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Allergy Season Is Here And Stronger Than Ever

Spring is here! Flowers are blooming and pollen is drifting through the warm air, wreaking havoc on people who suffer from eye allergies. Many people say their seasonal allergies arrived ahead of schedule this year, and that their symptoms are more intense than in previous years.

Below, we’ll explain what eye allergies are and why allergy season is becoming longer and stronger.

What Are Eye Allergies?

Eye allergies, also known as “allergic conjunctivitis,” are the eyes’ reaction to irritants and allergens in the environment. Symptoms of eye allergies may vary from inconvenient to debilitating, but they’re usually treatable.

Symptoms of eye allergies include red, itchy, swollen eyes, watery or painful eyes, and are often accompanied by sneezing, a runny nose and nasal congestion.

Major causes of eye allergies include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Makeup and cosmetic products
  • Preservatives found in eye drops

Eye allergies are treated on a case-by-case basis, depending on what allergen is the culprit. Treatment can include oral or topical antihistamines, decongestants, lubricating eye drops and limiting exposure to allergens.

Why Does Allergy Season Seem Longer and Stronger This Year?

Several studies have observed the relationship between climate change and pollen season. As atmospheric temperatures rise, flowers and trees sense the warmth and start to release pollen.

When comparing the pollen season of 1990 to that of 2018, scientists noticed that it had increased by 20 days during that timespan. What’s more, the environmental pollen concentration had also increased by 21% over the same period. In other words, allergy season is becoming longer and more intense each year.

Aside from warming temperatures, the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels also plays a role in making allergy season more intense. Plants need CO2 to grow, and more CO2 means larger, stronger plants.

As atmospheric CO2 increases with climate change, flowers are producing significantly more pollen. CO2 can also make certain plants more potent and increase the amount of allergen-containing particles per pollen grain.

In fact, if atmospheric CO2 levels keep rising at this pace, it is projected that by the end of the century there will be 200% more pollen in the air!

You may be wondering if you’re in the clear because there aren’t many pollen-producing plants in your area. But some research suggests that changes in wind patterns due to climate change can expose people to pollen originating hundreds of miles away.

If You Suffer From Eye Allergies, We Can Help!

Although climate change is bad news for allergy sufferers, the good news is that we can help you manage your symptoms.

Don’t let eye allergies put a damper on your time in the sun. To schedule an eye exam and learn how we can offer long-lasting relief, call VisionArts Eyecare Center in Fulton today!

At VisionArts Eyecare Center, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 573 641 2103 or book an appointment online to see one of our Fulton eye doctors.

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Q&A

#1: What else can you do to ease the symptoms of eye allergies?

Wearing wraparound sunglasses whenever outdoors can protect your eyes from airborne allergens like pollen and dust. Also, you may want to temporarily stop wearing contact lenses until your symptoms subside. Allergens can build up on the surface of the lens and irritate your eyes every time you insert them. Additionally, keep your windows closed whenever you’re indoors to prevent allergens from entering.

#2: Are eye allergies dangerous?

Eye allergies rarely cause any permanent damage to your eyes, but they can cause temporary blurred vision. Symptoms of eye allergies can be quite distracting and even painful, so be sure to visit your local optometrist at the first sign of discomfort.

Why Drinking Wine May Help Prevent Cataracts

Some say that just like fine wine, people get better with age. While this may be true for character and personality, it often isn’t the case as it comes to one’s eyes. Age is often accompanied with all sorts of eye problems, like macular degeneration, dry eyes and cataracts.

But these eye conditions aren’t inevitable. Certain actions, habits, foods (and drinks!) may help ward off or reduce the severity of age-related eye problems—like cataracts.

But First, What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens that affects millions of people in North America.

Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Cloudy or blurred vision
  • Colors that seem faded
  • Trouble seeing at night
  • Double vision
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • The need to frequently update one’s corrective lens prescription

Cataracts occur naturally with age and may not always require treatment if a person’s vision remains mostly clear. Keep in mind that eye injury and certain eye diseases may also lead to cataracts.

The main treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery—it replaces the natural, cloudy lens with a clear, artificial lens.

