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Year: 2020

How Vision and the Brain Work Together

How Vision and the Brain Work Together 640There’s more to a healthy vision than meets the eye. While it’s true that functional visual skills depend on healthy eyes, a healthy brain is equally important. The human visual system has three components: the eyes, the visual cortex, and the connecting pathways between the two. When communication between the eyes and brain is disrupted, such as after a brain injury or stroke, the patient is often left with visual symptoms that can interfere with day-to-day tasks. Even the mildest forms of TBI, where there is no concussion, can harm this communication. That’s where neuro-optometry comes into play.

What Is Neuro-Optometry?

Neuro-optometry treats vision-related symptoms at their source — the brain. By strengthening the eye-brain connection, neuro-optometrists can treat a multitude of symptoms and conditions caused by neurological diseases, congenital or metabolic conditions, and trauma.

Services offered by neuro-optometrists include:

  • Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy
  • Visual processing assessments
  • Extensive functional visual evaluations
  • Eye health examinations

A functional visual evaluation with Dr. Brie Hevesy and Dr. Emily LaSalle will assess:

  • How well the eyes work together
  • Eye-tracking
  • Visual memory
  • How vision is integrated with balance and coordination
  • Ability to focus and aim

Who Could Benefit From Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy?

Brain injuries and other neurological conditions can affect multiple parts of the body, so patients and physicians may overlook problems in the visual system due to more pressing concerns. This is why a consultation with a neuro-optometrist is crucial.

Patients with any of the following conditions are urged to visit a neuro-optometrist for a complete evaluation:

  • Traumatic brain injury – (even a minor concussion)
  • Stroke
  • Chronic brain inflammation
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Balance and mobility issues
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Any condition that affects the nervous system
  • Post traumatic vision syndrome
  • Light sensitivity
  • Visual midline shift syndrome
  • Diabetic neuropathy
  • Autism

The above conditions can impair any of the following visual skills:

  • Eye-tracking
  • Eye teaming
  • Eye movement
  • Visual perceptual
  • Focusing

Individuals who experience the following visual symptoms may also benefit from a consultation with a neuro-optometrist:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Reduced cognitive abilities related to visual tasks

Treatment typically involves specialized lenses and/or in-office neuro-optometric rehabilitation exercises that are tailored to each patient’s visual needs. Just as with other forms of therapy, an interdisciplinary approach, with cooperation from other health-care providers, is often required to facilitate a complete recovery from a neurological event.

Feel free to contact us with any further questions you may have. Acworth Family Eyecare serves patients from Acworth, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Cartersville, and throughout Acworth.

 

The 5 Most Common Vision Problems In Children

child taking photographAs children grow, their vision becomes increasingly relevant to their academic and social success. For example, children who have difficulty reading due to a visual problem may shy away from reading aloud in class, fearing ridicule from their classmates. Given that 80% of classroom learning is vision-based, it’s no surprise that even slight visual difficulties can dramatically affect scholastic achievement. For this reason it’s important for parents and teachers to be aware of the most prevalent visual problems that can affect children.

Fortunately, many of these conditions are treatable. At Acworth Family Eyecare, we treat children with various visual impairments and help them regain the visual ability and confidence they need to succeed.

Here’s our list of the five most common pediatric visual problems that we treat on a daily basis:

1- Refractive Errors

Refractive errors such as nearsightedness (myopia), farsightedness (hyperopia), and astigmatism are the most common visual problems in children today. Myopia and hyperopia impair visual acuity, which is the ability to clearly see objects that are close up or far away. Children with refractive errors may squint, sit too close to the whiteboard or TV screen, or complain that their vision is fuzzy. Prescription lenses are the most effective way to correct refractive errors.

2- Binocular Vision Dysfunction

Binocular vision is the ability to see one image with both eyes working together. When the eyes are aligned perfectly, they send two images to the brain, and the brain creates one clear image. In binocular vision dysfunction (BVD) the eyes have difficulty working together. BVD can produce symptoms similar to a learning disorder and can impact academic success, making it crucial for a child that’s been diagnosed with a learning disorder to undergo a functional eye exam to rule out visual dysfunction as the primary cause of symptoms.

3- Amblyopia

Amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” occurs when vision in one eye is reduced due to a communication error between the brain and the affected eye. Amblyopia usually involves one eye but in rare cases can affect both. It usually develops in infancy and affects 2-5% of preschool-aged children. It’s time to suspect amblyopia if a child or baby becomes visibly bothered when one eye is covered, has poor depth perception, or is excessively clumsy. It’s recommended that babies have their first eye exam around 6 months of age to confirm that their vision is healthy.

