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Cataracts: Myths and Facts

Cataracts: Myths and Facts

June is Cataract Awareness Month! Every year, the organization Prevent Blindness America along with the American Academy of Ophthalmology encourages Americans to be mindful of the signs and symptoms associated with cataracts. This year, we’ve decided to outline several common myths about cataracts.  Have you heard any of these before? Myth: Cataracts only affect older adults Cataracts are most common in older adults, but it’s still possible to develop a cataract when you’re young. Factors like long-term steroid use, UV exposure, eye injuries, smoking, and diabetes can increase your risk of developing cataracts at any age. Myth: Cataracts are always visible Sometimes cataracts are visible. During their early stages, however, your eyes may look completely normal. If you’ve been having problems with your vision lately, you will need a thorough examination to rule out cataracts. Myth: The only symptom of a cataract is cloudy vision Since a cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, it makes sense that your vision might appear cloudier if you have a cataract. That being said, there are a number of other symptoms associated with cataracts including decreased night vision, light sensitivity, double vision in a single eye, seeing “halos” around lights, and experiencing faded colors. Myth: Cataracts are equally likely in men and women Cataracts are actually more common in women than men. According to the National Eye Institute, 61 percent of Americans with cataracts...
Happy Healthy Vision Month!

Happy Healthy Vision Month!

Did you know that most vision problems are preventable? Every May, the National Eye Institute (NEI) celebrates Healthy Vision Month, an awareness campaign designed to encourage healthy, sight-saving habits.  This year, NEI is focusing on young adults between the ages 25 to 35. While people in this age group typically have healthy vision, it’s important to promote good habits early on to prevent future vision loss. The NEI recommends the following tips to keep your eyes healthy: Wear sunglasses Sunglasses are more than just a fashion accessory – they also protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV damage can increase your risk of developing cataracts, so keep those shades handy! Eat well Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for eye health. The NEI recommends consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens like spinach and kale. They also recommend eating fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids including salmon, tuna, and halibut. Exercise According to the NEI, “anything that gets your heart beating faster” is good for your eye health. High blood pressure and diabetes are linked to eye disease, so it’s a good idea to keep yourself in shape. Wear eye protection People with sports-related eye injuries arrive in the ER every 13 minutes! If you’re participating in sports, proper eye protection is a must. Work-related eye injuries are also remarkably common, affecting 2000 Americans each year. Follow the 20-20-20 rule If you...
Which sport causes the most eye injuries?

Which sport causes the most eye injuries?

April is Sports Eye Safety Month. This month, Larson Eye Care encourages all our patients to wear proper eye protection when participating in athletic activities. Potential eye injuries that can result from sports include corneal abrasions, orbital fractures, detached retina, and even cataracts. In some instances, people have even had their eyes dislodged from their sockets. But which sports are the most dangerous for your vision? Basketball Basketball is the leading causeof eye injuries in children. Protective eyewear made from polycarbonate lenses is the best way to keep your eyes safe during basketball. Right now, there’s a viral video of a basketball player whose eye was dislodged from his socket – we don’t recommend watching it. Baseball Baseball is another leading causeof eye injuries among children 14 years and younger, with flying bats and careening balls as the main culprits. Certified helmets with attached safety glasses (for batters and base runners) and protective eyewear for fielders can protect your vision. Racquet sports Racquet sports include badminton, table tennis, tennis, squash, and racquetball. Since these sports rely on quickly reacting to fast-moving balls, it’s no wonder they have a high incidence of eye injuries. Once again, protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses is a must. Although basketball, baseball, and racquet sports are responsible for the bulk of eye-related injuries, other sports can also pose risks to your eye...
What are common causes of blurry vision?

What are common causes of blurry vision?

