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Know How and When to Treat an Eye Infection

It’s that time of year again…coughs, sneezing, running noses and itchy, red eyes. How do you know when an eye irritation is something that needs medical attention?

First of all, any time an eye infection is accompanied by fever, excessive discharge or pain, you should see your eye doctor immediately.

The eyes are sensitive and there could be a number of factors that contribute to discomfort and irritation, some of which require medication. There are also some types of eye infections that are very contagious, which you want to treat as soon as possible.boy green eyes freckles 1280x853

Pink Eye

Pinkeye, also known as conjunctivitis, occurs when the conjunctiva, the thin membrane lining the eyelids and the whites of the eyes, becomes inflamed or swollen. The white part of the eye often also becomes red, thus the name, “Pink Eye”.

Pinkeye is common among school-aged children because infectious pink-eye can be very contagious and spread quickly in classrooms, but it can occur at any age. The most common cause of pinkeye is a virus, although it can also be due to a bacterial infection or a non-infectious source such as allergies. One or both eyes may be affected.

The symptoms and treatment for pink eye depend upon the type of pink eye you have.

Typically, bacterial pink eye, which can be treated by an antibiotic eye drops or ointment, is associated with burning, itchy eyes accompanied by a thick, yellow pus-like discharge that makes the eyes difficult to open upon awakening. This must be treated by antibiotic according to the eye doctor’s instructions for a minimum of 5 days, to prevent bacterial resistance. On occasion if the infection is not responding to topical medications, oral antibiotics may be used.

Viral pink eye, which can’t be treated by antibiotics, usually runs its course between 1 and 3 weeks. It typically causes teary eyes, swollen lymph nodes and a lighter more translucent mucus discharge. Sometimes the eye symptoms come in conjunction with an upper respiratory infection or a cold. Viral pink eye is extremely contagious.

Allergic pink eye is often characterized by redness, intense itching, and tears in both eyes and will usually respond to antihistamines, topical vasoconstrictors, or steroid eye drops (which should only be used with a doctor’s prescription). Eye rubbing can aggravate the itching and swelling, so try to use cool compresses and allergy medication as prescribed.

Preservative-free artificial tears may also provide some relief.

Any time pink eye symptoms do not improve after a few days, particularly if there is significant discharge, see your eye doctor. Make sure to clean the hands thoroughly after every encounter with the infected eye.

Styes

Styes are inflamed oil glands or hair follicles on the eyelid (usually along the lash line or under the lid). The inflammation is caused by bacteria and results in a swollen, red and painful bump. Often styes will eventually go away on their own, but if they occur often, a doctor might prescribe topical or oral antibiotics or sometimes even drain it though a minor surgical procedure.

Warm compresses can be used not only to ease the pressure and discomfort but also to open up the stye to facilitate healing. Styes are typically not contagious.

Most eye infections are not dangerous but they can be quite uncomfortable. If you have an eye infection make sure you take the proper steps to stay comfortable and prevent the infection from spreading to your loved ones.

8 Tips to Beat Winter Dry Eyes

One of the most common patient complaints during the winter months is dry eyes. In the cooler climates, cold winds and dry air, coupled with dry indoor heating can be a recipe for eye discomfort. Dryness and irritation can be particularly debilitating for those who wear contact lenses or suffer from chronic dry eyes – a condition in which the eyes produce a low quality tear film. Harsh weather conditions can reduce the natural moisture in your eyes and the irritation usually results in a burning or itching sensation that often leads to rubbing or scratching your eyes which can worsen the symptoms. Sometimes it feels like there is a foreign object in your eye and for some, dry eyes can even cause excessive tearing, as your eyes try to overcompensate for their lack of protective tears. Prolonged, untreated dry eyes can lead to blurred vision as well. Whatever the symptoms, dry eyes can cause significant discomfort during the long winters and relief can seriously improve your quality of life. Here are eight tips to keep your eyes comfortable during the harsh winter months:woman wiping her eyes with a tissue

