A Guide to Photophobia

The term “phobia” normally indicates a fear of some type. However, photophobia does not refer to a fear per se but rather to an extreme sensitivity to light.

What Is Photophobia?

Photophobia itself is not a a disease. It occurs most often as a symptom of an underlying health condition. Moderate cases cause you to squint when you’re in a brightly lit room or outdoors in sunshine, while extreme cases result in pain from exposure to almost any level of light.

Optometry Causes of Photophobia

While photophobia is usually associated with an eye condition, it can sometimes be a symptom of an illness unrelated to eyes. Here are some of the most common causes of photophobia:

  • Migraines
  • Corneal abrasions from sand or other irritants entering your eye
  • Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye, which is an inflammation in the tissue covering the white of your eye
  • Dry eye syndrome, which occurs when your eyes remain excessively dry because your tear ducts cannot produce sufficient amounts of tears
  • Excessive use of contact lenses or ill-fitting lenses

Patients who have recently undergone eye surgery may also experience photophobia to one extent or another during their recovery.

Medical Treatment of Photophobia

You should always consult your optometrist if you are experiencing light sensitivity. They will perform an eye exam and ask questions to determine the severity of your case and possible cause.

Commonly prescribed treatments include eye drops and antibiotics for inflammation or infections. Use of artificial tears can relieve dry eye syndrome. Medication and rest is usually called for when dealing with migraines.

Home Treatment and Prevention

While your optometrist is the best source of treatment, there are measures you can take to provide relief for your eyes and help prevent future occurrences. It’s best to avoid sunlight and use limited or no artificial light when indoors. Dark tinted glasses can act to diffuse light.

Good hygiene is an important defense against photophobia. Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes. Do not share products such as makeup that come into contact with eyes. If you suffer from migraines, do your best to avoid the triggers that set off your headaches.

Photophobia may be unpleasant, but you don’t have to suffer helplessly. Your Phoenix optometrist can help you determine a course of treatment to relieve your symptoms and make your eyes more comfortable.

Low Vision Awareness Month

Phoenix OptometristFebruary is the time to observe Low Vision Awareness Month. Here is some information to help you better understand this condition.

What Is Low Vision?

The term “low vision” refers to sight that cannot be corrected with glasses, surgery or medication. This condition makes even everyday activities such as cooking, shopping or watching TV a serious challenge.

What Causes Low Vision?

A major cause of low vision is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). As many as 15 million people over the age of 50 suffer from this condition which affects the macula, the part of your eye responsible for sharp detail. Other cases of low vision result from glaucoma, cataracts or diabetic retinopathy. Some individuals are born with low vision due to optic nerve damage.

It’s important to emphasize that low vision does not mean the normal changes in eyesight that come with aging. Low vision can affect people of any age. If you have a hard time seeing clearly even with glasses or contact lenses, you should be tested.

How Is Low Vision Detected?

Your Phoenix optometrist can conduct a low vision examination. This procedure takes into account your daily functions and whether or not your vision is at a level to comfortably accommodate those activities. A yearly exam increases the chances of early detection, which is key to successful treatment. Thanks to medical advances, people with low vision are able to lead full, productive lives. Schedule an appointment with your Phoenix optometrist to learn more about low vision and proper care of your eyes.

4 Facts about being Color Blind

Eye ExamBill Clinton and Matt Lauer are both color blind! And let’s not forget about Paul Newman and Mark Twain. It’s the reason why Mark Zuckerberg used blue as the predominant color of Facebook. What’s the common denominator? All five of these individuals have suffered from color blindness.

People sometimes joke about being color blind, but for those who have the actual condition it’s no laughing matter. Here are some surprising facts about color blindness or color vision problem, as it’s sometimes called.

Color Blindness Does Not Mean Absence of Color

Some people assume that individuals who are color blind literally see everything as black or white. While that is one form of color blindness known as monochromacy, this variety is extremely rare. Most forms involve difficulty distinguishing between particular colors, such as red and green. An eye exam can determine which form a person has.

Color Blindness Can Affect Women

It’s a common misconception that color blindness affects only men. This is most likely due to the fact that less than one percent of women are color blind compared to approximately eight percent of men.

