What is Low Vision?

As we age, our eyes begin to change and age as well. Some of us may have fairly straightforward eye issues, such as needing reading glasses for close reading or needing help seeing things at a distance. Most of us can get vision clarity with the aid of glasses or contact lenses. However, people who are experiencing low vision cannot find help in a typical prescription lens. Let’s take a closer look at low vision. 

What is Low Vision?

What is Low Vision? 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, low vision is the loss of sight that is not correctable with prescription eyeglassescontact lenses, or surgery. This type of vision loss does not include complete blindness because there is still some sight and it can sometimes be improved with the use of visual aids. The American Optometric Association defines low vision as two categories:

Partially Sighted

This generally means that the person has visual acuity between 20/70 and 20/200 with conventional prescription lenses.

Legally Blind

This generally means that the person has visual acuity no better than 20/200 with conventional correction and/or a restricted field of vision less than 20 degrees wide.

What are the Symptoms of Low Vision? 

If you have a loved one who has been commenting on their vision or is having symptoms, you will want to have their eye doctor make an evaluation and potentially recommend a low vision specialist who can work with the patient to improve their quality of life. 

Some symptoms include difficulty recognizing faces that are directly in the field of vision, trouble reading signs, claims of tunnel vision, claims of fuzzy peripheral vision, or claims that the lights seem dimmer. These are just a few of the red flags of which to be aware. 

What are the Causes of Low Vision? 

There could be one or several different causes of low vision. For instance, some of the most common causes are the result of disorders or injuries affecting the eye, or a disorder such as diabetes that affects the entire body. In seniors, low vision can result from specific eye conditions such as macular degenerationglaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, from a stroke, or from a range of other eye conditions.

Help for Low Vision

It is important to remember that people with low vision are not considered blind because they can still see. There are several aids that can help improve vision and make seeing a little easier. 

These aids that can help include glare shields, magnifiers, illuminated magnifiers, adaptive technology that can make reading clocks, the computer, and the remote control easier, and include telescopic glasses or monoculars. 

If you think you are suffering from low vision, there is hope. Talk to your eye doctor for a thorough exam and a discussion of ways to help you see better. 

Healthy Food Choices for Your Eyesight

People often mistakenly believe that vision loss is a natural part of aging. In reality, a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce the risk of eye health problems. The right foods, regular check-ups, and a healthy lifestyle can help your eyesight dramatically as you age. Let’s take a look at some of the best food choices for your vision.

Nutrient-rich foods are supported by organizations such as the American Optometric Association (AOA) and the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). How many of these are you having on a regular basis? This summer when BBQs and outdoor entertaining is the norm, why not include some of these in your menus?


Cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help protect against dry eyes, macular degeneration, and even cataracts. Some studies have found that fish oil can reverse dry eye. Try grilling one of these fish as a main meal at your next BBQ! Delicious and great for your eyes.

Leafy Greens

Leafy green vegetables are rich in both lutein and zeaxanthin and are also a good source of eye-friendly vitamin C. Well-known leafy greens include: spinach, kale, and collards. Plant pigments in these green leafy veggies can help stem the development of macular degeneration and cataracts. Broccoli, peas, and avocados are also good sources of this powerful antioxidant duo.

Seeds, Nuts, and Legumes

All three of these food items contain omega-3 fatty acids and are a good source of Vitamin E that promotes good eye health. Next time you are making a trail mix, try chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds. For nuts, try walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, peanuts, and lentils.

According to a study by Tufts University, blueberries may help to reduce your risk of cataracts, glaucoma, heart disease, cancer, and other conditions. Blueberries are also good for the brain. Add them to a fruit salad or to nibble on all day long.

Are you looking to go beyond carrots in your goal of eating healthy for your vision? Check out Medical News Today and their list of the Top 10 Foods for your Eye Health. Need an appointment to have your vision checked? Call Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons at 617-232-9600 to schedule your consultation today.

Keep Your Eyes Safe This Summer

Summer is finally upon us! This means that our time outdoors will increase. Most of us know to apply sunscreen to avoid burns, apply repellent to avoid bugs bites, and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. But do you often think about your eye health for the summer?

