Are You Seeing Red?

Bloodshot eyes: they’re unpleasant to look at and even more irksome to suffer through.

What causes this sudden change in color – and the occasional itchy or watery sensation – are actually the tiny blood vessels under the eye’s surface, which get dilated or inflamed by external irritation.

While not harmful, bloodshot eyes are an irritating experience for many. Luckily, most home or over-the-counter treatments work well at treating the irritation. But what about those cases where home or pharmacy remedies just won’t do? What happens if the redness or discomfort outlasts the home treatment?

That’s where the advice of a dedicated eye care professional can help. Only a proper licensed eye doctor can provide medical diagnosis and prescription medication to combat a more severe case of red eyes.

To find out if you need to seek out the help of an Ophthalmologist, consider these points:

  • You have bloodshot eyes and are seeping with encrusted mucous. (In this case, an infection may be present.)
  • You are experiencing pain or tenderness in or around the eyes.
  • You have developed an unusual sensitivity to light.
  • You have a fever or overall sickness.
  • You or your loved ones have been exposed to pink eye (conjunctivitis.)

Next time you have bloodshot eyes, take a moment to consider whether the symptoms are more severe than usual. While many physicians can diagnose eye infections, only your Ophthalmologist has the capability for a more detailed evaluation.

January 2, 2018

Protecting your children's eyes during the holidays

The holiday season is here, and for parents of young children that means a return to the annual toy-shopping frenzy.

Before you start notching items off your gift list, take a moment to consider safety precautions that might save an eye and a whole lot of headache.

First, the facts. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 251,000 children under the age of 12 were taken to the emergency room for toy-related injuries last year. The study found 44 percent of those injuries were to the head and eye area.

We all know how big our kids’ eyes get when they finally unwrap that toy they’ve waited all year for. It’s important to protect those eyes from preventable hazards. All it takes is a little discretionary shopping.

Consider toy guns and other play weapons. Between 2010 and 2012, researchers at Stanford University found a 500 percent rise in children’s eye trauma related to airsoft and pellet guns.

From scratches of the cornea to much more serious and potentially blinding injuries, toys like darts, slingshots and even drones can cause a host of eye injuries.

That’s why it’s imperative to understand the risk of toy weapons before filling up your shopping cart with potentially dangerous gifts. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is urging parents to avoid buying toys with sharp or projectile parts, such as toy guns.

Also, be on the lookout for laser toys that do not have a Code of Federal Regulations compliance statement, as they may also cause eye injuries. When it comes to sports items, make sure children have protective eyewear with polycarbonate frames and lenses. These are shatterproof and offer much more protection.

December 4, 2017

The Potential Link Between Vision Impairment and Dementia

Does poor eyesight contribute to mental decline and dementia as we age? Does correcting vision loss prevent or slow down cognitive (memory loss, poor thinking, etc.) decline?

These are very important questions for all seniors. Recent studies show that the prevalence of dementia is expected to double every 20 years and vision loss increase by two-fold in the next 30 years.

Ophthalmologists have long observed that improving vision by cataract surgery in individual patients can help the mental functioning in mild to moderate dementia. I recently received a phone call from the daughter of a patient with moderate dementia who was elated to tell me that her father’s dementia improved significantly after surgery.

A recent landmark study reveals that vision loss and dementia are significantly associated with one another. This information is tremendously important, given the lack of adequate treatment for dementia and the huge toll that this disease takes on the patient, family and society as a whole.

The five major causes of vision loss in the elderly cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma and the need for eyeglasses are all treatable. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends an eye exam for all individuals over 65 every one to two years.

November 6, 2017