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Archive for December, 2014

Double_Vision

Double vision, as the name suggests, is an eye condition where an individual sees two images when he or she is looking at one. The images can appear to be side by side or they can appear as if one is on top of the other. In some instances, people with this condition experience it when looking towards a particular direction. They can experience it for a while before their normal vision kicks back, and some can even experience this condition permanently. Some people suffer from double vision owing to complications in one eye while in others it results from complications in both.

It is easy for an adult to explain that he or she is experiencing double vision as soon as it appears; however, in small children the detection is not as easy. You can, however, detect the presence of the condition if you find a child closing one eye to see better, squinting to the point of closing his or her eyes when looking at something, or tilting his or her head away from the direction of the object he or she is looking at.

Double vision is in three forms

1.        Physiological double vision – The double vision here occurs on objects on the background, the ones that an individual is not focusing on. The brain usually corrects this type of double vision, and an individual can live without facing any negative challenges.

2.        Binocular double vision – Here both of the patient’s eyes do not work properly. When either of the eyes is covered, the patient is able to see clearly.

3.        Monocular double vision – Here is where one eye is affected, resulting in double vision in one eye. The slight separation between the two images can be very disturbing, and covering the defective eye will allow an individual to see clearly.

How do people get double vision?

The eye has many parts, and each part depends on the others to function properly. If there is a section of the eye that is not working properly, then the likelihood of getting double vision is high. Here are some of the most common causes of the condition:

  • Problems with the brain

The brain is responsible for interpreting all the signals from the eye, and a problem with the section responsible for visual interpretation will likely lead to double vision. A person who has suffered a brain tumor, bleeding within the brain resulting from trauma, or serious headaches is likely going to experience double vision at some point.

  • Problems with the eye muscles

Muscles within the eye cause it to move, making it easy to focus on objects with minimal effort. However, if one eye develops muscle problems it will not move and work as efficiently as the other eye, and this will usually lead to double vision. Several eye illnesses and conditions can lead to eye muscle complications as well.

  • Problems with the eye nerves

The nerves within the eye can develop problems that can lead to double vision, problems that have a connection with the eye muscles and different eye diseases. Some of the common conditions that affect the nerves and lead to double vision include diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and Guillain-Barre syndrome.

  • Problems with the lens

The most common problem with the lens that leads to double vision is the presence of cataracts. Depending on whether an individual has cataracts on one or both eyes, the double vision will be evident in either one or both eyes. The good news here is that cataracts are curable.

  • Problems with the cornea

If an individual’s cornea has an abnormal surface, he or she is likely to experience double vision. The irregular surface of the cornea distorts the light entering the eye and this can be due to infections, excessive dryness, or scars on the cornea. Usually, corneal complications lead to double vision on one eye.

Reasons why double vision is a very serious condition

Double vision is not always considered a life threatening condition, though in some cases, it can lead to serious accidents. An individual with double vision would not make a good driver because that could be a recipe for an accident. Furthermore, a person suffering from double vision would not fit into professions that require precision and accuracy, except in situations where he or she has gone through an eye correction procedure.

Since double vision rarely affects an individual without an underlying condition, the underlying condition is what is highly dangerous. Double vision can be an indication that an individual has a blood clot in the eye, the presence of an aneurysm, a thyroid disease, cancer, a brain tumor, an underlying injury etc.

Dealing with Eye Diseases: Cataracts and Glaucoma

Monday, December 22, 2014 @ 10:12 PM
Author: Amit Mathur

Cataracts

It can be hard dealing with eye diseases. They not only affect your daily vision but also your lifestyle. Many eye health problems can go undetected and untreated for years, leaving you with irreversible effects. It is vital to take care of your eyesight. Cataracts and glaucoma are two of the world’s leading eye diseases and many people are unaware of the signs to help treat them and prevent loss of vision.

Cataracts

Cataracts is the clouding of the eyes behind the iris and the pupil and is one of the most common causes of vision loss around the world. Related to aging, cataracts occurs when the protein in the eyes clump together to cause a clouding effect. Your vision slowly becomes duller and blurrier which will lead to simple things such as reading harder to do. Besides age, factors that may cause cataracts include:

–       Exposure to too much UV radiation

–       Diabetes

–       Obesity

–       Smoking

–       Large amount of alcohol consumption on a regular basis

Early treatment may save your sight and if you find that you have any of the above symptoms, it is vital that you see your eye care professional to arrange the best possible treatment.

