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Use it or Lose it! Maximize Your FSA & HSA Today!

uioli clock postAt the end of the year, finding time to schedule your annual eye exam or updating your current eyewear is essential. Getting the full spectrum of your flex spending account or health insurance benefits now can save you time and money later. Even if you had an eye exam earlier this year, you can still invest in a more comprehensive eye exam with our Daytona Optos. You’ll get a full record of your eye’s health through a digital image that records the various inner workings of your eye.

Just make sure you check with your provider on what’s covered and which date does your plan renew. For many of us, December is the last chance to get the slick designer eyewear at a fraction of the cost.

Schedule an appointment today to discuss your benefits & find a great pair of glasses.

 

Preventing Dry Eyes During Air Travel

clipart 043It is not uncommon to experience exceedingly dry eyes after long periods of travel in the air. The temperature- and pressure-controlled cabin of an airplane creates a very dry environment that can easily take its toll on your eyes.

Fortunately, eye doctors have outlined a number of steps that a person can take to reduce the chances of experiencing these uncomfortable symptoms that present themselves as part of what is often called “travelers’ dry eye.” Below are some tips to help you avoid dry eyes when traveling:

  • Dehydration has the potential to make dry eye symptoms much worse. Be sure to have a drink on hand at all times, making sure to drink before, during and after your flight. Alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks such as tea or coffee may increase the chances of dehydration and those who enjoy these types of beverages in-flight should be sure to drink extra fluids to compensate.
  • Artificial tears are another important item of defense against dry eyes. Having a bottle of artificial tears with you at all times during your trip will allow you to apply them as needed. This can help out a great deal. Those with chronic dry eyes should speak to their doctor before their flight to discuss the possibility that they may need a more effective lubricant for the flight.
  • Sleeping in-flight can also dry out your eyes. If you take a nap while in the air, be sure to wear an eye mask. This will help minimize the dry air that reaches your eyes while you sleep, reducing the chances of dry eyes.
  • Contact lenses also tend to increase the chances of dry eyes, even under normal conditions. This is even more true in especially dry air of the airplane cabin. Those who wear contact lenses should consider switching to a pair of glasses during the flight to cut out this increased risk.
  • The air conditioning vent above your seat is also a source of dry air that is blown directly onto your eyes. Turning off this vent can do a great deal to prevent dry eyes.

For more information about how to save yourself the discomfort of dry eyes on your next plane trip, consult your eye doctor today.

How to Prevent Diabetic Vision Loss

senior 20couple 20in 20orange 20and 20whiteEye Complications of Diabetes

It’s true. Diabetics have a higher risk of blindness than those without the disease. That fact coupled with the superior prognosis of early intervention, makes it easy to understand why optometrists and doctors say routine eye care is absolutely essential. Below, we’ll discuss what your eye doctor is looking for during a diabetic eye exam.

As the incidence of diabetes increases, it is important to spread awareness about the risks and proper preventative care for diabetes patients. November is Diabetes Awareness month, so read on!

Diabetics are at greater risk of for a number of eye problems.

Diabetic Retinopathy:

Diabetic retinopathy is the term used for the disorders associated with diabetes that cause progressive damage to the retina. The longer a patient has had diabetes, the more likely it is that he will develop these conditions which can be very serious, vision-threatening complications.

There are two types of retinopathy: nonproliferative and proliferative.

Nonproliferative retinopathy, which is the most common form, is when capillaries at the back of the eye become weakened and may start to leak blood and fluids. Nonproliferative retinopathy, which often has no symptoms, can be characterized as mild, moderate or severe, depending on how many blood vessels are affected and becoming blocked. This type of retinopathy usually doesn’t require treatment and doesn’t cause vision loss, unless the leaking fluid ends up in the macula where the eye focuses – a condition called macular edema. If this happens, vision can be blurred and even lost so preventative treatment is essential.

Proliferative retinopathy is much more severe. This is when so much damage is done to the blood vessels that they begin to close off. New blood vessels begin to grow in the retina as a response to this deterioration. The new and weak vessels can leak blood, impairing vision, or can form scar tissue which can distort the retina or cause a retinal detachment.

Proliferative retinopathy requires urgent referral to an ophthalmologist for treatment. While it usually takes years to develop, some instances of proliferative retinopathy can occur within weeks or months if blood sugars are not well-controlled. Pregnancy can also accelerate proliferative retinopathy in known diabetics. Yet if detected early, treatment can be done successfully.

Like high blood pressure, there are often no warning symptoms until advanced stages of diabetes. It is best to get checked each year by an optometrist. If you experience any changes in your vision such as spots in vision, flashes of light, blurred or double vision (rarely pain), make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately. Treatments do exists for retinopathy and many of them are successful in repairing damage and sometimes even restoring vision.

