Performance Eyecare will keep your eyes healthy this winter

What’s the number one concern during the cold winter months? Staying warm, of course! Keep in mind that your eye health shouldn’t take a back seat because these cold months can be just as dangerous as the summer ones.

Here are 3 tips to keeping your eyes healthy this winter:

  1. Keep your eyes moist

We all love to sit around a fire or next to the heater during the winter, but doing this can cause dryness and irritation to your eye. Those who already suffer from dry eyes should really be careful where they sit in relation to a heat source as this can be extremely painful.

Dry eye syndrome is just one of the many eye conditions we can treat at Performance Eyecare. Dry eye syndrome is a common condition, especially in women over 40, but it has many available treatment options.

  1. Wear sunglasses with UV protection

Many of us don’t like snow because it keeps us from traveling outside, but here’s another reason to dislike the snow: it’s super bright when the sun is out. As noted by YourSightMatters.com, “snowy conditions double the sun’s effect as ultraviolet rays can enter the eyes from above and are reflected off the snow into your eyes.”

So what’s the best thing to combat the brightness? Wear sunglasses that block 99 or 100 percent of UV light. In addition, wear a hat or a visor for extra protection.

At Performance Eyecare, we carry a lot of UV-protected sunglasses. What’s even better is that we have designer sunglasses, so yes, you can look fashionable even when you’re wearing a heavy coat and bulky pants to stay warm during the winter. Just stop by for a visit soon to find the right pair for you!

  1. Wear goggles

It can be easy for debris to into your eyes when you’re outside. It can be easier when you’re skiing behind someone or having a snowball fight. It’s recommended that you wear goggles for maximum protection as sunglasses won’t be as effective for protection.

Who knew the winter months could be so dangerous for your eyes? Luckily, we know and we also know how to treat your eyes with care and precision. Contact us to make an appointment or check-up soon!

Diabetic Eye Disease Month

Did you know Diabetes can affect your vision?

Diabetes is a debilitating disease affecting over 29 million Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 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.

Foods That Will Keep Your Eyes Healthy

Many of us were told when we were kids to eat our carrots if we want to have healthy eyes. But healthy eyes go beyond just carrots.

Are you eating the right foods to keep your eyes healthy and your vision strong? Here are a couple great options to support your eye health:

Leafy greens have antioxidants, called lutein and zeaxanthin, which can lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts according to recent studies. So that salad isn’t just good for those looking to lose weight.

Eggs are also a great source for these antioxidants. They also have zinc which can help reduce your risk for macular degeneration, according to Paul Dougherty, MD, of Dougherty Laser Vision in Los Angeles.

Food with vitamin C, especially berries and citrus, have also been discovered to reduce your risk of macular degeneration and cataracts. So when you’re eating eggs for breakfast make sure to have a glass of orange juice with it!

Another great vitamin to fight your risk of macular degeneration is vitamin E. Almonds are a great source of vitamin E and the best part is that one handful is roughly half of your recommended daily intake.

Food rich in DHA, such as fatty fish like salmon, tuna, anchovies and trout can help you fight dry eye syndrome. Low levels of DHA, a fatty acid found in your retina, have been linked to dry eye syndrome according to Jimmy Lee, MD, of Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

If you have been having vision problems or due for a checkup, please contact the eye care professionals at Performance Eyecare. We look forward to assisting with all your glasses, contacts, or other eye care needs!

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), according to HealthMeUp.com. 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 Keep My Eyes Healthy?

The best way to treat this problem is to address your stress. Stress can cause major physical damage throughout our body, including our eyes. Finding ways to cope with our stress will lead to less anxiety. This will keep our eyes and the rest of our body healthy.

Fortunately, technology has also helped with controlling the damage done to our eyes due to stress. These new treatments include injections, lasers and surgery. Get your blood pressure checked regularly to help prevent RVO from affecting you and your eyes.

If your vision is becoming blurred, please schedule an appointment to see one of our Performance Eyecare doctors. It’s important to understand why your vision is blurred and to address it immediately. Our team is available for regular wellness exams, as well as emergency appointments to make sure you get the care you need!