As you plan how to stay healthy and safe this summer, don’t forget to include your eye care! Keeping your eyes healthy and happy throughout the summer can lead to years of positive eye health and fewer eye problems as you age. Here are a few ways to take care of your peepers this summer:

Keep Your Eyes Safe This Summer

Wear Sunglasses with Complete UV Protection

When you take the time every morning to rub on or spray on the needed sun protection for your skin, remember to pack your sunglasses to protect your eyes from dangerous UV rays as well. The best way to protect your eyes from UVR exposure is to purchase and consistently wear sunglasses with 100-percent protection against both UVA and UVB rays, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Think about all those days on the beach or on the golf course where the sun is reflecting into your eyes. Don’t forget that ultraviolet rays can harm your eyes, even on cloudy days!

Use Goggles When Swimming

Pools and the chlorine that is used to keep them clean can be really tough on eyes. The red, itchy feeling you get after swimming with your eyes open in a pool is your eyes’ way of telling you that they are hurting. Chemicals used to keep the water clean, such as chlorine, can affect the natural tear film that keeps our eyes moist and healthy. Be sure to use goggles when swimming to protect your eyes.

Eye Care in Boston

Protect Your Eyes During Outdoor Activities

Summer means mowing the grass and playing baseball, softball, and all sorts of activities. Be sure to wear glasses that can protect your eyes during all of these moments. For example, if you have ever mowed the lawn, you know how easily the grass and other debris can ricochet into your line of vision. Avoid hospital trips by keeping your eyes protected.

Quit Smoking and Avoid Secondhand Smoke

Cigarette smoke, including secondhand smoke, not only worsens dry eye but is a risk factor for many eye diseases, including cataractsmacular degeneration and more. Try quitting or at least cutting back. If you have a loved one who smokes, insist that it is done away from family members who would otherwise be exposed to the secondhand smoke.

Treat Your Allergies

Red, runny, watery eyes are a hallmark of allergy season. If you have allergies and tend to want to rub your eyes, consider treating the allergies with medication. Rubbing your eyes can injure the exterior of your eye and make matters worse.

Do you have questions about your eye health this summer? Call Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons at 617-232-9600 to schedule your consultation today.

Seasonal Allergies and Your Eyes

Do you love and hate the spring simultaneously? Love it for the warm, beautiful weather, but hate it due to the outdoor or indoor allergens that can cause itchy, watery eyes? You are not alone. More than 50 million Americans experience various types of allergies each year. Believe it or not, allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.

Nothing is more irritating than feeling like you have something in your eye regardless if it is a rogue eyelash, a speck of debris, or an allergen that just won’t go away. If you find that you have red, watery, burning, or itchy eyes, you may be suffering from seasonal allergies. Combine these eye symptoms with a sniffly nose, sneezing, and/or coughing and you are likely a seasonal allergy sufferer.

Seasonal Allergies and Your Eyes

What Causes Seasonal Eye Allergies?

Since allergies occur so frequently, most of us understand that there is usually something in the environment that causes our eyes to begin to react. For example, many people are allergic to tree pollen or ragweed. The cells respond to exposure to the allergen by releasing histamine and other substances or chemicals that cause tiny blood vessels to leak and the eyes to become itchy, red, and watery.

What Else Could Be Causing these Symptoms?

Unfortunately, other eye issues, such as conjunctivitis or pink eye can have similar symptoms to seasonal allergies. Since eye allergies share symptoms with some diseases of the eye, it is important to have your eye specialist make a definitive diagnosis.

What Can You Do Manage Your Eye Allergy Symptoms?

For people who suffer from allergies and the annoying eye irritants that come with them, managing and treating the symptoms becomes very important. One of the first things that allergy sufferers can do is to avoid triggers by making changes to your home and your routine. This may mean keeping windows closed during high pollen or allergen times, wearing sunglasses to keep the allergen out of the eyes, washing hands often, and using allergy-proof bedding and furnishings.

Another method to manage the symptoms of seasonal allergies is to see your eye doctor who may be able to recommend over-the-counter or prescription options that can relieve the symptoms that are irritating your eyes and respiratory tract. This may include eye drops, artificial tears, antihistamines, or immunotherapy such as allergy shots.

Do you suffer from seasonal allergies that make your eyes watery, itchy, red, swollen, or bloodshot? Call Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons at 617-232-9600 to schedule your consultation today.

Caring For Dry Eye During The Spring

If you experience dry eye, then we know the changing seasons can be especially difficult for you. When the weather is changing and allergies are abundant, it can be difficult to go about our routines when our eyes are itchy, red, or irritated.

