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Have You Heard of Serum Tears for Dry Eye Treatment?

By Dr. David Rubin

If you have chronic dry eyes, you know the discomfort and the stress associated with this eye condition. Because of aging, or because of medication, or because of some diseases like Sjogren’s, but mostly for unknown reasons, almost 5 million Americans suffer from Dry Eye Disease.

You may have tried over-the-counter artificial tears at the first sign of symptoms and they may have worked for a while, but then the tearing, itching, irritation and fluctuating vision returned. The problem could be with your tear film. Tears are made with a perfect balance of water, mucus, oil, and other vital biologically active elements. If any of these components gets out of balance, then the quality of the tears is reduced.

The Eye Associates is one of the few practices that has the technology to actually measure the quality of your tears. We take a small sample of a patient’s tears, and then using the TearLab Osmolarity System, we are able to determine quantifiably the quality of the tears. Treatment is then prescribed based on the finding from the TearLab.

One way to address this problem is with the use of Autologous Serum Tears. Again, The Eye Associates is one of the few practices in this area to offer Autologous Serum Tears treatment. Since over-the-counter artificial tears lack the biologically active elements found in your natural tears, eye drops made from components from your own body have been found to be highly effective for most patients. These customized eye drops are made by separating components of your own blood. The red blood cells and clotting factors are removed, leaving behind blood serum which is used to make customized eye drops for you. The benefit is that these man-made tears possess the same biological nutrients naturally found in your own tears, giving natural relief for dry eyes and other corneal-related conditions.

I have many patients successfully finding dry eye relief with serum tear treatment. I got a call recently from a patient that had been unable to drive due to pain and fluctuating vision. After a few weeks of treatment with serum tears, she is now able to drive her husband to his twice weekly medical treatments. She is so thankful for the help.

As an Accredited Dry Eye Center of Excellence, the doctors at The Eye Associates have extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of Dry Eye Disease. Good vision makes all the difference to our lives. That is why saving sight is The Eye Associates’ most important mission. Click here to request a dry eye consultation. Or call 1-866-865-2020.

Are Electronics Affecting Your Kids’ Eyes?

Phones, tablets and other electronic devices

How does electronics affect kids’ eyes?

Electronic devices. Our kids were raised with them. They can’t imagine life without them. And neither can we. But how are they affecting our kids’ eyes? We know first hand the strain that we feel after a long period at the computer. But what about our kids? According to the American Optometric Association, 83 % of our kids between 10 and 17 are using electronic devices 3 hours or more a day. Most parents are surprised to hear that. While we accept that we are using smart phones and computers for hours at work, it’s hard to imagine that our kids are spending so much time on them as well.

Another study published in Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus found that smartphones and tablets could be contributing to increased dry eye problems in kids’ eyes. Dry Eye symptoms such as burning, tearing, eye fatigue are common complaints that we hear everyday at The Eye Associates, and increasingly so in kids. Gaming glasses, computer glasses and digital eyeglasses are being prescribed more and more in order to offer symptom relief as well as protection against harmful bluelight emitted by electronics. The American Macular Degeneration Associations has suggested a link between bluelight and macular degeneration. Let’s start protecting our kids’ eyes early from macular degeneration.

The difference between kids and adults is the self awareness of symptoms. Adults feeling eye strain will take a break and give their eyes a rest. We find that children, especially when playing a game, will continue using the electronic device. That is why it is important for the parent to step in and institute rules about electronic use. We recommend taking a break every 20 minutes. Also remind your kids to blink. So often computer users forget to blink.

Adults are also susceptible to digital strain. Some common symptoms are tired eyes, stiff neck and headache.

http://www.zeiss.com/vision-care/en_de/better-vision/better-vision-with-zeiss/your-individualized-zeiss-lens/digital-lenses-spectacles-for-users-of-mobile-devices.html

Click here or call 1-866-865-2020 for a comprehensive eye exam with one of our Board Certified Eye Physicians.

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

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/

Schedule your Dry Eye Evaluation today to be seen by our Fellowship Trained Dry Eye Specialist, Richard Hector MD, or one of our board certified eye physicians.

      

Comfort For Your Dry Eyes

7 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 to the surface of the eye. There are so many 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 probably have noticed the need to increase the use of artificial tears. Also, smoking is known to be a strong contributor to the development of macular degeneration. Outside of family history, smoking is most common denominator in macular degeneration patients.

2. I know I’m spoiling your fun but alcohol is also not dry-eye-friendly. It causes dehydrate which is never good for Dry Eyes. And forget that drink on the plane because studies have shown that the atmosphere on a commercial aircraft is drier than any desert. Drink plenty of water on your trip instead.

3. Make-up and dry eyes: Make-up, such as waterproof eye make-up, mascara, shadow, etc., has a much higher discomfort rate and sometimes causes a toxic reaction to the sensitive skin of dry eye sufferers. Always keep your make-up fresh by disposing old bottles after 2-3 months. And thoroughly clean off your make-up every night before going to bed.

4. Contact lenses are not just an aggravating factor for dry eye sufferers, but they can even cause dry eye damage to the cornea. Daily disposable lenses are the safest contact lens for dry eye patients. And never, never wear your contacts if your eyes are red and uncomfortable.

5. We used to recommend that you avoid too much caffeine because it is a mild diuretic. But some recent studies have shown a reduced risk of dry eye in coffee drinkers, and that caffeine might actually stimulate tear production.

6. Did you know 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 ignore it… Bring it to the attention of your pediatrician or better yet, make a visit to an eyecare professional for an evaluation.

