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What is Myopia & Can it be Cured?

What is Myopia & Can it be Cured?

blurry landscape with hand holding vision correcting glasses

Can Your Distance Vision be Saved?

Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is on the rise and it is the most common eye refractive error in both children and adults.

Myopia is regarded as a global epidemic. In fact, a recent study by the American Optometric Association concluded that more than 40% of Americans are myopic and that number is increasing – especially among school-aged children. It was reported that 1 in 4 parents have a child with myopia and approximately 75% of those children were diagnosed between the ages of 3 and 12.

These numbers are alarming; one study found that the prevalence of myopia has increased by 8% over the last 15 years. So with all the modern advancements in eye care, can myopia be cured? And if not cured, managed or treated successfully? Let’s uncover what can be done for myopic children and adults in order to restore distance vision.

Can Myopia be Cured?

As of 2020, there is no cure for myopia. However, some treatments and management strategies can help restore distance vision. The success of these strategies depends largely on whether the patient is an adult or a child.

Before we get into treatments, let’s discuss myopia in more detail so we understand how it starts and why it develops.

What is Myopia?

Myopia is a refractive error that allows individuals to see objects up close, while distant objects appear blurry and out of focus.

The reason for this focus error is the shape of the eye: as the eye develops and grows, it can become elongated or the surface of the eyeball may become curved. This causes light rays to focus at a point in front of the retina, instead of directly on its surface. [Text Wrapping Break]

eye structures showing normal vision verses myopia

Myopia Peaks At Adulthood

Although classified as a progressive condition, the growth stage of the eye is typically completed by early adulthood. This means the natural shape of the eye is established and should not become more curved or elongated over time. Whatever degree of myopia an individual has at early adulthood should stay relatively stable, and changes in distance vision generally do not continue to progress.

However, there are exceptions to this rule. Myopia can sometimes worsen in adulthood for many reasons, including:

  • Over-focus on close objects
  • Traumatic brain injury or eye trauma
  • Health conditions such as diabetes

    If this is the case, contact your optometrist. There are several specialized and custom treatments that can help patients in these unique situations.

    Myopia Management & Treatment

    Although there isn’t a cure for myopia, there are several management and control methods that are proving successful. These differ according to your age and the developmental stage of your eyes.

    Adult Myopia Control

    For adults whose eyes have fully matured, there are a few myopia control options available:

    Laser Eye Surgery

    For adults, myopia can be reversed with refractive surgery, also called laser eye surgery. A laser is used to reshape the corneal eye tissue and correct the refractive error.

    Laser eye surgery is not recommended for children. In fact, the FDA has not approved laser surgery for anyone under the age of 18.

    Prescription Lenses

    Wearing corrective glasses or contact lenses corrects myopia by changing where light hits the retina, turning previously blurry images into clear ones. Prescription lenses bend the light, allowing it to focus properly on the focal point of the retina.

    Myopia Control for Children

    Myopia in children works a little bit differently. Because the eye is in an active growth state, the progression of myopia may be slowed until a child’s eyes stop growing.

    If your child has myopia, and their eyes are changing rapidly, there are a few promising management strategies that may help.

    Atropine Eye Drops

    Atropine eye drops have been shown to significantly slow the progression of myopia in children. Two large trials in Asia found that atropine drops slowed children myopia progression by 50%-60%. However, because myopia is not curable, children who use atropine drops may still need to wear glasses or contact lenses.

    Multifocal Glasses & Contact Lenses

    A study conducted by the American Optometric Association’s Contact Lens and Cornea Section (CLCS) found that children who wore multifocal lenses saw their myopia progression slow by approximately 25%, and they had 31% less axial elongation (longer eye length) than children who wore single-vision lenses.

    Orthokeratology

    Also known as ortho-k, orthokeratology uses specially designed gas permeable contact lenses to temporarily reshape the eyeball while you sleep. In the morning, the lenses are removed and you have clear vision without the use of contact lenses or glasses. Ortho-k has been shown to slow myopic progression in children by 36% – 56%.

