Minimize Stress To Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Big project due? Bills need to be paid? Trying to find a job? These are a few things that can cause stress. That stress can cause other problems to your health including your eyes.

Life can be hectic as we try to best manage our tasks in an orderly fashion, but sometimes the anxiety takes control of us and our body. Hypertension, or constant high blood pressure, can put us at a higher risk of Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO). This disease affects about four out of 1000 people and is considered a “heart attack or stroke selectively affecting the retina.”

This can lead to blurred vision or total loss of vision if not treated.

Our eyes are the most sensitive part of our body which is why stress easily affects our vision. High blood pressure obviously affects the heart and it also damages the vessels that supply blood to our eyes. This damage is in the form of clots.

How Can I Prevent Stress-Related Issues?

The best way to treat this problem is to address your stress. It’s important for us to understand the physical damage that can be done to our eyes. Finding ways to cope with our stress will lead to less anxiety and keep our eyes and the rest of our body healthy.

Technology has also helped with controlling the damage done to our eyes due to stress. These new treatments include injections, lasers and surgery. It’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly to help prevent RVO from affecting you and your eyes.

If you’ve noticed your vision is becoming more blurred, please schedule an appointment to see one of our eye doctors at Performance Eyecare. It’s important to understand why your vision is blurred and to address it immediately.

It’s also important to seek other help if you are under uncontrollable stress whether it be from the workplace or your everyday life.

Glasses to Aid Kids’ computer vision

Prevent Computer Vision Syndrome

Did you know October is considered Computer Learning Month? We’re not here to teach you how to use the computer better, but to inform you of computer vision syndrome, especially for children who are likely to use the computer more often.

Take a look at these facts and figures from Gary Heiting, OD and Larry K. Wan, OD:

  • 94 percent of American families with children have a computer in the home with access to the Internet.*
  • The amount of time children ages 8 to 18 devote to entertainment media (including computer and video games) each day has increased from 6.19 hours in 1999 to 7.38 hours in 2009.**
  • In 2009, 29 percent of American children ages 8 to 18 had their own laptop computer, and kids in grades 7 through 12 reported spending an average of more than 90 minutes a day sending or receiving texts on their cell phones.**

Sitting in front of the computer screen stresses a child’s eyes because it forces them to focus and strain a lot more than any other task. This can put them at an even greater risk than adults for developing symptoms of computer vision syndrome.

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), parents should consider these factors affecting children and computer use:

  • Children may not be aware of how much time they are spending at a computer. They may perform a task on the computer for hours with few breaks. This prolonged activity can cause eye focusing and eye strain problems.
  • Children are very adaptable. They assume that what they see and how they see is normal — even if their vision is problematic. That’s why it is important for parents to monitor the time a child spends working at a computer and make sure they have regular eye exams as directed by their optometrist or ophthalmologist.
  • Children are smaller than adults. Since computer workstations often are arranged for adult use, this can change the viewing angle for young children. Computer users should view the screen slightly downward, at a 15-degree angle. Also, if a child has difficulty reaching the keyboard or placing their feet comfortably on the floor, he or she may experience neck, shoulder and/or back pain.

Here are tips to reduce the risk of computer vision syndrome in children, according to the AOA:

  1. Have your child’s vision checked. Before starting school, every child should have a comprehensive eye exam, including near-point (computer and reading) and distance testing.
  2. Limit the amount of time your child spends at the computer without a break. Encourage kids to take 20-second breaks from the computer every 20 minutes to minimize the development of eye focusing problems and eye irritation. (Some eye doctors call this the “20-20 rule.”)
  3. Check the ergonomics of the workstation. For young and small children, make sure the computer workstation is adjusted to their body size. The recommended distance between the monitor and the eye for children is 18 to 28 inches. Viewing the computer screen closer than 18 inches can strain the eyes.
  4. Check the lighting. To reduce glare, windows and other light sources should not be directly visible when sitting in front of the monitor. Reduce the amount of lighting in the room to match the computer screen.

Be sure to check out our large selection of high quality and designer eyeglasses!

When are spots and floaters dangerous for your eyes?

Performance Eyecare in St. Louis and Swansea, IL can examine excessive spots and floaters in your eyes to determine if it's due to retinal detachment.

Spots and floaters are caused by bits of protein and other tissue embedded in the gel-like material that fills the eye, called vitreous.

The vitreous becomes more fluid and the spots and floaters move more easily within it as we age. Additional floaters may spring about when the vitreous detaches from the retina.

When should you be alarmed by the spots or floaters?

You should visit the eye doctors at Performance Eyecare when the floaters are accompanied by flashes of light. This could mean something serious is going on inside the eye and could cause a detached retina.

