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Types of Diabetic Eye Disease

More than 28% of diabetics age 40 or older have a diabetic eye disease. These numbers are only expected to grow in the upcoming years due to the decrease in physical activity and healthy eating.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1

A chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. About 1.25 million Americans have type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes was previously known as juvenile diabetes. However, anyone at any age can get type 1 diabetes.

Type 2

90% of Americans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. This occurs when your body is not using insulin correctly, called insulin resistance. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include obesity, an unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity.

Complications of Diabetes

Not managing or treating your diabetes can cause serious health complications including hypoglycemia, skin infections, neuropathy, kidney disease, foot complications, and eye complications. Additionally, people with diabetes are at a higher risk for blindness and eye problems. The good news is with the correct treatment and lifestyle changes many people can prevent the onset of these complications. Therefore, we recommend regular eye exams to avoid eye problems and vision loss.

Diabetic Eye Disease

  • Diabetic Retinopathy: Damages the blood vessels in the retina in the back of the eye. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is more likely to result in diabetic retinopathy. Consequently between 12,000 and 24,000 new cases of blindness due to diabetic retinopathy occur each year in the U.S. according to the CDC.
  • Clinically significant macular edema: Swelling of the macula in the back of the eye. Macular edema is most common in those with type 2 diabetes.
  • Cataract: Clouding in the lens of your eyes. Cataracts are two-five times more likely in people with diabetes.
  • Glaucoma: Optic nerve damage to the fibers that connect the eye to the brain. Diabetes doubles the risk of glaucoma.

Those with diabetes should get a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year to ensure their eyes are healthy. Call our office today to schedule your comprehensive eye exam!

Screen Time and Children

Screen time is the amount of time a person spends staring at digital displays including computers, tablets, smartphones, and TVs. In our modern and technology-focused world children are spending time on digital displays for educational and recreational purposes. Children who spend several hours on digital devices are at risk of developing vision-related problems.

Average Time Children Spend On Digital Devices

According to the Vision Council, 72% of American parents report their children regularly spend more than two hours on screens per day. It is likely that children spend significantly more time on screens than their parents think. Common Sense Media reports that children under age eight spend more than two hours a day with screen media. For 8 to 10-year-olds screen time triples to six hours per day. Kids in middle school and high school spend up to nine hours per day looking at digital displays.

Risks of Screen Time

Too much screen time can be dangerous for anyone’s eyes, children included. Screens emit a broad spectrum of visible light. While most of these light rays are harmless, blue light is a high-energy visible light that can cause damage to your eyes. Blue light has shorter wavelengths and higher energy causing harm to the retina over time. Overexposure to blue light can cause:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Neck/shoulder pain
  • Eye strain
  • Reduced attention span
  • Poor behavior
  • Irritability

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer vision syndrome is a condition caused by visual stress. Symptoms include tired eyes, dry eyes, headache, and fatigue.

Unhealthy Posture

Your body naturally slouches inwards when on digital devices. Your back and shoulders round, your head tilts back, and your chin justs forward. This reaction to digital devices is called “turtling” and can cause neck, back, and shoulder pain.

How To Protect Your Child’s Eyes

It is clear digital devices will not be going away anytime soon. Therefore it is essential to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect your children’s eyes from digital screens. One way you can do this is by limiting screen time for your children while at home. You can also apply blue light filters or download blue light filtering apps to all digital devices. If your child wears prescription glasses, ask us about add blue light blocking to their lenses during your next appointment.

Nighttime Use

The largest source of blue light is our sun, which tells our brain when to be awake or sleep. The high use of digital devices emitting blue light may disrupt your natural circadian rhythm (sleep cycle) by miscommunicating the time of day and if you should be awake or asleep. Stop digital device time two hours before usual bedtime to ensure your child’s sleep schedule affected by blue light.

Do you have more questions about screen time and blue light? Stop by our office or give our office a call and we would be happy to answer your questions!

Who Gets Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the macula, the small central area of the eye that controls visual acuity. Typically developing macular degeneration is a slow, painless vision loss.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Macular degeneration is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration because it most frequently occurs in older generations. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among older Americans and will grow significantly in the years to come due to the aging of the US population.

