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Glaucoma Testing

You might be surprised at how many tests eye doctors use to diagnose glaucoma. A proper diagnosis requires careful evaluation of many aspects of your eye’s health – from eye pressure to cornea thickness to the health of your optic nerve. This article describes how your eye doctor assesses your risk and all the tests needed to properly diagnose glaucoma.
 

Risk Factor Assessment

Your eye doctor will begin by assessing your risk level for developing glaucoma. This will help determine the frequency and extent of testing needed. Through a family history and medical questionnaire, the eye doctor is looking for the following risk factors:
 

  • Over the age of 60

  • Ethnic background such as African or black Caribbean descent, Hispanic, or Asian

  • Family history of glaucoma, such as a sibling or parent with glaucoma

  • History of eye conditions, injuries or surgeries

  • Prolonged corticosteroid use (eye drops, pills, inhalers or creams)

  • Chronic conditions that affect blood flow, such as migraines, diabetes, low blood
    pressure or hypertension

  • Current or former smoker
     

If you’ve already had a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will also consider these risk factors:
 

  • Eye pressure higher than normal (above 21 mm Hg)

  • Thin corneas (less than 0.5 millimeters)
     

Your type of eyesight is also important. People with farsightedness are at a higher risk for narrow-angle glaucoma, a more serious type that can advance quickly. While nearsightedness is associated with open-angle glaucoma, which progresses slowly without any symptoms.
 

Standard Glaucoma Tests

During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will always check for glaucoma, regardless of the risk level. This provides a baseline for comparison as you age. There are two tests: tonometry and ophthalmoscopy.
 


Seasonal Allergies And The Eyes

Seasonal allergies is a medical condition similar to other forms of allergies that occur when the body's immune system reacts to an external material in the environment during seasonal periods when plants and trees are pollinating. Seasonal allergies have a tremendous effect on millions of individuals annually causing a negative effect on eyesight. Seasonal eye allergies cause the eyes to become itchy, watery and red which in medical terms is referred to as allergic conjunctivitis. There are many allergens that can make our eyes go itchy and very red including dust, pollen, and smoke. These allergens, however, vary from one person to another. For example, while dust can cause itchy eyes for me, it might not be the same for you as it all depends on our immune system and the way it reacts against such substances.

When something is regarded as a dangerous substance by the eye, a chemical response is elicited to fight against the allergen which is what leads to the itchiness, redness, and soreness in the eyes. These reactions are usually a result of a change in seasons, mostly occurring in the spring when plants and trees are pollinating and during the fall when the ragweed plants are pollinating.
 

Seasonal Allergies Effect on the Eyes

As we mentioned earlier, allergens affect people differently, but there are general ways in which everyone reacts. You would know an individual is suffering from allergies through the following symptoms.

  • Teary eyes
    Since the eyes perceive substances like dust, smoke, pollens as harmful to the normal conditioning of the eyes, there is an automatic release of water in order to clean the eyes which is more of a defense mechanism against these foreign items.

  • Swollen eyes
    After the entry of these foreign items, it is very natural to feel itchy and want to scratch the affected eyes. During the scratching, the skin covering the eyes would become swollen due to continuous friction.

  • Dry eyes
    Dry eyes occur most times during winter seasons, not because of allergens like dust or pollen, but whenever there is extreme cold or snow. This causes the eyes to become dry which leads to soreness and redness.

  • Itchy Eyes
    Allergens are carried by air and could end up in your eyes at any time. A reaction to these allergens would cause your eyes to feel irritated from the inside and would create the urge to then scratch your eyes in an attempt to provide some relief.

  • Red Eyes
    Redness of the eyes is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as itchy eyes which cause the eyes to become swollen and very red. There are also capillaries inside the eyes that can become red whenever one is faced with an allergy.
     

Prevention

It is nearly impossible to prevent allergens due to the fact that they are carried around by air. There are, however, some things that can be done by you to help reduce your chances of being exposed to allergens. One of the first precautions is to remain indoors on windy days since more allergens are carried around at a faster pace. If it is necessary to go out, be sure to wear a pair of sunglasses that provide adequate coverage for the eyes. Furthermore, wearing pollen masks and/or sunglasses when working in the yard could help to prevent anything from blowing into your eyes.
 

