The Hargrave Eye Center

Common Eye Health Myths

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At some point you may have heard some absurd information about taking care of your eyes and vision. There are a number of myths out there about eye care and eye health. But which ones are true and which ones are false? In this article we will talk about some common eye health myths and how true or how false they may be.

 

Eating Carrots Will Help Restore Vision

 

This is a false statement. Any kind of vegetable is going to be good for you because a majority of them contain Vitamin A. Vitamin A is an essential Vitamin to help your body maintain healthy skin, nails, hair, and vision. Although Vitamin A is good for you, it will not help you restore your vision.

 

Reading Glasses can Substitute Prescription Glasses

 

This statement is not entirely true. Reading glasses and prescription glasses are very different. You can normally find reading glasses in a number of stores on display and open for anyone to purchase. While these kinds of glasses can help your vision with reading fine print they are not ideal. Prescription glasses are specifically made for your eyes where reading glasses are generic. The prescription glasses will help correct astigmatism and have the right position for your eyes to use at all times.

 

Looking At The Sun Will Damage Your Eyes

 

Staring at the sun will hurt your vision if you look long enough. The invisible Ultraviolet Rays coming from the sun can cause common eye disorders such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and many others. Although you should never stare directly at the sun, the worst time of day to do so is midday or during a solar eclipse.

 

Sitting Too Close To The TV Can Damage Your Eyesight

This statement is false. When television was first introduced, the TV sets gave off low levels of radiation. At that time, sitting too close to a television increased the risk of eye problems in some people. Modern day televisions do not give off any kind of harmful radiation therefore not running any risk of permanent damage to your eyes.

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Questions To Ask Your Eye Doctor

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If you have an appointment with your eye doctor coming up, it is important to know what kind of questions to ask them when the time comes. For any appointment you have coming up it is important to prepare yourself with relevant questions for your health care professional. Here we will briefly talk about what kind of preparation and questions you should prepare before your appointment.

 

Certain questions should be asked depending on what the cause of your visit is. If it is a normal checkup then you will not have to have the same questions prepared compared to if you are going to get a different prescription or discussing current vision problems.

 

Basic Questions

 

Regardless of your reasoning for having an appointment with your eye doctor there are some basic questions that you should ask every time. Here are some examples of basic questions for your eye doctor:

 

  • What kind of tests will I be undergoing today?
  • What are some ways I can monitor my eye health and vision?
  • How often should I schedule an eye exam?
  • What kind of lifestyle changes could I make to help with my vision health?

 

These generic questions will give you a wealth of information that can help you understand your vision health and maintain it outside of your doctor’s office.

 

Elevated Questions

 

If you are visiting your eye doctor to discuss recent changes in your vision or dealing with an ongoing vision problem, the questions you ask may be a bit different. Here are a list of some questions that may be relevant to ask:

 

  • Will I need medication or surgery for my vision problem?
  • What future symptoms should I be aware of?
  • Am I still able to drive?
  • Are there any side effects from the prescribed medications?
  • While Insurance cover the costs of the treatment?

 

These questions are a bit more serious but are necessary depending on the severity of your vision problems.

 

Always come prepared to your eye doctor visits and you will gain much more out of the time with your doctor then if you did not come prepared. Trust your doctor and their decisions and bring a friend with you just in case you undergo tests that prohibit you from driving a short amount of time afterwards.

 

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Blue Light and Your Eyes

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Many electronic devices like the smartphone, tablet and computer screens all contain it, and even natural sunlight has a ton of it. It’s just about everywhere one looks. It’s called blue light, and these short-wavelength, high-energy light rays can cause more harm than good when too much of them are exposed to the eyes.

Science shows that blue light is a good thing during the daylight hours as it enhances mood and attention span, but once nighttime falls, blue light takes a naughty turn by messing up the body’s natural circadian rhythm and forcing one to stay alert or to wake up.

Macular Degeneration

One of the most serious conditions too much blue light can cause is the development of age-related macular degeneration. The light damages the retinal molecules and kills off the essential photoreceptor cells. When photoreceptor cells are destroyed, that is it. The cells cannot be regenerated. Macular degeneration results in significant vision loss, and sadly, it’s an incurable disease. Scientists are hoping to someday introduce a special eye drop that will protect the sensitive retinal photoreceptor cells.

