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What Causes Retinal Tears?

What Causes Retinal Tears 640×350The retina is the light-sensitive tissue that lines the inner back portion of the eye. It is responsible for gathering incoming light and sending images to the brain so they can be processed.

Retinal tears occur when the delicate tissue gets pulled, creating a hole or tear in the retina. They need to be taken seriously because they can lead to a more severe condition called retinal detachment, which is considered a sight-threatening medical emergency.

What are the Symptoms of Retinal Tears?

Patients with retinal tears will often experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Flashes of light
  • Sudden onset or increase of floaters
  • Seeing a shadow in your side vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Seeing a gray curtain moving across your visual field

However, in some cases, retinal tears may not produce any noticeable symptoms.

What Conditions Can Cause Retinal Tears?

The eye is filled with a substance called vitreous. At birth, the vitreous is attached to the retina and has a gel consistency. As we age, the vitreous becomes more like a liquid and slowly detaches from the retina in a process called posterior vitreous detachment (PVD).

Usually, this process occurs without any complications. If the vitreous detaches too suddenly or abnormally, it tugs on the retina and can tear it. Additionally, some people have a more “sticky” vitreous, which makes it easier for the retina to rip.

Another main cause of retinal tears is eye trauma. Blunt force eye trauma can cause the retina to become bruised or scarred, making it more vulnerable to tearing.

Other associated causes or risk factors of retinal tears include:

  • Diabetes
  • Personal or family history of retinal tears/detachment
  • Retinal degeneration
  • Inflammatory disorders
  • Certain cancers
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • High myopia
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Retinopathy of prematurity
  • Prior surgery within the eye

Be sure to disclose any relevant medical information to your eye doctor for optimal preventative eye care.

How are Retinal Tears Treated?

Retinal tears are typically treated surgically with a laser (photocoagulation) or cryotherapy. Both methods are considered very safe and effective.

These treatments reseal the retina to the back wall of the eye and prevent fluid leakage underneath the retina.

The prognosis of a retinal tear is very positive when caught early, making regular eye exams that include examination of the retina crucial for all adults.

In some cases of minor retinal tearing, no treatment is required. If the retinal tear causes no symptoms, close monitoring may be all that’s needed.

After Your Retinal Tear Has Been Treated

After treatment, your optometrist will schedule various eye exams in order to monitor any changes in your retinas or eye health. Inform your eye doctor immediately if you notice any changes in your vision or if you experience new symptoms that may signal a problem.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a retinal tear or is at risk of developing one, call Regional Eye Center to schedule a consultation.

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

References

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7 Ways to Wish Dry Eye ‘Goodbye’

7 Ways to Wish Dry Eye Goodbye 640×350There’s no reason to suffer through the uncomfortable, sometimes debilitating symptoms that can accompany dry eye syndrome. Living with chronically dry, red and irritated eyes can affect your productivity and overall enjoyment of life.

That’s why we’ve put together 7 of our top tips for relieving dry eye syndrome.

1. Stay Hydrated

The tears are mostly made up of water, supplied by the tear glands. People need to drink enough liquid to maintain a stable tear film, so if your body isn’t sufficiently hydrated, your eyes won’t be able to produce sufficient tears and will suffer the consequences.

Keep your water bottle at arm’s reach throughout the day. You can even sip on juices, broths and dairy or plant-based milk to keep your body and eyes properly hydrated. Many health authorities recommend drinking between 2-3 liters of hydrating fluids per day.

If your eyes have been feeling dry or irritated, try limiting your alcohol intake because it is a diuretic.

2. Use Artificial Tears

Artificial tears aren’t just great for making your eyes feel more comfortable; they also have protective properties that can prevent ocular surface damage from occurring or worsening.

The tricky part is choosing the correct drops for your specific condition.

By assessing your eyes, your eye doctor can determine what’s causing your eyes to be dry and recommend the most appropriate drops. There are numerous types of artificial tears on the market, and what may work for a friend or relative may not be the best option for you.

3. Up Your Omega-3 Intake

A healthy tear film consists of three layers: water, oil and mucus. An imbalance in any of these components can result in tears that evaporate prematurely. To ensure that your eyes can produce enough of the oils that stabilize your tears, include the recommended daily intake of Omega-3’s in your diet. You can take a supplement and/or eat foods like fatty fish, seeds and nuts.

*It’s best practice to speak with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet or introducing a new supplement to your routine.

4. Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses not only reduce your glare symptoms and provide important UV protection but also effectively offer relief from dry eyes. Dry eyes are vulnerable to irritation from light winds that can dry out the eye’s tear film.

