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All About Dry Eyes

clipart 042Sometimes a person is unable to produce enough tears or their tears do not possess the right qualities to keep eyes healthy and comfortable. This can cause a consistent lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye, known as dry eyes.

Normally, the eye constantly lubricates itself with tears by producing them at a slow and steady rate, keeping itself moist and comfortable. Usually these tears consist of three layers, an oily, a watery, and a mucus layer. Each layer has a specific role in lubricating your eyes.

The oily layer is outermost. It’s main purpose is to slow evaporation of the tear. The watery layer is in the middle. This makes up the majority of what a person normally thinks of as tears. This layer cleans the eye and helps to wash away small foreign objects and particles. The inner layer consists of mucus. This mucus allows the watery layer to stick to the eye and spread evenly over the eye in order to keep it lubricated. In a person with dry eyes, either hormonal changes, side effects from medication or some other factor causes the eye to either not produce enough tears, or leave out parts of the tear that make proper lubrication possible.

Dr. Jennifer Martino, of Martino Eyecare in San Antonio, TX explains, “Symptoms of dry eyes include stinging or burning in the eyes, scratchiness, and excessive irritation from smoke or wind. Although it may sound counter-intuitive, the eyes’ response to the consistent irritation caused by dry eyes may also cause a person to experience excessive tearing. In this case, the eye is attempting to flush and lubricate itself by producing more tears, but is unable to do so successfully due to the rate of evaporation or inability to spread the tears properly.”Although dry eyes are not always curable, your optometrist may prescribe artificial tears to help with some of the symptoms.

Artificial tears are lubricating eye drops that may help with dry, scratchy feeling eyes. Different artificial tears work in different ways. Some help replenish parts of the tear that your eyes are not producing on its own, others help to produce more tears overall. Your eye doctor will assist you to choose which will help you most. Dr Martino cautions, however, “These artificial tears should not be confused with eye drops that are advertised to ‘get the red out.’ These eye drops may indeed reduce the appearance of redness in your eyes, but this is accomplished by making the blood vessels in your eyes smaller rather than actually lubricating your eyes. As such, these drops can sometimes actually make your symptoms worse. One should also be aware that if you wear contacts, some eye drops require you to take them out before using the drops and wait 15 minutes or more before reinserting your contact lenses.”

Some cases of dry eyes are seasonal, such as those which occur as a result of cold, dry winter air. In this case, your eye doctor may recommend wearing sunglasses or goggles when outdoors to reduce your eyes’ exposure to the sun, wind and dust. For indoors, your optometrist may recommend an air cleaner and humidifier to take dust out of the air and add moisture to air which is too dry.Studies have also shown that nutrition may have a part in helping to relieve some symptoms of dry eyes.

Your eye doctor may recommend nutritional supplements such as omega-3. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are cold-water fish, cod, herring and salmon, as well as flaxseed oil. Mild dehydration can make symptoms worse too, so be sure to drink plenty of water, 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices and milk.

For more information, and to have Dr.Martino help you with your dry eyes, be sure to make an appointment with your eye doctor today.

Why a Routine Eye Exam Is an Important Part of Maintaining Healthy Vision

clipart 028When people think about their health and wellbeing, they frequently do not even think about the shape that their eyes are in. However the eyes are relied upon more intensely than just about any other parts of the body. Considering that this is so, it is really necessary that you support the health of your eyes so that you can keep on to depend upon them to get you through the day. There are lots of ways to go about guarding your eyesight, however the single most crucial thing you ought to do is go for a comprehensive eye assessment.

Regardless of whom you are or what your age is, a routine eye checkup will go a long way towards assuring that your eyesight stays precise and strong. The eye exam can be completed by any reputable eye doctor in your neighborhood. The eye doctor is certified to give their patients a thorough exam that incorporates many of the tests we will consider below. If you have not been to the eye doctor in more than a year, book a meeting for an eye checkup as soon as feasible. So, let’s take a look at several of the issues that an optometrist evaluates during your checkup, and what your optometrist will do to fix the concern.

