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Year: 2020

4 Ways To Help Your Students With Vision-Related Learning Difficulties

sad child 640An estimated 1.25 million children in North America are affected by some form of visual impairment that impacts their daily living. Ranging from nearsightedness to lazy eye to cross-eye, these visual problems can have a drastic impact on their performance in the classroom, which may lead them to lag behind their peers.

Fortunately, there are certain steps that educators can take to help their students with visual problems succeed. First, let’s explain the link between vision and learning.

Why are Visual Skills Necessary For Learning?

Because up to 80% of classroom learning is vision-based, it is no wonder that children with subpar visual skills may lag behind their peers academically.

We’re not referring to visual acuity, such as myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), but rather the visual skills that rely on brain-eye communication. Problems with these skills can only be detected during a functional visual exam.These vision skills include eye teaming, tracking, accommodation, and focusing, all of which are critical for proficient reading, writing, and reading comprehension.

Teachers of school-aged children with poor visual skills can implement certain strategies to accommodate and even improve students’ academic performance. Below we’ve listed a few suggestions.

How Educators Can Help Students With Vision-Related Learning Challenges

1. Consider Where Your Students Should Be Seated

Make sure your students are seated facing the whiteboard. They should not have to look over their shoulder or turn around to see what the teacher is writing on the board. Some classrooms have students seated at round tables, forcing some children to turn around to see the front of the classroom. While this type of seating arrangement has its benefits, it is not appropriate for children with visual impairments, as they may find it difficult to quickly shift their gaze.

2. Pay Attention to Their Visual Needs

Try to meet the students’ visual needs. For example, if a child is expected to wear glasses for certain tasks, make sure that the child follows through. If the child doesn’t comply, consider speaking with the child’s parents.

3. Optimize Classroom Lighting

If you know that a certain student has a visual problem, seat them so that they aren’t in direct sunlight or under a shadow. Natural lighting is preferred, but when this isn’t possible, tungsten light bulbs are generally favored by the eye over fluorescent lighting. Please note that any flickering light bulb should be changed without delay.

4. Choose a Teaching Method That Accommodates Their Vision

Below are steps you can take to help students with poor visual skills:

  • Use black or dark-colored markers on the whiteboard. Avoid bright colored markers like orange, red, and yellow.
  • While writing on the board, say the words/numbers aloud to assist those who may have difficulty reading or seeing the text.
  • Avoid using language that relies heavily on vision, such as “like this one” or “over there.”
  • Be patient when a student with subpar visual skills stares off into space or daydreams. This is often a symptom of visual dysfunction, rather than a lack of attention.

How We Can Help

At The Center for Vision Development, our goal is to help each child reach their full potential by strengthening any visual skill deficiencies.

We treat children with many types of visual dysfunctions, often using a specialized form of therapy called vision therapy. Vision therapy trains the eyes to focus better or work as a team (among many other visual skills) by strengthening the eye-brain connection.

To learn more or to ask any questions, contact The Center for Vision Development today.

The Center for Vision Development serves patients from Austin, Waco, Round Rock, Buda/Kyle, and throughout Texas.

REFERENCES

 

Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 512-329-8900

Protect Your Children’s Vision By Getting Them To Play Outside This Winter!

child playing snow 640As temperatures drop, some parents may be wondering how to get their kids outside for some healthy outdoor play.

Below, we share tips on fun outdoor activities you can do and explain why playing outside can help your child’s vision.

How Outdoor Play Impacts Myopia

Studies have shown that children who spend at least 11 hours per week outside during daylight hours have a slower rate of myopia progression than children who don’t. Although researchers aren’t exactly sure why, it appears that sunlight and the child’s use of distance vision outdoors may play a role.

So why would parents want to slow down their child’s myopia? The answer may surprise you.

Having myopia in childhood places the child at heightened risk for developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life. These include cataracts, macular degeneration, retinal detachment, and glaucoma.

