Signs You Need an Eye Exam

February 8th, 2017

If there is ever a moment you question whether you should get an eye exam, chance are that you, in fact, should. If you are questioning it, it is probably because you are having eye complications or cannot remember the last time you had an eye exam. To help make your eye exam decision more clear, we have gathered some signs for you to look out for.  Here are some signs you need to have an eye exam:

  1.     You can’t remember the last time you had an eye exam.
  2.     Your eyes are red, itchy and/or dry.
  3.     You experience light flashes, floaters and/or spotty vision.
  4.     You are over 50 years old
  5.     Your family has a history of diabetes and/or glaucoma.
  6.     You have diabetes or other vision risk diseases.
  7.     You experience eye strain, headaches, and blurred vision constantly.
  8.     You experience motion sickness, dizziness, or difficulty following moving objects.
  9.     You have experienced head trauma that has affected your vision.
  10. You have difficulty seeing at night.
  11. You are constantly squinting to see well.

Remember that you should generally aim towards having one eye exam a year, especially if you are over the age of 50. Frequent eye exams can help catch potential vision risks earlier in time. Don’t wait until these signals become apparent. Contact Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons if you are having any of these signals.

 

Bad Habits that Hurt your Eyes

January 11th, 2017

Many times, the bad habits we pick up seem insignificant. In reality, many of such habits could actually be harmful for your well being and even your vision! Ensuring optimal vision is part of our job, so follow along to learn what bad habits could be negatively affecting your vision.

Pulling all nighters:

Not getting enough sleep does not only result in blood shot eyes and dark circles. It can also result in pesky eye twitches, dry eyes and blurry vision.

Not drinking enough water:

If you’re not drinking enough water throughout the day, the chances of dehydration are high. Dehydration is not only bad for your health but could also cause dry eyes, red eyes and puffy eyelids. This is due to your tear dots not having enough fluid to produce tears.

Staring into the Sun:

Although this is usually obvious, there are times when people tend to look at it anyway. This however can be dangerous to your vision since the ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause damage to eye tissues and lead to muscular degeneration and cataracts.

Not wearing sunglasses all year round:

It’s true that we only remember to wear sunglasses on bright sunny and warm day like in those in the summer. For reasons mentioned above, sunglasses are important tools to help protect your eyes from sun damage all year round.

Reading and writing in the dark:

Maybe you enjoy reading before bed or writing in your journal about your day before going to sleep. Avoid doing these in the dark. Try having a small desk lamp on top of your nightstand to help you see. Otherwise, doing this can cause eyestrain and headaches.

Avoiding regular eye exams:

Many times, a regular eye exam is the only way to help catch some serious diseases that have no warning signs until they take a hold of your vision. Talk to an ophthalmologist to see how frequently you should be receiving an eye exam and make sure to schedule them as needed.  

 

Advantages of Laser Vision Correction Surgery

December 14th, 2016

Laser eye surgery procedure has become very popular over the past few years. For patients with impaired vision it can offer many advantages including immediate vision improvement and the ability to put away costly glasses or contact lenses. According to the Food and Drug Administration, about 600,000 Lasik procedures are performed annually in the U.S.. LASIK or Laser in-Situ Keratornileusis works fairly simply by treating refractive errors by removing corneal tissue beneath the surface of the cornea. This procedure combines the accuracy of the excimer laser with the benefits of Lamellar Keratoplasty (LK). LK has been performed on a limited basis since 1949 to correct higher levels of nearsightedness and moderate amounts of farsightedness. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of LASIK surgery.

  • Freedom from Glasses or Contacts – One of the top benefits of LASIK surgery is that many patients find that they have dramatic improvement in their overall vision. This may mean that the expense of buying glasses, contact lenses and the paraphernalia that goes with it has just gone away! Ask any contact lens wearer who totes around solution and cases and you know what a sense of freedom this can mean. Vision is corrected almost immediately or by the day after LASIK laser eye surgery.
  •  Little to No Pain – Most patients who opt for LASIK surgery report very little, if not zero, pain. Recovery is also fairly quick and usually no bandages or stitches are required after LASIK laser eye surgery. Many patients find that a few days of taking it easy and wearing sunglasses has them back to normal and back to work quickly. 
  • Job/Career Opportunities – Some patients find that after LASIK they have more opportunities in careers that do not accept employees with contacts or glasses such as some military positions. 

