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Are Myopia Management Contact Lenses Safe for Children?

Mom Daughter Child Eye HealthWe meet dozens of parents and children every day who come in for eye exams, myopia treatments and other services. During these visits, we welcome and address questions or concerns that parents have about their child’s eye health.

Because certain myopia treatments include contact lens wear, many parents ask whether they’re safe to wear for young children. Here’s what the research says:

A recent study, Adverse Event Rates in The Retrospective Cohort Study of Safety of Paediatric Soft Contact Lens Wear: the ReCSS Study, shows that contact lenses for children are just as safe for children as they are for adults. (This study appears in the January 2021 issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics.)

The study followed 963 children aged 8 to 16 over the course of 1.5 to 3 years (for a combined 2713 years of contact lens wear time) to determine the risk level associated with wearing soft contact lenses. All of the subjects were 13 years of age or under at the time of their first fitting, with more than half of the children fitted with soft contacts at or before the age of 10, on average.

The study results indicate that age doesn’t play a role in contact lens safety. In fact, the risks of developing adverse reactions to contact lens wear among children proved to be the same as in adults. According to the study, the rate of inflammatory conditions associated with contact lens wear were less than 1% per year of wear.

Multifocal Lenses for Myopia Management

One effective method of myopia management includes the use of MiSight daily multifocal soft contact lenses. MiSight contact lenses are FDA approved for the treatment of myopia and have been shown to effectively slow down the rate of myopia progression.

Many parents like this method as it requires minimal maintenance; at bedtime, the child discards the pair they are wearing, and inserts a fresh pair in the morning. It also rids the child of the need to wear glasses during the day, allowing them to freely partake in sports and other activities.

The myopia management program at The Center for Vision Development can help preserve your child’s gift of sight for a lifetime. Treating your child’s myopia will give them clear vision today, while reducing their chances of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life.

it’s never too early to start treating myopia. Contact The Center for Vision Development in Austin today to schedule your child’s myopia consultation.

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

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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!

It’s time to treat Myopia

Please read our summary of the recent mention of Treehouse Eyes in The Wall Street Journal. To read the article in full, click here.

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In ten years, roughly 3.3 billion people will be myopic according to the World Health Organization. By 2050, it’s expected that roughly 50% of the world’s population will be myopic. These are staggering numbers for a disease that people know very little about and one that significantly increases the risks of serious, sight-threatening diseases such as retinal diseases and glaucoma.

A recent Wall Street Journal article featuring Treehouse Eyes dove deeper into the growing myopia epidemic to figure out why myopia matters, the risks and development of the disease, and new ways to now manage and treat myopia.

“Every amount of myopia matters in terms of increasing risk” – Dr. Donald Mutti

Genetics have been shown to play a key role in the development of myopia, however, researchers also believe environmental factors such as a lack of outdoor time and more near work, like reading and time on screens, are fueling the ever-increasing cases of myopia. Myopia typically starts in childhood and progresses (the eye keeps getting bigger), or gets worse, until early adulthood. During this time the symptom of myopia, blurry distance vision, gets worse, meaning the child needs stronger glasses to continue to see clearly. Intervening in this process to stop the eye from getting bigger is the goal of myopia treatment.

Myopia Management: ‘A godsend’

As the article further explores the management of myopia we learn of the most common types of treatments available. One option is customized overnight contact lenses, also known as orthokeratology, which are lenses placed on a child’s eye at night before bedtime and taken out in the morning. They work by gently reshaping the front surface of the eye, called the cornea, overnight. The second treatment is a customized soft contact lens worn during the daytime. These lenses are put on the eye in the morning, worn all day, and then taken off at night and either disposed of or disinfected/cleaned. And the third treatment option used, sometimes in combination with the other treatments, is the prescription eye drop known as atropine. The goal is to slow down the eyes from becoming too long so that myopia can be managed.

When interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Raghu Parthasarathi, a parent of a Treehouse eyes patient and resident of Germantown, Md., said that a combination of treatments worked for his 11-year old daughter whose myopia was rapidly progressing. Starting with customized overnight lenses and combining with prescription eye drops 6 months later, his daughter’s vision finally stabilized. “To us, it’s a godsend,” he said.

To read the full article, click here.

Uncovering the Root of Vision Issues: What Healthcare Professionals Need to Know

Faith Daniel, Vision Therapist

As an upcoming Registered Nurse and a current Vision Therapist, I’ve been able to intertwine these two practices together. I chose to become a Vision Therapist to expose myself to an area of health that unknowingly impacts our daily lives: vision. By learning the practice of Vision Therapy and its significant contributions to healing patients, I am able to take a step back when assessing patients and dig deeper into what the true cause of various health issues is. This approach helps ensure that patients are treated holistically, instead of merely focusing on the symptoms themselves.

