Why Do I Keep Getting Styes?

Has your eyelid ever become red or painful for no reason? A stye is an infection of the eyelid that causes a red bump. Here is everything that you should know about eye styes.

Symptoms— A stye is the swelling of your eyelid, also known as a hordeolum. The primary symptoms of a stye are redness and swelling. Your eyelid will probably feel irritated or be painful upon touch. The infection is either at the base of an eyelash follicle (external hordeolum) or in an oil gland (internal hordeolum).

Causes— Styes develop when bacteria (usually from your skin) gets trapped by dead skin cells on your eyelid to create a swollen bump. Styes are actually contagious because they are caused by bacteria from your skin and that bacteria can easily spread. However, basically everyone has the same type of bacteria and the same potential for getting styes. Just make sure to not let the bacteria come into contact with anyone else’s eyes by keeping your hands clean and not sharing pillowcases or washcloths.

Treatments and Prevention— The main treatment for styes is to keep your eyelids clean. If you have a stye, the first thing you should do is wash your eyelids thoroughly. Also make sure that you carefully wash your hands before using them to wash the stye. Another technique is to apply warm compresses (a washcloth heated with hot water with work) several times a day. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to pop the stye as you might a pimple. This will probably spread the infection and make the stye worse. Avoid wearing eye makeup while you have a stye because it can detain the healing process. If you usually wear contact lenses, wear your glasses instead until your eye heals.

Healthy habits will ensure that your eyes stay infection-free. Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center eye doctor. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

How to Read Your Eyeglass Prescription

When you look at your eyeglass prescription, you will see a selection of numbers that probably make absolutely no sense. Here is the key to understanding the prescription for your eyeglasses.

What do OD and OS mean? On your eyeglass prescription, there are numbers listed below “OD” and “OS” headings:

  • O.D. is an abbreviation for oculus dexter, which refers to the right eye.
  • O.S. is an abbreviation for oculus sinister, which refers to the left eye.

O.U. and diopters— Sometimes there is also an O.U. (oculus uterque), which refers to both eyes. The further away from zero the number is, the more correction your vision requires. A plus (+) sign means that you are farsighted, and a negative (-) sign means that you are nearsighted. The numbers indicate how much correction your eyes require, measured in diopters (D).

Other terms, defined— There are a lot of other unexplained abbreviations on your prescription.

  • SPH (Sphere) reveals the prescription power of the eyeglasses, or how strong the lenses must be in order to correct your vision.
  • S (Spherical) refers to the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness in your vision.
  • CYL (Cylinder) is either a negative or a positive number that refers to the condition of astigmatism, where the cornea of your eye has an irregular shape which results in blurred or distorted vision. The larger the number, the more severe the astigmatism.
  • AXIS, which is a number between 0 and 180 degrees, indicates the degree and the direction of the astigmatism.

Remember, an eyeglass prescription is not the same as a contact lens prescription. The numbers are not the same, and they do not function the same way. In order to obtain a contact lens prescription, you must have a contact lens consultation and fitting.

Don’t let the prescription for your eyeglasses be a mystery! Talk to your eye doctor about all the numbers you don’t understand. Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

Can Vitamin C Reduce the Risk of Forming Cataracts?

You might think of Vitamin C as a way of preventing colds, but when it comes to eye care, Vitamin C is actually pretty important. Here is everything that you need to know about reducing your risk of cataracts with Vitamin C.


What are cataracts? 

A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s lens and is a leading causes of vision loss. There are three different types of cataract: subcapsular, nuclear, and cortical. Although each type of cataract is slightly different, the basic process is the same. The lens of the eye, which is made primarily of water and proteins, begins to cloud over as some of the constituent proteins clump together. Over time, this clump can grow larger and make it harder and harder to see.

Does Vitamin C really prevent Cataracts?

