While dry eye isn’t a serious condition, it can have a major impact on your quality of life. You may find your eyes get tired faster or you have difficulty reading. Not to mention the discomfort of a burning sensation or blurry vision. Let’s take a look at dry eye treatments – from simple self-care to innovative prescriptions and therapies – to help you see clearly and comfortably.
Understanding dry eye will help you determine the best treatment option. Dry eye occurs when a person doesn't have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears reduce eye infections, wash away foreign matter, and keep the eye’s surface smooth and clear. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or their tears are poor quality. It’s a common and often chronic problem, especially in older adults.
Before we delve into more serious dry eye treatment options, here are a few simple self-care options that can manage minor cases of dry eye.
Blink regularly when reading or staring at a computer screen for a long time.
Make sure there’s adequate humidity in the air at work and at home.
Wear sunglasses outside to reduce sun and wind exposure. Wraparound glasses are best.
Take supplements with essential fatty acids as these may decrease dry eye symptoms.
Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day to avoid dehydration.
Find out if any of your prescriptions have dry eye as a side effect and if so, see if you can take an alternative.
For mild cases of dry eyes, the best option is over-the-counter eye drops. Here are a few tips for selecting the right one:
Low viscosity – These artificial tears are watery. They often provide quick relief with little or no blurring of your vision, but their effect can be brief, and sometimes you must use these drops frequently to get adequate relief.
High viscosity – These are more gel-like and provide longer-lasting lubrication. However, these drops can cause significant blurring of your vision for several minutes. For this reason, high-viscosity artificial tears are recommended at bedtime.
There are several prescriptions that treat dry eye differently. Your eye doctor can advise the best option for your situation.
Contact Lenses – There are specialty contact lenses that deliver moisture to the surface of the eye. They’re called scleral lenses or bandage lenses.
Antibiotics– If your eyelids are inflamed, this can prevent oil glands from secreting oil into your tears. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics to reduce inflammation.
Seasonal allergies is a medical condition similar to other forms of allergies that occur when the body's immune system reacts to an external material in the environment during seasonal periods when plants and trees are pollinating. Seasonal allergies have a tremendous effect on millions of individuals annually causing a negative effect on eyesight. Seasonal eye allergies cause the eyes to become itchy, watery and red which in medical terms is referred to as allergic conjunctivitis. There are many allergens that can make our eyes go itchy and very red including dust, pollen, and smoke. These allergens, however, vary from one person to another. For example, while dust can cause itchy eyes for me, it might not be the same for you as it all depends on our immune system and the way it reacts against such substances.
When something is regarded as a dangerous substance by the eye, a chemical response is elicited to fight against the allergen which is what leads to the itchiness, redness, and soreness in the eyes. These reactions are usually a result of a change in seasons, mostly occurring in the spring when plants and trees are pollinating and during the fall when the ragweed plants are pollinating.
As we mentioned earlier, allergens affect people differently, but there are general ways in which everyone reacts. You would know an individual is suffering from allergies through the following symptoms.
Since the eyes perceive substances like dust, smoke, pollens as harmful to the normal conditioning of the eyes, there is an automatic release of water in order to clean the eyes which is more of a defense mechanism against these foreign items.
After the entry of these foreign items, it is very natural to feel itchy and want to scratch the affected eyes. During the scratching, the skin covering the eyes would become swollen due to continuous friction.
Dry eyes occur most times during winter seasons, not because of allergens like dust or pollen, but whenever there is extreme cold or snow. This causes the eyes to become dry which leads to soreness and redness.
Allergens are carried by air and could end up in your eyes at any time. A reaction to these allergens would cause your eyes to feel irritated from the inside and would create the urge to then scratch your eyes in an attempt to provide some relief.
Redness of the eyes is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as itchy eyes which cause the eyes to become swollen and very red. There are also capillaries inside the eyes that can become red whenever one is faced with an allergy.
It is nearly impossible to prevent allergens due to the fact that they are carried around by air. There are, however, some things that can be done by you to help reduce your chances of being exposed to allergens. One of the first precautions is to remain indoors on windy days since more allergens are carried around at a faster pace. If it is necessary to go out, be sure to wear a pair of sunglasses that provide adequate coverage for the eyes. Furthermore, wearing pollen masks and/or sunglasses when working in the yard could help to prevent anything from blowing into your eyes.
