Keep an Eye on Your Vision Health

Eye exams aren’t just about vision. They’re about your health.

Prevention Is the Best Treatment

Eye exams at every age and life stage can help keep your vision healthy. Without regular eye exams, there is no way to catch glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration for an early diagnosis to slow their progress and to keep vision loss to a minimum. Eye diseases are common and can go unnoticed for a long time, and some have no symptoms at first.  A comprehensive eye exam by your eye doctor at The Eye Center of North Florida is essential for your overall health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 11 million Americans over the age of 12 need vision correction. This is just one of the many reasons to get an eye exam. 

Here are a few prevalent daily threats to the health of your eyes that makes an annual eye exam a must:

Eye Strain Decreases Productivity

During this time, more people are working and learning from home using virtual technology to connect with office teams, teachers, family, and friends, where most of our time is being spent in front of a computer screen. As well as additional hours looking at our smartphones, can lead to a lot of digital eye strain. If you have been experiencing symptoms like blurred visions, dry eyes, and frequent headaches, eye strain could be the culprit. At an eye exam, the doctors at The Eye Center of North Florida can discuss ways to minimize the effects of screen time and make a plan for avoiding that strain.

Dry Eyes

Did you know dry eye symptoms are one of the top reasons people go to the eye doctor? Dry eyes are more than uncomfortable, they can impact your vision and the overall health of your eye.  Dry eye vision is blurry vision and ongoing irritation that can lead to significant damage to your cornea. There have been significant advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye that can provide relief.

Sun Damage

Summer fun spending time with your family in the backyard or a summer drive exposes you to UV sun rays. While sun damage is more closely linked to skin cancer, the threat to your eyes is just as significant.  Wearing UV blocking sunglasses is important (Pro Tip: Look for sunglasses labeled UV 400). 

Eye Health Is Connected to Overall Health

Eye exams are not just important for the sake of checking that your eyes are healthy and working the way they should, they’re also a great way to get a look at how you’re doing in terms of overall health. The eye doctor may be the first one to spot early symptoms of chronic conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer, all from a standard eye exam!

The Eye Center of North Florida is a resource for your eye health patient education. If it has been a while since we last saw you, give us a call at 850-784-3937 to schedule your appointment!

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.

Understanding The Eye

To understand the diseases and conditions that can affect the eye, it helps to understand basic eye anatomy. This week, we would like to give a brief tour of the eye to explain further how it works. The eye captures and focuses light like a camera. Here is a step-by-step explanation of how the eye works:

  1. Light enters the eye through the cornea (the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye).
  2. From the cornea, the light passes through the pupil. The amount of light passing through is regulated by the iris, or the colored part of your eye.
  3. From there, the light then hits the lens, the transparent structure inside the eye, which focuses light rays onto the retina.
  4. Finally, it reaches the retina, the light-sensitive nerve layer that lines the back of the eye, where the image appears inverted.
  5. The optic nerve carries signals of light, dark, and colors to the area of the brain (the visual cortex), which assembles the signals into images (our vision).

       

With normal vision, the cornea and the lens focus light directly onto the retina. Light rays entering the eye are focused sharply on the retina and the image you see is clear.

 

Love Your Eyes!

Our eyes are windows to the world around us. They let us see so many magnificent things! Make sure you take care of those beautiful eyes of yours by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and making regular visits to your eye doctor. Call us TODAY at 850-784-3937 to schedule an appointment.

 

 

Eye Safety Tips for Home Improvement Projects

This summer, many people are staying close to home for backyard hang-outs and close-to-home summer fun. While spending more time at home, more people are strapping on their tool belts, putting on their gardening gear, and getting to work on DIY home improvement projects.

Did you know that about half of all eye injuries happen right at home?

Home activities that can injure your eyes include:

  • Cleaning. Chemicals like bleach in household cleaning products cause 125,000 eye injuries each year.
  • Home Improvement. Screws, nails, and hand tools can launch into the air and your eyes. Power tools can also send wood chips or other substances flying into the air.
  • Yard Work. Lawnmowers, trimmers, and even shovels can throw dirt and debris into the air. Branches, twigs, and thorns can also be dangerous.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, about three out of 10 people wear protective eyewear during home projects that could hurt their eyes. The good news? Simply wearing protective eyewear can reduce your risk for eye injury by 90 percent.

The good news is that 90 percent of eye injuries are completely preventable if we follow eye safety instructions and use eye protection!

The American Academy of Ophthalmology urges every household to have at least one pair of ANSI-approved protective eyewear.  (“ANSI-approved” means the protective eyewear is made to meet safety standards of the American National Standards Institute.)

