4 Eye Care New Year Resolutions to Keep

The New Year is almost here, so don’t forget your eyesight and eye care when making resolutions.

Your eyes are one of the most vital and most easily injured parts of the body. Make a few resolutions to protect them, and ensure your healthy eyesight for years to come!

Four Eye Care Resolutions For The New Year:

1 – I Will Get An Eye Checkup

With every year you get older, your need for an annual eye exam will increase. This isn’t just about keeping track of your vision’s accuracy. Certain eye conditions are early warning signs of other health concerns including diabetes and some neurological disorders.

Eye CareThe eye is a place in the body where a doctor can, without incision, directly observe muscles, blood vessels and nerve bundles in one place. Your eyes are also a window to your body’s overall health.

2 – I Will Get New Lenses When Needed

A lot of people keep old glasses as backups, or break a pair and then simply go back to their previous prescription. This is extremely stressful on the eyes, and can contribute to long-term degeneration form the increased eye strain.

Don’t use an old prescription any longer than is absolutely necessary. Keep your prescription current.

3 – I Will Always Wear Protective Goggles

When playing sports, working around heavy machinery or in an area with a lot of particles in the air, you need protective goggles and/or sports lenses. Your eyes are among one of the most vulnerable spots on your entire body.

Don’t take unnecessary risks. Wear protective goggles any time your eyes might be at risk.

4 – I Will Eat More Eye-Friendly Foods

Good eye care can be as basic as watching the things you eat. Certain foods like dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, and red and orange vegetables such as carrots and some squashes, are heavy in the nutrients your eyes need to stay healthy and properly adjust to the light/dark.

There’s also a fair amount of research suggesting Omega-3 fish oil, whether distilled or from the fish, will improve the long-term health of your eyes.

Eye Health Is A Year-Round Concern

Good eye care today will pay off in improved vision in your later years. Make these eye care resolutions part of your routine, and you’ll enjoy better eyesight in the future!

Holiday Eye Safety Tips

Eye SafetyThis holiday season eye safety may not be your foremost concern. However, this time of year can be dangerous for your eyes due to toys, sports and other potential hazards. Here’s how you can protect your precious sight during the holidays.

Age-Appropriate Gifts

Giving presents recommended for the child’s age group is incredibly important. Small children can get hurt very easily playing with toys that fire projectiles, are meant to be thrown or have sharp edges. Supervising kids of different age groups as they play is also helpful to make sure play doesn’t become too rough, and that toys aren’t misused. An avoidable eye injury can put a damper on your child’s holiday spirit.

Cooking Safety

With so much work to do in preparation for holiday parties, you may find yourself in front of the stove for long periods of time. Be cautious of boiling sauces, steaming pots and splattering grease as you work. Any of these hazards could burn your eye or the surrounding skin, which is incredibly painful and may cause vision loss.

Sports Protection

Part of the fun of the holidays is time spent with family and friends. Keep eye safety in mind while you play. Make sure everyone is equipped with safety eyewear while playing sports. If you’re spending your holidays in a colder climate, snow sports place a stronger need on having protective eyewear since snow and wind can dry out eyes. UV rays reflecting off of snowy surfaces can accelerate cataracts and cause eye cancer, in addition to photokeratitis (sunburn of the eye). Wear UV-blocking sunglasses for optimal protection.

Eye safety should be on your mind all year round, but especially during the holidays. Protect your own sight and that of your kids by using common sense, and staying aware of your surroundings this holiday season. To learn more about eye safety options, contact your optometrist today!

How To Care For Your Eyes As You Age

Eye HealthIt’s no secret that our eyes tend to give us more trouble the older we get. However, there are certain measures a person can take to improve eye health and slow the effects of aging.

Proper eye care during your 30s-50s can pay off with better eyesight in your older years.

Good Eye Health Today Means Better Vision Tomorrow

1 – Get regular eye checkups

Long term eye disorders can often show telltale signs early on. Diseases like glaucoma can be caught in early stages and controlled with medication, before causing severe eye damage.

2 – Control your blood pressure and\or diabetes

Diabetes and high blood pressure are two of the most common medical problems among older people, and they’re also two of the worst conditions for eye health. Chronic high blood pressure or poorly managed diabetes can cause irreversible harm to your eyes.

