Why Online Vision Tests are a Bad Idea

An online vision test may seem like an appealing way to acquire a prescription while saving time and money, but it is a poor replacement for an actual eye exam.

online-vision-testAn online vision test gives only a prescriptionMost online eye “exams” are just short vision tests that measure visual acuity, refractive error, or color sensitivity. Even if an online vision test identifies a change in your vision, the reason for the change remains a mystery. Taking an eye exam online might be able to support your existing suspicions that your vision is the same or different than it was when you were last issued a prescription, but those results will not help you to actually address the problem.

Online exams are not comprehensivePeople tend to believe that the largest risk associated with online eye exams is that the prescription will be inaccurate, rendering the test a waste of time, and possibly even money. However, inaccuracy is probably the smallest problem with online exams. An online vision test will probably diagnose your vision accurately if you follow the instructions precisely, but the larger problem is that the exam will fail to diagnose real and potentially dangerous problems with your eyes.

Only an “in-person” exam can detect eye disease or illnessMost eye care providers can tell you of countless normal eye exams in which they discovered an infection, illness, or eye disease. The risk of eye disease should not be underestimated. Glaucoma often has no symptoms in early stages but can lead to blindness if not diagnosed early. Macular degeneration and cataracts are other dangerous eye conditions that will be detected and addressed correctly only from regularly scheduled in-person eye exams.

Your eyes can further reveal important aspects of your healthMany diseases that affect your whole body show early symptoms in your eyes. Medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, strokes, multiple sclerosis, and brain tumors can all be identified from a comprehensive eye exam. Early diagnosis ensures optimal opportunity for treatment. An online vision test completely misses one of the primary functions of an eye exam, which is to assess not only the health of the patient’s eyes, but also their overall health.

Support the health of your eyes by scheduling regular eye exams! Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

 

When Should Children Get Their First Eye Exam?

If you have a young child, you might be wondering if it’s time to schedule their first eye exam. If your child is at least six months old, the answer is probably yes! Here is what you need to know about children’s eye exams.

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Early examinations are incredibly importantEarly eye exams are extremely important for diagnosing problems and ensuring that children are able to see clearly! Only during children’s eye exams are professionals able to identify existing and potential threats to vision and eye health before the children are heavily impacted and perform treatments or continue regular checks as necessary.

When to scheduleThe first medical professional to examine your child’s eyes is usually a pediatrician or a doctor. This initial infant comprehensive eye exam takes place when they are around six months old. The doctor will check your baby’s responsiveness to light and ability to follow objects with his or her eyes. If problems are found, you will likely be referred to an optometrist. If there are no problems, the American Optometric Association recommends the next eye exam to take place when your child is around 3 years old. After that, they recommend that children’s eye exams take place every two years if no vision correction is necessary and every year for children who wear glasses or contact lenses.

What to expectThe doctor will likely inquire into your child’s medical and family history. A children’s eye exam usually involves tests that use symbols to assess the child’s vision and a random dot stereopsis to ensure that the child’s eyes work well together. The most common problems that are diagnosed in young children are nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. However, there are a few other less frequent conditions found in children: amblyopia (also known as lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes), or convergence insufficiency (eyes do not work together properly focusing up close). In the event that any of these conditions are found, appropriate treatments will be prescribed.

Don’t hesitate to schedule your child’s first eye exam! Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

 

 

 

 

How to Protect Yourself from Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a common eye disease that causes acute vision loss. There are many simple measures that can be taken to help prevent the eye disease.

What is macular degeneration? Macular degeneration, also often known as age-related macular degeneration, occurs when the retina begins to deteriorate. The result is severely impaired vision. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60.

How to protect yourself:

Wear sunglasses There is a proven association between age-related macular degeneration and eye damage caused by macular-degenerationoverexposure to various light rays. Wear sunglasses that have ultraviolet and blue light protections in the outdoors to protect yourself.

Quit smoking Smoking has been shown to largely increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Smokers are more than three times as likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers.

Maintain a healthy diet Doctors advise that you strive to follow a balanced diet to reduce the likelihood of eye diseases. Seek to partake of vegetables high in carotenoids, such as spinach and collard greens, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are found primarily in fish. Avoid cholesterol and saturated fat. Taking vitamin supplements with antioxidants and zinc is also advised.

Exercise regularly Studies indicate that engaging in exercise on a regular basis benefits your eyes. People who lead an active lifestyle are as much as 70 percent less likely to develop macular degeneration.

Schedule regular eye exams Eye exams will be able to detect macular degeneration in its early stages. Be cognizant of your own vision and see your eye doctor immediately if you begin to notice distinct vision loss.

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

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.

 

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.

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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.

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.

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.