Why Does My Eye Doctor Have to Dilate My Eyes?

Eye dilation is a standard part of all thorough eye exams. It provides your eye doctor a comprehensive view of your eyes to check for potential problems.

eye-doctorWhat happens during dilationUsually, when light shines into your eye, your pupils shrink. To dilate your eyes, your eye doctor applies eye drops that cause your pupils to widen and allow in more light. All eyes react differently, but it typically takes around 15 to 30 minutes for your pupils to become completely dilated, and 4 to 6 hours before your eyes feel completely normal again. Your eyes may be sensitive to light during this time, but dilation will not affect your distance vision.

A good look inside your eyesDilation gives your eye doctor a clear view of the back of your eye because the pupil of your eye remains open as light is shown into it. The entire retina and the optic nerve are visible. Your doctor is consequently able to examine the retina for any damages or early signs of eye tumors.

Monitor common eye diseasesYour eye doctor can also monitor for the signs of eye diseases. Diabetic retinopathy, one of the more prevalent eye diseases, can cause blood vessels in the retina to leak, swell, or grow abnormally. Age-related macular degeneration can result in the unusual growth of blood vessels in the retina; glaucoma generates visible damage to the optic nerve. All of these symptoms are apparent primarily only when your pupils are dilated.

Ensure your eye healthDilation is an important step in accurately assessing the state of your eyes. It can be essential to preventing and treating eye conditions that could lead to vision loss and negatively impact your overall health.

Learn more about why pupil dilation is good for you, and have your eyes examined regularly by your eye doctor to ensure optimal eye health! Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.


Occasionally My Eye Twitches. What Is Going On?

When your eye begins to twitch uncontrollably, it can be both alarming and simply annoying. An eye twitch is not usually a cause for worry and can be traced to a few common causes.

What happensAn eye twitch is when you experience a spasm in your upper or lower eyelid. Intermittent eye twitches can eye-twitchoccur over any period of time that lasts from a minute to several days. Although twitches are usually slight, they can occasionally force your eyelid to momentarily shut.

Causes of eye twitchingSleep deprivation and stress are the most common causes of eye twitches. Other sources include alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. Eye twitching can also result from an irritation on the surface of the eye.

Benign essential blepharospasmBenign essential blepharospasm is a rare condition that surfaces in mid to late adulthood and will cause increasingly severe eye twitching. The condition is a result of environmental and genetic factors and can be sparked by excessive fatigue, stress, or air pollution. Only around 2,000 people in the US are diagnosed with benign essential blepharospasm each year.

Seeing your optometristYou should see an optometrist if an eye twitch persists for more than a week, if your eyelid closes completely during twitches, or if there is redness, swelling, or discharge from your eye. There is the small possibility that the eye twitch may be related to a more serious eye or nerve condition.

TreatmentsMost eye twitches are harmless and cease without treatment. Make sure to rest and sleep sufficiently. Seek stress-reducing activities. Consider cutting down upon the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine. Your optometrist may also assess that your eyes need to be moisturized, if dryness or irritation is causing the twitch.

We are here to help you remedy a pesky eye twitch! Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.


Understanding Astigmatism

You may not have heard of it, but astigmatism is a very common eye condition that affects the shape of the eye and results in blurred vision.

What happensWhen functioning correctly, the curvature of the cornea and of the lens of your eye bends light and focuses it in a single point. With astigmatism, the cornea or the lens becomes more irregularly shaped. The eye is no longer able to focus light to a single point and instead bends the light unevenly.

Causes of AstigmatismAstigmatism occurs naturally and may increase or decrease at various times during adulthood. AstigmatismMost people have some degree of astigmatism that doesn’t negatively affect their vision or require any treatment. Sometimes the cornea or the lens of an eye can become irregularly shaped following an injury, disease, or surgery. Severe astigmatism can also be the result of a rare condition called keratoconus, in which the cornea becomes thin and cone-shaped.

SymptomsPatients with astigmatism will experience blurred or distorted vision at most distances.

TreatmentsThere are a variety of options for treating astigmatism that can be discussed with your optometrist. Common treatments include eyeglasses and contact lenses that change the way that light enters your eye. These special lenses help your eye to direct light to a single point and generate sharp vision.

OrthokeratologyAnother treatment, orthokeratology, is a noninvasive procedure in which a patient wears a series of specially designed, rigid contact lenses that gradually reshape the shape and the curve of the cornea to correct astigmatism. While orthokeratology cannot permanently improve vision, it may allow patients to temporarily obtain corrected vision without lenses.

Having your eyes checked regularly is essential for diagnosing and addressing astigmatism right away. Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.


What is Keratoconus and How is it Treated?

You may not have heard of it, but Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease that affects the cornea, causing it to thin and bulge into a cone-like shape. Because the eye shape has changed, vision may be distorted.

