Vancouver Optometrists & Eye Doctors

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Archive for March, 2015

Eye_Drops

Eye drops are a simple and convenient way of administering medicine or lubricating the eye. Eye drops are usually very effective because upon administration, they relieve itchiness, redness, and allergy symptoms in the eyes. However, each eye drop is different and the level of relief will depend upon the eye condition and the contents of the eye drop.

Just like all other medications out there, eye drops can have some minor side effects. Most side effects are mild and can be found on the pamphlet provided when purchased. It is important to realize that side effects tend to diminish after continued use. However, If side effects persist with and you continue to experience irritation, headache or swelling, it is important to speak with your eye care professional as soon as possible.

The different types of eye drops and their use

The two main categories of eye drops include over the counter eye drops and prescription eye drops. The former eye drops are cheaper than the latter, but prescription eye drops have a more specialized function. The following are specific types of eye drops and the conditions that they are used to address.

Eye drops for treating soreness, discharge, or swelling

Establishing the underlying cause for the above conditions is very important before using any eye drops. Soreness can result from straining, tiredness, or dryness, but excessive soreness should always lead you to an eye professional. The best eyedrops for these conditions are lubricating as they provide relief from irritation, eye stress, allergies, and inflammation. However, in the event of the production of a yellowish, thick discharge from the eyes, it is important to go for prescription eye drops.

Eye drops for treating Dry eyes

Dry eyes is one of the most common eye conditions and eye drops can help an individual to cope with the problem effectively. The eye drops used in this case are usually lubricating, and they play the role of tears in the eyes. These eye drops will often work for people with dryness resulting from windy conditions, staring at a computer for long hours, tiredness, or extremely sunny conditions. It is important to consult your eye care professional for advice regarding Dry eyes.

Eye drops for treating an eye allergy or itch

Antihistamine eye drops are best for allergies or itchiness. These eye drops treat an allergy by reducing the histamine in the eye tissue. Allergies can cause an individual to develop redness, itchiness, swollen eyes, and watery and puffy eyes. It is a good idea to begin with over the counter medicine if the allergies or itchiness is not too much; however, it is important to visit a doctor if the symptoms persist.

Eye drops for treating redness

Several conditions can lead to eye redness, with the presence of tiny and visible blood vessels on the sclera (white section of the eye) being one of them. In the case of reddening, an individual should go for whitening or decongestant eye drops, which shrink the blood vessels causing the eye to become white. A concern here is that these decongestants can hide a serious eye problem, which is the reason why an individual should contact an eye professional first.

Eye drops for treating pink eye

Pink eye is a condition that describes a number of very common conjunctivitis infections. The eye drops will depend on the type of conjunctivitis, whether bacterial or viral. The bacterial conjunctivitis requires a doctor to prescribe medication while the viral conjunctivitis can go away on its own after causing a lot of discomfort.

Eye drops for contact lens wearers

Wearing contact lenses is a major cause of discomfort and dryness, giving you enough reasons to go for rewetting drops. These drops provide the required relief and help to lubricate the eyes, though it is recommended that you visit an eye care professional as this may be a sign that you need a different brand of lenses.

Best Supplements to Support Eye Health

Monday, March 23, 2015 @ 07:03 PM
Author: Amit Mathur

Supplements-

A healthy diet is the foundation for good overall health. A varied diet of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats provides the vitamins and nutritientsfor your body to build healthy tissues, to fight disease and to function optimally.

A healthy diet is essential to protecting your vision and preventing eye disease. However, sometimes it can be challenging to eat healthy all the time. We eat fast food when we’re too busy to cook. We eat sugary and salty snacks when they’re available at the office. We skip meals.

If you can’t always eat the healthy diet you want to eat, you can support your nutrition by taking the right supplements. Here are a few of the best supplements to support eye health:

Vitamin B Complex

Vitamin B complex includes a number of important B vitamins, including B6, B12, B1, B5, B2, B3, biotin and choline. These vitamins are essential for proper hormone regulation, reducing inflammation and reducing homocysteine levels. All of these can help reduce the risk of problems with the retina and of macular degeneration. Folic acid and thiamin are especially important in protecting eye health.

