What is Optomap Ultra-Wide Digital Retinal Imaging?

Eyesight chartPoets like to say the eyes are a window into the soul, but to an optometrist, they’re also a window into your health!

The interior of your eye is the only place on your body where a doctor can directly observe blood vessels, muscles, and nerve bundles. So, an optometrist looking deeply enough into your eyes can detect early warning signs of a wide range of diseases, from diabetes to neurological conditions.

Unfortunately, your eye’s pupil is rather small, and hard to look into. Previous methods of photographing the interior of the eye could only capture around 10% of it in a single shot, requiring multiple photos. This made retinal examinations lengthy and uncomfortable, especially since it required pupil dilation.

That’s changed with the Optomap ultra-wide digital retinal imaging system.

How Optomap Retinal Imagining Makes Eye Exams Easy

The Optomap system uses a tiny panoramic camera that can capture 80% of your eye’s interior in a single snapshot, with crystal-clear high-resolution imaging. The entire process only takes seconds and, in most cases, you don’t need to have your pupils dilated.

Besides making a trip to your optometrist faster than ever, it brings another benefit: The images it produces can be archived, creating an evolving picture of your eyes over time. Medical conditions can be detected even earlier, when your vision specialist can see exactly how your eyes looked in past years.

Through this collection of images, Optomap provides insights into the future of your eyesight as well as other medical conditions. That makes Optomap an important part of your overall body health, not just your eye health.

If it’s been more than a year since your last eye exam, we recommend contacting an optometrist with the Optomap retinal imaging system to get the best in modern preventative eye care.

Phoenix Eye Doctors Encourage Regular Eye Exams

Phoenix_Eye_CareIt’s probably no surprise, but Phoenix eye doctors are in agreement: regular eye exams should be part of your yearly health schedule.

After all, our eyes are arguably one of the most important part of our bodies, when it comes to getting along in day-to-day life. They’re also one of the most vulnerable body parts – protection is minimal, and it’s easy for them to be damaged in a variety of ways.

Regular eye exams help prevent vision problems before they occur!

Why Optometrists Say Ocular Checkups Are So Important

1 – Many disorders can be caught early.

Glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and more can all be caught early on, with regular screenings. Good eye care is preventative. You don’t want to have people operating on your eyes if you can help it, because it will always leave your eyes a bit more vulnerable to damage.

2 – Vision problems increase with age.

It’s sad but true: If you have vision problems which require glasses, your eyes will probably get worse over the coming years. Regular eye exams are needed to keep your lens prescriptions current and working properly.

Glasses or contacts that no longer properly correct your vision can also lead to increased eye strain headaches.

3 – Eye doctors can catch other diseases.

The eye is a truly unique organ, because it’s the only place in the body where nerves, blood vessels, and muscles can all be directly observed without any cutting. A trained optometrist can see telltale clues to a number of vascular or neurological conditions just by looking deep into your eyes. (Literally!)

Eye care exams are quick, easy, and totally painless. The appointment itself usually only takes a few minutes. So, if it’s been over a year since your last vision checkup, contact your Phoenix eye doctor for an appointment!

Vitamins For Your Kids’ Eye Health

Kids_Eye_CareFor decades, Phoenix parents have known that vitamins help children thrive with fewer health problems, but can vitamins also protect your kids’ eye health?

Very possibly!

Currently, the scientific research that’s been conducted has shown good reason to believe that a regimen of vitamins early in childhood may prolong eyesight into adulthood. They appear to slow down the development of progressive problems like myopia or macular degeneration.

While the evidence is not yet entirely conclusive, there’s a lot of reason to think that vitamins can help your kids’ eye health!

The Benefits Of Vitamins And Minerals To The Eyes

Vitamin C: Typically found in citrus fruits, Vitamin C is vital for our immune systems. Vitamin C appears to slow the development of cataracts, as a lack of Vitamin C directly harms the eye.

