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6 Glaucoma Myths Debunked

6 Glaucoma Myths Debunked 640×350Glaucoma can do a great deal of damage to your visual system if it goes undetected and untreated. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about glaucoma symptoms, detection and treatment that cause people to wait to see an eye doctor until it’s too late to prevent vision loss. In this article, we debunk 6 common glaucoma myths.

Myth 1: Glaucoma testing is painful

The Truth: Glaucoma testing is basically painless.

The most commonly used first test for glaucoma is an air puff test. Your optometrist will ask you to place your chin on a chin rest and while looking at a small light, a quick, soft puff of air will be blown at your eye to test the pressure inside your eye. The test takes mere seconds and reveals a great deal of valuable information to your eye doctor about your risk of glaucoma.

Your optometrist may also use an OCT device to create a full-color 3D scan of the inside of your eye, and perform visual field testing to see if the eye pressure has caused any changes to your field of vision. Both these tests can detect damage to ocular structures caused by glaucoma. Both tests are completely non-invasive, as neither touch the eye.

If necessary, your eye doctor may use anesthetic eye drops as part of a Goldmann applanation tonometry test. While these drops may sting slightly for a few seconds, the rest of the test is completely painless. After the anesthetic is applied, your eye doctor will use a small probe and a blue light to quickly and gently touch the cornea. This is an additional method to accurately determine the exact measurement of your inner-eye pressure.

Myth 2: Glaucoma cannot be prevented

The Truth: There are many steps a person can take to minimize their risk of developing glaucoma. They include:

  • Living a healthy lifestyle.

Research published in March 2016 in JAMA Ophthalmology has shown that a healthy diet that includes a lot of fruits and vegetables (especially the green leafy kinds) significantly reduces a person’s chances of developing glaucoma. Regular exercise helps as well, with experts suggesting that a regular routine of moderate to vigorous exercise may reduce risk by as much as 73%. Ask your physician about an appropriate exercise regimen for your age and body type. If you smoke, quitting could significantly lower your risk of glaucoma.

  • Having regular comprehensive eye exams. This one is especially important if you have a history of glaucoma in your family since glaucoma can be hereditary. Even if you don’t have a family history, regularly scheduled eye exams are important. Early detection of risk factors associated with glaucoma can put your optometrist on the lookout for subtle warning signs.
  • Protecting your eyes from injury. Severe eye injuries can significantly raise your risk of glaucoma. [Eye_doctors] recommend wearing protective eyewear any time you take part in activities where foreign objects may get in your eyes. This includes woodworking, soldering or working with any kind of paints or chemicals. Many sports, including baseball and racquetball, have a high incidence of eye injury.

Myth 3: There’s only one type of glaucoma

The Truth: There are several types of glaucoma. Each has its own causes and treatments.

The two most common types of glaucoma are open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma.

With angle-closure glaucoma, the structure in your eye responsible for the healthy outflow of fluid from the eye, known as the trabecular meshwork, becomes blocked. This prevents the outflow of fluid from the eye, elevating the intraocular pressure, damaging the ocular nerve and leading to vision loss.

This increase in eye pressure and nerve damage can occur suddenly or gradually over time. If a sudden spike in pressure occurs, the symptoms may include severe headache, nausea, vomiting, eye pain and seeing halos around lights.

Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the trabecular meshwork remains open, but there is still resistance to the outflow of fluid from the eye. This resistance creates a slow build-up pressure inside the eye, and just as in angle-closure glaucoma, damages the optic nerve and leads to vision loss. Open-angle glaucoma develops slowly and shows no obvious symptoms until irreversible damage to your eyes and vision has occurred.

Myth 4: Once you have glaucoma, nothing can be done to help

The Truth: While it is true that there is no cure for glaucoma, optometrists do have a number of options to help lower intraocular pressure, reduce its impact and save your sight

Treatment usually starts with medicated eye drops and oral medications that either increase the outflow of fluid from the eye or decrease the amount of fluid your eye produces.

If these treatments don’t work, eye doctors may also recommend the surgical implantation of drainage tubes, laser therapy or minimally invasive glaucoma surgery.

Myth 5: Only older people get glaucoma

The Truth: It is true that people over 60 are at the highest risk for glaucoma. However, glaucoma can affect people at any age.

Even infants can develop glaucoma if they’re born with certain conditions or birth defects that affect the eyes.

Individuals who are more susceptible include:

  • People who have sustained a serious eye injury in the past
  • People with a family history of glaucoma
  • Diabetics and those suffering from conditions such as cardiovascular disease and sickle-cell anemia
  • Those taking steroid medications long-term
  • African Americans and Hispanics
  • Asians (have a higher risk of closed-angle glaucoma)

Myth 6: You can’t have glaucoma if you don’t have symptoms

The Truth: Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma, accounting for over 90% of all glaucoma cases. Unfortunately, this type of glaucoma shows no noticeable signs or symptoms until vision loss has occurred.

