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What’s the Link Between Dry Eye and Menopause?

Dry Eye and Menopause 640Around 61% of perimenopausal and menopausal women are affected by dry eye syndrome.

During menopause, the body produces less estrogen, progesterone, and androgen, causing a variety of uncomfortable symptoms such as sweating, insomnia, and hot flashes.

Among these physical symptoms is dry eyes, characterized by dry, itchy and burning eyes.

If you’re experiencing dry eyes, contact Regional Eye Center today for effective and lasting dry eye treatment.

Biological Changes That Affect Your Eyes

During menopause, the androgen hormone decreases, affecting the meibomian and lacrimal glands in the eyelids. The meibomian glands produce the essential oils for the tears, so the reduction in oil results in increased tear evaporation and drier eyes.

When these fluid and oil-producing glands are affected, the eyelids can become inflamed, reducing tear quality and production, resulting in dry eye syndrome.

Some researchers believe that dry eye is connected to changes in estrogen levels. This explains why many women experience dry eye symptoms during certain times of a woman’s monthly cycle, or while taking birth control pills.

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome

  • Red eyes
  • Burning in the eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Gritty feeling in the eyes
  • The feeling something is caught in your eye. Excessive tearing

How Is Hormone-Related Dry Eye Treated?

Because reduced hormones during and after menopause can cause meibomian gland dysfunction, treatment should be focused on reducing dry eye symptoms.

Dry eye treatments can include:

  • Artificial tears
  • Lubricating eye drops
  • Eyelid hygiene
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Corticosteroid eye drops
  • Medications that reduce eyelid inflammation
  • Punctal plugs – to reduce tear flow away from the eyes

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: Are there home remedies to treat dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Yes. Here are a few things you can do at home to reduce dry eye symptoms.

    Limit your screen time. People who work at a computer all day blink less, which harms the tear film. Remember to take frequent breaks and to blink.
    Protect your eyes. Sunglasses that wrap around your face can block dry air and wind.
    Avoid triggers. Irritants like pollen and smoke can make your symptoms more severe.
    Try a humidifier. Keeping the air around you moist may help.
    Eat right. A diet rich in vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids can encourage healthy tear production.
    Warm Compress. A warm compress will improve oil flow through your eyelid glands and clean your eyelids.

Q:Can dry eye syndrome damage your eyes?

  • A: Yes. Without sufficient tears, your eyes are not protected from the outside world, leading to an increased risk of eye infections. Severe dry eye syndrome can lead to abrasions or inflammation on the cornea, the front surface of the eye. This can cause pain, a corneal ulcer, and long-lasting vision problems.

    Menopause causes many changes throughout your body. If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms due to hormonal changes, contact Regional Eye Center to find out what dry eye treatments are available to give your eyes relief.



Regional Eye Center serves patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, and , all throughout Georgia.

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5 Common Myths About Cataracts

5 Common Myths About Cataracts 640Most people have heard of cataracts, or know someone who has undergone cataract surgery. But despite it being a well-known eye condition, there’s still a lot of confusion around cataracts.

Below, we’ll clear up some common misconceptions and set the record straight.

Myth #1: Cataracts are Growths Within the Eye

FACT: Cataracts aren’t growths—rather, they’re changes in the eye’s natural lens. Cataracts occur when the protein cells in the lens start to deteriorate and clump together, resulting in cloudiness. A person with cataracts will typically have cloudy vision accompanied with a yellow or brown tint.

Myth #2: Only Older People Get Cataracts

FACT: People of all ages—even newborns—can have cataracts. While it’s accurate to say because cataracts are a natural process of aging, and affects the elderly more often than the young, certain medications and eye trauma can also lead to cataracts.

Myth#3: Lifestyle Changes Can Treat or Reverse Cataracts

FACT: Once you have a cataract, the only way to cure it is with surgery in order to remove the cataract and implant a new clear lens. Healthy lifestyle choices like eating well, getting regular exercise, and sleeping enough can all impact eye health and overall health, but they cannot reverse cataracts.

Myth #4: You Can’t Do Anything to Prevent Cataracts

FACT: While there is no surefire way of preventing cataracts, wearing 100% UV blocking sunglasses outdoors and incorporating eye-healthy foods into your diet, like leafy greens and colorful vegetables, may delay their onset.

