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5 Tips for Keeping Your Eyes Safe from Blue Light and Computer Vision Syndrome

Blue light bombards your eyes from all directions, and even more so nowadays when the COVID-19 pandemic has kept many people plugged in to a digital device, constantly. So what’s the problem with the blue light?

Eye doctors worldwide warn of the damaging effects to eye health from overexposure to blue light. A variety of uncomfortable visual symptoms can be caused, such as eye strain, irritation, difficulty focusing and headaches. These symptoms are characteristic of computer vision syndrome, which our Washington, D.C. optometrist now diagnoses regularly in patients of all ages.

How Can You Protect Your Peepers from Computer Vision Syndrome?

The #1 way to keep your vision safe is by decreasing your exposure to blue light. Here’s a list from our optometrist of different ways you can accomplish this:

  1. Limit screen time and take frequent breaks to relax your eyes.
  2. Use blue light filters on your computer screen and the screens of all digital devices. These screen filters are available for tablets, smart phones, computers and basically every gadget with a screen. They work by reducing the amount of blue light emitted from your device so less radiation reaches your retina, thereby decreasing the amount of eye damage that can occur. Check with our Washington, D.C. eye care center to find the right blue light filter for your needs.
  3. Wear computer glasses with tinted lenses to block blue light and increase visual contrast, relieving the tiring symptoms of computer vision syndrome.
  4. Fit your glasses with lenses that have an anti-reflective coating to diminish glare
  5. Consult our optometrist in Washington, D.C. to learn about other options to help protect your eyes and your children’s eyes from the hazards of computer vision syndrome.

At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.

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How Can My Child’s Myopia Be Corrected?

At Washington Eye Doctors, we help children like yours achieve clear and comfortable vision, so they can succeed at the important things in life.

Methods of Myopia Correction

Contact Lenses

Contacts can be a great choice, especially for physically active children or teens who don’t want to worry about breaking or misplacing their eyeglasses. In some cases of very high myopia, contact lenses can offer clearer vision than glasses.

Corrective contact lenses are usually placed in the eyes upon waking and removed at night before bedtime. There are several types, including: soft contacts, daily disposables, extended wear, and rigid gas permeable (hard) lenses. Navigating through the differences between them can be daunting. Fortunately, if you’re located in Washington, D.C. our eye doctor will be happy to guide you. Speak with Dr. Michael Rosenblatt to determine whether your child is ready for contact lenses.

Prescription Glasses

Glasses are a popular choice among our younger patients. Choosing from an array of styles makes the process fun and exciting! Allowing the children to be active participants in selecting their eyewear increases the likelihood that they’ll actually wear them. There are strong, flexible and resilient frames which look great and are comfortable too.

The optician can customize the lenses with additions and upgrades like impact-resistant or shatter-proof materials, scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coatings, UV filters, and transition lenses that darken in the sun. For those requiring vision correction for distance and near, we also offer bifocal or multifocal lens prescriptions.

We Can Help Correct Your Child’s Myopia

If you’re located near Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, an eye exam with our optometrist can determine your child’s exact prescription, and give you the opportunity to receive answers to any questions you may have about your child’s eye health and vision. Progressive myopia, where a growing child’s prescription continues to worsen, is why it’s important for myopic children to undergo eye exams at least once a year.

At Washington Eye Doctors, our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to recommend the most suitable method of correcting your child’s myopia to meet his or her individual needs. Thanks to the wide range options available, your child will walk away with eyewear that will not only enhance his or her style but will also be a boost of confidence.

Let us help your child see the world in a whole new light. To schedule your child’s annual eye exam or if you have any further questions, contact Washington Eye Doctors at 202-335-5032 today.

Are Floaters and Flashes Dangerous?

You’ve likely experienced occasional visual “floaters” or flashes and may have wondered what they were and if they’re a cause for concern. They look like tiny lines, shapes, shadows, or specks that appear to be drifting in the visual field. More often than not, seeing floaters is a normal occurrence and does not indicate a problem with ocular or visual health. However, when floaters become more frequent and are accompanied by flashes of light, that can indicate a more serious problem.

Eye flashes resemble star-like specks or strands of light that either flash or flicker in one’s field of vision. They can either be a single burst in one visual zone, or can be several flashes throughout a wider area. Flashes can sometimes be missed as they most often appear in the side or peripheral vision.