  1. To keep eyes moist, apply artificial tears/eye drops a few times a day. If you have chronic dry eyes, speak to your eye doctor about the best product for your condition.
  2. Drink a lot of fluids – keeping your body hydrated will also help maintain the moisture in your eyes.
  3. If you spend a lot of time indoors in heated environments, use a humidifier to add some moisture back into the air.
  4. Try to situate yourself away from sources of heat, especially if they are blowing. While a nice cozy fire can add to the perfect winter evening, make sure to keep your distance so dry eyes don’t ruin it.
  5. Staring at a computer or digital device for extended amounts of time can further dry out your eyes. If you spend a lot of time staring at the screen, make sure you blink often and practice the 20/20/20 rule – every 20 minutes, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  6. Don’t rub your eyes! This will only increase irritation and can also lead to infections if your hands are not clean.
  7. Give your eyes a break and break out your glasses. If your contact lenses are causing further irritation, take a break and wear your glasses for a few days. Also talk to your optometrist about switching to contacts that are better for dry eyes.
  8. Protect your eyes. If you know you are going to be venturing into harsh weather conditions, such as extreme cold or wind, make sure you wear protection. Try large, 100% UV protective eyeglasses and a hat with a visor to keep the wind and particles from getting near your eyes. If you are a winter sports enthusiast, make sure you wear well-fitted ski goggles.

If you find that after following these tips you continue to suffer, contact your eye doctor. It could be that your condition requires medical intervention.

"Eye" Am Home for the Holidays – 7 Eye Tips for College Students

 

Winter break is in a few weeks and, with college students finding their way home for the holidays, it is a good time for parents to check in and make sure their independent kids are taking care of themselves properly.Vision plays a key role in learning as well as extra-curricular activities and college students in particular are susceptible to a host of eye and vision problems including injuries, infections and increased nearsightedness. Here are 7 tips for college students to keep their eyes and vision safe and healthy during the semester.Happy Girl Fingers Near Eyes 1280x853

1) Wash your hands frequently.

College dorms and crowded classrooms can be a breeding ground for germs and bacteria, one of the most common of which is conjunctivitis or pink eye. To keep the germs away and stay healthy, wash your hands regularly with soap and warm water and try as much as possible not to touch your eyes

2) Take care of your contact lenses.

With the late nights and busy college life, it can be easy to get lax with contact lens care, but don’t! Always adhere to your eye doctor’s instructions for proper contact lens hygiene. Don’t sleep in your contacts if they’re not approved for extended wear, disinfect and store properly, only use contact lens solution and don’t swim or shower with your lenses in. In addition to causing dry eyes and irritation, improper care of lenses can result in serious infections and in the worst cases permanent scarring and vision loss.

3) Take a break.

Many hours of studying can take its toll on your and in today’s digital age, the results could be even more dramatic. Blue light from computers, tablets and mobile phones has been linked to vision complications and computer vision syndrome which can cause blurred vision, headaches and neck and shoulder pain. If you are working at a computer or in front of a screen for hours at a time, follow the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes take a break and look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you spend most of your day on the computer consider purchasing a pair of computer glasses to lessen the effects of the screen on your eyes.

4) Get out.

Do yourself a favor and get outside regularly. Studies show that more than 50 percent of college graduates are nearsighted, with eyesight worsening with each school year. Further research has shown that spending more time outdoors can protect vision from getting worse.

5) Handle Makeup with Care.

Makeup, particularly liquid or creamy eye makeup, can be a breeding ground for infectious bacteria. Never share makeup with friends and if you get an eye infection throw away your makeup asap. A good rule of thumb is to replace all eye makeup every three months.

6) Use Eye Protection.

If sports are part of your college experience, make sure you are keeping your eyes safe with proper eye and vision gear. Protective, polycarbonate or trivex sports glasses, skiing and swim goggles can protect your eyes from scratches, bumps, bruises or worse.

7) Get a Yearly Eye Exam.

As mentioned above, it is common for college students to experience a decline in vision which could have an impact in and out of class. Get a yearly exam to make sure you can see your best and that your eyes in general are healthy. If you enjoy sitting at the back of the lecture hall, your eye checkup can ensure you have updated glasses or contact lenses at your optimal vision.