Treatment

Whenever you are suffering from allergies, be sure to stay hydrated, use any doctor recommended eye drops you may have to help reduce irritation, and if you use contact lenses, switch to a pair of glasses to add some extra protection as well as prevent further eye discomfort. Lastly, try to avoid scratching your eyes as much as possible to prevent any additional complications.


Dry Eye Treatment

While dry eye isn’t a serious condition, it can have a major impact on your quality of life. You may find your eyes get tired faster or you have difficulty reading. Not to mention the discomfort of a burning sensation or blurry vision. Let’s take a look at dry eye treatments – from simple self-care to innovative prescriptions and therapies – to help you see clearly and comfortably.
 

What is Dry Eye?

Understanding dry eye will help you determine the best treatment option. Dry eye occurs when a person doesn't have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears reduce eye infections, wash away foreign matter, and keep the eye’s surface smooth and clear. People with dry eyes either do not produce enough tears or their tears are poor quality. It’s a common and often chronic problem, especially in older adults.
 

Preventive Self-Care

Before we delve into more serious dry eye treatment options, here are a few simple self-care options that can manage minor cases of dry eye.

  • Blink regularly when reading or staring at a computer screen for a long time.

  • Make sure there’s adequate humidity in the air at work and at home.

  • Wear sunglasses outside to reduce sun and wind exposure. Wraparound glasses are best.

  • Take supplements with essential fatty acids as these may decrease dry eye symptoms.

  • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water each day to avoid dehydration.

  • Find out if any of your prescriptions have dry eye as a side effect and if so, see if you can take an alternative.
     

Artificial Tears

For mild cases of dry eyes, the best option is over-the-counter eye drops. Here are a few tips for selecting the right one:

  • Low viscosity – These artificial tears are watery. They often provide quick relief with little or no blurring of your vision, but their effect can be brief, and sometimes you must use these drops frequently to get adequate relief.

  • High viscosity – These are more gel-like and provide longer-lasting lubrication. However, these drops can cause significant blurring of your vision for several minutes. For this reason, high-viscosity artificial tears are recommended at bedtime.
     

Prescription Dry Eye Treatments

There are several prescriptions that treat dry eye differently. Your eye doctor can advise the best option for your situation.

  • Contact Lenses – There are specialty contact lenses that deliver moisture to the surface of the eye. They’re called scleral lenses or bandage lenses.

  • Antibiotics– If your eyelids are inflamed, this can prevent oil glands from secreting oil into your tears. Your doctor may recommend antibiotics to reduce inflammation.


Myopia Management

Myopia is a very common issue throughout the world. Approximately 1/3 of the population in the United States have the condition and over 90% of several East Asian countries suffer from myopia. While myopia may seem like such a common condition that it shouldn’t be cause for concern, it is actually associated with several very serious conditions that can threaten one’s ability to see.
 

What is Myopia

Myopia, more commonly known as nearsightedness, is a condition where individuals are able to see objects that are close to them but may have difficulty distinguishing things at a distance, such as road signs or leaves on a tree. These individuals often squint at objects that are further away to try and help bring them into focus.

Currently, there is no known cure for myopia and recent studies suggest that the more advanced your myopia gets, the more serious the effects can be on your vision. This has led eye professionals to look for ways to slow the progression of myopia in children and young adults as the eyes typically change more rapidly during this time and slowing down myopia progression during these years has a huge payoff. 

 

Types of Myopia Control

There are a few different treatments for myopia that have proven to be effective in a number of studies. Of course, to ensure you find the most effective choice for you, be sure to visit with your eye doctor so they can review your case and recommend the best options for you.


Ortho-K | Ortho-K or Orthokeratology is one practice being used to slow down the progression of myopia. Ortho-K utilizes a special rigid gas-permeable contact lens that is placed into the eyes just before you go to bed. This hard lens helps to gently hold your eye in the proper shape throughout the night. Then when you wake up in the morning and remove the lenses, your eye continues to maintain that shape. This means that people who are nearsighted can see clearly throughout the day, even without wearing contact lenses or glasses. This approach is often preferred for athletes or other active individuals.

