Keratoconus

Keratoconus

Keratoconus is a condition in which the cornea of the eye gradually thins and begins to bulge outward and become cone-shaped. This leads to progressive vision impairment, including blurred vision and increased sensitivity to glare and light. As keratoconus progresses, it can become difficult to read, drive, or perform other simple tasks. The condition affects an estimated 1 in 2,000 people. Most people with keratoconus are diagnosed in their teenage years or 20s. The condition often progresses for up to 20 years before finally stabilizing around middle age.

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Diagnosing Keratoconus:

One of the latest methods for diagnosing keratoconus involves corneal topography mapping. This test can be performed by our eye doctors. Corneal topography mapping measures the thickness of the cornea and creates a detailed map of the surface of the eye. This technology also makes it possible to categorize the severity of the disease.

Treatments for Keratoconus:

Early-stage keratoconus is typically treated with soft contacts or glasses. Frequent prescription altercations may be needed as the disease progresses. The contacts may also need to be switched from soft to rigid gas permeable to ensure adequate vision correction. Recent developments in contact lens technology have made the treatment of keratoconus a bit easier, specifically Scleral Contact Lenses. Scleral Contact Lenses cover the entire corneal service and rest on the sclera of the eye. Due to this larger form factor, they provide a more stable fit on the eye.

It is also important to note that advanced keratoconus may require surgical treatment. One surgical option involves inserting crescent-shaped rings into the cornea to correct its shape and improve vision. In cases where there is extensive corneal scarring and thinning, a corneal transplant, also known as a keratoplasty, may be required. This procedure replaces the damaged cornea with a cornea from a healthy donor.

At Performance Eyecare, we are committed to the early detection of different eye diseases by offering our patients the latest in diagnostic technology, including corneal topography and scleral contact lens fitting. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment. We have eye care locations in Creve Coeur, MO as well as Swansea, IL, and Alton, Illinois.

Should I Worry About Eye Floaters?

What are Eye Floaters?

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Eye floaters are gray or black spots, squiggly lines, or cobweb-like shapes that drift across your field of vision as you move your eyes. While they may be annoying, they usually do not indicate a serious eye condition.

Causes of Eye Floaters:

Most floaters are the result of age-related changes in the eye. Our eyes are filled with a gel-like substance called vitreous. As we age, this gel can become partially liquefied. This causes collagen protein fibers in the vitreous to clump together and cast shadows on the retina. In rare cases, different eye diseases and disorders can cause floaters or flashbulb-like bursts of light, including

  • a detached or torn retina,
  • bleeding in the vitreous,
  • eye injuries,
  • diabetic retinopathy,
  • eye tumors, or
  • inflammation in the retina or vitreous.

When to See An Eye Doctor:

If you only have a few floaters that do not change over time or significantly interfere with your vision, you do not have to worry. In some instances, they may improve on their own with time. You can also try to move them out of your field of vision by moving your eyes up and down. You should see an eye care professional immediately if you notice

  • floaters associated with sudden flashes of light,
  • a sudden increase in the number of floaters,
  • floaters associated with eye pain,
  • floaters following eye surgery or trauma,
  • a loss of side vision, or
  • your symptoms worsen over time.

These symptoms can be indications of a detached retina or other serious conditions that can lead to permanent vision loss if not treated quickly.

Are Treatments Available For Eye Floaters?

In some instances, a laser can be used to break up large floaters so that they are less noticeable. If you have so many floaters that they significantly interfere with your vision, a surgical procedure is available in which the vitreous is removed and replaced with a saline solution.

Performance Eyecare is proud to offer preventative and emergency eye care services to patients in Creve Coeur, MO; Alton, IL; and Swansea, IL. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.

What You Need to Know During National Glaucoma Awareness Month

How much do you know about Glaucoma?

