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Why Are Dilated Eye Exams So Important?

Garden Grove Optometry Dilated Eye Exam near you in Garden Grove, California

Having your eyes dilated during an eye exam may seem like a nuisance. But when you consider the benefits of a dilated eye exam, the temporary blurred vision and sensitivity to light that typically follow are definitely worth it.

What Are Dilated Eye Exams?

At some point during a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will shine a bright light into your eyes to examine the back of your eye, called the retina. The problem is that bright light causes the size of the pupil’s opening to shrink, which makes it hard for the optometrist to see a large portion of the retina.

That’s why eye doctors apply special eye drops in each eye to keep the pupils open. A dilated pupil allows for a much more accurate assessment of your eye’s structures, including the focusing lens, blood vessels and tissues at the back of the eye called the retina, as well as the optic nerve and macula.

Dilating the eyes makes it easier for your optometrist to detect the following conditions and diseases:

It’s important to note that many of these conditions can develop without noticeable symptoms, until they cause vision loss at which point treatment may be more challenging, making dilated eye exams all the more crucial.

The Dilation Process

First, your eye doctor will apply eye drops to each eye to trigger dilation of the pupil. Your eyes should be fully dilated about 10-20 minutes later.

Your eyes will remain dilated for 4-6 hours, and during this time you may be sensitive to light. That’s because the larger pupil allows more light than usual to enter the eye. Many patients find it more comfortable to wear sunglasses until their eyes return to normal.

Reading and using a computer may be difficult with dilated eyes, and your vision may be blurred. Some patients report feeling a tightening sensation in their eyelids, or headaches.

Dilated eye exams are a crucial part of keeping your eyes healthy. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call our optometry practice today!

Book an eye exam at an eye clinic near you to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you.

Garden Grove Optometry, your Garden Grove eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

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At what age should one have a dilated eye exam?

You should have your dilated eye exam no matter your age. Most eye doctors will dilate a new patient at their first exam regardless of age to get a baseline of their retinal health.

Will I be able to return to work after a dilated eye exam?

Everyone reacts differently, so it’s hard to tell. If your job requires you to focus on small print or detail, it may be challenging. Typing and writing may also be difficult with dilated pupils. To be on the safe side, book your appointment at the end of your work day, clear your schedule after your eye exam and only plan to do activities which aren’t visually demanding.

Help! My Child Doesn’t Want to Wear Glasses!

Do your kids need glasses in order to see clearly? Maybe they have a strong case of nearsightedness, perhaps they have astigmatism, or another type of refractive error. Whatever the cause, getting your kids to wear eyeglasses can be a parenting challenge.

Dr. Ann Inman treats patients from all over Garden Grove, California with their vision correction needs. The knowledgeable, caring staff at Garden Grove Optometry can help you and your kids if they’re struggling with their glasses or don’t want to wear them.

Why Won’t My Child Wear His or Her Glasses?

To help your children get the best vision possible, you first need to understand why they’re fighting with you over their glasses. It usually stems from something physical, emotional, or social, such as:

  • Wrong fit
  • Wrong prescription
  • Personal style
  • Reactions from friends

How do you know which it is? Pay close attention to the signs, from what your kids say, to how they behave, to how they interact with others.

Physical

Improper fit is a big reason why glasses could feel uncomfortable. If they slip down, itch behind the ears, or put pressure on the bridge of the nose, it can explain why a child wouldn’t like to wear them.

If there’s been a big change to their prescription, they may need time to get used to it. If they were given the wrong prescription, they may be straining their eyes, getting headaches, or having eye fatigue. An incorrect prescription can make wearing glasses painful or awkward. It doesn’t correct their vision, either, so they’ll still see blurry images. When this happens, your eye doctor can check the prescription and make an adjustment.

Emotional

Your kids at home aren’t the same as your kids in school, on the sports field, or with their friends. They may be afraid of being made fun of in school, or they may not want the sudden attention on their appearance. These feelings can be even stronger among the tween and teen set.