Populations Affected

The prevalence of macular degeneration increases significantly in individuals over the age of 80. In particular, the white American population is affected the most, with 14% of white Americans age 80 and older affected by AMD.*  Women also have a higher occurrence of AMD as compared to men due to their longer life expectancy. In 2010, 65% of AMD cases occurred in women as compared to only 35% in men.*

Risk factors

  • Obesity: Overweight patients with macular degeneration double their risk of developing advanced forms of macular degeneration.
  • Inactivity: Those who perform vigorous activity three times weekly reduce their risk for developing AMD compared to inactive patients.
  • Heredity: Family history and specific genes can link to a high risk of developing AMD.
  • High blood pressure: Some studies show a link between high blood pressure and macular degeneration.
  • Smoking: Living with a smoker doubles your risk for developing AMD. Smoking is a factor in about 25% of AMD cases with severe vision loss.

Currently, the best way to protect your eyes from developing macular degeneration is to eat healthy, exercise, and wear sunglasses. Annual eye exams can detect the early onset of macular degeneration and help to preserve your vision. Schedule an appointment with our office today!

*National Eye Institute, 2010

Puffy Eyes and Dark Circles

Ordinary swelling around the eyes is due to an excessive accumulation of fluids in the surrounding skin tissue. Puffy eyes and dark circles can occur for many reasons, and a visit to your eye doctor can usually detect the underlying cause behind your puffy eyes.

Causes

The skin around your eyes is the thinnest skin on your body; therefore it shows swelling and discoloration more prominently. There are various factors which can cause puffy eyes, a few of the most common causes include:

  • Overconsumption of salt
  • Allergies
  • Sinus problems
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue and lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • Crying
  • Aging
  • Inherited facial features

Why are my eyes puffy in the morning?

Some individuals may notice their eyes are puffy when they wake up in the morning. Since we don’t blink when we sleep, this allows fluids to settle or get trapped in the skin around the eyes. As soon as you wake up and start blinking this swelling will begin to diminish. Likewise, some individuals develop swelling in their lower extremities while sleeping, which reduces upon walking.

Medical condition

In some situations, puffy eyes can be due to an underlying medical condition. Those with thyroid disease can develop swelling around their eyes. Eye allergies can cause swollen eyelids due to the release of histamine. Additionally, eye infections such as pink eye can cause swelling and puffiness. However, the best way to detect the cause of your puffy eyes is through a comprehensive eye exam by your doctor.

What can be done?

To find the best solution or remedy to your puffy eyes, your eye doctor must first determine the underlying cause. Temporary solutions include eye drops, hydration, iced compresses, cucumber slices, creams, reducing salt in your diet, and getting plenty of rest. In other circumstances, cosmetic solutions may be the only long term way to reduce swollen eyes.

To learn more about your puffy eyes, schedule an appointment with our office. We are here to answer all of your questions and advise you on the best steps to alleviate your puffy eyes.

Nutrition and Your Eyes

The foods you eat and the dietary supplements you take affect your overall health and the health of your eyes. Nutrition and your eyes are linked together and can help prevent certain eye diseases along with other health problems.

Healthy Foods

Choosing healthy foods improves your overall health as well as your eye health. Dark green or brightly colored fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy diet. These fruits and vegetables may also help to reduce the risks of developing eye diseases. Sugars and white flours may increase your risk of age-related eye disease, instead, opt for whole grains which do not have the same risks. Healthy fats containing omega-3 essential fatty acids are critical to your diet. These healthy fats can help prevent dry eyes and cataracts.

Hydration

Staying hydrated is essential to the health of your eyes. Drink plenty of water every day! We also recommend choosing healthy beverages and avoiding high sugar beverages. Proper hydration is linked to the reduction of dry eye symptoms.