    Natural Light & Outdoor Activity

    Although studies are ongoing, recent controlled trials show that children who spend more time outside (up to 14 hours a week or more) have less myopic shift and axial elongation than children who spend less time outside.

    Monitor Time on Devices

    Another ongoing field of study is the relation between near work activities and myopia progression. While not 100% conclusive, many preliminary studies show that near work activities, like using a phone or computer, are associated with myopia. For that reason, we recommend monitoring the time your child spends on a phone or other digital device.

    Why Vision Gets Worse With Age

    Why Vision Gets Worse With Age

    It is an inevitable fact that as we get older, the body ages. And unfortunately, this ageing does not exclude the eye and the entire vision system. The eye is a complicated organ with many structures within it. And when one of these structures is threatened by age, our vision becomes compromised.

    But is it inevitable that our vision will worsen with age? And what can we expect?

    In order to break this all down, let’s start with some basic eye anatomy.

    human eye anatomy

    The Lens – The Eye’s Focus Mechanism

    One of the eye’s most important parts is a structure called the lens. Much like an artificial lens in a pair of eyeglasses, the lens allows our eyes to focus and unfocus, enabling us to view objects at different distances quickly.

    Viewing distance objects requires the eye to relax the lens, decreasing lens convexity, or outward curvature. Viewing near objects requires an increase in convexity of the lens, creating more focus power. This provides us with magnification for close object viewing.

    In most cases, usually before the age of 10, the lens works as it should: the lens changes convexity quickly and our eyes can switch from near to far objects with no complications. However, around the time of middle school, the ability of the lens to change convexity when viewing distance objects to near objects slowly decreases. And as the lens ages, the ability of the lens to change convexity only gets worse.

    Presbyopia: Aging of the Lens

    When we reach the age of around 40, the lens has hardened due to age and can simply no longer focus on near objects as well. Until soon, most people who still can see clearly when viewing distant objects are not able to read print within arms reach. They must hold the newspaper or book further and further away to see clearly.

    This phenomenon is known as presbyopia, a universal condition affecting every person cross-culturally who lives past the age of 45. While there is no surgical treatment for the condition, there are options to help with presbyopia, such as bifocal eyeglasses, contact lenses, or laser vision correction modified for monovision.

    Cataracts: Clouding of the Lens

    A normal part of eye ageing, cataracts form when the proteins contained in the lens start to break down and clump together, causing cloudy spots throughout the line of vision. Although the amount and pattern of cloudiness in the lens, as well as the rate at which it develops, can vary, the result is blurry vision that cannot be corrected with contact lenses or eyeglasses. Cataracts are not painful and can be treated with non-invasive surgery.

    The Retina – The Light Communicator

    The retina is made up of nerve cells that receive focused light from the lens, then signals the brain to create images.

    With age, the retina wears down and degenerates, severely affecting vision. There are a number of serious eye diseases that are directly caused by the degeneration of the retina.

    Age-Related Macular Degeneration

    Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, is a serious eye disease that occurs when the macula, the small central area of the retina, ages and breaks down. Responsible for fine vision and color detail, when the macula is compromised, the result is blind spots, distorted vision, and possible blindness.

    Diabetic retinopathy

    Diabetic retinopathy is a retinal disease that affects aged people who suffer from diabetes. In this case, the tiny blood vessels in the back of your eye deteriorate and leak fluid into and under the retina. New, replacement blood vessels start to grow, but they are misshapen and distorted and can lead to scarring and swelling of the retina. The result is blurry, distorted vision leading to blindness in some cases.

    The Optic Nerve – The Eye/Brain Connector

    Located at the back of the eye, the optic nerve carries impulses formed by the retina directly to the brain. A part of the central nervous system, the optic nerve is a major component of the visual system and damage will result in vision loss and blindness.

    Glaucoma

    Glaucoma is a serious, progressive disease that directly affects the optic nerve. There are 3 different types: open-angle glaucoma, angle-closure glaucoma, and normal-tension glaucoma.

