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How Sleep Apnea Affects The Eyes

Did you know that some eye conditions are associated with sleep apnea? According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and Health Canada reports similar prevalence. It’s a sleep disorder where people stop breathing — often multiple times per night — while sleeping.

If you have sleep apnea: it tends to take longer for your tears to be replenished, you’re more likely to have ocular irritation, you have a higher chance of developing floppy eyelids, and you’re at increased risk for glaucoma.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

There are different types of sleep apnea. The most common one is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). During OSA, your airway becomes partially blocked due to relaxed muscles in your nose and throat. This causes apnea (the absence of breathing) or hypopnea (abnormally shallow, slow breathing). It’s twice as common in men, and is more likely to affect people with obesity, hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.

What are the common symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing. These temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and affect the body’s oxygen supply, which can lead to potentially serious health consequences.

While snoring is a common symptom, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Interrupted sleep can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability or depression, headaches in the morning, difficulty concentrating and thinking, and a sore throat.

Which Eye Conditions Are Associated With Sleep Apnea?

Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when increased pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, leading to vision loss and sometimes blindness. In some cases, it might be due to a drop in blood oxygen levels, which happens when you stop breathing. However, CPAP machines, one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea, can also cause glaucoma.

So, people with sleep apnea — even if it’s being treated — need to get their eyes checked on a regular basis for glaucoma.

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES) is an eye condition where a person has an unusually large and floppy upper eyelid. It can cause eye redness, irritation, discharge, or blurry vision — and over 90% of people with FES also have sleep apnea.

Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is an eye condition that occurs when there is a loss of blood flow to the optic nerve. Patients typically complain of significant vision loss in one eye without any major pain. Approximately 70-80% of patients with NAION have been found to have OSA.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Also referred to as an ‘eye stroke,’ retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina. A recent study of 114 RVO patients found that sleep apnea was suspected in 74% of the patients that had previously been diagnosed with RVO.

Other Eye Health Issues Associated With Sleep Apnea

Some other ocular conditions that are more common in patients with sleep apnea include: papilledema, keratoconus, and central serous chorioretinopathy. Furthermore, in addition to glaucoma mentioned above, CPAP machines are associated with dry eye syndrome and bacterial conjunctivitis.

Talk To Your Doc

Get eye exams regularly to rule out eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss, especially if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. At Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. we encourage you to share your medical history with us so we can better diagnose and treat any eye conditions or ocular diseases you may have, and help you keep your eyes nice and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael P. Rosenblatt OD

Q: What Causes Sleep Apnea?

  • A: Sleep apnea occurs when in-part or completely stop breathing when sleeping. This causes your lungs to strain harder for oxygen, and makes the brain send signals that jerk your body awake to resume proper breathing.

Q: What are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?

  • A: A common sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring. Snoring that is loud enough to disturb the sleep of the patient as well as others around, even across the walls. That said, not everyone who snores suffers from obstructive sleep apnea.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Washington, D.C.. Visit Washington Eye Doctors for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

3 Benefits of Anti-Glare Coating

Glare refers to the excessive brightness caused by direct or reflected light. It can cause eye strain, digital eye strain (when using a computer, for example), halos, and headaches. Glare can also reduce visibility, making it unsafe to drive.

Anti-glare coating, also known as anti-reflective (AR) coating, is a thin layer applied to the surface of your eyeglass lenses that allows more light to pass through your lenses. By reducing the amount of glare that reflects off of your lenses, you can see more clearly and experience more comfortable vision. You can request anti-glare coating for lenses when you buy eyeglasses.

AR Coating Offers 3 Major Advantages

Better Appearance

Without an anti-glare coating on your glasses, camera flashes and bright lights can reflect off your lenses. This can hinder your appearance when speaking to people or in meetings, cause flash reflections when picture-taking, and make it difficult to find the right angle for video calls. Anti-reflective coating eliminates the harsh reflections and allows others to clearly see your eyes and face.