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Statistics say that not enough people know about it, let alone are aware they have developed it. According to www.glaucoma.org, “over 3 million Americans, and over 60 million people worldwide, have glaucoma” and “experts estimate that half of them don’t know they have it.” If we are going to stop this “epidemic of blindness,” then spreading awareness is key. Here is what you need to know during National Glaucoma Awareness Month:

  1. Early detection is key. While you may not be able to reverse the effects of glaucoma, if you catch it early, progressive development of the disease can be stopped. That means, in order to prevent blindness, you have to catch it during one of your routine eye exams. These exams are vital to detecting glaucoma and creating a plan to prevent further vision loss. Contact Performance Eyecare today to schedule your exam.
  2. Do the research. There are two types of glaucoma: Open-Angle and Angle-Closure. Open-Angle Glaucoma is the most common type as it is chronic, accounts for over 88% of glaucoma cases and is almost undetectable without comprehensive eye exams. Angle-Closure develops quickly and needs immediate attention as the symptoms are damaging and noticeable. Visit Glaucoma Research Foundation to learn more about the disease. The more you know about this disease, the more you can raise concern about it to those around.
  3. Talk about it. If you have glaucoma, don’t be embarrassed or keep it a secret. Use it as motivation to get your family, friends, and community to schedule their routine eye exam for early detection. Share your research about glaucoma and spread awareness about this preventable, but not reversible, disease.

Because glaucoma is so common, not only among the American population but around the world, it is amazing more people do not know about it. During National Glaucoma Awareness Month, be sure to schedule your eye exams and help those around you detect its presence before it is too late.

What Is The Leading Cause Of Blindness?

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Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a condition which is the leading cause of blindness among Americans. People diagnosed with diabetes should get regular eye exams. Early stages of DR need detection to prevent more serious eye problems. These conditions could lead to complete blindness.

DR affects the retina. The retina is tissue in the back of the eyeball. Through the retina, light turns into electrical currents which translates into the images we perceive. Hence, damage to the retina adversely affects vision.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there is a high prevalence of DR. One third of Americans over the age of 40 have a diagnosis of DR. One third of these cases occur among African-Americans and Mexican-Americans. Overall, 4.2 million Americans were recently diagnosed with DR and 655,000 of these cases led to severe eye-damage.

As a diabetic, regular testing of blood sugar is important to maintain good control. A diabetic ideally tests his or her blood sugar before and after every meal. It is necessary to have A1c tests every three months. This tests glucose levels over an extended period of time. For diabetics, an A1c level of 7 is preferable. Insulin injections and medication also help control diabetes.

Along with regular diabetic maintenance, It is vital that DR be detected early to prevent the onset of severe eye damage. If an ophthalmologist diagnoses somebody with DR, prompt medical treatment will prevent further damage. Though it is preventable, it is potentially treatable with proper self-care.

To learn more about common eye conditions, please contact us on our website.

ADHD & Vision Problems

Children Diagnosed with ADHD May Actually Have Vision Problems

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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.

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.

At Performance Eyecare, we regularly treat a variety of eye conditions in children. We have offices in Creve Coeur, MO; Alton, IL; and Swansea, IL. 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.

Diabetic Eye Disease Month

Did you know Diabetes can affect your vision?

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Diabetes is a debilitating disease affecting over 29 million Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control’s 2014 Statistics Report, more than one-fourth of this population is not diagnosed. Although most commonly associated with controlling blood sugar levels, diabetes is a systemic disease that, left untreated or poorly managed, can cause damage throughout the body including the heart, kidneys and retina. It is also a leading cause of blindness in the US (National Eye Institute).

November is recognized as National Diabetes Month. Take the time to learn your risk factors and, if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, learn how you can protect your vision.

Diabetes’ impact on the eyes

Diabetes causes progressive nerve damage and damage to the blood vessels leading to the retina, resulting in several types of diabetic eye disease:

  • Diabetic retinopathy: When the blood vessels are damaged, they will leak blood or other fluids, causing distorted vision and blindness.
  • Diabetic macular edema: The macula is in the center of the retina, and enables sharp central vision. Diabetic retinopathy can cause the macula to swell: blurring vision.
  • Cataracts: Although most people will develop cataracts, diabetics often develop cataracts earlier in life.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma is damage to the optic nerve due to elevated pressure in the eye. Diabetics are twice as likely to develop glaucoma than other people.

Diabetics can protect their vision and improve their health by:

  • Managing blood sugar levels through good nutrition, exercise and (if prescribed) medication;
  • Regular doctor visits to monitor HBA1C (blood glucose) levels and kidney function;
  • Annual complete dilated eye exams. In a dilated exam, your eye doctor can see things that might not be apparent through a routine vision screening.

