Vision Changes During Pregnancy

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

Expectant Mother

Did you know pregnancy can affect your vision?

A woman’s body goes through extraordinary changes during pregnancy. Some of them, like changes in hormones, metabolism, fluid retention and blood circulation, can have an effect on your eyes! Below are some of the most common vision-related changes women see during pregnancy.

Pregnant Women Can Experience Blurry Vision

Due to fluid retention (a common side effect of pregnancy) the thickness and shape of the cornea can change slightly, causing blurred or distorted vision. Usually the change is minor but if your vision is significantly altered, talk to your doctor.

If you have glasses or contacts and the change in your vision is severe, your prescription may need to be changed. This is usually unnecessary, however, as your cornea will return to its normal shape after you’ve had your baby.

Expect Dry Eyes During Pregnancy

It’s normal for your eyes to feel a bit more dry, tired or irritated during pregnancy. Wearing contact lenses, especially for longer periods of time, can be a bit more uncomfortable for expectant mothers. If you are experiencing dry eyes, consult with your eye care provider about artificial tears that are safe to use during pregnancy.

Vision Disturbances May Be A Sign Of Preeclampsia

Issues with your vision during pregnancy may be a sign of a more serious condition called preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure and usually occurs after the 20 week mark. Signs of preeclampsia can show up in your eyes, such as:

  • Temporary loss of vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Seeing spots or flashing lights

If you experience any of these more severe vision disturbances, contact your doctor immediately.

Diabetes Can Affect Vision, Especially During Pregnancy

Women with diabetes who become pregnant should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam as soon as possible and throughout their pregnancy as recommended. This is because women who have diabetes during pregnancy may have a rapid onset or worsening of diabetic retinopathy, a disease that causes damage to the small blood vessels that supply the retina of the eye.

If you have diabetes and are planning to conceive, talk to your doctor and eye care provider. We will monitor your condition throughout your pregnancy so that you and your baby can be as healthy and safe as possible.

Expectant Mothers Can Trust Our Practice

Just because you are expecting a baby doesn’t mean you have to put off your regular eye exam. We care about the vision and overall health of you and your child. So, in between trips to the doctor and Babies-R-Us, don’t let visiting your optometrist fall off of your pregnancy to-do list!

We love our patients and thank you for reading!

The Importance of Back To School Eye Exams

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

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An eye exam may be the last thing on your mind in the rush to get your children ready to go back to school.

But in reality, no amount of new clothes, binders, backpacks or pencils will help your child succeed in school if they have an undetected problem with their vision.

Why Back-To-School Eye Exams Matter

Did you know that one out of four children has vision problems? And yet only 50 percent of parents with children under the age of 12 have taken their children to an eye care professional. 

If you child has any of the symptoms below, it is a sign that your child may have an undiagnosed vision problem :

  • Turns or tilts head to use one eye only
  • Loses their place while reading
  • Works Slowly
  • Holds reading material closer than normal
  • Rubs his or her eyes
  • Has headaches
  • Makes frequent reversals when reading or writing
  • Confuses Left and Right 
  • Consistently performs below potential

Many children struggle needlessly with vision problems simply because they don’t know they have one. For a child in school, vision correction can make all the difference in their academic performance as well as their ability to play sports and interact with others. Eye exams ensure that children are seeing and feeling their best.

The Difference Between Eye Exams And Vision Screenings

You may be wondering why eye care professionals recommend a back-to-school eye exam when many children receive a vision screening at school. There are important differences between a screening and a comprehensive eye exam. Where a screening tests only for visual acuity, comprehensive exams will test for visual acuity, chronic diseases, color vision and make sure the eyes are working together properly.

A standard school vision screening mostly checks distance vision but does not check for near vision issues, meaning farsightedness is often missed. Amblyopia, or lazy eye, and eye coordination issues are also frequently missed during screenings. That means that a child may pass a vision screening because they are able to see the board, but they may not even be able to see the textbook in front of them!

Children’s bodies are rapidly growing and changing. Their eyes are as well. Regular eye exams will ensure early detection and treatment of any problems!

Set Your Child Up For Success

80 percent of learning at school is visual. Make your child’s eyesight a priority this school year and come in to see us. We want what’s best for you and your family, and that means ensuring lifelong vision health!

We’re committed to you–our amazing patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Must Read 4th of July Fireworks Eye Safety Tips!

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

fireworks

The Fourth of July is coming up and most of us are looking forward to the Independence Day parades, family celebrations, backyard barbecues, and of course, fireworks.

