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What Are the Best Ways to Take Care of Your Eyes?

Around the world, more than 30 million people suffer from blindness. Conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease and eye trauma make up the bulk of these cases. Unfortunately, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, additional factors – such as excessive screen time – have led to a further decline in global eye health. It’s never been a better time to focus on the necessity of quality eye care!

The most significant action you can take to optimize your eye health is to visit an eye doctor near you for regular eye exams. When you consider the fact that about 80% of all vision impairment could have been prevented by early detection and treatment, it’s a glaring alert that too many people are unaware of the need to schedule regular visits to an eye clinic near you.

In addition to eye exams, follow these simple and effective tips for promoting good eye health:

Match your glasses to their function

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, be sure to wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection to protect your eyes from the dangerous effects of UV rays. Too much sun exposure has been associated with cataract formation and other serious eye diseases.

If you spend a lot of time on a computer or any digital device, you can help prevent computer vision syndrome by blocking hazardous blue light emitted from the screen. Ask an optometrist near you about computer glasses with a blue light filter.

Eat Right for Your Eyes

    • Leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach and kale, are rich with lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which can help limit the development of AMD and cataracts. Lutein also boosts the pigments that prevent hazardous UV rays from damaging your eyes.
    • Vitamins C and E and zinc have been linked to a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration.
    • Antioxidants, found in abundance in yellow peppers, egg yolk, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots and blueberries, can help protect your peepers against sun damage.

    Moisturize Your Eyes

    Dry eye syndrome is a common condition, and it is occurring more frequently worldwide as pollution worsens. Long periods spent in front of the computer have also contributed to the growing incidences of dry eye. If you suffer the irritating symptoms of this condition, visit an eye doctor near you for an evaluation and treatment. You can also help yourself by resting your eyes and blinking often enough, which lubricates the eye surface. If necessary, use preservative-free artificial tears eye drops to soothe dry, irritated eyes.

    Dry Eye Center of Alabama, your Birmingham eye doctorfor eye exams and eye care

    Book an appointment online here

          • What is diabetic eye disease?

            Diabetic eye disease is a condition which can occur at any stage or type of diabetes. In fact, many times diabetes is identified during an eye exam in a person who never suspected they may have diabetes. It is caused by damage to the very delicate blood vessels within the retina. Over time, these blood vessels may start to leak blood and fluid into the retina or other areas of the eye. If the condition progresses, new vessels may begin to grow within the retina, which places the retina at risk of additional and sometimes sudden complications including internal bleeds and retinal detachment.

          • My doctor says I have a cataract, but he wants to wait a while before removing it. Why?

            A cataract usually starts very small and practically unnoticeable but grows gradually larger and cloudier. Your doctor is probably waiting until the cataract interferes significantly with your vision and your lifestyle. You need to continue to visit your eye doctor regularly so the cataract’s progress is monitored. Some cataracts never really reach the stage where they should be removed. If your cataract is interfering with your vision to the point where it is unsafe to drive, or doing everyday tasks is difficult, then it’s time to discuss surgery with your doctor.

          • What exactly is glaucoma?

            Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This means that your eye has too much aqueous humor in it, either because it produced too much, or because it’s not draining properly. Other symptoms are optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma is a silent disease that robs the patient of their peripheral vision. Early detection is very important.

          • Do eye vitamins help stop macular degeneration?

            While there is no definitive cure for macular generation, only treatments to halt or slow the progression, eye vitamins are shown in some studies to help strengthen the macula and aid in keeping this central area of the retina stable. Vitamins for this condition need to be rich in Lutein, Zeaxanthine, and Omega 3’s such as fish oil. Most vitamins for the eye can be found over the counter without a prescription.’

    Why You Need to Make Eye Care a Part of Your Health Care Plan!

    Regular physical exams and screenings for disease have become an integral part of routine health care for many people. Yet, what about eye care? Do you remember to visit your eye doctor yearly for eye care services, or do you only go if you have a problem with your vision?

    Many people neglect to include eye care in their regular health care plan. This is a mistake! Regular eye exams can provide your eye doctor with a chance to help you correct vision changes, as well as identify any signs of ocular disease at a very early stage.