4- Strabismus

Otherwise known as “eye-turn” or “crossed-eyes,” strabismus is an ocular condition where one or both eyes do not focus on the same object at the same time and have trouble maintaining their correct position. Eye misalignment in early childhood can lead to amblyopia, as the brain suppresses the image from the affected eye. Some symptoms of strabismus may include wandering eye (the eyes drift outward) and covering one eye when looking at a near object. Strabismus can result in the child tilting the head to look at an object, and frequently bumping into things. In some children with strabismus, their eyes may appear straight but have difficulty working as a team. This makes it difficult for the eyes to send correct images to the brain.

5- Convergence Insufficiency

Convergence insufficiency (CI) means the eyes have a problem focusing on near or moving objects. Eyes with normal convergence abilities point inwards when focusing on a very nearby object. For example, the closer something moves towards the nose, the more inwards the eyes will point to focus on that object. In cases of CI, the child suffers with fatigue when trying to point inwards, resulting in tiredness, to the point where the child’s reading ability and comprehension are affected. Children with CI will likely have difficulty reading and focusing, and may experience eyestrain or blurred vision.

 

 

How Can Your Optometrist Help?

Acworth Family Eyecare provides many services and treatments to young patients with visual problems. We offer a wide variety of prescription lenses to correct refractive errors.

We also provide vision therapy to treat conditions such as amblyopia, strabismus, convergence insufficiency, and binocular vision dysfunction. Vision therapy (VT) is a personalized program of in-office treatments and at-home exercises that train the eyes and brain to work in unison.

If you are concerned about your child’s academic or sports performance or think that their visual skills may need strengthening, bring them in for a functional visual evaluation. Dr. Brie Hevesy and Dr. Emily LaSalle will assess your child’s visual skills and general ocular health using standardized diagnostic tools for the most accurate examination.

For more information and to schedule an appointment, call Acworth Family Eyecare today — we look forward to hearing from you!

Acworth Family Eyecare serves patients from Acworth, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Cartersville, and throughout Georgia.

 

How To Prevent “Mask Fog” on Your Glasses

If you wear glasses and a face mask, you’ve probably struggled with “mask fog.”  Your lenses get all misty, requiring you to wipe your eyewear throughout the day. Below are a few strategies to help you prevent your eyeglasses from fogging up when wearing a mask.

But First, Why Do Glasses Fog Up? 

Quite simply, condensation forms whenever moist warm air hits a cool surface. Your specs fog up when the mask directs your warm breath upward instead of in front of you — which is great for preventing virus transmission but bad for anyone with less-than-stellar eyesight.

Is Your Mask Well Fitted? 

The mask should fit securely over your nose. Ideally, you’ll want to wear a mask with a nose bridge or one that can be shaped or molded to your face. When the mask fits properly, hopefully most of your breath will go through it, not out the top or sides.

Use Your Glasses To Seal the Top of Your Mask

This method works best with large, thick eyewear frames. By pulling your mask up higher on your nose and placing the lower part of your eyeglasses on the mask, you can get a snug fit that blocks your warm breath from escaping upward toward your eyewear.

Tape Your Mask to Your Face

You can always use tape to secure your mask across the bridge of your nose and the top of your cheeks. Use easy-to-remove tape, including adhesive, medical, or athletic. Just be  sure to stay away from duct tape. 

Soap and Water Help Prevent Fogging

This trick is one that healthcare professionals regularly turn to. All you need for this hack is soapy water (dish soap works best) and a microfiber cloth. Stay away from soaps with lotions in them as they can leave a thick residue, making it even harder to see.

Simply rub both sides of your lenses with a drop of soap, then buff the lenses with a soft microfiber cloth. This effective trick helps prevent your lenses from fogging up as a transparent, thin film of soap acts as a barrier. 

Anti-Fog Wipes and Sprays 

Another option is to purchase wipes and sprays designed to tackle foggy lenses. Read the fine print, as certain anti-fog solutions may not work as well, or may even damage lenses with  coatings that minimize glare and fingerprint smudges, for example. 

 

To learn more about ways to keep your glasses from fogging while wearing a mask, contact Acworth Family Eyecare in Acworth today.

