June is Cataract Awareness Month

cataract surgeryIn honor of Cataract Awareness Month, Hampton Roads Eye Associates is providing some useful information to help you understand the disease and how to protect yourself. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world and affect more than 22 million Americans aged 40 and older. 

Cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens which blocks or changes the passage of light into the eye. Fortunately, vision loss due to cataract can be restored with a simple procedure.  Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed procedures in the United States and has over a 90 percent success rate. 

Risk factors for developing cataract include:

  • Family history of cataract
  • Diabetes, smoking
  • Extended exposure to UV rays
  • Serious eye injury
  • Use of steroids

 Cataracts generally do not cause pain, redness or tears. However, these changes in your vision may be signs of cataract:

  • Blurred or hazy vision
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Poor vision in bright light
  • Seeing halos around lights
  • Poor vision at night
  • Yellowish tinged vision
  • Frequent changes in eyeglasses or contact lens prescription

Click to learn more about the cataract surgery options offered at Hampton Roads Eye Associates. 

Can I prevent cataracts?

There is no proven way to prevent age-related cataracts. However, making these healthy decisions may help to slow the progression of cataracts:

  • Avoid or quit smoking
  • Reduce exposure to UV rays
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Wear proper eye protection to avoid eye injury

One of the most important ways we can protect our vision is to make a commitment to take care of your eyes today. This includes getting a dilated eye exam, which helps to protect your sight for the future not just from cataract, but other eye diseases as well. If you  have not had your yearly eye exam, you can schedule one today by calling us at 757.643.8800, or filling out our online form.

Treating Glaucoma with iStent Surgery

iStent surgeryHampton Roads Eye Associates is pleased to offer iStent surgery, or  iStent Trabecular Micro Bypass,  for the treatment of mild-to-moderate open angle glaucoma.

iStent is the smallest medical device ever approved by the FDA. The device is placed in your eye during cataract surgery, and is so small that you won’t be able to see or feel it after the procedure is over. iStent is designed to create a permanent opening in your trabecular meshwork, and works continuously to improve the outflow of fluid from your eyes to help control eye pressure.

 How it works: 

  • If you have glaucoma, over time the eye’s natural  drainage system becomes clogged
  • iStent creates a permanent opening through the blockage to improve the eye’s natural outflow
  • Restoring this mechanism lowers and controls pressure within the eye

Benefits of iStent: 

  • Is safely implanted during cataract surgery
  • Spares important eye tissue that is often damaged by traditional surgeries
  • Does not limit treatment options that could help maintain your vision in the future

Our very own Dr. Steven Kitay  is a certified iStent surgeon and will perform this procedure. Download the iStent Patient Brochure to learn more about this procedure.

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.

 

February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

AMD-Awareness-logoAge-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease that affects part of the back of the eye called the macula, the central part of the retina. This can cause the center part of your vision to become blurry or wavy. It could also cause a blind spot in the center of your vision. According to Prevent Blindness (formerly Prevent Blindness America), over 2 million adults over the age of 50 in the US suffer from AMD,

Fortunately, an AMD diagnosis does not have to signal the end to independence. With some adjustments and a little assistance, AMD can be managed and independence can be maintained for many patients. It is awareness that can make a difference; that is why regular eye exams are so important. Visiting your eye doctor regularly and being mindful of symptoms can help your doctor discover and treat the disease early – a key factor in preserving as much vision as possible.

Education is an important step in fighting Age-Related Macular Degeneration. That’s why February has been deemed National AMD Month. At Hampton Roads Eye Associates it is our goal to educate our patients about the symptoms, risk factors and treatment options for AMD.

The risk factors of AMD include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking, as well as genetic factors such as age, family history and race. Symptoms include blurred vision, blind spots and straight lines appearing wavy.

There are medical, surgical and other treatments for AMD, and our Retinal and Low Vision Specialists are available at Hampton Roads Eye Associates to help you remain independent and maximize your vision. Learn more about the different treatment options for AMD on our website.

The single best thing any of us can do to protect ourselves from the AMD is to have an annual eye exam. If you haven’t already scheduled an exam for 2014, you can do so by calling us at 757.643.8800, or you can schedule an appointment online.

Tips for Healthy Vision in the New Year

eye glasses and eye chartA New Year means new goals! Your vision is a critical part of your health that often gets neglected. Consider getting your vision back on track this year by making an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam. At Hampton Roads Eye Associates Oyster Point, we provide general ophthalmology and eye disease treatment for adult and pediatric patients. We perform diagnostic and treatment procedures on children and adults including:

  • cataract surgeries
  • refractive surgery
  • cosmetic surgery
  • glaucoma testing
  • strabismus treatment
  • retina imaging
  • eye problems diagnosis and treatment
  • corrective lens services

How Hampton Roads Eye Associates Can Help
We offer comprehensive eye care services to the Hampton Roads community. In the meantime, you can take care of your vision by following these tips for maintaining good eye health.

Eat for good vision. Start incorporating healthy foods in your diet that will reduce your risk of obesity related diseases such as diabetes – which can adversely affect vision.

  • Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
  • Eggs, nuts, beans, and other non-meat protein sources
  • Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices

Quit smoking. Smoking can increase your risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and optic nerve damage. Your overall health is greatly improved when you stop smoking.

Take frequent breaks from staring at the computer screen. Staring at the computer screen for long amounts of time can cause the following symptoms:

  • Eye strain
  • Blurry Vision
  • Headaches
  • Dry eyes

If you have extensive computer related work, it is important for maintaining good eye health to incorporate frequent “eye” breaks into your day.

Wear Sunglasses. Wearing sunglasses with UV protection will protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Too much exposure to sunlight can cause cataracts as well as macular degeneration.

Visit your eye doctor. It is never too late to get your vision back on track! Schedule a complete eye exam with your doctor today to get a baseline for your eye health. This makes diagnosing and treating all eye conditions more effective.

Hampton Roads Eye Associates Oyster Point looks forward to helping you maintain healthy vision in the new year. Call our office today for your yearly eye exam 757.643.8800.

 

 

 

Happy Holidays From Hampton Roads Eye Associates!

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year

When Do I Need To Get Glasses?

glassesIf 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.

Hampton Roads Eye Associates recommends that as soon as you notice blurred or distorted vision, make an appointment for an exam.  Eyeglasses 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.

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.  If you’ve noticed any change in your vision, make an appointment with us for an eye exam by calling 757-643-8800. 

 

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.