Watching the ones we love grow older isn’t always easy, especially when we start noticing declining health, subtle and not so subtle issues with everyday life, and encroaching illnesses. It can be very painful to watch them suffer, and while we can’t stop ailments altogether, we can help them address some problems before they get worse. Vision loss serves as a great example – we rely so much on our vision that we often take it for granted. When we start to lose it, however, our quality of life can potentially go downhill fast. Watch for these warning signs to help catch the signs of vision loss early.
When our clarity of vision goes, not only do we lose good depth perception, but it also royally messes with our sense of balance. You might not think that balance and vision are related, but you’d be wrong! Improperly judging distances throws our body and equilibrium out of whack – a lot like missing that last step on the stairs. Watch for a tendency to bump into things, stumbles, missteps, and missing their intended target when setting things down, for example.
A slightly more obvious symptom of vision loss is eyesight getting fuzzy or hazy. If you notice your loved ones are holding things closer to their faces when trying to read or squinting a lot, this could be a good indication of vision loss. Taking longer to adjust to changes in light is another good indicator, but did you know that clarity issues can be one of the causes of dizziness? Blurred or unclear eyesight can cause momentary or prolonged waves of dizziness as our brains struggle to adapt to the sensory input. This can also tie in with the balance issues mentioned above!
Frustration and Anger
Humans are very proud creatures, and we hate to admit it when we’re having problems with things we used to be able to do just fine. Asking for help for things that used to be simple can feel like a loss of independence, which can bring about frustration and anger issues, and perhaps fear as well. Being unable to perform simple, easy tasks is also quite frustrating, obviously! If you’re noticing that your elderly relatives aren’t doing the things they loved as much, or they get frustrated with their daily routines or hobbies easily, vision loss just might be a factor.
If you’re noticing any of these issues, now might be a good time to gently suggest they see an eye doctor. Don’t be afraid to get creative if they balk at the idea – suggest a double appointment! Laying it out as part of their regular check up routine with their other doctors is also a good way to slip it into the conversation. However you do it, make sure they know you’re doing it because you care about them and certain issues can be dealt with quickly, helping them get back on the road to enjoying and living life.
While loss of vision and aging may seem to go hand in hand, you don’t have to let it drag your loved one’s quality of life down. Contact us today to ask about our exams or stop by to speak with a doctor.
When allergy season strikes, it can be especially irritating for those who wear contacts. Debris from the air can get trapped on or under the contact lens, further exacerbating the itchiness that allergens cause. Many allergy sufferers are eager to give LASIK surgery a try, as foregoing contacts can help reduce the eye symptoms some people experience as a result of allergies. But others worry if it’s a good idea for their eye health to have LASIK during allergy season or if it could make allergy effects worse. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. Post-Surgery Drops Can Alleviate Allergy Symptoms
After you undergo LASIK surgery, you will receive prescription eye drops to use for a set period of time post-operation. These drops contain a steroid, which often drastically reduces allergy symptoms in the eyes. While regularly using this medication, you should experience a great amount of relief from the typical eye symptoms that accompany allergies. Your doctor will taper you off of this steroid drop after a week, but it should help reduce the chances of itchiness and dryness while you use it.
2. Allergy Eye Drops Can Be Resumed
After about seven to ten days, your eye doctor will likely clear you to begin using either over-the-counter or prescription allergy eye drops again. These antihistamines can sometimes create dryness in your eyes, which can be heightened after surgery, so you could experience a bit more dryness than you did before. However, the itchiness that allergy season can create should be kept at bay, thanks to the combination of discontinuing the use of contacts and using the allergy drops.
3. Overall Eye Health is Likely to Improve
Once you’re postoperative, you might begin noticing that your general eye health is improving. You might have residual dryness for a bit, but the eye allergy symptoms will be lessened once you’re no longer relying on contacts daily and your eyes are likely to feel better overall. You will probably be less tempted to rub them, since they’ll be less irritated, so you will avoid getting particles in them and they will be able to better retain moisture.
If you’d like to know whether you’re even a candidate for LASIK, read our informative post here.