Treating symptoms such as headaches isn’t always as simple as taking Tylenol; healthcare professionals must be willing to approach the patient as a whole and find the links between body systems. Vision is associated with and controls a significant portion of our daily lives, such as our motor patterns, movements, how we learn and our comprehension of information and the environment that surrounds us. If vision disorders are never uncovered and properly treated, how can one ever truly reach optimal health? Through my clinical experiences as a nursing student, I’ve encountered and worked with patients who’ve struggled with various illnesses, limitations and co-morbidities. I’ve realized time and time again that reaching optimal health is achieved through a holistic approach; the body is a whole structure and must be treated as such.

There are many symptoms patients present with that are actually linked to vision disorders. Symptoms often associated with vision disorders include headaches, diplopia (double vision), dizziness, clumsiness, restlessness, inability to focus, and more. Misdiagnoses often occur because the visual system and vision care are not considered when patients present with these symptoms at a healthcare facility. Students who struggle to focus in school or display a strong disliking to reading are often misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD or dyslexia. However, the symptoms of these disorders are closely aligned with a vision disorder that can actually be treated with vision therapy. During Vision Therapy, the optometrist and vision therapist work as a team to treat the underlying cause of the patient’s discomfort and symptoms. We then work with the patient to treat these vision disorders through various vision therapy activities, whether the patient is suffering from amblyopia (more commonly known as “lazy eye”), convergence insufficiency (the inability to coordinate both eyes to look at a near object) or other common vision disorders. We treat the patient as a whole at the Center for Vision Development and have a Waco and Austin eye care center. As specialists in pediatric eye care, vision therapy, and vision rehabilitation, we assess a myriad of vision disorders at our Vision Care Austin and Waco clinic. Email us for more information at info@cvdaustin.com or call us at (512) 329-8900.

3 Reasons Why You Should Kickstart the New Year With Vision Therapy

holidays mug blog imageIt’s that time of year again when we sit down with a pumpkin spice latte in hand and think of a resolution we can take upon ourselves for the new year. Here at The Center for Vision Development, we believe that the best resolutions are the ones that positively impact other areas of our lives and enhance our overall quality of life. Vision therapy offers just that! This therapy is made up of a series of customized visual exercises designed to develop or regain visual processing skills.

Vision Therapy is highly effective in treating:

  • Amblyopia, (or “lazy eye”)
  • Strabismus, (or “eye-turn”)
  • Eye movement disorders
  • Focusing disorders
  • Binocular vision problems
  • Vision, balance, and memory problems associated with brain injury

Even those with 20/20 eyesight can benefit from vision therapy because perfect eyesight doesn’t mean perfect vision. Below are the ways in which vision therapy will help you kick-off the new year.

Improve Existing Vision Skills

You’re good at what you do, be it at work, school or sports. But can you do better? By training the eyes and brain to work in unison, you increase your potential for greater performance. Not only will you be more efficient, but performing tasks will become more enjoyable. This especially applies to school-aged children, as their brains are still in rapid development. Vision therapy effectively enables the brain to correctly process information for optimal academic success.

Learn New Skills With Ease

Many people make it their resolution to learn a new skill in the upcoming year but an underlying vision problem can interfere with that. Since learning is 80% visual, vision therapy offers an excellent opportunity to gear up for success! Undiagnosed or untreated vision problems related to convergence and focus can cause memory and reading problems and hinder learning. Dr. Denise Smith will use an array of tools, such as prisms, specialized lenses, filters, balance beams, and computerized visual activities to train the eye-brain connection and help you learn more efficiently in almost any area that requires vision.

Gain The Confidence You Crave

Whether you’re a pro-athlete or a 4th grader struggling to read, improved vision skills will boost your confidence. This confidence will surely trickle into other areas of your life leading to increased self-esteem.

Start 2020 by empowering yourself or your child with vision therapy. Call The Center for Vision Development to book your appointment today.

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

Know More About Our Clinic

About our Clinic

The Center for Vision Development is a visionary practice founded by Dr. Denise Smith in 2004 that is dedicated to the specialties of developmental, behavioral, pediatric, and neuro-optometry. We offer an unparalleled approach to vision development, learning disabilities, strabismus and amblyopia, attention deficit disorders, pediatric eye care, and traumatic brain injury. We pride ourselves on the comprehensive therapy programs we provide and have been helping patients of all ages overcome hidden vision problems to improve reading, learning, sports performance and quality of life.

