Archives for Bi-Weekly Column Continued

EYE-OPENING FINDING

As nearsightedness becomes nearly epidemic among school-aged children, researchers are looking for possible causes and treatments. While this refractive error can be easily corrected with prescription eyeglasses/contact lenses, new research reveals that the eye drops used to dilate the pupils during an eye exam may also play a role in reducing nearsightedness. Atropine drops work by blocking the chemical acetylcholine, which relaxes the ciliary muscle of the eye and causes the pupil to dilate. Researchers also found during a 5-year trial involving 400 children that atropine eye drops in a low concentration (0.01) percent also slowed the development of myopia in 60 percent of children who received the drops. This promising finding may pave the way for new treatments. As a parent, you may wonder whether your preschooler has a vision problem or when a first eye exam should be scheduled. Early identification of a child's vision problem is crucial because if left untreated, some childhood vision problems can cause permanent vision loss. To learn more, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We’re invested in the technology to make exam findings easier and more accurate from toddlers to seniors. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. Recent research suggests that children who are encouraged to play outdoors in natural sunlight are less likely to develop myopia than children who stay indoors and concentrate on computer screens and hand-held devices.

HIGH-ALTITUDE VISUAL CHANGES

If your winter vacation plans include snow skiing, you may be interested to know that high altitudes may have an impact on your eyesight. The fact is that the decreased pressure of rarified mountain air affects the physiology and structure of the eye. This finding comes from researchers who accompanied mountain climbers to heights around 20,000 feet above sea level (and higher). They found that some climbers experienced increased intraocular pressure, which was deemed to be temporary. After returning to base camp, intraocular pressures returned to normal. Researchers additionally found that, as oxygen levels decreased, central corneal thickness increased. As a result, some skiers and snowboarders may find that their visual acuity is temporarily affected. An eye exam can reveal a lot about your overall health and wellness. To schedule an eye exam, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We provide treatment for eye diseases and eye injuries as well offering custom contact lens fittings and a large selection of frames at competitive prices. Our practice is based on the philosophy of providing quality comprehensive vision care. To schedule an exam, please call us today. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. Altitude-induced changes in the eyes do not apply to airline passengers because jet cabins are pressurized.

LASTING IMPRESSIONS

If you want your eyeglasses to last, there are a number of things that you can do (or avoid) that will prevent them from becoming damaged. The first of these recommendations involves storing them in a protective case when they are not being worn. By throwing eyeglasses in a jacket pocket, you run the risk of having the lenses becoming scratched or the frames being bent. Nor is it a good idea to place eyeglasses on the dashboard of a car, where the hot sun can damage lens coatings and melt plastic frames. As for wearing your glasses on the top of your head, they may keep your hair in place, but the temples (arms) may bend in the process. Eyeglasses are more popular today than ever, despite the availability of contact lenses and vision correction surgery. Frame styles branded with high profile designer names are always in demand. An eyeglass frame materials have evolved with the advent of new plastics and various types of metals. For more information, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We’re invested in the technology to make exam findings easier and more accurate from toddlers to seniors. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. When removing or putting eyeglasses in place, always use two hands placed on each temple (arm). By using only one hand, you risk stretching the temples and damaging the hinges.

THE MYOPIA EPIDEMIC

With rates of “myopia” (near-sightedness) increasing worldwide, many are labeling it a “myopia epidemic.” When trying to attach a specific cause to this pervasive problem, cell-phone use comes to mind. It may seem to make sense that spending more time squinting into the screen of a handheld digital device may make users more prone to nearsightedness, but there is another, more likely cause. Research indicates that, as children spend less time outdoors than peering into computer screens, they are depriving themselves of the sunlight needed to preserve good eyesight. Scientists speculate that natural light stimulates the normal release of dopamine (a major neurotransmitter in the retina) that guards against nearsightedness. If so, more time spent outdoors may help avert myopia. Given the research, it's a good idea to encourage your children to spend more time outdoors and leave the electronic devices at home. Doing so may decrease their risk of becoming nearsighted — or slow the progression of their current level of myopia. To schedule an eye exam, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We provide treatment for eye diseases and eye injuries, as well offer custom contact lens fittings and a large selection of frames at competitive prices. To schedule an exam, please call us today. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. In the United States and Europe, about one-half of children and young adults are thought to be nearsighted, which is double the prevalence of myopia a half-century ago.

