All posts by Eye Consultants of Atlanta

June 18 Hearing Seminar

We only have a few spots left for our hearing seminar on June 18, hosted by Dr. Erin Rellinger, Au.D. at 11:00 AM at our Cumberland hearing center! Please click the link below to RSVP. Free food and refreshments are included. This is a great opportunity to get professional advice and ask all your hearing-related questions! Your friends and family are welcome, as well.

You may RSVP by clicking the link below or by calling 404-591-2950.

RSVP HERE

children running

5 Signs of Strabismus in Children

Strabismus is an eyesight condition which typically develops in childhood. More commonly known as a squint, walleye or crossed eyes, several factors can cause the condition, including genetic predisposition. Individuals with healthy vision will look at an object with both eyes.The brain will then combine the images from each eye to produce a three-dimensional binocular image.

Binocular vision usually develops in children around the age of seven. However, some children may develop a “lazy” eye that becomes redundant; this can lead to poor sight in that eye and the increasing misalignment of the eyes that characterizes strabismus. Strabismus is also externally visible, so the appearance of their misaligned eyes may cause children to become embarrassed about their looks.

As the child grows, the problem can become entrenched, and treatment of older children carries no guarantee of success. However, strabismus is treatable following an early diagnosis. Here are five signs that a child may be at risk of developing strabismus:

Misaligned Eyes

The most prominent symptom of strabismus is misaligned eyes. The angle of the misalignment may change from convergent to divergent as the child looks at different objects, and the problem may also be intermittent.  Because it is often subtle in young children, however, it can be easily missed.

Looking Sideways at Objects

Children with strabismus may turn their heads to help them to focus their dominant eye on things they see. They may also move their heads to each side when viewing objects at different distances.

Closing an Eye

As strabismus develops and the child struggles with their vision, they may close the lazy eye to steady their sight. They may also open and close each eye alternately as they look around. This behavior enables the child to block the image from an eye, causing the problem to become rooted.

Squinting in Moderate Light

Early manifestations of strabismus can cause double vision and headaches, which can be aggravated by light. While children will naturally squint in intense sunlight, children struggling to coordinate their sight may find even mild glare uncomfortable. A child who squints indoors or while looking at a TV screen may be at risk of developing strabismus.

Problems Judging Distance

Binocular vision is a key component in the way we judge depth, so a lack of binocular vision may cause children to act clumsily. Another sign of strabismus is a lack of hand-to-eye coordination. In children, this may cause problems when catching balls during sports and games.

Treatment for strabismus is more likely to be effective if the condition is diagnosed before adolescence. If it is allowed to pass undetected, the child will learn to adapt, but this can damage future job opportunities where good vision is a priority. Treatment for strabismus may involve therapy, but sometime an operation is necessary to realign the eyes.

Screening for strabismus has improved significantly in the last 30 years, and there are fewer cases of strabismus carrying through to adulthood. For this reason, it is imperative that parents seek specialist advice if they spot any symptoms of the condition in their children.

 

 

 

Old television

Can TV Damage Your Eyesight?

Woman in front of computer, grimacing with headache

For as long as television has been around people have been concerned about its affects on eyesight. If you get headaches or your eyes feel tired when you watch TV, these may be signs of nearsightedness or eye fatigue.

Myth vs Fact

In a January 27, 2010 issue of Scientific American, a group of ophthalmologists stated television “won’t cause any physical damage to your eyes.” That’s right, you may feel eye fatigue if you watch several hours of TV or if you sit very close to the screen, but there’s no physical damage to your eyes or eyesight. Eye fatigue and eyestrain are common after marathon TV sessions, but your eyes will bounce back after a night or two of quality sleep.

Eye Fatigue

When you focus your attention on a TV for long periods of time you tend to blink less and your eyes get excessively dry. Combine this with not changing your focal point for many minutes or hours and you’ll start to feel some serious eye fatigue. The feeling may be as simple as dry, uncomfortable eyes or you may feel discomfort similar to a headache in and around your eyes. If this happens, the best medicine is a good night’s rest and an over the counter pain reliever.

Preventative Care

If your eyesight gets blurry or your eyes feel excessively tired while you watch TV, try moving your eyes around the room periodically and focus on other objects during commercials. The act of moving your eyes and focusing on near and far objects exercises your eyes and helps prevent fatigue. Also remind yourself to blink frequently while you watch TV to lubricate the surface of your eyes.

Vision Checks

Kids who frequently sit close to the television may actually be nearsighted and should have their vision checked. The same is also true for adults. If you find yourself squinting and getting headaches while you watch TV, it may time to check in with your eye doctor. If you need glasses while driving you should also wear them when watching television.

TV itself isn’t permanently damaging to your eyesight, but you may develop headaches and eye fatigue if you watch TV for long periods of time without moving. Remember to look around the room during commercials, blink often during movies, and get your eyes checked if you find yourself squinting or sitting too close to the screen. You’ll end up with a more comfortable TV viewing session.