Atropine Eye Drops | One of the thoughts about the progression of myopia, is that it is associated with eye strain. The additional stresses that are placed on the eye when straining push the eye further out of its proper shape. Atropine eye drops are specifically designed to help stop the eye from straining and help the muscles relax. Atropine is similar to the eye drops that are used when you get your eyes dilated but lasts throughout the entire day rather than just a few hours. Atropine dilates the pupil of the eye and prevents them from closing too tightly and limiting your vision. This treatment has been shown to be especially effective in slowing the progression of myopia in children.
 
Multifocal Eyeglasses and Contact Lenses | These specialty contact lenses are designed to help reduce strain on the eyes. They have shown great success at slowing the progression of myopia over a three-year period when compared with individuals who wore a standard prescription lens.
 

Overview

If you notice that your child is having a difficult time seeing objects that are far away, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Many parents notice changes in their children with their behavior or grades at school, their ability to play sports, or that they may even be pulling back from playing with friends. Treating myopia as quickly as possible can help to reduce your child’s chances of developing a serious eye condition that can threaten their ability to see the world around them. Call today and schedule an appointment to see how we can help your child.


Eye Safety Tips

The eye is a very delicate and fragile part of the body. According to one study on distance vision, about 188.5 million individuals are said to suffer from mild vision impairment, 217 million individuals suffer from moderate and severe impairment while 36 million individuals are blind. For near vision impairment, there are about 826 million individuals suffering. In all, there are about 1.3 billion people living with one of these impairments.

While a lot of people are aware that the eyes are an integral part of the body system, most of them do not pay very close attention to taking care of their eyes and are, in essence, taking it for granted. As the saying goes, “You don't know what you have until it's gone," and therefore, we have decided to take the necessary steps to provide you with information on how to best to take care of your eyesight.
Below are ways to keep your eyes safe:

1. Eat Healthy

Eating a healthy diet is a very integral part of keeping the eyes healthy. Nutrients like lutein, vitamins E and C, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc may help in preventing eye-related problems like cataracts and macular degeneration. These nutrients can be found in vegetables like collards, kale, spinach, fish like tuna, salmon, and halibut, as well as in beans, nuts, eggs, oranges, pork, and oysters.

Besides eating meals rich in nutrients, it is equally important to eat a well-balanced diet. Obesity can cause diabetes and other medical conditions, leading to blindness or glaucoma. Obesity is also regarded as the chief cause of blindness across the globe which should raise a red flag to watch your weight. You can always visit your doctor to get help with drafting a healthy eating plan.

2. Know your family's medical history

Eye issues are usually hereditary which is why it is important to collect a family history on any diseases that may affect eye health and then report them to your eye doctor. This will help to determine your chances of any future eye conditions as well as come up with an action plan for future eye exams.

3. Avoid Smoking

Smoking, in general, is harmful to your overall health. In regards to your eyes, it can cause macular degeneration, destroy the optic nerve, and cause cataracts. It can even lead to vision loss. Quitting smoking if you already smoke, or better yet, not even starting, will be extremely beneficial to your overall health and wellness.

4. Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses are more than just fashion accessories, they are vital in protecting the eyes from ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun. UV rays can cause macular degeneration and even cataracts which is why it is important to wear sunglasses that protect against 99% -100% of UV rays.

5. Obey workplace safety precautions

It is important we wear protective eye gears when engaging in sporting activities or jobs that could be harmful to the eyes. Such eyewear includes safety goggles, glasses, and helmets. Most of these protectors are from polycarbonates, which is a much stronger material than plastic.

6. Rest your eyes

Just like our bodies, the eyes also need rest to perform optimally. Depriving yourself of adequate sleep and rest can have an adverse effect on the eyes. During the use of the computer, remember to rest the eyes for at least 20 seconds after every 20 minutes by looking away from the screen. Doing this will reduce eye strain.

7. Visit your eye doctor regularly

Getting regular eye exams is one of the most important things you can do for your eye health. Conditions like glaucoma are much easier to treat if they are discovered early so don’t stay far from your doctor. 
 

First Aid

Eye injuries can happen at any time and it is good to know how to handle such emergencies until you can reach a medical professional.