Vision Is More Than 20/20!

Vision is much more than reading letters on an eye chart. It is a myth that having 20/20 eyesight, or seeing clearly at a distance, equals good vision. While eyesight is important, vision truly occurs in the brain. Vision is a learned skill, just like learning to walk or talk. In addition to having healthy eyes and clear eyesight, specific visual skills must be developed for proper functional vision. Our approach goes far beyond assessing eyesight. We combine experience and expertise to ensure our patients have the necessary visual skills to succeed in school, in sports, at work and in life.

How Vision Therapy Can Help

Vision therapy is a progressive method of retraining the eyes and brain to work together. During a therapy session, we guide the patient through a series of exercises to build new eye coordination skills. The final result is that both eyes track, focus, and work together as a team. With proper diagnosis and treatment, reading levels can improve significantly, comprehension increases, work is completed more efficiently, and even sports performance is enhanced. Vision therapy sessions include procedures designed to enhance the brain’s ability to control:

  • Eye Movement/Tracking: The ability to quickly and accurately move our eyes.
  • Eye Focusing: The ability to adjust focus from various distances and maintain focus over time.
  • Eye Teaming: The ability to coordinate the eyes as a team.
  • Visual Perceptual Skills: The ability to organize and interpret information that is seen and give it meaning.

All Vision Therapy Is Not Created Equal

Having good vision isn’t just about the eyes. And ironically, it’s not just about “vision”. Here at CVD, our approach to vision development is second to none. Not only do we address the visual skills necessary for learning, but we also include the vestibular system, primitive reflexes, motor skills, balancing the nervous system, phototherapy, vascular therapy, and nutrition. We understand that everything is connected. If you’re only addressing the “visual” part of vision, you may be missing out. All of our sensory and motor systems must support each other for optimal performance. Our treatment programs are constantly evolving and our methods are tried and true. Featuring a team of skilled professionals and the most up to date technology, we provide the most comprehensive solutions to produce the best possible outcomes. Our personalized service and individualized treatment programs are what set us apart from the rest.

Our Services Include:

  • Vision Therapy for Children and Adults
  • Strabismus and Amblyopia Treatment
  • Pediatric Eye Care
  • Neuro-Optometry
  • Syntonics Phototherapy
  • Vivid Vision Virtual Reality
  • Vision Rehabilitation for Brain Injury
  • BEMER Physical Vascular Therapy

Annie Jordan

 

Is My Child Too Young for Vision Therapy?

Preschool Children Vision TherapyThe first years of a child’s life are crucial in ensuring the healthy and normal development of various body parts, especially the visual system. As a child’s body grows, so do the eyes. This can cause changes in vision. Keeping a close eye on, well, your child’s eyes, can help ensure that they are developing in a healthy way.

It’s important for parents and teachers to be on the lookout for problems with visual processing, as they can interfere with a child’s academics, social life, and extracurricular endeavors. This is especially evident during the school years when reading, writing, homework, and after-school activities become a part of their normal daily routine.

Even if a child has no refractive errors (such as nearsightedness or farsightedness) and has 20/20 vision, he or she may still have difficulties with visual processing or focus. These types of visual complications are often more difficult to detect, but may still impact various aspects of a child’s development.

When a child’s visual difficulties hinder their learning or social interactions, it may be time to try vision therapy.

What is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is a personalized regimen of exercises that can improve and strengthen visual functions. Each patient has unique needs and different degrees of visual health, which is why Dr. Denise Smith and the team at The Center for Vision Development create a customized vision therapy program to get the best results for your child.

Vision therapy is compared to physical therapy, only for the eyes instead of the entire body. The techniques and exercises can teach the eyes to improve specific areas of vision, such as focus, eye teaming, hand-eye coordination, and visual tracking, among other skills. The doctor may include prisms or special eyeglasses to boost the therapy program.

Most children’s vision therapy takes place in our office and usually once a week. You’ll be instructed to continue some of the exercises at home for 15-20 minutes daily, which will support the in-office treatment.

At What Age Can Children Begin Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is offered to children as young as 6 years of age. Kids can develop problems with visual perception and clarity that aren’t always detected with a standard vision exam or school screening. Of course, every child is different, and the best way to know if they’re ready for vision therapy is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Denise Smith.

Does Vision Therapy Really Work?

Vision therapy has been proven to improve visual skills and functions in both children and adults. It is an approved treatment by recognized organizations in the medical community, such as the American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists.