The onset of cataracts may be prevented or at least delayed by wearing sunglasses, quitting smoking, having regular eye exams and eating nutritious foods (yes, wine included).

How Drinking Wine May Help Prevent Cataract

Wine is loaded with eye-healthy antioxidants that may protect the eyes against cataracts and other age-related conditions. Several studies have reported numerous benefits of regular and moderate wine consumption, including protection against heart disease and macular degeneration.

A recent study, published in the journal Ophthalmology, on the relationship between wine and cataracts involves data from 490,000 individuals who voluntarily disclosed details about their lifestyle and eating habits. When all other factors were considered (age, gender, smoking, weight, diabetes, ethnicity), the findings concluded that consuming about 6.5 glasses of wine per week may decrease a person’s risk of needing cataract surgery.

According to the study, wine drinkers seem to be the least likely candidates for cataract surgery when compared to non-drinkers or those who consumed other varieties of alcohol, like beer and liquor.

It’s important to note that the study does not establish a causal relationship between wine consumption and cataract surgery—only a significant association linking the two.

The head of the study, Dr. Sharon Chua, further explains that the development of cataracts may be due to gradual oxidative stress, which is a natural part of aging. The abundance of polyphenol antioxidants in wine may help counteract oxidative stress.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Participants who consumed a glass of wine 1-2 times per week had a 7% reduced need for cataract surgery than those who drank 1-3 times or less per month.
  • Participants who drank a glass of wine daily or almost daily experienced a 5-6% increased risk of cataract surgery compared to those who drank 1-4 times a week.
  • Consuming red wine weekly provided participants with a 14% reduced need for cataract surgery compared to those who abstained.
  • Weekly consumption of white wine and champagne reduced the need for cataract surgery by 10%.

So, what’s the bottom line?

Antioxidants are super beneficial for eye health and may help reduce your risk of developing a severe case of cataracts that would require surgery. This study suggests that moderate wine consumption on a weekly basis may lower your risk of cataract surgery when coupled with an antioxidant-rich diet. Furthermore, red wine seemed to have the most dramatic effect compared to white wine or other forms of alcohol.

Speak to your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet, just to be safe.

For further information and guidance about keeping your eyes healthy, speak with Dr. James Vann about your options.

Don’t forget to have your annual eye exam to check for vision health by contacting VisionArts Eyecare Center in Fulton today!

At VisionArts Eyecare Center, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 573 641 2103 or book an appointment online to see one of our Fulton eye doctors.

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Q&A:

#1: What other foods can help protect the eyes against cataracts?

Foods that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, C and E, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Try to consume produce of every color for a variety of eye-protecting nutrients. Your optometrist can offer further guidance for your personal situation.

#2: When is cataract surgery a good option?

Cataract surgery is the only method of removing cataracts, and may be necessary when your cloudy vision stops you from carrying out daily tasks, like driving and reading. If cataracts are detected, your optometrist will closely track your vision and recommend the next steps.

7 Tips for Dealing with Eye Allergies

Do you suffer from Swollen eyelids, watering, redness, itchiness? Get an Eye Exam from our Fulton Eye Doctor today near you in Fulton, Missouri

Allergies aren’t uncommon, with statistics reporting that more than one-third of all people experience the annoying symptoms. And as our eye doctor near you can attest, ocular allergies comprise a large number of allergic conditions.

If you think you are suffering from Eye Allergies, visit our Eye Clinic near you in Fulton, Missouri for treatment.

Swollen eyelids, watering, redness, itchiness or sticky mucus discharge from the corners of the eyes are all typical reasons to visit an eye clinic near you for treatment. What do eye care experts generally recommend as a way to prevent and/or soothe these symptoms of eye irritation?

7 Tips for Dealing with Eye Allergies

  1. Avoid the allergen. Stay indoors when the pollen count is high in your area, and keep your indoor air clean and clear. It may be helpful to install an air filter in your home.
  2. Apply cool compresses gently to irritated eyes to help reduce inflammation.
  3. Use artificial tears eye drops to keep your eyes moist and flush out allergens at the same time.
  4. Refrain from inserting your contact lenses during allergy season. Airborne allergens can easily stick to your contacts, keeping them close to your eye surface where they can provoke a stronger allergic reaction. Daily disposable contacts may also be a better solution than standard monthly wear lenses. Consult with a contact lenses supplier near you for more information.
  5. Don’t rub your eyes. Eye rubbing can worsen swelling and irritation.
  6. Topical antihistamines and mast cell stabilizer eye drops can help alleviate the inflammatory response and painful symptoms.
  7. If you have a severe case of eye allergies, our optometrist near you may prescribe topical steroid drops. (These should only be used under the supervision of a certified eye care professional, due to possible side effects associated with them.)

