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Posts Categorized: Eye Care

Healthy Vision For a Healthy Life

May is Healthy Vision Month. And after the last year-plus of living out a world health pandemic, good health is certainly top of mind for most people. At Eye Medical Clinic, we love to talk about eyes and vision any time of the year! But Healthy Vision Month affords a great opportunity to talk about the simple steps everyone can take to protect their vision, making sure their eyes stay healthy for life!

A major part of a healthy life is taking care of your eyes, just like exercising, healthy eating and getting enough sleep. A comprehensive eye exam is so much more than having your vision checked to see if you need glasses or contacts. A dilated eye exam can detect many eye conditions and diseases that can cause vision loss, including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and more.

At Eye Medical Clinic, we want you to See Every Moment with the vision you deserve. Our experienced clinical team is skilled in diagnosing and treating most eye conditions and diseases.

Do I really need to have a comprehensive eye exam every year?

At Eye Medical Clinic, we recommend a comprehensive eye exam with dilation once a year for adults. And more frequently depending on your risk factors. Even if you can see with no problems and your vision is “normal”, an annual comprehensive eye exam is an important part of maintaining eye and overall health.
From the youngest member of your family to the oldest, Eye Medical Clinic in San Jose offers comprehensive eye exams catered to your unique circumstances performed by our experienced ophthalmologists. We cater to your unique circumstances and take into consideration the concerns and eye conditions associated with the season of life you are in.
Did you know an annual eye exam with dilation can also assist in the early detection of conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes? The earlier these conditions are detected, the earlier treatment can begin- and this could save your sight!

See Every Moment of Your Golden Years with Confidence

Without a doubt, cataracts impact the health of seniors. And the answer to when is the right time for cataract surgery is unique to the person asking it. Most experts agree that when a cataract begins to negatively affect your life and daily activities, that is the time to consider cataract surgery.
The last year has given all of us plenty of reasons to postpone vacations, trips, get-togethers and other events. But if cataracts are affecting your daily life, we want to propose that cataract surgery isn’t something you should put off. Even though it’s considered elective surgery, continuing to live with cataracts can put your health at risk.

4 Reasons NOT to Put Off Cataract Surgery

  1. Cataracts will not get better on their own. In fact, they worsen over time, making them more difficult to remove.
  2. Clear vision is necessary for safety. Seniors are more at risk of falling if their vision is affected by cataracts. Tasks like driving (especially at night) are more dangerous if you have cataracts.
  3. Cataract surgery at Eye Medical Clinic is performed at a trusted ambulatory surgery center. Unlike hospitals, ASCs don’t treat sick people, and they’re held to very high safety and hygiene standards.
  4. Eye Medical Clinic is taking every precaution to ensure your safety.

With upwards of two million cataract surgeries performed annually, cataract surgery is among the safest and most successful surgeries performed today. We are excited to offer the latest FDA-approved laser cataract technology for your cataract surgery procedure. We believe this technology adds to the safety, accuracy and precision of the procedure.
Our happy patient family is always growing, and we’d love for you to join it! Schedule a cataract consultation today.

See Every Moment With the Vision You Deserve

From comprehensive eye care and management of eye diseases to retina and cornea issues and modern cataract surgery, we want to be your go-to source for eye health in San Jose. We’d be honored to serve you.

Happy Patient Experience Week!

Meet Some Happy Eye Medical Clinic Patients

At Eye Medical Clinic, we focus on providing an excellent patient experience every day of the year! We don’t wait for Patient Experience Week (April 25-29) to delight our patients. We want our patients to See Every Moment every day with the vision they deserve.

From a first-time young patient coming in for a back-to-school eye exam to a post-op appointment for a cataract patient we have served for many years, our goal is to provide you with compassionate, comprehensive care. We want to exceed your expectations in every way.

Here are a few happy patient stories from our Eye Medical Clinic family:

Marilyn’s Cataract Experience

Marilyn had Cataract Surgery recently, and she couldn’t be happier with her experience! She was a little nervous about having cataract surgery, but from her initial consultation to testing, surgery day and post-op follow-up appointments, Marilyn felt completely comfortable.

“I have been seeing Dr. Sullivan for many years, and I appreciate his honesty and advice. I’ve been seeing very well and enjoying life more since my cataract surgery. All the vision problems I had are now solved.”

John’s Cataract Experience

John trusted Eye Medical Clinic with his precious sight, and we can’t thank him enough!

“On multiple occasions, I have interfaced with all three doctors at Eye Medical Clinic. Without exception, they are all very professional, have a wealth of experience, are very patient and friendly, and always take the time to ensure that I fully understand everything. My cataract surgery results have been, without exception, superb.”

Marisa’s Optical Experience

Marisa needed some new glasses, and we’re so glad she came to us!

“I’ve been going to Eye Medical Clinic for 5+ years and have been very happy with my experience, from the detail-oriented doctors to the efficient staff. My most recent experience was picking out two new pairs of glasses. Marisol was extremely patient with me; she listened to my preferences, made practical recommendations and adjusted her suggestions based on my feedback. I will definitely look to Eye Medical Clinic next time I need to pick out a new pair of specs!”

Your Health and Safety are Important to Us

At Eye Medical Clinic, we go above and beyond to make sure our team, and our patients are safe. We’re so happy to be seeing patients again (by appointment only)! Following are the measures we are taking to help keep everyone safe and healthy.

The Eye Medical Clinical staff will:

  • Use fogging treatment to professionally disinfect our entire office using EPA-registered disinfecting agents
  • Use symptom screening protocols for staff and patients
  • Limit the number of patients in the office to main social distancing
  • Speak as little as possible while in close proximity and request patients to minimize speaking as well
  • Wear face masks and face shields when a task requires them to be closer than six feet to a patient or team member
  • Clean every surface, disinfecting and sanitizing all clinical settings, waiting rooms, optical department and public areas
  • Disinfect between each patient
  • Sanitize office supplies, equipment, frames, etc.

We are asking patients to:

  • Disclose if they are experiencing any symptoms such as fever or respiratory illness and/or if they have come into contact with someone confirmed or with symptoms of COVID-19 in the past two weeks (please call and reschedule your appointment if this is true for you)
  • Schedule an appointment before coming to the office. We are unable to see walk-in appointments at this time (clinic and optical)
  • Wear face coverings at all times when in the clinic
  • Adhere to our reduced visitor policy
  • Have their temperature checked and use hand sanitizer prior to entering the waiting area
  • Ask for assistance with frames/glasses. An optician will remove them from the case for you
  • Please limit the number of frames you try on
  • Bring all current eye drops and contact lens solutions with you to your appointment

Place Your Trust in Eye Medical Clinic

Are you ready to have your own amazing patient experience story to share? We’ve been the bay area’s trusted vision experts for more than 70 years, and we’re excited to serve you!

At Eye Medical Clinic, we have built a reputation for quality eye care that generations of families have come to trust. From routine eye exams to complicated cataract surgeries, Eye Medical Clinic can expertly care for every member of your family. Our collective goal is to provide an amazing, memorable, life-changing experience, visual freedom and a lifetime membership in the Eye Medical Clinic Family.

If you’re ready to trust us with your vision, it’d be an honor to serve you. We invite you to schedule an appointment today.

It’s Workplace Eye Safety Month

A Spotlight on Digital Eye Strain

March in San Jose is a beautiful time of year! And with the kids on spring break, you may not want to talk about work, but March is also Workplace Eye Safety Month. And at Eye Medical Clinic, we care about your eyes!

Different Workplaces, Different Safety Protocols

When your job is in a manufacturing setting, you have to worry about things like debris, chemicals and flying objects such as metal, wood and glass. Safety glasses and goggles are the top safety tool to protect your eyes. In a healthcare setting, face shields can protect your eyes from chemicals and bodily fluids.

But when you work in front of a computer all day (like so many of us do!), it’s a different kind of eye damage you have to be on the lookout for. With more remote learning and remote work happening than ever before, at Eye Medical Clinic, we believe it’s the ideal time to spotlight a growing problem; digital eye strain.

Protecting Your Eyes in the Digital Age

Keeping your eyes safe at work includes at your desktop and on your smartphone and other devices. According to The Vision Council, over 60% of Americans report symptoms of digital eye strain, which may include blurriness, redness, fatigue, dry eye, headache and neck and shoulder stress. There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome (CVS).

  • Follow the “20-20-20 rule”—take a 20-second break from the screen every 20 minutes and look at an object 20 feet away.
  • Use proper lighting; one way is to reduce overhead lighting to eliminate screen glare.
  • Adjust computer display settings: increase text size and contrast for comfort, and adjust the brightness of the display, so it’s close to the same brightness of your surroundings.
  • Position your screen approximately 26-30 inches away—about an arm’s distance—from eye level for proper viewing distance when at a computer. Our eye care specialists can help you determine which distance is best for your personalized needs and workstation during your routine comprehensive eye exam..
  • Blink more often and take a few five-minute breaks throughout your work day.
  • Talk to your Eye Medical Clinic doctor about getting computer glasses; these are lenses with anti-reflective (AR) coating which reduces glare.

One of the most important things you can do to combat digital eye strain is to have a routine comprehensive eye exam at Eye Medical Clinic. A comprehensive eye exam will also find any dry eye issues, which often go hand in hand with digital eye strain. At Eye Medical Clinic, our advanced dry eye treatments administered by our dry eye specialists are among the best in the country.

At Eye Medical Clinic, we want you to See Every Moment with the vision you deserve. We are at the forefront of research and development in comprehensive eye care, including prevention and treatment. Schedule an appointment today for a consultation if you have any questions about keeping your eyes safe at work.

Everything You Need to Know About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Awareness Months that aren’t necessary: Lima Bean Respect Day? How about Talk in an Elevator Day? Yes, these really are actual national awareness days, at least according to the internet. But not all awareness days are…silly. Some of them shine a spotlight on causes and conditions we really do need to know about.

For example, February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month. At Eye Medical Clinic, we care about your eyes. We want you to have the best possible vision you can have and enjoy healthy eyes for a lifetime. So, we’d like to dedicate some space to talking about this sight-stealing condition.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a genetic eye disease associated with aging, where the central portion of the retina, called the macula, deteriorates. AMD is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 50 in the United States. It affects your central vision and can have a negative impact on everyday activities, like driving, reading and even recognizing faces.

Millions of people are diagnosed with AMD each year. A comprehensive eye exam with a board-certified ophthalmologist like the ones here at Eye Medical Clinic is the right place to start if you are concerned about this condition. Our own retina specialist, Dr. Tamer Hadi, is here to guide you through managing this sight-stealing condition.

Two Types of Macular Degeneration

There are two types of AMD: dry and wet. Dry AMD is by far the most common type. Treatment for dry AMD begins with routine eye exams with your eye doctor, especially after age 60, with the goal of early detection. If detected, Dr. Hadi may prescribe a specific mix of zinc and antioxidants to help in slowing the progression of the disease. As a trusted retina specialist, you can trust him with your ongoing care and treatment.
Treatment for the less common wet AMD can include a number of options, including intravitreal injections that inhibit the growth of the abnormal blood vessels that cause the retina to swell and vision to become blurred or distorted. Dr. Hadi has extensive experience in these treatments.
This is important to know: macular degeneration is irreversible, so people who are at risk for age-related eye disorders need to be diligent about their eye care.

The main primary risk factor for AMD is age – the older you are, the greater your risk. Also, people with a family history of AMD are at higher risk, as are women and people of European descent.

Some additional lifestyle factors are also known to increase your risk for AMD:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Diet deficient in fruits and vegetables

If you are at risk for AMD, please contact us today. By identifying the early signs of macular degeneration, we can help prevent and treat this disease.

See Every Moment

At Eye Medical Clinic, our shared goal is to be the best, most trusted eye care provider in San Jose and beyond. With renowned and experienced vision experts and a highly trained clinical team, we provide the latest state-of-the-art diagnostic tests, treatments and procedures, customized to your needs, lifestyle and vision goals. Schedule an appointment with your Eye Medical Clinic team to learn more about how to protect and preserve your vision today and in the future.

Study Shows Face Masks Associated with Increase in Dry Eye Symptoms

Okay, 2020, we’ve had it. Enough, already. A new study published in Ophthalmology and Therapy has found that wearing face masks has been associated with ocular irritation and dry eye symptoms.