  • If you get hit on the eyes, you should put a shield like a Styrofoam cup on the bone of the eyes. Avoid putting pressure on the eye

  • If something enters your eyes, avoid removing it as it may lead to the tearing of important tissue in the eyes. A Styrofoam cup would also do the job here until you can get to a medical professional.

  • In the case of a black eye, putting an ice pack on the eye will help to reduce bruising and swelling

  • If it’s a chemical burn, rinse the eyes with clean water for about 30 minutes, holding your head beneath the tap. While rinsing, keep your eyes wide open, rolling your eyeballs in all directions so as to ensure the water gets to every part.
     

So give some of these tips a try and remember to schedule regular eye exams. Prevention is always a better alternative to trying to find a cure.


How Your Eyes Change with Age

As our bodies age, it is normal to notice that there are decreases in our ability to complete certain functions that may have been natural for us in our youth. Just like our physical strength, the strength of your eyes can also weaken over time.

Several different factors influence how each of us will experience aging. Your genetics can play a pivotal role. Understanding your family history and making sure to communicate this with your health professional can be a great way to monitor changes and spot early signs and symptoms. Exposure to certain chemicals or environments or specific trauma to our eyes can also have an impact on how our eyes age. While the eyes can often recover from traumatic injury or exposure, they may still have a detrimental effect on your vision as you age.

Knowing what age you start to have an increased risk of certain diseases or eye conditions can help you to be prepared when you meet with your optometrist. Here are some of the most common ailments that people experience when they age.
 

Presbyopia

Once you are over 40 years old you may experience a loss in vision at close range. Presbyopia is a normal condition that occurs due to the hardening of the lens in your eye. In the early stages, you can often compensate for small changes to your vision, but as the condition progresses, you will likely need a corrective lens, or choose a surgical procedure. such as Lasik, corneal inlays, refractive lens exchange, and conductive keratoplasty.
 

Cataracts

Cataracts are technically a disease of the eye. However, they are so frequently seen in patients as they age, that they are classified as a normal part of aging. While almost half of the population over 65 have cataracts, that number increases even more by age 70. While it can be frightening to begin losing your vision, cataract surgery is extremely successful and can restore up to 100% of the lost vision. If you notice even small changes to your vision, it is smart to talk to your doctor. Cataract surgery is best performed when the cataracts are small and can be more easily removed.
 

Macular Degeneration

This disease is the leading cause of blindness in senior citizens in the United States.
 

Glaucoma

The risk of developing glaucoma generally begins when you are in your 40’s with a near one percent chance and increases throughout the decades with a twelve percent by the time you are in your 80’s.
 

Diabetic Retinopathy

Individuals who have diabetes may be affected by diabetic retinopathy. This disease occurs when blood sugar levels are elevated for an extended period that causes damage to the eye. This damage may lead to permanent vision loss. Americans with diabetes over the age of 40 are at an increased risk, with about 40 percent of people with diabetes over this age displaying some degree of diabetic retinopathy.
 


Scleral Lenses

Contact lenses come in a variety of shapes and styles to suit the range of needs for individual patients. What this means is that there is almost certainly a type of contact lens that will both feel comfortable for you and improve your vision. 
 

Some types of contact lenses are known as speciality lenses. This is because they are designed specifically to overcome some eye issues which may prevent a patient from wearing the most common and generic styles of contact lenses. In fact, speciality contact lenses have transformed the vision options of many patients who would otherwise have only had the choice between wearing glasses or undergoing laser vision correction. There are numerous types of speciality contact lens, including scleral lenses.
 

What are scleral lenses?

Scleral contact lenses get their name from the fact that, unlike regular contacts, they vault over the entire corneal surface and rest on the white part of the eye, which is called the sclera. This makes them larger than standard contacts, which in turn provides a variety of benefits. Their size makes them easier to handle and more stable when on the eye, which in turn provides the patient with sharper and more reliable vision. They are also less likely to become dislodged and come out. 


Scleral contact lenses are also gas permeable, which means that oxygen can pass right through them and reach the surface of the eyes. This is important for comfort, particularly for patients who experience dry eyes. The gap that is created between the back of the contact lens and the front surface of the eye can also trap tear film, acting as a fluid reservoir which will keep the eyes moist and healthy. 
 

