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Month: November 2016

Feed your Eyes this Thanksgiving

by Jamie Peters

Your local eye doctor in La Mesa, CA is wishing you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Read on to learn some Thanksgiving foods that are particularly healthy for your eyes.

The eye needs special nutrients to keep working year after year. Vitamins pills are a nice additive but they must be supplemented with eye-healthy foods. Here are a few ideas:

  • Salmon-cream cheese spread on crackers made from ThanksgivingFood forHealthy Eyes 768×768almond flour
  • Edamame
  • Slivered kale salad with dried cranberries and almonds
  • Romaine salad with red kidney beans, mango and strawberries (add olive oil, mustard and fresh anchovy dressing)
  • Spinach quiche
  • Add spinach to your turkey stuffing
  • Roasted red and orange bell peppers with olive oil/balsamic drizzle
  • Sweet potatoes or yams
  • Dark berry pie (black or blue berry)
  • Cookies made with Chia seeds

Try incorporating some of the these eye-healthy alternatives to your Thanksgiving menu. Your eyes will thank you later! Your eye doctor in La Mesa CA also recommends to keep the portions small so you won’t experience any stomach pains. Try to take the family around the block for a walk to make room for the pie!

How to Properly Apply Eye Drops

by Caroline Cauchi, OD

Everyone knows that dry, red and itchy eyes are unsightly and uncomfortable. They can be caused by seasonal allergies, lack or sleep or an underlying health issue. Some people don’t know that you can use eye drops to combat the problem and go about your day more productively. If you are one of the many people who feel uncomfortable when trying to insert drops, use these tips and tricks to make the process easier.

Cleanliness Is Important

As with any other task you perform related to your eyes, your hands must be clean before inserting drops into your eyes. This ensures no dust or tiny pieces of debris become lodged under your lid and prevents bacteria from entering the eye.

Prepare Your Eye

Remove your glasses or contact lenses before trying to insert drops. There is an exception to this rule, though. Some drops are formulated specifically to use with your contacts. Ask your local eye doctor in La Mesa, CA if you aren’t sure.

Inspect the Drops

If you have had the drops for a while, make sure they haven’t expired. You should also inspect the tip and check for any cracks that may cause too many drops to release at once. Do not to touch the tip with your fingers.

Insert the Drops

Now you are ready to insert the drops, which requires patience and practice.

  1. Tilt your head back and find a focal point on the ceiling.
  2. With your eyes wide open, use two fingers just below your eye to gently pull down the lower lid and create a pocket for the drops.
  3. Use your other hand to hold the bottle. If needed, you can rest your hand on your forehead to hold the bottle steady.
  4. Holding the bottle about an inch from your eye, lightly squeeze until one drop enters your lower lid. Repeat as needed.
  5. Close your eyes, tilt your head down and try not to blink for a few seconds.

If you suffer from dry, itchy eyes regularly and find that over-the-counter drops don’t help, there may be a more serious underlying issue. Our experienced optometrists are happy to provide a thorough examination and help you determine the best course of treatment.

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

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Diabetes is a growing health crisis in North America as an estimated 29 million Americans and 3.4 million Canadians are currently living with the disease. Chances are it affects you or someone you know. November has been dedicated as a time to spread awareness about the disease, its risk factors and the effects it has on your body, your daily life and the lives of your loved ones.

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes is a systemic disease that causes fluctuations in glucose (blood sugar) levels which can affect blood vessels throughout the body including those in your eyes and visual system. People with diabetes are at higher risk for blindness than the general population, however with regular eye exams and proper care, most of the complications are minor and treatable.

Minor changes in glucose levels could result in complications such as blurred or double vision, floaters or even visual field loss. These conditions are usually quite treatable. Diabetics are also at greater risk for developing eye diseases such as glaucoma (40% increase risk) and cataracts (60% increased risk). With early detection, both of these conditions can be treated and the majority of vision restored.

