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Essential vs. Non-Essential Eye Care

As we navigate new processes and protocols as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, you may be wondering, what’s the difference between Essential and Non-Essential Eye Care.

Essential Eye Care services include treatment for medical conditions, including urgent care needs that keep patients from carrying out their regular daily routines. These include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Broken or lost eyewear
  • Eye trauma
  • Vision loss
  • Contact lens-related pain
  • Flashes or floating objects in the eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Double vision
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Severe or recurring headaches

We are equipped to handle your Essential Eye Care needs so you do not have visit the ER – which may put you at risk of exposure to infection while also potentially taking from patients with critical conditions having no other alternatives.

Non-Essential Eye Care services might also be called “routine,” and not impeding a patient from his/her day-to-day activities, such as:

  • Routine eye exam with no problems
  • First time routine contact lens fittings

As always, our top priority is always your well-being. If you have questions or concerns about any eye health or eye care services – reach out! We are here to help you in any way we can!

Macular Degeneration

As you get older, your risk for developing certain eye conditions impacting the health and the quality of your vision increases. One of these conditions is age-related Macular Degeneration, which affects more than 2 million adults in the United States and is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. To protect the ongoing health of your eyes and to preserve your eyesight, it’s important to visit the office Visionary Eye Partners for a comprehensive examination. We’ll monitor your eyes and vision and provide guidance as to how to you can take steps towards preventing macular degeneration and preserve your eyesight as you age.

The retina is located at the back of the eyeball and is responsible for transmitting light into signals via the optic nerve to help the brain form a visual image. As the central part of the retina, the macula contains a high concentration of photoreceptors, which means it is integral to the proper functioning of the retina. Macular degeneration occurs when the cells of the macula gradually deteriorate, eventually compromising your eyesight. Advanced cases of macular degeneration result in a profound loss of central vision, while peripheral vision may remain intact. In its early stages, people with macular degeneration may not experience any vision loss or symptoms.

As part of comprehensive eye examination, we’ll perform a visual acuity test and utilize advanced diagnostic tools to evaluate the anatomy and function of your retina. To reduce your risk of vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration or other conditions, it’s important to get a baseline exam at the age of 40 and then comprehensive exams as recommended thereafter. You can also help reduce your risk of developing age-related Macular Degeneration by making the right dietary choices, managing your weight, quitting smoking and wearing sunglasses outside.

At the office of Visionary Eye Partners, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate care. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.

By Visionary Eye Partners
November 10, 2019

Eye Safety

Did you know that 90% of all eye injuries could are preventable? At work or play, it’s simple to protect your eyes! At the office of Visionary Eye Partners, we provide guidance and care to help you guard against injury and protect the health of your eyes.

Why speak to your eye doctor about the best options for protective eyewear? The reason is clear. The statistics on sports-related eye injuries are alarming. According to statistics, approximately 40,000 eye injuries each year in the United States are attributable to sports. The fact of the matter is that every 13 minutes, an emergency room is treating someone for sports-related eye trauma. While all this sounds alarming, there’s also good news to report. As awareness of the connection between sports and eye trauma grows, more and more athletes and sports enthusiasts of all ages are using protective sports eyewear.

When getting eyewear to use on the playing field or during recreational activities, it’s important to get an eye exam. If a refractive error is detected at this time, we will determine if a correction built in to your new protective eyewear is also required. With eyewear that incorporates a vision correction, we can do more than protect your eyes from injury. By making sure you are comfortably enjoying the benefits of clear, crisp, and glare-free vision, we can help you boost your on-field performance and enjoyment of the game. We’ll also provide ample guidance on the most appropriate eyewear for a particular activity and advise you of any existing eye problems or vision impairments that might increase your risk for serious injury, limit your participation in particular sports, or require extra precautions. Remember, for growing children; protective sports eyewear should be periodically adjusted or replaced to remain effective and account for changes as they develop.

At the office of Visionary Eye Partners, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate care. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.

By Visionary Eye Partners
October 10, 2019

Cataracts

Blurred vision could be a sign of cataracts. At the office of Visionary Eye Partners, we can provide a proper diagnosis and make sure you get the care you need!

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are films that form in the lens of the eye that can impair your vision. This is a very common condition for both men and women aged 60 and over. If you do have cataracts, rest assured, they can be removed and your vision will be restored.

What Causes Cataracts?

Cataracts form due to a breakdown of the protein in the lens of your eye. This is a normal part of the aging process and usually develops slowly, over time. When the protein breaks down it can result in cloudy vision.

Some other causes of cataracts include:

  • Family history of cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Certain eye injuries
  • Sun damage
  • Certain medications such as corticosteroids

It’s always important to wear anti-UV ray sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun. This can even help slow the development of cataracts. We can discuss with you the best ways to care for your eyes and provide a referral if you would like to get more information about cataract surgery.

