When to Start Visiting the Eye Doctor

Young girl smiling while undergoing eye test with phoropterChildren’s eye care should begin as soon as birth, and should then continue regularly throughout childhood. Just as you take your child to the pediatrician for check-ups, you need to have his or her eyes routinely checked for signs of potential problems. Early eye health and vision checks will be done at your pediatrician or family doctor, but any concerns should immediately be taken to a certified eye doctor. Here’s a general guideline for taking care of your children’s eye care needs.

Infants and Toddlers

Newborn babies are generally checked for eye health while still in the hospital, soon after birth. From that point, professionals recommend all infants be routinely screened for eye health during the first year of life. These screenings are done during regular check-ups by the baby’s primary care physician. Additionally, the American Optometric Association (AOA) states that infants should receive their first comprehensive eye exam when they reach six months of age.

Beginning around the age of three, children should start receiving visual acuity tests, which measure vision sharpness, in addition to general eye health screenings.

School-Aged Children

The next eye exam a child should have is around the age of five or six, before entering the first grade. From that point on, the AOA recommends a comprehensive eye exam every two years if there are no vision problems present in your child. However, if correction is needed through glasses or contact lenses, then your child should see an eye doctor once a year, or as determined by the optomologist.

Signs of Eye Trouble

In addition to the above schedule, children should see an eye doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Constant rubbing of the eyes;
  • Sensitivity to light;
  • Problems focusing;
  • Trouble visually tracking objects;
  • Chronic eye redness;
  • Chronic eye tearing;
  • White pupils.

Maintaining regular children’s eye care is important not only to their eye health, but also to their ability to do well in school. Childhood eye exams set your child up for a lifetime of success by detecting and preventing problems early. For more information or to schedule an eye exam for your child, contact Valley EyeCare Center in Phoenix today.

Women at Greater Risk for Eye Problems

Optometrist In Exam Room With Woman In ChairAs a general rule of thumb, women are at greater risk for eye problems than their male counterparts. In fact, according to an article by Lighthouse International, two-thirds of people in America who suffer from vision impairment are women. The reasons are numerous, ranging from life expectancy to hormone control. Here are a few of the factors that increase women’s risk for eye problems, as well as an explanation of why regular eye exams are important in combating the issue.

Age

Because women tend to live longer than men, they naturally have a greater chance of developing eye health issues that are age-related, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. As if that isn’t bad enough, these conditions all have the ability to cause uncorrectable loss of vision. So while living longer is one advantage women can claim over men, it doesn’t come without its downfalls.

Pregnancy and Hormones

Women have to deal with much more than men in the way of body changes and developments. Pregnancy, birth control, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can all lead to vision issues in one way or another, whether directly or indirectly. Birth control and HRT can both lead to side effects like stroke and blood clots, which often cause eye problems. Additionally, HRT can increase women’s risk of cataracts.

Pregnancy can also cause a woman to see changes in her vision. Here are some common eye concerns that pregnant women face:

  • A change in lens prescription;
  • Dry eye syndrome;
  • Vision-disturbing migraines;
  • Gestational diabetes – which can lead to blindness.

It’s important to see an eye doctor right away if you’re pregnant and experience vision problems, since these could be a sign of – or lead to – a more serious condition.

Prevention

For women, prevention is the key to good eye health. Just as with everything else in a woman’s body, your eyes need extra care and attention. Regular comprehensive eye exams are crucial to maintaining your eye health. Don’t ignore possible problems; even minor concerns should be addressed during eye exams. To learn more about women’s eye health, or to schedule an eye exam, contact Valley EyeCare Center today.

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? Eye health may not be a topic that often springs to mind, which is one of the reasons why May is designated as Healthy Vision Month.

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.

Why not take Healthy Vision Month as your cue to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with our Phoenix optometrists? Get peace of mind with a full picture of your eye health.

