Thursday, September 12, 2013

Are School Administered Vision Tests Sufficient?

Busy parents across the nation are tackling to-do lists as their kids prepare for a new school year, and it's tempting to reevaluate the tasks to see what can be removed or saved for a later date. One item that should definitely be on your child's back to school to-do list is a comprehensive eye exam. Kids today typically receive a vision test annually administered by a school nurse, but don’t let this simple vision test replace your annual visit to an eye doctor. The vision tests administered in school can detect basic problems, but not all vision problems. According to the American Optometry Association, school vision tests are intended help identify children who may have undetected vision problems and refer them for further evaluation. However, they should not be relied on to provide the same results as a comprehensive eye and vision examination. To better understand why school administered vision tests should not replace regular visits to your eye doctor, consider the following factors that limit their effectiveness: Limited testing - Many vision tests only examine distance visual acuity. The ability to see clearly in the distance is important, but it does not give any indication of how well the eyes focus up close or how they work together. Untrained personnel - Often times a
vision test is conducted by administrative personnel, school nurses, or volunteers who have little or no training. While well intentioned, these individuals do not have the knowledge to competently assess screening results. Inadequate testing equipment - The scope of vision tests may be limited by the type of testing equipment available. Factors such as room lighting, testing distances and maintenance of the testing equipment can also affect test results. Also check out: Four Vision Problems Your Child May Inherit From You So before you postpone that upcoming trip to have your child’s eyes examined by the eye doctor, consider these facts: 1 in 4 kids has a vision problem that can cause problems in learning and behavior. Virtually everything kids learn comes through their eyes, so vision problems put them at a severe disadvantage in school and other activities. The World Health Organization reported an estimated 19 million children are visually impaired. 5 – 10% of preschoolers and 25% of school-aged children have vision problems. Early identification of a child's vision problem is crucial because, if left untreated, some childhood vision problems can cause permanent vision loss.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Back To School !

It's that time of the year again. Parents and children are preparing for the annual back-to-school ritual. While shopping for new clothes and school supplies are all a part of the traditional preparation routine, parents should also consider adding something new to the back-to-school schedule - a quick check for any eye problems or symptoms of potential problems. Some things parents should look for include: Excessive Tearing This is often a sign of blocked tear ducts in children but other potential
problems could be light sensitivity, allergy, a scratched eye or something in the eye. Eye rubbing Many times this is a telltale sign of an allergy or habit. Parents need to
monitor eye rubbing as it can lead to damage the cornea, if not addressed. Discharge This is usually a telltale sign of infection. If a discharge is evident a trip to your family doctor or eye care professional is encouraged.
Pinkeye One of the most common eye maladies associated with children and school. Pinkeye describes the white of the eye being a shade of red due to inflammation and irritation of the conjunctival tissue overlying the white of the eye and the back of the eyelids. There are multiple causes for this, which include infection. In school-age children, it is not uncommon for a virus to be the cause. This is the pinkeye that can be very contagious when caused by adenovirus. While contagious, children with adenovirus should be removed from school. Contact with them should be minimal, particularly by anyone who has compromised immune system. In preschool children, infection causing pinkeye is usually bacterial and responds well to the appropriate antibiotic. Viral infection does not respond to antibiotics. Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually limited to several days, while adenovirus can last two weeks or more.
Squinting The most common cause for squinting is an uncorrected nearsightedness requiring glasses. Other children squint because light may be causing discomfort in an inflamed eye. Parents should check to see that both eyes are equally wide open.
Eye misalignment (Lazy Eye) Eye misalignment or lazy eye can be obvious or slightly difficult to detect. Your child may have limitations in eye movement and may adopt a head position to compensate for the misalignment.
Squinting might also be a side effect. Expect your child to have well-aligned eyes that move together over the full range of motion after 2 to 3 months of age. Droopy eyelid Known as ptosis, this usually occurs on a congenital basis and can be potentially severe. Causes include a weak muscle in the eyelid or sometimes a tumor in the affected eyelid. A droopy eyelid can be associated with poor vision and a visit
with an eye care professional is highly recommended. Possible treatments include glasses for nearsightedness and astigmatism, patching of the sound eye and surgical correction.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