3 – Rest your eyes more

Those with jobs requiring low levels of light, or close up detail work, often face worse vision in older age. Don’t ignore pain or fatigue in your eyes. If you feel as if you’re straining your eyes, take a break every now and then to let them rest.

Similarly, try to avoid using out-of-date lenses if you can. In terms of putting additional strain on your eyes, an improper lens prescription can almost do as much harm as no prescription at all.

4 – Ask your doctor about medication’s side effects on your eyes

As you age, you may end up taking more medicines. Unfortunately, even common medications such as antihistamines can cause eye problems, or interact with other medications. Keep your regular doctor updated on your eye health, and be sure to ask if any new prescriptions might effect your eyes.

You Determine Your Future Eye Health

Choices you make today can have an impact on your eye’s health decades from now. With proper eye care and regular visits to your optometrist, you can ensure healthy vision for plenty of years to come. Schedule an appointment with your Phoenix optometrist today.

Eye Health and Diabetes

Eye HealthWhile every month is a good time to focus on eye health, November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month. Diabetes ravages the body in many ways, and could have a serious impact on your sight. Many diabetic patients are not aware of the possibility that they could lose their vision. If you or someone you love suffers from diabetes, here are some of the eye troubles you should know about.

Background

For diabetic patients, controlling blood glucose (sugar) levels carefully is key to overall health, and therefore ocular health. High blood glucose causes swelling in the soft tissues and vessels of the eye. This swelling contributes to a multitude of eye problems that may ultimately lead to blindness. Diabetic complication is a common cause of blindness in adults, however it is preventable.

Diabetic Retinopathy

The retina converts light entering the eye into a signal, which is what the brain “sees” as an image. In a case of diabetic retinopathy, this component is flawed, usually due to damage to the tiny blood vessels of the eye. An annual eye exam is a critical tool in catching and preventing permanent damage. An advanced case may lead to permanent blindness. Blood pressure control is especially important for a diabetic patient to reduce risk of retinopathy, as well as abstaining from smoking.

Cataracts

A surprising majority of aging adults will develop cataracts, where the lens of the eye becomes cloudy or discolored. Low-light conditions can be very challenging if you have cataracts, so night-time driving is dangerous. Diabetic patients can be more prone to developing cataracts in addition to other eye health issues. Fortunately, cataracts are treatable with laser surgery.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when pressure inside the eye rises, causing damage to the optic nerve. This could occur very suddenly or develop over time. Due to the swelling of soft tissues that may happen with diabetes, glaucoma is much more prevalent for diabetic patients. Catching this problem early can help prevent permanent vision loss.

Patients with diabetes face many challenges, including serious eye health issues. The best way to protect your sight are to keep your blood sugar under control, and have an annual eye exam so your optometrist can spot problems in their earliest stages.

Contact Lens Tips for Newbies

Contact lenses might be the best thing invented for those who require vision correction. Convenience, better vision and cosmetic enhancement are just a few of the reasons someone with sight issues may opt to wear contacts instead of glasses. As a new contact-wearer, there are a few tricks and tips you’ll want to know.

Hand Washing

Contact lensesBefore you handle your contact lenses or touch your eye area, start off by washing your hands with soap, rinsing and drying them thoroughly to prevent infection or irritation.

Storage and Handling

When you’re not wearing your contacts they should be stored in sterile saline solution, recommended by your optometrist for your lens type. Keep them in a clean case. Between uses be sure to rinse and clean out the case. Before storing your contacts for the night, fill the case with fresh saline solution.

Flipping Out

Although it is not dangerous, it is uncomfortable to put your contact lenses in the wrong way! You will know fairly quickly if this has happened, and will want to remove them and try again. The easiest way to tell if your lens is right side out is to place it on your finger and look at it. If it’s shaped like a cup it is seated correctly. However, if the lens appears to have a lip or outward facing edge, it’s inside out. Gently flip it over before inserting.

Inserting

First and foremost, NEVER use saliva or water to put in a contact lens. Saliva will introduce bacteria, and could result in a terrible infection. Water is also unsterile, nor is it comfortable. To insert, stand in front of a mirror (after thorough hand-washing), gently retrieve one lens and position it at the tip of your finger. Use a drop of recommended saline or multipurpose solution for wetting your contact. Look at your image in the mirror, and place the contact on your eye. Sometimes it helps to look up when applying, then close the eye and allow the contact to slide up into position.