Normal floaters are when you have a few dots that come and go. That can simply depend on how tired you are or the type of lighting you’re in. You should seek immediate help from an eye doctor or emergency room if you see flashes of light, clouds of floaters or a curtain over part of your vision.

The good news is that most retinal detachments can be helped if treated soon. It’s important not to ignore these symptoms because they can lead to a loss of vision or blindness.

We recommend you visit us at Performance Eyecare if you see a lot of floaters. That will help us determine if you have a vitreous detachment (which just needs to be watched) or something more serious such as a retinal detachment.

Who is at risk for a retinal detachment?

Those who have suffered an injury to the eye or face or people with very high levels of nearsightedness. On rare occasions, retinal detachment may occur after LASIK surgery in highly nearsighted individuals.

Other causes of retinal detachments include cataract surgery, tumors, eye disease, diabetes and sickle cell disease.

Choosing the right eye drops

Performance Eyecare has tips for which kind of eye drops to use when you have certain eye conditions such as red eyes and pink eye.

Remember, please contact the eye doctors at Performance Eyecare if you have any of the following symptoms. We can help determine the cause and severity, as well as the best treatment.

Lubricating eye drops for dry eyes can provide relief for short-term dry eyes, such as computer eye strain, being outdoors on a sunny or windy day, and tiredness. Avoid ‘decongestant eye drops’ for dry eyes because it’s typically advertised as relief for red eyes. This can worsen dry eye symptoms in the long run.

Decongestant eye drops can eliminate red eyes by shrinking tiny blood vessels on the white part of the eye to make them look less visible. These drops are effective at getting rid of redness, but they could just be masking a more serious problem. It’s important to consult with an eye doctor to identify the cause of the red eyes.

When to Use Eye Drops

Allergy season is ramping up and so you will want to use antihistamine eye drops to treat your eyes. If the eye drops don’t contain the itching and doesn’t improve your symptoms, you should see an eye doctor.

It’s also important to see the eye doctor if you are considering using eye drops for soreness. Your eyes may be sore because they are dry, strained or tired, but you should have an eye exam if they are continually sore. This could be because you need vision correction for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, or presbyopia.

Those of us who wear contact lenses should use rewetting drops to provide relief for dry eyes and discomfort from your contacts. Like all of these eye drops, it’s important to check with the eye doctor to make sure the contact lens type is compatible with the eye drop you’re considering.

Be sure to schedule an appointment at Performance Eyecare to rule out any serious eye problem from the above eye symptoms.

Coping with Low Vision

Low vision is the loss of eyesight that is not correctable through surgery, glasses/contacts, or pharmaceuticals. It’s most often characterized by blurred vision or blind spots. It can make everyday tasks such as reading, watching television, or driving a car difficult or even impossible in some cases.

However, there are many techniques available for those suffering low vision that can make many of these tasks still possible. Simple things such as improved lighting, glare reduction, or increased contrast can make things easier.

RE-VAMP YOUR HOME TO HELP YOUR VISION

There are lots of products available to help you set yourself up for success in your home! Step one will be making sure you have adequate lighting throughout. You can also buy special products with reduced glare, or better contrast to help you remain independent during your day-to-day life.

Make the Most of Your Remaining Vision: Using Your “Next-Best Spot”

When you have a blind spot (scotoma) in the center of your vision you will naturally find a “next-best spot.” You may hear this referred to as your preferred retinal locus or PRL. Adapting to using noncentral vision usually will require magnification and some training.

CREATE A SUPPORT TEAM

Your vision rehabilitation team may include:

  • An optometrist
  • A low-vision specialist
  • An occupational therapist
  • A rehabilitation teacher
  • An orientation and mobility specialist, who focuses on independent and safe travel
  • A social worker
  • A counselor
  • An assistive technology professional

For more information visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology. If you think your eyesight may be getting worse, please schedule an appointment at one of our offices today.

Corneal Inlays and Onlays

Corneal inlays and onlays are small lenses or optical devices inserted into the cornea. This helps alter its shape and correct vision problems. They are a cutting-edge technology for vision correction.

These devices and the surgical procedures associated with them are not yet FDA-approved for use in the United States. However, they are currently in clinical trials and may soon represent a new form of vision correction surgery.

In LASIK and PRK, doctors correct vision by removing corneal tissue with a laser to reshape the eye. But with corneal inlays or onlays inserted just beneath the surface of the cornea, laser energy could be used to sculpt this artificial material instead of the eye itself. This means corneal thickness can be preserved.