    In the case of open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma, the fluid that normally drains from the eye through a series of eye canals is blocked, causing a build-up of pressure, called intraocular pressure, or IOP. This pressure is placed directly on the optic nerve, leading to damage which results in irreversible vision loss. In normal-tension glaucoma, the eye’s drainage system is functioning as it should and the IOP is within the normal range. Inexplicably, the optic nerve continues to sustain damage.

    Optic Neuritis

    Optic neuritis is an inflammation of the optic nerve that causes damage and can result in vision loss, blurring, and pain. Usually manifesting in one eye, optic neuritis is often a precursor of multiple sclerosis, a disease that attacks the nerves of the body.

    woman eye exam

    Conclusion

    It is inevitable that like the body, the eyes will age. And with age, the structures within the eye change and break down. With this comes a range of conditions and diseases to be aware of. Some, like glaucoma, come on suddenly and can result in irreparable vision loss. Others, like cataracts, are completely curable with simple surgery.

    Whatever the condition, it is of the utmost importance that you engage in annual eye exams. Our optometrists will carefully examine and track your eye health so these eye diseases do not sneak up and steal your sight.Page Break

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    Why Vision Gets Worse With Age | Shady Grove Eye Care

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    Is it true that our vision will inevitably worsen with age? We break down if this is true and what eye diseases and conditions one can expect in your senior years.

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    Digital Eye Strain: Causes and Solutions

    Young woman frustrated due to digital eye strain caused by her working on computer for too long

    Digital Eye Strain: Causes and Solutions

    Many people experience tired and dry eyes after using the computer for long periods. This condition is known as digital eye strain; it can affect your ability to focus, cause headaches and other irritating symptoms. With changes to your computer habits, you can prevent further irritation.

    If you experience the effects of digital eye strain, your optometrist can recommend several solutions for your tired eyes. Continue reading to learn more about digital eye strain, including its causes and some potential solutions.

    What is Digital Eye Strain?

    According to research from The Vision Council, nearly 60% of Americans experience the symptoms of digital eye strain, including headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and sore neck and shoulders.

    The average American worker spends 7 hours a day on their computer. With people relying on technology more and more, it’s no surprise that many Americans experience these annoying symptoms. Digital eye strain, or computer vision syndrome, is a common condition where your eyes become irritated from extended screen usage. It’s essentially tired eyes, also known as eye fatigue.

    Focusing on daily tasks can be difficult with irritated and tired eyes. While the symptoms of digital eye strain may be frustrating and uncomfortable, this condition doesn’t have any long-term side effects.

    Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

    There are several symptoms related to digital eye strain, including:

    • Headaches
    • Blurred vision
    • Dry eyes
    • Sore neck, shoulders, or back
    • Light sensitivity
    • Watery eyes
    • Difficulty concentrating

      You may feel one or a combination of these symptoms if you experience digital eye strain. This condition’s symptoms mainly happen because of computer usage, but many factors may contribute to digital eye strain.

      What Causes Digital Eye Strain?

      Some common causes of digital eye strain include:

      • Blinking less when using computers
      • Viewing digital screens from poor distances & angles
      • Using devices with glare or reflection
      • Using devices with poor contrast between text and background

        Several external causes can potentially lead to digital eye strain. These causes include poor posture, circulating air from fans or air conditioning, and the setup of your computer workstation.

        Computer use is usually the culprit for digital eye strain, but this condition’s cause is more complex. Symptoms develop because of the way you use your computer; rather than the computer itself.

        Computers make your eyes work harder. When working at a computer, your eyes must focus and refocus constantly.

        Your eyes complete different actions when using a digital device. They move back and forth to read, shift gaze to look at papers on your desk, and react to changing images on your screen.

        When combining these actions with the contrast, flicker, and glare of a screen, consistent computer work can lead to dry and irritated eyes.

        In some cases, someone may have an undiagnosed vision problem that can cause or worsen the symptoms of digital eye strain. Regardless of the cause of your eye strain, your optometrist can recommend several possible solutions to prevent future irritation.

        Man touching eye due to him suffering from digital eye strain caused by his computer

        Digital Eye Strain Solutions

        Resting your eyes when they’re tired or irritated can help, but the best solution for digital eye strain is prevention. This can mean making some changes to your computer habits.