National Cataract Awareness Month

National Cataract Awareness Month Draws to Close, But Eye Protection from Sun Remains Crucial Even though National Cataract Awareness Month is drawing to a close, there is still a few weeks of summer left to enjoy. Even though summer might be winding down it is still very important to remember that too much exposure to the sun and not enough protection can potentially lead to cataracts. Cataracts current affect over 22 million Americans age 40 and older, and as the U.S. population ages, more than 30 million Americans are expected to have cataracts by the year 2020.
Remember, sun damage can occur any time of the year, not just during the summer. Some basic things to keep in mind to continue to protect your eyes from the sun are: 1. Wear UV blocking sunglasses and brimmed hats whenever outside for extended periods of time. 2. Clouds don't block the sun's damaging rays. 3. Consider any medication you are taking. Some medications - including birth control pills, tranquilizers and diuretics - can increase not just your eyes, but your entire body's, sensitivity to UV light. 4. Everyone is at risk. Make sure your children and older family members are all adequately protected from the sun. Cataract surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed on a daily basis in the U.S. Over 3 million cataract surgeries are performed each year and is a procedure with little to no pain, limited recovery time and many experience improved vision within 48 hours.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

In the fast paced world we all live in, too often it feels like we don't have enough time to take care of our health the way we would like to. But making time to take care of some very important parts of your body isn't nearly as difficult as you might think. And while it's easy to forget about your eye health, especially if you aren't experiencing any difficulties or pain regarding your sight, you can't afford to take your eyesight for granted. Here are some quick suggestions for giving your eyes some of the attention they deserve to stay healthy. Don't take your eye health for granted. Protect your eyesight with these six tips: Quit Smoking While this might seem obvious as far as overall health goes, smoking increases your chances of macular degeneration, optic nerve damage and the likelihood of getting cataracts. Throw on Some Sunglasses Yes, they can make you look fashionable, but don't underestimate the value of a pair of sunglasses with UV protection. UV exposure increases your chances for cataracts and macular degeneration. When choosing sunglasses opt for the ones that block both UVA and UVB rays and steer clear of anything with less than a 99% effectiveness. Wraparound sunglasses offer even more protection. Protect Those Eyes Again, it might seem obvious, but too many people underestimate the importance to protecting their eyes when doing certain tasks at home, work or on the playing field. Too often safety glasses or goggles are overlooked during home repairs, especially when the project is increasing the amount of airborne material in a room. The same thing applies for many contact sports like hockey or basketball. A good pair of sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses can prevent a number of sports-related eye injuries.
Step Away from the Computer! (At least for a couple minutes...) Just like any other muscle in your body, your eyes need a rest too, especially after prolonged use. Staring at a computer screen for extended periods can cause all sorts of discomfort including: eyestrain, headaches, dry eyes and blurry vision. Every 20 to 30 minutes, give your eyes a short break by looking at something at a distance for approximately 30 seconds. Every two hours try and step away from the computer and the concentrated eye focus for 10 to 15 min. A good thing to consider is making sure your computer screen is free of any glare to reduce any unnecessary squinting. And keep your eyes lubricated through blinking or drops. Watch Your Diet! One of the easiest ways to keep your eye healthy is by watching what you put into your body. Recent studies indicate vitamins E and C may contribute to slowing age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids (readily found in tuna, salmon and other oily fishes like sardines), zinc and lutein also help slow those problems. Try to increase your intake of leafy, green vegetables like spinach or kale and non-meat proteins like hummus, beans, nuts or eggs. The benefits of a good diet pay off in countless ways. While helping with overall health and a healthy weight, a good, well-balanced diet drastically decreases the chances of obesity-related diseases like diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults in the U.S.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Contact lenses