Protect your eyes from the allergy season

Allergies usually bring about the sneezing and nasal congestion in a lot of us, but it can also affect your eyes. Luckily, eye allergies can be treated with the same self-help strategies used to clear out the nasal allergies.

According to WebMD.com, one in five Americans suffer from eye allergies – also known as ocular allergies or allergic conjunctivitis. The symptoms pose “little threat” to eyesight and are otherwise just plain annoying.

So what happens if you take over-the-counter allergy medicine and you continue to have red, itchy and puffy eyes? You should seek help from a doctor as these can be caused by infections and other conditions that could damage your eyesight.

You have seasonal allergies if your allergies only happen at certain times of the year. These are caused usually by pollen in the air from grass and trees. Perennial allergies happen throughout the year and are caused by pet dander and dust mites.

What can you do to control eye allergies?

Try staying indoors when pollen count is at its highest, such as mid-morning and early evening, and close the windows and run the air conditioner. Wear sunglasses if you do decide to go outside.

You should also limit your exposure to dust mites and wash your bedding frequently. It’s recommended you clean your floors with a damp mop and replace rugs and carpets if you have pets.

It’s difficult, but try not to rub your eyes when you start having symptoms. It’ll only make the symptoms worse.

If these at-home remedies, seek help from a doctor. There are plenty of over-the-counter and prescription medications that can provide some relief.

The doctors at Performance Eyecare are available to help ease your eye allergies and to rule out any eye infections. If you begin to have symptoms, please don’t wait to schedule an appointment to see us.

Dry Eye Syndrome

How Do I Know If I Have Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry Eye Syndrome is caused by chronic lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of your eye. This is more common among women. Although there is no determining factor for this, we believe dry eyes could possibly be due to hormonal fluctuations.

Symptoms You May Have Dry Eye Syndrome

  1. Blurriness
  2. Sensitivity to light
  3. Irritation from windy conditions
  4. Fatigued eyes, especially at the end of the day
  5. Irritation, or problems wearing contact lenses
  6. Gritty or scratchy feelings
  7. Excessive tearing
  8. Red eyes

If you suffer from any of the above, get in touch with your local Performance Eyecare office to take a look and possibly diagnose for treatment.

Possible Causes

  1. Heavy reading, or excessive digital device use
  2. LASIK eye surgery
  3. Prolonged contacts lens wearing
  4. Living or working in dry environments
  5. Diets lacking in fatty acids
  6. Certain prescriptions such as allergy drugs, beta-blockers, etc
  7. Deficiency of tear-producing glands
  8. Certain health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, lupus & more

Your Comprehensive Eye Exam

A comprehensive eye exam includes a number of tests and procedures to examine and evaluate the health of your eyes and the quality of your vision. These tests range from simple ones, like having you read an eye chart, to complex tests, such as using a high-powered lens to examine the health of the tissues inside of your eyes.

Here are some tests you are likely to encounter during a routine comprehensive eye exam:

Retinoscopy

This test helps your doctor get a good approximation of your eyeglasses prescription. For retinoscopy, the room lights are dimmed and an instrument containing wheels of lenses (called a phoropter) is positioned in front of your eyes. You will be asked to look at an object across the room (usually the big “E” on the wall chart or screen) while your doctor shines a light from a hand-held instrument into your eyes from arm’s length and flips different lenses in front of your eyes.

Based on the way the light reflects from your eye during this procedure, your doctor can get a very good idea of what your eyeglasses prescription should be. This test is especially useful for children and non-verbal patients who are unable to accurately answer the doctor’s questions.

With the widespread use of automated instruments to help determine eyeglass prescriptions today, many doctors forgo performing retinoscopy during comprehensive eye exams. However, this test can provide valuable information about the clarity of the internal lens and other media inside the eye. So doctors who no longer perform this test routinely may still use it when examining someone who may be at risk of cataracts or other internal eye problems.

Refraction

This is the test your doctor uses to determine your exact eyeglasses prescription. During a refraction, the doctor puts the phoropter in front of your eyes and shows you a series of lens choices. He or she will then ask you which of the two lenses in each choice (“1 or 2,” “A or B,” for example) make the letters on the wall chart look clearer.

Based on your answers, your doctor will determine the amount of nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism you have, and the eyeglass lenses required to correct these vision problems (which are called refractive errors).