No vitamin is a sure bet against cataracts, but a number of studies suggest that higher dietary intakes of Vitamin C are associated with decreased risks of cataracts. Vitamin C supports the health of all cells, and the cells that make up your eyes are no exception. Other studies reveal that Vitamin C also slows the development of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of vision loss in people over 60-years old. Really, when it comes to Vitamin C for eye care, you can’t go wrong.

What foods should you eat for the best sources of Vitamin C?

When you think of Vitamin C, oranges probably come to mind. Just one medium orange has about 70mg of Vitamin C, nearly 80% of the recommended daily value. Other prime sources include strawberries, kiwis, broccoli, bell peppers, tomatoes, and kale. If you don’t feel able to consume a sufficient amount of Vitamin C through fruits and vegetables, consider supplements to ensure that you are able to fortify your eyes against cataracts!

Reduce the risk of cataracts with Vitamin C! Talk to your optometrist about the latest eye care tips. Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center eye doctor. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

Eyeglass Lens Materials – Features and Benefits


Lenses can make a big difference in how happy you are with your eyeglasses, but choosing the right lens material can be a difficult process of balancing style, weight, and cost without sacrificing practicality and comfort. Here is everything that you need to know about the features and benefits of different lens materials.

Standard plastic lenses— Standard plastic lenses are well known for their comfort and durability. They are a popular choice for eyeglasses because they are affordable and safe. A scratch-resistant coating is easy to apply.

Mid-Index plastic lenses— Mid-index plastic lenses are slimmer than standard plastic, which means that for stronger prescriptions that typically require thicker (and more expensive) lenses, they can remain thinner (and less expensive).

High-index plastic lenses— High-index plastic lenses are perfect for stronger prescriptions because they are the thinnest and lightest of all of the plastic materials. However, they are also more expensive than standard and mid-index plastic lenses.

Polycarbonate lenses— Polycarbonate lenses are more durable than other plastic materials and don’t need to be very thick for most prescriptions. Polycarbonate is the perfect material for children’s eyeglasses, because they are almost completely unbreakable.

High-definition (HD) lenses — High-definition lenses are customized for each prescription using digital technology. The resulting glasses are usually superior to other materials because the lenses offer a better field of vision and highly individualized vision correction.

Composite lenses— Composite lenses are made of polycarbonate, Trivex, and other materials. The material is durable, blocks out UVA and UVB rays from the sun, and is virtually weightless. If you wear glasses 24/7, these might be for you.

When it comes to materials for eyeglasses, you’ve got lots of options! Talk to your optometrist about the best lenses for your lifestyle. Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center eye doctor. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

September is Healthy Aging Month – How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy as You Age

Do you know how to protect your vision as you age? September is Healthy Aging Month, which means that it’s time to catch up on the latest eye doctor recommendations to ensure that you experience long-lasting eye health.

Eat healthy— Nutrition is a key component of eye health. For an optimal, vision-supportive diet, include plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish, nuts, and seeds. Make sure to also incorporate Vitamin C (found in citrus fruits and leafy, green vegetables), Vitamin A, and Beta Carotene (both found in carrots and sweet potatoes).

Quit smoking— If you’ve ever wondered if smoking affects your eyes, here is the answer: yes, yes, YES. Smoking is a eye-healthsignificant factor in the development of several deleterious eye conditions and is shown to increase your chance of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and other eye diseases.

Take computer breaks— If you spend a fair bit of time on the computer, you should be aware of the dangers of digital eye strain. Take breaks every 15 to 20 minutes during which you look away from the computer screen to focus on a distant object and adjust the lighting in the room to minimize glare on your screen.

Wear Sunglasses— Spending time outdoors (and being active!) is definitely a good thing—but make sure that you adequately protect your eyes when you’re outside. Wear sunglasses with UV protection whenever you are in direct sunlight.

Schedule regular eye exams—Scheduling regular eye exams is one of the most important steps in maintaining strong eye health as you age. Your eye doctor will be able to assess and address any problems with your eyes in the early stages and ensure that your vision remains optimal.

