Children’s Eye Safety and Sports

Portrait of happy boy riding bicycle in the park with his parents behindApril is Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month. For this reason, we’d like to focus on how you can keep your child’s eyes safe during recreational activities. The safety of your child’s eyes is not something to be taken lightly. Protecting your child’s vision is important now in order to set her up for fewer problems later in life.

When it comes to kids eye care, there is one sure-fire way to provide protection during sports: utilizing the proper protective eyewear. While you certainly don’t want to keep your kids from enjoying their favorite sports due to a high risk of eye injury, you should take every measure necessary to ensure their safety.

Sports and Kids Eye Care

Sports present many opportunities for injury in children, even more so than adults, since children’s bodies aren’t yet fully developed. The eyes are no exception to this rule. According to The American Academy of Ophthalmology, each year more than 40 percent of eye injuries occur as a result of sports or other recreational activities. The organization also reports that of the injuries noted, 78 percent happened to people not using protective eyewear.

Preventative Measures for Kids Eye Care

Such a simple thing makes such a huge impact in the health of your child’s eyes. Just as you would never think of letting your kid ride a bike without a helmet, so should you never let him play sports without protective eyewear. Will he mumble and complain? Sure, but it’s your job as his parent to secure the future of his eye health.

If you think your child may have already suffered an eye injury or is at high risk, call to schedule an appointment today. Don’t let another minute pass without taking your kid’s eye health seriously.

 

Why Are My Eyes Irritated?

Young boy with tissue paper rubbing eye in backyardDealing with irritated eyes makes it difficult to work, drive and do many other daily activities. While it’s easy to figure out why your eyes are bothering you in certain cases, such as being near cigarette smoke, it can be hard to pinpoint the cause at other times. There are many things that can make your eyes look red or feel irritated. Once you know the cause, you can take steps to help your eyes feel better and prevent further irritation.

 Allergens

Dust, pet dander, pollen and other allergens can make your eyes red, watery and itchy. You might also be sensitive to other irritants, such as chlorine in pools. Keep in mind that you might have other symptoms if your eyes are irritated by allergens, such as a runny nose or itchy skin.

 Debris

Dirt, sand, grit or other debris can cause pain, scratchiness and irritation. Your eyes might also water and be sensitive to light. Since these foreign objects could scratch your cornea, it’s important to flush your eyes with water and contact your eye doctor if your eyes are still bothering you.

 Infections and Inflammation

Bacterial and viral infections, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), can cause severe redness and a sticky discharge. Your eyelids might be coated with crust, and the infection could spread from one eye to the other. Other infections and inflammation that can cause irritation include inflammation of the uvea, known as uveitis, or swelling along the eyelid, called blepharitis.

Injuries

Trauma to the eye can lead to pain and irritation. If you have an eye injury, seek medical eye care in order to reduce the risk of developing serious vision problems. Wearing contact lenses too much can also end up causing corneal scratches or other problems that can irritate your eyes.

Medical Conditions

Some underlying medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorders, can cause eye irritation due to dryness. This irritation can turn into a chronic condition, so it’s important to discuss proper eye care with your eye doctor. Your doctor should also be able to provide you with drops to reduce dryness and irritation.

If your eyes continue to bother you, don’t hesitate to make an eye care appointment. Your eye doctor will be able to determine the cause and recommend treatment to relieve irritation and protect your vision.

Tips for Women’s Eye Health

Woman doing eye test with optometrist in medical officeWomen are at higher risk for certain eye diseases compared to their male counterparts. For example, women are more likely than men to suffer vision impairment due to glaucoma. Because of the increased eye health risk women face, it’s crucial to properly care for your eyes. Here are three ways you can ensure the health of your eyes today and in the future.

Receiving 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.

Using 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.

Maintaining Physical 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.

Best Vitamins for Your Eye Care

Pills And Vitamins - Close UpA healthy, nutritious diet is essential for your physical and mental well-being. Some vitamins and minerals have specific applications for particular parts of your system. There are a number of vitamins that are helpful in promoting and maintaining good eye health. Here is a look at vitamins that are necessary for proper eye care. How many of these are included in your diet?

1. Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene

This is probably the nutrient most people associate with eye health. Vitamin A is made up of antioxidant compounds that protect the surface of your eye and help to form a barrier against viruses and bacteria. Beta-carotene, which your body converts to Vitamin A, is found most famously in carrots as well as sweet potatoes and spinach.

2. Vitamin C

Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is another antioxidant that strengthens your body’s connective tissues, including collagen in the cornea. Studies suggest long-term consumption can reduce the risk of cataracts. Your body cannot produce Vitamin C on its own, so it must be ingested through foods like citrus fruits, bell peppers and strawberries.

3. Vitamin D

While it’s most commonly associated with bone strength, Vitamin D has anti-inflammatory properties that can fight the effects of aging on your vision. Low levels of Vitamin D are characteristic of people with myopia (nearsightedness) and macular degeneration. Sunlight is a natural source of Vitamin D, which is also found in dairy products and fatty fish like salmon and tuna.

4. Vitamin E

This vitamin is another nutrient that has been shown to have potential benefits in preventing macular degeneration. Vitamin E has been used to treat uveitis, an inflammation of the middle part of the eye. Nuts and seeds are rich sources of Vitamin E.