Whenever outdoors, wear a pair of protective wraparound sunglasses to minimize the effects of wind and seal out dirt and debris that can be carried in the breeze. For severe cases of dry eye syndrome, ask your optometrist about specific lenses or eye drops to provide even more relief from dry eyes.

5. Use a Humidifier

When the air around you is too dry, it pulls the remaining moisture from your tears, leaving your eyes feeling parched.

Humidifiers combat the dryness in any indoor environment by replenishing moisture in the air. Whether at work or home, use a humidifier to offset dryness, especially if you are using a fan, heater or air conditioner in the room.

6. Try Warm Compresses

Warm eye compresses are a great way to relieve symptoms of mild to moderate dry eye syndrome.

The gentle heat from a compress helps to soften any hardened oils that may be clogged in the little oil glands that line the eyelashes. Your oil glands will work more efficiently to deliver tear-stabilizing oils to your eyes’ surface once the glands aren’t blocked. Your eye doctor will instruct you on how to easily prepare a warm eye compress at home.

7. Visit Your Dry Eye Optometrist

Your [eye doctor] offers a range of successful options to treat your dry eyes to ensure you always have clear vision and comfortable eyes. Call your dry eye optometrist to have your eyes thoroughly evaluated and treated for long-lasting relief. There is a wide range of in-office treatments that can alleviate symptoms of dry eye syndrome and help your eyes feel refreshed.

To learn more about our dry eye services and schedule a consultation, call Regional Eye Center in Americus today!

Regional Eye Center serves dry eye patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, and , Georgia and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: What are other symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Aside from redness and dryness, dry eye syndrome can also cause watery eyes, stinging or burning, stringy mucus, blurred vision, grittiness, light sensitivity and difficulty wearing contact lenses. Symptoms can range from mild to debilitating, and from occasional to chronic.

Q: Does dry eye syndrome need to be treated?

  • A: If left untreated, dry eye syndrome can cause eye inflammation, corneal ulcers or abrasions and even vision loss in severe cases. Dry eye syndrome also puts a person more at risk of developing eye infections. If you have any symptoms of dry eye syndrome, contact us for a tailor-made treatment plan.

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World Keratoconus Day + Keratoconus Treatment Options

world keratoconus day November 10 640×350World Keratoconus Day is dedicated to raising awareness about keratoconus (KC), as well as educating and advocating for those living with keratoconus and ectatic corneal disorders.

Keratoconus, or KC, is a degenerative non-inflammatory eye condition affecting the cornea. In KC, the cornea, which is normally dome-shaped, gradually becomes thinner and bulges out as it begins to assume a cone shape.

Keratoconus tends to develop during the early teens, with mild symptoms. As the disease progresses, the cornea’s shape changes to a point where wearing regular contact lenses is no longer an option and eyeglasses cannot fully correct one’s vision.

Fortunately, with the right contact lenses, those with keratoconus can once again see the world clearly and comfortably.

Keratoconus and Contact Lenses

In its early stages, people with keratoconus can usually wear glasses or standard soft contact lenses to correct resulting astigmatism and improve clarity. As the condition progresses, however, your eye doctor will prescribe the most suitable contact lens to accommodate a cone-shaped cornea to provide you with the clearest vision possible.

There are a variety of contact lens options for keratoconus, all of which depend on the severity of the condition.

1. Soft Toric Lenses

Astigmatism can be corrected with soft toric lenses, a comfortable and effective solution during the early stages of KC. However, this may not be a good treatment option as the condition worsens.

2. Custom Soft Contact Lenses

Custom soft contacts are an improvement over soft toric lenses since they are designed to match the exact contour of your cornea. Soft contact lenses can be custom-made for KC patients and may eliminate the need for glasses by fully correcting astigmatism.

3. Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Gas permeable contact lenses (hard lenses) allow more oxygen into the eye than standard soft lenses. A gas permeable lens has a somewhat different shape than soft contact lens alternatives, as it rests on the cornea, and because the lens is hard, it creates a new optical surface. These lenses are suitable for people with moderate KC.

4. Hybrid Contact Lenses

These lenses are a cross between hard and soft lenses. The hard center provides a flat surface, which helps alleviate the issues associated with a misshapen KC cornea. The lens is rendered more comfortable by the soft outer ring. Hybrids combine the convenience and comfort of soft lenses with the crisp, clear vision of rigid gas permeable contacts.

5. Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses are larger than standard hybrid, gas permeable or custom soft contact lenses. They vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, the white of the eye. The advantage of scleral lenses is that they do not sit on the cornea, which removes any rubbing and irritation on the corneal bulge. This reduces the risk of corneal injury from the contact lens.

Furthermore, as the scleral lens vaults above the cornea, the reservoir of pure saline solution between the underside of the lens and the front of the cornea keeps the eye in a liquid environment at all times. This enables the eye to receive an abundance of oxygen.

