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Month: December 2017

Don’t Let Snow Blindness Ruin Your Winter Vacation

While most people have sunglasses high on their packing list for a tropical vacation, many people don’t consider it as much of a priority for colder climate getaways. But they should, and here’s why:

Wintertime vacations often include activities that involve snow and ice and in general, conditions that can lead to overexposure to UV rays from the sun. Without proper eye protection, this can lead to photokeratitis or snow blindness, a condition that results in pain and temporary vision loss.

Photokeratitis is essentially a sunburn on the eye which occurs when the eye is exposed to invisible ultraviolet or UV rays, from the sun or other sources such as sun lamps or tanning beds. It mainly affects the cornea, the curved outermost surface of the eye that plays a role in your ability to focus, and the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the front of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. It causes inflammation, pain and sometimes a temporary loss of vision.

Despite its name, snow blindness doesn’t occur exclusively in the snow. It can happen in any environment in which UV rays are strongly reflected including water, sand or ice as well. It is also more common in high altitudes where the sun’s ultraviolet rays are stronger and the air is thinner, which is why skiing and mountain climbing can even be more risky than summertime activities on a lower altitude. Snow and ice reflect more UV light than almost any other surface, but you don’t always feel or notice the strong glare, making snow blindness a silent winter hazard that can only be prevented by awareness.

Symptoms of Snow Blindness

Unfortunately, just like any sunburn, you usually don’t notice the symptoms of snow blindness until the damage has already been done. Symptoms usually occur several hours after the activity, so one may not realize that they were caused from snow blindness.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Burning
  • Redness
  • Grittiness
  • Tearing
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Glare or Halos
  • Blurry Vision
  • Watery Eyes
  • Swollen Eyes or Eyelids
  • Headaches
  • Temporary Vision Loss

Any vision loss that does occur will usually return with in a day or two, but the greater the exposure to the UV rays, the worse the damage that is done.

How Is Snow Blindness Treated?

There is little to do to treat photokeratitis. Just like a sunburn elsewhere on the body, it eventually heals on its own. There are however, some steps you can take to find relief from the symptoms which include:

  • Stay indoors, in a dark area until the eyes become less sensitive.
  • Wear sunglasses if it helps.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes.
  • Remove contact lenses.
  • Apply preservative-free artificial tears to add moisture.
  • Use a cold compress to soothe your eyes.
  • Try over-the-counter pain relief or antibiotic eye drops according to your eye doctor’s advice.

If your symptoms worsen or don’t improve within 24 -48 hours, contact your eye doctor immediately.

Tips to Prevent Snow Blindness

Snow blindness is actually very preventable and all it takes is a good pair of sunglasses or sports goggles. Any time you are outside, rain or shine, you should wear 100% UV blocking sunglasses. That’s right, the sun’s powerful UV rays can even penetrate clouds on an overcast day.

If you are involved in sports such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain climbing or water activities consider a pair of wrap-around sunglasses or sports goggles with shields to prevent the rays from entering from above and through the sides. Wearing a hat or helmet with a brim will also help to increase protection.

Whether you are going North, South or somewhere in between, make sure to pack your shades and protect your eyes so you have an eye-safe, fun and enjoyable vacation.

Understanding Hypertensive Retinopathy

by Caroline Cauchi, OD

Hypertension is a vascular condition that can develop when you have high blood pressure. If not controlled, this condition can lead to various organ complications, like hypertensive retinopathy. Read on as Vision Solutions, your leading provider of contact lenses and other high-quality eye services, explains everything you need to know about this condition.

1512458212Understanding Hypertensive Retinopathy

What Causes Hypertensive Retinopathy?

High blood pressure can cause the walls of your blood vessels to thicken over time. This can restrict blood circulation in your body, limiting nutrient and oxygen delivery to critical organs, including your eyes. Without prompt treatment, you may experience irreversible vision loss.

What Are the Symptoms?

With inadequate blood supply, the functions of the different parts of your eyes may become impaired. You may experience blurry, double or dim eyesight. You may also experience frequent headaches and eye fatigue. We advise visiting your eye care clinic as soon as possible if you experience any of these symptoms.

What Is the Treatment?

Our priority is to help control or stabilize your blood pressure. This is why taking your antihypertensive medications as prescribed is critical. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly is also extremely important. Finally, be sure to have your eyes checked on a regular basis, especially if hypertension runs in your family.

What Is the Difference Between Hypertensive Retinopathy and Glaucoma?

You may have noticed that hypertensive retinopathy and glaucoma both involve uncontrolled pressure levels. The former, however, usually occurs as a complication of long-standing systemic hypertension, while the latter develops when your eye fluids don’t drain properly. Glaucoma can damage your optic nerve, a symptom absent in ocular hypertension.

Whether you need hypertensive retinopathy or glaucoma treatment, we’ll be ready to help you. Call us today at (619) 461-4913 or complete our form to learn more our premier eye care services. We serve La Mesa, CA, and the surrounding areas.

6 Crazy Holiday Eye Injuries to Avoid

As the season to deck the halls arrives, make sure that you aren’t one of the many people who find themselves celebrating in the urgent care clinic due to an eye injury. The holidays present many opportunities for potential eye injury so it’s important to be aware and proceed with caution. Here are some common eye accidents waiting to happen and tips to avoid them so you can be prepared and enjoy your holidays to the fullest!