Have you been experiencing blurry vision lately? Step away from WebMD and try not to panic – there are many normal reasons why you may be experiencing this mild visual disturbance. Below, we’ve outlined some of the more common causes of blurry vision. You need to get glasses – or update your prescription. Do you wear glasses or contacts? If not, you might need to start. Although most people develop nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism when they’re younger, your eyes are constantly changing. If you already wear glasses, it might be time to update your prescription! You need reading glasses. If you’re older than 40 and find it difficult to read menus, newspapers, or other small print, it might be time for reading glasses. Presbyopia, or the diminished ability to focus on close objects, is a common and natural part of aging.Reading glasses and bifocals aren’t the only way to treat presbyopia – there are also surgical options such as corneal inlays and monovision LASIK. You’re pregnant. It might sound farfetched, but the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can alter the shape and thickness of your cornea, making your vision blurry. Dry eyes are another common culprit for blurry vision during pregnancy. Although blurry vision is relatively common during pregnancy, it’s important that you report it to your doctor. In some cases, it could indicate gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. You’re experiencing side effects from a medication. Have you started...
Why are My Eyes Dry? A Brief Introduction to Dry Eye.

Why are My Eyes Dry? A Brief Introduction to Dry Eye.

Dry eye is a common condition, affecting at least 6.8 percent of the U.S. adult population. If you’ve been experiencing dry, scratchy eyes lately, you might be one of them. Symptoms of dry eye include: A stinging, scratchy, or burning sensation in your eyesFeeling like something is stuck inside your eyesExcess watering, or tearingBlurred visionDifficulty wearing contact lensesIncreased sensitivity to lightEye redness These symptoms can vary from person to person and don’t necessarily predict the presence and severity of dry eye disease. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your ophthalmologist. So why are my eyes dry? Healthy eyes are constantly producing tears to keep themselves lubricated. When eyes fail to produce these tears – or produce the wrong kind of tears – dry eye symptoms can arise. There are multiple factors that can result in dry eyes. Aging Tear production often diminishes with age – in fact, most people over age 65 have at least some symptoms of dry eye. Hormones associated with menopause can also trigger the condition. Tear Quality Tears are composed of oil, water, and mucus. Oftentimes, people with dry eye disease have difficulties producing the water layer of their tears, resulting in tears that evaporate too quickly or fail to spread evenly over the cornea. Medications Medication can often influence the eye’s ability to make tears. Antihistamines, decongestants, oral contraceptives, blood pressure medications and...
Five New Year’s Resolutions for Health Vision

Five New Year’s Resolutions for Health Vision

It’s a new year! Have you figured out your resolutions yet? Below, we’ve listed five resolutions you can follow for better eye health. Which of these can you see yourself accomplishing in 2019? Wear sunglasses Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory – they’re also an important way to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful radiation. While most people understand that excessive sun exposure can be dangerous for skin, fewer are aware that UV rays can damage your vision as well.  According to the National Eye Institute, an estimated 20% of cataracts are caused by extended UV exposure. UV exposure may also increase the risk of developing macular degeneration (a serious eye disease that can result in blindness) or pterygium (a non-cancerous growth within the eye).  When you purchase sunglasses, make sure they block 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. Other sunglasses might look nice, but they won’t protect your eyes. Wear protective eyewear If you plan to participate in any home improvement activities this year, protective eyewear is a must. Woodworking, glass cutting, and many other projects can result in flying debris that can become lodged in the eye. Welding goggles are necessary during metal-working to avoid retinal burns. When it comes to protective eyewear, accept no imitations. Most protective eyewear lenses are made from polycarbonate, a material that is 10 times stronger than other plastics. Regular glasses, swim goggles, and other...

What Should I Know About Snow Blindness?

Are you going skiing this winter? Snowboarding? Or do you plan to miss the cold weather entirely and spend the winter months on a beach somewhere, sipping a cold beverage and gazing out into the ocean? Regardless of your decision, Larson Eye Care would like to take this opportunity to discuss snow blindness, a painful condition that can arise when you spend too much time out in the snow – or, conversely, too much time on the beach. What is snow blindness? Snow blindness, a common form of photokeratitis, is a medical condition caused by overexposure to UV rays. People who develop snow blindness often spend several hours out in the snow without proper eye protection. Snow and ice can reflect UV rays into the eyes, resulting in a burned cornea. In fact, snow blindness is actually a form of sunburn. Despite the name, snow blindness can also result from UV lights reflected from sand or water. Tanning lamps, tanning beds, and arc welding can lead to the condition as well. What are the symptoms of snow blindness? Symptoms of snow blindness include: Eye pain Blurry vision Gritty sensation in eye Red eyes Increased sensitivity to light Headache Swollen eyes or eyelids Vision loss Just like other sunburns, snow blindness is not immediately painful. It may take several hours after UV exposure before symptoms appear. What is the treatment for snow blindness? Thankfully, snow blindness is a temporary condition and typically resolves itself within 24 to 48 hours. In the meantime, you can...
Five Eye-Healthy Thanksgiving Foods