Since glaucoma tends to impact the peripheral (side) vision first, many people might not notice that their vision is gradually shrinking. This is why regular comprehensive eye exams are so important to ensure that glaucoma is caught early, and a treatment plan can be devised well before serious damage has occurred.

Glaucoma can be a devastating eye condition if not caught and treated as early as possible. To find out more about prevention and treatment of glaucoma and similar eye conditions, contact us today.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with our optometrists

Q: Can smoking harm my eye health?

  • A: Yes. In multiple studies, researchers have found that the more cigarettes a person smokes each day, the higher their risks of developing glaucoma. Beyond glaucoma, smokers are also at a significantly higher risk of developing other eye diseases, including cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and dry eye syndrome.

Q: When should I consider glaucoma surgery?

  • A: Glaucoma surgery should be considered if your eye doctor has tried all other treatments, including prescription eye drops, oral medications and laser therapy, without success. Many types of glaucoma surgery exist. Ask your eye doctor to assess your condition and help decide which surgery is the best option to reduce your risk of vision loss, including blindness.Surgery cannot restore vision already lost because of glaucoma, but it can help protect the vision you still have and prevent your glaucoma from worsening.
Associates in Eye Care serves patients from Somerset, Russell Springs, Jacksboro, and Jellico, Southern Kentucky and North Tennessee and surrounding communities.

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Tips for Healthy Eyes If You’re Over 40

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If you’re in your 40s, you may have noticed physical changes that affect many aspects of your life, including your vision. Like the rest of your body, your eyes may need some extra care to function efficiently as you enter middle-age. The following tips will help you keep your eyes healthy from age 40 and beyond.

These tips do not replace a comprehensive eye exam and professional advice from your eye doctor.

1. Be Aware of Age-Related Changes in the Eyes

Understanding the way your eyes change after the age of 40 is the key to being proactive with eye care. For instance, if you find it more difficult to read the fine print in a book or computer screen than in the past, the problem is likely presbyopia, age-related farsightedness.

The lens inside the eye is responsible for changing focus, allowing us to see objects clearly both far away and up close. As the lens becomes harder and less flexible, it impairs the ability to focus up close. This makes it difficult to read the text in books or to see the images displayed on digital devices or computer screens. That’s why most people need reading glasses, multifocals or bifocals in their forties.

You should also be on the lookout for any changes to your vision, such as blurry night vision. Most often, this is due to cataracts — which cause blurry or cloudy vision due to the denaturation of protein in the eye’s natural lens — or macular degeneration, which is blurry or distorted vision caused by a deterioration of the central part of the retina. Glaucoma, which is caused by high eye pressure and results in tunnel vision, usually has no noticeable symptoms until vision loss has occurred.

Schedule a comprehensive eye exam with our optometrists at Associates in Eye Care in one of our 8 locations, who will assess your eyes for these sight-threatening eye diseases. Early diagnosis can prevent or minimize vision loss.

2. Watch for Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eye syndrome is usually caused by the impaired functioning of the meibomian glands, located inside the eyelids. These glands produce oils that create a protective film for the tears that lubricate and protect the front surface of the eye. When there is a malfunction in these glands, tears can evaporate easily and the eyes can become dry, red and itchy.

Once over the age of 40, these tiny glands are more prone to becoming blocked, or the oils may become thicker.

Women who have undergone menopause have a higher likelihood of developing dry eye than younger women or men. In a study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, dry eye symptoms were reported by 17.9% of aging women compared with 10% of aging men.

Menopausal women should be aware of dry eye symptoms and consult their eye doctor, who may prescribe eye drops or other ways to [moisturize] their eyes. Wrap-around eyeglass frames protect the eyes from dry, windy weather, allergens and irritants.

3. Keep Your Optical Prescription Up-to-Date

Since eye changes tend to occur more rapidly among people over 40, it is important to ensure that your prescription glasses and contact lenses are still suitable for your eyes. This means consulting with an optometrist if you notice any difficulties seeing and reading, which may necessitate an updated prescription.

4. Schedule Regular Eye Exams

The older you get, the more important it is to have regular eye exams, particularly if you have symptoms of eye problems or have been diagnosed with diabetes. Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, keeping your eyes healthy after the age of 40 requires consistent care. Schedule an eye exam with our optometrists at Associates in Eye Care in one of our 8 locations today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Are Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration?

  • A: Macular degeneration often occurs among adults over the age of 60, although it can also occur in younger people. Since women tend to live longer than men, they have a higher rate than males of developing MD. Certain medications, such as vasodilators and oral beta blockers, can also increase the risks. Lifestyle also plays a significant role: Smoking, poor nutrition, obesity, high blood pressure and a sedentary lifestyle can all increase the chances of developing macular degeneration.

Q: Can the Progress of Macular Degeneration be Slowed?

