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What Exactly is an Eye Chart?

If there’s one aspect of optometry that everyone recognizes, it’s the traditional eye chart, with its rows of big letters on top, which gradually become smaller the farther down you go. This chart is usually known as the Snellen chart.

Yet how much do you really know about this eye chart? Are all eye charts the same? How are these eye charts used? And when were they invented?

Here’s everything you need to know about eye charts and more!

What is an Eye Chart?

An eye chart is one of the tools your eye doctor uses to assess your eyesight. Based on how well you can see various letters on the chart, your optometrist will determine whether you have myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia (age-related farsightedness) or astigmatism, and will measure the prescription that will give you the clearest, most comfortable vision.

Are All Eye Charts The Same?

There are a number of variations to the standard Snellen eye chart. The one an eye doctor uses depends on the personal needs and abilities of the patient. For example, eye doctors will use charts with pictures or patterns for younger children who may not have learned to read or identify letters and numbers.

There are also certain charts that specifically measure distance vision, while others are better for measuring near vision.

History of the Snellen Eye Chart

The Snellen eye chart was developed by Dutch eye doctor Hermann Snellen in the 1860s. Before this standardized eye chart was developed, each eye doctor had their own chart that they preferred to use.

Having so many different eye charts made it impossible to [standardize] the vision correction available to patients. Eyeglass makers didn’t receive the defined measurements they needed to accurately design, manufacture and measure the optical prescriptions their patients needed.

For the first time, the Snellen eye chart allowed a person to provide a standardized prescription from any eye care provider they chose to any eyeglass maker, and get the same optical lenses to accurately correct their vision.

How The Snellen Chart Is Used in Eye Exams

The standard Snellen chart displays 11 rows of capital letters, with the first row consisting of a single large letter. The farther down the chart you go, the smaller the letters become.

Your eye doctor will ask you to look through a phoropter – an instrument used to test individual lenses on each eye during an eye exam – and look at the Snellen chart placed 20 feet away. Your eye doctor will prescribe the lenses that provide you with the clearest and most comfortable vision.

In many offices, where 20 feet of space may not be available, you’ll be asked to view the chart through a mirror. This provides the same visual experience as if you were standing 20 feet away.

If you have 20/20 vision, it means you can see what an average person can see on an eye chart from a distance of 20 feet. On the other hand, if you have 20/40 vision, it means you can only see clearly from 20 feet away what a person with perfect vision can see clearly from 40 feet away.

If you have 20/200 vision, the legal definition of blindness, this means what a person with perfect vision can see from 200 feet away, you can see from 20 feet away.

Does 20/20 Visual Acuity Mean Perfect Vision?

No. While eye chart tests identify refractive errors, they can’t detect signs of visual skill deficiencies or diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration. These are diagnosed using advanced equipment as part of a comprehensive eye exam with your local eye doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions are essential to ensuring long-term vision and eye health.

For more information, give us a call at or visit us in person at , today!

Q&A With Your Local Optometrist

How do you keep your eyes healthy?

You only have one set of eyes – don’t take them for granted!

Make sure to implement the following habits for healthy eyes (and body). These include:

  • Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables
  • Drinking plenty of water to hydrate your body and eyes
  • Not smoking, and avoiding 2nd-hand smoke
  • Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays
  • Maintaining normal BMI with regular exercise
  • Regular visits to your eye doctor as recommended

What health conditions can an eye exam detect?

A comprehensive eye exam can often detect certain underlying diseases that can threaten your sight and eye health, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, [tumor}s, autoimmune conditions and thyroid disorders. This is why having your eyes checked regularly is key. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome and the higher your quality of life.

Bloodshot Eyes – Should You Be Concerned?

You wake up in the morning ready to start your day, only to discover that your eyes are bloodshot. That might not be surprising if you stayed up late to finish a project, had too many drinks at a party or spent time in a smoke-filled room.

But bloodshot eyes can also signal an underlying eye problem. If your eyes appear red or bloodshot, make an appointment with an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam to determine the cause and to receive effective treatment.

Why Do I Have Bloodshot Eyes?

When blood rushes to the front of the eye, the tiny red blood vessels on the white of the eye dilate and become visible. This makes the eyes appear red and irritated.

So why do these blood vessels dilate, causing your eyes to look bloodshot?

Bloodshot eyes tend to be caused by:

  • Dry eyes
  • Irritants such as smoke, pollen and perfume
  • Lack of sleep
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Spending too much time in front of the computer

Bloodshot eyes due to lifestyle and environmental irritants may disappear on their own, or you can try to relieve them with over-the-counter eye drops or liquid tears. Lifestyle changes, such as getting more sleep, cutting down on alcohol intake and limiting screen time can often be helpful. If allergies are the culprit, oral antihistamines and antihistamine eye drops may relieve symptoms.

