We Are Grateful For Our Patients – Thank You!

This Thanksgiving season, it’s important to acknowledge the things we are grateful for in our lives.

Gainesville Eye Associates has the opportunity to touch so many people’s lives in such a unique way, and we see patients all the time who tell us how their eye care appointment has made a huge difference for them. From a boosted self-esteem to a clearer vision to see the world a little brighter, which has a powerful impact on daily life activities.

We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge one of the heartfelt “thank you’s” we have received. It’s kind words from patients like this that motivate and humble us. We are so grateful for all of our wonderful patients.

Thank You Note from a Patient

The Doctors and Staff of Gainesville Eye Associates,

I couldn’t have been more pleased with my cataract surgery experience. Just before surgery, Dr. Blehm came in to see if I had any questions, he was so pleasant and gave me such confidence. ALL of the office staff, and Dr. Blehm’s assistants are pleasant. At each step of the surgical procedure, an assistant explained what they were going to do, and it allowed me to be totally at ease and able to relax, The day after the surgery, a nurse called me to see how I felt and did I have any questions. I’m 84 years old and I cannot remember ever having anyone from a surgeon’s office call me after any of my surgical experiences. Dr. Blehm and his group are very caring medical people. I’d recommend anyone to Dr. Blehm and his medical assistants for eye surgery and care.

We are grateful for your trust, and by choosing our practice, you tell us that you trust us, even if you don’t say it explicitly. We are incredibly grateful that you believe in what we do, so much so that patients often refer others to our practice. We appreciate you for arriving at your appointment and sharing your positive experiences with others, and we work to show how thankful we are each and every day.

This Thanksgiving holiday, we want to let you know we are so thankful for each and every one of our patients, both past and current. We are so happy to help many people improve their daily lives and their eye health.

We wish you a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving holiday!

Kitchen Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

The Thanksgiving holiday is almost here for us to celebrate with cheer! Although we may be celebrating the holiday differently this year, the favorite Thanksgiving dinner traditions will still live on for a happy holiday season. As we prepare our Thanksgiving nutritious meals, let’s take a look at a few eye safety tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology to avoid common eye hazards to stay safe in the kitchen. Keep in mind, prevention is the best strategy. 

Hot grease can splatter and burn your eye

Hot cooking oil and grease can easily splash onto the eye and burn your cornea. This common injury can be avoided by wearing glasses or, at the very least, using a grease shield or lid on the pan. 

If hot grease splashes in your eye, immediately flush it with plenty of water. The water will remove the grease and any particles. Do not use anti-redness drops to rinse your eye.

Artificial tears may soothe your eyes after a small grease splash but see your eye doctor as soon as possible if there is apparent injury, excessive pain, or you are worried about your eye. You may be more susceptible to eye infections or other eye injuries while your eye is healing.

Watch out for bubbling sauces and splashing liquids

Any liquid that splashes in your eye can be uncomfortable. But food liquids may be especially dangerous. Fluids from food are often acidic and can cause your eyes to tear up and sting.  Some foods, like raw chicken liquid, contain bacteria that could cause an eye infection.  Simmering sauces can splash out of the pot and burn or blister your eye.

If this happens, flush your eye with plenty of water and see an eye doctor right away.

Spicy residues can stick to your fingers and end up in your eye

When you chop jalapeño peppers and use other spicy ingredients, your fingers retain oily residues that can end up in your eyes. Wash your hands thoroughly after preparing food. Or better yet, wear gloves while chopping vegetables and working with spices.

If pepper or spice oils end up in your eye, flush with plenty of water and then wash your eyelids and the area around your eye with baby shampoo. Never put any soap directly in your eye.

Cleaning chemicals can cause blinding eye injuries

Cleaning products are among the top eye hazards in the kitchen. You should always wear eye protection when working with cleaning chemicals. Bleach, oven cleaners, and other cleaning chemicals can cause serious, blinding eye injuries. If you get any cleaning products in your eyes, immediately flush with plenty of water and seek medical attention. The longer the exposure, the worse the damage can be.

Stay safe while using knives, scissors, and other sharps

Sharp objects are the third-most-common cause of eye injuries in kids. Sharp objects are the third-most-common cause of eye injuries in a kid. Be especially careful with knives, forks, scissors, and sharp objects when teaching young children to cook. 

Don’t slip! Keep floors clean and cabinet doors closed

Loose rugs, open cabinets, and liquid spills on the floor could be more of a hazard to your eyes than you realize. Falls are a top cause of eye injury in the United States. People 60 years old and older are especially prone to eye injuries from falls. Before you start cooking, make sure your kitchen is as safe for grandma as it is for the grandkids.