TAKING THE FIELD SAFELY

More than 64,000 girls participate in high school sanctioned field hockey each year. Because their chosen sport renders these young female athletes more susceptible to a potentially disastrous head, facial, and eye injuries, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) issued a protective eyewear mandate requiring all high school field hockey players to wear protective eyewear in NFHS-sanctioned competitions. Since then, a study conducted to gauge the mandate’s effects has found that wearing protective eyewear resulted in a threefold reduced risk of orbital and eye injuries in high school field hockey players. While protective eyewear remains voluntary in non-NFHS sanctioned competitions and other fields hockey-related play, it is hoped that players and parents will take note of protective eyewear’s benefit. Many coaches, parents, and players now realize that wearing protective eyewear for sports pays off. The risk of eye damage is reduced, and the player's performance may be enhanced by the ability to see better. For more information, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We’re invested in the technology to make exam findings easier and more accurate from toddlers to seniors. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. While youth sports such as baseball and softball are gradually adopting the use of protective facemasks for batters, pitchers, and infielders, amateur field hockey lags behind in eye protection in amateur elite field hockey.

CORNEAL RINGS

An older patient often develops a grayish ring or arc around the corneas of both eyes. “Arcus senilis,” as it is known, is composed of lipid/cholesterol deposits and typically does not cause vision problems and does not require treatment. Neither has it been found to be linked to cardiovascular disease. However, when “corneal arcus” develops in individuals under the age of 40 (“arcus juveniles”), it is recommended that patients get blood tests to determine their blood cholesterol levels. And because the average person with high cholesterol does not have an arc of any type, the absence of arcus senilis should not necessarily be taken as an indication that blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels are not high. Just as our physical strength can decrease with age, our eyes also exhibit an age-related decline in performance. Be sure to discuss any concerns you have about your eyes and vision with your eye doctor. To schedule an eye exam, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We provide treatment for eye diseases and eye injuries, as well offer custom contact lens fittings and a large selection of frames at competitive prices. To schedule an exam, please call us today. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. There are contact lenses available that darken the “limbal ring,” which is the dark outer border of the iris that becomes increasingly less distinct and more washed out as we age.

THE CLEAR CHOICE

While transparent eyeglass frames have been around for some time, they are gaining popularity among women who want a very stylish, yet understated look. Not only do transparent frames go well with any skin shade, they can be outfitted with subtly tinted lenses that are the very definition of “cool.” Transparent frames are especially suitable for women who feel they cannot pull off the oversized frame look. Unlike large eyeglasses with dark frames, oversized transparent frames do not call as much attention to their outsized dimensions. Furthermore, women should take care to wear clothing with lighter shades and lighter make-up since darker colors and heavier eyeshadow and mascara tend to detract attention from the more subtle transparent frames. Choosing the correct frame shape remains important. The ideal frame shape is the opposite of the shape of your face. For example, a square, rectangular or angular frame goes well with a round face, and a circular or oval frame looks good on a square face. For more information, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We’re invested in the technology to make exam findings easier and more accurate from toddlers to seniors. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

DRYING EFFECTS

Tears not only lubricate the eyes and keep them comfortable, but they also deliver oxygen to the cornea, contain anti-bacterial agents, maintain visual clarity, and promote healing. For all these reasons, the experience of chronic “dry eye” can be a potentially serious problem. While everyone experiences dry eyes occasionally, eyes that constantly burn, itch, sting, feel scratchy and gritty, and even hurt may be symptomatic of “dry eye syndrome.” Symptoms may also include blurry vision and increased sensitivity to light. Contrary to what many might think, dry eye syndrome can cause intermittent tearing and watering of the eyes due to microscopic corneal scratches produced by dryness. Without treatment, corneal scarring and possibly permanent vision problems may result. Treatments for dry eyes syndrome aim to restore or maintain the normal amount of tears in the eye to minimize dryness and related discomfort and to maintain eye health. To schedule an eye exam, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We provide treatment for eye diseases and eye injuries, as well offer custom contact lens fittings and a large selection of frames at competitive prices. To schedule an exam, please call us today. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

