Eye Allergies in Every Season

Eye allergies are caused by the same substances that give you a runny nose and sneezing. Individuals with seasonal allergies typically experience various reactions to their allergens such as sneezing, itchy eyes, or a headache. Symptoms of eye allergies include itching, redness, burning, and clear watery discharge. Additionally, you may notice dark circles under the eyes and puffy eyelids. It is essential to manage your allergies to prevent these allergy symptoms and other eye infections related to seasonal allergies.

Winter Allergies

Indoor allergens are the most common cause of eye allergies during the winter months. Spending more time inside with the house closed up tends to worsen these allergens. We recommend using mite-proof bedding to limit exposure to dust mites. Frequently wash bedding, blankets, and furniture to decrease allergy symptoms from both dust mites and pet dander. Additionally, using a dehumidifier is the best way to control mold in your home mainly focused on basements and bathrooms.

  • Dust Mites
  • Mold
  • Pet Dander

Spring Allergies

Spring can be a dreaded season for seasonal allergy sufferers. Pollen is the primary cause of reaction during the spring months. With the trees, flowers, and plants coming into bloom their pollen can severely irritate your eyes. Wearing glasses or sunglasses outdoors can help to prevent pollen from entering your eyes.

  • Tree Pollen
  • Flower Pollen

Summer Allergies

During the summer months, grass pollen and mold spores are the most common allergens. On high pollen count days, we recommend staying indoors as much as possible. To limit your exposure to allergens we recommend keeping your windows closed and using air conditioning in your car and home. Avoid using fans, as they can draw pollen and mold into the house.

  • Grass Pollen
  • Molds Spores

Fall Allergies

As fall comes around, seasonal allergies come back on the horizon. Check the pollen count and avoid spending time outside during peak pollen times. Mold spores begin to grow on damp leaves in the fall. While it can be challenging to prevent seasonal allergens completely, we recommend limiting your exposure as much as possible. Additionally, replacing the carpet in your home with hardwood, tile, or linoleum helps to keep pet dander and pollen from settling in your home.

  • Ragweed
  • Mold Spores
  • Pet Dander

Don’t let eye allergies stop you from living your life. We can help you manage your eye allergies and control your symptoms. Give our office a call or request an appointment to discuss your allergies with your eye doctor!

Computer Vision Syndrome: Eye Strain

According to The Vision Council, 65% of adults experience some form of computer vision syndrome. Often individuals associate eye strain as a “normal” part of computer work. However, the eye strain you are experiencing is a symptom of computer vision syndrome and can be reduced or avoided!

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome is caused by the eyes and brain reacting to the characters on a computer screen. On-screen characters have less contrast than characters in print and are more challenging for our eyes to focus on. The difficulty of having to focus on the characters on computer screens is what causes eye fatigue and strain.

Symptoms of CVS

Depending on the individual they may experience one, several, or all symptoms of computer vision syndrome. These symptoms can cause discomfort for the individual and make it difficult to complete work effectively.

  • Headaches
  • Loss of focus
  • Burning eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Double vision
  • Eye twitching
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Ways to Combat CVS

Many computer users find their eyes feel strained working under fluorescent lights. Users feel more eye comfort when using floor lamps instead of harsh overhead lights. Minimize the reflection of glare off your computer screen by installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor. Consider closing the blinds to prevent the sun from reflecting off your computer screen as well.

The type of screen and settings of your screen can also impact your eye strain. We recommend making sure you have an LCD screen because it has an anti-reflective surface and is more comfortable for the eyes.

Additionally, you can adjust the settings of your screen for optimal viewing. A few settings to adjust are the brightness, text, and color temperature. The brightness should be the same as your surrounding workstation, the text size and contrast can be changed to your comfort level, and reducing the color temperature lowers the amount of blue light emitted by your screen.