Social

Even young kids can feel different when they put on a pair of glasses, especially if it’s for the first time. Feeling different or weird, in their eyes, translates to a negative experience. When wearing glasses makes them feel like the odd man out, they may not want to wear them. The last thing your child wants is to feel like a social outcast. After all, everyone wants to belong.

How We Can Help

First, bring your child in to the eye doctor for an eye exam. Our optometrist, Dr. Ann Inman, will check to make sure that your child has the right prescription and that any vision problems are being corrected. Next, we’ll take a look at the glasses and place them on your child’s face to determine if they’ve got the proper fit. Our optician will take care of any adjustments that need to be made.

The Vision They Need, The Style They Want

Fashion isn’t only for adults. Your budding fashionista or trendy young stud wants to look awesome, so don’t forget about style. When your kids look great, they’ll feel great! Give them the top-quality eyewear they need without compromising on style. Your kids are a lot more likely to wear glasses when they like the way they look.

What You Can Do to Help

Encourage, stay positive, and don’t give up. Avoid telling them what you want them to wear. Let them choose for themselves. In the end, they’re the ones wearing the glasses. Making decisions is an important life skill, something they’ll need as they grow up and become more independent.

For younger children, use positive words to encourage them. Talk about how glasses are like magic, letting them see beautiful things around them. Show them how a pretty flower or a bright red truck looks with the glasses on, and how different it looks with the glasses off. For older kids, throw in a little pop culture. Tell them how trendy they’ll look by showing them pictures of celebrities who also wear glasses. You’ll also rack up some cool parent points.

At Garden Grove Optometry, we have the experience and unique approach to children’s eyewear that will make your kids want to wear their glasses. Schedule an eye exam today – you can book an appointment online right here. If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call and we’ll be glad to help.

A Vision of Back-To-School

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The new school year is coming up fast, and parents and students are getting ready to embark on new adventures and experiences. But this is also a reminder to parents that good eyesight is possibly the most important school supply your child may not have. A good education for children doesn't just mean good schools, good teachers and good friends. Good vision is just as important. Dr. Ann Inman of Garden Grove Optometry in Garden Grove, California explains, “Your child’s eyes are his/her gateway into the world of learning. When your child’s vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. Children are not likely to recognize vision problems or report them, and it is, therefore, the responsibility of parents and teachers to recognize signs of visual problems in their children.”

There is a basic set of vision skills that are needed for school. The first is near vision. This is the ability to see clearly at a distance of about 10-13 inches. This is obviously important for reading, writing and close work at your child’s desk. Distance vision, the ability to see clearly and comfortably beyond arm’s reach, is also important in order to see the board in the classroom, and binocular coordination, or the ability to use both eyes together, is important for extra-curricular activities. Both are vision skills needed to be successful in school. Additionally, focusing skills, peripheral awareness, and eye-hand coordination are also important. As a parent, it is your job to be alert for symptoms that may indicate your child has a vision or visual processing problem. A few examples of common conditions that may affect your child's ability to learn are below:

If your child gets headaches while trying to read or do other close work, exhibits a short attention span during visual tasks, and/or has to use a finger to guide reading, it is possible your child may have a condition called convergence insufficiency. This is a condition in which the eyes have a hard time converging on a certain point close up. This may also cause the words to “jump” or “blur” when your child attempts to read.

You may also find that your child's eyes do not seem to move together, that the eyes do not face the same direction, and/or that your child tilts his/her head or squints in order to see better. This could indicate a condition called Strabismus. This results from muscles in one or both eyes being misaligned or underdeveloped. This can cause severe difficulty for your child and may cause more significant problems, including loss of depth perception, if not treated promptly. Dr. Ann Inman adds, “Other symptoms to look out for that may signal vision-related problems are difficulty remembering or identifying shapes, difficulty remembering what was read, excessive blinking or rubbing of his/her eyes, or placing his/her head very close to the book or desk when reading or writing”.

Because changes in your child’s vision can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the eye doctor every year or more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist. Remember, school vision or pediatrician’s screenings are good, but they are not a substitute for a thorough eye exam.