As fun and beautiful as fireworks are, they can also be extremely dangerous. In fact, over 10,000 fireworks-related injuries were reported in 2014, 1,300 of those being eye injuries. So, whether you’re watching or using fireworks to celebrate Independence Day or simply for your own entertainment, there are precautions you should take to ensure your safety and the safety of those around you.

Tips On Firework Safety

It is important to note that the best way to avoid firework injuries is by leaving firework shows to trained pyrotechnicians. Attending professional public fireworks is much safer than purchasing consumer fireworks.

That being said, if you do choose to light your own fireworks, make sure you follow all local and state laws as well as firework instructions and warning labels. Protective eyewear should always be worn when handling fireworks. Onlookers should also wear eye protection as nearly half of people injured by fireworks are bystanders.

Children should never be allowed to light or play with fireworks of any type–even sparklers. Believe it or not, sparklers can reach temperatures upwards of 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. They can easily ignite clothing or cause severe burns, so they’re definitely not a toy for young children!

If an eye injury does occur, seek medical attention immediately. Do not rub, rinse or apply pressure to the injured eye, or remove any objects stuck in the eye.

Know The Facts

Understanding the prevalence of fireworks-related injuries, especially eye injuries, is the first step to preventing accidents. Keep these facts in mind when using fireworks:

  • One in six fireworks-related injuries results in permanent vision loss
  • On average, 400 Americans lose sight in one or both eyes due to fireworks every year
  • 45 percent of fireworks-related injuries occur in children under the age of 14

Keep Fireworks Fun

Unexpected injuries not only ruin celebrations, but they can also dramatically change lives. Keep fireworks fun by remembering these tips and being smart about how you use fireworks. Stay safe out there!

Happy Fourth of July from our Vision Source family to yours!

Get the Facts on Cataracts and Vision Health

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

Cataracts

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness among older adults in the United States. In fact, more than half of all Americans have cataracts by the time they are 80 years old.

We understand you may have questions about cataracts, so we’d like to take this opportunity to help you understand how they affect your vision, what steps you can take to prevent them, and what treatment is available.

What Is a Cataract?

Put simply, a cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens. This clouding changes or obstructs the passage of light into the eye and through to the retina, making vision blurry or dim.

Our eye’s lens behaves much like the lens in a camera. When a camera’s lens is dirty from obstructions like dust or oil from stray fingerprints, light can’t easily pass through the lens and images will appear dull and cloudy. Once a camera’s lens is cleaned, more light is able to pass through to the camera’s sensors, helping images become more bright, crisp, and vibrant—much like a cataract-free lens in our eye.

Cataracts Offer Many Signs and Symptoms

Cataracts often begin small and go largely unnoticed. Over time, they grow larger and your vision may become dull or blurry, much like images from the smudged camera lens we discussed earlier. Here are some common symptoms of cataracts:

  • Clouded, blurred or dim vision
  • Increasing difficulty with vision at night
  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Seeing “halos” around lights
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription
  • Fading or yellowing of colors
  • Double vision in a single eye

Cataracts Aren’t Just Caused by Advanced Age

There are several potential causes for cataracts, but most are due to age-related changes in the lens. That being said, some risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • UV radiation
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Family history
  • Significant alcohol consumption

Prevention and Treatment Can Lead to Clear Vision

Cataracts can’t always be prevented, but simple practices can be put in place to maintain and promote healthy vision. Always remember to eat a nutrient-rich diet filled with fruits and vegetables, and be sure to protect yourself from harmful UV rays by wearing sunglasses and hats during outdoor activity.

Fortunately, when cataracts cannot be prevented, they can be treated with full restoration of vision. Early symptoms may be improved with new eyeglasses, brighter lighting, or anti-glare sunglasses. If these measures do not help, surgery is the only effective treatment. Surgical cataract removal is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States. It is a simple and highly successful procedure that consists of removing the clouded lens from the eye and replacing it with a clear, artificial lens. While each person heals differently, many patients report clear vision within hours of the surgery.

We Care About Your Lifelong Health

As your lifelong care provider, we are committed to helping you through every stage of life. As you age, watch for changes in your vision, as well as for signs of cataracts. If you have any questions, feel free to let us know or make an appointment today. We want to make sure you get the most accurate information and excellent care for your individual needs!

Thank you for being a valued patient and friend!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Do You Know Rubbing Your Eyes Can Harm Your Vision?

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

Rubbing your eyes

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Do you ever find yourself rubbing your eyes as you wake up in the morning? How about after a long day working at your computer?

