By: Brian Oulman, OD
Well, it’s April, which means the weather will get warmer, baseball season begins, biking, and of course time at the lake. As you are gathering your special gear or gassing up the boat, don’t forget eye protection! There are a lot of eye injuries that occur during spring/summer sports, which can result in permanent damage or even be sight threatening. The biggest culprit of eye injuries in outdoor sports is the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation burning the eyeball. Sun damage can be painful or painless, regardless it can decrease your eyesight or worse. Let’s go through a few ways Central Oregon Eyecare can educate you on your sports eye safety.
We have a large community of road bicyclists and with our region growing there are more cars on the road, which increases dangerous road conditions. Bicyclist go through many different lighting conditions, sunny, shady, then a mix of back-and–forth sun/shade. These can be extremely difficult and irritating for the avid biker. Imagine improving your biking experience by being more comfortable and relaxed. If you are able to see the terrain of the road, view your mirror without glare and eliminating the glare from oncoming cars, wouldn’t that make your ride more enjoyable and more importantly, safer? We have specific sunglasses made just for bicyclists to keep them safe; eyes and body.
Talking about specific sunglasses, baseball is played in all weather conditions and players need to focus on a small 5 ounce ball, so it is imperative their eyesight is the clearest it can be. Baseball is played outside during the peak of the summer months when the suns UV rays are the most intense. Typical games last for 2 or more hours, which means a lot of ultraviolet exposure. Children are more susceptible to UV damage due to their eyeballs being more “pure”, so please protect their eyeballs with appropriate sunglasses.
Lakes are wonderful places to spend time as a family either on the water or on the bank having a picnic. Wearing just a hat is not sufficient protection for your eyes, while on or near the water, because, 80% of reflected light off water surfaces is UV. It is especially important to wear the proper sunglasses while boating or picnicking near water. Polarized sunglasses not only protect your eyeballs from the ultraviolet light but they will also eliminate the glare from the water, snow and cars while driving. They allow your eyes to relax, while providing clear and crisp vision, we can also make them into your prescription if you have one.
Golfing is another popular outdoor sport where sunglasses are needed. The avid golfer who enjoys reading the green and is highly competitive will not want polarization in their sunglasses, because the polarization will eliminate glare on each blade of grass so reading the green is difficult. Luckily, we have special sunglasses made especially for golfing, keeping your eyeballs protected and your score low.
We have experienced opticians who can educate you on the different sunglasses for your particular outdoor activity. Most of our sunglasses can have prescription lenses inserted, so you can be see while protecting the health of your eye. Let’s make this spring an enjoyable one, please make sure you and your loved ones have their yearly eye health examination and protect everyone’s eyeballs with the appropriate sunglasses!
By: Nick Blight, OD
Commonly called “Lazy Eye”, amblyopia, is a condition that starts in early childhood, and if left untreated, persists through adult life. Amblyopia is defined as reduced vision (20/30 or worse) of an otherwise healthy eye. The decreased vision is due to poor development of the visual pathway between the eye and the brain. There are three main causes for a poor eye-to- brain connection. The first is a large difference in prescription between the eyes. The second is blocked vision in one eye from a congenital cataract or other visual obstruction. Finally the third reason is due to an eye that turns, either in towards the nose or out towards the ear. In each of these three situations, our energy efficient brains will actively select to ignore or “suppress” the eye with significantly poorer vision, which hinders development of the visual pathway.
Evaluation of the structure and visual ability is critical to identify and treat lazy eye. Amblyopia starts early in life, and can cause lifelong visual impairment, making eye examinations at an early age crucial. The American Optometric Association recommends childhood evaluation at 12 months, 3 years old and again right before starting school.
The treatment of amblyopia depends on the severity of reduced vision. The first step is to determine the correct prescription for glasses that provide the clearest vision to both eyes. Improved
image clarity prompts the brain to stop suppressing and use the impaired eye, leading to a stronger connection to the brain. This first step is critical and often improves eyesight within the first 4-6 months of wearing glasses full time. The next steps may include wearing an eyepatch over the dominate or “stronger” eye to encourage the brain to become more reliant on the weaker eye.
In combination with occlusion therapy, your doctor may also prescribe a structured set of visual activities, or vision therapy to make improvements faster.
The Optometric Physicians at Central Oregon Eyecare, and the American Optometric Association, recommend children have their first eye examination at 6-12 months of age. Additionally, subsequent exams are recommended at 3 years, right before school begins and annually from that point forward. Please make sure your loved ones are evaluated early to ensure the best visual development and sight for life.
