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.

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.

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.

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.

5 common causes for spring allergies

download (1)Springtime is infamous for a condition called ocular allergy, or eye allergy. Also known as allergic conjunctivitis, ocular allergy occurs when something irritates the membrane covering your eyes. This leads to symptoms like itching, redness, and swelling. Below are common causes, and ways to manage the condition.

OUTDOOR TRIGGERS

With the approach of spring comes the invasion of pollen. As plants start to bloom, pollen is released into the air, causing eye irritation. Here are some facts about allergens that occur outdoors.

  • Trees – Trees begin their seasonal pollination anytime between January and April, depending on climate. The most bothersome for Arizona residents are:
    • Olive
    • Alligator Juniper
    • Oneseed Juniper
    • Arizona Ash
    • Palo Verde
  • Grass – Grass pollen is highest during the late spring and early summer months. Although there are numerous types of grasses, the pollens are similar on all of them. So if you suffer from grass allergies, then you will likely experience the problem no matter where you live.
  • Flowers – While people commonly believe that the brightly colored flowers blooming in the spring are the cause of their allergies, this may not be the case. It’s true that these flowers can cause allergy symptoms if sniffed up close, but because they are pollinated by insects instead of the wind, the irritation they cause is minimal.

INDOOR TRIGGERS

While indoor triggers are present all year, there are a couple of reasons you’ll notice an increase in symptoms during springtime.

  • Pet Dander –Being allergic to pet dander is extremely common. Many pets begin to shed their winter coat as the weather gets warmer. This leads to even more dander than normal, resulting in an increase in allergy symptoms.
  • Dust Mites – Yes, dust mites exist year-round, but if you participate in “spring cleaning,” you may notice an increase in symptoms during this time.

MANAGEMENT

If your ocular allergy condition is being caused by indoor triggers, use special air filters to reduce allergens. You should also limit exposure to any pets that may be causing your symptoms.

It’s difficult to control the outdoor environment, but there are things you can do to minimize your ocular allergy pain. Wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes, and apply eye drops after being outside.

To find out if you’re suffering from ocular allergy, schedule an eye exam today.

Low Vision Awareness Month

Phoenix OptometristFebruary is the time to observe Low Vision Awareness Month. Here is some information to help you better understand this condition.

What Is Low Vision?

The term “low vision” refers to sight that cannot be corrected with glasses, surgery or medication. This condition makes even everyday activities such as cooking, shopping or watching TV a serious challenge.

What Causes Low Vision?

A major cause of low vision is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). As many as 15 million people over the age of 50 suffer from this condition which affects the macula, the part of your eye responsible for sharp detail. Other cases of low vision result from glaucoma, cataracts or diabetic retinopathy. Some individuals are born with low vision due to optic nerve damage.

It’s important to emphasize that low vision does not mean the normal changes in eyesight that come with aging. Low vision can affect people of any age. If you have a hard time seeing clearly even with glasses or contact lenses, you should be tested.

How Is Low Vision Detected?

Your Phoenix optometrist can conduct a low vision examination. This procedure takes into account your daily functions and whether or not your vision is at a level to comfortably accommodate those activities. A yearly exam increases the chances of early detection, which is key to successful treatment. Thanks to medical advances, people with low vision are able to lead full, productive lives. Schedule an appointment with your Phoenix optometrist to learn more about low vision and proper care of your eyes.

4 Facts about being Color Blind

Eye ExamBill Clinton and Matt Lauer are both color blind! And let’s not forget about Paul Newman and Mark Twain. It’s the reason why Mark Zuckerberg used blue as the predominant color of Facebook. What’s the common denominator? All five of these individuals have suffered from color blindness.

People sometimes joke about being color blind, but for those who have the actual condition it’s no laughing matter. Here are some surprising facts about color blindness or color vision problem, as it’s sometimes called.

Color Blindness Does Not Mean Absence of Color

Some people assume that individuals who are color blind literally see everything as black or white. While that is one form of color blindness known as monochromacy, this variety is extremely rare. Most forms involve difficulty distinguishing between particular colors, such as red and green. An eye exam can determine which form a person has.

Color Blindness Can Affect Women

It’s a common misconception that color blindness affects only men. This is most likely due to the fact that less than one percent of women are color blind compared to approximately eight percent of men.

Color Blindness is Not Always Hereditary

Most cases of color blindness begin at birth due to genetics. However, it is possible to develop a color vision problem later in life. Causes include aging and injury along with diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Color Blindness Cannot Be Cured

At present there is no cure for hereditary color blindness. Special lenses are available that can help with color perception, but most individuals are able to develop coping mechanisms allowing them to perform everyday functions with little difficulty.

Early detection is important for successful treatment of color blindness. A relatively simple eye exam is used to screen for the condition. Talk to your optometrist regarding any questions you may have regarding you or your children.