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Why Does Your Eye Doctor Dilate Your Pupils for an Eye Exam?

If you’ve been following the guideline to have regular eye exams, then you’re probably familiar with having your pupils dilated. Why does your eye doctor do this?

By dilating your pupils, the eye doctor can get a better view of your inner eye structures – so the eye exam is more comprehensive and more detailed. While the back of your eye can be seen through an undilated pupil, it cannot be examined as fully.

A full evaluation of your macula, retina and optic nerve is possible through dilated pupils. In many common eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, these are the parts of the eye that exhibit signs of a problem. Also, health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can often be detected on these parts of the eye.

What happens when the eye doctor dilates your pupils?

Your eye doctor or a technician will insert eye drops into your eyes; it takes 20 – 30 minutes for them to take full effect. Then, your eye doctor will use a lighted microscope to inspect your eyes.

Initially, you may feel a slight stinging when the drops are first inserted, but the discomfort is typically minor and short-lived. For a few hours afterwards, your eyes will be extra-sensitive to light and vision may be slightly blurred. Wearing sunglasses can help manage this sensitivity. Dilation usually wears off within four to six hours.

Even though getting your pupils dilated for an eye exam may feel like a nuisance, it enables your eye doctor to check your ocular health and overall body health with much more accuracy. So the benefits are clear! Contact an expert eye doctor near you to schedule an eye exam.

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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3 Ways Diabetes Can Affect Your Vision and Eyes

Did you know that people with diabetes are 20 times more likely to get eye diseases than those without it? There are three major eye conditions that diabetics are at risk for developing: cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. To prevent these sight-threatening diseases, it’s important to control your blood sugar level and have your eyes checked at least once a year by an eye doctor.

But First, What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that is associated with high blood glucose levels. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps our cells get energy from the sugars we eat. Diabetes develops when the body doesn’t produce or respond to insulin effectively, leaving too much sugar in the blood stream instead. Over time, diabetes can lead to potentially irreversible ocular damage and poor eyesight. However, by taking care of your blood sugar levels and your eyes, you can prevent vision loss.

Annual eye exams are recommended for everyone, but routine screenings are even more important for diabetics. Eye doctors may send diabetic eye health reports to a patient’s primary care physician or internist to adjust medication as needed to prevent complications.

What’s the Link Between Vision and Diabetes?

Blurred vision or fluctuating eyesight clarity is often one of the first noticeable signs that diabetes has begun to affect your eyes. Sometimes, fluid leaking into the eye causes the lens to swell and change shape. This, in turn, makes it difficult for the eyes to focus, resulting in fuzzy vision. Such symptoms can indicate that an eye disease is developing, or may simply be due to imbalanced blood sugar levels which can be rectified by getting your blood sugar back to healthy levels.

If you start to notice blurry vision, make an appointment with Dr. Micheline Young as soon as possible.

The 3 Ways Diabetes Impacts Vision

Cataracts

While cataracts are extremely common and a part of the natural aging process, those with diabetes tend to develop cataracts earlier in life. Characterized by a clouding or fogging of the lens within the eye, cataracts impede light from entering the eye, causing blurred vision and glares. The best treatment is cataract surgery, which is very safe and effective.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases characterized by optic nerve damage. Since it tends to impact peripheral vision first, glaucoma often goes unnoticed until significant damage has occurred. However, routine glaucoma screenings can detect warning signs; early treatment can prevent disease progression and vision loss.

Although there is no true cure for glaucoma, most glaucoma patients successfully manage it with special eye drops, medication, and on occasion, laser treatment or other surgery. The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and managed, the better the outcome.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels on your retina (capillaries) become weakened and then balloon (microaneurysm) due to poorly controlled blood sugar levels. The resulting poor blood circulation in the back of the eye causes more abnormal blood vessels to grow, which also bleed or leak fluid, and can lead to scar tissue, retinal detachment and even blindness, over time.

Often there are no symptoms until the advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy, where patients may begin to see spots and missing patches in their vision. Retinopathy can be treated through surgery and eye injections, but the best way to prevent this disease from progressing is to regularly have your eyes screened.

The good news is that diabetic eye disease can often be prevented with early detection, proper management of your diabetes and regular diabetic eye exams. Contact Cove Eyecare in Copperas Cove to set up your eye doctor’s appointment today.