Cataracts:

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens of the eye which blocks light from entering and impairs vision. While cataracts are a fairly common and treatable condition, people with diabetes are 60% more likely to develop the condition and often get them at a younger age. Those with the condition also may experience vision fluctuation which occurs from sugar levels affecting the lens of the eye. Cataracts often progress faster in diabetics as well. In serious cases of cataracts, a surgical procedure is done to remove the natural lens of the eye which can sometimes cause complications in diabetic patients that may already have symptoms of other conditions such as diabetic retinopathy.

Glaucoma:

Glaucoma is a serious condition where pressure builds up in the eye causing damage to the retina and optic nerve and eventually if left untreated, blindness. Diabetics are 40% more likely to develop glaucoma and the risk increases with age and the amount of time the individual has had diabetes. There are treatments for glaucoma including medications and surgery but early detection and treatment are essential to prevent permanent vision loss. Glaucoma is often called the “silent thief of sight” because vision loss often doesn’t occur until significant damage is done. Therefore, yearly eye exams are essential.

Cornea Alterations:

Diabetics may experience reduced sensitivity in their cornea. This means that contact lens wearers that are diabetics should be more cautious, as they develop higher tolerance if the lens irritates the eyes and may be at greater risk of infection.

Eye Muscle Disturbance:

More advanced diabetes cases can show restriction of eye muscle movement due to nerve palsy.

 

For diabetics, the key to early detection and treatment – and therefore preserving your vision – is to have your eye health monitored on a regular basis. Get your eyes examined every year by an optometrist and if you experience any changes in your vision such as spots, floaters, blurred vision or pain, make an appointment with your eye doctor immediately.

Why a Routine Eye Exam Is an Important Part of Maintaining Healthy Vision

asian 20familyWhen most people contemplate their physical health, they oftentimes do not even take into consideration the shape that their eyes are in. However the eyes are counted on more heavily than nearly any other component the body. Considering that this is a fact, it is extraordinarily important that you care for the healthfulness of your eyes to make sure that you can persist to count on them to get you through the day. Of course, there are a lot of ways to handle protecting your sight, but the one most indispensable thing you must do is get a complete eye checkup.

No matter whom you are or what your age is, a complete eye examination will go a long way towards ensuring that your eyesight remains sharp and healthy. The eye exam can be accomplished by any responsible eye doctor in your town. The eye doctor is certified to give their patients a thorough exam that integrates several of the tests we will discuss below. If you have not been to the eye doctor in over a year, make a visit for an eye assessment as early as possible. So, let’s look at some of the things that an optometrist looks for during your exam, and what your eye specialist will do to solve the concern.

Some of the first things that an optometrist will look out for during your eye examination is refractive error. Refractive error describes an imprecision in the manner that the eye fixates on light. The ultimate consequence of a refractive error is a reduction of visual acuity (i.e. acuteness or clearness of vision). In cases of moderate refractive error, patients sometimes opt to leave the situation uncorrected. However, if the condition infringes on the patient’s capacity to carry out their every day responsibilities, then action ought to be undertaken. During your eye examination, the eye doctor will determine the issue and outline the options for the patient. In most cases, refractive error will be resolved be wearing glasses or contacts. In more serious instances, the patient will decide to have refractive surgery. This can all be explained further by your experienced eye doctor during the course of the course of your eye checkup.

One more thing to consider is the point that the eye could be predisposed to specific disorders, similar to other part of the body. Many people have heard of the most familiar problems of the eye, like glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. Because these disorders usually display no signs in their early stages, it is very important that you uphold an active tactic to prevent these diseases. This could only be planned by paying a scheduled appointment to have your eye evaluation. The eye doctor will be able to check for diseases like glaucoma so that you can utilize the proper steps to eradicate the disease before it gets any more serious. While these problems are more generally discovered in elderly men and women, it is important to note that there is still a chance for eye disease to occur at an earlier age.

There are many other issues that your optometrist will be checking for throughout your eye checkup. As an illustration, the eye ailment called Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is exemplified by its unsatisfactory sight in an eye that would be otherwise considered to be normal. Caused by a feeble stimulation of vision by the optic nerve to the brain, this issue can be worsened if it is not treated at once by an eye doctor. Your eye specialist will also look for Strabismus, an additional eye ailment where the eyes do not correctly coordinate. This condition restricts the patient’s ability to execute depth perception, and therefore must be diagnosed by an optometrist swiftly.

