Categories
Eye Conditions Eye Health Articles

Why Does My Eye Hurt When I Blink?

Blinking is important to your eye health, but sometimes it can hurt to blink. There are several factors that can cause eye irritation when blinking. At Dittman Eyecare, we have put together some of the most common reasons it may hurt to blink.

Categories
Eye Health Articles Eyeglasses

Are Blue Light Protection Glasses Worth It?

Whether you are indoors working on your computer or outside enjoying the sunshine, you are being exposed to blue light. This type of light is a high-energy light wave close to UV light based on the visible light spectrum.

Some exposure to this blue light is okay, but since blue light can go right through the cornea to your retina, it can have a significant impact on your vision. If you work on the computer frequently or use other devices, you may be wondering if blue light protection glasses would be a good investment.

Should I Get Blue Light Protection Glasses?

Blue light blocking glasses. As technology advances, we continue to use screens more and more. Digital eye strain is a condition developed by those who are using computers and other devices for long periods. The symptoms of digital eye strain include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Strained eyes
  • Headaches

Blue light glasses are worth the investment, especially if you are working in front of a screen for an extended period. With blue light protection glasses, you can alleviate the symptoms of digital eye strain and take the pressure off your eyes while working on the computer or other device for a long period.

Students and office workers who spend most of their time in front of a computer and other digital devices can benefit greatly from blue light protection glasses.

Even with blue light protection glasses, you should make it a point to take a break away from your device at least every 20 minutes to give your eyes a break.

Are Blue Light Glasses Safe to Wear All Day?

You can wear blue light glasses as often as you would like or as often as your optometrist has instructed. If you wear prescription lenses, you can purchase lenses with a blue-light protective coating, which protects you throughout the day while using your digital devices. You may also consider purchasing blue-light protection glasses to use when working on the computer or other digital device and wearing your regular glasses when away from the computer.

At Dittman Eyecare, our experienced team can help you navigate your various options for glasses, including blue-light protection eyewear and designer frames.

Is Blue Light Protection Eyewear Recommended?

Since blue light can put a strain on your eyes while using digital devices or a computer for an extended period, blue-light glasses are recommended to help reduce the strain on your eyes. We also recommend frequent breaks from electronic devices, especially before bedtime.

Blue light protection eyewear is the best option for alleviating digital eye strain symptoms, making them a great investment in your everyday comfort and eye health. Contact Dittman Eyecare today to learn more about your blue light eyewear options.

Categories
Eye Conditions

What are Trifocal Lenses? What Are Their Advantages and Disadvantages?

For those who require multiple prescriptions due to distance and near vision problems, trifocals may be an option prescribed by your eye doctor.

This type of lens works by peering through the highest part of the lens to see at a distance and looking through the lower portion when looking at things closely. Trifocals also feature another viewing area in the center of the lenses to help you see visuals within a range of about two feet.

Pros of Trifocal Lenses

Trifocal LensesThere are a variety of benefits to using trifocal lenses, including:
  • Trifocal lenses give you the ability to get vision correction for three different prescriptions. This works well for people who have blurry vision at different distances, helping to clear up images both near and far away.

Cons of Trifocal Lenses

Although trifocal lenses can be very beneficial, they also come with some cons, including:
  • Unfortunately, trifocals can’t be customized as much as other eyewear. For those who are looking to get multifocal eyewear made for their eyes, progressive lenses have more customizable options.
  • It can take a few days to adapt to wearing trifocal lenses. It also takes a few days to adjust to progressive lenses and bifocals. It is normal to have an adjustment period. We recommend that you wear your glasses as often as possible to help speed up your adjustment time.

Are Trifocal Lenses Right For Me?

In most cases, trifocal lenses are recommended for patients over the age of 40 who have a pre-existing vision condition and who are starting to experience presbyopia. Presbyopia is a condition where farsightedness is caused by the loss of elasticity in the lens of the eye. This commonly occurs in middle or old age. Additionally, anyone who needs help with their three fields of vision can benefit from trifocal lenses.

Schedule Your Eye Exam Today!

At Dittman Eyecare, we specialize in providing comprehensive eye exams for adults and seniors to help you preserve your vision. Contact us today to schedule an eye exam!
Categories
Contact Lenses Eye Health Articles

How Do I Fix My Blurry Contact Lenses?

While contacts are a convenient option for daily life, sometimes issues such as blurriness can happen. This can be extremely frustrating, especially if it happens often. Fortunately, this issue can typically be resolved with a few simple solutions to help you get back your clear vision.

Categories
Eye Health Articles

What is the Best Way to Put Contacts In?

If you’ve never used contact lenses before, you may have some questions about how to properly use them. At Dittman Eyecare, we have put together a guide on how to put your contacts in to help you become a pro at using contacts in no time!

How Do I Apply My Contact Lenses?

There are a variety of steps you should take prior to placingWhat is the best way to put contacts in? your contact lenses in your eyes to ensure your safety and comfort:

Wash and dry your hands. 
Thoroughly wash your hands, drying them with a lint-free towel. Avoid scented soaps or those that contain moisturizing products. Lotions or oils can get on your lens and make it uncomfortable to wear.

Gently shake your case.
This will help to make sure your contact lenses are not stuck to your case. Skipping this step can result in you pulling on a stuck lens, causing it to tear.

Rinse your lenses.
Take one lens out of the case at a time. Place one lens in the palm of your hand and use your contact solution to rinse it. Once it is rinsed, place it on your middle or index finger.

Insert your lenses.
Using your free hand, pull your upper eyelid up and lower eyelid down. Place the contact lens straight onto your eye. Gently close and roll your eye to ensure it is in the proper position.

If your lens is cloudy or feels uncomfortable, take it out and try reinserting it.
Check That Your Contacts are Right Side Out
Placing a contact lens into your eye inside out is a common mistake that many first-time contact lens wearers make. When you are just starting out using contacts, you may not know how to determine if your contact lens is inside out or not. To determine if it is inside out or not, place the contact on your finger. If it forms a cup, then it is in the proper position to put in.

If the top edges of your contact are flared out, this means the lens is inside out. Before inserting the contact lens, hold it up to your eye and look at the side of the cup. If it forms a perfect U shape, then you can insert your contact. If you insert your contact inside out, it will cause some discomfort, so be sure to take it out, invert the lens and place it back into your eye.

Keeping Your Contacts Safe for Use

Caring for your contact lenses is crucial to your comfort andWhat is the best way to put contacts in? your eye health.

To keep your lenses clean and comfortable, be sure to:

  • Clean and disinfect your contact lenses and contact case regularly.
  • Gently rub your contact lenses when cleaning them, even with a no-rub solution.
  • Replace your contact lenses on a regular basis. Your doctor can recommend a replacement schedule, or you can follow the manufacturer’s directions.
Things you want to avoid when caring for your contact lenses:
  • Don’t use saliva to wet your contact lenses.
  • Don’t wear your lenses longer than recommended by your doctor or manufacturer.
  • Don’t reuse or top off the old solution in your contact lens case. Always discard the old solution and use a fresh solution for storage.

Ready to Start Using Contacts? Dittman Eyecare Can Help! 

If you are ready to start using contact lenses, schedule your comprehensive contact lens exam today with Dittman Eyecare!
Categories
Eye Health Articles

What happens to my eyes when I leave contacts in too long?

If you are new to wearing contacts or a long-time wearer, you may be wondering what can happen if you leave your lenses in too long.
Categories
Eyeglasses Sunglasses

Can Your Eyes Heal from Sun Damage?

Not wearing your sunglasses outside, sun glare, or looking at the sun can cause your eyes to become sunburned or worse. When your eyes become sunburned, it is called photokeratitis. You do not have to stress too much if you experience this condition, as it is a common occurrence if you have spent time in the sun without protection. It will typically clear itself up in a few days.

Sun Damaged eyesIf you work or spend a lot of time in areas with a high volume of UV light, it can lead to serious eye issues such as cataracts. Since sun damage can be serious, you may be wondering if sun damage is something your eyes can heal from or not.

Healing from Sun Damage

Your eyes can in fact heal from sun damage if the damage has been caused by a mild case of photokeratitis. In most cases, this condition will heal itself in a short timeframe if you get out of the sun immediately. Symptoms of photokeratitis include:
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Watery eyes
  • Feeling that you have sand or something in your eyes
The symptoms are signs of eye damage, but they are typically short-term effects. It is important to remember that the more you are out in the sun without UV protection, you increase your risk of getting more severe symptoms such as having difficulty seeing.

You also increase your chances of getting conditions like cataracts or age-related macular degeneration in the future caused by exposure to UV rays with no protection. These eye diseases are not as easy to get rid of and will require you to work with your eye doctor to determine the best way of treating your sun-damaged eyes.

Protect Your Eyes from Sun Damage

UV SunglassesWhen working in the sun or enjoying leisure time outside, it is crucial that you wear proper eye protection. From UV light blocking safety glasses to stylish sunglasses that block UV rays, there are endless choices to keep your eyes safe from sun damage. While we tend to think summertime is the time for sunglasses, glare from snow and ice can also damage your eyes, so be sure to wear your sunglasses all year round.

Schedule Your Eye Exam Today!