3 Outdoor Activities to Do With Your Kids This Winter

Play With Snow

Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, playing with snow is something that everyone can enjoy. Bundle up your child so they stay safe and warm, and send them out to build a snowman, have a snowball fight, build an igloo, or make a snow angel. Older children and teens may enjoy building a snow maze.

If your kids like a bit of competition, you can conduct a snow castle building contest. This activity can be fun for the entire family!

If you don’t have enough snow to build a snowman or castle, you can play tic-tac-snow on the snow-covered ground.

Go Sledding

Sledding and tobogganing are classic winter activities that your child will love. All you need is a sled and a snowy hill — easy, right?

But before you soar down those snowy slopes, here are some guidelines that will ensure a safer sledding experience:

  • Use a sled that can be steered and has a brake
  • Protect your head with a helmet
  • Dress warmly, but leave your scarf at home, as it can get caught under the sled
  • Children under the age of 6 should always sled accompanied by an adult

Create Outdoor Art

This activity is perfect for kids who like to get a little messy. To make a colorful masterpiece on a canvas of snow, give your child a few squirt bottles filled with water and a few drops of food coloring gel. They’ll have heaps of fun squirting the colored liquid on snow or ice.

They can also paint on snow using watercolors and a paintbrush.

If it doesn’t snow where you live, you can always give your child some sidewalk chalk and let them get creative on the pavement. The important thing is to have your child play outdoors.

At Myopia Management Center At The Center for Vision Development, our goal is to help slow down your child’s myopia progression and keep their eyes healthy for a lifetime.

To learn more about our myopia management program or to schedule your child’s eye exam, call us today!

Myopia Management Center At The Center for Vision Development serves patients from Austin, Waco, Round Rock, Buda/Kyle, and throughout Texas.

Sports Vision Training Can Help Prevent Sport-Related Head Injuries

playing hockey 640Each year, between 1.7 million to 3 million sports and recreation-related concussions occur in the U.S. alone. Of those, roughly 70-80% of the people experience vision problems.

So how can you prevent head injuries? Consider sports vision training. It not only improves performance but can also protect your head from injury.

What is Sports Vision Training?

Sports vision training isn’t about correcting your eyesight.

Rather, it’s a customized program made to improve the communication between your eyes, brain, and body while playing sports. It helps amateur and professional athletes process information and then react faster and more accurately to what they see on the field, court, or rink.

Sports vision training uses a personalized series of techniques and exercises, that teaches the brain and body to respond more accurately and efficiently to the fastball or hockey puck rapidly coming toward you. The training focuses on improving visual skills, such as depth perception, hand-eye coordination, eye tracking, focusing, and peripheral vision.

Sports Vision Training and Sport-Related Head Injuries

Head injuries, especially concussions, are among the most common injuries incurred while playing sports. However, they can be prevented!

If your visual skills are not functioning at their peak, you may misjudge the distance between yourself and the ball or yourself you and other players. Miscalculating the velocity of a ball or the positioning of other athletes due to poor peripheral vision can result in serious injury, head or other.

Just as you train your muscles to be at your peak, so too, you must train your eyes to communicate more efficiently with your brain and body.

Does Sports Vision Training Lead to a Decrease In Sport-Related Injuries?

Studies show that players who undergo sports vision training have significantly fewer concussions than their peers.

One study, conducted by the University of Cincinnati Division of Sports Medicine, found that university football players who underwent sports vision training to improve their peripheral vision had fewer concussions than those who did not undergo the training.

In short, sports vision training teaches the the eyes and brain to react better to the changing environment, leading to increased success with fewer injury-causing collisions.

Want to take your game to the next level? Contact Sports Vision Center at The Center for Vision Development today.

We serve patients from , Waco, Round Rock, and Buda/Kyle, throughout Texas.

 

Does Your Head Hurt? You Might Have Binocular Vision Dysfunction

headache womanHave you been struggling with headaches or migraines with little to no relief? If so, you might be suffering from binocular vision dysfunction (BVD).

A standard eye exam generally won’t identify BVD. That’s why it’s important to consult a neuro-optometrist if you’re experiencing headaches or migraines.

