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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 Cove Eyecare in Copperas Cove 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. M. D. Young, OD

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 Copperas Cove, Texas. Visit Cove Eyecare 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. M. D. Young, OD

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

  • A: Yes. 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 Copperas Cove, Texas. Visit Cove Eyecare for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Sleep Apnea, Dry Eyes, and Glaucoma – What’s the Connection?

Over 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that involves an involuntary stopping of breathing while sleeping.

Those with sleep apnea are more likely to have ocular irritation, abnormal tear break-up time, and an increased upper and lower lid laxity, in addition to being a higher risk of developing glaucoma.

How Are Sleep Apnea and Dry Eye Connected?

One of the most common treatment options for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. These machines supply constant and steady air pressure. Many patients who use the machine experience air leaks, causing a constant airflow over the eyes that results in eye irritation, occasional swelling, and dryness. Dry eyes can cause discomfort and can cause serious eye problems. If not addressed the side effects of the CPAP machines can become chronic.

If you are experiencing dry eye due to your CPAP mask, contact your eye doctor. Your eye doctor will most likely suggest using a thicker, non-preserved artificial tear drops or ointment which you apply before bed. It is important for the drops or ointment to be thick and more viscous so that it stays in the eye, protecting it all night. The artificial tear needs to be preservative-free since it will be used every night. This treatment is a simple solution to your dry eye.

How Are Sleep Apnea and Glaucoma Connected?

People with obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS), are approximately ten times more likely to develop glaucoma. What is the underlying cause of the connection is unknown.

It is believed that the connection between sleep apnea and glaucoma is due to the drop in oxygen levels in the blood, which happens when you stop breathing. Low oxygen concentration in the blood may contribute to the degradation of the optic nerve, potentially leading to glaucoma.

If you have sleep apnea it is important to go to your eye doctor for regular eye exams. During a routine eye exam, your eye doctor will check the pressure in your eye determining if it is where it should be. If not, you may have glaucoma. Early detection is key, as glaucoma causes irreversible vision loss and possible blindness.

Although ocular irritation may occur, it is advised to continue using the CPAP machine, as it can prevent sometimes life-threatening impacts of sleep apnea. If it appears that eye problems and dryness are developing as a result of CPAP use, visit your eye doctor for guidance on how to help prevent this irritation or eye conditions such as glaucoma.

https://www.glaucoma.org/news/blog/how-sleep-apnea-may-contribute-to-normal-tension-glaucoma-risk.php#:~:text=How%20Sleep%20Apnea%20May%20Contribute%20to%20Normal%2DTension%20Glaucoma%20Risk,-Posted%20on%20June&text=People%20with%20obstructive%20sleep%20apnea,more%20likely%20to%20develop%20glaucoma.

At Cove Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 254-549-1142 or book an appointment online to see one of our Copperas Cove eye doctors.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. M. D. Young, OD

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

  • A: Yes. 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 Copperas Cove, Texas. Visit Cove Eyecare for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

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What You Should Know About Night Blindness

If you don’t see well while driving at night, there’s a chance you have night blindness. Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is the inability to see well at night or in dim lighting. It’s not considered an eye disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem.

Our eye doctor in Copperas Cove can help diagnose, manage and treat your night blindness with specialized digital eye exams, so that you can enjoy being out and about at night again.

Here are 4 things you should know about night blindness:

Causes of Night Blindness

The inability to see well at night can be the result of a condition such as:

  • Vitamin A Deficiency — Vitamin A helps keep your cornea, the layer at the front of your eye, clear; it’s also an important component of rhodopsin, a protein that enables you to see in low light conditions. Although uncommon in North America, deficiency of this vitamin can induce night blindness.
  • CataractsA buildup of protein clouds the eye’s lens, leading to impaired vision, especially at night and in poor lighting conditions.
  • Diabetic RetinopathyDamage to the eyes’ blood vessels and nerves can result in vision loss, including difficulty seeing at night.
  • GlaucomaThis group of eye diseases is associated with pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve. Both glaucoma and the medications used to treat it can cause night blindness.
  • MyopiaAlso called nearsightedness, myopia makes distant objects appear blurry, and patients with it describe a starburst effect around lights at night.
  • KeratoconusAn irregularly shaped cornea causes blurred vision and may involve sensitivity to light and glare which tend to be worse at night.
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)A progressive genetic eye disease which can be associated with other diseases, RP leads to night blindness and peripheral vision loss.
  • Usher SyndromeThis genetic condition causes both hearing loss and vision loss, including night blindness and RP, mentioned above.