It’s never too early to start taking your eye health seriously! Healthy habits and regular eye exams will ensure that your eyes have the best chance of staying healthy as you age. Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center eye doctor. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

What is a Phoropter?

If you’ve ever had eye exam (and we hope you have), you might have wondered about that large, intimidating piece of equipment that you always sit behind and look through. Here is everything you might want to know about the phoropter, one of any eye doctor’s favorite tools.

eye-doctor-phoropterWhat is a phoropter— To put it simply, the phoropter (also known as a refractor) is an awesome tool. Originally invented in the 1900s to measure refractive errors in addition to the traits of binocular vision (how well your eyes work together), the tool continued to improve and grow in size until until it became what it is today— an invaluable, but still very large vision assessment tool.

How it works— A phoropter contains slightly different lenses that are used for refraction of the eye during vision exams to measure an eye’s refractive error and determine the correct prescription. The patient sits behind the phoropter and looks through the lenses at an eye chart. The eye doctor will change the lenses and settings and ask the patient which look clearer or better, then continue to adjust the lens power based on the patient’s input as to which look clearest. Phoropters also assess Heterophorias (the natural resting position of the eyes) and accommodative amplitudes, among other things.

Fine-tunes your prescription— Some patients can get pretty sick of being asked the same question—“Which is better, one or two?”—over and over again, but the torture is not in vain! The phoropter ultimately ensures that your eye doctor is able to fine-tune your prescription in order to help you see as close to 20/20 vision as physically possible!

You’re only able to receive a perfect prescription due to your eye doctor and the phoropter! Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

Can a Concussion Affect Your Vision Long-Term?

eye-healthA concussion is a form of mild traumatic brain injury that occurs as the result of a blow to the head. Concussions can cause a variety of short-term and long-term symptoms, including vision changes. Understanding the physical repercussions of concussions can be confusing because there are so many different possible effects, so here are some important details you need to know about how concussions impact your eye health!

Common eye symptoms following a concussion— A variety of eye-related conditions can result from a head injury. The most common eye problems include: blurred or double vision, sensitivity to light, partial vision loss, eye pain, abnormal eye movements, and visual motion sensitivity. While these symptoms typically manifest shortly after the injury occurs, others might not develop until hours or even days later. The vast majority of people see all symptoms gone within a few weeks.

The possibility of long-term vision changes— Damage to the brain caused by a concussion can potentially last for as long as decades after the original head trauma, but there is the very small chance that a concussion will affect your long-term vision. Long-term eye conditions are similar to short-term eye symptoms and can include blurred vision, double vision, difficulty with various eye movements, and reduction or loss of visual field. But don’t despairthese visual problems can actually be effectively decreased or even eliminated with appropriate treatments to restore eye health, such as vision therapy and vision rehabilitation programs.

The bottom-line on concussions and long-term vision— A concussion can affect your long-term vision, but only rarely. Concussions usually only produce short-term vision conditions and temporary changes, at worst. Even in the slightest chance that you experience more severe long-term vision problems, there are still possible solutions!

Learn more about the impacts of concussions on eye health! Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.



How UV Exposure Impacts Your Eyes

Most people are aware of the connection between the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation and skin cancer, but UV radiation can actually lead to a number of eye problems. Whether it comes from the sun or from a machine, UV radiation can cause serious damage to your vision. Here is everything you need to know about UV radiation and eye care in order to minimize the negative impact of UV exposure on your eyes!

What is UV radiation? UV radiation (also called UV light) is produced naturally by the sun and generated eye-careartificially by lasers and tanning beds. There are two types of harmful UV rays— UV-A and UV-B—and both have deleterious short-term and long-term effects on your body and your eyesight.