  • A: Over the past several years, there have been significant advancements in the treatment of MD, and extensive research shows that specific nutrients can slow its progression. Omega 3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin can act to prevent the disease from developing to an advanced stage. They can lower the risks of the “dry” form of MD transforming into “wet” macular degeneration, a rarer but faster-developing form of the disease that can cause sudden and significant vision loss. Certain treatments, such as eye injections and laser therapy, can often delay MD’s progression. Eye injections for the “wet” form may even be able to restore lost sight.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Associates in Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


What’s the Link Between Sleep and Glaucoma?

Sleep is usually a time for restoration and healing, but the way we sleep, how much we sleep and conditions like apnea can increase your chances of developing a serious eye condition: glaucoma.

Glaucoma is a sight-threatening optic nerve disease that generally affects people over 50 and, in its early stages, usually presents no symptoms until permanent vision loss has occurred.

This is why it’s essential to have your annual eye exam, especially if you’re 50 or older or at high risk of developing glaucoma. Regular check-ups enable your eye doctor to detect any eye problems, including glaucoma, early on. This can maximize the effectiveness of eye disease treatment and management.

If you’re due for your annual eye evaluation, schedule your eye exam with at in today.

Sleep and Risk Factors for Glaucoma

The quality and amount of our sleep and the way we sleep can increase our risk of developing glaucoma due to the following factors:

Eye Pressure and Glaucoma

The pressure within our eyes is affected by the amount of aqueous fluid and its ability to drain from the eyes. The aqueous fluid doesn’t drain efficiently when we lie flat on our back. The lack of drainage due to positioning during sleep can increase ocular pressure, which can strain the optic nerve and increase the risk of glaucoma.

Blood Pressure and Glaucoma

When we sleep, our blood pressure decreases. This is often good for people who suffer from hypertension because it takes some pressure off the cardiovascular system. However, long periods of low blood pressure, or hypotension, during sleep has been shown to exacerbate glaucoma symptoms.

Sleep Apnea and Glaucoma

Sleep apnea is marked by the occasional or frequent cessation of breathing during sleep. Usually, the person is unaware that they have sleep apnea, and only a partner or someone else who sleeps in the same room will notice that they make choking or gasping sounds as they stop breathing.

These periods of interrupted breathing can lessen the flow of oxygen and damage the optic nerve. There is an observable link between people who have sleep apnea and those who suffer from glaucoma, which may suggest a causal connection. The risk of people with sleep apnea developing glaucoma could be as high as 10 times the average. Individuals with sleep apnea should consult with their primary care physician, who can suggest lifestyle changes and devices such as oral appliances to help treat the condition.

Glaucoma and the Amount of Sleep

Too little or too much sleep can affect general health and contribute to eye problems. As mentioned above, extended periods of lying down can increase pressure on the optic nerve and contribute to the development of glaucoma. Yet too little sleep causes fatigue and has been associated with field vision loss.

According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2005-2008), those who slept 10 hours or more a night had triple the risk of developing glaucoma compared to people who slept only 7 hours a night. Getting three hours of sleep a night tripled the risk of field vision loss.

Among other lifestyle glaucoma prevention tips, such as maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking, getting the right amount of sleep — not too much or too little — are important steps towards preventing optic nerve problems.

How Glaucoma Interferes with Sleep

Not only does the amount and way we sleep affect the development and progression of glaucoma. This optic nerve disease can interfere with our sleep. This occurs because the communication between the retina’s photosensitive cells and the hypothalamus — the part of the brain that contains the circadian clock that regulates sleep — is disrupted in glaucoma patients.

The hypothalamus no longer sends a message to the pineal gland to secrete melatonin and induce sleep at the proper time. The result: people with glaucoma may also experience sleep disturbances.

Risk factors for Glaucoma

Since many glaucoma patients do not experience symptoms prior to diagnosis, it is essential to undergo regular eye exams, especially for those considered at higher risk:

  • Aged 50 or older
  • Have a family history of glaucoma
  • Hypertension, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, heart disease
  • Are African American, Asian or Hispanic
  • Have corneas that thin at the center
  • Eye injury or prior eye surgery
  • High myopia (severe nearsightedness)
  • Take corticosteroids such as eye drops, pills or creams

How is Glaucoma Detected?

A digital eye exam maps out the eye with 3D full color images allowing your eye doctor to detect any problems early.

Retinal imaging can detect glaucoma and show optic nerve damage. Eye dilation is occasionally required before the imaging of the eye to enable your optometrist to more easily see the inside of your eye.

To facilitate the early diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and other eye diseases and conditions, schedule an appointment with at in today.
At Associates in Eye Care, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 606-678-4551 or book an appointment online to see one of our Somerset eye doctors.

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Q&A

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Symptoms vary depending on the type of glaucoma.

Open-angle glaucoma results from a lack of drainage of fluid from the eye. It generally has no obvious symptoms in its early phases. In its later stages, it presents with:

  • Blind spots and patches in the central or peripheral vision
  • Tunnel vision

Acute angle-closure glaucoma occurs when there is a sudden buildup of fluid pressure in the aqueous humor. Symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Eye redness
  • Appearance of halos

What Causes a Feeling of Pressure Behind the Eye?