Reduced Digital Eye Strain

You know that tired, irritated feeling you get after staring at a digital screen for several hours? That’s digital eye strain. Anti-glare coating helps reduce digital eye strain by lowering exposure to excessive glare from digital devices and lighting.

Safe Driving at Night

The bright headlights from cars driving in the opposite direction can pose a serious danger when driving at night. These sudden glares can lead you to momentarily lose focus of the view ahead. AR coating on your prescription eyewear effectively reduces reflections from headlights at night, allowing you to enjoy a better view of the road and safer driving at night.

Let your eyes look and feel better every day with anti-glare coated lenses. Contact us to book your appointment today!

Frequently Asked Questions with Michael P. Rosenblatt OD

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Washington, District of Columbia. Visit Washington Eye Doctors for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

What You Should Know About Night Blindness

If you don’t see well while driving at night, there’s a chance you have night blindness. Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is the inability to see well at night or in dim lighting. It’s not considered an eye disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem.

Our eye doctor in Washington, D.C. can help diagnose, manage and treat your night blindness with specialized digital eye exams, so that you can enjoy being out and about at night again.

Here are 4 things you should know about night blindness:

Causes of Night Blindness

The inability to see well at night can be the result of a condition such as:

  • Vitamin A Deficiency — Vitamin A helps keep your cornea, the layer at the front of your eye, clear; it’s also an important component of rhodopsin, a protein that enables you to see in low light conditions. Although uncommon in North America, deficiency of this vitamin can induce night blindness.
  • CataractsA buildup of protein clouds the eye’s lens, leading to impaired vision, especially at night and in poor lighting conditions.
  • Diabetic RetinopathyDamage to the eyes’ blood vessels and nerves can result in vision loss, including difficulty seeing at night.
  • GlaucomaThis group of eye diseases is associated with pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve. Both glaucoma and the medications used to treat it can cause night blindness.
  • MyopiaAlso called nearsightedness, myopia makes distant objects appear blurry, and patients with it describe a starburst effect around lights at night.
  • KeratoconusAn irregularly shaped cornea causes blurred vision and may involve sensitivity to light and glare which tend to be worse at night.
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)A progressive genetic eye disease which can be associated with other diseases, RP leads to night blindness and peripheral vision loss.
  • Usher SyndromeThis genetic condition causes both hearing loss and vision loss, including night blindness and RP, mentioned above.

Symptoms of Nyctalopia

Since night blindness is a symptom of some serious vision problems, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice that you don’t see as well in dim light as you used to, such as when driving at night or when adjusting from being outdoors in the sunshine to being indoors.

Symptoms of Night Blindness Include:

  • Reduced contrast sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing people outdoors at night
  • Difficulty seeing in places with dim lighting, like a movie theater
  • Trouble adapting to the dark while driving
  • Excessive squinting at night
  • Trouble adjusting from bright areas to darker ones

Treatments for Night Blindness

Your eye doctor will want to diagnose the cause of your night blindness in order to treat it. For example, in the rare case of vitamin A deficiency, it can be treated with vitamin supplements and vitamin-A rich foods; myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Other conditions may require medications or surgery.

If night blindness is caused by a birth defect, Usher syndrome, or retinitis pigmentosa, low vision aids and devices can help you make the most of your remaining vision.

Prevention

While there is no proven way to prevent night blindness resulting from genetic conditions or birth defects, consuming healthy, nourishing foods and taking certain vitamin supplements may prevent or slow the onset of some eye conditions that cause night blindness.

If you experience poor vision at night or in dim lighting, we can help. Contact Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. to schedule your appointment today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Michael P. Rosenblatt OD

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Washington, District of Columbia. Visit Washington Eye Doctors for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

6 Common Myths About Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disease in which increased pressure causes progressive, permanent vision loss and even blindness. Unfortunately, many misconceptions about the disease can leave you misinformed. Below we sort fact from fiction by debunking 6 of the most common glaucoma myths.