How does UV radiation impact eyesight? Excessive exposure to UV radiation will harm your eyes and severely compromise your vision. Many eye diseases and conditions are caused or aggravated by UV radiation, including macular degeneration, cataracts, and skin cancer (in or around the eyelids). Other possible afflictions include Photokeratitis (corneal sunburn or “snow blindness”) and Pterygium (“surfer’s eye”).

How can you protect your eyes from UV radiation? Everyone is at risk for eye damage caused by UV radiation, but the more time you spend in the direct sunlight, the higher your risk. In order to protect yourself from UV light, recognize the dangers and make eye care a priority! Use proper eye protection, namely in the form of polarized sunglasses that block out both UV-A and UV-B light, and wear a sun hat or a cap to further protect your head and your eyes from the sun.

Learn more about the impact of UV radiation on eye health and all relevant eye care tips! Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

Understanding Fuchs’ Dystrophy

You may have heard of Fuchs’ Dystrophy, but do you really know what it is? Here is everything you need to know about the eye disease, including ways to preserve your eye health.

What is Fuchs’ Dystrophy?

Fuchs’ Dystrophy causes the cornea, or the clear layer on the surface of your eye, to swell. When healthy, the cells on the inside of the cornea maintain a proper balance of fluids within the cornea and prevent inflammation. With Fuchs’ Dystrophy, these cells gradually die which causes a buildup of fluid (edema) within the cornea. The result is vision loss, especially in the morning and in low light conditions, and eye discomfort.


Symptoms- Fuchs’ Dystrophy, which usually affects both eyes, can cause a number of symptoms. Vision may be blurred and is usually worse in the morning and improves throughout the day. There may be pain or a sense of grittiness on the surface of the eye. Other symptoms can include distorted vision and a sensitivity to light.

Causes- Smoking and diabetes increase the risk of Fuchs’ Dystrophy. The disease most commonly develops among people in their 30s and 40s, but symptoms do not show until after age 50 or even later. Women are slightly more likely than men to develop Fuchs’ dystrophy. A family history of Fuchs’ dystrophy increases the risk, although the genetic basis of the disease is complicated.

Treatment- There are various medications to relieve Fuchs’ Dystrophy symptoms and maintain eye health. When the disease has progressed, the only means to significantly recover vision is cornea transplant surgery.

Prevention- Regular eye examinations will ensure that early signs of Fuchs’ Dystrophy, or any other eye conditions, are noticed and addressed appropriately. Visit your doctor if you notice any of the above symptoms.

Ensure optimal eye health with regular care and exams! Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

I Think I Have a Broken Blood Vessel in My Eye. What Should I Do?

If you look in the mirror and notice that the normally white part of your eye has turned red, don’t be alarmed. A broken blood vessel is a tiny injury that will heal quickly. Here is everything you need to know about broken eye blood vessels.


What happens- Sometimes, a small blood vessel in your eye breaks just underneath the conjunctiva, or the clear surface of your eye. As the conjunctiva cannot absorb blood quickly, the blood is trapped there, and part of the eye turns red. This minor injury is also known as a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Symptoms- You probably will not even realize that one of the tiny blood vessels in your eye has broken until you look in the mirror and notice that the normally white part of your eye is red. A subconjunctival hemorrhage should cause no change in vision and no severe pain. You may feel a mild scratchy sensation on the surface of the eye.

Probable Causes- A broken blood vessel usually occurs without causing actual harm to your eye. As little as a strong sneeze or a cough can break one of the blood vessels in your eye. Other causes can be rubbing your eyes or an incident of blunt trauma, such as an object directly hitting your eye.

What you should do- Health complications from a broken blood vessel in the eye are rare. If you have recurrent subconjunctival hemorrhages or experience other bleeding in the area, see a doctor. A variety of health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and blood-clotting disorders, can aggravate the problem and make further steps to reduce the risk of frequent subconjunctival hemorrhages necessary. For regular prevention, simply be gentle with your eyes.

A broken blood vessel in your eye is usually nothing to worry about! To consult a professional opinion and discuss specific eye care needs, book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.