    Vision correction

    When you wear glasses or contact lenses, yearly eye exams are important for detecting any changes in your vision that could lead to disturbing symptoms, such as headaches, eye strain, and double vision. Why wait until you experience painful symptoms?

    Your eye doctor will assess your visual acuity and visual skills thoroughly to ensure your prescription is up to date. Vision changes as you age, and conditions such as presbyopia are normal. A pair of reading glasses, bifocals or multifocal progressives can resolve this problem easily.

    Also, a variety of new surgical procedures and treatments are available to correct vision. If you’re interested in seeing clearly without prescription eyewear, ask your eye doctor about the latest eye care services on offer!

    Keep an eye on eye health

    As you reach your 60s and older, it’s important to be informed about different warning signs of age-related ocular health diseases and conditions that can lead to vision loss. Many eye diseases present no early warning signs, so an eye exam by a qualified eye doctor is the only dependable way to diagnose or rule out these problems!

    Vision disorders to watch out for include:

    • Age-related macular degeneration – this condition affects the macula, leading to a loss of central vision.
    • Cataracts – when the normally clear lens of your eye becomes cloudy, which can weaken your sensitivity to contrast, dim colors, and increase sensitivity to glare.
    • Diabetic retinopathy – this can occur in people with any type of diabetes; it’s caused by damage to the small blood vessels that supply oxygen to the retina and can lead to retinal inflammation, blurry vision, and blindness.
    • Dry eye syndrome – this condition is characterized by an inadequate quantity of tears or a poor tear composition, so the eye is lubricated well.
    • Glaucoma – this refers to a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve, leading to permanent vision loss.
    • Retinal Detachment – a tearing or separation of the retina from underlying eye tissue.

    Remember, the earlier these diseases are detected – the more effectively they can be treated, before you suffer permanent damage to your vision.

    Primary eye care is vital for your health. To protect your lasting vision, take advantage of all the preventive, rehabilitative, and curative eye care services your eye doctor has to offer!

    Book an eye exam at Dry Eye Center of Alabama eye clinic near you in Birmingham, Alabama to learn more about your personalized eye care.

    Call 205 498 4244

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    • Is it possible to prevent Macular Degeneration?

      Doctors aren’t sure how to prevent macular degeneration. Research suggests that ultraviolet light (and possibly blue light) factors into the problem, so sunglasses could be very beneficial.

    • What are cataracts and how can they be treated?

      Cataracts are a clouding of the lens inside the eye. They are common with age, certain medications and medical conditions. Patients usually feel like they are looking through a dirty window, cannot see colours the way they used to or have increased difficulty with glare. Currently, the treatment is surgery to remove the cloudy lens. Stay tuned for medical advances in cataract treatment in the future!

    • What is diabetic retinopathy?

      Diabetic retinopathy is a condition which can occur at any stage or type of diabetes. In fact, many times diabetes is identified during an eye exam in a person who never suspected they may have diabetes. It is caused by damage to the very delicate blood vessels within the retina. Over time, these blood vessels may start to leak blood and fluid into the retina or other areas of the eye. If the condition progresses, new vessels may begin to grow within the retina, which places the retina at risk of additional and sometimes sudden complications including internal bleeds and retinal detachment.

    • Are there some every day activities that can cause Dry Eye?

      Generally those that suffer with allergies, or have systemic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and sjogrens’, or those who use the computer or digital devices often and even contact lens wearers tend to be more susceptible to dry eye symptoms.

    I Think My Toddler Has Pink Eye!

    What Causes this Infection? Pink eye, also called conjunctivitis, may be unsightly and look scary, but it’s actually a common eye infection in kids (and adults!). It can affect one or both eyes, turning the eye red or pink when bacteria, a virus, an allergen or another irritant inflames the clear coating of the eye, called the conjunctiva.

    If you suspect your toddler has pink eye, book an appointment with an eye doctor near you for diagnosis. Many different eye conditions present with similar symptoms, and only a qualified eye care provider can confirm or rule out pink eye.

    Not All Pink Eye is the Same

    There are four different types of this eye condition – viral, bacterial, allergic and irritant. What many parents don’t realize is that the symptoms can vary between the types.