When it comes to contact lenses - for both new and seasoned lens wearers - communication with your eye care professional is essential, but often overlooked. A short conversation can deliver plenty of valuable information to make your lens wearing experience trouble free. Your eye care professional is always ready to discuss routine exams, lens comfort and lens replacement, when needed. A recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research and sponsored by Alcon found that most contact lens wearers surveyed haven't had a conversation about lens care with their doctor in approximately three years. Some basic questions and topics to discuss regarding contact lens wear and care during your next appointment with your eye care professional are: 1. Choosing the lens solution that is right for you. While many believe that all lens care solutions are the same, that isn't accurate. Lens care solutions can be specifically designed for cleaning, rinsing, disinfecting and storing. Your eye care professional can guide you in selecting what would be the best lens care solution for you. 2. Considering a change in lens care solution brands? Before changing lens care solution brands, make sure to consult with your eye care professional. Make sure to mention any problems or concerns you are having with your current lens care solution.
3. Proper Cleaning of Contact Lenses and Lens Case is Essential There is nothing more important than proper lens care hygiene when it comes to your vision. A short review with your eye care professional of your lens care hygiene can keep your eye and lens health trouble free. Identifying problem areas like reusing solution or wearing lenses for longer than suggested can quickly be corrected. 4. When Should I replace my lens case? Is it clean? The easiest way to preserve the life of your lens case is to follow the care, cleaning and storage suggestion from the product manufacturer. Make sure to allow adequate drying time for the case each the lenses are removed. Storage cases should be replaced as directed by the manufacturer. 5. When should I replace my lenses? Your eye care professional can provide a contact lens replacement schedule. Avoid using lenses for longer than the recommended time suggested by the product manufacturer and your eye care professional as it can potentially lead to discomfort, pain and other eye health concerns.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Signs of AMD

Age-related macular degeneration or AMD is an eye condition that usually affects older adults and leads to loss of vision in the center of the vision field called the macula - located in the retina. The macula helps you see small details clearly. Macular degeneration happens in "wet" or "dry" forms, with the majority of the people with the condition have the dry form. Macular degeneration, which occurs due to the aging and thinning of the tissues of the macula, generally starts with the formation of small yellow or white pieces of fatty protein, called drusen, under the retina. This progressively makes the macula thinner and leads to it not working properly.
Vision loss with dry macular degeneration is typically gradual. For those who develop the condition, careful monitoring of their central vision field is critical. Any changes to the vision field should prompt an immediate visit to your eye care professional as the condition can change to wet macular degeneration, the more damaging of the two conditions. Approximately 10 percent of people with macular degeneration have wet AMD. The wet form of macular degeneration happens when anomalous blood vessels begin to grow under the retina. These new blood vessels sometimes leak blood or fluid causing central vision to blur and distort. The longer these abnormal vessels continue to leak or grow, the more the risk of losing detailed vision. The faster wet macular degeneration is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances of saving as much of your central vision as possible, which is why it is best to meet with an eye care professional as quickly as possible if you are experiencing some of the signs and symptoms of AMD. Some of the Signs and Symptoms of Dry AMD are: Blank or blurry central vision Blurry distance vision Blurry reading vision Colors seem more pale than usual Need for increasingly bright light to see up close Colors appear less vivid or bright Trouble seeing when going from bright light to low light Some Signs and symptoms of Wet AMD are: Central vision loss The appearance of dark gray or blank spots in your vision The size of objects may seem different in each eye Distorted vision Less vibrant colors in your vision and colors looking different in each eye

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Treating Astigmatism

Astigmatism is a fairly common eye problem and treating the disorder has equally common options that can quickly help correct blurred vision. These treatments, to deal with the uneven curvature of the cornea that is causing the blurred vision, include wearing some sort of corrective lenses or having corrective refractive surgery. Corrective lenses - whether eyeglasses or contacts - counteract the affects of the uneven curvature of the cornea. Eyeglasses also have the ability to compensate for other refractive problems like near or farsightedness. A consultation with your eye care professional can help decide which corrective lens is the best option for your situation. Refractive surgery, where a laser is used to reshape the surface of your eye, has become an everyday surgical procedure around the world with over 2 million laser eye surgeries performed globally each year. The surgery has an extremely high success rate with a fairly short recovery process. There are three laser surgery options for your eye care professional to recommend depending on your disorder. The most common is LASIK (Laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) when an eye surgeon makes a small cut, creating a flap in the cornea in order to reshape the cornea under the flap. LASEK (Laser-assisted subepithelial keratomileusis) surgery is also an option, when an eye surgeon uses a laser to make a much thinner flap in the cornea before reshaping the cornea. LASEK is used more often for people with a thin cornea, play sports or have a high risk of eye injuries at work. PRK (Photorefractive keratectomy) surgery is when an eye surgeon uses a laser to remove the protective outer layer of the cornea before changing the curvature of the cornea.