Nutrients

Nutrients are an essential part of a healthy diet. These nutrients can be found in foods but can also be taken in supplements to ensure you are receiving the proper amount in your diet. Consult with your primary care provider before taking any dietary supplements. Here are a few nutrients that may have a link to eye health:

  • Vitamin A: may protect against night blindness and dry eyes
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: may prevent macular degeneration and dry eyes
  • Vitamin C: may reduce risks of cataracts and macular degeneration
  • Vitamin D: may reduce risks of macular degeneration
  • Zinc: may reduce risks of night blindness
  • Vitamin E: may reduce the risk of advanced macular degeneration

Aging Eyes

As you age, it is essential to consider all factors that could affect the overall health of your eyes. Not only should you adopt a healthy diet, but you can also do several other things to protect your eyes. One way to protect your eyes is to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet rays, which includes wearing sunglasses outdoors and staying away from tanning beds. Now is the time to quit smoking, not only is smoking harmful to your overall health it also increased your risks for many eye diseases. Finally, ensure that you are getting annual eye exams to detect any eye diseases before they cause permanent vision loss.

Nutrition and your eyes are highly connected, continue to find ways to feed your body the food and nutrients it needs to live a healthy life with healthy eyes.

Non-Glare: See Better and Look Better

We understand your eyewear has become part of your style and fashion. Not only do you want to show off your cool new frames, but you also want to make sure to reduce the glare on your lenses so people can see the natural beauty of your eyes. A non-glare coating is a simple lens treatment virtually eliminating those unattractive glares and reflections!

Benefits of Non-Glare Coating:

  • Reduce eye strain
  • Invisible-looking lenses
  • Sharper vision with less glare
  • Anti-scratch for better cleaning

Improve Vision

The non-glare coating allows 99.5% of light to pass through the lenses and reach your eyes. Regular plastic lenses only allow 92% of light to pass through, and high index plastic lenses only allow 88% of light to pass through. Why does this matter? The smaller amount of light that gets to your eyes the more work your eyes have to do to see. Non-glare coatings have become popular because they allow for clearer vision and reduces eye strain.

Eliminate Reflections

Non-glare coatings eliminate distracting reflections from the front and back of your lenses. With reflections gone, light is able to pass through the lens for better visual acuity. This becomes particularly noticeable during night driving. Individuals with a non-glare coating on their lenses find night driving less difficult because the coating reduces glare and halos around lights.

Enhance Appearance

Overall, non-glare lenses improve the visual appearance of your glasses. Have you ever looked at someone and the overhead light was reflecting off their lenses so you could barely see their eyes? A non-glare coating prevents those reflections which then allows you to see better through your glasses and for others to see you better! It helps to draw more attention to your eyes and provides the opportunity for better eye contact. Additionally, a non-glare coating will help to eliminate the distracting reflections off your lenses in photos.

The non-glare coating makes your lenses appear nearly invisible. What’s stopping you from adding non-glare to your next pair of eyeglasses? Chat with our staff today about the potential of non-glare lenses!

Myths and Facts: Contact Lenses

Are you a contact lens wearer? If so, you’ve probably heard some myths about wearing contact lenses. Typically, these contact lens myths grow from an unusual experience or misunderstanding information. Many contact lens myths are based on the way contact lenses used to be, instead of the current design and technology of contact lenses. We wanted to debunk some of the contact lens myths and give you the facts instead!

1.I’m too old to wear contact lenses

Fact: Anyone, at any age can wear contact lenses. Many older adults choose to wear contact lenses instead of reading glasses.

2. Contact lenses will get lost behind my eye

Fact: It is physically impossible for a contact lens to get lost behind your eye. A membrane covers your eye which connects inside your eyelids to prevent anything from getting behind your eye.

3. Contact lenses are uncomfortable

Fact: Modern contact lenses are thin and soft, making them very comfortable and often unnoticeable to wear. Some of the early contact lenses made 40-50 years ago were uncomfortable. However, we recommend you try modern contact lenses before sticking with this assumption.

4. Contact lenses can get stuck on my eye

Fact: If you follow proper wear, care, and removal advice from your eye doctor your contact lens cannot get stuck to your eye. Should your lens feel dry, apply some rewetting drops, and they should loosen right up.

5. Contact lenses are too much trouble to take care of

Fact: Daily disposable contact lenses make lens care irrelevant. You wear them one day and throw them out when you are done. However, reusable contact lens care is relatively simple with modern solutions. Most contact lenses can be cleaned and stored using one multi-use contact lens solution.