When our eyes are tired or irritated, our first instinct may be to rub them for relief. Even though it seems harmless, that small sense of alleviation may come at a serious cost to your vision. 

Why Do We Rub Our Eyes?

We often rub our eyes when they are irritated—either from dryness, fatigue, or from external irritants like dust or allergens. Tired and fatigued eyes often become dry as a result. Gently rubbing your eyes helps trigger the secretion of tears, helping lubricate eyes that are dry or itchy.

Rubbing your eyes doesn’t just help produce tears to provide relief. Surprisingly, it can help relieve stress too. Pressing down on the eyeball can stimulate the vagus nerve, which slows down your heart rate and relieves stress by triggering your oculocardiac reflex.

Despite the benefits associated with an occasional gentle ocular massage, rubbing your eyes can potentially do more harm than good.

Bacteria Transfers From Your Hands to Your Eyes

We use our hands for just about everything throughout the day. From working on your computer to cleaning up around the house, they are introduced to a host of bacteria. Anytime we touch our eyes without washing our hands, we risk transferring that bacteria and exposing our eyes to infection.

And if you’re rubbing your eyes for allergy relief, you could be making it worse!Allergens can become trapped in your eyelashes and when rubbed, can be transferred to the eye’s surface.

Rubbing Your Eyes Can Cause Dark Circles

As we get older, the skin around our eyes is one of the first areas to show signs of aging. Rubbing your eyes can cause tiny blood vessels beneath the skin’s surface to break, resulting in dark circles, puffiness, and can even contribute to premature crow’s feet and drooping eyelids.

Although eye rubbing can be a contributor, those dark circles—also known as periorbital circles—can also be caused by:

  • illness
  • allergies
  • prolonged tobacco use
  • alcohol consumption
  • excess salt intake.

Resisting the urge to rub your eyes and avoiding substances like tobacco and alcohol can keep the skin around your eyes looking fresh and vibrant.

Rubbing Your Eyes Can Cause Excess Pressure!

Even light rubbing can double the pressure in your eyes. Activities such as removing makeup or wiping away tears can add even more pressure. Aggressive eye rubbing can increase eye pressure by as much as 20 times. For most, the pressure will return to normal after they finish rubbing, but some with certain eye conditions risk seriously harming their vision.

Those with progressive myopia—a common type of short-sightedness—can find that excessive rubbing worsens their vision. In some cases, their retina may detach from the back of the eye due to the extreme pressure.

Rubbing can harm the front of the eye as well. The combination of the pressure exerted and the rubbing motion of the hand can potentially damage the cornea. This may either cause a tear, or weaken the cornea and cause it to be misshapen, resulting in a condition called keratoconus. Both causing significant loss of vision.

We Can Help You Achieve Clear, Healthy Vision

We understand how tempting it can be to rub your eyes when they’re a bit dry or tired. If your eye’s natural defenses aren’t quite enough, try using eye drops to relieve the discomfort. You’re health is important to us and we love helping our patients achieve clear, comfortable vision.

If you have any questions about how to calm your eye irritation, make an appointment or let us know in the comments below!

Thank you for continuing to place your trust in our practice!

These Super Smoothie and Salad Recipes will give your Eyes a Boost!

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

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Nothing makes us want a fresh spring salad more than chirping birds, blooming flowers, and a pleasant spring breeze. Not only can a good salad refresh your palette, it can benefit your vision as well!

We’re taking advantage of all of our favorite in-season fruits and vegetables this spring to provide you with super smoothie and salad recipes you’ll crave year-round!

A Fresh Salad Satisfies More Than Just Your Taste Buds

Many common salad ingredients provide nutrients that are essential to maintaining healthy eyes and vision. Walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds are excellent sources of vitamin E and zinc, which help keep your retina healthy. Grapeseed oil is also a good source of vitamin E.

Spinach contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Not only do these antioxidants protect against macular degeneration, they also absorb blue light, protecting your retina from any damage.

Strawberries, and berries in general for that matter, are a great source of vitamin C and help reduce the risk of eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.Blueberries are especially good for your health, reducing the risk of glaucoma, heart disease and cancer.

Try the recipe below and give your eyes a healthy boost!