 

Make Eye Health a Priority

Man swimmer swimming crawl in blue water. Portrait of an athletic young male triathlete swimming craWhen thinking about your health, do you consider the condition of your eyes and take preventative measures to protect them? If not, then you’re leaving a valuable part of your body open to injury and damage. Here are three ways to ensure your eye health.

Choose the Right Lighting

When you’re doing close-up work, the right lighting makes a big difference in reducing eye strain. For the best results, use a shaded light that’s directed at the work you’re doing. This will provide the amount of light you need without shining it directly into your eyes. A brighter light source is beneficial if you have vision problems.

Avoid Injury

Eye injuries can range from minor to blindness-inducing. Taking precautions with your eye health is crucial to avoiding permanent damage. Here are some tips to help you protect your vision:

  • Use protective eyewear - It’s important to wear safety goggles or glasses anytime you may be exposed to flying objects or debris, and while playing sports. You should also always wear goggles when working near strong chemicals.
  • Take care with hot objects - Cooking can be dangerous to your eyes when hot grease or oil is involved. Be careful to shield your eyes from splatter.
  • Eliminate fall hazards – Loose rugs or railings, sharp corners, and unsecured furniture can all lead to falls that result in damage to your eyes. Secure all objects in your home and consider covering sharp edges, especially if a young child or senior adult lives with you.

These are just a few ways to prevent eye injury. In addition to these tips, remember your eye health in everything you do.

See Your Eye Doctor

People with good vision tend to neglect getting regular eye exams. But this is a huge mistake. Eye health issues can occur whether you have poor vision or not, especially as you age. It’s important to get your eyes checked regularly by a qualified doctor in order to maintain great eye health. Specialists can detect concerns early, thus preventing potential problems from becoming damaging issues down the road.

With the right care and preventative measures, you can enjoy great vision for years to come. For more information on protecting your eyes, contact us today.

How Does Swimming Affect Your Eye Health?

Activities at the pool, children swimming and playing in water, happiness and summertimeEveryone enjoys a dip in a nice, cool pool during the sweltering summer months – especially in Arizona. But what does swimming do to your eye health? Does exposure to chlorine cause permanent damage to your eyes? What are the effects of swimming while wearing contact lenses? Keep reading for answers to these questions and more.

What Chlorine Does to Your Eyes

While there’s no evidence of long-term damage to eye health due to chlorine exposure, there are dangers associated with it. Contrary to popular belief, though, these dangers aren’t simply a result of your eyes coming in contact with the chemical. In actuality, the redness and discomfort that sometimes accompany swimming are caused by bacteria that lingers in the water. This is because, when submerged in chlorine-treated water, your eyes lose the tear film that protects against infection.

Even though the purpose of chlorine in pools is to reduce the amount of harmful bugs, some contaminants are resistant to the chlorine that is used. This means the health of your eyes can be compromised with infections caused by bugs still lingering in the water. The most common infection swimmers experience is pink eye.

Concerns for Contact Lens-Wearers

When you wear contact lenses while swimming, those lenses trap chemically-treated water, meaning your tear film has no chance of repairing itself and your eyes remain exposed to harmful bacteria. If you must swim in your lenses, eye health experts recommend rinsing them immediately after you swim, and avoiding sleeping in them. Failing to do so could lead to a serious eye condition called acanthamoebic keratitis, which has been known to cause blindness in serious cases.

Protecting Your Eye Health This Summer

It’s not all bad news – you don’t have to completely avoid the pool this summer in order to maintain your eye health. Just be smart and take these precautions:

  • Wear goggles. Swimming goggles reduce your eyes’ exposure to chlorine, meaning your tear film stays in tact and helps prevent any issues.
  • Use eye drops. Use lubricating drops to flush away any remaining chlorine and allow your tear film to get back to its job of protecting your eyes.
  • Take care of your contact lenses. As mentioned above, rinsing your contact lenses after swimming is crucial to avoid infection.

Don’t miss out on the fun this summer. Take steps to protect your eyes, and contact us for more information.

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.