If you suspect you have sun damage or would like to browse our selection of designer sunglasses, contact Dittman Eyecare today to schedule an exam!
Categories
Eye Conditions

Contacts After LASIK Surgery

LASIK surgery, also known as refractive surgery, changes the corneal surface, making fitting contact lenses more challenging than it normally would be.
Categories
Eye Conditions

Dealing with a Scratched Eye

A common injury patients experience is a scratched eye or corneal abrasion. This type of injury happens when the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye, is damaged.
Categories
Eye Conditions

Your Vision After 40

At some point after the age of 40, most people will notice changes in their vision. This is a common time when you may start to notice that your eyes are beginning to lose the ability to focus on objects up close, particularly in dim lighting conditions.

Categories
Eye Health Articles

What Are Scleral Contact Lenses?

Scleral contact lenses are an excellent option for those who were told they are unable to wear contact lenses due to an irregular cornea or other eye problems.

Categories
Eye Conditions

Making the most out of your vision benefits

As we get closer to the end of the year, now may be a good time to sit down and reflect on your overall health and take the time to review your health care plan benefits to ensure you are getting the most out of them.
The first step to maximizing your benefits is understanding the differences between a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) and a Health Savings Account (HSA).

Flexible Spending Account vs. Health Savings Account

Health Savings AccountEach of these accounts is accounts where people opt-in to contribute part of their salary, pre-tax, to pay for some of their out-of-pocket healthcare costs. In some cases, employers match contributions.
The main difference between an FSA and an HSA is that the funds incurred in an HSA will roll over at the end of the year, but that is not the case with the FSA. Some plans offer a $500 extension into the new year; most FSA accounts must use the money or lose it. This means that the employees must incur the eligible expenses by the time the end of the year rolls around, or they lose any unspent funds.

Tips for Maximizing Your FSA or HSA

There are various benefits available to those who want to use their HSA and FSA funds. Besides your regular contacts and glasses, you can also use your available HSA and FSA funds for the second pair of glasses, an extended contact supply, prescription sunglasses, and your annual eye exam.

Need an Annual Exam? Need a Second Pair of Glasses? Dittman Eyecare Can Help!

As the end of the year approaches, you may be looking for ways to spend your FSA or HSA funds. At Dittman Eyecare, we offer a wide variety of name brand glasses, prescription sunglasses, and contacts for you to choose from. Contact us today to learn more!

Categories
Eye Conditions Eye Health Articles

Contact Lens Safety

October is Contact Lens Safety Awareness Month! At Dittman Eyecare, we’ve put together our best tips for properly using and caring for your contact lenses to help you prevent infections and eye injuries that can result from improper use.
Our focus is on your eye health. By following these tips, you can keep your eyes happy and healthy while using your contact lenses.

Avoid Eye Injury and Infection with Contact Lens Instructions

Contact lens careIt is essential to follow the instructions that have been outlined for you by your eye care professional at Dittman Eyecare. These instructions include:
  • Washing your hands before handling lenses
  • Never sleeping with lenses in (unless prescribed to by your eye doctor)
  • Replacing them based on the schedule we’ve prescribed

Care for Your Contact Lenses for Safe and Comfortable Wear

Bottle with lens solution and case on tableProper care for your lenses is also crucial to safe and comfortable contact lens use. You should make sure to:
  • Clean the contact lens case with fresh solution, never use water
  • Replace your contact lens case every three months
  • Decrease the risk of decontamination by allowing your empty case to air dry
  • Avoid using a cracked or damaged lens case; this could leave you vulnerable to contamination and infection.
  • Only clean lenses with fresh solution, do not use water

Contact Lens Exams and Fittings at Dittman Eyecare

At Dittman Eyecare, we know that contact lenses work best when they are the right size, shape, and prescription for your eyes, which is why we take the time to provide you with an accurate contact lens fitting exam. If you’re interested in using contact lenses, schedule your initial evaluation and fitting exam. We can walk you through the various contact lens options that will work best for your unique eye shape and prescription during this appointment. Contact us today to learn more!
Categories
Eye Conditions

Sports and Eye Safety

Eye injuries suffered while participating in sports are a top reason for emergency room visits, but with proper eye protection, many, if not all, of these eye injuries are preventable. In most cases, there are many protective sporting equipment regulations, with very few involving protective eyewear for your child.
There are many common misconceptions surrounding eyewear and sports, so it is essential to understand what is true and what is a myth to ensure you properly incorporate protective eyewear into your child’s sports activities.
If the guidelines provided don’t require protective eyewear, they don’t need it.
While many athletes must wear gear such as mouth guards, shin guards, and other protective equipment, protective eyewear is not always included in regulations. It is recommended that all athletes wear protective eyewear designed for recreational sports and should be impact resistant.

Contact sports are the only sport where protective eyewear is needed.

Sports EyewearWhile preparing for a collision in high contact sports such as football is necessary, other sports such as fishing or archery can put your child’s sight at risk if the equipment is misused. Protective eyewear is always recommended even for sports that are low to no contact.

Protective eyewear could negatively affect their performance.

Research shows that protective eyewear does not affect the performance of an athlete. Protective eyewear may improve their performance by enhancing their depth perception and giving them more confidence with the added protection. Even if there are small hindrances to their sight, the benefits of wearing eye protection outweigh the risk of not wearing it.

Looking for Sports Eyewear? Dittman Eyecare Can Help!

At Dittman Eyecare, we offer a wide selection of eye protection from top brands for athletes that meet impact resistance standards and will provide your child with the protection they need to stay safe! Contact us today to learn more about our sports eyewear.

Categories
Eye Conditions Eye Health Articles Vision Health Concerns

Diabetic Eyesight

Diabetes is a condition that is connected to your eye health and vision and can affect them in a variety of ways. Those with diabetes may experience blurry vision when trying to read or see from a distance, floating spots in their line of vision, blindness, or poor night vision.

Importance of Annual Eye Exams for Diabetic Patients

At your annual eye exam, your doctor will be able to detect signs inside of your eye that your diabetes is affecting your vision. These signs include:
  • Bleeding
  • Abnormal fluids
  • Swelling
These signs may be discovered at your eye exam before you are even diagnosed with diabetes, making your annual eye exam a crucial part of maintaining your health and your vision. When caught early, these symptoms can be treated, but once your vision is lost, it can not be reversed. This is why we focus on proactive eye exams and prevention to ensure you maintain your vision and eye health.

Types of Diabetic Eye Disease

There are three types of diabetic eye diseases that you can be affected by with a mild to severe case, including:
Diabetic Macular Edema– This is localized swelling of the macula that affects the central vision. Those affected by this will notice visual distortion or changes in their usual prescription. For some, there may not be any immediate symptoms. If this is left untreated, long-term damage to the macula can occur.
Diabetic Retinopathy Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy– This condition is where bleeding and leaking, along with the growth of fragile blood vessels, occur along the inside surface of the retina. When left untreated, the vessels will create scar tissue, which can lead to retinal detachment and possible permanent vision loss.
Non- Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy-This disease causes localized bleeding and leaking due to damage to the small blood vessels in your retina.

Schedule Your Annual Eye Exam Today!

At Dittman Eyecare, we provide our patients with comprehensive eye exams, focusing on catching symptoms early in order to preserve your vision and eye health. Contact us today to schedule your next eye exam!
Categories
Eye Conditions

What you need to Know about Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a serious, vision-threatening eye disease that millions of Americans are affected by. This condition is a group of eye disorders that have very few symptoms in the beginning stages but eventually lead to damage to the optic nerve, causing vision loss or total blindness.
Categories
Eye Conditions

How to Recognize Macular Degeneration

Whether you are nearing the age of 50 or are older, macular degeneration is a condition you should be aware of. This condition is the leading cause of vision loss in adults aged 50 and older.
Categories
Procedures

Opening Procedures for COVID-19

At Dittman Eyecare, we take the health and safety of our patients, associates, and communities seriously. We are now open under CDC guidelines for your eye care needs. All three of our offices, Butler, Cranberry, and Grove City, are open and operating with special precautions in place.

What to Expect When You Arrive for Your Exam

Our doctor schedule has been limited to ensure minimal public interaction, and we have expanded our hours. This will help us to decrease interaction with the public and more easily maintain social distancing.

It is also requested that patients arrive at their appointment alone. If necessary, we ask that you only bring one guest to your appointment. If you have young children, special exceptions can be made.

Before entering any of our three locations, you will see signs on the door, informing patients to wear a mask and listing symptoms of the virus that we will be looking for. When you enter the office, you will either see a sanitizing station at the entrance or at the front desk that you can use, and you will be asked to use the PPE supplied to you. You will also see tape on the floor to help patients maintain the recommended 6 feet social distancing.

Our staff will take your temperature during your eye exam check-in, ask you COVID-19 specific questions, and will provide you with a clean, sanitized pen to fill out any necessary paperwork. Our front desks are outfitted with sneeze guards and baskets where used pens will be placed for cleaning. Our waiting rooms have fewer chairs to maintain social distancing as well.

Safety During Your Exam and Frame Shopping at Dittman Eyecare

For our Butler office, which has two floors, we have sanitizing stations set up at the elevator to use when you get on and get off of the elevator to go to the exam rooms. At each of our locations, exam and pre-testing rooms are outfitted with color-coded signs or flags that help us keep track of which rooms are sanitized and which are not.

