June is Men’s Eye Health Month

This week marks the celebration of some spectacular events this month and week. During June, Celebrated is Men’s Health Month hosted by Men’s Health Network since 1992. It is the perfect time to celebrate Men’s Health Month because we also celebrate Father’s Day on June 20, 2021. This month is about encouraging yourself and the men in your life to take care of their overall health but don’t forget their eye health.

We want to share a few tips for your eye health. Check out some of the information and eye changes here.

Presbyopia

The most common change is the need to hold reading materials farther away from your eyes. This eye change is called presbyopia, and it usually begins in the late-30’s to mid-’40s. Most may need reading glasses or another vision correction strategy to help with presbyopia. If presbyopia is left uncorrected, you may find your eyes tire easily, and you may get headaches.

Health Conditions Related To Eye Changes

Specific vision changes such as blurry vision, blind spots, halos around lights, and tunnel vision can indicate a severe condition. In addition, these symptoms could signify a more serious eye condition such as age-related macular degeneration, cataract, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy. Those who are diabetic or pre-diabetic need to have annual exams and work with their doctors to control their weight, blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Your eye doctor will recommend follow-up exams based on your family history and the eye exam results.

Protect Your Eyes From Accidents

Most men work in physically demanding job positions such as construction, landscaping, or mechanics. Therefore, it is vital to wear safety glasses and protective eye gear, whether operating power equipment or protection from debris.

Relieve Dry Eyes

This uncomfortable eye problem becomes more common as you age. If your dry eye is severe, talk with your eye doctor to help preserve your eyes’ natural tears.

Have A Good Night’s Sleep

Healthy, uninterrupted sleep is vital for overall health, including eye health. A good night’s sleep helps the eyes get the moisture and lubrication they need. In addition, research shows that light-sensitive cells in the eye help with the ability to regulate our wake-sleep cycles. Sleep becomes even more critical as we age when more people have problems with insomnia.

Don’t deny your eye health, and be proactive! So how is your eye health? We ask because we care! Call TODAY to schedule your appointment! (770)532-4444

References: American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Optometric Association

What Is A Detached Retina?

What is A Detached Retina?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a detached retina is when the retina lifts away from the back of the eye, like wallpaper peeling off the wall.

SYMPTOMS IN DETAIL

When the retina is detached from the back wall of the eye, it is separated from its blood supply and no longer functions properly. The typical symptoms of a retinal detachment include:

  • Floaters – These can look like specs, lines, or cobwebs in your field of vision.
  • Flashing lights – Some people say this is like seeing stars after being hit in the eye.
  • A shadow in the peripheral (side) vision that can be stationary (non-moving) or progress toward, and involve, the center of vision.
  • A gray curtain is covering part of your field of vision.

In other cases of retinal detachment, some may not be aware of any changes in their vision. The severity of the symptoms is often related to the extent of the detachment.

What Causes A Detached Retina?

Many things can cause a detached retina, and your eye doctor can inform you if you are more at risk than others for the condition. The most common risk factor for retinal detachment is age. Most people who experience retinal detachment are over the age of 40. However, retinal detachment can occur at any age if you sustain blunt force trauma or people who have diabetes are prone to developing retinal detachment. Also, individuals with severe nearsightedness or close family members who have experienced a retinal detachment are at risk of developing a detached retina. 

Retinal Detachment Vision Simulator

Your Eye Health Is Our Top Priority!

If you experience any of the mentioned symptoms, the most critical step you can take is to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to ensure proper diagnosis and management.

References: American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Society of Retina Specialists

Visual example of what someone with a cataract sees vs someone with normal vision.

Cataract Awareness Month

Prevent Blindness has declared the month of June as Cataract Awareness Month. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 25.7 million Americans over 40 have cataracts, and the number will likely increase to 45.6 million by 2050. In support of Cataract Awareness Month, we offer a few tips for those diagnosed with cataracts as they consider having surgery to remove cataracts. 

Thinking of cataract surgery can be intimidating. The procedure itself is the most common elective surgery among Medicare beneficiaries in the United States. Multiple studies have shown its association with improved quality of life, reduced risk of falling, and fewer car crashes. 

For patients who feel interference in their daily lives by their blurry or dulled vision, the procedure can significantly benefit their quality of life. Here are three questions from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to help determine if they are ready for cataract surgery? 