VisionWalk 2018

Thank you to everyone who turned out to support Foundation Fighting Blindness with us in April! Contributions from Eye Consultants of Atlanta patients and staff allowed us to raise nearly $40,000 for Foundation Fighting Blindness. It was a great time with prizes, good food, and more. Thank you again for being involved. We hope to make next year’s VisionWalk another success!

 

 

A brief history of ophthalmology

Ophthalmology Through the Ages

As ophthalmologists, we are deeply interested in both the history and future of the practice of ophthalmology. It is a field with a long history that dates back to the earliest written history available – and which has made remarkable advances in recent years.

Closeup of woman's eye

What is Ophthalmology?

Let’s start with a simple definition of ophthalmology. Ophthalmology is a medical specialty that focuses on the anatomy and physiology of the eye. Ophthalmologists have a deep understanding of the human eye. They can:

  • Medically treat diseases of the eye
  • Prescribe glasses or contact lenses for the purposes of correcting their patients’ vision
  • Implement laser therapy
  • Perform surgery on the eyes

Ophthalmologists also frequently participate in academic and medical research related to the diagnosis and treatments of disorders and diseases that affect the eyes.

In the United States, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, which has 32,000 members worldwide and is the world’s largest association of eye physicians and surgeons. The AAO:

  • Sets educational standards for the study of ophthalmology
  • Advocates for patients
  • Informs the public about the practice of ophthalmology

Founded in 1896, the AAO takes its job seriously. In addition to the duties listed above, it also tracks ethical violations and provides public resources for those interested in learning about ophthalmology and eye diseases.

Subspecialties of Ophthalmology

As you might expect, the specialty of ophthalmology has several subspecialties that allow physicians to focus on special areas of concern. Here are some of the subspecialties that exist.

Cornea and External Disease

Specialists in cornea and external diseases of the eye focus on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the other areas of the eye, including the cornea, sclera, conjunctiva, and eyelids. These may include conjunctival and corneal tumors, corneal dystrophies, microbial infections, inflammatory processes. Some specialists in this area are trained in corneal surgery, including transplantation and surgery that corrects refractive errors.

Neuro-Ophthalmology

Vision and the nervous system are inextricably linked. The neuro-ophthalmology subspecialty looks at the relationships between neurological disorders and ophthalmic diseases. It also deals with pathologies affecting the optic nerve. Neuro-ophthalmology is most often practiced as a nonsurgical subspecialty, but some specialists combine it with a practice that involves surgery of the eye and orbit.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a common disorder of the eye that causes optic nerve damage due to increased intraocular pressure. A glaucoma specialist may also treat other disorders that cause optic nerve damage and will usually provide both medical and surgical treatment of the disease in question.

Pediatric Ophthalmology

Pediatric ophthalmologists spend most of their time in the medical and surgical treatment of eye disorders that affect young people. These may include:

  • Strabismus
  • Amblyopia
  • Genetic abnormalities of the eye
  • Developmental abnormalities of the eye
  • Inflammation of the eye
  • Trauma
  • Ocular manifestations of systemic disorders

Some ophthalmic pediatricians treat infants while others focus on older patients.

Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery

Ophthalmic plastic surgery may be either reconstructive or aesthetic. Reconstructive plastic surgery focuses on repair of the eyelids, orbits and tear ducts. Aesthetic plastic surgery focuses primarily on the appearance, and not the function, of the eyes.

Vitreoretinal Diseases

Vitreoretinal diseases and diseases that affect the retina and vitreous. Specialists in this area treat manifestations of genetic, local, and systemic diseases as they affect these areas of the eye. These diseases are most typically diagnosed using ultrasound, fluorescein angiography, and electrophysiology. Common treatment methods of vitreoretinal diseases include cryotherapy, laser therapy, retinal detachment surgery, and vitrectomy.

Ophthalmic Pathology

Ophthalmic pathology is a specialty that requires training first in ophthalmology and second in pathology. Because the understanding of the eye is a specialty, an ophthalmic pathologist is usually the person who would examine tissue samples from the eye and adnexa when required.

The History of Ophthalmology

Reading about the subspecialties of ophthalmology, one might be tempted to think of the study of ophthalmology as a recent development. However, the earliest recordings of treatments for disorders of the eye date back thousands of years.

The first known written record of medical treatments of eye diseases come from the Ebers Papyrus from Egypt, which dates back to 1550 BCE.

The very earliest doctors (pre-Hippocrates) made diagnoses of the eye based on speculation, not empirical proof. Based on their observations, they concluded that the eye had outer and inner layers with fluid on the inside.

As we might expect from such early writings, the treatments for eye diseases and disorders were mostly herbal. Although the Egyptians did perform some simple surgeries, there was no information in the Ebers Papyrus to indicate they had performed eye dissections or had anything other than speculative knowledge of the eye’s structure.