Floaters & Flashes Eye Care in Washington, D.C., District of Columbia

If you suddenly, or with increasing frequency, experience flashes or floaters, call Washington Eye Doctors and schedule an eye exam with Dr. Michael Rosenblatt right away to rule out any serious eye conditions.

What Causes Floaters?

The vitreous in the eye is a clear gel that fills most of the eyeball and resembles raw egg-white. Within the vitreous are small lumps of protein that drift around and move with the motion of your eyes. When these tiny lumps of protein cast shadows on the retina — the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye — the shadows appear as floaters.

As we age, the vitreous shrinks, creating more strands of protein. This is why the appearance of floaters may increase with time. Floaters tend to be more prevalent in nearsighted people and diabetics, and occur more frequently following cataract surgery or an eye injury.

If seeing floaters becomes bothersome, try moving your eyes up and down or side to side to gently relocate the floaters away from your visual field.

What Causes Flashes?

Flashes result from the retinal nerve cells being moved or tugged on. As the vitreous shrinks over time, it can tug at the retina, causing you to “see stars” or bursts of light. The process of the vitreous separating from the retina is called “posterior vitreous detachment” (PVD) and usually isn’t dangerous.

In about 16% of cases, PVD causes tiny tears in the retina that can lead to retinal detachment — a sight-threatening condition that causes irreversible blindness if left untreated.

Other possible causes of flashes are eye trauma or migraine headaches.

Call Your Optometrist Immediately

If you experience any of the following symptoms, promptly make an appointment with an eye doctor near you for emergency eye care.

Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore

  • A sudden onset of floaters (which can be any shape or size)
  • An increase of floaters accompanied by flashes and/or a darkening of one side of the visual field
  • Shadows in the peripheral vision
  • Any time flashes are seen

In many cases, seeing floaters is no cause for concern; however they could indicate retinal detachment—which, if left untreated, could cause a permanent loss of sight or even blindness.

If the receptionists pick up the phone and hear the main concern is floaters or flashes, they will try to squeeze in the appointment within 24 hours. Expect the pupils to be dilated during your eye exam, so the eye doctor can get a really good look at the peripheral retina to diagnose or rule out a retinal tear or other serious condition, as opposed to a non-vision-threatening condition such as uncomplicated posterior vitreous detachment (quite common) or ocular migraine.

Please contact Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. at 202-335-5032 with any further questions, or to schedule an eye doctor’s appointment.

Did You Ever See the Parts of Your Eyeball?

When you look in the mirror, you see your eyes staring back at you. Ever wonder what’s behind your eyeballs? What are the different parts of your eye, and what’s the unique function of each part?

Whether you visit our Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, eye care center because you need new glasses or a check-up of your ocular health, you’ll need an eye exam near you. Our eye doctor will inspect all the parts of your eye closely. Here’s a rundown of what we’re looking at.

The Parts of Your Eye & Their Functions

Your eye is shaped like an asymmetrical sphere, with a diameter of approximately one inch. The parts you see in the mirror are:

  • Pupil – This black dot (actually, it’s a hole) in the middle of your eye is an opening in the iris that allows light to enter.
  • Iris – This is the area of your eye that surrounds the pupil and has the pigment that gives color to your eye. The muscles of the iris make the pupil wider or narrower depending on how bright it is. When it’s darker, your pupils dilate (get big) to allow more light into the eye; when it’s bright, the pupils constrict (get small) to help you see efficiently.
  • Cornea – This is the outer covering of the front of your eye, like a clear dome over the iris and pupil; it’s relatively strong and consists of several layers. The cornea protects your eye from elements that could damage the inner eye and also allows your eye to effectively focus light.
  • Sclera – Better known as the “white” of your eye, the sclera presents as a smooth, white layer on the outside, but it has a brown textured inside that helps the eyes’ tendons to attach properly. The sclera is responsible for the structure and protection of the inner eye structures, but it is also flexible so the eye can move.
  • Conjunctiva – The inside of the eyelids and the white of the eye are covered by the conjunctiva, which is made up of thin layers of tissue that help to keep the eye moist and clean. If the conjunctiva gets infected or irritated, you’ll develop “pink eye.”
  • Lacrimal glands – These tear-producing glands are situated on the outer corner of each eye. They lubricate your eye when it is dry, and flush out particles or substances that irritate the eye.
  • Lens – The lens is a clear structure that rests just behind the iris and the pupil. It focuses the light that enters through the pupil. Held in place by the ciliary muscles, the lens changes shape depending on what you’re looking at. That’s how you are able to focus on objects at different distances.
  • Vitreous humor – This clear gel fills most of the eye, from behind the lens to the retina at the back of the eye, helping the eyeball to hold its shape. When debris or clumps of cells get stuck in the vitreous humor, you will see “floaters.”
  • Aqueous humor – This transparent watery substance fills the front part of the eyeball, supporting the eye’s round, taut shape, and maintaining intraocular pressure: that’s kind of like blood pressure, but it’s in your eye. And, like high blood pressure, high intraocular pressure is also dangerous, resulting in glaucoma and vision loss.
  • Retina – Light enters through your pupil and lens to the back of your eye, to the retina. The retina is made of layers of light-sensing cells, rods and cones, that convert light into electrical impulses. Behind the eye, your optic nerve then transmits these impulses to the brain for interpretation into images. In the middle of the retina is the macula, a small, extra-sensitive area that provides your central vision.