Don’t Delay – Get an Eye Exam

Early treatment of ocular allergies can make all the difference. Although over-the-counter medications may be helpful for soothing the symptoms of allergic rhinitis and sinus congestion, they’re often less effective at relieving eye allergy symptoms.

Additionally, what you may think is eye allergies could really be caused by a different ocular condition! The symptoms of viral and bacterial conjunctivitis can be almost identical to ocular allergies. That’s why an eye exam by an eye doctor is necessary to confirm the diagnosis and get the right treatment you need.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Fulton eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at VisionArts Eyecare Center eye clinic near you in Fulton, Missouri to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 573-642-6800

VisionArts Eyecare Center, your Fulton eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • What are the common symptoms of OCULAR allergies?

    Excessive tearing, frequent eye rubbing, constant irritation especially in the corners of your eyes closest to the nose, lid swelling or puffy eyes, and red or pink eyes are some of the most common ocular allergy symptoms.

  • What is meant by the term allergic conjunctivitis? Is that the same as “pink eye”?

    Allergic conjunctivitis is the clinical term of ocular inflammation of the lining or membrane of the eye, called the conjunctiva, caused by allergic reactions to substances. Although a patient may present with red or pink eyes from excess inflammation, the common term “pink eye” can signify a broad term of conditions and can be misleading, as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other irritating substances can cause redness resembling a “pink eye” Your eye doctor can differentiate between an allergy reaction and a true infection, which can lead to faster healing with proper treatments.

  • ‘I have seasonal allergies. How come my eyes are still itchy even after I take a Claritin pill?’

    You may need an anti-allergy eye drop to target the symptoms in the eye. Much of the time, oral anti-allergy medications are not that effective at treating the symptoms in the eye. In fact, oral anti-allergy medications can cause dry eyes which then worsen the symptoms due to allergies. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, either over-the-counter or prescription-strength eye drops can be prescribed to provide relief. Visit our Eye Doctor today for a consultation.

  • Why does allergy season affect my eyes?

    Excessive tearing, frequent eye rubbing, constant irritation especially in the corners of your eyes closest to the nose, lid swelling or puffy eyes, and red or pink eyes are some of the most common ocular allergy symptoms.

What Causes Halos Around Lights?

VisionArts Eyecare Center Local Cataract, Astigmatism, Fuch’s Dystrophy and Glaucoma Eye exams and treatment near you in Fulton, Missouri

Have you ever seen bright rings or “halos” around sources of light? Read on to learn what can cause halos and when they’re a reason to visit an eye doctor near you.

For local Management of Ocular Diseases near you in Fulton, Missouri

Seeing bright rings or “halos” around sources of light can either be normal or a cause for concern. Below, we’ll explain the most common reasons that people see halos and when you should visit your eye doctor.

We see halos around light fixtures and headlights when light entering the eye from a bright object is bent in an unusual way. This causes the bright light to appear as if it is surrounded by a ring of light, known as a halo. Several conditions can cause light to bend in this way.

  • CataractsA cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Cataracts usually develop slowly and are most often seen in older people.When the lens becomes cloudy, light is dispersed abnormally as it enters the eye and causes a person to see halos around lights. In fact, seeing halos around lights is one of the most common symptoms of cataracts. Other symptoms that may accompany cataracts are blurred vision, light sensitivity, and difficulty seeing at night.
  • AstigmatismThis eye condition occurs when the cornea (the front surface of the eye) is irregularly curved. People with astigmatism may see halos around lights because of the way the cornea refracts incoming light.
  • Fuch’s Dystrophy This progressive genetic disease causes the cornea to swell. As the cornea swells and becomes misshapen, it causes light to enter at an incorrect angle. As a result, people with this condition see halos around lights.
  • GlaucomaGlaucoma occurs when the optic nerve becomes damaged due to high inner eye pressure, and is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Seeing halos around lights can be an early sign of acute glaucoma, which is considered a medical emergency.If you suddenly start seeing halos around lights in addition to other symptoms like headache, vomiting, blurred vision, eye pain, and weakness, seek medical care without delay.
  • Dry Eye SyndromeDry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes are chronically dry. In moderate to severe cases, the eye’s surface can become irregularly shaped, which can cause light to enter at an odd angle.