Eye Diseases in Ayurvedic Medicine

Another early medical text that included extensive information about treating the eyes was the Sushruta Samhita, an Indian text that is considered one of the foundations of Ayurveda, or traditional Indian healing.

There is some debate over the date of the Sushruta Samhita. Some scholars attach it to the sixth century BCE, while others are more circumspect and will say only that it was written in the middle of the last millennium prior to the Christian era.

The word Sushruta is sometimes mentioned as the name of the physician who wrote it. In Sanskrit, it means “famous.” The Sushruta Samhita included, in total, descriptions of 1,120 illnesses and medical conditions. These included 67 ocular diseases and 51 surgical treatments.

The text also describes early surgical instruments. Modern ophthalmologists consider Sushruta to be the first cataract surgeon. The methods he described are similar to the primitive surgical treatment known as couching, which involved pushing the cloudy lens that is typical of cataracts to the bottom of the eye to clear the vision.

Greek Medicine and Dissection of the Eye

Many of the key advances that led to our understanding of the human eye and its structure can be dated to the ancient Greeks.

Aristotle famously dissected the eyes of animals and was the first to document three layers in the eye. He found that the consistency of the fluid inside the eyes explained the congealing that occurred after death.

Rufus of Ephesus, who lived in the first century AD, was the first to identify the conjunctiva. He also recognized that the eye had two chambers, with one chamber (from the cornea to the lens) filled with what he called water, and the chamber from the lens to the retina filled with a substance he compared to egg whites. Rufus also identified the epithelial layer.

Cross-section of the eyeball

A 2nd-century Greek physician, Galen, expanded on the work of his predecessors. He noted the curvature of the lens and cornea and the nature of the optic nerve, among other things. His model got closer to our modern models of the eye, and he also correctly identified the tear ducts.

The Precursors of Modern Ophthalmology

In the Middle Ages, lenses and microscopes were commonly used to examine the eye and learn about its structure. While the basic structure was known, there were still mysteries to be solved. Healers did not yet know why the pupils changed their size or what purpose the retina served.

In this period, many significant advances were made. They included:

  • A surgeon named Georg Joseph Beer pioneered a surgical treatment, known as Beer’s operation, as a treatment for cataracts.
  • King George III’s oculist, Baron Michael Johann Baptist de Wenzel, refined the technique for removing cataracts and legitimized surgery as a treatment for the condition.
  • Ernst Abbe, a German physician and scientist, made huge advances in the field of ocular correction and is considered the father of modern optics. In addition to pioneering lenses for vision correction, he also revolutionized microscopic and telescopic lenses.
  • Hermann von Helmholtz, a German physicist and physician, invented the ophthalmoscope and made the modern practice of ophthalmology possible.

The world’s first hospital dedicated to the treatment of the eyes was founded in London in 1805. It is Moorfields Eye Hospital, and it is still in operation today.

Modern Ophthalmological Advances

The modern practice of ophthalmology has its roots in the history of the specialty. However, those early practitioners of medicine would have no doubt marveled at the advances that have been made. Here is a small sampling of the modern advances that allow us to treat diseases of the eyes.

Corneal Transplantation

Vladimir Petrovich Filatov was a Ukrainian ophthalmologist who pioneered the use of tissue therapy to restore vision to those who had lost it. He used the tube flap grafting method and grafts from cadavers in his work.

Filatov attempted his first corneal transplantation in 1912, but the corneas grew opaque. He persisted and performed his first successful cornea transplant in 1931.

Retinal Surgery

Charles Schepens was a Belgian physician. He is considered to be the father of modern retinal surgery thanks to his work. He invented the binocular indirect ophthalmoscope.

Schepens moved to the United States in 1947 where he became a fellow at Harvard Medical School. He is credited with inventing the field of vitreo-retinal ophthalmology. He pioneered a treatment called scleral buckling for detached retinas. He founded The Retina Institute in 1950. It has since been renamed the Schepens Eye Research Institute and has affiliations with Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital.

Ophthalmic Microsurgery

A Russian ophthalmologist named Svyatoslav Fyodorov is considered to be the father of ophthalmic microsurgery. Over the course of his career, he made several major advancements in the field.

The first happened in the 1960s when he began to use the intraocular lenses invented by Sir Harold Ridley. Fyodorov used the intraocular lenses to treat patients who had cataracts.

By 1973, he had invented a new surgical technique to cure glaucoma in its early stages. The surgery was called trabeculectomy. While the surgery itself has been modified over time, it is still the most commonly-performed surgery for glaucoma today.

Finally, Fyodorov developed the surgical procedure that he’s best known for, the radial keratotomy. It is used to change the shape of the cornea and cure myopia. He later founded the Fyodorov Eye Microsurgery Complex in Moscow.

Refractive Surgery

The first corneal transplant was performed in 1931, but the technique used to perform it has evolved. One of the most influential ophthalmologists in this area was a Spanish physician, José Ignacio Barraquer.