Keep in mind that it can take several months to notice significant improvement. Consistency is key. Young children, especially in the toddler years, need a steady routine to achieve the best possible results.

It’s important to note that vision therapy does not fix your child’s learning abilities or correct any refractive errors. The goal is to improve their visual function so that their skills in reading, writing, schoolwork, and social activities are strengthened for a better quality of life.

Contact Dr. Denise Smith and the knowledgeable staff at The Center for Vision Development to schedule a consultation and see whether vision therapy is right for your child.

Dr. Denise Smith serves patients in Austin, Waco, Round Rock, and Buda/Kyle, and throughout Texas.

 

8 Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes

Whether you live in a climate with cold winter weather or you are planning a ski trip up north, winter can be a challenge if you suffer from dry eyes. Dry, cool air, cold winds and even drier indoor heating can cause eye irritation, burning, itchiness and redness, and sometimes even excessively watery eyes as more tears are produced to compensate for the dryness. Many people have a chronic feeling that they have something in their eye and some even experience blurred vision. These symptoms can be debilitating!

Dry eyes is one of the most common complaints eye doctors get from patients during the winter season, especially in the cooler climates. That’s why we’d like to share some tips on how to relieve dry eye discomfort, and how to know when your condition is serious enough to come in for an evaluation.

Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes:

  1. Keep eyes moist using artificial tears or eye drops. You can apply these a few times each day when the eyes are feeling dry or irritated. If over-the-counter drops don’t help or if you have chronic dry eyes, speak to your eye doctor about finding the best drops for you. Since not all artificial tears are the same, knowing the cause of your dry eye will help your eye doctor determine which brand is best suited for your eyes.
  2. Use a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of indoor heaters or generally dry air.
  3. Point car vents or indoor heaters away from your face when the heat is on. Try to keep your distance from direct sources of heating, especially if they blow out the heat.
  4. Drink a lot! Hydrating your body will also hydrate your eyes.
  5. Protect your eyes outdoors with sunglasses or goggles – the bigger the better! Larger, even wrap-around glasses as well as a hat with a wide brim will keep the wind and other elements out of your eyes. If you wear goggles for winter sports, make sure they fit well and cover a large surface area.
  6. Soothe dry eyes using a warm compress and never rub them! Rubbing your eyes will increase irritation and may lead to infection if the hands are not clean.
  7. Give your eyes a digital break. People blink less during screen time which is why extensive computer use can lead to dry eyes. Follow the 20/20/20 rule by taking a break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds and make sure you blink!
  8. For contact lens wearers: If you wear contact lenses, dry eyes can be particularly debilitating as the contact lenses can cause even further dryness and irritation. Contact lens rewetting drops can help your eyes feel better and may also allow you to see more clearly. Not all eyedrops are appropriate for use with contact lenses, so ask your optometrist which eyedrop is compatible with your contacts and cleaning solution. If rewetting drops don’t help, consider opting for glasses when your dry eyes are bad, and speak to your optometrist about which brands of contact lenses are better for dry eyes. Many people find dry eye improvement when they switch to daily single use contact lenses.

Chronic Dry Eyes or Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tear film, or do not produce the quality of tear film needed to properly keep the eyes moist. While winter weather can make this condition worse, it is often present all year round. If you find that the tips above do not alleviate your discomfort or symptoms, it may be time to see a optometrist to see if your condition requires more effective medical treatment.

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes is becoming much more prevalent around the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults were living with diabetes in the year 2017 and 352 million more people were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2045 the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise to 629 million.

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness as well as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, neuropathy (nerve damage) and lower limb amputation. In fact, in 2017, diabetes was implicated in 4 million deaths worldwide. Nevertheless preventing these complications from diabetes is possible with proper treatment, medication and regular medical screenings as well as improving your diet, physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the hormone insulin is either underproduced or ineffective in its ability to regulate blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which damages many systems in the body such as the blood vessels and the nervous system.

How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions which are caused, or worsened, by diabetes; including: diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes increases the risk of cataracts by four times, and can increase dryness and reduce cornea sensation.

In diabetic retinopathy, over time, the tiny blood vessels within the eyes become damaged, causing leakage, poor oxygen circulation, then scarring of the sensitive tissue within the retina, which can result in further cell damage and scarring.

The longer you have diabetes, and the longer your blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, the higher the chances of developing diabetic eye disease. Unlike many other vision-threatening conditions which are more prevalent in older individuals, diabetic eye disease is one of the main causes of vision loss in the younger, working-age population. Unfortunately, these eye conditions can lead to blindness if not caught early and treated. In fact, 2.6% of blindness worldwide is due to diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

As mentioned above, diabetes can result in cumulative damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy.

