Prevent Dry Eye this Winter

The humidity is always lower in the winter, so it’s easy to find that your skin has become dry. Just like your skin, your eyes can dry out and so might suffer from dry eye more easily in the winter than in other months.

Solving Dry Eye

Dry-EyesRecognize the symptoms—Suffering from blurry eyes after reading something on the computer, feeling as if you have something gritty in your eyes, or having excessively red eyes can all be signs of dry eye.

Eat a healthy diet—Foods that are rich in vitamins A, C, and E are all great for your eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are most often found in oily fish like salmon, can also increase the moisture in your eyes. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water to make sure that your eyes are hydrated.

Wear sunglasses—Sunglasses not only protect your eyes from the damaging rays of the sun but also protect your eyes from the wind, which can dry out your eyes. Make sure to pack sunglasses wherever you go!

Avoid wearing contacts all day—If you regularly wear contacts, they may cause dry eye if you’ve been wearing them too much during the week or during the day. If your eyes feel dry, try switching to regular eyeglasses for a while to see if this helps your eyes.

Invest in eye drops—Either over-the-counter eye drops or prescription eye drops can help to hydrate your eyes if they have been feeling dry or itchy.

Look away from screens—Spending a lot of time in front of the computer can cause dry eye. Make sure to follow the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Preventing dry eye is simple! To learn more about our dry eye treatments, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Glaucoma Treatments and What to Do Next

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with glaucoma, finding out what to do next can be a daunting task. Glaucoma is considered to be a disease that is without a cure.  Eye damage and loss of sight from glaucoma are usually permanent, but there are treatments that can slow down vision loss and save the vision capability that is remaining. If you’re worried about possible vision loss, you should talk to your doctor about setting regular appointments to have your vision checked. Your doctor will tell you how often you need to go in based on your eye health, the shape and size of its inner structures, and any risk factors you may have.

First your doctor will have to confirm that you do, in fact, have glaucoma. Depending on your risk factors (your age, ethnicity, and vision issues), your doctor may want to test your vision. If you experience any vision loss or if your routine eye checks show that your vision may have degraded, your doctor will run a group of eye structure and function tests to see if you may have glaucoma. If your tests show that you do, and it’s found early on in the disease’s progression, your doctor may be able to slow permanent vision loss or protect your remaining visual abilities.

Early glaucoma is usually treated with eye drops or oral medications. The job of the eye drops is to medically lower the eye’s pressure. Glaucoma vision loss happens when eye pressure is too high for the eye and the pressure damages the optic nerve. Once damaged, the vision loss is permanent and the optic nerve can’t be repaired. With high-pressure related glaucoma, vision is lost in the periphery first, and then moves inward. If your eye doctor suspects you may have glaucoma, they’ll use a Tonometer to test to see if your eye pressure is elevated. If it is, they’ll prescribe eye drops to lower your eye’s pressure and keep your optic nerve from being damaged by the increased pressure.

Oral medications for glaucoma often affect the eye’s fluid production or fluid drainage abilities. When the eye is unable to properly drain fluid due to blockage or an incorrect angle of the eye’s structures, the pressure builds and the optic nerve can become damaged from the high pressure. By helping fluid drain better or by causing the eye to produce less fluid altogether, these oral medications are targeting towards working with the drainage issues in the eye to reduce pressure and save the remaining vision in the eye.

If medications are not enough, your doctor might suggest laser trabeculoplasty. This procedure uses a laser to burn tiny, imperceptible holes into your eye’s inner meshwork. These holes stretch the drainage holes in the eye’s meshwork and allow the eye to drain fluid easier. Laser tabeculoplasty is an outpatient procedure administered in the doctor’s office. The effects can eventually wear off, but a successful trabeculoplasty can reduce pressure and save a person’s ability to see.

Another option may be conventional surgery. If medicines, eye drops, and trabeculoplasty are not enough to lower the eye’s internal pressure, your physician might suggest a surgical procedure. Known as trabeculectomy, the surgeon will make a small incision and cut away a piece of tissue so that the eye has a new channel with which to drain fluid that can be building pressure in the eye.