Glaucoma is often caused by pressure on the optic nerve. However, a feeling of pressure behind the eye is generally only felt with closed-angle glaucoma.

An excessive amount of fluid in the eye, called the aqueous humor or a sudden blockage to proper drainage causes a buildup and increased pressure on the optic nerve. Drainage of the aqueous humor is through the trabecular meshwork, which is located where the cornea and the iris meet.

Eye Vitamins: Can They Prevent or Treat Glaucoma?

Some initial studies have shown a potential link between Vitamin A and Vitamin C and a protective effect related to glaucoma. However, a systematic review of the literature on vitamins and glaucoma (Nutrients, March 2018), concludes that these studies are inconclusive and more research, including randomized clinical trials, are needed to establish any clear link between specific vitamins and preventing or treating glaucoma.

2022 Sunglasses Styles For Men

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Sunglasses complement your wardrobe and express your sense of style while protecting your eyes against sun damage. Below, we’ve included the most popular sunglass styles which can be worn all year long.

Square Wire Frames

Square wire frames communicate casual sophistication and are ideal for round faces. Look for box wire frames that fit symmetrically square lenses and are plated with silver, gold or other metals. These eyeglasses are lightweight and are favored by celebrities like David Beckham.

Aviator Sunglasses

Invented in the 1930s to protect the eyes of American airmen, iconic Aviator sunglasses gained a new lease on life decades later, thanks to films like Top Gun. Look for a pair of Aviator glasses with sturdy yet lightweight metal frames so you can wear them for years, and lenses that screen out 100% of UV rays.

Eco-Friendly Sunglasses

Today, shoppers care about the environment and seek out sustainable eyewear. The market for eyeglasses made from renewable materials has expanded and now you can find glasses made with plant-based acetate or titanium. Some eyeglass companies will donate a pair of glasses each time they sell sunglasses.

Sporty Wraparound Sunglasses

Oval lenses and wraparound frames may tempt you to hit the open road. Not only are they retro and striking, but wraparound sunglasses provide more protection by screening out the sun’s rays all around and not just with the lenses at the front.

Mirrored or Tinted Frame Sunglasses

Reflective coatings are not just for hiding from the paparazzi–they are a fun and stylish way to make a statement. Invest in a high-quality pair of mirror-lens sunglasses, because cheaper coatings tend to wear off quickly.

In addition to mirrored lenses, tinted sunglasses can add a sense of fun to your outfit. Each color not only creates a distinct look and mood but can enhance vision. Dark turquoise can help you see the contrast in intense light and yellow is ideal for object definition.

Retro Round Sunglasses

Round frames are reminiscent of the 1960s rock era, most specifically, John Lennon’s signature eyeglasses. Round sunglasses are the epitome of cool, and you can look right over the top of them with a completely unobstructed view. Elijah Wood and Ryan Gosling are often seen in these charming retro shades, and round lenses have retained their appeal for decades.

Cool Clip-Ons

These aren’t the clip-ons that you find in the drugstore. Clip-ons no longer have to be tacky, but designers have created cool and convenient clip-ons. However, many of the newest styles are not clipped on but magnetic and create a seamless connection to the eyeglass frame.

Wearing sunglasses not only makes you look like a celebrity, but they protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation. In addition, to choosing the right sunglasses, it is important to schedule eye exams to ensure your eyes are healthy. Call Associates in Eye Care in one of our 8 locations and schedule an appointment today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can performance and sport sunglasses enhance vision?

  • A: Many performance and sport sunglasses are tinted, and each kind of tint can improve an aspect of visual acuity. For instance, amber tints are the right choice for skiing and snowboarding because they allow wearers to detect contrast. Grey lenses reduce glare without compromising color detection. Photochromic lenses start clear and become darker in the sun. Anti-reflective coatings can reduce glare.

Q: Which non-prescription sunglasses should I choose?

  • A: Non-prescription sunglasses have lenses that do not correct vision. Therefore, you can choose regular non-prescription sunglasses if you do not need to wear glasses. Contact lens wearers can wear sunglasses without a prescription. If you wear glasses, choose a pair of sunglasses you like and ask youreye doctor if they can have prescription lenses made that can be placed in the sunglass frames. Make sure that your non-prescription lenses screen out harmful UV rays.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Associates in Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


Why Are My Eyes Dry in the Morning?

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If your eyes regularly feel dry when you wake up in the morning, it’s important to know why. Inflammation, age, medications and environmental factors can all dry out your eyes and cause other symptoms, such as a burning sensation in or around the eyes.

To identify the cause and relieve your dry eye symptoms, schedule an eye exam with our optometrists at Associates in Eye Care in one of our 8 locations. Pinpointing the underlying problem is the first step toward waking up in comfort.

What Can Cause Dry Eyes in the Morning?

Nocturnal Lagophthalmos

If you can’t close your eyes fully at night, you may have nocturnal lagophthalmos, which can result from problems with the muscles that control your eyelids, a deformity in the eyelid tissue or partial facial paralysis.

