataracts cause a progressive loss of vision with symptoms including blurred vision, glare, and/or dullness of light. Cataracts are not painful.

Cataracts are often age-related. They are common in people over 60 years old, but they can occur in people of any age who have had trauma to the head or eye. In rare cases, babies and children can experience cataracts. Luckily, with recent advances in surgery, cataracts can be treated successfully with a minimal chance of complication.

Treatment

Cataracts are treated using surgery to replace the lens of the eye with a clear plastic intraocular lens, not only improving glare, contrast, and depth perception, but restoring vision to 20/20 or better.

Prevention

If a person lives long enough, they will inevitably develop a cataract. But there are ways to minimize early onset of cataracts in your eyes.

  • Start by wearing a quality pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV rays of the sun
  • If you smoke, please stop. Smokers are more than 2 times likely to get cataracts than non-smokers
  • If you have diabetes, treat it properly
  • Eat a diet full of fruits and vegetables. Anti-oxidant rich foods can keep your eyes healthy
  • Take a multivitamin designed to promote eye health
  • Visit your eye doctor regularly, especially if  you are over 40 years old or have a family history of cataracts

 

If you suspect you have cataracts in one or both eyes, make an appointment at All About Eyes. Dr. Dave or Dr. Cheryl will conduct a comprehensive eye exam and discuss cataracts with you in more detail. Give us a call at 609-653-9933 to set up an appointment today.


Color Blindness

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Color Blind TestColor blindness is an inherited condition that affects the way your eyes distinguish certain colors. Color blindness does not mean you are blind, nor does it mean that you see in black and white. It means that you can’t see two or more colors. The most common form of color blindness is red-green color deficiency, but a person can also experience blue-yellow color blindness.

Inherited color blindness is more prevalent in males than females. 8 percent of men experience color blindness while less than one percent of women do.

Degrees of color blindness can also be caused by certain diseases including Parkinson’s and cataracts. It can also be a side effect of epilepsy medication.

Diagnosis

When you receive your annual eye exam or if you suspect you have a form of color blindness, your eye doctor will perform a simple visual test to diagnose the condition.

Treatment

Except in the case of cataract surgery, there is no treatment for color blindness.  You can learn to enhance your color perception by enlisting help from friends and family who can point out colors of common objects. You can also memorize color patterns in traffic signals, signs, and food labels.

If you suspect you are color blind or have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or cataracts, visit Dr. Dave or Dr. Cheryl for a comprehensive eye exam including a test for color blindness. Give us a call at 609-653-9933 to set up an appointment today.


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