QUESTIONS ABOUT EYES
1) What exactly are cataracts, and what are the symptoms if cataracts are developing in my eyes?
ANSWER:When the normally clear lens within your eye becomes cloudy or opaque, it is called a cataract.IT IS NOT A FILM THAT GROWS OVER THE SURFACE OF THE EYE, as some people mistakingly think.
Cataracts most often develop in persons over the age of 55, but they are occasionally found in younger people, including newborns. A cataract in a newborn is called a congenital cataract. Besides the normal aging of the lens inside the eye, cataracts may develop from certain medications, some systemic diseases, or from eye trauma or injury. Excessive exposure to UV radiation present in sunlight, cigarette smoking, and a poor diet can all contribute to cataract development.
Some common symptoms that people may experience are: Increased haziness causing blurred or distorted vision…Increased sensitivity to glare from lights,especially when driving at night…An increased need for more light to see clearly…A gradual loss of intensity of color vision
2)What exactly is dry eye, and what are the symptoms of dry eye? How is dry eye treated?
ANSWER: Dry eye is the term used to describe eyes that either do not produce enough tears for proper eye lubrication, or the tears that are produced are deficient in their chemical composition, so as to not provide adequate protection to sensitive eye tissue.
Some of the chief causes of dry are: THE NORMAL AGING PROCESS…PROBLEMS WITH NORMAL BLINKING…CERTAIN MEDICATIONS LIKE ANTIHISTAMINES, ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES, AND ANTIDEPRESSANTS…ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS SUCH AS DRY CLIMATE OR EXPOSURE TO WIND…GENERAL HEALTH PROBLEMS LIKE ARTHRITIS OR SJOGREN’S SYNDROME…CHEMICAL OR THERMAL BURNS TO THE EYE.
The symptoms of dry eye include: Irritated. scratchy, uncomfortable eyes…eye redness…a burning sensation…a feeling of a foreign body in the eye…excessive watering as the eye tries to produce more tears. Treatments include:
CHANGING ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS LIKE AVOIDING WIND AND DUST AND INCREASING THE LEVEL OF HUMIDITY, USING OVER THE COUNTER ARTIFICIAL TEAR SOLUTIONS AS RECOMMENDED BY YOUR OPTOMETRIST, USING MOISTURIZING OINTMENT AT BEDTIME, USING R.X. EYEDROPS PRESCRIBED BY YOUR OPTOMETRIST IN MORE SEVERE CASES, INSERTION OF SMALL PLUGS (PUNCTAL PLUGS) IN THE TEAR DUCTS.
Don’t hesitate to discuss concerns about any of these conditions with your optometrist. It pays to be pro-active in all areas of your health.
1) When should I first have my child’s eyes examined, and is the school eye check enough to ensure that my child’s eyes are ok?
ANSWER: I always tell parents that there is really no specific time to start children’s eye exams, and that I will see them at ANY age if the parent notices anything suspicious, such as:
-red or swollen eyes or eyelids,
-an eye that turns inward or outward
-excessive eye rubbing or squinting
-discharge from the eye
Fortunately, eye problems in infants and toddlers and pre-schoolers are not that common, so I highly suggest that the child’s first eye exam (barring any of the above-mentioned conditions) be at around age 5, and certainly no later than age 7, when reading and writing skills come into play.
As to the second part of the question concerning school eye screenings, there is really no comparison to a full eye examination. A vision evaluation in my office always includes tests for eye alignment, color vision perception, depth perception, eye movement control, precise visual acuity at both distance
and reading, and eye health assessment. Thorough consultation with the parent concerning recommendations and treatment protocols is also a vital part of the examination.
The schools certainly do not have the time or professional expertise to do all of these testing protocols, so you should make sure that your child receives a professional eye exam no later than age 7.