Myth#5: If You Have Cataracts, You Definitely Need Cataract Surgery

FACT: You only need to have your cataracts surgically removed if they interfere with your vision and impact your lifestyle. If you’re able to safely perform activities, such as driving at night, you don’t necessarily need surgery right away. However, be sure that your eye doctor monitors you for cataract-related vision loss.

At Regional Eye Center, we help patients navigate a wide range of eye health matters, and can help you decide whether to undergo cataract surgery or other treatments. To schedule your consultation, call Regional Eye Center today.

Regional Eye Center serves patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, , and throughout Georgia.

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

 

Q: Can cataracts return after surgery?

  • A: No. During surgery, the natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one that will remain clear. If the membrane that holds the artificial lens starts to deteriorate, your vision may turn cloudy again — but this is easily treatable with a quick laser procedure to restore sharp vision.

Q: What other symptoms are associated with cataracts, aside from cloudy vision?

  • A: Cataracts are usually a painless condition, but you may experience the following symptoms associated with your cataracts: double vision, seeing halos around lights, perceiving colors as faded or yellowed, and changes in your lens prescription.


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Don’t Let Glaucoma Blindside You

senior man and woman 640At least 3 million North Americans have glaucoma, but only 50% know they have it! Glaucoma starts off asymptomatic in 95% of cases, and by the time the condition is noticed, the vision loss is irreversible.

That’s why regular eye exams are so crucial, even if you don’t suspect a problem. At Regional Eye Center, we provide patients with comprehensive eye exams, the latest treatments for eye disease, and other eye services to ensure the best possible outcome — no matter the diagnosis.

But First – What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases caused by a buildup of pressure within the eye. The longer the pressure builds, the more damage it causes, especially to the optic nerve.

Without any medical intervention, the nerve will continually deteriorate, resulting in permanent vision loss or blindness.

How Is Glaucoma Detected?

Glaucoma is detected through a comprehensive eye examination. During your exam, your eye doctor will test your eye pressure, examine your optic nerve, and assess your visual field, among other things.

Yearly eye exams (or as often as your eye doctor recommends) are necessary to diagnose and treat glaucoma. And when it comes to glaucoma, early detection is key.

Here are the different ways to test for glaucoma:

  • Air Puff Test – A puff of air is used to gently bounce off the front of your eye. The machine then calculates how much resistance your eye displayed to the air puff, revealing the amount of internal eye pressure.
  • Tonometer – After applying some numbing drops to your eyes, the eye doctor will gently touch your eye with a small device that measures the eye’s resistance and internal pressure.
  • Blue Light Test (Goldmann tonometry) – After inserting numbing drops, your eye doctor will use a device called a slit lamp biomicroscope to slowly move a flat-tipped probe until it gently touches your cornea. Although this method is considered the gold-standard for measuring eye pressure, all methods mentioned here are safe, comfortable, and accurate.

How Is Glaucoma Treated?

While glaucoma cannot be prevented, several treatments can help prevent eye damage and vision loss.

Eye drops

Prescription eye drops are usually the first-line treatment for early stages of glaucoma. These drops are used to help decrease eye pressure by limiting the amount of fluid your eye produces, or by improving how fluid drains from your eye.

Oral medications

Oral medications to lower eye pressure are usually prescribed when eye drops alone are ineffective.

Surgery and other therapies

Aside from eye drops and oral meds, here are some other glaucoma treatments your eye doctor may recommend.

  • Laser therapy – Laser trabeculoplasty is used to treat open-angle glaucoma and helps the fluid easily drain from the eye.
  • Filtering surgery – this surgical procedure allows fluid to drain from the eye to decrease eye pressure.
  • Drainage tubes – a small tube shunt is placed into the eye and acts as a ‘pipe’ for excess fluid drainage.
  • Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) – This option tends to cause fewer side effects and complications than standard glaucoma surgeries.

What’s the takeaway?

Glaucoma can be sneaky, so make sure to catch it in its tracks with a yearly eye exam. If glaucoma is detected, Regional Eye Center can provide effective treatments and glaucoma management to help preserve your vision.

To schedule your consultation, call us today.

Regional Eye Center serves patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, , and throughout Georgia.

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: Who’s at risk of developing glaucoma?

