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Monthly Archives: July 2013

  • August Is National Eye Exam Month

    Eye exam

    Today kicks off the first day of August and in the eye care industry, that means National Eye Exam month. This is the time that many eye care practices will provide discounted eye exams to further push patients to come in and have their eyes examined. We are sure those of you that have provided your mailing address to your eye doctor have already received a little reminder post card about this, so this might not be news to you but it will be to those that are not aware of this. The price discount is offered as an incentive to create awareness of eye exams but also to get patients to take a moment and come in and have their eyes checked at a discounted rate which is hard to pass up in today harsh economic times.

    Some people are religious about having their eyes checked each year, while many other guilty patients are not. Now this is not to say that it is over looked on purpose. I’m sure everyone is busy with vacations, children going to or coming from camp, getting things ready for the upcoming school year and say "I will get to it" and just don’t make the appointment until they really find an issue with their vision.

    Why wait until it is too late? Everyone should make it a habit of having their eyes checked each year just like having an annual health exam or dental exam. Remember people, these are the only pair of working eyes you will ever have so why not have those baby blues checked out once a year? What is the worst that will happen? Your prescription gets changed? You discover your vision is being affected by an astigmatism? You are showing early signs of AMD? You may need to take some eye supplements? We are sure the list can go on, but the point being is that you have taken the proper measures to help your eyes instead of letting them keep slipping away.

    Did you know that during an eye exam a doctor can tell if you possess high cholesterol, high blood pressure, liver or gallbladder disease or even diabetes? In some reported cases, doctors were able to uncover tumors in the brain. For those that are not aware of what high cholesterol does, it puts us at risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes and retinal vein occlusion. Now wouldn’t that be great to know? An eye exam could save your life believe it or not.

    In conclusion if you are going to take anything away from this write up, we hope it is that an eye exam during national eye exam month can save you money but more importantly your life. Spread the word but more importantly have your eyes examined because you will only have one pair of functioning eyes and your family is counting on you.

  • July is UV awarness month

    The sun is necessary for life. It gives us the light and heat we need to survive. However, too much exposure to Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can lead to skin cancer — especially melanoma, the deadliest form that claims the life of one person every 50 minutes.

    Some may not be aware of this but nationwide, July is UV (ultraviolet light) Awareness/Safety Month. UV radiation, a known carcinogen, can have a number of harmful effects on the skin. There are two types of UV radiation: UVA and UVB. Both have been linked to skin cancer and a weakening of the immune system. They also contribute to premature aging of the skin, ocular melanoma and cataracts.

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology has provided helpful tips for everyone who plans to enjoy fun in the sun this summer:

    • The suns rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to avoid being in the sun during these hours.
    • When out in the sun use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Wear lip protection as well, also with an SPF of 30 or higher.
    • Reapply sunscreen every hour or two, especially after swimming, sweating or partaking in any outdoor activity. Be extra careful when you are near water, snow, cement or sand, as these are reflective surfaces and can intensify your exposure.
    • Cover skin with long sleeves and hats.
    • Keep an eye on your skin. The American Cancer Society provides tips on what to look for in skin changes that may lead to melanoma, a form of skin cancer.
    • When choosing sunglasses, select a pair of shades that block UV rays. Effective sunglasses should provide 97 percent to 100 percent UV protection.
    • Don’t be fooled on cloudy days and even haze. UV rays can pass through thin clouds and haze meaning you can get UV damage anytime during the year.
    • Wear protective eyewear during the peak hours when the suns rays are the strongest.
    • Children also need protective eye wear as well. Kids are at risk just like adults and should also stay out of the sun during peak hours.

    Every day, the National Weather Service calculates the predicted UV index. You can find this information on the Weather Channels website. If the level of solar UV radiation is predicted to be unusually high, and consequently the risk of overexposure is greater than normal, the forecast includes UV alerts.

    Don’t be fooled — 80 percent of the sun’s rays can penetrate through clouds, so be careful on foggy or overcast days.

    Here’s the good news: Overexposure to the sun, and skin cancer, are preventable so pass along this helpful information to your family, friends and loved ones.

  • What is Glaucoma? - The in's and out's of this silent killer

    Our patients frequently ask about the prevention, treatment, and symptoms of glaucoma which is a natural response when hearing about the effects. People want top know what they can do to keep themselves safe. However, to understand the causes and effects of a disease first you need to know what it is.

    What is Glaucoma?

    There is a simple and a complicated answer for this, just like anything in life. So i'll do my best to simply break it down. Glaucoma actually refers to a category of eye disorders. (6 of them to be exact). In a nut shell, glaucoma is the dangerous buildup of internal pressure against the optic nerve, which when not treated can lead of irreversible damage and even sight loss. So no let's take a closer look into the specific types of glaucoma.