Our associates and doctors are required to have their temperatures monitored and are required to answer COVID-19 specific questions to ensure they are healthy. Our doctors and staff will also be wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Instruments, surfaces, and eyewear are cleaned and sanitized between every patient.

Our optical and dispensing areas are outfitted with sneeze guards to protect patients and staff. When browsing for frames, we ask that patients do not touch the frames, but rather allow our associates to assist you. After a customer has tried on frames, they will be placed in a basket for cleaning. If you need measurements for glasses, we have modified our equipment to include a sneeze guard, protecting our patients and associates.

Schedule Your Eye Exam Today!

At Dittman Eyecare, we are happy to be opened so we can provide the best eye care to our patients in Butler, Grove City, and Cranberry. If you have any questions or concerns about your upcoming appointment or would like to schedule an appointment, contact one of our offices today!
Categories
Eye Conditions Procedures

What to Expect at Your Next Comprehensive Eye Exam

A comprehensive eye exam will involve a series of tests that are used to evaluate your vision and check for eye diseases with each test evaluating a different aspect of your eye or vision health.

You may experience having a bright light shined at your eyes, be asked to look through a variety of lenses, and will have your eyes examined with a variety of instruments throughout the course of your eye exam.

Why Do I Need an Eye Exam?

An eye exam is a crucial part of maintaining your eye and vision health. Eye exams also help your eye doctor detect eye problems early when they can be more easily treated. By having your eyes regularly examined by an eye care professional, this allows them to correct or adapt to your vision changes and also allows them to provide you with the tools and tips you need to properly care for your eyes.

How Often Should I Get My Eyes Examined?

Your age, risk of developing eye problems, and medical history all play a role in determining how often you should have your eyes examined.

Children

Kids should have eye exams as follows:
  • Their first eye exam at six months
  • A second eye exam at three years
  • Third eye exam before kindergarten
  • Annually thereafter

Adults

Healthy adults should have an eye exam every one to two years unless otherwise directed by a doctor.

Seniors

Eye health changes as you age. Seniors over the age of 65 should have annual eye exams unless directed otherwise by a doctor.

Tips for Preparing for Your Eye Exam

Bring your contacts and glasses – If you currently wear contact lenses or glasses, bring them to your appointment. This will give your eye doctor the opportunity to make sure your prescription is the best one for your vision needs.

Other precautions to take – In case your eyes are dilated as part of your eye exam, make sure you bring sunglasses to wear after the exam. Dilation can cause you to be sensitive to daylight and bright lights or cause blurred vision. You may also want to consider having a friend or family member drive you home.

What to Expect Before, During, and After the Exam

Before Your Exam

If you are having your first eye exam or are visiting a new eye doctor, you can expect to answer a variety of questions about your vision history. By answering these questions accurately, you can help your eye doctor understand your vision problems and your level of risk for eye disease. You should have the information prepared to answer questions such as:
  • Are you currently having any eye problems?
  • Have you had any problems with your eyes in the past?
  • Have you ever had eye surgery?
  • Do you wear glasses or contacts now? If so, are you satisfied with the prescription?
  • Have you had any health problems in recent years?
  • Are you currently taking any medications?
  • Do you have any allergies to foods, medications, etc.?
  • Is there a family history of eye problems, such as macular degeneration or glaucoma?
  • Is there a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or other health problems that affect the body as a whole?

During Your Exam

During your eye exam, you can expect the exam to begin with a discussion about your medical history and any vision problems you are currently experiencing. After this is complete, your eye doctor will measure your visual acuity to check and see if glasses or contact are necessary to improve your vision.

Numbing drops will be administered in your eyes, and your eye pressure will be measured. You will then likely have your eyes dilated with eye drops to make it easier for your eye doctor to examine the inside of your eye using several lights to examine the front and inside of each eye.

There are several tests that may be performed during your eye exam that is designed to evaluate your vision and examine the function and appearance of all parts of your eyes.

After Your Exam

Once the exam is complete, you will discuss the result of the vision assessment, your risk of eye disease, or other eye problems, and you will also learn more about preventative measures you can take to protect your vision.

Common Types of Eye Exam Tests

During the course of your eye exam, there are a variety of tests your eye doctor may perform, including:

Visual acuity test

This test is used to measure how clearly you see. The eye doctor will ask you to identify different letters of the alphabet printed on a chart known as a Snellen chart or screen that is positioned a certain distance away. On this chart, the lines of letters get smaller as you go down the chart.

Both of your eyes will be tested separately, and you may also have your near vision tested, using a card similar to the chart that is held and read t a reading distance.

Eye muscle test

For this test, your eye doctor will evaluate the muscles that control your eye movement. They will watch your eye as you use your eyes to follow a moving object such as a small light or pen.

This test allows the eye doctor to look for signs of poor control, poor coordination, and muscle weakness.

Refraction assessment

As light waves pass through your cornea and lens, they are bent, but if you have a refractive error, the light rays won’t focus perfectly on the back of your eye. If you have a refractive error, your vision can be corrected with various methods such as contact lenses, glasses, or refractive surgery.

By assessing your refractive error, your eye doctor can determine the best lens prescription to give you the most comfortable, sharpest vision. This assessment can also be used to determine that you don’t need corrective lenses.

To estimate your prescription your eye doctor may use a computerized refractor, or they will use a technique known as retinoscopy. This technique is where the eye doctor shines a light into your eye, measuring the refractive area by assessing the movement of light that is reflected by your retina through your pupil.

This refraction assessment will be fine-tuned by your eye doctor. They will have you look through a mask-like device equipped with a phoropter, wheels of different lenses. Your eye doctor will adjust the lenses and have your judge the combination to determine which lenses give you’re the sharpest vision.

Visual field test

The visual field is the full extent that you can see to the sides without moving your eyes to look. With a visual field test, your eye doctor can determine whether you have any difficulty seeing in any areas in your total field of vision. Visual field tests include:
  • Confrontation exam. This is where the eye doctor sits directly in front of you, asking you to over one eye. They will have you look straight ahead and tell them when you see their hand move into view.
  • Automated perimetry. You will look at a screen with blinking lights on it. Your eye doctor will have you press a button every time you see a blink.

With the responses to one or more of these tests, your eye doctor will be able to determine the fullness of your field of vision. If they find certain areas where you were unable to see, they can note your pattern of visual field loss to help them diagnose your specific eye condition.

Retinal examination

A retinal examination will allow your doctor to evaluate the back of your eye. This includes the retina, the optic disk, and the underlying layer of blood vessels that nourish the retina. For this examination, your eye doctor will need to use eye drops to dilate your pupils. This allows them to see the structure and keeps your pupil from getting smaller when they shine a light into the eye.

Once the eye drops have had time to work, the eye doctor will use one or more of these techniques for viewing the back of your eye:
  • Direct exam. Using an ophthalmoscope, your eye doctor will shine a beam of light through your pupil to view the back of the eye. This exam may not require eye drops.
  • Indirect exam. This exam may require you to lie down, recline in your chair, or sit up. Using a condensing lens and a bright light mounted on their forehead, your eye doctor will examine your retina and the other structures inside of your eye in greater detail as well as three dimensions.

Glaucoma Screening

Tonometry measures the intraocular pressure or the fluid pressure inside your eye. This test helps your eye doctor determine if you have glaucoma. This is a disease that causes damage to your optic nerve.
Intraocular pressure can be measured in various ways, including:
  • Noncontact tonometry. This is where your eye doctor used a puff of air to estimate the pressure in your eye. You will simply feel a pulse of air on your eye, which, while painless, can be startling.
  • Applanation tonometry. This technique will measure the amount of force required to temporarily flatten a part of your cornea. Your eye doctor will administer eye drops with fluorescein as well as eyedrops containing an anesthetic. Using a slit lamp, your doctor will move the tonometer to touch your cornea, determining the eye pressure. Your eye is numbed, and you will feel no pain during the test.

If your eye doctor finds that your eye pressure is higher than normal or if your optic nerve looks unusual, they may use a pachymeter. This instrument measures the thickness of the cornea using sound waves. A more common method is to administer an anesthetic drop to the eye and place a small prove in contact with the front surface of your eye to measure corneal thickness. This only takes seconds to complete.

Depending on your age, risk of eye disease, and medical history, you may require more specialized testing.

Ready for Your Next Eye Exam? Contact Dittman Eyecare


At Dittman Eyecare, we are dedicated to providing quality care to our patients to help preserve their vision health. Contact us today to schedule your next eye exam!

Categories
Sunglasses

Choosing Prescription Sunglasses – A Buyers Guide

Summer is here, and the sun is shining bright. While you are planning your vacation and outdoor activities enjoying the sunshine, it’s essential to make sure you have proper eye protection to protect against the harmful UV Rays.

Categories
Eye Health Articles

Introducing Corneal Reshaping Therapy: an Effective, Non-Surgical Method of Vision Correction

We are one of the only optometry practices in Pennsylvania that offers corneal reshaping therapy (CRT). CRT is a relatively new evolution of orthokeratology, which is method of gently reshaping the cornea in the eye (and thus providing clear vision). In a lot of ways, CRT is the natural evolution of contact lenses.

While almost everyone is aware of how eyeglasses and contact lenses correct vision, CRT is such a new process that its benefits (and use) is still relatively unknown. This is too bad, because CRT can benefit many people and provide comfortable, convenient all-day vision correction.