2. Are contact lenses safe, and at what age should I consider contact lenses as an option for my child?
ANSWER: Today’s contact lens technology indeed insures that properly fitted contact lenses are a safe option for vision correction. Professional contact lens fitting
– complete eye-health evaluation
– complete medical and ocular history
– thorough refraction of the eyes
– precise measurement of the eye’s curvature
– trial in-office fitting to show the patient the comfort and vision to be expected
To be more specific, you should be professionally fitted and monitored by an experienced practitioner who is willing to spent the necessary amount of time with you. It is your eye doctor’s clinical skills that will assure you that your eye health is not compromised, and the contact lenses are providing maximum visual acuity without any undo discomfort. I personally prefer to wait until the child (patient) is in middle school before considering contact lenses (at least age 12).
It is not too early to be thinking about preparation for back to school time. Make sure to include your child’s vision examination as part of the process.
We would like to welcome Lisa Guzzo
to our office. Lisa is a licensed optician who
previously was employed at Lenscrafter as an optical general manager. She has been an optician for approximately 25 years, originally an apprentice with Dr. Kramer in Schenectady.
We would like to welcome Lisa Guzzo
Lisa was born in Schenectady and now lives in
Glenville with her husband. They have 6 children. She is an animal lover who enjoys gardening and yoga.
We are very excited to have Lisa as part of our team. She has vast experience in her craft, including frame selection and styling. Assisting patients with selection of the most flattering, fashionable frames is her favorite aspect of her job.
Lisa just completed a course in current frame trends at VisionExpo in New York in order to provide our patients with state of the art optical design.
Come in and introduce yourself to Lisa. Let her help you find attractive, contemporary frames that optimally suit your vision needs! Our office information and hours:
Dr. Lawrence M. Cusma
9 Gleason Road
Scotia-Glenville, NY 12302
Mon Wed Fri
8:30 am-5:00 pm
Tues and Thur.
8:30 am-7:00 pm
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Nearly 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure or hypertension reports the American Heart Association. To understand the relation of hypertension and our eyes: Every heartbeat causes blood to put pressure on the arteries and capillaries that carry it. High blood pressure is when your heartbeat exerts too much pressure on the vessels. Hypertension that goes on for an extended time can damage the vessels which in turn will cause harm to the organs they supply.
…including the eyes.
High blood pressure can even hamper your vision by causing swelling in the optic nerve. It also causes small hemorrhages and narrowing of the eyes’ blood vessels. Other eye related issues related to high blood pressure are: optic neuropathy (damage of the optic nerve caused by a blockage of its blood supply), choroidopathy(fluid build up under the retina), and hypertensive retinopathy (retinal vascular damage).
2) Symptoms of eye damage caused by high blood pressure can vary…such as impaired vision, double vision, headaches, blind spots, burst blood vessels. Often these symptoms do not manifest till much damage has already occurred.
3) Risk Factors include
-high blood pressure over a long period
-hardening of the arteries
The main therapy is to keep high blood pressure under control through medications and life style changes.Taking steps to reduce the above risk factors is vital.
High blood pressure can damage your eyes as well as other organs of your body. Let your health care practitioners, including your optometrist, know of any family history of high blood pressure, stroke, cardiac disease. Have your pressure checked on a regular basis and follow guidelines for healthy living.
Our office would like to welcome Dr. Alison Halpin. She has joined the practice to better serve our patients by expanding evening hours…now including both Tuesdays and Thursdays till 7:00 pm.
Dr. Halpin is from North Haledon, New Jersey and attended Siena College and SUNY College of Optometry in Manhattan. During optometry school she completed clinics at Hudson Valley VA Hospital and Keller Hospital at West Point. Her special interests in optometry include low vision and orthokeratology.
Living in Saratoga Springs with her husband and two dogs, Dr. Halpin enjoys biking, running, hiking, camping, and volunteering. She is currently involved in Saratoga Chamber of Commerce Leadership Saratoga class of 2017. She is a member of Terra Nova Church in Saratoga Springs, involved in the NYS Optometric Association, and is a volunteer at Franklin Community Center Food Pantry.
We are happy to have Alison as a part of of our office family!
Call us today at 399-6368 to schedule an appointment.
9 Gleason Road
Scotia, NY 12302
4 TIPS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL EYE HEALTH
Does it seem like summer is flying as quickly as usual? It is time to start planning for the fall and back to school eye exams are high on the agenda for families.
1) EYE EXAM SAVVY
—Know the difference between vision screenings and a comprehensive eye exam.