If you’re having trouble seeing clearly or it’s time for your regular eye exam, book an appointment with our Washington, D.C., District of Columbia, eye doctor. We’ll evaluate your eye health and vision; if you need new eyeglasses, check out our quality optical collection!

At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.

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Warm Compresses Can Relieve Dry Eye

protect your eyes 640x350What Is Dry Eye?

Our tears are made up of water and oil layers. Dry eye (also known as dry eye syndrome) occurs when the eyelids’ meibomian glands do not secrete enough natural oil into the tears. This causes the eyes to become dry, itchy, red, and painful. Environmental conditions like dry or windy air, and staring at a screen or book for a long time, can also dry out your eyes.

Here’s What To Do About It

One of the best ways to make dry, irritated eyes feel refreshed is with a warm compress. A warm compress will open the oil glands and soften oil blockages, allowing oil to flow into the tears. Wet a clean washcloth or place it in a microwave for 20 seconds. Touch it to your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot, then place the compress on your closed eyelids for a few minutes while tilting your head back or reclining. When the compress cools, reheat and repeat.

Compresses slow the evaporation of tears. Their warm moisture provides relief by stabilizing the eyes’ tear film and improving the meibomian glands’ production of oil. With your eyes now hydrated and lubricated, they can also expel bacteria more efficiently.

Certain prescription eye drops also address dry eye, and steroids can provide relief. Others provide additional lubrication. Please consult with Dr. Michael Rosenblatt, who can recommend or prescribe the best drops for your eyes.

Other home remedies include:

  • An air filter to eliminate irritants
  • A humidifier to increase moisture in the air and decrease evaporation of your tears
  • Drinking water to stay hydrated
  • Wearing sunglasses to deflect ultraviolet rays and wind that dry the eyes

Please Keep the Following in Mind:

  • Don’t make the compresses or washcloths too hot.
  • Use a different compress for each eye to prevent spreading an infection between the eyes.
  • We recommend lightly cleaning with a swab or cloth, then wetting and wiping your eyelids several times each day. Doing so can prevent bacteria from entering your eyes.

If you are experiencing dry eye, please bring it to our attention. Untreated, dry eye can sometimes cause corneal abrasions or ulcers, inflammation, and even vision impairment.

 

 

At The Dry Eye Center At Washington Eye Doctors, Dr. Michael Rosenblatt will treat patients with dry eye from Washington, D.C., Bethesda, Arlington, Chevy Chase, and throughout District of Columbia.

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Tips to Relax Your Eyes

Do your eyes hurt after spending a significant amount of time reading, playing video games, driving, or staring at a screen? These visually intense activities can sometimes be hard on the eyes, causing uncomfortable symptoms like headaches and blurry vision. Other symptoms of eye strain can include light sensitivity, neck and shoulder pain, trouble concentrating, and burning or itchy eyes.

Fortunately, preventing painful computer vision syndrome and eye fatigue symptoms can be as simple as trying a few of these eye exercises. To learn more about digital eye strain and discover the best relief options for you, call Washington Eye Doctors at 202-335-5032 and schedule an eye exam with Dr. Michael Rosenblatt.

Relax Your Eyes with These Supportive Techniques

Many of these exercises are designed for computer users. Eye strain resulting from long drives, reading, or other activities, can be alleviated by modifying some of these recommendations.

The Clock Exercise

The clock exercise relieves strain on overworked eye muscles and can help you avoid headaches and eye pain, among other symptoms. Begin the exercise by imagining a large analog clock a few feet in front of you. Keep your head still and move your eyes to the imaginary 9, then to the imaginary 3.

Keep moving your eyes to the opposite pairs on the clock — 10/4, 11/5, 12/6, and so on. Hold your gaze for a second or two on each number before moving on to the next one. Continue doing this for 4-5 minutes.

The 20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 rule helps you avoid dry eyes and eye strain by giving your eyes frequent breaks. After about 20 minutes of screen time or doing close-up work, focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives the eyes a much needed rest and helps them relax. There are also free apps available that provide pop-up reminders that notify you when it’s time to shift your gaze.

Screen Ergonomics

The American Optometric Association recommends placing computer monitors 20 to 28 inches, or 50-70 cm, away from your eyes and the top of the computer should be at eye level or right below for optimum eye comfort. Glare filters can reduce the amount of glare produced by digital devices and improve your viewing experience.

Poor sitting posture can also contribute to eye strain. Your chair should be situated so that your feet are flat on the floor, or use an angled footrest for additional comfort.

Optimize your Eyewear

Since regular prescription lenses or glasses may not adequately meet your visual needs for lengthy computer use, you may benefit from wearing computer glasses. These prescription glasses are customized to your needs and also reduce glare and block blue light.

 

You don’t have to live with the discomforts of eye strain. If symptoms persist, it may be time to visit Washington Eye Doctors and get the relief you seek. Call our office to schedule a convenient eye doctor’s appointment.

 

When All Other Contacts Have Failed, Scleral Lenses May Be the Answer

Girl Beach Contact Lenses

Sclerals vs. Standard Lenses

Standard contact lenses — be they soft, rigid gas permeable, or disposable — are the most popular choice for people with refractive errors who don’t want to wear glasses. But because standard lenses rest directly on the cornea, they aren’t a good fit for people with very dry eyes or irregularly shaped corneas.

Patients who have an irregular cornea find scleral lenses to be ideal. They have a larger diameter than standard lenses that allows them to vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera (the white part of the eye). Because they form a dome over the cornea, scleral lenses protect it from scratches and abrasions.

Scleral lenses also store saline solution between the back of the lens and the front of the cornea. As a result, the eye’s surface stays lubricated, maximizing comfort. Vision remains reliable, too.

Because scleral lenses are larger than standard lenses and custom-fitted to the eye, they are more stable and less likely to pop out. Scleral lenses correct astigmatism even in people with highly irregular corneal surfaces.

Sclerals are often prescribed for patients who suffer from dry eye or other complications following LASIK or other corneal surgeries.

Because scleral lenses are custom made and comfort is paramount, they might require several visits to get the fit just right. To learn if you have a corneal condition that requires scleral lenses, visit The Scleral Lens Center At Washington Eye Doctors. We help patients from Washington, D.C., Bethesda, Arlington, Chevy Chase, and throughout District of Columbia.

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Can Your Eye Doctor See Floaters?

Eye floaters look like little specks or shapes that glide Eye Care Clinic across your visual field. They can resemble dark specks, outlined strings, or fragments of cobwebs – all of which are actually little pieces of debris or clumps of cells floating in your vitreous gel. When they cast shadows on your retina, you see them. Can your eye doctor also see them?

Yes, your eye doctor can see eye floaters during an eye exam. While most of the time floaters are harmless, sometimes they can indicate a serious, sight-threatening eye problem – such as retinal detachment. Your eye doctor will perform a dilated eye exam to inspect your eye health closely, looking out for signs of a problem.

If you only experience mild floaters without any retinal problem, there’s usually no need to treat eye floaters. However, if they’re severe and interfere with vision (and don’t go away on their own after several months), you may need laser treatment. But this is rare.

If eye floaters appear suddenly and in a large quantity, call your eye doctor immediately for an emergency eye exam. They could signal the start of retinal detachment, which can cause blindness when left untreated.

In the vast majority of cases, eye floaters are nothing more than bothersome, and people can usually ignore them more easily as time passes.

At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.

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How Long Does It Take to Get Used to New Glasses?

Most people who wear glasses are familiar with the excitement and confidence boost that accompanies wearing new specs for the first time. But sometimes there is an adjustment period before your vision is fully comfortable. Things may look blurry, or you may notice feeling dizzy after prolonged wear. Some of these symptoms can be a normal part of the adjustment period, but sometimes they’re a reason to contact your eye doctor. If your new glasses are giving you trouble, speak with Dr. Michael Rosenblatt about ensuring that your eyesight is both clear and comfortable.

