What is an Ocular Migraine?

What Is An Ocular Migraine?

An ocular migraine is a rare condition characterized by temporary vision loss or even temporary blindness in one eye. Ocular migraines are caused by reduced blood flow or spasms of blood vessels in the retina or behind the eye. In an ocular migraine, vision in the affected eye generally returns to normal within an hour. 

Symptoms

Shimmering or flashing lights, zigzagging lines, stars, black spots are all visual cue symptoms; you’re most likely having an ocular migraine. Making it very difficult to read, write or drive. It can occur with or without the pain of a migraine headache. A blind spot in the central area of vision can start small and get larger and usually lasts less than 60 minutes.

Causes & Risk Factors

Ocular migraines are typically caused by reduced blood flow or spasms of blood vessels in the retina or behind the eye. Risk factors include:

  • Ocular migraines are believed to have the same causes as migraine headaches.
  • More common in women than men.
  • Most common age group 30-39.
  • Family history of migraine.

Treatment and Prevention

  • Same as prevention for migraines.
  • Avoid migraine triggers.
  • Common triggers include stress, hormonal changes, bright/flashing lights, drinking alcohol (red wine), changes in the weather, skipping meals/not eating enough, or too much or too little sleep.
  • Keep a headache journal including information about what you were doing, eating, or medications are taken before or after a headache occurs.
  • If you perform tasks that require clear vision, when an ocular migraine or visual migraine occurs, stop what you are doing and relax until your vision returns to normal.
  • If you’re driving, park on the side of the road and wait for the visual disturbances to pass completely.
  • Your doctor can advise you on the latest medicines for treating migraines, including medications designed to prevent future attacks.

If your ocular migraines or migraine auras (visual migraines) appear to be stress-related, you might be able to reduce the frequency of your migraine attacks without medicine by simply:

  • Eating healthful meals regularly
  • Avoiding common migraine triggers
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Trying stress-busters such as yoga and massage

Talk to Our Doctors Today

Any visual loss is serious. Call us at (850)784-3937 if you experience any problems affecting your eyesight.

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References: According Migraine Foundation and American Academy of Ophthalmology

Women’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month

Prevent Blindness has designated April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month to educate women about the steps they can take today to help preserve vision in the future. More women than men have an eye disease, including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. According to the Prevent Blindness study, The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems, these numbers will only continue to increase in the years to come.

At Georgia Eye Partners, we spread awareness about the eye health issues that affect individuals of all ages and gender year-round. This month, we dedicate this blog to optimum eye health for women.

Why More Women Tend To Suffer Vision Loss Than Men?

Women make up most of the 4.4 million Americans age 40 and older who are visually impaired or blind. Some eye conditions can cause vision loss and even Blindness. These include:

 

The easiest way to test for common eye problems is a dilated eye exam – in which your eye doctor uses drops to widen your pupils and check for common issues. According to the CDC, this exam is the best way to detect eye disease’s early stages.

Adopt good eye habits to lessen or prevent future vision problems:

Receive an annual eye exam. Regular dilated eye exams help monitor your vision status.

Eat a healthy diet. Good nutrition is the key to good health, including your vision. Dark green vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) potentially. Also, remember to keep your diet low in sodium and caffeine.

Quit smoking today. Crushing the habit of smoking can reduce the risk of a host of diseases such as cancer and respiratory issues. Smoking is the most important risk factor for AMD and progression.

Pregnant women should see their eye doctor regularly! If you are pregnant, discuss any vision changes with your eye doctor so you can get the correct prescription change, if needed.

Having healthy eyes not only keeps us alert but keeps us safe. It is of the utmost importance to keep our eyes safe and have regular eye exams to check for any problems.

We Care About Your Eye Health

If you are concerned about protecting your own eye health or a female loved one, call us TODAY to schedule an appointment.

 

850-784-3937

Reference: American Academy of Ophthalmology

 

 

 

 

Tips for Eye Safety During this Sports Season

 

Spring has Sprung, which begins the perfect time for sports and outdoor game time. April is National Sports Eye Safety Month is a reminder initiated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) to raise awareness about preventing sports-related eye injuries. Prevention is the key, and sport-specific eye protection can save your vision. Eye protection during any activity with the potential for injury can save your vision. Eye protection is more than eyeglasses but specifically safety or sports glasses.

Are Your Eyes At Risk?