What is Binocular Vision Dysfunction?

Binocular vision dysfunction is a condition where your eyes are misaligned, leading the eye muscles to strain to transmit one clear image to your brain. This can result in head pain, migraines and several other symptoms. If the problem is BVD, a neuro-optometrist can diagnose the condition and provide effective treatment.

Common Symptoms of Binocular Vision Dysfunction

People with BVD typically experience some of these symptoms:

  • Sensitivity to light and glare
  • Double vision
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Eye strain
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Reduced attention span and concentration difficulties
  • Shadowed, overlapping or blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Motion sickness
  • Poor depth perception
  • Neck, upper back or shoulder pain

If BVD is the cause of your symptoms, specialized prismatic optical lenses that allow the eyes to regain their alignment can usually provide prompt relief.

Learning Disabilities and Reading Symptoms

Having even slightly misaligned eyes can also disrupt learning and reading.

Binocular vision dysfunction can tire your eyes while reading. Words may blend together, and you may skip lines or lose your place while reading.

A routine eye exam isn’t geared toward diagnosing BVD, so if your child complains of headaches and is struggling with schoolwork, get them assessed by your neuro-optometrist today.

Treatment for Your Headaches and Binocular Vision Dysfunction

Unlike standard eyeglasses, BVD lenses are specialized aligning lenses that allow your eyes to work together. Once your eyes are working together, the brain will receive one clear image. Your eye muscles will then be able to relax and release the tension that can cause headaches and migraines. Your eye doctor can play a significant role in treating these symptoms.

If you suffer from headaches, you may have BVD or another vision problem. Schedule a vision evaluation at The Center for Vision Development as soon as possible. The earlier a vision problem is detected, the sooner you can receive a comprehensive treatment plan to achieve clearer and more comfortable vision.

The Center for Vision Development serves patients from Austin, Waco, Round Rock, Buda/Kyle, and throughout Texas.

 

Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 512-329-8900

The Importance of Eye Exams for Contact Lenses

Are you planning on wearing contact lenses for the first time? Do you need a new contact lens prescription? Are your current contacts not as comfortable as you wish they were? Your eye doctor will perform a contact lens eye exam to ensure that your vision with contacts is clear, comfortable, and safe, providing you with the right lenses for you. 

What is a contact lens exam?

If you wear or want to wear contact lenses, you’ll need an eye exam for contact lenses, in addition to your regular comprehensive eye exam. Special tests are performed during a contact lens exam to evaluate your eyes and vision with contacts. 

Are eyeglass prescriptions the same as contact lens prescriptions?

No, a prescription for glasses cannot be used for contact lenses. An eyeglass prescription is for lenses that are positioned approximately 12 millimeters from your eyes, whereas a contact lens prescription is measured for lenses that sit directly on the surface of your eye.

The prescription for contact lenses also includes the brand, lens diameter and curvature, which are not part of an eyeglass prescription.

Contact lenses fitting: One size does not fit all

One contact lens size doesn’t fit all eyes. If a contact lens is too flat or too steep for your corneal shape, you may experience discomfort or even eye damage. Your eye doctor will take certain measurements to determine the best contact lens design and fit for your eyes. 

Corneal curvature

This measures the curvature of your eye’s clear front surface (cornea) so the eye doctor can select the optimal curve and diameter for your contact lenses. If your eye’s surface is somewhat irregular because of astigmatism or other conditions, you may require a special lens. 

Pupil and iris size

The size of your pupil and iris (the colored part of your eye) is also important in determining the best contact lens design.

Tear film evaluation

This test evaluates the quality of your tears, to determine whether they will be able to keep contact lenses and your cornea sufficiently hydrated throughout the day. If you have dry eye disease, standard contact lenses may not be right for you. 

Trial lenses

Following the eye exam, you will be provided with trial lenses to verify that the chosen contact lenses offer clear and comfortable vision. This will allow the eye doctor to make any fine adjustments to the prescription.

Contact Lens Eye Exam Near You

Wearing the correct contact lenses for your eyes allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of wearing contacts, while keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable. 