Some of the initial thing that an eye specialist will seek at the time of your eye examination is refractive error. Refractive error describes an imprecision in the manner that the eye fixates on light. The ultimate result of a refractive error is a reduction of visual acuity (i.e. acuteness or clarity of vision). In the event of mild refractive error, patients sometimes decide to leave the situation uncorrected. However, if the condition infringes on the patient’s ability to execute their regular tasks, then action will need to be undertaken. At the time of your eye exam, the eye doctor will identify the problem and outline the options for the patient. In many cases, refractive error will be resolved be wearing glasses or contacts. In more serious instances, the patient will opt to have refractive surgery. This can all be clarified more by your qualified optometrist at the time of the course of your eye evaluation.

One more thing to consider is the point that the eye may be susceptible to particular disorders, like all other part of the body. Lots of people have heard of the most commonplace ailments of the eye, like glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Due to the fact that these diseases usually display no indicators in their early stages, it is very important that you maintain a proactive approach to avoid these disorders. This may only be carried out by paying a planned visit to have your eye examination. The eye doctor will have the opportunity to diagnose diseases like glaucoma so that you can utilize the suitable steps to eradicate the disease before it gets any more serious. Though these problems are more regularly seen in aging individuals, it is vital to take note that there is still a possibility for eye disease to appear at an earlier age.

There are countless other disorders that your eye specialist will be checking for in the course of your eye examination. As an illustration, the eye condition called Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is typified by its subpar sight in an eye that would be otherwise considered to be normal. Brought on by an inadequate stimulation of vision by the optic nerve to the brain, this issue could be aggravated if it is not handled right away by an optometrist. Your eye doctor will also look for Strabismus, an additional eye ailment where the eyes do not successfully align. This issue restricts the patient’s ability to accomplish depth perception, and as such should be diagnosed by an optometrist without delay.

In conclusion, it is imperative that the distinction be established when comparing a simple vision screening and a thorough eye exam. Some people accept that by having a registered nurse or primary care medical professional carry out a vision screening they are upholding a adequate degree of eye health care. What they do not realize, however, is the fact that the vision screening could only consist of the reading of letters off a chart which range in dimensions. After taking into consideration the various additional evaluations and procedures that have been explored above, any person will understand that the vision screening does not diagnose the other different conditions and health problems that you may sustain. So, by arranging a comprehensive eye examination performed on a regular schedule, you can make sure that your eyes keep being be looked after.

How to Prevent Diabetic Vision Loss

senior 20couple 20in 20orange 20and 20white

Eye Complications of Diabetes

It’s true. Diabetics have a higher risk of blindness than those without the disease. That fact coupled with the superior prognosis of early intervention, makes it easy to understand why optometrists and doctors say routine eye care is absolutely essential. Below, we’ll discuss what your eye doctor is looking for during a diabetic eye exam.

As the incidence of diabetes increases, it is important to spread awareness about the risks and proper preventative care for diabetes patients. November is Diabetes Awareness month, so read on!

Diabetics are at greater risk of for a number of eye problems.

Diabetic Retinopathy:

Diabetic retinopathy is the term used for the disorders associated with diabetes that cause progressive damage to the retina. The longer a patient has had diabetes, the more likely it is that he will develop these conditions which can be very serious, vision-threatening complications.

There are two types of retinopathy: nonproliferative and proliferative.

Nonproliferative retinopathy, which is the most common form, is when capillaries at the back of the eye become weakened and may start to leak blood and fluids. Nonproliferative retinopathy, which often has no symptoms, can be characterized as mild, moderate or severe, depending on how many blood vessels are affected and becoming blocked. This type of retinopathy usually doesn’t require treatment and doesn’t cause vision loss, unless the leaking fluid ends up in the macula where the eye focuses – a condition called macular edema. If this happens, vision can be blurred and even lost so preventative treatment is essential.