Are Your Cataracts Impacting Your Daily Activities? 

Symptoms of cataracts include blurry, dim, double vision in a single eye or yellowed vision. The lack of contrast and clarity can be difficult for driving, reading, cooking, or work. 

Are Your Cataracts Affecting Your Ability to Drive Safely at Night?

Cataracts can cause halos around lights and difficulty seeing in low-light settings, impacting driving at night safely. Advanced cataracts can even generate enough vision loss to fail the vision test required for a driver’s license.

Are Your Cataracts Interfering with the Outdoor Activities You Enjoy?

Cataracts can also increase sensitivity to glare, which can be especially troublesome for those who enjoy skiing, surfing, and other outdoor activities. They can also cause visual differences from one eye to the other, affecting the distance vision golfers need.

Cataract surgery is only recommended when the outcome is expected to improve vision unless cataracts obscure treatments for other eye diseases. Those considering cataract surgery should discuss how cataracts are affecting their daily lives with your eye doctor. 

We Are Available to Help You With the Decision-Making Process 

You are not alone! Our practice is available to help you make these decisions before you proceed with cataract surgery. We want our patients to be fully informed and comfortable with the timing and details of this procedure. Call today to schedule a comprehensive assessment of your eyes and a detailed discussion about your cataract surgery options. 

Prevent Eye Injuries with these Fireworks Safety Tips

Did you know that fireworks cause 2,000 eye injuries every year? According to a  new study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, during the 19-year study period, fireworks caused more than 34,000 ocular injuries, and the most common injury was ocular burn.

We are on the heels of the official summer celebrations approaching, with Memorial Day as the first holiday to start the summer celebrations. Summer is the perfect time for family barbecues, and during a summer holiday, there might be fireworks involved. Eye injuries from fireworks can be especially severe because of the combination of force, heat, and chemicals. Following a few simple safety tips can help make for a safe, fun celebration this summer.

Fireworks Safety Tips

  • Know your local laws.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks.
  • Don’t buy fireworks packaged in brown paper – these are to be handled by professionals.
  • Light fireworks in an open, clear area away from cars and buildings.
  • Never let children handle sparklers.
  • Keep pets inside.
  • When you are done, douse all fireworks or sparklers with water.

Typical Eye Injuries From Fireworks

  • Burns
  • Scratches on Cornea
  • Ruptured Eyeball
  • Detached Retina

Types of Fireworks Most Linked To Injuries

  • Sparklers
  • Bottle Rockets
  • Firecrackers

**Sparklers seem like harmless fun, but they are responsible for about 1,400 eye injuries each year.

What to Do for a Fireworks Eye Injury?

Fireworks-related eye injuries can combine blunt force trauma, heat burns, and chemical exposure. If an eye injury from fireworks occurs, it should be considered a medical emergency.

  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Do not rub your eyes.
  • Do not rinse your eyes.
  • Do not apply pressure.
  • Do not remove any objects that are stuck in the eye.
  • Do not apply ointments or take any blood-thinning pain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen unless directed by a doctor.

At Gainesville Eye Associates, we honor our troops and their families this Memorial Day!

Please stay safe this holiday and enjoy the festivities.

Reference: American Academy of Ophthalmology and JAMA Ophthalmology

May is Ultraviolet Awareness Month!

Summer is almost here, and while the sun will be shining bright, it is a golden time to highlight Ultraviolet Awareness month. Prevent Blindness America sponsors Ultraviolet Awareness month in May to increase awareness of how UV rays can damage your eyes and hurt your vision.

We all love to take in those warm summer rays at the beach or enjoying any outdoor activity. However, everyone must remember to protect their skin and their eyes from the damaging effects of the sun. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the sun emits radiation known as UV-A and UV-B rays, in which both types of UV rays can damage your eyes.

Who Is At Risk?

Every human being of any age and any skin pigmentation is susceptible to UV damage. It is best practice for everyone to wear the proper UV blocking sunglasses and wide brim hat to protect themselves from the damaging UV rays.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology targeted three types of patients who have to take extra precautions to protect themselves from the UV rays. Here are those patient types:

Do you have blue, green, or hazel eyes?

Patients with light-colored eyesneed to make sure that they prioritize covering up with a hat and UV-blocking glasses to protect their vision.  Some studies show that UV exposure and light irises may increase the risk of rare eye cancers, such as melanoma of the iris or uveal melanoma. In a survey conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 54 percent of people in the United States reported having light-colored eyes (blue, green, or hazel), but less than a third of them that light eyes are associated with greater risk of certain eye diseases.