More severe types of lagophthalmos can cause dry eyes during the day as well. With this condition, the eye dries out because the eyelids can’t close fully. This leaves the front of the eye constantly exposed to the air, resulting in excessive evaporation of the tears. If left untreated, any form of lagophthalmos can eventually damage the cornea, resulting in vision loss.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelids caused by the malfunctioning of the meibomian glands. The meibomian glands are located inside the eyelids and secrete oils into the tears that lubricate the eye and create a protective barrier on the surface of the eye, minimizing tear evaporation.

Blepharitis most often occurs when these glands become clogged or the oil becomes thickened. The main symptoms are inflamed, dry, red and sore eyes. These symptoms may be worse in the morning because not blinking at night results in the glands becoming more blocked, and the vital oil layer of the tears dissipates while you sleep.

Medication

Many types of medication can cause the eyes to feel dry, particularly in the morning. These include:

  • Antipsychotics and antidepressants
  • Antihistamines and decongestants
  • Hypertension medications
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Gastrointestinal medications
  • Pain relievers
  • Skin treatments
  • Chemotherapy medications

Age

With age, the eyes produce less moisture and oils and tend to dry out more quickly. As a result, the eyes may become dry, red and itchy. In particular, women going through menopause may notice dry eye symptoms due to hormonal fluctuations.

When people get older, their eyelids may also become more flaccid and fall away from the eyes. This leads to watery tears running out of the eyes more easily, further reducing the volume of the tears.

External Factors

External factors such as air-conditioning and heating units can dry out your eyes, especially if the units are located in your bedroom or if you sleep under a ceiling fan.

Other external factors that can exacerbate dry eyes include air temperature and humidity, pollution and windy conditions.

How do I know if I have dry eye? | Associates in Eye Care

How to Relieve Morning Dry Eye Symptoms

How to relieve morning dry eye symptoms will depend on the cause.

One of the main treatments for dry eyes focuses on relieving dryness by stimulating the production of oil from the eyelid’s glands.

Your eye doctor may prescribe an ointment to apply before retiring and lubricating eye drops in the morning. Eyelid treatments involving the gentle application of heat and massage can also help the meibomian glands work more efficiently by increasing the release of oil into the tears.

Consider using a humidifier to make the air in your bedroom more comfortable, and wearing a sleeping mask to retain eye moisture.

These tips may provide some relief, but it is essential to schedule an eye exam with
our optometrists at Associates in Eye Care in one of our 8 locations to determine the precise cause of your dry eye symptoms and receive the appropriate treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Should I Know about LASIK Surgery and Dry Eye?

  • A: LASIK surgery corrects vision by reshaping the cornea. This procedure involves making an incision that may damage the superficial nerves of the eye. As a result, the nerves of the eyes may not realize the eyes are dry, and therefore not stimulate the required secretion of tears. The result can be dry eyes.

Q: How to Treat Dry Eye Syndrome Naturally?

  • A: While nothing can replace the advice of your eye doctor, eating oily fish, flaxseeds, and other foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids can stimulate oil production in the eyes. Try applying warm compresses to your eyes and gently massaging your eyelids to unclog the meibomian glands. Protective eyewear, such as wraparound eyeglasses, helps block irritants and retain lubrication. Use a humidifier to moisten the air in your home. Applying eye drops regularly can also help prevent your eyes from drying out.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Associates in Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


New Glaucoma Treatment In the Making

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases usually caused by the buildup of pressure within the eye. Untreated, glaucoma leads to permanent and disabling vision loss known as ‘Tunnel Vision.’ This condition affects 80 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of major vision loss, causing up to 12% of blindness in the U.S.

Currently, there is no cure for glaucoma, so patients have relied on medicated eye drops, oral medicine or laser treatment. Primary congenital glaucoma, a severe form of glaucoma that affects children between the ages of one and three, can only be treated with surgery.

What if we told you that there may be a new way to treat glaucoma on the horizon?

A Northwestern Medicine study in mice has revealed new treatment targets for glaucoma, including the prevention of the severe pediatric form of the disease and the discovery of a prospective new class of therapy for the most prevalent form of glaucoma in adults.

The researchers used gene editing to create new glaucoma models in mice that were similar to primary congenital glaucoma. The scientists were able to replace the function of genes that cause glaucoma by injecting Hepta-ANGPT1, a new, non-toxic, long-lasting protein treatment into mice.

The scientists were also able to prevent glaucoma from occurring in one mouse model with this injectable medication. When the same therapy was injected into the eyes of healthy adult mice, it reduced eye pressure, indicating that it could be a new class of therapy for the most prevalent cause of glaucoma in adults.

Scientists are now designing human studies and working on an appropriate way to deliver human patients the new protein treatment.

Contact Associates in Eye Care in Somerset to learn more about glaucoma and ways it can be treated.

At Associates in Eye Care, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 606-678-4551 or book an appointment online to see one of our Somerset eye doctors.

