July is National Dry Eye Awareness Month

July is National Dry Eye Awareness Month. Dry eye disease is a multifactorial disease that affects an estimated 25 million people in the United States. It is often a condition that is under-recognized and under-diagnosed. We want to empower you with information that may help you or your loved one.  

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, dry eye is a condition in which a person does not have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are necessary to maintain the eye’s front surface’s health and provide clear vision.

Did you know that dry eye is common and often a chronic problem, particularly in older adults? An article published in the Journal of Global Health reported that studies have shown the prevalence of dry eye ranges from 5 percent to as high as 50 percent in different populations worldwide. In the United States, a study by Market Scope estimates that 17.2 million were diagnosed with dry eye in 2019.

Dry Eye Symptoms 

Here are a few symptoms of dry eye:

  • Feeling like something is in your eye (foreign body sensation)
  • Red eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Burning sensation
  • Photophobia (Light Sensitivity) 
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses 
  • Aching sensation 

What Causes Dry Eyes? 

There are many potential origins of dry eyes. Here are a few of the most common causes.

  • Aging – Dry eye can occur at any age, but it becomes more common as you age, especially after age 50.
  • Computer use – Working at a computer or a digital device, we tend to blink our eyes less thoroughly and less frequently. Excessive computer use leads to greater tear evaporation and an increased risk of dry eye symptoms.
  • Menopause – Post-menopausal women are at risk of dry eyes more than men of the same age.
  • Wearing a mask – A mask to protect against the spread of a virus may cause dry eye by forcing air out the top of the mask and over the eye’s surface.
  • Medications – Many medicines increase the risk of dry eye symptoms, including antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medications, and birth control pills.
  • Indoor environment – Air conditioning and ceiling fans can decrease indoor humidity. This type of environment can accelerate tear evaporation, causing dry eye symptoms.
  • Health conditions – Certain diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid-associated conditions, and lupus can contribute to dry eye problems.
  • Allergies – Allergies can cause dry eyes; in conjunction with taking antihistamines to relieve allergies can also cause dry eyes.

Dry Eye Treatment and Prevention 

Dry eye disease can have several causes, and providers can use a variety of treatments. Call us to schedule an appointment to get relief for your dry eyes. We will be happy to determine the best type of dry eye treatment to keep your eyes comfortable and healthy!

Men’s Eye Health

International Men’s Health Week is celebrated this week from June 13 – 19. Men’s Health Week falls perfectly just before Father’s Day, and to celebrate the week, we are highlighting a few things you or the men in your life can do to keep your eye health in top shape. You only have one set of eyes, so take extra care of them and take action now for a lifetime of healthy eyes!  

Don’t Delay Or Deny Your Eye Exam 

Scheduling your eye exams regularly can help you catch problems before it’s too late. In addition, an eye doctor can spot eye diseases early.

Be Aware Around Screens and Minimize Eyestrain 

Digital eye strain has become a problem for many and can make you uncomfortable. Staring at any screen for too long can make your eyes feel dry and tired, which can cause blurred vision. The reason is that most people tend to blink much less when using digital screen devices. Remember to give your eyes frequent breaks from computers, phones, and tablets.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends following the 20-20-20 rule when using these devices: For every 20 minutes looking at a digital screen, look 20 feet away for a full 20 seconds to rest the eyes.

Know Your Family History

Many eye conditions are inherited, and asking family members about their eye conditions plays a significant role in your eye health. For example, you have a much higher chance of developing macular degeneration if a close family member is affected by this condition. Also, your risk of glaucoma is four to nine times higher than average if a family member has it. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment is the best option to help prevent vision loss.

Protect Your Eyes 

We all love the warm weather that the summer season brings, but don’t forget to protect your peepers from the UV Rays. Long-term exposure to UV Rays can damage the cornea and the lens, leading to eye cancers or cataracts. The summer also leads to more fun outdoors playing our favorite sport. Protect your eyes by wearing eye gear or a helmet with a safety visor.

Drop The Habit and Stop Smoking  

Smoking raises the risk of cardiovascular diseases, indirectly influencing your eye health. Smoking also increases the risk for eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. Second-hand smoke also causes dry eyes.

Eat Healthy and Have Fun Exercising 

Many studies have shown that exercise and a diet rich in various fruits and vegetables can protect against blinding eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. Therefore, eat a diet rich in plant-based foods and exercise moderately for 30 minutes a day.