At other times, underlying problems requiring prompt medical attention can cause your eye’s blood vessels to dilate. The following are some of these medical conditions:

Conjunctivitis

You’ve probably heard of “pink eye.” It’s another name for infectious conjunctivitis – an infection of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane covering the eyelid and the front surface of the eye.

There are two types of infectious conjunctivitis – bacterial and viral.

If your child has conjunctivitis, they’re not alone. About 12% of kids get bacterial conjunctivitis every year. This highly contagious condition affects children and adults. In addition to reddish eyes, the following symptoms are associated with conjunctivitis:

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis – irritated eyes, swollen eyelids, eye discharge, crusty eyelids and excessive tearing
  • Viral conjunctivitis – cold or flu-like symptoms, runny nose, fever, itchy eyes, excessive tearing

If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to schedule a prompt appointment with an eye doctor, who can diagnose whether the conjunctivitis is viral, bacterial or due to allergies.

Depending on the diagnosis, your eye doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops or creams to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. The viral form may run its course after a few days, but cold compresses and non-prescription eye drops may provide relief.

Dry Eye Syndrome

If your eyes are chronically bloodshot you may have dry eye syndrome (DES). Signs of DES include:

  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Burning or stinging eyes
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • A feeling you have something stuck in your eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eyes

Dry eye syndrome is most commonly caused by a blockage of the tiny meibomian glands in the eyelids. These glands secrete oil that keeps eye moisture from evaporating too quickly. Without the oil, tears dry fast, leaving your eyes feeling dry, itchy and with a bloodshot appearance.

Too much screen time, aging, certain medications such as antihistamines, and medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome can cause dry eye syndrome.

In addition to any medications or in-office treatments your eye doctor recommends, make sure to get plenty of hydration, take frequent breaks from digital screens and use a humidifier in your home.

Uveitis

In addition to bloodshot eyes, if you also experience blurred vision, see floaters or your eyes feel painful, you may have an eye inflammation called uveitis. The causes of uveitis include:

  • Autoimmune or inflammatory condition
  • Infection
  • Medication side effects
  • Cancer (in rare cases)

Unfortunately, uveitis symptoms can often be mistaken for something less serious. That’s the reason it’s important to get an eye exam if your eyes are bloodshot. Left untreated, uveitis can lead to serious conditions such as retinal scarring, cataracts and vision loss.

Depending on the cause and severity, your eye doctor may treat uveitis with prescription eye drops, steroid pills, injections or eye implants.

Eye Injury

It’s vital that all eye injuries receive immediate eye care from an eye doctor.

Even a minor eye injury can cause a big red blotch to form on the white part of the eye (sclera). The cause is a broken blood vessel or a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Although the appearance of this blood looks severe, and can make the entire white part of the eye appear bright red, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is usually painless and doesn’t cause vision loss. Any time you notice excessive blood on the eye following an eye injury, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to assess the health of your eye.

Glaucoma

In rare cases, bloodshot eyes may signal the presence of glaucoma – a leading cause of vision loss and blindness.

While some types of glaucoma don’t show symptoms in the early phases, bloodshot eyes can indicate the type of glaucoma that requires immediate medical care. This disease causes damage to the optic nerve due to excessive pressure within the eye. When this pressure suddenly rises, the eye’s blood vessels become dilated and visible, making the eye appear red.

If you have bloodshot eyes and/or have the following risk factors for glaucoma, immediately schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Aged 60+
  • African American, Asian or Hispanic
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Bloodshot Eyes Won’t Go Away?

Talk to Us Any time you notice bloodshot eyes or blood on the front of the eye, don’t wait. Schedule your eye exam with Ray D. Williams, OD at Regional Eye Center in Americus today.

Q&A With Your Local Optometrist

Can I get bloodshot eyes after LASIK surgery?

LASIK surgery is highly effective minimally invasive laser eye surgery that can correct refractive errors, but like all surgical procedures, it can have side effects. Your eyes may be bloodshot or you could see halos from a few days to three weeks after surgery. Additionally, you may experience other dry eye symptoms. Eye drops and liquid tears can alleviate these symptoms, but if you have any concerns about your eyes following LASIK surgery contact your eye surgeon.

What Should I Expect from a Glaucoma Exam?

If you have a family history and/or other risk factors for glaucoma, and if your eyes look bloodshot, consider scheduling a glaucoma exam. Your eye doctor may perform the following tests:

  • Tonometry – eye pressure test
  • Gonioscopy – to see how fluid is draining out of your eye
  • Vision field test – to examine the functioning of the optic nerve
  • Dilated pupil exam – to detect any damage to the optic nerve
  • Retinal photo or OCT – digital examination of the retina and optic nerve health

Regular Contact Lenses Not Working for You? Consider Scleral Lenses

Woman wearing scleral lensesIf you have dry eye syndrome, a corneal transplant, keratoconus or who simply find conventional contacts uncomfortable to wear, you may want to try scleral contact lenses. Scleral lenses are larger than standard lenses and vault over the entire surface of the cornea. Because the lens sits firmly on the eye, it offers more comfortable and stable vision than traditional lenses.