Computer Eyewear

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of computer vision syndrome is to visit our office. Your eye doctor can perform a few tests to detect vision problems which could be contributing to your computer vision syndrome and help decide if computer eyewear is the solution for you. Many individuals discover computer eyewear helps reduce their symptoms and improves their productivity.

Schedule an appointment with our office to discuss the impact computer work is having on your eyes and the best ways to reduce your eye strain and fatigue.

Bad Habits: Aging Your Eyes

Do you feel like your eyes have aged? Some bad habits can make your eyes appear more aged than they are. The best way to preserve your eye health and appearance is to cut these bad habits out of your life!

Rubbing Your Eyes

There are tiny blood vessels under their skin around your eyes, excessive rubbing can cause these vessels to break. As a result, you may notice dark circles, puffy eyes, premature crows feet, and drooping eyelids. We recommend you refrain from pulling or tugging this skin because it is very sensitive. If your eyes are irritated, place a damp cloth on them instead of rubbing.

Not Wearing Sunglasses

Protecting your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun helps your eyes to stay healthy and young. If you don’t wear sunglasses, you could damage the eyes or sunburn the eyelids. Additionally, you increase your risk for eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, pinguecula, and pterygium. To keep your eyes healthy, youthful, and safe wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays.

Smoking

Smoking is linked to eye diseases such as cataracts, macular degeneration, uveitis, dry eye, and diabetic retinopathy. This is a bad habit that drastically ages your eyes. Smokers are four times more likely to go blind than nonsmokers. Quitting smoking, no matter what your age, reduces your risk of developing severe eye conditions.

Not Sleeping Enough

Your eyes can appear aged if you don’t get enough sleep. Consequently, a lack of sleep can cause red bloodshot eyes, dark circles under the eyes, eye twitching, dry eyes, and blurry vision. Not sleeping is a bad habit for your overall health and wellbeing.

Dehydration

Not drinking water can make you dehydrated. When you are dehydrated your eyes do not produce enough tears. As a result, you may experience symptoms of dry eye.

Not Visiting Your Eye Doctor

The last bad habit you need to change is not visiting your eye doctor. Many eye diseases can go undetected and cause harm before you are even aware of changes in your vision. Some eye diseases have no warning signs and can cause irreversible vision loss. Regular visits to your eye doctor are the best way to protect the health of your eyes, detect vision problems, and find possible eye disease. Don’t forget to inform us of any family history that can help to protect the health of your eyes.

Eliminating these bad habits from your life can help to improve eye health and maintain a youthful appearance. Give us a call today to schedule your regular eye exam.

Prevent Glaucoma: Regular Eye Exams

Did you know, half of Americans with glaucoma don’t know they have it? Glaucoma is often called a silent thief of sight because the early stages often have no symptoms. In the US glaucoma is the second-leading cause of blindness.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease damaging the optic nerve in the eye; the optic nerve connects the retina to the brain to produce sight. The most common type of glaucoma is called primary open-angle glaucoma. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, over 3 million Americans have glaucoma.

Eye pressure is a significant risk factor for optic nerve damage. We recommend annual eye exams to measure eye pressure and detect glaucoma before you lose vision.

Populations at a Higher Risk Include:

  • African Americans over age 40
  • Everyone over age 60, especially Mexican Americans
  • People with a family history of glaucoma

Symptoms of Glaucoma

Typically glaucoma has no signs or symptoms, by the time you notice your loss of vision the disease has progressed to irreversible vision loss. Regular eye exams are the best way to detect and prevent glaucoma because several tests are performed to look for signs of glaucoma.

Potential Signs/Symptoms Include:

  • High Intraocular Pressure
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Vision Loss
  • Blurry Vision
  • Distorted Vision
  • Eye Pain

Can you reduce your risk for glaucoma?

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential to reduce your risk of developing glaucoma. A few ways to reduce your risk include not smoking and eating a varied healthy diet. Healthy weight and blood pressure are also essential to lowering your chance of getting glaucoma.