When To Visit Your Eye Doctor

If you see halos around lights, it’s best to schedule a timely eye exam at an eye clinic near you, even if you suspect you know why it’s happening.

A comprehensive eye exam by a qualified eye care professional is the only way to rule out a serious problem.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Fulton eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at VisionArts Eyecare Center eye clinic near you in Fulton, Missouri to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 573-641-2103

VisionArts Eyecare Center, your Fulton eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • What is a cataract? How will I know when I have one? What can be done to fix it?

    A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens. The crystalline lens sits behind the iris or the colored part of the eye. Its function is to fine-tune our focusing system by changing shape as we view objects at different distances. Our lens eventually loses its ability to change shape; this is when we require reading glasses or bifocals. In addition, the crystalline lens can become cloudy or yellow as a part of normal aging. This is also known as an age-related cataract. Normal, age-related cataracts are unavoidable and everyone will develop them at some point if they live long enough. The discoloration of the lens leads to an overall blur, a decrease in contrast sensitivity, and a worsening of glare, especially at nighttime. Because they tend to develop gradually, the symptoms are often unnoticed by the patient. A yearly eye exam will allow your optometrist the opportunity to identify cataracts and advise on how to proceed. When your optometrist decides your cataracts are affecting your vision and are advanced enough to remove, you will meet with an ophthalmologist. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective outpatient procedure that will reverse any vision loss caused by cataracts, and it is usually covered by your medical insurance.

  • My previous eye doctor told me I have “stigma!” Am I going to go blind?

    Stigma is actually referring to a type of refractive error known properly as astigmatism, and no, you will not go blind from having astigmatism; it is not a disease, in fact, it is relatively common. There are three types of refractive error, myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. The former two are more regularly referred to as nearsighted (cannot see far away) and farsighted (cannot see up close). Astigmatism is simply the third category; it affects both the near and far vision at the same time. Much like nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism is corrected using glasses or contacts. Technically speaking an eye with astigmatism requires two different prescriptions to correct vision in one eye due to the more oval shape of the cornea. This will require a more specialized contact lens and a more in-depth fitting procedure. Nonetheless, your eye care provider can, and will, correct your astigmatism with glasses and/or contacts.

  • What exactly is glaucoma?

    Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye's intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This means that your eye has too much aqueous humor in it, either because it produced too much, or because it's not draining properly. Other symptoms are optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma is a silent disease that robs the patient of their peripheral vision. Early detection is very important.

  • My eyes are always burning and tired, what is causing this and what can I do about it?

    A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens. The crystalline lens sits behind the iris or the colored part of the eye. Its function is to fine-tune our focusing system by changing shape as we view objects at different distances. Our lens eventually loses its ability to change shape; this is when we require reading glasses or bifocals. In addition, the crystalline lens can become cloudy or yellow as a part of normal aging. This is also known as an age-related cataract. Normal, age-related cataracts are unavoidable and everyone will develop them at some point if they live long enough. The discoloration of the lens leads to an overall blur, a decrease in contrast sensitivity, and a worsening of glare, especially at nighttime. Because they tend to develop gradually, the symptoms are often unnoticed by the patient. A yearly eye exam will allow your optometrist the opportunity to identify cataracts and advise on how to proceed. When your optometrist decides your cataracts are affecting your vision and are advanced enough to remove, you will meet with an ophthalmologist. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective outpatient procedure that will reverse any vision loss caused by cataracts, and it is usually covered by your medical insurance.

Who is the Ideal LASIK Candidate?