Eye Problems That Can Make Contact Lens Wearing Difficult

If your cornea is irregularly sized or shaped, standard contact lenses may not fit you properly or may move when you blink. Furthermore, standard contacts can also cause or exacerbate dry eye symptoms, such as red, irritated, itchy or dry eyes.

Below are common eye conditions that can make contact lens wearing a struggle:

  • Keratoconus
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Astigmatism
  • Corneal transplant
  • Post-refractive surgery (i.e. LASIK)

Why are Scleral Lenses a Comfortable Alternative?

These oversized lenses provide relief, clear vision, and visual rehabilitation for dry eye, keratoconus, corneal degeneration, eyelid abnormalities, and corneal ectasia, among other conditions. That’s because the custom-designed scleral lenses are fitted to your unique eye shape, providing a superior level of comfort.

Moreover, a fluid reservoir between the lens and the cornea optically neutralizes any corneal irregularities and hydrates the ocular surface, providing a moist and comfortable environment between the eye and the lens.

How Large are Scleral Lenses?

The average size of regular contact lenses is 9mm, which is smaller than the cornea, whereas scleral lenses measure between 14.5mm to 24mm in diameter. This allows the scleral lens to form a dome over the cornea, creating a cushion of tears between the lens and the eye.

What Happens During a Scleral Lens Fitting?

Scleral lenses are custom-fit to each person’s unique eye shape, corneal curves, and contours, providing unparalleled comfort. Their size and shape also ensure stability.

To design the lenses, your Regional Eye Center eye doctor in Americus will take exact measurements of your cornea through a process called corneal topography. This process ensures that your personal pair of scleral lenses allows the right amount of light in and sits stably on the eye, thus offering superior vision, all-day ocular hydration, and increased comfort.

Schedule an appointment with Dr Matthew Greene and talk to us about getting fitted with scleral lenses.

Our practice serves patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, and , Georgia and surrounding communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

 

Q: Can Scleral Lenses Treat or Cure Keratoconus?

  • A: While scleral lenses aren’t a cure for keratoconus, they are highly effective at correcting vision if you have irregular-shaped corneas or cone-shaped corneas.Because those with keratoconus have irregular, cone-shaped corneas, glasses and standard contact lenses cannot conform to the shape of the eyes and thus cannot adequately correct the patients’ vision. The best solution, therefore, is scleral contact lenses, since they sit on the sclera without touching the cornea and deliver maximal clarity while being perfectly comfortable in most cases.

Q: Can Scleral Lenses Help Improve Vision Following Corneal Transplants?

  • A: Though corneal transplants have a high rate of success, it can take more than a year for the eye to recover from surgery. This is because the eye needs time to adapt to the new cornea, during which time nearsightedness or astigmatism may develop. For this reason, scleral lenses are the ideal choice for clear and comfortable vision following a corneal graft.

 

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Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out!

Stay Active and See Better With Scleral Lenses

Stay Active and See Better With Scleral Lenses 640×350Scleral contact lenses have long been the way to provide clear and comfortable vision to people with keratoconus, severe dry eye syndrome, irregularly shaped corners and patients recovering from corneal transplants and refractive surgeries.

But did you know that scleral lenses are also a great option for active people who need their lenses to sit securely and not pop out? Many people find that traditional contact lenses don’t provide the stable and clear vision required for their active lifestyle. This is especially true for athletes with high astigmatism who want to achieve a greater level of clarity comparable to LASIK surgery.

Whether you like to run marathons, go skiing or play sports that require sharp vision, scleral lenses can provide the vision correction and peace of mind you’ve been seeking.

What Makes Scleral Lenses Different?

Scleral lenses are hard, gas-permeable contact lenses that settle on the eye in a more stable position than regular soft or hard contacts. That’s because scleral lenses have a larger diameter than standard lenses, so they’re less prone to falling out or moving on the eye.

In addition, these lenses vault over the cornea to rest on the sclera, the whites of the eyes, on a cushion of fluid, providing additional comfort. Your eyes stay hydrated when exposed to harsh winds during winter sports or in hot and dry conditions.

These features make sclerals a good option for active people and athletes.

What Else Are Scleral Lenses Used For?

Scleral lenses are the go-to lenses if you have an irregularly shaped cornea or keratoconus, which causes the lens to thin, bulge and develop a cone-like shape. As keratoconus progresses, patients often can’t achieve clear vision from eyeglasses or regular contact lenses.