Glaucoma Facts vs. Myths

MYTH 1: Glaucoma is a single disease

FACT

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases; the most common ones are open-angle glaucoma (OAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG).

In open-angle glaucoma, the drainage structure in your eye (called the trabecular meshwork) doesn’t allow the fluid inside the eye to flow out as it should, causing an increase in internal ocular pressure that damages the optic nerve. OAG develops slowly, and usually by the time people perceive symptoms, such as peripheral vision loss, they already have optic nerve damage.

In angle-closure glaucoma, the eye doesn’t drain fluid as it should because the drainage channel between your iris and cornea becomes too narrow, causing increased eye pressure. This pressure damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. ACG can occur suddenly or gradually.

MYTH 2: Only the elderly suffer from glaucoma

FACT

Although it’s true that people over 60 are at a greater risk of developing open-angle glaucoma compared to people in their 40s, there are other types of glaucoma that can affect people aged 20 to 50 and even young infants (due to abnormal ocular development).

In addition to age, those with a higher risk of developing glaucoma include:

  • African Americans and Hispanics
  • Individuals with a family history of glaucoma
  • Patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or sickle cell anemia
  • Those who have previously sustained an eye injury
  • People taking steroid medications over the long term

MYTH 3: Glaucoma shows symptoms early on

FACT

The most common form of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, shows virtually no signs or symptoms until its later stages when vision loss sets in. Despite what people may think, the increased eye pressure causes no pain. And since peripheral vision is the first to go, you may not recognize vision loss until your vision has become significantly impaired. The only way to detect glaucoma is to undergo a comprehensive eye exam.

MYTH 4: Nothing can be done once you have glaucoma

FACT

While there’s currently no cure for glaucoma, many effective treatment options exist: eye drops, oral medications, as well as laser and surgical procedures that can help slow glaucoma progression. Each treatment option is used to get the fluid to flow properly out of the eye, reducing pressure inside the eye and decreasing damage to the optic nerve.

MYTH 5: Testing for glaucoma is painful

FACT

Actually, testing for glaucoma is practically painless. One of the tests includes a non-contact device that blows a gentle puff of air into each eye to test the intraocular pressure. The sound of the puff may be startling, but it’s over in a second and is painless. With the Goldmann applanation tonometry test, an anesthetic eye drop is inserted into each eye, which may cause a stinging sensation for a few seconds. Your eye doctor will then use a blue light to quickly and gently touch the cornea to precisely measure intraocular pressure. The most accurate of all, however, are visual field testing and OCT (optical coherence tomography), non-invasive imaging, both of which are also painless.

MYTH 6: You can’t prevent glaucoma

FACT

Regular eye exams are the only way to prevent glaucoma, as blindness or significant vision loss can be prevented if the disease is diagnosed and treated in the early stages. That’s why routine comprehensive eye exams which include glaucoma testing are so important.

Getting your eyes checked regularly can ensure that any existing eye problems are detected early enough to prevent or slow ocular damage. Contact Washington Eye Doctors in Washington, D.C. to book your comprehensive eye exam today!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Michael P. Rosenblatt OD

Q: If one of my parents has glaucoma, does that mean I will develop it as well at some point?

  • A: Having a parent with glaucoma does not mean that the child will automatically develop the condition too. However, those people with an immediate family history (parents, siblings) of glaucoma are at more risk to develop this disease. Patients should have a comprehensive eye examination each year to evaluate the health of the eyes and to look for signs of glaucoma. Some of these signs can be an increase in the pressure of the eyes as well as changes to the appearance of the optic nerve. Many times there are no symptoms noticed by the patient. If there is suspicion of glaucoma, more frequent visits to the eye doctor along with additional nerve testing are often required.

Q: Why do I need to scan my retinas/back of the eye?

