Visual Fatigue

visual-fatigue-eyeglassesJust like the muscles in your body, your eyes can get tired. For the job they do, your eyes contain the strongest muscles in your body. But as strong as they are, they can become strained and fatigued by sitting in front of a computer, under fluorescent lights or in front of a TV for several hours. This is called visual fatigue, and an eye doctor can show you how to lessen it during an annual comprehensive eye exam.

Today, more and more people are suffering from visual fatigue without knowing the cause of their symptoms. Modern work and lifestyle changes have forced us to spend extended hours in close-range activities such as smart phones, computer work, e-books, and hand-held gaming. The increased demands of these activities on your eyes can leave you with uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms. For some people, visual fatigue can also lead to reduction in productivity and ability to concentrate—and may even negatively impact your vision health.

Common symptoms of digital fatigue are headaches, tired eyes, neck or back pain, burning/stinging eyes, and difficulty focusing after extended periods of time. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you eye doctor may be able to help. Visual fatigue can be diagnosed by an eye doctor through an annual eye exam and a discussion on your lifestyle and work habits. If you have visual fatigue, your eye doctor has new technology designed to help you combat it.

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Yoga for Your Eyes

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Contact Lenses and Glasses Prescriptions

03Like an eyeglass prescription, a contact lens prescription includes the lens power required to correct your refractive error — whether myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and/or astigmatism.

But, depending on the degree of your refractive error and the type of contacts prescribed, the powers specified on your contact lens prescription may be significantly different than those on your glasses prescription to give you the best vision possible.

Also, a contact lens prescription contains additional specifications that are not included on a glasses prescription, and these can be determined only after a comprehensive contact lens exam and fitting. They include:

Base curve
This measurement (abbreviated BC) is the curvature of the back surface of the contact lens. The proper base curve is determined by the shape of your cornea and produces a fitting that is not too loose or too tight.

Diameter
The lens diameter (DIA) specifies the overall size of the lens and, along with the base curve, determines how the lens fits. In most cases, the diameter of soft contact lenses ranges from 13.5 to 14.5 mm, and the diameter of rigid gas permeable (GP) contacts ranges from 8.5 to 9.5 mm.

Lens brand or material
The lens brand and material also must be specified on a contact lens prescription, because each lens material has a specific degree of oxygen permeability (“breathability”). This is especially important if you want extended wear contact lenses or you occasionally fall asleep while wearing your contacts.

Expiration date
Generally, a contact lens Rx is valid for one year. You will need to revisit your eye doctor when your prescription expires, for a checkup of the health of your eyes before you can purchase additional lenses. Eyeglass prescriptions are regulated under state law, and most expire after two years.

You are entitled to a copy of both your glasses and contact lens prescriptions. It is illegal for your doctor to withhold your prescription from you.

You can request a copy of your glasses prescription at the conclusion of your comprehensive eye exam. But a contact lens prescription cannot be written by your eye doctor and given to you until he or she performs a contact lens fitting or has access to your previous prescription and has evaluated the fit of your current lenses.

Not everyone who needs eyeglasses can wear contact lenses successfully. Conditions such as dry eyes or blepharitis can make contact lens wear uncomfortable or unsafe. Even with no pre-existing eye conditions, some people have sensitive corneas and simply cannot adapt to contact lenses.

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Children’s Eye Health

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Macular Degeneration

macular-degenerationMacular Degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss, affecting more than 10 million Americans – more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. At present, Macular Degeneration is considered an incurable eye disease.

Macular Degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina, the inside back layer of the eye that records the images we see and sends them via the optic nerve from the eye to the brain. The retina’s central portion, known as the macula, is responsible for focusing central vision in the eye, and it controls our ability to read, drive a car, recognize faces or colors, and see objects in fine detail.

Try and compare the human eye to a camera. The macula is the central and most sensitive area of the so-called film. When it is working properly, the macula collects highly detailed images at the center of the field of vision and sends them up the optic nerve to the brain, which interprets them as sight.  When the cells of the macula deteriorate, images are not received correctly. In early stages, macular degeneration does not affect vision. Later, if the disease progresses, people experience wavy or blurred vision, and, if the condition continues to worsen, central vision may be completely lost. People with very advanced macular degeneration are considered legally blind. Even so, because the rest of the retina is still working, they retain their peripheral vision, which is not as clear as central vision.

Types of Macular Degeneration
There are two basic types of Macular Degeneration: DRY and WET. Approximately 85% to 90% of the cases of Macular Degeneration are the Dry, atrophic type, while 10-15% are the Wet, exudative type.

Stargardt disease is a form of macular degeneration found in young people, caused by a recessive gene.

Stages of Macular Degeneration
There are three stages of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).

Early AMD – Most people do not experience vision loss in the early stage of AMD, which is why regular eye exams are important, particularly if you have more than one risk factor (see below). Early AMD is diagnosed by the presence of medium-sized drusen (yellow deposits beneath the retina).

Intermediate AMD – At this stage, there may be some vision loss, but there still may not be noticeable symptoms. A comprehensive eye exam with specific tests will look for larger drusen and/or pigment changes in the retina.

Late AMD – At this stage, vision loss has become noticeable.