Color Blindness is Not Always Hereditary

Most cases of color blindness begin at birth due to genetics. However, it is possible to develop a color vision problem later in life. Causes include aging and injury along with diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Color Blindness Cannot Be Cured

At present there is no cure for hereditary color blindness. Special lenses are available that can help with color perception, but most individuals are able to develop coping mechanisms allowing them to perform everyday functions with little difficulty.

Early detection is important for successful treatment of color blindness. A relatively simple eye exam is used to screen for the condition. Talk to your optometrist regarding any questions you may have regarding you or your children.

4 Reasons to Love Valley EyeCare Center

Eye health is not only crucial to your vision, but also affects your overall health. Choosing the right eye doctor can have a significant impact on the well-being of your eyes. Here are four reasons to try Valley EyeCare Center.

Your Eye Health Depends on It

When it comes to taking care of your eyes, there are few things more important. It’s crucial to see professionals who can provide the proper diagnosis and care for your eyes. According to the Mayo Clinic staff, receiving regular eye exams can detect potential problems early. Valley EyeCare Center provides the latest technology and the best quality products to meet all your needs.

Your Peace of Mind Depends on It

Even with the best doctor available, your experience at his or her office will determine whether you continue the relationship in the future. Valley EyeCare Center is all about helping you keep your peace of mind by providing exceptional customer service and convenient tools both online and in the office. In the office, the eyeglass guide offers direction and education, while links for ordering on the website give you convenience.

Regarding customer service, a patient recently had this to say: “I love the personal, professional attention. I always feel valued and enjoy my visits. Their office space is comfortable and contemporary, and contributes to a collaborative effort to serve the patients.”

eye_careYour Comfort Depends on It

It’s a family affair at Valley EyeCare Center. Because Dr. Lindsey Clyde and Dr. Eric Clyde are a brother and sister team, there is a sense of home in the air as soon as you walk through the door. When visiting their office, you can rest assured that both doctors and their staff will make sure you are as comfortable as possible.

Your Family Depends on It

With everything from pediatric services to age related macular degeneration management, Valley EyeCare Center meets the vision needs of everyone in your family. Even your family members who have no known vision problems should schedule regular eye exams to prevent possible future issues. This is especially important in children, since they often can’t express the vision problems they may be experiencing.

If you’re looking for the complete package in eye care, schedule a comprehensive eye exam for yourself and your family today.

Is My Child Ready For Contacts?

Many children reach the point when they ask, “Can I get contacts?” As a parent, you may wonder whether to let your child try them. Here’s what you need to consider:

Contacts_PhoenixMotivation

Some children are happy to wear glasses, but others are dissatisfied. If your child complains about their glasses, you may want to talk to your eye-care professional about contact lenses.

Activities

If your child plays sports, contact lenses may offer an advantage. They won’t break like frames and lenses of glasses can. Your child will also be able to have clearer peripheral vision and won’t have to deal with frames that can get sweaty and uncomfortable.

Vision

In some cases, such as when a child is very nearsighted, he or she may be able to see better with contact lenses than with glasses.

Self-esteem

If your child has poor self-esteem, contacts may help give them a boost. A three-year study conducted by the Ohio State University College of Optometry concluded that a child’s self-perception improved when wearing contact lenses. This is especially true of girls.

Seasonal allergies

Contact lenses can cause increased itching and burning in the eyes of contact wearers who have seasonal allergies, so if you child suffers from these, he or she may want to stick with glasses.

Dexterity and comfort level

Is your child able to take his or her contact lenses out and put them back in? It may take some practice, but he or she should be able to handle the daily maintenance on their own after some initial help. Age isn’t the only determining factor, because some young children are more at ease putting in and removing their contacts than adults are.

Maturity

This is perhaps the most important factor. Will your child follow proper hygiene practices, or will he or she leave the contacts in for too long, possibly risking an infection? It’s important that he or she be able to follow the proper procedures, because contacts are a medical device that can cause serious damage if they’re misused.

Ultimately, letting your child wear contact lenses isn’t an all-or-nothing, lifelong decision. If you let them try it and it doesn’t work out for whatever reason, your child can always go back to wearing glasses and perhaps try again when circumstances change.

How Does Diabetes Affect Glaucoma?