Refractive Errors: The Main Cause of Impaired Vision

When someone requires vision correction, it’s usually because of a refractive error. A refractive error – myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism– is the term used to describe the effect that a physical abnormality of the eye/lens has on your vision. Refractive errors are physical in nature, and correction vision in people with them requires that the refractive error itself is corrected.

How Light Enters the Eye

Light enters the eye by passing through the cornea/lens and reaching the retina (the light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye). The retina transmits this sensory information to the brain via the optic nerve.

Vision impairment from refractive errors changes where light focuses inside the eye. In a normal eye, light enters the cornea/lens and focuses directly on top of the retina. When this happens, vision is crisp and clear- no problem! However, a refractive error changes where light focuses inside the eye, and that’s where problems begin.

It’s a Focusing Problem

When light comes to a focal point in front or “behind” the retina, the resulting images look blurry and out of focus. Correcting this focal point is the purpose of corrective lenses, which change the way light enters the eye and thus change its focal point as well.

Corrective lenses, laser eye surgery, and corneal reshaping therapy all work to correct the refractive error, though each method utilizes a different process to achieve their goal.

Gently Correcting Refractive Errors Without Surgery or All-Day Lenses

CRT is another tool in our toolbox. Unlike glasses or contact lenses, corneal reshaping lenses are not worn every day. Unlike laser eye surgery (such as LASIK or PRK), no surgical procedure is needed to correct vision. CRT is a unique process all on its own.

You wear your CRT lenses at night when you sleep, removing them during the day. While you wear the lenses they gently reshape the cornea. The reshaped cornea provides improved vision, with 9 in 10 people reaching 20/32 vision (or better), and 2 in 3 people reaching 20/20 vision (or better). In effect, the CRT lenses temporarily correct the refractive error in the eye.

The results from CRT are temporary and require the lenses to be worn nightly. However, when removed during the day, the user can expect 10 – 14 hours of corrected vision.

Is CRT An Option For You?

We’d love to talk to you about whether or not CRT is an ideal solution for your need. Visit us in Butler or Cranberry for a consultation- we’ll assess your eyes, prescription, and walk you through appropriate next steps.

Categories
Eye Health Articles

The Importance of Preventative Eye Care

Among the many things that we tend to ignore or overlook (pardon the pun), nothing ranks higher than our sight. The importance of preventative eye care cannot be overstated, and yet most of us wait for a problem before visiting an optometrist.

We will  give you the rundown on why preventative eye care is so important, and then you can decide whether or not to make it a priority. Sound good? Let’s go!

Silent Symptoms

Many eye diseases do not reveal symptoms until the condition has substantially progressed. Diabetics, for example, are all at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, an illness which will show virtually no symptoms until their vision has become severely threatened.

Similarly, Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) presents very few early symptoms, but then hits you hard with blurred vision, dark patches in your eyesight or straight lines which appear distorted. What do these illnesses have in common?

The fact that a professional eye exam will spot them extremely early.

This preventative care could drastically reduce any vision impairment normally caused by the disease. One study involving 11,500 people found that 35% did not seek eyecare because they felt they didn’t need it. You may not, but it’s definitely worth checking.

Vision is the most valuable of the senses; that’s pretty much undisputed. The trouble is that as much as science has made incredible advancements in the last few decades, eye replacements are very far from reality.

Since our eyes cannot be replaced, anything other than temporary vision loss is going to stay lost. Permanently. By having your eyes checked regularly, the odds of avoiding any serious vision impairment vastly improve. However, preventative care goes beyond simply getting tests; here’s what else you can do:

  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet all-year-round.
  • Acknowledge any vision-based symptoms and see a specialist.
  • Exercise regularly, even if it’s only a moderate walk.
  • Wear sunglasses if you’ll be exposed to long bouts of bright sunshine. The value in protecting your eyes from UV cannot be measured.
  • Quit smoking.

Be Sensible

When it comes to injuries to the eye, there’s an element of poor luck involved. Preventative treatment extends to acts of sensibility like wearing appropriate headgear in contact sports, or protective goggles when working with machinery.

Of course, if you notice any unusual symptoms which affect your vision, get in touch with us immediately so we can get you in for an exam. More Americans than ever are developing vision impairments as they age, and the importance of preventative eyecare in minimizing, or completely side-stepping these conditions is overwhelming.

So what do you think? Time to book an eye exam?

Categories
Eye Health Articles

All About Cataract Surgery

A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s lens which can result in blurred vision or vision loss. There are 3 main types of cataracts: subcapsular, nuclear and cortical cataract.

A subcapsular cataract occurs at the back of the lens, while a nuclear cataract forms deep in the central zone. A cortical cataract starts in the periphery of the lens and works its way to the center.

Learn more about cataracts.

Cataract Removal Surgery

Cataract removal surgery works by removing the clouding lens from the eye. When a cataract is removed, the patient is able to see better. The procedure uses an artificial lens one (called an intraocular lens) in place of the natural lens (which is removed).

The surgery is very successful in restoring vision. Cataract removal surgery is one of the most frequently performed optical surgeries in the United States, with more than 3 million procedures performed annually.

Will it Hurt?

Patients who undergo cataract surgery likely do not have to stay at the outpatient center overnight following the procedure. It is common for adults to be awake during the surgery.

Numbing medicine is given as an eyedrop. It helps to block any pain that may be a result of the surgery. In addition, medicine is administered to help the patient relax. Children tend to receive general anesthesia which makes them unconscious and pain free.

While the procedure may be unnerving, know that discomfort is kept to a minimum.

The Procedure

To start, a doctor uses a special microscope to get a close look at the eye. From there, a small incision is made followed by the lens being removed by one of 3 ways:

 

  • Phacoemulsification. A special tool is used to break up the cataract into small pieces through the use of sound waves and then suctioned out of a tiny incision.
  • Extracapsular Extraction. A larger incision is made to allow the doctor to remove the cataract in one piece with a small tool.
  • Laser Surgery. Laser energy is guided to make the incisions and soften the cataract. The remainder of the surgery is much like the process of phacoemulsification.

 

Once the cataract has been removed, an artificial lens (intraocular lens) is placed into the eye to restore full focusing power and to help improve vision.

Typically, the surgeon closes the incision with a sutureless method. However, the surgeon may choose to close the cut with very small stitches that will need to be removed later.

Length of Procedure

The entire process takes up to half an hour. If both eyes require surgery, your doctor may recommend waiting 1-2 weeks between each surgery.

Risks of Surgery

Like most procedures, cataract removal surgery has a few risks. Rare complications include infection and bleeding which can lead to permanent vision problems. Our optometrist will walk you through these risks when discussing the surgery with you so that you are able to make an informed decision.

Tips For Recovering

Ensure your hands are washed well before and after using eyedrops or touching your eye. It is recommended to try and avoid soap and water making contact with your eye within the first few days.

It is best to take it easy and relax following the procedure. Light activities are okay as long as your doctor has approved of them. Recovery takes approximately 2 weeks or longer depending on the success rate of the procedure.

Categories
Eye Health Articles

LASIK, LASEK, or PRK: Which Type of Laser Eye Surgery is Best for You?

Imagine not having to experience life from behind lenses. Imagine waking up in the morning, and starting your day without wrestling with contact lenses or hunting for your glasses. Imagine being able to wear prescription free sunglasses without having to fit them over your spectacles. These scenarios are all possible through the modern medical marvel of laser eye surgery.

The world of laser eye surgery is attractive to many patients, providing clarity, convenience, and freedom from glasses or contacts. But like any surgery, not every procedure is right for every patient. There are three main corrective surgeries: LASIK, LASEK, and PRK. All three of these procedures are designed to reshape your cornea. But all three of them vary quite a bit in terms of method. So how do you know which one is the right one for you?

Understanding Laser Corrective Eye Surgery

History of the Procedure

Refractive surgery is not a new concept. According to the Centre of Excellence for Medical Multimedia, researchers believe that corrective eye surgery dates back as far as ancient Greece. The advent of refractive surgery as we know it began back around the mid 80’s with the invention of the excimer laser. Researchers saw the potential and began exploring the possibility of using an excimer laser to perform refractive surgery.

The first laser eye procedure was performed in 1987 and was called photorefractive keratectomy, or PRK. Although there have been new procedures designed since many ophthalmologists still prefer PRK for some patients.

A Modern Perspective on Laser Eye Surgery

Medical science is always advancing, and as such, new innovative technologies and methodologies are emerging for laser eye surgery all the time. Wavefront technology, for example, takes exceptionally precise measurements of the eye; specifically the curvature of the cornea. These specific measurements allow the doctor to correct your eye with more accuracy, shaping your cornea in a way that is custom to you and your eyes, rather than simply replicating your prescription, which is not.

There are eye procedures that are completely bladeless, procedures to replace the lens of your eye, and even procedures specifically designed for those with thin corneas in mind. In a matter of 3 decades, laser eye surgery has become almost completely customizable, making it simpler than ever to get accurate, long-lasting vision correction.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Procedure

Risks & Complications

Although laser eye surgery is safe, no surgery is entirely without risk. While ophthalmologists are trained and experienced professionals, sometimes unexpected problems arise. It’s important to understand what these problems might entail before pursuing corrective eye surgery as an option. Mayo Clinic lists the following as rare, but possible risks and complications of laser eye correction.