Proliferative retinopathy is much more severe. This is when so much damage is done to the blood vessels that they begin to close off. New blood vessels begin to grow in the retina as a response to this deterioration. The new and weak vessels can leak blood, impairing vision, or can form scar tissue which can distort the retina or cause a retinal detachment.

Proliferative retinopathy requires urgent referral to an ophthalmologist for treatment. While it usually takes years to develop, some instances of proliferative retinopathy can occur within weeks or months if blood sugars are not well-controlled. Pregnancy can also accelerate proliferative retinopathy in known diabetics. Yet if detected early, treatment can be done successfully.

Like high blood pressure, there are often no warning symptoms until advanced stages of diabetes. It is best to get checked each year by an optometrist. If you experience any changes in your vision such as spots in vision, flashes of light, blurred or double vision (rarely pain), make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately. Treatments do exists for retinopathy and many of them are successful in repairing damage and sometimes even restoring vision.

Cataracts:

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye which blocks light from entering and impairs vision. While cataracts are a fairly common and treatable condition, people with diabetes are 60% more likely to develop the condition and often get them at a younger age. Those with the condition also may experience vision fluctuation which occurs from sugar levels affecting the lens of the eye. Cataracts often progress faster in diabetics as well. In serious cases of cataracts, a surgical procedure is done to remove the natural lens of the eye which can sometimes cause complications in diabetic patients that may already have symptoms of other conditions such as diabetic retinopathy.

Glaucoma:

Glaucoma is a serious condition where pressure builds up in the eye causing damage to the retina and optic nerve and eventually if left untreated, blindness. Diabetics are 40% more likely to develop glaucoma and the risk increases with age and the amount of time the individual has had diabetes. There are treatments for glaucoma including medications and surgery but early detection and treatment are essential to prevent permanent vision loss. Glaucoma is often called the “silent thief of sight” because vision loss often doesn’t occur until significant damage is done. Therefore, yearly eye exams are essential.

Cornea Alterations:

Diabetics may experience reduced sensitivity in their cornea. This means that contact lens wearers that are diabetics should be more cautious, as they develop higher tolerance if the lens irritates the eyes and may be at greater risk of infection.

Eye Muscle Disturbance:

More advanced diabetes cases can show restriction of eye muscle movement due to nerve palsy.

 

For diabetics, the key to early detection and treatment – and therefore preserving your vision – is to have your eye health monitored on a regular basis. Get your eyes examined every year by an optometrist and if you experience any changes in your vision such as spots, floaters, blurred vision or pain, make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately.

It’s Time to Be Serious About Home Eye Safety

houseThe home can be a dangerous place if you aren’t aware of the risks that surround you. This is specifically true for your eyes and vision. Nearly half of all serious eye injuries take place in or around the home and the majority of these can be prevented with proper awareness and precaution. Whether you are cooking, cleaning, tending to yard work or doing home repairs, it is important to be aware of the possible dangers to your eyes and to take preventative measures to protect them.

It is recommended that every household have at least one pair of protective eyewear on hand to use during activities, projects or tasks that could pose a danger to your eyes. While protective eyewear can reduce your risk of an eye injury by 90%, in fact, only 35% of North Americans wear protective eyewear during tasks that could be dangerous to their eyes. Such activities could include the following:

Use of dangerous or hazardous chemicals: Many substances, such as cleaning chemicals, are hazardous and can be the cause of serious eye injuries and burns upon contact. In fact, household cleaning products like bleach cause 125,000 eye injuries a year.

Proximity to flying debris: Particularly when working in the yard mowing, trimming, shoveling and clipping, debris and particles can be thrown into the air that can enter your eye. This goes for those actually doing the gardening as well as bystanders.

Using sharp tools: Whether you are dealing with shovels and clippers, or hammers, nails and screws, it is important to protect your eyes. Many eye injuries are caused by the actual tools which are mishandled, dropped or used carelessly.

