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.

Be Eye Smart this Back-to-School Season

What You Need to Know About Your Kids' Vision As They Get Ready ...

As kids head back to school this fall via virtual learning or in-person, Gainesville Eye Associates wants to remind parents about the importance of maintaining healthy vision in helping children achieve educational success. Whether kids are using iPads, laptops, reading books, or viewing whiteboards, ensuring their eyes are functioning and growing normally is key to their development and overall health.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology the vision system is not fully formed in babies and young children, therefore early detection of treatable eye disease in infancy and childhood can have far-reaching implications for vision and, in some cases, for general health. In fact, if left untreated in children, certain eye conditions may develop in ways that cannot be corrected later in life; some cases could even lead to permanent vision loss. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has issued four top tips for parents to follow to ensure healthy vision of school-aged children.

Tip 1: Get a child’s vision screened early – and regularly. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that children receive vision screening when they are newborns, between the ages of six months to one year and between the ages of three and three-and-a-half. Upon entering school, or whenever a problem is suspected, children’s eyes should again be screened for visual acuity and alignment.

Tip 2: Research your family history of childhood eye disease or impairment. If you have not already done so, find out if your family has any history of pediatric eye conditions, which could put your child at increased risk for the same impairment. The most common vision problems among children and adults that are genetically determined include strabismus crossed-eye, amblyopia lazy eye and refraction errors such as myopia nearsightedness, hyperopia farsightedness and astigmatism. Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are also hereditary. If you find history of these conditions, ensure your child is seen by an ophthalmologist.

Tip 3: Look out for symptoms of eye problems, which may include:

  • White or grayish-white color in the pupil
  • An eye that flutters rapidly from side to side or up and down
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Complaints of eye pain, itchiness, or discomfort
  • Continuous redness
  • Pus or crust
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Bulging eyes
  • Eyes that look crossed, turn out or in, or don’t focus together

Screenings are the best way of detecting eye abnormalities, but if these symptoms occur, it is advisable to seek care from an eye doctor.

Tip 4: If your child is found to have an eye condition, encourage them to comply with their treatment.  Strabismus and amblyopia are conditions that will not correct naturally; however early treatment can be highly effective and may include wearing an eye patch, eyeglasses, eyedrops, surgery or a combination of these methods. Wearing an eye patch, a therapy known as “patching” helps strengthen the weaker eye by covering the stronger eye with an eye patch, usually in the form of an adhesive bandage. If a child has been diagnosed and is patching, encourage them to keep patching while at school. If a child is struggling with the response of peers to his or her patching, a children’s book called “Jacob’s Eye Patch” may bring comfort. If untreated, amblyopia can cause irreversible visual loss. The best time for treatment is during the preschool years.

“The great majority of learning is done through the eyes” said Jane Edmond, M.D., pediatric ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “So, it’s important to keep track of a child’s eye and vision health as poor vision can negatively impact their ability to advance in school. Also, due to the way in which eyes develop, the earlier in childhood problems are diagnosed, the easier they can be to treat.”

Gainesville Eye Associates wishes all students a safe and healthy school year. Call TODAY 770-532-4444 to schedule an appointment to ensure your kids are “GRADE A” this school year!

Keep an Eye on Your Vision Health

Do I Need Vision Insurance In Addition To Health Insurance ...

Eye exams aren’t just about vision. They’re about your health.

Prevention Is the Best Treatment

Eye exams at every age and life stage can help keep your vision healthy. Without regular eye exams, there is no way to catch glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration for an early diagnosis to slow their progress and to keep vision loss to a minimum. Eye diseases are common and can go unnoticed for a long time, and some have no symptoms at first.  A comprehensive eye exam by your eye doctor at Gainesville Eye Associates is essential for your overall health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 11 million Americans over the age of 12 need vision correction. This is just one of the many reasons to get an eye exam. 

Here are a few prevalent daily threats to the health of your eyes that makes an annual eye exam a must:

Eye Strain Decreases Productivity

During this time, more people are working and learning from home using virtual technology to connect with office teams, teachers, family, and friends, where most of our time is being spent in front of a computer screen. As well as additional hours looking at our smartphones, can lead to a lot of digital eye strain. If you have been experiencing symptoms like blurred visions, dry eyes, and frequent headaches, eye strain could be the culprit. At an eye exam, the doctors at Gainesville Eye Associates can discuss ways to minimize the effects of screen time and make a plan for avoiding that strain.