VisionArts Eyecare Center LASIK Guidelines from your Fulton, Missouri Eye Doctor. near you in Fulton, Missouri

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What criteria determine if you are eligible for LASIK?

  • Good eye health, with no ocular disease. Conditions such as chronic eye infections, severe dry eye syndrome, cataracts, corneal disorders, macular degeneration, uncontrolled glaucoma, and eye injuries may make LASIK a poor choice for you.
  • Corneal thickness must be adequate for reshaping your cornea. Performing LASIK on a cornea that is too thin or extremely irregular can reduce the success of the procedure. However, this rule isn’t as steadfast as it once was, because new types of LASIK are now available that enable surgeons to perform the laser vision correction. Our Fulton, Missouri, will measure your cornea during your LASIK consultation eye exam to recommend the most suitable method of laser eye surgery.
  • The best visual success with LASIK is with people who have prescriptions in the following parameters: up to +6 diopters for farsightedness, up to 6 diopters of astigmatism (cylinder), and up to -12 diopters of nearsightedness.
  • Ocular maturity is important. The best LASIK results are achieved in people who have had a stable vision prescription for about a year before undergoing refractive surgery.
  • A good overall health condition, with no pre-existing conditions that can slow healing, such as hypertension, Sjogren’s syndrome, and poorly controlled diabetes.
  • LASIK is FDA-approved for patients above age 18. Generally, there is no maximum age for laser eye surgery. But, be aware that once you are in your 40s, you may still require reading glasses to correct near vision after undergoing LASIK.
  • LASIK is not suitable for women who are pregnant or nursing, due to the fact that hormonal changes can affect the corneal shape. Typically, it’s advised to wait a few months after pregnancy.

Set realistic visual expectations

If you are seriously considering LASIK, it’s important to face reality. While most people are thrilled with their LASIK results, there are still risks and possible side effects and complications. You need an experienced eye doctor to perform a personalized eye exam and consider whether or not you are an ideal candidate for laser eye surgery – as well as advise you about which specific type of vision correction is most appropriate.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Fulton eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at VisionArts Eyecare Center eye clinic near you in Fulton, Missouri to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 573-641-2103

VisionArts Eyecare Center, your Fulton eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • What is LASIK surgery?

    LASIK surgery is a procedure that corrects a wide range of nearsightedness or myopia, farsightedness or hyperopia, and astigmatism.

  • Who benefits from LASIK?

    LASIK eye surgery can benefit a significant number of people with myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.

  • Is the LASIK procedure safe?

    Studies show that the LASIK procedure carries only minimal risks of complications. Even if complications do occur, most of the complications are resolved within three months and do not result in long-term interference with vision.

3 Eye Exercises To Relieve Eye Strain

VisionArts Eyecare Center To reduce eye strain, try these 3 exercises near you in Fulton, Missouri

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Fulton eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at VisionArts Eyecare Center eye clinic near you in Fulton, Missouri to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 573-642-6800

Take a break from digital devices to allow our eyes to rest and prevent eye strain near you in Fulton, Missouri

The more time we spend on digital devices for work, school, and entertainment, the greater the risk of developing eye strain. Staring at a screen for an extended period of time tires out our eye muscles and can also cause dry eye, headaches, blurred or double vision, sensitivity to light, and soreness in the neck and shoulders.

Fortunately, there are exercises to relax and refresh your eyes and prevent eye strain discomfort.

Eye Exercises

Since the use of digital screens has become a large part of our daily lives, more people are suffering from eye strain. To prevent or reduce eye strain, try these 3 simple eye exercises:

The 20-20-20 rule

  • Every 20 minutes, look away from your computer for 20 seconds
  • Gaze at an object that is at least 20 feet away
  • Repeat throughout the day

This quick and easy exercise reduces eye strain by resting the eyes and upper body.

Palming

  • Sit in a darkened room with your elbows leaning on a table
  • Relax your back and shoulders
  • Rub your hands together to warm them
  • Place your palms over your eyes — do not press the eye sockets so that your eyes can blink freely
  • Visualize total darkness and breathe deeply for 2 minutes

This exercise relieves stress on the eyes.

Blinking

When we look at a computer screen, we tend to forget to blink. This exercise reduces eye strain and dry eye symptoms.