We Are Your Eye Health Partners

If you are experiencing something about your eye health, don’t tough it out! Eye problems usually do not go away on their own. Schedule an appointment TODAY to ensure your eyes are healthy.

Thank You For Trusting Us With Your Eye Health!

The Eye Center of of North Florida

References: American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association. This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided within this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.

Prevention Tips for Eye Emergencies When Traveling

According to AAA, 39.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more from home this Memorial Day holiday weekend. This is an 8.3% increase over 2021 60% percent increase bringing travel volumes almost in line with those in 2017. If you and your family plan to travel this Memorial Day weekend, we wanted to give you a few tips to prepare if you have an eye emergency. Eye emergencies can happen anytime, but they can be alarming when away from home.

Follow these tips to protect your eyes, even while traveling.

Schedule An Eye Exam Before Leaving Town 

Don’t wait until you get back home to see your eye doctor. Ignoring or delaying vision changes just because it is not painful does not mean it is not severe. Award your trip with a healthy start!

Remember Your Eyes When Packing 

Whether you wear contacts or glasses, always pack extras. An extra pair of glasses always come in handy if your eyes need a break from the contacts or if you break your glasses.

Prepare for Dry Eyes  

Environment changes or traveling by plane can result in dry eyes. Bring over-the-counter drops to lubricate your eyes.

Stock Up On Prescription Drops 

If you take prescription eye drops, be sure to bring an extra unopened bottle. Here is a great tip: Take a photo of your prescription on your smartphone! That way, if you lose your luggage, you’ll be able to have the correct eye prescription that you need to have fun and enjoy your vacation.

Don’t Leave Your Shades Behind

Sunglasses should be the number one item on your packing list. Your eyes need protection with sunglasses to block the harmful UVA and UVB rays.

When to Seek Eye Emergency Treatment 

Eye emergencies requiring medical attention include cuts, scratches, objects in the eye, and blunt injuries to the eye or eyelid.  If there is an eye emergency while you are traveling, it is vital to seek emergency treatment if any of the following symptoms appear:

  • Eye pain accompanied by redness
  • Nausea or headache with eye pain
  • Changes in vision such as blurring or double vision
  • Bleeding or other discharge
  • A scratch, cut, or penetration of the eyeball

Bon Voyage! 

We want our patients to have all the knowledge they need to keep their eyes healthy this summer kick-off holiday and every day. Taking some time to plan to ensure your eye care needs are taken care of before embarking on your trip will allow you to have a worry-free vacation!

Whether traveling this Memorial Day or staying close to home, have fun and celebrate the holiday safely. 

Remember and honor all of our troops.

How Do I Know If I’m Having An Ocular Migraine

Most people are familiar with classic migraines as a painful headache that affects about 10 percent of the US population. Still, the visual distortion that comes with ocular migraines is not always related to head pain. 

What is an Ocular Migraine?

According to the American Migraine Foundation, Ocular Migraine is a term used to refer to a number of migraine subtypes characterized by various visual disturbances, including visual loss and blind spots, zig-zag lines, or seeing stars. It is not uncommon for an individual to experience a wide range of visual symptoms.

Types of Ocular Migraine

Migraine with Aura

Migraine Aura impairs vision, with symptoms like flashes of light, blind spots, seeing stars or patterns, and other minor sight issues that go away after a short period. While the most noticeable symptoms are visual disruptions, the Aura can also affect other senses and interfere with speech, motor skills, or other central nervous symptoms. Migraine Aura can occur with a headache or without and is typically short in duration. When aura symptoms appear in conjunction with head pain, they usually occur between the premonitory phase and the peak pain phase of migraine, between the signs that warn of an impending attack, and when the head pain itself hits. They may, however, last more than 1 hour in about 20% of individuals and may follow the onset of head pain in some instances. Migraine with Aura occurs in 25-30 percent of people with migraines, and less than 20% of individuals with migraine visual Aura have the aura phase with every migraine attack.

Retinal Migraine

Retinal Migraine refers to visual symptoms that occur in only one eye before or during the headache phase of a migraine attack. Retinal Migraine symptoms tend to be more intrusive than aura symptoms and include decreased vision, the appearance of twinkling lights, and temporary blindness. It can be difficult for patients to distinguish between Migraine with Aura and Retinal Migraine, so it’s essential to consult a doctor if you think you may be experiencing Retinal Migraine symptoms.  Irreversible visual loss may be a complication of Retinal Migraine.