Dry Eyes

Did you know dry eye symptoms are one of the top reasons people go to the eye doctor? Dry eyes are more than uncomfortable, they can impact your vision and the overall health of your eye.  Dry eye vision is blurry vision and ongoing irritation that can lead to significant damage to your cornea. There have been significant advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of dry eye that can provide relief.

Sun Damage

Summer fun spending time with your family in the backyard or a summer drive exposes you to UV sun rays. While sun damage is more closely linked to skin cancer, the threat to your eyes is just as significant.  Wearing UV blocking sunglasses is important (Pro Tip: Look for sunglasses labeled UV 400). 

Eye Health Is Connected to Overall Health

Eye exams are not just important for the sake of checking that your eyes are healthy and working the way they should, they’re also a great way to get a look at how you’re doing in terms of overall health. The eye doctor may be the first one to spot early symptoms of chronic conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer, all from a standard eye exam!

Gainesville Eye Associates is a resource for your eye health patient education. If it has been a while since we last saw you, give us a call at 770-532-4444 to schedule your appointment!

Understanding Your Eye Anatomy

To understand the diseases and conditions that can affect the eye, it helps to understand basic eye anatomy. This week, we would like to give a brief tour of the eye to explain further how it works. The eye captures and focuses light like a camera. Here is a step-by-step explanation of how the eye works:

  1. Light enters the eye through the cornea (the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye).
  2. From the cornea, the light passes through the pupil. The amount of light passing through is regulated by the iris, or the colored part of your eye.
  3. From there, the light then hits the lens, the transparent structure inside the eye, which focuses light rays onto the retina.
  4. Finally, it reaches the retina, the light-sensitive nerve layer that lines the back of the eye, where the image appears inverted.
  5. The optic nerve carries signals of light, dark, and colors to the area of the brain (the visual cortex), which assembles the signals into images (our vision).
Diagram of the outer structures of the human eye, including the conjunctiva, lacrimal gland, and the mucus, water and oil layers of the tear film.
Illustration of the major parts of the interior of the human eye, including retina, macula, optic nerve, cornea lens and pupil.

With normal vision, the cornea and the lens focus light directly onto the retina. Light rays entering the eye are focused sharply on the retina, and the image you see is clear.

Love Your Eyes!

Our eyes are windows to the world around us. They let us see so many magnificent things! Make sure you take care of those beautiful eyes of yours by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and making regular visits to your eye doctor. Call us TODAY at 770-532-4444 to schedule an appointment.

We’re Back!

Gainesville Eye Associates resumed all eye care services on Monday, May 4, 2020.  Services will include telemedicine exams, clinical care appointments, cataract surgery evaluations, routine eye exams, optical shop services and surgery center procedures.

We truly value you as a patient, and our team is available TODAY to discuss your eye health. Together we can schedule the appropriate appointment for your eye care needs.

The safety of our patients and staff is of the utmost importance to Gainesville Eye Associates; therefore, in light of the issues surrounding COVID-19, commonly referred to as Coronavirus, we want to let our patients know about the precautionary steps we are taking when reopening our clinics.

  • Prior to scheduling ANY appointments, all calls will be screened for established risk factors of COVID-19.
  • We are asking that you do not bring guests or family members with you to our office. Please have them wait in the car.
  • Social distancing is being practiced in our waiting room to ensure your safety.
  • All employees before their shift will have their temperature checked and recorded daily. Our staff will only be present if they and their households are healthy and symptom-free.
  • We are asking that you please wear a face mask or a cloth face-covering in our office as a precaution and protection of your health. Any patient refusing to comply with the face-covering request will be rescheduled to another date and time.
  • We continue to sterilize, sanitize, and disinfect all touchpoints in our office throughout the day and all equipment, patient areas, after every use and between all patients.
  • Hand sanitizer stations are available at multiple locations throughout the office.
  • We recommend virtual check-in/out, if possible.

We are continuing to monitor the CDC for updates, and, as things evolve, we will adjust our protocols.   Our team is waiting to address all of your vision care needs.  Call (770) 532-4444 to schedule your appointment today!