Every person’s experience, success rates, and course of treatment will vary based on their needs, but certain aspects of the disease are the same for everyone. Increased inner eye pressure can be dangerous, and loss of vision around the periphery can lead to permanent loss of central vision as well. Depending on the urgency (if your glaucoma is found in the early stages of the disease or the later stages of the disease), your doctor will implement a treatment plan that is right for you.

Glaucoma, the “sneak theft of sight,” is known for being a disease that can arise before symptoms are obvious. One way to protect your future vision is to see your doctor regularly and have your eyes checked often.

Glaucoma

Meredith Rogers

geriatricnursing.org

National Glaucoma Awareness Month

This January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month! Glaucoma occurs when there is damage to the optic nerve, which usually occurs later in life. The pressure that builds up in the eye often prevents the eye from draining properly and can cause a loss of vision. Glaucoma is one of the most common visual impairments, so it is important to bring awareness to it.

Glaucoma Information

GlaucomaGlaucoma is the third leading cause of blindness—This visual impairment is common, and by 2020, it is predicted that 76 million people will be affected by the disease.

No early symptoms—Unfortunately, glaucoma does not have any symptoms in its early stages, which is what makes it so dangerous. Once you have begun to notice changes in your sight, the disease has already progressed toward vision loss, which may be very difficult to stop.

Catching glaucoma early is important—Since it is such a dangerous disease, going into regular eye exams with your optometrist is extremely important. Your optometrist can see the signs of glaucoma long before you can.

Treatment of glaucoma—Improvements to the vision lost through glaucoma may be found in the form of surgery, lasers, or medication, depending on the type and severity of the glaucoma. However, not all treatments are successful, as glaucoma in certain stages is irreversible.

Preventing glaucoma as long as possible—While not everyone is able to escape the vision loss associated with glaucoma, it is possible to try to prevent this disease from taking hold by eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and going in for regular eye exams with your optometrist.

Don’t forget to ask your optometrist about glaucoma if you fear you may be susceptible to getting this visual impairment. To learn more about glaucoma, or to schedule an eye exam at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Make Eye Care a Priority in 2018

eye-careYour eye care is always a top priority at Valley Eyecare Center, but how can you make it a priority in your daily routine and in your health plan? Follow these simple tips to make sure that your eyes are healthy for the year ahead.

Eye Care Tips for Optimal Health

Never leave the house without sunglasses—It may seem obvious since we are in Arizona, but sunglasses are an essential item in your daily eye care routine. No matter the season, you should wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the harsh UV rays from the sun.

Wear goggles if you are cleaning with harsh chemicals—Don’t just put gloves on when you use chemicals like ammonia and bleach. You should also wear goggles or protect your eyes with other eyewear to make sure you don’t get any of these chemicals into your eyes.

Spend less time on electronics, or use them with your eyes in mind—A common New Year’s resolution is to spend less time on electronics so that you can spend more time with those around you. Making this change in your routine may also lead to better eyesight, as you may experience eye strain from looking at screens more than you should. To make sure that your vision is not impacted by screens and blue light, follow the 20-20-20 rule. For every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, focus on something that is 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Schedule an eye exam—There’s no better way to check on the status of your eyes than by coming in for an eye exam. This appointment can help to determine the optimal plan for you to maintain optimal eye health in the year to come. Whether you think your prescription has changed, or whether it’s just time to examine your eyes, it is important to make sure that your eye care is a priority.

Make your eye care a priority throughout 2018! To learn more about these tips, or to schedule an eye exam at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Winter Break: Schedule an Eye Exam

children's-eye-examScheduling children’s eye exams over winter break is always a great idea since your kids are home for the break and do not have school or other activities going on. Make sure to bring in your children for an eye exam before or after the new year!