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How can I prevent vision loss from glaucoma?

The key to protecting vision from glaucoma damage is early detection, which can be achieved through regular comprehensive eye exams.

What are the symptoms of glaucoma?

Glaucoma is known as ‘the silent thief’’ because it steals your eyesight without any warning signs until it’s too late to prevent vision loss. Depending on the type of glaucoma you have, you may experience: blurry vision, vision loss, pain or strain in your eye, or see rings or halos around lights.

Vision Exams: What Does 20/20 Vision Really Mean?

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If you’ve had your eyes examined, your eye doctor likely asked you to read letters and numbers from an eye chart. That was to check for changes in your visual acuity, or sharpness of vision. Visual acuity can be measured in different ways, but the most common way is by using a Snellen eye chart — a chart with different sized letters and numbers in descending rows.

In 1862 Dr. Herman Snellen, an eye doctor in Holland, created the Snellen eye chart and coined the term ‘20/20 vision.’ Below we explore what that really means.

What is 20/20 Vision?

20/20 vision describes how clearly a person with normal visual clarity can see. All measurements of vision are taken when the patient is located 20 feet from the eye chart. A person with 20/20 vision can clearly read a certain row of small letters on the Snellen chart from 20 feet away.

A person with 20/40 vision who is 20 feet from the eye chart can only see the letters double the size of the letters that a person with normal vision can see.

Likewise, a person with 20/80 vision, who is 20 feet from the chart can only see letters four times larger than those seen by a person with 20/20 sight.

Legal blindness is considered to be 20/200 vision, and means that an individual with this sight at 20 feet away from the eye chart can only see letters 10 times larger than those seen by a person with 20/20 sight.

Is 20/20 Perfect Vision?

Not necessarily. This is a standard of measurement used by optometrists to help assess distance vision and prescribe eyeglasses and contacts, but vision is more than just 20/20 sight.

Several other visual skills are essential to functioning in today’s world and even a person with 20/20 vision can lack other necessary visual skills. Well-developed visual skills help individuals succeed at school, in the workplace and sports. For example, skills like eye tracking, teaming, convergence and visual processing all need to be up to par for a person to truly have ‘perfect vision.’ Visual acuity is just one piece of the puzzle.

Additionally, 20/20 isn’t the clearest possible vision. Some people have 20/15 or even 20/10 vision. This means their visual acuity is higher than a person with 20/20 sight.

How To Correct Visual Acuity

The first step in correcting a visual acuity problem is to undergo a comprehensive eye exam with your local optometrist. If your vision requires correction, your eye doctor will explain the different methods of vision correction, including prescription glasses and contact lenses.

Some people choose to correct their vision with refractive surgery, but like any surgery, it comes with the risk of surgical complications.

At Associates in Eye Care, our goal is to help all patients achieve clear, crisp and comfortable vision, no matter their visual condition.

Not sure you have 20/20 vision? Call Associates in Eye Care in one of our 8 locations today to schedule your eye exam today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What conditions can impair visual acuity?

  • A: Conditions like astigmatism, nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia) and an age-related loss of focusing ability (presbyopia) all impact sharpness of vision at various distances. Other conditions, including dry eye syndrome and cataracts, can also affect visual clarity.

Q: How common is it to have 20/20 vision?

  • A: Approximately a third of adults in America have 20/20 vision without the use of any vision correction, and 75% of American adults have 20/20 vision when wearing prescription lenses or other forms of vision correction.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Associates in Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


What’s a Multifocal Intraocular Lens?

Multifocal Intraocular Lenses 640×350A cataract clouds the eye’s natural lens, leading to significant visual distortions that can affect your ability to see clearly. Eventually, the natural lens will need to be removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) that provides clear vision.

While most patients pick monofocal IOLs, many patients choose multifocal IOL lenses. Discuss with your [eye_ doctor] which type of IOL is right for you.

What Is a Multifocal Intraocular Lens?

A multifocal IOL allows patients to see all distances clearly. These IOLs allocate different optical powers on the IOL. The varying optical powers are created by the IOL design, which incorporates concentric rings on the surface of the lens. These allow images at a variety of distances to be in sharp focus.

It can take some time for people to adapt to multifocal IOL lenses because the focusing power the lenses provide is different from what people are accustomed to. Since the IOL relies on a different design than the bifocal or multifocal optical lenses used in eyeglasses, the brain might need time to adjust.

To ease the adjustment, most cataract surgeons recommend having multifocal IOLs implanted in both eyes, rather than just one.

Are Multifocal IOLs Right for You?

If you are looking for an IOL that can provide you with clear vision for reading, driving and watching TV, a multifocal IOL may be just right for you.

After cataract surgery, multifocal IOLs can reduce the need for reading glasses or computer glasses. These implanted lenses widen your field of vision, allowing you to see well both up close and far, often without the use of glasses. Many patients who choose multifocal IOLs find that they can go glasses-free or only occasionally need reading glasses for small print after surgery.