Diabetic eye disease often has NO noticeable symptoms or pain, so comprehensive eye exams that include dilating the pupils are essential to detect signs of diabetes. Online vision assessments will not detect diabetic eye disease.

The condition that is the most concerning risk of diabetes is called diabetic retinopathy which can lead to blindness if not diagnosed and treated.

What You Need to Know About Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the tiny blood vessels or capillaries in the back of the eye develop weakened vessel walls. If not treated, the vessels leak fluid and become blocked. This can progress to hemorrhages in the retina, and over time the eye does not receive enough oxygen and nutrients. As a result, new fine blood vessels start to grow. These proliferating vessels leak and can cause further bleeding, scarring and potentially lead to blindness. A special zone in the central retina called the macula is especially susceptible to diabetes. Diabetic macular edema (when fluid seeps into the macula) can cause permanent vision loss if not promptly detected.

There are treatments for stopping the progression of the disease such as laser therapy or intraocular injections, although once damage to vision has occurred, it is often permanent. This is why the condition must be diagnosed and treated early on.

All diabetics should have a regular comprehensive eye exam to catch any early signs of diabetic retinopathy or other vision threatening conditions. Because risk factors vary, speak to your eye doctor about how often you should have an exam. Risk factors for diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Length of time living with diabetes
  • Uncontrolled blood sugar levels
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetics

Although blindness from diabetes is preventable it is still a leading cause of blindness among working-age adults. If you or someone you know has the disease, make sure that proper eye care is a priority.

Protect Your Vision From Blue Light

by Caroline Cauchi, OD

Your experienced optometrist in La Mesa, CA educates patients on what is blue light and how to protect vision from negative effects like eye strain.

What is “blue light”?

Sunlight contains rays we can see (the visible spectrum – orange, yellow, green, blue, etc.) and invisible rays (also known as ultraviolet). These ultraviolet rays have a short wave length and very high energy. They are responsible for sunburns and skin cancer as well as eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. There is a type of ray that lays just between the visible and ultraviolet. These rays are known as high energy blue rays. We know that one source of these blue rays is the sun. Some people are not aware that electronic devices are another important source of blue rays.

What can high energy blue light do to you?

Similar to ultraviolet rays, blue ight can damage your retina (specifically your macula). It can also cause serious eye fatigue because the rays are more scattered and can flicker. This isn’t a problem if you are using electronic devices for very short periods. However, many people stare at their phones for long periods of time, which can cause eye strain. There is also early evidence that this blue light may disturb normal sleep pattern. Undisturbed rest is essential for good health and a strong immune system.

Is there scientific proof that high energy blue light can harm me?

Yes, there is scientific proof that blue light can be harmful. However, long-term controlled studies are currently being conducted to better document the level of harm. Even 10 years ago, few people believed lutein made any difference to eye health. As more research presented on the subject, the nonbelievers who weren’t providing supplements quickly realized their mistake.

Can we afford to wait until we have absolute long-term proof about high energy blue light? Your eye doctor in La Mesa, CA says no. It is recommended to patients that your vision is protected every way possible, even if the research is not complete.

Am I at risk?

Yes, everyone who uses an electronic device (laptop, smart phone, computers, LED lights) is at risk. The more time you spend on these devices, the higher the risk. Parents should monitor the amount of time their children spend glued to electronic devices because it can become problematic to their vision.

How can you protect yourself and your family?

  • Ask your family members to discontinue using electronic devices 1 hour before they go to bed.
  • Request that a high energy blue filter be added to your glasses. If you don’t normally wear glasses, get a no prescription pair with a blue filter. Remember to do the same for any other family members, especially kids.
  • It is also recommended to teach family members to take breaks and keep the electronic devices at least 18” from their eyes.
  • There are several different types of blue filters, so ask your eye doctor in La Mesa CA what they recommend for you.

Learn more about blue light protection by calling us at (619) 461-4913. You can also submit an online contact form while you are here on our website.