Recent studies have also found that physical exercise may also lower your intraocular pressure. Glaucoma development may be due to high intraocular pressure. Therefore, physical exercise and an active lifestyle are great ways to prevent glaucoma along with other serious health problems.

Why You Need Multiple Pairs

Thanks to our busy lives, multiple hobbies, and all the activities in between, having multiple pairs of eyewear handy is a necessity. Even contact lens wearers should have alternative pairs of eyewear. But some of us still haven’t jumped on that bandwagon. If you’re still on the fence, here are a few reasons why it’s a great idea to have at least two pairs of eyewear:

Misplacement

We’ve all been there, searching for missing glasses just when we need them the most. An additional pair of eyewear can’t guarantee they won’t keep slipping through the cracks, but it will significantly reduce the chances of having to go without. Lost a contact lens and don’t have a replacement? Backup glasses can hold you over until your new contact lenses come in!

Style

Think about it: a night out on the town is going to call for more stylish eyewear than the amber-tinted lenses you wear at your computer desk. Funky frames may better showcase your personality, but a more neutral pair may be needed for professional situations. Having different styles of glasses removes this dilemma by giving you situation-specific options.

Protection

Chances are, your standard glasses aren’t going to adapt and darken in reaction to sunlight (unless you have photochromic lenses), so it only makes sense to invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses to protect your eyes. Polarized lenses are a good option, especially since the tint can be tailored to your specific sport or hobby.

Contact Lens Wearers

Plano sunwear is a must have for all contact lens users. Contact lenses do not protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun. We recommend plano sunwear that blocks 100% of UV rays for anyone who wears contacts.

Schedule an appointment with our office if you’re interested in investing in a second pair of glasses! We will help you find the best frames and lenses for your lifestyle!

Toys and Eye Safety

Playing with a toy stimulates a child’s vision at a young age and grows their imagination as they get older. As a parent, it is important to consider toy eye safety before purchasing for the children in your life. Typically, toys are deemed unsafe because they are not age-appropriate for the child. Here are some common toy-related injuries and tips for choosing eye safe toys!

Toy-Related Eye Injuries

Each year more than a quarter of a million children were seen in emergency rooms due to toy-related injuries. Nearly half of these injuries were to the head and face. In a survey conducted by AllAboutVision.com, 41% of parents say they ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ considered eye safety when choosing toys. When asked if any of the toys their children own could cause harm to their eyes 54% of parents responded ‘definitely,’ and 22% said ‘possibly.’

We encourage you to consider eye safety everytime you purchase a toy. Toys that pose a higher risk for eye injuries include:

  • Toy Guns
  • Water Balloon Launchers
  • Toy Fishing Poles
  • Toy Wands, Swords, Sabers
  • Aerosol String
  • Laser Pointers and Bright Flashlights

 

Tips for Choosing Eye Safe Toys

Anytime you are purchasing toys for someone else’s child, be sure to discuss with the parent if the toy sounds fitting for their child. Parent’s know the maturity and personality of their child which plays a huge factor into whether a toy would be suitable or not suitable for their child. Check the recommended age range for the toy. This is usually a good way to determine the safety of the toy. However, don’t be afraid to trust your gut and use your common sense to assess the safety of a toy! We also recommend shopping in a store rather than online. When shopping in a store, you can see the features of the toy and make better judgments to the safety of the toy.

Toy eye safety is an important consideration for all parents. If you have more questions please reach out to our office, we want to help you protect your child’s eyes.

Screen Time and Children

Screen time is the amount of time a person spends staring at digital displays including computers, tablets, smartphones, and TVs. In our modern and technology-focused world children are spending time on digital displays for educational and recreational purposes. Children who spend several hours on digital devices are at risk of developing vision-related problems.

