Pool Season And Eye Health

Eye_HealthSummers in Arizona can reach very hot temperatures, which is why many people spend a great amount of time at the pool. Unfortunately, while a dip in the pool is a refreshing way to cool off , it can also cause irritation, or “swimmer’s eye,” which can be a painful result without the proper precautions. To avoid ocular problems and enjoy your time in the pool, follow these summer eye health tips before diving in.

Don’t Wear Contacts When Swimming

Wearing contact lenses while swimming may seem harmless, but this bad habit can provide a surface for bacteria to latch on. Studies show that microbial growth on contact lenses can be present after only one swim. The best solution is to invest in a pair of prescription swimming goggles. If you prefer to continue wearing your contact lenses, use disposable ones or be sure to disinfect the lenses thoroughly after swimming. It’s also a good idea to change your lens case frequently.

Protect Your Eyes to Avoid Dry Eye

Dry eye syndrome is one of the more common eye disorders among adults—especially in Arizona. It results from low tear production and instability of the tear film. While goggles are an effective defense against the drying effects of pool water, you should also apply artificial teardrops before swimming for additional protection.

Minimize The Effects Of Chemicals

Chemicals such as chlorine and saline do affect your eyes, but they merely grease the wheels for the true culprit. Your eye is covered by a tear film that maintains lubrication, but pool chemicals cause this film to evaporate, leaving the dry surface of your eye vulnerable to other chemicals and bacteria. Use goggles to minimize exposure and rinse your eyes with clear, fresh water immediately after leaving the pool to ensure your eye health.

Don’t take a chance with your eye health! For more eye care tips or to schedule an appointment with one of our optometrists, visit our website.

Dry Eye Syndrome and Treatments

Dry Eyes Did you know that with the cold season in full swing, dry eyes can become more severe? The excessive burning, redness and discomfort can cause your eyes to be more tired, sensitive, and constantly irritated. Also, people with dry eyes tend to constantly rub their eyes, which can lead to bacterial eye infections. Making sure that you take all the precautions necessary can help prevent this condition from getting worse. Keep reading to learn out how to alleviate your dry eyes.

What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eyes are extremely common in the average human, with over 6% of the world’s population suffering from this condition. Dry Eye can either reduce your ability to produce copious amounts of tears or make your tears evaporate too quickly—causing eye discomfort and even pain.

How to Control Dry Eyes

Eye drops: Using tear/eye drops, usually referred to as “fake tears,” will almost completely resolve your dream dry eye syndrome. Adding a couple of drops to each eye will ensure hydration for at least a few hours.

Vitamins: By taking Omega-3 supplements, typically in fish oil pills, you are likely to diminish a lot of the uncomfortable and painful symptoms that come with having dry eyes.  Fish oil, which is in a group of substances known as Omega-3 Fatty Acids, works in your body in a few different ways. Firstly, these fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body that can contribute to dry eye syndrome. Secondly, they have been shown to boost tear production.

Keep your eyes clean: Make sure to conduct a cleaning routine to your eyelids each morning. Dry eyes cause a bit of discharge, which results in crusty eyelids when waking up. Use a lukewarm washcloth to keep your eyelids clean.

For more information about dry eyes or to schedule an eye exam, contact Valley Eyecare Center today.

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.

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.

Do I Have Chronic Dry Eye?

Dry EyeIf you experience dry eyes frequently it may be Keratoconjunctivitis siccadry, also known as dry eye syndrome.

Dry eye syndrome is a relatively common vision problem. About 6% of the public suffers from it, and odds increase significantly in postmenopausal women and senior citizens. It can be caused by either insufficient tear creation, or by having tears which evaporate too quickly. Either way, the result is the same.

Beyond simply having painful eyes, those with chronic dry eyes may actually risk future vision problems. Dry eye syndrome is much more likely to cause microabrasions -tiny cuts- which result in corneal damage over time. This is a long process so you’re not in immediate danger, but it’s definitely worth keeping in mind.

There is no true cure for dry eye syndrome, besides some surgical options that are only used in extreme circumstances. Thankfully dry eye can be easily controlled in most cases.

Caring For Chronic Dry Eye Syndrome

1 – Control your environment. Stay away from smoky locations, like smoker’s bars, and use a portable humidifier to keep moisture in the air.

2 – Use tear drops. Any decent brand of eye drops or “fake tears” will alleviate dry eye problems. A few drops in each eye should keep them hydrated for hours.

3 – Clean your eyelids in the morning. Those with dry eye problems are more likely to wake up with crusty eyelids. If not cleaned, the crust can contribute to eye damage. Gently clean using a warm, damp washcloth.

4 – Take Omega-3 supplements. Fish oil pills with Omega-3 fatty acids, found in virtually any grocery or health food store, have been proven effective at decreasing the symptoms of dry eye syndrome.

5 – Do NOT rub. In virtually all cases,  rubbing dry eyes will do no good, and may even contribute to more microabrasions.

Tell Your Optometrist If You’re Experiencing Chronic Dry EyesDon’t forget, your local eye care professional is still your best source of support when dealing with chronic dry eye. Be sure to consult with a professional if you have any questions, or if dry eye symptoms continue.