Children’s Eye Exams for Winter Break

How do you know if your child needs an eye exam? Since your child may not be able to voice directly that he or she needs an eye exam, there are a few signs that you can look for to see if an eye exam is necessary. If your child has complained of headaches, has lost interest in reading, or has underperformed in school, these could all be signs of a visual impairment, so bring your child in for a children’s eye exam may be necessary to get your child back on track academically.

Why is a children’s eye exam important? According to the American Optometric Association, nearly 80% of learning is visual, so if your child isn’t seeing well, this can affect his or her performance in school. Vision can also affect a child’s ability to focus on certain tasks, especially those that require hand-eye coordination in sports or other activities.

Is a vision impairment common in children? Yes, about one out of four kids has a vision impairment. Some kids may grow out of the vision problem, but some kids may not, so it is important to keep coming in for children’s eye exams because as your child grows, his or her vision can change.

While your kids are out of school on break, it is important to make sure that their health and wellbeing is taken care of. To schedule a children’s eye exam with one of our optometrists at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Eye Care Plan for 2018

eye-care

With the approach of the new year, it’s important to begin making plans for the future. Since many New Year’s resolutions revolve around better health, make sure that your eye care is a priority!

Eye Care Tips for the New Year

Eat right for your health and for your vision—Make sure that you eat a balanced diet, and eat the proper amount of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E can also help to improve your vision by preventing vision problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Make sure to eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables and oily fishes like salmon.

Wear sunglasses, no matter the season, for optimal eye care—UV rays are damaging to your skin and eyes, so it’s important to cover up your arms, legs, and face. Although the sun’s rays are most intense during the summer, the reflection with clouds during the winter can amplify the damaging effects of UV rays during the winter, so you should wear your sunglasses any time you’re out and about, regardless of what the temperature is outside.

Give your eyes a break from electronics—Your eyes can suffer from eye strain if you look at electronics at all hours of the day. We recommend the 20-20-20 rule: for every 20 minutes you spend looking at a screen, spend 20 seconds focusing on something that is 20 feet away.

Visit your eye doctor—Regular eye exams are crucial to maintaining optimal eye health. Eye exams can also help to catch certain eye diseases or problems that have no symptoms, so you should make sure to come into Valley Eyecare Center for a regular eye exam.

An eye care plan for the new year can help to make sure that you are healthy throughout 2018. To learn more about our eye care tips, or to schedule an eye exam with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Do’s and Don’ts for Contact Wearers

contactsKeeping your contacts in their best condition is important! If you wear contacts, make sure to follow these simple tips!

Tips for Maintaining Contacts

Do:

  • Wash your hands before touching your contacts or your eyes
  • Clean your contacts after you wash them
  • Clean your contacts if you drop one of the lenses
  • Blink often to keep your contacts clean
  • Update your prescription annually
  • Remove your contacts if your eyes are dry
  • Carry a storage case unless you need to take your contacts out during the day, and keep a pair of eyeglasses handy so that you can switch if needed
  • Replace contact solution after it has been open for a month
  • Close your eyes if you use hairspray—this product may leave residue on your lenses!
  • Apply makeup after you put your contacts in, and remove lenses before removing your makeup
  • Consult your optometrist if you are concerned about your vision

Don’t:

  • Wear contacts if your eyes are itchy, irritated, red, or dry
  • Use the wrong chemicals to clean your contacts
  • Mix up your lenses—to avoid this, make sure to pick an eye and always put your contact lens in the selected eye first
  • Rub your eyes vigorously
  • Leave your contacts out in the heat
  • Share cosmetics, especially ones around the eye
  • Apply eyeliner to the inner eyelid, as this can touch your contact lenses
  • Touch your eyes without washing them first
  • Take many naps with your contacts in

Maintaining your contact lenses doesn’t have to be difficult, but it will take some getting used to if you are new to wearing contacts. To learn more about our tips about wearing contacts, or to schedule an eye exam with one of our optometrists at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

3 Ways to Improve Your Vision

eye-exam

Improving your vision doesn’t have to be difficult. Of course, an eye exam is crucial to improving your eye health, and an optometrist can also tell you more about the state of your eyes to create a targeted eye care plan for you. Improve your vision by following these tips!