If you’re already a contact lens wearer, visit your eye doctor at least once a year to make sure the lenses are still providing you with optimum vision and comfort.

Contact The Center for Vision Development in Austin to book your contact lens eye exam today!

8 Ways Your Eyes Change With Age

Our eyes and vision change with age. Your eye doctor can monitor these changes — some of which are a natural part of the aging process — and identify any eye conditions or diseases early enough to treat them and prevent vision loss. Read on to learn more about the different types of eye changes one may encounter with age.

Age-Related Eye Conditions and Diseases

Cataracts

If your vision is starting to get blurry, you may be developing cataracts. There are a few types of cataracts, but the one usually caused by aging is known as a “nuclear cataract”. At first, it may lead to increased nearsightedness or even a temporary improvement in your reading vision. But with time, the lens gradually turns more densely yellow and clouds your vision. As the cataract slowly progresses, the lens may even turn brown. Advanced yellowing or browning of the lens can lead to difficulty distinguishing between shades of color, and left untreated, it can eventually lead to blindness. Luckily, cataract surgery, where the cloudy lens is replaced with a clear lens, is an extremely safe and effective treatment option. 

Blepharoptosis

Blepharoptosis or ptosis is a drooping of the upper eyelid that may affect one or both eyes. The eyelid may droop only slightly or may droop enough to cover the pupil and block vision. It occurs when there is a weakness of the eye’s levator muscle that lifts the eyelid. This condition is usually caused by aging, eye surgery, or disease affecting the muscle or its nerve. Fortunately, blepharoptosis can be corrected with surgery.

Vitreous detachment

This occurs when the gel-like vitreous fluid inside the eye begins to liquefy and pull away from the retina, causing “spots and floaters” and, sometimes, flashes of light. This occurrence is usually harmless, but floaters and flashes of light can also signal the beginning of a detached retina — a serious problem that can cause blindness, and requires immediate treatment. If you experience sudden or worsening flashes and increased floaters, see Dr. Denise Smith immediately to determine the cause.

Other Age-Related Changes

In addition to the above eye conditions and diseases, the structure of our eyes and vision change as we get older. 

Presbyopia

Why do people in their 40s and 50s have more difficulty focusing on near objects like books and phone screens? The lens inside the eye begins to lose its ability to change shape and bring near objects into focus, a process is called presbyopia. Over time, presbyopia, also known as age-related farsightedness, will become more pronounced and you will eventually need reading glasses to see clearly. You may need multiple prescriptions – one prescription to enable you to see up close, one for intermediate distance, and one for distance vision. In that case, people often get bifocals, multifocals or PALs, and they can be combined with contact lenses as well.

Reduced pupil size

As we age, our reaction to light and the muscles that control our pupil size lose some strength. This causes the pupil to become smaller and less responsive to changes in ambient lighting. The result? It becomes harder to clearly see objects, such as a menu, in a low-light setting like a restaurant.  

Dry eye

Our tear glands produce fewer tears and the tears they produce have less moisturizing oils. Your eye doctor can determine whether your dry eye is age-related or due to another condition, and will recommend the right over-the-counter or prescription eye drops, or other effective and lasting treatments, to alleviate the dryness and restore comfort.

Loss of peripheral vision

Aging causes a 1-3 degree loss of peripheral vision per decade of life. In fact, one may reach a peripheral visual field loss of 20-30 degrees by the time they reach their 70s and 80s. While peripheral vision loss is a normal part of aging, it can also indicate the presence of a serious eye disease, like glaucoma. The best way to ascertain the cause is by getting an eye exam. 

Decreased color vision

The cells in the retina responsible for normal color vision tend to decline as we age, causing colors to become less bright and the contrast between different colors to be less noticeable. Though a normal part of aging, faded colors can at times signal a more serious ocular problem. 

Beyond the normal changes that come with age, the risk of developing a serious eye disease, such as age related macular degeneration and glaucoma, increases. Routine eye exams are essential to keeping your eyes healthy. Your eye doctor can determine whether your symptoms are caused by an eye problem or are a normal byproduct of aging. 