So if you’ve been considering LASIK eye surgery during allergy season, you’ve chosen a good time to do so. Not only will LASIK help you to see with pristine vision, but you might also be surprised by how much allergy relief you have after the procedure. Contact us today to ask about our LASIK eye surgery and your options.
Maybe you’re like the average person who goes to the eye doctor once a year (or less) and doesn’t think much about what that visit is called. Or maybe you’re someone who has heard terms like “routine eye exam” and “medical eye exam,” and experienced a little confusion. Either way, it’s a good idea for you to understand how these different types of eye exams are classified. After all, this simple terminology can impact your insurance and, as a result, your finances.
Routine Eye Exam
A routine eye exam is pretty straightforward. It’s something that takes place usually once a year, and includes updating your glasses or contact lens prescriptions and screening for eye diseases. If you have vision insurance, one routine eye exam per year is usually covered in some form or another. Even if your provider doesn’t cover the actual exam, they may offer certain discounts to you when you visit the eye doctor, so you’ll want to look into the details of your specific plan. If you don’t have vision insurance at all, you may have to pay out of pocket for this type of eye exam.
If your visit concludes with a diagnosis of nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, then this appointment remains classified as a routine eye exam and is billed to your vision insurance plan. If it ends with a different diagnosis, however, the terminology of the visit could change.
Medical Eye Exam
Sometimes, you may go in for a routine eye exam and find out that something is wrong, beyond your eyesight. If your eye doctor expresses concern while evaluating you and gives you a diagnosis of something like conjunctivitis or glaucoma, then your exam has officially shifted to a medical eye exam.
Other times, you might have a hunch that something is wrong with your eyes and schedule a medical eye exam from the get-go. In this case, if the purpose of the visit is for the eye doctor to evaluate you based on certain symptoms of pain or other complaints, or to check in on existing medical conditions, this will also be considered a medical eye exam. This type of exam is typically billed to your medical insurance carrier, rather than your vision insurance plan. This means that medical eye exams often receive better coverage through insurance than routine eye exams, as they’re viewed as more serious to your overall health.
The differences between the two types of eye exams might seem slight, but it’s still important for you to be aware of them. And most important of all, keep your eye health in tip-top shape by scheduling annual routine eye exams and making an appointment for a medical eye exam if you suspect something could be wrong with your eyes beyond mere vision issues. Contact us today to ask about our exams.
Dry eye syndrome, or dry eye, is an issue where the lubricant and moisture on the surface of the eye is insufficient. With allergy season upon us and dwelling in the desert, suffering from dry eye can be more than inconvenient and uncomfortable. Over time, chronic dry eye can cause inflammation and even scarring of the surface of the eye, which can affect the outcome of LASIK or cataract eye surgeries. Addressing any lifestyle factors that contribute to dry eye and seeing an eye doctor for an eye exam are the first steps toward addressing the condition.
Dry eye syndrome, otherwise known as DES, is the chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. In addition to being called dry eye syndrome, dry eye disease, or simply “dry eye,” alternative descriptions of the condition are:
Dysfunctional tear syndrome; an inadequate quality of tears can be just as detrimental as inadequate quantity.
Keratitis sicca; dryness and inflammation of the cornea.
Keratoconjunctivitis sicca; affects both the cornea and the conjunctiva.
Dry Eye Symptoms
The cause of dry eye is due to an issue with one of the three liquids (mucous, watery and oily) naturally found in the tear film. Additionally glands that contribute to the quality of our tears may become dysfunctional and cause tears to evaporate too quickly. Often springtime, which coincides with peak allergy season, is the most common time of year for dry eyes. You may experience the following dry eye symptoms:
Blurred or fluctuating vision
Heavy or fatigued eyes
Sensitivity to light
Feeling of ‘grit’ in the eye(s)
While the symptoms can vary from person to person, most experience minor irritation, have an inability to wear contact lenses and may have an elevated risk of corneal inflammation and the development of eye infections. Patients will require an eye exam by an ophthalmologist or optometrist in order to be correctly diagnosed with chronic dry eye or DES.
What Causes Dry Eye & What Treatments Are There?