Autorefractors and aberrometers

Your eye doctor also may use an autorefractor or aberrometer to help determine your glasses prescription. With both devices, a chin rest stabilizes your head while you typically look at a pinpoint of light or other image.

An autorefractor evaluates the way an image is focused on the retina, where vision processing takes place, without the need for you to say anything. This makes autorefractors especially useful when examining young children or people who may have difficulty with a regular (“subjective”) refraction. Automated refractions and subjective refractions are often used together during a comprehensive exam to determine your eyeglasses prescription.

An aberrometer uses advanced wavefront technology to detect even obscure vision errors based on the way light travels through your eye.

Cover test

While there are many ways for your eye doctor to check how your eyes work together, the cover test is the simplest and most common.

During a cover test, the eye doctor will have you focus on a small object at distance and will then cover each of your eyes alternately while you stare at the target. As they do this, eye doctors observe how much each eye has to move when uncovered to pick up the fixation target. The test is then repeated as you focus on a near object.

Cover tests can detect even very subtle misalignments that can interfere with your eyes working together properly (binocular vision) and cause amblyopia or “lazy eye.”

Slit-lamp examination

The slit lamp is an instrument that the eye doctor uses to examine the health of your eyes. Also called a biomicroscope, the slit lamp gives your doctor a highly magnified view of the structures of the eye, including the lens behind the pupil, in order to thoroughly evaluate them for signs of infection or disease.

The slit lamp is basically an illuminated binocular microscope that’s mounted on a table and includes a chin rest and head band to position the patient’s head properly. With the help of hand-held lenses, your doctor can also use the slit lamp to examine the retina (the light-sensitive inner lining of the back of the eye.)

Tonometry (glaucoma testing)

Tonometry is the name for a variety of tests that can be performed to determine the pressure inside the eye. Elevated internal eye pressure can cause glaucoma, which is vision loss due to damage to the sensitive optic nerve in the back of the eye.

The most common method used for tonometry is the “air puff” test – where an automated instrument discharges a small burst of air to the surface of your eye. Based on your eye’s resistance to the puff of air, the machine calculates the pressure inside your eye – called your intraocular pressure (IOP).

Though the test itself can be startling, nothing but air touches your eye during this measurement and there’s no risk of eye injury from the air puff test.

Another popular way to measure eye pressure is with an instrument called an applanation tonometer, which is usually attached to a slit lamp. For this test, a yellow eye drop is placed on your eyes. Your eyes will feel slightly heavy when the drops start working. This is not a dilating drop – it is simply a numbing agent combined with a yellow dye. Then the doctor will have you stare straight ahead in the slit lamp while he or she gently rests the bright-blue glowing probe of the tonometer on the front of each eye and manually measures the intraocular pressure.

Like the air puff test, applanation tonometry is painless and takes just a few seconds.

Since glaucoma is often the result of an increase of pressure inside the eye, these are important tests for ensuring the long-term health of your eyes.

Summary

These are the most common tests performed during a standard comprehensive eye exam. Depending on your particular needs, your doctor may perform additional tests or schedule them to be performed at a later date.

Performance Eyecare carries contacts for ‘hard-to-fit’ eyes

eye doctor in Swansea IL & St. Louis

Not everyone is an ideal candidate for contact lenses. If you have one or more of the following conditions, contact lens wear may be more difficult:

  • astigmatism
  • dry eyes
  • presbyopia
  • giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)
  • keratoconus
  • post-refractive surgery (such as LASIK)

But “difficult” doesn’t mean impossible. Often, people with these conditions can wear contacts quite successfully. Let’s take a closer look at each situation – and possible contact lens solutions.

Contact lenses for astigmatism

Astigmatism is a very common condition where the curvature of the front of the eye isn’t round, but is instead shaped more like a football or an egg. This means one curve is steeper or flatter than the curve 90 degrees away. Astigmatism won’t keep you from wearing contact lenses – it just means you need a different kind of lens.

Lenses specially designed to correct astigmatism are called “toric” lenses. Most toric lenses are soft lenses. Toric soft lenses have different corrective powers in different lens meridians, and design elements to keep the lens from rotating on the eye (so the varying corrective powers are aligned properly in front of the different meridians of the cornea).