Symptoms of Nyctalopia

Since night blindness is a symptom of some serious vision problems, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice that you don’t see as well in dim light as you used to, such as when driving at night or when adjusting from being outdoors in the sunshine to being indoors.

Symptoms of Night Blindness Include:

  • Reduced contrast sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing people outdoors at night
  • Difficulty seeing in places with dim lighting, like a movie theater
  • Trouble adapting to the dark while driving
  • Excessive squinting at night
  • Trouble adjusting from bright areas to darker ones

Treatments for Night Blindness

Your eye doctor will want to diagnose the cause of your night blindness in order to treat it. For example, in the rare case of vitamin A deficiency, it can be treated with vitamin supplements and vitamin-A rich foods; myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Other conditions may require medications or surgery.

If night blindness is caused by a birth defect, Usher syndrome, or retinitis pigmentosa, low vision aids and devices can help you make the most of your remaining vision.

Prevention

While there is no proven way to prevent night blindness resulting from genetic conditions or birth defects, consuming healthy, nourishing foods and taking certain vitamin supplements may prevent or slow the onset of some eye conditions that cause night blindness.

If you experience poor vision at night or in dim lighting, we can help. Contact Cove Eyecare in Copperas Cove to schedule your appointment today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. M. D. Young, OD

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

  • A: Yes. 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 Copperas Cove, Texas. Visit Cove Eyecare for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Eye Exams Could Soon Reveal Your Alzheimer’s Risk

An eye exam can reveal a multitude of important clues about your overall health. Research indicates that a person’s eyes can also offer insight into their risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. While more research is needed to fully solidify this claim, the current findings are impressive.

The Link Between Eyes and Alzheimer’s Disease

A study conducted by researchers from Duke University published in The Journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology found a link between the amount of blood vessels in the eye and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers examined the blood vessels in the retina (light sensitive layer at the back of the eye) using an ocular coherence tomography (OCT) scan. An OCT is a state-of-the-art imaging method used to evaluate the eye for subtle changes, when early detection and treatment can be the most beneficial in preventing vision loss.

In a healthy person, the back of the eye contains a web-like structure of microscopic blood vessels. An elderly person with Alzheimer’s disease has a much smaller amount of these tiny blood vessels.

It’s believed that the same thing happens in the brain of a person with Alzheimers as the condition progresses — the density of tiny blood vessels gradually decreases.

Not only do Alzheimer’s patients have fewer blood vessels in their retinas, but there is also reduced blood flow to that area in general. Additionally, the layer of nerves that surrounds the optic nerve where it attaches to the retina was found to be thinner in those with Alzheimer’s.

While these findings aren’t conclusive, they do open doors for future research to determine an exact correlation between the blood vessels in the eye and Alzheimer’s progression.

The goal of this research is to eventually be able to detect changes in retinal blood vessels before any change in cognition for earlier treatment and possible prevention.

At Cove Eyecare, we offer OCT and many other advanced diagnostic testing methods. Our goal is to detect any and all changes in your visual and ocular health as early as possible for the best chance at preserving your precious gift of sight. For more information or to schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call us today.

At Cove Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 254-549-1142 or book an appointment online to see one of our Copperas Cove eye doctors.

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Contact Lens Basics: Daily Disposable

Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

Great Benefits of Dailies for Kids, Teens, and Adults

Daily disposable contact lenses are rapidly rising in popularity to be many people’s favorite type of vision correction. These convenient contacts are usually very comfortable and provide crisp vision immediately after they are first inserted – with no adaptation period. At Cove Eyecare, we fit patients of all ages – young kids, teens, and adults – with daily disposables in Copperas Cove.

If you have a distant memory of hearing that daily disposables were made from cheap materials and that’s why they are “disposable,” it’s time to bury that thought. While it may have been true years ago, nowadays, dailies are constructed from high-quality, state-of-the-art materials that provide enhanced comfort and eye health. Many of our Copperas Cove patients claim that they have never experienced such comfortable contacts!

The basics of daily disposables

Contacts come in many types and with a variety of wearing schedules. Daily disposables are designed to be worn only once, for a single day. You insert them in the morning, wear them all day, remove at bedtime, and throw them in the garbage. The next day, you open a new package and insert a fresh pair of contacts. Does the convenience and ease of this sound appealing? Most adults love the simple, low maintenance of dailies. And for kids and teens, who usually have a more erratic schedule and also tend to be less vigilant with hygiene, daily disposables can be a perfect, healthy solution for vision correction. Call to book a contact lenses fitting with our Copperas Cove, Texas, eye doctor today!