Contact Us With Eye Safety Questions

If you do injure yourself, tell your eye doctor right away. Head straight to the emergency room if you experience prolonged pain, redness, blurred vision, tearing, or a sensation that something is in your eye. If you are looking for additional advice on kitchen eye safety or would like to run your eye injury emergency plan by us, we will be happy to help!

Your Eye Safety Is Our First Priority!

770-532-4444

Source: The American Academy of Ophthalmology

Diabetic Retinopathy: What You Need To Know

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or use insulin effectively to control blood sugar (glucose) levels. Too much glucose in the blood for a long time can cause damage in many parts of the body. Diabetes can damage the heart, kidneys, and blood vessels. It damages small blood vessels in the eye as well.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that about 90% of vision loss from diabetes can be prevented. Early detection is key. It is critical that people with diabetes should get annual eye exams even before they have signs of vision loss. Studies show that 60% of diabetics are not getting the exams their doctors recommend.

What Is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetic eye disease is a term for several eye problems that can all result from diabetes. Diabetic eye disease includes: 

  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Diabetic macular edema
  • Cataract
  • Glaucoma

Let’s take a closer look at Diabetic Retinopathy:

Diabetic Retinopathy and DME are when the blood vessels in the back of the eye leak blood into the fluid that fills the eye, appearing as dark blotches in the field of vision. Our eyes attempt to compensate for the damaged blood vessels by growing new ones.

High blood sugar puts a serious strain on blood vessels, which is why diabetes is such a serious risk factor for retinopathy. If it advances far enough, diabetic retinopathy can become DME, which involves blurred central vision and can lead to retinal detachment and blindness. People who have diabetes or poor blood sugar control are at risk for diabetic retinopathy. The risk also increases, the longer someone has diabetes.

Click the link below to view a video about diabetic retinopathy:

Stages of Diabetic Eye Disease

There are two main stages of diabetic eye disease.

NPDR (non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy)

NPDR is the early stage of diabetic eye disease, which many people with diabetes have.

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.

Also, with NPDR, blood vessels in the retina can close off. This is called macular ischemia. When that happens, blood cannot reach the macula. Sometimes tiny particles called exudates can form in the retina. These can affect your vision too.

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
    • having blurry vision
    • having vision that sometimes changes from blurry to clear
    • seeing blank or dark areas in your field of vision
    • having poor night vision
    • noticing colors appear faded or washed out
    • losing vision.

Take Steps to Protect Your Vision

To prevent eye damage from diabetes, maintain good control of your blood sugar. Follow your primary care physician’s diet and exercise plan. If you have not had an eye exam with an eye doctor, it is crucial to get one now. Be sure to never skip the follow-up exams that your eye doctor recommends. Call TODAY to schedule an appointment.

770-532-4444

Source: American Academy of Opthalmology

Protect Your Eyes from Macular Degeneration

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in Americans over 50, affecting about 2.1 million people nationwide. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to preventing vision loss. Gainesville Eye Associate are educating our patients about the facts on AMD.

AMD is a degenerative disease that happens when part of the retina called the macula is damaged. It’s the part of the eye that delivers sharp, central vision needed to see objects straight ahead. Over time, the loss of central vision can interfere with everyday activities, such as driving, reading, and seeing faces clearly.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology offers these six steps to help patients take control of their eye health:

  1. Get regular comprehensive medical eye exams. AMD often has no early warning signs, so getting regular comprehensive eye exams from an eye doctor is critical to diagnosing and treating eye disease in its early stages. We recommend that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease get a baseline eye disease screening at age 40 — the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may start to occur. By age 65, we recommend getting an exam every year.
  2. Quit smoking. Numerous studies show smoking increases the risk of developing AMD and the speed at which it progresses. Smokers are twice as likely to develop macular degeneration compared with a nonsmoker.
  3. Eat a well-balanced dietMany studies demonstrate that eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and nutrient-packed foods, such as salmon and nuts, may reduce AMD’s risk. Research also suggests that patients who ate fresh fish, an essential source of omega-3s, were at lower risk of developing AMD.
  4. Exercise regularlyExercising three times a week can reduce the risk of developing wet AMD by 70 percent. Studies also show that physical activity may lower the odds of AMD’s early and late stages.
  5. Monitor your sight with an Amsler Grid. This simple, daily routine takes less than one minute and can help people with AMD save more of their vision. Using this grid is essential to finding any vision changes that are not obvious so that you can report them to your eye doctor.
  • Know your family’s eye health history. If you have a close relative with AMD, you have a 50 percent greater chance of developing the condition. Before your next eye exam, please speak with your family about their eye health history. You may need more frequent eye exams based on your family history.