The fact that scleral lenses are custom-designed to fit a patient’s eyes can make them the best option for people who can’t wear traditional hard or soft lenses.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Scleral Lenses?

The following people may find a particular benefit from scleral lenses:

  • Active people and athletes who need clear vision and want contacts that will stay firmly in place
  • People with irregular corneas, such as keratoconus
  • Those with dry eye syndrome
  • Post-corneal transplant patients
  • Those who have poor vision due to complications after eye surgery.

Can You Play Sports with Scleral Lenses?

Thanks to their greater width, scleral lenses stay in place on the eye more than standard lenses while simultaneously providing clear crisp vision. Many wearers also find them more comfortable than other contact lenses. This makes sclerals ideal for most sports, including baseball, basketball, cycling and skiing.

There are, however, some direct contact sports, such as karate, boxing and wrestling, where sclerals aren’t recommended due to the risk of eye injury if the lens is damaged.

Do Scleral Lenses Treat Keratoconus?

Scleral lenses aren’t a cure. However, sclerals are highly effective at correcting vision if you have irregular-shaped corneas because the lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, compensating for the misshapen cornea.

If you love sports, live an active lifestyle, have an irregularly shaped cornea or dry eyes, consult with Dr Matthew Greene at Regional Eye Center to see whether scleral lenses are the right solution for you.

Our practice serves patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, and , Georgia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: How Can Scleral Lenses Improve An Athlete’s Vision?

  • A: Athletes are typically exposed to challenging environmental conditions, such as dust, chalk, sand and wind. These can all interfere with the comfort of wearing soft contact lenses. Because scleral lenses provide a seal over the eye’s surface, the eyes are better protected from the elements, allowing athletes more stable, clear, crisp vision.

Q: Do Scleral Lenses Cure Keratoconus?

  • A: No. Custom-designed scleral lenses help patients with corneal irregularities, like astigmatism and keratoconus, achieve dramatic improvements in visual acuity and comfort. These lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, thus creating a new optical surface. Moreover, the reservoir of pure saline solution between the back surface of the lens and the front of the cornea ensures that the eye is always in a liquid environment, ensuring optimal vision and comfort for those with keratoconus.

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Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out!

5 Need-to-Know Facts About Glaucoma

elderly couple sitting outside width=While most people have heard of glaucoma, many aren’t aware of how and why it can lead to vision loss and blindness, and why or how regular eye exams can help safeguard their vision. To get a better understanding, check out these 5 important facts.

Glaucoma Causes Permanent Vision Loss

Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness, affecting more than 1 in 50 adults. Nowadays, more than 80 million people around the world have glaucoma, with the number is expected to reach a staggering 111 million by 2040!

Vision loss is caused by abnormally high pressure within the eye which permanently damages the optic nerve that delivers the eye’s messages to the brain.

The rise in eye pressure results from the buildup of fluid in the eye that does not drain effectively out of the eye.

Though it’s possible to manage glaucoma symptoms, vision loss can’t be reversed once it’s occurred. That’s why it’s crucial to catch this serious eye condition in its early stages.

Half the People With Glaucoma Don’t Know They Have It

Yes, you read that correctly. One of the most worrying things about glaucoma is that half the people with this condition don’t even know they have it! The most common type — primary open-angle glaucoma — has no obvious symptoms in its early stages. It’s no wonder glaucoma is called the ‘Thief of Sight.’

The best way to avoid any vision loss from glaucoma is to have regular eye exams to detect the condition as soon as possible.

Some Are More At Risk for Glaucoma Than Others

The following are risk factors for glaucoma:

  • Being 60 or older
  • A family history – particularly of open-angle glaucoma
  • African, Asian or Hispanic descent
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Underactive Thyroid

Glaucoma Can Be Treated, Not Cured

There is no cure for glaucoma and vision that has already been lost to the condition can’t be restored. However, glaucoma can be treated, and the progression of the disease can be stopped or slowed.

Common treatments for glaucoma include:

  • Prescription eye drops that can lower pressure inside the eye
  • Oral medications, such as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors
  • Laser therapy, such as SLT or trabeculoplasty, is used to open up channels to improve the drainage of fluid from the eye
  • Eye surgery or trabeculectomy – surgical removal of obstructions in the eye’s drainage system
  • Trabecular stent bypass – a stent is placed in the eye to make drainage easier

Only an Eye Exam Can Diagnose Glaucoma

As mentioned above, regular eye exams are essential to detect glaucoma, especially in the early stages before permanent vision loss has occurred. Your eye doctor may use several types of tests to detect glaucoma:

  • Tonometry – measurement of eye pressure
  • Visual field – tests for peripheral vision loss
  • Gonioscopy – determines if the drainage system is open.
  • Corneal thickness (pachymetry) – the thickness of the cornea can affect the eye pressure measurements
  • Optic Nerve Exam – detection of any nerve damage using digital imaging

Glaucoma is yet another good reason to get your eyes tested regularly, especially if you’re over 60. To check the health of your eyes, schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Regional Eye Center today.