While both rigid gas permeable (GP) and scleral lenses deliver enough oxygen to the eyes, scleral lenses provide more comfort and better stability than regular GP lenses. For this reason, scleral contact lenses are a very successful option for people with keratoconus and irregularly shaped corneas.

Treatment for Keratoconus

We offer treatment for keratoconus that is tailored to each patient based on the severity and progression of the condition, as well as the patient’s lifestyle.

Contact Regional Eye Center to learn more about scleral lenses and to discover ways we can help you manage your keratoconus.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: For how many hours can scleral lenses safely be worn in a day?

  • A: Scleral lenses can be worn for 12-14 hours per day. To preserve the greatest possible vision and comfort, some patients may need to remove the lenses, clean them, and reapply fresh saline several times a day.

Q: Can scleral lenses completely correct my vision?

  • A: Scleral lenses hide abnormalities on the eye’s surface and may improve vision over other types of correction. However, you’ll probably need to wear glasses over the lenses to see clearly at all distances, particularly if you’re over 40 and require reading glasses for close work.

Regional Eye Center provides scleral lenses to patients from Americus, Leesburg, Montezuma, and , Georgia and surrounding communities.

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What Is Excess Eye Fluid?

What Is Excess Eye Fluid 640×350Collagen, water and protein make up the majority of the human eye, and tears are always present to help keep the eye moist. However, surplus fluid can occasionally accumulate inside the eye and signal a serious eye problem.

Several factors may contribute to this problem.

There are two primary sources of fluid inside the eye. The first is needed to flush out waste products from behind the cornea, leading it to flow out from the eye through the anterior angle. The second type of fluid is found in blood vessels that nourish the retina and macula at the back of the eye.

Conditions that Cause Excess Eye Fluid

Several conditions can result in excess eye fluid, and each is managed and treated in its own way to prevent eye damage and vision loss. These conditions include:

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the central part of the retina, called the macula. Fluid build-up on the macula causes the wet form of macular degeneration, which affects central vision and the ability to see fine details. This usually occurs when very fragile new blood vessels form in the retina. These abnormal blood vessels leak fluid, made up of plasma and blood into the retina.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma develops when the eye’s drainage system becomes clogged, inhibiting the flow of fluid through the anterior angle and causing fluid to accumulate in the eye. Glaucoma can also develop when the eye produces more fluid than usual and is unable to drain it quickly enough. In both cases, as the fluid builds up inside the eye, the pressure inside the eye rises, potentially damaging the nerve fibers that send all our visual signals from the eye to the brain. The optic disc becomes hollow and cupped as a result of the injured nerves.

Glaucoma will progress if extra fluid continues to collect in the eye, and can lead to serious vision loss or blindness if left untreated.

Macular Edema

Macular edema occurs when there is a build-up of fluid in the macula. The macula is positioned in the middle of the retina, which is the neural tissue at the back of the eye that sends the light signals to the brain and allows you to see.

Damaged blood vessels in the retina cause fluid to accumulate in the macula. This leads to compromised vision, with common symptoms including blurred or wavy vision in the center of your field of vision.

Diabetic Macular Edema

Diabetic macular edema is a result of diabetic retinopathy. There are two types of diabetic retinopathy, based on the stage of the disease: nonproliferative retinopathy (when blood vessels in the retina enlarge and leak) and proliferative retinopathy (when abnormal new blood vessels form on the retina).

Blurred or double vision, as well as floating, dark patches in your vision, are all common symptoms of diabetic macular edema.

Central Serous Retinopathy

Central serous retinopathy occurs when fluid accumulates behind the retina. The fluid buildup is caused by leaking from the layer of blood vessels beneath the retina (choroid).

When the retinal pigment epithelium, the layer between the retina and the choroid, fails to function properly, fluid builds up behind the retina, causing the retina to detach and vision to be impaired. Symptoms include dimmed, distorted or blurred vision, as well as straight lines seeming crooked or bent.

Treatment for Excess Eye Fluid

Treatments often include reducing pressure produced by fluid buildup and treating the underlying cause of the buildup.

In diabetic macular edema, for example, your eye doctor will recommend treatment for your diabetes along with treatment for the retinal impairment that is causing fluid buildup.

In some circumstances, surgery may be required. For instance, glaucoma patients may require surgery to create a new opening from the eye through which fluid can drain. Certain medications can also assist in fluid drainage from the eye, which works to lower the pressure inside the eye or causes the eye to produce less fluid.

Intravitreal injection is a treatment used when there is a buildup of fluid in or under the retina. Anti-VEGF medications absorb fluid and stop fluid/blood from leaking out of blood vessels, which is a common occurrence in both macular edema and wet macular degeneration.

