It used to be that foggy lenses were something we only experienced during the winter months. It was a common frustration for those wearing glasses coming indoors after being out in the cold. In the current COVID-19 pandemic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendation of wearing face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19, foggy glasses are more common than ever.
The following tips are a great resource to help patients overcome treatment challenges that can come up from time to time.
1. Be honest and up front with your doctor about any problems you have with your medications
Missing a dose may seem like no big deal, but studies have shown that skipping doses can lead to vision loss over time. Ask your doctor what to do if you miss a dose. Should you take the drop when you remember? Should you wait to use the medication at its next scheduled time?
As we are all living through these unprecedented times of COVID-19, we are likely spending even more time using our eyes for a variety of near tasks. Many are working from home, our kids are continuing their education online and people are reading books that they had been putting off. We are also simply surfing the web and looking at social media on our phones more than ever. These increased near tasks make managing Computer Vision Syndrome all the more important.
Computer Vision Syndrome, also known as Digital Eye Strain, pertains to a group of vision-related symptoms that are associated with near tasks. These symptoms result from prolonged use of digital devices like computers, tablets and cellphones. Also, extended periods of reading, sewing and knitting, i.e., non-digital near tasks can lead to similar symptoms.
We are fast approaching the end of 2019. The end of the year is a great time to reflect on things in your life that need to be addressed, whether it is fixing that leaky faucet or addressing a nagging health problem. It seems fitting that in the year 2020 we should strive to maximize our vision and eye health. Below are 4 eye related conditions to address in 2020.
Dry eye affects up to 50% of the adult population according to some studies. It presents with numerous symptoms from blurry or fluctuating vision to red, irritated eyes. What we think of, as eyestrain from working on a computer usually is actually dry eye. Just as there are numerous symptoms and presentations of dry eye, there are also numerous treatment options. There is no reason to continue to suffer. Your eye doctor will take an individualized approach, providing treatment that is unique to your particular situation.
Have you ever wondered what options you have to correct your vision after the age of 50? If so, this week’s blog is just for you!
Many think of LASIK and other vision correction procedures being only for patients in their 20s or 30s. The reason for this misconception is likely related to the aging changes that occur to our natural crystalline lens as we get into our 40s. Presbyopia sets in during this stage of our life...people who have never worn glasses before are all of the sudden needing readers to help with them look at their phone or computer. Those who wear glasses are getting their first bifocals.
During these last two months of the year, “to do lists” are abundant. There are honey do lists preparing for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Celebrations. There are grocery lists for dinners. There are also gift lists. Let’s add a to do list to better your vision and eye health.
In no particular order, the following are things we should all do to ensure that our vision stays as good as possible and our eyes remain comfortable.
Have you ever wondered why the sky is blue for most of the day, but at sunrise and sunset it has a red or orange hue to it? Maybe this is something that only we vision nerds think about. Either way, this week we hope to explain this phenomenon for you.
Light travels in waves. Like the ocean moves in waves to the shoreline, light travels in electronic and magnetic waves through the air. These waves of light come in various wavelengths. These different wavelengths represent different colors on the visible light spectrum. Think of the colors of a rainbow...maybe a good topic for a future blog. The shorter, higher energy waves are at the violet and blue end of the spectrum. The longer, lower energy waves are at the red and orange end of the spectrum.
The pupil is the aperture of the eye. It is the black hole in the center of the iris, the colored part of the eye. The pupil allows light to pass through the eye to the retina, which is the tissue that lines the back of the eye.
Have you ever wondered what the technician or doctor is doing during your eye exam? Hopefully, this blog is able to answer those questions for you.
The exam starts by gathering information about both your eyes and general health. We will want to know if you are having any eye or vision issues currently. You are also asked to report if there is a history of eye or medical conditions both in your past and in your family. Any medications that you are currently taking will be documented. You will be asked if there are any allergies that you have. This baseline information gives the doctor a frame of reference for what has happened in the past, what is currently causing a problem and what you may be at risk for developing.
You look in the mirror and staring back at you is 2 vertical lines between your eyebrows...the dreaded 11s. Your son or daughter says you look more angry than normal lately. These expression lines on our forehead happen to all of us at some point. Don’t fear...there is help available to get rid of these forehead wrinkles.
First, we will discuss why these wrinkles occur and what we can do to minimize their development. Then we will discuss their treatment.