Prescription Medicines

 Some medicines that may increase your risk of UV sensitivity include:

  • Antibiotics containing fluoroquinolones and tetracycline (including doxycycline and Cipro)
  • Specific birth control and estrogen pills (including Lovral and Premarin)
  • Phenothiazine (an anti-malarial)
  • Psoralens (used in treating psoriasis)
  • Photosensitizing drugs –
  • Anti-inflammatory pain relievers – ibuprofen and naproxen sodium have also been shown to cause photosensitivity, though the reaction is rare.

Always discuss and tell your eye doctor which medications you are taking.

Patients Who Have Had Cataract Surgery

More than 2 million Americans have had cataract surgery. During this procedure, the eye’s lens is removed, leaving the eye more vulnerable to UV light. The natural lens is usually replaced by an intraocular lens (IOL). Older intraocular lenses absorb much less UV light than ordinary glass or plastic eyeglass lenses. Manufacturers of IOLs now make most of their product’s UV-absorbent. If you have had cataract surgery, be sure to wear UV-blocking sunglasses and a hat for added protection.

It is important to consult with your eye doctor and be aware of UV exposure hazards. Wearing your sunglasses can be the answer to saving your precious vision.

770-532-4444

References: American Academy of Ophthalmology

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy?

What Is Diabetic Retinopathy? 

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, diabetic retinopathy is an eye disease that affects people with diabetes. Diabetic Retinopathy is when high blood sugar levels cause damage to blood vessels in the retina. These blood vessels can swell and leak. Or they can close, stopping blood from passing through. Sometimes abnormal new blood vessels grow on the retina. Unfortunately, all these changes can steal your vision.

The Two Main Stages of Diabetic Eye Disease

NPDR (non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy)

This is the early stage of diabetic eye disease. Patients who have had diabetes for five years stand a 25% chance of developing non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR).

With NPDR, tiny blood vessels leak, making the retina swell. When the macula swells, it is called macular edema. This is the most common reason why people with diabetes lose their vision.

PDR (proliferative diabetic retinopathy)

PDR is the more advanced stage of diabetic eye disease. It happens when the retina starts growing new blood vessels. This is called neovascularization. These fragile new vessels often bleed into the vitreous. If they only bleed a little, you might see a few dark floaters. If they bleed a lot, it might block all vision.

These new blood vessels can form scar tissue. Scar tissue can cause problems with the macula or lead to a detached retina.

PDR is very serious and can steal both your central and peripheral (side) vision.

Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms

You can have diabetic retinopathy and not know it. This is because it often has no symptoms in its early stages. As diabetic retinopathy gets worse, you will notice symptoms such as:

  • seeing an increasing number of floaters
  • blurry vision
  • vision that sometimes changes from blurry to clear,
  • seeing blank or dark area in your field of vision
  • poor night vision
  • noticing colors appear faded or washed out
  • losing vision.

Diabetic retinopathy symptoms usually affect both eyes.

Risk Factors

Risk factors relating to diabetic retinopathy are identical to factors that aggravate diabetes, which include:

  • Obesity: Excess fat within the blood and body tissue makes it harder for insulin to regulate blood sugar levels effectively.
  • Inactivity: Inactivity results in slow body metabolism, subsequently favoring high blood sugar levels
  • Family History: Genetic factors affecting the pancreas cause inadequate production of insulin resulting in abnormally high blood sugar levels
  • Age: The pancreas ability to produce adequate insulin decreases as a person get older
  • High Blood Pressure: The super-thin blood vessels within the retina rapture easily as a result of the abnormally high blood pressure

Check out this video to learn more about diabetic retinopathy

If you are 1 in 10 who have diabetes, you can effectively delay the condition’s onset by making healthy lifestyle choices. However, it is prudent to have a yearly eye checkup to allow your eye doctor to determine diabetic retinopathy onset when you have diabetes.

Your healthy eyesight is our HIGHEST priority, and we love being your partner in vision health!

770-532-4444

References:

American Academy of Ophthalmology

American Optometric Association

Centers of Disease Control (CDC)

What is an Ocular Migraine?

What Is An Ocular Migraine?