Eye injuries can occur during any activity. One of the highest causes of eye injury is sports, especially in children. According to the AAO, more than 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated each year, and 90 percent of serious eye injuries can be prevented by wearing protective eyewear.

No matter the sport, there are risks to your eyes. Any participant in any sport can benefit from wearing protective eyewear that guards against fast-moving objects, debris, dust, dirt, and sand.

If you wear prescription eyeglasses that are not made for sports or contact lenses, you should talk to your eye doctor about what they recommend for your specific sport and eye care needs.

Eye safety is just as crucial for those who prefer to watch from the stands; you could be subject to injury from a flying bat, ball, or other objects. Be careful and pay attention to protect your eyes while cheering for your favorite team.

Common Sports Eye Injuries

Corneal abrasion:  One of the most common injuries due to sports is a corneal abrasion.  An abrasion is a scratch on the surface of the eye.   In most healthy patients, an abrasion will heal within 2-3 days.  However, it is important to see an eye doctor to treat the abrasion and prevent infection and check your eyes for other injuries.

Traumatic Iritis: Traumatic iritis is inflammation of the iris.  “Iri-“ (referring to the iris or blue/brown part of your eye) + “-itis” (inflammation).  With iritis due to any cause, you can have eye pain, blurred vision, and usually very sensitive to bright lights.     

Hyphema: Another common injury to the eye is a hyphema or bleeding inside of the front part of your eye.  The bleeding will resolve on its own, usually within 1-2 weeks, but it can cause other severe eye problems, including glaucoma, so it is essential to see your eye doctor and follow instructions carefully if you have this type of injury.

It is important to see an eye doctor when any eye injury occurs, even if it is minor. Delaying medical care can lead to vision loss or blindness.

We Can Help You Find Great Eye Protection Gear!

If you are not sure which type of eye protection is best for your favorite sport, we’re happy to offer recommendations. Give us a call to discuss your eyewear needs and keep you playing at the top of your form! There’s more to lose than just the game.

Stay safe and have fun!

 

850-784-3937

 

References: American Academy of Ophthalmology

What Are Spring Eye Allergies?

Spring has sprung, and the change in season promises fairer weather and new beginnings. Unfortunately, spring’s new growth can also create seasonal allergies that leave you with congestion, headaches, and itchy, swollen eyes.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, eye allergies are also called allergic conjunctivitis, are pretty common. They occur when the eyes react to something that irritates them (called an allergen). The eyes produce a substance called histamine to fight off the allergen. As a result, the eyelids and conjunctiva become red, swollen, and itchy. The eyes can tear and burn. Unlike other kinds of conjunctivitis, eye allergies do not spread from person to person.

Patients who suffer from spring eye allergies commonly have nasal allergies and an itchy, stuffy nose and sneezing. It is usually a temporary condition associated with seasonal allergies.

You can also get eye allergies from pet dander, dust, pollen, smoke, perfumes, or even foods. If you cannot avoid the cause, your allergies can be more severe. You can have significant burning and itching and even sensitivity to light.

What Are the Symptoms Of Eye Allergies?

The most common eye allergy symptoms include:

  • red, swollen, or itchy eyes
  • burning or tearing of the eyes
  • sensitivity to light

 

What causes eye allergies?

An allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts to an allergen that is ordinarily harmless. When an allergen comes in contact with your eye, specific cells within your eye (called mast cells) release histamine and other substances to fight off the allergen. This reaction causes your eyes to become red, itchy, and watery.

What are Eye Allergy Triggers? 

  • Outdoor allergens, such as pollen from grass, trees, and ragweed
  • Indoor allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, and mold
  • Irritants, such as cigarette smoke, perfume

Spring Eye Allergy Management

Avoid triggers by making changes to your home and your routine.

  • Keep windows closed during high pollen periods; use air conditioning in your home and car.
  • Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen out of your eyes.
  • Wash your hands and face frequently.

If you experience spring eye allergies, make an appointment today. Please make sure you consult with your eye doctor before using any over-the-counter eye drops because a prescription oral antihistamine, eye drops, or injection may be more effective to manage your symptoms. If your allergies cause vision changes, feelings of a foreign object in your eye, or acute pain, make an emergency appointment as soon as possible.

We are available to help you conquer Spring Eye Allergies to ensure a Happy Spring Season!