WORK LENSES

“Occupational lenses” are designed to meet the needs of employees in their work environment. Perhaps the most common example of these specialty eyeglasses are those outfitted with multifocal lenses that enable individuals working at computer stations to operate more comfortably and effectively. Lenses of this type will have an intermediate prescription at the top of the lens through which the worker can see the computer screen. At the bottom of the lens, there will be a near-vision prescription that allows the worker to focus properly on the keyboard. This computer bifocal is a vast improvement over traditional reading glasses because it provides clear vision for near distances, at which computer work is actually performed. Vision problems need not mean a lifetime of squinting. Today you can choose from a wide range of glasses and contacts for better vision without sacrificing freedom or fashion. That goes for your multiple vision problems as well as for protecting your eyes outdoors, on the job, and at home. To schedule an appointment, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We’re invested in the technology to make exam findings easier and more accurate from toddlers to seniors. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. Lens prescriptions can and should be incorporated into safety glasses for workers who operate in potentially hazardous environments.

SIDE ISSUES

It is important to check “peripheral” (side) vision during an eye exam because blind spots (“scotomas”) could be indications of eye diseases or conditions that require treatment. A “visual field test” determines the full horizontal and vertical range of what a person can see when his or her eyes are trained on a target object straight ahead. A peripheral vision problem may be detected even though central vision may be fine. In moderate and severe cases of peripheral vision loss, vision may be limited to the extent of producing the sensation of looking through a narrow tube (“tunnel vision”). Otherwise, the size and position of less vision-limiting blind spots may help to identify glaucoma, optic nerve damage, and other problems. From birth on, the eye exam is the best and only accurate means of detecting disorders so that proper treatment can be given. Regular screening for problems that might require urgent attention has been statistically proven to reduce the incidence of vision loss. To schedule an eye exam, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We provide treatment for eye diseases and eye injuries, as well offer custom contact lens fittings and a large selection of frames at competitive prices. To schedule an exam, please call us today. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. A visual field test may prove helpful to athletes and outdoor enthusiasts who want to be aware of any limitations in their field of vision that may be hampering their performance.

SUBSTANCE AND STYLE

Sunglasses may be primarily regarded as summer and vacation accessories, but the fact is that they should be worn to provide year-round protection. It is of vital importance that sunglass lenses protect the eyes and skin surrounding the eye from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays. It does not matter whether or not the sunglasses are expensive; if the lenses are dark or light; or whether they are tinted a certain color (amber, green, or gray lenses may only help increase contrast in certain conditions). Lenses without adequate 100 percent protection against UV rays leave the eyes vulnerable to cataracts, eye and eyelid cancer, retinal damage, and “photokeratitis” (sunburn of the cornea). There is more to sunglasses than style. If you spend a lot of time outdoors or driving, prescription sunglasses are perfect for soothing the eyes. Since most prescription sunglasses manufacturers block 100% UV, prescription sunglasses are a healthy way to enjoy the outdoors and driving using the darkest lenses available to protect against the sun’s brightness. To schedule an appointment, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We’re invested in the technology to make exam findings easier and more accurate from toddlers to seniors. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

WATCH OUT FOR FALLS

Fall-related deaths have risen sharply among those in the 65+ age group over the past decade. Aside from muscular and nerve disorders that adversely affect balance and increase the risk of falls, impaired vision can also throw off a person’s balance. Eye disorders can blur or distort sight or even create gaps in a person’s field of vision. Glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy are two especially common culprits behind balance-related falls and injuries. In its early stages, glaucoma reduces side (peripheral) vision and, if left untreated, can lead to increasing blindness. Diabetic retinopathy causes blurred central vision and “floaters” that leave holes in the field of vision. Annual eye exams can help preserve both vision and better balance.