What Causes These Migraine Types with Vision Disturbance?

The causes of ocular migraines differ from person to person. Straining your eyes by staring at a screen for long periods, spending time in fluorescent or harsh lighting, driving long distances, and other taxing visual activities can increase your risk of attacks. Some say chocolate or caffeine triggers them, while others believe stress and certain medications are factors. However, other sufferers say they experience ocular migraines at random times. When a ocular migraine begins, it’s difficult and sometimes impossible to stop it. The migraine aura typically disappears in about 30 to 40 minutes, and headaches (if you get them) come about 10 to 15 minutes after the aura stage.

Contact Us To Learn More

If you have experienced any of the types of ocular migraine, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with us so that we can discover the underlying cause and make a plan to address it. Be aware and stay in tune of what is happening with your vision. Don’t hesitate to contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice any of the symptoms above.

April is Sports Eye Safety Month

April is Sports Eye Safety Month, a reminder initiated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) to raise awareness about preventing sports-related eye injuries. Nearly 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year, and 90 percent of these eye injuries could be avoided by wearing protective eyewear.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game!

It’s officially Springtime which is the time to gather the baseball gloves, bats, helmets and head to the baseball diamond to play ball. Have you included your protective eyewear to add to your sports gear checklist?  According to the National Eye Institute, baseball is the leading cause of sports eye injuries. Even reports of eye injuries in the major leagues are not immune to devasting effects of a flying baseball or bat.

It is false to think that wearing regular eyeglasses or sunglasses offers some protection from a baseball hit. The truth is that non-protective eyewear can shatter upon impact, causing more damage to your eye.

Before taking the field to play, take the proper steps to keep your eyes safe. Here are some safety tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology that will help you keep an eye on the ball and eye safety first:

  • If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, ask your eye doctor about prescription protective sports eyewear. There are certified helmets with attached safety glasses for baseball batters and base runners; fielders can get certified protective eyewear.
  • Sports safety glasses must meet the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety standards. Eyewear designed to meet Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) industrial standards does not meet the safety standards for sports eye protection.
  • All prescription sports glasses should be made from polycarbonate material because it resists shattering and provides UV (ultraviolet light) protection. If the protective lenses have turned yellow over time, have them replaced, as the polycarbonate material may have weakened with age.
  • Sports goggles provide the best eye protection. However, they may not fit narrow faces well. In this case, the best option is certified sports glasses with 3-millimeter-thick polycarbonate lenses.
  • Any player who has vision loss in one eye should always wear eye-protective eyewear recommended by your doctor to protect their remaining vision.

Outdoor Activities and Eye Protection

If your athleticism tends less towards team sports and more towards outdoor adventures like hiking or mountain biking, UV protection is just as important as impact resistance. Make it a priority to find some good UV-blocking goggles and consider getting them with polarized lenses to reduce glare or tinted lenses that improve contrast and help you see better terrain changes.

We hope you all have a wonderful and safe time this season! 

A Good Night’s Sleep is Best for Your Eye Health

Our minds are so busy thinking and making decisions daily, but we have to rest our bodies, mind, and eyes to be refreshed to succeed in daily activities. A full night’s sleep is the remedy, but we definitely can feel it when we don’t get that good night’s sleep.

There is an interesting relationship between our quality and quantity of sleep and eye health. We want to encourage better eye health with a restful night’s sleep with some helpful tips.

Are You Sleep Deprived?

Sleep deprivation can compromise your eye health. Some symptoms of sleep deprivation may include a weakened immune system, weight gain, high blood pressure, memory issues, and mood changes, but it also impacts your eye health.

For your eyes to replenish and function well throughout the day, your eyes need at least five hours of sleep per night. The longer you go without enough sleep, the more you might notice symptoms like eye strain, twitchy eyelids, and dry eye. The good news is that our eyes can be part of the solution to getting better sleep!

Turn Off Blue Lights Before Bed

No matter how smartphone savvy you are, your eyes still find these high-tech devices very confusing. A Laptop, IPad, or smartphone screens all produce a lot of blue light. In nature, the only source of blue light is the sun, so when we see blue light, our eyes think it’s still daytime and that we should be awake!

Browsing the internet right up until bedtime can make it much harder for our brains to go to sleep, which cuts into the time we should be sleeping. Looking at bright screens in dark rooms also leaves us more vulnerable to digital eye strain.