850-784-3937

 

Reference: American Academy of Ophthalmology

World Glaucoma Week

World Glaucoma Week is a global initiative of the World Glaucoma Association (WGA) to raise awareness about glaucoma.  The 2021 theme ‘The World is Bright, Save your Sight!’ reflects the hope that with regular testing, people will continue to see the world around us: full of beauty, charm, and adventure. 

To mark World Glaucoma Week, The Eye Center of North Florida would like to highlight that early detection is key to slowing the progression of glaucoma and that regular eye tests are the only way to detect ‘symptomless’ glaucoma early. At a late stage, glaucoma is irreversible and results in sight loss and blindness. Early detection of glaucoma is key to preventing later sight loss.

Those most at risk of developing glaucoma are people over 60, people with a family history of the disease, and individuals of African and Hispanic ethnicity.

We want to stress the importance of being part of your support team for patients diagnosed with glaucoma. Our doctors, technicians, and nurses are part of your care group and are always happy to assist with your eye care needs.

Here are six reminders to have a successful glaucoma doctor’s appointment to empower our patients during World Glaucoma Week. We are here to partner with you in your eye care and to help you achieve the best outcomes.

Be Prepared

Make sure you have enough time planned for the appointment and plan to arrive early so that you remain calm during the process. If your visit requires any special testing such as a visual field test, have a good night’s rest and a light breakfast so you can remain alert during the test.

Discuss Your Symptoms

Make sure you come with a list of new symptoms if any. You may have symptoms related to a disease state, side effects, or medication or surgery complications. Symptoms like redness, irritation, itching, tearing, or decreased vision, amongst others, should be reported to your eye doctor. It is a great idea to keep a home journal to note symptoms, reactions when they happen, and record follow-up appointment information.

Bring Your Medications

Bringing your medication or an updated list to your appointment is always helpful. It not only allows your eye doctor to see what you are currently using and how often. Any new medication added to your treatment by other doctors should be mentioned to your eye doctor. The use of steroids and several other classes of drugs could have a bearing on a  glaucoma patient.

What Is Your Progress?

The glaucoma visit’s essence is to make sure we are on the right track to keeping glaucoma stable. In addition to checking your eye pressure, several tests are done at your glaucoma follow-up visit to make sure things are going well. It’s essential to leave the office with a clear understanding of whether things are remaining stable or possibly worse or if additional testing is required. It is crucial to listen carefully and patiently to the doctor’s explanation to answer any questions you may have.

Your Questions

Questions are best written down in your journal, so you don’t forget to ask something important to you. Some questions you may be interested in asking could be related to managing glaucoma, new tests available for helping to diagnose, or breakthroughs available for people with glaucoma.

A Patient-Focused Partnership

For your next appointment, you are empowered with these tips to be less stressful and more productive. Having the right outlook can strengthen the doctor-patient partnership for providing you the most beneficial eye care. Your eye health is our TOP PRIORITY to help you see how bright the world is, to help save your sight!

 

 

 

850-784-3937

Save Your Vision Month

Save Your Vision Month is celebrated every March and sponsored by the American Optometric Association. Save Your Vision Month aims to increase awareness about good eye care and encourages everyone to get an eye exam. The celebration was initially reserved for only a week. However, President Lydon B. Johnson raised its profile in 1963 by making Save Your Vision Month a national observance. Later on, in 2005, the American Optometric Association delegates voted to extend the awareness campaign to a month.

To celebrate Save Your Vision Month, we would like to remind our patients the importance of eye health and comprehensive eye exams. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 93 million adults in the United States are at high risks for serious vision loss. Still, only half visited an eye doctor in the past.

While not all eye diseases can be prevented, there are simple steps that everyone can take to help their eyes remain healthy now and reduce their chances of vision loss in the future.

Listed are four ways to adopt healthy habits to Save Your Vision:

Exam

Schedule your eye exam TODAY! Don’t delay or deny your eye health.

Rest 

Give the screens a rest and follow the 20/20/20 rule. The increasing prevalence of digital screens in our daily lives is having an adverse effect on ocular surface health—the new normal where most working adults working from home and students are learning remotely. Digital Eye Strain is a condition affecting individuals who spend excessive hours looking at computer monitors, smartphones, televisions, and tablets. To reduce digital eye strain, include the 20/20/20 rule in your daily habits. Every 20 minutes spent using a screen, you should try to look away at something that is 20 feet away from you for a total of 20 seconds.