Our practice serves patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, and , Georgia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: How much time does it take for glaucoma to cause blindness?

  • A: In most cases of open-angle glaucoma, it can take several years from the onset of the disease before significant vision loss occurs. However, in the case of closed-angle glaucoma, where the eye pressure rises suddenly, it can immediately cause severe vision loss. The speed of the onset of glaucoma depends on the type of glaucoma and eye pressure levels. The higher the pressure, the faster glaucoma can drive vision loss.

Q: How many people go blind from glaucoma?

  • A: Overall, the incidence of blindness in at least one eye from glaucoma is 26.5% after 10 years, and 38.1% after 20 years. This means that without effective treatment the chance of going blind in one eye is more than 1 in 4 in just 10 years.

References

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5 Ways to Prevent Dry Eyes During Air Travel

Dry Eye Air Travel Tips 640×350While traveling can be taxing on the entire body, the eyes are especially vulnerable — particularly when wearing a mask to protect from COVID. When traveling by plane, the dry air can cause your eyes to become red, parched and irritated. While you can’t control all variables during your travels, eye specialists have discovered a number of ways to reduce the chances of experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of “travelers’ dry eye.”

Here are five suggestions for preventing dry eye from affecting your vision.

Drink plenty of water. If your body isn’t properly hydrated, it will have a tougher time increasing tear production in a dry atmosphere. Humidity levels on planes are typically below 20%, which is lower than the Sahara Desert! Keep your eyes moist and comfortable by drinking plenty of water before, during and after your flight.

Wear your glasses. Since contact lenses remove moisture from your eye’s surface tear film, they can contribute to dry eye. Wearing your glasses can help keep your eyes moist.

Wear a sleep mask. Even when your eyelids are closed, your eyes might lose moisture, which happens frequently when you sleep. On a plane, a sleep mask can help prevent additional dryness.

Use hydrating eye drops. When you’re in a dry environment, a good hydrating eye drop can provide a brief respite.

Make sure your face mask fits snugly. When a person’s breath rises upward it can dry out their eyes. A face mask that fits securely around the bridge of the nose can prevent air from reaching the eyes.

Is dry eye making you miserable, especially when traveling? Put an end to the discomfort and struggle by contacting Regional Eye Center. Our dedicated eye doctors will get to the bottom of your dry eye and provide effective, lasting treatment.

Our practice serves patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, and , Georgia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: Can dry eye be cured?

  • A: In some cases, yes. A range of successful treatment options can help manage dry eye for long-term relief. Your eye doctor can also provide in-office treatments for more advanced forms of dry eye disease.

Q: What type of treatments are available for dry eye?

  • A: Depending on the cause of the dry eye, treatment options include:
    – Lubricants
    – Punctal plugs
    – Topical steroids
    – Warm compresses
    – Protective eyewear
    – Intense pulse light
    – Switching to medications that don’t cause dry eye symptoms

Looking for dry eye treatment? Contact Regional Eye Center today!

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Signs It’s Time For Cataract Surgery

Elderly Couple Discussing Cataract SurgeryCataract surgery, which replaces the cataract-affected lens of the eye with a new, clear artificial lens, is the most common surgical procedure in the world. While the procedure is considered safe and effective, patients want to know the optimal time to have the surgery.

Early Signs of Cataracts

During the earlier stages, individuals with cataracts experience cloudy vision and sensitivity to glare and light. Halos may appear around lit objects at night, and night vision may be impaired. Colors may appear washed out, such as bright red hues appearing dark pink.

Signs You Need Cataract Surgery

It’s common for people to live with cataracts for several years before considering surgery. The following are signs it is time to have your cataracts removed:

  • You find it difficult to see well enough to perform tasks at work
  • Your vision has gotten in the way of doing activities around the home, such as cooking and cleaning
  • You no longer see the television screen or printed material clearly
  • Driving, especially at night, no longer feels safe
  • Glare and bright lights are more pronounced

If you experience any of the above, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss cataract surgery.

The Presence of Other Eye Problems

Your eye doctor may encourage you to have cataract surgery if your cataracts render it difficult to examine the back of your eye to treat a range of serious eye conditions, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinopathy. Any of these may require the urgent removal of the cataract so the optometrist can accurately diagnose and manage other serious eye problems.

What Happens If You Delay Surgery?