If you have signs of fluid buildup, it’s essential to promptly speak with your eye doctor. Treatment will be more successful once the underlying disease is identified.

Contact Regional Eye Center today. We’ll be happy to assist you in identifying the source of the problem and direct you to the appropriate treatment.

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

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: What is wet macular degeneration?

  • A: Wet macular degeneration is an eye disease that causes blurred vision or a blind spot in your visual field. It is caused by abnormal blood vessels that leak fluid or blood into the macula, the section of the retina responsible for central vision. Symptoms like visual distortions and increased blurred vision tend to appear suddenly and quickly worsen.

Q: What other conditions can cause excess fluid in the eye?

  • A: Other conditions that may cause excess fluid in the eye include:
  • Choroidal effusion – the buildup of fluid between the choroid, the sclera, and a layer of blood vessels on top of the retina.
    A retinal tear – may cause fluid to accumulate and lead the retina to detach.
    Chemosis – a swelling of the eye due to accumulation of fluid often caused by allergies or eye infection.


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7 Questions And Answers About Astigmatism

7 Questions And Answers About Astigmatism 640×350If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you probably have some degree of astigmatism. But how much do you really know about this all-too-common refractive error?

Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about astigmatism and explain why scleral contact lenses are often prescribed to astigmatic patients.

1. What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common refractive error caused by a cornea that isn’t perfectly spherical. The cornea is the outer front covering of the eye and is partially responsible for refracting light onto the retina. When the cornea is misshapen, it refracts light incorrectly, creating two focus points of light entering the eye. Since the light is no longer focused on the retina, it results in blurred vision at all distances.

2. What are the Symptoms of Astigmatism?

The main symptom of astigmatism is blurred vision, but it can also cause symptoms like:

  • Objects appearing wavy or distorted
  • Squinting
  • Headaches
  • Poor night vision
  • Frequent eye strain

3. How Common is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism affects approximately 1 in 3 individuals around the world. Most people with myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness) also have some level of astigmatism.

4. What’s the Difference Between Astigmatism, Nearsightedness and Farsightedness?

Although all 3 of these refractive errors negatively affect visual clarity, they are caused by different mechanisms.

Astigmatism is a result of a non-spherical cornea, which causes two focal points and blurry vision. Myopia occurs when the corneal focusing power is too high and the light focuses in front of, instead of directly, on the retina. Hyperopia occurs when the corneal power is too weak, so the light rays focus behind the retina, not on it. Both myopia and hyperopia can occur with a spherical cornea.

5. How is Astigmatism Corrected?

In cases of mild to moderate astigmatism, the blurred vision can be easily corrected with prescription glasses or contact lenses. But for patients with high levels of astigmatism, standard contact lenses may not be an option. Toric contact lenses are a popular choice for patients with mild or moderate astigmatism due to their unique focusing features and oblong shape. Scleral contact lenses are suitable for moderate to severe astigmatism.

Refractive surgery is also an option, but comes with the risk of surgical complications.

6. Why Can’t Individuals With High Astigmatism Wear Standard Contact Lenses?

A highly astigmatic cornea has an irregularly shaped surface that isn’t compatible with standard soft contact lenses. Standard soft lenses are limited in the amount of astigmatism they can correct, as these lenses move around on the cornea due to the cornea’s irregular shape. This, in turn, reduces visual clarity and comfort.

Regular hard lenses can often correct astigmatism better than soft lenses, but they, too, have limitations: these lenses are smaller and may also move around too much.

7. Why are Scleral Lenses Ideal For Astigmatism?

Scleral contact lenses are customized to each patient. They have a larger diameter than standard lenses, and thus cover the entire front surface of the eye. These specialized rigid lenses gently rest on the white part of the eye (sclera) and don’t place any pressure on the sensitive cornea, making them suitable for even highly astigmatic eyes.

Furthermore, scleral contact lenses contain a nourishing reservoir of fluid that sits between the eye and the inside of the lens, providing the cornea with oxygen and hydration all day long. In fact, patients typically report that sclerals provide sharper vision than other types of contact lenses.

Have Astigmatism? We Can Help

If you’ve been told that you have astigmatism and that your current contacts or glasses just aren’t cutting it, ask your optometrist whether scleral contact lenses are right for you.

At Regional Eye Center, we provide a wide range of eye care services, including custom scleral lens fittings and consultations. Our goal is to help all patients achieve crisp and comfortable vision, no matter their level of astigmatism or corneal shape.

To schedule your appointment or learn more about what we offer, call Regional Eye Center today!

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

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: Can a person outgrow astigmatism?