Whenever you are suffering from allergies, be sure to stay hydrated, use any doctor recommended eye drops you may have to help reduce irritation, and if you use contact lenses, switch to a pair of glasses to add some extra protection as well as prevent further eye discomfort. Lastly, try to avoid scratching your eyes as much as possible to prevent any additional complications.
The eye is a very delicate and fragile part of the body. According to one study on distance vision, about 188.5 million individuals are said to suffer from mild vision impairment, 217 million individuals suffer from moderate and severe impairment while 36 million individuals are blind. For near vision impairment, there are about 826 million individuals suffering. In all, there are about 1.3 billion people living with one of these impairments.
While a lot of people are aware that the eyes are an integral part of the body system, most of them do not pay very close attention to taking care of their eyes and are, in essence, taking it for granted. As the saying goes, “You don't know what you have until it's gone," and therefore, we have decided to take the necessary steps to provide you with information on how to best to take care of your eyesight.
Below are ways to keep your eyes safe:
1. Eat Healthy
Eating a healthy diet is a very integral part of keeping the eyes healthy. Nutrients like lutein, vitamins E and C, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc may help in preventing eye-related problems like cataracts and macular degeneration. These nutrients can be found in vegetables like collards, kale, spinach, fish like tuna, salmon, and halibut, as well as in beans, nuts, eggs, oranges, pork, and oysters.
Besides eating meals rich in nutrients, it is equally important to eat a well-balanced diet. Obesity can cause diabetes and other medical conditions, leading to blindness or glaucoma. Obesity is also regarded as the chief cause of blindness across the globe which should raise a red flag to watch your weight. You can always visit your doctor to get help with drafting a healthy eating plan.
2. Know your family's medical history
Eye issues are usually hereditary which is why it is important to collect a family history on any diseases that may affect eye health and then report them to your eye doctor. This will help to determine your chances of any future eye conditions as well as come up with an action plan for future eye exams.
3. Avoid Smoking
Smoking, in general, is harmful to your overall health. In regards to your eyes, it can cause macular degeneration, destroy the optic nerve, and cause cataracts. It can even lead to vision loss. Quitting smoking if you already smoke, or better yet, not even starting, will be extremely beneficial to your overall health and wellness.
4. Wear Sunglasses
Sunglasses are more than just fashion accessories, they are vital in protecting the eyes from ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun. UV rays can cause macular degeneration and even cataracts which is why it is important to wear sunglasses that protect against 99% -100% of UV rays.
5. Obey workplace safety precautions
It is important we wear protective eye gears when engaging in sporting activities or jobs that could be harmful to the eyes. Such eyewear includes safety goggles, glasses, and helmets. Most of these protectors are from polycarbonates, which is a much stronger material than plastic.
6. Rest your eyes
Just like our bodies, the eyes also need rest to perform optimally. Depriving yourself of adequate sleep and rest can have an adverse effect on the eyes. During the use of the computer, remember to rest the eyes for at least 20 seconds after every 20 minutes by looking away from the screen. Doing this will reduce eye strain.
7. Visit your eye doctor regularly
Getting regular eye exams is one of the most important things you can do for your eye health. Conditions like glaucoma are much easier to treat if they are discovered early so don’t stay far from your doctor.
Eye injuries can happen at any time and it is good to know how to handle such emergencies until you can reach a medical professional.
If you get hit on the eyes, you should put a shield like a Styrofoam cup on the bone of the eyes. Avoid putting pressure on the eye
If something enters your eyes, avoid removing it as it may lead to the tearing of important tissue in the eyes. A Styrofoam cup would also do the job here until you can get to a medical professional.
In the case of a black eye, putting an ice pack on the eye will help to reduce bruising and swelling
If it’s a chemical burn, rinse the eyes with clean water for about 30 minutes, holding your head beneath the tap. While rinsing, keep your eyes wide open, rolling your eyeballs in all directions so as to ensure the water gets to every part.
