What Is Astigmatism?

Eye ExamAlthough there are many issues that can cause vision impairment, one of the most common ocular problems is astigmatism. If the cornea of the eye is misshapen, a person is said to have astigmatism because light is prevented from properly entering the retina, causing blurred vision at every angle. Learn more about symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for astigmatism that you may want to take into consideration before your next eye exam.

Symptoms

Catching symptoms of astigmatism can be tricky, as these can be associated with other eye health issues, making it important to get an eye exam. Aside from blurred vision, symptoms may include fatigue or headaches, both of which can be caused by cloudy eyesight. If you notice a change in your eyesight, make sure to visit your optometrist as soon as possible to get checked for astigmatism.

Diagnosis

Optometrists can discover astigmatism through a comprehensive eye exam. Doctors test the eyes for visual acuity, curvature of the cornea and how the eyes focus light. Depending on the results of these tests, the patient may receive a diagnosis for astigmatism and decide on a method of treatment.

Treatment

There are three popular forms of treatment for astigmatism, all of which are proven to work incredibly well and restore eyesight to its proper state.

  • Eyeglasses: This is the most common form of treatment, as there is little to no upkeep and are easily removable. The glasses made for this condition use a cylindrical lens prescription that works to counteract the astigmatism.
  • Contact Lenses: Patients usually find contacts to work better in terms of overall vision enhancement because the lens covers the entire eye, providing a clearer, wider field of view. We recommend the brand Acuvue, which has a lens created specifically for eyes with astigmatism.
  • LASIK Eye Surgery: This option is a bit more extreme since the tissue causing the curvature around the eye is removed with a laser, but patients have seen excellent, long-lasting results from this surgery. However, we urge you to do research and find an experienced surgeon before booking this procedure.

 

To learn more about astigmatism or to book an eye exam at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 242-6888 or visit our website.

 

What You Need To Know About Low Vision

OptometristSummer can be harsh on your eyes, and the intensity of the sun during July can make it even harder to see. People suffering from low vision may have an especially hard time this month, which is why it is important for them to visit their optometrist more frequently. Learn more about the causes and symptoms of this condition.

Understanding Low Vision

Low vision is vision loss that is irreversible and cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses, surgery, or medication. People who suffer from this condition may not be able to complete daily activities as well as those with healthy vision.

Causes of Low Vision

Low vision is caused by macular degeneration (also referred to as AMD), which affects the macula, the area of your eye that is controls sharp detail. Over 15 million people over 50 years old have contracted low vision due to aging, but other factors such as cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy can also cause low vision. If a person has suffered from optic nerve damage, he or she could be born with low vision. It is important to be aware of low vision, as you may suffer from it as you get older, or you may know someone with this problem. Make sure to contact your optometrist if you are not able to see clearly with the aid of glasses or contact lenses.

How to Tell if You Have Low Vision

Contact your optometrist for a low-vision exam to determine if you have the condition. This examination checks your regular eyes’ daily functions and activities. Make sure to have a yearly exam to ensure that you do not wait too long to detect any signs of future or current eye problems. Set up an appointment with your optometrist to get more reliable information on low vision and how to prevent it.

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

Get An Eye Exam During Men’s Health Month!

Eye_examWhile studies show that women are more likely to develop eye health issues than men, it’s still crucial for men to remember the importance of properly taking care of their eyes and getting a yearly eye exam—especially during National Men’s Health Month! Find out why eye exams are important.

Detect Corrective Needs

Even if it seems that your sight is 20/20, only an optometrist can confirm whether you need a prescription or not. Also, even if you already have prescription glasses or contact lenses, you still need to get your eyes checked. Your eyes change as you age so it is important to monitor any corrective needs through regular eye exams.

Detect Eye Health Problems

Regular eye exams help prevent vision problems before they occur! Don’t assume that your eyes are great because they are not showing any symptoms of a health condition. Many common eye problems actually do not show any symptoms until well after they’re developed. Through an eye exam, your optometrist can detect disorders such as glaucoma and cataracts at an early stage, which can increase the chance of a successful treatment.

Detect General Health Problems

Did you know that eye health is connected to overall health and well-being? Through eye exams, an optometrist can detect more than eye problems; they can also uncover signs of health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure—making eye exams arguably as important as annual physicals.

Our eyes are one of the most important parts of our bodies—especially when it comes to living our day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, they are very fragile and can easily be damaged. Take advantage of National Men’s Health Month and schedule your eye exam with Valley Eyecare Center today!

For more information or to schedule an appointment 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.

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.

Best Practices for Great Eye Care

Eye Health Many people take their eye health for granted until they suffer from vision loss or other eye conditions. Having a thorough eye care routine can go a very long way in maintaining excellent eye health. Don’t be reckless with your sight! Keep reading to find out the best care best practices for your eyes.

Don’t Strain Your Eyes

When working on a computer, phone, or tablet, your eyes eventually get tired and begin to strain to focus on whichever device you’re looking at. This can seriously affect your eye health. Make sure that you receive an ample time of rest and look 20 feet away from the screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds.

Schedule Regular Eye Check-Ups

Getting an eye exam regularly is the best thing you can do for not only your eyes but also your overall health. Many common eye conditions don’t present symptoms until well into their development. The earlier a condition such as glaucoma or cataracts is diagnosed, the better the chances of successfully treating them. Also, a thorough eye exam can detect signs of diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

Ensure That Your Insides Are Healthy

Your diet can alter many things in your body, including eye health. Keeping up a healthy diet reduces your chances of getting diabetes and becoming progressively blind. Aside from a proper diet, smoking is also something to keep out of your healthy lifestyle. Smoking slows down your circulation and also puts you at risk of getting optic nerve damage.