  • A: The following are risk factors for developing glaucoma: a family history of the condition, being over the age of 60, diabetes, heart disease, previous eye injury or surgery, having thin corneas, high blood pressure, sickle cell anemia, and extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness.

Q: What are the first signs of glaucoma?

  • A: The early stages often have no symptoms, but as the condition progresses, the patient may notice patchy spots in the peripheral vision or tunnel vision. The more severe type of glaucoma (acute closed angle glaucoma) may cause symptoms like severe eye pain, headache, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, and red eyes. Promptly seek medical care if you experience any of these symptoms.


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Tips For Wearing Scleral Lenses

Pretty Cheerful Woman Gesturing With Two Fingers Near Eyes. Youn

Scleral lenses are ideal for patients with corneal irregularities, dry eyes, and hard-to-fit eyes. Their uniquely large circumference offers the best in visual comfort and clarity. But wearing and caring for your scleral lenses can take some getting used to.

Below are our top 5 tips for anyone who wears scleral lenses. If you have questions about scleral lenses or any other optometric matter, Regional Eye Center in Americus is here for you.

1. Lens Hygiene is Top Priority

Keeping your scleral lenses hygienic and free of buildup is key in ensuring the clearest possible vision. When you remove them from your eyes, rub them for several seconds with lens cleaner to remove surface debris and bacteria. Then, rinse them on both sides with saline solution before storing them.

Another hygiene tip: Before handling your lenses, be sure to wash your hands with soap and water, and to rinse and dry them with a lint-free cloth or paper towel. Good hygiene will significantly minimize possible complications and keep your eyes feeling fresh.

2. Manage Your Dry Eye

Many patients with dry eye syndrome (DES) choose to wear scleral lenses for their hydrating and soothing properties. While sclerals can offer substantial relief from their dry eye symptoms, patients shouldn’t forget to seek treatment for their DES.

That’s because scleral lenses help manage dry eye, but don’t actually treat it. So, it’s best to follow up with your eye doctor about any eye drops, medications, or at-home remedies to support healthy tears.

3. Use a Cotton Swab For Cleaning

Patients with long fingernails can find it challenging to thoroughly clean their scleral lenses. Rubbing the inside bowl of the lens with a cotton swab and cleaning solution can effectively remove the buildup from the lens. Then, rinse off the cleaning solution with saline to remove the cleaning solution and any lint from the cotton swab.

4. Try Different Insertion Tools

Is your current insertion method not working as smoothly as you’d like? No worries! Ask your eye doctor about different tools you can use, such as the O-ring or applicator ring.

But please only insert your lens with tools that your eye doctor recommends!

5. Follow Up With Your Eye Doctor

Because scleral lenses are customized, they often require a few visits with your optometrist to optimize their fit. Even after the fitting process is complete, follow-ups will help ensure that your lenses are still in good condition.

If your scleral lenses are giving you any trouble at all, we can help. To schedule your scleral lens consultation, call us today!

Regional Eye Center serves patients in Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, , and throughout Americus.

Frequently Asked Questions with Our Scleral Lenses Expert in Americus, Georgia:

Q: How do scleral lenses work?

  • A: Scleral lenses rest and vault over the entire sclera (white of the eye), encasing a hydrating reservoir in between the lens and the cornea (front surface of the eye). This allows people with irregular corneas to wear contact lenses, since the lens isn’t in direct contact with the cornea itself.

Q: How long do scleral lenses last?

  • A: Scleral lenses generally last 1-2 years, depending on how well you care for them and how your tear film reacts with them. Even so, check-ups every 6 months are recommended to ensure they still fit well and provide clear vision.


References

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Should Patients With Glaucoma Switch To Decaf?

woman drinking coffee 640For many people, their day doesn’t begin until they’ve had their hot cup of coffee. But does their beloved brew heighten their risk of developing glaucoma? As for patients who’ve already received a glaucoma diagnosis—should they steer clear of all caffeine?

At Regional Eye Center, we frequently receive these types questions from our patients, especially if they have a family history of glaucoma. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with glaucoma, Regional Eye Center can help.

But First, What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by increased pressure within the eye. While ocular pressure affects all structures of the eye, it can severely damage the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss.