What Is Dry Eye?

What Is Dry Eye?

For those reading who don’t experience dry eye, but may think they experience symptoms, chronic dry eye is a condition in which someone does not have enough tears or hydration in their eyes.

Dry eye can be particularly bothersome during the changing seasons because of the exposure to sunlight, dust, wind, and changing temperatures. Read through this blog for some tips for dry eye this spring.

What Affects Dry Eye?

Many things can worsen dry eye during the spring. When the sunshine gets brighter during the first few months of spring, our eyes need to adjust to the exposure. Time spent outdoors means wind in your face, and this can be extremely uncomfortable. Blinking greatly affects dry eye, and the rate at which you blink can control your level of comfort and hydration in your eyes. For example, if you’re often reading, writing, looking at a screen, or focusing heavily, these all may affect chronic dry eye.

Caring for Dry Eye

Caring For Dry Eye During The Spring

Sunglasses can be a great first step to caring for dry eye when you’re outdoors. Not only do sunglasses filter sunshine, but they also protect your eyes from getting even drier from the strong winds, air movement, and open windows.

Allergies Can Worsen Dry Eye

Many people who experience symptoms of allergies may experience the same symptoms with dry eye. Allergies make dry eye more difficult to deal with, and sometimes allergy medicines help with dry eye. During the spring, pollen is the number one cause of irritation, allergies, and heightened symptoms of dry eye.

Talk to your doctor about medications you can take when your allergies flare up and worsen your dry eye. Look into adding moisture to the air in your bedroom, living room, and throughout the home. This can be done easily with a humidifier. When your eyes get really inflamed and irritated, try a warm compress, artificial tears, and lubricants recommended by your doctor.

If you have questions about your eye care and eye safety this spring, contact 617-232-9600, or visit our website.

Treating Itchy & Irritated Eyes For Changing Seasons

Treating Itchy & Irritated Eyes For Changing Seasons

For those who suffer from eye allergies, the changing seasons can be the worst. When the winter comes to an end and we experience a spring awakening, airborne allergens are back and stronger than ever. Read this blog for tips when it comes to treating dry, itchy, and irritated eyes when the season changes.

Airborne allergens most commonly include pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander. The changing of the seasons causes temperatures to change, and our bodies must adapt to our surroundings – sometimes this can be a process. Some people experience irritation and find much relief in artificial tears or eye drops. This is temporary relief, though, only helping in the moment. To prevent irritation when you’re most sensitive, check out these few tips we put together.

Glasses For Protection To Help Fight Your Allergies

Though you may wear contacts, a physical lens against your face is helpful and protective during allergy season. When you wear your glasses, your lenses act as shields to block particles and allergens that could potentially irritate your eyes.

Proper Contact Use To Reduce Irritation

Proper Contact Use To Reduce Irritation

When wearing your contacts, be sure you’re taking proper care of each pair. When you take them out every night and put them in for the day, do a thorough inspection of your lenses before putting them in. During the transition from winter to spring, particles, dust, and dander can easily cause irritation if it gets in contact with you your contact lenses. When you put them in, always be sure your hands are clean. Do not touch your contacts throughout the day, and don’t remove or reinsert unless you’re in a clean environment. Contacts can collect airborne allergens, so consider wearing your glasses for a month or so to give your eyes a break. For more information on contact lenses during the changing seasons, check out this previous blog we wrote.

Watch The Weather For Pollen Count, Know What To Expect

Watch The Weather For Pollen Count, Know What To Expect

If the weather really gets to you, you can watch the news and see what is predicted. On the days when the pollen count is predicted to be high, you can try to stay indoors or wear something like a hat with a brim and a scarf around your neck. Take preventative action against the winds of spring and do all you can to avoid pollen on the really intense days. If the pollen really bothers you, ask your doctor about an over-the-counter medication you can take when you just cant shake them.

Washing Your Hands Constantly To Reduce Germs

We can’t stress enough how important it is to wash your hands. Hot soapy water for 5 minutes can do wonders. Keep your hands clean and sanitized throughout the day, because even if you don’t notice, we’re always subconsciously touching our faces or getting our hands near our eyes and mouths. The more often you wash up after every meal and after time spent outdoors, the stronger your immune system will be when fighting back against irritation during the changing seasons.