Eye-Healthy Spinach And Fruit Salad

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 3 cups spinach
  • ½ cup blueberries and/or strawberries
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup walnut and/or almond pieces
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese
  • ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar, or to taste
  • ¼ cup maple syrup, or to taste
  • ¼ cup grapeseed oil, or to taste
  • Salt, to taste

Here’s how you make it: Toss spinach, berries, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, nuts, feta and goat cheese in a large bowl. Pour the vinegar, syrup and grapeseed oil over the salad one at a time. Toss until evenly coated. Season with salt to taste.

Here’s our inspiration for this eye-healthy salad!

If you want to go the extra mile, eat your salad with a salmon on the side! Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are great for boosting eye health and protecting against disease.

If you prefer your greens blended, here’s an idea for a delicious smoothie to boost vision health!

Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup packed chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 banana

Here’s how you make it: Puree ingredients in a blender until smooth.

A Healthy Diet Makes For Healthy Vision

These smoothie and salad recipes can help your vision and your overall health.  A healthy lifestyle, including a healthy diet, protects your eyes from damage and disease.

If you have any healthy recipes to share we’d love to see them in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

Our patients rock!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

These Simple Tricks Can Reduce Eye Strain

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

LIGHT… IT’S THE MOST ESSENTIAL element of vision. We are surrounded by it all day, whether it be natural or artificial. So it’s no surprise that we frequently get asked if certain types of light can negatively affect our eyes. Here we’ve compiled some tips so you can protect your eyes and prevent strain!

Adjust Your Workspace To Reduce Eye Strain

The American Optometric Association reports that over half of office workers who regularly use computers suffer from eye strain. You may not know it, but it’s not just caused by staring at your computer. The lighting surrounding your workspace could be making it worse. Here are some tips on how to reduce eye strain:

  • Reduce interior lighting: Most offices have harsh interior lighting that can contribute to eyestrain. If possible, use fewer light bulbs and fluorescent tubes.
  • Minimize glare: If there is a window directly in front or behind you, your eyes are working much harder than they need to be due to the glare and reflections on your computer screen. You can move or adjust your workstation, close the blinds, or get an anti-reflective coating on your glasses to reduce glare.
  • Adjust screen brightness: The blue light from the computer contributes to eye strain as well. Adjusting your brightness so it’s approximately the same as your surrounding workstation can help.

Improve The Lighting In Your Home

Remember when your parents used to tell you that reading in dim lighting will ruin your eyesight? While reading in the dark won’t do any lasting damage, it can give you a nasty headache. Doing any task that requires more intense focus in poor lighting can result in eye strain and all the uncomfortable symptoms that come with it.

Here’s a hint: take advantage of task lighting around your home. Desk lamps, reading lamps, under-cabinet lighting for kitchen work areas, among other types of task lighting, can help reduce your risk of eye strain when you’re doing near-work for longer amounts of time.

Good Lighting Is Even More Crucial For Those With Low Vision

In general, lighting needs to increase as you age. Research shows that a 60-year-old needs almost twice as much light to see as a 30-year-old!

Lighting is even more important for those with low vision. People with macular degeneration, glaucoma and other vision conditions should consult with their eye doctor about specific lighting improvements they can make in their homes to improve visibility.

See Things In A New Light

Believe it or not, small changes can make a big difference! The right kind of lighting can improve our reading ability, create a more noticeable difference in colors and prevent eye strain. Make some of these small changes and we promise, you’ll start seeing things in a whole new light!

We love our awesome patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How to Clean Your Glasses and Keep Them Looking New

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

You just bought a new pair of glasses. The last thing you want to see are dirty or scratched up lenses!

If you take good care of your glasses, they can last you several years. Here are 4 tips on How to Clean Your Glasses and keep your investment looking and feeling like new.

1. Don’t Wipe Your Lenses When They’re Dry

On the surface of the lenses there can be tiny dust particles or debris. If you try to wipe them without any moisture involved, the dust and debris can cause scratches. One of the most common mistakes people make is wiping their glasses with their shirt. Avoid this habit as your shirttail is likely filled with dust that can easily do damage to your lenses!

2. Use Spray with a Microfiber Cloth or Clean With Soap And Water

All of our frames come with a spray bottle and microfiber cleaning cloth to give your glasses the best possible wash when you are on the run. You may be surprised, but the AOA (American Optometric Association) simply recommends warm water and a little bit of kitchen soap to clean your glasses. Dry with a clean, soft cotton cloth. Doing this once a day will keep your glasses looking like new! 

3. Keep Your Glasses In Their Case

When you aren’t using your glasses, make sure to put them back in a properly sized hard-shell case. Don’t throw them in your purse, pocket or bag unprotected. Be careful about leaving them on the countertop or vanity as well. Hairspray, cosmetics, and perfume can damage any anti-reflective coating your lenses may have.