        If you’re looking to prevent digital eye strain, try out some of the following preventative measures:

        Take Frequent Breaks

        It can be easy to continue reading or working on your computer for hours, but looking away can give your eyes a break. Try following the 20/20/20 rule; take a 20-second break every 20 minutes to look at something at least 20 feet away.

        Blink More

        It sounds like a simple solution, but remembering to blink can keep your eyes moisturized. People can blink up to 50% less when using digital devices.

        You can keep a visual reminder on your computer, like a sticky note reminding you to blink or use artificial tears to prevent your eyes from becoming dry.

        Sit Appropriately

        The way you sit can make a difference when using your devices. Ensure your chair’s height is correct, letting your feet rest on the floor comfortably. Adjust your computer screen slightly downward to reduce potential strain.

        When using your computer, try to sit at least an arm’s length (25 inches) away from the screen to prevent yourself from sitting too close.

        Account for Glare & Brightness

        Glare and brightness can make your eyes have to focus more to read off of your screens. You can reduce incoming glare by positioning your computer screen away from windows and overhead lighting.

        Anti-glare screen filters can help decrease the amount of light reflected from your devices.

        Adjust Your Devices

        Adjusting your devices can help protect your eyes from digital eye strain. You can do this by:

        • Raising the contrast on your screen
        • Making your text larger
        • Changing the brightness of your screen to match your surroundings
        • Raising your device’s refresh rate to cause less screen flickering

          These solutions can help prevent dry and irritated eyes. If you’re still experiencing discomfort despite changing your computer habits, contact your optometrist. They can diagnose any potential underlying problems after completing a comprehensive eye exam.

          Cataracts 101: Cause, Symptoms and Suggested Management

          Comparison of woman with cataract on the left and healthy eyes on the right

          Cataracts 101: Cause, Symptoms and Suggested Management

          Over 24 million Americans over age 40 have cataracts, a condition affecting your vision. As this issue progresses, you may need to visit your optometrist. Cataracts can make everyday tasks difficult.

          What are cataracts? Consider this your guide to cataracts, including the causes, symptoms, and treatments available.

          What is a Cataract?

          A cataract is the clouding of the clear lens of your eye, making it more difficult to see. This condition can make you feel as if you’re staring through a foggy window. It’s common in older adults; over 50% of Americans age 80 and older have had cataracts.

          Cataracts develop slowly, and you may not notice any differences in your vision at first. This condition can affect your ability to read, drive, or even see someone’s facial expressions.

          What Causes Cataracts?

          The usual causes of cataracts are aging or injury, causing changes to the tissue in the eye’s lens. There are other potential causes for cataracts, including:

          • Other eye conditions
          • Past eye surgery
          • Diabetes
          • Long-term steroid medications
          • UV ray exposure
          • Smoking
          • Family history

            Cataracts form when protein builds up in your eye’s lens. This build-up can create small, clouded areas in the lens. As a cataract progresses, this clouding grows, becoming larger and thicker with time.

            A cataract blocks light when it enters the lens, preventing sharp images from reaching the retina, causing blurry vision. Cataracts commonly form in both eyes, but one may be more cloudy than the other.

            There are several types of cataracts you can develop.

            Types of Cataracts

            Most cataracts are age-related, occurring because of natural changes as you get older. Other types of cataracts develop for different reasons.

            Generally, there are 5 main types of cataracts:

            • Age-related cataracts
            • Traumatic cataracts
            • Radiation cataracts
            • Pediatric cataracts
            • Secondary cataracts

              Age-Related Cataracts

              Age-related cataracts are the most common form of this condition. They naturally occur with age, clouding the lens of the eye and reducing vision.

              Traumatic Cataracts

              Eye injuries can damage your lens, causing a cataract to develop. It may form quickly or many years later.

              Radiation Cataracts

              Radiation can cause cataract development. While not all types of radiation will, UV rays from the sun and radiation treatment for cancer may lead to a cataract.

