Are you managing your eye allergies?

What are eye allergies?

Eye allergies occur when your eyes react to an irritant in the environment. These irritants, also called allergens, can include dust, pollen, smoke, fragrances, and pet dander, which can come from a variety of sources.

When exposed to an allergen, your eyes produce a substance called histamine to fight it off, and in turn, causing your eyes to become red, swollen, and itchy. Eyes can also tear, have a burning sensation, or even develop a sensitivity to light.

Symptoms

  • Redness in the eye
  • Eye swelling
  • Eye itching
  • Burning sensation in the eye
  • Excess tearing of the eye
  • Sensitivity to light

Managing Your Eye Allergies

To manage your eye allergies, you first need to understand the cause or allergen. If needed, skin or blood tests can be performed by an allergist to determine the best way to manage allergies and reduce irritation. Once known, try these recommended ways to reduce and manage your eye allergy symptoms.

Avoidance

Avoiding or reducing your exposure to the cause of your allergies is typically the first course of treatment to relieve symptoms.

Outdoor Allergens

For example, if you are allergic to pollen, avoiding the outdoors when pollen counts are high, closing windows, and wearing sunglasses to keep pollen away from your eyes. By using your AC instead of window fans during high pollen counts, you can reduce irritants indoors.

Indoor Allergens

For indoor allergens like dust or dander, use mite-proof covers and clean your bedding frequently. Remember to keep your windows closed and air conditioning filter clean during allergy season.

Eye Drops / Medication

  • Use artificial tears to help temporarily wash allergens away from the eye.
  • Take a decongestant (which may include antihistamines) for a short-term basis to help reduce redness and itchiness in the eyes.
  • Oral antihistamines can help reduce redness and itchiness but may make your eyes feel dry.

Are you suffering from eye allergies? Talk to us about the steps we can take to treat them.

Five Types of Eyewear Everyone Needs!

Your day-to-day tasks change, so the glasses you need will vary. Below are five types of eyewear everyone needs!

Computer Eyewear

The average person spends about eight hours looking at their computer a day, and this often results in tired and strained eyes. Computer eyewear helps alleviate the eye strain that is associated with staring at a computer screen for extended periods. There are three options when it comes to this type of eyewear:

Single Vision Computer Eyewear: used to reduce blurred vision and help alleviate eye strain and poor posture

Occupational Progressive Lenses: a multifocal lens that corrects near, intermediate, and distance vision

Occupational Bifocal Lenses: higher zone and improved vision for intermediate and near vision

Computer eyewear comes with many benefits, including clearer vision and a reduction in the need to strain your eyes and back.

Photochromic Lenses

It’s essential to protect your eyes outside, but it can be inconvenient to switch between eyeglasses and sunglasses. With photochromic lenses, you can protect your eyes without having to switch between frames. They are clear while you are inside but darken when exposed to ultraviolet light. Even on an overcast day, your photochromic lenses will protect your eyes from the sun’s UV rays.

Polarized Eyewear

With polarized lenses, you can prevent the glare from sunlight reflecting off of surfaces and into your eyes. These lenses can be helpful in many situations which boating, fishing, going to the beach, and even driving.

Safety Glasses

It might be worth looking into glasses strictly meant for protecting your eyes. This eyewear–often in the form of safety glasses, sports goggles, or shooting glasses–is durable and useful for protecting your eyes and providing more coverage than typical lenses.

Fashion Eyewear

Depending on the look you are going for, you may find it necessary to have a pair of glasses complementing the look. A night out on the town is going to require a more stylish frame than what you need for work. Having different styles of glasses can help remove the dilemma of having a pair that doesn’t match the occasion by giving you situation-specific options.

Do you want to take the next steps in getting eyewear for all occasions? Contact our office today to ask our staff any questions you have about these types of eyewear.

Children’s Vision Protocol

Children constantly grow and change. Their clothes become too small, their shoes become too tight, and their skills become more advanced. Although for parents, these stepping stones may happen too fast, it’s a part of life. It is important to get your children’s vision regularly checked to keep up with this constant activity throughout their fast-paced life. Below are a few questions parents may have surrounding their child’s first eye exam:

Questions About Your Children’s Vision

  • Why are children’s eye exams so important?
  • When should my child have an eye examination?
  • What goes into scheduling my child’s first eye exam?
  • What are the common eye tests my child will have to do?

Why are children’s eye exams so important?

Children use their eyes to do everything! Your child’s success in learning and development can be, in part, traced back to their vision. About 80% of the information a child learns in school is taught visually, making clear vision essential for a child’s developmental success. A comprehensive eye exam for your child will ensure they have the precise eye teaming, eye movement, and focusing skills needed to succeed.