  • A: About 20% of all babies are born with mild astigmatism, but only 1 of those 5 babies with astigmatism still have it by the age of 5 or 6, at which point it is unlikely to diminish or disappear. Astigmatism can continue to change and even progress as the child grows, but tends to stabilize at around age 25.

Q: Can eye surgery cause astigmatism?

  • A: Yes. For example, cataract surgery may cause or worsen astigmatism as the surgeon makes a tiny incision in the cornea to replace the lens. During the healing process, the cornea may change its shape and lead astigmatism to develop.

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What Happens If You Don’t Treat Dry Eye Syndrome?

girl sitting in the pool 640×350Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a condition where your eyes either produce low-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes hydrated. Sometimes the meibomian glands inside your eyelids, which produce the oily layer of your tears, don’t function properly or are blocked, causing your tears to dry out. Environmental factors, certain medical conditions and several medications can also cause DES.

Tears are essential for maintaining eye health and comfort. They moisten your eyes and remove debris. In severe cases, untreated dry eye syndrome can actually damage your cornea and cause vision loss.

The amount of dryness varies in severity from person to person. If you have a minor case of dry eye, you may be able to manage it with over-the-counter eye drops. However, if the problem persists or appears to be getting worse, it’s time to visit your eye doctor, who will assess your eyes, find the underlying problem and offer treatment for lasting relief.

Below is a list of complications that may occur if chronic dry eye syndrome isn’t treated:

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis refers to infected or inflamed conjunctiva — the clear layer of cells that covers the white part of your eyeball and the inner surface of your eyelids. Symptoms include grittiness, redness and sensitivity to light.

Keratitis

Keratitis refers to an inflammation of the cornea. It can be caused by different types of infections, abnormalities of the eyelids, injury and dry eye. If the deeper layers of the cornea are involved, scarring or a corneal ulcer may result, particularly if left untreated.

Corneal Ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an open sore that develops on the cornea—the clear, protective outer layer of your eyes.

While corneal ulcers typically develop following an injury, they can also be caused by severe dry eye.

On a daily basis, debris, like dirt and sand particles, enter your eyes and scratch the surface of the cornea. When your tear glands don’t produce enough tears to wash away the particles, bacteria can infect the scratch and cause an ulcer.

Luckily, corneal ulcers are easily treated with antibiotic eye drops. Left untreated, however, these ulcers can spread and scar the eyeball, causing partial or even complete blindness.

Inability to wear contact lenses

Unless your eyes produce enough good-quality tears, your contact lenses can become overly dry, leading to a gritty sensation, irritation and redness. Without sufficient moisture, your contacts may stick to your eyeball, making it difficult to remove them.

Though chronic dry eye syndrome may prevent you from wearing standard contact lenses, certain specialized contact lenses can improve ocular hydration and comfort.

Difficulty keeping your eyes open

Depending on the severity of dry eye, it may be difficult to keep your eyes open. This may occur if dry eye syndrome causes extreme light sensitivity or a chronic sensation that something is stuck in your eye.

While artificial tears may provide enough moisture to partially open your eyes, you may still feel the urge to squint, especially when exposed to a computer screen or sunlight.

Difficulty reading or driving

While blurred vision often signals that you need a stronger prescription, it’s also a common symptom of chronic dry eye syndrome.

Left untreated, the blurriness may worsen and even lead to double vision. Naturally, this makes driving and reading a real struggle.

Headaches

While there’s room for more research, studies have shown that there may be a connection between headaches and dry eye. A population-based case study of more than 72,000 patients published by JAMA Ophthalmology (2019) found that people who suffer from migraine headaches are more likely to have dry eyes compared to the general population.

It’s not clear why. According to the paper, being female and of advanced age play an important role in determining the strength of this association.

Depression

A 2015 study, published in the journal Cornea evaluated the connection between dry eye disease and depressive symptoms in more than 6,000 women. Researchers found that women diagnosed with dry eye had a higher likelihood of developing depressive moods, anxiety, and psychological stress.

While the connection isn’t fully understood, researchers noted that some medications for treating depression have a drying effect on the eyes, and that dry eye syndrome may limit a person’s participation in activities, to the point where they may become anxious, withdrawn and even depressed.

If you have dry eye, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Regional Eye Center in order to find the best treatment options and thus increase the quality of your tears and life.

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

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: How do I know if I have dry eye syndrome?

  • A: If you experience itchiness, light sensitivity, tearing and tired eyes, it could indicate that you have dry eye syndrome. Get your eyes checked by an eye doctor, who will thoroughly diagnose your symptoms and offer lasting treatment.

Q: What causes dry eye?

  • A: Various things can cause dry, itchy eyes. Some of the most common causes include blocked glands, environmental factors (wind, air pollution), infrequent blinking, certain medications, standard contact lenses and Demodex mites.

