Pink Eye

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Pink eye is caused by a virus infection. It is different than a red eye caused by a bacterial infection or an allergy. Consequently, antibiotic or allergy drops will not properly treat the condition. Viral infections can cause vision loss or problems with glare in up to 15%-35% of cases. Pink eye is highly contagious and proper steps should be taken to prevent spreading the infection. At least 50% of patients with pink eye have the same virus on their hands according to a clinical study. Proper in-office treatment can reduce the course of the infection significantly. A typical viral infection of the eye, or pink eye, can last between 2 to 4 weeks. In-office treatment can shorten that time to 2 days.

For more information, contact Bright Eye Care & Vision Development.

Excessive Smartphone Use Caused Eye-Turn

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Parents should find this next post interesting. A new study involving adolescents reported 12 cases of newly developed eye-turn due to excessive smartphone use. The study also reported a significant improvement in the eye-turn after decreasing smartphone use. This is a rare condition and is a diagnosis of exclusion. The authors of the study believed that poor near visual skills may have contributed to these 12 adolescents being more susceptible to developing an eye-turn.

Smartphone use is becoming more common. 64% of American adults now own a smartphone compared to 35% in 2011. 73% of teens have access to smartphones, and 91% go online via mobile technology daily. Mobile technology is part of the fabric of society, and this is often a good thing. At the same time, there are certain precautions, other than reducing usage time, that should be taken to protect your visual system while making the most of advancing mobile technology.

For more information, contact Bright Eye Care & Vision Development.

A Concussion Treatment

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In patients suffering from post-concussion symptoms, studies show that their brain wave function is scattered. Instead of using the typical parts of the brain for a specific task like they would before the injury, post-concussion patients use many parts of the brain that are not normally used for that job to try to accomplish the task. This is a reason why some patients find it difficult to concentrate on tasks after a head injury. In addition, the speed at which these patients process information is significantly slower than before the injury occurred. These same studies reveal that optometric vision rehabilitation helps the brain wave function of these post-concussion patients be more focused. Instead of using unrelated, scattered parts of the brain for a typical task, patients who have received optometric vision rehabilitation are able to utilize the parts of their brain that would typically be engaged in that task. Also, the processing speed for these patients improve after rehabilitation. Treatment for visual deficits is not a cure-all for someone with widespread neurological damage after traumatic brain injury. However, evidence suggests that optometric vision rehabilitation can positively influence brain function.

For more information, please contact Bright Eye Care & Vision Development.

Diabetic Retinopathy

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Chronically high blood sugar from diabetes is associated with damage to blood vessels in the retina which leads to diabetic retinopathy. People with all types of diabetes are at risk for diabetic retinopathy. Risk increases the longer a person has diabetes. Between 40-45% of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy, but only about half are aware of it. Women who develop, or have diabetes during pregnancy, may have rapid onset or worsening of diabetic retinopathy. The early stages of diabetic retinopathy usually have no symptoms. The disease often progresses unnoticed until it affects vision. Vision lost to diabetic retinopathy is sometimes irreversible. However, early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent. (NEI)

For more information, please contact Bright Eye Care & Vision Development.

Sports Eye Safety

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Eye injuries are the number one cause of blindness in children in the United States. Most of these injuries are sports-related. Young athletes are more prone to injuries because they are still developing hand-eye coordination, balance, reaction time and speed.  According to a report by Prevent Blindness America, there are over 28,000 sports-related eye injuries every year that require emergency room visits.  Basketball is the sport with the highest number of eye injuries in children between the ages of 15-24 years. In children younger than 15 years, the most eye injuries occur in basketball, water sports/activities, baseball/softball and gun-like activities. The National Eye Institute rates the following sports as being high risk for eye injuries: baseball, basketball, hockey, boxing, paintball, racquetball, softball and squash. Moderate risk sports include football, golf, soccer, badminton, tennis and fishing. Low risk sports include diving, skiing, swimming, wrestling and cycling.

Ninety percent of sports-related eye injuries are preventable. Prevent Blindness America recommends that athletes wear protective sports eyewear when participating in sports. To insure that your eyes are properly protected, use sports protective eyewear that is ASTM F803 approved. The American Society for Testing and Materials publishes protective eyewear standards.  F803 is the strictest standard for protective eyewear.  Impact resistant polycarbonate lenses should also be used. These plastic lenses are ten times more resistant to impact than regular lenses. Other important considerations include padding, size and strap length. Regular glasses should not be worn in the field of play. They are not meant to be protective, and can be a cause of major injury.

In short, protect the only set of eyes that you have.

Back-to-School Vision Exams

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    • “25% of students in grades K-6 have visual problems that are serious enough to impede learning.”                          – American Public Health Association
    • “It is estimated that 80% of children with a learning disability have an undiagnosed vision problem.”                – Vision Council of America
    • “Early diagnosis and treatment of children’s vision problems is a necessary component to school readiness and academic learning; and that vision screening is not a substitute for a complete eye and vision evaluation by an eye doctor.  Comprehensive eye and vision examinations…are important for all children first entering school and regularly throughout their school-aged years to ensure healthy eyes and adequate visual skills essential for successful academic achievement.”            – National PT Policy Statement 2005, Elements of           Comprehensive Health Programs

Amidst the excitement of new school supplies, bus routes and teachers, a yearly eye exam is often overlooked.  Poor eyesight and visual skills affect academics.  Even small amounts of farsightedness or astigmatism have been shown to affect reading speed and increase fatigue when doing near-work.  Visual skills such as eye coordination, fine eye movements and focusing skills have been implicated in contributing to poor academic performance.