There are advantages to having cataract surgery earlier rather than later. Cataracts can severely interfere with daily life and can make night driving difficult, even hazardous. If left untreated, cataracts result in vision loss and eventually blindness. Additionally, over time cataracts become thicker, darker and denser, which can add unnecessary complications to the surgery and lengthen the post-surgery recovery period.

However, in certain cases, patients can wait to have cataract surgery. In the meantime, their eye doctor can recommend stronger prescription lenses or the use of bright lights to help them see better.

Whether you decide to get cataract surgery early on or to wait it out, we encourage you to do so under the guidance of Dr. Tu at Regional Eye Center.

Our practice serves patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, and , Georgia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: What Are the Benefits of Cataract Surgery?

A: Having cataract surgery:

  • – Restores clear vision
  • – Enhances enjoyment of reading and watching TV
  • – Improves quality of life by allowing you to do everyday activities and hobbies
  • – Lowers the risk of developing other eye problems, such as eye inflammation and glaucoma
  • – Renders it safer to drive in low light environments

Q: How Do I Lower My Risk of Cataracts?

A: The tips below may help reduce the risk of developing cataracts:

  • – Have regular eye exams to catch any problems early
  • – Wear sunglasses to block UV rays – 10% of cataract cases are related to the sun’s harmful UV rays
  • – Maintain healthy blood sugar levels, particularly if you have diabetes
  • – Eat colorful fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamins C and E
  • – Quit smoking and drink only moderate amounts of alcohol
  • – Be aware that steroidal eye drops and corticosteroids may increase the risk of cataracts

References

 

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8 Benefits of Wearing Scleral Lenses

Woman Wearing Scleral LensesScleral contact lenses are rigid gas permeable lenses with an extra-wide diameter. As opposed to standard contacts, scleral lenses vault over the entire cornea, leaving a gap between the lens and the corneal surface before coming to rest on the white part of your eye (your sclera).

They are custom-fit to your eye and are perfect for those with hard-to-fit eyes, astigmatism, keratoconus, severe dry eye, or for those simply seeking more comfort when wearing contact lenses.

Here are 8 reasons why scleral contact lenses may be beneficial for you:

1. Clear Vision For Those With Keratoconus

Keratoconus (keh-rah-toe-cone-us) is an eye disorder in which the round dome-shaped cornea progressively thins and causes a cone-like bulge to develop. The irregular, cone-shaped corneas cannot be properly corrected using glasses or traditional contact lenses. Scleral lenses, on the other hand, sit comfortably sit on the sclera without touching the cornea, while providing sharpness, clarity and comfort in vision.

2. Great Solution for Hard-to-Fit Eyes

Patients with an irregularly shaped cornea, whether due to natural causes, an eye condition (i.e. keratoconus or astigmatism) or complications following surgery (such as LASIK), can occasionally develop vision problems that cannot be corrected with glasses or soft contact lenses. Consider scleral lenses for a comfortable, secure fit, and improved vision.

3. Relief for Dry Eyes

Though generally used to treat corneal irregularities and refractive errors, scleral lenses can also provide immense relief to dry eye patients.

These custom-designed lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera while avoiding the cornea. The liquid reservoir between the lens and the cornea provides a continuous moist environment that protects the cornea and provides relief for those with dry eyes.

4. Stable Vision

The lenses’ super-size diameter ensures that they stay centered and stable on your eye, which also prevents them from popping out easily, even if you play sports or lead an active lifestyle.

5. Wide Visual Field and Reduced Glare

Because of their large diameter, scleral lenses are more stable and have a wider optic zone than other lenses. They offer a more accurate perception of peripheral vision and help minimize glare and sensitivity.

6. Eye Protection

The large size of the lens protects your eyes from debris, dust, and allergens, providing a perfect solution if you suffer from eye allergies.

7. Long-Lasting Lenses

These rigid gas permeable contacts are made of high-quality, durable materials made to last for the long haul. Refer to your eye doctor to discuss the right time to replace your lenses.

8. Cost-effective

Because they’re custom fit, the cost of scleral lenses is usually higher than standard contact lenses. However, sclerals last up to 2 years, so they’re more cost-effective in the long term. Your insurance coverage may pay for scleral lenses if you have a corneal disease or other eye condition.

Ready to Try Sclerals?

If you’re looking for an eye doctor in Americus who can assess whether scleral contacts are right for you, look no further than Regional Eye Center. Whether your contacts are uncomfortable or you have a corneal irregularity that makes wearing regular contacts impossible, we welcome you to contact us today to discuss whether sclera lenses are right for you!

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: Why are regular lenses uncomfortable for people with dry eye syndrome?

  • A: When the contact lenses dry out, they can create discomfort, especially if the eye is also dry. People with dry eye syndrome suffer from itchy, red, burning or a gritty feeling in the eye. That is why scleral lenses are better for dry eye patients than regular contact lenses because they have a wider curve to hydrate the eye and keep it moist, alleviating dryness.