 

  • Undercorrection: In order to correct refractive errors such as myopia and astigmatism, ophthalmologists must remove tissue from your eye to change the shape. If the doctor removes too little, you may still require correction, and a second surgery must be performed.
  • Overcorrection: In some cases, the ophthalmologist accidentally removes too much tissue from the eye; solving one refractive error, but creating a different one. This particular problem can be very difficult to fix.
  • Astigmatism: If the tissue is not removed from the eye evenly, it can cause astigmatism. Astigmatism would require correction through contacts, glasses, or another surgery.
  • Temporary Dry Eye: Refractive surgery can cause your eyes to stop producing tears regularly. This may affect your vision, however, you can mitigate this with artificial tears or eye drops.
  • Light Halos and Glare: Patients often report an increase in glare or rings around lights after refractive surgery. This is especially true in low light conditions, for example, night driving is often heavily impacted by the glare of streetlights and oncoming cars.
  • “Flap” Complications: LASIK and LASEK both involve the creation of a “flap” of the eye tissue. In some cases, the flap can have difficulty healing. For example, some corneal tissue could grow incorrectly under the flap, causing scarring. There’s also a potential for infection or an excessive tear production.

 

Recovery Period

The recovery time required after laser eye correction varies based the on the patient as well as the procedure. No patient should ever drive home from their surgery (in fact, you will need to schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor before you can safely drive again), however, in some cases, you may be able to go to work the next day.

Patients who undergo PRK usually require the most recovery time. Eyesight is usually temporarily decreased, however after a few days or weeks, the patient’s vision will begin to improve. LASIK and LASEK, on the other hand, typically heal quite quickly. Many patients find their eyesight has improved by the next day.

Regardless of what procedure you have, you should follow your doctor’s advice to the letter; taking any and all medication exactly as instructed. Avoid all strenuous activity and exercise for a few weeks, and protect your eyes from dirt, dust, and anything that could cause infection. Do not rub your eyes, as this could prevent healing, damage the vulnerable tissue, or cause flap complications.

Post-Surgery Results

For the most part, patients have 20/20 vision after their procedure. It’s not uncommon for people to require some kind of correction through glasses or contact lenses after surgery. However, in these cases, the prescription required is far less than before the surgery.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, most patients will require reading glasses after the age of 40 regardless of any corrective surgery. This is due to presbyopia; an age-related condition. Unfortunately, there is no surgical procedure available at this time to correct presbyopia.

LASIK

LASIK is the most commonly performed laser eye surgery in America. Unlike PRK, patients undergoing LASIK do not experience much pain or discomfort during or after the procedure.

Ophthalmologists create a small flap in the cornea, folding it back to expose underlying corneal tissue. This tissue is then reshaped using an excimer laser. Once the correct amount of corneal tissue is removed, the corneal flap is replaced. This procedure typically takes about 10 minutes per eye.

Potential Side Effects

Patients often experience dry eye symptoms after undergoing LASIK, as their eyes have temporarily stopped producing tears. This can be remedied with eye drops; however, you should consult your doctor before using anything in your eyes after surgery. Any blurry or hazy vision should clear up within 24 hours of the procedure. Although you may experience some itching, you must avoid rubbing your eyes. This could dislodge the flap, causing significant problems in healing.

Typical Results

Many patients experience 20/20 vision after LASIK, however, there is some variation in results. It’s not uncommon for patients to have 20/40 vision or less.

LASEK

While LASIK is very effective, it’s not a good choice for people with thin corneas. LASEK was developed to give a similar result, without exposing thin corneas to the damage they might sustain during LASIK.

Rather than cutting a flap in the eye, ophthalmologists use an alcohol solution to lift the top layer of tissue away from the rest of the eye. This tissue is folded back, exposing the underlying corneal tissue to be reshaped with an excimer laser. After the appropriate amount of corneal tissue is removed, the outer layer of tissue is replaced.

Potential Side Effects

Although LASEK does not trigger dry eye the same way LASIK does, it does have its own set of side effects. The flap created for LASEK tends to heal slower than the flap created for LASIK. As a result, patients will have to wear a special contact lens that functions as a bandage until healing is complete. The healing process usually takes up to a week.

You also may experience cloudy vision lasting up to 6 months, or the sensation of having something in your eye.

Typical Results

Many patients experience 20/20 vision after LASEK, however, there is some variation in results. It’s not uncommon for patients to have 20/40 vision or less.

PRK

PRK fell out of popularity to some extent when LASIK was created, however, it has experienced somewhat of a resurgence in recent years. Many doctors now prefer PRK to LASIK for specific kinds of patients.

Rather than creating a flap in the surface of the eye and reshaping the corneal tissue underneath, PRK involves reshaping the cornea directly from the outside. One major disadvantage to PRK is that the patient does experience a higher level of discomfort, and will require more recovery time. PRK is another option that is preferable for patients with thin corneas. It also eliminates the risk of flap-related complications.

Potential Side Effects

As with any surgery, there is some risk of infection associated with PRK. Patients do occasionally experience temporary dry eye symptoms as a result of the surgery. There is also a chance that a patient recovering from PRK will notice sensitivity to light and increased glare; particularly in low light conditions.

Typical Results

Many patients experience 20/20 vision after PRK, however, there is some variation in results. It is not uncommon for patients to have 20/40 vision or less.

Before Diving Down the Google Goldmine, Speak to an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist About Your Options

Don’t Forget: The Optometrists at Dittman Eyecare Are Here for You!

We are prepared to closely evaluate your eyes and determine which corrective eye procedure is right for you. Contact us today and let us guide you through the world of laser eye surgery.

Categories
Eye Health Articles

Effective Ways to Control Your Eye Allergy Symptoms

Itchy, watery eyes. For millions of Americans, it’s a seasonal annoyance (Spring is Coming). And for those less fortunate, it’s a year-round problem that can have a serious impact on your quality of life. But don’t give up hope. There are many ways to alleviate your symptoms and protect your eye health.

What Causes Eye Allergies

The scientific term for ocular (eye) allergies is allergic conjunctivitis — inflammation of the eye caused by an allergic reaction to substances like grass, pollen and mold spores (allergens). When the antibodies in your eyes come into contact with allergens, your body’s immune system responds by releasing histamine and other substances or chemicals. This can cause itchiness, clear fluid discharge, redness, swelling and a burning sensation, and even sneezing, sniffling or a stuffy nose which most often associated with nasal allergies.

How to Control Your Eye Allergy Symptoms

Prevention: Know Your Triggers

It can be difficult to pinpoint, but if you can identify which allergens and other environmental factors are causing your symptoms to flare up, the easier it is to prevent your body from reacting in the first place.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) says the first step to manage your eye allergies is to avoid the allergens that trigger your symptoms. And we agree.

The most common triggers include:

  • Outdoor allergens, such as pollens from grass, trees and weeds
  • Indoor allergens, such as pet dander, dust mites and mold
  • Irritants such as cigarette smoke, perfume and diesel exhaust

Follow Recommended Behaviors to Avoid Triggers

The following are some suggested behaviors that can significantly reduce the frequency and duration of your eye allergy symptoms:

  • Keep your windows closed in high pollen periods
  • Clean and vacuum your home often to minimize dust
  • Use dust mite-proof covers in your bedroom
  • Keep the humidity in your home low — below 50% — to limit exposure to mold
  • Wear sunglasses outdoors to prevent allergens from entering your eyes
  • Wash your hands frequently

Use Non-Prescription Medication for Short-Term Relief

Heading to the pharmacy for over-the-counter, non-prescription medication is your second line of defense.

Your options include:

  • Tear substitutes (“artificial tears”) can temporarily wash away allergens and moisten eyes, and can be used as often as needed. Store them in the refrigerator for extra soothing relief.
  • Decongestant eye drops reduce redness by narrowing the blood vessels in the eye. In addition to the decongestant, some brands also include antihistamine for additional relief from itching. These drops should be used frequently (four to six times a day), but for no more than two to three days in duration. Similar to decongestant nasal sprays, prolonged use can result in a “rebound effect” where your symptoms become worse than they were before.
  • Oral antihistamines can be mildly effective in relieving itchy eyes associated with allergies, however, there are potential side effects. Depending on the version of antihistamine and the brand, you may experience unwanted symptoms such as dry eyes, sleepiness or excitability, and dizziness.

If you’re unsure about any of these non-prescription medication options to control your eye allergy symptoms, we recommend checking with your pharmacist or giving us a call.

Get Prescription Medication for Severe Symptoms

If you’ve tried making changes to your home and lifestyle to prevent allergens from entering your eyes, and non-prescription medication just isn’t doing the trick, please get in touch with us at Dittman Eyecare. We can complete an assessment to determine if prescription medication can help alleviate your symptoms or prevent the onset of an allergic reaction.

Your options include:

  • Prescription eye drops are available to you by prescription is several forms, depending on your symptoms, for both immediate and longer term relief. Eye drop options include antihistamine, mast cell stabilizer, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and corticosteroid. An eyecare professional can determine what’s right for you.
  • Prescription oral antihistamines (non-sedating) can be mildly effective in relieving itchy eyes associated with allergies. Although these medications don’t result in drowsiness like over-the-counter antihistamines, they can cause dry eyes and potentially worsen your existing eye allergy symptoms.
  • Immunotherapy (“allergy shots”) helps to improve your tolerance to a particular substance that causes an allergic reaction. This is accomplished by injecting small amounts of allergens and gradually increasing them over time. It could take up to several months to get relief from your eye allergy symptoms.  