              Pediatric Cataracts

              Children can have cataracts from birth or develop them later in life. This type of cataract is rare and typically genetic. Other reasons a child may develop a cataract include eye injuries, radiation, steroid medications, or complications during pregnancy.

              Secondary Cataracts

              After receiving cataract surgery, some people may develop what is called secondary cataracts. It causes your vision to become cloudy again, but it isn’t technically a cataract. This condition occurs because of cloudiness on the outside of the lens, not the inside like with a cataract.

              All forms of cataracts cloud your vision, making everyday tasks more difficult. No matter the cause of your cataract, many have the same symptoms.

              Cataract Symptoms

              Cataract symptoms may be hard to notice at first. You may only notice a small part of your eye’s lens is cloudy. Vision loss is usually mild at first, but symptoms can become more noticeable.

              Common signs of cataracts include:

              • Clouded, blurred, or dim vision
              • Fading or yellowing of colors
              • Double vision in one eye
              • Worsening vision at night
              • Frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription
              • Sensitivity to light & glare
              • Seeing halos around lights

                If you experience any of these symptoms, especially sudden vision changes, visit your optometrist as soon as possible. Concerning symptoms includes flashes of light, double vision, and sudden eye pain or headaches. If cataracts are significantly affecting your vision, you likely need treatment.

                Young woman undergoing cataract surgery

                What is the Treatment for Cataracts?

                The treatment for cataracts depends on the severity of your condition. For milder cases, using brighter lights at home, anti-glare sunglasses, and magnifying lenses for close work can help you see better. A new prescription for your glasses or contact lenses can sharpen your vision.

                If you’re looking to get rid of your cataracts, surgery is the only way. Cataract surgery is safe, with 90% of patients obtaining better sight.

                What Can I Expect After My Cataract Surgery?

                While 90% of people who receive cataract surgery have improved sight, this doesn’t happen instantly. Your vision may be blurry while your eye recovers. Expect an 8-week recovery from this surgery, with your doctor providing you detailed care instructions and offering scheduled check-ups to monitor your healing progress.

                What You Need to Know About Cataract Surgery

                No matter how safe surgery is, there are always risks present. These possible risks include:

                • Vision loss or double vision
                • Swelling & infections
                • Changes in eye pressure
                • Retinal detachment
                • Secondary cataracts

                  Before surgery, your doctor will discuss all of the possible risks and complications with this surgery. Cataract surgery is quick and almost painless, lasting approximately one hour.

                  You’ll be awake during this surgery, but you won’t see what your doctor is doing. They will remove your cloudy lens and replace it with an artificial one.

                  Your doctor will:

                  • Place numbing eye drops into your eye
                  • Use small tools to cut into the eye, break apart the lens, & then remove it
                  • Place a new artificial lens

                  After surgery, you’ll wait in a recovery area before the medical team confirms you can go home. They’ll provide you with after-care instructions, discuss the healing process, and schedule check-up appointments to ensure your eye is healing properly.

                  Post-Surgery Care

                  Your doctor will explain how to protect the eyes you had surgery on. You’ll receive eye drops to support the healing process, and you may need a special eye shield for protection. Expect to avoid activities like bending over, lifting heavy objects, or touching your eyes for a few weeks.

                  Your eyes may feel uncomfortable or sensitive to light, but this should stop after a few days. Make sure to call your doctor immediately if you experience:

                  • Vision loss
                  • Very red eyes
                  • Flashes of light or floaters
                  • Pain that persists through medication

                    After around 8 weeks, your healing should be complete, and your vision improved. If you’re worried about the healing process, remember, your optometrist is here to help.

                    Book Your Appointment

                    Cataract surgery can help you regain the clear vision you’re missing. This condition may be a part of natural aging, but you don’t need to live with cloudy or blurry vision.

                    If you’re experiencing symptoms of cataracts, contact your optometrist.

                    A Comprehensive Eye Exam: What is the Doctor Checking For?

                    Side perspective of an eye doctor using a microscope and slit lamp to view a patients eye

                    A Comprehensive Eye Exam: What is the Doctor Checking For?

                    Most of us have been to an eye exam and spent time with an optometrist studying our vision. There are machines to check your eye pressure, and lights that illuminate your retina, and charts with big letters. But what are all these tests looking for?