Thanks to the COVID-19 world pandemic, face masks have become a normal part of everyone’s daily attire. Some people who work in professions like education, healthcare and hospitality have to wear a mask for long hours. Add that to having to wear it in the grocery store and every other store for that matter, and that’s a lot of daily face mask use.

As board-certified ophthalmologists with years of collective experience, our entire team of dedicated eye doctors have some useful information to share and strategies to suggest about face masks as they relate to your eyes and your vision.

“Regardless of the source of your Dry Eye symptoms,
we have some great solutions that can really help.”
—Dr. Jeanie Paik, Cornea Specialist

How Does a Face Mask Bother Your Eyes?

When wearing a face mask, your exhaled air is channeled upward, out the top of your face mask and over the surface of your eyes. If you’re wearing glasses or even sunglasses, you already know what happens; foggy glasses! We’ve all been there.

If you’re wearing glasses, this exhaled air can have a negative impact on your vision. But even if you’re not, it can negatively affect your eyes. The movement of the air over your eyes can cause your tears to evaporate more quickly, leaving the surface of the eye dry. After a long day of mask-wearing, your eyes can feel dry, gritty, irritated, watery and fatigued.

How to Combat Face Mask Dry Eye

Fit First. The first thing we recommend you do if you experience eye irritation after prolonged face mask use is to make sure your mask fits well and doesn’t have a large gap at the top. Try the kind that has the moldable nose bar.

Drop it. Lubricating eye drops may help relieve symptoms temporarily, but we always recommend seeing your eye doctor about which types of drops to use, as some over-the-counter varieties can make symptoms worse.

Rest is Best. With more people working and learning remotely than ever before, remember to be mindful of your screen time, as this can irritate already dry eyes as well. We recommend the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break from looking at the screen and focus on something 20 feet away.

Banish Dry Eye

Dry eye specialists at Eye Medical Clinic will perform a careful diagnostic exam to determine the source of your dry eye symptoms. Thorough testing leads to the best course of treatment and relief customized to your individual needs and issues.

We offer punctal plugs, which are tiny inserts gently placed into your eyelids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes. They help retain moisture and restore balance to your tear film. Our specialists are also trained in the medical treatment of your dry eye disease which may require prescription medication.

For more severe cases, Prokera and AmbioDisc are specialized contact lenses made with amniotic membranes with unique healing properties that act as a “nutrient boost” to the eye. One of our highly skilled specialists will gently place the amniotic membrane onto your eye and cover it with a clear, soft, disposable contact lens to hold the amniotic tissue in place. After a few days, the membrane fully dissolves, and the contact is removed. The cornea absorbs the nutrients that help to decrease the inflammation associated with dry eye.

Finally, scleral lenses can also be used for severe dry eye. These are large hard contact lenses that hold a reservoir of tears to hydrate your cornea in fluid all day. Your dry eye specialist will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan.

See Every Moment

Most insurance plans cover the dry eye procedures we offer at Eye Medical Clinic so don’t wait to find relief. Let’s finish 2020 strong! Schedule a dry eye consultation today.

It’s Never too Late to Focus on Seeing Every Moment

2020 has been a tough year, no doubt. Even still, across the world, people are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. And no matter how well (or not well) your year has gone so far, this month offers a chance for a renewed focus.

September is Healthy Aging Month. It’s a great time to focus on our senior population as it pertains to staying fit, staying active, staying safe and staying healthy. Here at Eye Medical Clinic, we are crazy about our senior patients and we are a trusted resource for all the eye-related issues that accompany aging.

Healthy Vision is a Priority in Every Season, But Especially as You Age

Something to know: vision loss isn’t a normal part of aging. That said, older individuals are at higher risk for certain eye diseases and conditions. Things like age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and dry eye, just to name a few. Some of these conditions have no early symptoms, but they are easily detected during a comprehensive eye exam (something you should have annually!).

Healthy Eyes for a Healthy Life

More than 40 million Americans are currently age 65 or older, and this number is expected to grow to more than 88 million by 2050. That’s a lot of seniors! By that same year, the number of Americans with age-related eye diseases is expected to double, and the number of people living with low vision is projected to triple. Early detection and treatment are key to saving sight.

If you have celebrated 50 (or more!) birthdays, here’s a tip. Come see us annually for a comprehensive eye exam. Having a dilated eye exam every year can help detect age-related eye diseases in their earliest stages. Early detection and treatment can help preserve your sight. Even if you are not experiencing vision problems, you should still take time for an annual eye exam. This is one of the best things you can do to make sure your one set of eyes stays healthy for a lifetime. And we’ll even sing happy birthday to you if you’d like!

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

People over the age of 50 are also at higher risk for developing Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). This condition happens when a part of the retina called the macula is damaged. With AMD, you lose your central vision but your peripheral (side) vision will still be normal.

Did you know we have a fellowship-trained retina specialist on the team here at EMC? Well, we do! Dr. Tamer Hadi is our resident expert on all things retina related. If you haven’t met him, you should!

Life Beyond the Blur

Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50. According to Prevent Blindness America, cataracts currently affect more than 22 million Americans. Important to know, cataracts cannot be treated with medication or changes to your lifestyle and diet. They must be surgically removed in order for vision to be restored. When cataracts begin to negatively affect your lifestyle and the activities you enjoy, it’s time to talk to an expert.

At Eye Medical Clinic, we offer the latest technologies and techniques in cataract surgery, including Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery. Major advances in lens exchange procedures allow people just like you to continue to live their lives the way they want to live them. At Eye Medical Clinic, we offer a variety of Premium Lens Implants that can correct your cataracts AND reduce your dependency on glasses, bifocals and even readers.

Healthy Aging Month is the ideal time to schedule a cataract evaluation. If you haven’t met our Premium Lens Cataract Surgery, Dr. Jeanie Paik, you’re going to want to! She has the experience and the expertise to help you achieve restored and even improved vision. Take control of your health (including your eyes!). Whatever the rest of 2020 looks like, See Every Moment.

Eye Medical Clinic has built a reputation for quality eye care that generations of families have come to trust. We invite you to experience the VIP treatment every patient can expect to receive at Eye Medical Clinic. Our team of experienced doctors, as well as a highly trained staff, is dedicated to helping you enjoy your life to the fullest…with the clear vision you deserve.

Eye Medical Clinic Welcomes Jeanie Paik, MD

Dr. Jeanie Paik and her family recently left windy Chicago for beautiful San Jose, and they couldn’t be happier about it! We’re thrilled that she has joined the family of eye experts at Eye Medical Clinic and are excited to introduce her to you.

Dr. Paik is a world-class physician with an elite pedigree. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California in Biological Sciences and International Relations, and her Medical Doctorate from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. She performed her residency at New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in New York, NY. She then completed additional training with a cornea, refractive and external disease fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

As a board-certified, fellowship-trained specialist and surgeon, Dr. Paik brings significant experience in diseases of the cornea and anterior segment. As of this month, she will serve as our go-to expert for all corneal cases, including cornea transplants, with specialized expertise in keratoconus, corneal dystrophies, pterygium and corneal infections.

Dr. Paik performs a variety of cornea transplants, including ultra-thin DSAEK and DMEK. Dr. Paik is trained in cross-linking, an advanced treatment to help stop the progression of keratoconus. She specializes in premium cataract surgery, including multifocal and toric lenses. She is also a dry eye specialist – look for EMC to begin offering a wide range of services for dry eye soon!

While Dr. Paik performs everything from modern cataract surgery to complex cornea transplants, her favorite part of her work is the opportunity for patient connection.

Vision is so important for quality of life. I love developing relationships with my patients and caring for them over time.

Jeanie Paik, MD

Dr. Paik has presented at numerous national conferences and has published in the peer-reviewed journal Cornea. She has also published literature on allergic conjunctivitis. Her research includes topics such as keratoconus, corneal surgical techniques and corneal infections. Dr. Paik is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Society of Cornea and Refractive Surgery and the Cornea Society.

Outside of work, Dr. Paik and her husband, a data engineer, are parents to their young daughter and enjoy spending time with family. EMC warmly welcomes Dr. Paik. We can’t wait for you to meet her. Schedule an appointment today!

Eye Medical Clinic Warmly Welcomes Tamer Hadi, MD

Tamer Hadi, MD, came to Eye Medical Clinic with an impressive resume. With undergraduate and master’s work in bioengineering and biomedical engineering, Dr. Hadi spent several years working in orthopedic research and development before deciding he wanted to be more involved in patient care. He applied to medical school and the rest is history!

With the same passion, excellence and problem-solving mindset that exemplified his earlier training, Dr. Hadi graduated with, not just a medical degree, but also a Ph.D., from the Medical College of Virginia. He didn’t necessarily enter medical school knowing he wanted to specialize in ophthalmology, but he talks about a tremendously impactful two-week rotation in ophthalmology. It was life-changing and inspiring, and he knew then it was what he wanted to do professionally.

Residency training in ophthalmology at Case Western Reserve University Medical School in Ohio led to a rigorous fellowship in vitreal-retinal surgery at the University of California in Irvine, California. Dr. Hadi joined the EMC family in August of 2020. You can see his full bio here.

I came to medicine a little later in life, but I have never regretted it. I loved my research work, but it felt a little disconnected from being able to help people in a very tangible way. All my background has now come together and allowed me to apply everything I have learned to improve the quality of life for my patients.

-Tamer Hadi, MD

At EMC, we’ve always focused on being a trusted practice that offers comprehensive eye care for patients in every stage of life. In our 70+ years, we’ve served generations of families in and around the San Jose area. We’re excited to add this powerhouse retina specialist to the team to expand our range of services even more.

Dr. Hadi truly enjoys being a doctor and a surgeon, and he especially loves interacting with his patients.

I love seeing the immediate gratitude patients experience when they discover their vision has been restored.

-Tamer Hadi, MD

Outside of work, Dr. Hadi is a husband and father of three young children. He enjoys staying active, hiking and spending time at the beach with his lively family. Together, they all enjoy working in their family vegetable garden and are expecting a bumper crop of cilantro this season!

EMC warmly welcomes Dr. Hadi. We can’t wait for you to meet him. Schedule an appointment today.

July is UV Safety Month

Summer in Northern California may just be the envy of most of the rest of the country. We live in a beautiful state, indeed. It’s a great time to head outdoors and enjoy hiking and biking, all the beautiful beaches, gardens, patios and many other amazing outdoor venues beautiful Northern California offers.

But with outdoor time comes the need to protect yourself. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has named July as UV Safety Month, and at Eye Medical Clinic, we want to help spread the word about how important it is to protect yourself from the harmful effects of UV rays.

Socially Distance from the Sun!

Many people don’t realize it, but UV light is a form of radiation. By scientific definition, radiation is the emission of energy from any source. The main source of UV radiation is, of course, the sun, but it can also come from man-made sources like tanning beds and even welding irons. Radiation spans a spectrum from very high energy, such as x-rays, to very low energy, such as radio waves. UV rays have more energy than visible light, but not as much energy as x-rays.

The sun puts off radiation in the form of UV light, which can be classified into three types: UVA, UVB and UVC. The ozone layer is the protective layer in the earth’s stratosphere that blocks UVC light, but UVB and UVA light still pass through it. UVA penetrates deeply into the skin and causes wrinkling. UVB is the type that causes sunburns.

Exposure to both UVA and UVB is associated with the development of skin cancer, so it is important to protect your skin during exposure to sunlight.

UV radiation is at its highest when and where the sun’s rays are the strongest and even more so during the summer months.

Protect Yourself, San Jose

Just about everyone knows to use sunscreen to protect their skin, but at Eye Medical Clinic, we want to remind you about the importance of protecting your eyes as well. Studies show that prolonged exposure to bright sunlight may increase the risk of developing cataracts and other growths on the eye, including cancer.

Be Cali-Cool with our Sunglasses Special

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, only about half of people who wear sunglasses check the UV rating before buying. We need to change that! It’s a simple way to protect yourself.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends choosing sunglasses labeled with “100% UV protection”. We’d like to add to select glasses that block both UVA and UVB rays and that are labeled either UV400 or 100% UV protection. And if you spend significant time outdoors, consider choosing a wraparound style so that the sun’s rays can’t creep in from the side. And one more thing; even If you wear UV-blocking contact lenses, you’ll still need sunglasses!

For the entire month of July, we’re offering 20% off all sunglasses! Whether or not you require vision correction, a great pair of sunglasses can add an element of comfort and enhanced performance to your activities, while helping you look great at the same time! Let our expert optical team help you find the perfect pair of sunglasses to match your style and how you live.