The disease is growing in number yearly, especially in the United States where more than two million new cases of age-related macular degeneration are reported.

Devices

Children are growing up in a high-tech world obsessed with their electronic devices and mostly unaware of the damage blue light is quietly doing. Researchers recommend that people of all ages stop looking at their smartphones or laptops in the dark and to put on sunglasses that can filter both UV rays and blue light outside.

Digital eye strain is another issue that can develop from the over-use of looking at digital screens. The eyes get tired, start to itch or burn. It’s also difficult to keep the eyes open and to concentrate, etc. Headaches, neck strain and double vision are also common from blue light exposure emitted from a plethora of electronic devices.

One recent study found that up to 65-percent of Americans have all experienced digital eye strain symptoms. Eye care experts say the problem can be helped by wearing special computer glasses that filter blue-violet light. Eyezen, the company that manufactures the eyewear, claims their glasses can block at least 20-percent of harmful blue light.

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Cataract Surgery Recovery

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Undergoing surgery of any kind tends to bring on worry and anxiety. One way to alleviate those feelings is by learning what to do after surgery before it takes place. Your surgeon will typically provide you with a list of written instructions during your pre-surgical visits.

 

The best thing to do is to ask for help from your friends or family. Give them a copy of your written recovery instructions and ask them to keep it handy. That ensures both you and your friend know what to do to help make your recovery trouble-free.

 

Rest After Cataract Surgery

 

Most folks are sedated during their cataract surgery. Immediately following the surgery, follow your doctor’s directions and rest in the recovery area before your friend or family member takes you home. Plan to rest there for at least 30 minutes to one hour. Once home, take it easy and relax. Feeling fatigued is normal for a couple of weeks following cataract surgery. Advance planning will make your recovery much easier and effective.  The last thing your eye needs is any additional pressure put on it if you strain to lift or bend repeatedly.

 

Eye Protection is Essential

 

After surgery, you’ll have a protective covering over your eye. Keep it in place and wear sunglasses whenever you are outside. Plan to keep the protective shield in place for the time period recommended by your surgeon. Normally the covering is used to protect your eyes for several days.

 

Protecting your eye from infection is extremely important following cataract surgery. Avoid swimming for at least one week after surgery. Swimming pools, saunas, and hot tubs often contain harmful bacteria. After cataract surgery, your eye is more susceptible to infection. Do everything you can to avoid exposing it to contamination.

 

Try to avoid rubbing your eyes, as you may inadvertently injure healing tissues. If you live in an area prone to windy days, try to stay indoors as you should not risk dirt, dust or debris hitting your eye. Use care when walking around. Bumping into doors or walls is easy to do when still off-balance from sedation.

 

Although new techniques allow your surgeon to place drops in your eyes during surgery, many cataract surgery patients still require eye drops after undergoing a cataract procedure. Take care to follow your surgeon’s directions and put drops in your eye as prescribed. This can make the difference between serious complications and successful recovery.

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Thyroid Eye Disease Defined

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Thyroid eye disease (TED) is an autoimmune disorder. TED is an attack by the body’s own immune system on the eye muscles and the tissue behind the eye, which inflames both areas. Thyroid eye disease is also known as Graves’ eye disease and Graves’ orbitopathy because the majority of TED patients also have the overactive thyroid condition called Graves’ disease. However, people who have normal thyroid function and patients with underactive thyroids can experience TED. Thyroid eye disease may have a course of up to two years.

 

Symptoms

 

Eye pain when looking sideways, up or down is a frequent TED symptom. Other thyroid eye disease symptoms include eye swelling, eye redness, bulging eyes, double vision, and sensitivity to light. Thyroid eye disease can also cause eyes to be dry or itchy. The severity of symptoms can vary between patients. Also, the severity of symptoms a patient experiences may change over the course of the disease.

 

Risk Factors

 

Approximately 25% of Graves’ disease patients also develop thyroid eye disease. Women develop TED more often than men. Smoking and second-hand smoke exposure increase the risk of thyroid eye disease.