Diabetic Eye Exams with Dilation

See why people with diabetes need yearly eye exams

If you have diabetes of any type, your body cannot produce, use, or store glucose properly. As a result, the level of glucose in your bloodstream can rise to high levels. Eventually, elevated blood sugar levels can lead to various health problems, such as diabetic eye disease. That’s why yearly diabetic eye exams are essential! Book an appointment with our eye doctor in Copperas Cove, Texas, for a specialized, dilated eye exam.

What eye diseases do diabetic eye exams check for?

Several ocular conditions, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts can develop without causing any symptoms. Only a dilated eye exam can identify the early signs of these diseases.

Why are yearly eye exams so important?

If you are visiting our Copperas Cove, Texas, eye doctor for annual eye exams, we’ll be able to spot any changes immediately. The moment we spot any early indications of a problem, we can treat it. Early detection = early treatment, which can make the difference between lasting vision and vision loss.

What is a dilated eye exam?

To perform this specialized eye exam, your eye doctor will apply dilating eye drops to enlarge your pupils. Wider pupils provide a wider view of the retina, which makes it easier to see any abnormalities. For example, if you have retinopathy at a very early stage, your eye doctor will be able to see the very first evidence of leakage.

Vision loss from diabetes isn’t inevitable, and yearly diabetic eye exams with dilation can make the difference! Don’t procrastinate – schedule your eye exam at Cove Eyecare

in Copperas Cove, Texas, as soon as possible to preserve your lasting, quality vision with diabetes.

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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Your Eyes Are the Windows to Your Health

Your eyes aren’t just the windows to your soul — they can also reveal valuable information about your general health beyond whether you need glasses, including: diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. It is not unusual for people to come in for an eye exam just to check their eyesight and then have certain health issues or predispositions picked up by the optometrist.

Eye Exams and Your Health

Eye examinations can help doctors detect general health conditions early enough to intervene. Advanced screenings enable eye doctors to better predict cardiovascular incidents like stroke, and possibly detect signs of mental changes such as Alzheimer’s. Read below to learn how eye exams can unveil a whole lot more than just eye health.

Brain Cancer & Stroke

Because of the similarities between the blood vessels in the eye and brain, an eye doctor can occasionally detect an issue taking place in the brain by examining the blood vessels in the eyes. If swelling or shadows in the eye is observed, it may indicate a serious condition in the brain, like a tumor, or clots that might result in a stroke.

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). If an optometrist detects leaky blood vessels in the eye, the patient would be advised to see a doctor to help control their blood sugar. Changes are gradual, and they start before visual symptoms are noticed. The earlier diabetic eye disease is managed, the better the chances are of preserving eyesight.

Hypertension

High blood pressure, characterized by having too much pressure in the blood vessels, can be detected during an eye exam, sometimes even before it’s diagnosed by your regular doctor. The damaged blood vessels lead to swelling, hemorrhages, and leaking — all of which can be observed in the eyes. According to the CDC, hypertension “the silent killer” affects nearly 1 in 3 adults, and up to a whopping 20% of those don’t even know they have it. So early detection at an eye doctor’s evaluation can be truly life-saving.

High Cholesterol

Eye exams can also detect a buildup of cholesterol. High cholesterol is among the easiest conditions to spot during a complete eye exam, as the cholesterol deposits manifest on the front of the eye, appearing as a thin, gray rim around the cornea. It can also be detected in the retina by assessing artery and vein patterns.

These deposits may indicate the current or future development of Retinal Blood Vessel Occlusion, a condition where blockages restrict blood flow to the back of the eye, causing temporary or permanent vision loss.

Heart Conditions

In some cases, heart conditions associated with a buildup of plaque in the carotid artery in the heart can also lead to deposits that clog the ocular arteries in the eye. If an optometrist detects such changes to the vascular structure at the back of the eye, he or she will typically recommend going to a specialist.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Sudden vision loss may be attributed to Multiple Sclerosis (MS). While the optometrist can recognize signs indicating the presence of MS, such as the color and appearance of the optic nerve, such cases will be referred for further testing to confirm the diagnosis.

Thyroid

Thyroid disease can make itself apparent through the eyes in several ways. The thyroid gland controls the hormones that regulate tear production so some thyroid disorders can cause dry eye disease. Additionally, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can make the extraocular muscles enlarge and stiffen, causing bulging eyes — an indicator of Graves’ disease.