Barraquer had a prolific career. He developed the Barraquer Keratotome with pneumatic fixation, which improved the precision of cataract incisions. He published dozens of articles, including one that pioneered the use of air injection in the anterior chamber during cataract surgery. He pioneered the “edge to edge” suturing technique in corneal grafts, which is still used today.

LASIK Surgery

LASIK surgery is commonly used for permanent vision correction. It is based on the work of Dr. Barraquer, who first developed the microkeratome and keratomileusis techniques during his years in Colombia.

LASIK Surgery Procedure

In 1980, a man named Rangaswamy Srinivasan, who was working for IBM, discovered that he could etch living tissue using an ultraviolet excimer laser, without doing thermal damage to the surrounding area. He called his phenomenon “ablative photo-decomposition” or APD.

The excimer laser was eventually used in radial keratotomy, which has developed in the LASIK procedure today. A Greek surgeon named Ioannis Pallikaris performed the first LASIK surgery in 1989. After that, he developed the Epi-LASIK technique, which eliminated some of the risks associated with LASIK surgery.

Requirements to Become an Ophthalmologist

Requirements to become an ophthalmologist vary from country to country. In the United States, it requires:

  • Four years of undergraduate school
  • Four years of medical school
  • One year of general surgical residency
  • Three years of ophthalmology residency
  • One to two years of specialty training (optional)

Once certified as an ophthalmologist, physicians must complete required continuing education to maintain their licenses and certifications. Governing bodies such as the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery offer continuing education programs, conferences, and political advocacy.

Conclusion

The field of ophthalmology is an exciting one, and it is constantly evolving. While today’s microsurgeries would seem like magic to early physicians, we do not doubt that the same would be true of modern ophthalmologists if we could see into the future.

 

stress: staying healthy

Manage Stress in Your Life

How Does Stress Affect Your Health?

Did you recently experience a breakup? Is there a conflict between you and another family member or friend? Perhaps your mind keeps drifting to a particularly involved project at work. Whatever your particular case, like millions of Americans right now, you are undergoing stress.

Nearly a quarter of adults in the U.S. said that they were under extreme stress. While these figures may seem surprisingly high (indeed, this rate is up significantly from last year), you are probably familiar with the negative effects that worrying can have on your life. Anxiety can impact your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing.

Today we are living in a world where we are constantly exposed to high demands. The lines between our personal and professional lives are increasingly becoming more blurred thanks to mobiles phones, tablets, and the popularity of social media. And while blue light filtering lenses can help reduce the effects of long screen use, there’s no substitute from taking a break. Unfortunately, though we are working as many hours as we ever have in the past, leaving us less time to self-heal and recover from our obligations.

It is still important to note that your anxiety is a completely natural reaction to many negative experiences in life, and it is normal to experience stress from time to time.  Stress that never abates is when a problem develops and your quality of life and even physical health are affected. “Good stress” can even give you the boost you need to finish that big project at work, or work up the courage to ask out a potential date.

So, how can you confront your (bad) stress and leave your worries behind? Before considering how we can prevent stress, let’s understand what stress really is, and how you can tell if you’re experiencing it.

 

How can you tell you’re experiencing stress?

Generally your anxiety can manifest itself in some of the following ways:

  • Fatigue, exhaustion
  • Difficulty getting to sleep
  • Binge eating / overeating / lack of appetite
  • Muscle aches and soreness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased use of cigarettes, alcohol, etc.
  • Anger, moodiness
  • Panic attacks

Note that this list is not complete and only lists some of the most typical symptoms. We all experience stress differently. You should always consider consulting a physician to rule out any medical problems that may be confused for stress.

 

The stress response

Stress is a hard-wired physical response that travels throughout your body. In the brain, the hypothalamus causes the release of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. During the stress response, you begin to breathe at a quicker rate in order to help distribute oxygen to your body. Unfortunately, this can make breathing more difficult, especially if you have a medical condition such as asthma.

Your heart also pumps blood faster under stress, constricting blood vessels and diverting more oxygen to your muscles (to assist with the fight or flight response). This, in turn, raises your blood pressure, and over prolonged periods, can increase your chances of having a stroke or a heart attack.

The rush of hormones, rapid breathing, elevated heart rate, and extra glucose that is sent by your liver during a stress response can also affect your digestive system. The loss of glucose creates a fuel shortage in your body, which is easily fixed with sugary foods that provide us with a quick energy boost, making us crave sweet foods.  You are also more likely to experience heartburn or acid reflux due to an increase in stomach acid. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and general discomfort in the stomach are also not uncommon.

Chronic anxiety can affect a man’s levels of testosterone, which can in turn interfere with sperm production and cause erectile dysfunction. For women, stress can affect the menstrual cycle, causing irregular, heavier, or more painful periods.

Stress can also make good sleep more difficult. Studies have shown that those with the highest levels of stress were more likely to experience worse sleep. Not being able to settle down and get rest can also affect your health in other ways, as those who are chronically sleep deprived are at an increased risk for heart problems, as well as diabetes.