In some cases, toric soft lenses may rotate too much on the eye, causing blur. If this happens, different brands that have different anti-rotation designs can be tried. If soft lens rotation continues to be a problem, gas permeable (GP) lenses (with or without a toric design) can also correct astigmatism.

Dry eyes can make contact lens wear difficult and cause a number of symptoms, including:

  • a gritty, dry feeling
  • feeling as if something is in your eye
  • a burning sensation
  • eye redness (especially later in the day)
  • blurred vision

If you have dry eyes, the first step is to treat the condition. This can be done a number of ways, including artificial tears, medicated eye drops, nutritional supplements, and a doctor-performed procedure called punctal occlusion to close ducts in your eyelids that drain tears away from your eyes.

Once the dry eye condition is treated and symptoms are reduced or eliminated, contact lenses can be tried. Certain soft contact lens materials work better than others for dry eyes. Also, GP lenses are sometimes better than soft lenses if there’s a concern about dry eyes since these lenses don’t dry out the way soft lenses can.

Replacing your contacts more frequently and reducing your wearing time each day (or removing them for specific tasks, such as computer work) can also reduce dry eye symptoms when wearing contacts.

Contact lenses for giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC)

Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) is an inflammatory reaction on the inner surface of the eyelids. One cause of GPC is protein deposits on soft contact lenses. (These deposits are from components of your tear film that stick to your lenses and become chemically altered.)

Usually, changing to a one-day disposable soft lens will solve this problem, since you just throw these lenses away at the end of the day before protein deposits can accumulate on them. Gas permeable lenses are also often a good solution, as protein deposits don’t adhere as easily to GP lenses, and lens deposits on GP lenses are more easily removed with daily cleaning.

In some cases of GPC, a medicated eye drop may be required to reduce the inflammation before you can resume wearing contact lenses.

Contact lenses for presbyopia

Presbyopia is the normal loss of focusing ability up close when you reach your 40s.

Today, there are many designs of bifocal and multifocal contact lenses to correct presbyopia. Another option for presbyopia is monovision. This is wearing a contact lens in one eye for distance vision and a lens in the other eye that has a modified power for near vision.

During your contact lens fitting we can help you decide whether bifocal/multifocal contact lenses or monovision is best for you.

Contact lenses for keratoconus

Keratoconus is a relatively uncommon eye condition where the cornea becomes thinner and bulges forward. The term “keratoconus” comes from the Greek terms for cornea (“kerato”) and cone-shaped (“conus”). The exact cause of keratoconus remains unknown, but it appears that oxidative damage from free radicals plays a role.

Gas permeable contact lenses are the treatment option of choice for mild and moderate keratoconus. Because they are rigid, GP lenses can help contain the shape of the cornea to prevent further bulging of the cornea. They also can correct vision problems caused by keratoconus that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or soft contacts.

In some cases, a soft contact lens is worn under the GP lens for greater comfort. This technique is called “piggybacking.” Another option for some patients is a hybrid contact lens that has a GP center, surrounded by a soft “skirt”.Contact lenses after corrective eye surgery

More than one million Americans each year have LASIK surgery to correct their eyesight. Sometimes, vision problems remain after surgery that can’t be corrected with eyeglasses or a second surgical procedure. In these cases, gas permeable contact lenses can often restore visual acuity and eliminate problems like glare and halos at night.

GP lenses are also used to correct vision problems after corneal transplant surgery, including irregular astigmatism that cannot be corrected with eyeglasses.

GP lenses prescribed after LASIK and corneal transplants sometimes have a special design called a “reverse geometry” design to better conform to the altered shape of the cornea. The back surface of these lenses is flatter in the center and steeper in the periphery. (This is the opposite of a normal GP lens design, which is steeper in the center and flattens in the periphery.)

Problem-solving contact lens fittings cost more

Fitting contact lenses to correct or treat any of the above conditions will generally take much more time than a regular contact lens fitting. These “hard-to-fit” cases usually require a series of office visits and multiple pairs of trial lenses before the final contact lens prescription can be determined. Also, the lenses required for these conditions are usually more costly than regular soft contact lenses. Therefore, fees for these fittings are higher than fees for regular contact lens fittings. Call our office for details.

