What Is the Best Age to Allow Your Children to Wear Contacts?

child-contacts

Wearing contact lenses can be a liberating thing for many children. They can be great for kids who play sports or have low self-esteem. But, is it safe to allow children to wear contacts and at what age is best to start?

Learn the best practices to begin using contacts with your children.

Are Contact Lenses Safe for Kids?

Factors like improved sizing and materials allow more children to wear contacts. In fact, even infants can wear specially designed contact lenses. Of course lenses need to be fitted for the child; however, the most important factor is the child’s level of maturity.

Most eye doctors feel it is appropriate to introduce children to soft contact lenses between the ages of 10 and 12 years old. Caring for contacts is a lot of work. Your children will need to handle inserting and removing the lenses, as well as be able to clean them properly. It’s also essential that your children do not wear them to bed unless the contacts are extended-wear lenses. Wearing contacts too long can cause eye pain, infection, and impaired vision, among other things.

Signs your child would use contacts responsibly includes:

  • Having good grooming habits
  • Keeping bedroom and belongings clean
  • Doing homework and chores in a timely fashion

For less stress, consider disposable contacts for your children because there’s less to maintain.

Reason for Children to Wear Contacts

There are a variety of reasons you may consider contacts for your children. Many parents consider contacts for kids who play sports. Often, parents find that glasses interfere with sports and that contacts are more conducive to physical activity. Some opt for contacts to improve their children’s self-esteem. Whatever your reason, make sure you weigh the pros and cons with your optometrist, as well as assess your child’s level of maturity.

Want to speak with an optometrist to see if contacts are right for your child? Book an appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center eye doctor today. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule your next session online.

 

How Sjogren’s Syndrome Affects Your Eyes

Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that affects over 4 million Americans—nine out of 10 of them being women. A common symptom of Sjogren’s syndrome is dry eyes caused by insufficient secretion of tears or an increased occurrence of tears evaporating. Since it is an autoimmune disease, the immune system attacks the glands that keep the organs moist.  Sjogren’s syndrome is often overlooked or misdiagnosed.  As a result, it can have damaging effects on your eye health. Read on to learn about the symptoms and treatments for caring for dry eyes caused by Sjogren’s syndrome.

Dry Eye Drops Sjögren's Syndrome Phoenix Eye DoctorHow Sjogren’s Syndrome is Diagnosed

Eye doctors will conduct an array of test to see if you have this condition. Tear frequency and staining tests are common. Sometimes, blood tests are necessary to determine the underlining cause of the syndrome.

Early detection of Sjogren’s syndrome is important. If not treated right away, the lack of moister on the eyes can result in serious damage to the eyes. If you suspect you have Sjogren’s syndrome, look out for these symptoms:

Symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome

  • Dry mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Recurrent sinus infections of nosebleeds
  • Sore mouth and throat
  • Dry skin or lips
  • Blepharitis

Treating Sjogren’s Syndrome

The most common symptom of Sjogren’s syndrome is chronic dry eyes. To treat this, eye doctors often prescribe artificial tears and ointments. Eye drops, such as Restasis, are helpful to replenish the tears evaporating from the condition.

Dry eyes are often coupled with meibomian gland dysfunction, MGD, a condition that causes the eyelids to produce an oil causing the eyes to become swollen. An oil-based tear drop helps prevents this from happening.

Doctors pair NSAIDS, anti-inflammatory medications, with eye drops to help reduce pain and swelling. If possible, steer clear of drugs that cause dryness, such as antidepressants and antihistamines.

Take care of your eye health with regular screenings. Be sure to book an appointment with one of our talented eye doctors a Valley Eyecare today. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule your next session online.

What is a Corneal Ulcer and How is it Treated?

Uncomfortable and unsightly, corneal ulcers can disrupt your life. Corneal ulcers are open sores on the cornea, the thin, colored layer covering the iris. Characteristic of corneal ulcers are red, itchy, puss-filled eyes accompanied with blurry vision. If not treated with the proper care immediately, corneal ulcers can lead to blindness or even loss of the eye. Read on to learn more about corneal ulcers and how to treat them.

Common Causes of Corneal Ulcers

Bacterial Infection
The most common cause of corneal ulcers is bacterial infections. Typically, bacteria invade the cornea after an injury or some other irritation to the eye. Contact lenses are a common culprit for eye inflammation and infection, especially if you’re not using proper hygiene practices. In addition, be sure to wash your hands whenever handling contact lenses.

Fungal or Parasitic Infection
There are some fungus and parasites that can cause corneal ulcers. Acanthamoeba is a very serious form of parasitic infection that can infect the cornea. It’s commonly contracted in water in places such as swimming pools and hot tubs. If you wear contact lenses, it’s important to remove them before swimming because the risk of infection from Acanthamoeba increases significantly.
If you suspect you have a corneal ulcer from Acanthamoeba, contact an eye doctor immediately. This form of infection can cause severe scarring and vision loss.