 

How Do I Prevent My Child’s Myopia From Worsening?

child reading 640×350If you’re a parent of a nearsighted child, you know that myopia (nearsightedness) can sometimes be challenging. What many parents don’t know is that rapidly progressing myopia is more than just a hassle — it can harm your child’s eye health. Children with rapidly progressing myopia are far more likely to develop potentially sight-threatening eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts, and macular degeneration later in life.

Fortunately, Dr. Dylan Reach and Dr. Emily LaSalle can help slow the progression of your child’s myopia with a customized myopia management program. Understanding what causes myopia to worsen and what can be done to slow it down can help safeguard your child’s vision.

What Causes Myopia to Progress?

Genetics play a large role in myopia development. Two nearsighted parents are more likely to have a myopic child than a couple with only one myopic parent, or no myopic parents at all.

No one knows exactly why myopia progresses, but spending most of the day indoors, focusing on near objects like screens and books, may be risk factors. More research is needed to determine whether the fact that children are spending less time looking at faraway objects like a moving baseball or a basketball net might be contributing to the increase in myopia cases around the world.

How Can I Prevent Myopia From Worsening?

One of the best pieces of advice for parents of nearsighted children is to increase their child’s outdoor playtime in the sun. In research studies, the progression of myopia was slower in children who spent a considerable amount of time in the sunshine than in children who did not.

The World Health Organization advises that children under 5 spend 1 hour or less per day in front of a screen, and no screen time is recommended for infants under 1. The Children’s Eye Foundation recommends outdoor play daily, and no screen time for children under 2. They also recommend no more than 1-2 hours per day for 2- to 5-year-olds, with frequent breaks.

How Can a Myopia Management Eye Doctor Help?

Myopia management eye doctors do more than prescribe corrective lenses. Although no actual cure for myopia exists, there are methods that can help control its progression.

Current treatments include:

  1. Atropine eye drops
  2. Orthokeratology (“ortho-k”) gas permeable contact lenses
  3. Multifocal glasses/contact lenses

Following a thorough eye exam, Dr. Dylan Reach and Dr. Emily LaSalle will determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your child’s eye health and lifestyle. Annual eye exams for myopic children are recommended to monitor any changes in vision. It’s important to note that not all optometrists provide myopia management.

 

 

Feel free to speak with Dr. Dylan Reach and Dr. Emily LaSalle or the friendly staff at Acworth Family Eyecare and ask any further questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!

Acworth Family Eyecare serves patients from Acworth, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Cartersville, and throughout Georgia.

 

Why You Regularly Need to Replace Your Sunglasses

Did you know that sunglasses, or at least sunglass lenses, regularly need to be replaced? 

According to a study conducted at the University of São Paulo, the UV protection that sunglasses provide deteriorates over time. You may adore your current ones, but if you’ve been rocking those shades for two or more years, it might be time to get a new pair. 

In addition to the UV-blocking properties, anti-reflective and anti-scratch coatings wear down, and the frame material may become brittle over the years, too. Even if you have the most durable sunglasses available, regular lens-replacement is the best way to ensure that your vision is maximally protected from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. 

UV Light and Sunglasses

The protective efficacy of your sunglasses comes in large part from the lens coating of dyes and pigments that reflect and absorb ultraviolet radiation. They create a barrier that prevents UV radiation from penetrating your eyes.

However, this protective coating can, and often does, break down over time. Wear and tear can cause an invisible web of tiny abrasions, compromising its UV-blocking power. Furthermore, the protective dyes and pigments aren’t able to absorb UV rays indefinitely; the more sunlight they’re exposed to, the more rapidly they’ll become ineffective. 

A pair of shades worn on occasion and in mild conditions is likely to remain effective longer than a pair that is heavily used in a more intensely sunny environment. For example, if you spend long days on the water paddling, kayaking, or canoeing, the protective coating on your lenses will deteriorate more quickly than it would if you only wear your shades to go grocery shopping or sit in a cafe. 

Why It’s Important to Protect Your Eyes From UV

Protecting your eyes from the sun is critical no matter where in the world you are, as UV exposure places you at risk for developing eye diseases like eye cancer, pterygium, and pinguecula — which can result in disfigurement and discomfort — as well as cataracts and macular degeneration — which cause vision loss and, in severe cases, blindness.