6. I’ll never be able to put in contact lenses

Fact: Our staff will show and teach you how to put in contact lenses. We ensure that you are confident in your abilities to put in and take out your contacts before you leave our office. Most people can figure it out after a handful of tries!

7. Contacts can pop out of my eye

Fact: Properly fitted contact lenses should never pop out of your eye. Typically, the only way a contact lens will move is shifting around your eye. Therefore blinking a few times or closing your eyelid and gently pressing on it should move the lens right back into place.

8. Contact lenses are too expensive

Fact: The cost of contact lenses varies depending on brand, replacement schedule, and how often you wear them. Typically, the price is comparable to a new pair of glasses. Above all our team will help you select contact lenses that work best for your lifestyle and your budget.

9. Children and teenagers cannot wear contacts

Fact: There is no age restriction on wearing contacts. Anyone can wear contact lenses; ultimately it depends on enthusiasm, responsibility, and maturity. Our staff can advise whether contact lenses are a suitable option for your child.

If you have more questions about contact lenses, give our office a call! We want to help you feel confident in your knowledge of contact lenses.

FAQ: Cataracts

Think you may be at risk for developing cataracts? Here is an overview of the most frequently asked questions about cataracts, including potential cataract treatment and congenital cataracts. Give our office a call and schedule an appointment to have your questions answered!

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens and are the most common cause of vision loss in the world. According to Prevent Blindness America, more than 22 million Americans have cataracts.

Who gets cataracts?

Cataracts begin to form in those over the age of 40. However, it is typically after age 60 that cataracts cause problems with vision.

Are there any signs or symptoms?

Cataracts start small and have little effect on your vision at first. However, you may notice symptoms once the cataract is well developed.

Potential symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Cloudy or foggy vision
  • Light from the sun or a lamp feels too bright or glaring
  • Oncoming headlights while driving cause more glare
  • Colors appear dimmed or faded

What causes cataracts?

As we age the natural protein in our eyes can clump together and cover a small area of the lens. Over time this may grow larger and cloud more of the lens. This cloud is what we refer to as a cataract.

Can I prevent cataracts?

It is not believed that there is anything you can do to prevent cataracts. However, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Nutrients such as vitamin E and vitamin C are believed to reduce your risk. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet can help. Additionally, wearing sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays can reduce cataract risk.

What increases my risk for cataracts?

  • UV radiation
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • Significant alcohol consumption
  • Certain medications

Is there cataract treatment?

The treatment for cataracts will vary for each person. When symptoms begin to appear patients may use new stronger prescription glasses. Cataract surgery will become an option if the cataract progresses far enough to impair your vision. Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States and is successful in restoring vision.

What are congenital cataracts?

Congenital cataracts occur in newborn babies because the eye’s natural lens is cloudy instead of clear. Often this results in vision problems for the child. However, this occurs in only 0.4% of all births and is relatively uncommon.

To discuss your risk for developing cataracts schedule an appointment today! The best way to prevent vision loss is by having regular eye exams.

 

Computer Vision Syndrome: Eye Strain

According to The Vision Council, 65% of adults experience some form of computer vision syndrome. Often individuals associate eye strain as a “normal” part of computer work. However, the eye strain you are experiencing is a symptom of computer vision syndrome and can be reduced or avoided!

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome is caused by the eyes and brain reacting to the characters on a computer screen. On-screen characters have less contrast than characters in print and are more challenging for our eyes to focus on. The difficulty of having to focus on the characters on computer screens is what causes eye fatigue and strain.

Symptoms of CVS

Depending on the individual they may experience one, several, or all symptoms of computer vision syndrome. These symptoms can cause discomfort for the individual and make it difficult to complete work effectively.

  • Headaches
  • Loss of focus
  • Burning eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Double vision
  • Eye twitching
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Ways to Combat CVS

Many computer users find their eyes feel strained working under fluorescent lights. Users feel more eye comfort when using floor lamps instead of harsh overhead lights. Minimize the reflection of glare off your computer screen by installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor. Consider closing the blinds to prevent the sun from reflecting off your computer screen as well.

The type of screen and settings of your screen can also impact your eye strain. We recommend making sure you have an LCD screen because it has an anti-reflective surface and is more comfortable for the eyes.