Depending on the severity of the cloudiness in your pupils will determine what will be the best treatment is for you. If caught early, most people will only need to wear glasses to help their vision. When glasses cannot help your vision any longer, your eye care professional may decide that you need to have surgery. Cataracts surgery entails the removal of the cloudy lense, which is replaced with an artificial intraocular lense.

Eating healthy can help prevent cataracts. Vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein and the zeaxanthin found in many fruits and vegetables may be able to help. Always wear sunglasses when outside to protect your eyes from the harmful rays and glare.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is another common cause of vision loss around the world where the optic nerve at the back of the eye is slowly destroyed. Blockage of circulation or drainage weakens the nerves to your eyes causing this disease loss of vision. Due to the poor blood supply, the fibers to your eyes are damaged and it can slowly destroy your vision partially or completely. Unfortunately when the damage is done it is irreversible and unfortunately permanent.

Some may experience full vision loss and some may only have side vision loss depending on what fibers are damaged. There are many warning signs to watch out for with this eye disease including, excess tearing, unusual adjusting to dark rooms, distorted vision, difficult focusing, double vision, dry and itchy eyes. They may not all lead to glaucoma, however any of these signs must be taken seriously and you should seek medical attention straight away.

For those that do not have any signs and symptoms, it is still advisable to have regular check ups at the age of 40 and above. Unfortunately when the damage is done and vision is lost, glaucoma is irreversible. If caught early it can be treated with eye drops and surgical procedures including lasers, which will prevent loss of vision.

Although anyone can get glaucoma, there are some people higher at risk. Those in this category are:

–       Older people

–       People who have diabetes

–       People who have had previous eye injuries

–       Excessive use of steroids

–       Family history

Dealing with cataracts and glaucoma along with other eye diseases can be quite difficult and challenging. Slowly it can become worse and lead to vision loss and blindness, which can make it can extremely difficult to live the same lifestyle. Prevention is always better than cure so whether or not you have any symptoms of eye diseases, have a check every twelve months to ensure that you are healthy. The earlier signs of detection will allow you to treat the issue with the best possible outcome.

The Relationship Between Diabetes And Eye Problems

Monday, December 15, 2014 @ 09:12 PM
Author: Amit Mathur

Diabetes

Sight might seem like a simple function, but the science behind it is quite complex. When you look at something, light bounces off the object and into your eye, where the cornea and the lens help you to focus and place the light signals onto the retina. The retina, which has a complex blood vessel network, is a very delicate tissue with a high sensitivity to light. The retina has the ability to convert light signals into electric signals, a form that can travel to the brain through the optic nerve. The brain thereafter interprets the electric signals and helps an individual to ‘see’ what he or she is looking at.

Common eye conditions that can result from diabetes:

  •         Diabetic retinopathy – Here, diabetes damages the blood vessel network in the retina, resulting into serious eye complications.
  •         Cataracts – Here, the long-term result of having diabetes can result in the development of a cloudy substance in the lens.
  •         Blurring of vision – The fluctuation of the blood sugar levels in the body caused by diabetes can result into the fluctuation of blurring depending on how high or how low the sugar levels are.

Focusing on Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is one of the most serious eye conditions that can result from diabetes. Presence of the disease in the eye will lead to either blocking of the blood vessels to the retina or leaking of blood in the retina, a situation that will lead to serious vision problems. The type of diabetes and its seriousness will dictate the extent to which an individual’s vision will be affected. Type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes will lead to 40% and 20% chances of getting retinopathy respectively.

Diabetic retinopathy develops through the following stages:

  •         Background diabetic retinopathy – Here there is a very mild effect on the blood vessel, leading to slight bulging and slight fluid and blood leaks.  At this point, the disease has no effect on an individual’s vision.
  •         Proliferative diabetic retinopathy – This is the blocking of the blood vessels in the retina, leading to lack of oxygen in some sections of the retina. The eye will start growing more blood vessels to restore the normal oxygen supply, but the vessels that grow are weaker and susceptible to bleeding and result in hemorrhages that obscure vision or lead to total loss of sight.
  •         Diabetic maculopathy – Here, diabetes affects the macula, a condition that associates itself with the above forms of retinopathy. This condition affects the central vision, making it hard for an individual to see details clearly.