Average Time Children Spend On Digital Devices

According to the Vision Council, 72% of American parents report their children regularly spend more than two hours on screens per day. It is likely that children spend significantly more time on screens than their parents think. Common Sense Media reports that children under age eight spend more than two hours a day with screen media. For 8 to 10-year-olds screen time triples to six hours per day. Kids in middle school and high school spend up to nine hours per day looking at digital displays.

Risks of Screen Time

Too much screen time can be dangerous for anyone’s eyes, children included. Screens emit a broad spectrum of visible light. While most of these light rays are harmless, blue light is a high-energy visible light that can cause damage to your eyes. Blue light has shorter wavelengths and higher energy causing harm to the retina over time. Overexposure to blue light can cause:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Neck/shoulder pain
  • Eye strain
  • Reduced attention span
  • Poor behavior
  • Irritability

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer vision syndrome is a condition caused by visual stress. Symptoms include tired eyes, dry eyes, headache, and fatigue.

Unhealthy Posture

Your body naturally slouches inwards when on digital devices. Your back and shoulders round, your head tilts back, and your chin justs forward. This reaction to digital devices is called “turtling” and can cause neck, back, and shoulder pain.

How To Protect Your Child’s Eyes

It is clear digital devices will not be going away anytime soon. Therefore it is essential to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect your children’s eyes from digital screens. One way you can do this is by limiting screen time for your children while at home. You can also apply blue light filters or download blue light filtering apps to all digital devices. If your child wears prescription glasses, ask us about add blue light blocking to their lenses during your next appointment.

Nighttime Use

The largest source of blue light is our sun, which tells our brain when to be awake or sleep. The high use of digital devices emitting blue light may disrupt your natural circadian rhythm (sleep cycle) by miscommunicating the time of day and if you should be awake or asleep. Stop digital device time two hours before usual bedtime to ensure your child’s sleep schedule affected by blue light.

Do you have more questions about screen time and blue light? Stop by our office or give our office a call and we would be happy to answer your questions!

Puffy Eyes and Dark Circles

Ordinary swelling around the eyes is due to an excessive accumulation of fluids in the surrounding skin tissue. Puffy eyes and dark circles can occur for many reasons, and a visit to your eye doctor can usually detect the underlying cause behind your puffy eyes.

Causes

The skin around your eyes is the thinnest skin on your body; therefore it shows swelling and discoloration more prominently. There are various factors which can cause puffy eyes, a few of the most common causes include:

  • Overconsumption of salt
  • Allergies
  • Sinus problems
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue and lack of sleep
  • Stress
  • Crying
  • Aging
  • Inherited facial features

Why are my eyes puffy in the morning?

Some individuals may notice their eyes are puffy when they wake up in the morning. Since we don’t blink when we sleep, this allows fluids to settle or get trapped in the skin around the eyes. As soon as you wake up and start blinking this swelling will begin to diminish. Likewise, some individuals develop swelling in their lower extremities while sleeping, which reduces upon walking.

Medical condition

In some situations, puffy eyes can be due to an underlying medical condition. Those with thyroid disease can develop swelling around their eyes. Eye allergies can cause swollen eyelids due to the release of histamine. Additionally, eye infections such as pink eye can cause swelling and puffiness. However, the best way to detect the cause of your puffy eyes is through a comprehensive eye exam by your doctor.

What can be done?

To find the best solution or remedy to your puffy eyes, your eye doctor must first determine the underlying cause. Temporary solutions include eye drops, hydration, iced compresses, cucumber slices, creams, reducing salt in your diet, and getting plenty of rest. In other circumstances, cosmetic solutions may be the only long term way to reduce swollen eyes.

To learn more about your puffy eyes, schedule an appointment with our office. We are here to answer all of your questions and advise you on the best steps to alleviate your puffy eyes.

Prescription, Polarized, and Performance Sunglasses

Sunglasses help protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays from the sun. The most important feature to look for in sunglasses is blocking 100% of UVA and UVB rays. However, there are many other features of sunglasses you can select to meet the needs of your lifestyle. Here is a brief overview of prescription, polarized, and performance sunglasses.