  • Slowly close your eyes for a few seconds
  • Open your eyes slowly and relax your facial muscles
  • Keep your eyes open for 3-5 seconds
  • Repeat 10-20 times, until your eyes and the muscles around your eyes feel relaxed

While eye strain isn’t a medical emergency, it can negatively affect your quality of life and ability to work and learn. For a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan, schedule a comprehensive eye exam with an eye doctor near you. At VisionArts Eyecare Center, we care about your eyes and health. Contact us today!

VisionArts Eyecare Center, your Fulton eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • I can see well. Why do I need to visit an Eye Care Professional?

    Comprehensive eye exams are the best way to prevent “silent” eye diseases like diabetes, glaucoma, and other manageable conditions in their early stages when they are more easily treated. Many conditions can be avoided through planned eye exams.

  • Should my child’s eyes be examined regularly?

    Most Pediatricians test a child’s vision as part of a routine medical examination. They can refer a child to an ophthalmologist if there are signs of an eye condition. Examinations should be done at three years and then regular pediatric eye exams annually.

  • Can my child wear contact lenses and play sports?

    Yes, contact lenses provide excellent vision correction for most sports. However, they can not protect the eyes from injury. Therefore, contact lens wearers should use prescribed sports safety goggles.

  • What is Dry eye?

    Comprehensive eye exams are the best way to prevent “silent” eye diseases like diabetes, glaucoma, and other manageable conditions in their early stages when they are more easily treated. Many conditions can be avoided through planned eye exams.

Are You Susceptible To Vision Loss?

Vision loss is more common than you may think! In fact, it’s among the most prevalent disabilities in adults and children. Knowing what puts you at risk of developing vision loss is important and can help you to be proactive about caring for your eyes.

Below, we’ll explore the most common causes of vision loss and the risk factors associated with each.

Spreading awareness and education about visual health is just one way that our eye doctors near you can help. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call us today.

Common Causes of Vision Loss

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases caused by a buildup of pressure within the eye. Too much inner-eye pressure can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss.

Since symptoms don’t usually manifest in the early stages of glaucoma, getting regular eye exams is all the more crucial. Advanced or rapidly progressing glaucoma can show a variety of symptoms, such as blurred vision, headache, severe eye pain and redness, seeing halos around lights, and nausea.

Risk factors for developing glaucoma include:

  • Being 60 years or older
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • African, Asian, or Hispanic descent
  • High myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Previous eye injury or certain eye surgeries
  • Certain medications, like corticosteroids
  • Thin corneas
  • Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and sickle-cell anemia

Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the eye’s lens becomes cloudy. A healthy lens is clear and allows light to pass through it undisturbed.

Common cataract symptoms include cloudy or blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night, light sensitivity, double vision in the affected eye, and seeing colors as faded or yellowish.

Risk factors for developing cataracts include:

  • Aging
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • Previous eye surgery, injury, or inflammation
  • Alcoholism
  • Extended use of corticosteroids

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over the age of 60. It occurs when the macula (the small central portion of the retina, which is responsible for sharp, colorful, central vision) begins to wear down.

Early stages of AMD usually go unnoticed, but later stages of the disease can produce symptoms like blurred vision, dark or blurry areas in your central vision, and problems with color perception.

There’s not yet a cure for AMD, but certain treatments can help prevent vision loss.

Risk factors for developing AMD include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Aging
  • Long-term sun exposure
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Family history of AMD
  • Light-colored eyes
  • Farsightedness

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes that affects the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye called the retina.

Initially, diabetic retinopathy shows no symptoms but can eventually lead to blindness. As it develops, it can cause increased floaters, impaired color vision, dark spots in your visual field, and blurred vision.

Risk factors for developing diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Length of time from diabetes diagnosis — the longer you’ve had it, the higher your chances of developing visual complications
  • Uncontrolled blood sugar
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol or blood pressure
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • African American, Hispanic, and Native American ethnicities
  • Family history of DR

So, what’s the bottom line ?

Multiple factors contribute to eye disease and vision loss, and some may even be relevant to you. If you think you may be at risk for vision loss or experience any of the symptoms listed above, speak with your eye doctor in Fulton as soon as possible. We also recommend you have your eyes thoroughly examined every 1-2 years, or as often as your eye doctor recommends. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call VisionArts Eyecare Center today.