Diabetes Awareness Month

by Jamie Peters

It is Diabetes Awareness Month so we are taking this opportunity to explain how optometrists can play a big role in detecting this disease.

Your local eye doctors in La Mesa, CA use their ears and eyes as some of the tools in detecting diabetes. Your exam always starts with a conversation about your eyes. Dr. Cauchi and Dr. Peters will listen to you and ask questions about your health in general. They are highly trained to catch subtle symptoms of developing diabetes. If you have been diagnosed as diabetic, we will ask about your A1C and if it is high, give you some tips on how to get that under control. Both eye doctors use their experienced eyes to examine your retina carefully and check for early signs of diabetes. Even an unusual change in your prescription might be an indicator that you are pre-diabetic.

Each year both eye doctors attend courses and seminars to learn of the latest in diabetes detection, eye care and eye disease. As a patient, you will probably not be aware of these subtle changes. As some of the leading optometrists in the industry, it’s our job and our passion to provide the best possible eye care to all our patients.

As a matter of fact, one of the main reasons why Dr. Cauchi became an optometrist was due to her grandmother”s experience with diabetes. Her grandmother, Lupe Guerrero went blind from diabetic eye disease. Her vision might have been saved if she would have had an eye exam when the problems were small. It is situations like this one that demonstrate the importance of regular comprehensive eye exams. Schedule your next eye exam today by calling (619) 461-4913 or submitting an appointment request form while you are here on our website.

Don’t Let Fall Eye Allergies Get You Down

Red, itchy, watery eyes and swollen eyelids (along with sneezing, congestion or a runny nose)… these symptoms are a clear indication that allergy season has arrived. These allergic symptoms are caused by a reaction to allergens, which are substances in the environment that are usually harmless. If, however, you are one of the unlucky that is predisposed to allergies, these substances can illicit a serious and sometimes even debilitating allergic response.

As opposed to food, medicine, or insect allergies which don’t often affect the eyes, eye allergies are a common symptom of airborne allergens including mold, pollen (from trees and flowers), dust and pet dander. The summer fall and spring are often the worst times for a high pollen count and many individuals suffer during these seasons.

An allergic eye reaction occurs when your eye releases histamines in an effort to protect itself from a perceived threat (an allergen such as dust, pollen, animal dander, mold spores, eye drops or airborne chemicals). The release of the histamines causes the symptoms of redness, itchiness, burning and tearing. This response is also sometimes known as allergic conjunctivitis.

The most common type of eye allergies are perennial and seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Perennial eye allergies are a response to household allergens that exist all year round such as pet dander, mold, or dust mites. Seasonal allergies usually result from pollen from plants, grass and trees that are found in the air and depend on the season and the types of pollens in the environment. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is often more severe than perennial and can cause puffy eyelids and itching which can make symptoms worse.

The best way to reduce discomfort and prevent an allergic reaction is to stay away from allergens as much as possible. Here are some tips on how to reduce exposure:

  • Minimize outdoor exposure during pollen season:
  • Stay inside when pollen counts are particularly high or during a windy day.
  • Keep windows closed and use air conditioner with a clean filter.
  • Wear sunglasses outside to keep irritants from entering the eyes.
  • Reduce indoor allergens:
  • Wash bedding frequently in hot water and use mite-proof covers on pillows, blankets and mattresses.
  • Prevent household mold by reducing humidity and keeping areas that are subject to humidity or dampness (such as bathrooms, kitchens or basements) clean. Use a dehumidifier when necessary and clean any mold you see with bleach.
  • To reduce dust, clean floors and surfaces with a damp rag or mop rather than sweeping or dry dusting.
  • Wash your hands and clothes after coming into contact with animals.
  • DO NOT rub your eyes as this can worsen symptoms, greatly aggravating swelling and itchiness, and can sometimes even cause an infection.

If you have severe allergies, avoid contact lens wear or reduce wear time when allergies flare up, as contact lenses can worsen symptoms and do not fit as they normally would when the eyes are swollen. This is why having back up glasses is so important. Changing to one day single use disposable contacts can also sometimes reduce allergy symptoms.