Find out if you can wear contact lenses

If you are interested in wearing contact lenses, call our office to schedule a consultation. Even if you’ve been told you’re not a good candidate for contacts because you have one of the above conditions or for some other reason, we may be able to help you wear contact lenses safely and successfully.

Causes Of Eye Allergies

Many allergens (substances that can evoke an allergic response) are in the air, where they come in contact with your eyes and nose. Airborne allergens include pollen, mold, dust and pet dander. Other causes of allergies, such as certain foods or bee stings, do not typically affect the eyes the way airborne allergens do. Adverse reactions to certain cosmetics or drugs such as antibiotic eyedrops also may cause eye allergies.

Similar to processes that occur with other types of allergic responses, the eye may overreact to a substance perceived as harmful even though it may not be. For example, dust that is harmless to most people can cause excessive tear production and mucus in eyes of overly sensitive, allergic individuals. Eye allergies are often hereditary.

Allergies can trigger other problems, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) and asthma. Most of the more than 22 million Americans who suffer from allergies also have allergic conjunctivitis, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Allergy signs and symptoms

Common signs of allergies include: red, swollen, tearing or itchy eyes; runny nose; sneezing; coughing; difficulty breathing; itchy nose, mouth or throat, and headache from sinus congestion.

What causes eye allergies?

Many allergens are in the air, where they come in contact with your eyes and nose. Airborne allergens include pollen, mold, dust and pet dander. Other causes of allergies, such as certain foods or bee stings, do not typically affect the eyes the way airborne allergens do. Adverse reactions to certain cosmetics or drugs such as antibiotic eyedrops also may cause eye allergies.

Eye allergy treatment

Avoidance. The most common “treatment” is to avoid what’s causing your eye allergy. Itchy eyes? Keep your home free of pet dander and dust, and stay inside with the air conditioner on when a lot of pollen is in the air. If you have central air conditioning, use a high quality filter that can trap most airborne allergens and replace it frequently.

Medications. If you’re not sure what’s causing your eye allergies, or you’re not having any luck avoiding them, your next step will probably be medication to alleviate the symptoms.

Over-the-counter and prescription medications each have their advantages; for example, over-the-counter products are often less expensive, while prescription ones are often stronger.

Eyedrops are available as simple eye washes, or they may have one or more active ingredients such as antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers. Antihistamines relieve many symptoms caused by airborne allergens, such as itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing.

Decongestants clear up redness. They contain vasoconstrictors, which make the blood vessels in your eyes smaller, lessening the apparent redness. They treat the symptom, not the cause.

In fact, with extended use, the blood vessels can become dependent on the vasoconstrictor to stay small. When you discontinue the eyedrops, the vessels actually get bigger than they were in the first place. This process is called rebound hyperemia, and the result is that your red eyes worsen over time.

Some products have ingredients that act as mast cell stabilizers, which alleviate redness and swelling. Mast cell stabilizers are similar to antihistamines. But while antihistamines are known for their immediate relief, mast cell stabilizers are known for their long-lasting relief.

Other medications used for allergies include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids. In some cases, combinations of medications may be used.

Immunotherapy. You may also benefit from immunotherapy, in which an allergy specialist injects you with small amounts of allergens to help your body gradually build up immunity to them.

Eye allergies and contact lenses

Even if you are generally a successful contact lens wearer, allergy season can make your contacts uncomfortable. Airborne allergens can get on your lenses, causing discomfort. Allergens can also stimulate the excessive production of natural substances in your tears that bind to your contacts, adding to your discomfort and allergy symptoms.

Ask your eye doctor about eyedrops that can help relieve your symptoms and keep your contact lenses clean. Certain drops can discolor or damage contact lenses, so ask your doctor first before trying out a new brand.

Another alternative is daily disposable contact lenses, which are discarded nightly. Because you replace them so frequently, these lenses are unlikely to develop irritating deposits that can build up over time and cause or heighten allergy-related discomfort.

Blurred vision at 40

Blurred Vision Eye Care at Performance Eyecare

Are you 40 years old and beginning to experience blurred near vision when reading or working at the computer? You may have developed presbyopia.