It may be hard not to use your device right before bedtime to catch up on the latest news or view your favorite TV show, but there are solutions to help reduce blue light exposure before bed.  There are many apps, and some phones have a Night Shift feature in the settings. If you have to be on your digital device right before bed, take advantage of those tools or features that reduce the blue light emitted by the screen. Your tired eyes will thank you!

Give Your Eyes the Night Off! Remove Your Contact Lenses.

Not removing your contact lenses before you go to bed makes things harder on your eyes. Your eyes get oxygen directly from the air. Contact lenses block air from reaching them, especially during the hours our eyes are closed for sleep.

Some types of newer contact lenses allow much more oxygen flow, but taking them out overnight will still be the healthier choice. In addition to letting your eyes breathe freely, it reduces your risk of eye infection from the bacteria that like to accumulate around contact lenses. In any case, check the labeling of the boxes your contacts come in to make sure you’re only wearing them for the recommended length of time.

Sleep Well, See Well

Healthy, uninterrupted sleep is essential for your overall health, including eye health. Sleeping helps your eyes get the moisture and lubrication they need. Also, during sleep, our eyes clear out irritants such as dust or allergens that may have accumulated during the day.

Make Your Eye Exam Appointment a Priority

If you have any questions about the relationship between sleep and eye health, make sure to bring them with you to your next eye exam. In the meantime, get plenty of rest!  

What Can Your Eyes Tell You About Your Heart Health?

February is the month of love, but it is also Heart Health Month. I know you are thinking, “What does my heart health have to do with my eye health?” It is often said that the eyes are the windows of the soul. This is a more profound statement because did you know your eyes may offer a view into your overall health. A comprehensive eye exam is a secret weapon from your eye doctor to see evidence of both eye and heart disease.

The eyes can be the first window of your overall health for certain diseases, whether it be cardiovascular, hypertension, or other heart diseases. The eyes are not separated from the rest of the body and are unique in that it is one of the only areas where our blood vessels can directly be seen.

Who is most at risk for developing heart disease?

According to the American Heart Association, 1 in 3 women have some form of cardiovascular disease, and about 116.4 million, or 46% of US adults, are estimated to have hypertension. 

What is Hypertension?

Hypertension is a prevalent cardiovascular disease, which can have repercussions throughout the body, including the eye. In general, hypertension can predispose you to have various eye problems. It may be as minimal as changes in retinal vessels’ appearances that can indicate high blood pressure and patients who may not know that they have high blood pressure.

Heart Disease linked to eye health

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, research shows a possible link between having heart disease and having a greater risk of vision loss from AMD.

Healthy Living and Adopting Healthy Habits

Show your eyes and heart some love! Incorporate the following steps into your lifestyle to keep your heart and eyes healthy.

  • Break the cigarette and stop smoking – Smokers are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and AMD.
  • Have fun and exercise – Excess weight could increase your risk for AMD, as well as contribute to heart disease. Exercise can reduce your risk.
  • Know your family’s health history – Knowing that your mother has heart disease or your grandfather has diabetes can help you make the right choices to keep your heart and eyes healthy.
  • Eat great foods for your heart and eye health – The same foods that are good for your heart can help you preserve your eye health. Leafy greens (spinach, kale, and collards) and cold-water fish, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, are good for healthy eyes and better heart health.
  • Don’t skip your doctor appointments – Make sure to have regular exams with your eye doctor and your primary care doctor. Monitoring your health is the best “Self Valentine Love” for your body. 

Be good to your heart, and your eye health will follow.

Becoming Wiser About Your Eye Health

It is no secret that our eyes change as we age.  Favorably, there is a lot we can do to preserve our eye health.

A few of the most common age-related vision problems are glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic eye disease, retinal detachment, and macular degeneration. Early detection and prevention are crucial with many of these conditions, and getting an eye exam plays a vital role. One of our priorities is to empower our patients with information about their eye health and educate them on any risks.

Here are some of the most common vision changes associated with age, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology:

Difficulty Reading and Seeing Things Close-Up

Over time, the lenses in our eyes can become less flexible, mainly because of presbyopia, making it harder to focus on things close-up. Those who never needed glasses before will typically need reading glasses as they get older.

Reduced Tear Production

Maintaining enough tears is essential for keeping your eyes healthy and having clear vision.

Slight Changes In Perception of Color 

The clear lens in the eye may discolor and can distort the colors we see.