Projectiles: Flying objects pose a serious danger to the eyes, particularly with power tools, nails and screws. Never use power tools without protective eyewear.

When it comes to selecting protective eyewear there are certain requirements that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established to ensure your safety. Our eyewear experts are happy to help you find the best eye protection for you and your family.

Bottom line: use common sense and be EyeSmart, especially if there are children around for whom you’re setting an example.

6 Common Eye Myths Debunked

girl 20with 20alphabetOver the centuries there have been a lot of old-wives tales circulating about eyes and vision. You know, like the one that if someone hits you on the back while your eyes are crossed they will stay that way. Unlike this example, some of these myths do have roots in truth, yet filtering out those truths isn’t an easy task.

Here are a few of the most common myths and truths about the eyes and vision.

  1. Myth: Eating a lot of carrots will help you see in the dark.
    Truth: Carrots have a lot of Vitamin A, a vitamin that is essential for good eyesight, but eating a lot of carrots isn’t going to give you 20/20 vision or help you see in the dark. Likely, the basis of this over-exaggeration is that night-blindness and vision loss found in underdeveloped countries can be a sign of malnutrition due to Vitamin A deficiency. However, you only need a relatively small amount of Vitamin A for vision, and it is easily obtainable in a normal balanced diet from a lot of sources, not limited to carrots.Higher-than-normal doses of Vitamin A might be useful in treating certain eye conditions and as part of a combination of vitamins used to slow the progression of early-stage macular degeneration. However, in any of these cases, do not take Vitamin A supplements without instructions from your eye doctor.
  2. Myth: Wearing glasses makes your vision worse.
    Truth
    : People think this is true because often once we start wearing glasses our vision continues to deteriorate and we have to keep going back for a higher prescription. The notion that wearing glasses causes your vision to get worse is simply not true. Distance vision or myopia typically gets worse over time, especially during childhood and adolescence, and does depend on whether the child wears glasses. Additionally, most people begin to experience vision deterioration as they enter their 40’s and 50’s with or without the use of vision correction devices.
  3. Myth: Sitting too close to the TV is bad for your eyes.
    Truth
    : While it may cause your eyes to feel tired, there is no evidence that sitting too close to the TV will harm your eyes or vision. Children in fact have a heightened ability to focus on close objects so often it is natural and relatively comfortable for them to sit close to a screen.
  4. Myth: Reading in dim light can damage your eyes.
    Truth
    : This one also has no good evidence. While yes, your eyes are working harder and may feel tired when reading in dim light, there is no evidence of permanent or long-term damage to your eyes.
  5. Myth: As you get older there is nothing you can do to prevent vision loss.
    Truth
    : While most older adults will eventually develop some degree of presbyopia which is near-vision loss, and eventually cataracts, no sign of vision loss should be ignored. Vision problems like these can be treated, allowing you to see clearly again. Moreover, there are many serious eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration that can threaten your vision and eyes with permanent and severe vision loss if not diagnosed and treated early. If you are 40 or older, you should have your eyes checked with a comprehensive eye exam on a yearly basis. In many cases, early treatment can save your eyesight.
  6. Myth: Squinting causes vision loss.
    Truth
    : Squinting is a natural reaction of your eyes to let less light into the pupil in order to sharpen your focus. Rather than impairing your vision, squinting is usually a sign that someone can’t see clearly which often suggests that their vision is impaired and that they need glasses to see better in the first place.

Got any other eye myths that you are curious about? Just ask at your next visit to our office. We are happy to help weed out the fact from the fiction.

Why a Routine Eye Exam Is an Important Part of Maintaining Healthy Vision

asian 20familyWhen people young and old consider their health, they normally do not even think about the level of wellness their eyes are in. Ultimately the eyes are counted on more heavily than almost every other component the body. Considering that this is so, it is extraordinarily vital that you keep the well-being of your eyes in order that you can continue to rely on them to get you through the day. Of course, there are plenty of ways to go about guarding your vision, however the one most indispensable thing you need to do is schedule a routine eye assessment.