Your mother probably told you as a child to not rub your eyes, don’t sit too close to the television, etc. Well she was right about the eye rubbing. Even though we shouldn’t, we all do it on occasion. We may do it because our eyes are itchy. We may do it in an attempt to get a foreign substance like an eyelash out of our eye. Or, we may do it because our eyes feel tired and rubbing the eyes helps them feel better by increasing tear production. Whatever the reason, we shouldn’t rub our eyes and below are 5 things that can happen to our eyes and the skin around them if we do.
Increased Risk of Infection
Bacteria are all around us. In fact, our hands are full of bacteria. Just think of everything your hands touch throughout the day...keyboards, door handles and shopping carts to name a few. Who knows who touched these items before you and whether or not they had a cold. This is the reason we need to thoroughly wash our hands before handling food, handling contact lenses, etc. Each time you rub your eyes, you are potentially exposing your eyes to these bacteria or viruses. This increases the risk of developing conjunctivitis, pink eye, which is highly contagious.
In today’s world, we are all looking at screens more than ever before. This screen time comes at all ages. Almost all jobs require more computer and technology use than 20 years ago. Grandparents are keeping up with their grandkids via mobile phones and computer screens. Students are on chromebooks or iPads issued from their school district. Toddlers are watching videos on their parent’s iPads.
With this increased screen time, a new condition has developed...computer vision syndrome or digital eye strain. Studies show between 50-65% of adults report symptoms of digital eye strain. As you will see, this is a problem that involves more than just our eyes and visual system. It also is involves ergonomics and our muscular system.
This week, we will cover some of the most common questions we encounter when we discuss cataracts and cataract surgery with patients.
What Causes a Cataract?
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens that sits behind the iris, the colored part of the eye. With time, this lens clouds and affects the quality of our vision. Even a change in one’s glasses or contact lenses will not restore your vision at this point.
Have you ever wondered why we cry? If so, you are not alone. People have asked this questions for hundreds of years.
One major breakthrough occurred in the 17th century when a Danish scientist discovered the lacrimal gland. The lacrimal gland is responsible for producing the watery or aqueous component of our tears. The tear film also contains a mucus component produced by goblet cells on the white part of the eye and an oily component produced from the meibomian glands at the edge of our eyelids. These 3 components are joined by enzymes, lipids, metabolites and electrolytes to make up the tear film that coats and lubricates our eyes.
It seems that more frequently then ever we are seeing reports of natural disasters disrupting the lives of people all over the world. Have you ever taken a moment to think how you would respond if a tornado, flood, fire or other natural disaster hit your home, work or place you are visiting? Depending on where you are and any advanced warning that is available, your level of preparedness will vary. If you rely on glasses or contact lenses to see well, extra considerations are needed to ensure the safety of your eyes and your vision both during and after a natural disaster.
LASIK and other vision correction procedures are popular choices for first responders in need of vision correction. They need to be confident that there vision is clear, comfortable and dependable at all times, no matter the environment. They not only need this vision at the drop of a hat when disaster hits, but also for the hours to weeks of hard and potentially dangerous work required to keep people and property from harms way after the disaster.
We have all heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” It is easy for us to believe that eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables is better than a diet of french-fries and potato chips. Most of us also believe that getting some exercise is better for our body than spending the afternoon on the couch watching football...unless the Chiefs are playing! This week’s blog will focus on some of the things we can do to help our eyes maintain as good of vision as possible as we age.
Not smoking is probably the #1 lifestyle decision we can make for our eyes and our bodies as a whole. Smoking leads to earlier development of cataracts. Those who smoke are twice as likely to suffer from dry eye symptoms. There is a 3x risk of developing macular degeneration in smokers versus nonsmokers. If we break this down to women who smoke versus women who do not smoke, the risk of developing macular degeneration is 5.5x higher in those who smoke. Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of vision loss. The incidence of diabetes is 30-40% higher in those who smoke. Those who smoke are 4x more likely to go blind in old age. It is never too late to quit! The following link from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides resources for those interested in breaking the habit. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/index.html
September is Healthy Aging Month. We can’t think of a better time to discuss 5 of the most common eye conditions encountered, as we get older. In no particulare order, presbyopia, dry eye, cataract, glaucoma, and macular degeneration are the most frequent ailments of the aging population.