—Often schools will perform periodic visual screenings. While many children have been helped by these beneficial screenings, some vision difficulties can go completely unnoticed. Vision conditions which are imperceptible during a screening can interfere with the child’s academic achievement and athletics participation.
A complete eye exam evaluates such areas as
-visual function such as depth perception,
peripheral vision and color vision
-eye focusing and movement ability
-family eye health history
All are vision aspects vital for a child’s development. A vision screening is no substitute for an eye health exam.
2) SCREEN HYGIENE
We are all spending a larger part of our day staring at screens. The Huffington Post reports that more leisure time is now spent on digital devices than watching television. With visual systems still developing, vision coordination/organization demands on children are even more exacting than upon adults. Some rules of thumb to follow:
-20/20/20 rule- every 20 minutes focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds
–consider computer glasses for more accurate acuity and for protection from blue light damage to the eyes
–Encourage and enforce “screen vacations..”
a day or afternoon without any screen time.
3) HYGIENE- Protect from illness
Your eyes are not only the window to your soul but also a portal to illness. Specific eye diseases such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), viruses like the flu or a common cold, can invade your body via your eyes.
-don’t share personal items-makeup, towels
-never share “costume” or any other contact lenses
-avoid touching or rubbing your eyes
4) SPORTS VISION PROTECTION
Between the ages of 11-14 most children’s eye injuries occur when playing sports without the appropriate protection.
–The National Eye Institute reports nearly 35,000 eye accidents a year. Articles by The Vision
Council state that eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children.
– Options for protective eyewear include: general sport goggles, helmet goggles, and swimming goggles. Our office carries Rec-Specs which can be ordered with or without prescriptions and tints.
Before your children pack school supplies in their backpacks and get on the school bus, make sure that their eyes are ready for a great school year in the classroom and on the playing fields.
8 EYE SYMPTOMS NOT TO IGNORE
Regular eye exams are a vital component of vision health, but can also impact a person’s general health.Symptoms that are potentially serious can go undetected without a comprehensive eye exam. Eye exams are not only about getting glasses or contactsbut also about attending to any emerging conditions dealing with vision loss.
A study published in the American Academy of Optometry journal Optometry and Vision Science indicates that over 100 million people in the world have correctable vision deficits. It is estimated that only half of the 61 million people who are at high risk for vision loss had an eye exam in the last year.
1) Sudden eyelid droop
A sudden droop in one of your eyes could point to an aneurysm or a bulging weak area in an artery in your brain. They aren’t always dangerous but when they rupture, they can cause brain damage or death.If pupils are unequal in size, the indication for an aneurysm is even stronger.
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should immediately go to an emergency room.
2) Eyeball pain
Sudden pain in your eye, without any apparent injury, could be due to glaucoma with building eye pressure.Other possible reasons include eye inflammation or dry eyes.
Glaucoma is a disease involving optic nerve damage. Eye pressure plays a role in damaging the delicate nerves. When a large number of nerve fibers are impaired, blind spots occur. Eye pain could be an early sign of glaucoma.
If you experience severe pain, make an emergency visit to your eye doctor within 24 hours.
3) Hazy, blurred vision in your visual field
This symptom could be related to a clot that is that is obstructing circulation in the brain, optic nerve, or retina.It could indicate that the person is having a stroke or be at risk for an imminent stroke. Retinal detachment is another possible cause of this symptom.
Go to an emergency room, even if the symptom is transient.
4) Sudden increase in floaters or flashing lights
Floaters are very common for many people…spots that drift and are even more pronounce is certain lighting. Infrequent floaters are not dangerous, but a sudden increase of floaters or flashing lights can mean a retinal tear or detachment requiring immediate surgery. A tear or detachment occurs when the the vitreous pulls away from the retina. Anyone can experience a retinal tear or detachment, but risk factors include age, near sightedness, recent cataract surgery, and trauma.
See your eye doctor immediately within 24 hours.
5) Eye redness
Everyone occasionally has redness in their eyes.Common causes are allergy or acute injury or pink eye. With pink eye, over the counter drops can actually make the condition worse. Early detection and treatment help to halt the contagion.