There are quite a few dry eye causes, with the most common cause of DES being the natural aging process. Another quite common stimulant of DES comes along as a side effect of many medications, as well as computer use, indoor and outdoor environments and frequent flying. Patients who live in dry, dusty climates, such as here in Arizona, or windy climates with low humidity may also have an increased chance of developing dry eye.
DES has also been associated with many systemic diseases, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea, and Sjogren’s Syndrome. If you suffer from dry eyes, you have treatment options as listed below:
Medications for the treatment of DES
Drugs to reduce eye inflammation
Eye drops to control cornea inflammation
Eye inserts that work like artificial tears
- Eye drops made from your own blood
After completing an eye exam and diagnosis, a patient’s eye doctor may recommend artificial tears, which are moisturizing eye drops that decrease the dry, scratchy feeling and itch associated with dry eye. Prescription eye drops for DES go one step further, they work to increase your tear production by decreasing inflammation. In some cases, patients may be prescribed a steroid for immediate short-term relief.
Another option for dry eye treatment involves a tiny insert filled with a lubricating ingredient. These inserts work like artificial tears, continuously releasing lubrication throughout the day. For patients that suffer from extreme dry eye, autologous serum eye drops may be the answer. These drops are made from the patient’s own blood cells that contain naturally occurring ingredients that are known to speed up healing and increase lubrication of the eye surface.
Some additional treatment options include:
Using special contact lenses
Unblocking of oil glands
Utilization of light therapy
For severe cases of dry eye, an eye doctor may recommend a procedure to help alleviate the effects of DES. Punctal plugs have been found to be a successful dry eye treatment. These tiny devices are inserted into the ducts in a patient’s eyelids to block drainage, increasing the eye’s tear film and surface moisture. Meibomian glands, tiny glands in the eye that secrete oils, can sometimes become blocked. If a patient suffers from Meibomian gland dysfunction, their eye doctor may decide to probe and dilate these glands, or recommend a Lipiflow treatment to open the glands to increase oil secretion.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment has also been found to produce results in some patients who suffer from dry eye. Eye doctors will explain to patients that the IPL is absorbed by dilated blood vessels, therefore helping to reduce inflammation.
It is important to remember that dry eye causes will help direct the treatment plan that’s right for you. Please contact us to get on the road to recovery from dry eye.
If you’ve had poor eyesight for any period of time, you might be itching to ditch your contacts or get rid of your glasses. Even though both types of corrective lenses improve your vision, each carries some inconveniences along with it. If you want to have LASIK eye surgery and do away with the hassles of contacts or glasses for good, and are looking for when to do it, spring might be the perfect time to take the plunge. Here’s why:
As the temperatures outside begin to rise, there’s almost always a spike in outdoor activities as well. Whether you enjoy hiking, boating on the lake, or playing volleyball at a beach, your spring is sure to be full of fun outside. With any physically demanding pastime, you’re better off not having to wear glasses. They could fall off, get broken, or quickly get in the way of your favorite activity.
Even if your correct lenses of choice are contacts, these are still not ideal – especially around water. Contacts can easily slip out of place if a surge of water splashes your face, and an accidental rub of your eyes can introduce sand into the area, aggravating the contacts and the eye. The ideal option in any of these scenarios is to have your vision fixed with laser eye surgery long before you head out for these hobbies.
Another aspect of spring that’s worth noting is the prevalence of pollen during this season. Flowers and trees are in bloom, making for beautiful scenery, but this also increases the quantity of allergens in the air. If you’re susceptible to allergies and common symptoms like itchy or dry eyes, spring can be a rough time for you. By proactively getting LASIK eye surgery, you can enjoy the springtime without the added discomfort of allergies and the itchy eyes they can bring.
Busy Social Calendar
Spring is usually a very busy time, full of weddings, outdoor gatherings, and other events. The best part of all of these activities is seeing friends and family members, especially those whom you haven’t seen in awhile. If you have any upcoming events like these on your calendar, it’s only natural to want to look and feel your best. Getting LASIK eye surgery is one way to get rid of your glasses and enjoy any gathering with clear eyesight.
Another upside to having LASIK before attending important events is feeling good about all the photo opportunities that will likely abound. Many people feel self-conscious about being photographed with their glasses, so getting rid of glasses for good – via LASIK – is a great way to help you feel comfortable in your skin and ready to smile for the camera.