To learn more, contact Dr. Ann Inman today.

Eye Allergies

What They Are and How To Treat Them

Having allergies can mean more than the sniffling and sneezing that most people associate with it. It’s Red, swollen, itchy eyes may also be a significant sign of allergies that can come whether you are sneezing uncontrollably or not.

Optometrist, eye woman with eye allergy in Garden Grove, CA

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic Conjunctivitis the scientific name for this condition is caused, like an allergic reaction, by a mistaken triggering of your body’s immune system. Allergens cause your immune system “panic” causing it to react negatively to things which actually pose no harm to the body at all. Allergens such as pet dander, pollen and dust can trigger this reaction. This allergic reaction releases a chemical called histamine, which makes your eyes dry out and produce more tears. This reaction is meant to flush out foreign objects. The blood vessels in your eyes also become inflamed, which is what gives your eyes their bloodshot look.

The Symptoms of Eye Allergies

Symptoms of an allergic reaction can be quite varied. You may find that your eyes are red and irritated or itchy, that your eyes are sensitive to light or that your eyelids are swollen. In more severe cases, you may even notice a painful, sore or burning feeling in your eyes or suffer from excessive tearing or a runny nose. You may also experience sneezing and stuffy nose.

Many things may cause an allergic reaction. Grass, weed and tree pollen, as well as dust and pet dander, are among the best-known allergens. Less well known is that it is also possible for a person to be allergic to everyday items such as makeup or perfume, and even contact lenses. Also not well know is that, while it is very common for allergic symptoms to come out immediately upon contact with the allergen, it is also possible for an allergic reaction to present itself as much as four days after original contact with an allergen.

Relief From Eye Allergies

Although allergies usually stop once the allergen is removed, and the eyes return to normal, this is not always possible with allergens such as dust and pollen, since they are just about everywhere. For these and other allergies, eye doctors recommend eye drops either over the counter or prescription. These eye drops should help to minimize the effects of the allergens in your environment. Many of these eye drops are formulated as anti-histamines, meaning that they block histamine from the body. There are also a number of other ways that these eye drops will work to relieve or prevent allergic symptoms.

Artificial tears are also an excellent option to relieve dry eye symptoms caused by allergens. These eye drops are specially formulated to imitate the tears that the allergic reaction has dried up. Artificial tears are mostly by prescription and have proven to perform better in some cases than over the counter eye drops.

Eye doctor, man rubbing his eyes with eye allergy in Garden Grove, CA

Additional Ways To Get Relief

Several other ways to reduce or relieve symptoms exist as well. Wearing sunglasses when stepping outside helps block pollen, dust, and other outdoor allergens from getting in your eyes. Contact lenses may also irritate your eyes, so try taking those out if nothing else works. Finally, never rub your eyes while experiencing an allergic reaction. No matter how much they itch, rubbing will irritate your eyes further and make things worse.

Eye Condition Treatment

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Eye problems can range from mild to severe; some are chronic, while others may resolve on their own, never to appear again. The articles below will give you a basic understanding of some of these problems and their implications. The cardinal rule is if your eyes don't look good, feel good or see well, you should visit your doctor.

The following is a short list of common eye conditions we treat, such as astigmatism, dry eye syndrome and presbyopia. For information about cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy please see Eye Disease Management.

Emergency Eye Care Services

Treatment for Eye Injuries and Infections in Garden Grove

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Garden Grove Optometry offers emergency services. Dr. Inman and Dr. Gaylord offer emergency services that require immediate and urgent eye care. If your eye is injured, don’t try to judge the severity of it. Immediately seek the opinion of an eye doctor to lessen the risk of hurting your vision. We understand ocular emergencies can arise at any time.

Please call our Garden Grove, CA office: 714-500-7577 for further instructions.