    The most common symptoms include:

    • A pink or red-colored eye
    • Itching that makes the toddler rub the eye
    • Sensation that something gritty is stuck in the eye
    • Light sensitivity
    • Sticky mucus discharge; it can sometimes seal the eyelid shut so the child has trouble opening his or her crusty eye upon waking in the morning
    • Swollen eyelids
    • Watery eyes; this symptom, often accompanied by a runny nose, is most common in allergic pink eye

    Viral and bacterial eye infections are both contagious and can be caught from another person or from touching contaminated objects. When it comes to viral pink eye, it can also result from your toddler’s own body spreading a viral infection, such as the common cold, through mucous membranes.

    In contrast, allergic and irritant pink eye are not contagious. They occur when the body reacts to contact with either an external allergen (pollen and pet dander are typical culprits), or to exposure to something that irritates eyes, such as smoke.

    Visit an Eye Clinic Near You in Birmingham, Alabama for Treatment

    As soon as you spot the signs of pink eye, book an eye exam with an optometrist near you. Not only will prompt action enable your toddler to get the right treatment to alleviate the discomfort as soon as possible, but it also reduces the chances of your child spreading the infection to other kids and family members. Rule of thumb – untreated pink eye can be contagious for up to two weeks!

    After performing an eye exam to determine the type of pink eye, the eye doctor will recommend the most appropriate treatment:

    • Typically, bacterial pink eye will be treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointment. Ointments are often easier to apply to little kids’ eyes. Improvement is usually noticeable within a few days, but it’s essential to use the full course of antibiotic therapy as directed by your eye doctor, to make sure the bacterial infection is fully eradicated.
    • Viral pink eye can’t be treated with medicine; the virus needs to run its course through the body. But there are some home remedies you can try to relieve the symptoms. Cleaning the eyes regularly with a wet cloth and applying warm or cold compresses on the eyes can both be soothing.
    • Your toddler’s optometrist may offer antihistamines to treat allergic pink eye, depending on the severity of the condition. A DIY tip that many people find helpful is to apply a cool compress.
    • Irritant pink eye is usually treated by flushing the eyes with clean water to clear out the irritant. The symptoms should then disappear on their own within a short time.

    Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Birmingham eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.What is Blue Light and why is it dangerous?

    Book an eye exam at Dry Eye Center of Alabama eye clinic near you in Birmingham, Alabama to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 205 498 4244

    FOLLOW US

    • What exactly is pink eye?

      Pink eye is really anything that makes the eye pink. The official term is conjunctivitis, meaning an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the mostly transparent, skinnish like covering over the white of the eye. When the eye is irritated, the conjunctiva swells and blood vessels in it dilate, giving the eye a pink or reddish appearance. Many different agents can lead to this, including bacteria, viruses, allergens, and toxic or mechanical irritants. Treatment and contagion protection depend on the specific cause. Often the cause can be determined based on history, eye appearance with specialized instruments, and symptoms. Viral pinkeye, for example, is typically associated with increased light sensitivity, whereas itching is a key sign in allergic pink eye. There is a good deal of overlap with all kinds, however. Bacterial and viral pinkeye are both contagious, and fairly common. With any pink eye, particularly if it is getting worse, or not getting any better within a day, it’s best to be seen by an eye care practitioner. She or he will have the experience, knowledge and instrumentation to provide the most efficient treatment and recommendations.

    • What is meant by the term allergic conjunctivitis? Is that the same as “pink eye”?

      Allergic conjunctivitis is the clinical term of ocular inflammation of the lining or membrane of the eye, called the conjunctiva, caused by allergic reactions to substances. Although a patient may present with red or pink eyes from excess inflammation, the common term “pink eye”can signify a broad term of conditions and can be misleading, as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other irritating substances can cause redness resembling a “pink eye.” Your eye doctor can differentiate between an allergy reaction and a true infection, which can lead to faster healing with proper treatments.

    • At what age should my child have his/her eyes examined?