Talk to our specialists here at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons to discuss the advantages and risks of any surgery and whether you are a candidate for LASIK.

What is Retinal Detachment?

November 9th, 2016

As the leading cause of blindness in the United States, retinal disorders are serious conditions that require attentive medical care. One such disorder that you may have heard of is retinal detachment. Let’s examine the important function of the retina and the serious problem called retinal detachment.

The retina is the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of our eye. Light rays are focused onto the retina through our cornea, pupil and lens. The retina takes that light and converts it into impulses that travel through the optic nerve to our brain, where they are interpreted as the images we see. A healthy, intact retina is key to clear vision.

When a retina pulls away from the normal position it is in, it is called a retinal detachment. Symptoms that this may be happening include: an increase in floaters which are spots or cobweb type features that “float” into our line of vision, and/or light flashes in the eye that reduce the field of vision.  According to the National Eye Institute, a retinal detachment is also more likely to occur in people who: are extremely nearsighted, have had a retinal detachment in the other eye, have a family history of retinal detachment, have had cataract surgery, have other eye diseases or disorders, such as retinoschisis, uveitis, degenerative myopia, or lattice degeneration or have had an eye injury. If you have risk factors for retinal detachment, and know the warning signs you should seek immediate medical attention if you have any of these signs.

Your ophthalmologist can diagnose this if what you are experiencing is, in fact, a retinal detachment. A retinal tear or a detached retina is repaired with a surgical procedure usually a laser treatment or freezing treatment depending upon your situation. In some cases a scleral buckle, a tiny synthetic band, is attached to the outside of the eyeball to gently push the wall of the eye against the detached retina. If necessary, a vitrectomy may also be performed. Talk to your doctor about what procedure may be right for you.

 

What is Strabismus?

October 12th, 2016

As parents we worry about so many aspects of our children’s lives. Are they eating healthy, getting enough sleep and progressing developmentally. These are among some of the worries. Even as infants we worry about all sorts of milestones like crawling, walking and talking. One common worry that parents face is their child’s eyesight. One such visual problem that is found in approximately 4 percent of all children in the United States is strabismus. What is this disorder, what causes it and how is it treated?  Let’s explore some of these questions.

 

What is Strabismus?

Strabismus, or crossed eyes, is a condition in which both eyes do not look at the same place at the same time. It usually occurs in people who have poor eye muscle control or are very farsighted. Strabismus is the misalignment or wandering of one or both eyes either inward (called esotropia), outward (exotropia), up (hypertropia), or down (hypotropia). Parents may notice that this occurs when a child is tired or may occur constantly. While it is fairly typical for newborn’s eyes to wander or cross occasionally during the first few months of life, they should straighten out by 4-6 months.

 

Causes

Many things and/or events can cause a strabismus. They include genetics, inappropriate development of the “fusion center” of the brain, problems with the controlled center of the brain, injuries to muscles or nerves or other problems involving the muscles or nerves. Strabismus can be present at birth or develop in childhood. In most cases, the cause is unknown, although kids with a family history of strabismus are at an increased risk for it. Strabismus is especially common among children with disorders that may affect the brain, such as: Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Hydrocephalus, Brain tumors, and Prematurity.

 

Treatment

There are several treatment options to to improve eye alignment and coordination. They include:

 

  • Glasses – For some patients this is the only treatment that is needed.
  • Prism Lenses – These special lenses have a prescription for prism power in them.
  • Vision Therapy – Vision therapy trains the eyes and brain to work together more effectively. These eye exercises can help problems with eye movement, eye focusing and eye teaming and reinforce the eye-brain connection.
  • Surgery – Surgery can change the length or position of the muscles around the eye so they appear straight.

 

Laser Vision Correction Surgery

September 13th, 2016

Boston Eye Physicians & Surgeons has served patients in New England and around the world for nearly 75 years. We are often asked about the procedure known as Laser Vision Correction Surgery or LASIK Surgery. LASIK or Laser in-Situ Keratornileusis treats refractive errors by removing corneal tissue beneath the surface of the cornea. This procedure combines the accuracy of the excimer laser with the benefits of Lamellar Keratoplasty (LK). LK has been performed on a limited basis since 1949 to correct higher levels of nearsightedness and moderate amounts of farsightedness.