An ocular migraine is a rare condition characterized by temporary vision loss or even temporary blindness in one eye. Ocular migraines are caused by reduced blood flow or spasms of blood vessels in the retina or behind the eye. In an ocular migraine, vision in the affected eye generally returns to normal within an hour. 

Symptoms

Shimmering or flashing lights, zigzagging lines, stars, black spots are all visual cue symptoms; you’re most likely having an ocular migraine. Making it very difficult to read, write or drive. It can occur with or without the pain of a migraine headache. A blind spot in the central area of vision can start small and get larger and usually lasts less than 60 minutes.

Causes & Risk Factors

Ocular migraines are typically caused by reduced blood flow or spasms of blood vessels in the retina or behind the eye. Risk factors include:

  • Ocular migraines are believed to have the same causes as migraine headaches.
  • More common in women than men.
  • Most common age group 30-39.
  • Family history of migraine.

Treatment and Prevention

  • Same as prevention for migraines.
  • Avoid migraine triggers.
  • Common triggers include stress, hormonal changes, bright/flashing lights, drinking alcohol (red wine), changes in the weather, skipping meals/not eating enough, or too much or too little sleep.
  • Keep a headache journal including information about what you were doing, eating, or medications are taken before or after a headache occurs.
  • If you perform tasks that require clear vision, when an ocular migraine or visual migraine occurs, stop what you are doing and relax until your vision returns to normal.
  • If you’re driving, park on the side of the road and wait for the visual disturbances to pass completely.
  • Your doctor can advise you on the latest medicines for treating migraines, including medications designed to prevent future attacks.

If your ocular migraines or migraine auras (visual migraines) appear to be stress-related, you might be able to reduce the frequency of your migraine attacks without medicine by simply:

  • Eating healthful meals regularly
  • Avoiding common migraine triggers
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Trying stress-busters such as yoga and massage

Talk to Our Doctors Today

Any visual loss is serious. Call us at 770-532-4444 if you experience any problems affecting your eyesight.

     CLICK HERE TO TAKE A VIEW OF A LIVE  VISUAL AURA                                                                  

References: According Migraine Foundation and American Academy of Ophthalmology

Women’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month

Prevent Blindness has designated April as Women’s Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month to educate women about the steps they can take today to help preserve vision in the future. More women than men have an eye disease, including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. According to the Prevent Blindness study, The Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems, these numbers will only continue to increase in the years to come.

At Georgia Eye Partners, we spread awareness about the eye health issues that affect individuals of all ages and gender year-round. This month, we dedicate this blog to optimum eye health for women.

Why More Women Tend To Suffer Vision Loss Than Men?

Women make up most of the 4.4 million Americans age 40 and older who are visually impaired or blind. Some eye conditions can cause vision loss and even Blindness. These include:

The easiest way to test for common eye problems is a dilated eye exam – in which your eye doctor uses drops to widen your pupils and check for common issues. According to the CDC, this exam is the best way to detect eye disease’s early stages.

Adopt good eye habits to lessen or prevent future vision problems:

Receive an annual eye exam. Regular dilated eye exams help monitor your vision status.

Eat a healthy diet. Good nutrition is the key to good health, including your vision. Dark green vegetables have been shown to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) potentially. Also, remember to keep your diet low in sodium and caffeine.

Quit smoking today. Crushing the habit of smoking can reduce the risk of a host of diseases such as cancer and respiratory issues. Smoking is the most important risk factor for AMD and progression.

Pregnant women should see their eye doctor regularly! If you are pregnant, discuss any vision changes with your eye doctor so you can get the correct prescription change, if needed.

Having healthy eyes not only keeps us alert but keeps us safe. It is of the utmost importance to keep our eyes safe and have regular eye exams to check for any problems.

We Care About Your Eye Health

If you are concerned about protecting your own eye health or a female loved one, call us TODAY to schedule an appointment.

770-532-4444

Reference: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Tips for Eye Safety During This Sports Season

Spring has Sprung, which begins the perfect time for sports and outdoor game time. April is National Sports Eye Safety Month is a reminder initiated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) to raise awareness about preventing sports-related eye injuries. Prevention is the key, and sport-specific eye protection can save your vision. Eye protection during any activity with the potential for injury can save your vision. Eye protection is more than eyeglasses but specifically safety or sports glasses.

Are Your Eyes At Risk?