As a final point, it is essential that the difference be established when comparing a fundamental vision screening and a thorough eye checkup. Some people trust that by having a nurse or primary care physician provide a vision screening they are sustaining to sufficient grade of eye health care. What they do not recognize, however, is the fact that the vision screening could just include the reading of letters off an eye chart which can be different in size. After taking into consideration the various other types of assessments and procedures that have been explored above, any person will appreciate that the vision screening does not account for the other various disorders and conditions that you may be suffering from. Therefore, by arranging a thorough eye exam undertaken on a regular schedule, you can see to it that your eyes keep being be maintained.

The Importance of Eye Exams For Children

 

little girl swimmingHealthy eyes are a very important part of a child’s successful development This is why it is extremely important that children receive proper attention when it comes to their eyesight, starting from a very early age. This ensures that everything is developing correctly and diagnosis and treatment of problems can be carried out before these issues worsen. Many serious eye conditions may show symptoms even while your child is still an infant, but become much harder to correct the longer they go untreated, which is why it very important to have regular yearly eye exams for your child. Dr. Joseph Convertino of iCare Solutions in Fort Myers, Florida says, “Children should have comprehensive eye exams at least every year, beginning from the age of 6 months, to check for and treat any conditions that may otherwise hinder a child’s development.”

 

There are many eye conditions that can cause difficulties later in life, but can be easily detected and treated in childhood, which is why it is so important for parents to be cautious to have eye exams early and often for their children. Strabismus and Amblyopia are two conditions like this.

 

In Strabismus the eyes are not aligned together, as a result of muscles that control eye movements being misaligned or underdeveloped. In healthy, properly aligned eyes, each eye sees essentially the same image of an object being viewed, and the brain combines these two perspectives into a single interpreted image. This is called Binocular Fusion. With Strabismus, the misalignment of the eyes sends completely different images, causing Binocular Fusion to be very difficult or even impossible. The child’s brain eventually reacts to the differing images sent by the misaligned eyes by eliminating images coming from one of the eyes. This can cause a condition called amblyopia, or “lazy eye.” Amblyopia is a condition characterized by very poor sight in one eye as a result of poor development in that eye during a person’s development. Several problems can seriously affect vision from childhood into adulthood if amblyopia is not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. The weaker eye may develop a serious and permanent visual defect and depth perception may be lost.

 

You should also have regular eye exams for your child, since your child’s success in school relies heavily upon proper vision. Eye exams centered on school vision are meant to check for less serious conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. Dr. Convertino comments, “Your eye doctor also needs to check early for basic skills related to good eyesight for learning. These include eye movement skills, Peripheral awareness and Hand-eye coordination.”

 

Contact Dr. Convertino today for more information, and to schedule your child’s comprehensive eye exam.

 

The Dangers of Blue Light and What You Can Do

antireflective largeElectronic devices that emit blue light can become a potential hazard for your eyesight because of the high energy visible light. Roughly 25 hours every week, people spend time on their phones, computers, and other digital devices that can result in serious damage to your visual system ranging from eyestrain, headaches, and fatigue to an increased risk for macular degeneration. There have been studies that show how light affects our bodies biologically like regulating hormone balance of melatonin as well as vitamin D, but a high proportion of blue light has been a bit of a debate.

Some people concluded that blue light at night causes restless before going to sleep, however, most optometrists are aware of how blue light can affect your vision and lead to certain eye conditions like eyestrain. Many optometrists recommend the 20/20 rule where you take a break every 20 minutes look away from your computer screen and relax your eyes for 20 seconds. Still, this isn’t a complete solution against blue light, Essilor and the Paris Vision Institute created a selective light filter or lens to block out UV as well as the harmful blue-violet light. These lenses are known as BluTech Lenses, where the blue light is filtered out, duplicating elements in the eye, called ocular lens pigment and melanin. Other companies like Recharge lenses, developed by HOYA, reflect up to 30% of harmful blue light away from the eye.

Patients who spend most of their time on electric devices are at an increased risk facing eyestrain, fatigue, and macular degeneration, and while there are options available for blue light filtered lenses, the best way to protect yourself is to contact your local eye doctor and get a better evaluation of your eye health.

Question of The Month: July

Is it bad to wear glasses with an old prescription?

No, the wrong prescription often can make you feel dizzy, but your eyes will not be harmed from them. Going about your day with the wrong pair of glasses, however, can cause eye strain. Annual eye exams are recommended to keeping your vision at its best and overall eye health.

