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Doctor’s Corner: Your Eyes Through the Years

We depend on our eyes for vision throughout our lives. In each stage of life we encounter new adventures, all of which are enhanced by our precious sense of sight. It is normal for our eyes and vision to change as we age, with the first important changes occurring during infancy. As we age, our eyes’ ability to focus slowly decreases, since the lens of the eye becomes less flexible, ultimately requiring vision correction devices (reading glasses). It is important for us to be aware of changes in our vision. We must also be proactive in maintaining the health of our eyes by having regular comprehensive eye exams.

Infants: A baby is born with the eye structures needed for vision, but must learn how to use them together to be able to “see.” Focusing ability and color vision are usually accomplished by three or four months of age. By four to six months of age, a baby learns eye-hand coordination. During the next six months, a baby develops the ability to judge depth. Perception skills, such as visual memory and discrimination, are also acquired during the first two years.

Children: The eyes continue to develop throughout childhood. You may wonder if your preschooler has a vision problem. Early eye exams are critical to ensure that children have normal, healthy vision so that they can perform better in school as well as at play. Early detection of vision problems is crucial because the younger a child is treated, the better the chance of responding to treatment.

Teens: Vision usually stabilizes during the teen years, with eye and vision development complete. Annual eye examinations are important, as hidden vision problems or disorders may be detected. Eye safety is also important to remember during the teen years, as sports involvement and contact lens use become popular.

Adults: As we get older, our vision changes. We may need more light to see clearly. We may have trouble focusing on near objects, such as a book in our hands. Fortunately, there are many ways to help us see our best during the adult years. As always, changes in our vision should be monitored to ensure clear vision and healthy eyes.

Seniors: Older adults need to visit the eye doctor regularly and be aware of potential vision problems to possibly catch or slow a disease before vision loss occurs.

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April Events!

First Thursday reception April 3rd from 6-9pm.

Spring Fling Ladies Night – A Style Event

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Seasonal Allergies and Contact Lenses

22 million Americans suffer seasonal allergies. If you’re one of them and a contact lens wearer, you may as well refer to it as misery season. That’s because allergens have a special attraction to contacts – especially the soft variety, which most contact lens wearers use.

The American Optometric Association says that more than 75% of contact lens wearers complain of allergen-caused eye pain and irritation.

Allergy season calls for special tactics to keep you and your eyes happy. Here are some suggestions:

Switch to specs. You may not want to wear your glasses, but you’ll probably be more comfortable if you do. The allergens in the air, such as pollen and dust, love contact lenses, and the particles will stick on them. That means irritation.

Keep ‘em wet. Keep a container of artificial tears handy, and use them often. This will help your eyes feel better and also wash the allergens out. Say no to any brand of over-the-counter redness relievers and buy the artificial tears instead. Redness reducing solutions are only cosmetic and won’t do anything to make your eyes feel better.

Keep ‘em clean. In allergy season, get even more rigorous with your cleaning routine. Clean more often, and use a preservative-free solution (it’ll say so on the bottle). For disposable lenses, consider spending a little more and replacing them more often than usual.

That’s the rub. When you have an itch, you want to scratch it. But when it comes to your eyes, don’t. Excessive rubbing is just going make it worse. Instead, get a nice cool washcloth or other compress and gently treat your eyes to a little TLC. It can keep swelling and itching in check.

Get help. If you’re really suffering, by all means see your eye doctor. He or she can prescribe medications that could help. Also, an eye exam can rule out other more serious problems.

Source: VSP

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The Importance of Eye Dilation

Many patients wonder “is it really necessary to dilate my eyes during my exam?”

The simple answer is “yes.” Your eye doctor may be able to determine your glasses and contact lens prescription without it, but dilated eye examinations are important because they allow your doctor to check for common vision problems and eye diseases, many of which have no early warning signs or noticeable symptoms.

To perform the dilation, your eye doctor will put special drops in your eyes that will cause the pupil (a dark opening in the center of the iris) to widen. A dilated pupil allows your doctor to see more of the retina (Figure 1), the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.

Examining the retina allows your doctor to diagnose certain diseases and conditions of the eye, such as macular degeneration, retinal detachment, infectious diseases, and sometimes eye tumors. Even conditions that are seemingly unrelated to the eyes can be detected through a dilated eye exam, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. A dilated eye exam also allows your doctor to examine your optic nerve to check for signs of glaucoma.

After the dilated examination, your close-up vision may be blurred for several hours. This can make it difficult to read, text, and to use a computer. You may also feel light sensitive, which may make it more difficult to drive without a good pair of sunglasses. It is a good idea to bring a pair of polarized sunglasses with you to your exam to minimize any light sensitivity and glare you may experience after you leave our office. Disposable pairs of sunglasses are also made available to you at Boling Vision Center for your convenience.

Regular dilated eye exams can help you protect your sight and make sure that you are seeing your best. Be sure to have your eyes dilated at least every one to two years, or as indicated by your eye doctor, to maintain the optimum health for your eyes.

If you haven’t had a dilated eye exam in the past 1-2 years, be sure to schedule your appointment today. Protect your precious sense of sight.

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Local Designer Event – XO Bruno & Bome Eyewear

We are excited to announce our 2nd Designer Evening Event featuring XO Bruno and Bome Eyewear.

Join us from 6-8pm as we showcase their newest collections of handcrafted leather bags and locally made wooden ophthalmic eyewear, respectively, and meet the creators behind the products. We will be serving delicious wine and cheese, and hope you’ll be able to join us!

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Orgreen + Bevel Trunk Show – March 1st!

