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.

What Is UV Protection and Why Do I Need It?

We’ve all heard about the importance of UV protection with sunglasses and our skin, but what is it, and why do we actually need to take it into account? These four tips will help you to understand what UV is and how to avoid it.

Sunglasses and UV Protection

Optometry Understanding UV radiation and why you need protection—UV stands for ultraviolet, and it is the radiation from the sun that can damage not only your eyelids or cornea but also your skin if it is exposed to the sun for too long. UV rays come in two forms, UVA and UVB, and they can also contribute to the development of cataracts or growths on the eye.

Protect your eyes with UV-blocking sunglasses—You should look for sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays in order to keep your eyes safe from the potential damage UV would cause. It is important to note that the color of the lenses does not indicate its level of UV protection. You must get sunglasses that specify that they protect your eyes from UV rays.

Have multiple pairs of sunglasses—In Arizona, it’s almost always sunny, even in the winter! It is best to never be without your sunglasses, so we recommend having multiple pairs. You can have a pair at home, at the office, and in your car.

Prescription UV-blocking sunglasses are available—If you want the UV protection of sunglasses without losing your vision, come into Valley Eyecare Center for prescription sunglasses! We’ll help you to find the perfect style for you!

Sunglasses are an important aspect of keeping your eyes safe and healthy! To learn more about UV protection, or to schedule an eye exam with one of our optometrists at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Optometrists Care About Your Health

optometristIt’s flu season again, and the optometrists at Valley Eyecare Center want to make sure that you stay healthy throughout the season! Since your overall health affects your eye health, make sure to follow these tips to ensure that you stay healthy throughout the winter!

Health Tips from an Optometrist

Wash your hands frequently—One of the most common ways to spread the flu is through contact, so if you have come into contact with anyone who is sick or has had the flu, you should make sure to wash your hands as soon as you can.

Get plenty of rest—Your body is less susceptible to getting ill when you have had a good night’s rest. Optometrists also recommend getting plenty of sleep because your eyes will be more hydrated when you have a good sleep schedule and get plenty of sleep.

Eat right—Eating right is not just about eating a balanced diet but also making sure that you are getting enough vitamins. Foods that are rich in vitamin C and E can help to boost your immunity system, so if you’re concerned about catching the flu, make sure to eat more sunflower seeds, almonds, oranges, or broccoli, as these contain large amounts of either vitamin E or C.

Exercise often—Exercise is also important to boost your immunity system. Exercise can also be found to reduce stress, which allows your body to relax and can also lead to better health. We recommend exercising several times per week to ensure that your body is in its optimal condition.

Drink plenty of water—Although it may be difficult to get the recommend eight glasses of water per day, it is important that you work yourself up to this amount. Water is extremely important to many of your bodily functions.

Stay healthy this flu season! To learn more about how to maintain your optimal health, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, 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.

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