As we all know, there’s no stopping mother nature. We can take preventative action to ensure we’re comfortable and our eye health is not compromised during the changing seasons.Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons is here to help. Whether you have eye safety questions, inquiries about your personal eye health, or are looking to schedule an appointment with a doctor, reach out to us at (617) 232-9600.

Basic Eye Health & Reminders

When we have busy schedules, routines, and responsibilities, sometimes it can be difficult to make time for ourselves. Putting your health first is important, and safety and prevention are huge parts of caring for yourself. Our eyes are some of the body’s most vulnerable organs, as they allow us to see and navigate through life. So many aspects of our daily lives affect our vision, so protecting, caring, and keeping your eyes safe is critical to a healthy lifestyle. We’ve highlighted the basic eye care tips and routines to remind you of the importance of eye safety.

Specific Actions:

Wear Glasses for Protection
Glasses can help keep your eyes shielded from dust and wind. In the wintertime, glasses can be super helpful with the cold and strong winds. If you consider yourself a ‘contact person’, keep a pair of traditional frames in your bag, just in case. Sunglasses can also be helpful as the sunshine reflecting off the snow in winter can be harmful to the eyes.

Get New Contacts on Schedule
Don’t wait to get your new pairs of contacts! If you’re due, place an order to have them shipped in time. Wearing contacts for longer than prescribed can be extremely damaging to the eyes. Though it can be easier to just stretch a pair of contacts, it’s never a good idea and you’re taking a risk to your eye health by doing so.

Never Sleep in your Contacts
Sleeping in your contacts is one of the worst things for our eyes. Contacts are meant to be taken in and out daily. You can also risk scratching the cornea when you sleep in your contacts. Don’t slack on this! It’s one of the most important eye safety tips.

Wash Hands Often
Clean hands are always helpful for decreasing the spread of germs. If you need to touch your face or near your eyes, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before.

General Actions:

Learn Your Family Eye History
Your family’s eye history can tell you a lot about your own eye health. If you have a history of issues in the past, you can discuss with your optometrist and they can help you with prevention and care accordingly.

Eat Well
A healthy diet impacts our eye health more than most people realize! Clean and healthy eating is always helpful for all aspects of a well-rounded lifestyle. Red peppers, beans, legumes, sunflower seeds, nuts, kale, salmon, lean meats and poultry are all great foods to support eye health.

These basic eye safety tips are important to keep in mind. We hope this blog reminds you how truly important it is to take care of your eyes! There are steps you can take to improve your eye health, some specific, everyday actions, and some general. Boston Eye Physicians & Surgeons can help you keep your eyes safe and healthy.

Boston Eye Physicians & Surgeons has served patients in New England and around the world for nearly 75 years. We have been a destination for patients seeking high-quality eye care from a team composed of the area’s leading vision professionals. Reach out to us for questions about our services, or to schedule a consultation today. (617) 232-9600.

Snow, Ice, and Eye Safety

December brings the holiday cheer, the cold weather and, most of all, a lot of snow. Snow can make the scenery glow, and when you live in New England, it makes everything look beautiful. The first snowfall of the year is always highly anticipated. But when it comes to eye safety, be careful when you’re taking in the white wonders of the wintertime. Read this blog to learn about snow, ice, and eye safety.

Snow can be extremely reflective. When the snow and ice reflect UV rays, these easily bounce off and into your eyes. Have you ever considered the risk of getting a ‘sunburn’ in the winter? This is possible!

Snow, Ice, and Eye Safety

UV rays reflecting from lighter colors, like the vibrant white color of snow and ice, is very common in the winter. Reflections can be harmful, and may even damage your eyes. It can be especially uncomfortable for young children whose eyes are still in stages of development. During the cold weather, the brutal temperatures can cause irritation and blurry vision when walking or being outside. No matter your age, you need to take precautions.

These are the reasons why we suggest investing in winter eyewear. Goggles, glasses, sunglasses, and polarized lenses can all help in the winter. Especially when you’re participating in outdoor winter sporting events like snowboarding and skiing, don’t forget your goggles! With cold and harsh winds coming at your face at extremely high speeds, you shouldn’t participate in sports without some sort of goggles or glasses. Don’t take the chance of really hurting yourself.

You’ll be grateful for protecting your eyes during the winter. Wintertime eye protection can prevent macular degeneration, cataracts, cancer/growths, irritation, wrinkles from squinting, and eye-watering. UV rays can damage your eyes more than you may think.