There are two main types of glaucoma: open-angle glaucoma and angle-closure glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of preventable blindness and vision loss, and often starts with no noticeable symptoms. That’s why regular eye exams are so vital.

Does Caffeine Affect Glaucoma?

Several studies have been conducted to determine whether there is a link between caffeine and the development and progression of glaucoma. While there isn’t yet a unanimous agreement, researchers generally agree that heavy caffeine intake can significantly increase your risk of developing glaucoma, especially if you are genetically predisposed to the disease.

One study published in the Journal of Glaucoma observed the effects of caffeine and coffee-drinking in patients with open-angle glaucoma. They found that intraocular pressure (IOP) was higher among those in the coffee-drinking group, who consumed at least 2 cups of coffee a day.

Another study found that heavy coffee drinkers (5 or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day) were more likely to develop glaucoma than those who don’t drink coffee.

In contrast, a third study (that used information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) found that caffeinated coffee was not a risk factor for glaucoma. Even more noteworthy: those who regularly drank hot, caffeinated tea had a lower risk of glaucoma. The researchers theorized that the antioxidants in tea counteracted the caffeine.

So, what’s the bottom line?

If you have glaucoma or if it runs in your family, speak to your eye doctor about limiting your caffeine intake as a preventative measure.

How We Can Help

Here’s some good news: a glaucoma diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean vision loss. With the help of your eye doctor, glaucoma can be effectively managed to delay or even prevent vision loss.

The best way to ensure a healthy outcome for your eyes and vision is to schedule regular comprehensive eye exams with your optometrist.

To schedule your appointment, call Regional Eye Center today!

Regional Eye Center serves patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, and , all throughout Georgia.

 

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Reading glasses: How will I know if I’m ready?

When you pick up a book or your smartphone, do you need to stretch your arm and hold it further away from your eyes to see the words? When you go grocery shopping, do you need to take a step back from the shelves to read the ingredient lists? These are all signs of presbyopia – a common and normal age-related vision condition – which means it’s probably time to get reading glasses.

Blurry close vision is a clear sign to visit our friendly Americus, Georgia, eye doctor, at Regional Eye Center for an eye exam. We’ll check your sight for near and distance to prescribe the best eyeglasses to give you 20/20 vision.

Signs that you need reading glasses

  1. Over age 40 – while everyone’s eyes change at a different pace, most people develop presbyopia (a normal part of aging) in their forties. This common vision condition makes it hard for your eyes to focus on nearby objects.
  2. Computer work tires your eyes – do you experience fatigue and heavy eyelids when working at your computer or any type of detailed work? Untreated presbyopia can strain your eyes. In addition to blinking more and taking breaks to let your eyes rest, the right pair of bifocal/multifocal eyeglasses or reading glasses can boost your eye energy.
  3. Halos appear around lights – when your lens can’t focus light properly onto your retina, it can cause fuzzy vision, especially when looking at lightbulbs or headlights.
  4. You need brighter light to read – if you always feel that the room is too dim, it can also be a sign that you need reading glasses. Older people tend to need more light to achieve 20/20 vision.
  5. Headaches – straining your eyes can lead to headaches, especially the type of pain that you feel right behind your eyes. Painful vision is a sign that you need to visit our Americus, Georgia, eye care center for an eye exam.

Still not sure you need reading glasses? Schedule a comprehensive eye exam!

Ray D. Williams, OD will check your vision and eye health thoroughly to issue your precise vision prescription for eyeglasses or reading glasses. We’ll also inspect the health of your eyes to make sure your symptoms aren’t due to another problem; such as eye disease. Remember, eyes and vision change with age, so regular follow-up eye exams are essential!

At Regional Eye Center, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 229-518-3040 or book an appointment online to see one of our Americus eye doctors.

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Can Contact Lenses Give Me 20/20 Vision?

Before our eye doctor answers the question about whether or not contacts can help you achieve 20/20 vision, let’s discuss what those numbers mean. Everyone talks about 20/20 vision all the time, but what is it exactly? Our optometrist at your nearby eye care center in Americus can answer any questions you may have.

What’s the meaning of 20/20?