Protecting Yourself Against Harmful UV Radiation

boy 20with 20a 20ballIt’s that time of year again! Summer is here, and it’s time for sunny days at the beach and lazy days without school. It’s also the time of year to be reminded of the importance of protecting yourself and your loved ones against harmful Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation from the sun and other sources. Dr. Convertino has compiled some important information to help you and your loved ones avoid overexposure to UV radiation:

 

Everybody knows that the leading source of UV radiation is the sun. What many people don’t realize is that the sun is not the only source of UV radiation. It can also come from sources such as welding machines and tanning beds. Furthermore, it is common knowledge that UV radiation can cause you a painful sunburn on your skin, but did you know that UV radiation can be dangerous for your eyes as well? It’s true! Too much UV radiation can give your eyes a kind of “sunburn of the eye,” called photokeratitis, which can cause eyelid twitches, eye pain, and extreme sensitivity to bright light. In severe cases of UV radiation overexposure can also do permanent damage to your central vision, and the more your eyes are exposed to UV rays over time, the greater your chances become of developing serious problems with your eyes later in life, such as age related macular degeneration, cataracts and even cancer.

 

Fortunately, there are a number of steps that can be implemented to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of overexposure. The American Optometric Association suggests that sunglasses meant for extended outdoor exposure block 99-100 percent of UV-A and UV-B rays and 75-90 percent of all visible light. A hat or cap with a wide brim is also a great addition to protect your eyes from light that otherwise might not be blocked by your sunglasses. Wrap around sunglasses and contact lenses with UV protection are also great additions, as traditional sunglasses often let UV radiation around the edges that can still do damage to your eyes. Patients newly out of surgery for cataracts or those taking medicine that make the eyes more sensitive to light should be sure to take these same steps every time they go outside, no matter how long or short their time outside will be.

 

There are also certain situations in which sunglasses alone are not enough to protect your eyes. Arc welding and tanning beds are sources of direct light which require specialized eyewear to prevent extremely harmful side effects similar to looking directly into the sun. Snowfields, although they do not give off light of their own, do reflect a great deal of light that can also do similar damage to your eyes without appropriate specialized eyewear.

 

For more information, speak with your eye care professional today.

All About Contact Lenses

There are many types, and even sizes, of contact lenses to choose from today. There are rigid gas permeable contact lenses (including larger “scleral” lenses) and soft contact lenses, daily disposable and monthly(including extended wear) disposable contact lenses, and a number of other variations for just about anyone with any need. The type of contact lens you wear depends on your personal needs and taste. There are also great contact lens options for those with keratoconus or other types of eye conditions that traditionally have ruled out contact lens wear in the past. Choosing the right type of contact lenses for you can be difficult, so being informed about your various options is extremely important. Below, Dr. Convertino of iCare Solutions in Fort Myers, Florida outlines some general information about common contact lens options.

 

 

Rigid Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

  • Rigid Gas Permeable Lenses have been linked to a slowing of the development of nearsightedness in both childhood and adult contact lens wearers.
  • These lenses are known to give sharper vision than soft contact lenses, and provide better oxygen flow and hydration to the eyes. This reduces dryness and the occurrence of contact lens related eye infection.
  • For those with eye conditions that cause the cornea to become misshapen, such as in keratoconus, rigid gas permeable lenses are an excellent option, since they do an excellent job of providing a proper dome-shaped surface through which light can be focused correctly to the back of the eye.

 

Soft Contact Lenses

  • Soft Contact Lenses generally stay in place better than rigid gas permeable lenses.
  • These lenses are generally considered to be more comfortable from the first wear and are much easier to adjust to than rigid gas permeable lenses.
  • They also allow for more contact lens options such as daily disposable or extended wear contact lenses:
    • Daily disposable contact lenses are easier to take care of than other types of contact lenses that are worn for longer periods of time, since there is no need to store them or clean them. You simply throw away your contacts at the end of each day, and put in a brand new pair at the beginning of the next day. This is better for eye health, since there is never time for your contact lenses to collect harmful bacteria and calcium deposits that can cause infection and other eye conditions.
    • Monthly contact lenses require a bit more upkeep but are generally more durable and are in some cases more comfortable than daily disposable contacts. They are also much less expensive than daily disposables.

Specialty Contact Lenses

  • Those who choose rigid gas permeable lenses, but are having difficulty with comfort, should speak to their doctor about scleral lenses, which are created slightly larger than traditional lenses, and vault over the cornea in order to rest comfortably on the white part of the eye, known as the sclera.
  • Those with presbyopia, and have traditionally had to rely on bi- or tri-focals to see effectively, now have both soft and rigid gas permeable multi-focal contact lenses to choose from. These lenses come in a number of different designs. Speak to your eye doctor to see which designs is best for you.

For more information, and to see if contact lenses are right for you, contact Dr. Convertino today.

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