 

What you can do

Reducing your stress levels with not only make you happier, but will improve both the length and quality of your life. Remember however, that it is unrealistic to never experience any anxiety in your life.  The real challenge (and goal) will be managing stressors in your life and how you respond to stressful events, rather than eliminating them completely.

Identify your stressors:

Monitor yourself throughout a typical day. When your mood takes a dive, try to identify the cause and how it makes you feel. Once you have identified a stressor, try coming up with a few options to address it. Does the stressor seem insurmountable? You or those around you may have expectations that are not reasonable. Talk to with someone you trust: your boss, family, friends, colleagues, etc. about what is bothering you and solicit them for input.

Approach and plan:

Even the most worrisome of problems only seem insurmountable due to the lack of developing a plan. While you may not be able to pay off $10,000 in debt today, setting a realistic goal (even if it takes a number of years) will help make you feel in control of your stressors. List everything that is bothering you and then sort them by priority. Remove anything that is not essential. Develop a plan of action for each of these.

Reach out:

Relationships can serve as sources of stress, but friends, family, and colleagues can also offer valuable support and insight to you in a time of need.

 

Conquering stress

Managing your stress is not a one-time quick fix. It will most likely involve a series of lifestyle changes that require changes in how you approach problem-solving and your coping mechanisms.

 

 

tennis ball on tennis court

Protect Your Eyes During Sports

Protecting Your Eyes During Sports

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, there are more than 40,000 sports-related eye injuries treated in ERs every year. It is important that those who participate in sports have reliable eye protection to reduce the risk of eye injuries.

Most eye injuries occur in sports that involve physical contact, the use of balls of any kind, racquets, or any moving objects. Some of the riskier sports that can potentially injure the eyes include squash, hockey, boxing, basketball, football, cricket, martial arts, and more.

Most eye injuries take place unexpectedly. Even sports that seem harmless, such as tennis, badminton, and racquetball can benefit from protection. These sports feature fast, flying objects that sometimes go on an unpredictable path.

Of course, on any sport there is always a potential risk of eye injury where any moving objects are involved. This means it is always a good idea for the participants to protect the eyes from possible injuries.

 

Why is Eye Protection Important During Sports?

When an eye injury takes place, it can sometimes be difficult to restore the natural vision and function of the eye. In a worst case scenario, the damage can be irreparable and even end in blindness. This is why we recommend protective gear for the eyes, even if only during the most intense of play.

Modern technology has created an opportunity for every athlete to acquire protective goggles and glasses that come in different styles. Many of these also offer the added benefit of UV protection. At a bare minimum, a pair of “wrap-around” glasses such as Oakley style frames can offer good protection for the eyes without compromising style.

Most athletes today play with corrected vision, either LASIK, contact lenses, or glasses, due to the realization that playing and engaging in sports with the clearest and sharpest vision possible is an important element to getting the best possible performance (and to winning!).

People with poor vision are discouraged from joining sports that they love due to their current circumstances. Participating in sports with limited or poor vision can hurt your performance and even create a safety issue, as being able to be aware of your surroundings during often dangerous sports is crucial.

Fortunately, there is now prescription eyewear that has been created in order to accommodate the needs of athletes who wear glasses or contact lenses. With this, sports-lovers are not just offered a chance to explore their passions, but are also made aware that wearing prescription eyewear can help enhance their performance while allowing them to play at their best.

 

Common and Possible Eye Injuries You Can Get During Sports

Eye injuries most commonly occur from a lack of proper preparation and safety equipment. Listed below are the most common and possible eye injuries you can get during sports.

  • Penetration

This kind of eye injury is something that cuts into the athlete’s eye. Compared to the other eye injuries we have on the list, penetration is less common. Damage typically ranges from mild to moderate depending on the sport and the object that penetrates the eye (during contact sports this is most typically a fingernail). Protecting your eyes during sports is necessary to prevent this injury from happening.

  • Radiatio

Eye injuries can occur without contact from a foreign body. Radiation damage is caused by too much exposure to the sun, common with most sports. This is a result of UV rays that are harmful to the eyes. Athletes who play under intense sunlight, including water and snow sports, are at additional risk for radiation injuries as the effects of the sun’s rays are magnified. Fortunately, it is easy to protect your eyes from UV damage with the same kind of protective devices used to prevent physical injury. Make sure the gear you are purchasing protects from UV rays.

  • Blunt Trauma

Of all the eye injuries we have on the list, this is the most common and potentially, the most harmful. Blunt trauma involves the athlete’s eye being struck by an object such as a bat, elbow or ball. The harm damage to the eyes will depend on the level of the force, as well as the offending object.

All these eye injuries – mild or major – can be prevented with protective eyewear. No matter how intense the game is, protecting your eyes during sports is important to both your health and enjoyment. If you have healthy eyes, you can give the best performance.