There are still a couple of time slots left for you to schedule a one on one appointment with our incredibly knowledgeable, friendly, handsome West Coast Representative Dan Martin.  This is an amazing opportunity to have assistance from the best of the best when selecting your new favorite frame!  Spots are filling fast, so call today to set up your own consultation!  503-944-5475

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Cataracts 101

What are cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which lies behind the iris and the pupil. The lens works much like a camera lens, focusing light onto the retina at the back of the eye. The lens also adjusts the eye’s focus, letting us see things clearly both up close and far away.

The lens is mostly made of water and protein. The protein is arranged in a precise way that keeps the lens clear and allows light to pass through it. But as we age, some of the protein may clump together and start to cloud a small area of the lens. This is a cataract, and over time, it may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see.

Most cataracts occur gradually as we age and don’t become bothersome until after age 55. However, cataracts can also be present at birth (congenital cataracts) or occur at any age as the result of an injury to the eye (traumatic cataracts). Cataracts can also be caused by diseases such as diabetes or can occur as the result of long-term use of certain medications, such as steroids.

Cataract Symptoms

A cataract starts out small, and at first has little effect on your vision. You may notice that your vision is blurred a little, like looking through a cloudy piece of glass or viewing an impressionist painting. However, as cataracts worsen, you are likely to notice some or all of these problems:

  • Blurred vision that cannot be corrected with a change in your glasses prescription.
  • Ghost images or double vision in one or both eyes.
  • Glare from sunlight and artificial light, including oncoming headlights when driving at night.
  • Colors appear faded and less vibrant.

Cataract Prevention

Though there is significant controversy about whether cataracts can be prevented, a number of studies suggest certain nutrients and nutritional supplements may reduce your risk of cataracts.

One large, 10-year study of female health professionals found that higher dietary intakes of vitamin E and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin from food and supplements were associated with significantly decreased risks of cataract.

Good food sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds and spinach. Good sources of lutein and zeaxanthin include spinach, kale and other green, leafy vegetables.

Other studies have shown antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin C and foods containing omega-3 fatty acids may reduce cataract risk.

Visit our Nutrition & Eyes section to read more about eye vitamins and how a healthful diet and good nutrition may help prevent cataracts.

Another step you can take to reduce your risk of cataracts is to wear protective sunglasses that block 100 percent of the sun’s UV rays when you are outdoors.


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Doctor’s Corner: Some Helpful Information!

This week’s blog post is brought to you by our in house Optometrist, Dr. Sagina O’Halloran.  She’s provided some great information to help you understand some common eye health related terms, and answer some frequently asked questions!

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Valentine’s Day at Visage – Featuring Jane’s Vanity & Anne et Valentin

Join us at Visage for a special Valentine’s Day event with Jane’s Vanity!  The evening will feature the latest luxury designs from France, delicious cheeses and champagne.  Jane Adams brings her most fabulous lingerie finds from her recent trip to Paris, and Visage will feature the newest collection of French eyewear from Anne et Valentin .

Jane & Emily, of Jane’s Vanity, travel the world in search of the finest lingerie, hosiery and jewelry to satisfy their discerning clientele.  They know that “a perfect little piece” has the power to transform a wardrobe and create a sensational look.  Jane and Emily will be on hand to discuss their most recent finds, advise on fit and style, and help you select the perfect Valentine’s Day gift for yourself or that someone special.  Pieces from the collection will stay on display (available to purchase) at Visage through the month of February.

The event takes place Wednesday Evening February 5th from 6 to 8 pm, and we hope you can join us!

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January is Glaucoma Awareness Month!

Below is an article from The Glaucoma Research Foundation:

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, an important time to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease.

Currently, 2.7 million people in the United States over age 40 have glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58 percent increase.

Glaucoma is called “the sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it’s permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. Moreover, among African American and Latino populations, glaucoma is more prevalent. Glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.

Over 2.7 million Americans, and over 60 million people worldwide, have glaucoma. Experts estimate that half of them don’t know they have it. Combined with our aging population, we can see an epidemic of blindness looming if we don’t raise awareness about the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision. The World Health Organization estimates that 4.5 million people worldwide are blind due to glaucoma.  In the United States, approximately 120,000 are blind from glaucoma, accounting for 9% to 12% of all cases of blindness.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. Although the most common forms primarily affect the middle-aged and the elderly, glaucoma can affect people of all ages.

Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain.

There is no cure for glaucoma—yet. However, medication or surgery can slow or prevent further vision loss. The appropriate treatment depends upon the type of glaucoma among other factors. Early detection is vital to stopping the progress of the disease. Watch a video from the research scientists working to find a cure.

Types of Glaucoma

There are two main types of glaucoma: primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), and angle-closure glaucoma. These are marked by an increase of intraocular pressure (IOP), or pressure inside the eye. When optic nerve damage has occurred despite a normal IOP, this is called normal tension glaucoma. Secondary glaucoma refers to any case in which another disease causes or contributes to increased eye pressure, resulting in optic nerve damage and vision loss.

Read more about Types of Glaucoma

Facts and Statistics

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization. In the most common form, there are virtually no symptoms. Vision loss begins with peripheral or side vision, so if you have glaucoma, you may not notice anything until significant vision is lost.

The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get a comprehensive eye examination. Then, if you have glaucoma, treatment can begin immediately.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness among African-Americans. And among Hispanics in older age groups, the risk of glaucoma is nearly as high as that for African-Americans. Also, siblings of persons diagnosed with glaucoma have a significantly increased risk of having glaucoma.

Read more glaucoma facts and statistics

Risk Factors

Are you at risk for glaucoma? Those at higher risk include people of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent. Other high-risk groups include: people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed, diabetics, and people who are severely nearsighted. Regular eye exams are especially important for those at higher risk for glaucoma, and may help to prevent unnecessary vision loss.

Call Visage to schedule an eye exam today!

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