4. Handle Glasses With Care

A common problem we see is misaligned frames. This can often happen when glasses are put on and taken off roughly or with one hand. Remember to use two hands when handling your glasses to keep them straight and aligned as long as possible.

Little Changes Go A Long Way!

Try implementing these good habits and your glasses will last much longer! Remember, if you do need to replace your lenses or have your frames readjusted for a better fit, let us know. We are here to serve you!

Your business means everything to us!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Image by Flickr user Kate Brady used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Did you Ever Ask The Question… Why Does My Eye Twitch?

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

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You know it’s been a long day when your eye starts twitching. These annoying little tics are often signs from our body telling us to have healthier habits!

 Did you Ever Ask The Question…. Why Does My Eye Twitch? Eye twitching happens when the tiny muscles and nerves around the eye are stimulated. In most cases, minor twitching is painless and will go away on its own. But what causes these random muscle contractions and how can we control them?

Stress Can Induce Eye Twitching

Although everybody reacts differently to stress, a twitching eye is one telltale sign. When you’re in a stressful situation or trying to meet a deadline, try breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. This can help reduce your stress and hopefully reduce any eye twitches along with it!

Consume Caffeine And Alcohol In Moderation

Excessive consumption of caffeine and alcohol has been known to cause eye twitching. Try consuming coffee, energy drinks, soda, and alcohol in small amounts and spread throughout the day.

Get The Rest You Need

Fatigue is a common contributor to a twitching eyelid. Make sure you’re getting adequate rest to keep twitching at bay!

Dry Eyes Often Cause Twitching

Dry eyes often cause eye twitches and involuntary blinking. Dry eyes may result from medications, long hours on the computer or other digital devices, or wearing contact lenses. If your eyes are often dry, try using artificial tears to relieve immediate symptoms and come in and see us if irritation continues.

Try To Relieve Eye Strain

Eyes that work too hard and get tired more quickly than they should can trigger twitching. Eye strain often results from uncorrected vision problems or the need for a new prescription. Another reason for eye strain can be from the overuse of digital devices.

To reduce twitching and strain, consult with us about vision correction. If digital eye strain is an issue, take frequent breaks when working on the computer for long hours and consider talking to us about eyeglasses that minimize strain.

Whole-Body Health Is Important

If you are concerned about persistent eye twitching, come in and see us. We can help determine the cause and find a solution.

As a Vision Source practice, it’s not just your eyes that concern us. Getting enough rest, reducing stress and having healthy habits is good for your eyes and your life!

We are grateful for our patients!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How to Help Your Child Adjust To Glasses

Written by Levin Eye Care on . Posted in Eye Health

Getting glasses when you are young can be a difficult adjustment for any child. Helping children adjust properly and love their glasses may be difficult, but it can make all the difference!

We care about your child’s comfort and want them to become a proud wearer of spectacles! Here are some tips for parents to help make that happen.

Picking Out The Right Frames Is An Important Step

Allow your child to be a part of the selection process when choosing frames. If your child picks the frames themselves, they’ll probably be more eager to wear them. Let your child try on as many colors and styles as they want–we don’t mind fashion shows in our office! Choosing frames can and should be a fun experience.

Fit is just as important as style. Being comfortable in a new pair of frames can go a long way in helping a child grow to love their glasses. Our optical staff is trained to help ensure the perfect fit for your child.

Integrate Glasses Into Your Child’s Routine

One of the hardest parts of getting glasses is remembering to put them on! This is especially true for younger children. Help your child integrate glasses into their morning routine. Over time, remembering to put on their glasses will be second nature to them.

Make It A Positive Experience

It is important to make getting and wearing glasses a positive experience. Reward them for doing well at their appointment and picking out their frames with a treat, dinner or a movie. Help them celebrate the changes glasses will bring rather than dread them!

Help Them Discover How Cool Glasses Are!

Try to find pictures of their favorite celebrities with glasses and put a picture or two in their room. Sometimes even getting a cheap pair of glasses for yourself (if you do not already wear glasses) or your child’s friend can ease the transition! Knowing other people wear glasses helps them feel confident and that they are not alone.

We Partner With Parents To Help Kids Love Their Glasses

Vision correction for your child isn’t our only concern. We want kids to be excited about their new fashion statement and for their transition to be as easy as possible. If you have any questions about how to help your child adjust to glasses, call us or come in today!

Thank you for the trust you place in us!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.