Vitamin A: Vitamin A is well-known as an antioxidant, preventing breakdown of the body’s cells as we age. The beta-keratin in carrots, which is necessary for our night vision, is actually a form of Vitamin A.

Vitamin E: Vitamin E is another anti-oxidant, like Vitamin A. While necessary for ocular health and immune system strength, supplements are rarely required.

Zinc: We require the metal zinc in small quantities, and it helps create the melanin pigment which protects our eyes. (Warning: A few people have zinc allergies and can become dangerously ill from zinc supplements.)

Copper: In some rare cases, copper deficiency can degrade the eyesight. However, supplements are usually not needed.

Vitamins Do The Body Good

Of course, keep in mind that there’s really no reason not to protect your child’s health with multivitamins. There are already plenty of arguments to be made for children’s vitamin regimens.

There is strong evidence that vitamins probably protect your kids’ eye health – just one more reason to use them!

Can Your Eye Health Predict Other Health Problems?

Eye_DoctorsThere are plenty of things that make our eyes unique, but they’re especially useful for  Phoenix eye doctors and diagnosticians of every stripe. Did you know, there are a variety of diseases which can be detected through your eyes, even if the disease isn’t specifically ocular.

It’s just one more reason that regular eye exams are so important: you see the early warning signs of other diseases.

Things Your Eye Health Can Say About Your Body Health

1 – Yellowing Eyes

Jaundice is a condition most parents are familiar with, since it’s common in children, but it can strike nearly anyone.  If a person’s liver isn’t properly filtering toxins, a yellowish tinge to the skin or eyes is one of the first warning signs.  Definitely mention this to your doctor if you’ve seen the symptom.

2 – Bulging Eyes

While some relatively harmless conditions can cause bulging eyes from birth (see: Marty Feldman), eyes that begin to bulge over time usually indicate hyper-thyroidism.  An overactive thyroid gland is easily treated with medication, but can cause numerous health problems, including obesity and heart problems.

3 – Sudden Double-Vision Or Visual Loss

A sudden change in the functioning of the eyes, without any other obvious cause, is usually a sign of serious problems in the brain such as a stroke.  If you or your children experience significant visual loss that persists more than a few minutes, seek emergency medical care ASAP.

4 – Diabetes

People with diabetes are 25 times more likely to have eye health problems than non-diabetics, including far higher instances of cataracts and glaucoma.  Childhood or teenage glaucoma, for example, is often among the first indicators of diabetes.

Eye Health Misconceptions

Eye_HealthIn terms of ensuring a successful future for yourself and your family, few things are more important than eye health. The eyes we each receive at birth are the only ones we’re going to get, and it’s vital that we take the best possible care of them throughout our lives.

Valley Eyecare Center offers a few common misconceptions about eye health, and what does -or doesn’t- damage your eyesight.

1 – Sitting Close To The TV/Computer Damages Your Eyes

Let’s start some good news. Contrary to what you might have heard (or might have told your kids), sitting too close to the TV can’t do anything worse than give you a headache. There’s no evidence that extended close-up viewing, even in low light, actually damages your eyes.

2 – Carrots are the best eye food.

While it’s true that carrots are a great source of beta-keratin, which is necessary for night vision, dark leafy vegetables are actually best. Kale, spinach, and other dark greens don’t just maintain your vision; they help prevent sun-related damage to your eyes over time.

3 – Corrective lenses weaken your vision.

This is another myth: vision aids cannot harm or degrade your eyes. In fact, sometimes hard contact lenses can actually reduce sight loss by forcing your eyes to maintain their proper shape.

4 – Only boys can be colorblind. 

Here’s one a lot of people don’t know: While it’s true that men are more likely to be somewhat colorblind (approximately 8% of them), girls aren’t entirely immune. Around 1% of women have some form of colorblindness.

 

Do Cold Temperatures Affect Your Eyes?