Regardless of who you are or what your age is, a regular eye exam will go a very long way towards making sure that your vision continues to be clear and robust. The eye examination can be carried out by any dependable optometrist in your neighborhood. The eye doctor is qualified to provide their patients an in depth examination that integrates various of the tests we will explain below. If you have not been to the eye optometrist in more than a year, book a visit for an eye assessment as early as feasible. So, let’s consider at a number of the things that an optometrist looks for during the course of your checkup, and what your optometrist will do to treat the problem.

One of the initial thing that an eye doctor will search for at the time of your eye examination is refractive error. Refractive error describes an inaccuracy in the manner that the eye fixates on light. The end outcome of a refractive error is a loss in of visual acuity (i.e. acuteness or clearness of vision). In the event of minor refractive error, patients sometimes prefer to leave the issue as is. However, if the condition infringes on the patient’s ability to perform their daily duties, then action will need to be undertaken. In the course of your eye exam, the optometrist will detect the trouble and outline the alternatives for the patient. Usually, refractive error will be taken care of be wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses. In more serious circumstances, the patient will decide to have refractive surgery. This can all be cleared up further by your local optometrist during the course of the course of your eye checkup.

Another thing to think about is the reality that the eye might be vulnerable to particular ailments, just like every other part of the human body. Some people have heard of the most commonplace diseases of the eye, which include glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Considering that these problems frequently display no signs and symptoms in their early stages, it is essential that you plan a proactive strategy to prevent these diseases. This could only be carried out by paying a scheduled visit to have your eye exam. The eye doctor will have the chance to look for diseases like glaucoma so that you can utilize the suitable steps to eliminate the disease before it gets any more severe. Even though these health problems are more regularly uncovered in more mature patients, it is necessary to take note that there is nonetheless a possibility for eye disease to develop at an earlier age.

There are many other issues that your eye specialist will be looking for at the time of your eye checkup. For instance, the eye disorder called Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is typified by its bad vision in an eye that would be typically considered to be normal. Caused by an inadequate stimulation of vision by the optic nerve to the brain, this issue might be worsened if it is not addressed without delay by an eye doctor. Your optometrist will also check for Strabismus, a different eye ailment where the eyes do not correctly align. This disorder lessens the patient’s capacity to accomplish depth perception, and due to this ought to be diagnosed by an eye doctor as soon as possible.

Lastly, it is critical that the distinction be made when comparing a basic vision screening and an in depth eye examination. Many individuals accept that by having a practical nurse or primary care doctor conduct a vision screening they are upholding to proper grade of eye health care. What they do not know, however, is that the vision screening could just include the reading of letters off a chart which differs in dimensions. After considering the a variety of other evaluations and examinations that have been examined above, anybody will grasp that the vision screening does not take into account the other different problems and afflictions that you may have. Therefore, by getting a comprehensive eye exam carried out on a regular basis, you can see to it that your eyes continued to be taken care of.

Protective Sports Eyewear is a Serious Matter

dad riding bike with daughterThere are thousands of eye injuries a year related to sports. According to the National Eye Institute eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in North America and most injuries occurring in school-aged children are sports-related. Further 99% of sports-related eye injuries can be prevented simply by wearing protective eyewear.

Sports injuries aren’t just a result of contact sports. Any sport can pose a danger especially those that involve balls, bats rackets or even elbows. It’s up to parents, teachers, coaches and league administrators to make protective eyewear a mandatory part of any sports uniform. This includes safety glasses or goggles, helmets with built in eye shields, or eye guards, depending on the sport.