When should your child have an eye examination?

Your child should typically have his/her first eye exam around six months of age. If your eye doctor determines your child’s vision is normal, their next eye exam commonly isn’t required until three years old, and then again around five or six. Following this checkup, it’s common to have an exam every other year as long as your child doesn’t develop any vision problems that require attention.

What goes into scheduling your child’s first eye exam?

After scheduling your child’s first eye exam, pay attention to these warning signs your child may need vision correction. If you notice any of the above, make sure to mention this to your doctor during your child’s exam.

  • Delayed motor movement
  • Constantly rubbing of his her/eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Failure to maintain eye contact
  • Poor eye tracking skills

What are common eye tests my child will have to take?

The tests your eye doctor performs depend on your child’s age. For infants, typical tests will make sure their pupils are filtering light and focusing properly on objects. For preschool children, tests focus on retinoscopy, lazy eye, proper alignment, and general eye health.

Do you want to take the next steps in ensuring your child has full potential regarding his/her vision?

Contact our office today to ask our staff any questions you have about your child’s next appointment. Our team is prepared to guide you through the next steps in ensuring your family’s vision stays in line.

Vision Development and Children

Childhood is a critical time for vision development. Nearly 80% of what a child learns in school is presented visually. Arguably making vision the most important of the five senses. Visual skills start developing during pregnancy and continue to evolve and develop as a child grows. Undetected vision problems can cause developmental and educational delays in children.

Infant Vision Development

Your infant’s vision starts developing during pregnancy. It is crucial that toxins are not consumed during pregnancy as they can cause serious vision problems. At birth, babies only see black, white, and shades of gray. Infants are unable to focus on objects for several months and can only see the outline of objects.

As infants grow, they can distinguish between high contrast colors. By six months your child can see color, has sharper vision, and has begun developing hand-eye coordination skills. Schedule your child’s first eye exam at six months to make sure their eyes are healthy and on the right developmental track. Detection of eye health issues and vision problems at this stage in development can help to ensure your child does not experience setbacks in learning and growth.

When your infant begins to crawl and potentially walk they are learning to coordinate their body movements and their vision. Over time, your child will become better at judging distances. However, this is also a time when your child may grow more injury prone because they are exploring their environment. Bumps, bruises, eye injuries, and other injuries can occur which is why it is so vital to ensure that your infant’s vision is on track to prevent these injuries as much as possible.

Early Childhood Vision Development

During these years your child will be growing, developing, and improving their visual skills. It is recommended to schedule your child eye exam at three years old. Even if you don’t think your child has vision problems, your child is growing and changing. A comprehensive eye exam before your child enters school provides enough time to catch and correct any vision problems.

They are discovering how to integrate their vision and body position to complete new tasks. They learn this through playing games, throwing a ball, and riding a bike. Children are also working on developing their fine motor skills. The primary way preschool age children are learning this is through writing their name and the alphabet.

Between the ages of 3 to 6 is when you, as a parent, may begin to notice signs of a vision problem. If your child complains about headaches or tired eyes, this could potentially be due to a vision problem. Signs of vision problems include squinting, tilting the head, frequently rubbing eyes, and closing one eye to see. Additionally, look for sitting too close to a tv, holding a book too close, or avoiding activities that require near or distance vision. Some of these activities include coloring, reading, playing ball, or tag if you notice these signs in your child schedule an eye exam as soon as possible. Correct their vision before any learning is delayed!

Nutrition and Your Eyes

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

Healthy Foods

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

Hydration

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

Nutrients

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

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

Aging Eyes

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

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

Computer Vision Syndrome: Eye Strain

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

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

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

Symptoms of CVS

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

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

Ways to Combat CVS

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

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

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

Computer Eyewear

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

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

 

Who Gets Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the macula, the small central area of the eye that controls visual acuity. Typically developing macular degeneration is a slow, painless vision loss.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Macular degeneration is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration because it most frequently occurs in older generations. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among older Americans and will grow significantly in the years to come due to the aging of the US population.

Populations Affected

The prevalence of macular degeneration increases significantly in individuals over the age of 80. In particular, the white American population is affected the most, with 14% of white Americans age 80 and older affected by AMD.*  Women also have a higher occurrence of AMD as compared to men due to their longer life expectancy. In 2010, 65% of AMD cases occurred in women as compared to only 35% in men.*

Risk factors

  • Obesity: Overweight patients with macular degeneration double their risk of developing advanced forms of macular degeneration.
  • Inactivity: Those who perform vigorous activity three times weekly reduce their risk for developing AMD compared to inactive patients.
  • Heredity: Family history and specific genes can link to a high risk of developing AMD.
  • High blood pressure: Some studies show a link between high blood pressure and macular degeneration.
  • Smoking: Living with a smoker doubles your risk for developing AMD. Smoking is a factor in about 25% of AMD cases with severe vision loss.

