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!

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

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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.

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.

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.

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.

What Is The Leading Cause Of Blindness?

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Diabetic retinopathy (DR) is a condition that 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, which 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.

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.

Get Ready for School with a Trip To Performance Eyecare

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends each child has an eye exam prior to starting kindergarten. All children in Illinois are required to have an eye exam prior to kindergarten.

Did you know that 30 percent of learning disorders are caused by visual problems? According to Gary Heiting, OD of AllAboutVision.com, five to ten percent of preschoolers and 25 percent of school-aged children have vision problems. The key to getting your child off to the right start is early detection of vision issues. This is important because children are more likely to be responsive to treatment than adults.

The AOA recommends school-aged children with no vision correction should have an eye exam every two years. Those children with eyeglasses or contacts need to have an annual eye exam, or as recommended by their optometrist.

How Does Good Vision Help My Child in School?

Good eyesight is critical to learning, because children rely heavily on sign and touch to explore the world around them. They use skills such as near vision, distance vision, binocular coordination, eye movement skills, focusing skills, peripheral awareness and hand-eye coordination.

Your family doctor or pediatrician will likely be the first medical professional to examine your child’s eyes. If eye problems are detected, a referral to an eye doctor is likely to happen.

It’s important to choose a time when he or she is usually wide awake and happy! At Performance Eyecare we have a kid-friendly office with a kid’s corner complete with an African animal mural and toys. We understand children can be anxious when going to any doctor so we try to make it as relaxing and enjoyable as possible for them.

To schedule your child’s appointment, find your local office and select your appointment time here!

For more information on why vision matters when kids go back to school, check out the original article: http://www.allaboutvision.com/eye-exam/children.htm

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; 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 often 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, 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. Some might even 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 the greater your chances are. 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. This can result 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. Over time, the walls of your blood vessels may leak fluid, and blood vessels can form scar tissue and pull the retina away from the back of your eye. This can lead 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.