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Are Your Eyes Sensitive To Light? Consider Scleral Lenses!

Are Your Eyes Sensitive To Light 640×350For some people, standard soft contact lenses are a great way to conveniently correct vision. For those with very dry eyes or corneal conditions like keratoconus, standard contacts simply aren’t an option.

Scleral contact lenses, however, are a great alternative for these patients with hard-to-fit eyes. They provide several benefits, such as reducing sensitivity to light (photophobia).

What Does Light Sensitivity Feel Like?

Patients with keratoconus and other corneal conditions tend to experience discomfort or unclear vision in brightly lit environments, even after undergoing treatment for their conditions.

They may see halos around lights while driving or may not be able to drive at all due to the worsening or clouding of vision that comes with light sensitivity. Bright fluorescent lights, like in an office setting, can trigger eye pain and interfere with their productivity and creativity.

Moreover, a photophobic person may not be able to comfortably look at a computer screen or other digital device. Even with the brightness setting turned all the way down, the light that’s emitted from the screen may be too intense.

How Can I Reduce Light Sensitivity?

While implementing the following suggestions can ease your symptoms of light sensitivity, we recommend that you speak with your optometrist for a more personalized approach.

  • Try to stay out of the sun whenever possible, but when you do go outside, wear dark sunglasses to block out the light.
  • Consider installing filters on fluorescent light sources.
  • Take frequent breaks when using a digital device.
  • Reduce glare in your home by turning mirrors away from light sources and keeping windows clean and streak-free. You may want to consider removing reflective surfaces from your home altogether.
  • Speak with your optometrist about whether scleral contact lenses can help you.

What are Scleral Contact Lenses?

Scleral lenses are larger in diameter than standard lenses and rest on the white part of the eye (sclera). Their large surface area vaults over the entire cornea (the eye’s top layer), and thus avoid placing pressure on the sensitive corneal tissue.

The scleral lens holds a reservoir of nourishing fluid between the inside of the lens and the surface of the eye, providing visual clarity and optimal comfort. In fact, many patients report that they are able to wear scleral contacts for longer amounts of time as compared to standard contacts.

Scleral lenses are customized to fit each individual eye, and are suitable for patients with keratoconus, dry eye syndrome, irregular/excessive astigmatism, Sjorgen’s syndrome, other corneal abnormalities and for those having undergone LASIK surgery.

How Do Scleral Lenses Reduce Light Sensitivity?

Light sensitivity, or photophobia, is a common side effect of several eye conditions, such as dry eye syndrome and keratoconus. When the cornea is irregularly shaped, it doesn’t properly reflect light onto the retina, which can lead to light sensitivity.

Thanks to their unique and customized design, scleral lenses act as a new, accurately curved cornea that is able to reflect light in a healthy way. 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.

An irregularly shaped cornea is not the only reasons one experiences photophobia. In fact, there are several conditions that can cause it. Your optometrist will determine what’s causing your discomfort through a comprehensive eye exam and will determine whether scleral lenses are the optimal solution for you.

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

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: How long does it take to adjust to scleral contact lenses?

  • A: Scleral lenses are usually very comfortable right off the bat, but some patients may find that it takes up to 10 days to get used to the lenses. Your optometrist will guide you on how to shorten the adjustment period.

Q: How long do scleral contact lenses last?

  • A: Under normal conditions, scleral lenses last between 1 and 3 years — far longer than standard lenses. Your tear film composition and your lens care habits will influence your lenses’ lifespan.
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How to Deal with Contact Lens Discomfort

Do your eyes itch or burn when wearing contact lenses? There are several reasons why you may be experiencing contact lens discomfort. Discover the possible causes behind the problem and see what you can do to relieve your discomfort.

What Causes Contact Lens Discomfort?

Some of the top causes of uncomfortable contacts are:

Dry eyes

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that arises when your tears can’t keep your eyes sufficiently lubricated due to an imbalance in the tear film. Certain diseases, medications and environmental factors, like high levels of dryness and wind, can cause or contribute to red, itchy or irritated eyes, especially when wearing contacts.

Allergies

Allergens are typically harmless substances that induce an allergic response in certain people. Pollen, mold, dust and pet dander are some of the most common airborne allergens that trigger eye allergies. Cosmetics and certain eye drops, such as artificial tears with preservatives, can also induce eye allergies, which can make contact lens wear uncomfortable.

Corneal irregularities

The cornea at the front of the eye may be irregularly shaped due to astigmatism, keratoconus, eye surgeries (i.e. LASIK or cataract surgery), eye injuries or burns, scarring, corneal ulcers and/or severe dry eye. Irregular corneas often prevent traditional contact lenses from fitting correctly and comfortably.