 

Call Us! 714-500-7577

 

Symptoms that require emergency service include, but are not limited to:

  • Sudden loss of vision
  • Sudden double vision
  • Sudden red/painful eye
  • Pink Eye
  • New onset flashes and/or floaters
  • Foreign body in the eye (especially metal or chemicals)

Things NOT to do while waiting for professional medical assistance:

  • DO NOT press on an injured eye or allow the victim to rub the eye(s).
  • DO NOT attempt to remove a foreign body that is resting on the cornea (the clear surface of the eye through which we see) or that appears to be embedded in any part of the eye.
  • DO NOT use dry cotton (including cotton swabs) or sharp instruments (such as tweezers) on the eye.
  • DO NOT attempt to remove an embedded object.

DO call our office at 714-500-7577 for further instructions! We are here for you!

Dr. Inman Answers YOUR Eye Emergency Questions

Foreign Body Removal

I have sand stuck in my eye, is it dangerous?

Any kind of foreign material in your eye can be dangerous. Usually, sand can be flushed out of the eye with water or saline. However, it can often scratch your cornea so you should see your optometrist if it feels irritated.

I have something stuck in my eye, how should I remove it?

You should never try to remove anything that is actually stuck in your eye. If it can’t be flushed out with water or saline, you need to see your local eye doctor. Trying to remove a foreign object yourself will usually just embed it further. If something has pierced your eye such as a coat hanger of a piece of metal, you will need to go to an emergency room immediately.

I feel like I have dirt in my eye when I wear contact lenses, is that dangerous?

Contact lenses can cause a foreign body sensation or the feeling like you have dirt in your eyes for different reasons. It could just be that your eyes are getting too dry but, you may also be getting a keratitis (a corneal infection) or lenses are dirty or old. It’s best not to wear your contact lenses until you can be evaluated by your optometrist.

I spilled a chemical in my eye, what should I do?

If any kind of chemical liquid or spray gets in your eye, flush it immediately with cold water for 5-10 minutes and go to see your optometrist immediately.  Toddlers, young children, and people who work with chemicals are especially at risk of getting damaging chemical burns and need to be treated immediately

I spilled some chemical in my eye, should I remove my contacts or leave them in?

Whenever you get a chemical in your eye, you should immediately flush your eye with water or saline and remove and throw out your contacts lenses. Your contact lenses will absorb chemicals and it is impossible to thoroughly clean them. If your eye feels okay, it is generally recommended that you wait at least 24 hours before trying to re-apply contact lenses. And, remember, goggles should always be worn when using chemicals that may splash into your eye.

Scratches

My child scratched my eye...what should I do?

If you feel pain or a feeling like something is in your eye, you should visit your local eye doctor to take a look at it immediately to determine the best treatment. If you're in the Garden Grove area, you can call our eye clinic for fast treatment. If you happen to have artificial teardrops, you can use those in the eye every 20 minutes or so until you get to our office.

Is a scratch on the eye dangerous?

A scratch on your cornea (the outer clear part of the eye that covers the colored iris part) can be dangerous because it may become infected and can lead to scarring which may cause reduced vision or blindness. This type of injury can also lead to another condition called “recurrent erosions” where the cornea has continued episodes of pain, light sensitivity, watering and possible scarring that become a chronic or lifetime problem.

Trauma

I got hit in the eye with a baseball, is that dangerous for my vision?

Yes, being hit in the eye with any kind of object can be dangerous and you should seek the care of your local eye doctor immediately.

Should I visit an eye doctor if I got a black eye?

Yes, a black eye needs to be properly evaluated to rule out things like a corneal abrasion, inflammation inside of the eye, and possible damage to the back part of your eye, the retina. An eye exam is strongly recommended.

I have pain in my eye after getting a black eye, should I visit the emergency room or an eye doctor?

At Garden Grove Optometry, we recommend that you see an eye doctor. Your optometrist has the unique equipment and expertise in dealing with injuries to the eye that the emergency room does not have. In fact, for eye emergencies that do not require immediate surgery, most emergency rooms will refer you back to an optometrist anyway.

Kids

My toddler is complaining that his eye hurts, should I make an appointment with the optometrist?