Getting a Proper Diagnosis

Sometimes it’s more than just itchy, watery eyes from seasonal or perennial eye allergies. Sometimes it’s a more serious form of allergic conjunctivitis or even an eye disease, but the symptoms are similar so how can you tell? That’s why an accurate diagnosis is imperative for your continued eye health.

If your symptoms persist or over-the-counter remedies are not bringing you relief, call Dittman Eyecare for help. Our optometrist professionals can closely examine your eyes, review your medical history and symptoms to determine which allergens are triggering reactions, and help you find the correct course of action.

Additionally, we provide treatment for red eye/pink eye associated with allergies, and also offer a dry eye clinic that may be able to provide you with extra relief. May you be well and allergy-symptom free!

Categories
Eye Health Articles

How Often do I Need to Have an Eye Exam?

Keeping your eyes healthy should be an important part of any healthcare routine. The best way to keep your eyes in good condition is to have regular eye exams. By getting a regular eye exam, issues can be detected and treated early before they can develop into something more serious, helping to preserve your eye health.

Categories
Eye Health Articles

What are Scleral Contact Lenses?

If you have been told you can’t wear contact lenses due to an irregular cornea or other eye problems, you need to learn more about scleral contact lenses. These lenses are large in diameter and gas permeable, designed to cover over the entire corneal surface, resting on the sclera or “white” of the eye. 

Categories
Eye Health Articles

How Does Diabetes Affect Your Vision?

Diabetes can cause damage to many organs and other systems of the body, including the eyes. Complications from diabetes can cause heart and kidney disease, stroke, and even vision loss. Diabetic eye disease can also put those affected at risk for other vision problems such as cataracts and glaucoma.

Categories
Eye Health Articles

Enjoy your time at the pool with Corneal Reshaping

With the summer season approaching, the temperatures are rising and swimming pools are being opened up. Don’t let your eye condition keep you from enjoying a nice day out at the pool due to the hassle of wearing your contacts or glasses. Consider corneal reshaping therapy to correct your myopia (nearsightedness) or other refractive errors to eliminate the need to wear contacts or glasses during the day.

Categories
Eye Health Articles

What does it mean to be nearsighted or farsighted?

Two of the most common refractive errors are myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). Both conditions have one thing in common, they each affect the way the light is reflected on the retina.

Usually, the light is focused directly on the retina, but if you are nearsighted or farsighted, this is not the case. With a healthy eye, light enters the eye and is refracted by the cornea and the lens working together to focus it onto the retina at the very back of the eye. The retina converts this light into electrical pulses. These electrical pulses are sent to your brain, allowing your brain to produce an image.

A refractive error occurs when there is an imperfection in the eye that prevents the light from being focused directly on the retina.

What is Myopia?myopia

Myopia is an eye condition, commonly known as nearsightedness, that affects almost 30 percent the population in the U.S. This condition occurs due to the cornea being too curved or if the eyeball is too long causing the light to be focused in front of the retina rather than directly on it.

People who are nearsighted can do close work such as reading or working on the computer, but they struggle to see when watching a movie, driving or identifying faces from a far distance.

What is Hyperopia?

Hyperopia, also known as farsightedness, occurs when the eyeball is too short, or the cornea is not curved enough causing light to be focused behind the retina. This allows a farsighted person to see far away but not up close.  Hyperopia is less widespread than myopia, affecting only roughly ten percent of people in the U.S.

Someone who is farsighted can read an eye chart from a distance but may struggle to read a book that is up close. This condition is commonly missed in visions screenings that are performed in schools, so it is essential to visit Dittman Eyecare to have your eyes checked by our staff of eye care professionals. Not only will we determine your visual acuity, but we will also provide you with a comprehensive eye exam to ensure all aspects of your eye health are covered.

Signs You May Have a Vision Problem

Frequent headaches or eye strain are a common sign that you may have a problem with your vision such as myopia or hyperopia. If you experience these symptoms and already have contacts or glasses, you may need to have your prescription updated. Whether you suspect you have a vision problem, need new frames, or want to renew your prescription, the expert optometrists at Dittman Eyecare can help! Contact us today to schedule an exam.

Categories
Eye Health Articles

Types of Sunglasses

With the summer sun shining bright, finding the right type of sunglasses to protect your eyes is crucial. UV rays can damage your eyes, but with a variety of sunglass options out there, it is essential to understand each type to ensure you choose the best sunglasses for your needs.
Categories
Eye Health Articles

Smoking and Eyesight

Smoking has damaging affects every organ in your body, including your eyes. While many people know that smoking can cause heart disease and cancer, the various sight-threatening vision and eye problems that can be caused by smoking are not as well-known.
Categories
Eye Conditions

Ocular Allergies

Eye allergies can come without warning and be caused by known or unknown sources. We typically associate them with airborne triggers such as hay fever, pollen or grass. Ocular allergies are a byproduct of environmental factors aggravating your immune system which can make daily tasks quite uncomfortable. It’s also common for some allergic reactions to be caused by situational triggers like pet hair and dander, or perfume.

Because some experiences can quite closely resemble troubling symptoms associated with other eye diseases, it’s important to closely monitor your exposure to known allergens and document any new reactions with us. Accurate diagnosis will likely happen over time, but diligence on your part will ensure you’re well equipped for the battle.

Sometimes, with persistent and unexplained reactions, being tested for allergies is the best course of action in knowing exactly what your triggers are.

Signs and Symptoms of Eye Allergies

These symptoms can occur on their own, but depending on severity, can also be accompanied by sneezing, scratching or a running and congested nose.

Symptoms include:

  • Itchy eyes and/or eyelids
  • Redness
  • Watering eyes (clear fluid)
  • Swelling around the eyes and eyelids
  • Burning sensation

When exposed to allergens that trigger your symptoms, the response is nearly immediate and typically begins with persistently itchy eyes. If you aren’t removed from the allergen right away, multiple symptoms will compound and progress causing you to become quite uncomfortable.

Treating Ocular Allergies

The first line of defence is to avoid your known triggers. Making changes to your behaviour can also help, such as: Keeping your windows closed in high pollen periods; wearing sunglasses outdoors; using a humidifier at night to keep airborne dust at minimum; washing your hands frequently.

Non-Prescription medication is the second line of defence which includes: artificial tears, decongestant eye drops, or oral antihistamines. For more extreme cases, there are prescription medications available which will alleviate symptoms, or prevent onset of an allergic reaction.

We can provide treatment for red eye/pink eye associated with allergies. If your antihistamine medications are causing discomfort, learn more about how our dry eye clinic may be able to provide you relief..

Categories
Eye Conditions

Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

Amblyopia is a vision disorder in which (usually) one eye does not achieve normal vision.  This usually begins to occur in infancy or early childhood.

Most cases of lazy eye only occur in one eye, but in rare cases it can occur in both eyes.  If caught and treated early enough, reduced vision can be avoided.  However, if left untreated, vision in that eye can deteriorate and be severely damaged. The worst cases of amblyopia result in being considered legally blind in the affected eye(s).  

Causes of Amblyopia

There are a few causes of amblyopia, with the most common being Strabismic Amblyopia.  Strabismic amblyopia is when the brain ignores visual input from the misaligned eye to avoid double vision.  

Amblyopia can be caused from unequal refractive errors in the eyes.  This is called Refractive Amblyopia.  If there is a severe enough visual issue with one eye that goes uncorrected (nearsightedness, for example) it can cause refractive amblyopia even if there is perfect alignment in the eyes.  The brain ignores the visual cues from the “problem” eye, which then causes it to go “lazy”.  

With the same principle as refractive amblyopia there is Deprivation Amblyopia.  This occurs when something obstructs light from entering and being focused, such as a congenital cataract.

Signs & Symptoms of Amblyopia

Some signs that a child may be affected by amblyopia are:

  • Their eyes going crossed often
  • A visible misalignment of one or both eyes.  
  • The child favoring one eye or side of their face (as demonstrated by the child leaning to one side when listening or watching TV)

If you think your child has some signs of amblyopia there are some simple at home tests that can be done. Try this simple test:

  • Cover one eye at a time. If they begin to fuss and gets upset, but has no reaction when you do the other eye, there is a chance that you covered up the good eye.

This is just that a simple test to help you self diagnose, but the best and recommended way to diagnose amblyopia is to set up an exam with an Optometrist.

Treating Amblyopia

There are many treatments for correcting amblyopia.  Corrective lenses and contact lenses can restore vision if it is refractive amblyopia. Vision therapy is another effective treatment that employs eye patching, exercises, and special tests (performed by the Optometrist).

Correcting strabismic amblyopia is a little harder on the patient.  In order to correct strabismic amblyopia, one needs to undergo strabismus surgery to straighten the eyes.  After surgery they then have to go through vision therapy while their eyes rehabilitate.

Categories
Eye Conditions

AMD – Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the breakdown of ones macula.  The macula is an area in the retina that is responsible for central vision and is makes it possible to see fine details.  

