January is the ideal time to start getting eye exams

Eye chart and eye exam at Performance Eyecare

January is a great time to schedule your annual eye exam. Just remember, “a new year, a new eye exam” to help you remember.

Eye exams are often pushed aside by people with great vision and even those with poor sight, but routine exams are important regardless of age or physical health.

The eye doctors do much more than determine your prescription, if any, for eyeglasses or contact lenses during your eye exam. They also check them for common eye diseases, assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health.

Eye doctors are often the first health care professionals to detect chronic systematic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

So what does e eye doctor check for during your eye exam? As mentioned above, it’s more than you think.

Eye doctors check the eyes for refractive error, which refers to nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. This can be corrected with eye glasses, contacts or surgery.

They also check for amblyopia, which occurs when the eyes are turned or when one eye has a much different prescription than the other. In addition, they can check for strabismus (crossed or turned eyes), eye teaming problems, focusing problems, eye diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, and other diseases.

Be sure to schedule an eye exam soon, especially if you haven’t one in over a year. You can schedule an appointment at any of our MO or IL locations over the phone or online!

A visit to Performance Eyecare can keep you from having eye strain

We’ve all squinted to see something before, but we don’t have to do that if we wear the correct eyewear.

At Performance Eyecare, we will protect you from eye strain by giving you an eye exam and then prescribing any necessary eyeglasses or contacts.

Preventing Eye Strain

Are you sitting too close to your computer screen? Doing this can cause eye fatigue and blurred vision, which will make you feel like you have to get even closer to the screen.

Is there excessive lighting around your desk? Overhead lighting should be no brighter than your screen or else it will cause eye strain.

Are you wearing old prescription glasses? It’s always important to wear recently prescribed eyeglasses if you have them. You should schedule an appointment if you are forced to wear old eyeglasses. We can also fit you for custom computer eyeglasses.

Does your computer have an old monitor and low-resolution screens? These two things can be hard on your eyes. Upgrade to a high-resolution flat panel display for less eye fatigue.

Do you “turtle” when you sit at your desk? “Turtling” is when you sit with your back rounded, chin pushed forward and head tilted back. Some of us do this to get closer to the screen. You should schedule an appointment with our office if you can’t see the screen clearly with good posture.

Is your mouse too far away? If yes, then you’re forced to lean forward and closer to the screen which will cause strain.

Are you sitting in a bad chair? Your back should be supported so you can sit upright and at a comfortable distance from the screen.

Here are three additional tips to help combat eye strain:

Get an eye exam. This is simple because your eye doctor can identify your vision problems and prescribe special computer glasses for better comfort.

Avoid “computer stare.” It’s easy to forget to blink at a computer screen. Remember to blink often and fully to keep your eyes moist and comfortable.

Winter weather could irritate your eyes

Dry eye conditions in Winter at Performance Eyecare

The bright sun reflecting off the white snow isn’t the only eye hazard you should be worried about this winter. Other hazards that could irritate your eyes are the cold winds and dry air.

As noted by Osteopathic.org, harsh weather conditions can make eyes constantly dry and irritated, especially for those who wear contact lenses. Also, dry eyes can be troublesome when you’re indoors as well since the indoor heat eliminates moisture from the air.

Eye drops can be used a few times a day to help combat the dry-eye problem as well as installing humidifiers throughout your house to increase the indoor levels of humidity.

Staying hydrated and eating proper nutrition, in addition to eye drops and wearing sunglasses outside, can help keep your eyes moist. Studies have found that supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as cold-water fish (sardines, cod, herring, and salmon), and flaxseed oil can relieve dry eye.

Drinking more water can help as well. The Institute of Medicine states that each day women need 91 ounces of water and men need about 125 ounces to stay hydrated. Experts agree that about 20 percent of the water your body needs comes from the food you eat. The best choices for beverages are water, 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices and milk.

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!

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!

Treat Fall allergies

Performance eyecare STL & red eye, pink eye, dry eye & more

Fall allergy triggers are different from the spring and summer ones but can cause just as many symptoms. Here are some ways to keep your eyes healthy during the fall!

Ragweed is the king of fall allergy season. It usually begins releasing pollen in August, but it can last through September and into October. Seventy-five percent of people who are allergic to spring plants are also allergic to ragweed.

Ragweed pollen can travel hundreds of miles with help from the wind, so you could still have allergies from it despite not living near it.

Those allergic to ragweed may also find similar symptoms from foods like bananas, melon, zucchini and other fruits and vegetables.

Mold is another allergy sufferer’s worst nightmare. Many of us think of mold growing in our basement or bathrooms, but mold spores also love wet spots outside. Piles of damp leaves are ideal breeding grounds for mold.

Dust mites are more common in humid summer months, but can be stirred into the air the first time you turn your furnace on. This pesky allergy producer can make you sneeze, wheeze and have runny noses. It’s also common in schools, so kids going back to school may have already experienced it this season.