Yes, children often have trouble voicing or understanding what is going on with their eyes and vision. It is always worth an exam by your optometrist to see what’s going on. Furthermore, most eye problems would not be visible to the parent, so there may be a tendency to ignore a child’s complaint since they are not experiencing it themselves.

My child came home from school saying that his eye hurts, what should I do?

Try to figure out it which eye it is and when it started. Was it related to any certain activity? Does it feel any better or worse since it started? Try not to put words in their mouths and remain calm when asking these questions to your child so they don’t panic and can answer your questions more accurately. Then, take this information with you to see your optometrist.

My child’s eye looks very red, what should I do?

Red eyes can mean very many different things and can present in many different degrees of severity. A pinkish tint to an eye that occurs right after swimming, may just need some artificial tears or lubricating drops. However, if this condition continues to be a problem or gets worse, it could be more serious and needs to be attended to.  A very red eye, especially with any mucous or watery discharge needs to be seen to immediately. Also, any kind of pink or red eye that has an unknown cause should be looked at by your optometrist.

My child has a weird bump in his eye, should I make an appointment?

There are a lot of different kinds of bumps on children’s eyes. The most common ones are on the lids and may be called “styes” or “chalazions” It is extremely important that these are treated properly and immediately for the best outcome. It is worth a visit to your Garden Grove optometrist to make sure this is the correct diagnosis and to determine the best treatment.

Severe Emergencies

I just lost my vision in one eye, what should I do?

A complete and sudden loss of vision in one eye is a serious eye emergency and needs medical attention immediately.  It is best to call your eye doctor’s office and discuss your symptoms.

My eye is bleeding what should I do?

If the eye is bleeding due to an injury, it needs to be treated immediately. If it is just a little red spot on the white part of your eye (the sclera) you can see the eye doctor the next day.

I am seeing double, should I go to the eye doctor?

Double vision has many different meanings to people. Often people will say they are having double vision when they really mean “blurred” vision, not actually two images of a single object. You should note when this first occurred and if it is constant or intermittent. One of the most helpful things to do is figure out if its double with the right eye, left eye or both? You can do this by simply covering one eye with your hand, note the effect, and repeat with the other eye.  This can be very useful in figuring out the possible causes and how urgent the patient needs to be seen. Regardless, make an appointment ASAP with your local Garden Grove eye doctor.

All SUDDEN loss of vision, or double vision (diplopia), needs immediate attention and the advice of your eye doctor or physician.

I have severe pain in my eye, what do I do?

Severe eye pain is an emergency and needs to be seen by your local eye doctor immediately.

I feel a lot of pressure behind my eye, what should I do?

Pressure, vs pain, can be caused by a number of serious conditions. You should be evaluated by your eye doctor in Garden Grove (if you're in town) as soon as possible to assess the issue.

Click here to learn more about our Advanced Technology at Garden Grove Optometrist in CA

Also ask us about Lasik co-management at our Garden Grove eye care clinic.

Computer Vision Syndrome

How to Minimize Digital Strain on Your Eyes

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Workspace Alterations

Proper Lighting and Screen Brightness: Use fewer light fixtures or lower voltage light bulbs and close curtains or blinds when possible. Adjust the brightness and contrast of your monitor to the levels that are most comfortable.

Reduce Glare: Set up your computer where glare from windows won’t affect your screen or cover windows when this is not possible. An anti-glare screen on your monitor or an anti-reflective (AR) or anti-glare coating applied to your eyewear can also help to minimize glare and the strain it causes to your vision.

Screen size and distance: You want to make sure you are using a high quality (such as a flat LCD) screen that has a relatively large display. Your viewing distance should be about an arm’s length away with the top of the monitor at about eye level or slightly below.

Call 714-530-2020

Eye Care Tips to Minimize Digital Strain on Your Eyes

Computer Eyewear

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Computer glasses reduce eye strain by adjusting the focus slightly so your eyes feel like they are focusing on something further away. They also have a tint to remove the glare and block blue light from entering into your eyes. There are a number of options for computer eyewear, both if you need prescription eyewear and not.

