Dry Eye Condition Will Have You Itching For Relief

dry eye condition

Almost everyone has had sore, irritated eyes at one time or another. But if the pain and redness just won’t go away, you may have “dry eye” condition.

Normally, when you blink, tears wash smoothly across your cornea, the clear outside part of the eye. Your tears have three layers: an outer oily sheet, a middle watery layer, and an inner mucous film. The oily layer keeps the surface of the tears smooth and protects the water layer from drying out too quickly. The job of the water is to wash away foreign materials that may end up in your eye. But the watery layer could not stick to your eye without the help of the mucus, which spreads the tears across the eye and keeps the eye surface moist. After moving across your eye, excess tears are drained away by small ducts at the inner corners of your eyelids.

Causes

Dry eye happens in two ways–either the eye doesn’t make enough tears or something affects one or more of the tear layers. Many people experience dry eyes as they age, and women are often affected due to the hormonal changes of menopause. Other causes of dry eye condition include medications such as antihistamines and blood pressure drugs, medical conditions such as diabetes and eye infections, long-term use of contact lenses, and environmental factors including smoke and dry wind. Staring at a computer screen without blinking may also cause dry eye.

Symptoms

For most people, the main symptoms of dry eye are having eyes that

  • sting and burn
  • are red and irritated
  • feel scratchy or gritty
  • have mucus strings
  • water excessively, without pain relief.

Diagnosis

Your eye doctor will perform an eye exam, including completion of a medical history, assessment of your eyes, and measurement of tear quantity and quality. Based on this information, your doctor will determine the most effective treatment for your condition.

Treatment

Dry eye treatment focuses on adding tears, saving tears, and treating underlying conditions. To add tears, your eye doctor may prescribe over-the-counter artificial tear solutions; if artificial tears are not enough, the doctor may give you eye medication that increases your tear production. To conserve tears, tiny silicone or gel plugs called punctal plugs may be put into your tear ducts to slow tear drainage. These can be removed later, if desired. If an eye infection is causing your dry eye, your doctor will treat that condition.

To reduce the symptoms of dry eye at home, remember to blink regularly when reading or working at the computer, increase the humidity in your house or office, drink water to avoid dehydration, and wear sunglasses outdoors to decrease wind and sun exposure.

 

If you have questions about dry eye or need to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

Summer’s Almost Here – Protect Your Eyes from Harmful UV Rays

Protect-Your-Eyes1Protect Your Eyes from the Sun

Many would agree that our vision is important to our quality of life. Therefor it is crucial to take proper care of our eyes, including protecting them against harmful UV rays.  Hampton Roads Eye Associates in Oyster Point shares some facts about the damage the sun can do to your vision. 

Over time, the sun’s rays can damage the eyes and surrounding skin, sometimes leading to vision loss and conditions from cataracts and macular degeneration to eye and eyelid cancers. However, simple daily protective strategies, including wearing sunglasses, will help keep our eyes and the sensitive skin around them healthy.

Just in time for summer, our optical shop is offering a special promotion on prescription sunglasses. Save 50% off Prescription Sun Lenses with the purchase of a frame OR save 25% off prescription sun lenses only! We are standing by to help you make a selection that will meet your unique needs.

For proper protection, sunglasses should offer the following:

  • The ability to absorb and block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB light. Ideally, they should also guard against HEV light.
  • Sufficient size to shield the eyes, eyelids, and surrounding areas. The more skin covered, the better. Wraparound styles with a comfortable close fit and UV-protective side shields are ideal.
  • Durability and impact resistance.
  • Polarized lenses to eliminate glare, especially when driving, but also out in the snow or on the water, where reflection greatly magnifies glare. Continuing glare can cause fatigue, headaches, and even migraines.

Additionally, be sure to receive routine comprehensive eye exams. Eye exams allow us to monitor your eye health, maintain good vision, and keep you up to date on the latest in UV radiation protection. Schedule yours today!

At What Age Should My Child See An Eye Doctor?

first eye examA common question that parents ask is: What age should my child first see an eye doctor?

Hampton Roads Eye Associates has an answer that is fairly straightforward.