Despite the obvious benefits of these lenses, they may not be suitable for everyone. Some patients find that it takes longer to adapt to multifocal lenses than to monofocal lenses. Contact Associates in Eye Care to discover whether IOL multifocal lenses are right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions with our optometrists

Q: How does a multifocal IOL work?

  • A: When wearing bifocal or multifocal glasses, you look through the bottom part of the lens for near vision and through the top part of the lens for distance vision. A multifocal IOL is specially designed to provide clear vision at all distances at all times. Your brain adjusts, allowing you to see clearly for the task at hand.

Q: Will a multifocal IOL eliminate the need for glasses?

  • A: Most people find they do not need glasses with multifocal IOLs, but some do, depending on the situation. There may be times when the print or graphics are simply too small or too far away to be seen without glasses.
  • Associates in Eye Care serves patients from Somerset, Russell Springs, Jacksboro, and Jellico, Southern Kentucky and North Tennessee and surrounding communities.

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Screen Time Can Lead To Eye Strain And Convergence Insufficiency In Children

Screen Time 640×350Now that a couple of years have passed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers have gotten a clearer picture of the impact that online schooling has had on children’s eyes.

Not only have myopia cases increased, but more children are experiencing symptoms of eye strain and convergence insufficiency due to extended screen time.

Below, we explore what eye strain and convergence insufficiency are, and how vision therapy can help counteract the negative effects of online learning.

Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain

Prolonged use of digital devices like computers or smartphones can cause a condition called computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain. This condition affects around 50% of adults and children.

Symptoms of digital eye strain include:

  • Sore eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Headaches

Children who complain of any of these symptoms should have their eyes evaluated by a developmental optometrist to ensure that vision problems aren’t exacerbating their symptoms.

What is Convergence Insufficiency?

Normally, when your eyes focus on a very near object, like a pencil near your nose, they must point slightly inwards to see a unified and clear image.

With convergence insufficiency, the eyes aren’t able to work in unison to point inward. Instead, one eye may point outward when trying to focus on a near object, leading to blurred or double vision.

Children with convergence insufficiency may struggle to perform visually demanding near tasks like reading and homework. In fact, many children who have vision-related learning problems are often misdiagnosed as having learning disabilities.

How Does Screen Time Lead to Eye Strain and Convergence Insufficiency?

Experts at Wills Eye Hospital recently studied the correlation between prolonged screen time and its effects on children’s eyes. They surveyed 110 students aged 10-17 who attended classes online. Prior to the beginning of online sessions, the students all had healthy vision.

The researchers discovered that the number of hours spent in front of a screen directly correlated to the likelihood of developing digital eye strain and convergence insufficiency. More than half of the students experienced symptoms of both visual conditions, with 17% of cases being severe convergence insufficiency.

These important and timely findings should alert parents to the risks that come with online learning, and encourage them to find solutions and take preventative measures to keep their kids’ eyes healthy. Fortunately, that’s where vision therapy comes in.

How Can Vision Therapy Help?

Vision therapy trains the eyes and brain to work together efficiently to resolve a wide range of visual dysfunctions.

Restoring healthy binocular vision is the goal for children with convergence insufficiency, and vision therapy is a primary treatment for accomplishing that.

According to the National Eye Institute, most children with convergence insufficiency experience significant improvement after just 12 weeks of vision therapy.

Vision therapy can also be effective for treating symptoms of digital eye strain in children. According to the Optometrists Network, a free and extensive online library for eye care, vision therapy can relieve symptoms of digital eye strain by strengthening the visual system.

To learn more about the benefits of vision therapy or to schedule your child’s functional visual evaluation, contact Associates in Eye Care today!

Associates in Eye Care offers vision therapy to patients from Somerset, Russell Springs, Jacksboro, and Jellico, Southern Kentucky and North Tennessee and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with our optometrists

Q: What is a functional vision evaluation?

  • A: A functional visual evaluation assesses a multitude of visual skills that normally aren’t tested in standard eye exams or vision screenings. Some examples of those visual skills include convergence, eye tracking and teaming, visual processing, eye movement, focusing, eye alignment and accommodation flexibility.

Q: Who is a candidate for vision therapy?

  • A: Children and adults who have varying degrees of visual dysfunction are ideal candidates for vision therapy. Many patients may not be aware of problems with their visual systems but suffer from symptoms like headaches or dizziness, which may be rooted in their vision. Children with learning problems or any visual symptoms may benefit from a customized vision therapy program.

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Long-Term Risks of Repeated Head Impacts Among Athletes

Long Term Risks of Repeated Head Impacts Among Athletes 640×350If you’ve ever had a concussion or any other type of brain injury, you likely experienced at least some of the symptoms caused by head impacts: headaches, difficulty concentrating, problems with balance, visual problems and even anger management issues.

A single concussion is bad enough, but multiple studies published in National Academies Press (2014) revealed that experiencing as little as two concussions can sometimes lead to serious life-long problems.