Prescription Sports Eyewear

For athletes that wear prescription eyewear or contact lenses, sports eyewear plays an additional role. Many athletes choose to forego eyewear during play because of the inconvenience it causes, however this impairs their vision and ultimately affects their performance ability. Wearing prescription sports eyewear or wearing non-prescription goggles over their glasses or contacts not only serves to protect the eyes, but it allows them to see better and increases performance. It’s very important to note that standard prescription glasses or sunglasses do not protect the eyes from an impact and could possibly cause greater harm if the lenses or frames are damaged during play.

How to Select The Right Protective Sports Eyewear

Protective eyewear is made of special materials that are impact resistant such as polycarbonate or Trivex. Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses for outdoor use also have UV protection to protect the eyes from the sun, and can be made with added tints just like built-in sunglasses. It is a good idea to make sure that your lenses include a scratch resistant coating so that natural wear and tear don’t cause reduced visibility. Athletic eyewear frames are usually made from polycarbonate also, or from strong plastic, and often have padding on the forehead or nose to enhance comfort and fit.

Especially in children who are growing, it is critical for protective eyewear to fit well, for optimal safety and vision. To check that the glasses fit properly make sure that the internal padding rests comfortably on the face and that the eyes are centered in the lens area. If the child complains that they are too tight or you can visibly see that they are too loose, it may be time for a new pair. Also take into consideration whether the child will be wearing a hat or helmet to make sure that the goggles or glasses fit comfortably inside the gear.

Depending on the sport, the type and design of the eye protection varies, so be sure to tell your eye care professional what sport you play so he or she can find the best type of eyewear to keep your eyes safe.

How Pregnancy Affects Vision

woman 20smelling 20flowersThe hormonal fluctuations experienced during pregnancy can cause many unexpected changes in your body, including your eyes and vision. Most of these changes are temporary and will return to normal once you give birth. It’s important to know which vision changes are normal for an expecting mother and which could indicate a problem that requires medical attention.

Normal Vision Changes

Visual Acuity/Blurred vision

During pregnancy, you may notice a change in your vision due to hormone levels. If you find that your vision has gotten blurry or that your current prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses are not helping as much as they usually do, speak to your eye doctor. Often the change in your vision is due to fluid retention which can temporarily change the shape of your cornea. Since your hormones will continue to fluctuate and will return to normal shortly after you give birth or after you finish nursing, your doctor may advise waiting until after you deliver to assess whether you need to change your prescription. However, you may need a temporary pair of glasses with your current prescription if you need lenses for driving or other tasks that are dangerous or difficult without perfect eyesight.

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes is a common and usually temporary condition that is experienced during pregnancy. Dry eyes can lead to irritation and discomfort in general and especially when wearing contact lenses. To relieve dry eyes, over-the-counter lubricating or rewetting eye drops are completely safe to use during pregnancy and nursing. It’s a good idea to consult with your optometrist to make sure you’re using a good dry eye solution, and definitely see the eye doctor if symptoms persist or if you wear contact lenses.

Puffy Eyelids

Along with many other areas in the body, eyelids may swell during pregnancy. To reduce water retention, make sure you drink a lot of water and limit your intake of sodium and caffeine.

Vision Changes that Require Medical Attention

Preeclampsia

Some serious vision changes could be signs of preeclampsia, a potentially serious issue that occurs in 5-8% of pregnancies. Vision symptoms associated with the condition include temporary vision loss, light sensitivity, blurry vision, auras and the appearance of flashing lights, along with high blood pressure. If you experience these symptoms seek medical attention immediately.

Diabetes

Both women that are regularly diabetic and those that have gestational (pregnancy) diabetes need to keep an eye on their vision as blurred vision can indicate elevated blood sugar levels. The risks of vision loss associated with diabetes is heightened during pregnancy so it is critical to monitor blood sugar levels at all times. Women with gestational diabetes should get a diabetic eye exam, which includes dilating the eye and examining the retina for signs of retinopathy.

While minor changes in your eyes and vision are a normal part of pregnancy, if at any time you notice persistent eye pain, vision loss or discomfort, visit your doctor. It is always better to be safe than sorry.