Additionally, you can adjust the settings of your screen for optimal viewing. A few settings to adjust are the brightness, text, and color temperature. The brightness should be the same as your surrounding workstation, the text size and contrast can be changed to your comfort level, and reducing the color temperature lowers the amount of blue light emitted by your screen.

Computer Eyewear

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of computer vision syndrome is to visit our office. Your eye doctor can perform a few tests to detect vision problems which could be contributing to your computer vision syndrome and help decide if computer eyewear is the solution for you. Many individuals discover computer eyewear helps reduce their symptoms and improves their productivity.

Schedule an appointment with our office to discuss the impact computer work is having on your eyes and the best ways to reduce your eye strain and fatigue.

Getting the Most of Your FSA and HSA Benefits Before the Year Ends

How to Use FSA and HSA Benefits Before the Year Ends

Health insurance offers year-round benefits that provide extra help when you need it the most. But you will also want to get the most from your vision care before the year ends, especially if those benefits do not roll over to the next year.

As December approaches and the holiday season settles in, it is easy to devote time and money to other priorities. But being familiar with flexible spending accounts (FSA) and health savings accounts (HSA) can help maximize your benefits before year’s end.

Flexible Spending Account

Offered by many employers, a flexible spending account can be the extra help you need to pay for your medical expenses. You will want to make use of it before December 31st since FSA savings do not roll over to the new year.

The amount accumulated in this account is dependent on the amount of money you decide to contribute toward it. This money is deducted from your salary before income taxes, and in turn, lowers your tax liability. If you put in the maximum amount of $2,550 in your FSA for the year, you may have some leftover cash to spend elsewhere before it is forfeited to your employer.

Fortunately, these funds can be used on almost anything health related. Here are some great uses for your remainder savings:

New Eyeglasses

Even though many of us need eyeglasses to see clearly, the style of those eyeglasses can become outdated over time. With trends constantly changing, it might be time to change up your glasses style. Logan Eye care offers a variety of styles and our staff is happy to help you find a new frame that best suits you.

Your FSA funds can also be used for prescription sunglasses. It is a great benefit that will help protect your eyes from exposure to the sun.

Eye Exam

It is easy to overlook an annual eye exam when your eyes feel healthy. However, eye exams play an important factor in catching early signs of serious eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts and detached retina. If you, a spouse or a dependent is overdue for an eye exam, your remainder funds can help avoid future risk for you or your loved ones.

Contact Lenses

If you have considered getting contact lenses, now might be the time, and your FSA savings may help fund the purchase. Contact lenses have a natural feel as they move with the eyes and correct vision problems, such as near sightedness, far sightedness, and astigmatism. They are convenient for sports and outdoor activities and can allow you to feel confident about your physical appearance overall.

If you feel additional spending is not a good use of your benefits, then consider making a claim for a past medical expense that was not covered during the year. For example, an FSA claim could cover travel costs for medical care or even an annual exam that was not accounted for. Additionally, flexible spending accounts can also be used to cover medical costs for spouses and qualifying dependents.

Health Savings Account

Fortunately, rushing to use your benefits before the end of the year does not always have to be the case. A health savings account, also known as HSA, is a pre-tax personal savings account for medical expenses that rolls over to the next calendar year. That means your savings will not surrender to your employer, unlike a flexible spending account. And because an HSA rolls over, it allows more room for savings than an FSA.

HSAs also make a great investment tool. Since an HSA rolls over to the next calendar year, it gives an opportunity to grow your savings without being penalized. Also, some companies contribute to your investment through stocks and mutual funds. And even though HSAs are built to cover medical costs, it has become common to invest in them as a 401k replacement. If that is your plan, look for an HSA that is low cost yet high performing.

You are only qualified for a health savings account if you are enrolled in a high-deductible health insurance plan. This means that you have a minimum deductible of $1,300 and an out-of-pocket maximum of $6,550. Once you are eligible for Medicare at the age of 65, you can no longer contribute to your HSA.

When it comes down to it, both HSAs and FSAs help minimize out-of-pocket health expenses. Understanding what each account has to offer is a good start to using your benefits toward eye care before they expire at the end of the year.