Dry Eye is Common in Phoenix

Phoenix_optometristSince the humidity is so low in Phoenix, dry eye is one of the most common ailments that a Phoenix optometrist can treat. If your eyes have felt dry, or even if your vision has not been as sharp as it once was, it may be time to schedule an eye exam to make sure that your vision is at its best for the coming months.

What Are Warning Signs of Dry Eye?

If your tears do not adequately hydrate your eyes, you may experience any of the following symptoms: pain, sensitivity to light, feeling as if there is sand in your eye, redness, or blurry vision.

Phoenix Optometrist Treats Dry Eye

Artificial tears—For mild cases of dry eye, which can be caused by computer use, reading, or other situational causes, the best form of treatment may be to hydrate your eyes. This can be done with the help of artificial tears, either prescription or over-the-counter.

Air humidifiers—Because our environment is so dry, producing some extra humidity will lubricate your eyes.

Limit your electronic use—Staring at a computer, a television, or a phone screen can dry out your eyes, so Phoenix optometrists recommend that you limit the number of hours you spend looking at a screen each day. If you cannot avoid screens because of your work or family responsibilities, try the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, take a 20-second break and focus on something that is at least 20 feet away from you. This will help to keep your eyes hydrated, and it will also help to clear your vision.

Don’t let dry eye affect your daily routine. To learn more information about dry eye, contact a Phoenix optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center by calling (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Eye Health Safety Tips for Kids

Eye HealthIt’s that time of year again! Families rushing to buy binders, books, clothes, backpacks, and all other last-minute items to get their kids ready for the new school year. Unfortunately, with the back-to-school rush, it is easy to forget about taking your child to get an eye exam or ensure they are taking good care of their peepers. While the new school year can be exciting for your kids, having an underlying eye health condition could seriously compromise their academic success. Since August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, here are a few ways to make sure that your kids’ eyes are in great shape for the school year ahead.

Eye Health Tips and Vision Development for Young Children

If you have a newborn in the family, make sure to keep him or her out of direct contact with the sun, as babies are very sensitive to light. After babies are one month old, they will be able to see more clearly and sharply, and they will also be able to see color. When babies are four months old, they can differentiate colors and will see the entire spectrum of the rainbow. To ensure that your baby can see well, you should make sure that he or she can track objects and recognize you.

Eye Health Tips for Older Children

As your child ages, you should make sure to schedule a regular eye exam with an optometrist, even if your child appears not to have any vision problems. Astigmatism, a general blurriness that is caused by a misshapen eye, can develop at any age, but children can also grow out of this vision ailment. If your child complains of difficulty when reading or writing, or suffers from frequent headaches, these are signs that he or she may have an eyesight problem that should be examined by a professional. Most schools require kids to have yearly eye exams so that their vision is checked frequently.

If you have any questions about kids’ eye health or would like to book an appointment at Valley Eyecare Center, give us a call at (602) 955-2700, or 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.

Use Your Benefits Before They Expire

Eye ExamHealth care has become financially challenging for many people, which is why medical and vision benefits are very important. Whether you have a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), an insurance program or another eye care plan, your benefits should be used before the end of their term—and some have a December 31, 2015 deadline.

At Valley Eyecare Center, we believe it is important for our patients to not allow their 2015 eye care benefits slip away. Since we recommend patients to get an eye exam every one to three years, they should be aware of their plan’s deadlines. We encourage patients to talk with the plan administrator in order to determine specific benefit requirements before they expire.

Furthermore, it’s imperative for patients to know that aside from eye examinations; contact lenses, eyeglasses, and prescription sunglasses may also qualify for coverage or reimbursement.

For any further questions or to schedule an eye exam, call 602-955-2700 or visit our website. Don’t let the year-end rush keep you from using your benefits. Contact us now!

Is Your Kid’s Eye Health Affecting Their Grades?

Kid's Eye HealthHave you seen your bright, hard-working child’s grades begin an unexplained slide? There is a good possibility that the cause has nothing to do with a change in work habits. Your kid’s eye health plays a significant role in successful classroom learning and homework completion.

How vision and learning are connected

While many people learn more easily through seeing rather than hearing, the concept is particularly true for kids. You might be surprised to learn that during your child’s first year of school, approximately 80 percent of the learning process occurs visually.

Impaired eyesight has a secondary effect that also impacts learning. Poor vision is linked to behavioral problems, which can result in reduced or non-existent concentration and focus.

Diagnosing vision problems

Children have a difficult time communicating about illness or other physical problems they are experiencing. Compounding the issue is the likelihood that your kid doesn’t have enough life experience to realize that there is a problem.

An optometrist can perform a thorough exam to evaluate all aspects of your kid’s eye health. Tests are conducted to determine visual acuity, eye muscle balance and other measures related to vision and overall wellness. Schedule eye exams annually to monitor changes that occur during the growing process.

What if your child needs glasses?

