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Is Astigmatism a Disease? Can it be corrected?

astigmatism

Could astigmatism be inhibiting her learning?

Astigmatism is often incorrectly thought of as an eye disease or eye health problem. It is simply a very common focusing problem that is caused by an irregularity of the curvature of the cornea (the front of the eye). Often in layman’s terms, the astigmatic eye’s curvature is compared to the shape of a football as opposed to a basketball.

Astigmatism is a refractive error just like nearsightedness (myopia) and farsightedness (hyperopia). When light enters the eye, it is not evenly distributed on the retina. This causes your eyes to have blurry vision.

Most people are born with some degree of astigmatism. Both children and adults can have it. In children, it can affect their school work and learning. The higher the amount, the worst the vision. You may just have it by itself, or in conjunction with nearsightedness and/or farsightedness.  Some common symptoms of astigmatism include headaches, blurred vision both near and far, eye fatigue, and eye strain.

Can I have Astigmatism and not know it?

Vision screenings, especially school screenings, often do not catch small amounts of astigmatism. It may only be found during a comprehensive eye examination. The reason is because there may be such a small amount and the person doesn’t realize that he/she is not seeing the best they can. Astigmatism is very treatable with glasses, contact lenses, LASIK, Clear Lens ReplacementBladeless LASER Cataract surgery and high tech lens implants.

Astigmatism and Cataract Surgery

If you have astigmatism, it is very important to consider it during the cataract surgery decision process. It can be corrected during upgraded cataract surgery and give you clearer, more crisp vision. Your choice of standard vs upgraded cataract surgery cannot be changed after the surgery. That is the reason it is a decision that should be carefully considered before surgery. Even those with nearsightedness and farsightedness have more vision correction options than ever before. This makes the decision process for cataract surgery more important than ever.

Be sure to ask your eye doctor during your eye exam if there are recommendations relating to astigmatism correction for your eyes. Call 1-866-865-2020 for a comprehensive exam appointment.

 

Kids and Sunglasses

child wearing sunglasses

child wearing sunglasses

Most parents are well aware of the long term benefit of polarized sunglasses in protecting their own eyes from degenerative eye diseases and UV exposure. But many parents don’t realize how important it is to protect your children’s young eyes too.Just as your would always put sunscreen on your child when they are out in the sun, you should always put sunglasses on your child when in the sun as well. Sunglasses are literally sunscreen for your eyes.

Typically before age 18, you get 1/2 of your life’s sun exposure, and before the age of 8 is when the most sun damage occurs. Even wearing a hat is not enough. Only 50% of the sun’s rays are blocked.

UVA and UVB Sunglass Protection

Kids should begin wearing sunglasses as young as 6 months old and they need to be good quality. Cheap sunglasses that don’t have UVA and UVB protection can actually be worse than wearing none at all. We recommend that children wear polarized polycarbonate lenses because of their safety as well as their inherent UVA and UVB protective properties. Choose sunglasses that block at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays.

Tips for Buying Sunglasses for Your Child

-Give your child guidance but let them pick out the glasses. They are more likely to wear them if they like the way that they look.

-Always get children glasses and sunglasses with polycarbonate lenses. They are the safest lenses on the market and will give your child the best eye protection.

-Wear sunglasses yourself. It is acts as a good role model as well as offering good protection for your eyes.

-Consider buying an elastic head strap to make it harder for younger kids to take off the glasses.

The Optical Gallery at The Eye Associates carries children sunglasses and can even order in more styles if you don’t find something that you like. Just stop by any of our locations and take a look.

 

Tear Osmolarity Testing for Dry Eyes

Accredited Dry Eye Center logo

Accredited Dry Eye Center Logo

#Dry Eyes

Did you know that the human eye has over 2 million working parts?  Imagine all those 2 million parts working beautifully, and then suddenly there is a poor tear film covering the cornea, preventing a clear image from being formed for your brain’s vision center to use when you read, drive and text, causing dry eyes.

Achieving the right volume and mixture of lubricating fluids to be available for delivery  with each blink is no easy task. To better analyze your tear film, we now can do a simple and quick in office test (called a tear osmolarity test) that not only helps us diagnose Dry Eye Disease, but also allows us to monitor the progress patients are making in their treatment programs. In the past, we were not able to objectively quantify the quality of a patient’s tears. Now we can do that with the Tearlab equipment.