How to Treat Corneal Ulcers

Using a special eye microscope, your doctor will determine if you have a corneal ulcer.
Depending on the severity of the ulcer, your eye doctor will most likely prescribe topical eye drop antibiotics along with oral pain medication. Your doctor will also recommend not wearing contact lenses for a while and avoid touching your eye. If antibiotics are not working, emergency eye surgery might be necessary for a corneal transplant.

Protect Yourself from Corneal Ulcers

Proper eye care is the best way to prevent corneal ulcers. Here are some simple tips:

  • Practice proper hygiene when managing contact lenses. For example, never wear contacts to bed and cleanse them with a lens solution, not tap water.
  • Regularly replace your contact lenses.
  • Wear protective eyewear when working around the house or outside.

Concerned that you might have a corneal ulcer? Book an appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center eye doctor. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule your next session online, today!

Why Smoking Is Bad for Your Eyes

Few would argue that smoking is not bad for your health. It’s common knowledge that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, and premature aging.  But, less known are the damaging effects smoking can have on your eye sight. Cigarettes are toxic, comprising of substances, such as tar, formaldehyde, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide—a cocktail of ingredients bound to inflict harm. Highly addictive, cigarettes deplete the body of oxygen, decrease blood flow, and strip away nutrients. Studies suggest that smoking correlates to an increased risk of macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma among other diseases. Read on to learn why smoking is so bad for your eyes.

Increased Risk of Cataracts

With age cataracts become more common, but smokers have double to triple the risk of developing it. Cataracts develop when your eye’s lens becomes cloudy causing blurry and opaque vision. It’s believed that smoking increases oxidation, which leads to the amplified occurrence of cataracts.

Macular Degeneration Caused by Premature Aging

Similar to cataracts, macular degeneration, or AMD, occurs with age. AMD is the breakdown of center of the retina, which enables you to see fine details. Scientists link AMD to the lack of blood flow to the retina caused by smoking. Smoking makes you up to four times more likely to develop macular degeneration. Plus, second hand smoke can also increase the risk of AMD for loved ones living with you.

Diabetes Related Eye Disease Caused By Smoking

Along with cancer and heart disease, smokers have an increased risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes comes with its own array of eye diseases, including glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Glaucoma causes the breakdown of the optic nerve, which can lead to loss of vision. Diabetic retinopathy afflicts the blood vessels surrounding the retina. The blood vessels burst or become blocked, which eventually damages your vision.

What You Can Do to Prevent Eye Disease

If you smoke, the best option for your overall health, let alone your eye health, is to quit. Individuals who stopped smoking bettered their odds of avoiding eye diseases and saw improvement in their eye health. Nevertheless, ex-smokers are still at a higher risk than those who never smoked. To improve your odds, a healthy diet rich in vitamins like C, E, and beta carotene is great for eye care. Keeping an active lifestyle and managing your blood pressure and cholesterol will also give you an upper hand against eye diseases.

Want to consult an eye doctor about the best eye care to help prevent disease. Book an appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center eye doctor. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule your next session online, today!

Why Do I Have a Headache from my New Eyeglasses?

Picture this scenario: after a recent visit to your optometrist, your eye doctor decides to update your prescription and you need new eyeglasses. You receive the new glasses and experience an unpleasant side effect—headaches. Overuse of the muscles around the eyes causes eyestrain; thus, triggering headaches. An array of factors could be causing eyestrain, such as the new prescription, strain from computer screens, and even the position of the eyeglass frames on your face. Read on to learn why your new eyeglasses may be causing headaches and how to deal with them.

Adjusting to a New Prescription 

Adjusting to your new prescription can be a difficult transition. While you’re growing accustom to the new eyeglasses, you may experience blurry vision, which inevitably causes headaches. It can take up to two weeks to adapt to the new prescription. If you’re still experiencing headaches past two weeks, consult your eye doctor.

eyeglasses

Misplaced Frames 

If it’s not the prescription causing the headaches, it may be the position of your frames. Your eye care professional should tailor the frames to fit properly on your face and be the appropriate distance from your pupils. Check with your Phoenix eye doctor at Valley Eyecare Center to see if this is the headache culprit.

Too Much Screen Time 

Eye strain from computers can afflict anyone, but eyeglasses can worsen the effect. If you have anti-reflective lens, you may need to adjust the lighting around your computer to support your eyes. In addition, taking short breaks from computer screens can help give your eyes a rest.