So give some of these tips a try and remember to schedule regular eye exams. Prevention is always a better alternative to trying to find a cure.
Myopia is a very common issue throughout the world. Approximately 1/3 of the population in the United States have the condition and over 90% of several East Asian countries suffer from myopia. While myopia may seem like such a common condition that it shouldn’t be cause for concern, it is actually associated with several very serious conditions that can threaten one’s ability to see.
Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, is a condition where individuals are able to see objects that are close to them but may have difficulty distinguishing things at a distance, such as road signs or leaves on a tree. These individuals often squint at objects that are further away to try and help bring them into focus.
Currently, there is no known cure for myopia and recent studies suggest that the more advanced your myopia gets, the more serious the effects can be on your vision. This has led eye professionals to look for ways to slow the progression of myopia in children and young adults as the eyes typically change more rapidly during this time and slowing down myopia progression during these years has a huge payoff.
There are a few different treatments for myopia that have proven to be effective in a number of studies. Of course, to ensure you find the most effective choice for you, be sure to visit with your eye doctor so they can review your case and recommend the best options for you.
Ortho-K | Ortho-K or Orthokeratology is one practice being used to slow down the progression of myopia. Ortho-K utilizes a special rigid gas-permeable contact lens that is placed into the eyes just before you go to bed. This hard lens helps to gently hold your eye in the proper shape throughout the night. Then when you wake up in the morning and remove the lenses, your eye continues to maintain that shape. This means that people who are nearsighted can see clearly throughout the day, even without wearing contact lenses or glasses. This approach is often preferred for athletes or other active individuals.
Atropine Eye Drops | One of the thoughts about the progression of myopia, is that it is associated with eye strain. The additional stresses that are placed on the eye when straining push the eye further out of its proper shape. Atropine eye drops are specifically designed to help stop the eye from straining and help the muscles relax. Atropine is similar to the eye drops that are used when you get your eyes dilated but lasts throughout the entire day rather than just a few hours. Atropine dilates the pupil of the eye and prevents them from closing too tightly and limiting your vision. This treatment has been shown to be especially effective in slowing the progression of myopia in children.
Multifocal Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses | These specialty contact lenses are designed to help reduce strain on the eyes. They have shown great success at slowing the progression of myopia over a three-year period when compared with individuals who wore a standard prescription lens.
If you notice that your child is having a difficult time seeing objects that are far away, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Many parents notice changes in their children with their behavior or grades at school, their ability to play sports, or that they may even be pulling back from playing with friends. Treating myopia as quickly as possible can help to reduce your child’s chances of developing a serious eye condition that can threaten their ability to see the world around them. Call today and schedule an appointment to see how we can help your child.
Many patients come to us every day struggling to get through their daily lives with their current choice of vision correction. Some have eyeglasses that do not sit properly on their face or feel that their peripheral vision is hindered by the frames. While contact users may find the lenses uncomfortable or have them fall out at inconvenient times. For these patients, we are pleased to offer orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, a revolutionary way to help you see clearly throughout the day without having to wear glasses or contacts and without having to get laser eye surgery.
Generations ago, eye doctors knew that the tissue in the eye was soft and somewhat malleable. This knowledge caused them to wonder if they could push the eye back into the proper shape, would an individual be able to see clearly even if they were not wearing their prescription lenses. With the development of gas permeable contact lenses, a few eye doctors began to notice that their patient’s prescriptions did not change as rapidly as previously noted and that they appeared to be able to see correctly even when they were not wearing their contacts.
From these early discoveries, the world of Ortho-K was born. Ortho-K is a special treatment to help patients see clearly even when they are not wearing a prescription lens. Instead, a special gas permeable contact lens is placed into the eye each night before bed and the lens gently pushes the eye into the proper shape while you sleep. In the morning, you can remove the lenses and still see clearly throughout the day. Some patients can even see clearly for up to three days after wearing them for just one night!
There are a number of issues that our patients can have with prescription lenses. If you have one of the following conditions or concerns, call our office today to schedule an appointment.