Five Eye-Healthy Thanksgiving Foods

If you’re looking to cook a healthy Thanksgiving meal, look no further. Below, Larson Eye Care has outlined five foods – and over a dozen dishes – you can cook this Thanksgiving to benefit your vision. Cauliflower Cauliflower is packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that tends to be abundant in fruits and vegetables. Numerous studies have found that vitamin C can reduce the risk of developing cataracts, as well as slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. Cauliflower also contains omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids may protect eyes from AMD, dry eye syndrome, and glaucoma. For a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes, we recommend garlic mashed cauliflower. We also recommend roasted cauliflower steaks and truffled cauliflower gratin. Sweet potatoes Sweet potato, like cauliflower, is also an excellent source of vitamin C. In addition, it contains beta-carotene, a pigment that is converted into vitamin A in the body. When combined with other antioxidant vitamins, vitamin A may play a role in reducing the risk of vision loss in people with AMD. It may also reduce the risk of eye infections. Thankfully, this vibrant vegetable is already a staple in many people’s Thanksgiving dinners. Bake a sweet potato pie or try some roasted sweet potatoes with onions. Candied sweet potatoes are another excellent choice. Pumpkin Did you know that a serving of mashed pumpkin provides more than 200 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A?...

Healthy and Safe Swimming Week

The week before Memorial Day marks Healthy and Safe Swimming Week, an annual awareness week that aims to prevent drowning, pool chemical injuries, and illness outbreaks. This year, Larson Eye Care encourages our patients to pay special attention to their contact lens habits, particularly while they’re swimming. Is it safe to wear contact lenses in water? No! If you’re thinking about dipping into a pool, lake, or ocean this summer, you should remove your contact lenses first.Water – even seemingly clean water – can contain countless microbes and viruses. Most of the time, your eyes naturally fight these invaders by blinking them away. When you’re wearing contact lenses, these foreign organisms can get stuck between your eye and the lens, leading to irritation, infections, or even conditions that can permanently harm your vision. Acanthamoeba keratitis: Acanthamoeba keratitis is a rare, but serious condition in which an organism known as Acanthamoeba infects the cornea, leading to inflammation and potential corneal scarring. If not caught early, people with this condition may need a corneal transplant to recover their lost vision. Corneal ulcer: A corneal ulcer is an open sore on the cornea, typically caused by an infection. Symptoms of corneal ulcers include pus or discharge, blurred vision, redness, severe pain, and a persistent sensation of having something in your eye. Some people may also notice a white spot on their cornea. In addition, water can dislodge rigid gas...

Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month

Pop quiz! Who is at a greater risk of developing eye disease: men or women? If you guessed “both”, then you’re not alone – but you’re also not correct. Despite common belief, women are significantly more likely to develop common eye diseases than men. According to a study conducted by the organization Prevent Blindness America, women make up the majority of older Americans who are visually impaired or blind. Because of this gender disparity, Prevent Blindness American has dubbed April Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month. Each April, physicians across the country – including those at Larson Eye Care – do what they can to promote awareness of common eye diseases that affect women. Which eye diseases disproportionately affect women? Compared to men, women are more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy – the four leading eye diseases in the country.Pregnant women are particularly susceptible to dry eye syndrome, light sensitivity, eye puffiness, and prescription changes. Women experiencing menopause are at a greater risk of developing dry eye syndrome and uveitis, inflammation of the eye. What should women do to maintain healthy vision? The first step is awareness. According to a survey conducted by Prevent Blindness America:86 percent of American women incorrectly believe that men and women are at equal risk of permanent vision loss 5 percent believe that men are at a greater risk Less than 10 percent realize that...