    Open Angle Glaucoma - 

    Open angle glaucoma is the most common form seen today. It occurs from the trabecular meshwork of the inner eye starting to breakdown and become less effective at draining fluid out. As this happens, your intraocular pressure rises and slowly starts to damage the optic nerve.

    Like most types of glaucoma, there are no signs in the early stages. Once you start to notice black spots in your visual field, it is most likely too late.

     

    Normal Tension Glaucoma - 

    Normal tension glaucoma is essentially the same as open angle, however it doesn't have to do with higher pressure in the eye. In fact, some people who suffer from normal tension glaucoma actually have low eye pressure rates. The cause for this is fairly unknown. Most doctors speculate that it has to do with blood flow to the eye, because people with vascular diseases have a high rate of getting it.

    Angle Closure Glaucoma (closed angle glaucoma, narrow angle glaucoma) - 

    Another type of glaucoma, (with three different names) which is rare, especially when compared to the other types is angle closure glaucoma. This occurs as a result of the drainage angle of the eye being blocked off. Eye pressure can rise very fast, and cause damage quickly. Some symptoms of this are severe eye or brow pain, red and blurry eyes, seeing "halo's" around light, headache, nausea, vomiting, and other minor symptoms. Because of the quick nature of this, it needs to be dealt with asap. If you think you are having an "attack" seek medical attention immediately, especially if you are at high risks for glaucoma (hereditary, etc.)

    Congenital Glaucoma - 

    Congenital Glaucoma affects newborns and toddlers, as 85% of the cases are diagnosed before 16 months. It is a result of narrow angles in the eyes causes blocks and pressure build ups. This is extremely hard to determine because obviously children that young have no idea what is going on to them. If you notice any type of cloudy, white, mixture in the eye or any type of protruding, take them to the emergency room asap.

    Secondary Glaucoma - 

    Secondary Glaucoma is a result of another action. Frequent cases of this come from freak accidents and high intensity "ball" sports such as tennis or racquetball. Being hit in the eye or the area around it can damage nerves, create unwanted pressure and lead to this type of glaucoma.

  • The 6 Best Eye Supplements On The Market

    When people think about "staying healthy" they think about hitting the gym hard and eating right; But a commonly overlooked aspect to being healthy is proper eye health. There are a bunch of different things you can do to keep your eyes healthy. They include:

    The Best Foods for Eye Health.

    The Best Products for Eye Health.

    The Best Eye Supplements on the Market.

    (you can see each article by clicking on the respective link).

    This article specifically is about eye supplements, so let's get right into it.

     

    The 6 Best Eye Supplements - 

     

    Vitamin A -

    Vitamin A is crucial for retina health. The retina is what actually takes the image from the outside world and feeds it into your brain; without this you have no need for eyes anyways. A deficiency of this can lead to Xeropthalmia or bad vision at night. So make sure to take your vitamin A!

    • Beta Carotene is another key supplement to take. The body breaks it down and converts it into vitamin a. It can be found in most complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, carrots and spinach.

     

    Vitamin C - 

    Vitamin C is great because it helps to regulate the pressure in your eye. This is crucial for preventing glaucoma and other eye related diseases. It also aids in the collagen production in your eyes. The absolute best food for vitamin c is oranges.

     

    Lutein: - 

    Another supplement that you can find in most complex carbs, this is crucial for the prevention of macular degeneration and the formation of cataracts. It helps to uphold the layer around your eye that acts as a protective shield.

     

    Antioxidants -

    Antioxidants are key for general eye health, and the prevention of pretty much any eye related disease. Some supplements that are rich in antioxidants are:

    • Acai Berry - Not only does this help with energy and dieting, but it's great for your eyes.
    • Zinc - Another great antioxidant that helps with retina health and overall eye health.
    • Selenium - Another antioxidant that can be found in certain types of nuts. It can also be found in most multi-vitamins.

     

    Chromium -

    Chromium is another antioxidant that is crucial for regulating internal eye pressure. This can help prevent certain eye diseases like glaucoma. This can be found in most complex carbs as well. (sweet potatoes, corn, whole grains, etc.)

     

    Manganese - 

    Another supplement that can greatly enhance inner eye functions and overall eye health. You can find this in almost any multi-vitamin.

     

    Eye supplements are almost necessary for proper functioning, and overall eye health. However, with a well balanced diet and a multi-vitamin you can easily get everything you need. Make sure you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables as they are complex carbs are have all the necessary  supplements.

  • What Are Cataracts - An In Depth Look At A "Cloudy" Topic

    It's very simple: Cataracts are the clouding of the eye's lens which is located behind the pupil and iris. Left untreated, Cataracts can leave you blind, and is the number #1 cause of vision loss in people over the age of 40. There are more reported cases of cataracts than Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration, and other leading eye diseases combined.