How to fight diabetic retinopathy

The best way to fight diabetic retinopathy is to control the diabetes in the body. Therefore, visiting a medical professional is at the top of the list, since he or she will help you to:

  1.       Go for retinal screening on a regular basis, since this will help detect the condition early and treat it before it gets worse
  2.       Control the glucose levels in the body
  3.       Maintain a healthy blood pressure
  4.       Check the levels of cholesterol you take in
  5.       Keep fit and give up smoking

The treatment of the condition

Thanks to the advancements in the medical field, it is possible for doctors to treat diabetic retinopathy using laser technology. This treatment works best for patients who discover the condition early enough, thereby placing emphasis on the need for routine eye checkups. The advantage of laser treatment is that no cutting is involved, therefore no blood bleeding will occur, and it can prevent new blood vessels from growing in the eye.

However, this laser eye treatment will not always result in improving a patient’s eyesight, though it will undoubtedly prevent the eye from becoming worse. Laser eye treatment for diabetic retinopathy can take either of the following procedures:

  •         Localized laser treatment – Here, the laser treatment seals leaking blood vessels, and reduces the level of swelling in the retina. This treatment is fast, and has no negative effect on a patient’s vision.
  •         Pan-retinal laser treatment – This treatment is more extensive compared to the localized laser treatment. This procedure seeks to treat a large section of the retina where new blood vessels are growing. The extensive nature of this treatment can lead to loss of peripheral vision, and can affect color perception and night vision.

The above treatment can result in a bit of eye discomfort, therefore using painkillers and eye drops will help to bring relief. The brightness of the laser can affect a patient’s sight for a few hours, but the situation improves after a while.

Eye_Exercises

Eye glasses are a wonderful way to see the world clearly and with precision.  Optometrists do wonderful work to ensure that we all have healthy, strong eyes that will serve us for the long haul. That’s why It is very important to maintain a regular eye check-up schedule and to develop a relationship with the optometrist to allow he or she to develop a relationship with your unique eyes.

However, eye care includes more than testing your vision and eye health.  There are simple exercises we can do to maintain, and even improve, our vision over time.  Of course, nothing natural is a quick fix.  As with the use of natural medicines, exercises for any aspect of the body takes time, effort and consistency.   With a little effort it is indeed possible for your to strengthen and maintain your eyesight.

Take a Computer Break

Take a break from to digital world – and that means every digital device you are exposed to.   We live in environments and with objects that make us focus our attention for long periods of time.  Bright lights beam into our eye constantly as we stare at our televisions, computers, tables and smartphones.  We can be laser focused for hours as we lose track of time.

Step away to take a break from technology.  It will do your physical and mental body good.  More importantly, it will save you wear and tear on your eyes over time.  Even looking away from the screen every few moments while you sit can help.   Take a coffee break and go talk to your favorite office friend.  Your eyes will thank you later and your social life just may improve.

Take Off Those Coke Bottles (or Contact Lenses)

People with mild vision challenges are often advised not to wear their glasses or contact all the time.  It can create an unnecessary dependency.  Eye muscles, like any other muscle in the body, can atrophy and weaken if they are not being used properly.  It is important for you to train those muscles just as you would train the biceps in your arms.

Why not take off your glasses or contacts if you are in a safe, familiar environment such as your home or office?  We know these places like the back of our hands.  You could easily find the sofa, your bed and even items in your kitchen if you needed to without the use of your eye helpers.  If you are able, give the crutches a break and build those muscles.

Look North South East and West

Our modern lives often only require us to look in one direction.  As human we have tunnel vision and we look straight ahead most of the time.  Rarely is there eminent danger that we have to be aware of as modern humans.  As a result, our peripheral vision suffers.  It is important to strengthen the vision you see out of the side of your eye.  The following exercises will assist with improving the peripheral vision.

Sitting in a comfortable position with your eyes open, start by looking straight ahead.  Look up as far as you can and hold for 30 seconds.  Then look to your right as far as you can see.  Hold this gaze for 30 seconds.  Next look down and then to the left, holding each for 30 seconds.  As you hold the gaze in each direction, purposefully try to see further than you normally would.  Do not strain, simply try to see beyond your comfort zone.  Go through the cycle two more times and then reverse.  Repeat the same exercises, clockwise and counter-clockwise, with your eyes closed.  After you are finished, rest with your eyes closed.

The Funky Four Corners

The next exercises are similar to the previous set, except you will start by looking up and to the right while you hold for 30 seconds.  Then look down and to the right and hold.  Repeat to the bottom left and then to the top left to complete the clockwise rotation, holding each for 30 seconds.  Repeat the series two more times and then reverse.  Finally repeat the same exercises, clockwise and counter-clockwise, with your eyes closed.  After you are finished, rest with your eyes closed.

If you find that the exercises make you dizzy or uncomfortable, shorten the length of holding time and do not strain.  Take your time, this is not a sprint.  Natural healthcare is always a marathon. In the words of Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid, “Patience Young Grasshopper”.  Practice and it will come.

Are you willing to take the test?  Give these simple exercises a try.  At worst, they will not work and you can go back to your coke bottle frames.  At best, you will impress your optometrist and improve your vision for the long haul.

Are Colored Contact Lenses Safe?

Monday, December 1, 2014 @ 10:12 PM
Author: Amit Mathur

Contact_Lenses

Have you ever wished you had dazzling blue eyes, or have you ever admired the unique violet eyes of Elizabeth Taylor and wished you could have the same? You can’t do anything about the genetic hand you were dealt at birth, but you can easily change your eye color at any time you want without surgery. You just need colored contacts.

Colored contacts are tinted to change the color of your iris. An enhancement tint can deepen the intensity of your natural color. For example, if you have light blue eyes, you can make them a deep, dark blue.

What most people think of when they think of colored contacts are opaque tints. These are solid-colored lenses that can be used on dark eyes and that can change your eye literally any color. You can even get specialty lenses such as those that glow in the dark. Costume lenses and those used in the theater and film are opaque tints. These lenses are used in movies like Twilight with fantasy creatures like vampires and werewolves.

Opaque tints can inhibit your vision slightly because they remain fixed while your pupil may not. For example, your pupil gets larger in low-light situations, opening up your field of vision. However, the open area on the contact lens remains the same, so you may have some limited sight.

Color contacts can include vision correction, or they can be purchased simply for fashion. Plano color contacts are those that are worn for cosmetic purposes only.

Whether you are purchasing color contacts for vision correction or not, you must have a prescription for them. The FDA considers color contact lenses to be medical devices, and it is illegal to sell them without a prescription. However, that doesn’t stop people from selling them at flea markets, novelty shops and online.

Wearing colored contact lenses can be perfectly safe — if you buy them with a prescription from a reputable vendor and you follow the right care instructions.

To purchase colored contact lenses, you must visit an ophthalmologist for an eye exam and fitting. Contact lenses are designed to fit the individual wearer. If you put on contact lenses that are not designed for your eye, you risk damaging your eye and losing your eyesight. Your eye doctor will write you a prescription, which you can use to shop online or at an eyeglass shop.

Getting a prescription is the single most important thing you can do to safely wear contact lenses. Other care instructions include:

  • Wash your hands before handling your contact lenses or putting them in your eye.
  • Use a specially designed contact solution to clean your contacts. Never use water or saline and never reuse the solution.
  • Never wear your contact lenses to sleep.
  • Never wear your contact lenses while swimming or showering.
  • Never share contacts with another person.
  • Don’t wear contacts if your eyes are red or irritated.
  • Always clean your contact lens case with the specially designed contact solution, and never transfer solution between cases.
  • Keep the bottle of contact lens solution clean, and don’t allow the tip to become contaminated by touching it with your hand or other surfaces.
  • Replace your contact lenses as recommended by your eye doctor and your case every three months.

These care instructions are designed to minimize the risk of infection. You can spread bacteria through your hands. Water can also spread bacteria and dry out your lenses.

Risks of infection or wearing contact lenses that don’t properly fit include:

  • Scratches and abrasions on the cornea, which is the dome that covers your iris
  • Ulcer on the cornea
  • Infection
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Appearance of blood vessels in the cornea
  • Vision problems
  • Blindness

What may start as a seemingly minor symptom can lead to serious vision problems or loss very quickly. It is important that you see your eye doctor right away if you have any signs of redness, eye pain or vision problems.

You can safely enjoy the many benefits of wearing colored contacts so long as you follow the right care instructions and you see your eye doctor for a proper exam and fitting. You may pay a little extra for the exam, but you’ll pay far less in the long run for medical bills and the personal cost of pain and vision loss. If cost is a concern, you can also talk to your doctor about getting daily disposables, which are a suitable option if you only plan to wear the contacts on special occasions.