Keratoconus Symptoms & Treatments

What happens—As the eye becomes more cone-like, your vision will begin to change. Keratoconus can cause progressive nearsightedness and astigmatism, and this condition may also cause light sensitivity.

Causes of Keratoconus—An imbalance of enzymes in the cornea may cause Keratoconus, especially if this imbalance makes the cornea more susceptible to oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Some people may be genetically predisposed to developing Keratoconus.

Symptoms—Most patients with Keratoconus have changes in their prescriptions every time they come in for an keratoconusappointment with their optometrist.

Treatments—Sometimes treatment can be as simple as eyeglasses or soft contact lenses. However, as the eye continues to change in shape, custom contacts or other forms of treatment may be required. For example, corneal crosslinking can help to strengthen the tissue in the cornea to stop the bulging of the surface of the eye.

Multiple contact lenses—Other treatments include the “piggybacking” of contact lenses. The first layer of the contact lens is typically a soft one, made of silicone hydrogel, and the outer layer is a gas permeable contact lens, allowing the lens to let in oxygen to the eye to make sure that it breathes.

Taking care of your eyes is an important step in treating Keratoconus. Make sure visitValley Eyecare for an appointment to check your eyes! To learn more about Keratoconus or other eye diseases, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website to book an appointment with an optometrist today!


5 Reasons You Should See Your Eye Doctor Annually 

We all know that going to see the eye doctor is important, but why do we have to go each year? Even if you think your vision is great, you should still go to visit your optometrist at your annual appointment.


Why You Should Make and Keep Your Annual Optometrist Appointments

  1. You may not know that you have a vision problem—A recent study found that 58% of people had a significant change in their vision without knowing it before going to see their eye doctor.
  2. An outdated prescription can cause more problems than just squinting—Even if you just squint to see something far away, this vision problem may lead to eye strain, headache, or dizziness.
  3. Your eyes can reveal several important aspects of your health—Your eyes can show signs of other health problems. For example, small “micro-bleeds” in the vessels in your eyes can be signs of heart trouble, and other changes in your vessels may indicate possible brain problems. Additionally, an eye doctor can tell if you have developed certain eye diseases, such as macular degeneration.
  4. As you age, your eyes change—No matter your age, your eyes change each year. Children’s eyes change significantly faster than adults’ eyes, but everyone’s prescription and vision changes.
  5. You may suffer from eye strain without knowing it—If your eyes are tired after looking at your computer or phone, you may be suffering from eye strain. You could benefit from computer glasses, which are tinted yellow, to block the blue light associated with the screens that are a part of our daily lives.

Don’t wait—make your appointment with your eye doctor now! To learn more about why you need an annual checkup with your optometrist, or to schedule your appointment, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Smoking and Eye Health

We all know that smoking can impact our overall health because it can lead to lung cancer, heart disease, and other health smoking-eye-healthproblems, but did you know that smoking can also impact your eye health? No matter how old you are, your vision can be affected by smoke.

Eye Health Issues Related to Smoking

Cataracts—Smoking increases your chance of developing cataracts, which impede your vision and can make it blurry. Cataracts develop slowly over time, but treatment is simple and can be fixed by new glasses or, in some cases, surgery.

Age-related macular degeneration—This eye health issue is more common for those 50 and older and causes damage to the macula, which is near the retina. Macular degeneration can affect either the peripheral vision or the vision that you use to see straight in front of you. This problem can often be exacerbated in those who have smoked.

Uveitis—This eye health issue is less common than the two previously listed, but it can harm vital structures of the eye, such as the iris or the retina. Uveitis can also lead to other more serious vision problems, such as glaucoma and retinal detachment.

Dry eye—If you have smoked yourself, or if you have been around others who smoke, you may notice that your eyes are permanently dry. Using eye drops can only help so much; you may need to stop smoking or tell others around you to stop smoking if your dry eye gets bad enough.

Smoking harms virtually every organ and part of your body, and it plays a vital role in your eye health. To learn more about the effect of smoke on your eyes, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

The Different Types of Pink Eye


Pink eye, which is also called conjunctivitis, involves the inflammation of the transparent membrane that covers the white part of the eye. If you or your child are suffering from pink eye, you may want to know that there are different types of pink eye, and treatment may be different in each case.

Pink Eye Treatments

Bacterial pink eye—This is the most common form of pink eye. It is caused by bacteria infections in the eye, and this is most likely due to contact with someone else who has pink eye, or it could also be due to exposure to contaminated surfaces. Because this is a bacterial infection, antibiotics will resolve the issue, and these usually come in the form of eye drops.