  • A: The retina shows us a lot about the overall ocular health as well as systemic conditions that can affect the eyes. Often diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol can be observed from a retinal scan. Also, retinal scans allow us to diagnose and treat macular degeneration and glaucoma. Scans are often very important for a complete eye check up.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Washington, District of Columbia. Visit Washington Eye Doctors for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Parkinson’s Awareness Month and Your Vision

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month in the USA and Canada, a time when those living with the disorder, their family members, friends, and community come together to raise awareness and share helpful information. People with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and their loved ones are encouraged to share their stories, struggles, and successes in order to educate and support others.

The Parkinson’s Foundation has announced this year’s theme: #KeyToPD and Parkinson Canada advocates the same involvement. What is the key to living a high quality of life while living with Parkinson’s? Patients, doctors, caregivers, and families are encouraged to use this hashtag on social media to give of their knowledge and experience.

In order to successfully manage the disorder, it’s essential to understand the disease, symptoms, and treatments. After all, knowledge is power.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control physical movement. It typically affects middle aged people and the elderly. Parkinson’s causes a decrease in the brain’s natural levels of dopamine, which normally aids nerve cells in passing messages within the brain. According to The Parkinson’s Foundation and Statistics Canada, the disorder affects an estimated 1 million people in the United States, 55 000 Canadians, and 10 million globally.

What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?

Although much research has been done on the subject, the exact cause of the disease isn’t really known. What doctors and scientists do know is that certain nerve cells located in the brain somehow break down. This damage interferes with both motor and non-motor functions.

How Does Parkinson’s Affect Vision?

Parkinson’s can have a significant impact on vision and ocular health. Patients with PD often find themselves unable to control blinking. Blinking is good for the eyes as it moisturizes the surface and clears it from foreign substances. Less blinking can cause Dry Eye Syndrome, resulting in itchy, red, or gritty-feeling eyes. Other people blink too much or can’t keep their eyes open.

In more serious cases, Parkinson’s affects the nerves that help us see. Someone with PD may experience blurry vision, double vision, difficulty seeing color and contrast, problems with focus, and other visual symptoms.

In addition to the inherent impact of the disease, some of the medications used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms have known side effects including dry eyes, blurred eyesight and even hallucinations in advanced PD.

Common Visual Symptoms of Parkinson’s

Although the most recognized physical symptom is uncontrollable tremors, patients can experience other symptoms that affect their vision. These typically include:

  • Apraxia (inability to open the eyelids)
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye twitching
  • Focusing problems

Parkinson’s Patients and Eye Exams

Eye exams can be particularly challenging for a PD patient, so choosing the right doctor is essential. Make sure your eye doctor regularly treats patients with PD. They’ll understand your or your loved ones’ unique needs and will take the time needed.

Common Non-Visual Symptoms of Parkinson’s

PD affects other areas of the body that may or may not – depending on each patient – be related to their eye health and visual needs.

Some of the most common non-visual symptoms are:

  • Depression
  • Excessive saliva
  • Loss of smell
  • Moodiness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Slow movement (bradykinesia)
  • Stiff limbs
  • Tremors

Coping With Vision Problems From Parkinson’s

Despite the struggles caused by this degenerative disease, there is hope. Talk to your eye doctor. He or she may recommend medicated ointments or drops, injections, therapeutic lenses, visual aids, vision therapy, or a combination thereof. Additionally, a Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation doctor can provide comprehensive eye care specifically designed for neurological disorders like PD.

Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

There is currently no cure for the disease itself, but there are options to treat the symptoms of PD. A combination of medications, physical and/or occupational therapy, support groups, and of course, top-quality vision care can give a PD patient relief for some of their symptoms and tools to help cope with the condition.

Research and clinical trials are continuing as doctors and others in the medical community work towards the goal of finding a cure for PD.

No two patients are alike, and each can experience PD differently from the other, so finding what works for you or your loved one is key. During this Parkinson’s Awareness Month, share your #KeyToPD and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.