Care  

Talk to your eye doctor about treatment options for your chronic eye conditions. Don’t ignore or neglect the treatment of chronic eye conditions like diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, and dry eye. Save your vision this month by treating your chronic eye conditions.

Hygiene

Improve your eye hygiene. Blepharitis and styes can be caused by blockages in the pores surrounding the eyes. To follow proper eye hygiene, carefully remove makeup before bedtime and replace makeup every six months to prevent bacteria. Also, wash your hands with soap and water when using contact lenses, and if you have allergies, don’t rub your eyes!

Save Your Vision Month reminds us not to take eye care for granted. From work to entertainment, our eyes are a large part of our everyday life. It’s essential to take the necessary steps towards better eye care. The struggle with adopting healthy habits is that they are hard to establish. However, the good news is that once you have made a switch in one area, it can be permanent and becomes a natural habit.

 

850-784-3937

Resources
American Optometric Association
American Academy Ophthalmology

 

What To Do If You Get Hand Sanitizer In Your Eye

The introduction of strict hand hygiene has become an essential part of our daily habits. It has also created new challenges for our eyes with the rise of eye accidents from hand sanitizers coming in contact with the eye.

It is no surprise that there are sanitizer dispensers at every corner. We see them at the doctor’s office, grocery store, or gas station to ensure we keep our hands clean when soap and water are not conveniently available to minimize the spread of viruses. The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer that contains an alcohol concentration of between 60-95% to be effective against viruses.

Eye irritation from hand sanitizer is a known concern, not just for children but also for adults. We have all heard that swallowing hand sanitizer can cause alcohol poisoning, but what happens if you get hand sanitizer in your eye? If this happens, we encourage you to continue to read the following information to empower your eye safety knowledge.

Eye Symptoms When Hand Sanitizer Has Entered Your Eyes

When hand sanitizer comes into contact with your eye, you will likely experience a burning sensation immediately. You may experience some other signs that you’ve got alcohol in your eyes either simultaneously or shortly after the reaction. These can include:

  • Eye pain and irritation in the eye
  • Burning or stinging
  • Redness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Light Sensitivity

Symptoms may be more severe depending on which part of the eye was affected. If hand sanitizer comes in contact with the cornea (the transparent layer that covers the front of the eye), irritation may be more intense and cause further eye problems.

If a chemical or irritant of any kind enters the eye, it is vital to flush it out as quickly and carefully as possible. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmologists, if a large amount of hand sanitizer gets into the eye, complications include keratitis, an open sore on the eye, or corneal abrasions, a scratch on the surface of the eye.

What to do if hand sanitizer gets in your eye?

  1. Try to remain calm!
  2. Keep your hands away from your eye and avoid rubbing the eye to not get more solution in the eye.
  3. Quickly wash your hands with soap and water.
  4. If you are wearing contact lenses, remove them immediately.
  5. Run the affected eye(s) under lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes, rapidly blinking while the water runs. 
  6. If only one eye is affected, lean your head in the direction of the affected eye.
  7. Gently pat dry with a clean towel.

Your eye might still be red or irritated, but less so than before. You should be as good as new within a few hours. If the eye symptoms persist, please contact us immediately or go to your nearest emergency room.

Eye Safety Tips To Avoid Hand Sanitizer Eye Injuries

Listed below are some simple basic eye safety practices to keep your eyes safe:

  • Wash your hands frequently and encourage children to do the same.
  • Avoid putting hand sanitizer dispensers at children’s eye height and coach your children on using hand sanitizer properly, whether distributed from a bottle, spray, or automatic dispenser. 
  • Use soap and water to wash your hands whenever possible. Hand sanitizer should be used only when you are on the go or when soap and water are not available.
  • Make sure to rub the liquid sanitizer into your hands well before touching your face. If you need to touch your eyes, do so with freshly washed hands.
  • Keep the nozzle of the bottle clear. A hardened solution can block parts of the nozzle and cause a forceful, upward squirt.

In addition to being cautious while using hand sanitizer, be sure to support your eyes’ health with annual comprehensive eye exams. Do not hesitate to contact us for concerns in-between eye exams. 

 

850-784-3937

How Stress Impacts Your Eyes

Stress is that one factor that has affected most of us in our busy lives, and health conditions from stress are common. However, did you know that stress can also affect your eyes? During those emotionally difficult times when life feels much too busy or demanding, your eyes can pay the price like the rest of your body does.