Initial Exam:

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that a child have a  first comprehensive eye exam at their 6 month checkup. This exam will generally be performed by the pediatrician at their checkup. The main objective will be to see if the child is following objects and observing the environment in a normal manner for their age and development.

Next Exams:

Additional eye exams are recommended at age 3 and then again before entering Kindergarten or 1st grade, which is generally between ages 5 and 6.

This is because eyesight is essential for students to be able to learn appropriately as they enter their primary school years.

There are a variety of conditions that could keep children from learning properly during their years in primary school, including:

  • near vision problems
  • distance vision problems
  • a lack of binocular (two eye) coordination
  • a lack of eye movement and following skills
  • a lack of eye focusing skills
  • a lack of peripheral awareness
  • a lack of hand-eye coordination

Schools have required an eye exam for all students entering school for the first time to screen out any vision problems that may exist and inhibit their learning.

What Are the Findings of These Initial Exams?

These eye exams at ages 3 and then again at 5-6 are finding that about 10-15% of school-aged children have some sort of vision issue.

Most of these issues are easily fixed by prescribing corrective eyewear that is determined by your child’s individual needs.  Rarely, a child needs corrective surgery for a vision issue, which would be performed after diagnosis and other, less invasive treatment is attempted.

Tell Your Eye Doctor the Following:

While most eye exams are pretty self-explanatory, be sure to tell your doctor about anything specific that may affect your child’s vision exam.

The following are some key factors your eye doctor may need to know to help provide your child with the best quality eye exam possible:

  • a history of a premature birth
  • any sort of delayed motor development
  • frequent eye rubbing
  • excessive blinking
  • failure to maintain appropriate eye contact
  • inability to maintain a gaze (fixation) while studying or looking at a specific object
  • any poor eye tracking skills you observed

These can all be signs of other problems that your child may be developing with their vision. Our doctors use this information along with the results of their eye exams to determine if issues exist with your child’s vision.

Also, Remember:

Regular eye exams ensure that any issues your child is having with their vision are corrected immediately before these issues impact their ability to function and learn appropriately. Routine eye exams are meant to detect problems and treat them so your child has the best chance to excel in the future.

To schedule a comprehensive eye exam for your child, contact Hampton Roads Eye Associates – Oyster Point at  (757) 643-8800.  Our pediatric specialists are specially trained to detect and treat vision issues in children.

 

Cataracts: The Basic Information

cataracts treatmentClouded vision can be a metaphor for questionable wisdom, or it can be a reality for people with cataracts. Cataracts are like a cloud over the eye’s lens, beginning small but often growing until they negatively affect vision.

Symptoms of cataracts

  • clouded, dimmed, or blurred vision
  • light sensitivity
  • a need for brighter light to read by
  • seeing rings around lights
  • frequent changes in eyeglass prescriptions
  • double vision when only one eye is open
  • colors appear faded or yellowed

What causes cataracts?

The lens of the eye does the camera-like work of focusing on objects and sending bright, clear pictures to your brain. As you age, proteins on the surface of the lens can clump up. These clumps of protein are the cataracts. They often begin small and unnoticeable, but when they grow to cover more of the lens, the cataracts obscure vision and cause some or all of the above symptoms. Most cataracts develop in the eyes of older people, but they can also be caused by genetics or certain medical conditions. Some habits and/or conditions (such as smoking, alcoholism, obesity, and excessive exposure to sunlight) put people at a higher risk for the growth of cataracts.

Treatments

In the beginning stages of cataracts, the mild symptoms can be relieved with non-invasive treatments such as

  • new eyeglasses
  • brighter lighting
  • anti-glare glasses

However, when the cataracts begin to interfere with your daily activities, such as driving, reading, and using the computer, you and your doctor need to have a talk about cataract surgery. Patients should take their time and learn as much as they can beforehand because delaying the surgery will not make the surgery less effective or harder to perform. Cataract surgery is a very common surgery with a high success rate. The operation to remove a cataract typically lasts less than an hour, and it is nearly painless. Most patients return home the same day.

