Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Eye_HealthMost women know that taking care of their health is crucial. However, many forget about the importance of also getting their eye health in check—especially because women are at higher risk than men for ocular diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and age related macular degeneration. Fortunately, there are different ways to reduce this increased eye health risk and protect your eyes from many diseases. Learn how to properly care for your eyes and ensure that they are healthy today and in the future.

Regular Eye Exams

Vision changes as you age – it’s a fact of life. Conditions develop that may not have been present before. This is why regular eye exams are necessary, even if you don’t seem to have any vision problems. Trained eye doctors will detect and treat any conditions early, so that you can avoid serious issues later in life. If left untreated, diseases like glaucoma can lead to blindness. Take care of your eye health by making an appointment for a comprehensive exam.

Protective Eyewear

Another risk women face in regard to their eyes is injury. Many injuries happen right inside the home, such as during home improvement projects. The best way to prevent eye-damaging accidents is to protect yourself while doing any sort of work that may lead to slips or falling debris. Protective eyewear like safety goggles should be kept in your home for easy access any time you need them.

Overall Health

Several health conditions result in vision impairment. Diabetes and high blood pressure, for example, both affect your ability to see clearly. Taking precautions to maintain your physical health will, in turn, maintain your eye health. Getting regular exercise and eating a healthy diet are two sure ways to prevent eye-threatening diseases.

As a woman, you have many health risks that are unique to your gender, and your eyes are no exception. With a heightened risk for conditions like glaucoma, it’s important to take steps that will ensure the health of your eyes. Receiving regular eye exams, using protective eyewear, and maintaining your physical health are all crucial to your eye health.

For more information about eye health, or to schedule an eye exam with one of our optometrists, visit our website.

Tips For Switching To Contacts

ContactsOne of the most common questions that people ask their optometrist is whether they should be switching from conventional glasses to contacts. While both are great to correct your vision, it comes down to a matter of personal choice based on cost, looks, and care that pertain to each option. If you are thinking about ditching the good old glasses for contacts, these tips will help you ensure that the transition period runs smoothly.

Hygiene

Always wash your hands before you put on or remove your contacts. Touching your eyes with dirty hands can lead to eye irritations and infections.

Eye Drops

Always carry eye drops with you and use them as often as needed—especially if you are constantly looking at computer screens or other electronics, and if you live somewhere with harsh weather conditions. When contacts dry up, they can become uncomfortable, cause ocular irritations, and potentially scratch your eyes.

Rest

Your eyes need a chance to breathe, so make sure you give them a rest from contacts. If you have to wear your contacts every day throughout the day, you should opt for contacts that are breathable and take them off when you are at home or relaxing.

Contact Solution

Contact solution is very important as it is what you will be using to clean your contacts and store them in. Make sure you always have solution available at home and never use water as an alternative. Water does not sterilize and since it does not contain salt like regular contact lens solution, it is absorbed into the lenses instead.

Don’t Mix Your Contacts

Mixing your contacts can lead to eye infections and other conditions. It is important to create a habit of properly storing them in your contact lenses case by putting your left contact on the “L” side and your right one on the “R” side.

For more information about contacts or to schedule an eye exam with one of our optometrists, visit our website.

How Can Stress Affect Your Eyesight?

Eye HealthMost of us are aware of how stress affects our body, but did you know that it can also have a negative impact in your eye health? Trying to not let stress affect us might be an unrealistic expectation, which is why our optometrists at Valley Eyecare Center want you to learn about its impact to our eye health.

Eye Strains

Eye strain, also known as Asthenopia, is a very common condition that occurs when eyes are overused.  Most of us are guilty of spending a lot of time looking at electronics and computer screens daily—and it can really take a toll on our eyes. While research hasn’t proved that screens can cause true damage to the eyes, you’re still at risk for headaches and eye soreness.

Headaches and Migraines

Stress can trigger a migraine or tension headache—especially if you have lost your appetite. Migraines are hightened headaches that are accompanied by a multitude of other symptoms such as flashing lights or colors in your vision field, pain so severe that you can barely think, nausea and vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light. Tension headaches affect your forehead, are less severe and lack most of the other symptoms.

Eye Twitch

An eye twitch is when the tissues and small muscles around the eye experience involuntary movement. The twitch may last minutes, hours, or even days and even though it typically isn’t dangerous, this condition can certainly interrupt your concentration and focus.

Glaucoma

When blood pressure goes up, your internal eye pressure may do the same. Glaucoma is a condition that results from high eye pressure damaging the optic nerve, and has the potential to cause permanent vision loss and blindness.

It is important that people learn how to manage their stress to avoid compromising their sight. For more information about eye health or to schedule an eye exam with one of our optometrists, visit our website.

Everyday Steps for Sun Protection Safety

Eye SafetyContrary to popular belief, sun damage to your eyes doesn’t occur only during the summer—especially for those living in Arizona. Extended exposure to Ultraviolet Radiation (UV Rays) throughout the year can lead to eye health conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, pingueculae, ptergia and photokeratitis—also known as sunburn of the cornea—which can lead to temporary blindness. Don’t risk your eye health, follow these eye safety tips to protect your sight from sun damage.