AMD occurs with age, as the body begins to deteriorate, and can cause serious vision loss in those over the age of 60.  

Types of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

There are two main forms of AMD: Dry and Wet.

Dry AMD

The Dry form of AMD is when the presence of small yellow deposits, called drusen, are visible on the macula.  A few small pieces may not affect vision, but if and when they grow in size and increase in quantity, deterioration of vision will be noticed.  

Most will notice the loss or distortion of vision when reading or looking at fine details close up.  As this form worsens, the tissue begins to die off causing blind spots in the eye that usually occur in the center of their vision; in the worst cases, patients lose central vision.  

Wet AMD

The Wet form of AMD is when there is a growth of irregular blood vessels from the choroid that occur underneath the macula.  The blood vessels leak blood and fluids into the retina causing the distortion of vision.  The types of vision distortion are where straight lines become wavy, blind spots appear and loss of central vision.  

The most common form of AMD is the dry form, though the dry version can turn into the wet version of AMD (and does in about 10% of cases).  

Risk Factors for AMD

With this disease it is important that one speaks to an Optometrist regularly, as it does progress and get worse as time goes on. Learn more about how we can help with your AMD.

The most common risk factors for contracting AMD are:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Fair skinned
  • Light eyes
  • Females have a higher risk of contracting AMD.  
  • AMD may also be hereditary.  If someone in a previous generation has had AMD you may be at a higher risk of developing it as well.

Treating Macular Degeneration

There is no known reason as to why AMD occurs, and there is no real way to cure AMD.  However, there are some treatments that can prevent vision loss and even slow the progression.  

One option is anti angiogenesis drugs.  These drugs stop the development of new blood vessels and leakage from the irregular vessels within the eye that causes wet AMD.  

Studies also show that a regular use of vitamins can help.  Many people who have taken vitamins C, E, beta-carotene, zinc and copper have seen a decrease in vision loss. Clinical trials in this area are still ongoing.

Categories
Eye Conditions

Astigmatism

Astigmatism is the irregular curvature of one’s eye (specifically, the cornea).  With astigmatism the eyes have more of a football shape as opposed to a round shape.  Due to the irregular shape of the eye, light is prevented from entering it at proper angles and thus it is unable to focus properly.

Forms of Astigmatism

There are three forms of astigmatism: myopic astigmatism, hyperopic astigmatism and mixed astigmatism.  Astigmatism is also categorized as being regular or irregular.  

Which form of astigmatism someone has all depends on where the principal meridians are.  The meridians or lines of the eyes change, which causes the different classifications of astigmatism.

Myopic astigmatism occurs when the meridians of the eye are nearsighted; hyperopic astigmatism is when the meridians are farsighted.  This can happen to one or both meridians.  If one meridian is nearsighted and the other is farsighted, the result is called mixed astigmatism.  

Regular/Irregular Astigmatism

Regular astigmatism is when the meridians are perpendicular to one another.  Most of the cases of astigmatism are classified as regular astigmatism.  This form of astigmatism is what gives the eye its football like shape.  

When the meridians in the eyes are not perpendicular, the classification would be considered irregular astigmatism.  Irregular astigmatism can result from an eye injury which caused scarring of the cornea.

Treating Astigmatism

Vision issues that occur due to astigmatism can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or laser surgery.  The best way to decide which option is best for you and your needs is to visit our Optometrist.  

A routine eye exam can detect astigmatism.  Astigmatism generally occurs early in life, so it is best to get your child in to see a us to help correct any vision issues that occur due to astigmatism.  

The test for astigmatism is called a retinopscopy.  The test is where the doctor introduces light into the eye and then switches between different lenses between the light and you eyes.  This will identify what the exact amount and form of astigmatism you may have.  This test is what doctors will use to gauge what is needed to correct the vision issues, what type of prescription is needed to correct each meridian, and if the astigmatism is in both eyes (chances are the prescription will be different for each eye).

Categories
Eye Conditions

Cataracts

A cataract is the clouding of the lens of an eye, making it harder for to see out of it.  This usually occurs in those over the age of 65.  This cloudiness is the result of protein building up on the lens of the eyes, preventing light from passing through the lens.  

There are different forms of cataracts that one can suffer from:

  • Age related cataracts, which occur from aging.  
  • Congenital cataracts, which is from poor development of children before they were born, infection, or injury.  Children can develop this during childhood as well.
  • Secondary cataracts, which occur as a result of other conditions (such as diabetic eye disease). Exposure to ultraviolet light, certain drugs, radiation, and other toxic substances can also be factors in the development of secondary cataracts.  
  • Traumatic cataracts, which are caused when the eye is injured

The risk of developing cataracts is higher if you smoke, drink excessively, or are exposed to high levels of air pollution.

Some of the Symptoms of Cataracts:

  • Cloudy, blurry vision
  • Second sight.  This is progressive nearsightedness.  They call it this because the distance vision is getting worse but may no longer need the use of reading glasses
  • Color changes
  • Issues driving at night
  • Issues with glare during the day
  • Double vision
  • Sudden changes to your eye prescription

If you are experiencing any of these issues with your sight you should come in and visit our Optometrist.  Our Optometrist will perform a dilated eye exam, where specialized eye drops are used to dilate your pupil and enable the Optometrist to clearly assess and inspect your cornea/lens.

Treating & Managing Cataracts

Cataracts are progressive, though the impacts to your vision can be mitigated for quite a while via contact lenses or eyeglasses. However, there will come a point where corrective lenses are no longer able to provide the clarity required for proper vision.

The only “cure” for cataracts is cataract removal surgery. During this safe procedure, your cloudy lens is removed and replaced by an intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL performs the same function as the natural lens.

Learn more about how we treat and manage cataracts.

Categories
Eye Conditions

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is also known as pink eye.  It is called pink eye because it causes the whites of the eyes to go pink.  Pink eye is the inflammation of the thin, clear covering (conjunctiva) of the white of the eye and inside of the eyelid. It is a very common eye issue, and is generally easy to treat.  

Causes & Symptoms of Pink Eye

The cause of conjunctivitis is based on what initially caused the eye infection.  

There is viral conjunctivitis, which is caused by a virus (like the cold).  This form of pink eye is very contagious, but clears up on its own fairly quick and does not require medical treatment.  

There is Bacterial conjunctivitis, which is caused by bacteria entering the eye.  It can be dangerous to your eyes health if left untreated.  

There is Allergic conjunctivitis, which is caused by irritants like dust, or pollen.  This can be seasonal (those who suffer from pollen allergies) or be on a flare up basis (by those who are allergic to dust or pet dander).

Symptoms

The symptoms of pink eye are roughly the same, but each form does have its own set of symptoms.  All forms have an eye that is pink in appearance (hence the name).  

With viral conjunctivitis the eyes become watery, itchy and are sensitive to light.  This is highly contagious and can be spread by coughing or sneezing.  

With bacterial conjunctivitis there is a sticky, yellow or greenish discharge that comes out of the corner of the eyes.  This discharge can cause the eyelids to stick together.  This is only contagious if there is a direct contact with the infected eye; there is a high chance that both eyes will be infected due to their close proximity and the chance of touching the infected eye with your hands.  

With allergic conjunctivitis the eye are red, watery, burning and itchy.  Both eyes are affected, but this is not contagious to others around.  

Treating Conjunctivitis

Treatment for each form of conjunctivitis differs because you have to treat the underlining issue.  

Viral conjunctivitis is generally left to run its course (in about one to two weeks), as antibiotics do not work on viruses (and the illness is generally mild enough that antivirals are not needed).

Bad cases of bacterial conjunctivitis will be treated with antibiotics, though most cases will again be left to run their course.

Allergic conjunctivitis can only be addressed by correcting the root cause. However, you can manage symptoms via medicated eye drops or antihistamines.

Categories
Eye Conditions

Diabetic Eye Disease

Diabetes can change and damage your vision and is the leading cause of blindness in Canada.  The primary disease that diabetes causes is called diabetic retinopathy, though glaucoma and cataracts are also grouped under the “diabetic eye disease” label.  With the rise in cases of diabetes there is also a rise in eye disease.  

How Diabetes Affects Your Eyes

Type 2 diabetes (which is the more popular version) is a result of the body not producing enough insulin.  According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), without the correct levels of insulin in the body, the blood sugar levels rise; this can and will damage the eyes, kidneys, nerves or heart.  

The CDC (centers for disease control and prevention) say that in 2014 there was 1.4 million new cases of diabetes reported in the U.S.   Along with the new cases of diabetes the CDC stated that there was between 12,000 and 24,000 new cases of blindness due to diabetic retinopathy that occur yearly. More than half of those with diabetic retinopathy aren’t even aware they have it.

About Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes causes abnormal changes in one’s blood sugar levels.  Your body usually takes the sugars and converts it into the energy that is needed to fuel your body and its functions.  With the influx of sugar in the blood vessels (hyperglycaemia), it causes damage to the organs, including eyes.  

Some symptoms that someone with diabetes should look out for are:

  • Blurry vision
  • Changes in vision
  • Eye Floaters and Spots
  • Scotoma – shadows in the field of view
  • Double vision
  • Pain in the Eyes
  • Near Vision
  • Cataracts

Diagnosing & Treating Diabetic Retinopathy

The best way to see if you are suffering from diabetic retinopathy is to visit an Optometrist.  If you are suffering from any form of diabetes you should be visiting an Optometrist on a regular basis to make sure your eyes are functioning as good as they can be.  