Allergies to the materials in contact lenses
Dry eye that is made worse by wearing prescription lenses
Dirt or other debris that gets under contact lenses
You play sports and do not want to worry about glasses or contacts
The ability to wake up at night and see clearly
A general dislike of glasses or contacts
Once you receive your custom Ortho-K contact lenses, it will take anywhere from one to four weeks to fully see all the benefits to your vision that they will provide. However, some of our patients find that their vision has improved after only wearing their lenses for a single night! During the first few days, you may also still need to wear prescription lenses to see clearly enough to drive or get through your normal day, but that is generally quickly resolved. Also, some patients experience some mild discomfort for the first few nights, but as your eyes adjust over a few days, you should no longer be bothered by the feel of your lenses. Is the Procedure Safe? Orthokeratology was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002. The procedure is considered safe, effective, and reversible. However, there are some side effects associated with Ortho-K. Most of these side effects are a result of improper cleaning of the lenses that can lead to a minor infection. These infections are usually remedied fairly quickly with the use of antibiotic eyedrops. Overview If you are sick and tired of wearing contact lenses or glasses every single day and would like an alternative way to correct your vision, consider trying Ortho-K. If you would like more information on Ortho-K, please call our offices today and see how we can improve your everyday life.
As our bodies age, it is normal to notice that there are decreases in our ability to complete certain functions that may have been natural for us in our youth. Just like our physical strength, the strength of your eyes can also weaken over time.
Several different factors influence how each of us will experience aging. Your genetics can play a pivotal role. Understanding your family history and making sure to communicate this with your health professional can be a great way to monitor changes and spot early signs and symptoms. Exposure to certain chemicals or environments or specific trauma to our eyes can also have an impact on how our eyes age. While the eyes can often recover from traumatic injury or exposure, they may still have a detrimental effect on your vision as you age.
Knowing what age you start to have an increased risk of certain diseases or eye conditions can help you to be prepared when you meet with your optometrist. Here are some of the most common ailments that people experience when they age.
Once you are over 40 years old you may experience a loss in vision at close range. Presbyopia is a normal condition that occurs due to the hardening of the lens in your eye. In the early stages, you can often compensate for small changes to your vision, but as the condition progresses, you will likely need a corrective lens, or choose a surgical procedure. such as Lasik, corneal inlays, refractive lens exchange, and conductive keratoplasty.
Cataracts are technically a disease of the eye. However, they are so frequently seen in patients as they age, that they are classified as a normal part of aging. While almost half of the population over 65 have cataracts, that number increases even more by age 70. While it can be frightening to begin losing your vision, cataract surgery is extremely successful and can restore up to 100% of the lost vision. If you notice even small changes to your vision, it is smart to talk to your doctor. Cataract surgery is best performed when the cataracts are small and can be more easily removed.
This disease is the leading cause of blindness in senior citizens in the United States.
The risk of developing glaucoma generally begins when you are in your 40’s with a near one percent chance and increases throughout the decades with a twelve percent by the time you are in your 80’s.
Individuals who have diabetes may be affected by diabetic retinopathy. This disease occurs when blood sugar levels are elevated for an extended period that causes damage to the eye. This damage may lead to permanent vision loss. Americans with diabetes over the age of 40 are at an increased risk, with about 40 percent of people with diabetes over this age displaying some degree of diabetic retinopathy.
If you’ve never worn contact lenses before, it can seem a bit intimidating. After all, you’re inserting something into your eye! Let’s ease your mind about the first step – your contact lens exam. This post will walk you through what’s involved in a contact lens exam and what you can expect every step of the way.
Your eye doctor will first determine your overall eye health and vision. This includes a discussion of your health history and then a series of standard eye tests. These tests will evaluate eye focusing, eye teaming, depth perception, color vision, peripheral vision, and the response of your pupils to light. The doctor will also measure your eye’s fluid pressure to check for glaucoma, evaluate your retina and optic nerve, and test your vision with different lenses to assess whether contact lenses can improve your vision.
If contact lenses are appropriate for you, it’s time to talk about your contact lens preferences. For example, do you want to enhance or change your eye color? Would you prefer daily disposable lenses or overnight contacts? Ask about the benefits or drawbacks of each, so that you make the best decision. If you’re over 40, your doctor will likely discuss age-related vision changes and how contact lenses can address these issues.