Inflammation

Systemic conditions that are associated with inflammation in the body can have an inflammatory effect on the eyes. Uveitis, for example, causes eye inflammation, redness, and blurred vision, and tends to occur in people with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases.

Cancer

Breast cancer, leukemia, and other metastatic cancers are occasionally discovered during an eye evaluation. In addition to brain cancer mentioned above, melanoma and basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) can be detected, and eye doctors can also diagnose lymphoma and other eye tumors. Eye exams save lives.

What the Future Holds

Alzheimer’s

Recent studies show that a non-invasive and precise imaging device called Octa (optical coherence tomography angiography) can signal the presence of eye changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Because the retina is in many ways an extension of the brain, the altered blood vessels at the back of the eye offer a glimpse into the changes taking place within the brain.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease can often be misdiagnosed as its early symptoms are characteristic of other conditions. Research has shown that subtle eye tremors, an early Parkinson’s marker, could be detectable using advanced eye exam technology. One day soon, practitioners may send patients to an eye doctor to test for this and other diseases.

Your Eye Doctor’s Appointment Could Change Your Life

So the next time you visit Dr. Micheline Young at Cove Eyecare in Copperas Cove, remember that a comprehensive eye exam can do more than determine your eyeglasses or contacts prescription. Dr. Micheline Young can evaluate your eyes for existing or potential health issues, and communicate them to your primary care physician for the best possible care. By knowing that you’re at risk for a certain disease, you can take precautions early on and manage the condition as needed. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Annual Eye Exams Are Essential for Adults & Kids

Expert eye care in Copperas Cove

At every age, vision testing and eye health exams are important. But the reasons to visit our center for eye care in Cedar Park differ depending on your stage of life. With babies and children, we inspect the visual system to confirm that ocular development is normal. After the childhood years, we pay more attention to various eye problems – vision conditions, eye disease, and other abnormalities that may occur. Also, regular eye exams may uncover other health problems in your body that you didn’t know you had, such as hypertension and diabetes.

While a great deal of these issues can be treated effectively and do not cause lasting damage to your vision, some conditions can be dangerous and lead to vision loss when not treated soon enough. That’s why early detection of an eye problem is so critical for preserving your quality sight. Value your vision and book an eye exam near you!

Why kids need eye exams

You may be surprised to hear that many kids who can’t see the classroom board or spot the ball when playing sports don’t bother to complain about their vision. Children tend to adapt to how they see, and they don’t realize that there’s a problem. However, when kids have an undetected and untreated vision condition, it affects many parts of their life. Without the ability to see clearly, it becomes difficult to learn to read and write, frustration in the classroom can lead to behavioral problems, their sports coordination can suffer, and they often lose self-confidence when socializing. In general, they experience a delay in development. Our compassionate, high quality eye care near you can help kids achieve their potential!

According to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) instructions, kids should visit their eye doctor for a comprehensive pediatric eye exam yearly before first grade. If any eye conditions are diagnosed, then it’s recommended to continue with annual eye exams. Your optometrist will provide personalized guidelines about when to return for follow-up visits.

When visiting for pediatric eye care in Copperas Cove, parents often ask us why eye exams are needed if their child passed the school vision tests. The reason is because while routine, basic vision screening can detect nearsightedness and farsightedness, it usually fails to catch a variety of other vision conditions. Only a comprehensive eye exam near you will diagnose these problems so your child can get the necessary treatment.

An addition, relatively new vision condition to affect kids is due to excessive exposure to computers, smartphones, and other digital tech. Overexposure to UV blue light can cause digital eyestrain and computer vision and has been associated with a higher risk of many serious vision conditions. Our eye doctor is experienced in spotting the signs of these conditions, and we can recommend several ways to prevent problems and alleviate the symptoms.

Why adults need eye exams

Problems with their vision may be more obvious to adults, but there are many other types of eye problems that adults cannot notice – especially not at the early stages. A comprehensive eye exam from our experienced eye care specialist in Copperas Cove can detect ocular problems when they first appear, before they damage your vision.

The risk of many issues that can threaten your sight increases with age, and treatments can help slow or stop vision damage. That’s why regular eye exams are critical for ensuring your long-lasting quality of sight.