      Eye exams for children should start between 6 months -1 year old. There is a nation-wide program called InfantSee where participating providers offer a FREE eye exam to children in this age group to make sure the eyes are developing properly. If there are no issues detected, an exam at 3 and 5 years old is sufficient to make sure the eyes are still developing properly for preschool and kindergarten. Since babies & toddlers have no way of knowing if what they see is “normal” and “clear” or not, having a comprehensive eye exam is the best way to ensure their eyes and vision is developing properly. Any ocular issues are best addressed sooner rather than later because 80% of learning takes place through vision in kids!

    • Does your office treat any eye related problems that children may have?

      Any health concern related to the eye and the surrounding area can be taken care of in our office. Red eyes, allergies, blurred vision etc can all be medically related problems, and we can treat them in our office.

    Did You Know Pandemic Stress Can Affect Eyesight?

    The past months have wreaked havoc with most people’s lives, no matter what you do or where you live. It’s become the norm to feel overwhelmed by anxiety, stress, and fear. What you may not realize is the impact this kind of stress can have on your eyes. The benefits of managing stress are therefore far-reaching, helping to preserve not only your body health – but eye health, too. Read some helpful tips from our eye doctor near you on how to prevent vision complications as a result of pandemic stress.

    Fight or Flight

    You’ve probably experienced the “fight or flight” response at some point. It’s when you hear bad news or confront a powerful negative, and your body goes into protection mode. Adrenaline courses through your veins. In response, your heart may pump faster, your breathing becomes more shallow, and the pupils of your eyes dilate to improve your ability to see danger.

    These automatic responses are your body’s way of preparing for a physical threat, even if the stress is coming from a nonphysical source, such as a challenging project at work or a fight with your spouse. These effects can stress the eyes either mildly or seriously, depending on your individual health condition.

    Impact of Stress on Eye Health

    When your eyes suffer undue stress, a range of symptoms can occur – some of which will resolve on their own, and others of which require eye care near you. Common symptoms include:

      • Light sensitivity it can feel like you need to shut your eyes when exposed to light.
      • Tunnel vision your peripheral vision becomes blurred, leaving only your central vision clear.
      • Dry eyes your eyes will feel dry and irritated
      • Eye twitching random spasms occur in one or two eyelids.
      • Eye strain visual fatigue can be experienced (this may also be the result of too much screen time, an unfortunate outcome of the pandemic too).
      • Blurred vision generally, only a mild symptom when caused by stress.
      • Loss of vision cortisol, the “stress hormone,” can damage the eyes and the brain. Extreme stress is also linked with diseases such as glaucoma, which can lead to vision loss.

    Most people only experience mild effects of stress on their eyes, but if any of these symptoms persist or detract from your quality of life, contact our eye doctor near you for treatment.

    Tips to Help Relax Your Eyes

        • Don’t overdo screen time, give your eye muscles a break by following the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look into the distance 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
        • Exercise regularly
        • Practice meditation
        • Take outdoor walks
        • Eat healthy foods
        • Get enough sleep

    The benefits of daily stress management will help keep your body and eyes in top shape, functioning at their best!

    Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Birmingham eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

    Book an eye exam at Dry Eye Center of Alabama eye clinic near you in Birmingham, Alabama to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 205 498 4244

    Dry Eye Center of Alabama, your Birmingham eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

    Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

    FOLLOW US

        • How do I tell that I am developing glaucoma?

          The real tragedy behind vision-stealing glaucoma is that most people afflicted with this eye disease do not even realize they have it. As a result, the condition goes undiagnosed and untreated, which too often leads to unnecessary blindness. Of the 2.7 million people in the United States with glaucoma, half are undiagnosed. Most are lulled into a false sense of confidence because glaucoma often displays no symptoms in its early stages. By the time it begins to affect vision, any lost sight is impossible to regain. The risk of developing glaucoma begins to increase dramatically at midlife, which is why everyone should have a baseline exam by age 40. The most important concern is protecting your sight. Doctors look at many factors before making decisions about your treatment. If your condition is particularly difficult to diagnose or treat, you may be referred to a glaucoma specialist. While glaucoma is most common in middle-aged individuals, the disease can strike at any age, with those having a family history of the disease being especially vulnerable.

        • What exactly is pink eye?