The retina is responsible for converting the light it receives into visual signals to the optic nerve in the brain. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or hemorrhage, causing bleeding and distorting vision. In advanced stages, new blood vessels may begin to grow on the retinal surface causing scarring and further damaging cells in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can eventually lead to blindness.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have no symptoms, which is why it’s vitally important to have frequent diabetic eye exams. As it progresses you may start to notice the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or fluctuating vision or vision loss
  • Floaters (dark spots or strings that appear to float in your visual field)
  • Blind spots
  • Color vision loss

There is no pain associated with diabetic retinopathy to signal any issues. If not controlled, as retinopathy continues it can cause retinal detachment and macular edema, two other serious conditions that threaten vision. Again, there are often NO signs or symptoms until more advanced stages.

A person with diabetes can do their part to control their blood sugar level. Following the physician’s medication plan, as well as diet and exercise recommendations can help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Retinal Detachment

Scar tissues caused by the breaking and forming of blood vessels in advanced retinopathy can lead to a retinal detachment in which the retina pulls away from the underlying tissue. This condition is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately as it can lead to permanent vision loss. Signs of a retinal detachment include a sudden onset of floaters or flashes in the vision.

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Diabetic macular edema occurs when the macula, a part of the retina responsible for clear central vision, becomes full of fluid (edema). It is a complication of diabetic retinopathy that occurs in about half of patients, and causes vision loss.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema

While vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and DME often can’t be restored, with early detection there are some preventative treatments available. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (when the blood vessels begin to grow abnormally) can be treated by laser surgery, injections or a procedure called vitrectomy in which the vitreous gel in the center of the eye is removed and replaced. This will treat bleeding caused by ruptured blood vessels. DME can be treated with injection therapy, laser surgery or corticosteroids.

Prevent Vision Loss from Diabetes

The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease is early detection and treatment. Since there may be no symptoms in the early stages, regular diabetic eye exams are critical for early diagnosis. In fact diabetics are now sometimes monitored by their health insurance to see if they are getting regular eye exams and premium rates can be affected by how regularly the patients get their eyes checked. Keeping diabetes under control through exercise, diet, medication and regular screenings will help to reduce the chances of vision loss and blindness from diabetes.

April is Women's Eye Health and Safety Month

Hey women! Did you know that women are more likely to suffer from vision problems and are at higher risk of permanent vision loss than men? Well 91% of the women surveyed recently didn’t know that, which means that many of them aren’t taking the necessary precautions to prevent eye damage and vision loss.  

According to a recent study, the statistics for many of the major vision problems show that women have a higher percentage of incidence than men. These include:

  • Age-related Macular Degeneration 65%
  • Cataracts 61%
  • Glaucoma 61%
  • Refractive Error 56%
  • Vision Impairment 63%

Women are also more susceptible to develop chronic dry eye, partially because it is often associated with other health issues that are more common in women such as ocular rosacea which is three times more prevalent in women.  Hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause can also contribute to dry eye.  

It’s important for women to know the risks for eye-related diseases and vision impairment and the steps they can take to prevent eventual vision loss.  Here are some ways that you can help to protect your eyes and save your eyesight:

  • Find out about family history of eye diseases and conditions.
  • Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing 100% UV blocking sunglasses when outdoors.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Consume a healthy diet with proper nutrition and special eye health supplements as prescribed by an eye doctor.
  • Adhere to contact lens hygiene and safety.  
  • Adhere to cosmetic hygiene and safety precautions. 
  • Protect your eyes against extended exposure to blue light from computers, smartphones and LED lamps. 
  • If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and have diabetes, see an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. In women who have diabetes, diabetic retinopathy can accelerate quickly during pregnancy and can present a risk for the baby as well. 

Mothers are often charged with caring for the eye health of the entire family, but too often their own eye health needs fall to the wayside. It is critical that mothers take care of their eyes and overall health so that they can be in the best condition to care for their families. 

Speak to your eye care professional about your personal eye health and vision risks and the precautions and measures you should take to protect your eyes.  Encourage the other women in your life to do so as well.  Once vision is lost, it often can’t be regained and there are many steps you can take to prevent it with proper knowledge and awareness.  

The most important way to prevent vision loss is to ensure you schedule regular eye exams. Don’t wait for symptoms to appear as many eye issues are painless and symptomless, and sometimes by the time you notice symptoms, vision loss is untreatable.