If you are experiencing vision problems, and you’re not sure if a cataract is causing it or not, schedule an appointment with Hampton Roads Eye Associates.   Hampton Roads Eye Associates in Oyster Point treats patients with beginning and advanced cataracts in their office, providing every treatment option from lenses to laser assisted surgery.  Contact us today at (757) 643-8800.

 

Protect Your Sight with These Eye Health Tips

eye healthYour eyes are the windows to the world. Look into your world with healthy eyes! Hampton Roads Eye Associates knows that following these simple tips will prolong your eyesight for years to come.

Protect your eyes with sunglasses. For maximum protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays, check to make sure your sunglasses keep out 100 percent of UV-A rays and UV-B rays. Eyes are sensitive instruments, and direct sunlight can be harsh. Good sunglasses protect the retina, help prevent cataract growth, and protect the delicate skin around your eyes.

Don’t smoke. Smoking is bad for your eyes. It has been linked to cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD, an eye disease which involves a damaged retina). Quit smoking and improve your chances of retaining normal eyesight!

Eat right for healthy eyes. It’s fairly common knowledge that carrots are good for eye health. But there are other good foods to eat for maintaining good sight. Try some green, leafy veggies, some salmon or tuna, eggs, nuts, citrus fruits, and oysters. These foods will provide your body with important nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamins C and E, lutein, and zinc. These nutrients are known to fight off AMD and other eye diseases.

Practice Good Computer Habits. When you spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen, your eyes get strained, vision becomes blurry, you have problems focusing on distant objects, and you may get headaches. Prevent these eye problems by acquiring a few simple habits:

  • Use the 20-20-20 rule. This means you need to look up from the screen every 20 minutes and focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Try to prevent glare on your screen.
  • Look down on your screen by aligning the top of the screen with your line of vision.
  • Talk to your doctor about computer glasses.
  • Be conscientious about blinking; more blinking helps prevent dry eyes.

Get Regular Eye Check-ups. The best way to keep your eyes healthy is to have an eye doctor examine them regularly. Eye examinations check for various problems, and your doctor can provide tips and treatment for any eye-related health issue. Making sure your eyeglass or contact lens prescription is up-to-date can also save your eyes from unnecessary strain.

If it’s been a while since your last eye exam, please contact us, Hampton Roads Eye Associates Oyster Point,  at (757) 643-8800 for an appointment.  Keeping your eyes healthy with regular eye exams will give you lifelong results.

Common eye emergencies and how to treat them

eye emergenciesHave you ever gotten a sliver of metal stuck in your eye? Or maybe you’ve experienced flashes of light in your vision? Many people take their vision for granted until something bad happens to their eyes. Here are some common eye emergencies that bring people to Hampton Roads Eye Associates for emergency care.

Foreign objects in the eye
This could be a metal sliver, an eyelash, or a grain of sand. Whatever it is, it doesn’t belong, and it could be scratching up the cornea. Usually, this is a minor emergency, and it can often be taken care of at home by having someone wash her hands, and then examine the eye carefully by pulling the lower eyelid down and then flipping up the upper lid. Once the foreign object is located, try flushing it out with water.
However, seek professional help if the foreign object

  • has sharp edges,
  • is embedded in the eye,
  • contains chemicals,
  • or was propelled into the eye at high speed.

In a serious case, restrict eye movement by covering the good eye. Also, if the eye is bleeding, use a clean cloth to bandage it. If the bandage presses too tightly against the foreign object, then cover the eye with a paper cup.

Chemical Eye Burns
When the eye or eyelid becomes exposed to chemicals, please take it seriously. Depending on which chemical burned the eye, and how long the exposure lasted, a chemical eye burn could produce lasting damage. There are three types of burns.

  1. Alkali burns from substances such as ammonia and lime can damage both the cornea and the inner eye structure.
  2. Acid burns come from substances like sulfuric acid in an automobile battery or acetic acid in nail polish remover.
  3. Irritants, like pepper spray, cause discomfort but usually not much actual damage to the eye. 

Begin washing the eye out as soon as possible after the chemical burn occurs. Keep washing for at least 10 minutes. Then, seek immediate professional care.