Symptoms of Contact Lens Discomfort

  • Burning, itchy, stinging eyes
  • Sensation of something being stuck is in the eye
  • Excessive watering or tearing of the eyes
  • Unusual eye secretions
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Reduced sharpness of vision
  • Blurred vision, rainbows, or halos around objects
  • Sensitivity to light

How to Relieve Contact Lens Discomfort

Try Different Contact Lenses

Nowadays, there are many types of contact lenses on the market, including specialty contacts for dry eyes and astigmatism. Meet with our optometrist for a personalized eye exam for contacts.

With the variety of contact lens brands available, switching to a different contact lens may be the simplest answer if you’re experiencing discomfort that isn’t connected to improper fitting or issues with tear production. If your existing lenses fit well but still irritate and dry out your eyes, speak to us about trying a different design or brand of contact lenses, or changing your lens-wearing schedule.

Artificial Tears or Eye Drops

Over-the-counter artificial tears or eye drops are a common way to temporarily relieve contact lens discomfort. However, it’s important to keep in mind that unless prescribed by an eye doctor, they may not be treating the root of the problem.

Moreover, certain eye drops are incompatible with contact lenses, and may damage your contacts or harm your eyes. We also recommend staying away from products that claim to remove redness from your eyes, which temporarily reduce the size of blood vessels to lessen redness, but do not address the underlying cause of the condition, and can actually worsen it over time.

Take Good Care of Your Lenses

Inadequate contact lens care leaves residue on your lenses, which can discomfort, harmful eye infections and inflammation. Below are a few important contact lens hygiene guidelines to follow:

  • Before handling your contact lenses, thoroughly wash and dry your hands.
  • Remove your lenses before showering, bathing or swimming to prevent infection.
  • Do not sleep in your contact lenses (unless they are approved for sleeping).
  • Replace your contact lenses according to the manufacturer’s instructions (e.g., don’t reuse daily wear lenses).
  • Regularly clean your contact lens case and ask your eye doctor when to replace it.
  • Only use a contact lens solution that is appropriate for your lenses.
  • Never reuse or mix contact lens solutions.
  • Schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor.

If you are experiencing discomfort with your contact lenses, get in touch with Regional Eye Center in Americus today. We’ll get to the bottom of the problem and provide effective solutions for all-day comfort.

Q&A

What kinds of contacts are available?

Contact lenses are available in a wide range of materials and replacement schedules. Disposable contact lenses and extended wear contacts are the most convenient for many users.

I’ve already been fitted for contact lenses, so why did my optometrist ask me to come back?

If you’re asked to return a week later, it’s because your optometrist wants to rule out any issues, such as contact lens-related dry eye or irritation.

If it’s been around a year since your last eye checkup, you’ve likely been contacted to check whether your prescription has changed and to evaluate your eye health. The sooner problems are detected and treated, the better the outcome.

Do You Struggle With Contact Lens Comfort? Scleral Lenses May Be the Answer!

boy wearing a gray hoodie 640Most people are familiar with traditional soft lenses, which provide clear vision for those who are nearsighted or farsighted.

In certain cases, particularly for those with corneal irregularities or astigmatism, standard gas permeable (GP) lenses may be recommended. However, people with several eye conditions can’t tolerate standard GPs and find scleral lenses a much better, more comfortable alternative.

What are Scleral Lenses?

Patients with sensitive eyes or corneal abnormalities may benefit from custom-designed scleral lenses, which provide crisp vision and comfort thanks to their unique design.

Scleral lenses are usually recommended for those with keratoconus, severe dry eye syndrome, astigmatism or anyone who find it difficult or impossible to wear standard contact lenses.

Scleral lenses are large gas permeable lenses that vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, the white part of the eye, instead of the cornea. This creates a new optical surface and prevents corneal irritation. Furthermore, a reservoir of pure saline solution between the back surface of the lens and the front of the cornea keeps the eye hydrated all day long.

Benefits of Wearing Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses provide comfort, visual acuity and stability.

Stable Vision

With scleral lenses, you’ll experience continual clear vision. Because of their wide diameter, the lenses remain centered on your eye. Even if you play sports or lead an extremely active lifestyle, scleral lenses will stay in place and won’t easily pop out.

Long-Lasting Lenses

These gas permeable lenses are made of high-quality long-lasting materials. As a result, scleral lenses usually last between 1-2 years. While the initial cost of scleral lenses is higher than the cost of regular contacts, they give you more bang for your buck.

Safe and Easy-to-Use

Scleral lenses are easier to insert and remove from your eyes than regular GP lenses, thanks to their large size and rigid material. This also limits the risk of damaging your cornea while handling your lenses.