When the tear osmolarity (salt content) test first came out, the results were not very consistent.  This was at first felt to be a deficiency in the machine.  Now we understand that this variability is the hallmark of Dry Eye Disease. Those of us who suffer from dry eyes are very aware of this variability.  We have our good days, and sometimes only a few good hours in the day. Many days are filled coping with the familiar battle of fluctuating vision and discomfort.

What cannot vary, though, is your dry eye treatment program. Maintain your fluid intake; do not over indulge in caffeinated beverages; apply your warm compresses, follow your lid hygiene regimen; and take your Omega 3 and Vitamin D. Do everything you can to give those 2 million parts in your eyes a clear image to work with!

Your Dry Eye Coach, Richard Hector

Important Reason for Eye Exams – Safety

<img alt; "safety of mom important to family"

Happy Mom with daughter and granddaughter.

Safety as we age is the most important thing. We all worry about the safety of our parents. Poor vision can have many adverse effects, such as depression, car accidents, and medication errors, but none of these are more concerning than a fall. Falls are among the leading cause of death for people age 65+, and people with low vision are at even greater risk. Reduced contrast, decreased depth perception, and a reduced field of vision can inhibit balance and the ability to detect obstacles. Increased safety is one of the most compelling reasons to have an annual eye exam.

Visual Factors That Impact Falls

Reduced field of vision – Objects that cannot be seen are a common cause of falls. Eye diseases such as Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy can rob one’s vision. Glaucoma affects ones peripheral vision, while Macular Degeneration and Diabetic Retinopathy can cause blind spots in the central vision.
Reduced depth perception – People with vision in just one eye may have problems judging distances, making it more dangerous to negotiate obstacles.
Reduced contrast sensitivity – Reduced vision also causes reduced contrast making obstacles and clutter hard to see. Curbs become nearly invisible and many objects can fade into the background.

Eye Exams Save Sight and Increase Safety

Increased safety is one of the most compelling reasons to have an annual eye exam. Did you know that some eye diseases do not have warning signs, and many can only be detected with a dilated eye exam. Cataracts can affect sight so gradually that you don’t notice the decreased vision. And half of all people with glaucoma are unaware that they even have the disease. Also, diabetics with diabetic retinopathy often do not experience symptoms when the disease is at its most treatable stage. The key to keeping good vision starts with the early detection and treatment.

Call 1-866-865-2020 or click here for a comprehensive eye exam today!

Hear what some of our patients have to say.

Dr. Scott Han – Board Certified and Residency Trained Optometric Physician

Bradenton patient talking about Dr. Scott Han

Dr. Scott Han is a wonderful human being and excellent at what he does. He really knows his business. The people here are so nice and very professional. The whole office runs like a well-oiled machine! It’s a pleasure coming here.” Patient: C. G. at the West Bradenton office

Robert Friedman, MD – Board Certified Ophthalmologist and Fellowship Trained Glaucoma Specialist

Sarasota patient talking about Dr. Robert Friedman

Dr. Friedman was OUTSTANDING. I highly recommend him. The staff at Bee Ridge and the surgery center was most kind, helpful and considerate. A most pleasant atmosphere.” Patient: F. F. at the Sarasota office

John Limbrunner, BCHIS – Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist

Bradenton patient talking about Board Certified Hearing Instrument Specialist John Limbrunner and Hearing at The Eye Associates

“My experience with John Limbrunner couldn’t have been better. He is knowledgeable and competent but with a caring heart. I came to see John thinking that I had wax in my ear. I left with a hearing aid that instantly exposed me to sounds I had missed. He is always there for me. I am thankful to John for helping me enjoy the world more.”  Patient: M. R at the West Bradenton office for Hearing at The Eye Associates

Dr. Brian Foster – Board Certified Ophthalmologist and Fellowship Trained Corneal Specialist

Cataract surgery patient talking about Dr. Brian Foster

“I recently had cataract surgery in both eyes by Dr. Foster. What an amazing doctor…and not just him! Every single contact with The Eye Associates has been absolutely wonderful. The customer service I have received has been top rated from the beginning. Very refreshing to be treated so well and taken care of so professionally and caring. Thank you all!!! M. K. at the West Bradenton office and Ellenton

Understanding Vitamins for AMD

Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS)

In 2001, Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) researchers reported that a vitamin supplement called the AREDS formulation could reduce the risk of developing advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

In 2006, the same research group, based at National Institute of Health’s National Eye Institute, began a second study called AREDS2. They wanted to determine if they could improve the AREDS formulation. They tested the following: adding antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids, removing beta-carotene, and lowering the dose of zinc.