For more information on Diabetic Eye Disease and protecting your vision, contact Performance Eyecare.

Now Available: Online Appointment Scheduling

Time for an Eye Exam?

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Performance Eyecare now offers online appointment scheduling. Scheduling eye exams for yourself or your family has never been easier, or more convenient!

Your days are busy – we get that! Between work and family, it seems like you’re always on the go, and finding the time to call and schedule doctors’ appointments sometimes seems impossible. Or maybe you remember that you need to schedule an appointment, and it’s after hours. Now you can make an appointment with your eye doctor when it’s convenient for you, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

To schedule your appointment online, visit our website. There you will find the heading “Schedule an Appointment” with links to each of our locations: Creve Coeur, Missouri; Swansea and Alton, Illinois. Select your preferred location, and the link will take you to a page where you can select your preferred provider, the type of appointment you would like to make (routine eye exams or medical visits) and then the day and time that works best for you. You will need to enter your contact information, any symptoms or problems, and your insurance provider (if applicable). Click “Request Appointment” and you’re done! One of our receptionists will be in touch to confirm your appointment.

Performance Eyecare is a full-service eye care practice, serving the needs of adults and children requiring routine vision care, specialized medical eye care, LASIK eye surgery, and an optical boutique. Our friendly staff and caring doctors look forward to seeing you soon!

For more information please contact us. PS – Did you know you can order your contacts online now too?

Schedule an Eye Appointment in Swansea, Creve Coeur, or Alton!

What to Know About Children’s Eyecare

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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.

Three Different Eye Diseases Diabetics Need to Watch Out For

People with diabetes are at a greater risk for eye disease.

High glucose levels can damage the blood vessels in the eye, which can lead to vision loss or blindness; many eye diseases have no symptoms in the early stages, so regular eye exams are a must for diabetics.

There are many different eye diseases that can plague the diabetic; the list is long, however; this article will focus on three particularly serious eye problems: cataracts, glaucoma, and retinopathy.

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Cataracts

Diabetics are 60% more likely to get cataracts; and at a younger age than people without diabetes. Poor control of blood sugar speeds it up so tight control over your blood sugar and regular eye doctor visits are most important.

Cataracts are cloudy areas that develop within the eye lens, thereby blocking light to the retina where images are processed, and making it harder to see. They don’t cause symptoms like pain, redness or tearing, and some might stay small enough to not affect your eyesight at all.

Large, thick cataracts are generally removed via surgery.

Glaucoma

People with diabetes are 40% more likely to get glaucoma, and the longer you have diabetes, your chances become greater. Glaucoma usually has no symptoms, but it can cause bright halos or colored rings around lights. Left untreated, it can cause an increase in eye pressure damaging the optic nerve and resulting in vision loss and blindness.

Glaucoma can be diagnosed by your ophthalmologist performing these five exams: tonometry (measuring the pressure in your eye), gonioscopy (inspecting your eye’s drainage angle), ophthalmoscopy (inspecting the optic nerve), a field vision test which tests your peripheral vision, and pachymetry, which measures the thickness of your cornea.

Treatment may include eye drops, pills, laser surgery, traditional surgery or a combination of these methods.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is damage to blood vessels inside the retina caused by blood sugar buildup. During the early stages there is no pain and vision is not likely to change until the disease increases in severity. Over time, however; the walls of your blood vessels may leak fluid, and after having diabetes for a while, blood vessels can form scar tissue and pull the retina away from the back of your eye, leading to severe vision loss and possibly even blindness.

Retinopathy is diagnosed during a thorough eye exam using a special dye to find leaking blood vessels.

Treatment in early stages is a laser surgery that seals the blood vessels and stops them from leaking and growing. It can’t restore lost vision, but combined with follow-up care, it can lower the chance of blindness by as much as 90%. Later stage treatment may consist of surgery to remove scar tissue, blood and cloudy fluid from inside the eye, improving vision.

As you can see from these three different eye diseases, keeping control of your blood sugar is most important if you wish to keep your eyesight. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help.

Vision over 40 – Reading Glasses Make Life Easier

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

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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.