With all of the excitement of winter break, many college students find that their vacation flies by. Before the fun comes to an end, consider that winter vacation is the perfect time to schedule your yearly eye exam. You may even get a brand new pair of eyeglasses to spruce up your post vacation wardrobe.

Why the Cheapest Eye Exam is Not the Best?

Eye Exams

See the Benefits of Our Eye Exam in Redondo Beach, CA

No matter how you look at it, eye care is an expense. Yet that doesn’t mean it’s always worthwhile to chase after the lowest price for your eye exam! When it comes to the health of your eyesight, you need to be confident that your eye exam provides a precise vision prescription and accurate diagnoses. And the cheapest options cannot always promise this level of exactness. In contrast, a reasonably priced eye exam by our Redondo Beach, CA eye doctor uses top skill and advanced technology – so you can depend upon the results.

Eye Exams with Maximum Value

We know you may still be wondering if there are more benefits to getting an eye exam at your eye doctor instead of getting a cheaper eye exam at the closest retailer. Let’s look at the reasons:

    • 1. Personalized Eye Care When you visit our eye care clinic for an eye exam, our eye doctor will start your appointment with a series of questions about your medical history and lifestyle. If you have any visual complaints or questions, this is the time to speak up. We are here to listen and to address your concerns. This information is the basis for designing the best plan to care for your long-lasting vision. Opposed to cheaper, generic eye exams, our eye exams are not generic and standardized. Instead, we customize testing to meet your individual needs.
    • 2. Comprehensive Eye Evaluations Checking visual acuity is only the beginning of your eye exam; our Akron eye doctor will check much more! We will also assess functional vision skills, such as eye mobility, eye teaming, and focusing, and inner eye health. Depending upon your requirements, we may also use digital imagery to analyze your retina and optic nerve, as well as use tonometry to look for the signs of glaucoma.
    • 3. Cutting-edge Technologies Technology is always on the move, changing and improving, and we stay focused on the latest developments in optometric equipment. Our eye doctor is committed to furnishing our eye care center with the most modern technology, so you benefit from detailed diagnoses and progressive treatments. The equipment in our Akron eye care clinic includes OCT Scans and Digital Retinal Imaging, Daytona Optomap, and Visual Field Testing. These devices enable us to examine your eye tissues efficiently, safely, and painlessly – and you won’t need to wait for results because the high-resolution imaging is instant.
    • 4. Eye Care that Considers Your Overall Health Too We value both your vision and your general well-being. Our eye exam inspects much more than just your sight. That’s because eyes can also give a view of your general body health. Specific diseases, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure, can be seen on your inner eye tissues before you notice any problems. When these dangerous health conditions are left untreated, they can cause damage to your eyes and the rest of your body. If we detect any of these signs, we’ll refer you to the most appropriate local medical care provider. Cheaper eye exams will not provide you with this level of compassionate and professional healthcare.

In sum, a cheaper eye exam is not always your best option!

Alternatively, you can click here to Schedule an Eye Exam online.

Do You Know the Facts About Diabetic Eye Disease?

If you or a loved one suffers from diabetes, awareness of the threat of vision loss due to diabetic eye disease should be a top priority. Don’t wait until it is too late to learn about the risks.

Here are eight true and false questions about diabetic eye disease to test your knowledge. If you have any questions, contact your eye care professional to find out more.senior woman green eyes 1280x853

1) Diabetic Retinopathy is the only eye and vision risk associated with diabetes.

FALSE: People with diabetes have a higher risk of not only losing sight through diabetic retinopathy, but also a greater chance of developing other eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma. People with diabetes are 40% more likely to develop glaucoma and this number increases with age and the amount of time the individual has diabetes. Diabetics are also 60% more likely to develop cataracts and at an earlier age than those without diabetes. Additionally, during the advanced stages of diabetes, people can also lose corneal sensitivity and develop double vision from eye muscle palsies.

2) Diabetic retinopathy can cause blindness.

True: In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 20 to 74.

3) With proper treatment, diabetic eye disease is reversible.