  1. An eye-full of pine

    Many accidents occur when proper care is not taken in putting up and decorating the Christmas tree. First of all, if you are cutting down your own tree, make sure you are wearing proper eye protection both when cutting and when loading your tree onto your car. If you are buying a tree, be extra careful when untying it as branches can pop out rather fast – a definite danger to your eyes! It’s best to wear glasses or goggles during the entire process of handling the tree. And don’t forget to be careful when you are decorating! All you need is a wobbly ladder or an unsteady tree stand to cause a tumble into the sharp, prickly pine needles. Not to mention, sharp ornaments can pose a danger to the eyes as well. 

  2. The spray snow slip-up

    Spray snow can be a beautiful and festive addition to your tree decorations but be careful that you are always pointing it in the right direction. Make sure the spray you purchase is nontoxic and wear safety goggles when spraying to avoid an accidental spray to the eye. Be wary of those aerosol string cans as well.

  3. Champagne cork projectile

    Watch out for that bubbly! When opening a champagne bottle always point it away from anyone or anything breakable just in case it shoots off. That flying cork can cause a serious bruise or an eye injury if you aren’t careful.

  4. You’ll shoot an eye out!

    Just like the famous movie quote predicted, toy guns and projectiles can be a tremendous danger to the eye, causing almost 20% of eye injuries during the holiday season. Nerf guns, darts (even foam darts), slingshots, water guns and any kind of shooting device, no matter how soft the ammunition, can cause serious eye damage when shot directly into the eye. Be wary of lasers as well and make sure that any laser products comply with the national regulations. Lasers and very bright lights can cause retinal damage if pointed directly at the eye. If you do decide to purchase such a toy for a child that is old enough and mature enough to be responsible, consider buying proper eye protection to go along with the gift.

    Avoid purchasing any toys or gifts that have sharp, protruding parts and make sure that any potentially hazardous toys are played with under adult supervision. When purchasing gifts, if you are uncertain about the safety of a certain toy, check out W.A.T.C.H. (World Against Toys Causing Harm) or other organizations that give advice about specific toy safety.

  5. Dangerous dress up

    Got a holiday party on the horizon? While you may be tempted to add a pair of cosmetic contact lenses to your ensemble, make sure they are fit properly and purchased by a licensed eye doctor. Improperly fit lenses or lenses made of sub par materials can cause serious complications such as a corneal abrasion or infection.

  6. Sunburned eyes

    If your holiday time includes a chance to play in the snow or ice, make sure you have your sunglasses ready. UV light reflects off snow and ice increasing the risk of sunburned eyes and potential long term damage. Winter sunwear is just as important as it is during summer fun in the sun.

If you approach the holidays with the eyes on your mind, you can stay safe and avoid potential injury that could put a damper on your festivities.

4 Effective Ways to Relieve Dry Eyes During Winter

by Caroline Cauchi, OD

Your eyes are some of the most delicate and vulnerable structures in your body, and they are highly sensitive to changes in temperature. As winter sets in, the cold, dry air may cause you to develop dry eye syndrome.

15124577674 Effective Ways to Relieve Dry Eyes During Winter

In today’s post, your reliable eye doctor from Vision Solutions shares four effective ways to manage dry eyes, especially during this time of the year.

1. Stay Hydrated

Did you know that your body is mostly composed of water? Staying hydrated plays an important role in regulating your body temperature and blood pressure. It is also essential in keeping your eyes lubricated. We recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water per day.

2. Eat Cold-Water Fish

Tuna, salmon, and other cold-water fish are great sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids. These nutrients are often associated with maintaining the quantity and quality of your tears. If you’re unable to eat fish or seafood, we can prescribe nutritional supplements during your eye exam.

3. Apply Artificial Tears

Your natural tears are made of mucus, oil and water. Artificial tears contain the same elements to keep your eyes moisturized. Applying a few drops can help maintain your visual comfort, especially during the cold months.

4. Wear Sunglasses When Going Outdoors

Wearing sunglasses or eyeglasses with UV-protective features during winter is just as necessary as using them in summer. They can protect your eyes from the UV rays that bounce off the snow. They also block winds from coming in touch with your eyes, reducing your risk of developing dry eyes this season.

Most importantly, visit your trusted eye care specialist on a regular basis. We can help identify the cause of your dry eyes so we can create an effective treatment plan. For more tips on managing dry eyes during the winter, call us at (619) 461-4913. You may also fill out our form to request an appointment. We serve La Mesa, CA, and nearby areas.

Young Patients At Risk of Myopia

by Jamie Peters

Your eye doctor in La Mesa, CA discusses the recent rise in myopia (nearsightedness) amongst patients of all ages, specifically children. Read on to learn what you can do to prevent yourself or your children from developing myopia. The world is currently experiencing an epidemic; the disease is myopia, otherwise known as nearsightedness.

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  • In 1972 26% of the people in the US were nearsighted.
  • In 2001 that number jumped to 42%.
  • In 2017 your local eye doctor expects that number to be even higher.
  • These numbers are even higher in the Asian population – especially the Chinese.

Myopia Trends

Why do we see these numbers continue to rise? It is a result of the complex interaction between genetics and the new technological world in which we live. In the past, kids started getting nearsighted when they went to college. We now see this trend starting to happen in grade school.

The earlier a child becomes nearsighted, the more severe the outcome. In other words, these kids will grow up to be highly nearsighted adults. High myopia is a disease that can result in damaged vision or even blindness. It can also affect a child’s ability to learn as well as their social development. In the coming weeks, Dr. Cauchi, OD will discuss these risks in detail.

Are you ready to become a warrior and take up the challenge to protect you and your children’s future sight and health? You can call your eye doctor directly at (619) 461-4913.