Lastly, another advantage of spring are the financial circumstances. Without any major gift-giving holidays in this time period, you’re likely to have a little more cash at your disposal. Furthermore, some individuals look forward to receiving a tax refund every year, and this could be a perfect opportunity to fund your LASIK procedure.
No matter your reasons for wanting LASIK eye surgery, spring just might be the best time to go for it. There’s no time like the present.
Spring is officially here and coming into bloom. The flowers are beautiful, the skies are sunny, and you can smell the promise of nice weather in the air. With all the beauty comes a very common frustration: allergies. Although some areas are more affected than others, allergies can crop up no matter where you live. Some people experience runny noses or excessive sneezing as a result, but others have to endure itchy eyes throughout allergy season. This is a pain, and can be further exacerbated if you wear contacts or have other eye conditions in conjunction with your allergy symptoms. If you want to enjoy the springtime, minus the annoyance and discomfort of allergies, here are a few tips:
Keep an Eye on Pollen Reports
If you’re searching for how to protect your eyes from the aggravations of allergy season, you might want to familiarize yourself with pollen reports. Most people have a habit of checking the weather before they plan to be outside, but many forget that there are forecasts designed especially to alert the public when allergens are at their peak.
Check out a website like Pollen.com to keep your eye on specific allergy information in your particular area. You can dial in to see pollen levels, trends and other aspects of allergy season that could help you make plans accordingly. If you notice that there’s a day where pollen levels are near their peak, it might be a good idea to alter your schedule so you can stay indoors as much as possible. This will help prevent itchy eyes and other discomfort that allergens might generate.
Clear Your Air
Another factor that can impact how allergy season affects your eyes is the quality of your air. Even if you stay inside, there’s a high likelihood that you (or your children or your pets) could bring in pollen, dirt, and other things from outside that can carry allergens. A good rule of thumb for protecting your eyes is to have everyone in your house remove their shoes when they come in, so anything that’s on the bottom of the shoes will be left at the front door (and not get ground into the carpet, further lingering in your home).
Also, take an inventory of your air filters. When was the last time you gave them a change? Even if it was within the past few months, dust and allergens can really do a number on filters. You might think you can wait longer than you really should in between changes. If you want some allergy relief, consider swapping out all your air filters on a regular (and frequent) basis to keep air quality high and allergens low.
Visit Your Eye Doctor
Sometimes even taking the best preventive measures, staying indoors and keeping your air pristine is still not enough to keep itchy eyes at bay. In order to get complete allergy relief, it might be time to pay a visit to your eye doctor. Depending on how your consultation goes, your doctor may prescribe a specific prescription eye drop to give you some relief of your symptoms or they may have some other suggestions for reducing the discomfort that allergy season brings. If you wear contacts, for instance, your doctor may suggest you wear glasses for awhile in order to diminish the additional aggravation on your eyes.
Whatever the solution is, your doctor will know better than anyone how to move on from the downsides of allergy season and begin enjoying the springtime season once again. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an eye exam, contact us today.
Many people schedule their dental and dermatology appointments like clockwork, and are quick to see a general physician when they experience pain or unusual symptoms. But the same regularity doesn’t always seem to be top of mind when it comes to seeing the eye doctor. Unless you’re out of contacts or need a new eyeglass prescription, you might dismiss your troubling eye symptoms or think that you can postpone your eye exam. While sometimes you can, other times a delay could adversely affect your vision (and health). To help you know when to get your eyes examined, here’s a list of symptoms that may seem minor, but should not go ignored.
1. Blurred vision when looking at people or objects.
Occasionally, anyone might experience a little bit of haziness in their vision. But there’s a difference between slight fuzziness that lasts for a moment and truly blurred vision. If you can’t see clearly when you look at people or objects, it’s time to make an eye appointment.
2. Difficulty seeing at night.
Nighttime is notorious for making your eyes work harder, but that doesn’t mean that discomfort is normal. If you struggle to see at night, or feel undue strain on your eyes as the day grows darker, see your doctor.