Contact lenses are an appealing alternative to glasses, and a comfortable way to enhance your vision. Most people adapt very quickly, and have a lifelong preference for contacts over glasses. For more information, or to schedule an appointment to be fitted for contact lenses, speak with your eye care professional.

How Can I Protect My Eyes In The Winter?

Eye CareSummer might seem to be a more obvious time for eye injuries, but winter is no time to disregard your eye care and safety. Bright conditions and wintertime activities can be just as hazardous to your precious peepers. Fortunately, most eye injuries are preventable.

Sunglasses All Year

The brightness of the sun glancing off of snow or water isn’t just annoying, it’s detrimental to your eye health. UV rays are present all year round, and the reflection of the sun off of those surfaces means double the chance for UV rays to find your eyes. Wearing the right UV-blocking and polarized sunglasses will protect your vulnerable eyes from conditions such as skin cancer and cataracts. Sunglasses are also a benefit in windy conditions that typically make your eyes water and burn.

The Right Sporting Goods

The best piece of sports equipment you can invest in is a proper pair of protective glasses or goggles for your sport. If you’re planning on snowboarding or skiing this winter, make sure to buy goggles that fit your face and protect your eyes. Today’s protective equipment is light and far more stylish than in the past, plus you can often kill two birds with one stone and get a pair that is UV-blocking and polarized. You’ll protect your eyes from the elements, plus see everything crisply during play.

Dry Eyes

When you participate in wintertime activities, the colder temperatures and windy conditions can make your eyes feel gritty and dry. Keeping your eyes as moist as possible will improve your comfort, and prevent your vision from becoming blurry or obscured. Ask your optometrist about moisturizing drops, wear sunglasses outside and make sure you give your eyes an occasional break from the winter weather.

Your eye care is something you should think about at all times of the year, but winter brings its own form of eye care problems. Talk to your optometrist for suggestions on wintertime eyewear and other methods to defend your sight this season!

 

Benefits of Vision Insurance

VisionIf you are someone with eyesight issues, you know how expensive it can be to have an eye exam, and pay for glasses or contacts. Having vision insurance can really help keep costs down. Here’s what you’ll want to know about this type of insurance, and what it covers.

Eye Exams

One major perk of having vision insurance is that most plans cover the cost of a yearly eye exam. Many policies will completely pay for the annual exam, but check your plan to be sure. You may have to pay a set co-pay amount, or pay a percentage of the exam fee at the time of the service.

Frames and Lenses

Vision insurance will typically cover the expense of new glasses on a periodic basis, very commonly every one to two years. This portion of insurance coverage may provide an allotment toward the glasses of your choice, or have you select from a specific collection of frames. Lenses are usually standard plastic or glass without any extra options. Anti-glare and scratch-resistance are valuable options for which you may want to pay a little more.

Contact Lenses

Most vision insurances provide a set amount toward a year’s supply of contact lenses. Your optometrist will prescribe the best brand and type for your particular needs. Some people have conditions like astigmatisms or severe near- or far-sightedness, that requires specialized lenses which are more expensive than standard offerings. Though you may have to spend extra to get a year’s supply, be sure to change your contacts on the prescribed schedule to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable.

If your company offers vision insurance and you have already had eyesight issues, it can be a very minimal investment from your paycheck to cover all of your eye care needs. Talk to your optometrist’s office to see what plans are accepted, and to your employer about enrollment in your company’s plan. If you have any additional questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact your Phoenix eye doctor.

Do I Have Chronic Dry Eye?

Dry EyeIf you experience dry eyes frequently it may be Keratoconjunctivitis siccadry, also known as dry eye syndrome.

Dry eye syndrome is a relatively common vision problem. About 6% of the public suffers from it, and odds increase significantly in postmenopausal women and senior citizens. It can be caused by either insufficient tear creation, or by having tears which evaporate too quickly. Either way, the result is the same.

Beyond simply having painful eyes, those with chronic dry eyes may actually risk future vision problems. Dry eye syndrome is much more likely to cause microabrasions -tiny cuts- which result in corneal damage over time. This is a long process so you’re not in immediate danger, but it’s definitely worth keeping in mind.

There is no true cure for dry eye syndrome, besides some surgical options that are only used in extreme circumstances. Thankfully dry eye can be easily controlled in most cases.

Caring For Chronic Dry Eye Syndrome

1 – Control your environment. Stay away from smoky locations, like smoker’s bars, and use a portable humidifier to keep moisture in the air.