Is Too Much Screen Time Dangerous For Your Kids?

Screen Time Pros and Cons

Whether it is homework, email, gaming, chatting with friends, searching the web or watching Youtube, kids these days seem to have an endless number of reasons to be glued to a screen. Many parents out there are wondering how bad this can be for their kids and whether they should be limiting screen time.

There are certainly benefits to allowing your kids to use digital devices, whether it is educational, social or providing a needed break. However, studies show that excessive screen time can have behavioral consequences such as irritability, moodiness, inability to concentrate, poor behavior, and other issues as well. Too much screen time is also linked to dry eyes and meibomian gland disorders (likely due to a decreased blink rate when using devices), as well as eye strain and irritation, headaches, back or neck and shoulder pain, and sleep disturbances. Some of these computer vision syndrome symptoms are attributed to blue light that is emitted from the screens of digital devices.

Blue light is a short wavelength, high-energy visible light that is emitted by digital screens, LED lights and the sun. Studies suggest that exposure to some waves of blue light over extended periods of time may be harmful to the light-sensitive cells of the retina at the back of the eye. When these cells are damaged, vision loss can occur. Research indicates that extreme blue light exposure could lead to macular degeneration or other serious eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness. Studies show that blue light also interferes with the regulation of the the body’s circadian rhythm which can have a disruptive impact on the body’s sleep cycle. Lack of quality sleep can lead to serious health consequences as well.

Beyond these studies, the long term effects of blue light exposure from digital devices are not yet known since this is really the first generation in which people are using digital devices to such an extent. While it may take years to fully understand the impact of excessive screen time on our eyes and overall health, it is probably worth limiting it due to these preliminary findings and the risks it may pose. This is especially true for young children and the elderly, who are particularly susceptible to blue light exposure.

How to Protect the Eyes From Blue Light

The first step in proper eye protection is abstaining from excessive exposure by limiting the amount of time spent using a computer, smart phone or tablet – especially at night, to avoid interfering with sleep. Many pediatricians even recommend zero screen time for children under two.

The next step would be to reduce the amount of blue light entering the eyes by using blue light blocking glasses or coatings that deflect the light away from the eyes. There are also apps and screen filters that you can add to your devices to reduce the amount of blue light being projected from the screen. Speak to your eye doctor about steps you can take to reduce blue light exposure from digital devices.

As a side note, the sun is an even greater source of blue light so it is essential to protect your child’s eyes with UV and blue light blocking sunglasses any time your child goes outside – even on overcast days.

The eyes of children under 18 are particularly susceptible to damage from environmental exposure as they have transparent crystalline lenses that are more susceptible to both UV and blue light rays. While the effects (such as increased risk of age-related macular degeneration) may not be seen for decades later, it’s worth it to do what you can now to prevent future damage and risk for vision loss.

 

6 Summer Eye Care Tips

Start with Stylish Sunglasses in Washington, DC!

Summer means that the sun shines bright and strong, giving us many clear days to spend outdoors. While most associations with summer are warm and pleasant, involving fun vacations, water action, and relaxing in the heat, it is wise to remember that the sun’s summer rays also bring intense ultraviolet rays. In response to these rays, most people slather their skin with sunscreen. However, UVA and UVB sun rays also present additional dangers to your health, particularly to your eyes – and sunscreen cannot help you with that!

Spending too much time in the sun can lead to photokeratitis, a painful burn on the outer eye surface. This condition is a complication that can occur immediately. In addition, overexposure to UV rays is also linked to numerous eye problems that may appear in the future, such as developing cataracts, macular degeneration, skin cancer of the eyelid, and ocular growths.