If you can’t remember when your last eye exam, we can help you start your new eye exam appointment calendar today! Your eyes will be happier for it.

770-532-4444

Sources: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Helpful Tips to Protect Your Eyesight from Glaucoma

 

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 3 million Americans have the potentially blinding eye disease glaucoma, but only half are aware of it.

Glaucoma slowly damages the eye’s optic nerve, the important link between the eye and the brain. People with Glaucoma usually lose vision before they notice any problems with their eyes.

The most common type of Glaucoma is called primary open-angle glaucoma. This is when fluid in the eye does not drain properly.  The pressure inside the eye goes up and damages the optic nerve. Glaucoma interrupts this drainage cycle and causes pressure to rise dangerously.

Your healthy eyesight is our highest priority. Protect your eyesight and make sure you are keeping up with your eye exam schedule. Regular eye exams play a significant role in saving sight!

The American Academy of Ophthalmology suggested a few tips you can start doing today to prevent vision loss from Glaucoma.

1. Catch this silent thief of sight before you lose vision. If you are at risk for Glaucoma, you should see your eye doctor regularly for eye exams. They can find the disease in its early stages and treat it.

2. Tell your eye doctor about your blood pressure medicine. If your blood pressure drops too low during sleep, it can worsen glaucoma damage. If you take blood pressure medicine at night or have low blood pressure symptoms tell your eye doctor. They can discuss this with your primary care doctor. Do not change your blood pressure medication on your own.

3. Taking steroid medication? Talk with your eye doctor.  Taking steroids for long periods of time or high doses can raise your eye pressure, especially if you have Glaucoma. Steroids that you take by mouth or use around your eyes are the most likely to increase eye pressure. Always tell your eye doctor if you are taking any steroids.

4. Eat well to see well. Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables and colored fruits every day. They contain vitamins and minerals that protect your body and eyes.

5. Exercise … but carefully. A brisk walk and regular exercise at a moderate pace can lower eye pressure and improve your overall health.

6. Protect your eyes from injury. Eye injuries can lead to Glaucoma. Always wear protective eyewear during sports, while doing home improvement projects, or in your yard.

7. Avoid head-down positions. If you have Glaucoma or are at high risk of the disease, do not place your head below your heart for long periods of time. Head-down positions can significantly raise your eye pressure. Some people with severe Glaucoma may need to avoid certain yoga positions. Ask your eye doctor if you need to avoid a head-down position in your exercise routine.

8. Sleep in the right position. If you have Glaucoma, avoid sleeping with your eye against the pillow or on your arm.

9. Protect your eyes from sunlight. There is some evidence that the sun’s UV rays may cause a type of Glaucoma. Wear quality sunglasses and a hat when exploring the outdoors.

10. Keep your mouth clean. Recent research links gum disease with optic nerve damage in Glaucoma. Brush and floss your teeth every day and see your dentist regularly.

How is Your Eye Health? We Ask Because We Care.

Call Us TODAY to schedule your eye exam

770-532-4444

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

What Are Cataracts?

What Are Cataracts?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a cataract is a dense, cloudy area that forms in the lens of the eye. A cataract begins when proteins in the eye form clumps that prevent the lens from sending clear images to the retina. The retina works by converting the light that comes through the lens into signals. It sends the signals to the optic nerve, which carries them to the brain. A cataract develops slowly and eventually interferes with your vision. You might end up with cataracts in both eyes, but they usually don’t form at the same time. 

What Causes Cataracts?

Aging is the most common cause. Did you know that in the US alone, cataracts affect over 20 million adults 40 and older and half of all seniors age 80 and up? This is due to normal eye changes that happen to start around age 40. That is when normal proteins in the lens begin to break down, which causes the lens to get cloudy. People over age 60 usually start to have some clouding of their lenses. However, vision problems may not happen until years later.

Other reasons you may get cataracts include:

Most age-related cataracts develop gradually. Other cataracts can develop more quickly, such as those in younger people or those in people with diabetes.

Cataract Symptoms

Listed below are some vision changes you may notice if you have a cataract:

How To Slow Down Your Development Of Cataracts

 Protecting your eyes from sunlight is the best way to do this. Wear sunglasses that screen out the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light rays. You may also wear regular eyeglasses that have a clear, anti-UV coating. Talk with your eye doctor to learn more.

Experiencing Cataract Symptoms?

If you have noticed changes to your vision like the symptoms we listed above, it is a good idea to come in for an eye exam. In this modern age of incredible medical advancements, there is no reason to ignore your eye health. Give us a call TODAY to learn more or to schedule an appointment! 770-532-4444

Exercise for Your Eye Health This Fall!

 Exercise for Your Eye Health This Fall!