 

Treatment

 

Patients with a history of an overactive or underactive thyroid need to maintain stable thyroid function. Many cases of TED involve eye redness and mild discomfort. Mild cases of TED can be addressed with self-care measures such as artificial tears, wearing sunglasses, applying cool compresses, and elevating the head of the bed. Also, a vitamin regimen of selenium and Vitamin D may be recommended to patients with mild thyroid eye disease.

 

Additional treatment options are available for severe cases of thyroid eye disease. Since smoking is associated with more severe TED symptoms, smokers with thyroid eye disease are encouraged to undertake a smoking cessation program. Steroids such as hydrocortisone or prednisone may be prescribed to reduce inflammation. If pressure from TED on the nerve behind the eye threatens the patient with vision loss, orbital decompression surgery may be performed. TED patients who are experiencing double vision may be given glasses with prisms. Eye muscle surgery is also an option for thyroid eye disease patients with double vision. Finally, eyelid surgery is offered to patients for cosmetic reasons or to reduce irritation from the inability to close the eyelid.

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Automated Home Eye Tests

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A new and emerging technology is paving a different path on how we interact with our eye doctors. A company called EyeQue has created new technology that will allow you to test and track your vision from the comfort of your home. Here we will briefly talk about the new technology from EyeQue and the advantages it has on keeping up with your eye health!

EyeQue was launched back in 2015 out of Newark, California. Since it’s initial launch, EyeQue has released three products all designed to help individuals test their vision. EyeQue has made the process quite simple. The first step is to purchase the EyeQue Insight which looks very similar to a virtual reality headset. Once you have the headset you will need to sign up for their membership and then download their free app. When all of that is completed you are ready to track and test your vision. Once the test is completed the results of the test will be stored for you to use as a reference point and will continue to be stored every time you choose to test your vision. The tests give you information about your refractive error which would measure your farsightedness, nearsightedness, and astigmatism. EyeQue makes it easy for you to then order new glasses with the correct prescription based on the tests results. All of the tests and tracking of results are done through a smartphone so therefore can be easily accessed by many people.

Goal

EyeQue states that they created their products to make vision testing available to people who would otherwise not have the opportunity to. John A. Serri, CTO, COO, and co-founder of EyeQue stated “Especially when you look at it from a global perspective, in large areas of the world there are no optometrists.” EyeQue helps make vision testing and correction much easier than traditional ways of care. The tests are directed towards adults and children and have the ability to adjust accordingly.

EyeQue is setting the stage for technological advancements for eye care. The new products can be viewed as a simpler and more accessible way to help people with their vision. The team at EyeQue work closely with a group of optometrists to ensure they are delivering a accurate and precise product to their customers.

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Contact Lens Hygiene

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Neglecting or forgetting to properly clean your contact lenses can result in serious damage to your eyes over time. Currently, contact lenses are made up of better materials than in the past and many problems in regards to hygiene has been reduced. This is great news for people who wear contact lenses frequently but it should not replace regular cleaning of your contact lenses entirely. In this article, we will go over some ways to properly clean your contact lenses to reduce the risk of infection and what is at risk if you do not.

At Risk

In 2014 a study was done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of people who wear contacts frequently. This study revealed that almost all of the people who were surveyed fell under at least one category of improper hygiene for their contact lenses. Some of these categories included sleeping, showering, and napping with their contact lenses in. These kinds of behaviors have potential for serious infections in and around your eyes. Sleeping or napping in your contact lenses runs the risk of infection in your cornea. While sleeping with your contacts in your corneas are cut off from oxygen. If some contact lenses are approved for overnight use it is still important to take them while you sleep so your corneas have time to take in the appropriate amount of oxygen.

Showering in your contact lenses or using tap water in replacement of the recommended solution poses similar risks to your vision. An acanthamoeba is an amoeba found in water that can infect your eye and cause blindness if not treated properly. An acanthamoeba does not normally have an effect on humans in normal consumption when drinking water but your eyes are much more sensitive to such threats.

Recommendations

There are a number of things you can do to help prevent these diseases and keep your eyes healthy. Always follow your doctor’s instructions when cleaning your contact lenses. Make sure you wash your hands before taking out or putting in your contact lenses. Remove your contact lenses before entering any body of water or taking a shower. Put contact lenses in before applying any kind of makeup and replace your contact lens container every three months.

The final tip is to see your eye doctor frequently to ensure that you are taking care of your contact lenses appropriately.  

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