                    An eye doctor conducts a comprehensive eye exam with a primary goal in mind- determining and evaluating your visual health. By studying the shape, strength, and acuity of your eyes, an optometrist can recommend prescriptions and provide preventative eye care solutions.

                    Let’s break down the different components of an eye exam and what it tells the doctor about your ocular health.

                    The First Rule of Prevention

                    The vast majority of eye conditions can be prevented or at least slowed down with an early diagnosis and effective eye care strategy. Many diseases result in negative eye changes that are irreversible and incurable if left unattended.

                    That’s why regular eye exams are so important- they give optometrists the ability to diagnose eye diseases early and to act quickly to protect your eyes.

                    How Often Should I Get My Eyes Checked?

                    Everyone should get their eyes examined once per year. This keeps your eye doctor on top of changes in your eyes. Even people with healthy vision are recommended to see the eye doctor annually.

                    If you have a medical history or other visual irregularities, your optometrist can build an exam schedule that best suits your own ocular needs.

                    Checking the Shape of Your Eye

                    In most people’s lifetimes, they will experience some form of shape-changing in their eyes. In fact, only 35% of American adults have 20/20 or “normal” vision. Changes in your eye shape affect how light is refracted through your eye and can lead to vision disorders.

                    Your visual acuity measurement (eye chart) will give your optometrist clues about the potential shape of your eye. They will use a slit lamp to examine the entirety of your eye and view each component individually. By identifying this eye shape, the doctor can confirm some common conditions that affect eyesight.

                    Nearsightedness

                    Also known as myopia, this condition is quite popular, affecting about 25% of the population. Nearsighted patients can see objects clearly at a close distance but struggle to see things far away.

                    This condition occurs when the eyeball is elongated and the cornea moves further away from the retina. Light is refracted incorrectly, blurring distant focus. Myopia is hereditary and is typically initially discovered in people under the age of 20.

                    Farsightedness

                    Hyperopia is essentially the opposite of nearsightedness. This is another refractive error, but instead due to the distance between the retina and cornea being too short. People with this disorder can see things far away quite clearly, but have trouble reading and focusing on close items.

                    Both myopia and hyperopia are common enough but can lead to more serious eye conditions when they go unnoticed. Your eye doctor checks for these mutations so that they can create a prescription that will correct these refractive errors.

                    Astigmatism

                    Astigmatism is another example of irregular curvature in the cornea or lens. Doctors check for a football-type shape of your eye which, again, refracts light towards the retina at an irregular angle.

                    By checking for these physical deformities in the shape of your eye, an optometrist has a baseline for refining a corrective eyeglass or contact lens prescription. These prescriptions are finetuned with further testing, like using a phoropter, a machine with multiple lens strengths. But microscope exams (slit lamp) let a doctor check for general shape abnormalities.

                    Side angle close up of an amber colored human eye with a front lens that is not perfectly round but shaped like a football

                    Looking for Eye Diseases

                    Many of the processes in an eye examination are designed to test for dangerous eye conditions. There are hundreds of known eye diseases, but a standard comprehensive eye exam can reliably check for some of the most common ocular ailments.

                    Diabetes

                    Diabetes is common enough that many optometrists specifically conduct diabetic eye exams. When diabetes exists, it makes the eye more vulnerable to other diseases.

                    After a standard eye exam, special drops will be applied to dilate your pupils. This allows your eye doctor to get a better view of the eye’s structure and to take digital images of the retina. In this process, they are checking for early stages of diabetic retinopathy, a condition that scars the eye and distorts vision.

                    Glaucoma

                    Glaucoma refers to diseases that stem from damage to the optic nerve, often due to high pressure in the eye. When left unattended, glaucoma can lead to partial or total vision loss.

                    Eye doctors check for this disease with a field vision test. This non-invasive procedure tests peripheral vision strength, which can often indicate the presence of glaucoma. Tonometry is another test used to check for glaucoma, measuring for eye pressure outside the normal range.