FALSE: Although early detection and timely treatment can greatly reduce the chances of vision loss from diabetic eye disease, without prompt and preventative treatment measures, diabetic eye disease can result in permanent vision loss and even blindness. Currently, there is no cure that reverses lost eyesight from diabetic retinopathy; however, there are a variety of low vision aids that can improve quality of life for those with vision loss.

4) People who have good control of their diabetes and their blood glucose levels are not at high risk for diabetic eye disease.

FALSE: While studies do show that proper management of blood sugar levels in diabetics can slow the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy, there is a still a higher risk of developing diabetic eye disease. Age and length of the disease can be factors for eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts. The risk of diabetic retinopathy can be influenced by factors such as blood sugar control, blood pressure levels, how long the person has had diabetes and genetics.

5) You can always prevent diabetic eye disease by paying attention to the early warning signs

FALSE: Oftentimes there aren’t any early warning signs of diabetic eye disease and vision loss only starts to become apparent when the disease is already at an advanced and irreversible stage.

6) A yearly, dilated eye exam can help prevent vision loss through diabetic eye disease.

TRUE: Diabetics should get a dilated eye exam at least once a year. Since diabetic eye disease often has no symptoms, routine eye exams are critical for early detection and treatment. Everyone with diabetes should get an eye examination through dilated pupils every year, because it can reduce the risk of blindness from diabetic eye disease by up to 95%.

7) Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are at risk of developing diabetic eye disease.

TRUE: Everyone with diabetes – even gestational diabetes – is at risk and should have a yearly eye exam. In fact, 40% to 45% of those diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy.

8) Smoking increases the risk of diabetic eye disease.

TRUE: In addition to getting regular eye exams, stop smoking, partake in daily physical activity, maintain a healthy weight and control blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol: they all help reduce the risks of eye disease.

Whatever your score on the quiz above, the most important take-away is that if you have diabetes, even if you aren’t having any symptoms of vision loss: make an appointment for a comprehensive, dilated eye exam every year. It could save your sight.

About the Latest Fire in LA and Your Eyes

Lately, I have been receiving numerous calls and patient appointments regarding itchy and red eyes, as well as contact lens discomfort, caused by the latest brush fires in the Los Angeles area and the surrounding cities.

Here is what to do:

1- Stay indoors as much as you can.

2- Try not to use your contact lenses. If you do, then you must use Contact Lens lubricant for Soft or Hard contact lenses.

3- Use artificial tears more often, even 6 to 8 times a day.

4- Wear Sunglasses to protect your eyes against the wind and smoke.

5- Use a face or mouth mask to stop further lung irritation.

5- Avoid using the air conditioning in your car, but if you do, please face the vent downward to avoid air blowing directly to your eyes.

If redness and discomfort worsen, do not hesitate to contact your eye care professional.

7 Things You Should Know About Eyelid Twitches

You may have experienced this before. Out of nowhere, your eyelid starts twitching uncontrollably. While this can be a cause of aggravation, eyelid twitches, spasms or tics are actually quite common.girl ethnic 1280x853

Here are 7 things you should know about this eye condition:

  1. Eye twitches are generally caused by a repetitive, involuntary spasm in your eyelid muscles and are known in medical terms as a blepharospasm.
  2. Almost all sudden-onset eye twitching is not considered to be a serious medical condition, though it can be hard to treat without knowing the underlying cause.
  3. Eyelid twitches can occur sporadically, though some people have been known to feel them for a few consecutive days or weeks
  4. Stress, tiredness, eyestrain, caffeine alcohol or tobacco usage, dry eyes, allergies or nutritional imbalances are factors that can trigger or exacerbate eye twitches. The body produces endogenous cortisol (a steroid) when stressed, which may cause biological warning signs to the body to de-stress.
  5. If reducing stress does not alleviate the twitches, your eye doctor can perform a refraction (vision test) and comprehensive eye health exam to see if eye treatment can resolve the problem. Sometimes the solution is relieving eyestrain by updating your glasses.
  6. Rarely, a twitch will continue despite these efforts to alleviate triggers. In that case, they can be treated with Botox injections to help stop the muscles in your eyelid from contracting.
  7. Eyelid spasms are only considered a medical emergency when the twitch is accompanied by red or swollen eyes, unusual discharge, a drooping eyelid or twitching in other parts of the face. These may be symptoms of a more serious neurological disorder

 

If the twitching persists, talk to your eye doctor to help you treat it.