An Eye Exam Can Improve Your Vision

Eat right for your vision—Vitamins and minerals aren’t just great for your overall health. They can also help you to maintain good eye health. Make sure that you’re eating plenty of vitamins A, C, and E, as well also minerals such as copper and zinc. Foods that contain these vitamins and minerals include dark leafy greens, egg yolks, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and carrots.

Get an eye exam—Nothing can tell you more about the state of your eyes better than getting an eye exam. At your eye exam, an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center can also help you to form a customized plan to improve your vision based on your individual needs. Whether you want contacts or eyeglasses, your vision will be improved by an eye exam!

Get plenty of rest—Nothing quite tires our eyes more than not getting enough sleep. Sleep also allows your eyes to rest, repair, and recover, so if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your vision may be affected. If you have been working a lot, make sure to rest your eyes every once in a while, especially if you are in front of the computer.

Put your eye health first this winter by coming in for an eye exam! To learn more about improving your vision, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Eye Care and Diabetes

eye-careYour eye care is related to your overall health. If you have diabetes, your eye care routine may be different from typical eye care routines, as problems related to diabetes can affect your vision. Learn more about how to keep your overall health and your eye health in optimal condition if you have diabetes.

Eye Care Routines for Those with Diabetes

Schedule regular appointments—Did you know that high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels in your eyes? This high blood sugar, which is associated with diabetes, can lead to an eye condition known as diabetic retinopathy.

Have your cholesterol levels under control—You have two types of cholesterol: the good (HDL) and the bad (LDL). Too much of the bad cholesterol can lead to blood vessel damage, which can be harmful to your eye care, as a blood vessel could pop in your eyes.

Eat well—Make sure that you get enough of your daily recommended food groups—fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and grains. If your diet is becoming an issue, be sure to make an appointment with a nutritionist or dietician so that you can eat right for your body.

Exercise regularly—Of course, working out is great for your mind and body, as it helps you to become a healthier person. However, if rigorous work outs are too much for you, make sure to remain active in other ways. This can include taking a walk throughout the day or even running errands, as you often have to walk or move around to accomplish daily tasks.

Keeping up with your eye care routine includes being healthy every day. To learn more about how diabetes can affect your eye care, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Fall Foods for Great Eyesight

We’ve all heard that carrots are great for your eye health, but did you know that carrots aren’t the only foods that can improve your vision? Eat your way to better eyesight with these popular fall foods!

Boost Your Vision with These Fall Foods

Eye_HealthLeafy greens—Leafy greens are great for your body, and they’re also great for your eyes! They’re loaded with lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants that help to prevent macular degeneration and other visual impairments, especially cataracts.

Almonds—Loaded with protein, almonds are great snacks that contain tons of antioxidants and vitamin E. Just a handful of almonds a day can provide half of your daily dose of vitamin E, which can slow or help to prevent macular degeneration.

Salmon and other fatty fish—Fatty fish contain high amounts of DHA, which is an amino acid that is found in your retina. Without this protein, you may suffer from dry eye, so it is important to make sure that you include fish in your diet to promote optimal eye health.

Dairy—As long as you’re not lactose intolerant, make sure to have some extra cheese and butter on those mashed potatoes this Thanksgiving! Dairy contains extra amounts of vitamin A and zinc, which protect the cornea and bring vitamins from the liver to the eyes.

Don’t forget the 3 B’s—Broccoli, bell peppers, and Brussel sprouts are all important vegetables for your eyesight! Don’t scrimp on veggies—these three can all boost your levels of vitamin C, which helps not only your immune system but also your vision by preventing age-related eyesight problems, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

Eat right for your body and for your vision! Don’t forget about these important foods, especially as the holidays approach! To learn more about which foods are great for your eye health, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website. Happy Thanksgiving from Valley Eyecare Center!