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!

FAQ: Dry Eye Syndrome

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is caused by your eyes not producing enough lubricant to keep the surface of your eyes moist. You may experience a burning and aching sensation, heavy and itchy eyes, sore and dry sensation, and blurred vision. Dry eye syndrome is a common eye condition, and if you are a female, aging, and use the computer often, you are at a higher risk.

What causes it?

So what exactly causes dry eye? Your eye’s tears contain three components: an oily component, a water component, and a mucous-like component. Each of the three plays an essential role in helping the tears in your eyes from evaporating too quickly. A problem with any of the tear components can result in dry eye syndrome.

Many factors can increase the chances of developing dry eye. If you use a computer, it’s normal not to blink as much, which leads to more of the liquids in your eyes evaporating, increasing the risk of developing dry eyes. You are also more likely to develop dry eye after the age of 50.

Another factor that increases the risk of developing dry eye syndrome is heavy use of air conditioning and forced-air heating because they lower the amount of humidity in the room, speeding tear evaporation. Smoking also causes various problems for the eyes, such as dry eye, macular degeneration, and cataracts.

How is it treated?

If you believe that you have dry eyes, contact your eye doctor. Your eye doctor will look at your medical history to see if medications or environmental factors may be making your eyes worse. Your doctor may also look at your eyelid structure and evaluate your blinking pattern to see if it is contributing to your dry eyes.

There is treatment available for dry eye syndrome, and your doctor may suggest using artificial tears while also implementing small lifestyle changes, such as taking breaks from using a computer.

If you have any of the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, contact our office today! We are ready to answer all of your questions and help you with all of your vision care needs.

Children’s Vision Protocol

Children constantly grow and change. Their clothes become too small, their shoes become too tight, and their skills become more advanced. Although for parents, these stepping stones may happen too fast, it’s a part of life. It is important to get your children’s vision regularly checked to keep up with this constant activity throughout their fast-paced life. Below are a few questions parents may have surrounding their child’s first eye exam:

Questions About Your Children’s Vision

  • Why are children’s eye exams so important?
  • When should my child have an eye examination?
  • What goes into scheduling my child’s first eye exam?
  • What are the common eye tests my child will have to do?

Why are children’s eye exams so important?

Children use their eyes to do everything! Your child’s success in learning and development can be, in part, traced back to their vision. About 80% of the information a child learns in school is taught visually, making clear vision essential for a child’s developmental success. A comprehensive eye exam for your child will ensure they have the precise eye teaming, eye movement, and focusing skills needed to succeed.

When should your child have an eye examination?

Your child should typically have his/her first eye exam around six months of age. If your eye doctor determines your child’s vision is normal, their next eye exam commonly isn’t required until three years old, and then again around five or six. Following this checkup, it’s common to have an exam every other year as long as your child doesn’t develop any vision problems that require attention.

What goes into scheduling your child’s first eye exam?

After scheduling your child’s first eye exam, pay attention to these warning signs your child may need vision correction. If you notice any of the above, make sure to mention this to your doctor during your child’s exam.

  • Delayed motor movement
  • Constantly rubbing of his her/eyes
  • Excessive blinking
  • Failure to maintain eye contact
  • Poor eye tracking skills

What are common eye tests my child will have to take?

The tests your eye doctor performs depend on your child’s age. For infants, typical tests will make sure their pupils are filtering light and focusing properly on objects. For preschool children, tests focus on retinoscopy, lazy eye, proper alignment, and general eye health.

Do you want to take the next steps in ensuring your child has full potential regarding his/her vision?

Contact our office today to ask our staff any questions you have about your child’s next appointment. Our team is prepared to guide you through the next steps in ensuring your family’s vision stays in line.

Non-Glare Lenses: A Necessity

Non-Glare Lenses: A Necessity

If you wear glasses, you might notice the difference between lenses that have an anti-reflective coating from those that don’t. Anti-reflective coating, or non-glare lenses not only improve your vision but help reduce eye strain and makes your eyeglasses look more attractive.

What exactly are non-glare lenses?