Take Precautions With Those DIY Projects

We usually associate safety goggles with construction workers, but if you think about it, building a birdhouse to hang in your backyard is a construction project, too—and it shares some of the dangers with larger-scale projects. Most home improvement projects, from painting the kitchen to building a deck, involve materials or tools that could be hazardous to the eyes.

Polycarbonate safety glasses and face shields are great ways of keeping your eyes safe against flying splinters of wood, drips of paint, or dust. Even lawnmowers and weed eaters can fling tiny rocks or twigs in any direction, so safety glasses would come in handy for that type of project as well. Regular glasses are too fragile to offer reliable protection and can actually cause even worse damage if they shatter near the eyes.

Protect Your Eyes From Household Cleaners

The household cleaners, such as bleach, cause as many as 125,000 eye injuries every year. Follow all safety instructions on your cleaning products, and wear safety glasses to protect against any splashes.

Be Prepared With Eye Injury First Aid

Eye injuries tend to fall into two major categories: foreign body in the eye and foreign body penetration of the eye. When it’s the latter, the best thing to do is immediately seek medical attention. Do not attempt to remove the foreign body and do not touch the eye. Cover the eye with a rigid shield (such as a paper cup taped in place) to keep it from being disturbed and get to the hospital.

When it’s the former, it’s still best to avoid touching the eye and to seek medical attention in case the damage is more severe than it looks. However, in the short term, the foreign body can often be flushed out with water. Flushing with water for at least 20 minutes is also an excellent way to neutralize any harmful chemicals splashed in the eyes.

Bring Your Eye Safety Questions To Us!

If you have any questions or concerns about eye safety in your home, don’t hesitate to call us 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.

Travel Tips For Your Eyes

Eye emergencies can be frightening, especially when you’re far from home. Accidents and injuries can make it hard to navigate a new city – even worse, some conditions can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated appropriately. Here are some top travel tips from a comprehensive ophthalmologist and world traveler Anne Sumers, M.D., a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Do: Pack your Backups

If you wear glasses, bring two pairs on every trip! 

Don’t: Wait to see your eye doctor

Although it may be tempting, don’t wait until you get home to see your eye doctor. Immediate treatment of small problems keeps them small.

Don’t: Use water to clean your contacts

Always travel with your contact lens case, and two bottles of contact lens solution. If one bottle opens and spills, you’ll have a backup. If your eyes feel uncomfortable, take out your contacts and put them in a sterile contact lens solution in their case — not in a cup. Never store your contacts in water— water isn’t sterile, and have bacteria that can cause serious eye infections

Do: Stock up on prescription drops

If you take prescription eye drops, be sure to bring extra unopened bottles with you. If you need eye drops for allergies, glaucoma, or dry eye, be sure to bring them with you – and pack extras!

Don’t: Ignore changes in your vision

Just because it isn’t painful doesn’t mean it isn’t serious.

Don’t: Ignore changes in your vision (yes, it’s worth repeating!)

Vision changes can be a sign of other health problems. When we travel, we change our eating and drinking habits. Blurred vision can indicate a hypertensive crisis, a stroke or out-of-control diabetes.

Do: Enjoy your travels!

No matter where you go, there is always something new to see and learn, so take care of your eyes while you’re traveling to ensure you can get the most out of your vacation.

To schedule an appointment, call us today at 850-784-3937.

July is UV Safety Month

Before you head out, don’t forget to protect yourselves from the sun’s UV rays, both with sunscreen for your skin and with sunglasses for your eyes.

Why We Need UV Protection

We all know that we can get sunburns if we stay outside too long without sunscreen, but did you know that your eyes can be damaged in similar ways by too much sunlight? UV-A rays reach all the way to your retinas and can lead to macular degeneration (loss of central vision), while UV-B rays affect the cornea and lens, causing corneal sunburns and increasing the risk of developing cataracts.

Sunscreen and shade are essential to keeping your skin protected when enjoying time in the sun, but what about your eyes? Eyes need protection from the sun too! Let’s look at a few ways you can keep your eyes healthy this summer.

Choosing The Right Sunglasses

Protection from harmful UV rays should be a major priority when having fun in the sun. The best way to do this is with UV-protecting sunglasses! It is crucial to check that your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV rays. Merely having a dark tint doesn’t mean they’re giving your eyes the protection they need. In fact, non-UV-protecting sunglasses can actually trick your eyes into behaving as though there isn’t much light, leaving them even more vulnerable to UV rays than they would be otherwise.

Don’t Forget Those Goggles!

