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April 2013

May and June are quickly approaching, and you know what that means…finals, the close of the spring semester, and the anticipation of seeing your college student under your roof again!

Summer is the time to enjoy a brief visit before you once again send them off for another year of educational growth – but since they are only home for a short amount of time, it’s also important to think of what needs to be accomplished in order to avoid the hassle of traveling back and forth to school.

Ultimately the summer is not always downtime, but rather an opportunity to regroup, enjoy each other’s company, and gear up for the fall semester. From making sure computers will run faster and shopping for the newest trends in bedding and accessories for dorm rooms to painstakingly selecting fall wardrobe essentials and most importantly scheduling as many doctors appointments as possible, you will definitely have your hands full.

One thing you must fit in is your college-bound student’s annual eye exam. This will ensure he or she has an updated prescription so the primary focus is on studies and activities, not irritation from allergies or dry eye. Doctors Shah and Wiedeman will work with contact lens wearers to select the best lenses for their lifestyle and educate them on proper care and disinfection of lenses to avoid any complications while they are away. If it’s time for a new pair of glasses to match an updated wardrobe, we also have an optical shop with a wide selection of frames. And if the young adults in your life don’t require corrective lenses, it’s still important to check and make sure their eyes are healthy and ready for another semester of learning!

When an eye issue arises, it is usually seen as a minor disturbance in your daily routine – an annoyance that you choose deal with until it magically disappears. Work, home, and family responsibilities take precedence – or so you think. But changes in your vision that appear to be “no big deal” can actually be signs of a bigger problem that, if left untreated, can lead to severe consequences.

Read on to learn 5 instances when you should definitely call your eye doctor, even if you think you may not have the time…

  1. Floaters and Flashes

    Floaters and flashes are often the first signs of retinal detachment. While they do not necessarily mean that there is a problem, floaters and flashes should NOT be ignored. Seeing more floaters than usual, particularly if you notice the sudden appearance of many small dark dots, is a symptom of retinal detachment.

    The below symptoms constitute a MEDICAL EMERGENCY:

    • Brief flashes or sparks of light at the edge of your vision.
    • A shadow (sometimes described as a “curtain”) across a portion of your vision that doesn’t go away.
    • Any new or sudden loss of a portion of your vision.

  2. Sudden Loss of Vision or Loss of Peripheral Vision (also known as Tunnel Vision)– This type of visual loss could be a sign or symptom of Glaucoma, Retinal Detachment, Retinal Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, or serious conditions that affect the brain such as a tumor or stroke.
  3. Pain – Surface and interior eye pain can both signal a number of conditions. It can point to Bacterial Keratitis, Conjunctivitis, Corneal Abrasion, Corneal Laceration, Corneal Ulcer, Fungal Keratitis, and Uveitis as well as other conditions not listed. Seek out your eye doctor to alleviate discomfort and avoid possible complications.
  4. Double Vision– Double vision can be a sign of palsy, diabetic changes, brain tumor, brain aneurysm, or stroke.
  5. Extreme Sensitivity to Light– This condition may be associated with a Chalazion, Corneal Abrasion, Corneal Laceration, Corneal Ulcer, Eye Allergies, Uveitis, and Dry Eye among other conditions. There are a number of treatment options to provide relief.

Remember, a visit to the doctor as soon as symptoms present themselves can prevent severe eye problems in the future!

Spring is finally here! Yes, the buds on the trees are bursting with beauty and fragrance, the bright daffodils are opening up, and patches of color are evident as you drive around town. Like most, the mild weather moves you to open up your windows to let the fresh air in, and maybe even attempt spring cleaning or that landscaping project you had been putting off. But with the renewal of life brought by spring comes another inevitable side effect of the season: allergies.

Airborne allergens such as house dust, animal dander, and mold can cause ocular allergies at any time of the year- but when spring rolls around plant pollen seems to be everywhere, constantly bombarding the eyes and causing everyone to experience allergic reactions.

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, or hay fever, is the most common allergic eye problem.

Take preventative measures: make every effort to avoid allergens. An allergist can help determine what you are allergic to so you can stay away. Completely avoiding outdoor pollen may be impossible, but remaining indoors in the morning when the pollen levels are highest may help control symptoms. If you are allergic to house dust, open windows and keep household filters clean.

What You Can Do To Alleviate Your Discomfort:

  • Cool compresses decrease swelling and itching.
  • Artificial tears dilute the allergens and form a protective barrier over the surface of the eye.
  • Various antihistamine and decongestant drops and sprays can soothe irritated eyes and nose.
  • Rubbing the eyes makes symptoms worse and should be avoided.

If seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is a problem, make an appointment with one of our doctors – we will ensure symptoms are not being caused by a more serious problem before prescribing one of the many new, safe, and effective anti-allergy drops.

The majority of the workforce today spends an enormous time staring at a computer screen. At work it is a requirement and at home it doesn’t stop – we always seem to be connected via computer monitor, smartphone, or tablet. As the hours of eye strain stack up, it’s no surprise that our eyes are not very happy at the end of the work day. Symptoms of eye strain are eye irritation (red, watery, or dry eyes), eye fatigue (tired, aching heaviness of the eyelids, or forehead), difficulty in focusing, and headaches. Luckily eye strain does not result in permanent eye damage, but you should still take steps to avoid the discomfort.

Eye strain, backache, and muscle spasms can also improve with proper arrangement of the computer screen and seating area – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides helpful suggestions on how you can arrange your workspace to minimize pain.

How does your personal workstation stack up to the recommended setup? Do you sit with proper posture and remember to change positions, stretch, and take breaks?

In addition to maximizing the ergonomics of your physical work space, you should lubricate your eyes by blinking frequently or using artificial tears (lubricating eye drops) and keep your work area clean to minimize eye irritation from dust. Standard office lighting may be too bright for comfortable computer use, so minimize glare on screens by adjusting office lights or using hoods or filters on monitors. Above all, you should be wearing the appropriate prescription for computer work. Make an appointment today to have your prescription adjusted to minimize discomfort.