If you or a loved one suffers from impaired vision, we can help. To find out more and to schedule your annual eye doctor’s appointment, contact The Center for Vision Development in Austin today. 

5 Ways to Get Your Kids Outdoors This Winter and Save Their Vision

kids playing in the snow 640

Just because the weather is cooling down, it doesn’t mean that your kids should be kept indoors all winter long. In fact, there are many reasons to have them spend time outdoors, not least of which is to protect your child’s vision. Studies show that children who spend time playing outdoors in the sunshine experience less myopia progression than those who stay indoors. Moreover, encouraging more outdoor playtime is important for promoting overall health and wellbeing in your kids.

Below we’ll explore some fun outdoor activity ideas to try with your kids and discuss why spending time outdoors may slow a child’s myopia progression or even postpone its onset.

5 Outdoor Activities to Do With Your Kids This Winter

1. Snow Play

If you live in a snowy region, bundle up your kids in warm layers and have them:

  • Build a snowman
  • Enjoy a snowball fight
  • Paint the snow with some food coloring or watercolors
  • Make a snow maze
  • Build an igloo
  • Build snow castles (the same way you would sand castles)
  • Make snow angels
  • Collect snowflakes during a snow flurry and study their beautiful shapes

2. Blow Ice Bubbles

Kids love playing with and popping bubbles. If temperatures are low enough, they might freeze in mid air! They’ll get a kick out of watching them freeze and possibly catching or popping them.

To make your own bubble solution, mix 1 part water with 4 parts dish soap and a few drops of light corn syrup. It’s best to try this activity when winds are calm, as harsh breezes can cause the bubbles to pop before they freeze.

Once the bubbles have landed on a surface and are completely frozen, they are beautiful to photograph — which can be part 2 of this activity.

3. Go Sledding

Sledding is a classic winter activity that your child will love. To go sledding, all you need is snow, a sled, and a hill! Easy enough.

But before you hit the slopes (or hills), be sure to follow these safety guidelines:

  • Choose a sled that can be steered and can brake
  • Wear a helmet
  • Dress warmly, but be careful as the scarf can get caught under the sled
  • Children 5 years old and under should sled with an adult

4. Go on a Winter Scavenger Hunt

A winter scavenger hunt is a wonderful way to explore nature with all of your senses. Before you head out, make a list of things to see, smell, listen for, and feel. Ask your child to check each item off the list.

For example, your list can include listening for the sounds of birds chirping, footsteps crunching in the leaves, or water babbling in a nearby stream. On the list of things to look for, you can include different types of trees, animals, animal tracks, cloud shapes, birds’ nests, and more. Take your camera along and let your child take pictures of what they find.

You can also leave an empty space on the list for your child to fill as they explore new things on their own.

5. Decorate a Tree with Edible Ornaments For Animals

This activity is an unconventional twist on building a bird-feeder and perfect for those who live near a forest. The idea is to make edible ornaments and hang them on a tree (or potted plant in your garden) for wildlife to feed on during the winter.

Your ornaments can be made using various seeds, peanut butter, dried fruit, and popcorn. It’s best to use biodegradable materials to hang your ornaments, and don’t use fishing lines, as birds can get caught in it.

What’s the Connection Between Time Outdoors and Myopia?

There is increasing evidence that children who spend extra time daily playing outdoors have a reduced risk of developing myopia; and if they already have myopia, time spent outdoors could slow down the worsening of this condition, also known as myopia progression.

These findings are significant, as having myopia significantly increases a child’s risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life. Moderate to high levels of myopia make a child more susceptible to developing cataracts, retinal detachment, macular degeneration, and glaucoma later in life.

At The Center for Vision Development, our mission is to battle childhood myopia by providing myopia management to nearsighted children. Our myopia management treatments can effectively slow down your child’s myopia progression and reduce their future risk of eye disease.

If your child has myopia, or if you need your first consultation, contact us today to schedule a myopia eye exam.