Eyes are one of the most sensitive sensory organs of your body, and they are as prone to summer injury as your skin. To look after your precious peepers, our Washington, DC, optometrists share the following summer eye care tips:

1. Put on a pair of sunglasses

Sunglasses are the most obvious way to block your eyes from hazardous UV rays. When selecting the perfect pair of sunglasses in Washington, DC, we invite you to shop our fabulous, fashionable optical collection. We stock only high quality frames that are fit with lenses that have 100% UVA and UVB protection. For ultimate protection, the larger the lenses the better, so they cover as much of your eye area as possible; wraparound sunglasses are ideal. To enhance protection, wear a sun hat with a wide brim that shades your eyes.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as much as 80% of a person’s lifetime exposure to ultraviolet rays occurs before the age of 18. That is because kids typically spend more time playing outdoors, both on land and in water. Also, a child’s ocular lenses don’t filter out UV light as efficiently as an adult’s lenses. To keep your child’s vision safe from the sun, come together to look through our trendy kids’ sunglasses in Washington, DC!

2. Swim with goggles

Don’t swim with naked eyes. Swimming pools are packed with chlorine that can cause extreme eye irritation, nicknamed “swimmer’s eye.” Chemicals that keep the water clean can injure the natural tear film of your eyes, leading to blurry vision, redness, and a gritty sensation in your eyes. Swim goggles prevent this harsh water from injuring your delicate eyes. Another helpful tip is to splash your eyes with fresh water as soon as you exit the pool.

If you usually eyeglasses or contact lenses in order to see clearly, a pair of prescription swimming goggles is your best choice for sharp vision underwater. Although we know it is tempting, do not wear your contacts for swimming! A cosmos of pesky microorganisms live in water, and some of these can lead to serious eye infections. Wearing contact lenses raises your risks of contracting an eye infection.

3. Wash your hands

Classic summer activities put your fingers in touch with a plethora of bacteria, sweat, germs, and other irritating substances – such as sunscreen and sand. Every time you rub your eyes with your bare hands, foreign particles can get into your eyes and lead to allergies or infections.

4. Keep eyes moist with eye drops

Dry eyes and summer go hand in hand. Heat and dry winds can all sap moisture smooth moisture from your skin and eyes. How can you counter the effects? Include lubricating eye drops (artificial tears) in your summer eye care supplies. These over-the-counter medications will moisten dry eyes to diminish or eliminate any painful symptoms.

5. Drink, and drink more

Dehydration is common during the hot summer days. As your body becomes depleted of water, so do your eyes. Tear glands cannot produce enough tears to moisten your eyeballs. When you head out for the day, pack a refreshing bottle of water to tote along.

6. Wear safety eyewear

Summer often means you spend after-work hours or weekends mowing the lawn, playing outdoor sports, or gardening. All of these activities pose a risk of flying objects and airborne irritants getting into your eyes. In fact, according to studies by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more than a half of all eye injuries are estimated to happen at home – yet only about a third of all people put on protective eyewear. Don’t take chances with your vision – be responsible with your summer eye care and check out our safety eyewear in Washington, DC.

Eye Drops to Treat Dry Eye in Washington, DC

Which eye drops for dry eye are best for you?

Dry eye syndrome is a common problem nowadays. Besides yourself, you probably know others who suffer from similar irritating symptoms due to dry eye. Yet, even if everyone shares the same symptoms – it doesn’t mean that their dry eyes share the same cause or will be helped by the same eye drops and dry eye treatment. Dry eye syndrome can result from aging, the side effects of medication, specific systemic diseases, lifestyle habits, and the environment.

If you experience dry eye in Washington, DC, our eye doctors are experienced and knowledgeable about effective ways to alleviate your pain to restore comfortable vision. Depending upon the results of your comprehensive eye exam, we will customize your dry eye treatment to address your unique condition.

In general, the frontline defense against dry eye irritation is eye drops. A variety of types of eye drops are available, including over-the-counter versions and prescription eye drops. Which eye drops are right for you? Let’s look together at your options.

OTC Eye Drops / Non-Prescription Artificial Tears

You’ll find many brands of OTC eye drops on the drugstore shelves. They are the most common dry eye treatment and can provide temporary symptomatic relief. Be forewarned though that it may take some trial and error before you pinpoint the brand that works best for you.