There are some steps you can take to alleviate symptoms of eye allergies. Over-the-counter solutions include artificial tears, decongestant eye drops (which shouldn’t be used for longer than a week) or oral antihistamines (which can sometimes worsen symptoms). If no eye drops are available, cool compresses (avoid heat) will also help to reduce the itch. If these treatments don’t work, you can get a prescription for stronger eye drops (antihistamine or short term steroid drops to reduce symptoms), oral antihistamines or possibly immunotherapy (such as allergy shots).

If you are experiencing symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, don’t just assume they are allergies. See your eye doctor to determine the cause to ensure that it is not a more serious eye condition.

Handheld Digital Devices: Friend and Foe

by Caroline Cauchi, OD

Dr. Cauchi, your trusted optometrist in La Mesa, CA, discusses the potential harms and benefits handheld digital devices can have on your eyes and optical health.

How Handheld Digital Devices Can Be Our Friendbigstock Small Boy With Computer And Ph 124022261 768×512

Every day, I see children glued to their parents’ tablets and phones. These handheld devices are a fabulous method to keep your kids quiet and happily entertained when you are at an appointment, running an errand or busy around the house. The child is mesmerized while viewing the 5 inches from their little eyes. When we consider handheld devices in this mindset, they are our friend.

How Handheld Digital Devices Can Be Our Foe

Can handheld devices also serve as a potential foe? Yes, the very continuous close focusing distance is one of the contributing factors in the myopia epidemic. In the optometry field, we see more and more children developing nearsightedness (myopia) at an earlier age. This gives these young patients more time to end up with a very high prescription. Aside from the potential social issues, myopia is also a big risk factor for leading to detached retinas, glaucoma and macular disease.

Best Practices for Handheld Digital Device Use

So, what can you do to prevent eye strain and myopia due to handheld digital device use?

1. Hold the device at least 18 inches from your (or your child’s) face.

2. Enforce the rule 30 minutes on, 15 minutes off.

3. Parents can consider using the handheld digital device as a teaching tool: hold it for children and ask them questions.

4. Receive annual eye exams to detect possible onset of myopia and other eye conditions.

5. Contact the eye care experts at Vision Solutions to learn more ways to protect your vision from digital device use. To get started, call us at (619) 461-4913 or request an appointment online while you are here on our website.

Meibomian Gland Dysfunction: The Hidden Cause of Your Dry Eyes

by Jamie Peters

Dry and itchy eyes are uncomfortable at best and at worse, they can even cause you to be unable to complete everyday tasks. Most people assume the culprit is allergies or even a lack of sleep, but there could be another reason behind your dry eyes.

What Is Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

Meibomian gland dysfunction is considered one of the most common eye health issues, but most people have never heard of it. The Meibomian glands are part of the upper and lower eyelids. Your top lid has between 25 and 40 of these glands and your bottom lid has up to 30 of them. If they don’t secrete enough oil to your eyes, your tears evaporate too quickly and lead to dryness.

Detection of MGD

Because MGD mimics dry eye syndrome when it comes to symptoms, the only way to tell which one you suffer from is to visit your trusted eye doctor. Most eye doctors used a technique that involves applying pressure to your eyelids to determine how well the Meibomian glands are secreting. Your doctor may also decide to test the quality and quantity of your tears using a tear breakup time test. The procedure, which is painless, requires applying dye to the tears to see how quickly it breaks up.

Risk Factors and Treatment

Several factors can make you more susceptible to suffering from MGD, such as:

  • Being over 40 years of age
  • Being of Asian descent
  • Wearing eye makeup often
  • Wearing contact lenses

If your eye doctor determines you have MGD, they will prescribe a routine of warm compresses, usually along with antibacterial eye drops.

If you suspect you may be suffering from dry and itchy eyes related to MGD, make an appointment with one of our experienced eye doctors in La Mesa, CA.