Contact lenses require precise measurements of your eyes to fit properly. Using an instrument called a keratometer, your doctor will measure the curvature of your eye's cornea, the clear front surface of your eye. Next, the size of your eyes pupil is measured using a card or ruler showing different pupil sizes which is held next to your eye to determine the best match.
If you have dry eyes, your eye doctor will perform a tear film evaluation to measure the amount of tear film on the surface of your eye. If your tear film is insufficient or you have chronic dry eyes, contact lenses may not be a good option for you. However, some newer contact lenses deliver moisture to the surface of the eye, making them a better choice for individuals with dry eye issues.
The final step is to fit you with a trial pair of contact lenses. Once inserted, your eye doctor will examine the lenses in your eyes to ensure a good fit. He/she will check the alignment and movement of the lenses on the surface of your eye and if the fit looks good, the last step is to ensure the prescription is correct with a few more tests.
Your contact lens exam is over, but you’ll need to come back. Your doctor will usually have you wear the trial lenses for a week. After that, you’ll have a short follow-up exam to confirm that the lenses are working well for you and you can then order a supply of contact lenses.
Routine eye exams are an important aspect of maintaining one's overall health. As with an annual physical or dental exam, it is extremely important to have your eyes examined regularly. Regardless of how great your eyesight is, scheduling regular eye exams is a great way to stay on top of your overall health.
Adults should have an eye exam every 1-2 years, depending on any existing vision problems, eye conditions or being diagnosed with significant risk factors, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, previous eye injuries or family history. The doctor will recommend a frequency for routine follow-up exams based on the patient’s medical history. For instance, a diabetic patient will need a dilated eye exam every year while contact lens wearers need exams every year in order to look for changes that might affect lens fit and eye health.
Regular eye exams will also ensure that prescriptions for glasses or contact lenses are current as well as offer an opportunity to check for early signs of certain diseases. Adults older than 60 should have an eye exam each year, as age-related eye problems are more common.
It may be important to see a doctor more frequently if one is experiencing any of the following:
Blurry vision or loss of vision.
Difficulty seeing things near and/or far away and perform basic tasks.
Flashing light in the eye.
Eye floaters, or small spots that appear in vision.
While eye exams are important for one's vision, routine eye exams can also help to identify a variety of problems ranging from cognitive decline to diabetes. Since the eye is an extension of the brain and the only part of the body where blood vessels and tissue are visible, it allows an eye doctor to detect warning signs of the early stages of different health problems, such as diabetes which can present as bleeding in the eye or swelling in parts of the retina.
Besides diabetes, there are several other health problems that may be detected during a routine eye exam such as brain tumors that may cause swelling of the optic nerve and rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorders which may be the reason behind dry eyes.
Skin cancer on the eyelid is another health risk as the eyelid is very sensitive to ultraviolet rays and may be one of the first places affected by different types of skin cancers. Any spots or affected areas may be detected before skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body.
Addition, high blood pressure which would show as blood vessels in the back of the eye appearing bent or leaking, the narrowing of the vessels in the retina, swelling of the optic nerve, and hypertensive retinopathy in its earliest stages can be looked for during the exam.
There are also some progressive eye diseases that are not immediately apparent and should be tested for during regular eye examinations including:
Glaucoma which is the buildup of pressure within the eye that causes damage to the optic nerve and can lead to a loss of peripheral vision or a complete loss of vision. Glaucoma is a chronic, progressive eye disease that doesn't show any symptoms or pain in the initial stages.
Macular degeneration is an eye condition that causes damage to the retina.
Cataracts which is the most common cause of blindness in the world. Cataracts occur when the lens of the eye becomes less flexible with age. Blurred or foggy vision and sensitivity to light are common symptoms. Cataracts are easily corrected with outpatient surgery.