 

Types of Protective Eyewear

We keep reiterating that eyewear helps protect your eyes during sports. So, what exactly is protective eyewear, anyway? And what can it do to help protect your eyes? There are several types of protective eyewear available for you to choose from, and most are helpful in reducing the risk of injury. Here are some types:

  • Masks

Some of the most dangerous sports employ face guards, masks or helmets to protect your eyes, face, and head during sports. Sports that typically fall under this category are football, hockey, fencing, cricket and more. These devices are usually successful in protecting both the eyes and face.

  • Contact Lenses

Contact lenses do not offer any real protection for your eyes alone. They are, however, often preferred by athletes due to the fact that glasses frames and lens edges can be distracting during sports. Contacts also offer superior peripheral vision. They can easily be paired with protection goggles, which makes them ideal if you do not want to purchase prescription protective gear.

  • Protective Eyewear

The most comprehensive eye protection available is usually protection eyewear/goggles. These are most often made of polycarbonate, which is highly resistant to impact and unlikely to shatter. They are also most commonly designed to prevent foreign objects from entering the eyes, due to their wraparound design. Many models also offer excellent UV protection. Lastly, there are a wide variety of styles available, and many are fashion forward.

When buying, there are many features available to you, as well as styles. You should create a list of what is most important to you (UV protection, style, etc.) and focus on finding a pair that fits your needs.

 

Protective Eyewear for Young Athletes

Like adults, young athletes also need eye protection during sports. In 2008, a third of the 42,000 eye injuries that year happened to young athletes. This often is the case due to safety and gear requirements that are less than ideal. They are often not required to wear goggles, masks, shields, glasses or any protective eyewear.

So, if you are a parent, a coach or anyone involved in children’s sports, it is important that you understand how necessary protective eyewear is to the eye safety of young athletes. As a young athlete, at the same time, you should also encourage your colleagues and guardians about the idea of protecting your eyes during sports. As parents, you know that sight is one of the most important senses, so precautionary measures should be practiced before you let your children jump on the field.

 

Talk to Your Doctor Today!

If you are not sure of what to wear, the best thing to do is to talk to your ophthalmologist to address the issue. Ask your eye doctor these guided questions to know your specific eyewear needs:

  • Are there any advantages or risk associated with wearing a specific protective eyewear?
  • Can I have contact lenses worn under goggles?
  • How often should I replace the protective eyewear?
  • Do you have a recommendation of where can I locally get the best deals to buy the protective eyewear?
  • What kind of protective eyewear will work to the kind of sport I am participating?

By asking your ophthalmologist these questions, you can avoid the hassle of buying the wrong solution for you or your child. By knowing everything beforehand, you can have a peace of mind that you are getting the right protective eyewear for your specific needs. Protecting your eyes during sports will start by talking to the right person.

 

Conclusion

Having clear vision during athletic activity makes a difference. Know your needs and don’t jump straight on the field without any eye protection. Whether it is just a warm-up, training or a total competition, you should always have protection for your eyes whenever possible. Ready to order protective eyewear or glasses for you or your child? Contact one of our optical centers today. They’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have and help you choose eye protection that fits your needs.

 

 

kitten and a puppy

The Vision of Cats vs. Dogs

Comparing the Eyesight of Humans, Cats, and Dogs

The human eye is incredibly complex. It can receive vast amounts of visual information and has the ability to differentiate between millions of colors. On a clear and starry night, the human eye can see nearly 50 miles away. Of course, we aren’t the only species that has impressive visual acuity, but how does the performance of our eyes stack up to that of our feline and canine friends?

 

Cats’ Vision

Cats have a wider field of vision than humans (about 200 degrees compared to 180 degrees of vision for humans). This greater peripheral vision aids cats in spotting the movement of prey while hunting. Since they are crepuscular (active during both dusk and dawn), their vision is adapted to aid in this behavior. This is also the reason for their excellent low-light vision. Cats also have better near-vision than dogs, but still less than humans.

The large and elliptical shape of their corneas helps them in gathering light. The extra rods in their eyes also make it possible for them to sense any motion from prey in their peripheral vision, as well as enhancing night vision. In addition, cats have a special feature behind their retinas, called a tapetum, which is thought to further improve night vision. The tapetum acts like a mirror, reflecting the light that passes in the eye back again, allowing it to be picked up a second time. This is the reason cats’ eyes glow in the dark. Due to all of these special adaptations, cats’ eyes are thought to be about twice as efficient as dogs when it comes to seeing in low light situations.

However, when it comes to color vision, felines don’t have an edge. They can see shades of green and blue, but there are some colors that are confusing to them, like pink and red. They seem to have more limited color vision than dogs. However, like dogs, cats rely more on detecting motion than seeing fine details, so this loss of color doesn’t affect them greatly. They are also rather far-sighted, and cannot see objects that are a great distance away, as they have evolved to “pounce” on targets from relatively short distances, and rely on their other senses (such as hearing and sense of smell) to help identify potential targets from afar.