Learn what eye symptoms can result from too much stress and what to do about them.

Common Stress-Related Eye Problems

Most stresses caused eye issues are temporary. Here are a few examples of when stress causes eye problems.

  • Blurry vision. When caused by stress, blurry vision will probably be mild instead of severe.

  • Eye strain. Eye strain may be caused by something simple, like staring at your computer screen too long at work. However, it can also be caused by stress.
  • Sensitivity to light. You may feel like bright light hurts your eyes or makes it difficult for you to see.
  • Eye twitching. Maybe one, or both, of your eyes will randomly spasm.
  • Very dry or very wet eyes. While these are opposite symptoms, either one can be caused by stress. It all depends on how your body responds to a difficult situation.

Please make sure to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor if you have persistent eye trouble.

What Causes Stress-Related Eye Problems?

When you get anxious, frightened, or stressed, your body’s instinct is to go into what scientists call “fight or flight” mode. Your body will start producing hormones like adrenaline, which speed up your heart rate, and your brain will direct more blood to essential functions like your internal organs and less blood to your extremities.

The reason your body takes these actions is to protect you. Your brain detects a threat when you worry about something, so its response is to gear up for either fighting the threat or running away from it.

When you are in fight or flight mode, your eyes can suffer because your brain will cause your pupils to dilate. The idea behind this response is to get more light into your eyes so you can see any potential threats more clearly. Additionally, when you are very tense, as many stressed-out people are, the muscles in and around your eyes can tighten, causing twitching and soreness.

How To Take Action and Overcome Stress?

The key to taking the edge off eye conditions from stress is to lower your stress level.

  • Sleep at least 8 hours a night
  • Exercise
  • Taking slow, deep breaths, sending the air into your belly instead of your chest
  • Meditating
  • Yoga
  • Writing in a journal

Once you have found a way to deal with your stress, your eyes should go back to normal. These stress-relief actions also provide good benefits for your heart, such as lowering your blood pressure. If you are experiencing eye problems, please contact (Practice Name Here) to schedule an appointment.

Relax, Relate, and Release The Stress…Your Eyes Will Love You For It!

850-784-3937

 

 

References
Anxiety and Vision Problems. (November 2018). Health Central.
Can Stress Cause Vision Problems? (September 2018). The Optometry Center for Vision Therapy.
Eye Problems: Vision Anxiety Symptoms. (November 2019). AnxietyCentre.
Mental Stress as Consequence and Cause of Vision Loss: The Dawn of Psychosomatic Ophthalmology for Preventive and Personalized Medicine. (May 2018). European Association for Predictive, Preventive and Personalized Medicine Journal.

 

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.

What Do Your Eyes Reveal About Your Heart?

February often brings thoughts of heart-shaped candies and heart-themed décor for Valentine’s Day, but more importantly, it should make you think about your heart health too! February is Heart Health Month, a time to focus on heart health and disease prevention. Many don’t realize that the eyes and heart are connected. The eyes reveal a lot about someone’s health and often indicate serious underlying health issues, which an eye exam can be a life-saver.

The three major risk factors for heart disease

This damage to your eyes can occur for years before you even begin to experience any symptoms. Left untreated, it can permanently impact your sight.

Here’s why we encourage patients to focus on their eyes for Heart Health Month
During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will not only determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses but also check your eyes for common eye diseases. As well as assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health. Comprehensive eye exams provide the only non-invasive view of blood vessels and the optic nerve.

The American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple 7” program targets seven areas that impact heart health and offers tips to reduce your risk of heart disease, which is also beneficial for your eye health:

Manage Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys, which keeps you healthier longer.

Control Cholesterol
High cholesterol contributes to plaque, which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke. When you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages.

Reduce Blood Sugar
Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.

Get Active
Living an active life is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give yourself and those you love. Simply put, daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life.

Eat Better
A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting cardiovascular disease. When you eat a heart-healthy diet, you improve your chances of feeling good and staying healthy for life.

Lose Weight
When you shed unnecessary pounds, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. You give yourself the gift of active living, you lower your blood pressure, and you help yourself feel better, too.

Stop Smoking
Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.

If you have not yet had your comprehensive eye exam, now is the time! Eye exams are an important part of health maintenance. If you have noticed changes in your vision, call us today!

Say it with your eyes this heart health month and schedule an appointment.

850-784-3937