3. Trouble adjusting from dark to light.
Lighting transitions can be difficult on your eyes. And if it seems that your vision doesn’t adapt as it goes from dark to light, this could be indicative of a vision problem or even a lurking disease.
4. Difficulty at the computer at home or at work.
Many people spend their days (and even nights) working on their computers. If you notice that you aren’t reading quite as clearly on the screen as you did before, this could mean that something in your eyesight is going awry. Make sure to get it checked out by your doctor.
5. Eye strain or fatigue.
Have you ever read something up close and then shifted your eyes to look at something else far away? When you repeat this action a few times, you might notice that your eyes begin to feel very tired. Eye fatigue in this scenario is normal, but if you observe that your eyes feel overly taxed just from performing their normal daily activities, your eye doctor will need to know.
6. Frequent headaches.
Perhaps the only thing worse than experiencing a bad headache is experiencing these headaches on a regular basis. If you’ve been dealing with this issue, it could be your body’s way of revealing some negative eye symptoms that speak to bigger problems.
7. Double vision.
Double vision is what it sounds like; a problem in which you see two of what is before you. You might also have blurred vision, which often accompanies double vision. Either way, seeing double is a good reason to get an eye exam.
8. Wavy vision.
Wavy vision is how optometrists describe eye symptoms in which you see waves or zig-zag lines surrounding an object or person. This could be a sign of macular degeneration, so you don’t want to delay in getting an eye appointment scheduled.
9. Seeing halos.
If you see a bright circle of light surrounding light sources, you are seeing halos. This could be indicative of cataracts, which are the leading cause of blindness. If caught early, they usually can be treated quickly, so it’s in your best interest to get to the eye doctor quickly.
10. Eye pressure.
One of the most often ignored eye symptoms that people experience is pressure in the eyes. It’s somewhat easy to disregard, since it doesn’t seem like it could be much of a problem. However, eye pressure can signal glaucoma or ocular hypertension. This is another symptom that should not be overlooked.
If you’ve experienced one – or many – of these symptoms, it’s time to schedule your next eye exam. When it comes to your eyesight, regular exams and thorough testing are the keys to prevention of disease and vision loss. Please contact us today with any questions or to schedule an appointment.
Now that you’ve made the decision to get LASIK surgery, one of the most important things you can do after the surgery is to support yourself in the LASIK recovery process. Along with all of the information given to you by your doctors during and after the surgery, you should be prepared to use the following steps in order to get maximum benefits from your LASIK eye surgery.
Make sure that you talk to your doctor during the initial consultations for LASIK and keep notes. This is your chance to get common questions asked, and doing so will help minimize your concerns about LASIK eye surgery. This way you’ll know what to do so that you can be the most prepared for the procedure and life afterwards.
Don’t Rush Back into Everyday Life
It may be challenging for you to go back to everyday activities, like driving, so make sure that you have the chance to truly give your eyes a chance to rest before going on with the remainder of your life. You may even need to take a couple of days off of work or school to allow you to get appropriate recovery and rest. Your eyes may be dry and you may have cloudy vision so it’s not recommended that you operate heavy machinery or engage in any heavy reading that could give you headaches or other problems. When you think about what to do after LASIK eye surgery, make sure to give yourself ample opportunity to rest and recover.
Avoid Flushing Your Face with Water
Avoid swimming or encountering any water sport or activity that could cause problems for your eyes. Taking a bath during this time can help to allow your eyes to heal. Soap or shampoo can irritate or contaminate your eyes, so make sure that you’re extra careful when cleaning. If the droplets hit your eyes this can cause you to want to rub your eyes and this can be damaging for your LASIK recovery and should be avoided.
Follow All of the Doctor’s Orders
It’s always a good idea to attend your follow up appointments after you have had LASIK eye surgery and attend at regular intervals if the doctor suggests this. Using any lubricated eye drops or medication to help with the recovery and healing process are critical and may also help you avoid discomfort and dryness. If you have questions about a particular aspect of handling your post surgery recovery, then consult with your doctor immediately.