Trust the Santa Clara Valley Eye Experts

Eye Medical Clinic has built a team of ophthalmology and optometry experts who are ready and eager to meet your vision needs. Representing all of the disciplines of eye care, we want to be your go-to source for anything eye or vision-related. Our expertise often draws in patients for eye surgeries like cataract removal, but that expertise is also what makes us a great option for routine eye examinations.

From basic eye exams to dry eye check-ups, we strive to safeguard every aspect of your eye health. In addition to modern cataract surgery, we are able to diagnose and treat most eye conditions, including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease and more. We even offer blepharoplasty for aging, puffy, tired-looking eyes.

What’s your vision for the rest of 2020? Let us help you See Every Moment. Schedule an appointment today.

 

Spotlight on World Optometry Day

World Optometry Day is March 23. The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) recognizes this day as an opportunity to shine the spotlight on this key eye care profession and create awareness about optometry and its practices around the world.

At Eye Medical Clinic, it’s also an opportunity for us to shine the spotlight on our amazing Dr. Christina Nguyen Deane! She is a therapeutic optometrist at Eye Medical Clinic and our patients love her as much as we do!

Meet Dr. Deane

Dr. Deane sees patients for comprehensive eye exams and has a special interest and expertise in fitting specialty contact lenses for patients with keratoconus, eye trauma, corneal transplants and irregular corneas. She also specializes in cosmetic and multifocal contact lenses. If you thought you couldn’t wear contact lenses, you need to see Dr. Deane!

Before joining Eye Medical Clinic in 1995, Dr. Deane served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Medical Service Corps. After two years of service, she relocated with her family to Austin, Texas, where she built a thriving optometric practice. Upon returning to San Jose, she happily returned to the Eye Medical Clinic family in 2004. And we happily welcomed her home!

In addition to specialty contact lens fittings and comprehensive eye care, Dr. Deane is licensed to diagnose and treat primary care eye conditions. She loves helping patients achieve their personal best vision and is fluent in Vietnamese, which many in our Vietnamese patient population appreciate.

Do I Need an Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist?

We honestly love it when our patients ask questions during their appointments. We want you to feel like you have all the knowledge and tools you need to manage your vision. At Eye Medical Clinic, one of the questions we hear a lot is, “Do I need an optometrist or an ophthalmologist?” That’s a great question. And since World Optometry Day is around the corner, we thought it would be worth talking about in a little more detail. To better understand when you might need to see one versus the other, let’s take a look at what each type of professional is educated, trained and qualified to do.

Here’s a brief overview:

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors (MD) or osteopathic doctors (DO) who specialize in eye and vision care. Ophthalmologists differ from optometrists and opticians in the level of training and in what they can diagnose and treat. As a medical doctor who has completed college, medical school and residency, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and perform surgery.

Ophthalmologists diagnose and treat all eye diseases, perform eye surgery to correct vision problems. While ophthalmologists are trained to care for all eye problems and conditions, some specialize in a specific area, completing additional, more in-depth training called a fellowship in areas such as glaucoma, retina, cornea, pediatrics, neurology and plastic surgery.

Optometrists are healthcare professionals who provide primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment and management of vision changes. An optometrist can manage pre and post-op care for eye surgeries, but the surgery itself will be performed by an ophthalmologist. An optometrist receives a doctor of optometry (OD) degree after completing four years of optometry school, preceded by an undergraduate degree.

Optometrists are licensed to practice optometry, which primarily involves performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases.

Trust the Santa Clara Valley Eye Experts

Eye Medical Clinic has built a team of ophthalmology and optometry experts who are ready and eager to meet your vision needs. Representing all of the disciplines of eye care, we want to be your go-to source for anything eye or vision-related. Our expertise often draws in patients for eye surgeries like cataract removal, but that expertise is also what makes us a great option for routine eye examinations.

Our focus on comprehensive eye health means we watch for anything and everything that might affect your eyes. From basic eye exams to dry eye check-ups, we strive to safeguard every aspect of your eye health. At Eye Medical Clinic, our comprehensive eye exams are more than simple vision tests. Before we check your vision, we run a number of diagnostic tests for a variety of eye conditions.

In addition to modern cataract surgery, we are able to diagnose and treat most eye conditions, including glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease and more. We even offer blepharoplasty for aging, puffy, tired-looking eyes.

At Eye Medical Clinic, our experienced team is made up of both board-certified ophthalmologists and a licensed optometrist. This experienced team works in lockstep to make sure every patient we are honored to serve is able to See Every Moment!

We invite you to experience our expert eye care for every generation at Eye Medical Clinic. We are dedicated to helping you enjoy your life to the fullest…with the clear vision you deserve.

What are the Early Signs of the Most Common Vision Problems?

As with most other kinds of diseases, many eye diseases and conditions are more easily and successfully treated when diagnosed early. The tricky part is that there are a few eye conditions that don’t always come with early warning signs, making them harder to detect. But early detection is no less important! It all starts with an annual comprehensive eye exam at your trusted eye doctor Eye Medical Clinic.

Let’s take a look at the most common eye conditions along with the treatments available at Eye Medical Clinic:

Cataracts

Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50. According to Prevent Blindness America, cataracts currently affect more than 22 million senior Americans. Cataracts cannot be treated with medication or changes to lifestyle and diet. They must be surgically removed in order for vision to be restored. When cataracts begin to negatively affect your lifestyle and activities, it’s time to talk to an expert.

Any time is the ideal time to schedule a cataract evaluation. Take control of your health (including your eyes!). We’d love to partner with you.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can cause blindness. With all types of glaucoma, the nerve connecting the eye to the brain is damaged, usually due to high eye pressure. It has been called the silent thief of sight, because, in most cases, glaucoma doesn’t have any symptoms other than slow vision loss. For this reason, a comprehensive dilated eye exam that includes glaucoma detection is recommended.
In fact, we recommend the dilated eye exam every year for people who are at higher risk for glaucoma, including African Americans age 40 and older, everyone over age 60, and people with a family history of glaucoma. A comprehensive eye exam is critical to detect changes that occur early in the optic nerve.
While there is no cure for glaucoma at this time, it can be controlled and stabilized by using eye drop medication to monitor eye pressure in a safe range. This safe range is determined individually, which depends on the severity of glaucoma damage, age and corneal thickness as well as other factors determined by your ophthalmologists at Eye Medical Clinic. Some eye drop prescriptions lower eye pressure by reducing the amount of aqueous fluid OR by helping fluid flow better through the drainage angle.
Again, because of its complexity, each patient’s glaucoma treatment plan will vary based on need. For the love of your eyes and peace of mind, if you haven’t been to the eye doctor in a while and have any concerns, schedule an appointment today with Eye Medical Clinic.

Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 65 in America, making it an eye condition worth taking a closer look at. It is a genetically determined, age-related eye disease that causes people who have it to lose their central vision (what you see when you look straight ahead), usually in both eyes. It occurs when the small, central portion of the retina, known as the macula, deteriorates.

This condition can negatively impact activities like reading, working on a computer, doing household chores, enjoying hobbies and even driving. Early detection of AMD can help slow progression, and it’s important to note, early stages of this disease usually do not exhibit noticeable symptoms. This is why annual comprehensive eye exams are so important!

There are two types of AMD; dry (the most common type) and wet. For dry AMD, treatment typically starts with prescribing a mix of zinc and antioxidants that can slow progression. For wet AMD, treatment can include a number of options including medication injected into the eye that inhibits the growth of abnormal blood vessels that cause the wet form on the disease.

If you suspect AMD or have a family history of this condition, schedule an appointment today with Eye Medical Clinic today.

Partnering With You to Protect Your Sight

With a legacy of more than 70 years serving the San Jose area, Eye Medical Clinic has built a reputation for quality eye care that generations of families have come to trust. We invite you to experience the VIP treatment every patient can expect to receive at Eye Medical Clinic. Our team of experienced doctors, as well as a highly trained staff, is dedicated to helping you enjoy your life to the fullest…with the clear vision you deserve.

See Every Moment in 2020

We partied like it was 1999. We survived Y2K. And this year brings even more opportunities for clever song lyrics and tag lines. Especially for those of us in the eye care industry. I mean, really; It’s 2020! From “vision” casting to “setting your sights on 20/20”, it’s too easy to capitalize on the current calendar year in your marketing efforts.

But, at Eye Medical Clinic in San Jose, we want to remind you that not only are we here for all your vision and eye care needs, but we have been here for more than 70 years. We’re not going anywhere. Generations of families have trusted us with their precious sight and we look forward to serving the generations to come.

Comprehensive Eye Care for the Entire Family

Eye Medical Clinic has both optometrists and ophthalmologists on our experienced team of eye specialists. We are fully equipped to care for the eye needs of the youngest member of your family to the most senior member.

An annual comprehensive eye exam is important for everyone, no matter how young or old. Here at Eye Medical Clinic in San Jose, we can take care of your eyes in every season of life. From a new pair of glasses to ring in the New Year in style to contact lenses for a new look in 2020, we’ve got you covered.

Our comprehensive eye exam includes so much more than determining if a prescription is needed for eyeglasses or contact lenses. We will also check the eyes for any eye disease, assess how they work together as a team and evaluate the eyes as an indicator of overall health.

Face the New Year Looking (and Seeing) Your Best

Drooping eyelids can interfere with vision and make for tired-looking, aged eyes. At Eye Medical Clinic, we offer a unique approach to eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) that can restore a bright-eyed, youthful appearance. Performed by our very own Dr. John Sullivan, a board-certified ophthalmologist with vast experience in cataract, reconstructive, cosmetic and plastic surgery, he’s helped countless people just like you achieve an open-eyed, refreshed look.

Schedule an initial consultation today with the experts at Eye Medical Clinic. We will share all of our eye-opening options to give you a clear idea of which procedure or treatment will best benefit your vision and lifestyle.

A Vision for the Future

As the bay area of Santa Clara Valley County continues to grow, our Eye Medical Clinic family is growing so that we can continue to serve you and your loved ones with excellence. Stay tuned for an announcement coming soon as we plan to welcome a new eye surgeon this year.

We invite you to experience our expert eye care for every generation at Eye Medical Clinic. Our team of experienced doctors, John Sullivan, MD and Christina Nguyen Deane, OD, as well as a highly trained and dedicated staff, is dedicated to helping you enjoy your life to the fullest…with the clear vision you deserve. Schedule your comprehensive eye exam today and prepare to See Every Moment in 2020!

Your Trusted Vision Experts, Year After Year

What’s on the horizon for you in 2020? If you’re the goal-setting, resolution-making type, we wish you all the very best luck and plenty of good vibes for accomplishing everything you desire in the coming year. As for us, we are excited to refocus on our shared goals, our vision and our future—just in time for 2020!

It’s been a great 2019 at Eye Medical Clinic; another year dedicated to serving our valued patients. With a legacy of more than 70 years serving the San Jose area, we’re proud to have built a reputation for quality eye care that generations of families have come to trust.

Food (for thought) that Won’t Make Your Pants Fit Tighter This Holiday Season

December is bustling with all the things that make the holiday season the most wonderful time of the year. But Christmas songs aside, there are a few things worth considering while in the midst of gift shopping and holiday gatherings with friends and family.

Use ‘em Before You Lose ‘em.
We’re not talking about teeth here. We’re talking about vision care benefits and flex plan benefits through your employer. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are employer-sponsored programs that allow you to put aside pre-tax dollars for out-of-pocket medical expenses. With the right planning, you can use your FSA to contribute to the cost of your vision improvements with Eye Medical Clinic just before the end of the year.

Pro tip: FSAs are voluntary programs, and not all employers offer them. If your employer offers an FSA, you will have the option to enroll at the beginning of the plan year, which is typically January 1. At that time, you must commit to an amount of money to be taken out of each paycheck and placed in your FSA. You will not pay taxes on this money. The only downside is that if you do not use this money by the end of the plan year, you may have to forfeit it.

Reach for 20/20 in 2020.
An annual comprehensive eye exam is important for everyone, no matter how young or old. Here at Eye Medical Clinic in San Jose, we can take care of your eyes in every season of life. From a new pair of glasses to ring in the New Year in style to contact lenses for a new look in 2020, we’ve got you covered.
Our comprehensive eye exam includes so much more than determining if a prescription is needed for eyeglasses or contact lenses. We will also check the eyes for any eye disease, assess how they work together as a team and evaluate the eyes as an indicator of overall health.