LESS THAN ACCOMMODATING

The inability to focus sharply on objects positioned close to the eyes, known as “presbyopia,” is caused by age-related changes that compromise the ability of the eye lens to flex and change shape (called “accommodation”). Impaired accommodation causes close objects to blur. The condition usually becomes noticeable around age 45, gradually progresses for about a decade, and then stabilizes. Fortunately, presbyopia can always be corrected with prescription lenses, usually progressive lenses (glasses that provide clear vision for a range of distances), bifocals (glasses with lenses that correct near or distance vision), or single-vision lenses (glasses with lenses calibrated to correct near vision only). The type chosen depends on whether any other eye problems are present. With the onset of presbyopia, you'll find you need to hold books, newspapers, menus and other reading materials farther away in order to see the print clearly. Headaches and eyestrain when reading or performing other near work after age 40 are other symptoms of presbyopia. To schedule an appointment, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We’re invested in the technology to make exam findings easier and more accurate from toddlers to seniors. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. Drugstore reading glasses do not always correct for presbyopia sufficiently, especially in cases where each eye has a different focusing error.

TESTING TWILIGHT VISION

Researchers have recently developed a standardized approach for testing “twilight vision” that will help identify people with reduced visual acuity in low light conditions. While the typical “E chart” test for visual acuity is performed at light levels that approximate daylight, twilight vision (or vision at dusk) can be noticeably worse, especially for young adults who have a slight shift toward myopia, older adults with a decreased clarity of their internal eye lens, and those with retinal eye diseases that cause decreased vision at lower light levels. The new test utilizes filters to test at a light level 100 times lower than for daylight visual acuity testing, thereby enabling vision care professionals to obtain “reliable and repeatable” measurements of twilight vision. Seeing clearly is just one part of your overall eye health. It’s important to have regular eye exams whether or not you wear glasses or contacts, and even if your vision is sharp. To schedule an eye exam, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We provide treatment for eye diseases and eye injuries as well offering custom contact lens fittings and a large selection of frames at competitive prices. To schedule an exam, please call us today. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. “Scotopic vision” is the eyes’ ability to adjust for vision in dim light and darkness.

EYE SAFETY AT WORK

Each day, approximately 2,000 U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. The majority of these injuries result from small particles or objects striking or abrading the eye. To guard against these preventable injuries, workers should wear safety eyewear whenever there is any chance that machines or operations present the hazard of chemicals, flying objects, or other potentially harmful situations. Industrial-thickness glass, plastic, and polycarbonate lenses meet or exceed the requirements of the eye protection standard. While glass lenses provide good scratch resistance and can accommodate a broad range of prescriptions, polycarbonate lenses are lighter in weight and are superior to glass and many other plastics in terms of strength and impact resistance. Safety glasses may have prescription lenses or non-prescription lenses. The optical boutique at SKOWRON EYE CARE is available to accommodate all of your eyewear needs. We offer the latest in frame styles and lens technology at competitive prices and can provide the thinnest, lightest, most smudge and scratch resistant lenses to fit almost any style frame you desire. We’re invested in the technology to make exam findings easier and more accurate from toddlers to seniors. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. Protective eyewear should be selected for its appropriateness for a given task.

DRIVING CONSIDERATIONS

Waning driving skills place older drivers at risk for automobile crashes. One of the contributing factors to motor vehicle crashes (the leading cause of injury among adults aged 65-75) is declining eyesight. As we age, the pupils in our eyes shrink and do not dilate as much in the darkness. As a result, the amount of light entering the eye decreases. While this difference may not be entirely noticeable during the day, twilight or dim light can make it similar to wearing sunglasses. At the same time, seniors may find it more difficult to adjust back and forth between bright light and dim light. All of these factors make it more important for seniors to have their vision examined regularly. As we age, eye exams become even more important. Vision problems may develop with no physical symptoms until they’re quite advanced. By being well-informed, you can recognize signs of trouble – and possibly slow the progression of a sight-threatening disease. To schedule an eye exam, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We provide treatment for eye diseases and eye injuries as well offering custom contact lens fittings and a large selection of frames at competitive prices. To schedule an exam, please call us today. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. The early stages of certain eye diseases (cataract, glaucoma, and “dry” macular degeneration) can make it difficult for older drivers to see clearly at night.