 

Frequently Asked Questions With Our Fulton Eye Doctors

  1. Can blindness be prevented?

When caught early, many eye diseases can be treated to halt or slow the progression of the disease and potentially prevent vision loss. The best things you can do to preserve your vision for the long term is to lead a healthy lifestyle and make sure you undergo a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years.

  1. Which eye diseases are genetically inherited?

More than 350 ocular diseases have some sort of genetic component. Certain diseases, like retinitis pigmentosa and albinism, are directly inherited through chromosomal information. In other cases, a predisposition to the disease is inherited, rather than the disease itself.

How Sleep Apnea Affects The Eyes

Did you know that some eye conditions are associated with sleep apnea? According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and Health Canada reports similar prevalence. It’s a sleep disorder where people stop breathing — often multiple times per night — while sleeping.

If you have sleep apnea: it tends to take longer for your tears to be replenished, you’re more likely to have ocular irritation, you have a higher chance of developing floppy eyelids, and you’re at increased risk for glaucoma.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

There are different types of sleep apnea. The most common one is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). During OSA, your airway becomes partially blocked due to relaxed muscles in your nose and throat. This causes apnea (the absence of breathing) or hypopnea (abnormally shallow, slow breathing). It’s twice as common in men, and is more likely to affect people with obesity, hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.

What are the common symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing. These temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and affect the body’s oxygen supply, which can lead to potentially serious health consequences.

While snoring is a common symptom, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Interrupted sleep can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability or depression, headaches in the morning, difficulty concentrating and thinking, and a sore throat.

Which Eye Conditions Are Associated With Sleep Apnea?

Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when increased pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, leading to vision loss and sometimes blindness. In some cases, it might be due to a drop in blood oxygen levels, which happens when you stop breathing. However, CPAP machines, one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea, can also cause glaucoma.

So, people with sleep apnea — even if it’s being treated — need to get their eyes checked on a regular basis for glaucoma.

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES) is an eye condition where a person has an unusually large and floppy upper eyelid. It can cause eye redness, irritation, discharge, or blurry vision — and over 90% of people with FES also have sleep apnea.

Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is an eye condition that occurs when there is a loss of blood flow to the optic nerve. Patients typically complain of significant vision loss in one eye without any major pain. Approximately 70-80% of patients with NAION have been found to have OSA.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Also referred to as an ‘eye stroke,’ retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina. A recent study of 114 RVO patients found that sleep apnea was suspected in 74% of the patients that had previously been diagnosed with RVO.

Other Eye Health Issues Associated With Sleep Apnea

Some other ocular conditions that are more common in patients with sleep apnea include: papilledema, keratoconus, and central serous chorioretinopathy. Furthermore, in addition to glaucoma mentioned above, CPAP machines are associated with dry eye syndrome and bacterial conjunctivitis.

Talk To Your Doc

Get eye exams regularly to rule out eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss, especially if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. At VisionArts Eyecare Center in Fulton we encourage you to share your medical history with us so we can better diagnose and treat any eye conditions or ocular diseases you may have, and help you keep your eyes nice and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. James Vann

Q: What Causes Sleep Apnea?

  • A: Sleep apnea occurs when in-part or completely stop breathing when sleeping. This causes your lungs to strain harder for oxygen, and makes the brain send signals that jerk your body awake to resume proper breathing.

Q: What are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?

  • A: A common sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring. Snoring that is loud enough to disturb the sleep of the patient as well as others around, even across the walls. That said, not everyone who snores suffers from obstructive sleep apnea.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Fulton, Missouri. Visit VisionArts Eyecare Center for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

3 Benefits of Anti-Glare Coating

Glare refers to the excessive brightness caused by direct or reflected light. It can cause eye strain, digital eye strain (when using a computer, for example), halos, and headaches. Glare can also reduce visibility, making it unsafe to drive.

Anti-glare coating, also known as anti-reflective (AR) coating, is a thin layer applied to the surface of your eyeglass lenses that allows more light to pass through your lenses. By reducing the amount of glare that reflects off of your lenses, you can see more clearly and experience more comfortable vision. You can request anti-glare coating for lenses when you buy eyeglasses.