Keep Eyes Moist

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When viewing a digital screen or monitor for an extended period of time, we tend to blink less frequently. Blinking however, is critical for keeping the eyes moist, which allows them to remain clear and comfortable and to avoid dry eyes, irritation, blurry vision or eye fatigue.

Give Your Eyes a Break

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Schedule and take frequent breaks from your screen. Follow the 20-20-20 rule; every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Take this time to stand up and stretch your back, neck and legs as well.

Adults & Kids Are Susceptible to Computer Eye Strain

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It is important to know that both adults and children alike are susceptible to computer eye strain from computers and digital devices. With the growing use of such devices in our everyday lives, it is important to start educating ourselves and our children on how to combat the negative effects of these habits.

Regular eye examinations and proper viewing habits can help to prevent or reduce the development of the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome.

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Located Right Next to Waterfront Cafe on Brookhurst St in Garden Grove, CA

Lens Options for Eyeglasses

If you thought the trickiest part of choosing a new pair of glasses was the frame selection, think again. You should be putting just as much thought and consideration into the lenses that you select for your new specs.

Here’s why:
The quality and type of lenses in your eyeglasses will not only correct your visual acuity, but they will allow you to continue to see your best through various conditions. Whether it is keeping the lenses free from scratches, fog, glare or UV rays, or making them stronger or more attractive, your eyeglass lenses can help to keep your eyes safe and comfortable wherever the day (or night) takes you.

Lens Coatings

Here are a variety of coatings that you can apply to your lenses to maintain optimal vision and comfort and to protect your lenses and your eyes.

Anti-reflective/Anti-glare Coatings

Anti-reflective (AR) also known as anti-glare coatings help reduce the reflections and glare on your lenses, improving your vision and comfort in high-glare environments, and the look of your glasses as well (you can see your eyes clearly without a reflection on the front of the lens). Reflections from the sun, television and computer screens and bright lights (especially when driving at night) can cause eye strain, headaches and difficulty seeing. AR coatings and lenses can reduce this effect, improving your vision quality and comfort in these circumstances.

Scratch Resistant Coatings

Scratches not only affect the smooth look of the surface of your glasses but they can disrupt your vision. A scratch-resistant coating adds an extra layer of protection on the surface of the lens to significantly reduce scratching. This coating is particularly great for kids who may tend to be a little more rough with their eyewear.

Ultraviolet Coatings

Ultraviolet (UV) coatings protect your eyes from harmful UV rays from the sun. This coating can turn standard lenses into UV blocking lenses that can block 100% of the UV light from entering your eyes. UV is linked to the development of a number of eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal damage.

Anti-fog Coatings

Particularly if you live in a cold climate, you may have experienced walking indoors from the cold and having your glasses lenses fog up completely. This can take a few minutes to resolve and can be dangerous if you are driving or need to see clearly. Anti-fog coatings will eliminate this effect, creating a smooth transition from cold to hot environments.

Lens Options

You may want to go with an upgraded lens to improve the look, strength or functionality of your glasses.

High Index Lenses

High index lenses have a higher refractive index which means they reflect more light than standard prescription lenses. What this means for you, the consumer, is that they can be made thinner and lighter than traditional lenses. High index lenses are particularly popular with those that need a high prescription as they are able to avoid thick lenses, adding comfort and a smoother look, but a higher price tag.

Trivex or Polycarbonate Lenses

Trivex or polycarbonate lenses are impact resistant lenses – a fantastic choice for sports and safety eyewear as well as standard sunglasses and eyeglasses for active types or kids. These lenses also offer full UV protection and are lightweight for optimal comfort.

Polychromatic Lenses

Polychromatic lenses are made with special technology that turns them into sunglasses when exposed to sunlight. The lenses darken automatically when you go outside and return to normal when you go back indoors. Polychromatic lenses can come in a number of tint colors and are great when you need prescription sunglasses but don’t want to carry around or pay for another pair.

