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

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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

What To Do If You Get Hand Sanitizer In Your Eye

The introduction of strict hand hygiene has become an essential part of our daily habits. It has also created new challenges for our eyes with the rise of eye accidents from hand sanitizers coming in contact with the eye.

It is no surprise that there are sanitizer dispensers at every corner. We see them at the doctor’s office, grocery store, or gas station to ensure we keep our hands clean when soap and water are not conveniently available to minimize the spread of viruses. The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer that contains an alcohol concentration of between 60-95% to be effective against viruses.

Eye irritation from hand sanitizer is a known concern, not just for children but also for adults. We have all heard that swallowing hand sanitizer can cause alcohol poisoning, but what happens if you get hand sanitizer in your eye? If this happens, we encourage you to continue to read the following information to empower your eye safety knowledge.

Eye Symptoms When Hand Sanitizer Has Entered Your Eyes

When hand sanitizer comes into contact with your eye, you will likely experience a burning sensation immediately. You may experience some other signs that you’ve got alcohol in your eyes either simultaneously or shortly after the reaction. These can include:

  • Eye pain and irritation in the eye
  • Burning or stinging
  • Redness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Light Sensitivity

Symptoms may be more severe depending on which part of the eye was affected. If hand sanitizer comes in contact with the cornea (the transparent layer that covers the front of the eye), irritation may be more intense and cause further eye problems.

If a chemical or irritant of any kind enters the eye, it is vital to flush it out as quickly and carefully as possible. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmologists, if a large amount of hand sanitizer gets into the eye, complications include keratitis, an open sore on the eye, or corneal abrasions, a scratch on the surface of the eye.

What to do if hand sanitizer gets in your eye?

  1. Try to remain calm!
  2. Keep your hands away from your eye and avoid rubbing the eye to not get more solution in the eye.
  3. Quickly wash your hands with soap and water.
  4. If you are wearing contact lenses, remove them immediately.
  5. Run the affected eye(s) under lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes, rapidly blinking while the water runs. 
  6. If only one eye is affected, lean your head in the direction of the affected eye.
  7. Gently pat dry with a clean towel.

Your eye might still be red or irritated, but less so than before. You should be as good as new within a few hours. If the eye symptoms persist, please contact us immediately or go to your nearest emergency room.

Eye Safety Tips To Avoid Hand Sanitizer Eye Injuries

Listed below are some simple basic eye safety practices to keep your eyes safe:

  • Wash your hands frequently and encourage children to do the same.
  • Avoid putting hand sanitizer dispensers at children’s eye height and coach your children on using hand sanitizer properly, whether distributed from a bottle, spray, or automatic dispenser. 
  • Use soap and water to wash your hands whenever possible. Hand sanitizer should be used only when you are on the go or when soap and water are not available.
  • Make sure to rub the liquid sanitizer into your hands well before touching your face. If you need to touch your eyes, do so with freshly washed hands.
  • Keep the nozzle of the bottle clear. A hardened solution can block parts of the nozzle and cause a forceful, upward squirt.

In addition to being cautious while using hand sanitizer, be sure to support your eyes’ health with annual comprehensive eye exams. Do not hesitate to contact usfor concerns in-between eye exams. 

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How Stress Strains Your Eyes

Stress is that one factor that has affected most of us in our busy lives, and health conditions from stress are common. However, did you know that stress can also affect your eyes? During those emotionally difficult times when life feels much too busy or demanding, your eyes can pay the price like the rest of your body does.

Learn what eye symptoms can result from too much stress and what to do about them.

Common Stress-Related Eye Problems

Most stresses caused eye issues are temporary. Here are a few examples of when stress causes eye problems.

  • Blurry vision. When caused by stress, blurry vision will probably be mild instead of severe.
  • Eye strain. Eye strain may be caused by something simple, like staring at your computer screen too long at work. However, it can also be caused by stress.
  • Eye floaters. Eye floaters are tiny spots that swim across your vision.
  • Tunnel vision. You may lose some of your peripheral vision and feel like you can only see straight in front of you.
  • Sensitivity to light. You may feel like bright light hurts your eyes or makes it difficult for you to see.
  • Eye twitching. Maybe one, or both, of your eyes will randomly spasm.
  • Very dry or very wet eyes. While these are opposite symptoms, either one can be caused by stress. It all depends on how your body responds to a difficult situation.
  • Fluid buildup. A more severe eye condition from stress is central serous choroidopathy that can cause fluid buildup in the retina that can eventually leak into an area beneath the retina called the choroid—affecting part of the eye that sends sight information to the brain.

Please make sure to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor if you have persistent eye trouble.

What Causes Stress-Related Eye Problems?

When you get anxious, frightened, or stressed, your body’s instinct is to go into what scientists call “fight or flight” mode. Your body will start producing hormones like adrenaline, which speed up your heart rate, and your brain will direct more blood to essential functions like your internal organs and less blood to your extremities.

The reason your body takes these actions is to protect you. Your brain detects a threat when you worry about something, so its response is to gear up for either fighting the threat or running away from it.

When you are in fight or flight mode, your eyes can suffer because your brain will cause your pupils to dilate. The idea behind this response is to get more light into your eyes so you can see any potential threats more clearly. Additionally, when you are very tense, as many stressed-out people are, the muscles in and around your eyes can tighten, causing twitching and soreness.

How To Take Action and Overcome Stress?

The key to taking the edge off eye conditions from stress is to lower your stress level.

  • Sleep at least 8 hours a night
  • Exercise
  • Taking slow, deep breaths, sending the air into your belly instead of your chest
  • Meditating
  • Yoga
  • Writing in a journal

Once you have found a way to deal with your stress, your eyes should go back to normal. These stress-relief actions also provide good benefits for your heart, such as lowering your blood pressure. If you are experiencing eye problems, please contact Gainesville Eye Associates to schedule an appointment.

.Relax, Relate, and Release The Stress…Your Eyes Will Love You For It!

 770-532-4444

What Your Eyes Reveal About Your Heart

February often brings thoughts of heart-shaped candies and heart-themed décor for Valentine’s Day, but more importantly, it should make you think about your heart health too! February is Heart Health Month, a time to focus on heart health and disease prevention. Many don’t realize that the eyes and heart are connected. The eyes reveal a lot about someone’s health and often indicate serious underlying health issues, which an eye exam can be a life-saver.

The three major risk factors for heart disease

This damage to your eyes can occur for years before you even begin to experience any symptoms. Left untreated, it can permanently impact your sight.

Here’s why we encourage patients to focus on their eyes for Heart Health Month
During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will not only determine your prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses but also check your eyes for common eye diseases. As well as assess how your eyes work together as a team and evaluate your eyes as an indicator of your overall health. Comprehensive eye exams provide the only non-invasive view of blood vessels and the optic nerve.

The American Heart Association’s “Life’s Simple 7” program targets seven areas that impact heart health and offers tips to reduce your risk of heart disease, which is also beneficial for your eye health:

Manage Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. When your blood pressure stays within healthy ranges, you reduce the strain on your heart, arteries, and kidneys, which keeps you healthier longer.

Control Cholesterol
High cholesterol contributes to plaque, which can clog arteries and lead to heart disease and stroke. When you control your cholesterol, you are giving your arteries their best chance to remain clear of blockages.

Reduce Blood Sugar
Most of the food we eat is turned into glucose (or blood sugar) that our bodies use for energy. Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.

Get Active
Living an active life is one of the most rewarding gifts you can give yourself and those you love. Simply put, daily physical activity increases your length and quality of life.

Eat Better
A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting cardiovascular disease. When you eat a heart-healthy diet, you improve your chances of feeling good and staying healthy for life.

Lose Weight
When you shed unnecessary pounds, you reduce the burden on your heart, lungs, and blood vessels. You give yourself the gift of active living, you lower your blood pressure, and you help yourself feel better, too.

Stop Smoking
Cigarette smokers have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you smoke, quitting is the best thing you can do for your health.

If you have not yet had your comprehensive eye exam, now is the time! Eye exams are an important part of health maintenance. If you have noticed changes in your vision, call us today!

Say it with your eyes this heart health month and schedule an appointment

770-532-4444

What is Age-Related Macular Degeneration?

What is Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?

AMD is a disorder of the macula. The macula is the part of your retina where your central and color vision calls home. AMD is a complex disorder where degenerative protein/lipids (called “drusen”) deposit under the retina. These deposits are seen in early macular degeneration. As the disease progresses, the retina’s structural support system breaks down and can allow abnormal blood vessels to grow or leak fluid and further disrupt the retinal cells. If these blood vessels grow in the macula, then you will lose your central.

AMD is the leading cause of central vision loss in Americans over 50 years old. There are two  types of age-related macular degeneration (AMD):

Dry or Nonexudative – This form is quite common. About 80% (8 out of 10) of people who have AMD have the dry form.

Click the American Academy of Ophthalmology link and learn the dry form of age-related macular degeneration.

Wet or Exudative – This form is less common but much more serious. Wet AMD is when new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. 

What are the risk factors?

  • Age: AMD affects more than 2 million Americans over 50 years old. The prevalence of ARMD in the USA is around 6% when 65 and almost 20% when 75 years old.
  • Genetics: have a family history of AMD  
  • Smoking: Increases your risk for progression
  • Diet: eating foods high in saturated fat (found in foods like meat, butter, and cheese)
  • Have Certain Diseases: hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, cardiovascular disease
  • Are Overweight

What is the treatment?

Depending on your type and severity of macular degeneration, many new and exciting treatment options can not only prevent further vision loss, but they can help you regain vision, sometimes even back to 20/20. Discuss your options with your eye doctor.

Look Out for Your Eyesight

Keep up with your eye exams, maintain healthy habits and good safety practices. Your eyes will love you for it!

Show some LOVE to your EYES and Call TODAY to Schedule your Appointment!

770-532-4444

How to Combat Winter Dry Eyes

Dry eyes are prevalent during the winter season because of the cold, harsh winter winds, dry outdoor air, and dry indoor heat. These sudden changes in the atmosphere produce the onset of moisture evaporation inside your eyes. Thus, our tear glands do not produce fluid quick enough to maintain the liquid coating that our eyes require to stay hydrated.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 3.2 million women and 1.7 million men over the age of 50 suffer from chronic dry eyes.

How Do You Survive the Winter Season?

From chapped lips to influenza, you have to make plenty of changes to keep yourself in tip-top shape. So, while you know to wash your hands frequently, what should you do if you are dealing with itchy, irritated eyes? The key is to increase the moisture in your eyes and restrict the water from leaving your eyes. While it is difficult to avoid dry eyes altogether during the winter months, there are several steps you can take to prevent them from getting worse.

Minimize dry eyes this winter and reduce discomfort with these simple tips:

• Wear sunglasses to protect eyes from cold wind and excess light.
• Blinking Regularly
• Artificial tears
• Use a humidifier
• Add Omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil supplements to your diet
• Stay hydrated, drink plenty of fluids
• If the condition becomes worse, contact us to schedule your appointment

If these tips don’t help alleviate your symptoms, contact us for a dry eye evaluation.  You may have a prevalent but chronic and progressive condition called Meibomian Gland Dysfunction or MGD.  MGD occurs when there is a compromise to the meibomian glands’ function or structure in the eyelids that produce the protective oily layer of the tear film. These glands can become blocked over time to no longer produce oils needed for healthy tears. This blockage results in rapid evaporation of your tears and can lead to irritation, discomfort, and, if not treated, gland dropout. A series of evaluations can be performed to determine if you have MGD.

We want our patients to have a safe and fantastic winter, and part of that is knowing you are empowered with eye care knowledge about winter dry eyes and tips to help reduce discomfort.

Keep those eyes healthy and safe during this winter season!

770-532-4444

Simple Lifestyle Adjustments To Help Those With Low Vision

What Does “Low Vision” Means?

As we age, our eyes change too. Many of these vision changes can be corrected by glasses or contact lenses. However, if your eye doctor tells you that your vision cannot be fully corrected with ordinary prescription lenses, medical treatment, or surgery, and you still have some usable vision. In this case, you have what is called “low vision.” Patients diagnosed with low vision may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks with low vision, such as reading, shopping, preparing meals, and signing your name on the dotted line.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, low vision can be a significant challenge for persons of any age trying to maintain their independence. Low vision can make everyday activities difficult, increasing reliance on loved ones and caregivers while increasing the risk of falls.

Here are a few simple adjustments that can be done to lessen the dependency for those with less severe forms of low vision:

Increase Contrast and Color

Set brightly colored accessories around the home to help with locating the items around them. Use contrasting colors to define doorknobs, steps, doorframes clearly, switch plates, outlets, or stairway landings to help decrease the risk of missteps and falls.

Let The Light Shine Bright

Brighter lighting can help with reading and activities such as sewing or cooking. Provide plenty of floor lamps and table lamps to enhance overhead lighting. Remove mirrors that reflect lights to create a glare. Use window coverings that can allow natural light through.

Embrace Technology

There are a variety of technology-based tools for smartphones and tablets designed to aid people with low vision. One example is Spotlight Text, which can be configured to help people with particular patterns of low vision to read with greater comfort.

Remove Hazards

Use non-glare products to clean floors instead of wax. Tape down area rugs and remove electrical cords from pathways to decrease the risk of falling and injury.

Don’t Delay Eye Exams

Several diseases that cause low vision, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma, are progressive and can get worse without proper monitoring and treatment. During a comprehensive eye exam, an eye doctor can identify both the type and severity of vision loss and, in some cases, refer patients to low vision rehabilitation.

Having low vision can be challenging, but it does not have to mean giving up your independence. Just a few adjustments around the house can make a big difference in maintaining comfort and strengthening your ability to accomplish your normal daily activities with partial sight.

Our First Goal Is Our Patients’ Lifelong Vision Health

CALL TODAY TO SCHEDULE YOUR APPOINTMENT!

770.532.4444

Embrace the New Year with Healthy Habits

It is a New Year, and a new chance to grow wiser. Just as your body ages, so too will your eyesight begin to change as you grow older. Some changes are driven by heredity, and others are exacerbated by the elements of our environment.

Without healthy eyes, your quality of life would likely change dramatically. Here’s the good news: developing these simple eye-healthy habits can help protect your eye health.

Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands for 20 seconds is not only a crucial habit to adopt for your overall but vital for your eye health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many common vision-related diseases can be spread by touching in or around the eye with an unwashed hand.

Bacterial and viral infections can cause long-term eyesight damage. To reduce your risk, develop a healthy hand washing routine. Also, never touch near your eyes for any reason if you have not just washed your hands.

Wear Eye Protection

It only takes one time not wearing protective glasses for something to become lodged in your eye. Wear eye protection around projectile-flinging equipment every time. Eye protection can also include wearing sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection.

Make Eye-Healthy Food Choices

A diet low in fat and rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains benefits the entire body, including the eyes. Studies show that foods rich in vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, and zeaxanthin are good for eye health. These nutrients are linked to lower risk for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and dry eye later in life. Eye-healthy food choices include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, and cold-water fish.

Exercise

Thirty minutes of exercise a day benefit one’s heart, waistline, and energy level. Regular physical activity can also do the eyes a world of good! Many eye diseases are linked to other health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels.

Quit Smoking

Avoiding smoking and second-hand smoke — or quitting, for current smokers — are some of the best investments everyone can make for long-term eye health. Smoking increases the risk for eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Tobacco smoke, including second-hand smoke, also worsens dry eye.

Take Charge of Your Eye Health!

Don’t skip your eye exam and schedule your eye exam TODAY! We are here to help our patients identify issues early and advise about lifestyle changes to keep their eyes healthy.

You only get one set of eyes, keep them healthy with these healthy habits.

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JANUARY IS NATIONAL GLAUCOMA AWARENESS MONTH

National Glaucoma Awareness Month is an important time to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning and is the leading cause of irreversible blindness. Although the most common forms primarily affect the middle-aged and the elderly, glaucoma can affect people of all ages. Currently, more than 3 million people in the United States have glaucoma, and experts estimate that half of them do not know they have it.

How does glaucoma affect your vision?

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, blind spots appear when glaucoma damages the fibers of the optic nerve. If the entire nerve is destroyed, you can become completely blind in that eye. The optic nerve is made up of many nerve fibers that carry images to the brain. It is like an electric cable, with many wires bundled together.

When there is more damage to the optic nerve, larger blank spots begin to appear in your vision field. Many people do not notice these blank spots until the optic nerve is significantly damaged and these spots become large.

This unnoticed vision loss is why people with glaucoma or at risk of glaucoma should have regular eye exams.

Below is a Glaucoma Vision Simulator created by the American Academy of Ophthalmology:

New Year – New Health Goals

There is hope for future glaucoma patients. Although there is no cure for any form of glaucoma, early diagnosis and treatment can help control the disease and slow the process of vision loss or blindness. As you are writing your New Year goals, kickstart your New Year health goals, and add an eye exam to your priority list. Gainesville Eye Associates is your BEST resource for lifelong eye health. 

Schedule Your Appointment Today! 

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Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology

Cheers to Eye Safety this New Year’s!

We are all looking forward to a fresh new start and ready to ring in the New Year with cheer! Every year it is that special time to celebrate with champagne but popping a bottle of bubbly comes with some risk. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a champagne cork can fly up to 50 mph as it leaves the bottle. Champagne cork accidents happen, and when a champagne cork flies, there is little time to react and protect your delicate eyes.

For a safe celebration, follow the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s simple tips on how to open a bottle of champagne properly:

  • Chill sparkling wine and champagne to 45 degrees Fahrenheit or colder before opening. The cork of a warm bottle is more likely to pop unexpectedly.
  • Don’t shake the bottle. Shaking increases the speed at which the cork leaves the bottle, thereby increasing your severe eye injury chances.
  • Point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from yourself and any bystanders and hold down the cork with the palm of your hand while removing the wire hood on the bottle.
  • Place a towel over the entire top of the bottle and grasp the cork.
  • Twist the bottle while holding the cork at a 45-degree angle to break the seal. Counter the force of the cork using downward pressure as the cork breaks free from the bottle.

View a video demonstration of proper champagne cork removal, and see how the force of a champagne cork can shatter glass: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWeQ-08Ot4E

Potential eye injuries from a flying cork include the rupture of the eye wall, acute glaucoma, retinal detachment, ocular bleeding, dislocation of the lens, and damage to the eye’s surrounding bone structure. In some cases, these injuries require emergency eye surgery or can lead to blindness in the damaged eye. Please celebrate safely and watch out for EYES when the champagne corks fly.

CHEERS!

It’s time to toast and clink carefully to avoid breaking any glasses. Here’s to celebrating responsibly! If you sustain an eye injury from a champagne cork, seek immediate medical attention from your eye doctor.

We wish you a happy, safe, and healthy holiday season from all the staff at Gainesville Eye Associates!

Source: American Academy of Ophthalmology