Wearing glasses will require a major adjustment for your child. Make the transition smoother by letting him or her be actively involved in the choice. Allow your kid some leeway in the style so the final selection will express his or her personality, making the wearing of glasses more fun and less of a burden.

Our knowledgeable and caring optometrists are as concerned about your kid’s eye health as you are. Book an appointment today at Valley Eyecare Center and have your child ready to make this the best school year yet.

Protecting Your Eyes During Football Season

eye_safetyWith the kids heading back to school and joining sports teams, it’s important to keep eye safety in mind.

Football is notorious for all sorts of injuries, but eye injuries are extreme hindrances to daily activities—whether in the form of UV sun damage, flying dirt from the football field or direct trauma to the eye area.

Whether your child is at football practice after school or in the middle of a tournament, eye protection is always of the utmost importance. Here at Valley Eyecare Center, we have a few tips on how to keep the eyes safe during this sports season.

With all the running and kicking involved in football, it is easy to get dirt or other debris lodged in the eyes. There are goggles and protective eyewear available that are compatible with football helmets. That way, your child is safe this season from getting debris in the eyes that could impair his or her vision during a big game.

During practice, kids don’t often think about the UV exposure their eyes are receiving. Goggles equipped with UV shading or sunglasses worn under a helmet will help boost eye safety and protect the eyes from harmful UV rays during practice or a game.

A protective helmet that shields the eyes from a flying elbow, a kicking leg or a rogue pigskin is always a must when it comes to playing football. A blunt-force injury to the eye area can be detrimental to one’s vision, so it is crucial to wear proper gear during sports season this year.

If you have more questions about how to practice eye safety during football season or how you can help equip your kids with proper eye protection, book an appointment with us at Valley Eyecare Center today! Give us a call at (602) 955-2700.

How Often You Should Get an Eye Exam

eye_examsEye exams are crucial when it comes to maintaining your eye health. Regular checkups should occur every one to three years, depending on your eye health history and related risk factors.

Children who have no eye damage or are not at risk of eye issues should see their eye doctor at Valley Eyecare Center about every two years for a checkup. On the other hand, children who wear glasses or contact lenses should be scheduled for an annual eye exam.

Adults between the age of 18 and 60 should have eye exams every two years (and annually for anyone above the age of 60). Risk factors for eye problems include diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of macular degeneration and glaucoma. Anyone who is associated with any of these risks should schedule their eye checkups on a more frequent basis, or as recommended by your eye care professional at Valley Eyecare Center.

If you have had eye surgery in the past or if your job poses daily hazards to your eyesight, be sure to schedule your checkups more frequently.

We offer comprehensive eye checkups to test your vision and see if you have ocular allergies or diseases, and if you need corrective lenses to help boost your visual clarity.

It is important to book your appointments in a time frame that is appropriate for you and your children’s eye health status. If you run the risk of eye damage, book an annual appointment or a time when your eye doctor sees fit. Patients with no risks and no corrective lenses are safe to book eye exams about every two years, unless instructed otherwise.

Book your next eye exam with us at Valley Eyecare Center so we can help answer any questions you may have and ensure that your eyes are healthy.

5 Ways to Protect Your Child’s Eyes

Childrens_Eye_CareEye health should never be taken for granted, no matter what age. Teaching your kids the right way to care for their eyes instills habits that will stay with them into adulthood. Use these children’s eye care tips to protect their vision from the start.

Select toys carefully

Make sure your child has age-appropriate toys without sharp edges or projections that could injure his/her eyes. Include toys that encourage visual development. Chalkboards, coloring books and crayons, jigsaw puzzles, Legos, construction sets and building blocks are all good choices that will help to build visual skills while supporting children’s eye care.

Use protection in sunlight

When your child is outdoors, he should be wearing sunglasses with UV-coated lenses or a wide-brimmed hat to protect his eyes from dangerous rays. This is particularly important for kids with light-colored eyes that are extra-sensitive to the sun. Make it fun by choosing a style of kids’ sunglasses with bright colors or a popular TV or movie character. And what kid doesn’t like wearing baseball caps?

Child-proof your home

Household accidents are one of the most common causes of eye injuries in children. Use safety gates at the top and bottom of staircases and make sure the surface of the steps is non-slip. Place cushions on sharp corners and edges of furniture and fixtures. Store paints, fertilizers, household cleaners and other chemical-based products in a secured area. Install cabinet and drawer locks to keep cosmetics, kitchen utensils and other objects out of reach.

Provide a healthy diet

Plan meals with a variety of foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and lutein, all of which have been linked to good eye health. Carrots, salmon, tuna, citrus fruits, berries, nuts and sunflower seeds are some of the foods that are sources of these nutrients as well as antioxidants that protect against cell damage.

Schedule regular eye exams

Many eye issues can be successfully treated when they’re detected early enough. Your optometrist can also advise you on children’s eye care news and tips. Take your child in immediately if you see signs such as crossed eyes or cloudiness in the pupil.

Your child’s eyes are meant to last a lifetime. Contact Valley EyeCare Center to start a lifetime program of proper eye care.


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.

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.