By: Brian Oulman, OD
How often do you go to work and think, “I’m going to keep my eyes happy today?” Chances are never. However, you probably make adjustments to your devices or put on safety glasses that make your eyes feel more comfortable, thus happy.
Workplace eye injuries usually happen quickly and without warning, in fact there are thousands of eye injuries every year in the United States, some causing permanent vision loss. However, with the introduction of computers or other devices, workplace eye injuries can occur slowly by stress and strain placed on your eyes and visual system.
Let’s discuss some workplace wellness for your eyes. The most common device used to protect the eyeball are safety glasses. From hospital employees not wanting to get bodily fluids in their eye, to mechanics, even custodians, should be wearing safety glasses to protect their eyes. Welders too, should always know to wear their helmets with the appropriate shade number to protect from flash burns.
Now onto devices. They are everywhere, in every office for almost every employee and in most peoples’ hands all day long. How do devices decrease the workplace wellness? As humans, our eyes were not designed to stare at a screen, let alone 8-10 hours a day. The visual system becomes stressed out and as a consequence your vision can be affected. Lucky for patients, Central Oregon Eyecare offers the latest technology in anti-fatigue prescription lenses. Not only do they keep the visual system relaxed they also incorporate new anti-glare technology to block the harmful blue light emanating off devices. How much happier do you think your eyes could get? A bit happier, when you realize that using devices decreases your blink rate, dramatically increasing the dryness in your eye. Central Oregon Eyecare will discuss the appropriate and healthy eye drops that should be used. Now your eyes will be happy!
Think about children. Their workplace is school, right? More schools are adopting devices for children to learn on, then these children go home and use a tablet, pad or play video games: so they are on and off devices all day. Since, 80% of what children learn goes through their eyes and visual system, we should start to think more about keeping their eyes and visual system healthy and happy. Central Oregon Eyecare offers amazing lenses to give these children a focusing boost for all the time they spend on devices. The evolutionary Sync lens will decrease the chances of focusing issues while increasing the learning process. We are noticing a dramatic increase in children having dry eye problems with the increased use of devices. Allow the physicians at Central Oregon Eyecare to discuss what can be done to help.
As you can see, there are many ways to help your overall workplace wellness. When you are at work next, pay attention to how you make your eyes happy! If they are not comfortable all day long, allow Central Oregon Eyecare the opportunity to help them. Please make sure you and your loved ones have an annual eye health exam to discuss options for happy and healthy eyes for life.
by: Brian Oulman, OD
Age-Related Macular Degeneration, also known as AMD, is a leading cause of blindness in the United States. AMD destroys a part of your retina known as the Macula. The macula is responsible for your central eyesight as well as distinguishing colors. Despite the macula being as wide as a grain of rice, the importance of the macula to how we see is unmeasurable. There are 2 distinct forms of AMD, dry and wet.
Dry AMD is the slow, progressive type that usually takes years to decades to cause serious visual changes. As the name implies, there is an accumulation of dry deposits called Drusen in the macular region. The continued accumulation is what causes the eyesight damage. You may hear your eye doctor use terms such as, early, intermediate or late stage AMD to carefully determine the stage of the disease. These stages correspond to the amount of vision loss and the amount of drusen noted in the macula. There is no cure at this time for Dry AMD, however, we do know that specific eye vitamins (Lutein and Zeaxanthin), Ultraviolet protection and not smoking all help patients prevent or potentially slow the progression of the disease. Most patients diagnosed with macular degeneration have the Dry form, although, some will progress into the Wet form of AMD.
Wet AMD corresponds with a rapid decrease in vision caused by fluid in the macula. As the drusen accumulate it can progress and damage a specific barrier layer that protects the macula. If the protective layer is compromised, then new blood vessels (known as neovascularization) or actual blood can leak into the macula causing damage. Our state of the art OCT will be able to determine the extent of damage. Depending on how quickly this condition is diagnosed and treated, some eyesight may return. Yes, I did say treatment! Wet AMD has a treatment option issued by a retinal specialist. Injections are the treatment option which are designed to stop the fluid and/or the neovascularization. These injections help dry up the inside of the eye. Again, vision may or may not return, usually it’s never the same.
The Optometric Physicians at Central Oregon Eyecare have the technology to accurately diagnose and monitor this condition. We work with the top retinal specialist in Central Oregon, if injections are needed. Since AMD steals a patients’ central vision, it is important to educate those patients losing their vision to prepare for the loss of vision. There are services to help train patients on what to expect, while other services will provide home inspections and go through rooms to provide upgrade ideas to compensate for the loss of vision. AMD takes more than just eyesight, think of cooking and now imagine cooking without your eyesight. Please make sure you and your loved ones have an annual eye health exam to maintain a wonderful way of life.