Eye Care in Boston

Of course, it’s totally fine to be out and about in the winter weather, just make sure you’re taking care of yourself. You wouldn’t want to miss out on your favorite wintertime activities because of blurry vision or irritated eyes.

Do you have questions about eye safety during the wintertime? We can answer your questions, and help you find the perfect eyewear for you this winter. Reach out to Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons at (617) 232-9600 or visit our website

Contact Lens Tips During Changing Seasons

When warm, fall weather diminishes, the seasons change and air gets colder. Our bodies and immune systems have to keep up with these seasonal changes. If you use contacts, you probably notice the cold weather makes it harder to keep up with your routine of cleaning, and taking contacts in and out. Read on through this blog for contact lens tips during the changing seasons.

We all know it’s very important to take your contacts out before bed. When the air is cooler, and you’re already comfy and curled up, it can seem annoying or a nuisance to get up, remove and clean your contacts. But your eye health is very much worth it!

As contact users, we know you’re careful about keeping your lenses clean and disinfected. But did you know that the colder weather can cause more irritation? Winds and cold temperatures against contacts may wear out your contacts quicker. The dry air and change of temperature indoors/outdoors play a huge role as well. Because of this, many people suffer from dry eye in the winter.

You can take measures when it comes to protecting your eyes from irritation. If you find yourself particularly uncomfortable wearing your contacts, keep a humidifier in your house to regulate the air. Try artificial tears or eye drops for an on-the-go, quick fix.

Changing the individual pair of contacts is often recommended every so often. If your contacts are giving you a ton of issues, try and go back to your glasses for a few days. If you’re still experiencing discomfort, consult your eye doctor immediately.

If you wear contacts, the approaching winter weather is something you want to think about. Heat and sunshine aren’t the only elements in which you should be cautious- the cold weather can be just as damaging as the sun.

Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons can help answer any questions about contact use. Reach out to us at 617-232-9600. We are located at 44 Washington Street in Brookline, MA.

Halloween: Eye Makeup, Face Masks, and Safety

Happy October! We all know what this means… Halloween is right around the corner. Some of us plan our costumes all year long for this day. No matter what age, everyone enjoys Halloween. This season, take the time to read through our eye safety precautions that come with dressing up, wearing make-up, and intricate masks. You can be creative while still being safe! 

Respectful Costumes That Follow The Rules

Many organizations have strict rules about masks, props, costumes and more when it comes to public Halloween celebrations. These are rules you should ensure your costume abides by! It would ruin your evening if you spent all year waiting for this day, and all day preparing your costume, just to be denied at the door because your costume doesn’t follow the guidelines! Research your event beforehand so you know what to expect.

Masks That Are Appropriate 

Halloween masks are spooky, fun, interesting, and very appropriate for the evening. They can also be somewhat dangerous at night, in the dark. Be sure that you test your vision through your mask days prior to Halloween night. You may need to widen the eye holes as some masks don’t allow you to see very well. If you plan on walking around, going through a haunted house or a corn maze, be sure to keep a flashlight on you at all times.

Easy Ways To Accessorize Your Halloween Costume

If you’re wearing character glasses, big hats, carrying swords or other accessories, be mindful of your surroundings. Try to ensure your accessories are soft, plastic, or not sharp/dangerous. Halloween is a busy night for everyone, so you may be surrounded by many other trick-or-treaters at times.

Makeup and Ingredients 

When choosing makeup for your costume, always go with hypoallergenic makeup. Do not just apply the makeup to your face, instead, test it on a small area of your skin to see how you will react. Applying Halloween makeup to the face can be risky, especially near your eyes. Use a cotton swab or a brush for small accents, and leave a good amount of free space between the makeup and your eyes. You don’t want to get too close, and get the makeup in your eyes causing irritation.

Ideas & Inspiration For Halloween This Year 

If you’re looking for intricate makeup ideas, look for inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram. Halloween makeup trends include full face looks, cat eyes, intense smokey eyes, rhinestones, stick-ons, and tons of details in design. Start planning your costume now with caution in mind!

Kids and people of all ages should be aware of these safety precautions. You can still dress as your favorite character, while ensuring your safety with proper planning. We hope these tips help you when thinking about your costume and your Halloween plans this season! Have a safe and happy Halloween from everyone at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons!