5 Reasons Eye Exams Are Important

Your eyes allow you to interact with the world around you every day and are a vital part of your daily life. By taking care of your eyes today, you are ensuring you will see your best for years to come. Let’s take a closer look at five reasons why routine eye exams are so important.

  1. Eye exams help children succeed in school.
  2. Myopia is becoming more common.
  3. Vision screenings should never substitute a yearly comprehensive eye exam.
  4. Glaucoma does not present symptoms in the early stages.
  5. Annual eye exams can help detect other health issues.

Eye Exams and School

During a child’s schooling, 80% of the information presented for learning requires good vision. By scheduling a yearly comprehensive eye exam, you are ensuring your child sees clearly and comfortably in the classroom. Even more, an eye exam is the only way to know for sure if your child is able to see their best for sports and other activities.

Reducing Myopia Progression

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is being diagnosed more than ever before, and at an earlier age, too. Children who become nearsighted early in life tend to experience a worsening progression of nearsightedness throughout childhood. This progression puts them at a higher risk of developing cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment later in life.

By scheduling a routine eye exam, your doctor can evaluate your risks of developing myopia. When detected early, you and your eye doctor can dramatically slow the progression of myopia and decrease the chances of developing eye problems down the road.

Vision Screenings Vs. Comprehensive Eye Exams

While commonly provided, a vision screening test is not a replacement for a yearly routine eye exam. Vision screening tests only look to see if a vision problem exists. These tests cannot diagnose the vision problem you have but are able to signify a larger exam is needed. During a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will perform tests that evaluate your vision and eye health.

As you age, your risk of eye problems also increase. Routine eye exams are essential to detecting eye-related issues when merely getting a vision screening would not.

Reducing Your Risk of Glaucoma

Many people who develop glaucoma often don’t show symptoms at first. These individuals usually develop vision loss before they have learned that something is wrong with their eyes. This type of vision loss is irreversible if caught too late. With a routine exam, your optometrist can detect high eye pressure and other early signs of glaucoma before any serious damage to your vision occurs.

Detecting Issues During Your Annual Eye Exam

An eye exam can detect other health-related issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even cancer. During your exam, your eye doctor will evaluate the health and condition of the blood vessels in your retina, which are predictors of the health of blood vessels throughout your entire body. By scheduling a yearly comprehensive eye exam, you can reduce your risk for diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia.

So do you want to take a burden off of your eyes? Contact our office today and ask our staff any questions that you might have about scheduling your eye exam.

FAQ: Computer Vision Syndrome

What is computer vision syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome, or CVS, is the discomfort or symptoms caused by focusing on a computer or technological device for a long and uninterrupted time.

Common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Loss of Focus
  • Burning Eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Red Eyes
  • Double Vision
  • Eye Twitching
  • Blurred Vision
  • Neck and Shoulder Pain

Commonly Asked Questions

What causes Computer Vision Syndrome?

Characters, when read on a computer screen, don’t have the same level of contrast and definition as printed materials. This lack of contrast makes it harder for your eyes to focus. When your eyes and brain react differently to the various characters on a computer screen than on a print, you can develop symptoms of eye strain like blurred vision or headaches.

Who is affected?

Anyone working on a computer for extended periods has an increased risk of developing computer vision syndrome. When you stare at a screen, you are forcing your eyes to focus and refocus for long periods. As a result, your eyes are using more muscles, causing fatigue and tired eyes.

What can I do to reduce symptoms?

It’s easy! Talk to your eye doctor about their recommendations on how you can handle CVS. Your eye doctor may do a few tests to detect vision problems that may worsen your symptoms. Depending on the results, your doctor may recommend computer eyewear to protect your eyes or tips and tricks habits to reduce your symptoms.

For example, try practicing the 20/20/20 rule when using digital devices for an extended period. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This exercise gives your eyes a break from the continued work of focusing on your computer screen.

Finding a Solution

What is Computer Eyewear?

Computer eyewear are prescription glasses specifically designed for work on a computer. Generally speaking, these lenses enable you to focus better on a computer screen, which is usually at about 20in from your eyes.

Are there Different Types of Computer Lenses?

Yes! When shopping for the right pair of computer eyewear, ask us about the different options. Computer lenses are available in both single vision and progressive lens options to fit your vision needs.

I don’t have Computer Vision Syndrome now. Should I still look into computer eyeglasses?

Yes. Even though you may not have computer vision syndrome now, you can still develop symptoms down the road. Many individuals experience reduced productivity and accuracy when working behind a screen, even without vision problems.

Do you have more questions about computer vision syndrome and the possible solutions that you can take? Contact our office today and ask us your vision questions!

Healthy Living for Healthy Eyes

Everyone probably tells you to eat healthy, exercise, and spend time away from the screen. Sure, it’s good for your health, but does it help your eyes? Absolutely! Here are a few key areas of healthy living that are also essential to your healthy eyes and vision.

>Healthy Diet

To help keep your eyes healthy, make sure to load up on nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins c and e. Foods like green leafy vegetables, salmon or other oily fish, eggs and nuts, oranges, and pork contain these essential nutrients. Additionally, the vitamins and minerals found in these foods can help prevent many age-related problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

A well-balanced diet also helps maintain a healthy weight. Generally speaking, when you eat healthily and are at a lower risk of obesity, you have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the leading cause of blindness in adults.

>Exercise

Exercise also impacts your eye health. By simply going for a walk, you can significantly lower the chances of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. When someone develops glaucoma, doctors usually treat it by lowering high intra-ocular pressure. Recent research has implicated that, by exercising, you can reduce the pressure in your eye, helping to lower your risk for glaucoma.

Staying Hydrated

Staying hydrated is another critical factor to consider in keeping your eyes healthy. When you don’t drink enough water, your body’s instinct is to conserve it in any way that it can. This conservation includes altering your eyes! Your body will decrease the number of tears produced when it doesn’t have enough water. When this happens, you may develop symptoms of dry eye or eye strain. So what can you do? Drink water! The average water intake per day is about eight, 8-ounce glasses of water, but make sure to consume more during warmer weather or intense exercise.

Habits to Avoid

There are a few bad habits most individuals do that are bad for your eyes.

Rubbing Your Eyes

First, make sure you don’t rub your eyes! Rubbing your eyes can break blood vessels under eyelids, causing bloodshot eyes or dark circles that make you look tired.

Overusing Eye Drops

Another problem that you may not realize is the overuse of eye drops. While eye drops may temporarily soothe your eyes, overusing them may cause your eyes to become irritated over time.

Do you have more questions about ways your lifestyle can help your eyes? Contact our office today and ask us your vision questions!

Are you managing your eye allergies?

What are eye allergies?

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

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

Symptoms

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

Managing Your Eye Allergies

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

Avoidance

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

Outdoor Allergens

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

Indoor Allergens

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

Eye Drops / Medication

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

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

Eyewear for Every Occasion

Your look might change depending on the day, so shouldn’t your eyewear change, as well? These days, it’s uncommon for one pair of eyeglasses to satisfy all of your needs. Specialty eyewear can help you optimize your vision for any occasion!

Below are a few occasions where specialty eyewear can improve your vision.

Computer Glasses

If you spend a lot of time looking at a computer, you are at an increased risk of developing eye strain. While you look at a screen, your eyes try to stay focused and aligned – that’s where computer glasses come into play. These glasses are for close-up distances, and they can reduce strain while staring at screens.

Golf Sunglasses

If you’re an avid golfer, you know that the proper eyewear is an essential item for your golf bag. Some sunglasses utilize colors in the lenses to enhance the green of the grass. Brown and amber lenses can help because it creates contrast against the golf ball. Rose-colored lenses can help during cloudy days and increase the contrast between light and dark colors, and green tints help in sunny conditions, reducing glare.

Boating or Fishing Eyewear

When on the water, the sunlight can reflect and create a glare that makes it hard to see. Polarized lenses can block the light reflected, reducing glare and discomfort. Glasses made for boating and fishing are also thinner and can fit snugly to your face so that the sun can’t enter on the side, top, or bottom of your face.

Driving or Cycling Eyewear

If you find that your lifestyle takes you on the road, driving glasses can provide a benefit. These glasses–either sunglasses or prescription lenses–can help get rid of the glare that makes it hard to focus on the road.

For extra protection, polarized sunglasses protect your eyes against sun glare on any occasion, and they can help increase the contrast, making objects easier and sharper to see.

Shop Work & Safety Glasses

Depending on your lifestyle, you may need glasses that provide extra protection. This eyewear–safety glasses, sports goggles, or shooting glasses–is durable and offers more coverage than typical designs. Some safety glasses add even more protection by having a frame with a wraparound design that has larger shields on the top or side of the glasses. These glasses, although sturdy, should still include a lightweight lens for comfort and superior eye protection.

Want to learn more about your specialty eyewear options? Give our office a call or ask our staff your questions at your next appointment. Our team is prepared to help you choose the right vision management options for your lifestyle.

Are You Overexposed to Blue Light?

Blue light is the type of light with the shortest wavelength and highest energy. It’s everywhere! Although many people associate blue light with technology, the sun is the primary source of these rays.

Many human-made devices also emit blue light, and in recent years, the time individuals are spending on these devices has increased dramatically.

Key Points

About Blue Light

The anterior structure of your eye, made up of the cornea and lens, is very effective at blocking UV rays from reaching the retina, located at the back of your eye. However, blue light cannot be filtered naturally by the eye and passes through the cornea and reaches your retina. Your retina’s continued exposure to these harmful rays can result in a higher risk of developing macular degeneration over time, and eventually, permanent vision loss.

Not all blue light is bad, though. Some exposure is proven to be good for your health. Blue light–taken in appropriate amounts–can boost alertness, improve memory and cognitive functions, and elevate your mood.

Symptoms of Overexposure

Some of the most notable signs of overexposure are:

  • Eye Strain
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Blurry Vision
  • Dry Eyes
  • Inability to Focus
  • Disruptions in Sleep Patterns

Protecting Your Eyes

Digital devices aren’t going anywhere, so it’s essential to ensure that you are taking preemptive steps to protect your eyes from blue light. With electronic devices, consider these few tips to reduce the harmful rays reaching your retina.

  • Hold your Device at an Angle
  • Wear Blue Light Blocking Glasses
  • Use a Screen Filter
  • Install a Blue Light Blocking App
  • Take Advantage of “Comfort View” Settings

Ready to take protection to the next level? Ask us about computer eyewear! Computer eyewear will drastically reduce eye strain by filtering emitted light before it reaches your eyes. Many electronic devices are starting to offer apps or different settings that are intended to lessen the amount of blue light that is emitted so it’s less harsh on your eyes. While these settings don’t necessarily protect your eyes from the blue light, it does cut down on eye strain considerably by lessening the contrast.

Do you have more questions about how you can protect your eyes? Stop by our office or give us a call and we would be more than happy to answer your questions!

Contact Lenses for Hard-to-Fit Eyes

If you have astigmatism, dry eyes, or keratoconus, you may have a harder time finding contact lenses work for you. Specialty contact lenses may be the answer.

Specialty contact lenses for keratoconus

This condition occurs when your cornea thins and forms into a cone-like shape, causing your vision to become distorted and your eyes more sensitive to light. If you have this condition, you may see better with contact lenses that replace the irregular shape of the cornea with a smooth surface, allowing light to focus better on the retina.

Gas permeable contact lenses

For those with mild to moderate keratoconus, gas-permeable contact lenses may help. They are made with an oxygen-permeable material and keep their shape instead of fitting the cornea. These lenses reduce blur and help provide sharper vision than glasses.

Piggybacking contact lenses

People who use gas permeable lenses may find the rigid lenses uncomfortable to wear at length. In this case, “piggybacking”- wearing a soft contact lens under the gas permeable lens – may be an alternative. The two lenses work together for vision and comfort.

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a difference in the shape of the cornea that makes it harder for the eyes to focus on light, which results in blurred vision.

Toric contact lenses

These lenses provide comfort without a period of having to break in the lenses. This option is more complicated because it takes more time to fit than the traditional soft lenses. They are designed specifically for your eyes, and can be pricey.

Contact lenses for dry eyes

Dry eyes are a common issue, and they make it uncomfortable to wear contact lenses. If you have dry eyes and still want to wear contacts, soft contacts help hold in the moisture in your eyes.

Specialty lenses and giant papillary conjunctivitis

This eye condition causes inflammation in the mucous membrane that covers the white part of your eye. Known as pink eye, this condition is caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi.

Your eye doctor may take different routes with contacts if you have GPC. They may recommend soft and disposable contact lenses that are worn throughout the day and then thrown away.

Lenses for presbyopia

Presbyopia occurs when you lose the ability to focus on objects up close, and your eye doctor may recommend bifocal or monovision contact lenses. These lenses are challenging to fit and require more time and money to get it right. If fit correctly, bifocal or monovision lenses can provide many benefits.

Do you have more questions about the specialty contact lenses you can use for your lifestyle? Contact our office today and ask us your vision questions!

Don’t Wait For Symptoms

Many people with medical eye diseases don’t show symptoms immediately, but with an underlying disease, the damage is already underway. Regular comprehensive eye exams are essential in diagnosing eye diseases early.