Add Vitamin C and other Antioxidants to your diet

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant that can help lower the risk of developing eye health conditions such as cataracts, and slow down the progression of age-related macular degeneration. In addition, having normal blood plasma levels of Vitamin C and other antioxidants can help reduce the risk of retinal damage from High-Energy Visible Radiation (also known as “blue light”), which can lead to an increase in one’s long-term risk of macular degeneration.

Wear sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV Rays

Many people do not realize that, just like skin, your eyes can get sunburned from extended ultraviolet radiation exposure—and it is very painful. Anyone who spends time outdoors is at risk of sun eye damage, which is why you should wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from radiation from the sun. When buying sunglasses, stay away from the dollar store. Always look for sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV Rays, absorb most HEV Rays, and frames that wrap around the head and are close-fitting. These offer the best sun protection eye safety because they limit the amount of sunlight that reaches your eyes.

For more information about eye safety, our selection of sunglasses with UV and HEV protection, or to schedule an eye exam with one of our optometrists, visit our website.

Struggling With Spring Allergies?  

Ocular AllergiesMany of us are ecstatic with the arrival of Spring. The cool weather subsided and colorful blooms are springing everywhere.  Unfortunately, springtime is also known for bringing ocular allergies to millions of people with over-active immune systems. As plants start to bloom and there is an increase of pollen in the air, your eyes activate their defense mechanism—which means a runny nose and watery eyes all season long. If you are suffering from Spring allergies, these tips will help you avoid allergens and keep symptoms under control.

How To Avoid Spring Allergy Triggers

While dealing with ocular allergies is not ideal, staying inside the house from April through November is not an option.

Tracking pollen count – A great way to being able to enjoy the outdoors is to track the pollen count in the air. You can do this through websites such as Pollen.com, which provide current allergy reports and which are the top allergens in the air.

Plan ahead to avoid top allergens – In Arizona, people tend to be mostly affected by allergens from trees such as Ash, Mulberry, Poplar, Olive, Alligator Juniper, Oneseed Juniper, and Palo Verde.  The best tactic to avoid these top allergens, is to plan ahead. If you need medicine to control your symptoms, you should start taking small doses slightly before the season begins. Doing so you can prevent the inflammatory response from allergens rather than getting the inflammation under control. In addition, avoid peak allergy days—hot, dry, and windy days. The best time to be outdoors if you suffer from allergies is on cool, less windy days and after it has rained.

Stay clean – Take a shower and wash your clothes after you have been outdoors—especially if you were somewhere near trees and grass—to rinse away any pollen and dust that you may be carrying.

Pets – If you have pets, keep them as clean and groomed as possible to avoid pet dander and prevent them from bringing dust and other allergens inside your house.

Clean your home – Vacuum and clean surfaces constantly to minimize the amount of dust mites and other allergens inside your house.

For more information about ocular allergies or to schedule an eye exam, visit our website.

Nutrition For Your Eyes

Eye HealthWhile a healthy, nutritious diet is essential for your physical and mental well-being, eating the right food can help you maintain a keen sight. To celebrate National Nutrition Month, we compiled the following list of essential vitamins to promote eye health.

1. Vitamin A/Beta-Carotene

Did your parents ever tell you that carrots are good for your eyes? They weren’t wrong. Carrots contain Beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A. This vitamin is made up of antioxidants which protect the surface of your eyes and helps form a barrier against foreign objects such as bacteria and dust.

2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is the most popular antioxidant as it helps many victims of colds and the flu. However, this vitamin can also help strengthen your body’s connective tissues—including corneal collagen. Vitamin C and also help reduce the risk eye health conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Your body cannot produce vitamin C on its own, so make sure to add plenty of citrus fruits, bell peppers and strawberries to your diet.

3. Vitamin D

Did you know that vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties that can help slow down your eyes’ aging process? The sun provides a natural source of Vitamin D, however, you can also find it in milk, cheese and other dairy products, as well as fatty fish such as salmon and tuna.

4. Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and Zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in the macula, along with a third substance, meso-zeaxanthin that must be manufactured in the retina from ingested lutein. Research shows that they can help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. You can get both these nutrients by adding plenty of leafy greens to your diet!

For more information about Nutrition and how it can improve your eye health, or to schedule an eye exam with one of out optometrists, visit our website.

Sunlight and Macular Degeneration

Phoenix OptometristDid you know that macular degeneration accounts for most cases of blindness in older individuals? This condition is caused by drusen that accumulates in the macula—the most important part of the retina—which leads to irreversible visual impairment, including blindness. The biggest risk factor for macular degeneration is age but recent studies have shown that there is a link between sunlight and the condition. These tips from your Phoenix Optometrist will help you protect your eyes and help lower the risk of developing macular degeneration.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses provide much-needed protection from the sun’s dangerous rays, which can lower the risk of not only macular degeneration but also cataracts. Your Phoenix optometrist has most likely already suggested that you use them in your everyday life, as the sun can damage your eyes all year-round.