Corneal inlays and onlays work much like contact lenses, but with the advantage of never needing removal or ongoing care. They differ from currently available intraocular lenses, because they are less invasive and aren’t placed in the interior of the eye. Because corneal inlays and onlays don’t require tissue to be removed from the cornea, there is less risk of ectasia (bulging of the cornea), dry eye and other potential complications of laser vision correction procedures.

The corneal inlay procedure

With corneal inlays, a thin flap is created on the eye’s surface with a laser or a microkeratome. In this regard, the procedure is very similar to the first step of LASIK. The inlay is then positioned in the center of the cornea, and the flap is replaced to hold it in place.

The procedure takes less than 15 minutes and can be performed in the eye surgeon’s office. Sutures are not required, and only topical anesthesia in the form of eye drops is used.

The corneal onlay procedure

Unlike corneal inlays, where a flap is created to place the inlay within the body of the cornea, corneal onlays are positioned under the cornea’s thin outer layer of cells. An instrument creates a pocket between the epithelium and the stroma, and the onlay is inserted in this space. The onlay is secure nearly immediately, and within 48 hours, new epithelial cells grow over the surgical wound to seal it completely.

When will these procedures be available in the U.S.?

It’s impossible to predict when corneal inlays and onlays will gain FDA approval for use in the United States. Clinical trials have begun for two corneal inlays designed to correct presbyopia, the age-related condition that results in near vision focusing problems.

Don’t Take Your Eyesight For Granted

Many people tend to take several things in their lives for granted– their vehicles, their homes, their spouses, and so much more. Amongst that list is the ability to hear, taste, and perhaps most importantly, see.

Think about it – what would life be like for you if you had poor vision or no eyesight at all? You wouldn’t be able to drive. You’d find the things you love doing such as sewing, painting, and playing sports much more difficult.

According to the National Eye Institute, more than 3.3 million Americans 40 years old and older have low vision or blindness. The institute also claims that the figure will increase greatly by the year 2020.

How Can I Prevent Vision Loss?

Going to the eye doctor on a regular basis can help save your vision. In fact, you could even save your life.

When you visit your local optometrist or ophthalmologist for your yearly eye exam, you will know what kind of shape your eyesight is in. Your optometrist or ophthalmologist can also detect if you have any eye conditions such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, conditions that can go undetected and intensify until they wreak irreversible havoc on your vision.

If that isn’t amazing enough, your optometrist or ophthalmologist can also detect if you have any life-threatening issues when you receive your yearly eye exam. That small network of arteries in your retinas provides a great window to your overall health, and your eye doctor can determine your overall health, especially concerning blood pressure and brain health. Even very serious diseases such as diabetes, brain tumors, and cancer can be found when you get your eye exam.

Even though you may be in good health and your eyesight is doing well.  Eye health can change and deteriorate throughout your life, depending on how you treat your eyesight and if your current prescriptions are beneficial to your eyes or not.

We Help You Make Time!

At Performance Eyecare we know your time is important and we work hard to stay on schedule so our patients do not have to wait in our office. Typically, patients are examined and eyeglasses are selected in under an hour.  We also have locations all over the St. Louis Metro and Illinois Metro East, so you can find an office close to home or work.

Your eyes are one of the most important things that you have in your life. Call us here at Performance Eyecare at (618) 234-3053 to schedule your annual eye exam TODAY!

What to Know About Children’s Eyecare

Children's eyecare, Performance Eyecare Alton, Performance Eyecare STL, Children Eye exams

Your children are one of the most precious things to you, and making sure their eyes are healthy is a top priority for parents and caregivers. Some parents don’t know that both young children and babies should have comprehensive eye exams to make sure their eyes are working properly and don’t need correction.

Since infants and young children may have vision problems you can’t see, an eye exam by a certified optometrist is the best option. Children respond better to treatment and correction during these developing years as their brain is learning how to use their eyes to see.

What to Know About Children’s Eyecare

Children’s Eyecare & First Eye Exam. A baby should receive their first eye exam between the ages of 6-12 months according to the American Optometric Association (AOA). During this examination an optometrist will check for excessive nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. The optometrist will also make sure the eyes move in a coordinated way to rule out Amblyopia, commonly called “lazy eye”. They will also make sure your baby’s eyes aren’t overly sensitive to light, can follow an object’s movements and don’t have other health issues.

A Screening Is Not The Same As An Eye Exam. As your child grows, it’s important that they continue getting eye exams each year or at least at ages 3 and 5 and every year after that. Many preschools give vision screenings that may give parents a false sense of security that their child’s vision is fine. Unfortunately these screenings only assess one or two areas of vision and are really meant to indicate if further testing is necessary. A comprehensive vision exam by an optometrist is the only way to ensure proper diagnosis and care for your child’s eyes.