Acute Glaucoma
Acute glaucoma is a sudden increase in pressure in the eye caused by fluids that can’t drain. The pressure could quickly damage the optic nerve, and it could lead to loss of vision. An attack of acute glaucoma is often caused by your eyes dilating too much or too quickly. The symptoms are sudden and can’t be ignored. They include

  • eye pain
  • severe headache
  • nausea
  • blurry vision
  • seeing halos around lights
  • different sized pupils
  • loss of vision

The doctor may use eye drops and/or medication to treat this condition. He also may use a laser to get the fluid flowing again. Only a professional can confirm the onset of acute glaucoma. Contact us immediately if these symptoms occur.

Retinal Detachment
It is an emergency when the retina pulls away from its normal place at the back of the eye. Symptoms of retinal detachment are painless. They include

  • the sudden appearance of many dots and small objects in your vision
  • flashes of light in your eyes
  • a shadow falling over your field of vision
  • your peripheral vision gradually falling away

Seek medical help right away if you believe you are experiencing these symptoms. Treatment for a detachment is usually surgery.

Take eye injuries seriously. Many eye emergencies, when left untreated, can lead to permanent eye damage.
Contact Hampton Roads Eye Associates in Oyster Point for an appointment at (757) 643-8800 if you suffer from any of the listed symptoms. Our board certified providers are available to treat your eye emergency efficiently and quickly.

Eye Exams for Children and Adults – What’s the Difference?

eye examsDid you know that regardless of age, it is important to have regular and comprehensive eye exams with an eye doctor? The frequency of exams recommended is based on age and any issues with vision or medical conditions. Here’s the minimum frequency that it’s recommended to visit the eye doctor, as based on the American Optometric Association (AOA) for adults and children.

Adults:
All adults should have a comprehensive eye exam to check for vision, as well as other issues with the eyes every two years. Keep in mind that eye problems become more likely with age. For this reason, it’s often strongly recommended by many eye doctors that after age 40, the minimum with no risk factors is every one to two years and yearly at age 60. It’s recommended that those wearing eyeglasses or contacts have yearly eye exams. Those experiencing other vision problems, eye injury, or have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, connective tissue disorders, etc should have yearly eye exams unless told by their eye doctor that more frequent examination is necessary. For instance, it is often recommended that those with uncontrolled diabetes visit the eye doctor 2-3 times per year.

Children:
Children should have an initial eye exam with an eye doctor at 6 months, at age 3, and again around ages 5 or 6. After these initial eye exams, children should have an eye exam at least every two years until adulthood. Children that wear glasses or contacts should have a yearly eye exam. Yearly or even more frequent eye exams may be needed in some children, such as those with:

     -Premature birth or developmental delays
     -Fetal distress at birth or low Apgar scores
     -Infection during pregnancy (AIDS, herpes, rubella, etc)
     -Other vision problems, such as crossed eyes
     -Eye injury
     -Medical conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, and many others)

At Hampton Roads Eye Associates, both children and adults receive the highest quality eye care possible. We are uniquely situated to provide general eye exams, specialty eye care such as retinal testing, laser surgery and more, and our optical shop allows us to fit and order you and your child for glasses after your exam if the need arises. Please contact us at (757) 643-8800 to schedule your appointment or use our convenient online scheduling tool.

The Importance of Eyeglasses

Screen Shot 2013-08-01 at 11.01.59 AMIf you’re finding it hard to see clearly, it may be time for a pair of eyeglasses. We use our eyes all the time, from the time we wake up until we go to sleep at night, we watch, read and perceive objects. This is why it is essential to choose the perfect pair of glasses for yourself, as whatever you do, they will be helping you see.

Visiting an ophthalmologist or optometrist as soon as you notice blurred or distorted vision can help you avoid eyestrain and headaches and can help you improve your performance at work or school.

VISION PROBLEMS CORRECTED BY GLASSES

  • Myopia (nearsightedness) is a vision condition in which close objects are seen clearly, but objects farther away appear blurred. Nearsightedness occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, has too much curvature. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly and distant objects look blurred.
  • Astigmatism (uneven focusing of light) a vision condition that causes blurred vision due either to the irregular shape of the cornea, the clear front cover of the eye, or sometimes the curvature of the lens inside the eye. An irregular shaped cornea or lens prevents light from focusing properly on the retina, the light sensitive surface at the back of the eye. As a result, vision becomes blurred at any distance.
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness) is a vision condition in which distant objects are usually seen clearly, but close ones do not come into proper focus. Farsightedness occurs if your eyeball is too short or the cornea has too little curvature, so light entering your eye is not focused correctly.

