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Back To School

The new school year is coming up fast, and parents and students are getting ready to embark on new adventures and experiences. But this is also a reminder to parents that good eyesight is possibly the most important school supply your child may not have. A good education for children doesn't just mean good schools, good teachers and good friends. Good vision is just as important. Your child’s eyes are his/her gateway into the world of learning. When your child’s vision is not functioning properly, learning and participation in recreational activities will suffer. Children are not likely to recognize vision problems or report them, and it is therefore the responsibility of parents and teachers to recognize signs of visual problems in their children.
 
There is a basic set of vision skills that are needed for school. The first is near vision. This is the ability to see clearly at a distance of about 10-13 inches. This is obviously important for reading, writing and close work at your child’s desk. Distance vision, the ability to see clearly and comfortably beyond arm’s reach, is also important in order to see the board in the classroom, and Binocular coordination, or the ability to use both eyes together, is important for extra-curricular activities. Both are vision skills needed to be successful in school. Additionally, focusing skills, peripheral awareness and eye-hand coordination are also important. As a parent, it is your job to be alert for symptoms that may indicate your child has a vision or visual processing problem. A few examples of common conditions that may effect your child's ability to learn are below:
 
If your child gets headaches while trying to read or do other close work, exhibits a short attention span during visual tasks, and/or has to use a finger to guide reading, it is possible your child may have a condition called convergence insufficiency. This is a condition in which the eyes have a hard time converging on a certain point close up. This may also cause the words to “jump” or “blur” when your child attempts to read.
 
You may also find that your child's eyes do not seem to move together, that the eyes do not face the same direction, and/or that your child tilts his/her head or squints in order to see better. This could indicate a condition called Strabismus. This results from muscles in one or both eyes being misaligned or underdeveloped. This can cause severe difficulty for your child, and may cause more significant problems, including loss of depth perception, if not treated promptly. Other symptoms to look out for that may signal vision related problems are difficulty remembering or identifying shapes, difficulty remembering what was read, excessive blinking or rubbing of his/her eyes, or placing his/her head very close to the book or desk when reading or writing.
 
Because changes in your child’s vision can occur without you or your child noticing them, your child should visit the eye doctor every year or more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist. Remember, school vision or pediatrician’s screenings are good, but they are not a substitute for a thorough eye exam.
 
To learn more, contact your eye doctor today.

Nutrition and Eye Health

Nutrition is a vital part of maintaining vision and overall eye health, with many expert studies suggesting that up to 25% of all nutrient intake goes to supporting our invaluable visual system. Beyond your eyes, this system also includes the nerves, blood vessels and parts of the brain that help to obtain and interpret the images that we see. Excellent overall eye health also helps prevent potentially vision threatening eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma, as well as minor conditions, such as dry eye.

Maintaining a balanced diet is an essential part of proper nutrition. Whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, are very important and will help the body to receive and absorb nutrients that play an essential part in eye and vision health. Intake of sweets and other junk foods should also be limited, since the body loses chromium and B vitamins as it attempts to process white sugar, and medications, preservatives and caffeine all deplete vitamins and minerals that are important for healthy eyes and vision.

Health experts have recommended specific foods that have proven to help keep your eyes healthy and your vision good. Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale and brussels sprouts, as well as dark berries like blueberries and blackberries can protect against serious illnesses such as macular degeneration, a very serious eye condition that is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be obtained from salmon and tuna, have proven to reduce inflammation in the blood vessels of the eyes, which, along with proper control of blood sugar can also protect against diabetic retinopathy. Wheat grass has also proven effective in the boosting of immune systems and reducing the chances of developing all diseases, including those that affect the eyes.

Unfortunately, not all of us have an easy time eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day. In this case, health professionals recommend incorporating at least one fruit or vegetable smoothie per day into your overall diet, which will allow you to get the required amount of greens per day in one easy meal or snack. Nutrients tend to absorb more quickly and effectively into the body in a liquid form, since the body does not have to work as hard to break it down.

Eating your way to good eye and visual health is easy with the right motivation and information. To learn more, contact your eye doctor today.

When Is It an Eye Emergency, and When Is It Not?

When we get hurt, it can sometimes be easy to brush it off. “It'll be alright to wait until tomorrow,” or “I can handle it myself.” Unfortunately, many times we're wrong. Immediate professional attention is required. When it comes to your eyes, it is especially important to know when it is fine to wait until tomorrow and when it is an emergency situation warranting a visit to your eye doctor immediately. The difference can be the difference between continued vision and permanent blindness. Below, we will discuss a few of the major eye injuries that require that you contact your eyecare professional immediately.

The eye is equipped to clear itself of small, minor objects of irritation, such as sand and eyelashes. This is accomplished by tearing and blinking until the offending object is cleared. However, the eye is not equipped to deal with larger and/or sharper objects such as shrapnel or glass. In the event that a larger and/or sharper object becomes embedded in the eye, and especially the eyeball itself, immediate medical attention should be sought. Both eyes should be covered by a clean cloth in order to reduce eye movement until you are able to receive medical assistance. Do not attempt to remove these objects on your own. Doing so could cause very severe damage, and make removal by an eyecare professional more complicated.

Another common emergency is a scratch or cut in the eye or the eyeball itself. The eye is filled and surrounded by sensitive fluids, and the tissues of the inner eye are also very sensitive. A scratch or cut that occurs directly on the eye or eyeball can do significant damage to the sensitive structures in and around your eye as well as to the inner eye tissue. This can cause severe visual damage or blindness. In the event of such a cut or scratch, gently apply cold compresses to reduce swelling and bleeding, but DO NOT apply pressure to control the bleeding. This could do further damage to the eye itself. Contact your eye doctor immediately.

Finally, we all work with cleaning products, fertilizers, paints, aerosols and other dangerous chemicals on a regular basis. If these chemicals get in your eyes, severe and sometimes permanent chemical burns can result. In the event of chemicals getting in your eyes, you should turn your head so that the injured eye is down and to he side, and hold your eyelid open and flush with cool tap water for 15 minutes. If you're wearing contact lenses, you should try to take them out. Of course, immediate medical attention should be sought. If possible, continue to flush your eyes with cool water while waiting for emergency care to arrive.

Beyond these general categories, a person should also contact an eye care professional if he/she is experiencing extremely painful, red eyes, uncontrollable bleeding from the eye, or if eye pain is accompanied by headache or nausea. All of these can also be signs of eye conditions that require immediate attention from an eyecare professional.

For more information, contact your eye doctor today.

Eyeglasses – Plenty of Great Choices

Eyeglasses Are Back!

Picking out new eyeglasses can be a daunting task, whether you're getting your very first pair or you've worn them nearly all your life. The sheer volume of eyeglass choices can be torture to work your way through if you don't have any idea what you're looking for.

Not only are there many different shapes and colors in eyeglass frames, but advances in technology have also brought us a variety of new materials, for both the frames and the lenses, which makes eyeglasses more durable, lightweight and user-friendly. Eyeglass frames are now created from high-tech materials such as titanium and "memory metal" for the ultimate in strength and style, while the lenses are now thinner and lighter than ever before, even in high prescriptions.

Lens options, such as anti-reflective coating, light-changing tints, progressive lenses and new high-tech, light weight materials such as Trivex(TM) and polycarbonate, let you choose a pair of eyeglasses that enhances your vision, no matter what you like to do.

Online Patient Registration Forms

You can now request your next appointment online. 

Visit the Contact Us section of our web site and complete the Patient Registration Form.  The form is secure and our office will be notified once the form is complete.  When you walk in for your next appointment, we'll already  have the information entered into our computers.  We're always looking for ways to serve our patients better.