Comprehensive Eye Exams Diagnose Medical Eye Disease

By not getting a comprehensive eye exam on a regular basis, you’re putting your eyes at risk because once symptoms show, it might be too late for effective treatment. If detected early, your eye doctor can help treat and improve your vision.

An eye exam can reveal health conditions unrelated to your eyes. During an eye exam, your eye doctor can evaluate the health of the blood vessels in your retina and help predict the overall health of the blood throughout your body. Diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia can all appear during a routine eye exam

Common Eye Diseases

Refractive Errors

Refractive errors are the most commonly diagnosed eye disorder in the United States. Myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (distorted vision), and presbyopia (loss of the ability to focus up close) are all refractive errors that can be corrected if diagnosed early. Early symptoms of a refractive error include seeing a glare around bright lights, having to squint, and having double vision.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is typically associated with aging. The results are a loss of the clear central vision needed for many day-to-day tasks.

Wet age-related macular degeneration: abnormal blood vessels form under your retina. They may eventually bleed and leak fluid, and cause the macula to rise and distort your central vision.

Dry age-related macular degeneration: more commonly diagnosed than wet age-related macular degeneration, this eye condition presents fewer symptoms in the early stages. By the time symptoms appear, vision is likely already impaired.

Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of your eye’s lens. A cataract makes it challenging to read, drive a car, and perform day-to-day activities. Cataracts can strengthen over time and interfere with your vision. Symptoms usually include clouded or blurred vision, sensitivity to bright light, a halo effect around bright lights.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy causes damage to the blood vessels in your retina. As the disease progresses, common symptoms include floating dark spots, blurred vision, impaired color vision, or vision loss. It usually shows no symptoms in the early stages, but can eventually lead to blindness.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerves and doesn’t typically show symptoms in the early stages. Signs in the later stages include eye pain, blurred vision, red eyes, and seeing halos around bright light. There is no cure for vision loss caused by glaucoma, so it’s essential to have annual vision exams before it’s too late.

Contact our office today and ask our staff any questions you might have about scheduling your eye exam and treating medical eye diseases.

Screen Time and Children

Screen time is the amount of time a person spends staring at digital displays including computers, tablets, smartphones, and TVs. In our modern and technology-focused world children are spending time on digital displays for educational and recreational purposes. Children who spend several hours on digital devices are at risk of developing vision-related problems.

Average Time Children Spend On Digital Devices

According to the Vision Council, 72% of American parents report their children regularly spend more than two hours on screens per day. It is likely that children spend significantly more time on screens than their parents think. Common Sense Media reports that children under age eight spend more than two hours a day with screen media. For 8 to 10-year-olds screen time triples to six hours per day. Kids in middle school and high school spend up to nine hours per day looking at digital displays.

Risks of Screen Time

Too much screen time can be dangerous for anyone’s eyes, children included. Screens emit a broad spectrum of visible light. While most of these light rays are harmless, blue light is a high-energy visible light that can cause damage to your eyes. Blue light has shorter wavelengths and higher energy causing harm to the retina over time. Overexposure to blue light can cause:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Neck/shoulder pain
  • Eye strain
  • Reduced attention span
  • Poor behavior
  • Irritability

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer vision syndrome is a condition caused by visual stress. Symptoms include tired eyes, dry eyes, headache, and fatigue.

Unhealthy Posture

Your body naturally slouches inwards when on digital devices. Your back and shoulders round, your head tilts back, and your chin justs forward. This reaction to digital devices is called “turtling” and can cause neck, back, and shoulder pain.

How To Protect Your Child’s Eyes

It is clear digital devices will not be going away anytime soon. Therefore it is essential to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect your children’s eyes from digital screens. One way you can do this is by limiting screen time for your children while at home. You can also apply blue light filters or download blue light filtering apps to all digital devices. If your child wears prescription glasses, ask us about add blue light blocking to their lenses during your next appointment.

Nighttime Use

The largest source of blue light is our sun, which tells our brain when to be awake or sleep. The high use of digital devices emitting blue light may disrupt your natural circadian rhythm (sleep cycle) by miscommunicating the time of day and if you should be awake or asleep. Stop digital device time two hours before usual bedtime to ensure your child’s sleep schedule affected by blue light.

Do you have more questions about screen time and blue light? Stop by our office or give our office a call and we would be happy to answer your questions!

Computer Vision Syndrome: Eye Strain

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

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

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

Symptoms of CVS

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

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

Ways to Combat CVS

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

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

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

Computer Eyewear

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

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