Need More Light To See

As we get age, we often need more light to see our surroundings, therefore you might need more lamps for work and reading lights in your life.

Increased Sensitivity To Glare

This sensitivity can be challenging while driving, especially night driving.     

A New Focus to Kickstart A Healthy New Year 

There’s no time like the present to place your eye health as a top priority and start developing habits to promote eye health, even if your eyesight is perfect. Long-term practices are vital to preventing chronic eye problems. You can do a few things in your daily life to reduce your risk of developing age-related vision problems and stay healthier overall! Try incorporating the following simple habits into your New Year health goals for a healthier you:

  • Eat fruits, vegetables, and lean meats
  • Keep your eyes safe with good UV-blocking sunglasses
  • Stop Smoking – Smoking is harmful to every system in the body, including the eyes

Don’t Forget To Schedule Your Eye Exams!

The eye doctor is your best resource for catching vision-threatening problems early on. Make sure to check-off “Schedule Eye Exam” on your New Year goals to-do list. If we have not seen you in a while, don’t hesitate to schedule your next appointment! Start the New Year on a cheerful sight, focusing on your eye health as your top priority.

We Are Here To Help You Achieve Your Eye Health Goals!

Eye Center of North Florida

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

What You Should Know About Low Vision

What Is Low Vision?

Low vision is a vision problem that makes it difficult to do everyday activities. Low vision is not correctible with surgery, glasses or contact lenses. This type of vision loss does not include complete blindness because there is still some sight, and low vision can sometimes be improved using visual aids – which are devices that help by maximizing remaining eyesight.

What Causes Low Vision?

Many different eye conditions can cause low vision. The most common causes are glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetes. Low vision is more common in older adults, but aging does not cause low vision on its own. Genetic disorders, eye, and brain injuries can also cause low vision.  

What Are The Types of Low Vision?

The most common types of low vision are:  

  • Blurry or hazy vision 
  • Night blindness (not being able to see in low light) 
  • Central vision loss (not being able to see things in the center of your vision) 
  • Peripheral vision loss (not being able to see things out of the corners of your eyes) 

Can My Eye Doctor Check For Low Vision?

Your eye doctor can check for low vision as part of a dilated eye exam. The exam is painless and straightforward. Your eye doctor will ask you to read letters that are up close and far away this allows for them to check whether you can see things in the center and at the edges of your vision.  

During this eye exam appointment your eye doctor will administer eye drops to dilate (widen) your pupil and check for other eye problems, including conditions that could cause low vision.

Good News: Looking On The Brighter Side Of Things

If you have or know someone with low vision, there are many ways to make the most of your vision and keep doing the things you love to do. Losing sight does not mean giving up activities, but it may mean learning new ways to do them. Your eye doctor can help and guide you through the rehabilitation process. These are a few ways to make life with low vision easier:

  • Brighten your home. The lighting may require some trial and error with different lights and voltages to determine what works best.
  • Use a magnifier
  • Use large print books
  •  Using high contrast for writing and writing in large letters with a broad black pen on a white piece of paper or board.
  • Adding a high-contrast strip on steps will be very helpful. A bright color on a dark staircase, or a black stripe on light stairs can prevent falls in people with low vision. This will help and enable them to remain independent in their home. 
  • If you or a loved one has low vision, don’t be discouraged. Discuss with your eye doctor about the best course of actions to simplify life with low vision.

We Value Our Patients, And Your Eye Health Is Our Top Priority!

References: American Academy of Ophthalmology and National Eye Institute 

Eye Center of North Florida

Give The Gift You Will Cherish For A Lifetime

It is that magical time of the year, a season of giving and being merry! 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 watch for signs of age-related vision loss because early diagnosis is critical in preventing many sight-threatening conditions from progressing. We want our patients to be empowered with information to minimize their risks. The year is almost over, and time is running out. Your insurance benefits or flex accounts may expire at the end of the year! 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.
  • The 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.

Your Lifelong Eye Health Is Our Goal! 

The importance of comprehensive eye exams cannot be overstated. If it has been a while since we last saw you, now’s a great time to schedule your next appointment! Don’t delay or deny your eye health call TODAY! 

Eye Center of North Florida

We wish you a happy and healthy holiday! We are your eye health partners, and we love helping our patients maintain good eye health for life. 


 American Academy of Ophthalmology

The content is researched and vetted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Optometric Association. This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided on this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.