Eye Exams: How Frequently Should I Get One?

How Frequently Should I Get an Eye Exam?Regular eye exams are important, regardless of age. The frequency of these exams, however, differs with age, along with medical conditions. Based on the recommendation of the American Optometric Association (AOA), the following contains a good rule of thumb for when you should go in for an eye exam.

Adults

For adults, going in for a comprehensive eye exam every two years is recommended. This includes getting your vision checked, as well as any other issues with your eyes that may have sprung up since your last visit. Once you’ve reached the age of 60, a visit every year is recommended. If you already wear glasses or contact lenses, however, you should go in yearly, regardless of age. Likewise, those with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, should also go in for an annual exam. This number may vary based on the severity of your conditions. For example, those with uncontrolled diabetes should visit their eye doctor two or three times a year.

Children

Children have a scattered schedule when it comes to eye exams. When they’re young, they should go in starting at six months old, again at age three, and then again at age five or six. After this last exam, once every two years should be sufficient, so long as there are no issues discovered. Continue every two years until adulthood. As with adults, children with glasses or contacts should have an eye exam every year. In some cases, more frequent eye exams may be necessary. Your child may need more frequent visits if they have one or more of the following conditions:

  • 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, 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.  

Happy Holidays from the Team at Hampton Roads Eye Associates

Happy Holidays from the Team at Hampton Roads Eye Associates

5 Thanksgiving Foods for Eye Health

5 Thanksgiving Foods for Eye HealthThanksgiving is fast approaching, and while you start eyeing your favorite foods, consider thinking about the foods that will also promote eye health. After all, your eyes are important, and certainly something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. With a bit of preparation, your Thanksgiving feast can be more than just eye candy. We’ve put together a list of food you can prepare that benefit your eyes while fitting right into the Thanksgiving theme.

 

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a staple among Thanksgiving dinners throughout the country, and they’re also a very good source of vitamin C and vitamin E. These vitamins are valuable assets in promoting good eye health in that they help keep the eye’s healthy tissue from breaking down.

Cauliflower

Skip the mashed potatoes (especially if you already have sweet potatoes on the menu) and make a mouthwatering mash of cauliflower. A very good source of vitamin C and omega-3s, cauliflower is linked to promoting good eye health.

Green Beans

Whether it’s green bean casserole or simply warmed in a microwave, green beans contain nutrients that help protect the retina.

Cranberry Sauce

Complete with bioflavonoids and vitamin C, cranberries protect against pollution and the body’s metabolic process. So go ahead and apply liberally to your turkey!

Pumpkin Pie

Yes, you read that right. Pumpkin pie is good for the eye, so if you get an eyebrow raised for going for seconds or thirds, you can always counter that with its health benefits. Pumpkin contains vitamin A, which is good for promoting night vision and protecting the lens and other areas of the eye.

 

When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, you can have a delicious feast while still focusing on foods for eye health. Of course, it’s always good to have an eye exam in order to get a closer look at the health of your eyes. Schedule an appointment with us today!

 

Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist: What’s the Difference?

What’s the Difference? Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist:

Optometrist vs. Ophthalmologist

Optometrists and ophthalmologists are highly trained specialists who are trained to care for the human eye. However, there are some distinctions between these two types of eye doctors and what they are specifically trained to do. These differences can be highly important when it comes to which type of eye doctor you choose to see based on the needs you have at the time.

In this post, we will explore the differences between an optometrists and ophthalmologists and which option is better for you based on the needs you have at that specific time:

What Do Optometrists Specialize In?

Optometrists do not have to spend as long in school ophthalmologists, however, the schooling still takes 7 to 8 years to complete and the student also must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to qualify to go to school for this specialty. These doctors can do basic eye examinations and some are able to detect more common abnormalities or issues that you have with your eyes during your routine exam.

A few of these doctors may take an additional one-year specialty that helps them diagnose specific diseases or abnormalities within the eye. However, these doctors tend to specialize in general eye care and are trained to fit both contacts and glasses to people who need vision assistance.

What Do Ophthalmologists Specialize In?

Ophthalmologists specialize in specific disease of the eye. These are physicians who went through 4 years of school and then go on to specialized medical schools to help them distinguish specific conditions of the human eye and how to treat them. To get their ophthalmologist degree, the student must go on past medical school to complete a one-year residency internship in medicine followed by a three-year residency in an ophthalmologist-specific program. 

Ophthalmologists can also fit people for glasses or contacts and do basic eye exams as well. However, they are also able to treat specific conditions of the eye and provide treatment accordingly.

Which Doctor Should I Choose?

When it comes to deciding between an optometrist vs. ophthalmologist, what it comes down to is your personal needs and preferences. Both doctors are well-qualified to provide basic eye examinations and fit you with either contacts or glasses. However, if you have a family history of a lot of eye conditions such as glaucoma or other issues that need treatment, then an ophthalmologist may be your better choice of an eye doctor. They can provide the basic eye examinations as well as the contacts and glasses you may need, and they also will be able to assist you with any conditions of the eye that may appear throughout your lifetime. Moreover, they will be able to determine what treatment will be appropriate for you if a condition that needs treatment arises.

Conclusion:

For further information about whether an optometrist or an ophthalmologist is the best fit for you, it will come down to personal needs. If you have a long history of eye conditions within your family, an ophthalmologist most likely fit your needs the best. If you are just after someone who can provide a basic eye exam and glasses or contacts, then a optometrist may better fit your needs. Either way, both are well-qualified to care for your eyes and protect your vision. If you have more questions regarding the differences between an optometrist vs. ophthalmologist, give Hampton Roads Eye Associates a call at (757) 643-8800, or schedule an appointment online. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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!

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.

 

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.