Anti-reflective, or non-glare glasses work to eliminate the reflections from the front and back surface of your eyeglass lenses, which allows more light to pass through. This increase in light improves your vision’s clarity and minimizes the glare from objects, especially at night or while staring at a screen.

What benefits do non-glare lenses have?

With clearer vision through your lenses, you won’t need to squint or strain your eyes as much, minimizing eye strain and fatigue. These lenses also provide you with more durability and typically last longer.

Anti-reflective glasses are also more visually attractive. Since light will not reflect through your lenses, your eyes will be more visible and allow you to make better eye contact – important in both social and professional settings.

Non-glare on RX eyewear and Sunwear

Anti-reflective coating is useful for sunglasses because it protects you and your eyes from the glare of the sunlight. Usually, an AR coating is only put on the backside of sunglass lenses because there aren’t any benefits from eliminating the glare from the front of your glasses.

Who could benefit?

You see clearer while wearing them, enhance your appearance, extend the life of your lenses, and reduce blue light exposure. With all of the benefits non-glare glasses offer, anyone could benefit from investing in anti-reflective glasses.

Other Questions?

Contact our office today with questions you have about the possibility of adding an anti-reflective coating on your glasses.

Children and Myopia Control

Today, Myopia presents itself at an earlier age in more children than in the past. Studies have shown that part of the increase in nearsightedness is because more people are doing work up close; this isn’t just a computer and increased screen time, though–reading for long periods can also impact your eyes.

There are four options your eye doctor may use for myopia control in children.

Atropine Eye Drops

Myopia occurs when your eye is too long, or your cornea is too curved. The light that enters your eye has a harder time focusing the way it should, and this results in blurred vision. When you use atropine eye drops, you’re temporarily dilating your pupil, which relaxes your eyes’ focusing ability, making it easier to see. The recommended dosage is .01. At this dosage, side effects typically are not noticeable.

Multifocal Contacts

The primary use of multifocal contacts is to help achieve clear vision at all distances. According to studies, children who wore multifocal contacts had a 50% reduction in the advancement of Myopia compared to children who stuck with traditional soft contacts.

Multifocal Eyeglasses

Like multifocal contacts, multifocal eyeglasses intend to help you gain a clearer vision regardless of the distance. These glasses have two parts, one being the top, which allows you to see objects far away. The second part is on the bottom of your lenses and assists when you read. These glasses slow the progression of Myopia.

Orthokeratology

Orthokeratology is a treatment that uses a gas-permeable contact lens to reshape the corneal surface on your eye temporarily. A patient wears these lenses overnight, reshaping the front surface of the eye so vision is clear upon waking up. This treatment is temporary, and the effects of the overnight treatment will usually last throughout the day.

Do you want to take the next steps in ensuring your child has full potential regarding his/her vision? Contact our office today to ask our staff any questions you have about your child’s next appointment.

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.

FAQ: Cataracts

Think you may be at risk for developing cataracts? Here is an overview of the most frequently asked questions about cataracts, including potential cataract treatment and congenital cataracts. Give our office a call and schedule an appointment to have your questions answered!

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens and are the most common cause of vision loss in the world. According to Prevent Blindness America, more than 22 million Americans have cataracts.

Who gets cataracts?

Cataracts begin to form in those over the age of 40. However, it is typically after age 60 that cataracts cause problems with vision.

Are there any signs or symptoms?

Cataracts start small and have little effect on your vision at first. However, you may notice symptoms once the cataract is well developed.

Potential symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Cloudy or foggy vision
  • Light from the sun or a lamp feels too bright or glaring
  • Oncoming headlights while driving cause more glare
  • Colors appear dimmed or faded

What causes cataracts?

As we age the natural protein in our eyes can clump together and cover a small area of the lens. Over time this may grow larger and cloud more of the lens. This cloud is what we refer to as a cataract.

Can I prevent cataracts?

It is not believed that there is anything you can do to prevent cataracts. However, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Nutrients such as vitamin E and vitamin C are believed to reduce your risk. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet can help. Additionally, wearing sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays can reduce cataract risk.

What increases my risk for cataracts?