7. 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.

If you are a Bradenton patient who’s concerned about the chronic discomfort of dry eyes or wish to seek dry eye treatment, then visit our eye surgery facility and meet with our expert ophthalmologists to discuss treatment options.

By Richard Hector, MD

8 Warning Signs of Serious Eye Problems



Early detection is key to saving sight.

8 Warning Signs of Serious Eye Problems

It is important to catch serious eye problems early in order to preserve vision. Your sight is one of your most precious senses. Maintaining healthy eyes should be a priority.  How do you know if an eye problem is the start of something serious? We hope this guide helps you identify problems that can’t wait.

If you experience any of the following symptoms of a serious eye problem, call your eye doctor immediately.
1) A sudden decrease in vision in one eye.
This could indicate a problem with the retina; perhaps a macular hole. The chance of this happening increases as we age, and women are at higher risk than men.

2) A flood of spots, floaters or debris in the eye or a dark curtain across your field of vision.
Most floaters are benign, but if you experience a sudden onset, it could indicate a retina problem, such as a tear or retina detachment. If it is a retinal detachment, it needs to be treated immediately. If left untreated, vision loss can be permanent.

3) A gradual loss of central vision and distortions when looking at straight lines.
Macular Degeneration is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans, with central vision loss as a common symptom. Dry Macular Degeneration can turn into Wet Macular Degeneration overnight. That is why every senior should test their eyes daily with an Amsler Grid. It is important to do the test one eye at a time. Click the following link to print out your FREE Amsler Grid.

4) Loss of peripheral vision.
This symptom is hard to notice and could mean that you are developing glaucoma. The loss happens so slowly that many times it is not noticed until damage is done.

5) A sudden onset of eye pain, nausea, vomiting, and redness.
These symptoms could indicate an attack of narrow-angle glaucoma that can permanently damage your optic nerve and vision.

6) Double vision or ‘ghost like’ images.
Double vision can be related to many eye problems, and even other health conditions such as strokes. We recommend that you take immediate action and see a doctor.

7) Scratchy, irritated, watery eyes.
Frequently these symptoms indicate Dry Eye Disease. There is no cure for it but there are many treatments. If left untreated, loss of vision and serious eye problems could occur in extreme cases.

8) If you are diabetic and have blind spots, accompanied by floaters and blurred vision.
This could definitely indicate the onset of diabetic retinopathy. Daily use of  an Amsler Grid is recommended for this as well.

Another common condition that is not an emergency or serious eye problem: Cataracts
‘Halos’  around lights and cloudy, blurry vision.
Cataracts could be the cause here. Luckily cataract surgery is quite commonplace these days and can quickly return good vision.

Saving sight is our most important mission at The Eye Associates!  Should you or someone you know experience one of the symptoms serious eye problems above and vision loss, call immediately 1-866-865-2020. After business hours, our answering service will contact the doctor-on-call for emergencies.

Power Blink! Help for your Dry Eyes.


<img alt="man with eyes wide open for start of the power blink"

This is the starting point of a POWER BLINK.

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I put a lot of weight into good quality blinks. Want your eyes to feel better? Start by practicing the POWER BLINK on a regular basis! When you are reading, driving, and especially when you are on the computer, you actually blink less. It is estimated that during those activities, your blink rate is reduced by 70%. Yes, I said 70%. And remember that not blinking is to your eyes like not breathing is to your lungs.

What is a POWER BLINK?

A strong, full blink wipes away the old tear film and distributes a nice fresh tear lake full of nutrients and relief.

More Information about the Power of Blinking and Dry Eye Disease

We know from previous studies that people with dry eyes do not blink well, but a recent study revealed two interesting facts about blinking. Many do not close their eyes completely nor do they blink as often as those without dry eyes. The length of their blinks were also measured, and not surprisingly, when they do blink, they hold their eyes closed 2.5 times longer. So, is it the chicken or the egg? Do you develop dry eyes because you do not blink as often, or do you not blink as often because you have dry eyes? Do dry eye patients avoid blinking because when they do blink, they have to hold their eyes closed longer which is disconcerting when you are reading, on the computer, driving or even trying to carry on a conversation with someone?

So start practicing your POWER BLINK right now. Give your eyes a full, strong, eyes-completely-closed BLINK.

Richard Hector, MD

Fellowship Trained Corneal & Dry Eye Specialist

 

 

 

Women & Dry Eyes


<img alt="young woman rubbing her dry eyes"

Do your eyes burn, itch and feel scratchy? It’s probably Dry Eyes Disease.

Dry Eye Disease is among the most common eye conditions in the United States.

Did you know that over 60% of menopausal women are affected by Dry Eyes Disease (DED) and don’t even realize it? Yes, they know that their eyes burn and are dry, red and irritated. And they know that sometimes their eyes even water excessively. This is your eyes way of trying to soothe they eye irritation. But they don’t know that women are two to three times more likely to be affected by DED than men.

In healthy eyes, a thin layer of tears coats the outside surface of the eye, therefore, keeping it moist. It also washes away bits of debris that might fall into the eyes. Dry Eye Disease occurs when the eye doesn’t make enough tears, or it makes tears that evaporate too quickly. This leaves the eyes dry and vulnerable. Dry Eye Disease may sound like more of a nuisance than a serious problem, but if left untreated, DED can inhibit your everyday lifestyle, and in severe cases, can even result in permanent loss of sight.

If you think you might have DED, call 1-866-865-2020 for dry eye treatment in Bradenton. We can help you find relief!