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Sometimes a person is unable to produce enough tears or their tears do not possess the right qualities to keep eyes healthy and comfortable. This can cause a consistent lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye, known as dry eyes.

Normally, the eye constantly lubricates itself with tears by producing them at a slow and steady rate, keeping itself moist and comfortable. Usually these tears consist of three layers, an oily, a watery, and a mucus layer. Each layer has a specific role in lubricating your eyes. The oily layer is outermost. It’s main purpose is to slow evaporation of the tear. The watery layer is in the middle. This makes up the majority of what a person normally thinks of as tears. This layer cleans the eye and helps to wash away small foreign objects and particles. The inner layer consists of mucus. This mucus allows the watery layer to stick to the eye and spread evenly over the eye in order to keep it lubricated. In a person with dry eyes, either hormonal changes, side effects from medication or some other factor causes the eye to either not produce enough tears, or leave out parts of the tear that make proper lubrication possible.

Dr. Joseph Convertino, of iCare Solutions in North Fort Meyers, Florida explains, “Symptoms of dry eyes include stinging or burning in the eyes, scratchiness, and excessive irritation from smoke or wind. Although it may sound counter-intuitive, the eyes’ response to the consistent irritation caused by dry eyes may also cause a person to experience excessive tearing. In this case, the eye is attempting to flush and lubricate itself by producing more tears, but is unable to do so successfully due to the rate of evaporation or inability to spread the tears properly.”

Although dry eyes are not always curable, your optometrist may prescribe artificial tears to help with some of the symptoms. Artificial tears are lubricating eye drops that may help with dry, scratchy feeling eyes. Different artificial tears work in different ways. Some help replenish parts of the tear that your eyes are not producing on its own, others help to produce more tears overall. Your eye doctor will assist you to choose which will help you most. Dr Convertino cautions, however, “These artificial tears should not be confused with eye drops that are advertised to ‘get the red out.’ These eye drops may indeed reduce the appearance of redness in your eyes, but this is accomplished by making the blood vessels in your eyes smaller rather than actually lubricating your eyes. As such, these drops can sometimes actually make your symptoms worse. One should also be aware that if you wear contacts, some eye drops require you to take them out before using the drops and wait 15 minutes or more before reinserting your contact lenses.”

Some cases of dry eyes are seasonal, such as those which occur as a result of cold, dry winter air. In this case, your eye doctor may recommend wearing sunglasses or goggles when outdoors to reduce your eyes’ exposure to the sun, wind and dust. For indoors, your optometrist may recommend an air cleaner and humidifier to take dust out of the air and add moisture to air which is too dry.

Studies have also shown that nutrition may have a part in helping to relieve some symptoms of dry eyes. Your eye doctor may recommend nutritional supplements such as omega-3. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are cold-water fish, cod, herring and salmon, as well as flaxseed oil. Mild dehydration can make symptoms worse too, so be sure to drink plenty of water, 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices and milk.

The most well-known part of a comprehensive eye exam is the basic visionblog_photo_12_31_15 test. When you have a general vision test, one of the main conditions the eye care practitioner is checking for is a refractive error. A refractive error means there is an abnormality in the shape of the eye, changing the eye’s ability to focus light directly onto the retina.This causes blurred vision and can usually be corrected by wearing prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses and possibly, alternate treatments such as vision therapy, ortho-k, LASIK or refractive surgery such as LASIK.

The term, “refractive error” refers to a problem with the process of refraction that is responsible for sight. Normally, light rays that enter your eye are refracted or bent through the cornea and the lens, and ultimately converge or are focused onto a single point on the retina. From the retina, messages are sent through the optic nerve to the brain which then interprets these signals into the image that we are seeing.

In order for this process to work effectively, the anatomy of the eye including the length of the eye and the curvature of the cornea and the lens must be just right to be able to focus the light onto the retina. When this is not the case, a refractive error will occur.

There are several different types of refractive errors, depending on which part of the eye is affected, and it is possible to have multiple refractive errors at the same time:

Myopia or nearsightedness:
In myopia the length of the eyeball is too long which results in light coming to a focus in front of the retina, rather than on the retina. This allows the individual to see well when objects are close but not clearly when looking at objects at a distance.

Hyperopia or farsightedness:
Hyperopia is when the eyeball is shorter than normal and can result in near objects being blurry. However, people experience hyperopia differently. Sometimes distant objects are clear while other times people may experience overall blurred vision near and far or no problems at all. In children particularly, the lens may accommodate for the error allowing for clear vision but may cause fatigue and sometimes crossed eyes or strabismus. Hyperopia causes eyestrain or fatigue especially when looking at near objects for a period of time. Often people with 20/20 vision may still need glasses at their desk to relax their eyes and improve concentration.

Astigmatism:
Astigmatism is usually the result of an irregularly shaped cornea (although it can sometimes also be due to a misshapen lens). The cornea, which is normally round, is more football-shaped in an eye with astigmatism, resulting in multiple focus points either in front of the retina or behind it (or both). People with astigmatism usually have blurred or distorted vision to some degree at all distances, near and far.

Presbyopia:
Presbyopia is an age-related condition which usually begins to appear sometime after 40. As the eye begins to age, the lens stiffens and can no longer focus clearly on objects that are close.

It’s important to note that presbyopia is often confused with hyperopia, as both cause problems focusing at near distances. However, high hyperopia can also cause blur at far distances as well, especially in dim lighting, and depth perception problems can result in motor vehicle accidents. In these instances people with hyperopia could use glasses at any distance.
If you are having trouble seeing, it is important to have an eye exam to determine the cause of the problem and to effectively correct your vision. Even if your vision is fine, you should schedule a routine eye exam on a regular basis to ensure that your eyes are healthy and that any potential problems are caught early.

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.

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