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Floaters – Are they dangerous?

What are Floaters?

What is that speck that I see? This is one of the most frequent questions that we get every day. They are commonly called floaters. Floaters are tiny clumps of debris or gel that are suspended within the clear jelly-like fluid that fills the inside cavity of the eye. They can take on different shapes. They are often described as floating dots, specks, or thread-like cobwebs. The appearance of floaters is most often is part of the natural aging process.  They are not generally sight threatening nor require treatment.

How do we get floaters?

As we mature, the vitreous gel shrinks and pulls away from the retina, forming floaters in the process. Although annoying, most are not usually sight threatening and do not generally require treatment. But the sudden appearance of new floaters can be a signal to have an eye exam as soon as possible as it may be an early symptom of a retinal detachment.

Often they will fade with time, but if not, most people get used to them. The brain has a way of ignoring them after a while. But when they first appear, they can be quite annoying.

Only with a comprehensive medical eye exam can it be determine whether they are harmless or the beginning of a more serious problem. To schedule an eye exam, call 1-866-865-2020 or click here: online contact form.

Glaucoma: The Silent Thief of Sight

Glaucoma is a disease of the eye whereby there can be buildup of fluid within the eye causing increased pressure. When this occurs there is a risk of damage to the optic nerve, a part of the eye that is necessary for good vision.

Because glaucoma is without visual symptoms until serious damage has occurred, people can go for years without even knowing that they have it. Unfortunately this undetected condition can cause vision loss if left untreated.

The only way to diagnose glaucoma is with a thorough eye examination. That is the reason that we recommend that everyone have a comprehensive eye examination at least every 2 years, even people that do not wear any type of eyewear.

Patients who are looking for glaucoma treatment  can visit our clinic for quality eyecare services and advanced eye surgery.

5 REASONS TO HAVE AN EYE EXAM……even if you don’t wear eyeglasses.

1) Eye Exams Save Sight

Some sight-threatening eye diseases do not have early warning signs, and many can only be detected during a dilated eye exam.

2) Eye Exams Detect Other Health Problems Too

Many general health problems are often first detected during a routine comprehensive eye exam, because the eye is the only place where blood vessels can be viewed without a surgical procedure.

3) Good Vision Increases Safety

Poor vision can have an adverse effect on many life issues, such as depression, increased car accidents, drug-related errors, and falls. Falls are among the leading causes of death of people 65 and older.

4) Vision Affects a Child’s Success in Life

80% of all learning is through the visual system, and decreased vision can significantly affect childrens’ grades, athletic performance and even social interaction.

5) Changing Eyecare Technology

Sight-saving technology is changing at an astonishing rate. Conditions once considered untreatable are now able to be corrected with cutting-edge technology.

Click here to make an appointment with one of our award winning eye doctors.

Things You Might Not Know About Dry Eyes

1. Do you need another reason to quit smoking? Add Dry Eye Disease to the list. Recent studies have shown even second hand smoke is very harsh on the surface of the eye. There are a lot of toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke that can break down your protective tear film and the surface corneal tissue. If you are around a lot of cigarette smoke, you need to increase the use of artificial tears. Cigarette smoking is also known to be a strong contributor to the acceleration of macular degeneration. Outside of family history, it is the most common denominator in those patients with this serious eye disease.

2. While I am spoiling your fun, alcohol is also not dry eye friendly, as it can dehydrate you. This is good to remember when you are traveling in a commercial aircraft where the atmosphere is already dryer than any desert. Drink plenty of water instead.

3. Now, for a little update on makeup and dry eye issues: Water proof eye make-up, mascara, shadow, etc., has a much higher discomfort and sometimes toxic reaction to the sensitive skin of dry eye sufferers. Also keep your makeup fresh, disposing old bottles after 2-3 months. Thoroughly clean off your make up every night.

4. Contact lenses are not just an aggravating factor, but can also cause dry eye damage to the cornea. Daily disposable lenses are the safest for dry eye patients. Never wear your contacts if your eyes are red and uncomfortable.

5. Up until now we have recommended avoiding too much caffeine as it is a mild diuretic. More recent studies have shown a reduced risk of dry eye in coffee drinkers and that caffeine can stimulate tear production. A little caffeine also shortens ophthalmic migraine symptoms. Treating a patient’s dry eye condition has also been shown to reduce the frequency of their migraine attacks.

6. Be aware that children can also suffer from dry eyes, secondary to congenital endocrine, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. If your child has persistent complaints of painful, irritated eyes, don’t just treat them with artificial tears and ignore it… Bring it to the attention of your pediatrician and eyecare professional.

7. And yes, those simple carbs that are bad for the waistline are also bad for your eyes. They compete with the complex carbs needed by ocular tissue and aggravate your dry eye symptoms.

Do you need any more evidence that Dry Eye Disease is a very complex problem that needs something more than an artificial tear once or twice a day?

– By Richard Hector, MD

True or False: Tanning Booths Won’t Cause Skin Cancer.

Tanning Beds Won’t Cause Skin Cancer – True or False

FALSE – According to SkinCancer.org, just ONE tanning booth visit, 1) will increase your risk of melanoma by 20% 2) will increase your risk of basal cell carcinoma by 29% and 3) will increase your risk of squamous cell carcinoma by a whopping 67% . A spokesperson for The Skin Cancer Foundation pointed out that there seems to be a cultural disconnect between the risk of skin cancer and the desire for a ‘healthy glow.’ Since physical appearance may mean more than long-range health effects, a new study suggests that pointing out the negative cosmetic effect of tanning, such as age spots and wrinkling, may have more impact than the fear of skin cancer.

If you have ever been a ‘tanner’, you need to have a skin cancer check. Call 1-877-816-3376 or click here to make an appointment with Board Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Paul Stevenson.

Beware of Similar Looking Bottles

Take few minutes right now and separate your artificial tear/eyedrop bottles from ALL other similar containers. There has been a recent increase in patients reaching for their eyedrops, or what they thought was eyedrops, but instead placing a drop of nail cleaner, ear wax remover, super glue or whiteout into their eye. Some of these solutions can be easily rinsed out, but some cannot and are very dangerous, such as super glue.

If you do inadvertently put the wrong liquid into your eyes, immediately rinse the eye with lots of plain water or saline solution. This is one of those times where the old eye cups would be useful. When you are done rinsing, use a thicker artificial tear solution, such as a gel, to re-lubricate your eyes. If you have persistent pain, redness or blurred vision, by all means call the office. There is a doctor on call 24/7 who can advise you if immediate attention is needed.

If something more toxic, such as drain cleaner, battery acid, ammonia based cleaning products, dry wall or concrete dust, gets into your eyes, a trip to the emergency room or eye clinic nearest to you is recommended. A full 20 minutes of continuous, thorough rinsing and pH testing are needed to completely remove these products. BUT before you go to the emergency room, do an immediate rinse wherever you are. I do not care if you rinse with a garden hose… one patient used a can of 7-Up (that is all she had to help her son after the car battery exploded in his face). The faster your eyes are washed out and the toxic solution diluted the better. Even a 5 minute ride to the hospital can be more than enough time for potentially blinding damage to occur if these solutions are present full strength. It is common to be concerned if the word acid is in a description of the fluid, but solutions with the opposite pH called bases, such as ammonia, can cause much more rapid and severe damage to your eyes.

By Richard Hector, MD