If you haven’t had an eye exam in a long while, your eye doctor will first ask you questions about your family medical history and personal lifestyle. These questions will address not just your vision, but also if you have a pre-existing medical conditions, such as heart disease, hypertension, or diabetes, which may contribute to ocular problems – such as diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. The specific tests done during your eye exam will be customized depending on your individual situation.

Also, during your detailed eye exam, less common problems that can be symptomless, including ocular cancer or tumors in your eye or brain, can be detected. Early detection of any type of eye problem is essential for a positive outcome.

Advanced eye care in Copperas Cove – Where we watch your vision

For both children and adults, regular eye exams are the most dependable way to monitor vision for any changes or abnormalities. Call us to schedule an eye exam near you.


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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Nearsightedness & Farsightedness – What Do They Mean?

Your Copperas Cove, Texas, eye doctor explains

Nearsightedness and farsightedness, officially termed myopia and hyperopia – respectively, are both refractive vision conditions. That means they are both caused by refractive errors, which are ocular disorders that affect the eye’s ability to properly focus light on the retina. The retina is the membrane that forms the back layer of the eyeball.

Nearsightedness occurs when the light that enters the eye falls short of the retina. Typically, this happens because the eyeball is elongated. As a result, objects in the distance look blurry to people with myopia. However, vision of near objects remains unaffected. Nearsightedness generally develops during childhood, deteriorates during the teenage years, and stabilizes once the person reaches young adulthood.

Farsightedness is basically the opposite of nearsightedness. Usually, it results from having an eyeball that is too short. As a result, light is focused behind the retina instead of directly on it. For people with mild to moderate farsightedness, close objects appear blurred, while objects in the distance are still sharp. However, high amounts of farsightedness may interfere with clear vision at all distances. Children are typically born farsighted, but as they grow and develop, their eyeballs lengthen and the hyperopia decreases.

Diagnosis of myopia and hyperopia – visit an eye doctor near you

While nearsightedness and farsightedness can cause symptoms, such as headaches, squinting, eye strain, and fatigue, these symptoms alone are not sufficient for making a firm diagnosis.

Both of these vision conditions can be detected during an eye exam performed by a qualified eye doctor. As a part of every eye exam, visual acuity will be tested. You will need to read a basic Snellen eye chart, and your eye doctor will test refraction in order to determine your precise vision prescription for glasses or contact lenses.

Treatment for nearsightedness and farsightedness

Corrective eyeglasses and contact lenses are both effective ways to treat nearsightedness and farsightedness. The prescription lenses work by altering the path of light as it bends into the eyes.

When children experience progressive myopia, a variety of methods for myopia control may be suitable. Myopia control treatment can eliminate the need to buy new glasses or contacts yearly, and it can help reduce children’s risk for eye disease in the future. To find out about your child’s candidacy for myopia control, consult a qualified eye doctor and book an eye exam near you.

It is common for myopia and hyperopia to stabilize once people reach their twenties. Once that occurs, refractive laser surgeries – such as LASIK and PRK – become options for treatment. These procedures can permanently resolve nearsightedness and farsightedness by reshaping the cornea to focus light properly on the retina.

Can vision therapy help with nearsightedness and farsightedness?

Clear and fully functional vision depends on more than just sharp visual acuity. Eyesight, the brain, and visual pathways all need to work in sync with each other. When this doesn’t happen, a person can find it difficult to see – even with 20/20 vision. That’s where the role of vision therapy enters the picture.

Vision therapy helps people with particular eye conditions develop the visual skills needed for clear sight, such as:

  • Strabismus (crossed eyes)
  • Amblyopia (lazy eye)
  • Computer vision
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Learning related visual problems (poor eye teaming and focusing)
  • Sports vision improvement

Optic devices and custom-designed exercises are used to strengthen the eye-brain connection, so eye mobility is enhanced. The person learns how to efficiently process visual cues that the eyes send to the brain. Therefore, vision therapy will not help to treat a refractive vision condition, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness.

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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Wearing Colored Contact Lenses This Halloween? Beware and Take Care!

Countless adults, teens and even children will be wearing colored contact lenses this Halloween, but few are aware of the risks involved. Ever wondered what those cat-eye contacts are doing to your eyes? If you got them without a prescription, beware of health complications.

Enjoy a safe and happy Halloween by educating yourself and others about the dangers of wearing colored contact lenses without a prescription.