Even short-term overexposure can result in photokeratitis, a corneal sunburn. Symptoms include eye pain, swelling, light sensitivity, and temporary vision loss. Some people experience it when spending too much time boating or skiing without wearing eye protection. Snow and water can increase solar exposure because they reflect sunlight toward your face.  

What to Look for When Getting New Sunglasses

When choosing new sunglasses, make sure they’re labeled 100% UV protection or UV400. Although most pairs sold in the United States and Canada offer this degree of protection, it’s still worth confirming before making the purchase. Keep in mind that factors like cost, polarization, lens color, or darkness don’t have much to do with the level of UV protection. Even clear prescription lenses can be UV protective. 

It’s important to note that there is a lot of counterfeit sunwear in the marketplace. This is dangerous since counterfeit eyewear may not provide much-needed ultraviolet protection. So if the price of a renowned brand is too good to be true, it’s probably a fake. 

The size and fit of the sunglasses is important. Bigger is definitely better if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Larger wrap-around eyewear is best if you regularly ski or spend many hours in the water, as this style blocks light from all directions. 

To find out whether it’s still safe to wear your favorite shades, visit a Acworth eye doctor to determine whether your lenses still offer the right level of UV protection. It’s also a good opportunity to discuss prescription sunwear. 

For more information about UV safety, or to get the perfect sunglasses tailored to your vision needs and lifestyle, contact Acworth Family Eyecare in Acworth today!  

 

References 

https://biomedical-engineering-online.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12938-016-0209-7

 

How Can I Putt Like Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus?

man playing golfGolf is a very visual sport, so if your visual skills are subpar, it will hurt your golf game. Sports vision training — individually prescribed exercises that develop specific visual skills and processing in athletes — can improve your game. Such training can be done off the course to hone putting, which is one of the most demanding strokes.

Putting, hitting a golf ball with a light stroke, requires intense concentration, calm under pressure, and a superb ability to read the greens: to understand how the closely-cropped grass near the hole will accelerate or slow, divert or escort a softly struck golf ball. Putting also demands knowing how far the ball must travel and precisely where on the club the ball should be tapped (the “sweet spot”).

Unfortunately, even golfers with 20/20 vision won’t succeed if their eyes don’t work in unison, or if they have poor eye-hand-body coordination. That’s where sports vision training comes into play.

Becoming a Tiger Woods or Jack Nicklaus is a tall order, but whether you’re a professional or an amateur golfer, sports vision training can make you a better golfer.

Improve Putting By Training Your Visual Skills

First and foremost, Dr. Dylan Reach of Acworth Family Eyecare will test your visual skills using a functional eye exam. This will include evaluating your hand-eye coordination, eye tracking, eye teaming (how the eyes work together), peripheral vision and ability to discern contrasts between colors. Dr. Dylan Reach will then prescribe a tailored program for your needs that will include in-office and at-home exercises in order to strengthen each skill.

How Can Sports Vision Training Improve Your Putting?

Customized sports vision training can help golfers:

  • Analyze the ball’s location in relation to the hole
  • Position the club so that its sweet spot lines up with the ball
  • Conceive a strategy for hitting the ball to account for the distance, the greens, even the wind
  • Convert that strategy into action with the club that delivers the ball into the hole

On a practical level, once golfers line up on the green to putt, they engage in a prolonged routine that’s almost never seen elsewhere on the course. Because they need to keep focusing on a close-by object and then shift their focus to the targeted destination, they repeatedly look back and forth between the ball at their feet and the hole.

This is known as focus flexibility, a technique that can be practiced at home by focusing on the floor tile near your toe, then on a dog-food dish (or other objects) located 15 feet away, then back on the tile, and so on. To practice depth perception, move from spot to spot and estimate each distance from the closest tile to the dog-food dish. To improve peripheral vision, focus on the tile while simultaneously attempting (and without changing the position of your head) to see the dog-food dish.

Visual Skills + Imagining Great Outcomes = Visualization

Sports vision training also involves a technique known as visualization, which is applicable to sports and to all areas of life. It involves closing your eyes and envisioning yourself taking each step necessary to execute a perfect putt. When you line up a putt in real life, those images will come to mind, ready to be applied step by step to attain success: sinking the putt.

 

Dr. Dylan Reach will develop a customized sports vision training plan to improve your putting and overall golf performance. Acworth Family Eyecare assists people just like you, from Acworth, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Cartersville and throughout Georgia.