Wishing you and all of our patients a healthy and enjoyable winter season!

Athletes With Previous Concussion Have 4 Times the Risk of Another

skiing with protective gogglesEvery year, about 33 million children worldwide sustain a concussion. Even more worrying, children who have already experienced a concussion are at heightened risk of experiencing a second concussion, according to a systematic review and meta-analysis of seven research studies, the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported.

While protective gear and non-contact rules are reducing the incidence of concussions, many coaches, athletes and parents aren’t aware that sports vision training can lower the risk of sustaining a head injury like a concussion by developing an athlete’s visual skills. Find out what sports vision training is and how it can help prevent a concussion.

What is Sports Vision Training?

The goal of sports vision training is to improve the way the eyes communicate with the brain to achieve maximum efficiency while playing sports.

Sports vision training is a customized program created by your optometrist to hone visual skills, including hand-eye coordination, eye tracking, and peripheral vision. By boosting these skills, the brain is able to quickly and efficiently process the messages sent to it by the eyes, and transmit these signals to the body.

Children and adults who cannot accurately gauge the velocity of a ball rushing toward them, or the distance between them and opposing players, are more prone to accidents on the field, resulting in concussions. Sports vision training mitigates this risk by providing athletes of all ages and abilities with the visual skills needed to react quickly. These same skills improve sports performance.

How Does a Concussion Affect Your Vision?

People who sustain a concussion, which is the most common form of brain injury, often experience dizziness, difficulty focusing, headaches and double vision. Sports vision training can help improve your visual skills by focusing on:

  • Balance
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Depth Perception
  • Dynamic Visual Acuity
  • Eye Tracking
  • Focusing
  • Hand-Eye or Body-Eye Coordination
  • Peripheral Awareness
  • Reaction Time

How Can Vision Training Help Prevent a Concussion?

More than 50% of people with concussions (or post-concussion syndrome) experience visual problems like double vision and delayed eye tracking — the same visual skills an athlete needs to play safely and well. It’s not surprising, then, that concussed athletes are at greater risk of experiencing additional head injuries.

Sports vision training involves a personalized regimen of in-office and at-home visual exercises and scenarios to train the eyes, brain and body to work more efficiently, regardless of the sport. Athletes experience improved reaction times, speed and accuracy as a result.

Rather than simply hoping to avoid serious accidents on the field, take action and start a sports vision training program.

To learn more about how sports vision training can help prevent a concussion, or future ones, contact us at Sports Vision Center at The Center for Vision Development to schedule an appointment with one of our sports vision experts.

 

 

Sports Vision Center at The Center for Vision Development serves patients from , Waco, Round Rock, and Buda/Kyle, throughout Texas.

Choose Holiday Gifts That Support Your Child’s Vision

child looking at toys 640Gift giving season is fast approaching. If you plan on purchasing a gift for a child, you may want to consider choosing one that supports healthy visual functioning.

Here’s our list of children’s gifts that benefit their visual health in a fun and enjoyable way.

Building Toys

Building toys help children develop hand-eye coordination and visualization skills. They also help enhance visual-spatial skills — an essential component of reading readiness. Understanding how to create a structure refines children’s spatial-organization skills.

Playing with building toys perfects skills like problem-solving, patience, and focus.

Some popular building toys are Legos, Duplos, Mega-Bloks, Clics, and Magnatiles. Many building toys are appropriate for children aged 1-9, but follow the age recommendation and warning labels listed on the packaging.

Visual Thinking Games and Toys

Jigsaw puzzles, memory games, dominoes, checkers, Rush Hour, and Bingo all help children to build visual thinking and processing skills. Visual thinking, also known as visual/spatial learning or picture thinking, is the ability to think and analyze what you have seen. This skill is needed for math and reading comprehension.

Visual thinking games are a great way to cultivate abilities like visual memory, form perception, eye tracking, sequencing, and pattern recognition.