Why Can Over-The-Counter Colored Contact Lenses Cause Eye Damage?

Contact lenses made to change one’s appearance go by many names: cosmetic, theatrical, Halloween, circle, decorative, colored, or costume contact lenses. While it’s illegal to sell colored contact lenses without a prescription, authorities rarely enforce the law — which means they’re still accessible in many places.

Many people believe that wearing non-prescription color contact lenses can cause no harm. This unfortunate myth has led to many contact lens complications. For instance, when a person feels that a contact lens is “dry”, it could be because the lens is not a good fit. Ideally, the lens should follow the contour of the eye, and stay centered, with enough lens movement to allow tear exchange beneath the lens. 

Furthermore, non-medical colored contact lenses are often produced by unlicensed manufacturers that tend to use inferior plastic and toxic materials, such as lead (often used in lens coloring), which can get absorbed through the eyes into the bloodstream. These illegal lenses may also contain high levels of bacteria from unsanitary packaging, shipping, and storage conditions.

Therefore, purchasing any kind of contact lenses without a prescription or medical oversight can result in a variety of eye complications, such as corneal abrasions, eye sores, conjunctivitis, other eye infections, vision impairment and, in rare cases, even permanent vision loss. 

Even if you have perfect vision, all contact lenses, including colored contacts, require a prescription and proper fitting by an optometrist.

Contact us at Cove Eyecare and make an appointment with Dr. Micheline Young to get properly examined for a contact lens prescription. 

The Dos and Don’ts of Colored Contact Lenses

  • DO make sure you undergo a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist who will measure your eyes and properly fit you for contact lenses.  
  • DO get a valid prescription that includes the measurements, expiration date and the contact lens brand name.
  • DO purchase the decorative contact lenses from a reliable retailer (hint: they should demand a prescription.)
  • DO follow the contact lens hygiene directives (cleaning, inserting and removing lenses) provided by your eye doctor. 
  • DO make sure to undergo follow-up eye exams as directed by your eye care professional.
  • DON’T ever share contact lenses with anyone else.

So don’t let an eye infection get in the way of your fun this Halloween. Wearing decorative lenses without a valid prescription can result in serious harm to your eyes, which can haunt you long after October 31st.  

Get your comprehensive eye exam and contact lens fitting by an eye doctor in Copperas Cove at Cove Eyecare.

A Wellness Eye Exam for Children

a very happy girl, Eye exam for children in Copperas Cove, TX

From a quick voice search on a smartphone, parents can access a wealth of material regarding their own eye health as well as their children. However, the overabundance of information can easily mislead parents and even practitioners to simplify the need for regular checkups and eye exams. Even when a child undergoes their first eye exam without any signs of vision problems, children still need to have regular eye exams as they grow older and their vision changes. While adults may enjoy more stable vision, children are still growing, which means their vision is more susceptible and more sensitive to change. The Academy of Optometric Associates (AOA) recommends that children should at the very least see an eye doctor every other year. A child with an eye condition should see an eye doctor annually or as recommended by their optometrist.

A Wellness Eye Exam is one of our most popular services at Cove Eyecare. We understand that vision can fluctuate in children, and eye diseases can creep up in older patients. That's why we developed a shorter version of our comprehensive eye exam that can assess your eye health conveniently. Not only will this benefit the wellness of your family's vision, but you can place your vision and trust in our expert optometrist, Dr. Micheline Young.

As an award-winning eye care facility for over 25 years in the metroplex area, Dr. Micheline Young OD has provided comprehensive eye exams for children and adults.

Our patients appreciate the attentiveness and devotion shared by our eye doctor and staff on their visits, and even when they come in for a wellness eye exam, they know that we'll do our best to evaluate your eye health.

Eye exam for Children, Optometrist in Copperas Cove, TX

The Wellness Eye Exam is part of the way we structured our practice. We hope to address the visual needs and budgets for patients of all backgrounds. We certainly encourage many of our patients to consider a comprehensive eye exam, especially when someone has a family history of eye disease or may show signs of poor eye health. Including digital retinal imaging to an eye exam for even children is an advanced method to document and analyze your eye health that the naked eye may not detect as easily. This ensures our eye doctor has the best opportunity to locate any signs of ocular disease, tumors, or other eye conditions.