References

 

Scleral Lenses Can Prevent Dry Eye, Tiredness, and Discomfort

protect your eyes 640x350It’s not uncommon for certain contact lens wearers to suffer from eyes that feel dry, red, itchy, uncomfortable, and at times very painful. Eye drops and artificial tears can deliver relief, but they are no more than a temporary solution.

One of the best contact lenses for optimal comfort and hydration are scleral lenses, as they simultaneously provide vision correction, protect the eyes, and lubricate them.

What are Scleral Lenses?

These rigid gas permeable lenses have an extra-wide diameter that vaults over your whole cornea. In contrast to other contact lenses, they rest on the white part of your eyes (sclera) and not the cornea. As a result, scleral lenses consistently rank at the top of the charts when it comes to providing sharp visual acuity, comfort, and healthy eyes.

Common Contact Lens Complaints

Below we’ll explore the most common contact lens complaints we hear at our practice and ways scleral lenses can prevent them.

End-of-day tiredness and dry eyes

After just 6 to 8 hours of contact lens wear during the day, many contact lens wearers experience tired and dry eyes. Though standard hydrogel contact lenses allow a high concentration of oxygen to permeate the eye, some people need an alternative.

End-of-day eye discomfort can be resolved with scleral lenses, as these custom-designed lenses have a liquid reservoir between the lens and the cornea that provides a continuous moist environment that soothes tired, dry eyes.

Not only does this cushion of moisture lead to a comfortable wearing experience; it also promotes healthy eyes throughout the day, allowing you to wear these lenses for 12 to 14 hours! It is for this reason that many of our patients turn to scleral lenses for unparalleled comfort and all-day ocular hydration.

Chronic dry eye syndrome

Certain dry eye patients may experience painful, red, and swollen eyes. For them, traditional soft contact lenses can be unbearable because they sit right on the irritated cornea. Moreover, these contact lenses tend to act as sponges, soaking up the moisture from the surface of the eye.

If you struggle with dry eye syndrome and have been looking for a more effective treatment method beyond eyedrops and artificial tears, ask your Acworth Family Eyecare doctor about scleral lenses.

Feeling the contact lens in the eye

Feeling your contact lenses in your eyes often indicates a poor fitting. Everyone’s eyes are different and when it comes to contact lenses, no size fits all. Furthermore, if lenses are insufficiently curved, they can be dislodged with every blink. This isn’t just uncomfortable — the wrong size lens can damage your cornea.

Because scleral lenses have a large diameter and are custom-made to your eye shape and size, it is almost impossible for scleral lenses to dislodge during normal wear. And since these lenses do not make contact with the surface of your cornea, there is a decreased risk of corneal abrasions.

Operating in dusty environments

Dry, dusty or dirty conditions can cause contact lenses to not only dry out, but can also lead irritants to attach themselves to the lenses. Scleral lenses offer comfort, even in dusty or dirty environments. This is because the lenses cover a large area of the eye, and since the outer layer of the lens protects the eye surface, dust and tiny particles can’t reach it. While not a complete barrier, scleral lenses can provide you with more relief and all-day comfort than traditional lenses.

If you’ve tried traditional contact lenses and have experienced any of the above, or if you’re simply seeking a more comfortable alternative to wear all day, it’s worth considering scleral lenses.

Contact a knowledgeable and experienced eye care professional, Dr. Brie Hevesy, who will patiently assess and explain your condition to you. Dr. Brie Hevesy will perform a specialized scleral lens custom-fitting to ensure that you receive the best fit for optimal visual clarity and comfort.

Call the Acworth Family Eyecare today to schedule your consultation. We help patients from the Acworth, Woodstock, Kennesaw, and Cartersville, in the Georgia area enjoy great vision and comfort with scleral lenses.

 

6 Signs You May Need Glasses

Many people don’t realize they have a vision problem. Perhaps they’ve gone years without glasses and haven’t noticed the gradual change in their vision. Or they’ve noticed a change, but put off a visit to an eye doctor. Regardless of whether you’re experiencing problems, make an appointment with Dr. Dylan Reach to maintain your eye health. 

 

There are many clues that your eyesight needs correcting, such as struggling to read up close, or having trouble seeing street signs, or barely deciphering faces while watching a film. If you’re still not sure you need glasses, consider these 6 questions. 

 

Are You Frequently Squinting and/or Experiencing Headaches? 

 

Unless it’s unusually bright, there’s no reason to be squinting if your vision is clear. Although squinting may briefly enhance your eyes’ ability to focus, if done for too long it can tax your  eyes and surrounding muscles, which can result in frequent headaches. 

