While California may be known for its year-round sunshine and beautiful coastlines, the winter season brings with it a unique set of challenges for our eyes. From the low winter sun casting longer shadows to the chilly Santa Ana winds drying out our eyes, Californians need to be vigilant about their eye health during these cooler months.
Diabetes is more than just a condition related to blood sugar levels; it has wide-reaching implications on various parts of the body, including the eyes. For those diagnosed with diabetes, understanding the potential impact on vision is essential to ensure optimal eye health.
Clear and comfortable vision is essential to a child’s ability to learn, develop, and play. Any number of issues with the eye health or vision can limit their ability to learn in school, participate in sports, and their ability to navigate the world around them.
When babies are born, they already have the “hardware” necessary for vision, but the hardware still needs to be programmed. Babies are in the dark before birth, so the visual stimulation they experience, particularly between birth and age 2, is key to quality of vision for the rest of their lives.
Normal development for infants and toddlers
- Newborns see best at 8 to 10 inches (the distance to a parent’s face) but only in black & white
- By 6 months old, the eyes should be coordinating (looking in the same direction) and tracking objects. Color vision is improving.
- By 1 to 2 years old, depth perception and eye-hand coordination should be developing
First and foremost, let me unequivocally state that I hate the term “Lazy eye”. That term always sounded to me that if a patient just stopped being ‘lazy” they would see better. This is far from the truth.
“Lazy Eye” is the common name for a condition we call amblyopia which is a permanent decrease in the ability of a patient’s eye to see 20/20 vision, even with glasses or contacts. Amblyopia is caused by one of four conditions during childhood when the visual system is still developing.
I really enjoy working with children and their parents, and the opportunity to help them understand what their child’s vision is like and what the future can hold for them. It’s important for me to get the parents to realize the visual process and why it’s important to have the child wear their glasses or follow my instructions for the best long-term outcome (and what the possible outcomes can be if they don’t!).
According to the CDC, 1 in 3 adults have high blood pressure in the United States.1 With this systemic disease, there are huge consequences for our bodies, including the eyes.
Blood pressure is the force of blood against your artery walls as it circulates through your body as defined by the CDC.1 Although our body’s blood pressure naturally rises and falls throughout the day, long term elevated blood pressure can cause damage to the artery walls. This long term damage to arteries can lead to stroke, heart attack or other vasculopathic disorders. Listed below are the guidelines for blood pressure by the American Heart Association.
It is hard to believe that getting our kids ready to go back to school is something we have to think about in mid-July. However, as school calendars have changed, parents have to plan earlier and earlier for the new school year.
Brookside Optometric Group recently acquired a new scanning device to increase the effectiveness of our care for our patients. The Oculus Pentacam is an amazing device that can measure the parameters of every anatomical structure in the eye up to the retina. Combining this device with our Optical Coherence Tomagrapher (OCT)—which analyzes the individual cellular levels of the retina—we now have the ability to determine the root cause of all visual problems that are anatomically linked within the eye.
One out of 10 adults over the age of 20 has been diagnosed with diabetes. Many adults can suffer from the effects of sugar fluctuations on their eye health. Diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of blindness in adults over 20 years old in the United States.
The three most common effects of diabetes on the eye are diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the back of the eye swell and leak fluid. This excess fluid causes vision loss. Cataracts (a clouding of the lens) can have an earlier onset in patients with diabetes. Glaucoma (an increase in the fluid pressure of the eye) can lead to optic nerve damage and consequently permanent vision loss. Diabetics are twice as likely to develop glaucoma as non-diabetics.
People say that the eyes are the windows to the soul yet they are actually a window to your health. Many people are unaware how many health issues can be detected or diagnosed in an eye exam.
The eye has two unique properties. The first is that the tissue on the back of the eye, the retina, is the only place in the body where blood vessels can be seen without any obstruction of other tissue. By examining the appearance of these blood vessels, your optometrist can see damage from systemic disease happening to the eye and if it is happening to the eye then it is also happening to the blood vessels throughout the body.
It’s hard to believe that here, in the peak of summer, some school districts will be resuming classes in July, and the rest will go back to school in August. For many students, there may be almost as much demand on their vision when they are off during the summer. With summer preparation requirements for AP and Honors Classes, possibly increased periods of intense video-gaming, or even more extreme summer exposure to sun, wind, and sports—a student’s eyes get a work-out all year long!