As important as sunglasses are for protecting your eyes from the sun, goggles are just as important for protecting your eyes from chlorine and microbes in the water. Make sure to choose goggles that fit well and provide a good seal over your eyes, and don’t forget to take your contacts out before swimming! Keeping the contacts out and the goggles on will protect your eyes from the risk of infection, so have fun swimming while social-distancing!

 

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.

 

Fireworks and Eye Safety Tips – Keep Your Eyes Protected

The Fourth of July is one of the favorite times of the year and the official kick off holiday to summer.  The month surrounding July 4th festivities also brings an increase of fireworks displays and with that a spike in firework related injuries.

It is important to consider eye protection when dealing with anything combustible. Most fireworks related injuries occur during the month of July, and the most recent Consumer Product Safety Commission report found that 14% of fireworks injuries were eye injuries. Out of those injuries, children between the ages of 10-14 had the highest rate of emergency room visits related to fireworks. Keep yourself and your eyes safe this summer and enjoy treasured holiday traditions with these important safety tips!

7 FIREWORKS EYE SAFETY TIPS

  1. Always have an adult supervise children, even sparklers! Sparklers burn up to 1800°F!
  2. Ensure everyone is at a safe distance of at least 500 feet when setting off fireworks.
  3. Never point or throw fireworks at another person!
  4. Don’t shoot fireworks out of a glass or metal container. The explosion could shatter and expel glass or metal shards!
  5. Don’t hover. Never have any part of the body directly over a firework when lighting.
  6. Firework didn’t ignite the first time? Soak it in water and discard it. Serious eye trauma and other injuries can occur when people mistake a firework for a “dud” or think that it’s no longer active or hot.
  7. Importantly, protect your eyes and wear safety glasses when setting off fireworks.

WHEN YOU EXPERIENCE A FIREWORKS RELATED EYE INJURY:

  1. Seek medical attention immediately
  2. Do not rub your eye. You risk scratching the cornea or making the injury worse.
  3. Don’t attempt to rinse out the eye.
  4. Don’t apply any pressure or ointments to the eye.
  5. Do not to take any pain medication before seeing a medical professional.

 

We hope all of our patients have a fantastic time on the 4th of July, but if you have questions about how to make sure your festivities are safe for everyone involved, feel free to give us a call. 850-784-3937

 

Have a safe and Happy Independence Day!

 

Protect Your Eye Health

Protecting your eyesight is one of the most basic things you can do to maintain a good quality of life. Summer is here, and it is a great time to take a closer look at a few of the biggest reasons to make sure an eye exam makes it into your schedules.

Prevention Is the Best Treatment

A lot of the chronic, sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration can take a long time to show symptoms. Without regular eye exams, there’s no way to catch them early on, and yet early diagnosis is the best way to slow their progress and keep vision loss to a minimum.

Eye Strain Is a Drain on Productivity

In this technological era, many of us have jobs sitting in front of a computer screen for most of the day. This, as well as additional hours looking at our smartphones, can lead to a lot of digital eye strain. If you’ve been experiencing symptoms like blurred visions, dry eyes, and frequent headaches, eye strain could be the culprit. At an eye exam, we can discuss ways to minimize the effects of screen time and make a plan for avoiding that strain.

Vision Health Is Connected to Overall Health

Eye exams aren’t just important for the sake of checking that your eyes are healthy and working the way they should, they’re also a great way to get a look at how you’re doing in terms of overall health. The eye doctor may be the first one to spot early symptoms of chronic conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer — all from a standard eye exam!

We can’t wait to see you at our practice!

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 medical conditions.

 

By You Exercising… There Are Benefits for YOUR Eye Health

We have adapted to different lifestyle changes due to COVID-19; however, it is so important to adapt to an exercising routine to build strength, stay fit, and feel good. Staying active is crucial to overall health, including lowering our risk of chronic health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart conditions, and high blood pressure, but did you know that exercise can specifically benefit the health of your eyes? Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can maintain good vision health through exercise!

Our Eyes Without Exercise

Studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle can leave a person at a higher risk of vision loss as they age than a more active lifestyle. There are many chronic diseases that impact our overall health and can take a toll on our vision. Type 2 diabetes, for instance, is a major risk factor for several sight-threatening conditions, including diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Reducing Your Risk Of Eye Disease

When we say that exercise is good for your eyes, we don’t mean you won’t need glasses anymore if you work out, but eating healthy and exercising regularly are the best ways to prevent developing these chronic and sight-threatening conditions. Exercising at least three times per week can make you 70 percent less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, and it can drop your chance of developing glaucoma by 25 percent!