Unfortunately, head hits that occur while playing contact sports are common, and the health repercussions of these impacts can be severe.

Here are six long-term risks of multiple concussions and repetitive head impacts:

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)

CTE is a degenerative brain disease that affects athletes, military veterans and anyone who has experienced repeated brain trauma. Specific proteins (called tau proteins) form clumps in the brain of those with CTE, and these clumps eventually spread throughout the brain, permanently damaging and causing the death of brain cells. Progressive memory and cognition loss, depression, suicidal ideation, poor impulse control, aggression, Parkinsonism, and dementia are among the clinical indications of CTE.

Two case reports published in Neurosurgery involving two National Football League (NFL) players were the first to use the phrase. After long careers playing football in high school, college and professionally, these players suffered from a variety of neuropsychological symptoms.

Evidence suggests that CTE is caused by repeated head blows over a period of years, according to Clinics in Sports Medicine (2011). It’s crucial to understand that you don’t have to have a full-fledged concussion to develop this disease.

Depression

Depression is a mental disorder that affects one’s feelings, thoughts and actions. It can limit a person’s ability to perform at work, at school and at home. Loss of interest in previously loved hobbies, changes in appetite, sleep disturbances and thoughts of death or suicide are all possible symptoms.

Research published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (2007) discovered a growing linear association between concussion history and being diagnosed with long-term depression. Retired athletes who had three or more concussions were three times more likely than those who had never had a concussion to be diagnosed with depression. Those who had one or two previous concussions had 1.5 times the chance of being diagnosed with depression.

Dementia Pugilistica

Dementia pugilistica, sometimes known as ‘punch-drunk condition,’ is a neurological disease that affects people who have experienced many concussions. The term ‘pugil’ comes from Latin and means ‘boxer’ or ‘fighter.’ The condition was initially diagnosed in boxers in the 1920s. Tremors, sluggish movement, speech difficulties, disorientation, a lack of coordination and memory loss are all prominent symptoms of this disease.

Dementia pugilistica is a kind of CTE that has some microscopic histological characteristics in common with Alzheimer’s disease. While it was first discovered in boxers who were subjected to repeated head hits in a 1973 study published in Psychological Medicine, athletes in other sports may be affected as well.

Neurocognitive Impairments

A concussion’s signs and symptoms can often affect one’s cognitive abilities, resulting in the inability to concentrate, disorientation, irritation and loss of balance. When you have more than one traumatic brain injury in your life, you may be more likely to experience long-term, possibly progressive, disability that impairs your ability to function.

According to the National Academies Press (2014), studies show that recurrent head impacts in football and hockey players cause abnormalities in cognitive function in the brain. In one study, researchers discovered that the impacted athletes had neurocognitive abnormalities in both working and visual memory. In another study, affected football players were found to have problems with impulse control and balance after the sports season concluded.

Slower Neurological Recovery

Despite the fact that millions of people suffer concussions each year, the risks of a prolonged neurological recovery after multiple concussions are still largely unknown. Nonetheless, according to a study published by the National Academies Press in 2014, a history of many concussions may be linked to a longer recovery of brain function after another concussion. According to the findings, repeated concussions may result in lifelong neurocognitive impaieyerment.

This is why it’s crucial to refrain from engaging in any sports or dangerous activities until you’ve fully recovered from a head impact.

Brain Injury and Your Vision

Head trauma and concussions can have major effects on the visual system, despite normal medical imaging results. The group symptoms causing blurred vision, eye coordination issues and dizziness following head trauma is called post-trauma vision syndrome.

Even mild concussions can cause visual dysfunction, such as double vision, accommodative dysfunction, convergence insufficiency, sensitivity to light, eye tracking problems and delayed visual processing.

How Can A Neuro-Optometrist Help?

Neuro-optometry is a branch of optometry that focuses on helping individuals with neurological disorders regain their visual and oculomotor skills. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy aims to improve a patient’s ability to function independently in a multisensory environment.

At Associates in Eye Care, we know all too well the challenges that accompany repeated head impacts. To schedule a functional vision evaluation and determine if there is a problem with your visual system, call Associates in Eye Care today.

Associates in Eye Care offers neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy to patients from Somerset, Russell Springs, Jacksboro and Jellico, Southern Kentucky and North Tennessee and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with our optometrists

Q: What is a concussion?

  • A: A concussion is a type of brain injury in which a blow to the head causes a momentary loss of brain function. When a person’s brain is violently moved back and forth or twisted inside the skull due to a direct or indirect force, an injury occurs. A concussion causes disruption in brain function and should be treated as a serious injury. Following a concussion, proper healing and recovery time are critical in preventing additional injury.

Q: What does a neuro-optometrist do?

  • A: A neuro-optometrist can assess functional binocularity, spatial vision and visual processing abilities, as well as functional binocularity and visual processing abilities. Following diagnosis, a comprehensive management program will be prescribed. Neuro-optometrists can also diagnose general eye health problems and correct refractive errors with glasses or contact lenses to increase visual acuity.

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