Tips to Help You Adjust to New Eyeglasses

Most likely, your new prescription is causing the headaches. Here are some tips to help you ease into your new glasses:

  1.   Wear them frequently. Taking off your eyeglasses for short breaks is fine, but allowing your eyes as much time as possible to adjust to the new glasses is ideal.
  2.   Take off your glasses in a dark room. When you remove your eyeglasses in a dark room, it allows them to relax without having to focus on something.
  3.   Use pain relievers. It’s in your best interest to keep the glasses on to adapt to them as quickly as possible. Taking a pain reliever will help alleviate some of the discomfort from headaches.

If you believe your eyeglasses are causing headaches, consult your eye doctor for advice. Remember to book an appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center eye doctor. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule your next session online, today!

Home Eye Safety Tips

Believe it or not, eye injuries are quite common. Your eyes are a very vulnerable part of the body and it’s important to protect them. Whether you’re at home, outdoors, or at work, it’s crucial to take safety precautions when it comes to your eyes. Read on to discover eye safety tips you can use at home.

eye-safety

  1. Use Eye Protection

Rule No. 1 of eye safety, use eye protection. Yard work and home improvement projects can be dangerous to your eyes. Debris and dust can fly into your eyes and injure them even under the safest circumstances. Protect your eyes with safety goggles to prevent shards of eye-safetywood, dirt, or chemicals from injuring them.

  1. Pay Attention to Warnings and Instructions

Many everyday household products, such as bleach, cleansers, and detergents, are all harmful to your eyes. To keep your eyeballs safe, be sure to read instructions carefully and avoid touching them when managing chemicals. Do not mix harsh cleaning products—the combination can pose a risk to your eyes. For additional protection, where chemical grade safety goggles.

  1. Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands does not just protect you from illness, it also keeps your eyes safe from harmful chemicals. Rubbing chemicals into your eyes can cause painful and damaging effects. Be sure you wash your hands after working around the house.

  1. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

Flying debris and even tripping can cause eye injuries. For eye safety, make sure you have adequate lighting and clean surroundings. For example, if you’re about to mow the lawn, inspect for loose branches or pieces of metal in the yard. These objects can injure your eyes if sent airborne. Be sure to have plenty of lighting when working on home projects, especially ones that involve tools and sharp materials.

If you injure your eyes or just want additional tips to keep them safe, connect with an eye doctor at Valley Eyecare Center. Be sure to book an appointment with one of our talented eye doctors today. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule your next appointment online.

Symptoms and Causes of Blepharitis

Those who suffer from blepharitis not only endure discomfort, but also deal with unsightly blemishes around the eyelids caused by the disease. Induced from infections, skin conditions, and even parasites, blepharitis can be a very serious disease if not treated properly. Read on to learn about the symptoms and treatments for blepharitis.

What Causes Blepharitis?

A variety of circumstances can induce blepharitis. Infections caused by bacteria or fungus can spur this troublesome condition. Gland dysfunction, rosacea, allergies, and parasites, such as eyelash mites or lice, can all cause blepharitis.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis typically occurs conjointly with dry eyes. Doctors debate whether blepharitis is a result of dry eyes or vice versa. Some believe they are symptoms of a single eye condition called dry eye blepharitis syndrome, or DEBS.

Common Symptoms of Blepharitis

The symptoms of blepharitis are uncomfortable and often, unsightly. Common symptoms include:

  • Irritated, watery, red eyes
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Itchy and swollen eyelids
  • Crusty eyelashes
  • Peeling skin around eyes
  • Frequent blinking
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Unusual growth or loss of eyelashes

Blepharitis can cause long term damaging effects if not treated properly. An eye examine coupled with testing a sample of the skin around your eyes will determine if you’re infected with blepharitis.

Treating Blepharitis

If diagnosed with blepharitis, treat the condition with urgency. When left to its own devices, an overgrowth of bacteria can develop, creating a layer of biofilm. The biofilm encourages plaque buildup on teeth and acts as food for eyelash mites.

Combating blepharitis typically requires at home and in-office treatments. Your doctor will provide you with a daily routine with prescription or non-prescriptions cleansers to address the biofilm and mites. At the doctor’s office, your health care provider will likely treat you with more high tech procedures. Additionally, you may receive antibiotics or steroid eye drops.

Be aware the blepharitis is a chronic condition and can likely come back, especially if it’s not treated properly. Once under control, remember to keep a consistent eye care routine to reduce the likelihood of a fair up.

Living with blepharitis is difficult, but you don’t need to tackle it on your own. Consulting with a physician will speed up your recovery. Book an appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center eye doctor today. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule your next session online.

 

 

Diabetes and Related Eye Diseases

Those Living with Diabetes Are Three Times More Concerned about Losing Vision than Possible Side Effect of Kidney Failure

 More than 30 million Americans have diabetes and another 84 million have pre-diabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In addition, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults. As prevalent as the condition is, 79 percent of Americans don’t know diabetic eye diseases have no visible symptoms and more than half do not know comprehensive eye examinations can detect diabetes, according to a recent American Eye-Q® Survey conducted by the American Optometric Association (AOA).