Causes of AMD
The specific factors that cause macular degeneration are not conclusively known, and research into this little understood disease is limited by insufficient funding. At this point, what is known about age-related Macular Degeneration is that the causes are complex, but include both heredity and environment. Scientists are working to understand what causes the cells of the macula to deteriorate, seeking a macular degeneration treatment breakthrough. They know the causes are not the same for Age-related Macular Degeneration as they are for Stargardt disease. Stargardt disease has a specific genetic cause in most cases, whereas AMD involves both genetic and environmental factors.

Risk Factors
The biggest risk factor for Macular Degeneration is age. Your risk increases as you age, and the disease is most likely to occur in those 55 and older. Other risk factors include:

Genetics – People with a family history of AMD are at a higher risk.

Race – Caucasians are more likely to develop the disease than African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos.

Smoking – Smoking doubles the risk of AMD.

Treatment
There is currently no known cure for Macular Degeneration, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk and possibly slow the progression once you’ve been diagnosed. For example, one can pursue lifestyle changes like dieting, exercise, avoiding smoking, and protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light.

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Ways to Strengthen Your Eyes

eyesMore and more people are using their eyes to stare at cell phones, television, computer images and small fonts. This can lead to age-related problems of the eyes as well as eye fatigue. Believe it or not, diminishing eyesight does not have to be an expected stage of long life. There are a few things you can do to strengthen your eyes and enjoy seeing the future clearly.

Use it or Lose It
When it comes to improving your eyesight, the simple rule is really to use it or start losing it. Use all the eye muscles you have. Take five minutes a day and consistently focus on moving your eyes in every direction. Also take a daily note of when your eyes may be overused and balance this with relaxation. In other words, if you are doing one task for long stretches, alternate with other tasks that use your eyes differently. One example is reading for long periods and intermittently taking a short walk to change the task your eyes have to do.

Use Gingko Biloba
The blood flow to your eyes and overall circulation is improved with gingko biloba. You also protect yourself from macular degeneration and glaucoma. People with retinopathy have also benefited from gingko biloba.

coffeeCoffee
One study claims that the coffee you love in the morning may help prevent eyesight deterioration and blindness due to diabetes, glaucoma and aging. The reason is the antioxidant called chlorogenic acid that coffee contains.

Do Eye Exercises
The muscles in your eyes become more flexible when you do eye exercises. Your eyes get the necessary blood flow and energy for optimum eyesight. When you do exercises for the eyes on a regular basis, you prevent eye strain and help improve concentration and focus.

Sleep for Stronger Eyessleepingwoman
Giving your eyes some rest and recreation is one way to strengthen them. Allow your eyes to fully rest by getting some sleep. This is essential for the health of your eyes and helps them to recover, repair and truly become restored. Your vision becomes weaker when you don’t get enough sleep. It is a good idea to get a full eight hours of sleep for your overall health, not just your eyes.

Eggs for Stronger Eyes
One healthy method of beginning your day is to eat eggs packed in protein. These provide omega threes, vitamin E and lutein. These are great vitamins for your eyes and for your entire body as well.

b24574274e17116fcecf7c9f78011eb1Teabags and Cucumbers
During the weekday when you are hard at work, make sure you give your eyes a break in between by staring at far objects and near objects alternately. If your eyes are exhausted, cucumbers or a pair of tea bags might help.

Your Environment
Poor vision is a result of environmental factors like swimming pool chlorine, allergens, computer screens and fluorescent lights. These can also include constant all-day eye rubbing, reading in dim light, heating and air conditioning. Plus, optic pressure is increased when you smoke which can also result in other damaging consequences. Change your environment to support stronger and healthier eyesight.

Omega Threes
Fatty acids from omega threes help improve retina nerve conduction. These reduce degeneration in conditions of glaucoma and macular degeneration. Take in between fifteen hundred and three hundred milligrams of om3ega 3 for stronger eyes.

Get Regular Eye Exams
The health of your eyes depends largely on how closely you monitor their health throughout the years. Getting regular eye exams is the key to correcting your vision problems and strengthening your eyes in the process.

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Eye Strain Health: How to Give your Eyes a Break

screenIf you’re looking for the cause of irritated eyes, the obvious suspect may not always be the culprit. Some experts agree that the actual screen may not be what’s causing the damage. While computers have no known harmful effects on eyesight, computer users do often complain of eye-related symptoms like eye strain, headaches, fatigue and difficulty focusing. These symptoms, however, are caused not by the computer screen itself, but rather by the conditions surrounding the computer screen.

Poor lighting, improper placement of computer equipment and even computer furniture may all cause our eyes to be irritated after staring at a screen too long. Our eye muscles function like any other muscle in our body. When muscles become fatigued, the eyes may feel uncomfortable or ache and vision may start to blur.

But if your profession requires you to stare at a screen all day, there are techniques to overcome eye irritation — it’s the rule of 20. Look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

And size also matters. LCD screens can cause less eye strain than older screens and adjusting your text size for comfort can also help. Last year, scientists found that our inability to focus on smartphone screens and determine how far away the content should actually be from our eyes, is the reason why they may feel sore after texting.

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