In general, “normal eyesight” is referred to as 20/20 vision. These numbers describe what you should see when standing 20 feet away from an eye chart. Accordingly, if you are diagnosed with 20/40 vision, it means that when you stand 20 feet away from the same eye chart, you can only see the details that a person with normal eyesight sees at 40 feet. That makes your vision weaker than average. In contrast, if you have 20/10 vision, it means that if you stand 20 feet away, you can see details that most people only see at 10 feet – which is better than the normal standards for vision.

How sharp will I be able to see with contact lenses?

At our Americus eye clinic, we aim to fit you with contact lenses that give 20/20 vision. Our experienced, skilled optometrist will check your visual acuity with the help of a basic Snellen testing chart and advanced diagnostics. We’ll figure out your precise vision prescription for contact lenses, giving you 20/20 vision or close to it. Our eye doctor is dedicated to making sure you enjoy the sharpest vision possible for your lifestyle needs!

Is it possible to see better than 20/20?

Yes, it is certainly possible. But the accepted gold standard is to correct human vision conditions with lens powers that bring your eyesight to the average norm of 20/20. On the other hand, if you are an eagle (and our eye doctor welcomes all eagles to visit us at Regional Eye Center when flying through Americus), we can treat you with prescription contact lenses to restore the standard 20/5 vision that gives eagles a fine bird’s eye view of the world!)

Contact lenses vs. eyeglasses – do they give the same vision quality?

As far as vision quality goes, the primary advantage of contact lenses is that they offer more natural vision. Because they sit directly on your eye, they bend light in a way that’s closer to the requirements of your vision prescription. In addition:

  • Contacts also move along with your eyes, and no bulky frames block you from having clear peripheral vision – without needing to turn your head. (This is a big plus for people who play sports!)
  • Contact lenses don’t fog up when it’s cold outside or get wet when it’s rainy, so you have sharp vision in all weather conditions.
  • If you have astigmatism, our Americus eye doctor may recommend rigid gas permeable contact lenses, because they can give more acute vision than soft lenses and eyeglasses.

What’s better for me – contacts or glasses?

If your eyes are generally healthy, the choice between glasses and contact lenses is yours to make. Like everything, there are pros and cons to each type of vision correction. How should you make this decision? It mainly comes down to lifestyle and personal preferences. At our Americus eye care center, we’ll discuss your daily activities with you to help determine whether eyeglasses or contact lenses are most suitable.

Looking for 20/20 vision with contact lenses? Visit our Americus eye doctor near you!

To see the best that you can see, book an eye exam at Regional Eye Center. Our optometrist will evaluate your vision and eye health to make sure you are a good candidate for contact lenses. If you’re interested in getting rid of your eyewear altogether, we also provide primary eye care and surgery co-management services.

At Regional Eye Center, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 229-518-3040 or book an appointment online to see one of our Americus eye doctors.

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My Eyelid Hurts, Do I Have a Stye?

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First of all, don’t panic! Styes may cause pain, yet they are generally harmless and very rarely have any effects on your vision or eyeball. In addition, they’re pretty common. Most people experience at least one or two styes at some point during their life, and these irritating bumps tend to recur. If you have swelling, tenderness and red-hot pain near the edge of your eyelid, don’t wait for your annual eye exam to get it checked.

What is a Stye?

A stye is a small lump either on the inside or outside of your eyelid. Most of the time a stye is visible on the surface, yet sometimes they can occur deep inside the eyelid. What’s inside this lump? It is a pus-filled abscess, generally due to an eye infection by staphylococcus bacteria.

All Styes are Not the Same

When a stye is located on the outside of your eyelid, it begins as a small spot next to an eyelash. Over the next few days, it will develop into a red and painful swelling. Typically, the stye will then burst and heal. Fortunately, the whole experience begins and ends relatively fast.

An internal stye, which is located on the underside of your eyelid, also leads to a red and painful swelling. However, the hidden location prevents the stye from creating a whitehead. Instead, it will disappear slowly once the infection is past, or a small cyst filled with fluid may remain. If that happens, your Americus eye doctor may need to open and drain the cyst.

Cause of Styes

Many types of friendly bacteria live and breed on the surface of your skin, all of the time. Yet, when the conditions are right, some of these bacteria – such as the staphylococcal bacteria – feast on dead skin cells and other debris. As a result, a stye can develop. The process is similar to the way in which pimples appear.

In addition, a chronic facial condition called rosacea may be the root of your stye problem. Visit your eye doctor or dermatologist to diagnose rosacea and prescribe the best medical treatment.