EFFECTS ON SCHOOL, WORK AND PLAY
Poor vision can have an effect on your ability to perform well at school and work. Some children, who are labeled as having ADHD, may actually have an untreated vision problem. Bad eyesight can result in a reduced attention span or in difficult understanding printed material. In addition it can be difficult to clearly see a ball or the positions of your teammates if you have vision problems. Correcting the problem with glasses and help to improve sport performance.

With the latest offer from Hampton Roads Eye Associates, finding the perfect pair of glasses is a breeze. Save 50% off  your lenses when you purchase a frame. The sale includes single vision, bifocal and progressive lenses. We have a vide variety of frames for adults and children. Our friendly and knowledgeable team will help you chose a pair that will fit your lifestyle.

Eye examinations are an important part of health maintenance for everyone. Adults and children should have their eyes tested to keep their prescriptions current and to check for early signs of eye disease.

 

 

Save Your Vision Month

Eye vision monthAs our lives become increasingly busy due to our workloads and personal hobbies, it is easy to lose sight of what’s important.  In fact, the danger of eye strain makes it easy for us to lose sight of everything.  That is why the American Optometric Association aims to increase our awareness of good eye care by making March “Save Your Vision Month”.  This informative campaign seeks to encourage all folks (not just the ones wearing glasses) to schedule eye exams for themselves on a regular basis, not just when they’re having trouble with their vision.

Like routine trips to the dental chair, it is necessary to see your eye doctor regularly in order to maintain proper eye care.  For one thing, an eye exam can inform you about your general state of health.  Certain diseases, like diabetes and glaucoma, can be diagnosed and even treated if detected early enough by your eye doctor.

Now more than ever, computers are an integral part of our everyday lives.  Unfortunately, we tend to forget to blink as we stare off into the endless realm of cyberspace.  This can ultimately lead to dry eyes and blurry vision, which can further lead to irreversible damage.  In order to avoid these problems before they become dangers, consider taking the following actions whenever working on your computer:

  • Remember to take breaks and come up for air at regular intervals.  Have a window?  Use it.
  • Give your eyelids a break and blink every so often.  Spare a moment to keep your eyes completely closed (do this alone so the boss doesn’t think you’re sleeping!).
  • Keep your monitor at a distance of at least 20 inches away.
  • Adjust the tip of your monitor so it’s tilted a little below your eye level.
  • Make sure you keep your screen free from dust and fingerprints, as these can greatly reduce clarity and cause you to squint.
  • Artificial tears and eye drops may be necessary to keep your eyes moist.
  • If still experiencing dry eyes, you may even want to think about placing a humidifier in your work zone.
  • As always, maintain a good diet by eating healthy.  A good night’s sleep is never a bad idea either, for the sake of your eyelids and overall sanity.

The Importance of Yearly Eye Exams

eye glasses and eye chartRegardless of your age or physical health, yearly eye exams should be part of your preventive health care routine.

An eye exam is more than a simple vision check. A comprehensive eye exam includes a series of test which checks neurological function, eye pressure, eye muscle coordination and the health of the external and internal eye structures.

Many people with eye and vision problems may not even be aware of them, because they have no obvious signs or symptoms.  Yearly eye exams help to maintain good vision and eye health. Should you have any vision problems, early diagnosis is your best chance for successful treatment.

Periodic Eye exams are not only important for adults. Children also need eye exams to ensure normal vision development. Children with undetected vision problems may have trouble with learning and schoolwork. Therefore, an eye exam by a doctor who specializes in pediatric eye care is essential for their academic development.

In addition, your eye health can reveal a great deal about your overall health. Comprehensive eye exams can detect the warning signs of more serious undiagnosed health problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Good vision and eye health are important and greatly improve quality of life. Make sure to keep your eyes in their best condition by scheduling an eye exam every year.