Lutein

Lutein is found naturally in green leafy vegetables like Spinach and Kale. If you’re not a big fan of eating your greens, you can supplement with lutein to get the nutrition you need for your eyes. Lutein helps to reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Aim to take at least 20 mg of lutein per day.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant that reduces the risk of inflammation and fights a number of disease processes in the body. That’s why so many people take it when they are starting to come down with a cold or other minor illness. However, taking it daily can also reduce your risk of more serious diseases. For eye health, Vitamin C can also reduce your risk of cataracts.

Vitamin D

You can naturally get Vitamin D by spending a lot of time outside in the sun. Your body synthesizes Vitamin D from the rays of the sun. However, if you don’t live in a sunny area or if it is winter time, you can also get Vitamin D from foods and supplements. Recent research suggests that many people are not getting enough Vitamin D, which is hurting their health. For eye health, Vitamin D can help lower your risk of macular degeneration.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, as well as in walnuts and flaxseed. Omega-3 fatty acids support a number of health outcomes, including a lower risk for heart disease and a stronger metabolism. For eye health, Omega-3 fatty acids reduce the risk of dry eyes, as well as some eye degeneration and disease.

Vitamin E

You may know that Vitamin E is a good choice for healing wounds. You may have even cut open a Vitamin E capsule to rub it on your burns or cuts. However, this essential nutrient is also good for eye health. You can just swallow the supplement instead of applying it topically. Vitamin E can reduce the risk of macular degeneration, protecting eye health long into your Golden Years.

Beta-Carotene

Beta-Carotene is found naturally in carrots, and it is known as Vitamin A. Not only does Vitamin A help to boost your immune system, but it also improves your eye health by promoting stronger night vision. Just make sure you talk to your doctor about the right dosage if you’re a smoker. The combination of smoking and too much Beta-Carotene can increase your risk for some cancers.

Bilberry

Bilberry is an herb that has supporting properties for eye health. It helps improve the flow of oxygen and blood to the eyes, strengthen collagen to support the eyes, and helps to regenerate purple in the retina, which aids in night vision and vision in other low-light situations. Bilberry also has antioxidants that support overall eye health and general health for the body.

Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements as there may be a risk of combining some of these vitamins and herbs with other medications you are taking or as a result of other underlying health issues. Your doctor can let you know what combination of supplements is best for your eye health and what the appropriate dosage is to take.

Of course, eating a healthy diet is the best way to support your overall health and your eye health.

Eye Care 101

Monday, March 16, 2015 @ 06:03 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

Eye_Care_101

A lot of people don’t think about their eye health until they start having a problem reading their nightly book or making out the signs on the highway. That is a mistake.

Taking a proactive role in your eye care can improve your overall eye health and preserve your vision. You’ll reduce your risk of degenerative eye diseases and protect your overall quality of life.

Here’s everything you need to know about caring for your eye health:

Frequency of Eye Exams

Getting an eye exam is one of the most important things you can do for your eye health. The general recommendations are to get an eye exam every year to three years. However, those recommendations can change depending on your age, your family history or other risk factors.

Good eye care starts young. The American Optometric Association says that children should get their first eye exam at six months. They should then have a follow-up exam at three years and again just before starting school.

Those who don’t have any risk factors can then get an eye exam every two years until the age of 60. After that, eye exams should be performed yearly.

Children who have risk factors may need to get an eye exam earlier than six months or more frequently than every two years. Risk factors can include premature birth, developmental delays, crossed eyes or a family history of eye problems.

Risk factors for adults may include health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, eye injury, or a family history of eye problems. Adults who work in jobs that could threaten their vision may also need more frequent eye exams.

What to Expect in the Eye Exam

A comprehensive eye exam includes several tests that assess not only your vision but also your eye health.

The exam will usually start with your doctor asking you about your overall eye health and if you are experiencing any problems, such as pain, blurred vision or other vision issues. Your doctor will also ask you about your eye health history and your family’s health history. If your family has a history of glaucoma, for example, it will increase your risk for vision problems yourself.  Illnesses such as diabetes can also impact your eye health.

Your doctor will test your vision distance with the classic eye exam test: The giant letter chart with the big “E” right on top. This test will measure how well you can see at near and far distances. You will be asked to cover one eye while reading certain lines of the chart with the other eye.

Your doctor will shine a light in your eyes to look for any problems and to test the reaction of your pupils. You will also be asked to follow an object with your eyes so your doctor can evaluate their movement.