Viral pink eye—This form of pink eye is very contagious, as just a sneeze or a cough can transfer the virus. Unlike bacterial pink eye, antibiotic eye drops will not resolve this form of pink eye but can help to reduce symptoms. Luckily, it will simply go away on its own and typically in a fairly short period of time, under one week. The third and the fifth day of viral pink eye are often the worst days, but after these, the eye will improve on its own.

Allergic pink eye—Caused by eye allergies, allergic pink eye is also very common. Eye allergies to pollen, certain animals, or dust mites can bring on this form of pink eye, and the most common symptom is that your eyes will itch. In this case, eye drops with antihistamines can help to control allergic pink eye.

Pink eye treatments can vary based on the form of pink eye you are suffering from. To learn more about our treatments, or to schedule an appointment at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

What is ‘Lazy’ Eye and How Can it be Treated?

lazy-eyeLazy eye, which is also referred to as amblyopia, is a condition in which vision cannot be corrected by glasses or contact lenses. This condition often has nothing to do with any eye disease; instead, the brain simply does not fully acknowledge the images that are seen by the eye. Luckily, this condition is treatable and can be reversed with treatments by an optometrist.

Optometrists Treat Lazy Eye

Most common sufferers are children—According to the Optometrists’ Network, approximately 3% of all children under six years old suffer from some form of lazy eye. This can include loss of depth perception and three-dimensional vision.

Treatment can help at any age—Whether your small child or your teenage son or daughter starts to complain of vision loss, treatments for lazy eye can help. Of course, the earlier the problem is diagnosed and treated, the better the results will be. Since the brain can change at any age, you can rest easy knowing that your child’s vision can and will improve.

Types of treatments—Typically one eye has stronger vision than the other, so a patch can cover the stronger eye, forcing the brain to recognize the eye that has weaker vision. This will naturally improve the eye’s ability to focus. Other treatments include contact lenses to correct the discrepancy between near and farsightedness.

Symptoms of lazy eye—Typically, this condition develops before a child is six years old, and symptoms may not always be obvious. Certain symptoms may include the significant favoring of one eye over the other or poor depth perception.

Early diagnosis of lazy eye can lead to better treatment results. To learn more about lazy eye, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

What are Progressive Lenses, and Do I Need Them?

Progressive lenses give you three different levels of vision for a more natural way to view the world. If you need one strength of glasses to read, one strength to drive or look at the computer, or one strength to see things far away, you may want to consider progressive lenses.

Progressive Lenses for a Simpler Way to See

Composition of progressive lenses—Most progressive lenses are divided into thirds. On the bottom third is progressive-lensesthe near vision strength of lenses you would need to read or to look at your phone. In the middle is the intermediate range, in which you look at the computer. The top third of the progressive lenses allows you to see into the distance.

Adjusting to progressive lenses—You may have heard that the adjustment process takes time. Just know that you have to continue wearing the progressive lenses in order for you to get used to them. Resist the temptation to switch back to your old glasses, as this will slow the process of retraining your brain to focus through the new lenses. You should also make sure to wear the glasses high on your nose so that you can easily see the distinction between each part of the lens.

Benefits of progressive lenses—Progressive lenses can simplify your life by reducing the number of glasses you have for each occasion. Although the adjustment process may take some time, you will grow to love wearing progressives because you will not have trouble seeing various distances.

See the world in a crisper, clearer way with progressive lenses! To learn more about this type of lens, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

How to Properly Care for Your Eyeglasses

eyeglass-careWhether you’re new to wearing glasses or have been wearing them for years, it is important to make sure that you are following the proper eyeglass care procedures. Learn the do’s and don’ts of caring for your glasses.

Eyeglass Care Tips

Eyeglass Care Do’s:

  • Protect your glasses by storing them in a case
  • Use both hands to take off your glasses so that the frames do not get misaligned
  • Use a soft, non-abrasive cloth when cleaning
  • Take your glasses off if you plan to take a nap
  • Take your glasses off when you use hair spray or perfume
  • Wash your hands before touching your lenses
  • Come into our offices at Valley Eyecare Center for regular eye exams to make sure that your prescription is updated
  • Use special eyeglass cleaner

Eyeglass Care Don’ts:

  • Use a paper towel, tissue, cloth, or article of clothing to dry your lenses or wipe dust off of them. This will scratch your lenses
  • Use ammonia or window cleaner to wash your lenses
  • Set your glasses down on their lenses
  • Wear your glasses if you are swimming
  • Buff your scratches out of your glasses by yourself – an expert can help!
  • Spit on your lenses, as this can damage the coating on your lenses
  • Leave your glasses in a hot car or around a hot surface
  • Put your glasses in a purse or bag without a case protecting the glasses

Eyeglass care is an important way to make sure that your vision and health are in their optimal condition. To learn more about taking care of your eyeglasses, or to schedule an appointment at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.