2 – Use tear drops. Any decent brand of eye drops or “fake tears” will alleviate dry eye problems. A few drops in each eye should keep them hydrated for hours.

3 – Clean your eyelids in the morning. Those with dry eye problems are more likely to wake up with crusty eyelids. If not cleaned, the crust can contribute to eye damage. Gently clean using a warm, damp washcloth.

4 – Take Omega-3 supplements. Fish oil pills with Omega-3 fatty acids, found in virtually any grocery or health food store, have been proven effective at decreasing the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.

5 – Do NOT rub. In virtually all cases,  rubbing dry eyes will do no good, and may even contribute to more microabrasions.

Tell Your Optometrist If You’re Experiencing Chronic Dry EyesDon’t forget, your local eye care professional is still your best source of support when dealing with chronic dry eye. Be sure to consult with a professional if you have any questions, or if dry eye symptoms continue.

Eye Strain And Electronic Devices

Eye StrainAre you protecting your eyes from unnecessary eye strain when using electronic devices? All those screens everywhere can quickly wear out your eyes!

We can’t avoid all the computers, smartphones and TVs in our lives, but we can protect our eyes from their harm. While no research has shown that screens can cause true damage to the eyes, you’re still at risk for painful headaches and eye soreness if you don’t take a few simple steps to keep your eyes happy.

Three Ways To Prevent Eye Strain When Staring At Screens:

1 – Remember To Blink

No, this is not a joke. People tend to blink less often when staring at electronic screens, which of course leads to dry eyes and eye pain. If you have to use screens frequently in your daily life, consider keeping some eye drops around to help your eyes stay hydrated.

2 – Take Frequent Breaks

To prevent unnecessary eye strain, you should ideally take a five minute break for every hour spent staring at a screen. For best results, close your eyes for that time so they can get a little rest. The break time should be doubled if you are using a 3D screen, as with some TVs or the Nintendo 3DS. These screens require your eyes to move their focus in and out as well as side-to-side, wearing out your eyes even faster.

3 – Use A Higher-Resolution Screen

If you’re using a smartphone or tablet from a few years ago, it may contribute to eye strain problems. Newer displays such as the Apple Retina or Samsung’s AMOLED, where the user cannot see the individual pixels (onscreen dots), are easier for your eyes to focus on.

Don’t Forget Yearly Eye Exams!

If you spend a lot of time staring at screens, it’s important to remember your yearly eye exam. Undiagnosed vision problems can quickly lead to extra eye strain and pain when working with electronic devices.

If it’s been more than a year since your last checkup, contact your Phoenix eye doctor for a vision test!

Do Cheap Reading Glasses Cause Eye Damage?

Eye ExamYou can find them just about anywhere these days: cheap reading glasses, sometimes for as little as a dollar each. They may be a cheaper alternative, but are they really an adequate substitute for a proper eye exam and prescription lenses?

Not really.

While claims that these cheap glasses can permanently damage your eyesight are overblown, they’re still not a good solution. Their overall poor quality can cause headaches or more vision trouble while wearing them.

Problems With Cheap Reading Glasses

1 – They’re “One Size Fits All”

Is your head the exact same shape and size as everyone else? Of course not. Everyone is built differently, and even minor differences (such as the width of your eyes) can drastically affect how well the lenses work. You might get lucky and find a pair that just happen to fit your head well, but a real optometrist can guarantee a proper fit.

2 – They’re Rarely Well-Made

Dollar-store lenses have very poor quality control. In repeated surveys they’ve shown to have significant differences from well made prescriptions. The strengths may be different, or they have different focal points. These can cause blurry vision, double vision and eye strain headaches. Even worse, such subtle differences are almost impossible to detect while in the store.

A proper eye exam guarantees lenses that exactly match your vision needs.

3 – They Only Magnify

Cheap glasses cannot correct for any vision problems besides those that can be solved with magnification. They cannot fix astigmatism, myopia or other common problems which can be corrected with prescription lenses.

Dollar Store Glasses Are Rarely Worth It

Cheap reading glasses are only good as an alternative backup pair, which are only used for short periods of time. If you just need to throw on a pair to read a label,that’s fine, but they are very likely to cause problems with more extensive use.

If you need reading glasses, it’s much better to get a proper eye exam.  It ensures you get lenses that best fit your face, and provide the exact vision correction you need! Contact your eye doctor today.