Exercise Tips For Eye Health

We know it is not always easy to find time in your busy schedule. Simply taking regular walks while practicing social distancing around your neighborhood, going for light jogs, and even doing yoga can significantly decrease your risks for developing sight-threatening conditions. Just make sure you are doing these things at least two to three times a week!

Here is a cardio workout you could squeeze into just a few minutes of free time at home:

Regularly Scheduling Check-ups

Along with making time for a regular exercise regimen, it’s important to continue scheduling eye exams! Exercise will do you a world of good, but it isn’t a cure-all. That’s why The Eye Center of North Florida is always here to help you with your eye health needs. Call us TODAY at 850-784-3937 to schedule an appointment.

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 medical conditions.

 

**Source: British Journal of Ophthalmology and AAO**
https://bjo.bmj.com/content/90/12/1461.abstract?sid=c857de1c-bdb5-48ad-a29d-f13db7159940

 

June is Cataract Awareness Month!

Prevent Blindness America has declared June to be Cataract Awareness Month, an initiative aimed at raising awareness of and advocating for education on cataract risk factors, symptoms, and treatments. preventblindness.org/cataract-awareness-month-2020

The number of Americans with cataracts are expected to be 38.5 million by 2032 and 45.6 million by 2050, according to Prevent Blindness America.

Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and it is the leading cause of blindness in the world. There are 24 million Americans over the age of 40 who are affected by cataracts.

How Do Cataracts Form?

In a healthy eye, our lenses are filled with proteins that line up to be perfectly transparent. However, over time, they can clump together and become opaque, creating a cataract. The rest of the eye can be completely healthy, but a cataract can block some or all of the light from reaching the retina.

What Are The Symptoms Of Cataracts?

Cataracts can start small and subtle, so it’s not always evident that a cataract is developing. Over time, you may begin to notice the following symptoms:

  • Faded or yellowed colors
  • Reduced night vision
  • Light sensitivity and increased glare
  • Halo effect around lights
  • Dim, cloudy, or blurry vision
  • More frequent glasses prescription changes
  • Double vision in a single eye

Cataract Risk Factors

The main risk factor for cataracts is advancing age, but other factors can make them more likely to develop earlier. These include diabetes, smoking, a family history of cataracts, exposure to UV radiation over time, high blood pressure, previous inflammation or injury in an eye, previous eye surgery, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and prolonged use of corticosteroid medication.

The Good News: Cataracts Are Treatable

In the early stages, cataract symptoms can be combated with a stronger glasses prescription, but eventually, glasses or contacts won’t be enough. Luckily, cataract surgery is performed more often than any other surgery in the US. It’s low-risk, simple, and routine, involving one short procedure on each eye. Even better, if you have other vision problems like astigmatism, cataract surgery might fix that too!

How Is Your Eye Health? We ask because WE CARE.

If you’ve noticed changes in your vision, schedule an appointment at The Eye Center of North Florida so we can check for cataracts and make sure your eyes are healthy.

 

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 medical conditions.

UV Rays Versus Healthy Vision

We are on the heels of summer! Post COVID-19 this summer will be different than what we have experienced in previous summers. While you follow safety guidelines from the CDC and local health departments including proper social distancing. There will still be fun times spent outdoors, but it also means more exposure to harmful UV rays. Are you prepared with the proper sun protection?

UV Rays Versus Healthy Vision

Even being careful not to look directly at the sun, just being outside for extended periods can be enough to get sunburns on our eyes. These are called photokeratitis, and symptoms include redness, a grainy feeling when blinking, light sensitivity, tearing, and blurred vision. In snowy areas, photokeratitis is often called “snow blindness,” but it is also a problem spending extended amounts of time outside in the summer.

Long term, UV exposure can have cumulative effects on our vision, including increasing the risk of developing sight-threatening conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts. We also become more vulnerable to pterygium or “surfer’s eye” (an overgrowth of the clear tissue of the whites of the eyes towards the iris) and pinguecula (white or yellow bumps that form in the whites of the eyes).

Wear Sunglasses to Protect Your Eyesight from UV Rays

The first priority should be to have a pair of sunglasses and make sure they offer full UV protection. Check the label to see if your sunglasses block at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays. Large lenses are also a good idea because they offer more coverage. Polarized lenses provide even better protection because they eliminate the glare from sunlight bouncing off surfaces around us, including other cars and the surface of the water.

Other Tips for UV Protection

In addition to always wearing sunglasses when outside during the day, there are other things you can do to keep your eyes (and skin) safe from the sun:

  • Minimize the time you spend in the sun during the brightest hours of the day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats for additional shade.
  • Use sunscreen!

Please contact us at 850-784-3937 to discuss your eye health.