Simple Lifestyle Adjustments To Help Those With Low Vision

What Does “Low Vision” Mean?

As we age, our eyes change too. Many of these vision changes can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses. However, if your eye doctor tells you that your vision cannot be fully corrected with ordinary prescription lenses, medical treatment, or surgery, and you still have some usable vision. In this case, you have what is called “low vision.” Patients diagnosed with low vision may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks with low vision, such as reading, shopping, preparing meals, and signing your name on the dotted line.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, low vision can be a significant challenge for persons of any age trying to maintain their independence. Low vision can make everyday activities difficult, increasing reliance on loved ones and caregivers while increasing the risk of falls.

Here are a few simple adjustments that can be done to lessen the dependency for those with less severe forms of low vision:

Increase Contrast and Color

Set brightly colored accessories around the home to help with locating the items around them. Use contrasting colors to define doorknobs, steps, doorframes clearly, switch plates, outlets, or stairway landings to help decrease the risk of missteps and falls.

 

 

 

Let The Light Shine Bright

Brighter lighting can help with reading and activities such as sewing or cooking. Provide plenty of floor lamps and table lamps to enhance overhead lighting. Remove mirrors that reflect lights to create a glare. Use window coverings that can allow natural light through.

 

Embrace Technology

There are a variety of technology-based tools for smartphones and tablets designed to aid people with low vision. One example is Spotlight Text, which can be configured to help people with particular patterns of low vision to read with greater comfort.

 

Remove Hazards

Use non-glare products to clean floors instead of wax. Tape down area rugs and remove electrical cords from pathways to decrease the risk of falling and injury.

 

 

 

Don’t Delay Eye Exams

Several diseases that cause low vision, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma, are progressive and can get worse without proper monitoring and treatment. During a comprehensive eye exam, an eye doctor can identify both the type and severity of vision loss and, in some cases, refer patients to low vision rehabilitation.

 

Having low vision can be challenging, but it does not have to mean giving up your independence. Just a few adjustments around the house can make a big difference in maintaining comfort and strengthening your ability to accomplish your normal daily activities with partial sight.

 

Our First Goal Is Our Patients’ Lifelong Vision Health

CALL TODAY TO SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT!

850-784-3937

 

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Healthy Eye Habits for the New Year

It is a New Year, and a new chance to grow wiser. Just as your body ages, so too will your eyesight begin to change as you grow older. Some changes are driven by heredity, and others are exacerbated by the elements of our environment.

Without healthy eyes, your quality of life would likely change dramatically. Here’s the good news: developing these simple eye-healthy habits can help protect your eye health.

Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands for 20 seconds is not only a crucial habit to adopt for your overall but vital for your eye health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many common vision-related diseases can be spread by touching in or around the eye with an unwashed hand.

Bacterial and viral infections can cause long-term eyesight damage. To reduce your risk, develop a healthy hand washing routine. Also, never touch near your eyes for any reason if you have not just washed your hands.

Wear Eye Protection

It only takes one time not wearing protective glasses for something to become lodged in your eye. Wear eye protection around projectile-flinging equipment every time. Eye protection can also include wearing sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection.

Make Eye-Healthy Food Choices

A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains benefits the entire body, including the eyes. Studies show that foods rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin are good for eye health. These nutrients are linked to lower risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eye later in life. Eye-healthy food choices include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, and cold-water fish.

Exercise

Thirty minutes of exercise a day benefit one’s heart, waistline, and energy level. Regular physical activity can also do the eyes a world of good! Many eye diseases are linked to other health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels.

Quit Smoking

Avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke — or quitting, for current smokers — are some of the best investments everyone can make for long-term eye health. Smoking increases the risk for eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Tobacco smoke, including second-hand smoke, also worsens dry eye.

Take Charge of Your Eye Health!

Don’t skip your eye exam and schedule your eye exam TODAY! We are here to help our patients identify issues early and advise about lifestyle changes to keep their eyes healthy.

You only get one set of eyes, keep them healthy with these healthy habits.