                    Age-related Macular Degeneration

                    A common eye disease that develops as we age is known as age-related macular degeneration, (AMD). This disease is characterized by changes to the macula and central vision loss.

                    By checking for this disease annually, optometrists can identify the first signs of AMD and take steps to prevent its progress. This includes changes in diet and a focus on increased nutrition. Checking for this disease is done with an OCT or fluorescein angiography.

                    Cataracts

                    Another common condition that occurs in older patients is the presence of cataracts. Cataracts are the blurring or loss of clarity in our optic lenses. This condition can almost always be treated with corrective eyewear or cataract surgery.

                    The eye exam process highlights the severity of your cataracts and gives optometrists the information for building a game plan. Checking for this condition is the first step in getting your vision back to full health. An eye lens can’t be replaced unless we know there is something wrong.

                    Evaluating Health With An Eye Exam

                    Eye doctors check for these diseases because saving your vision is dependent on diagnosing eye disease early. With an early diagnosis, it is much easier to manage and treat eye diseases. When a disease has progressed to a point that symptoms are obvious to a patient, there are usually already significant vision damages.

                    Along with checking for serious eye diseases, eye exams provide doctors the chance to look for color blindness, dry eye, and other conditions that may not be life-threatening, but deplete your vision. Monitoring your ocular well-being and understanding the shape of your eye are essential pillars of your visual health.

                    Optometrists use eye tests to develop accurate prescriptions which help you see better. Most eye exams take less than 60 minutes. What a small sacrifice for happy vision and the peace of mind in knowing that your eye doctor is keeping your visual health in check.

                    10 Signs You Need Emergency Eye Care

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                    10 Signs You Need Emergency Eye Care

                    Your eyes are sensitive, hard-working organs. If you’re experiencing sudden eye pain, vision loss, or changes to your vision, take action immediately to care for your eyes and protect your vision.

                    In some cases, waiting too long to deal with an eye emergency could lead to permanent vision loss. In other cases, new eye symptoms might be an indication of an undiagnosed eye disease or condition.

                    Contact us as soon as possible for a same-day emergency appointment. Existing patients can access our 24-hour answering service, but we’re also available to provide emergency appointments during business hours for first-time patients to our practice.

                    10 Eye Care Emergencies To Know

                    In many cases, flushing the affected eye with clean water for 15 minutes is a good first step while you seek further help. Always avoid rubbing your eyes, especially in an eye care emergency.

                    If you, your child, or someone you’re assisting is experiencing any of these situations or symptoms, contact us for an appointment. In serious situations where you can’t reach us immediately, please call 911 or head straight to an emergency room.

                    1. A Scratch On The Eye

                    The outer layer of your eye, called the cornea, can be scratched when debris makes contact with it. This is called a corneal abrasion and while minor cases can often be treated by flushing the eyes, an eye exam can help assess whether there’s any risk of infection or inflammation.

                    The scratch might be caused by dust, dirt, a contact lens, sand, or particles of metal, wood, or glass. Symptoms might include:

                    • Pain or a gritty feeling in your eye
                    • Lots of tears
                    • Redness
                    • Sensitivity to light
                    • A headache
                    1. Foreign Object in Eye

                    Do not attempt to remove something that is lodged in the eye. Head straight to an emergency department for assistance.

                    For small particles in the eye, you may be able to wash away the debris. If possible, remove any contact lens, which could be trapping particles underneath and prolonging the pain.

                    1. Blunt Force Trauma

                    Blunt force trauma to the eye commonly happens during sports, especially thanks to errant balls. Being hit on or near the eye can cause damage to the eye itself, as well as the eyelid and surrounding bones.

                    Symptoms after being hit in the eye can vary widely, but might include:

                    • Visual symptoms (blurry vision, double vision, loss of vision)
                    • Physical symptoms (pain, bleeding, bruising, cuts, swelling)

                    Treatment will depend on an optometrist or ophthalmologist’s assessment of the situation, but could include ice packs, pain medication, bed rest, or even surgery.

                    1. Chemical Eye Burn

                    A chemical eye burn can result from exposure to a wide variety of chemicals, including ammonia or other cleaning products, fertilizer, acids, tear gas or pepper spray.