A clear look at the benefits of dailies – at any age

To help you understand the big picture of what adults, kids, and teens can gain from daily disposables, our optometrist, Dr. Micheline Young, prepared this list:

  • No routine cleaning and disinfection before you go to sleep. That means you don’t need to buy any costly cleaning solutions, and bedtime prep each night is much shorter!
  • Dailies leave no time for allergens, such as dust or pollen, to build upon your contacts, so symptoms of eye allergies are often alleviated
  • Protein deposits, cosmetics, and hairspray residue don’t accumulate on your lenses surface, so they are always comfortable
  • Remembering when to discard your lenses is simple. No need to mark reminders on your calendar
  • Frequent travelers love the simplicity of packing only spare pairs of contact lenses, instead of a whole kit with disinfectants and supplies
  • Kids and teens (and busy adults) tend to neglect proper contact lens hygiene. With daily disposables, cleaning is a thing of the past
  • Daily disposable contact lenses can be healthier; studies have shown that dailies lead to less eye irritation and infections. And because the lenses are thrown out daily, the risk of corneal injury from wearing a damaged or torn lens is reduced

Full inventory of contact lenses in Copperas Cove, Texas

Not sure if daily disposables are right for you? We stock a complete selection of premium, brand-name contact lenses at Cove Eyecare, and Dr. Micheline Young will check your eyes and listen to your lifestyle needs in order to recommend the best type of contacts. Contact us to book a consultation, or stop by anytime to replenish your supply of contact lenses!

What are the Benefits of Daily Contact Lenses?

See the benefits of dailies for kids, teens, and adults

Daily disposable contact lenses are rapidly rising in popularity to be many people’s favorite type of vision correction. These convenient contacts are usually very comfortable and provide crisp vision immediately after they are first inserted – with no adaptation period. At Cove Eyecare, we fit patients of all ages – young kids, teens, and adults – with daily disposables in Copperas Cove.

If you have a distant memory of hearing that daily disposables were made from cheap materials and that’s why they are “disposable,” it’s time to bury that thought. While it may have been true years ago, nowadays, dailies are constructed from high-quality, state-of-the-art materials that provide enhanced comfort and eye health. Many of our Copperas Cove patients claim that they have never experienced such comfortable contacts!

The basics of daily disposables

Contacts come in many types and with a variety of wearing schedules. Daily disposables are designed to be worn only once, for a single day. You insert them in the morning, wear them all day, remove at bedtime, and throw them in the garbage. The next day, you open a new package and insert a fresh pair of contacts. Does the convenience and ease of this sound appealing? Most adults love the simple, low maintenance of dailies. And for kids and teens, who usually have a more erratic schedule and also tend to be less vigilant with hygiene, daily disposables can be a perfect, healthy solution for vision correction. Call to book a contact lenses fitting with our Copperas Cove, Texas, eye doctor today!

A clear look at the benefits of dailies – at any age

To help you understand the big picture of what adults, kids, and teens can gain from daily disposables, our optometrist, Dr. Micheline Young, prepared this list:

  • No routine cleaning and disinfection before you go to sleep. That means you don’t need to buy any costly cleaning solutions, and bedtime prep each night is much shorter!
  • Dailies leave no time for allergens, such as dust or pollen, to build up on your contacts, so symptoms of eye allergies are often alleviated
  • Protein deposits, cosmetics, and hairspray residue don’t accumulate on your lenses surface, so they are always comfortable
  • Remembering when to discard your lenses is simple. No need to mark reminders on your calendar
  • Frequent travelers love the simplicity of packing only spare pairs of contact lenses, instead of a whole kit with disinfectants and supplies
  • Kids and teens (and busy adults) tend to neglect proper contact lens hygiene. With daily disposables, cleaning is a thing of the past
  • Daily disposable contact lenses can be healthier; studies have shown that dailies lead to less eye irritation and infections. And because the lenses are thrown out daily, the risk of corneal injury from wearing a damaged or torn lens is reduced.

Full inventory of contact lenses in Copperas Cove, Texas

Not sure if daily disposables are right for you? We stock a complete selection of premium, brand-name contact lenses at Cove Eyecare, and Dr. Micheline Young will check your eyes and listen to your lifestyle needs in order to recommend the best type of contacts. Contact us to book a consultation, or stop by anytime to replenish your supply of contact lenses!

At Cove Eyecare, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 254-549-1142 or book an appointment online to see one of our Copperas Cove eye doctors.

 

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes is becoming much more prevalent around the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults were living with diabetes in the year 2017 and 352 million more people were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2045 the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise to 629 million.