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

National Glaucoma Awareness Month is an important time to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness. Although the most common forms primarily affect the middle-aged and the elderly, glaucoma can affect people of all ages. Currently, more than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma, and experts estimate that half of them do not know they have it.

How does glaucoma affect your vision?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, blind spots appear when glaucoma damages the fibers of the optic nerve. If the entire nerve is destroyed, you can become completely blind in that eye. The optic nerve is made up of many nerve fibers that carry images to the brain. It is like an electric cable, with many wires bundled together.

When there is more damage to the optic nerve, larger blank spots begin to appear in your vision field. Many people do not notice these blank spots until the optic nerve is significantly damaged and these spots become large.

This unnoticed vision loss is why people with glaucoma or at risk of glaucoma should have regular eye exams.

Below is a Glaucoma Vision Simulator created by the American Academy of Ophthalmology:

New Year – New Health Goals

There is hope for future glaucoma patients. Although there is no cure for any form of glaucoma, early diagnosis and treatment can help control the disease and slow the process of vision loss or blindness. As you are writing your New Year goals, kickstart your New Year health goals, and add an eye exam to your priority list. The Eye Center of North Florida is your BEST resource for lifelong eye health. 

Schedule Your Appointment Today! 

850-784-3937

 

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Celebrate The New Year Safely

We are all looking forward to a fresh new start and ready to ring in the New Year with cheer! Every year it is that special time to celebrate with champagne but popping a bottle of bubbly comes with some risk. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a champagne cork can fly up to 50 mph as it leaves the bottle. Champagne cork accidents happen, and when a champagne cork flies, there is little time to react and protect your delicate eyes.

For a safe celebration, follow the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s simple tips on how to open a bottle of champagne properly:

  • Chill sparkling wine and champagne to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or colder before opening. The cork of a warm bottle is more likely to pop unexpectedly.
  • Don’t shake the bottle. Shaking increases the speed at which the cork leaves the bottle, thereby increasing your severe eye injury chances.
  • Point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself and any bystanders and hold down the cork with the palm of your hand while removing the wire hood on the bottle.
  • Place a towel over the entire top of the bottle and grasp the cork.
  • Twist the bottle while holding the cork at a 45-degree angle to break the seal. Counter the force of the cork using downward pressure as the cork breaks free from the bottle.

View a video demonstration of proper champagne cork removal, and see how the force of a champagne cork can shatter glass: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWeQ-08Ot4E

Potential eye injuries from a flying cork include the rupture of the eye wall, acute glaucoma, retinal detachment, ocular bleeding, dislocation of the lens, and damage to the eye’s surrounding bone structure. In some cases, these injuries require emergency eye surgery or can lead to blindness in the damaged eye. Please celebrate safely and watch out for EYES when the champagne corks fly.

CHEERS!

It’s time to toast and clink carefully to avoid breaking any glasses. Here’s to celebrating responsibly! If you sustain an eye injury from a champagne cork, seek immediate medical attention from your eye doctor.

We wish you a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season from all the staff at The Eye Center of North Florida!

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Gift Guide For Toys

Some of the most popular toys this year may not be the best gift for your child. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about a quarter of a million children are seen in hospital emergency departments in the U.S. each year due to toy-related injuries.  Nearly half of those injuries were to the head and face, including the eyes. And about 35 percent of toy-related injuries are sustained by children under age 5. The Eye Center of North Florida wants to remind parents and grandparents to shop with an EYE on SAFETY when choosing gifts for children.

Common toy-related eye injuries range from a minor scratch to the front surface of the eye (corneal abrasion) to serious, sight-threatening injuries such as traumatic cataractbleeding inside the eyeretinal detachment, and even permanent vision loss.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, here are a few toys to avoid this holiday season.