Presbyopia is widespread in the United States as the people in the country are growing older than in previous years. The growing number of older citizens generates a huge demand for eyewear, contact lenses and surgery that can help those with presbyopia deal with their failing vision. According to the World Health Organization, more than a billion people in the world were presbyopic as of 2005.

A major sign that someone has developed presbyopia is when they have to hold books, magazines, newspapers, menus and other reading materials at arm’s length in order to focus properly. When they perform near work, they may develop headaches, eye strain or feel fatigued.

Presbyopia is an age-related process, which differs from astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness. Some treatment options include eyeglasses with bifocal or progressive addition lenses. Reading glasses or multifocal contact lenses are also available.

At Performance Eyecare, we create eyeglass lenses in our office with our state-of-the-art edging instruments.

Surgical options to treat presbyopia are also available, although some surgical procedures correct the problem only temporarily for a limited amount of time.

For more information or to test your eyes for presbyopia, schedule an appointment with your local PEC office!

Performance Eyecare conducts stress-free eye exams

Performance EyeCare STL Eye Examination

We understand the word “exam” can add some unnecessary stress to your life, so we wanted to share with you what a routine comprehensive eye exam usually consists of:

As noted by Gary Heiting, OD, and Jennifer Palombi, OD, the following is what makes up a routine eye exam:

Visual Acuity Test

This measures the sharpness of your vision and it’s usually performed with a projected eye chart to measure the distance visual acuity. It also consists of a small, handheld acuity chart to measure your near vision as well.

Color Blindness Test

This test can check your color vision as well as alert your eye doctor to any possible eye health problems that may affect your color vision.

Cover Test

During this test, your eye doctor will have you focus on a small object across the room and will then cover each of your eyes alternately while you stare at the target. The doctor then assesses whether the uncovered eye must move to pick up the fixation target, which could indicate strabismus or a more subtle binocular vision problem that could cause eye strain or amblyopia, known as “lazy eye.”

Retinoscopy

Your eye doctor may perform this test early in the eye exam to obtain an approximation of your eyeglass prescription.

In retinoscopy, the room lights will be dimmed and you will be given a large target (usually the big “E” on the chart) to fixate on. As you stare at the “E,” your eye doctor will shine a light at your eye and flip lenses in a machine in front of your eyes.

Refraction

During a refraction, the doctor puts the instrument called a phoropter in front of your eyes and shows you a series of lens choices. He or she will then ask you which of the two lenses in each choice looks clearer.

Based on your answers, your eye doctor will continue to fine-tune the lens power until reaching a final eyeglass prescription.

Autorefractors and Aberrometers

An autorefractor, like a manual refraction, determines the lens power required to accurately focus light on your retina. Autorefractors are especially useful in certain cases such as evaluating young children who may not sit still, pay attention or interact with the eye doctor adequately for an accurate manual refraction.

Slit-Lamp Examination

The slit lamp, also called a biomicroscope, allows your eye doctor to get a highly magnified view of the structures of your eye to thoroughly evaluate your eye health and detect any signs of infection or disease.

During this test, your doctor will have you place your chin on the chin rest of the slit lamp and will then shine the lamp’s light at your eye. The doctor looks through a set of oculars (much like a microscope in a science lab) and examines each part of your eye in turn.

He or she will first examine the structures of the front of your eye (lids, cornea, conjunctiva, iris, etc.). Then, with the help of a special high-powered lens, your doctor will view the inside of your eye (retina, optic nerve, macula and more).

The Glaucoma Test

A common glaucoma test is the “puff-of-air” test, technically known as non-contact tonometry, or NCT. (This test was immortalized on the hit TV show Friends, when Rachel couldn’t sit still for it.)

For NCT, the test begins with you putting your chin on the machine’s chin rest. While you look at a light inside the machine, the doctor or a trained assistant will puff a small burst of air at your open eye. It is completely painless, and the tonometer does not touch your eye.

At Performance Eyecare, we do not use the air puff. Instead, our doctors instills an eye drop and determines your eye pressure while looking with the microscope. There is no pain and this method is much more accurate than blowing air into your eye.