AREDS 1

What is the original AREDS vitamin formulation?
-500 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C
-400 international units of vitamin E
-80 mg zinc as zinc oxide
-15 mg beta-carotene
-2 mg copper as cupric oxide

AREDS2

What modifications were tested in AREDS2 vitamins?
-10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin
-1000 mg of omega-3 fatty acids (350 mg DHA and 650 mg EPA)
-25 mg zinc
No beta-carotene

Why did they change the AREDS2 formulation? Why add lutein/zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids? Previous studies had found that dietary intake of lutein/zeaxanthin and omega-3 fatty acids is associated with a lower risk of developing advanced AMD.

Why eliminate beta-carotene? During the AREDS trial, two large trials funded by the National Cancer Institute found that beta-carotene may increase lung cancer risk among people who smoke. Lutein and zeaxanthin are in the same family of nutrients as beta-carotene and are believed to have important functions in the retina. Therefore, the researchers theorized that lutein/zeaxanthin might be a safer and possibly more effective alternative than beta-carotene.

Why reduce the vitamin zinc? Although zinc was found to be an essential component of the AREDS formulation in the original trial, some nutritional experts recommended a lower dose.

You can buy AREDS2 formula eye vitamins at all of The Optical Gallery locations at The Eye Associates.

Dark skin people need skin cancer checks too!

Dark skin people can have skin cancer too.

 Dark skin people can have skin cancer too.

According to SkinCancer.org, here are some statistics that you should keep in mind, no matter what your skin color.

-Melanomas in African Americans, Asians, Filipinos, Indonesians and Hawaiians most often occur on non-exposed skin with less pigment. These melanomas are often discovered on the palms, soles, mucous membranes and nail regions.

-Skin cancer represents 1 to 2 % of all cancers in African Americans and jumps to 2 to 4 % in Asians.

-While melanoma is more uncommon in African Americans, Latinos, and Asians, it is frequently fatal for these ethnicities. Late-stage melanoma diagnoses are more prevalent among these patients than Caucasian patients, resulting in the 5 year melanoma survival rate for African Americans being only 77 % when compare to 91 % for Caucasians.
All skin types should always apply sunscreen 30 minutes before they go out into the sun, and then reapply every 2 hours. Of course, if you sweat or go in the water, it is necessary to reapply more often. Avoid peak burn hours from 10 AM to 4 PM. Clothing, unless specifically treated for sun protection, is not enough to give you the sun protection needed. Be safe by wearing sunscreen.

What to do next!

For some serious cases, Sarasota patients can find skin cancer treatment by visiting our facility’s expert skin and eye care surgeons and having a face to face consultation or exam.

Click here to make an appointment our Board Certified Dermatologist or call 1-877-816-DERM (3376).

Melanoma – A Mole Gone Bad

The quickest way to explain melanoma is to simply say that it is a mole that has gone bad. It is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. According to SkinCancer.org, everyone is at some risk for melanoma. Those with a family or personal history, lighter skin color, a weakened immune system, and excessive moles are at an even higher risk.

And melanoma is on the rise! The good news is that melanoma is almost always curable AS LONG AS IT IS TREATED EARLY. What does that mean to you? You need to get a yearly skin check as well as keep an eye on your own skin for any signs of skin cancer.

Look out for the ABCDEs of melanoma.

A for Asymmetry

If you were to draw a line through the middle of the mole and the 2 sides don’t match, then you should have it checked immediately.

B is for Border

If the borders are not smooth, have it checked.

C is for Color

If the is an unusual color, you should have it checked.

D is for Diameter

If the diameter of the mole is larger than a pencil eraser, it could be melanoma…even though some melanomas can be small.

E is for Evolving  Keep a watch on your moles and if you see it changing in any way, or if it starts to bleed, make an appointment.