Types of scleral lenses

Within scleral lenses there are several different sizes to choose between. These are based on where the lenses meet the surface of the eye and are as follows:


Full scleral lenses: the largest type, they provide the greatest amount of clearance between the cornea and lens and rest on the outer sclera. 


Mini scleral lenses: the mid-size variety, make contact with the eye on the anterior sclera. 


Semi-scleral lenses: although larger than conventional lenses, they are not huge, and the edge of the contact lens rests on the junction between the cornea and the sclera. 


Your scleral lens provider will be able to make a recommendation as to the correct size for you, which will be based on your individual requirements. 
 

Who are scleral lenses recommended for?

Although technically anyone can wear and benefit from scleral lenses, they are a particularly good option for patients who have eye conditions or irregularities that for which regular contacts are not suitable. This includes patients with:


Dye eye syndrome. Contact lenses float on a fine layer of tear film, which keeps them comfortable and in position. Patients with dry eye syndrome either do not have enough natural tear film, or what they do have drains away too quickly. This can
make wearing regular contact lenses difficult and uncomfortable. However, the design of scleral lenses keeps moisture on the surface of the eyes, eliminating some of the effects of dry eyes. This makes scleral lenses a great choice for patients with dry eyes. 


Irregular corneas. The cornea is the clear dome that covers the front part of the eye and many people have a cornea that is a slightly, or significantly, irregular shape. This causes light to be refracted incorrectly when it enters our eyes, triggering vision problems. Issues arising from irregularly shaped corneas cannot be completely corrected using glasses or conventional contact lenses. Therefore, scleral lenses, which provide sharper and more accurate vision, are recommended. 


For more information about scleral lenses, please do not hesitate to call our expert eye care team. 


Ortho K

Many patients come to us every day struggling to get through their daily lives with their current choice of vision correction. Some have eyeglasses that do not sit properly on their face or feel that their peripheral vision is hindered by the frames. While contact users may find the lenses uncomfortable or have them fall out at inconvenient times. For these patients, we are pleased to offer orthokeratology, or Ortho-K, a revolutionary way to help you see clearly throughout the day without having to wear glasses or contacts and without having to get laser eye surgery.


What is Ortho-K?

Generations ago, eye doctors knew that the tissue in the eye was soft and somewhat malleable. This knowledge caused them to wonder if they could push the eye back into the proper shape, would an individual be able to see clearly even if they were not wearing their prescription lenses. With the development of gas permeable contact lenses, a few eye doctors began to notice that their patient’s prescriptions did not change as rapidly as previously noted and that they appeared to be able to see correctly even when they were not wearing their contacts.

From these early discoveries, the world of Ortho-K was born. Ortho-K is a special treatment to help patients see clearly even when they are not wearing a prescription lens. Instead, a special gas permeable contact lens is placed into the eye each night before bed and the lens gently pushes the eye into the proper shape while you sleep. In the morning, you can remove the lenses and still see clearly throughout the day. Some patients can even see clearly for up to three days after wearing them for just one night!
 

Who Should Consider Ortho-K?

  • There are a number of issues that our patients can have with prescription lenses. If you have one of the following conditions or concerns, call our office today to schedule an appointment.

  • Allergies to the materials in contact lenses

  • Dry eye that is made worse by wearing prescription lenses

  • Dirt or other debris that gets under contact lenses

  • You play sports and do not want to worry about glasses or contacts

  • The ability to wake up at night and see clearly

  • A general dislike of glasses or contacts


How Long Does It Take?

Once you receive your custom Ortho-K contact lenses, it will take anywhere from one to four weeks to fully see all the benefits to your vision that they will provide. However, some of our patients find that their vision has improved after only wearing their lenses for a single night! During the first few days, you may also still need to wear prescription lenses to see clearly enough to drive or get through your normal day, but that is generally quickly resolved. Also, some patients experience some mild discomfort for the first few nights, but as your eyes adjust over a few days, you should no longer be bothered by the feel of your lenses. Is the Procedure Safe? Orthokeratology was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002. The procedure is considered safe, effective, and reversible. However, there are some side effects associated with Ortho-K. Most of these side effects are a result of improper cleaning of the lenses that can lead to a minor infection. These infections are usually remedied fairly quickly with the use of antibiotic eyedrops.
 