“In 2016, doctors of optometry identified diabetes-related manifestations in more than 320,000 patients who were unaware they had diabetes, leading to prompt diagnoses and care, which minimizes the risk of complications,” said Lindsey Clyde, O.D., an eye doctor at Valley Eyecare Center in Phoenix, AZ. “A comprehensive eye examination with a doctor of optometry is important not just to maintain eye and vision health but can be a first line of diagnosis for many systemic diseases.”

During November’s Diabetes Awareness Month, the AOA and Valley Eyecare Center are committed to educating the public about the relationship between diabetes and eye health, as the Eye-Q survey shows that after learning about the topic many participants said they would be prompted to take steps to ensure their eye health. The AOA advocates for regular, comprehensive eye exams for those with diabetes, or at risk for diabetes, because the alternatives, like online vision apps, only check for refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism and cannot detect diabetes.

“During a comprehensive eye exam including Optomap scan, dilation, or both, your eye doctor is able to examine the retina for signs of diabetic eye disease and prescribe a course of treatment to help preserve an individual’s sight,” Dr. Lindsey Clyde said. “Many eye problems show no symptoms until they are in an advanced stage, but early detection and treatment can truly save a person’s vision. No online app can do that.”

For additional resources, visit http://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/diabetic.htm.

To schedule an eye exam at Valley Eyecare Center, call 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

Are Lash Enhancement Products Bad for You?

In the world of lash enhancement products, some products reign supreme, while others fall dramatically short. It’s important to do research before diving lash-first into the cheapest, or flashiest product around. Here are some tips to spot top quality and subpar eye care products.

What do Lash Enhancement Products Do?

Lash enhancements products, or serums encourage the growth, thickening, and darkening of your natural lashes. You can buy basic lash serums over-the-counter, or opt for more potent prescriptions, such as the medication bimatoprost. Deciding which avenue of product to take can be tricky—it depends on the results you’re searching for your eye care.

Over-the-Counter Products Might Not Do the Trick

Although they may be cheaper, that lower price tag can produce subpar results. These products can be effective to a point. With ingredients like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as vitamins, these serums can improve the overall health of your lashes. But, if you’re looking for incredibility and dark lashes, over-the-counter products often fall short of their prescription counterpart.

Prescription Lash Enhancers Are Effective But Know the Risks

Although they may be cheaper, that lower price tag can lead to uncomfortable consequences. Potential symptoms include eye irritation, hair growth in unwanted areas, darkened eyelids, decreased eye pressure, and permanent iris pigmentation. Dramatic side effects like discoloration are rare but are more likely to occur if not administered with care. Prescription lash serums should only be used under the supervision of a doctor.

Also, understand that prescription lash serums are expensive. You may shell out hundreds of dollars a year on treatments.

Visit a Professional

Seeing a professional for your eye care can be expensive, but when it comes to lash eye care, it’s worth paying the expense. For the best results, get a prescription serum versus an over-the-counter product.

Realize that you’ll need to use the serum continuously to see results. Your lash beauty is a long-term commitment! When used carefully and as directed, lash enhancement products are safe.

Whether you’re looking for longer lashes or just healthier eyes, it’s important to consult a physician about your eye care. Remember to book an appointment with your Valley Eyecare eye doctor. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online, today!

Can Diet Really Improve Your Eyesight?

Visiting your Phoenix eye doctor at least one time per year is important to maintaining vision and eye health. Other factors, including eye safety, overall health, and diet, can also contribute to keeping your eyes healthy. Most people have heard that carrots help to improve your eyesight. Is there any truth to the claim that food, including carrots, can improve eye health? Fish, vegetables and whole grains all play a part in providing nutrient rich vitamins that can help reduce the risk of eye disease.

Cold water fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids which can help protect against dry eyes and even cataracts. If you don’t eat fish, you can turn to fish oil supplements that contain omega-3s. There are also vegetarian supplements that have black currant seed oil or flaxseed oil which offer similar benefit.

Colorful fruits and vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, pumpkin, corn, and cantaloupe all provide good sources of vitamins A and C to the body. The bright color from fruits and veggies, in addition to making them more appealing, also make them good for you and can help reduce the risk of different eye diseases.

Whole grains can also play a big role in helping you maintain healthy eyes. When you have a diet that consists of foods with a low glycemic index (a system that ranks foods on a scale from 1 to 100 based on their effect on blood-sugar levels), you can reduce your risk for age-related macular degeneration. The Macula is a small area of the retina that controls visual acuity.

Having a healthy diet is one part of maintaining a healthy body which means your eye health will benefit the same way as your body does. If you have any questions about what else you can do to improve your eye health, book an appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center eye doctor. Give us a call or  schedule online today.