AR Coating Offers 3 Major Advantages

Better Appearance

Without an anti-glare coating on your glasses, camera flashes and bright lights can reflect off your lenses. This can hinder your appearance when speaking to people or in meetings, cause flash reflections when picture-taking, and make it difficult to find the right angle for video calls. Anti-reflective coating eliminates the harsh reflections and allows others to clearly see your eyes and face.

Reduced Digital Eye Strain

You know that tired, irritated feeling you get after staring at a digital screen for several hours? That’s digital eye strain. Anti-glare coating helps reduce digital eye strain by lowering exposure to excessive glare from digital devices and lighting.

Safe Driving at Night

The bright headlights from cars driving in the opposite direction can pose a serious danger when driving at night. These sudden glares can lead you to momentarily lose focus of the view ahead. AR coating on your prescription eyewear effectively reduces reflections from headlights at night, allowing you to enjoy a better view of the road and safer driving at night.

Let your eyes look and feel better every day with anti-glare coated lenses. Contact us to book your appointment today!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. James Vann

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Fulton, Missouri. Visit VisionArts Eyecare Center for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

How To Prevent Your Lenses From Scratching

If you wear glasses, then you know what a nuisance a scratched lens can be. Scratched or chipped lenses can interfere with your vision, making glasses uncomfortable to wear. Here’s what we recommend to keep your lenses scratch-free.

How to Avoid Scratching Your Lenses

Use a Protective Case

Using a sturdy eyeglass case will prolong the life of your lenses. No matter what kind of glasses you wear — standard, sunglasses, bifocal — you’ll want to protect them.

Be sure to choose a hard case with a soft inner lining and always have one on hand, either in your purse, backpack, or car.

When placing the glasses in their case, make sure the lenses are facing downwards, as this can reduce the risk of them being scratched. Additionally, avoid putting anything else in the case along with the glasses, especially sharp or metal objects.

Choose Anti-Scratch Lenses

Although no lenses are completely scratch-proof, there are certain coatings that can be added to the front and back of your lenses to make them more scratch resistant. Many lenses already come with this option, but sometimes it’s an optional addition. Anti-scratch coatings are particularly helpful for children’s glasses.

Remove Your Glasses Carefully

Handle your glasses by the temples (arms) and not the rims. This way, your fingers avoid the frame and lens area altogether, reducing the chance of inadvertently scratching them. Additionally, holding them by the temples with both hands ensures a better grip, so you’ll be less likely to drop them.

Set Them Down Properly

Never put glasses down with the lenses facing downward, unless it’s into a lens case. If you need to put them down and don’t have a case, rest them with the temples open and upside down — glasses tend to be more stable in this position.

Avoid placing them in a place where they’ll be easily knocked over or splashed on, like near a sink. Setting them down in the same place consistently will also reduce your risk of losing them.

Use the Right Lens Cleaner

It’s all too common for people to wipe their glasses with their clothing or other abrasive material. Doing so can scratch the lenses, especially if they’re dry.

Always clean your lenses with a soft microfiber cloth and specialized lens cleaning solution, items your optometrist’s office can provide.

When to Visit Your Optometrist

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to completely prevent your lenses from ever becoming scratched over their lifetime. Once they are scratched, there is little that can be done to repair the lenses. Most of the time the lenses need to be replaced.

At VisionArts Eyecare Center, we offer a wide array of frames and lenses, so you’re sure to find a pair to suit your eyes and needs.

Call VisionArts Eyecare Center in to schedule your eye exam or with any further questions.

At VisionArts Eyecare Center, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 573 641 2103 or book an appointment online to see one of our Fulton eye doctors.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. James Vann

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Fulton, Missouri. Visit VisionArts Eyecare Center for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

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REFERENCES

https://www.southparkoptical.com/how-to-avoid-scratches-on-your-glasses

https://www.allaboutvision.com/eyeglasses/how-to-clean-glasses.htm#:~:text=To%20avoid%20scratches%2C%20blow%20any,you%20clean%20the%20cloths%20frequently

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-remove-scratches-from-glasses