Eye injuries can occur during any activity. One of the highest causes of eye injury is sports, especially in children. According to the AAO, more than 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated each year, and 90 percent of serious eye injuries can be prevented by wearing protective eyewear.

No matter the sport, there are risks to your eyes. Any participant in any sport can benefit from wearing protective eyewear that guards against fast-moving objects, debris, dust, dirt, and sand.

If you wear prescription eyeglasses that are not made for sports or contact lenses, you should talk to your eye doctor about what they recommend for your specific sport and eye care needs.

Eye safety is just as crucial for those who prefer to watch from the stands; you could be subject to injury from a flying bat, ball, or other objects. Be careful and pay attention to protect your eyes while cheering for your favorite team.

Common Sports Eye Injuries

Corneal abrasion:  One of the most common injuries due to sports is a corneal abrasion.  An abrasion is a scratch on the surface of the eye.   In most healthy patients, an abrasion will heal within 2-3 days.  However, it is important to see an eye doctor to treat the abrasion and prevent infection and check your eyes for other injuries.

Traumatic Iritis: Traumatic iritis is inflammation of the iris.  “Iri-“ (referring to the iris or blue/brown part of your eye) + “-itis” (inflammation).  With iritis due to any cause, you can have eye pain, blurred vision, and usually very sensitive to bright lights.     

Hyphema: Another common injury to the eye is a hyphema or bleeding inside of the front part of your eye.  The bleeding will resolve on its own, usually within 1-2 weeks, but it can cause other severe eye problems, including glaucoma, so it is essential to see your eye doctor and follow instructions carefully if you have this type of injury.

It is important to see an eye doctor when any eye injury occurs, even if it is minor. Delaying medical care can lead to vision loss or blindness.

We Can Help You Find Great Eye Protection Gear!

If you are not sure which type of eye protection is best for your favorite sport, we’re happy to offer recommendations. Give us a call to discuss your eyewear needs and keep you playing at the top of your form! There’s more to lose than just the game.

Stay safe and have fun!

770-532-4444

References: American Academy of Ophthalmology

What are Spring Eye Allergies?

Spring has sprung, and the change in season promises fairer weather and new beginnings. Unfortunately, spring’s new growth can also create seasonal allergies that leave you with congestion, headaches, and itchy, swollen eyes.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, eye allergies are also called allergic conjunctivitis, are pretty common. They occur when the eyes react to something that irritates them (called an allergen). The eyes produce a substance called histamine to fight off the allergen. As a result, the eyelids and conjunctiva become red, swollen, and itchy. The eyes can tear and burn. Unlike other kinds of conjunctivitis, eye allergies do not spread from person to person.

Patients who suffer from spring eye allergies commonly have nasal allergies and an itchy, stuffy nose and sneezing. It is usually a temporary condition associated with seasonal allergies.

You can also get eye allergies from pet dander, dust, pollen, smoke, perfumes, or even foods. If you cannot avoid the cause, your allergies can be more severe. You can have significant burning and itching and even sensitivity to light.

What Are the Symptoms Of Eye Allergies?

The most common eye allergy symptoms include:

  • red, swollen, or itchy eyes
  • burning or tearing of the eyes
  • sensitivity to light

What causes eye allergies?

An allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts to an allergen that is ordinarily harmless. When an allergen comes in contact with your eye, specific cells within your eye (called mast cells) release histamine and other substances to fight off the allergen. This reaction causes your eyes to become red, itchy, and watery.

What are Eye Allergy Triggers? 

  • Outdoor allergens, such as pollen from grass, trees, and ragweed
  • Indoor allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, and mold
  • Irritants, such as cigarette smoke, perfume

Spring Eye Allergy Management

Avoid triggers by making changes to your home and your routine.

  • Keep windows closed during high pollen periods; use air conditioning in your home and car.
  • Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen out of your eyes.
  • Wash your hands and face frequently.

If you experience spring eye allergies, make an appointment today. Please make sure you consult with your eye doctor before using any over-the-counter eye drops because a prescription oral antihistamine, eye drops, or injection may be more effective to manage your symptoms. If your allergies cause vision changes, feelings of a foreign object in your eye, or acute pain, make an emergency appointment as soon as possible.

We are available to help you conquer Spring Eye Allergies to ensure a Happy Spring Season!

770-532-4444

Reference: American Academy of Ophthalmology