    This is definitely not something to take lightly, and you should have all the facts to make an informed decision if you think you have symptoms. So we created this guide to make everything a little less "cloudy".

     

     

    What types of Cataracts are there?

    There are 3 main types of cataracts that you should be aware of:


    • Senile cataracts (age related cataract) -
      This type of cataract starts out as a slight cloudiness and eventually becomes worse and worse until the sufferer's vision is completely gone. The cataract cortex liquifies and creates a milky white fluid which can cause inflammation. This can lead to other types of eye diseases if untreated such as glaucoma.
    • Congenital Cataracts - Babies can actually be born with cataracts if they received poor pre-birth care. (If their mother was a smoker, drinker, etc.) They also form as a result of infection and injury at a young age. (Because it is hard for their young immune systems to fight anything off.)
    • Traumatic (or secondary) Cataracts- Traumatic Cataracts form as a result of some type of direct eye injury. These can develop as a result of a diabetes, exposure to harmful toxins and fumes, frequent exposure to smoke (especially cigarette smoke) certain drugs like corticosteroids or diuretics, radiation, and ultraviolet rays. This is all in conjunction with any type of physical trauma as well.

     

    What are the associated risk factors of Cataracts?

    • Age - Think about it this way, everyone in the entire world is at risk for cataracts because we're all going to get old eventually. In the united states more than 50% of senior citizens have a degree of clouding. After the age of 75, 70% of people have significantly impaired vision loss because of cataracts.
    • Genetics - You can't really get around this one. It doesn't matter what disease, condition, or deformity it is, if it's in your family's gene's, you are prone to getting it. And it's exactly the same for cataracts. If you are prone to cataracts or any eye related disease for that matter, make sure you are getting regular eye doctor appointments.
    • Diabetes - I mentioned this before, and that's because it's very important. The exact association between the two is not 100% certain. Doctors speculate it has to do with the role of the polyol pathway. Regardless, if you have diabetes, it is a must that you are frequently seeing your doctor.
    • Frequently Flying - Pilots and people who frequently fly (i'm talking over 20 times a month) are at a higher risk for cataracts. This has to do with the increased exposure to cosmic radiation.
    Cataracts are very serious, and if not treated can leave your vision permanently disabled or even destroyed. If you think you have any symptoms of this disease, make sure you go to your eye doctor asap. The sooner they diagnose the disease, the better your chances are at getting your vision back. If you would like to read about the symptoms of cataracts click here:

     

     

    - CLE Contact Lenses
  • Gas Permeable Contact Lenses - Everything You Need To Know

    Gas Permeable Contact Lenses (also know as rigid gas permeable) have been gaining a lot of popularity in the past few years. So here at the eye care guys blog, we figured we would give you a full run down on everything you need to know.

    First off, you should know that there are 3 different types of contact lenses.

    You can read about any of the 3 by clicking on the links.

    Gas permeable lenses make up about 8-10% of all contact lens sales, and are become increasingly popular, especially in the younger generations. They were created as, and have become the replacement to pretty much all hard lenses. They are durable and sturdy so you don't have to worry about them falling out of place, they resist deposits from building up, and they resist bacteria like a normal hard lens, but they also transmit oxygen (unlike conventional hard lenses) making them much more comfortable. They also don't have water in them like a conventional soft lens does which can be very annoying. They are truly the best of both worlds.

     

    What do Gas Permeable Contact Lenses Look Like? (in comparison)

    As you can see, the RGP lenses are much smaller which is a result of years of fine tuning. This makes it so when you blink you will feel them much less (if at all) then the soft lenses (and especially against hard lenses).

     

    Who is the best candidate from RGP contact lenses?

    • Anyone - Quite frankly, anyone can use rigid gas permeable contact lenses because they are a really good balance of hard to soft. Being a good middle ground makes them ideal for anyone who isn't too picky about durability or softness on the eyes.
    • People with a multitude of eye diseases - 
      • Astigmatism - If normal soft contact lenses aren't doing it for you, these are a much better option then going right to a hard lens. The fact that they let oxygen in will help you greatly.
      • Keratoconus - This is an eye disease that stems from the cornea, so the extra oxygen getting to the cornea through the permeable lenses will help immensely.
      • Presbyopia - This is a disease that forces you to use bi or multifocal lenses. Since RGP's come in so many different options, this is perfect for this condition.

     

    Why Gas Permeable Contact Lenses?

    I touched on it a little bit before, but GPCL's are ideal because they allow oxygen to get into the cornea. This added oxygen keeps everything in your eye in balance. They are also custom fitted to every single person who wears them, so obviously you are getting optimal comfort by wearing these. To learn more about how a contact lens fitting works click on the link.