Comfort for Dry Eyes

It’s not uncommon for certain contact lens wearers to suffer from eyes that feel dry, red, itchy, uncomfortable, and at times very painful. Eye drops and artificial tears can deliver relief, but they are no more than a temporary solution.

One of the best contact lenses for optimal comfort and hydration are scleral lenses, as they simultaneously provide vision correction, protect the eyes, and lubricate them.

If you’ve experienced discomfort while wearing regular contact lenses, you may have keratoconus, irregular corneas, dry eyes or hard-to-fit eyes. Find out whether custom-designed scleral lenses are right for you by scheduling an eye exam at Dr Matthew Greene today!

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

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: Can you sleep with scleral lenses?

  • A: It’s not recommended to wear scleral lenses while you sleep. Sleeping with your scleral lenses on can cause the tear layer behind the lens to become stagnant, thus increasing the risk of eye infections.

Q: Are scleral lenses more comfortable than standard gas permeable lenses?

  • A: Scleral lenses provide clear vision and long-term comfort for those with irregularly shaped corneas. This is due to their unique design that covers a wider area of the eye while avoiding direct contact with the cornea.

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Can Scleral Lenses Help You? Find Out!

What’s a Chalazion?

What is a Chalazion 640Finding a lump on your eyelid can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Luckily, a chalazion isn’t a serious condition and is rather simple to resolve.

In most cases, a chalazion can easily be treated and will completely disappear following treatment. However, if non-invasive treatments don’t work, your eye doctor may need to remove it through an in-office surgical procedure.

At Regional Eye Center we can diagnose and help treat your chalazion so that you can see comfortably.

What is a Chalazion?

A chalazion, also known as a meibomian cyst, is a small fluid-filled cyst.

Eyelids contain meibomian glands, which produce oil to lubricate the surface of the eye. When one of these glands becomes blocked, it may cause swelling and lead to a small painless lump called a chalazion.

What Causes a Chalazion?

A chalazion occurs when the gland in the eyelid is clogged. Exactly why the gland becomes clogged isn’t known, but some individuals appear to be more susceptible to developing a chalazion than others.

A chalazion may be associated with dry eye syndrome, which is often caused by meibomian gland dysfunction.

People exhibiting certain risk factors are more likely to develop a chalazion. This includes people who have:

  • Blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids
  • Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye
  • Thicker oil or meibum than normal consistency
  • Ocular rosacea, a skin condition adjacent to the eyes
  • Seborrhea, or dandruff, of the eyelashes
  • Styes or a history of styes

What Are the Symptoms of a Chalazion?

Common symptoms of a chalazion include:

  • A bump on the eyelid that sometimes becomes swollen and red
  • An entirely swollen eyelid, although very rare
  • Vision issues (such as blurred vision) if the chalazion becomes large enough to press on the eyeball

While a chalazion is not an infection, it may become infected. In the rare event that this occurs, it may become red, more severely swollen, and painful.

Chalazia are often mistaken for styes since they have a similar appearance.

What’s the Difference Between a Chalazion and a Stye?

It can be difficult to differentiate a chalazion from a stye.

Styes develop along the edge of your eyelid and can at times be seen at the base of an eyelash. In contrast, chalazia usually occur closer to the middle of the eyelid. A stye is more likely to be painful and tends to have a yellowish spot at the center that may burst after a few days.

Basically, the most noticeable difference between a chalazion and a stye is that a chalazion tends to be painless while a stye is usually painful and may cause the eye to feel sore, itchy or scratchy.

How to Treat a Chalazion

Most chalazia require minimal medical treatment and some may even clear up on their own in a few weeks to a month. When a chalazion first appears, you can try doing the following for 1-2 days:

  • Apply a warm compress to the eyelid for 10 to 15 minutes, 4 to 6 times a day. The warm compress helps soften the hardened oil that blocks the ducts, allowing drainage and healing.
  • Gently massage the external eyelids for several minutes each day to help promote drainage.

If the chalazion does not drain and heal within a few days, contact your eye doctor. Don’t attempt to squeeze or pop the chalazion, as it may inadvertently cause more damage.

To learn more about chalazion treatment and the other eye care services we offer, call Regional Eye Center to schedule an appointment.

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

Frequently Asked Questions with Ray D. Williams, OD

Q: Can a chalazion spread from one person to another?

  • A: Since a chalazion is not an infection, it cannot spread from one person to another or even to the other eye of the affected person.

Q: Can a chalazion affect my eyesight?

  • A: A chalazion doesn’t affect vision. In rare cases, if the lump is large enough to distort the ocular surface it can cause temporary astigmatism, blurring vision. However, vision will return to normal once a medical professional removes the chalazion or once it diminishes in size.


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