Drops will be put administered to dilate your eyes so your doctor can inspect your retina and the optic nerve. Your doctor will also use a special machine to administer a fast puff of air to your eye to measure the eye pressure.

All of these tests will measure how well your eyes can see, how far they can see, and how well they work together. The tests will also look for the early signs of eye disease, such as glaucoma, presbyopia, or astigmatism.

Eye Protection

Getting an eye exam on schedule is a great way to monitor your eye health and to discover the early signs of a problem. However, you also need to protect your eyes to prevent these problems from occurring.

Wearing sunglasses can help you protect your eyes every day. UV rays can damage your vision and your eyes. You should wear your sunglasses even when you don’t think the sun is very bright. UV rays can be just as damaging on cloudy days.

Eating a healthy diet can also help you protect your eye health. The antioxidants in leafy greens like spinach and kale can protect against cellular damage from things like sunlight and pollution.

Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and — with Vitamin E — can build healthy tissue. Good sources of Vitamin C include grapefruit, strawberries and Brussels sprouts. Sources of Vitamin E include nuts like almonds and pecans.

By taking a proactive approach to your eye health by eating a healthy diet and getting regular eye exams, you can maintain strong vision throughout your life and reduce your risk of eye disease. You’ll be glad you took these steps when you don’t have to worry about getting glasses or contact lenses.

How to Give Your Baby the Best Start for Healthy Vision

Monday, March 9, 2015 @ 06:03 AM
Author: Amit Mathur

baby_vision

Your baby may not be able to see much in the womb, but eyesight develops rapidly in utero. Your baby’s eyes remain closed until about the seventh month in the womb. Even though the baby will be practicing blinking frequently after that, he or she won’t be able to see much more than a blur.

At birth, your baby can only see about eight to 12 inches forward. However, vision will begin to develop vision rapidly, and soon will allow the baby to work out more shapes and colors.

Your baby’s eyes are doing hard work from early in pregnancy through the first years of life. The eyes are learning to dilate and contract, to react to light, and to focus on images.

From your pregnancy through the first years of your baby’s life, you have significant influence over your baby’s eye health (as well as overall health). Here are a few things you can do to give your baby the best start for healthy vision:

Get the Right Prenatal Care

Since so much of your baby’s development happens before birth, proper prenatal care is essential. You must eat a healthy, balanced diet to give your baby all the necessary nutrients, and you must attend regular appointments with your obstetrician.

Proper prenatal care will also reduce the risk of birth defects, which can also affect vision.

Early Eye Care

When your baby is first born, doctors will administer eye drops to reduce the risk of infection and protect the developing eyes. It is important to deliver your baby in a hospital or other professional health facility with experienced care providers.

During the early months of your baby’s life, you can encourage healthy vision development by changing the height of the crib, placing a mobile near the crib or a variety of toys on a playmat, and playing hand games like Patty Cake. Different toys and activities will stimulate your baby’s sight.

Installing a night light in your baby’s room will also help your baby focus on objects in the room and strengthen eyesight.

The American Optometric Association recommends that babies get their first eye exam at six months of age. Your baby won’t be asked to read the letters off an eye chart, obviously. However, your doctor will inspect your baby’s eyes, including their movement and their reaction to light.

Ongoing Eye Care

As long as your baby does not have any risks such as a family history of eye disease, it probably won’t be necessary to have another appointment until age 3. After that, he’ll need to have another eye exam just before entering school, usually around the age of five.

Taking your child to these eye exams can help discover problems in their early stages. Early treatment can help preserve eyesight.

Signs of Problems

Knowing the signs of eye problems can help you get your child the care he needs before the problem becomes worse.

Since your baby isn’t talking yet, you’ll have to observe his behavior carefully. Signs of a problem with his vision may include:

  • Red or crusty eyelids
  • Excessive tearing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Constant eye movement
  • White pupils

Some of these symptoms may indicate an infection, which if left untreated could cause vision damage. However, some of these symptoms could indicate an eye disease, which could lead to gradual vision loss.

If the symptoms are the result of an infection, getting immediate treatment can get rid of the infection as quickly as possible and reduce the risk of eye damage. If the symptoms are the result of an underlying disease, early treatment may be able to slow the progression of the disease.

Sometimes, these symptoms could just be signs of a developmental delay. Therefore, it is important that you not panic if you notice any problems with your baby’s vision. Instead, you should talk to your pediatrician to diagnose the issue and learn if there is a real problem.