Overview

If you are sick and tired of wearing contact lenses or glasses every single day and would like an alternative way to correct your vision, consider trying Ortho-K. If you would like more information on Ortho-K, please call our offices today and see how we can improve your everyday life.


OCuSOFT

Clean eyes are healthy eyes. Nevertheless, our eyes are exposed to countless potentially harmful microorganisms during the course of an ordinary day. This could be anything from dust and pollen, which could cause allergies, or infection-causing bacteria. Daily cleansing is the best way to keep eyes clean and free from debris, but to maximize the effects of your cleaning, it’s important to use products that are designed just for your eyes. Thankfully, there is OCuSOFT.

A large part of the OCuSOFT product line is a selection of non-irritating products that are designed specifically to help remove any oil, debris and pollen from the eyelids and eyes, leaving them as clean and healthy as possible. Here are some of the products that you may be interested in:
 

OCuSOFT Lid Scrub
One of the most popular product categories in the OCuSOFT line, this lid scrub takes the form of a foaming eyelid cleaner. The instant foaming formula helps to remove oil, debris, pollen and contaminants and should be used with a new, soft, clean cleansing pad for each eye. Choose the Platinum Foam variety for extra-strength and additional anti-inflammatory properties that helps to soothe eyes and remove irritation as soon as it is applied.

OCuSOFT Lid Scrub Pre-Moistened Pads
These extra-strength pads are a leave-on formula. Simply place them onto your eyes and relax. While you do so, the formula cleanses your eyelids and removes any contaminants to provide relief from irritation. This product is recommended for moderate to severe eyelid conditions.

OCuSOFT HypoChlor
This product is available as both a gel and a spray and should be used in combination with a surfactant such as OCuSOFT’s lid scrub for the greatest possible level of cleanliness.

OCuSOFT Dry Eye mask
As the name of this product suggests, this mask is designed to help combat a condition called dry eye. Dry eye occurs when the eyes don’t make enough tear film, the quality of the tera film is compromised or it drains away too quickly. The OCuSOFT dry eye mask is a moist heat mask that contains a patent-pending cross hatch design proven to deliver even heat distribution across the eyes. This warmth helps to break up any hardened oil deposits in the meibomian glands that may be contributing towards dry eye.

For more information on keeping your eyes clean and healthy, or to find out more about OCuSOFT products, please speak to our dedicated and professional eyecare experts.
 


Amblyopia

Amblyopia, also known as a “lazy eye”, is described as a reduced vision in one eye compared to the other. There are some rare forms of amblyopia that involve both eyes. Amblyopia is the most common cause of partial or total blindness in one eye in children.

The term lazy eye is misleading because the eye is not actually lazy. In fact, it is a developmental problem in the nerve connecting the eye to the brain, affecting the brain’s ability to use both eyes together. It is not a problem in the eye itself, but in the brain which actively ignores the visual input from the misaligned eye, leading to amblyopia in that eye.

In addition to poor visual acuity, people with amblyopia are more prone to having difficulties with depth perception, eye movements related to reading, and visual decision making while driving.
 

What Are The Causes of Amblyopia?

Amblyopia develops in childhood due to:

  • Significant differences in the prescription (refractive) status between the two eyes due to nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism;

  • Constantly misaligned eyes or crossed eyes (strabismus);

  • An obstruction of vision in early childhood i.e. cataract, ptosis (droopy eyelid)
     

It is important to note that, because amblyopia is typically a problem of infant vision development, symptoms of the condition can be difficult to detect. Symptoms may include noticeably favoring one eye over the other, an eye turn (either upward-downward outward or inward) or a tendency to bump into objects on one side.

The best way to identify children who are at risk for or already have amblyopia is by performing comprehensive eye examinations.
 

How Is Amblyopia Treated?

Amblyopia can be treatable at any age, although the earlier the problem is found and treated, the more successful the outcomes tend to be.


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