Sometimes a yearly eye exam is not enough to catch the visual skills that can affect school because vision is more than just 20/20.  If the need arises, we can conduct a full visual skills analysis as it relates to academics.  We specialize in vision development and its effects on learning and development.  This point is important.  An eye doctor who does not specialize in this area will overlook the role of visual skills.  We have seen many struggling students who have been told by their previous eye doctor that “their eyes are just fine” when they actually have visual skills problems affecting learning.  Once their visual skills deficiencies have been diagnosed and treated, their academic struggles improved.  Those doctors did not do anything wrong. In fact, they provided excellent yearly eye exams to those students.  However, visual skills and its effects on academics was not the area of expertise of those doctors.

Every student should receive a yearly eye exam during the school year.  Any child who is struggling with school should also have a full visual skills analysis.  For more information on what we do, please visit our website or call us.

Dry Eye Risk Factors

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Between 20 million to 59 million Americans suffer from Dry Eye Disease (DED) according to various estimates.  Over the past 18 months, research groups from five different countries have published new data on risk factors for DED.  What these groups have discovered is that there are multiple risk factors involved in DED.  The “risk factors lists” developed by the groups were not identical; however, there were a few risk factors that did appear across all of the reports.  The common risk factors reported by all seven studies were:

  1. Contact Lens Use – contact lens wearers were 2-3 times more likely to suffer from DED.
  2. Gender – females were 2 times more likely to suffer from DED.
  3. Age – those over the age of 60 years were shown to be 3.5 times more likely to suffer from DED.
  4. Mental Health Disorders – those suffering from depression, PTSD or extreme stress were 2 times more likely to suffer also from DED.

Identifying risk factors help in tailoring solutions to DED.

For more information, please contact Bright Eye Care & Vision Development.

References:

1. Ahn JM, Lee SH, Rim TH, Park RJ, Yang HS, Kim TI, Yoon KC, Seo KY. Prevalence of and risk factors associated with dry eye: The Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2010-2011. Am J Ophthalmol. 2014 Dec;158:1205-1214.e7.

2. Paulsen AJ, Cruickshanks KJ, Fischer ME, Huang GH, Klein BE, Klein R, Dalton DS. Dry eye in the beaver dam offspring study: prevalence, risk factors, and health-related quality of life. Am J Ophthalmol. 2014 Apr;157:799-806.

3. Tan LL, Morgan P, Cai ZQ, Straughan RA. Prevalence of and risk factors for symptomatic dry eye disease in Singapore. Clin Exp Optom. 2015 Jan;98:45-53.

4. Liu NN, Liu L, Li J, Sun YZ. Prevalence of and risk factors for dry eye symptom in mainland China: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Ophthalmol. 2014;2014:748654.

5. Yang W, Yang Y, Cao J, Man ZH, Yuan J, Xiao X, Xing YQ. Risk Factors for Dry Eye Syndrome: A Retrospective Case-Control Study. Optom Vis Sci. 2015 March 10. [Epub ahead of print].

6. Vehof J, Kozareva D, Hysi PG, Hammond CJ. Prevalence and risk factors of dry eye disease in a British female cohort. Br J Ophthalmol. 2014 Dec;98:1712-1717.

7. Karaiskos D, Mavragani CP, Makaroni S, Zinzaras E, Voulgarelis M, Rabavilas A, Moutsopoulos HM. Stress, coping strategies and social support in patients with primary Sjögren’s syndrome prior to disease onset: a retrospective case-control study. Ann Rheum Dis. 2009 Jan;68:40-46.

8. Bourcier T, Acosta MC, Borderie V, Borrás F, Gallar J, Bury T, Laroche L, Blemonte C. Decreased corneal sensitivity in patients with dry eye. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Jul;46:2341-2345.

9. Wirth M, Nepp J. Corneal sensitivity in dry eye: A longitudinal pilot study. Spektrum der Augenheilkunde. 2014;28(3):93-101.

10. Li J, Zheng K, Deng Z, Zheng J, Ma H, Sun L, Chen W. Prevalence and risk factors of dry eye disease among a hospital-based population in southeast China. Eye Contact Lens. 2015 Jan;41:44-50.

Why 20/40 May Not Be Good Enough

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20/40 visual acuity is a common pass-fail mark for vision screenings. Visual acuity testing measures the absolute smallest letter size that a person can see at a specific distance. This testing of eyesight is different than sustainable acuity. Sustainable acuity is the eyesight level at which a person can comfortably and easily read for an extended period of time. A common rule-of-thumb is that a student’s visual acuity should be three times better than the size of the words that are being read in order to read comfortably for an extended period of time. This means in order to read a typical 8th grade book comfortably for an extended period of time, a student should have 20/20 eyesight. In order to read a typical 4th grade book comfortably, a child should have approximately 20/25 acuity. Someone who only has 20/40 eyesight would only comfortably be able to sustain reading print that is the size of newspaper sub-headlines or a typical 1st – 3rd grade book. When a child becomes uncomfortable, he/she will often be more easily distracted while reading.

There are other visual skills that can affect sustainability of reading. Some children, even if they can see 20/20, have a difficult time reading for lengthy periods of time or reading at a proper rate because of poorly developed visual skills. Visual acuity, though, is a contributor to decreased reading rates. If a child is only seeing 20/40, please schedule an eye exam for him/her.