Fall allergy symptoms include: runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes and nose, and dark circles under the eyes.

So how can you manage these symptoms? Pollen is usually at its peak in the morning, so stay indoors with the doors and windows closed.

Also, clean your heating vents and change the filter before using your heat for the first time. Use a HEPA filter in your heating system to remove pollen, mold and other particles from the air.

You should also use a humidifier to keep the air between 35% and 50% humidity.

Lastly, we all hate raking leaves, but we hate them a little extra when we have allergies. You should wear a mask when you rake the leaves so you don’t breathe in mold spores.

At Performance Eyecare, we can treat our patients for many eye conditions, including red eyes, dry eyes, pink eye and eye infection. Be sure to schedule an appointment with us if you are having trouble with your vision.

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 Eyes Benefit From Vitamin E

Which foods can help keep your eyes healthy and reduce your risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration?

Nuts and seeds are a great source for vitamin E, but what is vitamin E? It’s a “powerful antioxidant that helps protect membranes of cells throughout the body against damage caused by metabolic by-products called free radicals,” according to AllAboutVision.com. The harmful radicals can be a result of environmental pollutants such as cigarette smoke.

Recent studies have suggested that vitamin E can prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.

One study from Age-Related Eye Disease Study involved 5,000 people. Researchers discovered a 25 percent lower risk of developing advanced stages of macular degeneration when vitamin E was taken. It also included high levels of vitamin A and C and zinc.

Additional studies also believe vitamin E may help prevent cataracts. There are also some studies that have provided conflicting findings and some eye doctors believe more research needs to be done before coming to a conclusion.

How much vitamin E should we have?

The U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for adults and children 14 or older is 15 mg per day of vitamin E. It’s recommended 19 mg for women who breastfeed. Those who smoke should consume more vitamin E as well as A and C.

What are the best vitamin E foods?

Sunflower seeds and nuts are among the best resources. Other great sources include whole grain cereal, almonds, frozen spinach, hazelnuts, mixed nuts with peanuts, avocado, and dry roasted peanuts.

There are some side effects of too much vitamin E. A 2011 study suggested men 50 years old and older showed an increased risk of prostate cancer when taking 400 IU of vitamin E compared to men who didn’t. It can also interfere with the body’s blood clotting ability.

It’s important to discuss these potential benefits and side effects with an eye care professional at Performance Eyecare and a general physician.

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.

Visit Performance Eyecare for eye exams

Did you know August is National Eye Exam month? It’s a nice reminder as we get ready to send the kids back to school that eye health is important learning for children, and even for adults.

The Vision Council of America states that 12.2 million Americans need vision correction, but don’t use any. Also, almost 50 percent of parents with children under 12 years old have never taken their children to an eye care professional.

Here are five reasons why you should have an eye exam this month:

1. Save a headache

You might need to visit an eye care doctor if you have unexplained and constant headaches. The stress you’re putting your eyes through could be the cause.

2. Perform well in school

This is vital as one out of four children is believed to have vision problems, which could explain why your child’s grades are slipping. Children won’t always speak up so it’s on you to do the right thing and take your child to get his or her eyes examined.

3. Determine prescription

Like everything, your eyes change. Visiting an eye care professional such as the one you’ll find at Perfomance Eyecare, you can change your prescription so you can see better.

4. Detect eye conditions

An eye doctor is able to spot early onset signs of various health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma and high cholesterol.

5. Prevent conditions

As if the previous four reasons weren’t enough, you can stop eye conditions. Many eye diseases, such as macular degeneration or cataracts, don’t have symptoms. Early detection is extremely important to prevent serious damage.

At Performance Eyecare, we test for glaucoma without the dreaded air puff. Your eye doctor 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.

Swimming With Contact Lenses

The question of the summer: Can I swim with my contact lenses in? The simple answer is: it should be avoided whenever possible to prevent bacteria in your eye and other damage occurring to the lens.
Not only can bacteria grow in your eye, but swimming with your contacts in can result in various eye infections, irritation and worst case scenario – potentially permanent vision problems such as a corneal ulcer.

Not only should you avoid swimming pools while wearing your contact lenses, but also try to avoid swimming in salt water oceans, lakes, hot tubs or even showers and other tap waters.

What to do if water gets in contacts/eyes

  1. Immediately remove your contact lens
  2. Clean and disinfect your contact lenses with appropriate cleaner
  3. Do not put back into eye for a while. Instead; put in a new pair

What are the potential side effects of swimming with my lenses in?

  1. Dry Eyes
  2. Softening of your lenses
  3. Discomfort
  4. Blurred vision
  5. Potential Permanent Damage

What are possible solutions?

  1. While goggles will not 100% protect your eyes from damage, wearing waterproof goggles will certainly protect your lenses from dislodging from your eyes.
  2. Prescription swim goggles
  3. Do not open your eyes under water
  4. LASIK eye surgery
  5. The Vision Retainer Shaping System

If you still have questions, make an appointment at your local Performance Eyecare office!