Keep Your Eyes Protected

UV rays are extremely harmful to the eyes. To prevent any UV-related issue with your eyesight, wear sunglasses to block out those dangerous rays. Without any protection, you are prone to develop cataracts and even macular degeneration.

For more information about eye health or to schedule an appointment with Valley Eyecare Center, visit our website.

4 Remedies for a Stye

Eye DoctorStyes are pimple-like red bumps commonly caused by dead skin, dirt, or oil buildup clogging sebaceous glands outside or inside the edge of your eyelids. Styes are painful but usually go away on their own after about seven to ten days. They are not severe, however, our eye doctors at Valley Eyecare Center recommend the following  four remedies to help subdue styes and avoid any scarring related to this condition.

Remedies for Styes:

  • Heat Compress: Use a warm washcloth and place it on top of your eyelid—for at least 10 minutes each time. Keep rinsing the washcloth with hot water for continuous relief. Then gently massage the eyelid. Make sure to do this a few times a day for optimal results.
  • Time: It is often said that time is the best remedy, and while it does not apply to every condition, it does apply to treating styes. Leaving the stye alone without trying to pop it or squeeze it can be the best way to go about the situation. By squeezing, you run the risk of spreading the infection.
  • Teabag Compress: Instead of simply using a heat compress, you can expedite the process of healing by using green teabags. Green tea is a great addition to the hot water compress as it reduces swelling and has antibacterial properties. Place the teabag compress over your stye for over 10 minutes a few times every day, until the stye is treated.
  • No Makeup: Keeping makeup away from your stye is very important to avoid further irritation and delay the recovery process. Our eye doctors at Valley Eyecare Center also recommend that you throw away any old makeup as it can be a breeding ground for bacteria and lead to future styes and other eye conditions.

For more information about styes or to schedule an appointment with one of our eye doctors, 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.

Color Deficiency

Eye ConditionsAt some point in your life you may have met someone who couldn’t identify colors, and perhaps wondered about how it affected their life and eye health. Color blindness or color deficiency is a common eye condition, however many people still don’t know much about it. The following is what you need to know about color deficiency.

What Is Color Deficiency?

Color vision is possible due to three parts in your eyes called cones. The green, red, and blue cones live on the retina and are responsible for sensing the level of color that makes up an image. When one or more of these cone sets are absent or damaged, color vision deficiency occur and the eyes can’t recognize particular shades of color. The most common type an optometrist diagnoses is red-green colorblindness, where the patient has a difficult time detecting the difference between these shades, either seeing all those shades as the same basic color, or seeing them in variations of grey.

Types of Color Deficiency

Patients with color vision deficiency usually have issues specifically with the previously mentioned red-green shades, or with blue-yellow combinations. The following are types of  color deficiency.

Dichromacy: People who suffer from dichromatic impaired vision, have simply two cones that can perceive color, as the other cone has no function.

Monochromasy: With monochromasy, you cannot see any color whatsoever. What the eyes perceive is merely different shades of gray or black and white.

Anomalous Trichromacy: People who have anomalous trichromacy have all three cones functioning. However, one cone’s light perception may be slightly less aligned than the other cones.

Achromatopsia: Contrary to popular belief, people who are colorblind are generally not seeing their entire world in shades of grey or in black and white. While this extreme eye condition, called achromatopsia, does exist, it is fairly uncommon.

Who Is Prone to Color Deficiency

Males have a higher risk of eye color deficiency than females. Research shows that the X chromosome (dominant chromosome in males) is where the biological code for most common variation of color-blindness is stored. Women who have a color deficiency are more likely to have an eye health issue that affected their color perception than to have been born with the condition.

While there is no cure for color vision issues, your optometrist should still be notified immediately if you notice signs of color vision problems. For more information about eye conditions or to schedule an appointment with one of our optometrists, call 602-955-2700 or 602 242-6888, or click  here.

Why Is My Vision Blurry?

Eye ExamBlurry vision is the loss of sharpness of eyesight and can be caused by a few different factors. The most common causes are reflective errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. However, blurred vision can be a symptom to health conditions that are much more threatening to your sight. Find out which are the most common causes of blurred vision and if you are in need of an eye exam.

Myopia

Myopia, also known as Nearsightedness, is a refractive error that can cause blurry vision in one or both eyes. This condition can also lead to squinting, headaches and eye strains. During an eye exam, an eye doctor can tell you what methods might improve your condition.

Hyperopia

Hyperopia, also known as Farsightedness, is a condition in which objects from far away are clear opposed to objects close-up which become blurry. This eye condition can be managed with prescription glasses or contacts.

Astigmatism

Astigmatism happens when the cornea has an odd shape and light rays don’t come through a single focal point leading to unclear vision. Similarly to Hyperopia and Myopia, Astigmatism can be corrected with prescription glasses, contacts or surgery.

Dry Eyes

Symptoms of dry eyes can include blurred vision. Artificial tears can help but it is important to see your eye doctor in case your condition requires further care.

Cataracts

Symptoms for cataracts include cloudy vision and may be mistaken for a more simple vision issue. This condition can develop as one ages , if eye lens tissue is injured or due to genetic disorders. See your eye doctor as soon as possible to get the proper treatments for this condition.

Pregnancy

Due to hormonal changes in the body, the shape and thickness of the cornea can change, leading to blurred vision. Your eye doctor can give you an accurate diagnosis and treatments to the condition during a comprehensive eye exam.

 

At Valley Eyecare Center, we can determine the cause of your blurry vision with a comprehensive eye exam. Call 602-242-6888 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.