Getting a Cataract Diagnosis

We will perform an eye exam to determine if you do have cataracts. You may have them in one or both eyes. If you do, we will refer you to an ophthalmologist to determine if surgery is right for you. Sometimes glasses alone are all that’s needed to correct the vision issue. However, it can be very helpful to have the cataracts removed if you are having trouble seeing or driving or performing your every day activities. It’s typically not an emergency procedure, so you can take time to consider your surgical options in care.

At the office of Visionary Eye Partners, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate care. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.

By Visionary Eye Partners
September 9, 2019

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a serious eye disease, but it can be managed. That’s why at the office of Visionary Eye Partners we encourage regular, comprehensive eye exams for early detection.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that occurs when too much fluid builds up in the eye. This abundance of fluid results in too much pressure, which can damage the optic nerve and result in vision loss and blindness if left undetected and untreated. There are two main types of glaucoma. Each involves the buildup of fluid due to different structural imperfections of the eye, which impact the way fluid is drained.

Although there is no cure for glaucoma, both types can be managed with the right treatment. While older age, family history, and certain conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are risk factors for glaucoma, the exact causes are not fully known.

What is known is that with early detection, glaucoma can be successfully managed and controlled.

Early Detection is Key

Because there are virtually no symptoms early in its onset, the best way to detect glaucoma is with regular, thorough eye exams. The exam includes a series of vision tests and a comprehensive eye examination to check the health of your optic nerve and measure your eye pressure.

You can’t prevent glaucoma, but you can prevent the complications! The best way to do this is to schedule an exam every year to screen for the disease. Based on the exam, we can determine if you have glaucoma and will refer you to an ophthalmologist to discuss treatment options.

As long as you continue to monitor the condition and follow your treatment plan, you can control the condition and slow or stop any damage to the optic nerve.

At the office of Visionary Eye Partners, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate care. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.

By Visionary Eye Partners
August 13, 2019

Aging Eyes

As everyone knows, the health of your eyes is essential to your overall function and quality of life. Yet despite the desire to ward off the effects of aging, much like everything else in the body, your eyes and vision are not immune to the changes that come with time. At the office of Visionary Eye Partners, we do our utmost to help you protect the health of your eyes and preserve the quality of your vision throughout every stage of life. While the need for reading glasses in middle age is typically part and parcel of the aging process, there may be other emerging vision changes that are indicative of more serious eye conditions. With advancing age, your risk of eye disease significantly increases. In addition to glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts, the incidence of problems such as dry eye, floaters, and retinal detachment also occur with greater frequency in older adults. As a matter of fact, by the age of 65, one in three seniors are affected by an eye condition that results in vision impairment. Since many eye diseases develop without discomfort, routine eye care is essential. For this reason, a baseline eye exam is recommended at the age of 40. By performing an examination at this time, our office can detect eye disease and vision problems early in their onset, when treatment and management to preserve your eyesight are most effective. And, while annual eye exams are essential for older adults, if you are under the age of 40 and have a family history of either glaucoma or macular degeneration, or suffer from systemic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, it’s also important to get your eyes routinely checked. At the office of Visionary Eye Partners, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate care. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.

By Visionary Eye Partners
July 10, 2019

Correcting Refractive Errors

Did you know that more than 150 million people in the United States alone wear some form of corrective eyewear to correct refractive errors? Whether you are nearsighted, farsighted, have astigmatism or presbyopia; the office of Visionary Eye Partners can help you bring a blurry world into focus!

Just as the lens of a camera focuses entering light on a piece of film to produce a sharp image, the lens of your eye focuses light on the retina to form a picture that is then sent to the brain. When the eye is unable to bend and focus light properly, it means a refractive error is present. While typically creating a blurred image, a refractive error can also result in eyestrain, headaches, double vision, or produce glare or halos around incoming light. Refractive errors can occur at any stage of life and may be attributed to any number of causes, including an irregularly shaped cornea (the clear front surface of the eye), the length of the eyeball itself or changes in the lens of the eye with age.

Our office provides the highest quality of vision care and is well equipped to prescribe corrective treatment for all types of refractive errors from myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, to aging eyes affected by presbyopia or a combination of these issues. As part of every comprehensive eye exam, we evaluate patients for the presence of refractive errors. By using the latest technology and methods of care, we check eye health and vision as well as provide treatment to help both children and adults “enjoy the view” with improved clarity and focus.

As everyone knows, wearing a pair of eyeglasses to this day remains an excellent way to correct a refractive error. However, there are also other satisfying and effective options in care, including a prescription for contact lenses, or having a refractive surgery such as LASIK to permanently change the shape of the cornea. During your visit, we’ll discuss all your treatment options so that you can make a well-informed decision on care.

At the office of Visionary Eye Partners, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate care. For more information on our office and the many services that we provide, give us a call today.

By Visionary Eye Partners
June 10, 2019

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.