5. Lutein and Zeaxanthin

These carotenoids are found in the macula along with a third substance, meso-zeaxanthin, that must be manufactured in the retina from ingested lutein. Research indicates that these nutrients block blue light from the retina, thereby reducing oxidative damage that can lead to macular regeneration. Leafy green plants like spinach are a good dietary source. Our Phoenix optometrists can advise you on proper nutrition and other vital steps for good eye care. Start on the road to healthy vision maintenance by scheduling an appointment today.

Don’t Skip Regular Eye Exams

Eyesight chartYou take care of your body by working out; you take care of your teeth by brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist; and you eat healthy foods to give yourself the proper nutrients. But in all of the things you do to care for yourself, do you neglect your eyes? Even if you have 20/20 vision, regular eye exams are crucial to your health. Going to the eye doctor helps you adapt to vision changes, and detects any eye problems early so that you can begin treatment before the issue worsens.

Adapting to Vision Changes

While some changes in your vision are obvious, others are minor and may not be discernible without the help of an eye doctor. Even with minor vision changes, you may suffer from the following symptoms:

  • Eye strain
  • Headache
  • Trouble focusing on work.

Being able to adapt to eye changes is important in preventing the issues listed above. Without regular eye exams, you’ll likely suffer longer than necessary.

Detecting Eye Problems Early

Eye problems can occur at any time during your life, but become more common as you age. Conditions like glaucoma are only treatable with the help of an eye doctor. Regular eye exams allow you to detect the possibility of certain conditions early, so that you can either prevent the conditions, or treat them in time to stop them from worsening.

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, make time to properly care for your eyes. Don’t put yours and your family’s eye health at risk by neglecting to receive regular eye exams. To get started, schedule an appointment today.

5 common causes for spring allergies

download (1)Springtime is infamous for a condition called ocular allergy, or eye allergy. Also known as allergic conjunctivitis, ocular allergy occurs when something irritates the membrane covering your eyes. This leads to symptoms like itching, redness, and swelling. Below are common causes, and ways to manage the condition.

OUTDOOR TRIGGERS

With the approach of spring comes the invasion of pollen. As plants start to bloom, pollen is released into the air, causing eye irritation. Here are some facts about allergens that occur outdoors.

  • Trees – Trees begin their seasonal pollination anytime between January and April, depending on climate. The most bothersome for Arizona residents are:
    • Olive
    • Alligator Juniper
    • Oneseed Juniper
    • Arizona Ash
    • Palo Verde
  • Grass – Grass pollen is highest during the late spring and early summer months. Although there are numerous types of grasses, the pollens are similar on all of them. So if you suffer from grass allergies, then you will likely experience the problem no matter where you live.
  • Flowers – While people commonly believe that the brightly colored flowers blooming in the spring are the cause of their allergies, this may not be the case. It’s true that these flowers can cause allergy symptoms if sniffed up close, but because they are pollinated by insects instead of the wind, the irritation they cause is minimal.

INDOOR TRIGGERS

While indoor triggers are present all year, there are a couple of reasons you’ll notice an increase in symptoms during springtime.

  • Pet Dander –Being allergic to pet dander is extremely common. Many pets begin to shed their winter coat as the weather gets warmer. This leads to even more dander than normal, resulting in an increase in allergy symptoms.
  • Dust Mites – Yes, dust mites exist year-round, but if you participate in “spring cleaning,” you may notice an increase in symptoms during this time.

MANAGEMENT

If your ocular allergy condition is being caused by indoor triggers, use special air filters to reduce allergens. You should also limit exposure to any pets that may be causing your symptoms.

It’s difficult to control the outdoor environment, but there are things you can do to minimize your ocular allergy pain. Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes, and apply eye drops after being outside.

To find out if you’re suffering from ocular allergy, schedule an eye exam today.

Protect Your Eyes By Practicing Good Hygiene

 

downloadHealthcare professionals stress the importance of good hygiene to prevent the spread of flu, colds and other contagious illnesses. Germs also pose a threat to the health of your eyes, making cleanliness a major factor of eye care as well.

Styes

If you don’t wash your face thoroughly or you leave makeup on overnight, you run the risk of developing styes. These pimple-like red bumps are caused by an infection in the oil glands at the edge of the eyelid. While styes normally resolve themselves and do not generally cause serious injury, chronic stye development can lead to scarring over time.

Corneal Abrasions

It’s easy to rub your eye without even thinking about it, but this habit can result in corneal abrasions. These scratches on the clear “skin” that covers the iris and pupil are extremely painful due to the large number of nerve endings on the cornea. The injury can come from dirt on your hands or from aggravating a particle that is already inside your eye.

Contact Lenses

Proper eye care includes regular maintenance of contact lenses. Keratitis, or inflammation of the cornea, is one of the conditions that can result from poor contact-lens hygiene. Some common practices that create unsafe conditions are handling the lenses without washing your hands or wearing them overnight. Contact-lens cases should be kept clean and replaced frequently to prevent fungus from growing inside.

Conjunctivitis

One of the most widespread eye conditions is conjunctivitis, or pink eye, which is an inflammation of the thin membrane covering the white of your eye and lining the inside of the eyelid. Conjunctivitis is easily transmitted from person to person, so be sure to wash your hands or apply sanitizer after contact with others. Again, the safest precaution is to avoid rubbing or touching your eyes.

Maintain a habit of good hygiene to keep your eyes clear and injury-free. Visit your Phoenix optometrist for more suggestions regarding proper eye care.

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.