Signs that You Need Emergency Eye Care

Extreme symptoms of inflammation and pain are typical reasons that patients call our Americus, eye doctor for urgent care. However, even if you experience only mild irritation and swelling of your eyelid, you need to consult with an eye doctor if it doesn’t go away within a few weeks.

We advise you to seek medical advice for the following:

  • Eyelid swelling that interferes with your vision
  • Inflammation that doesn’t disappear within a week or two
  • Pain in your eye
  • Recurrent styes; these can indicate a chronic skin problem

Treatment for Styes in Americus

Fortunately, most styes will improve and heal on their own within a few weeks. Never try to pop or squeeze a stye! It’s important to let them rupture and release the pus on their own. With regard to self-care, our eye doctor recommends that you apply warm compresses to your closed eyes for about 10 minutes, four times a day for a few days. The mild heat will relieve your pain and swelling as it also encourages the style to come to a head. As soon as you see the white head appear, continue applying warm compresses to promote bursting.

Sometimes, medical treatment is necessary and only a qualified eye doctor can evaluate your condition fully. If your style was caused by an infected eyelash follicle, we may need to remove the lash closest to the stye. Other times, the pus may need to be drained. After this procedure, the eyelid heals rapidly.

Is there a way to prevent styes?

If you find that your styes recur frequently, it’s a sign that you need to improve your eyelid hygiene. Start using lid scrubs to remove excess cellular debris and germs. Follow these steps:

  1. Add a few drops of mild baby shampoo into a cup filled with warm water. Stir well.
  2. Dip a cotton wool ball into the mixture and gently rub the soapy solution along the baseline of your eyelashes. Keep your eyelids closed while you do this.

We also recommend that you take care not to dry your face on dirty towels, rub your eyes with dirty hands, or use old and/or shared cosmetics.

Many of our Americus patients tell us that they felt pinpoint tenderness near a few eyelashes before the stye appeared. If you experience this, you may be able to prevent the stye from forming by applying warm compresses frequently. Being proactive in this way can help you avoid further blockage of the eyelid glands.

Remember, while styes can be very painful – they do not typically pose any hazard to your vision. If you have symptoms of a stye, our eye doctor will provide emergency eye care to help alleviate the pain and promote healing.

At Regional Eye Center, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 229-518-3040 or book an appointment online to see one of our Americus eye doctors.

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Trouble Seeing at Night? All About Night Blindness

At this time of year when the sun sets earlier, many people are affected by night blindness. Night blindness or nyctalopia refers to difficulty seeing at night or in poor or dim lighting situations. It can be caused by a number of underlying conditions, sometimes completely benign and sometimes as a symptom of a more serious eye disease. So, if you are experiencing trouble seeing in low light, especially if it is a sudden onset of the condition, it is worth having it checked out by your eye doctor.

Signs of Night Blindness

The main indication of night blindness is difficulty seeing well in dark or dim lighting, especially when transitioning from a brighter to a lower light environment, like walking from outside into a dimly lit room. Many experience difficulty driving at night, particularly with the glare of streetlights or the headlights from oncoming traffic.

Causes of Night Blindness

Night blindness is a condition that can be present from birth, or caused by a disease, injury or even a vitamin deficiency. In order to treat the condition, your eye doctor will need to determine the cause. Here are some of the common causes:

  • Nearsightedness (myopia) – many people with nearsightedness (or difficulty seeing objects in the distance) experience some degree of night blindness, especially when driving.
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa – a genetic condition in which the pigmented cells in the retina break down causing a loss of peripheral vision and night blindness.
  • Cataracts – a clouding of the natural lens of the eye causing vision loss.
  • Glaucoma – a group of diseases that involve damage to the optic nerve and subsequent vision loss.
  • Vitamin A Deficiency – vitamin A or retinol is found in greens (kale, spinach, collards, broccoli etc.), eggs, liver, orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, mango etc.), eggs and butter. Your doctor may also prescribe Vitamin A supplements if you have a serious deficiency.
  • Eye Surgery – refractive surgery such as LASIK sometimes results in reduced night vision as either a temporary or sometimes permanent side effects.
  • Injury – an injury to the eye or the part of the brain that processes vision can result in reduced night vision.
  • Uncorrected Visual Error – many people experience better daytime vision as the pupils are smaller and provide greater depth of field to compensate for any vision problems. At night, the pupils dilate, so blur is increased from uncorrected nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or distortions/aberrations on the cornea from refractive surgery. Even a slight prescription for someone who may not need glasses during the day can make a significant improvement in night vision.
  • Eyewear Problems – even if your vision correction is accurate, badly scratched glasses or poor/defective lens coatings can also cause trouble seeing at night. Special lens coatings are now available on glasses for night time and foggy conditions.