Most non-prescription eye drops contain substances that help preserve moisture on the surface of your eye. Yet the ingredients vary, and some of these eye drops contain preservatives, while others are preservative-free. What’s the problem with preservatives? Many people find that they sting and irritate eyes. If you try a certain brand of eye drops for your dry eye in Washington, DC, and it causes stinging – don’t give up! Try a preservative-free version instead.

Also, our Washington, DC, optometrists caution against buying eye drops that only remove redness from your eyes, as they are not designed to treat dry eye. In addition, if you suffer from glaucoma or another eye disease, it is critical to check with your eye doctor before inserting any OTC eye drops. In general, when choosing artificial tears, we advise you to consult with your eye doctor to recommend the most suitable type.

Prescription Eye Drops

If you start treating your dry eye syndrome with artificial tears, yet find that you need to apply eye drops constantly, you may have a severe case of dry eye that requires prescription treatment. Prescription eye drops work different from OTC types, and they help to treat the underlying causes – in addition to relieving the annoying, painful symptoms.

  • Restasis is one of the most popular medicines prescribed for dry eye. These eye drops work by reducing inflammation and helping to enhance tear production. Restasis is a cyclosporine eye drop recommended for long-term use. It is associated with some undesirable side effects.
  • Xiidra eye drops are another common dry eye treatment. This drug can heal your eyes from the damage of dry eye syndrome and protect your eyes from developing the painful symptoms.

Do You Have Dry Eye? Ask Your Washington, DC, Eye Doctor for Help!

To figure out which eye drop will remove your painful vision most effectively, self-medication isn’t your smartest move. A better plan is to schedule a thorough eye exam with our expert eye care professionals. We’ll assess your personal situation to recommend the best eye drops and other forms of dry eye treatment.

For more information about OTC and prescription eye drops, and to find out if which medicine is most appropriate for your dry eye in Washington, DC, we invite you to book a consultation today. We are your leading local site for sore eyes.

Tips for Coping with Dry Eyes in the Winter

How to Deal with Your Dry Eyes When Cold Winds Blow

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition linked to a number of irritating symptoms, such as stinging, burning, itching, the sensation of sand under your eyelids, and redness. This uncomfortable and sometimes painful condition develops when your eyes are not well lubricated. A known cause for dry eye syndrome is the air around you, such as the cold, blustery winds of winter, as well as a dry environment due to indoor heating.

Rubbing your eyes and blinking constantly are an automatic way that people deal with their dry eyes in the winter. Yet, this is typically ineffective behavior that could even make your condition worse. For genuine, lasting relief, you need to visit your expert Washington, DC, optometrist for a thorough eye exam. We’ll assess your dry eyes to offer the best treatment and strategies to alleviate your discomfort.

Protect Your Eyes from the Elements

Dry eyes in the winter can often be prevented with some basic lifestyle hacks. Try the following tips for protecting your sensitive eyes from the crisp and cold winter air and the hazards of indoor heating:

  • Don’t sit next to the heater or radiator at home or work
  • Use a humidifier to reverse the drying effects of your heating system
  • Apply warm compresses to your dry eyes to relieve mild symptoms
  • Choose to wear eyeglasses more frequently in the winter, instead of contact lenses
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses or goggles (with UV protection) when outdoors, especially when you hit the slopes
  • Use artificial tears eye drops to restore moisture to your eyes; check with our Washington, DC, optometrist about which brand is best for your condition
  • Take eye health supplements with omega-3 fatty acids
  • Refrain from rubbing your eyes, as this could lead to scratches on your eye’s surface

Dry eyes in the winter are common, yet you don’t need to sit back and suffer until the season changes. If you don’t experience relief by implementing the tips listed above, our eye doctors can offer medical treatment for dry eyes. We’re knowledgeable and experienced in a range of therapies, including prescription medicines and minor surgical procedures. Don’t wait for your symptoms of dry eye to become severe, contact our Washington, DC, office to schedule a consultation as soon as winter blows in.