    In recent years, doctors have also been able to thin out the actual contacts while maintaining the durability. This allows for more oxygen to pass through and better comfort.

    However, I do have to add that while these contact lenses are very comfortable, there is a small amount of time you need for your body to get used to them. It's a common misconception that soft lenses are the most comfortable and as lenses get harder they lose comfortability. When in reality, a soft lens is easier on your eye, so it adapts faster. So you get faster comfortability, but in the long run GPCL's are a much better idea.

    If you have any additional questions or concerns don't hesitate to leave a comment below, or send us a message via the contact page.

    Always, - CLE

  • What is colorblindness?

    A very common question we get in regards to eyecare has to do with color blindness. Not only do people ask "What is colorblindness"?, but we get all different questions on the severity of color blindness, and what it looks like to have color blindness. So we created this quick article to address some of those questions and give some better insight. First off,

     

     

    What is Color Blindness?

    Color blindness is a very misleading term because less than 1% of all cases actually results in full "blindness" of color. (meaning the patients can only see in black and white). In reality, most people who suffer from "color blindness" actually have a "color deficiency". That means that they have trouble distinguishing colors, rather than not being able to see them all. There are some universal patterns across the board that optometrists see; those are blue and yellow and red and green.

    Color blindness effects just around 8% of all males in the United States and just under 1% of all females.

     

    What are the symptoms of Color Blindness?

    Like i previously mentioned, the symptoms of color blindness is the inability to distinguish colors from each other.

    There are tests you can take to determine if you have color blindness. (called the Ishihara Color Test). The test will be comprised of a series of different images with mini circles and shapes. The mini circles and shapes will be slightly different colors that will allow people who are NOT color blind to see the hidden images, and those who ARE colorblind to not see them. If you want to take a color blindness test, check out this website. - http://www.colour-blindness.com/colour-blindness-tests/ishihara-colour-test-plates/. Here is an example of what one of the images looks like -

    Ishihara Color Blindness Test 2

     

    What Causes Color Blindness?

    The scientific reasoning behind color blindness is this: light sensitive cells in the retina fail to respond appropriately to variations in wavelengths of light that enable people to see an array of colors. In your eye you have rods, and cones, both of which are photoreceptors. The cones are what enable the brain to perceive color, so a color deficiency means that you have a problem with the cones in the macula of the eye.

    However, there are some degenerative conditions that can lead to color blindness. These include Parkinsons disease, Cataracts, or Kallman's disease.

    If you have any more questions or concerns please leave a comment below.

  • What is Macular Degeneration?

    The "macula" is a part of the retina, but focuses on specific tasks. I call these the "fine tuning" tasks: things such as threading a needle, pulling the marshmallows out of your lucky charms, and reading a newspaper. This is opposed to the "peripheral retina" which controls all of your side vision. So now that we know what the macula is, let's look at what macular degeneration is.

     

    What is Macular Degeneration, and what types are there?

    Simply put, MD is when you have damage to the retina, and it causes vision impairment or vision loss all together. This is generally caused by old age, but has different causes for the degeneration. So let's take a look at those:

     

    Dry Macular Degeneration - 

    Dry Macular Degeneration is the most common type of MD accounting for 90% of the total cases. As shown from the video above, this is a result of small fatty deposits building up behind the retina. This is a slow and ongoing process, hence: degeneration. This is generally caused by dry eyes, which is common in elderly people. Luckily, when compared to other eye related diseases such as glaucoma or cataracts, MD almost never leads to full vision loss.

    Some common symptoms include dark areas or distortion in your central field of vision, blurriness, vision loss, nausea and headaches. If you have any signs of dry md, you need to go see your eye doctor asap. The sooner you diagnose it as md, the quicker you can take action.

    Wet Macular Degeneration - 

     

    Wet macular degeneration is very similar to dry MD, but stems from a different cause. In wet MD, abnormal blood vessels start to build up behind the retina similarly to the fatty deposits in dry MD. These blood vessels then leak blood or fluid into the eye, distorting vision. (the vessels can even burst in some occasions, really damaging the retina). The longer you let these vessels sit without taking any action, the higher your risk is for vision loss.

    Luckily, wet MD is rare, and only accounts for 10% of overall macular degeneration sufferers. The best strategy to save yourself from wet md is to make sure you are going to regular doctor appointments. This is crucial for all types of eye related diseases.

    I would like to highlight again that macular degeneration almost never leads to full, permanent vision loss. However, that doesn't mean it isn't something to take very seriously. If left untreated it can damage your retina very badly and lead to some long term effects. While most common in elderly people, it can still effect you if you are young.

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