When Will My Eyes Adjust to My New Glasses?

It can take a few days to a few weeks for your eyes and brain to fully adjust to your new eyewear, whether you are increasing your prescription or wearing eyeglasses for the first time.

Even if you are getting new glasses with the same prescription, different frames or lenses can alter your vision until you get used to the new frame style or lens type. The complexity of your prescription and whether you buy a lens with premium optics versus basic spherical lens or polycarbonate material all can affect the adjustment time.

Progressive lenses tend to be the most difficult to adjust to. This is related to the peripheral soft focus zones, which are much less blurred for customized lenses prescribed by your local optometrist.

What Are Some Possible Visual Symptoms I Could Experience?

Some common experiences shared by those adjusting to new eyewear include:

  • Eye strain, headache
  • Blurry vision
  • Trouble with depth perception, nausea and dizziness
  • “Barrel distortion” — objects appear distorted, for high plus lenses
  • “Fishbowl effect” — the feeling that your visual field is being bent along the edges, as if you’re looking through a fishbowl, common in high minus prescriptions

Why Do My New Glasses Give Me a Headache?

Fatigued eye muscles can cause headaches. But your eyes aren’t the only things adjusting to your new lenses. Your brain is also working hard to create a clear picture of the messages it’s receiving from your eyes. This extra brain activity can sometimes bring on a headache, which should only last about a day or so.

Why Do I Feel Dizzy With My New Glasses?

Dizziness and nausea can be caused by problems with depth perception, similar to motion sickness. With motion sickness, you feel uneasy because your brain is having difficulty understanding the position of your body in relation to the space surrounding it. So when you wear your new glasses, your brain may need some time to understand how to interpret the new images it’s receiving, causing you to feel disoriented or dizzy.

When Should I Call My Eye Doctor?

When the adjustment period extends beyond a few weeks, there is a possibility that there was an error in the manufacturing of the lenses. Many people purchase eyewear from somewhere other than their eye doctor or order glasses online, and some studies have shown that up to 40% of online eyewear is made incorrectly or inaccurately.

It’s important to note that many offices may charge fees to check eyewear that is not made by them and that there may be fees for rechecking a patient’s refraction when glasses are made by another source.

Discomfort that lasts longer than a couple of weeks means it’s time to call your optometrist. Persistent symptoms like headaches, dizziness, or blurry vision can indicate that your glasses aren’t well suited to your eyes and need adjusting. Your optometrist will double check the prescription of the glasses among other things to ensure that the new glasses are right for you.

If you need new glasses or are having a hard time adjusting to a new pair, don’t hesitate to contact Washington Eye Doctors to schedule an appointment with the Washington, D.C. eye doctor.

Why Does Your Eye Doctor Dilate Your Pupils for an Eye Exam?

If you’ve been following the guideline to have regular eye exams, then you’re probably familiar with having your pupils dilated. Why does your eye doctor do this?

By dilating your pupils, the eye doctor can get a better view of your inner eye structures – so the eye exam is more comprehensive and more detailed. While the back of your eye can be seen through an undilated pupil, it cannot be examined as fully.

A full evaluation of your macula, retina and optic nerve is possible through dilated pupils. In many common eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, these are the parts of the eye that exhibit signs of a problem. Also, health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can often be detected on these parts of the eye.

What happens when the eye doctor dilates your pupils?

Your eye doctor or a technician will insert eye drops into your eyes; it takes 20 – 30 minutes for them to take full effect. Then, your eye doctor will use a lighted microscope to inspect your eyes.

Initially, you may feel a slight stinging when the drops are first inserted, but the discomfort is typically minor and short-lived. For a few hours afterwards, your eyes will be extra-sensitive to light and vision may be slightly blurred. Wearing sunglasses can help manage this sensitivity. Dilation usually wears off within four to six hours.

Even though getting your pupils dilated for an eye exam may feel like a nuisance, it enables your eye doctor to check your ocular health and overall body health with much more accuracy. So the benefits are clear! Contact an expert eye doctor near you to schedule an eye exam.

At Washington Eye Doctors, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 202-335-5032 or book an appointment online to see one of our Washington, D.C. eye doctors.

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