Aspheric Lenses

Aspheric lenses use advanced technology to create a slimmer, flatter and lighter lens than standard prescription lenses. While aspheric lenses can improve the appearance of any prescription lens, they are especially beneficial for those who are farsighted since those lenses tend to bulge out in the middle.

So the next time you are in the market for new eyeglasses, speak to your optometrist or optician about the best lens choices for your eyes, your vision and your lifestyle.

Dry Eye Disease and Treatment

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome (DES or dry eye) is a chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye. Its consequences range from minor irritation to the inability to wear contact lenses and an increased risk of corneal inflammation and eye infections.

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye

Persistent dryness, scratchiness and a burning sensation on your eyes are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. These symptoms alone may be enough for your eye doctor to diagnose dry eye syndrome. Sometimes, he or she may want to measure the amount of tears in your eyes. A thin strip of filter paper placed at the edge of the eye, called a Schirmer test, is one way of measuring this.

Some people with dry eyes also experience a “foreign body sensation” – the feeling that something is in the eye. And it may seem odd, but sometimes dry eye syndrome can cause watery eyes, because the excessive dryness works to overstimulate production of the watery component of your eye’s tears.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

In dry eye syndrome, the tear glands that moisturize the eye don’t produce enough tears, or the tears have a chemical composition that causes them to evaporate too quickly.

It occurs:

  • As a part of the natural aging process, especially among women over age 40.
  • As a side effect of many medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson’s medications and birth control pills.
  • Because you live in a dry, dusty or windy climate with low humidity.

If your home or office has air conditioning or a dry heating system, that too can dry out your eyes. Another cause is insufficient blinking, such as when you’re staring at a computer screen all day.

Dry eyes are also associated with certain systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea or Sjogren’s Syndrome (a triad of dry eyes, dry mouth, and rheumatoid arthritis or lupus).

Long-term contact lens wear, incomplete closure of the eyelids, eyelid disease and a deficiency of the tear-producing glands are other causes.

Dry eye syndrome is more common in women, possibly due to hormone fluctuations. Recent research suggests that smoking, too, can increase your risk of dry eye syndrome. Dry eye has also been associated with incomplete lid closure following blepharoplasty – a popular cosmetic surgery to eliminate droopy eyelids.

Treatment for Dry Eye

Dry eye syndrome is an ongoing condition that treatments may be unable to cure. But the symptoms of dry eye – including dryness, scratchiness and burning – can usually be successfully managed.

Your eyecare practitioner may recommend artificial tears, which are lubricating eye drops that may alleviate the dry, scratchy feeling and foreign body sensation of dry eye. Prescription eye drops for dry eye go one step further: they help increase your tear production. In some cases, your doctor may also prescribe a steroid for more immediate short-term relief.

Another option for dry eye treatment involves a tiny insert filled with a lubricating ingredient. The insert is placed just inside the lower eyelid, where it continuously releases lubrication throughout the day.

If you wear contact lenses, be aware that many artificial tears cannot be used during contact lens wear. You may need to remove your lenses before using the drops. Wait 15 minutes or longer (check the label) before reinserting them. For mild dry eye, contact lens rewetting drops may be sufficient to make your eyes feel better, but the effect is usually only temporary. Switching to another lens brand could also help.

Check the label, but better yet, check with your doctor before buying any over-the-counter eye drops. Your eye doctor will know which formulas are effective and long-lasting and which are not, as well as which eye drops will work with your contact lenses.

To reduce the effects of sun, wind and dust on dry eyes, wear sunglasses when outdoors. Wraparound styles offer the best protection.

Indoors, an air cleaner can filter out dust and other particles from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to air that’s too dry because of air conditioning or heating.

For more significant cases of dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend punctal plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, thereby keeping your eyes more moist.

If your dry eye is caused by meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), your doctor may recommend warm compresses and suggest an in-office procedure to clear the blocked glands and restore normal function.