This winter has been particularly brutal in many regions of the country, turning many people into shut-ins to avoid the bitter cold. For those that choose to brave the elements for the sake of escaping cabin fever, you may wonder how extreme cold impacts your eye health.

Eye_HealthVision Issues

Very cold temperatures will constrict the blood vessels in your eyes or freeze your cornea, both painful and compromising to visual clarity. Double vision, blurred vision, and/or loss of vision are likely. Treatment may be as simple as allowing the eye to return to warmer temperatures, but sometimes medication is necessary to add moisture back into the eye’s environment.

Pain & Inflammation

In addition to the pain caused by corneal freeze, general pain related to the cold or wind is common. Cold weather and breezy conditions cause dry eye, a very uncomfortable condition. Another frequent problem for winter eye health occurs when you might attempt to open your unprotected eyes during sports like skiing, snowmobiling, or snowboarding. Your eyes may become red and swollen, feel gritty and painful, and could even suffer permanent damage. Always wear protective goggles or glasses when going outside in low temperatures or winter wind, especially if you’ll be participating in outdoor sports.

Sunburn

Winter does not negate the need for UV protection, and this goes for your eye health too. Don’t be misled by cold temperatures and overcast days. UV can actually be more prevalent in the winter due to the reflection of the sun’s rays off of snow and ice. Always wear UV-blocking sunglasses or goggles during the day to prevent a painful case of Photokeratitis—sunburn on your eye.

Escape the indoors as much as possible this winter, but consider your eye health. Ask your optometrist for more information on cold weather eye safety.

Can Junk Food Affect Eye Health?

Your body is a finely tuned machine, so the fuel you put into it has a major effect on the performance you get out of it. Low-quality food has an impact on your eye health too, and these facts may surprise you!

Diabetes

Certain forms of diabetes are influenced by weight and nutrition. When blood sugar is uncontrolled, the delicate vessels of the eye may be damaged. Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when those vessels cannot effectively carry fluids to the eye’s retina. As a result, the retina is damaged and sight permanently lost. For patients with diabetes, keeping your blood sugar within normal limits is critically important to your body and your eye health. Junk food contributes to obesity, raising your risk of developing certain diabetic conditions.

Eye_HealthHigh Blood Pressure 

The high levels of sodium that are contained within salty snacks, prepackaged foods, and restaurant meals is a hazard to your blood pressure. Hypertension (high blood pressure) can raise eye pressure, damaging the structures within. You may develop blurry vision, bleeding within the eye, or glaucoma, which may end in permanent vision loss or blindness.

Fatty Diet

Eating foods that are high in unhealthy fats (cake, french fries, potato chips, and many fried foods) will eventually compromise your eye health. One problem of a fatty diet is called Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Over time, deposits build up on the macula of the eye, a component of the retina. The central part of your vision will start to fade away. This is a permanent situation that cannot be reversed, only prevented from progressing once it begins.

Your diet has a major influence on your eye health as well as the rest of your body. Talk to your Phoenix doctors about dietary changes that can help you see clearly and feel great for years!

Eye Health Tips for Post 60’s

Growing older is unavoidable, and certainly full of twists and turns. Your eyes are just one set of the many body parts that change as you age. Here’s how to properly care for your eye health after passing your sixtieth year and beyond!

Regular Eye Exams

Older adults are at risk for many more eye ailments, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and for diabetic patients, retinopathy. Your optometrist is your first line of defense against these conditions, all of which can steal your vision alarmingly quickly. By adhering to a yearly exam schedule (at minimum), your eye doctor has a baseline of your eye health and can compare for subtle changes from year to year. Stopping these diseases in their early stages will help you keep more of your vision. Plus, your vision at older ages is likely to change so vision correction should be evaluated frequently.

Eye_Care_TipsBe Prepared and Realistic

As you grow older and possibly also develop cataracts, you may find that your night and low-light vision changes substantially. Eventually you may find that night driving becomes more challenging, so may need eyewear designed to amplify available light and color contrast, or know when it’s safer to have someone else drive in the dark. Even driving into shaded areas can be a difficult situation since your eyes do not react as quickly to changing light and may not be able to make out other vehicles or people.