Invest in Yourself
Drooping eyelids can interfere with vision and make for tired-looking, aged eyes. At Eye Medical Clinic, we offer a unique approach to eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) that can restore a bright-eyed, youthful appearance. Performed by our very own Dr. John Sullivan, a board-certified ophthalmologist with vast experience in cataract, reconstructive, cosmetic and plastic surgery, he’s helped countless people just like you achieve an open-eyed, refreshed look. Schedule an initial consultation today with the experts at Eye Medical Clinic. We will share all of our eye-opening options to give you a clear idea of what will benefit your vision and lifestyle.

If you’re already our loyal patient, we thank you. If you’d like to become a part of the Eye Medical Clinic family, we invite you to get in touch and we warmly welcome you! Happy Holidays and we look forward to serving you.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

November may be best known for turkey and dressing, pecan and pumpkin pies (yum!), Black Friday shopping. But this month also marks Diabetes Awareness Month and Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. It’s the ideal time, but in truth, there’s never a bad time, to shine a spotlight on this debilitating (and potentially sight-stealing) disease that affects more than 30 million Americans.

At Eye Medical Clinic, we want you to have all the facts where your vision health is concerned. Here are 7 facts you need to know about diabetes and how it can affect your vision:

You can develop diabetic eye disease without showing ANY symptoms.
In fact, diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of blindness among adults between the ages of 20 and 74.

At any given time, people with diabetes could develop diabetic eye disease.
When blood sugar levels remain elevated over a long period, complications can occur throughout your body, including your eyes.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common diabetic eye disease. It is caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina, which is light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye. As the disease progresses, blood vessels become blocked and prevent areas of the retina from receiving vital blood and nutrients.

Diabetic macular edema is a complication of diabetic retinopathy.
It is caused by damaged blood vessels that swell and leak fluid into the macula (which is responsible for sharp, central vision). Over time, this swelling can lead to vision loss.

Other vision complications from diabetes include glaucoma and cataracts.
Individuals with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts at a younger age and are twice as likely to develop glaucoma as are non-diabetics. Regular eye exams, early detection, and timely disease management can help protect against further vision loss.

If you have diabetic eye disease, you face a very real risk of losing your vision.
However, it’s possible to reduce the risk of diabetes-related blindness. You have the power to help protect against diabetes-related vision loss!

You should have an annual dilated eye exam.
It can help detect things that a regular vision test cannot and it can also help identify more serious vision problems.

Don’t Skip Your Annual Sight-Saving Exam

Annual comprehensive eye exams are important (critical for people with diabetes) as they can reveal hidden signs of disease, allowing for more timely treatment. This is why the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends people with diabetes have one annually or more often as recommended by their ophthalmologist.

During a comprehensive eye exam at Eye Medical Clinic, we will do so much more than determining your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses. We will also check your eyes for any eye disease, assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.

At Eye Medical Clinic, your comprehensive eye exam will include:

  • a visual acuity test to measure how sharp your vision is
  • a motility exam to see how well your eyes work together and to rule out strabismus (crossed eyes)
  • refraction to determine your best-corrected vision prescription
  • tests to assess your risk for developing glaucoma
  • pupil dilation to help detect cataracts, macular degeneration and other serious eye conditions

At Eye Medical Clinic, we want our patients to enjoy a high quality of life while managing their diabetes. We have extensive experience in the diagnosis and management of diabetic eye disease so that every patient we serve can See Every Moment.

If you have diabetes, schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Eye Medical Clinic today to protect yourself from preventable vision loss.

Eye Medical Clinic Focuses on Healthy Aging Month

Across the world, people are living longer than ever before. According to the World Health Organization, by 2020 (that’s next year, people!), the number of people aged 60 years and older will outnumber children younger than the age of 5. Wow!

September is Healthy Aging Month

It’s a great time to focus on our senior population as it pertains to staying fit, staying active, staying safe and staying healthy. Here at Eye Medical Clinic, we love to serve our senior patients and are a trusted resource for all the eye-related issues that accompany aging.

Maybe you’ve heard it said, Life begins at 50! But that doesn’t mean vision loss has to. Let’s talk about the importance of making healthy vision a priority in every season but especially as you age.

While vision loss isn’t a normal part of aging, older adults are at higher risk for certain eye diseases and conditions, including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, dry eye and more. Some of these conditions have no early symptoms, but, not to worry; they are easily detected during a comprehensive eye exam.

Take Charge of Your Vision. Have a Dilated Exam

If you are aged 50 or older, make a point of seeing us annually. Having a dilated eye exam every year can help detect age-related eye diseases in their earliest stages. Early detection and treatment can help save your sight. So even if you are not experiencing vision problems, you should have an annual eye exam. This is one of the best things you can do to protect your precious sight!

Did You Know?

More than 40 million Americans are currently age 65 or older, and this number is expected to grow to more than 88 million by 2050. By that same year, the number of Americans with age-related eye diseases is expected to double, and the number of people living with low vision is projected to triple. Early detection and treatment are key to saving sight.

Let’s Talk Cataracts

Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in people over the age of 50. According to Prevent Blindness America, cataracts currently affect more than 22 million senior Americans. Cataracts cannot be treated with medication or changes to lifestyle and diet. They must be surgically removed in order for vision to be restored. When cataracts begin to negatively affect your lifestyle and activities, it’s time to talk to an expert.

Eye Medical Clinic is proud to offer the latest technologies and techniques in cataract surgery, including Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery. And major advances in lens exchange procedures allow people just like you to continue to live your life the way you want to live it. At Eye Medical Clinic, we offer a variety of Premium Lens Implants that can correct your cataracts AND get you out of your glasses or bifocals.

Healthy Aging Month is the ideal time to schedule a cataract evaluation. Take control of your health (including your eyes!). We’d love to partner with you.

Eye Medical Clinic – Eye Medical Clinic has built a reputation for quality eye care that generations of families have come to trust. We invite you to experience the VIP treatment every patient can expect to receive at Eye Medical Clinic. Our team of experienced doctors, as well as a highly trained staff, is dedicated to helping you enjoy your life to the fullest…with the clear vision you deserve.

Vision for the Coming School Year

Don’t Forget to Schedule Your Back-to-the-Routine Eye Exam

If you’ve finished all your school supply shopping, good for you! If your student has already gotten a fresh haircut, new kicks and cool backpack, you’re fully on the ball. But, what about a back-to-school comprehensive eye exam? New clothes, calculators and colored pencils are important, sure, but good vision is the very foundation for success in school.

August is the time to book a back-to-school eye exam for son or daughter; this includes elementary-aged students through college-aged young adults. Even if your child already wears glasses or contacts, our board-certified ophthalmologist recommends a yearly eye exam because vision can change rapidly when bodies are growing quickly. There is no better time to put it on the calendar than before the school bell rings.

Children of all ages need regular eye exams to detect vision problems that may impede their learning. Did you know that more than 80% of the information presented in classrooms is visual in nature? From traditional chalkboards and whiteboards to textbooks, tablets, smartphones and computer screens, students need to be free of eye strain and potential headaches that can result from uncorrected vision.

What is Included in a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

An annual comprehensive eye exam is important for students and adults. Here at Eye Medical Clinic in San Jose, we can take care of your eyes in every season of life.

Our comprehensive eye exam includes so much more than determining if a prescription is needed for eyeglasses or contact lenses. We will also check the eyes for any eye disease, assess how they work together as a team and evaluate the eyes as an indicator of overall health.

At Eye Medical Clinic, a comprehensive eye exam will include:

  • a visual acuity test to measure how sharp your vision is
  • a motility exam to see how well your eyes work together and to rule out strabismus (crossed eyes)
  • refraction to determine your best-corrected vision prescription
  • tests to assess your risk for developing glaucoma
  • pupil dilation to help detect cataracts, macular degeneration and other serious eye conditions

We recommend that children should have their first pediatric eye exam at 6 months of age, another exam at age three and again at the start of school, with annual exams to follow. Young people with risk factors (such as premature birth, developmental delays and a family history of eye disease) should see an eye doctor more frequently.

And since caring for your eyes should be part of an overall approach to healthy living, we recommend that adults have a comprehensive eye exam once a year. Adults with certain risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure or a family history of eye disease should see an eye doctor more often.
Is a Comprehensive Eye Exam Covered by Insurance?

Eye Medical Clinic is committed to making great vision affordable for everyone. Insurance coverage and convenient financing options make it possible. Many vision insurance plans cover at least a portion of eye exams, so be sure and check with our office to discuss coverage.

We accept insurance plans from dozens of providers across California. Please confirm your coverage with one of the members of our Eye Medical Clinic team at the time that you schedule your appointment.

As your family approaches a new school year, you want your children to have everything they need for a successful run. This includes clear vision. Make eye care a priority in your back-to-school planning.

Now is the perfect time to schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Eye Medical Clinic for “kids” of all ages, as part of an overall approach to health. Schedule your appointment with us today.

It’s Time to Reconsider Buying Glasses & Contacts Online

We’re in an era of buying everything online. Even things that people said would never make sense to buy online are becoming commonplace. Trying on clothes in the store has been replaced with great online return policies, finding the perfect mattress has been replaced with glitzy startups using “space-age materials” and going to the grocery store has been replaced by some kind of magic only Amazon fully understands.

Now sure, there are some good reasons to buy online, but when it comes to glasses and contacts, there’s just no substitute for the personal care and attention we offer at Eye Medical Clinic. We’re talking about your vision after all!

The Problem with Online Contacts

This is the easy one. The two big reasons you should choose to purchase contacts from your optometrist: expertise and quality.

Expertise

An important choice when considering investing in contact lenses is which lens material will best meet your needs for your unique lifestyle.

Do you cycle? Hike? Work at a computer all day? Are you disciplined about routines and schedules or more relaxed? All of these things and more will need to be considered because different types of lenses and lens materials lend themselves to different preferences and lifestyles.

While soft lenses, especially the disposable variety, are most popular because of wearing ease, there are instances where a hard lens may be a better choice. The experienced optical team at Eye Medical Clinic can help you find the contact lens that will work best for you.

And if you’re in the “hard to fit” category, Eye Medical Clinic can help. Our experienced optometrists love to help individuals just like you find a contact lens that is comfortable and effective.

Quality

Speaking of quality, many people think the only way to truly save money is to take a serious drop in quality. It should be no surprise that we don’t recommend that drop in quality, but seriously, we could write an entire blog on why not to skim on contacts.

The short story is every single side effect associated with contacts is more likely to occur in older technology. From dry eye and discomfort to eye infections, you can expect an all-around worse experience from discount contacts. Be especially wary of bottom-dollar prices from less-established companies because you’ll more than likely end up buying contacts with technology that’s two decades old. Yes, we said TWO DECADES!

By far, the best thing about buying contacts with an optometrist is that you’ll get to try on the contacts and know if they meet your needs. Remember, you’re going to be wearing these contacts almost every day, so you should be sure they’re perfect for you. Thankfully, you can trust Dr. Deane and the entire Eye Medical Clinic team to help you in that department.

The Value of Buying Glasses In-office

So the conversation about glasses is a bit more complicated. We can understand the appeal of rock-bottom prices on glasses. Even if you just want a backup pair – but it’s very true that you get what you pay for.

And if glasses are your “daily driver”, it’s even more important that you buy them from a reputable source.

Experience

The fact is, no matter how fancy a digital try-on tool a website has or the home try-on options they offer, there is no comparison to having a vision expert in your corner when you’re looking for a pair of glasses.

Not only does trying on glasses in-store offer you the input of an expert, but it also means you can trust that you’re getting the best glasses for your vision. We’ll touch on this more in a bit, but the quality of your vision comes down to more than your prescription. An expert like those at Eye Medical Clinic can help you find exactly the right glasses for your vision. Having served the Santa Clara Valley for over 70 years, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience…something you just won’t get when purchasing glasses and contacts online.

A common misconception is that the retail part of an eye care center doesn’t care about patients in the same way as the doctor does during the exam. That couldn’t be further from the truth! In reality, the optical team is in place to help you find a great style that meets your visual needs, fits your face well and complements your features – all for a price that makes sense for you.

That quality extends to after your purchase if/when you run into issues. When you buy online, you’re essentially on your own once you have your glasses in hand. But when you come into our office, we’re happy to offer many simple services such as:

  • Repairs
  • Deep cleaning
  • Fit adjustments
  • Screw and part replacements

Quality

The next thing you can expect is quality. Now, we have to be fair, some online retailers offer quality glasses, too. But, when you visit Eye Medical Clinic, you can rest assured that only the highest quality glasses are available.

We work with top brands to ensure we carry the latest styles using only the highest quality materials. So whether you want to go classic or trendy, you can be sure that your glasses will last.

Pitfalls of Buying Online

Truth: there are some serious downsides to buying glasses online that you need to know about.

First of all, it’s very common for glasses to be outright wrong. This study by the AOA shows 44.8% of 200 glasses purchased online had incorrect prescriptions or didn’t pass impact testing. Specifically, 29% percent had incorrect prescriptions. Additionally, many of the glasses didn’t have the extra coating that was requested.

When you purchase from Eye Medical Clinic, we will check all of these things so you don’t have to worry about receiving an improper pair of glasses.

But aside from that, even in a world where you get exactly the pair of glasses you order, there are other things to consider. First, there is the pupillary distance. This is the space between the centers of both your eyes, and it has to be measured correctly to result in a properly fitted pair of glasses. If it’s incorrect, then it can feel like one of your eyes is being pulled “off center”. Our team has the expertise and technology to make this a non-issue.

Another big factor is the lens shape. Depending on the quality of your vision, smaller lenses may limit some of your field of vision. Equally important is the fit of the glasses themselves; certain frames work better on certain faces (both in how they look and how they correct your vision.) These are just a few examples of why it’s so important to have personal care and attention when buying new glasses.

Luckily for you, combining your eye exam with a glasses fitting at Eye Medical Clinic can do wonders for the look, feel and performance of your glasses.

Ready for Some Help Choosing Your Next Frames?

So there you have it – all the reasons you should visit your optometrist before you jump online to buy glasses or contacts. The team at Eye Medical Clinic looks forward to serving you!

Schedule today by clicking the button below, or schedule an appointment by calling 408.457.7311.

Four Summer Eye Care Tips from Your San Jose Eye Medical Experts

Hello, summer. 🌞 San Jose is well known for its temperate climate any time of the year, but summer in San Jose is just the besssssst. Coastal breezes, sunny days. It’s the perfect place to call home.

This time of year has most people shopping for sunscreen and pool floaties but what can you do to protect your eyes? Lots! As you prepare for summertime fun in the outdoors, don’t forget a game plan that keeps your eyes healthy and safe.

Check out our four summer eye care tips to protect your sight:

Shades 😎 When considering how to protect your eyes from the sun, choose sunglasses with complete UV or ultraviolet protection. Look for lenses with 100% UVA and UVB protection. Polarized sunglasses can reduce glare, which is especially helpful if you’re spending a lot of time on the water, in the sand or on the golf course (or in the sand on the golf course).

According to our eye experts at Eye Medical Clinic, more is better when it comes to blocking out the sun. Use a combination of high-quality sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat that can cut down on sunlight. Wrap-around sunglasses perform best. Choose lenses large enough to completely cover your eyes to prevent as much light as possible from entering through the edges of the glasses. Remember to wear sunglasses on cloudy days, too!

You certainly don’t want to be blinded by the light that shines off the water, sand or other highly reflective surfaces. Too much exposure can cause UV eye damage in the form of a painful condition called photokeratitis or photo conjunctivitis. This is when the sun’s UV rays burn the surface of your eye. Continuous UV exposure may contribute to cataract development or cause the development of pterygium (a benign growth over the cornea).

Goggles 🏊 We advise you (and your kiddos) to wear goggles at the pool. Chemicals used to keep pool water clean, such as chlorine, can affect the natural tear film that keeps eyes moist and healthy. The results are red, gritty eyes and even blurry vision. So goggles are a good idea. Also, splash your eyes with fresh water immediately after getting out of the pool.

Avoid Dry Eye 😢 A dry, hot or windy climate can irritate your eyes when outside and cause Dry Eye symptoms. Dry Eye affects the tear film, drying out the eye’s surface. Wrap-around sunglasses can be helpful when outside. Also, consider using artificial tears to keep eyes moist and refreshed.

Fortunately, you don’t have to live with chronic Dry Eye. Here at Eye Medical Clinic, we offer several treatments for Dry Eye including a scleral lens to treat moderate to severe dry eye. A scleral lens (special hard contact lens) holds a reservoir of tears next to the cornea, reducing many dry eye symptoms, decreasing the need for artificial tears and improving visual acuity.

Your Eye Medical Clinic Dry Eye specialist will perform diagnostic testing – including ocular allergy testing – that will pinpoint the source of your symptoms. Thorough testing will help us determine the best course of treatment for you.

Hydration and Healthy Foods 💧🍎 It’s not just carrots that keep your eyes healthy. Be sure and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. This is made easier in the summer months when fresh fruit and veg are in season and can be added to almost any meal! Think summer salads, grilled veggie kabobs and fruity desserts. Adding foods high in Vitamin A, C and E boost vision health, so get your fair share of these essential nutrients.

People also tend to become more dehydrated in the summer, leading to Dry Eye and other vision problems. So…drink water, water and more water! Downing plenty of water can prevent the adverse effects of dehydration, reduce eye strain as well as provide fluid for normal eye function.

Bring on the sunshine, San Jose! We’re ready.

Make your eye care a priority. Summer is a great time to have your regular eye exam, especially for kids who are out of school. We at Eye Medical Clinic advise regular eye exams for patients of all ages as part of your overall approach to health. If you have any immediate concerns about summer eye care or general eye care, contact our experts at Eye Medical Clinic.

Can Poor Vision Cause Migraines?

The ABCs of Ocular Migraines

Migraine sufferers, we see you (hiding in a darkened room with a pillow over your head). We hear you (crying). We feel you (begging for mercy). And we want to help.

Migraines are the worst. They’re up there with root canals and income tax audits. One of the hardest things about migraines is determining the root cause, which is different for different people and identifying the individual triggers that bring one on in the first place.

Many people don’t know it but migraines can actually impact vision. When this occurs, it’s called an ocular migraine.

What’s an Ocular Migraine?

The term “ocular migraine” can be confusing. It generally means a headache that’s accompanied by changes in vision which may include blind spots, changes in light perception, wiggly lines and flashing lights. As many as 20 percent of migraine sufferers may experience these “aura” symptoms.

It is generally accepted that there are two types of ocular migraines:

  1. Migraine with Aura. This type of migraine impairs vision, with symptoms like flashes of light, blind spots, seeing stars or patterns and other visual issues that go away after a short period. Migraine aura can occur with headache or without, and is typically short in duration. Migraine with Aura occurs in 25-30 percent of people with migraine, and less than 20% of individuals with migraine visual aura have the aura phase with every migraine attack.
  2. Retinal Migraine refers to visual symptoms that occur in only one eye before or during the headache phase of a migraine. Retinal Migraine symptoms tend to be more intrusive than aura symptoms, and can include decreased vision, flashing lights and even temporary blindness. It can be difficult for people to distinguish between Migraine with Aura and Retinal Migraine, so it’s important to consult a doctor if you think you may be experiencing Retinal Migraine symptoms.

What Causes an Ocular Migraine?

Exactly what causes ocular migraines is not known, but a personal or family history of migraines is a known risk factor. Most doctors agree that ocular migraines have the same causes as classic migraine. They include:

  • Genetics – A family history of migraine or ocular migraine increases your chance of having them.
  • Hormones – Migraines have been linked to the hormone estrogen. In women, hormones can fluctuate due to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause. Hormone levels are also affected by oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapies.
  • Triggers – Some people know exactly what triggers a migraine for them but research shows it is likely the combination of factors that trigger a migraine. They can include stress, lack of sleep, weather change, alcohol, caffeine and certain foods.

Can Poor Vision Trigger a Migraine?

If you have poor vision, you may squint a lot (whether you know it or not) or hold items up close or far away from your face in order to see them clearly. This can have a negative impact on your vision over time. You could also strain your eyes by reading in poor lighting. When your eyes are constantly straining to see properly, it could trigger a migraine. Having a comprehensive eye exam by a trusted eye doctor is one step you can take to make sure poor vision is one less thing that could trigger a migraine for you.

Additionally, there are eye conditions that can trigger migraines including glaucoma. Glaucoma causes the pressure to build up in the eye and damage the optic nerve. In order to relieve these migraines, the conditions must be treated.

Comprehensive Eye Care for the Whole Family

Eye Medical Clinic has both optometrists and ophthalmologists on our experienced team of eye specialists. We have proudly served the Bay Area for more than 70 years and we are fully equipped to care for the eye needs of the youngest member of your family to the most senior member. We’d love to talk to you about your migraines as they relate to your vision and see how we can help.

We invite you to experience our expert eye care for every generation at Eye Medical Clinic. Our team, including experienced doctors John Sullivan, MD; Mona Bagga, MD and Christina Nguyen Deane, OD, as well as a highly trained and dedicated staff, is dedicated to helping you enjoy your life to the fullest…with the clear vision, you deserve. Schedule your comprehensive eye exam today.

How to Get Rid of Pink Eye

Symptoms, Causes and Treatments for Conjunctivitis

If you managed to escape childhood without a case of pink eye, consider yourself lucky. According to the National Eye Institute, pink eye is one of the most common and treatable eye conditions in children and adults. About 3 million cases of pink eye occur in the United States each year. That’s a lot of gross.

So let’s talk about it. What causes it? What are the symptoms? And most importantly, how do you get rid of it??

Pink Eye Defined

Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is an irritation or inflammation of the conjunctiva, which covers the white part of the eyeball. It can be caused by allergies or a bacterial or viral infection. Conjunctivitis can be extremely contagious and is spread by contact with eye secretions from someone who is infected.

Causes/Types of Pink Eye

The three types of pink eye are:

  • Viral conjunctivitis. This kind of pink eye is caused by a virus such as the common cold and is very contagious. The good news, this type usually clears up on its own within a few days without medical treatment.
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis. This type of pink eye is caused by bacteria and won’t get better on its own. It requires an antibiotic to clear up. It can cause serious damage to the eye if left untreated.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by eye irritants such as pollen, dust and animal dander among people who are susceptible to those allergens. Allergic conjunctivitis may be seasonal (pollen) or flare up year-round (dust; pet dander). This type is not contagious.

Pink Eye Symptoms

As you might assume, the most common symptom of pink eye is an eye that has a pinkish-red, irritated appearance. Other symptoms depend on which type of pink eye you have and can range from watery, itchy, burning eyes to a sticky, yellow or greenish-yellow eye discharge in one or both eyes.

If you think you (or your child) might have pink eye, it’s best to see an eye doctor who can perform a physical exam to confirm diagnosis. Left untreated, certain types of pink eye (the bacterial varieties) can lead to infections of the cornea, eyelids and even tear ducts. Better to be safe than sorry!

Ophthalmia neonatorum is a severe form of bacterial conjunctivitis that can occur in newborn babies. It is a serious condition that could lead to permanent eye damage if it is not treated immediately. Ophthalmia neonatorum occurs when a baby is exposed to the sexually-transmitted diseases chlamydia or gonorrhea while passing through the birth canal. For several years, it has been standard procedure (in the U.S.) to apply antibiotic ointment to babies’ eyes as a preventive measure.

Treatment for Pink Eye

As with pink eye causes and symptoms, pink eye treatment depends on which type of pink eye you have.

  • Viral conjunctivitis. In most cases, viral conjunctivitis will run its course over a period of several days with no medical intervention required. Applying a cold, wet washcloth to the eyes several times a day can relieve symptoms. (Just don’t share this washcloth with others!)
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis. Your Eye Medical Clinic eye doctor or even a primary care physician typically will prescribe antibiotic eye drops or ointments for the treatment of bacterial conjunctivitis. If severe infection is present, oral antibiotics might be necessary.
  • Allergic conjunctivitis. Allergy medications can help prevent or shorten cases of allergic conjunctivitis. Check with your Eye Medical Clinic doctor for details.

Remember, because a red or pink eye can be a symptom of many different types of eye problems — some that can be quite serious — make sure you consult with your eye doctor. Routine comprehensive eye examinations by your Eye Medical Clinic eye doctor are the best safeguard for maintaining good vision at any stage of life.

Comprehensive Eye Care for the Whole Family

Eye Medical Clinic has both optometrists and ophthalmologists on our experienced team of eye specialists! We have proudly served the Bay Area for more than 70 years and we are fully equipped to care for the eye needs of the youngest member of your family to the most senior member.

We invite you to experience our expert eye care for every generation at Eye Medical Clinic. Our team of experienced doctors John Sullivan, MD; Mona Bagga, MD and Christina Nguyen Deane, OD, as well as a highly trained and dedicated staff, is dedicated to helping you enjoy your life to the fullest…with the clear vision you deserve. Schedule your comprehensive eye exam today.

Eye Care for the Whole Family

The Importance of Regular Eye Exams

There’s no question comprehensive eye exams are an important part of overall good health. The quality of your vision affects everything from school and work performance to driving, hobbying, working out and just about any other activity you can think of. But the importance of annual eye exams goes well beyond just making sure your vision isn’t blurry. Good eye health can safeguard your health and wellness and even prevent disease. (more…)

Back-to-School Eye Exam Time

Time to Schedule a Back-to-School Eye Exam for Your Kids

New clothes? Check! Backpack? Check! School supplies? Check! Now, what about a back-to-school eye exam or comprehensive vision screening to check your kids’ eyes…

August is the time to book a back-to-school eye exam for grade school, high school and college kids. Even if your daughter or son already wears glasses or contacts, ophthalmologists recommend a yearly eye exam. There is no better time to put it on the calendar than before the first school bell rings. A child’s vision can change quickly in only a few months, especially when they are growing so rapidly.

Children need regular eye exams to detect vision problems that may stand in the way of their learning. Experts say that more than 80% of information children receive in classrooms is presented visually. With good reason, vision correction is vital to school success because 1) Students must have good distance vision in order to see words and images displayed on whiteboards and blackboards; 2) Students must have near vision correction that enables them to read from books, smartphones, tablets and computer screens; 3) Students should be free of eye strain and potential headaches that can result from uncorrected vision.

 

What Will a Back-to-School Eye Exam Cover?

Here at Eye Medical Clinic in San Jose, we offer a comprehensive eye exam that includes evaluation of the anterior portion of the eye and pupil dilation to examine the interior of the eye. Our expert ophthalmologists will look for:

  • Myopia – Also known as nearsightedness, is a common condition that can be easily diagnosed. It’s a visual defect in which light that enters the eye is focused in front of the retina instead of clearly onto it so that distant objects appear blurred. Myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or LASIK surgery.
  • Hyperopia – Also known as farsightedness, is a common type of refractive error where distant objects may be seen more clearly than objects that are near. As a result, your child probably enjoys great distance vision but struggles with vision that is blurry when reading or looking at objects that are positioned close. Hyperopia also is easy to diagnose and correct.
  • Astigmatism – This very correctible condition occurs when the shape of the lens in the eye is not perfectly symmetrical or round. It’s simply a problem with how the eye focuses light and a common symptom is blurred vision. Treatments include eyeglasses, contact lenses or LASIK surgery.
  • Eye Misalignments – These issues are more common in younger school children than any other age group. Conditions such as amblyopia (lazy eye), and strabismus (misaligned or crossed eyes) are easily diagnosed during eye exams. There are a variety of remedies we can discuss here at Eye Medical Clinic.
  • Eye Irritants – Summertime is when children are often exposed to irritants, including allergens, chlorine used in pools, sunblock lotions or insect repellents that may affect the eyes. Our experts at Eye Medical Clinic will screen for these problems during your back-to-school eye exam.

 

What will a children’s eye exam cost?

First, Eye Medical Clinic is committed to making great vision affordable for everyone. Insurance coverage and convenient financing options make it possible. Without insurance, you can expect to pay around $250 on average for an eye exam performed by a private-practice optometrist or ophthalmologist. Also, eye exams for contact lenses or updating an eyeglass prescription nearly always cost more than routine exams to check general eye health. Many vision insurance plans cover a portion of these services, so be sure and check with our office to discuss coverage.

We don’t want you to worry so much about cost, though. For your kids, as students, their eyes are one of their most important learning tools!!

As your kids (and you) say a bittersweet goodbye to summer and hanging with friends— and hello to a new school year with familiar classmates and the clarity to absorb new knowledge—you will have the added confidence in their success. It’s in the eyes.

Make your kids’ eye care a priority. Going back to school is the perfect time to schedule a comprehensive eye exam at Eye Medical Clinic for “kids” of all ages, as part of an overall approach to health. Book your appointment with us today!

Ultraviolet Light and your Eyes

Ultraviolet Light and your Eyes

If you want strong, healthy eyes and clear vision for life, a major step you can take is to protect your eyes from UV radiation.  Wearing proper eye protection from the sun reduces the risk of a number of eye diseases and other conditions that are caused or worsened by UV exposure.

Eye Diseases Linked to UV Exposure

UV exposure has been linked to a number of serious eye diseases including macular degeneration and cataracts.

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a condition in which the macula of the eye breaks down, leading to a loss of central vision and is a leading cause of age-related vision loss.  Macular degeneration develops over time so a lifetime of exposure to UV can contribute it’s likelihood.

Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the natural lens of the eye becomes clouded, resulting in blurred vision and eventually blindness. The len is responsible for focusing the light that comes into the eye, allowing clear vision. Cataracts can be treated by a simple surgery to replace the clouded lens with an artificial lens.  UV light contributes to certain types of cataracts, which account for about 10% of all cases.

Skin Cancer

Another serious disease that can affect the eyes is skin cancer which can appear on the eyelids or the area around the eyes.  Skin cancer is known to be linked to extended exposure to UV and your eyes can be a difficult area to protect with sun block as you don’t want it to get too close to the eyes.

Other Eye Conditions Linked to UV Exposure

Photokeratitis or Corneal Sunburn

Photokeratitis or a corneal sunburn in layman’s terms can occur with intense exposure to the sun without proper eye protection. It is commonly experienced after a day skiing or snowboarding at a high altitude or at the beach. Corneal sunburns can be extremely painful and can sometimes cause a temporary loss of vision.

Pterygium

Pterygium, also known as “surfer’s eye” is a growth that forms on the conjunctiva which is a layer over the sclera or the white part of your eye. Sometimes they grow onto the cornea as well. Often pterygia are harmless but if they grow too large they may begin to impact your vision. In this case, surgery may be necessary. Pterygia are commonly found in individuals who spend a significant amount of time outside in the sun or wind.

How to Properly Protect Your Eyes From UV

The more time you spend outside, the greater the risk for your eyes, however you can easily minimize this risk with proper protection. Here are a few tips to ensure you are doing what you can to safeguard your eyes:

Proper Sunglasses

Fully protective sunglasses should block out 99-100% of UV-A and UV-B rays. You can achieve this through purchasing a pair of sunglasses, applying a UV blocking coating to your glasses or opting for photochromic lenses which are eyeglass lenses which turn dark when exposed to sunlight. Most contact lenses will also have UV protection but this is just for the area of the eye covered by the lens.

Since UV exposure can enter from the air, the ground or from the sides, wrap-around and large lensed frames can provide added protection.

Add a Wide Brimmed Hat

A wide brimmed hat or visor will stop about half of the UV rays from even reaching your eyes as well as reduce the exposure coming in from the top or sides of your sunglass frames.

Know Your Environmental Risk Factors

UV exposure is largely dependent upon your location and your surroundings. If you are located at a high altitude you will likely be exposed to more UV than at lower altitudes.  UV also reflects off of snow, sand, water and even asphalt so be aware that you are getting increased exposure under these conditions.

Know Your Additional Risk Factors

There are a number of other factors that can increase your exposure or risk of eye damage from UV.  For example, certain medications increase the sensitivity of your eyes and skin to sunlight (speak to your doctor about any medications you are on). Previous eye surgery or eye diseases can also increase your risk factors for UV eye damage. Additionally if you work in certain fields such as welding or medical scans or radiation or use tanning beds, you can be exposed to additional UV radiation. If there is nothing you can do to change your exposure, make sure you are properly protecting your eyes with goggles or glasses and a hat.

Regular Eye Exams

Make sure you schedule a comprehensive eye exam on a regular basis to ensure your eyes are healthy.  If you are over 50 or have increased risk factors for eye disease, you should schedule exams at least on a yearly basis or according to your eye doctor’s recommendations.

 

Signs of Eye and Vision Problems in Infants

Signs of Eye and Vision Problems in Infants

Infant Eyesight

Despite nine months of growth in utero, babies are not born with fully developed eyes and vision – just like they can’t walk or talk yet. Over the first few months of life, their visual systems continue to progress, stimulated by their surroundings.

Babies will develop the ability to track objects, focus their eyes, and move them like a team. Their visual acuity will improve and they will gradually be able to see more colors. They will also form the neural connections that will allow them to process what they see, to understand and interact with the world around them.

Healthy eyes and good vision are necessary for proper and timely progress; ocular or visual problems can lead to developmental delays.

So how do you know if your infant is developing normally? What can you do to ensure your baby’s eye health and vision are on track? While infant eye problems are not common here are some steps you can take to ensure your child’s eyes are healthy.

#1 Schedule a six month check-up.

It is recommended to get the first professional comprehensive eye and vision exam for your child between six and 12 months of age.

Your optometrist should check for the following skills at the 6-month checkup:

  • Visual acuity (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism)
  • Eye muscle and movement capabilities
  • Eye health

If you have any concerns prior to six months, don’t hesitate to take your baby for an exam earlier.

#2 Engage in visually stimulating play.

Incorporating visually stimulating play for your child will help develop visual processes like eye tracking and eye teaming.

A baby’s initial focusing distance is 20-30 cm, so to nurture healthy vision skills, keep high contrast “reach and touch” toys within this distance. Alternate right and left sides with each feeding, and provide toys that encourage tracking of moving objects to foster eye-hand coordination and depth perception.

Pediatricians in North America recommend that NO screen time be allowed under the age of 2, as many forms of development may be delayed from premature use of digital devices.

#3 Be alert to eye and vision problems.

Keep an eye out for indications of an eye health problem, and contact an eye doctor to discuss any concerns you may have. Some symptoms to pay attention to include:

  • Red eyes or eyelids, which may or may not be accompanied by discharge and crusty lids. This may indicate an eye infection that can be very contagious and may require medication.
  • Excessive eye watering or tearing. This may be caused by a problem with the tear ducts, such as a blockage.
  • Extreme light sensitivity. While some light sensitivity is normal, significant sensitivity to light can be a sign of disease or elevated eye pressure.
  • Eye “jiggling” or bouncing. This suggests a problem with the muscle control of the eyes.
  • Eye turn. Whether it is an eye that seems to cross in or a “lazy eye” that turns out, this is often associated with a refractive error or eye muscle issues that could require treatment such as eyeglasses, vision therapy, patching or surgery.
  • White pupil. This can be a sign of a number of diseases, including cancer. If you see this have it checked out immediately.

Since your infant’s eyes are still maturing, any issues that are found can likely be corrected with proper care and treatment. The important thing is to find a pediatric eye care provider that you trust because you will want to regularly check the health of your child’s eyes to ensure proper learning and development throughout infancy and beyond.

Trouble Seeing at Night? All About Night Blindness

 

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

Signs of Night Blindness

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

Causes of Night Blindness

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

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

Treatment for Night Blindness

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

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

Are Your Eyes Sensitive to Light?

 

Light sensitivity, also known as photophobia, is a condition in which bright light – either natural sunlight or artificial light –  can cause significant discomfort, pain and intolerance. People that experience light sensitivity will find themselves needing to close their eyes or squint when exposed to light and often experience headaches and nausea as well.  In mild cases, the discomfort accompanies exposure to bright lights or harsh sunlight, but in severe cases even a small amount of light can cause pain and discomfort.

Photophobia is more common in individuals with light eyes. This is because the greater amounts of pigment in darker eyes help to protect the eye from the harsh rays of light. The darker pigment of the iris and choroid absorbs the light, rather than reflecting the light and causing internal reflection or glare experienced by those with lighter eyes. People with albinism, which is a total lack of eye pigment, also experience significant light sensitivity for this reason.

Acute photophobia is usually a symptom that accompanies a condition such as an eye infection or irritation (such as conjunctivitis or dry eyes), a virus, or a migraine (light sensitivity is one of the most common symptoms of migraines). It could also be caused by something more serious such as an eye condition like a corneal abrasion, a detached retina, uveitis or iritis or a systemic disease like meningitis or encephalitis. Light sensitivity is also a side effect of refractive surgery (such as LASIK) and some medications (such as tetracycline and doxycycline).

How to Deal with Photophobia

The most effective way to reduce the discomfort caused by photophobia is to stay out of sunlight and dim indoor lights as much as possible while you are experiencing symptoms. Wearing dark sunglasses and keeping your eyes closed may also provide some relief.

In the summer it is more common for UV to trigger corneal inflammation (keratitis) and cause photosensitivity as well. Wind and eye dryness can also set off photosensitivity, which are more good reasons to wear sunglasses.

If the sensitivity is new and the cause is unknown, you should seek medical attention immediately, especially if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Blurry vision
  • Burning or pain in the eye
  • Fever and chills
  • Confusion and irritability
  • Severe headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness
  • Foreign body sensation

In cases where the photophobia is a symptom of an underlying issue, treating the issue will likely cause relief in your sensitivity. This will vary depending on the ailment but could include pain medications, eye drops or antibiotics, or anti-inflammatory medications. If the sensitivity is mild due to your genetic predisposition or a result of surgery, make sure you take your sunglasses every time you leave the house. People who wear prescription eyeglasses may consider photochromic lenses which automatically darken when exposed to light.

If you are uncomfortable, speak to your eye doctor about the best options for your condition.

Got a Shiner!

 

What Exactly Is a Black Eye?

A black eye, also known as a periorbital hematoma, is usually not an injury of the actual eye (which is why it is called “periorbital”- around the eye). It typically occurs when there is an injury to the face or the eye socket which causes bleeding beneath the skin and bruising. The term, “black eye” comes from the dark coloring of the bruising that occurs underneath the skin around the eye.

When a blunt force hits the eye socket, this can cause capillaries in the area to burst, causing hemorrhaging, also known as a hematoma. This blood can accumulate in the eye socket and as it begins to be reabsorbed into the surrounding tissues, the colors of the bruising begin to change. That’s why you will often notice the coloring of the black eye to go from a dark purplish-red color to brownish and then yellow.

Sometimes along with the external bruising, you might also notice a small amount of bleeding on the white surface of the eye, which is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. This is when the tiny blood vessels on the white sclera are broken and leak blood. It’s generally harmless but sometimes looks scarier to the patient than the black eye does. This condition will also reabsorb on its own and is nothing to be concerned about.

While most black eyes can look pretty serious due to the dramatic color, an uncomplicated black eye will typically heal within a week to ten days. If it doesn’t, there could be a more serious issue such as a bone fracture or an orbital blowout fracture. This could present with restricted eye movement, especially if looking up or down, and numbness of the cheek and/or upper lip on the same side as the black eye. The eye may even appear sunken in. Further, if there is bleeding within the actual eye (called a hyphema) or floaters or flashes in the vision, then it is definitely advisable to see your eye doctor as soon as possible. These could be signs of more serious damage such a corneal or retinal damage and can lead to vision loss.

Treatment for a Black Eye

Usually, the best treatment for a black eye is to apply a cold compress (or even better, a bag of frozen vegetables, which is more flexible and can conform to the contours of the face) directly on the area. The cold will reduce swelling and constrict capillaries to reduce internal bleeding as well. Apply the cold for about 15-20 minutes every hour.  If there is pain, over the counter pain medications can help.

If however, you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention:

  • Blood on the surface of the eye or a visible incision on the eye
  • Vision changes such as double vision, blurred vision, loss of vision or the appearance of floaters
  • Loss of consciousness, dizziness or fainting
  • Loss of eye movement
  • Persistent headaches
  • Blood or fluids coming from the ears or nose
  • Vomiting
  • Signs of infection such as excessive swelling, pus, redness or a fever
  • Severe pain

In addition to blunt trauma, black eyes can be caused by sinus infections, nasal or eye surgery or other infections in the area such as the teeth infections or cellulitis (a serious infection that can occur around the eyes). A skull fracture can also cause both eyes to turn black, sometimes known as raccoon eyes.

Unless you notice any severe symptoms you can rest assured that your black eye is a bruise just like anywhere else on the body and with a little care, rest and patience, it will clear up in no time.

April is Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month

 

Hey women! Did you know that women are more likely to suffer from vision problems and are at higher risk of permanent vision loss than men? Well 91% of the women surveyed recently didn’t know that, which means that many of them aren’t taking the necessary precautions to prevent eye damage and vision loss.

According to a recent study, the statistics for many of the major vision problems show that women have a higher percentage of incidence than men. These include:

  • Age-related Macular Degeneration 65%
  • Cataracts 61%
  • Glaucoma 61%
  • Refractive Error 56%
  • Vision Impairment 63%

Women are also more susceptible to develop chronic dry eye, partially because it is often associated with other health issues that are more common in women such as ocular rosacea which is three times more prevalent in women.  Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause can also contribute to dry eye.

It’s important for women to know the risks for eye-related diseases and vision impairment and the steps they can take to prevent eventual vision loss.  Here are some ways that you can help to protect your eyes and save your eyesight:

  • Find out about family history of eye diseases and conditions.
  • Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing 100% UV blocking sunglasses when outdoors.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Consume a healthy diet with proper nutrition and special eye health supplements as prescribed by an eye doctor.
  • Adhere to contact lens hygiene and safety.
  • Adhere to cosmetic hygiene and safety precautions.
  • Protect your eyes against extended exposure to blue light from computers, smartphones and LED lamps.
  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and have diabetes, see an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. In women who have diabetes, diabetic retinopathy can accelerate quickly during pregnancy and can present a risk for the baby as well.

Mothers are often charged with caring for the eye health of the entire family, but too often their own eye health needs fall to the wayside. It is critical that mothers take care of their eyes and overall health so that they can be in the best condition to care for their families.

Speak to your eye care professional about your personal eye health and vision risks and the precautions and measures you should take to protect your eyes.  Encourage the other women in your life to do so as well.  Once vision is lost, it often can’t be regained and there are many steps you can take to prevent it with proper knowledge and awareness.

The most important way to prevent vision loss is to ensure you schedule regular eye exams. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear as many eye issues are painless and symptomless, and sometimes by the time you notice symptoms, vision loss is untreatable.

It’s Time to Talk About Blue Light

Workplace Eye Safety Month

Blue light. Do you know what it is? Do you know where it comes from, or how it can be harmful to your eyes? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you are not alone, yet it is important that you become aware to protect your eyes for now and the years to come.

The reason blue light is suddenly becoming a big issue is because other than the sun, which is the biggest source of blue light, a significant source of blue light emission comes from digital devices and artificial lighting. As our world becomes increasingly digital – think: HD televisions, LED lights, computers, smartphones, tablets – we are all exposing our eyes to more and more amounts of blue light than ever before. And we are only beginning to understand the long term effects this has on our bodies and our eyes.

One of the biggest issues with blue light is that whether it is through work or leisure, people are exposed to screens at a close range for a large portion of the day. A survey from the Vision Council entitled, “Blue Light Exposure and Digital Eye Strain” recently showed that 87% of respondents used digital devices for more than two hours a day and over 52% regularly used two digital devices as the same time. This shift has drastically increased exposure and the number of symptoms that are reported. To date, research has shown that there are a number of ways blue light can impact your eyes including digital eye strain, sleep disturbances and retina damage that can lead to long term problems including serious eye diseases.

Digital eye strain is a condition that is characterized by dry, sore, tired or burning eyes, eye fatigue and sensitivity to light. It can also cause blurred or double vision, headaches, back, neck and shoulder aches and difficulty focusing or concentrating. These symptoms are most common in individuals that sit in front of the computer for two or more hours a day.

Studies show that exposure to blue light right before bedtime can cause disruptions in sleep and wakefulness because it causes a shift in the levels of melatonin, a hormone which affects your circadian rhythm and therefore your sleep patterns. So if you are using your smartphone to wind down in bed, put it down and dust off an old hardcover book!

Retina damage has been found to be a possible result of long term blue light exposure causing damage to the retinal cells in the eye which are responsible for clear vision. There has been evidence that this type of damage can lead to age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts later in life. In certain cases, your doctor might recommend Lutein and Zeaxanthin nutritional supplements to protect the macula from blue light damage.

Despite these risks, few people are taking action to protect their eyes from blue light. A recent study from Transitions Optical, The 2017 Employee Perceptions of Vision Benefits Survey, showed that there is also a significant generational difference in knowledge, habits, and attitude regarding blue light with millennials being more aware and concerned about the health effects it has on their eyes. Millennials are more likely to request prescription eyewear that has blue light protection and to know whether their current pair has that extra coverage. However, even the millennial generation is significantly lacking in awareness and prevention.

The best way to gain awareness of and protection against blue light is to speak to your eye doctor. There are a number of ways you can protect your eyes which include computer glasses, blue light lens filters, or even blue light filter screen protectors or apps that reverse screen colors for those that don’t use prescription eyewear. Each individual can find the best solution based on lifestyle, work environment and personal comfort. The most important takeaway is that you understand that blue light is an issue, take responsibility for your eye health and speak to your eye doctor about the best blue light solutions for you and your family.

 

Understanding Eye Color

 

Eye color is a hereditary trait that depends on the genes of both parents, as well as a little bit of mystery. The color of the eye is based on the pigments in the iris, which is a colored ring of muscle located at the center of the eye (around the pupil) that helps to control the amount of light that comes into your eye. Eye color falls on a spectrum of color that can range from dark brown, to gray, to green, to blue, with a whole lot of variation in between.

Genetics

The genetics of eye color are anything but straightforward. In fact, children are often born with a different eye color than either of their parents. For some time the belief was that two blue-eyed parents could not have a brown-eyed child, however, while it’s not common, this combination can and does occur. Genetic research in regards to eye color is an ongoing pursuit and while they have identified certain genes that play a role, researchers still do not know exactly how many genes are involved and to what extent each gene affects the final eye color.

The Iris

Looking at it simply, the color of the eye is based on the amount of the pigment melanin located in the iris. Large amounts of melanin result in brown eyes, while blue eyes result from smaller amounts of the pigment. This is why babies that are born with blue eyes (who often have smaller amounts of melanin until they are about a year old) often experience a darkening of their eye color as they grow and develop more melanin in the iris. In adults across the globe, the most common eye color worldwide is brown, while lighter colors such as blue, green and hazel are found predominantly in the Caucasian population.

Abnormal Eye Color

Sometimes the color of a person’s eyes is not normal. Here are some interesting causes of this phenomenon.

Heterochromia, for example, is a condition in which the two eyes are different colors, or part of one eye is a different color. This can be caused by genetic inconsistencies, issues that occur during the development of the eye, or acquired later in life due to an injury or disease.

Ocular albinism is a condition in which the eye is a very light color due to low levels of pigmentation in the iris, which is the result of a genetic mutation. It is usually accompanied by serious vision problems. Oculocutaneous albinism is a similar mutation in the body’s ability to produce and store melanin that affects skin and hair color in addition to the eyes.

Eye color can also be affected by certain medications. For example, a certain glaucoma eye drop is known to darken light irises to brown, as well as lengthen and darken eyelashes.

Eye Color – It’s More Than Meets the Eye

It is known that light eyes are more sensitive to light, which is why it might be hard for someone with blue or green eyes to go out into the sun without sunglasses. Light eyes have also shown to be a risk factor for certain conditions including age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Color Contact Lenses

While we can’t pick our eye color, we can always play around with different looks using colored contact lenses. Just be sure that you get a proper prescription for any contact lenses, including cosmetic colored lenses, from an eye doctor! Wearing contact lenses that were obtained without a prescription could be dangerous to your eyes and your vision.

 

 

 

6 Ways to Prevent Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration is a serious condition that can threaten your vision and general well-being. Characterized by the deterioration of the central area of the retina called the macula which is responsible for focused vision, the disease gradually reduces your central vision. This affects the ability to see fine details, recognize faces, read, drive, watch television and even use a computer. The disease often leaves some vision resulting in a condition called low vision, which is considered a form of legal blindness.

AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in the older population and the numbers are expected to increase as Americans and Canadians continue to live longer.

What causes AMD and how can it be prevented?

As you can see by the name, the primary risk factor of AMD is age, particularly over age 50. Caucasian women are the most common demographic to be hit with this ocular disease; family medical history and having lighter colored hair, skin and eyes play a large role as well. However, several lifestyle factors have been shown to cause an increase in AMD development; so there may be ways to reduce your risk, even if you have a genetic predisposition.

In fact, most of the controllable risk factors pose general health risks that cause a plethora of health issues, so addressing them will boost your overall health and wellness, in addition to protecting your eyes and vision from AMD. Here are 6 ways to prevent AMD and the vision loss that accompanies it:

1. Stop Smoking

Smoking, and even living with a smoker, have been shown to significantly increase your risks of developing AMD to between 2-5 times the risk of non-smokers! If you also have a hereditary risk, smoking compounds that risk tremendously.

2. Get Active

Studies show that obesity and a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of advanced macular degeneration that leads to significant vision loss. Maintaining a healthy weight and being active can reduce your risk. That could be as easy as regular walking, at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes.

3. Control Blood Pressure

Since the eye contains many tiny blood vessels, high blood pressure can have a serious impact on the health of your eyes. Have your blood pressure checked by your doctor and follow any medical advice you are given to reduce high blood pressure, whether that includes diet, exercise or medication.

4. Choose a Healthy Diet

A diet rich in antioxidants has been shown to protect against AMD.  Antioxidants can be found in abundance in dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, kale and collard greens, as well as orange fruits and vegetables such as peppers, oranges, mango and cantaloupe.  Eating a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables, 5-9 servings a day, as well as fish, which contain Omega-3, and avoiding sugar and processed foods will help to keep your body healthy in many ways, including reducing your risk of AMD.

5. Use UV and Blue Light Protection

Long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun and blue light (from digital devices among other things) have been linked to AMD. Make sure you wear sunglasses every time you are exposed to sunlight and wear blue light blocking glasses when you are viewing a digital device or computer for extended periods of time.

6. Take Supplements*

Certain nutritional supplements have been shown to slow the progression of AMD and the vision loss that accompanies it. This formula of supplements was developed from a 10-year study of 3,500 people with AMD called the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) and its successor AREDS2. It is not recommended to take supplementation as a preventative measure but rather only if you are diagnosed with intermediate or advanced AMD.

*Speak to your eye doctor before you make a decision about this option.

During your yearly comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will screen for early signs of AMD and recommend treatment if it’s detected. If you’re at greater risk – because of your age or a family history of AMD / blindness of unknown cause, for example – additional testing may be necessary.

AMD can be a devastating disease. If you are aware that you are at risk, it is worthwhile to do everything you can to prevent it and the vision loss that it can bring. Take the time to understand AMD and do what it takes to lower your chances of knowing its effects first-hand.

Are You Missing Your Child’s Hidden Vision Problem?

Your toddler may show every sign of good eyesight including the ability to see objects in the distance, however that doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she doesn’t have a vision problem.

Amblyopia is one common eye condition that is often hidden behind the appearance of good eyesight.  

Also known as “lazy eye” it usually occurs when the brain begins to ignore the signals sent by one eye, often because that eye is weaker and doesn’t focus properly. Sometimes it can occur in both eyes, in which case it’s called bilateral amblyopia. This eye condition is especially common in preemies, and tends to run in families as well, so it’s important to provide your eye doctor with a complete medical and family history.

There are several factors that can cause amblyopia to develop. These include:

  • astigmatism, 
  • high nearsightedness or farsightedness, 
  • uneven eye development as an infant,
  • congenital cataract (clouding of the lens of the eye),
  • strabismus (where the eyes are misaligned or “cross-eyed”)

However in many cases of amblyopia there may be no obvious visible structural differences in the eye. In addition to the fact that the eyes may look normal, vision often appears fine as the brain is able to compensate for the weaker eye by favoring the stronger one. Because of this, many children live with their eye condition for years before it is diagnosed. Unfortunately, as a person ages, the brain loses some of its plasticity (how easy it is to train the brain to develop new skills), making it much harder – if not impossible – to treat amblyopia in older children and adults. That’s why it’s so important for infants and young children to have a thorough eye exam.

Are There Any Signs of Amblyopia?

If you notice your child appears cross-eyed, that would be an indication that it’s time for a comprehensive eye exam to screen for strabismus and amblyopia development.

Preschoolers with amblyopia sometimes show signs of unusual posture when playing, such as head tilting, clumsiness or viewing things abnormally close.

However, often there are no signs or symptoms. The child typically does not complain, as he or she does not know what normal vision should look like. Sometimes the condition is picked up once children begin reading if have difficulty focusing on the close text. The school nurse may suggest an eye exam to confirm or rule out amblyopia following a standard vision test on each eye, though it might be possible to pass a vision screening test and still have amblyopia. Only an eye doctor can make a definitive diagnosis of the eye condition.

So How Do You Know If or When To Book a Pediatric Eye Exam?

Comprehensive eye and vision exams should be performed on children at an early age. That way, hidden eye conditions would be diagnosed while they’re still more easily treatable. An eye exam is recommended at 6 months of age and then again at 3 years old and before entering first grade. The eye doctor may need to use eye drops to dilate the pupils to confirm a child’s true refractive error and diagnose an eye condition such as amblyopia.

Treatment for Amblyopia

Glasses alone will not completely correct vision with amblyopia in most cases, because the brain has learned to process images from the weak eye or eyes as blurred images, and ignore them. There are several non-surgical treatment options for amblyopia. While your child may never achieve 20/20 vision as an outcome of the treatment and may need some prescription glasses or contact lenses, there are options that can significantly improve visual acuity.

Patch or Drops

In order to improve vision, one needs to retrain the brain to receive a clear image from the weak eye or eyes. In the case of unilateral amblyopia (one eye is weaker than the other), this usually involves treating the normal eye with a patch or drops to force the brain to depend on the weak eye. This re-establishes the eye-brain connection with the weaker one and strengthens vision in that eye. If a child has bilateral amblyopia, treatment involves a regimen of constantly wearing glasses and/or contact lenses with continual observation over time. 

Your eye doctor will prescribe the number of waking hours that patching is needed based on the visual acuity in your child’s weak eye; however, the periods of time that you chose to enforce wearing the patch may be flexible. During patching the child typically does a fun activity requiring hand eye coordination to stimulate visual development (such as a favorite video game, puzzle, maze etc) as passive activity is not as effective. 

The earlier treatment starts, the better the chances are of stopping or reversing the negative patterns formed in the brain that harm vision. Amblyopia treatment with patches or drops may be minimally effective in improving vision as late as the early teen years (up to age 14) but better results are seen in younger patients.

Vision Therapy

Many optometrists recommend vision therapy to train the eyes using exercises that strengthen the eye-brain connection. While success rates tend to be better in children, optometrists have also seen improvements using this occupational therapy type program to treat amblyopia in adults. 

The key to improvement through any non-surgical treatment for amblyopia is compliance. Vision therapy exercises must be practiced on a regular basis. Children that are using glasses or contact lenses for treatment, must wear them consistently. Your eye doctor will recommend the schedule of the patching, drops, or vision therapy eye exercise and the best course of treatment.

Amblyopia: Take-home Message

Even if your child is not showing any signs of vision problems, and especially if they are, it is important to have an eye examination with an eye doctor as soon as possible, and on a regular basis. While the eyes are still young and developing, diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions such as amblyopia are greatly improved.

Holiday Season Shopping: Are Nerf Guns Safe for the Eyes?

 

Nerf guns or blasters come in a remarkable number of shapes and sizes and have become incredibly popular for use in the home and even in large scale “Nerf Wars”.  However publicity surrounding the toy has not been all positive.  Many parents out there are questioning the safety of the toy foam guns, particularly to the eyes, before making the purchase.

The question of safety ultimately comes down to the user.  Nerf darts are relatively soft, foamy and not inherently dangerous, but if shot in the wrong way, they could cause pain or even serious injury. This is particularly true of the eyes because they are a vulnerable organ that can be damaged easily upon impact. Injuries from even a soft projectile could include corneal abrasions (surface scratches), bleeding, cataracts and even retinal detachment which can lead to permanent vision loss.

Nevertheless, Nerf guns are fun and can even be used to help motor development and other skills, so with the right guidelines, children can learn to use them safely and benefit from the enjoyment they provide.

Want surefire eye safety? Wear safety glasses!

The best defense for your eyes is safety glasses.  This is the one way you can be sure that you or your child’s eyes are truly safe during Nerf shooting.  We strongly recommend safety glasses be worn during any play that involves projectile objects, particularly for small children or during serious games such as Nerf Wars.

General rules of Nerf Gun play:

  1. Never shoot at the face.
  2. Never look into the barrel of the nerf gun, even if you think it isn’t loaded.
  3. Avoid walking around with your finger on the trigger until you are ready to point and aim at the proper target.
  4. Only shoot others that are “playing” and are aware that you are aiming at them.
  5. Don’t shoot from a moving vehicle (including a bicycle, skateboard, rollerblades, etc.).
  6. Don’t shoot at a moving vehicle.
  7. Never shoot at a close range.
  8. Never leave a loaded gun in reach of a child or individual that is not able to use the toy properly and safely.

To be safe, all toy guns that shoot projectiles should be treated as a dangerous toy in order to ensure proper usage and precautions. Yes, Nerf guns can cause serious eye damage and even vision loss, but these type of injuries can be caused by many “harmless” objects as well. Before you purchase a toy like this for your child, ask yourself whether the child is old enough and mature enough to understand the safety issues involved and to be able to use it responsibly.

Don’t Let Fall Eye Allergies Get You Down

 

Red, itchy, watery eyes and swollen eyelids (along with sneezing, congestion or a runny nose)… these symptoms are a clear indication that allergy season has arrived. These allergic symptoms are caused by a reaction to allergens, which are substances in the environment that are usually harmless. If, however, you are one of the unlucky that is predisposed to allergies, these substances can illicit a serious and sometimes even debilitating allergic response.

As opposed to food, medicine, or insect allergies which don’t often affect the eyes, eye allergies are a common symptom of airborne allergens including mold, pollen (from trees and flowers), dust and pet dander. The summer fall and spring are often the worst times for a high pollen count and many individuals suffer during these seasons.

An allergic eye reaction occurs when your eye releases histamines in an effort to protect itself from a perceived threat (an allergen such as dust, pollen, animal dander, mold spores, eye drops or airborne chemicals). The release of the histamines causes the symptoms of redness, itchiness, burning and tearing. This response is also sometimes known as allergic conjunctivitis.

The most common type of eye allergies are perennial and seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Perennial eye allergies are a response to household allergens that exist all year round such as pet dander, mold, or dust mites. Seasonal allergies usually result from pollen from plants, grass and trees that are found in the air and depend on the season and the types of pollens in the environment.  Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is often more severe than perennial and can cause puffy eyelids and itching which can make symptoms worse.

The best way to reduce discomfort and prevent an allergic reaction is to stay away from allergens as much as possible. Here are some tips on how to reduce exposure:

  • Minimize outdoor exposure during pollen season:
  • Stay inside when pollen counts are particularly high or during a windy day.
  • Keep windows closed and use air conditioner with a clean filter.
  • Wear sunglasses outside to keep irritants from entering the eyes.
  • Reduce indoor allergens:
  • Wash bedding frequently in hot water and use mite-proof covers on pillows, blankets and mattresses.
  • Prevent household mold by reducing humidity and keeping areas that are subject to humidity or dampness (such as bathrooms, kitchens or basements) clean. Use a dehumidifier when necessary and clean any mold you see with bleach.
  • To reduce dust, clean floors and surfaces with a damp rag or mop rather than sweeping or dry dusting.
  • Wash your hands and clothes after coming into contact with animals.
  • DO NOT rub your eyes as this can worsen symptoms, greatly aggravating swelling and itchiness, and can sometimes even cause an infection.

If you have severe allergies, avoid contact lens wear or reduce wear time when allergies flare up, as contact lenses can worsen symptoms and do not fit as they normally would when the eyes are swollen. This is why having back up glasses is so important. Changing to one-day single-use disposable contacts can also sometimes reduce allergy symptoms.

There are some steps you can take to alleviate symptoms of eye allergies. Over-the-counter solutions include artificial tears, decongestant eye drops (which shouldn’t be used for longer than a week) or oral antihistamines (which can sometimes worsen symptoms). If no eye drops are available, cool compresses (avoid heat) will also help to reduce the itch.  If these treatments don’t work, you can get a prescription for stronger eye drops (antihistamine or short term steroid drops to reduce symptoms), oral antihistamines or possibly immunotherapy (such as allergy shots).

If you are experiencing symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, don’t just assume they are allergies. See your eye doctor to determine the cause to ensure that it is not a more serious eye condition.

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