Here at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons we are proud that we have one of the top Ophthalmologists in LASIK surgery on our team. Dr. Ernest Kornmehl has been recognized as Boston Magazine’s Top Ophthalmologist / LASIK surgeon in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. He is also internationally recognized for his expertise in vision correction surgery, including LASIK laser eye surgery, PRK, KAMRA Inlay, LASEK, CK Surgery, Dry Eye, Contact Lenses, Eye Exams, Cataract Surgery and external disease. With more than two decades of experience in ophthalmology, he provides comprehensive treatment for a variety of refractive errors including dry eye, cataracts, and presbyopia. Dr. Kornmehl understands the value of clear vision, and has the knowledge and surgical skill to make it possible for you. Contact his Boston laser eye surgery practice today to learn how he can help.

Refractive surgery includes several surgical techniques designed to improve problems in focusing the eyes, also known as refractive problems. Until recently only glasses or contact lenses could correct refractive problems. Refractive problems include light not being focused or “refracted” precisely on the retina. Vision will be blurred if the cornea, lens and eye length place an image in front of the retina. This is known as myopia, or nearsightedness. If the cornea is not round (like a basketball), but instead has unequal curves (like a football), the image is distorted. This is called astigmatism. An eye with astigmatism may have myopia as well. Refractive problems such as myopia and astigmatism are solved by helping the eye to focus light using glasses, contacts or refractive surgery. Refractive surgery techniques aim to change the eye’s focus by changing the shape of the cornea.

Make an appointment with Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons to find out if you are a candidate for laser vision corrective surgery and to meet our staff today.

 

Contact Lens Care

August 10th, 2016

Are you one of the 30 million Americans that wear contact lenses? These rigid or soft plastic lenses are a wildly popular alternative to glasses. They have been around since the late 1930’s and have become a favorite for people needing vision correction. However, while contact lenses are safely used by millions of people every day, they do carry a risk of eye infection, especially if they are not cared for properly. The single best way to avoid eye infections is to follow proper lens care guidelines as prescribed by your eye care professional. Here are some quick reminders of the best way to care for your contact lenses regardless of brand or style.

  • Always wash your hands before touching contact lenses. Your hands carry bacteria that can not be seen but can easily be transmitted to the lenses when either putting them in or taking them out. Be sure to also dry your hands with a lint free towel.
  • Remove contact lenses when going into water such as a pool or hot tub.
  • Use saline solution or rub as your eye doctor discussed with you. Do not use spit or tap water. Saliva is not a sterile solution.
  • Follow the specific contact lens cleaning and storage guidelines from your eye care professional and the solution manufacturer.
  • This “rub and rinse” (rub your contact lenses with your fingers, then rinse the lenses with solution before soaking them) method is considered by some experts to be a superior method of cleaning, even if the solution you are using is a “no-rub” variety.
  • Clean the lens case with fresh solution and let air dry.
  • Do not re-use old solution even if you are trying to save money. This is a recipe for an eye infection that will cost you more in medication than the solution would cost.
  • Keep the tip of the solution bottle away from any surfaces. Keep the top securely fastened.
  • Wear and replace contact lenses according to the schedule prescribed by your eye care professional.
  • Do not transfer contact lens solution into smaller travel-size containers. This can affect the sterility of the solution, which can lead to an eye infection.

What is Farsightedness?

July 12th, 2016

Do you have trouble seeing things up close such as reading newsprint, a book or other activities such as sewing? Do you notice blurred vision at night, especially, or headaches after reading? You may have a common vision issue called farsightedness. Let’s review what this disorder and treatment options.

Farsightedness or hyperopia means that a person can see things at a distance more easily than they see things up close. Farsightedness occurs when light entering the eye is focused behind the retina instead of directly on it. This is caused by an eye that is too short, whose cornea is not curved enough, or whose lens sits farther back in the eye than normal. This vision disorder usually runs in the family so, if you have it, you may want to monitor your children as they grow and especially when they enter school.