Infrequent redness in the eyes is not necessarily a concern.However if it occurs more often and is
present with swelling, itching, and soreness, the patient should make an appointment to see the
eye doctor immediately.
6) Foreign object in eye
Foreign objects in the eyes can cause different degrees of pain from scratchy and annoying to
excruciatingly painful. If you are unable to flush out the object with clean water or saline, get
medical assistance promptly. Do not rub or try to remove the object yourself.
7) Discharge from the eye/crusty eye
If you notice a change in the color or consistency of your eye discharge, it could suggest that you have an eye infection. With pink eye, there is usually a thick green or yellow discharge.
8) Blurry vision, especially in one eye
You might chalk up blurry vision to fatigue or even illness, but this can actually be a sign of a variety of serious eye problems, from glaucoma to torn retina to AMD. If you’re experiencing blurry vision, get it checked out. And if the blurred vision is only in one eye, have it checked immediately.
Blurry vision can be a sign of serious eye conditions including a torn retina, Age-Related Macular Degeneration, and glaucoma. Have your eyes checked, and if the blurriness is in only one eye, have it immediately checked as a potential emergency.
You only have one pair of eyes…it is important to take good care of them. Better to be overly cautious with a minor issue than insufficiently attentive to a serious condition. Do not ever hesitate to call your eye doctor with concerns about your eye health. And schedule your regular eye exam as recommended by your doctor.
8 EYEWEAR TRENDS FOR SPRING:
Fun and Fashion
Spring is right around the corner…daylight
savings time began on March 13. It’s not too early to think about choosing spring eyewear,
Some CURRENT TRENDS for this season are:
- Pastels in frame colors
- Combination colored frames
- Vibrant hues in frame colors, especially blues and reds
- Big, big sunglasses
- Bling…glitter accent
- Geek chic frames
- Grooved rimless and rimless frames
- Cat’s eye shape
Our office has approximately 1,000 frames ranging from economy lines to current designer fashion eyewear.
Our Banana Republic frames have been especially popular. The design is classic, yet trendy.
Other popular designers available at our office are:
With an eye on spring…come in and take a look at this season’s most flattering frames.
Mon Wed Thur Fri
8:30 am-5:00 pm….(closed 12-1)
8:30 am-7:00 pm….(closed 1-3)
TEENS AND CONTACT LENSES
Teenagers and contact lenses….a good fit? Previously unconcerned adolescents start wanting to look their best. Academics and study become more intensive…sports are often a daily activity: all these factors are relevant. An individual’s willingness and ability to adapt and take proper hygienic care of the lenses weighs in as a key component as well. This is a subject for you, your eye doctor, and your teen to discuss.
ADVANTAGES OF WEARING CONTACT LENSES
1) Looking good! At an age where boys and girls start to care more about their appearance, contacts can help with self esteem and social assurance. Many teens dislike wearing glasses since most of their peers do not wear them. Glasses can feel like a barrier between you and other people.
2) Better vision. Contacts improve peripheral vision and expand your whole visual field. You no longer see the world within a frame as you do with glasses.
3) Care can be easy….especially with daily wear disposable contacts.
4) More motivation to wear the contacts than glasses. It is not unusual for some teens to refuse to wear their glasses which can interfere with academic performance. Also, safety becomes an issue while crossing streets and driving.
5) Easier for sports. Glasses can slip, fog up, fall off, which is why you rarely see professional athletes wearing them. Also, contacts are less likely to be damaged during sports. Safety goggles fit better than when worn over glasses.
6) Less complicated and expensive for sun UV protection-A contact wearer can use non-prescription sunglasses. There is no switching glasses between indoors and outdoors, and decreased chance of losing a pair. Also non-prescription glasses are less expensive.
CONTACT LENS CARE CONSIDERATIONS
Different contacts/ different care options.
Our office highly recommends disposable one day-wear contacts for teenagers since no cleaning regimen is involved. The contacts are tossed in the trash at the end of the day. Easy, safe, and healthy!
Some contacts can be worn all night and slept in. However, it is crucial for you and your child to know whether his/her contacts are this type. Not everyone can wear contacts all day and night. If your child has daytime only contacts, it is important to remove them every night before bed.