          Pink eye is really anything that makes the eye pink. The official term is conjunctivitis, meaning an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the mostly transparent, skinnish like covering over the white of the eye. When the eye is irritated, the conjunctiva swells and blood vessels in it dilate, giving the eye a pink or reddish appearance. Many different agents can lead to this, including bacteria, viruses, allergens, and toxic or mechanical irritants. Treatment and contagion protection depend on the specific cause. Often the cause can be determined based on history, eye appearance with specialized instruments, and symptoms. Viral pinkeye, for example, is typically associated with increased light sensitivity, whereas itching is a key sign in allergic pink eye. There is a good deal of overlap with all kinds, however. Bacterial and viral pinkeye are both contagious, and fairly common. With any pink eye, particularly if it is getting worse, or not getting any better within a day, it’s best to be seen by an eye care practitioner. She or he will have the experience, knowledge and instrumentation to provide the most efficient treatment and recommendations.

        • Are some people more prone to having Dry Eyes than others?

          Yes. Generally those that suffer with allergies, or have systemic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and sjogrens’, or those who use the computer or digital devices often and even contact lens wearers tend to be more susceptible to dry eye symptoms.

        • Are electronic devices really unhealthy for my eyes or is it all hype?

          Our heavy use of electronic devices is causing Digital Eye Strain for people of all ages. Hoya research shows that 61% of adults experience eye strain due to prolonged use of electronic devices. Nearly 25% of children are on digital devices 3 or more hours per day and 40% of Millennials spend 9 or more hours per day on digital devices. The benefits of technology have a downside, especially fatigue brought on by stress to the accommodative (focusing) system. This stress can lead to headaches, dry eyes, blurred vision and difficulty when focusing from distance to near.

    9 Eye-Healthy Habits for Computer Users

    As Covid-19 kept all of us homebound for long periods, the gaming industry grew by leaps and bounds. Then, even when countries began to reopen and jumpstart their economy, nobody abandoned their video games. In fact, sales of video games experienced a 35% jump.

    Impact of Gaming on Eye Health

    What are some of the effects of this rising role of gaming in our lifestyle? It translates directly into increased screen time, which our optometrist near you points out is linked to a variety of negative effects on eye health. For some of us, the digital era has turned our days into an endless view of screens. As a result, many people suffer the symptoms of computer vision syndrome, such as:

    • Less blinking, leading to dry eyes
    • Blurry vision
    • Eye irritation, burning
    • Eye fatigue and strain
    • Headaches

    While it’s unlikely that excessive screen time can cause irreversible damage to your eyes, dry eye syndrome and eye strain can worsen gradually – leading to painful vision and a decreased quality of life.

    How to Preserve Healthy Vision with Computer Use

    To help keep your vision healthy, despite all the long periods spent at a computer, the eye doctor near you recommends the following habits:

    1. The 20-20-20 Rule Instead of staring for hours on end at a computer screen, take regular breaks to rest your eyes. Follow this rule – every 20 minutes, move your eyes to look at an object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
    2. Set Up Good Lighting Glare and other visual disturbances can make it harder to read text, which can lead to eye strain. By angling your monitor away from light sources and windows, you can eliminate glare from the screen.
    3. Adjust Screen Brightness When adjusting the lighting in your office or home is too tricky, change the monitor’s brightness instead. Rule of thumb – make it as bright as the room you are in.
    4. Take Eye Health Vitamins Supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids are a great addition to your eye care routine, helping to fortify your eyes against problems.
    5. Block Blue Light You can wear specialized blue light glasses to shield your eyes from harmful blue light emitted by digital devices, or install a blue light filter on your digital screen. Not only will these protective devices help promote quality eye health, but they can also help you sleep better at night.
    6. Eat Nutritiously A healthy, balanced diet will keep your body at its peak and improve vision to boot. Some good food choices include cold-water fish, like salmon, tuna and sardines, nuts, eggs, legumes, whole grains, berries, leafy greens, and citrus fruits.
    7. Increase Font Size A small font size can cause you to squint and hunch over to see the screen clearly. By enlarging the font, you can avoid the discomfort caused by this position.
    8. Sleep Enough Not getting enough sleep can lead to eye fatigue, which interferes with your everyday life and productivity.
    9. Visit Our Eye Clinic Near You for Regular Eye Exams Getting your eyes checked is essential for proper eye health. It’s the only reliable way to detect or rule out an eye disease or condition that requires early treatment.

    Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Birmingham eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

    Book an eye exam at Dry Eye Center of Alabama eye clinic near you in Birmingham, Alabama to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 205 498 4244

    Dry Eye Center of Alabama, your Birmingham eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

    Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

    FOLLOW US

    • Why do I need to have my eyes examined by an Optometrist if the nurse at my last physical exam says I can see 20/20?

      The nurse performed a “sight test”, when you come to see your Optometrist we perform an “Eye Exam”. A “sight test” only measures if you can see 20/20. An “Eye Exam” measures all aspects of visual function: sight (or visual acuity), binocular vision function (the ability of the eyes to work together), visual pathway integrity, and the overall health of your eyes. Seeing 20/20 is an important part of the overall function of your eyes; however, just because you can see 20/20 does not necessarily mean your eyes are 100% healthy. There are many conditions that exist in which someone can still see 20/20. To name just a few examples: Diabetic Retinopathy, Glaucoma, and even Retinal tears or detachments (if the macula is unaffected). I recommend having a full eye exam every 1-2 years, even if you are in good health and feel like you don’t need glasses.

    • Does reading my smartphone or tablet in the dark damage my eyes?

      Reading from a tablet or smartphone in the dark is okay for your eyes, as long as this is not for a long period of time. There is good lighting from these devices, with good contrast. There is, however, the blue light emitted from these devices. Blue light is a short wavelength light, with high energy that may cause damage to the structures of the eye if exposed for a long period of time. As well, studies have shown this blue light can disrupt melatonin production which is required for a healthy sleep cycle. Doctors of Optometry recommend limiting screen use during the last hour before bedtime.

    • What is blue light and why is it dangerous?

      Blue light is part of visible light and close to UV on the light spectrum. It is naturally produced by the sun, used in fluorescent light bulbs and emitted by LED screens on computer monitors, tablets, and smartphones. The eyes’ natural filters do not block blue light and chronic exposure can cause age-related macular degeneration. Evidence also shows that blue light exposure can lead to sleep problems.’

    • My eyes are always burning and tired, what is causing this and what can I do about it?

      These are often signs of dry eye syndrome, a very common condition that affects many people over time. Women are generally more prone to developing these symptoms and aging is often a cause as well. Dryness of our eyes is often due to a decrease in the oil production in our eyelid glands which causes the surface of the eye to become irritated. Certain medications and health issues can also contribute to dryness. There is no true cure for dryness but many treatments are available such as the use of artificial tears, nutritional supplements incorporating Omega 3, prescription medications such as Restasis, and eyelid hygiene. No single treatment works for every individual so we customize treatments for each person and their specific condition.

    What’s The Link Between Obesity And Eye Disease?

    People who are obese are at higher risk of developing some sight-threatening eye conditions and diseases. Read on to discover why, and how we can help.

    It is well documented that obesity impacts health in numerous ways, from a higher incidence of diabetes to cardiovascular disease. What many people don’t know is obesity’s negative effect on vision and eye health. Speak with our Eye care professionals at Dry Eye Center of Alabama about any concerns you may have about your eye health or vision.

    There is increasing evidence that obese individuals have a greater risk of developing serious, sight-threatening eye diseases.

    Researchers at the Goldschleger Eye Institute at the Sheba Medical Center found a consistent link between obesity and the development of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

    The researchers noted that the public is largely unaware of this link, despite the evidence. If more people knew about the risk, they said, it might motivate them to try to shed some extra weight.

    How Does Obesity Impact The Eyes?

    A body mass index (BMI) of 25-30 is considered overweight and any BMI over 30 is considered obese. Recent studies indicate that a handful of ocular diseases can now be added to the list of medical conditions associated with an elevated BMI.

    Diabetic retinopathy, floppy eyelid syndrome, retinal vein occlusions, stroke-related vision loss, and age-related macular degeneration are all risk factors of obesity.

    While the cause is not yet certain, researchers believe this may be due to the peripheral artery disease prevalent among people who are obese. When the tiny blood vessels around the eyes are compromised, they may have trouble delivering oxygen and other nutrients to the eye area.