Now, more than ever before, there are greater numbers of children with special needs and challenges in the classroom. Many of these children, particularly those with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and high functioning autism (Asperger’s), have average and often above-average intelligence. But regardless of their IQs, they often struggle in school because their brains process information differently than others. Given that more than 25% of the brain is devoted to processing vision, it is not surprising that visual processing issues are often among the processing differences of the special needs child. Failing to address these visual processing issues makes the child’s learning experience more difficult than it needs to be. Sometimes it may be a combination of both visual processing and visual function (seeing, focusing, tracking, eye coordination) that is contributing to your child’s difficulty. The optometrist can help to identify what is the appropriate intervention, including treatment, therapy, and/or coordination of care with other professionals such as speech and language therapists, reading specialists and programs, neuropsychologists, behavioral therapists, specialized tutors and others.
As I examine patients and ask about eye disease in their family, nearly everyone has heard of glaucoma and cataracts (although only occasional patients can remember which is which!). Relatively few patients are familiar with Macular Degeneration, also known as Age-Related Maculopathy (ARM), even though it is far more devastating to their loved one’s vision. Remarkably, ARM is the leading cause of permanent vision loss in Americans over 65 years old, and affects 2 million people.
First, a little anatomy lesson to help you understand ARM: the macula is the portion of the retina we use for all our detail vision. Whenever you look directly at something, you are using your macula to see it. For still unknown reasons, in some older folks, the vision-sensing cells in the macula selectively get destroyed. The cells can either atrophy (or degenerate), called “dry” ARM, which makes up 80% of cases, or they can become scarred, called “wet” ARM, which makes up the remaining 20% of cases.
As we’ve kicked off this New Year feeling refreshed and looking forward to carrying out our many New Year’s resolutions (some being more realistic than others of course...), let’s add one more thing to that list: Seeing the best that you can in 2017.
January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month meaning there’s no better time to start the conversation about this often talked about condition. In this article, I will try to explain what exactly Glaucoma is while clearing up some common misconceptions along the way!
I hope we find all of you in good health and good spirits. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Looking back at the late 80’s, students were trained to interpret a case history to determine what disease entities we should look for based on a patient’s race and age. For example, it you were middle aged and of Hispanic or American Indian descent, we would be concerned with diabetes, if you were of African American descent, we would be concerned with hypertension and glaucoma and so on. While this is not funny, consider it a medical form of racial profiling but it was clinically significant. Case histories are still important but the thinking has changed.
Many patients come to our office at Brookside Optometric Group not only because they have blurry vision, but also because their eyes are often irritated, and even red. Sometimes the irritation and redness have been going on for so long that the patients think it is "normal", especially if they wear contact lenses. In actual fact, they may be suffering from dry eyes or Dry Eye Syndrome (DES).
DES is a disease of the tear film covering the surface of the eye. This condition results in ocular discomfort, blurry vison, and tear film instability that can damage the surface of the eye. This then leads to inflammation of the eye, producing red eyes, swelling, and sometimes even watery eyes. Eventually the corneal surface will be damaged, causing further pain, discomfort, and even blurred vision.
If you are a parent like me and have ever wondered “when should I first take my child to see the optometrist”, you are probably not alone. Many parents decide to take their children to the eye doctor for their first eye exam when they fail a vision school screening or the vision screening at the pediatrician’s office. However, there are great benefits to bringing your child in for a comprehensive optometric examination long before the presentation of a suspected or apparent vision issue.
Now that our kids are back to school it is important for parents to feel confident that their child is seeing clearly to optimize his or her learning experience. An estimated 80 percent of information processed in school is through vision. When most people think about seeing clearly, they think of visual acuity, or being able to see “20/20.”
Diabetes is a disease that affects approximately 29 million or 9 % of the American population and is the 7th leading cause of death in this country. Of those affected Americans 15% to 20% will suffer some visual impairment due to the disease. Diabetic patients are 60% more likely to develop cataracts at an younger age and 40% more likely to be diagnosed with glaucoma - both of which can cause severe vision loss if left untreated. Because diabetes is largely treatable with diet and medication, we can reduce the likelihood of these side effects from occurring or at least delay their severity.