                    In many cases of chemical exposure, flushing the eye is the best first step, though you may also want to consult your local poison control center for further steps in addition to booking an emergency eye care appointment.

                    Initial symptoms of a chemical eye burn can include:

                    • Eye pain, redness, and irritation
                    • Excessive tearing
                    • Being unable to keep the eye open
                    • The sensation of something in the eye
                    • Eyelid swelling
                    • Blurry vision
                    1. Sudden Increase in Floaters & Flashes

                    It’s normal to occasionally see floaters, which look a bit like dust marks in your vision, or flashes, which are like sparks of light that seem to come from within your eye. But a sudden increase in either of these could be due to something serious.

                    A sudden increase in floaters and flashes may be a sign of:

                    • An eye infection or injury
                    • Inflammation in the eye
                    • Bleeding inside the eye
                    • Retinal detachment, which is a serious emergency that requires immediate attention or could result in permanent vision loss (see #10 for more information)

                    An appointment with your eye doctor can help determine the likely cause of your symptoms.

                    1. Black Spots or “Holes” in Vision

                    Any type of vision loss is a reason to seek timely medical help. Holes or black spots in your vision, along with flashes of light and blurry vision, could be a sign of diabetic retinopathy.

                    Diabetic retinopathy is a serious disease that can affect the eyes of people with diabetes when their blood sugar is not well-controlled over a long period of time. Diabetic retinopathy typically has no symptoms in its earliest stages, but it can be detected in an eye exam, which is why it’s so important for people with diabetes to keep up with their annual eye exams.

                    Timely treatment can prevent diabetic retinopathy from causing permanent vision loss.

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                    1. Sudden Eye pain

                    Any sudden eye pain is a potentially serious situation.

                    Sudden sharp pain in your eye could be caused by:

                    • Contact lenses, including a scratch or infection related to improper contact lens use or hygiene
                    1. Unexplained Redness, Blurry Vision, & Light Sensitivity With Pain

                    Together, redness, blurry vision, light sensitivity and eye pain could be signs of uveitis, which is an inflammation of part of your eye called the uvea.

                    Uveitis can be caused by infection or injury, or it could be related to an autoimmune disorder, though it’s not always possible to determine the cause. Untreated, uveitis may lead to optic nerve damage and permanent vision loss.

                    See your eye doctor soon if you think you might have symptoms of uveitis, and make an emergency appointment right away if you have sudden pain or vision loss.

                    1. Nausea, Vomiting, Headache, Blurry Vision, & Sudden Severe Eye Pain

                    A combination of nausea, vomiting, headache, blurry vision, and sudden eye pain could be signs of acute closed-angle glaucoma. This is a form of glaucoma that happens fast and needs immediate emergency treatment.

                    You may be at a higher risk if closed-angle glaucoma runs in your family, or if you’re of Southeast Asian or Alaska Native origins.

                    1. ACurtain-Like ShadowAcross Vision, Flashes or Floaters, & Blurry Vision Without Pain

                    A sudden increase in flashes or floaters alone can be a sign of retinal detachment, which is a serious emergency that requires immediate care for the best chance of preserving your vision. Retinal detachment may also be accompanied by blurry vision and a curtain-like shadow across your field of view.

                    Retinal detachment is painless, but can cause permanent blindness if it’s not treated right away.

                    You might be at a higher risk of retinal detachment if:

                    • You’re over 50
                    • You have a previous history of an eye injury
                    • You have a family history of retinal detachment

                    How To Prevent Eye Injuries

                    Every year, more than 850,000 Americans suffer eye injuries at work, at home, and while playing sports.

                    Here are some tips to keep you safer around the house:

                    • Never mix cleaning products
                    • Check your lawn for hazards before mowing
                    • Keep your tools in good working condition
                    • Clear kids and other bystanders out of the area when making repairs or doing yard work

                    Come See Us

                    Your long-term vision health is our top priority. Please contact us immediately if you think you’re experiencing an eye care emergency, so we can support you to get the medical assistance you need.

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