No one likes to go to the doctor and especially if it is for something scary like melanoma. We also hate to waste our money. What if it is ‘nothing’. It is better to have wasted an appointment for a ‘perfectly normal’ mole than to miss catching this deadly cancer early. Click here or call 1-877-816-DERM (3376) for an appointment.

NOTE: You will be seeing Doctor; not a PA or NP.

What tear testing can I do to determine if I have Dry Eye Disease?

Dry Eye Disease diagnosis and treatment

Red, irritated eye

If your eyes sting, itch and are watery, then you might have Dry Eye Disease

Dry Eye Disease was hard to diagnose in the past. Therefore, there was not an easy, accurate way to measure the osmolarity of tears (or in other words… the quality of your tears and just how dry your eyes are). Also there were not many good dry eye treatments. Today we have many Dry Eye Disease treatments. These include Restasis and Xiidra prescription eyedrops, punctual plugs, amniotic membrane, conjunctivochalasis treatment (known as CCH),  vitamin therapy, scleral lenses and even eyelid revision surgery. But before we can recommend a treatment, we need to find out how dry your eyes really are.

Tear Osmolarity Testing

What is Tear Osmolarity and what does it have to do with my dry eyes?
One of the latest in dry eye technology is the TearLab Osmolarity System. The TearLab is the first objective and quantitative test for diagnosing dry eye patients. By using the TearLab, The Eye Associates can quickly and painlessly measure a small sample of tears to determine your dryness. As a result, this helps your dry eye doctor understand the ‘level’ of Dry Eye Disease (sometimes referred to as Dry Eye Disease) to decide the best treatment plan.

The TearLab testing provides you with a unique tear number. Consequently, the higher the number means the less quality tear film, the more inflammation, and the greater chance of damage to the ocular surface of the eye.

Does it really work for dry eye testing?
Yes. A 300 patient dry eye study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology reported that TearLab outperformed both the old-standard Schirmer’s testing and corneal staining tests for correctly identifying mild to moderate dry eye patients. Why is that important? Because treating this disease in the early stages can prevent damage to the eyes.

Accredited Dry Eye Center 
We are proud to announce that The Eye Associates has been named an Accredited Dry Eye Center. Our doctors use the TearLab Osmolarity System as part of their advanced dry eye treatment plan. If you would like to make an appointment at The Eye Associates at Sun City Center, Ellenton, Sarasota, Venice, and Bradenton, just call 1-866-865-2020.

Olive Oil – Good for Dry Eyes

Dry Eye solution

Chocolate Infused Olive Oil

Right behind the Omega 3 fish oils as part of your dry eye treatment is extra-virgin olive oil. That is why it should be on the top of every dry eye patient’s cooking list. It is a member of the “short list” of foods that offer our body assistance in reducing inflammation in our joints, but it also helps with the inflammation in our tear producing glands of eyes.

The next time you travel to the Napa Valley, do your Dry Eyes a favor. Visit the wonderful OLIVE OIL tasting rooms. Yes, there are now several excellent olive orchards producing extra-virgin olive oil, some describe as “liquid gold” , right here in the good ole’ US of A.

Use olive oil as often as you can for cooking or take it straight. I call it the “dry eye shot”. Pour out the tequila and fill your shot glass with olive oil (flavored, if you would prefer). The chocolate-infused oil is said to be great over ice cream. Wow, we can now enjoy our ice cream AND feel good because we are improving our dry eye condition at the same time.  From one ice cream lover to another, Richard Hector.

Another favorite oil we recommend as part of your dry eye solution is Omega 3 fish oils is Omega Cure by Omega3 Innovations. It is made with wild cod caught off the coast of Norway, eliminating the fishy taste while still achieving the omega 3 health benefits. The super food can also be used in juices, smoothies and even salad dressings to help you get your daily servings. Omega3 Innovations even has breakfast cookies, chocolate cookies and tasty dark chocolate truffles that surprisingly containing omega 3 fish oil. You can find out more information on Omega Cure at https://www.omega3innovations.com/omega-cure/

If you have dry eyes and would like to be evaluated by our Fellowship Trained Dry Eye Specialist, Richard Hector MD, or one of our board certified eye physicians, please call toll free 1-866-865-2020 or contact The Eye Associates.