Treatment for Night Blindness

Some causes of night blindness are treatable, while others are not, so the first step is a comprehensive eye exam to determine what the root of the problem is. Treatments range from simply purchasing a special pair of glasses, lens coatings or contact lenses to wear at night (for optical issues such as myopia) to surgery (to correct the underlying problem such as cataracts), to medication (for diseases like glaucoma). In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you avoid driving at night. During the day, it may help to wear sunglasses or a brimmed hat to ease the transition indoors.

As with any change in vision, it is critical to get your eyes checked as soon as you begin to experience symptoms, and on a routine basis even if you’re symptom-free. Not only will this improve your chances of detecting and treating a vision-threatening disease if you have one brewing, but treatment will also keep you more comfortable seeing in low-light, and keep you and your loved ones safe at night or in poor light conditions.

At Regional Eye Center, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 229-518-3040 or book an appointment online to see one of our Americus eye doctors.

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Diabetes Awareness Month – Learn about Diabetic Eye Health in Americus

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time to learn more about diabetes of all types – type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Everyone knows the word “diabetes,” but can you define the condition? Diabetes is a disease characterized by higher than normal glucose levels in your blood. Blood glucose is what fuels your body, and it comes from the food you eat. When blood sugar flows through your bloodstream, insulin is needed to help it enter your body cells so it can be used for energy. However, if you have diabetes, your body may make insufficient insulin or not be able to use the insulin properly. As a result, all that sugar stays circulation in your blood – unable to be converted into energy.

Diabetes can be managed very well through diet, exercise, and taking medication. Without controlling diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels within the parameters recommended by your doctor, the high blood sugar can damage many organs – including your eyes. Staying healthy by following your personalized diabetes management plan and making sure to visit your eye doctor for regular eye exams, you can pave your path to good vision and eye health!

Diabetic eye health & diabetic eye disease

To state the facts – diabetes-related eye disease can lead to vision loss, but if you have diabetes, you can minimize your risk of developing diabetic eye disease. Taking charge of your health and visiting our Americus eye doctor for regular eye exams can help prevent these diseases from developing.

Diabetic eye disease comprises several ocular conditions:

  • Diabetic retinopathy – occurs when the small blood vessels in your retina bleed and leak
  • Macular edema – swelling that occurs along with retinopathy; it happens when the retinal blood vessels in the macula (central region of the retina) leak and lead to inflammation
  • Cataracts – a clouding of the lens in the eye, which can cause blurry vision
  • Glaucoma – increased intraocular pressure, which damages the optic nerve and can cause loss of peripheral vision

Diabetes eye exams

With regular check-ups by our Americus eye doctor, you can help prevent eye problems or keep the problems minor. One mistake that many people with diabetes make is to assume that a diabetes eye exam is only necessary if they notice any symptoms. This couldn’t be further from the truth! A comprehensive eye exam is the only reliable way to detect several eye conditions that can cause vision loss, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts. Early detection of these problems can make the difference between effective, successful treatment and damage to your vision. During your dilated eye exam, the eye doctor will use high-powered magnification to inspect the inner tissues of your eye thoroughly, checking the retina for signs of diabetic retinopathy and checking the optic nerve for any damage.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines:

  • People with type 1 diabetes should have their first diabetic eye exam within the first five years
  • People with type 2 diabetes should visit their eye doctor for the first diabetic eye exam immediately after diagnosis. Type 2 diabetes can remain undetected for years, and vision damage can occur during this time.
  • Women with gestational diabetes should have an eye exam during the first trimester of pregnancy

After the first diabetic eye exam at Americus, our eye doctor advises all adults with diabetes to visit yearly for a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

At Regional Eye Center, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 229-518-3040 or book an appointment online to see one of our Americus eye doctors.

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