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Harmful UV Rays – The Effects of Sunlight on the Eyes

The right amount of sunlight is a powerful asset to our overall health, but getting too much sun can be harmful

The harmful effects of UV rays can pose a problem any time of year (even in winter). That said, right now is as good a time as any to explain how our eyes can be affected. When dealing with this issue, let’s keep in mind that the right amount of sunlight is a powerful asset to our overall health. But getting too much sun can be harmful (to say the least). According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), “exposure to UV radiation is a major risk factor for most skin cancers. Sunlight is the main source of UV rays (along […]

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Managing Dry Eye Disease – Treatment Options (Update)

As 2017 nears it's end, I'm confident that help is on the way for the vast majority of dry eye sufferers

The last year has been an exciting one in terms of dry eye disease. The new medication Xiidra made its debut and DEWS2 officially updated the dry eye definition. If that’s not enough, Shire (the parent company of Xiidra) started a public health campaign called MyEyeLove, which increased the overall awareness of dry eye. This marked the beginning of celebrity endorsements in the eye care industry, which has definitely been a game changer. I say this because many new (and existing) patients have been asking me: “Do I have what Jennifer Aniston has?” Personally, I didn’t realize the impact would […]

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Decreased Vitamin D Intake Linked to Dry Eye

There’s always a group of dry eye patients who don’t get relief from traditional therapies

Numerous studies suggest that vitamin D plays a protective role in dealing with dry eye. It does this by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent for our tears. Since increasing vitamin D intake is positive for our overall health, I’m led to believe that more vitamin D plus eye drops (as opposed to eye drops alone), could be an effective solution for dry eye. When I see a patient with dry eye, I advise him/her to collaborate with their primary care doctor to assess for vitamin D deficiency. If the patient is below the recommended vitamin D levels, then supplementation may […]

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Increased Hydration Linked to Dry Eye Improvements

Because of our not-so-great beverage choices, most of us are dehydrated, and we don’t even know it

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For those out there struggling with dry eye, a rather recent study suggests that dry eye symptoms can be improved with increased hydration. Per this particular study, the subjects were divided into two groups, then instructed to hydrate their bodies either habitually or therapeutically. Over the course of the one week study, the group that hydrated therapeutically saw slight improvements in their Dry Eye Questionnaire (DEQ) test results. As a result, the study concluded that “subjects get multiple ocular benefits from increased hydration,” even though their dry eye symptoms didn’t improve much. From the wording of the article, it seems […]

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Possible Causes for the Recent Surge in Dry Eye Cases

Dry eye disease is quite common in older patients, but the number of young sufferers is clearly on the rise

According to the American Optometric Association, “Dry eye is a condition in which a person doesn’t have enough quality tears to lubricate and nourish the eye.” This one sentence sums up dry eye in a nutshell, but finding adequate treatments can be much more difficult. Symptoms of dry eye disease include: Burning or stinging of the eyes Redness of the eyes or eyelids Itching Light sensitivity Eye fatigue Contact lens irritation Here in the world of health and eye care, we’re currently experiencing a dry eye surge. The condition has always been quite common in older patients, but the number […]

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Malignant or Benign – Advice for Dealing with Eye Floaters

Eye floaters go unnoticed most of the time, but sometimes they're too large to ignore

This week, I’m going back over a story that was published in the Washington Post last year. Exploring the topic of eye floaters, black spots, and flashes, writer Jill Adams explained how Patrick Muffler (a retired geologist from Palo Alto) almost went blind. To paraphrase the article, Mr. Muffler’s eye health emergency developed over the period of about five days. On a Thursday he noticed “funny v-shaped floaters” in his eye. When he woke up on Friday, the floaters were still there along with several more “black dots.” Over the course of the weekend, he “developed a cloudy area in […]

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Dealing with Age-Related Macular Degeneration 101 – (Part Two)

AMD sufferers will likely encourage family members to get their eyes checked more frequently to ensure early detection

When it comes to advanced macular degeneration, there aren’t many positive things to say. It’s a sad subject with more questions than answers. I can usually think of something positive to write about most other eye health topics, but not this one. The best way to deal with AMD is to avoid it altogether. When AMD reaches an advanced stage, it not only affects the individual patient, but family members as well (due to loss of independence). Advanced AMD sufferers need to be supported (by family members) and introduced to low-vision aides (such as handheld magnifiers) as soon as possible. […]

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Dealing with Age-Related Macular Degeneration 101 – (Part One)

Macular Degeneration is a leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans

Moving forward, I’ve wanted to talk about Macular Degeneration (AMD) for quite some time. Without question, it’s one of the most debilitating eye diseases an eye care professional will come across. A person suffering from AMD might realize a loss of central vision, which is critical to recognizing faces, or driving a car, or reading a book. AMD can progress quickly and suddenly so it needs to be addressed accordingly and treated as soon as possible. On a personal note, my 97 year old (great) uncle is a WWII veteran who suffers from AMD. He’s legally blind as a result, […]

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Cataracts – Risk Factors, Symptoms & Treatment

If cataracts eventually become an issue, a surgical procedure may indeed be the best treatment option available

In the world of health and eye care, cataracts are well-known as one of the major causes of vision loss. However, in nature, a cataract can also be defined as a waterfall, especially a large, cascading one (hence the pic). Needless to say, this pairing of terms seems quite odd. I’m not too sure where the similarity exists, but it could be because visual cataracts seem to make light scatter, similar to the way water scatters at the bottom of a nature cataract (waterfall)? Now, I could be totally wrong on this assumption. However, if anyone knows the correct association, […]

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Examining the Role of Today’s Optometrist

When a given retina is examined, optometrists can gain an inside look at the overall health of the person

The role of an optometrist seems simple enough. Determine the best vision option for patients. Check for diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Assess for dry eye, allergies, and inflammation. So on and so forth. But does it stop there? In all actuality, the eyes are very complex organs which connect to the rest of the body. When a given retina is examined, today’s optometrists can gain an inside look at the overall health of the person to which the retina belongs. Early signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other diseases can be detected through […]