Currently, the best way to protect your eyes from developing macular degeneration is to eat healthy, exercise, and wear sunglasses. Annual eye exams can detect the early onset of macular degeneration and help to preserve your vision. Schedule an appointment with our office today!

*National Eye Institute, 2010

Prevent Glaucoma: Regular Eye Exams

Did you know, half of Americans with glaucoma don’t know they have it? Glaucoma is often called a silent thief of sight because the early stages often have no symptoms. In the US glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease damaging the optic nerve in the eye; the optic nerve connects the retina to the brain to produce sight. The most common type of glaucoma is called primary open-angle glaucoma. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, over 3 million Americans have glaucoma.

Eye pressure is a significant risk factor for optic nerve damage. We recommend annual eye exams to measure eye pressure and detect glaucoma before you lose vision.

Populations at a Higher Risk Include:

  • African Americans over age 40
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
  • People with a family history of glaucoma

Symptoms of Glaucoma

Typically glaucoma has no signs or symptoms, by the time you notice your loss of vision the disease has progressed to irreversible vision loss. Regular eye exams are the best way to detect and prevent glaucoma because several tests are performed to look for signs of glaucoma.

Potential Signs/Symptoms Include:

  • High Intraocular Pressure
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Vision Loss
  • Blurry Vision
  • Distorted Vision
  • Eye Pain

Can you reduce your risk for glaucoma?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential to reduce your risk of developing glaucoma. A few ways to reduce your risk include not smoking and eating a varied healthy diet. Healthy weight and blood pressure are also essential to lowering your chance of getting glaucoma.

Recent studies have also found that physical exercise may also lower your intraocular pressure. Glaucoma development may be due to high intraocular pressure. Therefore, physical exercise and an active lifestyle are great ways to prevent glaucoma along with other serious health problems.

Pink Eye Prevention

Pink eye might look and sound scary, but it is a common and easily treatable eye irritation. Also called conjunctivitis, pink eye most commonly affects those working in close proximity with one another. While anyone can get pink eye, schoolchildren, college students, teachers, and daycare workers are at a higher risk.

What is pink eye?

Pink eye is inflammation in the clear covering of the white part of the eye. It is a highly contagious viral infection caused by several types of viruses.

Symptoms of pink eye

  • Pink appearance in the eye
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Sticky eye discharge
  • Waking up with eyes stuck shut

What causes pink eye?

Viral conjunctivitis is very contagious and is caused by a virus, such as the common cold. Typically, this will clear up on its own after a few days.

Bacterial conjunctivitis is caused by bacteria entering the eye and must be treated by a doctor.

Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by individual allergy irritants, which could include pollen, dust, and animal dander.

Tips for preventing pink eye

  1. Do not share washcloths, hand towels, or tissues.
  2. Never share contact lenses (prescription, colored, or special effect).
  3. Cover your mouth when coughing.
  4. Wash your hands, often.
  5. Use hand disinfectants or hand sanitizers frequently.
  6. Clean shared surfaces such as counters, door handles, faucet handles, and phones.
  7. Properly clean your contact lens.
  8. Wear swim goggles to prevent bacteria from entering your eyes.
  9. Before going into the water of any kind, remove your contact lenses. This will prevent bacteria from getting trapped between the lens and your eye.

Pink Eye Q&A

How long does pink eye last?

This depends on the type of infection you have, but typically it lasts anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If you experience prolonged discomfort or suspect you have pink eye, give us a call to schedule your next appointment today.

How long is pink eye contagious for?

If the pink eye is caused by virus or bacteria it can be contagious for several days to several weeks.

How long should I wait to return to work or school after pink eye?

Typically, you may return once the obvious signs of pink eye are gone. This can take anywhere from 3 to 7 days. Check with the facility to see if they have specific requirements for returning after experiencing pink eye.

Is there a way to avoid pink eye if someone else in my house has the infection?

The best way to avoid contracting pink eye in close quarters is to clean all surfaces touched by the infected individual, frequently wash your hands, and avoid sharing washcloths and towels. This doesn’t guarantee you won’t get pink eye but can help to prevent it.

Do I need to come to the doctor if I think I have pink eye?

Yes, it is always recommended you, or your family, visit our office if you have any type of eye infection.

What Is Dry Eye?

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

What causes dry eye?

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

Symptoms

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

Who gets dry eye?

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

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

Visiting The Doctor

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

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