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness as well as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, neuropathy (nerve damage) and lower limb amputation. In fact, in 2017, diabetes was implicated in 4 million deaths worldwide. Nevertheless preventing these complications from diabetes is possible with proper treatment, medication and regular medical screenings as well as improving your diet, physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the hormone insulin is either underproduced or ineffective in its ability to regulate blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which damages many systems in the body such as the blood vessels and the nervous system.

How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions which are caused, or worsened, by diabetes; including: diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes increases the risk of cataracts by four times, and can increase dryness and reduce cornea sensation.

In diabetic retinopathy, over time, the tiny blood vessels within the eyes become damaged, causing leakage, poor oxygen circulation, then scarring of the sensitive tissue within the retina, which can result in further cell damage and scarring.

The longer you have diabetes, and the longer your blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, the higher the chances of developing diabetic eye disease. Unlike many other vision-threatening conditions which are more prevalent in older individuals, diabetic eye disease is one of the main causes of vision loss in the younger, working-age population. Unfortunately, these eye conditions can lead to blindness if not caught early and treated. In fact, 2.6% of blindness worldwide is due to diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

As mentioned above, diabetes can result in cumulative damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy.

The retina is responsible for converting the light it receives into visual signals to the optic nerve in the brain. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or hemorrhage, causing bleeding and distorting vision. In advanced stages, new blood vessels may begin to grow on the retinal surface causing scarring and further damaging cells in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can eventually lead to blindness.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have no symptoms, which is why it’s vitally important to have frequent diabetic eye exams. As it progresses you may start to notice the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or fluctuating vision or vision loss
  • Floaters (dark spots or strings that appear to float in your visual field)
  • Blind spots
  • Color vision loss

There is no pain associated with diabetic retinopathy to signal any issues. If not controlled, as retinopathy continues it can cause retinal detachment and macular edema, two other serious conditions that threaten vision. Again, there are often NO signs or symptoms until more advanced stages.

A person with diabetes can do their part to control their blood sugar level. Following the physician’s medication plan, as well as diet and exercise recommendations can help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Retinal Detachment

Scar tissues caused by the breaking and forming of blood vessels in advanced retinopathy can lead to a retinal detachment in which the retina pulls away from the underlying tissue. This condition is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately as it can lead to permanent vision loss. Signs of a retinal detachment include a sudden onset of floaters or flashes in the vision.

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Diabetic macular edema occurs when the macula, a part of the retina responsible for clear central vision, becomes full of fluid (edema). It is a complication of diabetic retinopathy that occurs in about half of patients, and causes vision loss.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema

While vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and DME often can’t be restored, with early detection there are some preventative treatments available. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (when the blood vessels begin to grow abnormally) can be treated by laser surgery, injections or a procedure called vitrectomy in which the vitreous gel in the center of the eye is removed and replaced. This will treat bleeding caused by ruptured blood vessels. DME can be treated with injection therapy, laser surgery or corticosteroids.

Prevent Vision Loss from Diabetes

The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease is early detection and treatment. Since there may be no symptoms in the early stages, regular diabetic eye exams are critical for early diagnosis. In fact diabetics are now sometimes monitored by their health insurance to see if they are getting regular eye exams and premium rates can be affected by how regularly the patients get their eyes checked. Keeping diabetes under control through exercise, diet, medication and regular screenings will help to reduce the chances of vision loss and blindness from diabetes.

 

Top 7 New Year’s Resolutions for Healthy Vision

uv protection copperas cove, txReal Ways to Protect Your Eyes from Disease

The countdown is on, with only days left to satisfy the resolutions you made at the start of the year. Whether or not you achieved your past goals, a new year is about to begin. Instead of looking back, it’s time to focus forwards. What are your goals for the upcoming year?

You may work out at the gym daily to keep yourself in shape. Yet, what about your eyes and vision? We constantly use and rely upon our eyes, and when something breaks down – it can be scary and stressful. Throughout the year, our Copperas Cove eye doctors aim to help you prevent eye disease and maintain your clear vision for as long as possible. Join us in this resolution! Let’s look at some lifestyle changes you can implement to protect your eyes from common eye disease, such as macular degeneration, cataracts and digital eyestrain.

1. Reserve Regular Eye Exams

Don’t wait for a problem before you book an appointment with your eye doctor. Many eye complications do not appear until the eye disease has advanced to a serious stage. Common conditions such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts can remain silent for a long while – and the only way to uncover them is with a thorough eye exam.

When you visit your eye doctor, speak up about your health history. A number of traits increase your chances of developing eye disease and it’s important to know your risks. If you have diabetes or hypertension (or a family history of these conditions), it is even more critical to visit your eye doctor. African Americans over 40 are also at a higher risk of eye disease. Ask about whether you are a candidate for advanced testing, such as digital retinal imaging that provides more precise and detailed diagnoses.