Prescription Sunglasses

All prescription sunglasses purchased from our office protect your eyes from harmful UV rays of the sun and block 100% of UV rays. Prescription sunglasses are an excellent option for both glasses and contact lens wearers in many situations. Try keeping a pair of prescription sunglasses in your car so you are able to remove your glasses and switch to prescription sunglasses easily. These sunglasses will provide you with vision correction, minimized glare, and dimmed the brightness of the sun.

Contact Lens Wearers

Prescription sunglasses are a great solution for contact lens wearers when swimming at the pool or beach. It is not recommended to swim in contact lenses, so prescription sunglasses make an excellent alternative for clear vision during these activities.

Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses have always been popular with boaters and fishers to reduce reflected glare from the water. However, others like hikers, bikers, golfers, and joggers also benefit greatly from polarized sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses optimize your vision for safety and performance by eliminating glare caused from light reflected off flat surfaces. Polarized lenses improve comfort and visibility. These lenses are also great for driving because they help reduce glare from the hoods of cars and off the road’s surface.

Performance Sunglasses

The goal of performance sunglasses is to provide you with the best vision possible under all conditions. These glasses are designed to be lightweight, flexible, durable materials, no-slip, and have lens color variations. Performance sunglasses are great for sports such as mountain biking, snowboarding, rock climbing, kayaking, skiing, golfing and in-line skating. While performance sunwear is most often used by athletes, they are also helpful for those who work outdoors, do a lot of driving, or are in the military.

Popular features of performance sunglasses include anti-reflective coating and changeable lenses. The anti-reflective coating applied to back surface of lenses to eliminate glare from light reflecting off the back of lenses when the sun is behind you. Changeable lenses allow you to switch out your lenses for the tint that will best match the lighting conditions for the day.

Selecting the best sunglasses for you is highly dependent on the needs of your lifestyle. Do you need help deciding the best type of sunglasses for your lifestyle? Contact our office we are happy to assist you in your sunglasses selection!

Non-Glare: See Better and Look Better

We understand your eyewear has become part of your style and fashion. Not only do you want to show off your cool new frames, but you also want to make sure to reduce the glare on your lenses so people can see the natural beauty of your eyes. A non-glare coating is a simple lens treatment virtually eliminating those unattractive glares and reflections!

Benefits of Non-Glare Coating:

  • Reduce eye strain
  • Invisible-looking lenses
  • Sharper vision with less glare
  • Anti-scratch for better cleaning

Improve Vision

The non-glare coating allows 99.5% of light to pass through the lenses and reach your eyes. Regular plastic lenses only allow 92% of light to pass through, and high index plastic lenses only allow 88% of light to pass through. Why does this matter? The smaller amount of light that gets to your eyes the more work your eyes have to do to see. Non-glare coatings have become popular because they allow for clearer vision and reduces eye strain.

Eliminate Reflections

Non-glare coatings eliminate distracting reflections from the front and back of your lenses. With reflections gone, light is able to pass through the lens for better visual acuity. This becomes particularly noticeable during night driving. Individuals with a non-glare coating on their lenses find night driving less difficult because the coating reduces glare and halos around lights.

Enhance Appearance

Overall, non-glare lenses improve the visual appearance of your glasses. Have you ever looked at someone and the overhead light was reflecting off their lenses so you could barely see their eyes? A non-glare coating prevents those reflections which then allows you to see better through your glasses and for others to see you better! It helps to draw more attention to your eyes and provides the opportunity for better eye contact. Additionally, a non-glare coating will help to eliminate the distracting reflections off your lenses in photos.

The non-glare coating makes your lenses appear nearly invisible. What’s stopping you from adding non-glare to your next pair of eyeglasses? Chat with our staff today about the potential of non-glare lenses!

Grand Rapids Eye Care