Doctors sometimes also recommend special nutritional supplements containing certain essential fatty acids to decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water may also offer some relief.

If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the needed treatment. In any case, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor first.

Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo.

If you are considering LASIK, be aware that dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery, at least until your dry eye condition is successfully treated. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after LASIK, so most surgeons will want to treat the dry eyes first, to ensure a good LASIK outcome. This goes for other types of vision correction surgery, as well.

 

Presbyopia Diagnosis and Treatment

 Eye care, elderly man putting on  eyeglasses in Garden Grove, CA

As we reach middle age, particularly after age 40, it is common to start to experience difficulty with reading and performing other tasks that require near vision. This is because, with age, the lens of our eye becomes increasingly inflexible, making it harder to focus on close objects. This condition is called presbyopia and eventually, it happens to everyone who reaches old age to some extent.

To avoid eyestrain, people with untreated presbyopia tend to hold books, magazines, newspapers, and menus at arm's length in order to focus properly. Trying to performing tasks at close range can sometimes cause headaches, eye strain or fatigue in individuals who have developed this condition.

Causes of Presbyopia

During our youth, the lens of our eye and the muscles that control it are flexible and soft, allowing us to focus on close objects and shift focus from close to distant objects without difficulty.  As the eye ages, however, both the lens and the muscle fibers begin to harden, making near vision a greater challenge.

Presbyopia is a natural result of the aging process and not much can be done to prevent it.  Its onset has nothing to do with whether you already have another vision impairment such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.  Everyone will notice some degree of loss of near vision focusing power as they age, although for some it will be more significant than others.

Symptoms and Signs of Presbyopia

Presbyopia is characterized by:

  • Difficulty focusing on small print
  • Blurred near vision
  • Experiencing eyestrain, fatigue or headaches when doing close work or reading
  • Needing to hold reading material or small objects at a distance to focus properly
  • Requiring brighter lighting when focusing on near objects

Presbyopia can be diagnosed in a comprehensive eye exam.

Treatment for Presbyopia

There are a number of options available for treating presbyopia including corrective eyewear, contact lenses or surgery.

Eyeglasses

Reading glasses or “readers” are basically magnifying glasses that are worn when reading or doing close work that allows you to focus on close objects.

Eyeglasses with bifocal or multifocal lenses such as progressive addition lenses or PALs are a common solution for those with presbyopia that also have a refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism). Bifocals have lenses with two lens prescriptions; one area (usually the upper portion) for distance vision and the second area for near vision. Progressive addition lenses or PALs similarly provide lens power for both near and distance vision but rather than being divided into two hemispheres, they are made with a gradual transition of lens powers for viewing at different distances.  Many individuals prefer PALs because unlike bifocals, they do not have a visible division line on the lens.

Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses

Eye care, woman in contact lenses smiling in Garden Grove, CAFor individuals that prefer contact lenses to glasses, bifocal and multifocal lenses are also available in contact lenses in both soft and Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) varieties.

Multifocal contact lenses give you added freedom over glasses and they allow you to be able to view any direction - up, down and to the sides - with a similar vision. People wearing progressive lenses in glasses, on the other hand, have to look over their glasses if they want to view upwards or into the distance.

Another option for those that prefer contact lenses is monovision. Monovision splits your distance and near vision between your eyes, using your dominant eye for distance vision and your non-dominant eye for near vision. Typically you will use single vision lenses in each eye however sometimes the dominant eye will use a single vision lens while a multifocal lens will be used in the other eye for intermediate and near vision. This is called modified monovision.  Your eye doctor will perform a test to determine which type of lens is best suited for each eye and optimal vision.

Surgery

There are surgical procedures also available for treatment of presbyopia including monovision LASIK eye surgery, conductive keratoplasty (CK), corneal inlays or onlays or a refractive lens exchange (RLE) which replaces the hardened lens in the eye with an intraocular lens (IOL) similar to cataract surgery.

Since it affects so much of the older population, much research and development is going into creating more and better options for presbyopes.  Speak to your eye doctor about the options that will work best for you.