2. Eat Well

Quality eye health needs the right nourishment, just like your whole body works more efficiently when you eat nutritiously. In specific, healthy eyesight benefits from a diet rich in lutein, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. These nutrients can be found in many typical foods, such as oranges, nuts, spinach, brown rice, salmon, sardines and avocado. Also, ask your eye doctor about whether you should be taking eye health supplements, and which one is most appropriate for your health condition, such as diabetes.

3. Stay in Motion

Did you know that exercise promotes the absorption of many nutrients? Now that you’re eating well, make the most of the nutrients and antioxidants in your foods by exercising regularly. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, scientific studies demonstrate that exercise can reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration significantly.

4. No Smoking

You know that smoking can damage your health, causing a whole slew of dangerous, life-threatening conditions. It can also damage your eyes, leading to eye disease that threatens your vision. Smokers are at an increased risk of optic nerve damage, cataracts and macular degeneration.

5. Shade Your Eyes from Sun

Sunglasses protect your eye health in the same way that sunscreen protects your skin health. Wear sunglasses that block a minimum of 99% of UVA and UVB ultraviolet rays. Recent studies have associated these harmful sun rays with macular degeneration and cataracts.

6. Let Your Eyes Rest

A recent study in the US estimated that people spent about 7 hours per day staring at a digital screen! This stresses healthy vision, leading to fatigue and digital eyestrain. When you are viewing a monitor of any type, our Copperas Cove eye doctors encourage you to take a break at least every 20 minutes. Raise your eyes and gaze into the distance, and remember to blink frequently.

7. Proper Contact Lens Hygiene

Contact lens wearers must be extra cautious about eye hygiene. Disinfect your lenses according to the instructions and discard them according to your wearing schedule. Neglecting good hygiene can lead to eye irritation and infection.

The leading causes of blindness and low vision in American are eye diseases related to aging, such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts, as well as diabetic retinopathy in people who have diabetes. To keep your clear vision for as long as possible, follow these tips to protect your eyes as you age. For more information and expert management of your eye health, schedule an appointment in Copperas Cove!

Wearing Contact Lenses in the Summer

eye-technology-femaleTips from Your Copperas Cove Eye Doctors

Contact lenses can be worn safely throughout all months of the year. However, every season brings different environmental conditions and activities to take into consideration. Both air conditioning and the bright sunlight of long summer days may lead to scratchy dry eyes, which can make it hard to wear your contacts. Blossoming flowers and freshly cut grass can contribute to annoying symptoms of eye allergies. In addition, you may wonder if it’s safe to keep your contact lenses in while diving into a chlorine-rich swimming pool or riding the ocean waves.

Contact Lenses Underwater

In general, eye doctors do not recommend wearing contact lenses when swimming in any type of water, be it a chlorinated pool, lake or ocean. Yet realistically, we know that many Copperas Cove contact lens wearers don’t switch to eyeglasses every time they spend a day in water. If you intend to wear contacts while swimming, our best recommendation is to wear daily disposable contact lenses.

Many dangerous organisms, such as acanthamoeba (which can threaten your healthy vision), live in water. We advise our Copperas Cove patients to wear daily disposables and toss them in the garbage immediately after swimming. This will prevent harmful bacteria from clinging to the lenses, breeding on the surface of your eye and causing infection. It is also recommended to wear goggles over your contact lenses (although prescription goggles are the ideal solution!).

Air Conditioning and Contact Lenses

A/C is a lifesaver from the harsh summer heat, yet it also dries out your indoor environment. When you’re in the car, point the vents away from your eyes. Lubricating eye drops for contact lenses may also keep your eyes moist.

Protect Your Eyes from UV Rays

Nowadays, there are contact lenses with UV protection. Ask us to show you the options in our Copperas Cove contact lenses collection! However, even though these contact lenses do protect part of your eyeballs against ultraviolet light, they don’t do anything for the parts of your eyes and eyelids not covered directly by the contacts. That’s why a pair of quality sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection is essential! Even when you’re wearing contact lenses, you need sunglasses for healthy vision in the summer.

Summer Allergies

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, pollen and other airborne irritants can adhere to your contact lenses and irritate your sensitive eyes. Rubbing your eyes to relieve the itchiness will only make your symptoms worse. Daily disposables can offer a great solution – as the problematic allergens don’t have time to collect on the contact lens surface before you throw them out.

With a little planning and attention to summer safety, you can enjoy your Copperas Cove contact lenses throughout the whole season of lazy hazy crazy fun!