  • Avoid toys that shoot objects. This includes slingshots, dart guns, pellet guns, arrows, slingshots, and water balloon launchers. Closely supervise any child playing with such toys.
  • Avoid drones with spinning rotors. A drone offered this holiday to children age 12 and up has spinning rotor blades that move at high speed, posing a danger to eyes, fingers, and hair. 
  • High-powered laser pointers can cause permanent vision loss. Though technically not a toy, some children use them to play “laser tag” or “flashlight tag.” Recent reports show that high-powered lasers (between 1500 and 6000 milliwatts) can cause permanent eye damage in children.
  • Avoid toy swords, sabers, or wands
  • Read labels for age recommendations before you buy. To select appropriate gifts suited for a child’s age, look for and follow the age recommendations and instructions about proper assembly, use, and supervision.

 

Give with JOY this holiday season with an EYE on SAFETY!

 

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

The Gift of Healthy Vision

It is that magical time of the year, a season of giving and being merry! What a year we have had so far, where you might have placed your needs at the bottom of your to-do list. At The Eye Center of North Florida, we want to remind you to give yourself a gift that you will cherish for a lifetime – the gift of healthy vision.

As we age, we should be vigilant in watching for signs of age-related vision loss because early diagnosis is critical in preventing many sight-threatening conditions from progressing. We want our patients empowered with information that they can minimize their risks. Have you scheduled your comprehensive eye exam?

Eye Exam 101
A comprehensive eye exam is a painless procedure that can detect potentially sight-robbing conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy, even before a patient experiences any symptoms. A comprehensive eye exam should cover the following: 

  • Medical history- assessed through questions about vision and family history.
  • Visual acuity – tested by reading a standardized eye chart.
  • Pupils – evaluated to determine how well they respond to light.
  • Eye movement – tested to ensure proper eye alignment and ocular muscle function.
  • Prescription for corrective lenses – evaluated to ensure proper vision correction.
  • Side vision – tested for possible vision loss and glaucoma risk.
  • Eye pressure – tested as a possible glaucoma symptom.
  • Front part of the eye – examined to reveal any cataracts, scars, or scratches on your cornea.
  • Retina and optic nerve – assessed through a dilated eye exam using special eyedrops, which allows your eye doctor to thoroughly examine the back of the eye for signs of damage.

Helping Your Vision Stay Healthy

Between those regular eye exams, there is a lot we can do in our daily lives to safeguard our eyesight. Wear UV-blocking sunglasses outside (no matter what season it is), stay active, eat healthy foods, and avoid harmful habits like smoking. Following these tips will greatly reduce many risk factors for eye diseases, let alone improving your overall health!

Give yourself the gift that does not come wrapped in a beautiful box but a gift that will be cherished for a lifetime – healthy vision. Do not delay or deny yourself a comprehensive eye exam.

Keep the holidays happier and healthier.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Quit Smoking Now… It’s Good For You and Your Eyes!

Smoking Can Lead to Eye Diseases & Vision Loss

A new study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that, while progress is being made, smoking and tobacco use remains a concern for the health of millions of Americans. Smoking causes itchy, watery eyes, which can be a nuisance, but more importantly, smoking escalates the risk for vision-threatening eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, smoking tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, or pipes) can cause lung disease, heart disease, cancer, and many other serious health problems. But did you know that smoking can also harm your eyes?  

The American Academy of Ophthalmology listed a few eye problems that are caused by smoking:

Dry Eye

Dry eye is when your eyes do not have enough—or the right kind of—tears. Smoking with dry Eye will make your eyes more likely to feel scratchy, sting, burn, or be red.

Cataracts

 If you smoke, you are at increased risk of getting cataracts. A cataract is clouding of your Eye’s naturally clear lens. It causes blurry vision and makes colors look dull, faded, or yellowish.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

AMD happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged. You lose your central vision and cannot see fine details. But your peripheral (side) vision stays normal. Sometimes medicine or surgery can help certain people with AMD from getting worse, but there is no cure. Studies show that smokers and ex-smokers are more likely to get AMD than people who never smoked.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Smokers who also have diabetes risk getting diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is when blood vessels in the Eye are damaged. It causes blurry or distorted vision and possibly blindness. Treatment includes medication or surgery.

Optic Nerve Problems

People who smoke risk having optic nerve problems. The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain. Damage to this nerve can lead to blindness.

Smoking can increase risk factors, which can lead to glaucoma – a disease that affects the optic nerve.