Fall Allergies and How Washington Eye Doctors Can Help!

We Offer Allergy Relief for Eyes in Washington, DC

Man having trouble with allergies in Washington, DCThe weather is finally cooling down and the vibrant summer blossoms are fading. So why are your allergies getting worse?

While it won’t prevent your fall allergies or bring you allergy relief, you may feel better knowing that you’re not suffering alone. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, allergies affect over 40 million Americans, and Washington, DC, falls within the top 100 most difficult places to live with allergies!

What’s in the air that is causing so many problems?

Ragweed

Although many people associate allergies with spring and summer, fall allergy triggers are just as powerful. In the Washington, DC, area, most fall allergies are due to ragweed pollen or mold spores. While you may not see ragweed floating through the air as clearly as you saw the tree pollens during the spring, it is just as plentiful in the autumn air. In fact, when ragweed matures from late summer to early fall, one single plant can produce up to one billion pollen grains!

Mold

Mold spores breed rapidly in wet areas outdoors, such as in mounds of damp leaves. As soon as you attack your lawn with a rake, you are releasing many of these mold spores into the air – where they travel directly into your eyes.

Dust-mites

After the summer months when many school classrooms and corridors were empty, kids fill the rooms again each fall. Going back-to-school stirs up all the dust mites that settled throughout summer vacation. In addition, when it gets chilly outside and the heat is turned on for the first time, dust mites blast into the rooms along with the warm air.

Eye Symptoms from Fall Allergies

When ragweed pollen, mold and/or dust mites come into contact with your eyes, you may suffer the irritating symptoms of eye allergies. The uncomfortable (and sometimes painful) symptoms of eye allergies include redness, burning, dark circles under your eyes, swelling, itchy eyes, and watery eyes.

Allergy Relief from Our Eye Care Center in Washington, DC

When your allergies flare up, there are various effective treatments that can alleviate your symptoms. Applying cool compresses to your eyes to relieve itchiness and swelling may restore comfort. In addition, various over-the-counter medications, such as decongestant eye drops, artificial tears and/or oral antihistamines may be helpful. Be sure to consult with your eye care specialist about the particular brands that are best for your condition, as some drugs can make your symptoms worse!

When none of the above help you out, our optometrist may prescribe more potent eye drops, such as short-term steroids. Other possible treatments include immunotherapy allergy shots and prescription antihistamines. For the best allergy relief, we recommend working together with an allergist to design a personalized treatment plan.

How to Cope with Fall Allergies

When the leaves change color, it’s also the time of year that many patients seek allergy relief and visit us for eye care in Washington, DC. Our eye doctors recommend the following tips for coping with fall allergies:

  • When pollen is at its peak, stay indoors with the windows and doors shut. Generally, this occurs in late morning or mid-day. Check pollen counts in the Washington, DC, area for detailed information about when ragweed is at a high
  • Don’t turn on your heat for the first time until you change your filter and clean your vents!
  • Install a HEPA filter in your heating system. This will help remove mold spores, pollen, dust mites and other airborne irritants
  • Wear a mask and protective eyewear, such as wraparound eyeglasses or goggles, when you rake leaves or cut the grass
  • Don’t hang your laundry outside to dry, as it allows molds and pollens to collect on them
  • Use a dehumidifier to lower humidity and prevent mold from reproducing

Perhaps the most important tip we can share with you is to Never Rub Your Eyes! Eye rubbing can exacerbate any and all symptoms of eye allergies. We also advise you to remove your contact lenses if you wear them, and switch to daily disposables. Since daily disposable contacts are tossed in the garbage every night, allergens don’t have a chance to build up on the contact lens surface.

If you’re looking for allergy relief during the fall, look no further – we offer expert eye care in Washington, DC, and our eye doctors will help calm your irritated eyes.