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.

3 Reasons You Might Need Contact Lenses

As you consider whether to make the switch to contact lenses, you may be wondering if they’re right for you. There are many aspects to take into consideration, and the choice is not an easy one to make. These facts about lenses might just help you see the best option for your personal eye care.

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  • While glasses may be easier to put on, contact lenses allow for ease of use throughout the day; they don’t smudge, fall down, or break. Because of this, they are useful for anyone who plays sports, exercises, or performs moderate to high physical activity throughout the day. Furthermore, contacts aren’t usually affected by weather; no more foggy lenses!
  • Contact lenses, unlike traditional glasses, can temporarily change the appearance of your eye color. With the use of colored contacts, you can change the color or shape of your eye for parties, celebrations, or casual wear: cat eyes, zombie effects, and even solid color contacts are popular in costume during festive holidays, such as Halloween.
  • Contacts can also provide the wearer with a wider range of vision than traditional glasses can. Peripheral vision is not affected by contacts the way glasses are, and distortion is less likely to occur.

There are many advantages to contact lenses, and new advances are being made every day. In the future, there may be smart contact lenses that provide wearers with a virtual reality experience, aside from and more discreetly than the popular headset. It may well be time to trade in those old lenses for some new, improved, stylish contact lenses.

For more information or any questions or concerns you may have, feel free to contact us.

Eye Safety Month Encouraging Parents to Protect Their Children’s Sight

Children’s Eye Health & Safety Month

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With the new school year right around the corner, parents are busily preparing their children to head back to school. In between all the enrollment forms, doctor checkups, and back-to-school shopping, you might not even think to schedule an eye exam for your children. But now is the perfect time! Not only can a child’s academic performance suffer due to untreated vision problems. Serious eye problems can also lead to health complications or even blindness.

Why Does My Child Need Regular Exams?

Because most eye problems are invisible or produce vague symptoms, it’s important that children receive an annual eye exam. Your child’s pediatrician can examine their eyes during regularly scheduled appointments. However, regular vision testing should be conducted starting when a child is about three years old. Regular eye exams can not only catch physiological eye problems that show outward signs. They can also help catch refractive vision errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism) while they are still easily corrected.  If your child is diagnosed with an eye problem, their pediatrician can refer you to an eye health professional who can provide them with the appropriate treatment.

When it comes to your child’s vision health, you shouldn’t only worry about physiological disorders. According to Prevent Blindness, 125,000 eye injuries are caused by common household products every year, and a sports-related eye injury is treated in an emergency room every 13 minutes.  Because these injuries can result in permanent blindness, it’s important to ensure your children’s eyes are protected.  Around the house, secure hazardous objects and chemicals which can cause serious harm if children were to get into them. If your children are active in sports or other outdoor activities, make sure they wear the appropriate protective eye-wear to guard against injury.

Before sending your kids off on the school bus this year, remember that August is Children’s Eye & Safety Month. This is a great time to schedule an appointment to have their eyes checked!  At Performance Eyecare, our highly trained optometry staff is able to assist you and your child with everything from vision exams to glasses and contact lenses.  For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.