Medical Care

Older adults commonly find that their medical health changes rapidly. It is critical that you communicate medical changes to your optometrist, including any new medications. Certain drugs and conditions have a major impact on your eyes and can significantly increase your risk of glaucoma and other eye health problems resulting in blindness.

Your sixties and beyond are a wonderful era of your life, but do take care to monitor your eye health and be conscious of any developing vision limitations. Ask your optometrist for information on life’s eyecare phases so you know what to expect.

Can Caffeine and Alcohol Affect your Vision?

Eye_CareAlmost everyone starts off a new year with grand thoughts of taking better care of him or herself. A common resolution is to give up bad habits, especially those including alcohol and caffeinated beverages. You might have a good understanding of how these two substances impact your medical health, but did you know that your eye health is also affected when you use them?

Caffeine

As with most things in life, the use of caffeine has pros and cons. For dry eye sufferers, caffeine can be useful as it seems to increase tear production. A drawback to caffeine that is specific to caffeinated coffee is the increased risk of a condition called Exfoliation Glaucoma. In Exfoliation Glaucoma, the eye sheds little flakes that are then washed into the eye’s drainage system, clogging the pipeline. Internal eye pressure escalates and the higher pressure could result in permanent vision loss, even blindness. If you are a coffee lover, try to keep your consumption under three cups a day or switch some of your coffee drinks to decaf in the interest of protecting your eye health.

Alcohol

Since alcohol is a depressant, it’s a fairly logical assumption that excessive consumption will slow down the performance of your eyes. Your pupils will not react to light changes as quickly, you’ll have a harder time tracking moving objects and detecting color contrasts, and possibly lose some of your peripheral vision. You may have a very difficult time seeing as alcohol blurs your vision, and habitual drinkers could see these issues become permanent. Nutrition deficiencies caused by heavy alcohol consumption and damage to brain and eye tissue will destroy the quality of your eyesight.

The key to any lifestyle choice is moderation. While small amounts of either caffeine or alcohol probably won’t pose a major eye health risk, the more ingested of either, the more likely you’ll have a vision problem. For more information on the effects of alcohol and caffeine on your eye health, talk to your optometrist.

Eye Care Tips for Diabetics

Eye_HealthAs a new or long-time patient with Diabetes, you are probably well aware of how the disease affects your body. An impact you might not have considered is your eyesight. Diabetes can take its toll on your vision, and your optometrist wants you to have the following eye care tips to protect your eye health.

Full Disclosure

As soon as you receive a diagnosis of Diabetes, be sure to tell your eye doctor immediately. He or she will be able to monitor for certain changes that could occur due to the disease. By communicating effectively with your medical doctor and optometrist, the odds of quickly catching a problem increase, potentially saving you from sight loss.

Annual Eye Exams

It’s important for just about everyone to have an annual eye checkup, but even more so for Diabetic patients. Failing to follow this advice can mean that a problem will go undetected and could turn into permanent vision loss. Many of the eye health issues related to Diabetes such as Retinopathy and Glaucoma are irreversible once they begin, but with proper treatment the progress of deterioration can be slowed or stopped. Catching them quickly is a must.

Maintain Medical Health

The most important thing to do as a patient with Diabetes is to follow your medical doctor’s advice to keep your blood sugar and blood pressure under control. This may be achieved by taking medication as prescribed, eating healthy foods, getting enough exercise, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco. When your blood sugar or pressure becomes abnormal, your eyes will go through changes potentially resulting in a catastrophic and permanent loss of vision.

Eye health is an especially big deal for vision patients who also suffer with Diabetes. Be sure to talk to your optometrist any time you notice a difference in your vision, your medical condition changes, or a new medication is added to your routine.