Symptoms of Farsightedness:

  • Tension around the eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • blurry vision up close
  • squinting to see better
  • an aching or burning sensation around your eyes
  • a headache after reading or other tasks that require you to focus on something up close

Diagnosing Farsightedness:

It’s easy to diagnose farsightedness during a basic eye examination. Your eye doctor will dilate (widen) your pupils and examine the lenses in your eye.

Treatment Options

  • Contacts for farsightedness – Contact lenses correct blurry, farsighted eyesight. Be sure to consider all of your options, like how often you’d like to change your contacts or how long you’ll be wearing them in one day.
  • Prescription glasses – Eyeglasses are another option for correcting farsightedness. It’s a lifestyle choice between contacts vs. eyeglasses. Consider the options of both.
  • Laser surgery for the eye –  An ophthalmologist uses a laser to reshape part of your eye. Contact your insurance agent and ask what your policy covers.

Healthy Habits for Better Vision

June 17th, 2016

Like many people, you probably worry about your healthy. You may even exercise and take your vitamins daily but are you caring for your eyes enough? A recent Bausch + Lomb survey found that while 70 percent of people asked would rather lose a limb than their sight, they do not necessarily know how to take care of their eyes properly. What are you doing to maintain your vision?  Here are some tips so you don’t take your vision for granted.

 

  • Eat for Good Vision – Eating for good vision means eating a rainbow of foods.  Research suggests that a colorful array of fruits and vegetables, such as kale, spinach, carrots, and berries, also may help protect the eyes by providing lutein and zeaxanthin, two powerful antioxidants that may decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
  • Stop Smoking – Smoking puts you at risk for cataracts, optic nerve damage and macular degeneration.  Talk to your doctor about help with quitting.
  • UV Protection – Don’t just protect your skin with sunscreen protect your eyes from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun with protective glasses. Choose a pair of sunglasses that has 99 percent UVA/UVB protection. If you are planning to be near reflective surfaces such as snow, water or the beach, it may be best to wear wraparound sunglasses to block out as many UV rays as possible.
  • Unplug – Too many of us work at a computer all day and spend much of our free time surfing the net or checking social media. This can put serious stress on your eyes. A good rule to follow is 20/20/20. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Avoid Makeup Issues – Regularly replace or clean all makeup that is used near your eyes. Brushes can accumulate bacteria over time causing infections and inflammation. Replace your mascara every four to six months and eye shadows every year — sooner if they’re made with a liquid or cream base.
  • Get regular exams – According to the National Institutes of Health, a complete eye exam is recommended every five to 10 years for those between the ages of 20 and 39, but if you wear contacts, you should see an eyecare professional annually. If you are over 40 and healthy, an eye exam every two to four years is recommended.

Allergies and your Eyes

May 18th, 2016

Spring is such a great season. Warm winds, longer daylight hours and, unfortunately, allergies. Do you get red, itchy, watery eyes every year around this time? One in five Americans get eye allergy symptoms at this time of year, so you are not alone. Finding relief may be hard, but we have a few suggestions for you so you can enjoy the outdoors, again, this spring and summer.

What are seasonal eye allergies?

Eye allergies are also called ocular allergies and have common symptoms that are both annoying and can be unsightly. Symptoms could include:

  • red, itchy, burning, and watery eyes
  • swollen or puffy eyelids
  • temporary blurriness

If using over the counter allergy medicines do not seem to reduce symptoms see your eye doctor to check for other eye disorders. Seasonal eye allergies happen only at certain times of the year—usually early spring through summer and into autumn. Usually the cause is pollen from trees, flowers, grasses or possibly the mold from spores in the yard.

Methods to Reduce your Eye Allergy Symptoms

  • Keep your windows shut during the night due to tree and flower pollen being released early in the morning.  Run the air conditioning during the night to keep air moving. This will keep pollen out of your bedroom and home.
  • Stay indoors when pollen counts are highest, usually in mid-morning and early evening.
  • Clean surfaces regularly to keep pollen from building up and irritating you in your home.
  • Wear sunglasses to block pollen from entering your eyes.
  • Don’t rub your eyes. That’s likely to make symptoms worse. Try cool compresses instead.

If you find that antihistamines and over the counter drops are not helping, you may need to see your eye doctor to rule out eye diseases that could be confused as eye allergies. Eye doctors can prescribe stronger medications to stop the allergy or, at least, reduce the symptoms. Call us at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons at 617-232-9600.