5 Tips for Vision Health

vision healthYour eyes are a very important part of your health. Regular visits to your eye doctor provide sneak peeks into what your overall health is like. Doctors can tell if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes just by looking at the back of your eyes. There are many things you can do that will keep your eyes healthy so they will serve you well throughout your life.

Have a comprehensive dilated eye exam.
Many of us do not recognize vision problems because changes occur subtly and our brains adjust quickly to compensate for these changes. Visiting your eyecare professional for a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to ensure you are maintaining healthy vision.
Often people do not realize they could see better with glasses or contact lenses. Many common eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic eye disease and age-related macular degeneration have no warning signs. A dilated eye exam is the only way to detect these diseases in their early stages.

Know your family’s eye health history.
Discuss eye health history with your family members. Knowing a family member has been diagnosed with a disease or a condition is a vital piece of health information. Often, diseases or conditions of the eye are hereditary and this will help determine if you are at a higher risk of developing the same condition.

Eat right to protect your sight.
You’ve heard carrots are good for your eyes. Eating fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collard greens are excellent sources of the antioxidants that help protect your vision. Research shows omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are beneficial to your eyes as well.
Trying to maintain a healthy weight as you age will also decrease your risk for developing diseases that may impact your vision such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Wear your sunglasses.
Sunglasses really aren’t just for looks. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. When you purchase sunglasses, make sure they filter out 100% of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. Oversized sunglasses protect the soft tissue around your eyes and polarized lenses make it easier to see in bright sunlight.

Give your eyes a rest.
When you spend large amounts of time focusing on your computer, your eyes can get fatigued resulting in eye strain. To maximize your eye health and avoid eye strain, try the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look 20 feet in front of you for about 20 seconds. This trick will give your eyes the rest period that it is needed to continue your computer work with minimal detriment to your eye health.

Taking care of your eyes is very important as you age and getting a yearly eye exam is an excellent way to make sure you are staying healthy and problems are caught early. If you have not had a comprehensive dilated eye exam and would like to schedule one online contact Hampton Roads Eye Associates or call (757) 643-8800.

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.

Caring For Your Contact Lenses

contact lensesContact lenses are an excellent alternative from eyeglasses for millions of people in need of vision correction. Contact lenses can correct:

  • Myopia (nearsightedness)
  • Astigmatism (uneven focusing of light)
  • Hyperopia (farsightedness)

Are Contact Lenses Right for Me?

Your eye care professional can help you determine if contact lenses are the right choice for you. They will examine your eyes to make sure there are no underlying eye conditions or other circumstances that might interfere with successful use of contacts. Once you’ve decided on contact lenses, the fitting process will involve working with your eye care professional to find a lens prescription, size and type that maximizes sight, eye health and comfort. Over 75 percent of contact wearers choose soft contacts, which are made of soft, flexible plastic and allow oxygen to reach the cornea.

Here are some tips for the most healthy way to wear contact lenses:

  • Insert and remove your contact lenses with clean, dry hands.
  • If you experience discomfort, excessive tearing, discharge, vision changes or redness that lasts more than 2 days, contact your eye care professional.
  • Use contacts for the time period recommended for your lenses.
  • Contacts and water do not mix. Store your contacts in the recommended saline solution.
  • Avoid wearing contacts while showering, using a hot tub, swimming or engaging in other water sports.
  • Before inserting your lens, examine it to make sure it is moist, clean and intact.
  • Don’t use a lens if the sterile package it comes in has been damaged or opened, or if the lens has a nick or tear.
  • Never wear someone else’s contact lenses.

It is important to properly care for your contact lenses. Taking care of your lenses will maximize their life and keep your eyes their healthiest.

  • Before handling your lenses, wash and rinse your hands thoroughly with a mild soap and dry them with a lint-free towel.
  • Use a disinfectant approved by your eye care professional to thoroughly clean your lenses.
  • To remove dirt and kill germs on your contacts, rub them with your fingers and rinse them well with an approved solution. Then soak lenses overnight in enough solution to completely cover them.
  • Use your fingertips to touch your lenses as your fingernails may scratch or tear lens.
  • Store contacts in approved solutions, and never reuse solution.
  • Clean your lens case properly.
  • Replace your lens case every three months.

The doctors at Hampton Roads Eye Associates – Oyster Point have extensive training and experience in fitting all types of contact lenses. In fact, we specialize in difficult to fit patients and have had success with many patients who were unsuccessful elsewhere. If you are ready for contact lenses please call us today at (757) 643-8800.