Q: Why is it difficult for people with keratoconus to wear traditional contact lenses?

  • A: Keratoconus is caused by a weakness in the cornea that causes it to bulge forward and compromise vision. Contact lenses help keratoconus patients see properly, and yet, because of the irregular shape of the cornea, it can be difficult to fit them with standard contact lenses. Since scleral lenses are wider and are custom-designed, they are usually the contact lens of choice to correct vision in keratoconus patients.

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What’s The Link Between Dry Eye and Accutane (Acne Medication)

Teen with severe acne wearing maskAccutane, generically called isotretinoin, is an oral medication that is widely prescribed to treat severe acne that hasn’t responded to other treatments.

Although this drug often does a great job of reducing acne, it has several potential side effects that can affect many bodily systems, including the eyes.

Isotretinoin and Dry Eyes

Isotretinoin works by decreasing the size of the oil glands that secrete oil onto the skin. By reducing the production of the facial oils, the pores become less clogged and the amount of acne diminishes.

As the medication travels through the bloodstream, it also penetrates the eyelids’ meibomian glands, which produce the oil for tears.

These meibomian glands, which line the inner portion of the eyelids, play an important role in keeping the eyes hydrated and healthy by secreting oil to stabilize the tear film. When Accutane suppresses their function, the oil layer in the tear is inadequate, allowing excessive tear evaporation. As a result, the eyes dry out.

A 2012 study published in JAMA Dermatology analyzed the ocular effects of isotretinoin and concluded that taking it places patients at a significantly higher risk of experiencing a range of adverse ocular effects.

Common ocular conditions that were associated with this acne medication were dry eye syndrome, blepharitis, conjunctivitis, photosensitivity, contact lens intolerance and papilledema.

The researchers found that the ocular conditions resulted from changes to the cornea, eyelids, retina and meibomian glands. Additionally, the drug was found in the tear film and caused increased ocular irritation.

The good news is that these effects are often temporary, and resolve within a few months after completing treatment. One study, published in Optometry and Vision Science (2015), however, found that 1% of patients developed permanent meibomian gland dysfunction after taking isotretinoin.

 

How a Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

Some dermatologists will refer their patients to an optometrist for a dry eye evaluation before prescribing isotretinoin to treat acne. If the patient already has signs of ocular surface disease or is taking other medications that interfere with tear production, the doctor may decide against prescribing isotretinoin.

We can help by thoroughly assessing your ocular condition to help your dermatologist determine the best acne treatment for you, as well as help you manage your dry eye symptoms.

If you or a loved one is currently taking or has taken isotretinoin and is experiencing symptoms of dry eye syndrome such as eye irritation or burning eyes, we can offer lasting treatment and solutions.

To schedule your dry eye consultation or learn more about our services, call Regional Eye Center today.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: Should I use lubricating eye drops while taking acne medication like isotretinoin?

  • A: Lubricating eye drops may be an appropriate treatment for medication-induced dry eye syndrome However always consult with your optometrist before purchasing drops from the drugstore. The huge range of choices in your local pharmacy can be hard to navigate alone, and not all eye drops will be right for you. We can help guide you to the best eye drops for your condition.

Q: What are the common symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include watery eyes, gritty eyes, burning or painful eyes, red and irritated eyes, mucus around the eyes, the inability to wear contact lenses, sensitivity to light and blurred vision. The frequency and severity of these symptoms can range greatly from patient to patient, and treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your symptoms.

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6 Glaucoma Myths Debunked

elderly couple with their familyGlaucoma can do a great deal of damage to your visual system if it goes undetected and untreated. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about glaucoma symptoms, detection and treatment that cause people to wait to see an eye doctor until it’s too late to prevent vision loss. In this article, we debunk 6 common glaucoma myths.

Myth 1: Glaucoma testing is painful

The Truth: Glaucoma testing is basically painless.

The most commonly used first test for glaucoma is an air puff test. Your optometrist will ask you to place your chin on a chin rest and while looking at a small light, a quick, soft puff of air will be blown at your eye to test the pressure inside your eye. The test takes mere seconds and reveals a great deal of valuable information to your eye doctor about your risk of glaucoma.

Your optometrist may also use an OCT device to create a full-color 3D scan of the inside of your eye, and perform visual field testing to see if the eye pressure has caused any changes to your field of vision. Both these tests can detect damage to ocular structures caused by glaucoma. Both tests are completely non-invasive, as neither touch the eye.

If necessary, your eye doctor may use anesthetic eye drops as part of a Goldmann applanation tonometry test. While these drops may sting slightly for a few seconds, the rest of the test is completely painless. After the anesthetic is applied, your eye doctor will use a small probe and a blue light to quickly and gently touch the cornea. This is an additional method to accurately determine the exact measurement of your inner-eye pressure.