CLEAN CONTACTS

It is important for contact lens wearers to bear in mind that they are wearing medical devices that must be scrupulously cleaned on a regular basis. Poor hygiene (including poor maintenance of contact lens cases or reusing or topping off contact lens solution) can result in a serious infection that can lead to scarring, impaired vision, and even the need for a corneal transplant. “Keratitis” is the most serious complication of contact lens wear and the most common infection related to contact lens use. This infection of the cornea, the transparent, round dome covering the eye’s iris and pupil, can be caused by bacteria, fungi, herpes, and microbes (such as “acanthamoeba,” which is very difficult to treat). Prevention is essential. For those who wear contact lenses, a fitting process needs to take place with periodic evaluation of the cornea (the healthy living tissue that the contact lens sits) and the fit of the contact lens. For more information about contacts, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. We’re invested in the technology to make exam findings easier and more accurate from toddlers to seniors. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. Including a “rub and rinse” step in the contact lens cleaning process, minimizing contact with water while wearing contact lenses, and replacing the lens case frequently can all help reduce the risk of eye infection.

WIDER-RANGING VIEW

It is important for contact lens wearers to bear in mind that they are wearing medical devices that must be scrupulously cleaned on a regular basis. Poor hygiene (including poor maintenance of contact lens cases or reusing or topping off contact lens solution) can result in a serious infection that can lead to scarring, impaired vision, and even the need for a corneal transplant. “Keratitis” is the most serious complication of contact lens wear and the most common infection related.

AN OUTSIDE CHANCE

More people are wearing eyeglasses (and contacts) than ever before. The fact is that “myopia” (nearsightedness) is far more common than before. According to an analysis of 62,000 people, nearly half (47%) of people between the ages of 25 and 29 are myopic, which is nearly double the amount of those between the ages of 55 and 59 (27%). This is a worldwide phenomenon, which researchers say is largely due to children spending more time doing close work (reading, video games, etc.) than spending time outdoors. While there is a genetic component to myopia, it has been found that children of myopic parents can reduce their risk of becoming nearsighted to normal levels simply by spending more time outdoors. If you are nearsighted, you will have difficulty reading road signs and seeing distant objects clearly; you should be able to see well for tasks such as reading and computer use. At SKOWRON EYE CARE, our certified opticians will help you select the style, shape, and color of eye glasses that are right for you. Our professionals maintain the highest levels of accreditation and pursue ongoing education to stay current on the latest trends in ophthalmology. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. Research suggests that it is exposure to bright outdoor sunshine that may be responsible for retinal development and eye growth that help children avert nearsightedness. 

 

EYEWEAR FOR KIDS

While toddlers and their parents may want children’s eyewear that looks good, optical specialists also focus on fit and comfort, which help to ensure wearing compliance. Proper bridge and temple fit, as well as lens alignment, are of prime importance when it comes to fitting toddlers. Since children have undeveloped bridges, optical specialists must take great care in making sure that the glasses do not slide down the youngster’s nose and that the lenses are centered on the face. While some optical specialists claim that plastic frames are best suited to toddlers because they eliminate the risk of a child pulling off a nose pad, metal frames invariably sit well on a toddler’s nose because of the nose pads. When a child reaches school age, their visual system becomes an active, integral part of their education. If left untreated, some childhood vision problems can cause permanent vision loss. To learn more, please call SKOWRON EYE CARE. Our trained opticians will help you pick out the perfect frame style for your child, based on the shape of his or her face and skin tone. We feature the latest in technology from in-vogue eyewear and eyeglasses to complex contact lenses to LASIK eye surgery. At Skowron Eye Care, our mission is your vision.

P.S. “Cable temples” wrap around the ears to keep eyeglasses snugly fitted to a toddler’s head.

 

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