    Obesity is also a risk factor for developing cataracts (the clouding of the eye’s natural lens). Poor nutrition or high blood sugar levels, which are commonly found in people with obesity, may contribute to the cloudiness.

    Although obesity may contribute to cataract formation, losing weight may not significantly reduce the risk of developing them, partly because cataracts are also a common consequence of aging, whatever one’s weight.

    Additionally, morbid obesity is associated with higher inner eye pressure, which may increase one’s risk of glaucoma and glaucomatous optic neuropathy — leading causes of vision loss and blindness. Morbid obesity is defined as having a BMI of 40 or above, or 35 and above with health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.

    Stay Active, Healthy, and Have Regular Eye Exams

    An active lifestyle and a nutritious diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve overall physical and eye health. Try to include several key nutrients into your diets, such as vitamins C and E, zeaxanthin, omega-3, zinc, and lutein, as they may help delay or prevent certain eye diseases.

    While a balanced diet and regular exercise significantly increase your chance of living a healthy life, it’s also crucial to have regular eye exams. A comprehensive eye exam with Dr. C. Derrick Franklin can help detect the onset of ocular disease and ensure the earliest and most effective treatment to preserve your gift of sight.

    Don’t hesitate to call Dry Eye Center of Alabama in Birmingham with any questions or concerns regarding your vision or eye health — we’re here for you.

    Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Birmingham eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

    Book an eye exam at Dry Eye Center of Alabama eye clinic near you in Birmingham, Alabama to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 205 498 4244

    Dry Eye Center of Alabama, your Birmingham eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

    Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

    FOLLOW US

    • Is it possible to prevent Macular Degeneration?

      Doctors aren’t sure how to prevent macular degeneration. Research suggests that ultraviolet light (and possibly blue light) factors into the problem, so sunglasses could be very beneficial.

    • My doctor says I have a cataract, but he wants to wait a while before removing it. Why?

      A cataract usually starts very small and practically unnoticeable but grows gradually larger and cloudier. Your doctor is probably waiting until the cataract interferes significantly with your vision and your lifestyle. You need to continue to visit your eye doctor regularly so the cataract’s progress is monitored. Some cataracts never really reach the stage where they should be removed. If your cataract is interfering with your vision to the point where it is unsafe to drive, or doing everyday tasks is difficult, then it’s time to discuss surgery with your doctor.

    • What exactly is glaucoma?

      Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This means that your eye has too much aqueous humor in it, either because it produced too much, or because it’s not draining properly. Other symptoms are optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma is a silent disease that robs the patient of their peripheral vision. Early detection is very important.

    • What is diabetic retinopathy?

      Doctors aren’t sure how to prevent macular degeneration. Research suggests that ultraviolet light (and possibly blue light) factors into the problem, so sunglasses could be very beneficial.

    Computer learning and vision problems

    Unfortunately because of COVID-19, we’re seeing a lot of our kids spend an enormous amount of time in front of a computer.

    This has bad consequences not just for adults that have eye fatigue and strain, but especially in younger children who are still developing their vision. Our visual system needs to be actively involved in using all our space. Not just our close distances like reading and computers, but also moving outside in an infinite space setting like a playground.

    Our visual system uses being outdoors to kind of recalibrate, and have good functional focusing ability. Studies show that children who are indoors a lot like in China tend to have higher degrees of myopia or nearsightedness.

    The ability to be outside, to play, and have sports is very important for the visual system.

    Here are a couple of things we can recommend for your child or young adult that might be spending a lot of time in front of the screen.

    First of all, I would suggest the 20-20-20 rule.

    Every 20 minutes, look away from the screen, hopefully, 20 feet or more.

    Looking outside a window is ideal. Relax your eyes for about 20 seconds. This will be a visual break. If your teacher doesn’t like it, tell them your eye doctor is recommending this. You can still listen to what your teacher is saying, however, you should relax your focus periodically.

    Also, make sure that when you are reading or writing that you are no closer than the Harmon distance. The Harmon distance is between knuckle and elbow. If you see your child getting closer and closer to their work, check their Harmon distance and move them back. This is very effective when dealing with younger children. I did this with my daughter when she was 4, and she would check her Harmon distance by putting her elbow on the desk and backing her head up to her knuckles. If you see the children are still doing this a lot, have them checked by a developmental optometrist because, very often, a low plus lens can help the child relax their focus.