Eye Exam

Eye exams are crucial when it comes to maintaining your eye health as they do more than simply test your visual clarity. Many common eye conditions don’t present symptoms until well into their development. However, your Phoenix optometrist can diagnose health issues during a thorough eye exam. Macular degeneration, as well as other eye conditions can respond positively to early detection and treatment, which is why it is important to see your eye doctor regularly.

Vitamins

A study published by researchers at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary shows that people who ate a lot of foods rich in carotenoids—such as raw spinach, kale and collard greens—had a 43 percent lower risk of age-related macular degeneration than those who didn’t. Research has also shown that fish and antioxidants can help prevent the development of this condition.

For more information about macular degeneration or to schedule an eye exam with one of our Phoenix optometrists, visit our website.

Eye Care Is Always In Season

Eye CareSpring is almost here, and what better time to take care of your sight? Your eyes are one of the most vital and most easily injured parts of the body which is why it is important to practice good eye care. Follow these tips to ensure your healthy eyesight year-round!

Eye Exams

Eye exams aren’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. Your eyes are also a window to your body’s overall health.

20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 Rule encourages you to move your gaze away from the computer screen every 20 minutes, for a duration of at least 20 seconds, and you should be looking at an object that is at least 20 feet away. Following this simple rule will help you relieve your eyes of strain or tiredness

Keep Your Prescription Current

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. Avoid using an old prescription any longer than is absolutely necessary.  Always keep your prescription current.

Eat Eye-Friendly Foods

Good eye care can be as easy as watching what you eat. Foods like dark green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach, and red and orange vegetables such as carrots and some squashes, have a high content of the nutrients your eyes need to stay healthy and properly adjust to the light/dark.

Good eye care today will pay off in improved vision in your later years. For more information or to schedule an appointment with Valley Eyecare Center, click here.

Keep your Eyes Healthy

Health care, medicine and vision concept - woman with eye chart on color backgroundWhen it comes to your health, are your first thoughts about issues like weight, cholesterol and blood pressure? Your eyes benefit from good care as much as the rest of your body does. Follow these tips to keep your eyes and your vision in top shape.

Have a comprehensive eye exam once a year

Eye problems are not readily evident. You may not even realize that your vision has diminished until it’s checked by an optometrist. A thorough eye exam will also check for signs of disease or damage.

Use protective eyewear 

Even if you’re performing a simple home repair, wear safety glasses or goggles to prevent sharp objects or particles from entering your eyes. If your kids participate in sports, make sure they use the appropriate eye protection. Always wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside on sunny days.

Keep your hands clean

During the day your hands come into contact with an infinite number of germs and bacteria, from both objects and other people. The best practice is to avoid touching your eyes entirely, but frequent hand-washing will reduce the possibility of irritation or infection.

Take a visual break 

Increasing use of high-tech devices like computers and cell phones has also increased the potential for eye strain. Eye care professionals recommend the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, turn your gaze about 20 feet into the distance and hold for about 20 seconds.

Learn your family’s eye history

Many diseases and conditions are hereditary. Become informed about any issues your parents and grandparents may have had so you can monitor your eye health for signs and symptoms.

Quit smoking

If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Research has shown that smoking increases your risk of macular degeneration, optic nerve damage and cataracts, conditions that can each lead to blindness.

For more information about eye health or to schedule an appointment with one of our optometrists, visit our website.

 

Adjust To Your New Prescription

OptometristHave you just gotten a brand new prescription of glasses from your optometrist and felt as if it is not the one for you? Most of the time, your prescription is the perfect one for you but it takes a while to adjust. Keep reading to find out just how you can adjust to your new prescription!

Ways to Get Rid of Transition Pain

If you feel a headache coming on every time you put on your new prescription glasses, it is possible that you are straining the eye muscles surrounding your face too much.

With every new prescription, there are new reactions received from your eyes. To ease the straining phase your eyes go through, follow these critical steps:

  • As soon as you wake up, put on your glasses newly prescribed by your optometrist. Waking up to your new lenses will accustom your eyes to them.
  • It is okay to remove your glasses every once in a while to give your eyes a break for a couple of hours. However, it is recommended to keep the eye glasses on as it will deduct from the adjustment period.
  • Take painkillers if the pain is truly unbearable. Over-the-counter medicine like Advil or Aleve would work perfectly on the surrounding muscles of your eyes. Sometimes, taking painkillers diminish the transition issues completely.

If the Latter Does Not Work

If more than a couple weeks have gone by and the headaches, pain, and straining are still present, contact your optometrist about any concerns regarding your new prescription. It is less likely that the problem is with the actual prescription but it is possible. However, if the headaches are not as severe, time will most likely heal.

For more information about prescription glasses or to schedule an appointment with one of our optometrists, visit our website.