You Can Help Your Child’s Eyes Develop. As a parent or caregiver there are many things you can do to help your child’s eyes develop properly. The AOA recommends that you use a nightlight in their room as a baby, talk to them as you walk around the room, give them plenty of time to explore on the floor, play patty-cake and hide and seek games with them, and roll a ball back and forth with them as they get older. There are many other recommendations on their site for what to do as they grow.

Infant and Child Glasses Options Are Fun! Glasses have come a long way and recent innovations make them more user friendly and fashionable than ever. Many frames are made of flexible materials that fit children well and come in catchy colors and styles to fit any little face. Several styles also come with a band that goes around your baby or child’s head to keep the glasses on and in place.

At Performance Eyecare we take your child’s vision seriously. We work with you to make sure your infant or child gets the best care possible in a friendly, welcoming environment. Contact us for more information about how we can serve you and your children in the St. Louis, MO, Alton, IL or Swansea, IL areas.

Vision over 40 – Reading Glasses Make Life Easier

Most people have natural vision changes after they reach age 40.

Eye chart and eyeglasses, Performance Eyecare, Glasses, Designer Frames

The main issue with vision over 40 is presbyopia, which means that you find yourself holding that restaurant menu at arm’s length to see it better. When you begin to see blurry text and have trouble with computer glare it is time to get a good pair of prescription reading glasses.

Presbyopia is normal but progressive. The lens of your eye becomes less flexible and cannot focus on close objects. This is why you are suddenly holding books at a distance. Other issues can be glare or color shade distinction. Presbyopia continues to decline through your 40s and 50s but slows down by age 60.

While it is tempting to buy reading glasses at the dollar store, you will use them daily and need a comfortably fitting frame with a prescription tailored to your eyesight. Also, after age 40 it is best to have a licensed optometrist examine your eyes every two years. They are trained to look for many different kinds of eye problems, not blurry vision. Diabetes, high blood pressure and medications for various other health issues are all linked to vision changes.

Some people who wear single vision glasses balk at the idea of switching to dowdy bifocals. Consider progressive lenses, which look better than bifocals and hide the need to use reading glasses. The lens is made with a seamless integration of distance, middle and near visions. Progressive lenses fit your natural gaze with no jump in vision as you look up and down.

We’d love to talk to you about how to adapt to vision changes after age 40. Contact us to set up an appointment and explore our wide range of eyecare services.

ADHD & Vision Problems

Children Diagnosed with ADHD May Actually Have Vision Problems

ADHD, Performance Eyecare, Illinois Doctos, Missouri Doctors

Have you ever considered whether your child’s attention issues are directly related to their vision? Most people would probably answer no to this question, but the American Optometric Association discusses just that in this article; they state that children with the following symptoms may not actually have attention issues or ADHD, but problems with their visual skills:

  • Avoid reading and other near visual work as much as possible.
  • Attempt to do the work anyway, but with a lowered level of comprehension or efficiency.
  • Experience discomfort, fatigue and a short attention span.

What Signs Should I Look For?

The Center for Disease Control, the CDC, has a checklist dedicated to ADHD and the symptoms that may show in a child who has ADHD. Here are a few of the symptoms. A full list can be found here:

  • Often does not give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities.
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities.
  • Often avoids, dislikes, or doesn’t want to do things that take a lot of mental effort for a long period of time (such as schoolwork or homework).

As you can see, the signs of vision problems can mimic the signs of ADHD. Ruling out a potential vision issue may help your child succeed in school because they can get the medical or therapeutic help that they need. On the other hand, if what they need is glasses, we can help with that.

If your child is experiencing any of the above struggles, it’s time to get them in for an eye exam to rule out potential vision problems. Undiagnosed vision issues can lead to your child under-performing in school because they cannot see well enough to complete their work in order to succeed. Because your child’s eye needs can change over time, it’s possible that you are seeing these issues arise for the first time. Catching the problem as early as possible is vital. Children’s eyecare starts with regular examinations to catch potential issues before they hamper a child’s ability to succeed in school.

Performance Eyecare Can Help

At Performance Eyecare, we regularly treat a variety of eye conditions in children. We have offices all around the St. Louis region for your conveinence. Our experienced optometrists can complete your child’s eye exam, diagnose any issues with their vision, and then we can create a pair of custom glasses for your child in our in-office eyeglass laboratory.

Please contact us to schedule an appointment. Our experienced optometrists will be happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding children’s eye exams or vision problems and school performance, as well as what makes our eyeglass facility stand out in terms of quality and price. We look forward to hearing from you.