Protect Your Eyes if Necessary
Your doctor will probably give you an eye shield to wear as you leave the facility. If you need to prevent damage while you sleep or an unexpected blow from an object or a person it’s a good idea to use eye protection in the short term. If you do need to use your shower as opposed to the bath, eye goggles in the shower can help to prevent contamination and other problems.
If you’d like more information or have additional questions about whether LASIK is right for you, contact us today and let us help you see your future in a brand new light!
Perhaps you’ve heard about LASIK surgery because you have a friend who has gone through the procedure and had good results. Maybe your eye doctor has mentioned it to you in the past but you’ve never taken these suggestions seriously, or maybe you’re beginning to research how to reduce your reliance on contacts and glasses and have stumbled upon online research about LASIK surgery.
Before getting the surgery, it’s always recommended that you consult directly with your eye doctor.They can tell you more about your unique prescription, current health and historical conditions that may make you a good candidate for LASIK. As you do your research, keep in mind that there are several questions you need to ask before getting LASIK surgery.
Who Is Eligible to Get LASIK?
LASIK is used to treat common vision issues like farsightedness, astigmatism or nearsightedness. Your ophthalmologist can tell you more to ensure that you don’t have other eye conditions like severe dry eye or problems with your cornea. Your prescription should also be stable in order to benefit from LASIK. There’s a good chance, though, that you have LASIK surgery questions. An experienced LASIK surgeon can help.
How Long Will I Be Unable to See and Out of Commission?
In the majority of cases involving LASIK surgery, you will be eligible to go back to work the very next day. You will, of course, need someone to drive you home immediately after the procedure. Your doctor can tell you more about what you can expect with LASIK surgery and the best way to adjust your schedule in advance.
Is LASIK My Only Option?
For those individuals who do not want to rely on their glasses or contacts anymore, having a conversation with your ophthalmologist about all of your LASIK options can help you make an informed decision about what’s right for you. Many people who have chosen to get LASIK surgery, and are good candidates for doing so, find that their life has been dramatically changed for the better after the surgery. Ensuring that you are the right candidate and following all of the recommendations to prepare for LASIK surgery and to recover from it can help you make a more informed decision.
How Do I Choose a LASIK Surgeon?
Selecting a surgeon or care facility where you’ll receive LASIK is critical for your own personal sense of comfort and for how the surgery is carried out. As a patient you should have confidence in your medical care providers and this includes being kept informed about how the procedure will unfold and what you need to know in order to support yourself before, during, and after LASIK surgery.
If you’d like more information or have additional questions about whether LASIK is right for you, contact us today and let us help you see your future in a brand new light!
When it comes to your vision, it can be tough to know the difference between a temporary issue and what could indicate a more serious problem, like cataracts. If you’re the type of person who pays attention to your health and takes care of your eyes, you probably notice when even the slightest abnormality impacts your vision. To help you understand when it’s time to get to the doctor, here’s an overview of common cataract symptoms and what they could mean to you.
First off, what are cataracts? They’re a clouding of the eye’s lens, causing blurry vision and oftentimes blindness if left untreated. So if you start experiencing cloudy vision, pay attention. This hallmark symptom of cataracts should not be ignored. If your sight seems a bit more blurry than normal for a couple of minutes (or even hours), it could just be something temporary. But if the cloudiness lasts more than a day or two, it could mean you have cataracts. Don’t let your vision be severely impacted; schedule an appointment to be seen as soon as you can.
Sensitivity to Light
Many people experience sensitivity to light at different times in their lives. Sometimes, it can be the result of an illness or even a recurring health problem (like migraine headaches). But other times, it can be indicative of cataracts. If you’ve noticed an increase in your eye’s sensitivity to light, and don’t have another health concern that could be the cause, then it’s a good idea to be seen by an eye doctor.
Another common cataract symptom is seeing halos, which are basically bright circles that appear around a light source. Some people may see halos at night time, when everything else is dark except light sources. Seeing halos isn’t normal – no matter the time of day. A cataract changes the way that your eyes take in light, which is why seeing halos and sensitivity to light are two cataract symptoms that shouldn’t be ignored.
If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms it’s time to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. Time is of the essence, and can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your eyesight. And the good news about cataracts is that they are usually easily treated and won’t impact vision when caught early. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.