Pupil Dilation

To obtain a better view of the eye’s internal structures, your eye doctor instills dilating drops to enlarge your pupils. Dilating drops usually take about 20 to 30 minutes to start working. When your pupils are dilated, you will be sensitive to light (because more light is getting into your eye) and you may notice difficulty focusing on objects up close. These effects can last for up to several hours, depending on the strength of the drop used.

Once the drops have taken effect, your eye doctor will use various instruments to look inside your eyes. You should bring sunglasses with you to your eye exam, to minimize glare and light sensitivity on the way home. If you forget to bring sunglasses, the staff usually will give you a disposable pair.

Visual Field Test

In some cases, your eye doctor may want to check for the possible presence of blind spots (scotomas) in your peripheral or “side” vision by performing a visual field test. These types of blind spots can originate from eye diseases such as glaucoma.

Analysis of blind spots also may help identify specific areas of brain damage caused by a stroke or tumor.

Dry Eyes and Allergen Problems? We Can Help!

There are many unpleasant feelings in this world – an itch you can’t reach to scratch, having a hangnail or two, and, of course, dry, itchy eyes that never seem to go away!

Allergen problems are oftentimes hereditary and happen due to processes that are associated with other types of allergic responses. When an allergic reaction takes place, your eyes may be overreacting to something that they perceive as harmful, even though it usually isn’t harmful. These usually harmless substances that bother your eyes so much are called allergens!

One very common allergen that most people experience problems with is dust. It is harmless to most people, but in allergic individuals, dust can cause an excessive production of mucus and tears in the eyes.

Did you know that about 30% to 50% of all residents in the United States have allergy symptoms and problems? About 75% of those symptoms also affect the eyes!

What Are The Symptoms?

How do you know you are experiencing trouble with allergens? Here are the typical symptoms one experiences when combating allergens:

  • Red, swollen, or itchy eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing and coughing
  • Itchy nose, mouth, or throat
  • Headache from sinus congestion
  • Fatigue and a lack of sleep

How To Deal With Dry Eyes

What can you do if you’re experiencing dry eyes and problems with allergies? We recommend the following tips to help you through allergen issues:

Avoid The Triggers – One of the most common pieces of advice given to those who suffer from allergens is to avoid whatever causes your eye allergy to flare up as much as you possibly can. If you have dry, itchy eyes, do your best to keep your home free of dust and pet dander, and remember to keep your pets off of the furniture. When the pollen count is high, stay indoors with the air conditioner on. During the cold months, use high quality furnace filters, which will trap common allergens. Be sure also to replace your furnace filters frequently.

Take Medicine – If you’re unsure what’s causing your eye allergies to flare up or you cannot avoid the allergens that affect you, your next best bet is to probably take some medicine to at least help alleviate the symptoms you might be experiencing. You can also take over-the-counter drops, but be sure to ask your doctor which kind of eye drop is right for you!

Use Eye Drops – Nothing feels as refreshing and alleviating as eye drops to dry, itchy eyes. Eye drops may have one or more active ingredients to help with symptoms such as antihistamines, decongestants, or mast cell stabilizers that inhibit inflammation. Be sure to talk to your doctor or to me about using eye drops for your dry eyes!

Talk to Me If You Wear Contact Lenses – You may generally wear contact lenses pretty successfully, but allergies can make your contacts uncomfortable or even unbearable. Airborne allergens can get on your lenses and can also stimulate the excessive production of natural substances in your tears. These can bind to your contacts and cause blurry vision and even more discomfort to occur. Ask us about eye drops that can help relieve your symptoms and also help keep your contact lenses clean.

Try Daily Disposable Contact Lenses – If you wear contact lenses and experience allergy problems, you may want to consider acquiring daily disposable contact lenses, which you discard at the end of the day. Because you replace these types of contacts much more frequently than usual, you are unlikely to develop irritating deposits that can build up over time and cause or increase any allergy-related discomfort you may feel.

If you’re experiencing dry eyes and allergy problems and would like to make an appointment, give your local Performance Eyecare office a call or schedule your appointment online. You don’t have to suffer from dry, itchy eyes – just come see us, and we can make your eyes feel so much better!