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.

fuchs-dystrophy

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.

broken-blood-vessel-eye

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.

The Positive Effects of Exercise on Vision

Most people already know that exercise is beneficial to your health, but did you know that exercise also has significant positive impacts on your vision health? Regular exercise can help you to see better, for longer.

Reduces the risk of developing series eye diseases

There are direct links between inactivity and the likelihood of suffering form serious eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), studies have shown that people who regularly exercise are 25 percent less likely to develop glaucoma than people who are inactive. Other research has identified a distinct relationship between physical activity and age-related macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60, revealing that people who exercise just three times a week are significantly less likely to develop macular degeneration.

Exercise tips for eye health

It might not be easy to make the time to get to the gym every day, but eye-healththat’s not the only way to exercise. Simply taking regular walks or light jogs around your neighborhood or doing yoga and other bodyweight exercises are easy ways to fit exercise into a busy schedule. Just working out two or three times a week will go a long way in ensuring your long-term vision health!

The bottom line on exercise and your vision

Research shows time and time again that being active will significantly decrease your risks for vision-threatening conditions, so make exercise a priority! Also, don’t forget to visit your eye doctor regularly. Comprehensive, routine check-ups are critical to finding and treating eye conditions in the early stages.

Try exercising for the sake of your eyes! To learn more ways to protect your vision health or to have your eyes examined, book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

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.

childrens-eye-exam

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

Eye Care is Important As You Age – Understanding How Your Vision Changes as You Age

Many things change as we age, and your vision is one of the things that can change from year to year, and it can also change significantly as you age. Your eye care is even more important as you age, so make sure to keep up with your eye care routine!eye-care

Eye Care as You Age

Age-related eye diseases may occur—As you age, you may be at a higher risk for certain age-related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration or glaucoma. These two diseases are usually caught first by an optometrist, so it is important that you make your regular appointments and eat a healthy diet to promote optimal vision.

Cataracts happen most often once you’re past 40 years old—Cataracts rarely affect those under 40, and they most frequently affect those over 40. Cataracts, however, are considered a normal aging change, so if you have had a cataract, know that you are not alone. About half of all 65-year-old Americans have had cataracts.

You may have a hard time focusing on things that are up close—This common problem happens to almost everyone over the age of 40. Known as presbyopia, this vision change affects your near-sighted vision so that you may have to hold things a little farther away from you to focus on them. You may notice that you need reading glasses, but have no fear; this is a natural process of aging.

Reduced pupil size—As you age, the muscles that control the size of your pupil lose some of their strength. This may cause your pupil to become smaller and perhaps less responsive to changes in ambient lighting.

Your eyesight can change every year, so making annual appointments with your optometrist is important! To learn more about age-related changes in your vision, or to book an appointment with a specialist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

 

Optometrists Indicate that Eye Color Affect Your Vision

Although it may not seem as if it has an effect on your vision, your eye color can impact the way you see and your chances of developing certain eye-related problems. Optometrists have found that the differences between eye colors play more of a role in your vision than you might think.

Eye Color and Your Vision

Light eyes may be more sensitive—The most well-known way for your eye color to affect your vision is that if you have light eyes, you may be more sensitive to the sun. Having less pigment in your eyes may not protect them as much from the damaging rays of the sun, and optometrists have found that you may be at a greater risk for macular degeneration later in life.

Your eye color may impact your reaction times—A study has found that dark-eyed people perform better in “reactive” tasks and sports. Therefore, dark-eyed people may be better at hitting a ball or playing a defensive role in a game. Light-eyed people were found to have performed better in self-paced tasks, such as golfing or bowling.

Your eye color may change over time—Many children are born with blue eyes that change to brown or green eyes later in life. Optometrists have also found that even adults can notice slight changes in the hues of their irises as they age. This is a natural process that about 15% of Caucasians will experience. However, if your eye color changes significantly and rapidly, you should make an appointment with an optometrist.

Your eye color can affect your vision, even if it is just a slight change. To learn more about your eye color and its effect on your vision, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or contact us online.

What is Low Vision?

visionFebruary is AMD/Low Vision Awareness Month! Although the term in itself may be confusing, we’ll explain everything there is to know about low vision and the ways you can prevent low vision from happening to you.

Low Vision Explained

What is low vision? Low vision is a term that signifies that your vision has been impaired to the point that eyeglasses, contact lenses, or Lasik eye surgery would not completely resolve the issue. Low vision can also include tunnel vision, blind spots, and legal blindness.

What causes low vision? The most common cause of low vision is an eye disease. For example, cataracts can cause blurry or hazy vision, and macular degeneration may cause your vision to be partially obscured. Eye injuries may also cause low vision if you’ve suffered from a significant eye injury in the past.

What can be done about low vision? Of course, your first step should be to come into our offices at Valley Eyecare Center for an eye exam to make sure that you, in fact, have low vision. From there, if your vision cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses, we will check to see if you have certain eye diseases or injuries.

Is it possible to prevent certain eye diseases that cause low vision? While some eye diseases are hereditary, you can develop others throughout your life. Make sure to eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure that you receive the proper vitamins and minerals in your food. Vitamin A is especially crucial for your eye health. Also, make sure to go to regular eye exams so that your optometrist can check on the status of your eyes.

Schedule an eye exam today to check on the status of your vision! To learn more about low vision, or to book an appointment at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.