Uveitis

Smoking can lead to a disease that affects the part of the eye called the uvea. This is the middle layer of the eye wall. Uveitis is when this layer becomes inflamed (red and swollen). This disease causes red-eye, pain, and vision problems.

Graves’ Disease

This is a disease of the body’s thyroid gland. One of the symptoms of Graves’ disease is bulging eyes. Smokers who have Graves’ disease risk having their eye condition get worse. They can also lose vision.

Secondhand Smoke

Toddlers and children are at risk from secondhand smoke—a new study suggests children as yo

ung as six years old already show signs of eye damage due to secondhand smoke.  

Are you trying to quit?

The American Cancer Society has helpful tips. The good news is that quitting smoking has immediate results on your health, and it’s never too late to stop! Once you break the habit, your body will begin to try and repair itself. 

We are dedicated to making sure you can see clearly!

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Gratitude and Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving season, it’s important to acknowledge the things we are grateful for in our lives.

The Eye Center of North Florida has the opportunity to touch so many people’s lives in such a unique way, and we see patients all the time who tell us how their eye care appointment has made a huge difference for them. From a boosted self-esteem to a clearer vision to see the world a little brighter, which has a powerful impact on daily life activities.

We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge one of the heartfelt “thank you’s” we’ve received. It’s kind words from patients like this that motivate and humble us. We’re so grateful for all of our wonderful patients.

 

Thank You Note from a Patient

The Doctors and Staff of The Eye Center, I can’t thank you enough!  It was a great experience from my routine eye exam at the Beach Office to the cataract evaluation and surgery at the Panama City office and surgical center.  The office staff, nurses and Dr.’s were all so compassionate, pleasant and professional. I was especially impressed with how smooth the entire process went and the minimal wait time. It was just a great and stress-free experience all around! Thank you, Eye Center of North Florida, for restoring my sight.

 

We are grateful for your trust, and by choosing our practice, you tell us that you trust us, even if you don’t say it explicitly. We are incredibly grateful that you believe in what we do, so much so that patients often refer others to our practice. We appreciate you for arriving at your appointment and sharing your positive experiences with others, and we work to show how thankful we are each and every day.

This Thanksgiving holiday, we want to let you know we are so thankful for each and every one of our patients, both past and current. We are so happy to help many people improve their daily lives and their eye health.

We wish you a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday!

 

 

Kitchen Eye Safety

The Thanksgiving holiday is almost here for us to celebrate with cheer! Although we may be celebrating the holiday differently this year, the favorite Thanksgiving dinner traditions will still live on for a happy holiday season. As we prepare our Thanksgiving nutritious meals, let’s take a look at a few eye safety tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to avoid common eye hazards to stay safe in the kitchen. Keep in mind, prevention is the best strategy. 

Hot grease can splatter and burn your eye

Hot cooking oil and grease can easily splash onto the eye and burn your cornea. This common injury can be avoided by wearing glasses or, at the very least, using a grease shield or lid on the pan. 

If hot grease splashes in your eye, immediately flush it with plenty of water. The water will remove the grease and any particles. Do not use anti-redness drops to rinse your eye.

Artificial tears may soothe your eyes after a small grease splash but see your eye doctor as soon as possible if there is apparent injury, excessive pain, or you are worried about your eye. You may be more susceptible to eye infections or other eye injuries while your eye is healing.

Watch out for bubbling sauces and splashing liquids

Any liquid that splashes in your eye can be uncomfortable. But food liquids may be especially dangerous. Fluids from food are often acidic and can cause your eyes to tear up and sting.  Some foods, like raw chicken liquid, contain bacteria that could cause an eye infection.  Simmering sauces can splash out of the pot and burn or blister your eye.

If this happens, flush your eye with plenty of water and see an eye doctor right away.

Spicy residues can stick to your fingers and end up in your eye

When you chop jalapeño peppers and use other spicy ingredients, your fingers retain oily residues that can end up in your eyes. Wash your hands thoroughly after preparing food. Or better yet, wear gloves while chopping vegetables and working with spices.