If caught early enough, doctors can reduce the chance of blindness by 95%.  

The best way to treat retinopathy is laser therapy.  The use of the laser shrinks the abnormal blood vessels.  This treatment is best done before the blood vessels start to bleed.  Even if they have started to bleed, treatment can still be performed assuming moderate levels of bleeding.

Diabetes is a horrible disease to live with.   And if not managed properly can lead to many other health issues, blindness being one of them.  It is so important that those who are suffering from any form of diabetes stay on top of their eye health so not to go blind.

Categories
Eye Conditions

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disorder that causes damage to the optic nerve.  Eye pressure is a major indicator of glaucoma, present in most forms of the disease, though it is not always present when glaucoma develops.

Abnormally high pressure is referred to as ocular hypertension.  If this condition goes without treatment, glaucoma will first cause peripheral vision loss and eventually lead to blindness.  Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States.

Types of Glaucoma

The most common form of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma (OAG).  The term “angle” in its name is referring to the drainage angle inside the eye that controls the outflow of the fluids (aqueous) that the eye produces.  Glaucoma is “open-angle” when the aqueous is able to reach the drainage angle.  

There are various forms of open angle glaucoma: Primary open-angle glaucoma, acute angle-closure glaucoma, normal-tension glaucoma, pigmentary glaucoma, secondary glaucoma and congenital glaucoma.  

Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is the most common form of glaucoma.  It will reduce your peripheral vision without any other symptoms.  This is extremely unfortunate because once you have realized there is an issue the damage is already done (and vision cannot be restored).  Late diagnosis of open-angle glaucoma are often the direct result of the patient experiencing tunnel vision (peripheral vision loss) and realising something is wrong.

Acute angle-closure glaucoma is also referred to as narrow-angle glaucoma.  This is when the drainage angle is blocked and the aqueous cannot reach it.  This form of glaucoma has symptoms that develop suddenly, including:

  • Eye pain
  • Headaches
  • Halos of light
  • Dilated pupils
  • Vision loss
  • Red eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting

If these symptoms do occur then medical attention is required immediately.  This attack can last a few hours and keep coming back.  Every time this occurs it can cause more vision loss each time.

Normal-Tension glaucoma is very much like primary open-angle glaucoma.  The difference is that a person’s IOP (intraocular pressure) remains within normal range.  The cause for this form is still unknown, but doctors believe it could be from poor blood flow to the optic nerve.

Pigmentary glaucoma is a rare form of glaucoma that is caused by clogging of the drainage angle by pigment that has broken off from the iris of the eye.  Symptoms usually go unnoticed, although there could be some pain and blurred vision.

Secondary glaucoma is glaucoma that occurs after injuring the eye.  This can occur from an eye infection, inflammation, a tumor or can be a side effect from a cataract.

Congenital glaucoma is the inherited form of glaucoma.  It is present at birth.  Children are born with narrow angles or a different defect in the drainage angle.  This type of glaucoma is generally diagnosed during the child’s eye exam, as young children with congentical glaucoma cannot articulate what they are experiencing.

How Glaucoma is Diagnosed

During routine eye exams the Optometrist will conduct a test that will measure the IOP of each eye.  This test uses a tonometer to test the IOP.  If the test comes back with an abnormally high IOP reading in the eye, our Optometrist will then outline a management program.

Glaucoma, while a serious vision-threatening disease, is successfully managed in most cases. Strict adherence to the treatment regimen is required in order to ensure vision is not lost.

Learn more about glaucoma management here.

Categories
Eye Conditions

Myopia – Nearsightedness

Myopia is also referred to as nearsightedness.  This is when you can see things that are close up well, but things that are out in the distance are hard to make out.  Myopia is the most common refractive error in vision.  

Myopia has also been on a steady incline since 1972.  Many doctors believe this to be because of the amount of fatigue that the eyes undergo daily as a result of our dramatically-increased used of computers, smartphones, tablets, and other devices that require fine focusing efforts from our eyes.

Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment of Myopia

Myopia happens when the eye is longer than normal.  This makes it so that light enters the eye and focuses on the front part of the retina as opposed to directly on it.  It can also can be caused by the cornea or lens having too much of a curve.  

Myopia is usually inherited, but it is not the only way that one can get myopia; the chances of you having the condition are higher if one or more of your parents suffer from myopia.  

One can develop myopia by how they use their eyes.  For example, if you spend a lot of time reading or working at a computer, there is a likely chance that you can develop myopia.  Myopia tends to occur in early childhood, and in most cases the child outgrows it as sight begins to stabilize in adulthood.

Some signs that you are suffering from myopia are:

  • Squinting
  • Eye strain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

These are all factors that can be corrected with prescription glasses, contacts, or laser refractive surgery.  Depending on the severity of the myopia, you may only need to wear corrective lens for distant vision (such as when you are driving).

Myopia is progressive in nature, meaning that the prescription for corrective lenses needed to correct your case of myopia will need to be updated over time.

Myopia is considered a condition and not a disease, as one does not contract myopia, but rather is born with the tendencies to have vision issues due to myopia.  

If nearsightedness is causing you problems, or if your vision is impacted, we encourage you to visit our office for an eye exam with one of our Optometrists.

Categories
Eye Conditions

Strabismus (Cross Eyed)

Strabismus is the name given to the condition where both eyes fail to maintain proper alignment and work together.  The alignment can be misaligned inward or outward.

If you have esotropia, one eye will look at the object while the other eye will be misaligned inward. If you suffer from exotropia, one eye will look at the object while the other eye will be misaligned outwards.

Causes and Symptoms of Strabismus

Each eye has external muscles that control the eye position and movement.  Strabismus occurs when there is a neurological or anatomical issue that interferes with the control and function of the muscles that control the eyes.  The problem can be from the muscles, the nerves or the vision centers in the brain.  

There is also a chance that genetics play a role.  If one or more parent has strabismus, there is a high chance that their children will also suffer from strabismus.

Signs & Symptoms

The most noticeable sign that someone is suffering from strabismus is the misalignment of the eyes.  There are two forms of misalignment: “large-angle” or “small-angle”.  The “large” or “small” in the name refers to the deviation between the line of sight of the straight eye and the misaligned eye.  

If one is suffering from large-angle strabismus, there are very little symptoms because there is no attempt by the brain to try and correct and straighten the eyes.  This form usually causes severe amblyopia or “lazy-eye” if left untreated.  

The less noticeable case of strabismus is called the small-angle strabismus, which is less likely to cause a disruption in vision.  

Symptoms such as headaches, eye strain, and discomfort reading or doing other tasks that require up close attention are common with strabismus.

Treating Strabismus

In most cases of strabismus, the only way to correct it is through surgery.  Although surgery can correct how the eye functions and its alignment, if there is damage in the form of amblyopia the surgery may not able to correct that fully.  

The earlier the eye is treated the better chance the eye has to grow and develop normally, and will get the eyes working together as a team restoring vision.

Categories
Eye Conditions

What does it mean to be nearsighted or farsighted?

Two of the most common refractive errors are myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness). Both conditions have one thing in common, they each affect the way the light is reflected on the retina.

Usually, the light is focused directly on the retina, but if you are nearsighted or farsighted, this is not the case. With a healthy eye, light enters the eye and is refracted by the cornea and the lens working together to focus it onto the retina at the very back of the eye. The retina converts this light into electrical pulses. These electrical pulses are sent to your brain, allowing your brain to produce an image.

A refractive error occurs when there is an imperfection in the eye that prevents the light from being focused directly on the retina.

What is Myopia?myopia

Myopia is an eye condition, commonly known as nearsightedness, that affects almost 30 percent the population in the U.S. This condition occurs due to the cornea being too curved or if the eyeball is too long causing the light to be focused in front of the retina rather than directly on it.

People who are nearsighted can do close work such as reading or working on the computer, but they struggle to see when watching a movie, driving or identifying faces from a far distance.

What is Hyperopia?

Hyperopia, also known as farsightedness, occurs when the eyeball is too short, or the cornea is not curved enough causing light to be focused behind the retina. This allows a farsighted person to see far away but not up close.  Hyperopia is less widespread than myopia, affecting only roughly ten percent of people in the U.S.

Someone who is farsighted can read an eye chart from a distance but may struggle to read a book that is up close. This condition is commonly missed in visions screenings that are performed in schools, so it is essential to visit Dittman Eyecare to have your eyes checked by our staff of eye care professionals. Not only will we determine your visual acuity, but we will also provide you with a comprehensive eye exam to ensure all aspects of your eye health are covered.

Signs You May Have a Vision Problem

Frequent headaches or eye strain are a common sign that you may have a problem with your vision such as myopia or hyperopia. If you experience these symptoms and already have contacts or glasses, you may need to have your prescription updated. Whether you suspect you have a vision problem, need new frames, or want to renew your prescription, the expert optometrists at Dittman Eyecare can help! Contact us today to schedule an exam.

Categories
Eye Conditions

Smoking and Eyesight

Smoking has damaging affects every organ in your body, including your eyes. While many people know that smoking can cause heart disease and cancer, the various sight-threatening vision and eye problems that can be caused by smoking are not as well-known.