We have officially welcomed the Fall season, which includes cooler weather, yummy fall season treats, and maybe for some people, less time exercising. In a Gallup survey, Americans typically exercise more in the spring and summer and less in the fall and winter. However, it only takes 30 minutes of physical exercise a day that can pay benefits to your heart, your waistline, energy level, and exercising can also do your eyes a world of good. It makes sense that your eyes would receive the same benefit that the rest of your body does when you exercise. Many eye diseases are linked to other health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels. Exercise can help keep these problems at bay or limit their impact if they do occur.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, two studies have shown that people who exercise regularly were less likely to develop serious eye disease. In one study, researchers followed more than 5,600 men and women to see if there was a link between moderate exercise and ocular perfusion pressure, an essential factor in the development of glaucoma. People who engaged in moderate physical activity were 25 percent less likely to develop glaucoma than largely inactive people.

In another study, researchers looked at the medical history of more than 3,800 people to see if there was a relationship between developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and being physically inactive. The scientists found that people who exercised three times a week were less likely to develop AMD than people who did not exercise.

If you already have a disease, exercise can help you manage it better. For example, physical activity can help people with diabetes keep their disease under control. That reduces the risk of complications, including diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of vision loss among working-age adults.

Moderate physical exercise, like going for a walk three times a week, can lower your intraocular pressure (IOP) and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve. However, to receive the benefits of exercise, you need to keep your exercise regimen consistent. Once you stop exercising, your IOP will return to previous levels.

The good news about exercise is that you do not have to be a marathon runner to reap the benefits. Enjoying the fall colors while taking a brisk walk, climbing the stairs, and dancing are all great ways to get a good work out that will help you and your eyes stay healthy.

Gainesville Eye Associates celebrates Healthy Aging Month and welcomes the Fall season to help empower you with eye health education, and we are here for all your eye care needs! 

Show Us the Love, Send a Review Today!

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During these unfamiliar times, it is always best to reflect and appreciate the people that make your world go round. There is a quote by an anonymous person that states, “Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other”. Gainesville Eye Associates would like to take time to tell our patients that we value and appreciate you. Each team member is reminded every day what makes the practice strive to provide excellent eye care to all of our patients. Our patients are the reason why our hearts are so full of gratitude.

Below are just a few words we feel that describe our patients and inspire us to give you the best possible eye care.

– Amazing

P – Passionate

– Phenomenal

R – Remarkable

E – Exceptional

C – Considerate

I – Inspiring

A – Astounding

T – Terrific

– Enthusiastic

From the bottom of our hearts, we truly thank and appreciate all of you!! We are grateful for the positive reviews you show us on Google, Facebook, or Yelp. Please continue to share the love about your experience.

Smile, Stay Healthy, & Positive,

The Doctors and Staff at Gainesville Eye Associates

Foods Rich In Vitamin C Help Curb Cataracts

What do Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Strawberries, Kiwi Fruit, and Kale all have in common? They are foods high in Vitamin C, which could help ward off cataracts according to a British study. 

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s lens that happens naturally with age. The condition is the leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization.

Researchers from King’s College London examined data from more than 1,000 pairs of female twins to see what factors may help keep cataracts at bay. They tracked the intake of vitamin C and other nutrients from food and supplements. They also recorded how opaque the subjects’ lenses were at around age 60, with a follow-up on 324 sets of twins about ten years later.

Women who reported consuming more vitamin C-rich foods had a 33 percent risk reduction of cataract progression over the decade, according to the study. Their lenses were also more transparent overall.

“While we cannot totally avoid developing cataracts, we may be able to delay their onset and keep them from worsening significantly by eating a diet rich in vitamin C,” said study author Christopher Hammond, M.D., professor of ophthalmology at King’s College London. The researchers noted that the findings only pertain to vitamins consumed through food and not supplements.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. The fluid inside the eyeball usually is high in a compound similar to vitamin C, which helps prevent oxidation that results in a clouded lens. Scientists believe more vitamin C in the diet may increase the amount present around the lens, providing extra protection.

Because the study was done in twins, the team was also able to calculate how much of a role genetics versus environmental factors play in cataract progression. While environmental factors, such as diet, accounted for 65 percent, genetic factors only accounted for 35, indicating that diet and lifestyle may outweigh genetics.

The human body cannot produce or store vitamin C. Therefore, it’s essential to consume Vitamin C rich food regularly in sufficient amounts. The current daily value (DV) for vitamin C is 90 mg. A diet rich in vitamin C is an essential step toward good overall health and cataract prevention.

To learn more about your eye health call 770-532-4444 today to schedule an appointment.

The study, “Genetic and Dietary Factors Influencing the Progression of Nuclear Cataract,” was published in Ophthalmology, the official journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.