This Halloween Be Wary of Costume Contact Lenses

As Halloween approaches and costume planning gets more serious, many consider the use of novelty or costume contact lenses as a way to add that extra flair. Whether you are dressing up as a cat, a vampire, or looking for something fun that glows in the dark, dressing up your eyes can certainly add the finishing touch to your outfit. However, most people are unaware that costume contact lenses can pose a serious danger to your sight. If used improperly and bought without a medical prescription from an eye care professional, costume contact lenses can cause serious infection, corneal abrasions and in some cases lead to permanent vision loss.contacts putting in woman

As contact lenses are considered a medical device they need to be prescribed and fitted by a licensed eye care professional, according to the FDA and Health Canada. Most of the lenses sold in novelty and retail stores are not approved by the FDA or Health Canada. This is because the material they are made from can scratch your cornea, distort your vision or cause an infection. In fact it is illegal for retailers to sell any kind of contact lenses without a prescription. That’s why contact lenses for costumes are often purchased at discounted rates online, where regulations are negligible.

Here are a few tips to take into consideration if you decide to use costume contact lenses on Halloween or at any other time during the year.

1. Visit your eye doctor for a thorough eye exam. Your doctor will also measure your eyes for the correct contact lens fit and explain the correct way to use and care for your lenses. This rule applies even if you have perfect vision.

2. Purchase costume contacts only from a retailer that requests a prescription and sells FDA approved colored lenses.

3. Be sure to follow the instructions for contact lens usage, care and cleaning.

4. If you experience redness, swelling or discharge, remove your lenses and seek medical attention from your eye doctor.

5. Do not share your contact lenses with anyone else.

6. Schedule a follow up eye exam with your eye care professional.

Don’t let an impulsive buy from a costume store ruin your vision.

For more information, watch the FDA’s video on improper use of decorative lenses below:

Innovations in Color Blindness

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There have been a lot of videos going viral lately of color blind people “seeing color” for the first time using specialized glasses. The emotional reactions of amazement, shock and joy even lead some to break down into tears. The glasses provide these individuals a way to view the world in vibrant, living color, as everyone else around them is able to.

One in every 12 men and one in every 200 women have some degree of color blindness or color vision deficiency (CVD). The condition is not actual blindness, but an inability or a decreased ability to see color and perceive differences in color. CVD can be a partial or total deficiency, although total color blindness is not as common. There are two main types of color blindness:

  • red-green – which is most often inherited from the mother’s side on the x chromosome, and
  • blue-yellow – which is much more rare and usually occurs from damage to the nerve. CVD can sometimes be acquired through disease, brain injury or certain drugs or chemical reactions

The World of the Color Blind

Contrary to common misconceptions, a person who is color blind does not see only grey. He still usually sees color to some extent, but often the colors appear dull or washed out and can be easily confused with other colors. People often have trouble identifying or naming certain colors or distinguishing colors, for example, red and green, as well as orange, yellow and brown may appear similar, particular in low light situations. In fact, while people with normal color vision typically see about one million unique shades of color, individuals with color deficiency are only able to perceive 5-10% of that.

People with color deficiency often do not know they are color blind until they are tested. They assume everyone else perceives colors the same way. Often individuals are tested when they are seeking out certain career paths in which it is essential to distinguish colors such as pilots, electricians or police officers among others.

Innovations in Color Vision

Color blindness can impair certain aspects of daily life and limit certain activities or job options and therefore there are a number of companies out there working on technology to overcome these difficulties. While there is no cure for CVD, there are aids available that can sometimes assist with increased color perception.

Eyeglasses/Sunglasses

There are a couple of brands of color enhancing glasses available that help some individuals with red-green colorblindness.