Optometrist_PhoenixAs January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, it’s a great time to educate yourself on this serious eye health risk. If you or a loved one have Diabetes, chances are good that you’ve heard eye problems like this one are an associated hazard. What you may not understand is why the two are connected and how they may be managed together.

The Connection

Your eye’s structure includes many tiny blood vessels and drainage canals. For a diabetic patient with difficulty controlling their blood sugar, eye problems often result due to swelling of these vulnerable tissues. Glaucoma occurs as fluid fails to drain through the swollen canals and internal eye pressure sharply increases. The nerves of the eye are damaged as a result and the patient may lose partial or total sight.

Symptoms

One of the greatest problems with Glaucoma is that a victim may have little or no symptoms until it’s too late and permanent vision loss has occurred. Others may be fortunate to have signs before this happens and could experience headaches, unusual changes in vision, watery eyes or halos that appear around light sources. It’s important to act quickly and get to your ophthalmologist right away should you notice symptoms like these.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Be sure that your eye doctor knows about your diabetic condition as this will help him or her perform the right tests and be alert for eye conditions related to diabetes. To diagnose Glaucoma, the doctor may perform tests like eye pressure measurement or checking for optic nerve problems in addition to monitoring vision changes.

If your eye doctor confirms that you are developing the condition, you may be given prescription eye drops or oral medication to reduce your eye pressure. You may be referred to a specialist for laser eye surgery to correct drainage or eye circulation issues. For diabetics, the annual eye exam can mean the difference between blindness and sight. Follow your exam schedule and do your best to keep your blood sugar controlled.

Glaucoma can be a silent thief of sight for a diabetic patient. If you are diabetic, discuss your risks of this disease and other related eye health issues so that you can prevent vision loss and ensure that your eyes are healthy for years to come.

Digital Fatigue And Your Vision

In past decades, eye strain was a far less common condition than in current society. The problem was generally only found in people with occupational hazards of close-up work. Thanks to the trend of 24/7 technology, today’s story is significantly different. Here’s what you should know about preventing and treating this troublesome eye health hazard.

Eye_CareCauses

The increasing use of all things technology is a major contributor to the occurrence of eye strain, found across multiple generations. Smartphones, tablets, Google Glass, e-readers and portable video games force you to hone in on a very close screen. To amplify the problem, people are so zoned in on this close-range object that they fail to look away and let their eyes’ lenses flex and relax.

Symptoms

If you’ve ever backed away from your computer and felt the need to rub your eyes, chances are that you’ve suffered from eye strain. Burning eyes or eyes that feel very tired are common sensations after focusing on a screen for too long. You may develop a headache or migraine or feel your back and neck becoming stiff and sore. After too long of a screen session you may feel as if you can’t focus well.

Prevention and Treatment

A simple way to help prevent eye strain is to follow the 20/20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes of close-up or screen work, look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.  This allows your eyes to relax and reduces the chance of digital fatigue. You can even get an app to remind you to take your 20/20/20 break!

Shutting down electronics at least an hour before bed and making sure you are getting the best quality sleep possible is important for your eye health. You may also need to make modifications to your work environment to ensure good lighting and properly positioned screens in your workspace. Your eye doctor may recommend filters for your monitor or glasses that reduce the glare from your screen.

Digital fatigue is a very real issue. Give your eyes a break from technology as much as possible and talk to your optometrist about other ways you can reduce eye strain.

3 Things You Should Know About Children’s Eye Health

Childrens_Eye_HealthChildren’s eye health is a complicated topic as kids often cannot express when something is wrong with their vision. Childhood eye issues can have a permanent impact on a person’s life and should be handled with urgency and expert care. Here is what you should know about kids’ eye care.

Signs of a Vision Problem

When a child begins developing a vision problem, he or she may not be able to tell you what is happening. Parents and educators must be vigilant for signs of trouble. These red flags include more obvious signs like squinting and holding books very close to the face but also may present as learning delays or social issues. Kids may avoid participating in activities that require good close-up or distant vision. They may complain of headaches or rub their eyes a lot. Colorblind children may choose the wrong colors when drawing and coloring pictures of familiar objects.

Vision-Related Learning Problems

Children’s eye health issues could very quickly translate into learning difficulties. Challenges with long distance sight may mean that the child can’t see lessons written on the board at the front of the classroom. Trouble with close objects will result in reading challenges that may be misdiagnosed as learning delays.  Colorblind kids can have problems reading letters printed on certain colors. While schools often have vision screening sessions, they are not comprehensive tests and may miss an important diagnosis.