Vision changes can have a profound effect on a person’s day-to-day life, but early treatments can help to slow or stop vision loss and regular eye exams can help ensure a lifetime of clear sight
Keratoconus is a terrifying diagnosis to those that have experienced it. To compound issues, many patients complain that they had poor initial treatment due to a lack of understanding about the disease. If proper treatment is not achieved, individuals may experience a rapid deterioration in their ability to see. This leads to a reduced quality of life. You can reduce the stress related to a keratoconus diagnosis and increase the benefits of treatment by understanding your treatment options.
Keratoconus is an eye disease that causes the cornea to thin and bulge. This bulge generally takes on the appearance of a cone. As light enters the eye, it becomes distorted by the cone causing vision abnormalities.
Modern research is connecting keratoconus with an enzyme imbalance in the cornea. This imbalance leaves the eye susceptible to oxidative free radicals. Keratoconus has also been linked to UV damage, excessive eye rubbing, poorly fitting contacts, and chronic eye irritation.
While your eye professional will have the best understanding of what treatment option is right for you, we have compiled ten of the most common treatments here.
Corneal Cross-linking (CXL) – There are two different types of this procedure, but they both introduce riboflavin to the cornea in order to strengthen the corneal tissue and stop the bulging from progressing.
Custom Soft Contact Lenses – Soft contacts are generally more comfortable to wear than gas permeable lenses. Recently, some contact companies have been able to create a contact specifically to correct the issues related to mild and moderate cases of keratoconus.
Gas Permeable Contact Lenses – Gas permeable lenses are a hard contact lens that physically forces the eye to adhere to the lens shape. This allows for the correction of keratoconus. The fit is often time-consuming and may take several different lenses to achieve the proper fit.
Piggybacking Contact Lenses – This method is used for individuals who require a gas permeable lens but cannot tolerate wearing rigid contacts. Piggybacking utilizes a soft lens placed on the eye first, and then a gas permeable lens is placed over the top. This offers the comfort of soft contacts with the rigidity and clarity of the gas permeable lenses.
Prosthetic Lenses – This lens is used specifically for patients that have very advanced keratoconus and have ruled out other options. The advanced scleral lens also doubles as a protective prosthetic shell. There are special requirements to qualify for this lens though, so check with your eye care professional if this is an option for you.
Regular eye exams are important for children since their eyes can change significantly in as little as a year as the muscles and tissue develop. Good eyesight is critical for a child’s life and achievements since success in school is closely tied to eye health. School demands intense visual involvement, including reading, writing, using computers, and blackboard/smartboard work. Even physical activities and sports require strong vision. If their eyes aren’t up to the task, a child may feel tired, have trouble concentrating, have problems in school or have difficulty playing their favorite games which may affect their overall quality of life.
According to research, a child should have an initial screening between 6 and 12 months of age. After that, routine eye health and vision screenings throughout childhood should be performed in order to help detect any abnormalities as their eyes develop. Then, unless otherwise recommended, every two years thereafter until the age of 18.
For a newborn, an optometrist should examine the baby’s eyes and perform a test called “red reflex test” which is a basic indicator that the eyes are normal. In a case that the baby is premature or at high risk for medical problems for other reasons, has signs of abnormalities, or has a family history of serious vision disorders in childhood, the optometrist should perform a comprehensive exam.
A second eye health examination should be done to infants between six months and the first birthday. This examination includes tests of pupil responses to evaluate whether the pupil opens and closes properly in the presence or absence of light, a fixate and follow test to determine whether the baby can fixate on an object such as a light and follow it as it moves, and a preferential looking test which uses cards that are blank on one side with stripes on the other side to attract the gaze of an infant to the stripes and thus vision capabilities can be assessed. Infants should be able to perform this task well by the time they are 3 months old.
For a Preschooler, between the ages of 3 and 3½, a child’s visual acuity and eye alignment should be assessed. If the child is diagnosed with misaligned eyes (strabismus), "lazy eye” (amblyopia), refractive errors (astigmatism, myopia, hyperopia) or any other focusing problems, it’s important to begin treatment as soon as possible to ensure successful vision correction and life-long benefits.
At School age or upon entering school, the child’s eyes should be screened for visual acuity and alignment. In this age group, nearsightedness (myopia) is the most common refractive error and can be corrected with eyeglasses.