Myth 2: Glaucoma cannot be prevented

The Truth: There are many steps a person can take to minimize their risk of developing glaucoma. They include:

  • Living a healthy lifestyle.

Research published in March 2016 in JAMA Ophthalmology has shown that a healthy diet that includes a lot of fruits and vegetables (especially the green leafy kinds) significantly reduces a person’s chances of developing glaucoma. Regular exercise helps as well, with experts suggesting that a regular routine of moderate to vigorous exercise may reduce risk by as much as 73%. Ask your physician about an appropriate exercise regimen for your age and body type. If you smoke, quitting could significantly lower your risk of glaucoma.

  • Having regular comprehensive eye exams. This one is especially important if you have a history of glaucoma in your family since glaucoma can be hereditary. Even if you don’t have a family history, regularly scheduled eye exams are important. Early detection of risk factors associated with glaucoma can put your optometrist on the lookout for subtle warning signs.
  • Protecting your eyes from injury. Severe eye injuries can significantly raise your risk of glaucoma. [Eye_doctors] recommend wearing protective eyewear any time you take part in activities where foreign objects may get in your eyes. This includes woodworking, soldering or working with any kind of paints or chemicals. Many sports, including baseball and racquetball, have a high incidence of eye injury.

Myth 3: There’s only one type of glaucoma

The Truth: There are several types of glaucoma. Each has its own causes and treatments.

The two most common types of glaucoma are open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma.

With angle-closure glaucoma, the structure in your eye responsible for the healthy outflow of fluid from the eye, known as the trabecular meshwork, becomes blocked. This prevents the outflow of fluid from the eye, elevating the intraocular pressure, damaging the ocular nerve and leading to vision loss.

This increase in eye pressure and nerve damage can occur suddenly or gradually over time. If a sudden spike in pressure occurs, the symptoms may include severe headache, nausea, vomiting, eye pain and seeing halos around lights.

Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the trabecular meshwork remains open, but there is still resistance to the outflow of fluid from the eye. This resistance creates a slow build-up pressure inside the eye, and just as in angle-closure glaucoma, damages the optic nerve and leads to vision loss. Open-angle glaucoma develops slowly and shows no obvious symptoms until irreversible damage to your eyes and vision has occurred.

Myth 4: Once you have glaucoma, nothing can be done to help

The Truth: While it is true that there is no cure for glaucoma, optometrists do have a number of options to help lower intraocular pressure, reduce its impact and save your sight

Treatment usually starts with medicated eye drops and oral medications that either increase the outflow of fluid from the eye or decrease the amount of fluid your eye produces.

If these treatments don’t work, eye doctors may also recommend the surgical implantation of drainage tubes, laser therapy or minimally invasive glaucoma surgery.

Myth 5: Only older people get glaucoma

The Truth: It is true that people over 60 are at the highest risk for glaucoma. However, glaucoma can affect people at any age.

Even infants can develop glaucoma if they’re born with certain conditions or birth defects that affect the eyes.

Individuals who are more susceptible include:

  • People who have sustained a serious eye injury in the past
  • People with a family history of glaucoma
  • Diabetics and those suffering from conditions such as cardiovascular disease and sickle-cell anemia
  • Those taking steroid medications long-term
  • African Americans and Hispanics
  • Asians (have a higher risk of closed-angle glaucoma)

Myth 6: You can’t have glaucoma if you don’t have symptoms

The Truth: Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma, accounting for over 90% of all glaucoma cases. Unfortunately, this type of glaucoma shows no noticeable signs or symptoms until vision loss has occurred.

Since glaucoma tends to impact the peripheral (side) vision first, many people might not notice that their vision is gradually shrinking. This is why regular comprehensive eye exams are so important to ensure that glaucoma is caught early, and a treatment plan can be devised well before serious damage has occurred.

Glaucoma can be a devastating eye condition if not caught and treated as early as possible. To find out more about prevention and treatment of glaucoma and similar eye conditions, contact us today.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: Can smoking harm my eye health?

  • A: Yes. In multiple studies, researchers have found that the more cigarettes a person smokes each day, the higher their risks of developing glaucoma. Beyond glaucoma, smokers are also at a significantly higher risk of developing other eye diseases, including cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and dry eye syndrome.

Q: When should I consider glaucoma surgery?

  • A: Glaucoma surgery should be considered if your eye doctor has tried all other treatments, including prescription eye drops, oral medications and laser therapy, without success. Many types of glaucoma surgery exist. Ask your eye doctor to assess your condition and help decide which surgery is the best option to reduce your risk of vision loss, including blindness.Surgery cannot restore vision already lost because of glaucoma, but it can help protect the vision you still have and prevent your glaucoma from worsening.
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