Handling the contacts requires clean hands….wash hands before inserting or removing.
Never, never share contacts with others.
Do not put a contact in a red, irritated eye. Call your eye doctor.
Eye make up should be stored and applied in a hygienic manner. Do not hang on to products indefinitely. Mascara, especially, should be thrown away after 3 months.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW
1) There are a variety of brands and types of contacts lenses. Your eye practitioner can guide you through this and make the best choice for you on a personalized basis.
2) Laser surgery to improve near sightedness is not an option for teenagers. The FDA requires a minimum age of 18 or 21 for this procedure.
3) Eye exams for contacts differ from other exams. Let your eye care office know if you want to be fit for contact lenses when making an appointment. Plan on spending about an hour for your first appointment.
4) Skip the costume contact lenses. Wearing contacts that are not fitted and prescribed by your doctor could result in eye damage. Contact lenses are a medical device and should be treated accordingly.
5) Any contact lens wearer should have a pair of back up glasses handy. If a lens is lost, an eye becomes irritated, or you have runny eyes from a cold, glasses need to be available for driving, schoolwork, etc.
Wearing contact lenses is an important health related decision. Parental input and counseling is vital. In our many year of fitting and prescribing contact lenses, some of our happiest patients have been teenagers who are at last “free” from wearing glasses. Motivation is usually strong and wearing instructions followed faithfully, since the teen wants to be a successful contact wearer.
BACK TO SCHOOL EYE EXAMS: A PRIORITY
The beginning of fall is a busy time for families with school age children. In the midst of buying new clothes and school supplies, don’t forget about your student’s eye health and vision. Experts state that about 80% of what a child learns in school is presented visually. Vision and learning are inseparably linked.
When you factor in the use of computers and tablets, the visual demands of an ordinary school day are heightened and even more complex.
10 WARNING SIGNS/SYMPTOMS OF EYE PROBLEMS IN CHILDREN
- -loses place while reading
- -avoids close work
- -holding reading material closer than normal
- -rubbing eyes
- -tilts head to use one eye only
- -makes frequent reversals when reading and writing
- -omits small words when reading
- -performs below potential
- -difficulty completing assignments
VISION SCREENING VS. FULL EXAM
Visual problems can manifest as near-sightedness, far-sightedness, astigmatism, functional vision difficulty, perceptual vision issues, color blindness. A comprehensive eye exam by a doctor who is experienced with pediatric visual health can rule out any of these conditions.
Students often are given a vision screening at school. These screenings do not take the place of a full eye examination. Screenings can spot some vision problems but often miss more than they find. Undetected and untreated visual needs can interfere with a child’s ability to learn in school and participation in sports.
Some drawbacks of relying only on vision screening are:
- -Testing is limited: While distance vision is important, often screenings do not measure the eyes’ ability to focus at a close range nor their ability to work together
- -Unsophisticated equipment: Specialized instruments are needed to provide more thorough results in examining the total visual system. Even in a pediatrician’s office, factors such as lighting, distance, and equipment capacity may affect the test results.
- -Interpretations of results: a person who has not had specific education and training for vision assessment and diagnosis may not recognize a more subtle visual condition.
WHY COMPREHENSIVE VISION EXAMS MATTER
Good vision involves more than the ability to read at 20/20 on an eye chart. Important components of a comprehensive eye exam include: a health and vision history and evaluation of visual acuity, determination of any refractive error such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or amblyopia (lazy eye),
testing of eye coordination, and the eyes’ ability to focus, depth perception and eye muscle movement.
Some vision facts
- -Poor vision affects learning and behavior
- -Some eye problems can also affect neurological and physical development (ex.strabismus or “crossed eyes,” amblyopia or “lazy eye”)
- -80% of all learning takes place through sight in the first 12 years
- -Vision problems are the 4th most common disability in the US and the most prevalent handicapping condition during childhood
- -10% of children who pass a vision screening actually have an eye problem that needs correction
In the busy opening days of fall, make time to ensure that your child’s eyes are all set for the requirements of the academic year. Make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam to be assured that he or she is off to a good start this school year.