Space Perception Toys

What better way to develop a child’s hand-eye coordination than with a lively game of catch or ping pong? Space perception toys also promote a child’s awareness of the space around them, as well as three-dimensional depth perception, eye tracking, and accommodation flexibility (the eyes’ ability to continuously change their focus between near and distant objects).

Other examples of space perception toys include marbles, pick-up-sticks, Jenga, and any game or sport that involves a ball.

Let’s Support Your Child’s Vision Together

A child’s vision enables them to succeed academically, building self esteem. When a child has a problem with one or several visual skills, it can cause them to struggle in school or develop attention and behavioral issues.

That’s why it’s important to provide children with toys, games, and opportunities that support and refine their visual skills.

If you suspect that your child may be struggling with their vision, bring them to The Center for Vision Development for a functional visual evaluation, where will test their visual skills and processing abilities.

Even a child with 20/20 vision can have visual dysfunction that will likely go undetected in standard eye exams or school screenings.

If a problem with their visual functioning is found, we may recommend a personalized program of vision therapy. Vision therapy is an evidence-based treatment method that has been proven effective for a wide variety of visual dysfunctions. This form of therapy can be thought of as a “gym” for the brain, as it helps to retrain the eye-brain connection and speed up a child’s visual information superhighway.


For more information or to schedule a functional visual evaluation, call The Center for Vision Development today.

The Center for Vision Development serves patients in Austin, Waco, Round Rock, Buda/Kyle, and throughout Texas.

 

Request A Functional Visual Exam
Find Out How We Can Help You! 512-329-8900

Protect Your Eyes From Vision Loss: Diabetes Awareness Month

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) is one of the most prevalent eye diseases affecting the working age population. It is thought to be caused by high blood sugar levels which, over time, damage the tiny blood vessels of the retina at the back of the eye, making them swell and leak. Left untreated, DR can lead to vision loss and eventually blindness.

Since diabetic eye disease is typically painless and shows no symptoms until its advanced stages, it’s critical to get your annual eye evaluation, as an optometrist can detect the developing signs early enough to prevent vision loss.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy 

Diabetics may not realize they have diabetic retinopathy, because it develops silently. As the condition worsens, it may cause: 

  • Blurred vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Colors to appear faded or washed out
  • An increased presence of floaters
  • Vision loss
  • Blank or dark areas in your field of vision

Diabetic retinopathy symptoms usually affect both eyes.

Risk Factors

If you are diabetic, caring for your eyes by undergoing routine eye exams and taking care of your body by controlling blood sugar levels are critical to preventing vision loss. There are several risk factors associated with diabetic eye complications, including: 

  • Poor blood sugar control
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol 
  • High blood pressure
  • Pregnancy
  • Excess weight/obesity

Are There Any Treatments for Diabetic Retinopathy?

Today’s treatment options may improve your vision, even if you feel your eyesight has begun to deteriorate. Medications can be injected to reduce swelling, and laser surgery can be used to shrink and seal off swollen and leaking blood vessels — preserving and, in many cases, even improving vision. 

While certain treatments may work, frequent monitoring of your eyes coupled with managing your blood sugar levels can go a long way toward preventing or reducing diabetic retinopathy complications. 

If You Have Diabetes, Make Sure to: 

  • Control blood sugar and blood pressure to prevent long-term damage to the fine blood vessels within the retina.  
  • Keep a healthy lifestyle routine, especially during stressful times such as the COVID-19 pandemic. (Plus, while diabetics are in the high-risk category, your chances of developing serious COVID-19 related complications is lower if your diabetes is under control.)
  • Maintain a steady diet and exercise regimen to help the body and mind feel better. 
  • Quit smoking, if applicable; you can reach out to a medical professional for guidance.
  • Get yearly diabetic eye exams.

Preventing and managing diabetic retinopathy require a multi-disciplinary approach involving your eye doctor and other medical professionals. Your eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether you have diabetic retinopathy, assess its severity, and discuss preventative strategies as well as the latest treatment options. 

Contact The Center for Vision Development at 512-329-8900 to schedule your diabetic eye exam today, and to learn more about what you can do to protect your vision and general health.