Attending regular pediatrician visits is essential to your child’s overall health. Even if the appointment is not for eye care, maintaining these regular appointments can help your pediatrician become intimately familiar with your child’s health. If anything changes, your pediatrician will notice it more quickly and get your child the treatment he needs.

Give your baby the best start in life by getting proper prenatal care and getting the right pediatric care. Your baby will enjoy stronger vision and a lower risk of eye problems later in life.

Eye_Pain

The causes of eye pain are numerous and can range from any form of accidents to infections. In many instances, eye pain can go away naturally, but it is always important to visit a medical professional for him or her to eliminate any serious problems and prevent irreversible eye complications. Apart from vision problems and eye diseases, most people visit the eye professionals because of eye pain.

Most people with eye pain describe the situation as having a sharp, burning, dull, shooting, gritty, throbbing, stabbing or aching pain in the eyes. Many people, however, mistake symptoms of sinus, headaches, toothaches, or migraines with those of eye pain, thus the need to visit an eye professional immediately an individual experiences pain in the eyes.

Symptoms of eye pain

Although the main symptom of eye pain is pain in the eyes, other discomforts can accompany the condition including:

  •        Excess production of tears or any other form of clear, colored or thick discharge
  •        High sensitivity to light
  •        Conjunctivitis
  •        Having a sensation of foreign bodies in the eyes
  •        Vomiting, nausea, headaches as well as decreased vision

Causes of eye pain

As mentioned above, the causes of eye pain can be as many as you can count, and a problem with any of the many parts of the eye can be the cause of the pain. However, the causes of eye pain have two main classifications, ocular pain and orbital pain.

Ocular pain

This type of pain affects the outer part of the eye and the main causes for this include:

Abrasions or ulcerations of the cornea – The transparent part of the eye is called the cornea, and it can develop abrasions from foreign body scratches or contact lens overuse and ulcerations from abrasions or infections. The foreign bodies in the eyes causing the abrasions and ulcerations are usually the cause eye pain.

Chalazion or Sty – These conditions cause lumps in the eyelids, owing to blockage of an oil gland. The lumps irritate the eye every time an individual blinks and this irritation leads to eye pain.

Conjunctivitis – This represents any reaction on the conjunctiva (the membrane that covers the eyeball and lines the eyelid) resulting from chemical, bacterial, viral, or allergic inflammations. The eye pain here will usually be mild, and the eye will turn red and become itchy.

Blepharitis – Eye pain can result from an eyelid inflammation caused by the plugging of the oil glands along the edges of the eyelids.

Chemical and flash burns – Exposing the eye to chemicals such as bleaches or household cleaners that contain an acid or an alkaline will result in a painful chemical burn. A flash burn, on the other hand, will result from exposing the eye to intense light, such as the light that comes from tanning booths, arc welding, or during a very sunny day.

Orbital pain

This form of eye pain occurs deep within the eye, with the main causes being the different types of eye diseases.

Migraines – Migraines are severe headaches, and there is no doubt between their relationships with orbital eye pain.

Glaucoma – The intraocular pressure that results from glaucoma will usually lead to eye pain. If an individual does not seek medical attention for glaucoma, it can lead to several eye defects including blindness.

Traumatic injuries – An injury to the eye will usually lead to eye pain, injuries such as a blow to the eye, involvement in a vehicle accident, or an object penetrating the eye.

Iritis – Iritis is a condition of the eyes where the iris is inflamed. The iris is the colored part of the eye. This condition usually leads to eye pain.

Sinusitis – When an individual’s sinuses have viral or bacterial infections, the sensation in the eye socket or orbital will undoubtedly cause eye pain.

Optic neuritis – This condition describes the optic nerve inflammation, which can result from viral infections, bacterial infections, or multiple sclerosis. Optic neuritis causes pressure buildup in the areas behind the eye and, therefore, leads to eye pain or even visual changes.

What a doctor will do for you

A doctor will begin by diagnosing the problem and looking for the best course of treatment before things get any worse. A doctor will perform certain eye examinations such as a slit-eye exam, detect whether there is abnormal pressure in the eye, and use dilating drops to see inside the eye clearly.

Depending on the problem causing the eye pain, the doctor can recommend medication or a surgery to get rid of the underlying problem and the eye pain completely.