    You can also make sure that if your child is experiencing eye pain, strain, discomfort, double vision or blur, that you get them in to see their developmental optometrist. We can prescribe glasses for their best comfort at near. We want to preserve our vision & our children’s vision & keep our nation strong despite this pandemic.

    Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our Birmingham eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

    Book an eye exam at Dry Eye Center of Alabama eye clinic near you in Birmingham, Alabama to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 205 498 4244

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    • My child had a vision exam at my Paediatrician, why do I need to come to the eye doctor?

      Vision screening programs are intended to help identify children or adults who may have undetected vision problems and refer them for further evaluation. However, they can’t be relied on to provide the same results as a comprehensive eye and vision examination. Vision screening programs are intended to help identify children or adults who may have undetected vision problems and refer them for further evaluation. Screenings can take many forms. Often schools provide periodic vision screenings for their students. A pediatrician or other primary care physician may do a vision screening as part of a school physical. When applying for a driver’s license, chances are your vision will be screened. Many times vision screenings are part of local health fairs put on by hospitals, social service agencies or fraternal groups like the Lions and Elks Clubs. While vision screenings can uncover some individuals with vision problems, they can miss more than they find. This is a major concern about vision screening programs. Current vision screening methods cannot be relied upon to effectively identify individuals in need of vision care. In some cases, vision screening may actually serve as an unnecessary barrier to an early diagnosis of vision problems. They can create a false sense of security for those individuals who “pass” the screening, but who actually have a vision problem, thereby delaying further examination and treatment. Undetected and untreated vision problems can interfere with a child’s ability to learn in school and participation in sports or with an adult’s ability to do their job or to drive safely. The earlier a vision problem is diagnosed and treated, the less it will impact an individual’s quality of life.

    • I have heard about blue light being a concern as well. Can you talk a little bit about this and what it means for protecting your eyes?

      Recently, the optical community has found that blue light can also cause long-term damage to the eye. It has been found that overexposure to blue light over time can lead to macular degeneration. To help protect our eyes from these rays, a new coating has been found to block out this blue light. Anti-reflective or anti-glare coating could be a term that is familiar to you. Labs have found a way for these features to block the blue rays coming from our handheld devices, computers, and fluorescent bulbs. This coating has several benefits and protecting our eyes from these harmful rays is one of them.

    • What causes myopia?

      Myopia is caused by a combination of heredity and environmental factors. Studies show that if we can move the focal point in front of the mid-peripheral retina we can slow the progression of myopia. The increased use of cell phones and computers, as well as less time outdoors, is probably a contributing factor.

    • Do I need an optometrist or an ophthalmologist?

      Both are eye doctors that diagnose and treat many of the same eye conditions. The American Optometric Association defines Doctors of Optometry as: primary health care professionals who examine, diagnose, treat and manage diseases and disorders of the visual system, the eye and associated structures as well as diagnose related systemic conditions. They prescribe glasses, contact lenses, low vision rehabilitation, vision therapy and medications as well as perform certain surgical procedures. The main difference between the two, is that ophthalmologists perform surgery, where an optometrist would not, preferring to specialize in eye examinations, as well as eyeglass and contact lens-related services. Optometrists would be involved in all of the pre-and post-operative care of these surgical patients; collecting accurate data, educating the patient, and insuring proper healing after the procedure. An ophthalmologist is more of a medical-related specialist, who would need only to be involved if some kind of surgery were being considered. An optometrist can treat most any eye conditions, including the use of topical or oral medications if needed. This might include the treatment of glaucoma, eye infections, allergic eye conditions, dry eyes and others, to name just a few. A third “O” that often is overlooked is the optician. An optician is not a doctor, and they cannot examine your eye under their own license. However, a highly trained optician plays an indispensable role in the most successful eye doctor’s offices. An optician most often handles the optical, contact lens, and glasses side of things. Based on their vast knowledge of lenses, lens technology and frames, they manufacture eyeglasses, as well as assist in the selection of eyewear based on the requirements of each individual patient.’