 

Dogs’ Eyesight

It’s true that dogs don’t see things exactly the way that we do. However, there are some common misconceptions about how our canine friends view the world around us. They don’t just see the world in black and white, as portrayed in many TV shows and movies. In fact, when compared to people, dogs’ color vision is actually quite similar to a “red-green” colorblind person. However, there are great differences between other aspects of dogs’ vision and that of our own.

Both dogs and humans (like cats) have two types of receptors, cones, and rods. Dogs only have two types of cones, which makes their color recognition and vision very limited. Like cats, dogs also rely more on motion detection than fine detail, and have adapted their vision to detect prey from a distance. Dogs can see hand signals from a mile away, which is greater than cats. This means that although they most likely can recognize more colors than cats, this also isn’t of a great benefit to them. They do, however, have difficulty focusing clearly on objects closer than a foot. They also have a greater field of vision than both cats and humans. They can see at 240 degrees, compared to 200 degrees for cats and 180 degrees for humans.

When it comes to the sense of smell however, humans aren’t a match for dogs. Having more rods than human, their only advantage is having a better night vision. Dogs also have bigger pupils which allow more light to enter into their eyes. And, like cats, they also have a tapetum which helps them absorb more light.

 

The Edge of Humans’ Vision

The human eye is an important organ of the human body that allows us to interpret the things we see as objects, shapes, and colors. Our vision allows us to see in both dim light and bright light, and is used in almost all the activities that we do. It is an essential tool for learning things around us, such as language, computers, health and active developmental activities. Healthy vision is what makes the human eye unique from other animal eyes.

If you look at the anatomy of the human eyes and that of the cats and dogs, you will find a different structure. Today, along with paying attention to the health of our bodies, we also need to give our eyes extra care to maintain good health. As we age, vision can start to fade. It is therefore recommended to eat healthy foods that are rich in vitamins C, E, zinc, and lutein, as the eyes require proper nutrition just like any other part of the body. Exercise is also one of the keys to improving the health of the eyes and to prevent the possible risk of eye impairments like cataracts. We also recommend annual eye exams from your ophthalmologist, as with many medical problems, prevention of a disease is often more effective than curing it.

 

what are cataracts?

Learn about cataracts

What are cataracts?

According to the National Eye Institute in the United States more than 30 million Americans are living with cataracts – including 68.3% of all Americans aged 80 or older. This number is projected to grow beyond 50 million individuals by the year 2050.

Cataracts begin appearing in individuals around the age of 50 or so (though they can begin to establish themselves even earlier than that). Between the ages of 50 and 60, nearly 10% of both men and women in this age bracket have developed cataracts already – and later in life these numbers get even worse.

Thankfully, cataract treatment options exist today to help save the vision of individuals that would have otherwise had to struggle with this medical condition. More than 3.5 million cataract surgery procedures are performed in the US every year, and the overwhelming majority of the surgeries eliminate cataracts completely and restore the vision of these individuals.

 

What exactly are cataracts, in the first place?

Cataracts are essentially a clouding of the lens that covers and protects our eyeballs. Initially, cataract symptoms are only going to present themselves as a bit of clouding in our vision. But over time, cataracts have the ability to completely rob us of our ability to see clearly – and in some cases render people legally blind.

Cataracts can occur independently in one eye or another as well as both, though the condition isn’t communicable. It isn’t going to jump from one eye to the other if the second eye hasn’t already begun to develop cataracts in the first place, and it isn’t a medical condition that you can spread to anyone else, either.

The root cause of cataracts has been linked to a breakdown of the proteins that are contained within the lens of our eyes. The light that enters into our eyes is reflected through this lens (made up almost entirely of water and protein elements), and over time that light may cause the proteins to breakup and clump together with one another – causing the cataract and the cloudiness.

 

What are the signs and symptoms of cataracts I should be on the lookout for?

Risk factors for this kind of surgery are low (and the technique and technology used to perform the surgery has only improved over time), but like any other surgery there are risk factors that you’ll need to be aware of before you proceed.

This includes risk factors like infection and bleeding, a slightly higher risk of retinal detachment, and a cataract surgery treatment that wasn’t able to remove the cataract situation itself – leaving your vision impaired afterwards.

At the same time, it’s important to highlight (as we touched on above) that more than 3.5 million successful cataract surgery procedures are performed in the United States alone each and every year. Your odds of clearing out your cataracts are better than ever before with this kind of approach, and the benefits almost always outweigh the minor and often mitigated risk factors associated with this procedure.

There are quite a few common symptoms of cataracts that you want to remain vigilant for, especially after you hit 50 years of age.

These symptoms include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Vision that becomes cloudy or blurry over time
  • A general sensation of faded colors in the world around you
  • Headlights, lamps, or sunlight that feels way too bright or has a “halo” effect
  • Poor lowlight and vision capabilities
  • Seeing double or multiple images in one of your eyes
  • Needing to regularly upgrade your prescription for your eyeglasses or your contacts

Individuals that are most at risk for developing cataracts later in life are those that have medical conditions like diabetes, have lifelong habits of smoking or alcohol abuse, as well as those that have had extreme exposure and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet sunlight or light from computer monitors/televisions.

On top of that, cataracts have also proven to be rather indiscriminate about who they impact. As you age the lenses in your eyes degrade naturally over time. You’ll want to have routine checkups on your eyesight to get out ahead of cataracts situations as early as possible so that you can move forward with effective cataract treatment options to resolve these problems and restore your vision ASAP.

 

What treatment options exist for cataracts?

There are a variety of different cataract treatment options that you can take advantage of, ranging from leveraging new eyeglasses with ultraviolet blocking technology built right in, avoiding overexposure to sunlight or bright lights, using magnifying lenses to improve your vision, and improving the overall lighting in the environments that you spend the majority of your time in.

At the end of the day, however, the only way to completely remove your cataracts and to clear your vision completely is to move forward with cataract surgery.

 

eyeball macular degeneration

February is Age Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

February is Age Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month, shedding light on a degenerative condition that destroys the eyesight of nearly 11 million Americans every single year – with medical researchers believing that more than 20 million Americans will be fighting age-related macular degeneration by the time 2050 rolls around. More people lose their vision to age-related macular degeneration than both cataracts and glaucoma combined. Even worse is the fact that macular degeneration is as yet incurable.

According to the University of Wisconsin School of medicine, in conjunction with the US CDC, nearly 6.5% of all Americans 40 years of age or older are already dealing with some degree of macular degeneration. While this medical condition is certainly more prevalent in the older white population (affecting 14% of white Americans 80 years of age or older), minority groups are being hit by higher instances of macular degeneration at an increased rate as well.

What exactly is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration is essentially the deterioration of the most central portion of your retina, the part of your eye responsible for recording the images that the eyes detect and sending them via your optical nerve to the “eye of your brain” to be decoded and recognized. The central portion of your retina is known as your macula, and it does all of the heavy lifting as far as focusing your central vision in your eye is concerned. This is the part of your eye that helps you read, helps you recognize people, colors, and objects, gives you the ability to play sports and drive a vehicle, and grants you the ability to see the finest details in life.

When macular degeneration starts to hit, that part of your eyes starts to degrade – faster and faster as you get older – and that’s when your vision starts to go. You’ll still be able to see blurry images at the periphery of your vision, but your central focus (the majority of your focus) is going to be blocked out, blurred out, and unrecognizable. Breaking down the two different types of age-related macular degeneration

There are two specific types of age-related macular degeneration, the “dry” and the “wet” conditions.

  • Nearly 90% of all age-related macular degeneration situations are of the “dry” variety, with only about 10% being of the “wet” variety.
  • Dry macular degeneration (sometimes described as non-neovascular) happens in the early stages of this disease and results mostly from the overall aging and breakdown of the macular tissue in the eye itself. Deposits of pigments and proteins are going to occur inside of the macula, and this is where your “blind spots” are going to start to present themselves.

This process happens on a much more gradual basis compared to the “wet” form of macular degeneration (sometimes described as neovascular). This is a much more advanced and damaging form of eye degradation and occurs when new blood vessels begin to grow beneath your retina and start leaking blood and fluid into your eyeball.

This leakage causes your light-sensitive retinal cells to die off, causing permanent damage and creating blind spots in your central vision that cannot be recovered or repaired. Occult wet macular degeneration is a little bit less severe than the classic type of wet macular degeneration, but both are far more serious and destroy your vision far faster than dry macular degeneration.

Highlighting the root causes and symptoms of macular degeneration

Medical researchers still do not have a full picture of the specific route factors that cause macular degeneration in the first place. There are research teams working around the world to uncover exactly why this condition happens in the first place, but limited funding for this specific disease has hindered progress significantly.

Researchers do believe that the overall root cause of macular degeneration is a more complex intermingling of numerous factors, ranging from hereditary and genetic issues intertwined with environmental and lifestyle choices that combined to create a perfect storm of sorts that works to degrade your vision. Researchers do know that the cells that cause our macula is to deteriorate are different than the cells that cause the Stargardt disease – another disease that robs our vision. Specific genetic factors trigger the Stargardt disease while age-related macular degeneration is a combination of genetic factors and environmental issues.

What can you do to fight back against macular degeneration?

As highlighted above, there is no currently known cure for macular degeneration but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything you can do to prevent this problem from taking hold or to slow down the degradation of your eyesight after you have been diagnosed. Early detection is critical, and your doctor will tell you that there are a number of different lifestyle changes you can make – including changes to your diet and exercise habits, encouraging you to avoid smoking if you still do, and providing you with tools to help you protect your eyes from ultraviolet light moving forward.

Hopefully more answers will come from the awareness generated by the initiatives held every February as part of Age Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month.