  • UV radiation
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • Significant alcohol consumption
  • Certain medications

Is there cataract treatment?

The treatment for cataracts will vary for each person. When symptoms begin to appear patients may use new stronger prescription glasses. Cataract surgery will become an option if the cataract progresses far enough to impair your vision. Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States and is successful in restoring vision.

What are congenital cataracts?

Congenital cataracts occur in newborn babies because the eye’s natural lens is cloudy instead of clear. Often this results in vision problems for the child. However, this occurs in only 0.4% of all births and is relatively uncommon.

To discuss your risk for developing cataracts schedule an appointment today! The best way to prevent vision loss is by having regular eye exams.

 

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.

Prevent Glaucoma: Regular Eye Exams

Did you know, half of Americans with glaucoma don’t know they have it? Glaucoma is often called a silent thief of sight because the early stages often have no symptoms. In the US glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease damaging the optic nerve in the eye; the optic nerve connects the retina to the brain to produce sight. The most common type of glaucoma is called primary open-angle glaucoma. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, over 3 million Americans have glaucoma.

Eye pressure is a significant risk factor for optic nerve damage. We recommend annual eye exams to measure eye pressure and detect glaucoma before you lose vision.

Populations at a Higher Risk Include:

  • African Americans over age 40
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
  • People with a family history of glaucoma

Symptoms of Glaucoma

Typically glaucoma has no signs or symptoms, by the time you notice your loss of vision the disease has progressed to irreversible vision loss. Regular eye exams are the best way to detect and prevent glaucoma because several tests are performed to look for signs of glaucoma.

Potential Signs/Symptoms Include:

  • High Intraocular Pressure
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Vision Loss
  • Blurry Vision
  • Distorted Vision
  • Eye Pain

Can you reduce your risk for glaucoma?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential to reduce your risk of developing glaucoma. A few ways to reduce your risk include not smoking and eating a varied healthy diet. Healthy weight and blood pressure are also essential to lowering your chance of getting glaucoma.

Recent studies have also found that physical exercise may also lower your intraocular pressure. Glaucoma development may be due to high intraocular pressure. Therefore, physical exercise and an active lifestyle are great ways to prevent glaucoma along with other serious health problems.

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye syndrome is caused by a chronic lack of moisture and lubrication of the eyes. Your eye’s tears keep the surface of the eye moist and lubricated, as well as washing away dust, debris, and other microorganisms.

What causes dry eye?

Typically dry eye occurs when there is a problem with your tears. Tears are made up of an oily, watery, and mucin component. Any issue with those components could cause dry eye. It could be tear instability, tear film evaporation, or insufficient tear production. The only way to detect the cause of your dry eye is an eye exam.

Symptoms

  • Burning sensation
  • Itchy eyes
  • Aching sensations
  • Heavy eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Dryness sensation
  • Red eyes
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Blurred vision

Who gets dry eye?

Dry eye can happen to anyone at any age. Each case of dry eye varies in severity and individual tolerance. However, there are certain factors which can increase your risk for dry eyes. These factors include:

  • Computer use: Humans blink less frequently when working at computers, allowing for increased tear evaporation.
  • Smoking: Causes eyes to dry over time and is the root of various other eye problems.
  • Aging: Dry eye syndrome is more common after the age of 50.
  • Menopause: Women who have completed menopause are at a higher risk for dry eye than men of the same age.
  • Health conditions: Certain diseases have a higher risk of contributing to dry eyes- such as diabetes or thyroid diseases.
  • Medications: Prescription and nonprescription medicines can have dry eye as a side effect.

Visiting The Doctor

Getting an eye exam by an eye doctor is the only way to know for sure you have chronic dry eye syndrome. Symptoms of dry eye can vary significantly from person to person and may even be symptoms of other eye problems. Personal perception of dry eye severity does not indicate whether or not an individual has chronic dry eye syndrome. Some individuals with mild dry eye may feel their eyes are very bothersome, while some individuals with severe dry eye may not consider their symptoms significant.

If you are showing symptoms of dry eye, schedule an appointment with our office as soon as possible. The only way to know the medical severity of your dry eye is through an eye exam.