The Need for Eye Exams

The best way to prevent a children’s eye health issue from becoming a permanent problem is to see an eye doctor on the prescribed schedule based on the child’s age. These important exams help identify issues at their earliest stage and formulate the right plan for correction. Most vision problems can be aided with the right prescription eyewear or use of vision therapy. Your eye doctor can also recommend adapted teaching techniques to overcome issues such as colorblindness.

Children’s eye health is complex and requires attention from infancy onward. If your child shows any of the symptoms mentioned above, schedule an eye exam today to discuss these and their potential solutions.

4 Common Eye Care Problems

Eye_CareIn the office of an eye care specialist, many non-routine visits are the cause of the same culprits. Some conditions are simply annoying while others present a real hazard to your vision. Here is what you should know about four common eye problems.

Dry Eyes

A miserable eye care problem, dry eyes may burn, itch and feel like they are on fire. There are various reasons for dry eyes including allergies, wind, pollution, certain drugs, dry air, some medical conditions or simply age. Workers with heavy computer use may develop dry eye, since less frequent blinking occurs and females may be more prone to dry eye than males. Treatment for dry eye may include antibiotics, artificial tears (only as recommended by your eye doctor), procedures to modify your tear ducts or a lubricating daily eye-insert.

Foreign Particles

Whether it is an errant eyelash or construction debris, having something in your eye is definitely something to cry about. Should you experience this you must be very careful when dealing with the issue. Rubbing your eyes can scratch your cornea — a serious eye care incident that may easily result in vision loss. With clean hands, flush the eye with sterile saline until the debris is washed away and follow up with your eye doctor. If a flush does not help, keep your eye gently closed and have someone drive you to an emergency eye care professional as quickly as possible.

Sty

This painful condition is the result of a swollen or infected gland in your eyelid that looks like a raised and red lump. A sty can be painful and cause the eye to swell, perhaps completely closed. For many people, a hot compress on the eye may relieve the problem. If that method fails, you may need antibiotics from your eye doctor.

Eye Infection

Pink eye is a very common (and quite contagious) type of eye infection. Schools and work environments are incubators for the spread of this irritating infection. Eye infections may be fungal, bacterial, or viral and treatment is different for each type. Change your contacts as scheduled and never touch your eyes with unwashed hands.

Preventing eye care issues is often very easy. Use protective eyewear when needed for work, sports and home chores. Get help for an eye incident right away to prevent permanent damage. Talk to your optometrist for more tips on preventing eye problems.

Eye Care During Safe Toys and Gifts Month

Eye CareWith the holidays upon us, it’s a great time to focus on eye care! As gift-giving opportunities abound, putting some thought into vision safety this season may help save a child’s sight for a lifetime. December is Safe Toys and Gifts Month, and a great time for some reminders.

Age-Appropriate Gifts

Purchasing toys should be done with the child’s age range in mind. Toys that shoot projectiles, for example, should never be given to young children. Check any gifts your child receives from other family members to be sure they are appropriate for their age group as well. If kids are playing in mixed age groups monitor play so it doesn’t become too rough for smaller tots, and ensure toys aren’t misused in dangerous ways.

Pre-Play Check

Before giving a child a new toy, be sure to inspect it thoroughly. Moving parts should be securely fastened, there should be no chipping paint or questionably loose surfaces. Eye care professionals warn that defective products pose great danger to children’s vision. Help your child understand how to play with the toy, and supervise for a period of time to ensure they are playing safely and appropriately.

Non-Toxic Chemicals

While it may seem fun to look for unique toys and gifts on the internet, be very aware of where toys are coming from. Products from overseas do not have the same stringent safety requirements as in the U.S. Internationally sold products have been known to use lead paint or other potentially dangerous chemicals that children should not be exposed to. Look for the label “non-toxic” anytime you purchase toys or art supplies for a child, especially for those of younger ages. In addition, be aware of the hazard that vintage toys may present because of poor design or unsafe and chipping paint.

Keep an eye on vision safety when giving to children this holiday season! For more advice on eye health this Safe Toys and Gifts Month, please consult your eye care professional.