If pepper or spice oils end up in your eye, flush with plenty of water and then wash your eyelids and the area around your eye with baby shampoo. Never put any soap directly in your eye.

Cleaning chemicals can cause blinding eye injuries

Cleaning products are among the top eye hazards in the kitchen. You should always wear eye protection when working with cleaning chemicals. Bleach, oven cleaners, and other cleaning chemicals can cause serious, blinding eye injuries. If you get any cleaning products in your eyes, immediately flush with plenty of water and seek medical attention. The longer the exposure, the worse the damage can be.

Stay safe while using knives, scissors, and other sharps

Sharp objects are the third-most-common cause of eye injuries in kids. Sharp objects are the third-most-common cause of eye injuries in a kid. Be especially careful with knives, forks, scissors, and sharp objects when teaching young children to cook. 

Don’t slip! Keep floors clean and cabinet doors closed

Loose rugs, open cabinets, and liquid spills on the floor could be more of a hazard to your eyes than you realize. Falls are a top cause of eye injury in the United States. People 60 years old and older are especially prone to eye injuries from falls. Before you start cooking, make sure your kitchen is as safe for grandma as it is for the grandkids.

Contact Us With Eye Safety Questions

If you do injure yourself, tell your eye doctor right away. Head straight to the emergency room if you experience prolonged pain, redness, blurred vision, tearing, or a sensation that something is in your eye. If you are looking for additional advice on kitchen eye safety or would like to run your eye injury emergency plan by us, we will be happy to help!

Your Eye Safety Is Our First Priority!

850-784-3937

Source: The American Academy of Ophthalmology

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
 

Why is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month Important?

Did you know that diabetes could cause eye disease? Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness, and many don’t experience symptoms. Early detection, timely treatment, and appropriate follow-up care with your eye doctor are the only ways to prevent vision loss.

Diabetic patients require special eye care to manage their blood sugar and ensure the whole body stays healthy. The Eye Center of North Florida strongly encourages patients to schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year, which is vital in maintaining good eye care.  Adopting good eye care helps avoid complications such as cataracts, macular swelling, and optic nerve damage.

What is diabetic eye disease?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of eye conditions that can affect people with diabetes. All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause severe vision loss and blindness. Diabetic eye disease can result in the following:

  • Diabetic retinopathy affects blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the eye’s back. It is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults.
  • Diabetic macular edema (DME), a consequence of diabetic retinopathy, DME is swelling in an area of the retina called the macula.
  • Cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens. Adults with diabetes are 2-5 times more likely than those without diabetes to develop cataracts. Cataract also tends to develop at an earlier age in people with diabetes.
  • Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve—the bundle of nerve fibers that connects the eye to the brain. Some types of glaucoma are associated with elevated pressure inside the eye. In adults, diabetes nearly doubles the risk of glaucoma.

How can diabetic eye disease be detected?

A comprehensive dilated eye exam includes visual acuity testing, Tonometry, pupil dilation, and Optical coherence tomography (OCT). These tests allow the doctor to check the retina for:

  • Changes to blood vessels
  • Leaking blood vessels or warning signs of leaky blood vessels, such as fatty deposits
  • Swelling of the macula (DME)
  • Changes in the lens
  • Damage to nerve tissue

What Are Other Eye Problems Related to Diabetes?

Diabetes can cause vision problems even if you do not have a form of diabetic eye disease. If your blood sugar levels change quickly, it can affect the shape of your eye’s lens, causing blurry vision. Your vision goes back to normal after your blood sugar stabilizes. Have your blood sugar controlled before getting your eyeglasses prescription checked. This ensures you receive the correct prescription.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that about 90% of vision loss from diabetes can be prevented. Early detection is KEY! People with diabetes should get critical, annual eye exams before they have signs of vision loss. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, studies show that 60% of diabetic patients are not getting the eye exams their doctors recommend.

The Eye Center of North Florida will provide consistent and mindful care to help diabetic patients keep their vision and treat impairment. Call TODAY to schedule your appointment! 850-784-3937.

 

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding a medical condition.