Both EnChroma and o2Amp Oxy-Iso Color Correction Glasses work for about 80% of people with red-green colorblindness – which means that not everyone will have the same experience as those that appear in the videos. The lenses enhance color perception by filtering out the light into different spectral components. EnChroma has two versions – indoor, designed for looking at computer screens and outdoor, sunglasses.

Another solution is a custom designed ColorCorrection System in which contact lenses and glasses are customized for the individual and are available with or without a prescription. These lenses work by changing the wavelength of the colors as they enter the eye to enhance color discrimination and perception.

Apps for CVD

There are a growing number of apps available for smartphones and tablets that serve as color vision aids for those with CVD. One example is the Colorblind Avenger which is a color identification program will allows the person to use their mobile device as a visual aid. The user takes a photo or selects an existing photo and when he touches an area on the image the app displays the color of the selected area.

Huevue is another app of colorblind tools that help people with CVD identify, match and coordinate colors. There are many other apps available out there to help aid those with CVD and educate others about living with the condition.

There are even video games and software design tools that are now created with colorblind modes to allow use by people with CVD. While none of these tools and aids are able to restore color vision permanently, they do allow those with the condition to live a more vibrant life.

What You Should Know about Diabetes and Your Vision

Diabetes affects people of all ages, races and genders. An estimated 25.8 million Americans or 8.3 percent of the population suffer from the disease, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011. In fact, diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults in the North America.blond woman smiling 1280x853

If you or someone you care for has diabetes, here are 6 things you need to know about how it impacts eyes and vision.

  1. What is diabetic eye disease? Diabetic eye disease is most commonly associated with diabetic retinopathy, which is characterized by damage to the blood vessels of the retina and can lead to blindness. According to the National Eye Institute, it can also cause premature cataracts and glaucoma.
  2. How does it impact vision? In diabetic retinopathy, the small blood vessels that nourish the retina at the back of the eye become weak as a result of fluctuating sugar levels in the bloodstream. This causes bleeding at the back of the eye, reduced circulation and less oxygen and nutrients reaching the retina. As a result, new fragile blood vessels are produced to compensate. However, the abnormal blood vessels can start leaking fluid and small amounts of blood into the retina, causing vision loss. In the worst cases, the retina can scar or detach, causing permanent vision loss.
  3. What are the symptoms? At first, someone with diabetic retinopathy may not experience any noticeable symptoms. That is why early detection is crucial and diabetics should have a dilated eye exam at least once a year to screen for diabetic retinopathy. In most cases, by the time you realize something is wrong, the disease is so far advanced that lost vision can’t be restored.In its advanced stage symptoms may include:
    • Fluctuating vision
    • Eye floaters and spots
    • The development of a shadow in your field of view
    • Blurry vision, or double vision
  4. Who is at risk? Anyone who has diabetes type 1 or type 2 has a greater chance of developing vision loss. Even gestational diabetes and pre-diabetes increase the risk of diabetic eye disease. An estimated 40 to 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some degree of diabetic retinopathy, according to the NEI. That is why anyone with diabetes should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is to have an effect on your vision.Race and family history can also put you at risk for the disease. If you are of Hispanic, African, Asian, Pacific Island, or Native American descent, you are more likely to develop diabetes. Lifestyle – including your weight, diet and how active you are – also plays a role in the development and management of diabetes, as well as its effect on the eyes.
  5. How is diabetic eye disease treated?There are effective medical treatments, including injections into the eye to prevent leaking blood vessels and laser treatment to prevent and reduce vision loss as a result of diabetes, but early detection and treatment are vital!
  6. What steps can I take to reduce diabetes related vision loss?Make sure to keep your blood sugar levels under control and monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol. Speak to your doctor about what your target goals should be to prevent further deterioration. Often, when diabetes causes damage to the eyes, it is also an indication of the damage occurring in the kidneys and other areas in the body with small nerves and blood vessels, too. Exercise, maintain a healthy diet and keep your cholesterol levels low. Schedule eye exams yearly or as often as your eye doctor and medical doctor advise.

Knowing the risks and symptoms of diabetic retinopathy is not enough. If you or a loved one has diabetes, don’t take chances. The only real way to safeguard your vision is by making your eye health a priority.