 

If you have to squint while working on your computer or using digital devices, you may be experiencing not only headaches but also digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome. The cure is often a pair of computer glasses, or blue light glasses, which are designed to block out or filter blue light. This can reduce headaches and squinting when using your digital devices. 

 

Are You Struggling to See Up Close? 

 

If the texts on your phone or restaurant menu look blurry, you may be farsighted. While reading glasses are a great option for near tasks, you’ll need to take them off for other activities.  Consider getting progressive lenses, which change gradually from point to point on the lens, providing the exact lens power needed for seeing objects clearly at any distance. Progressive lenses help you comfortably see near, far, and in-between all day long. 

 

Do You Struggle to See Things at a Distance?  

 

If you’re having difficulty seeing objects at a distance, you may be myopic (nearsighted).  Myopia is the most common cause of impaired vision in children and young adults. Consider a pair of glasses with high-index lenses, which are thinner and lighter than other lenses, along with anti-reflective coating. 

 

Do You Have Blurred Vision at Night?  

 

Are objects or signs more blurry at night? Do you experience halos or glare around lights while driving at night? These may be symptoms of a vision issue, such as myopia — though they can also be attributed to more serious ocular conditions, such as cataracts and glaucoma. To know the cause, get your eyes properly evaluated by Dr. Dylan Reach. 

 

If determined that it is indeed myopia, consider getting prescription glasses with anti-glare or anti-reflective (AR) coating, as they allow more light in and also cut down on glare. This can dramatically improve night vision and help you see more clearly when driving at night. 

 

Are You Experiencing Double Vision?

 

If you’ve been experiencing double vision, contact Dr. Dylan Reach, who will get to the root of the problem and provide you with a diagnosis. Double vision may be due to crossed eyes (strabismus), or a corneal irregularity, such as keratoconus, or another medical condition.

 

If you are diagnosed with any of these, you’ll likely need a pair of glasses with a prism correction that helps correct alignment issues. Special lenses prevent you from seeing double by combining two images into a single one.

 

However, note that if you experience sudden double vision, it may be a medical emergency that should be checked by an eye doctor immediately.

 

Are You Losing Your Place or Using Your Finger When Reading? 

 

If you’re frequently losing your spot or skipping lines when reading, you may have a vision problem. This could be due to strabismus, lazy eye, or astigmatism. 

 

The Importance of Regular Eye Exams

 

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, it is essential to have a highly qualified optometrist examine your eyes to assess your vision and check for any eye diseases — and to do so as soon as possible. This is the only way to determine whether you need glasses or if something else is causing the problem. 

 

Even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms, it’s important to routinely get your eyes checked. Many eye diseases can be effectively treated before you notice major problems, so regular eye exams are important to maintain eye health. Contact Acworth Family Eyecare in Acworth to make an appointment with Dr. Dylan Reach. The sooner you get your vision checked, the faster you’ll be able to see clearly and enjoy a higher quality of life. 

Managing Dry Eye Symptoms While Enjoying the Outdoors

couple on a field of flowers 640As the weather gets warmer and Covid-19 restrictions gradually ease, many people want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. But for those with chronic dry eye syndrome, uncomfortable symptoms may deter them from enjoying Mother Nature. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Grittiness
  • Watery eyes
  • Irritated or burning eyes
  • Blurred vision

While the only sure way to diagnose and treat your eye condition is having an eye exam with Dr. Dylan Reach, Dr. Brie Hevesy and Dr. Emily LaSalle, the following tips may offer some relief until your next appointment — especially while you’re spending time in the open air.

Always Bring Along a Water Bottle

A dehydrated body can mean dehydrated eyes. Drinking plenty of water can help your eyes produce the healthy amount of tears needed to maintain lubrication. Even if you are spending time in a humid environment, be sure to drink water or other hydrating fluids. Try to avoid alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks, as they can be dehydrating and exacerbate dry eye symptoms.

Pack Some Lubricating Eye Drops

One of the main causes of dry eye syndrome is insufficient or poor quality tears. Lubricating eye drops, also known as artificial tears, can compensate for the lack of tears and offer temporary relief. The drops’ tiny containers make them travel-friendly and perfect for almost any outdoor activity. There are many kinds of eye drops on the market, but Dr. Dylan Reach, Dr. Brie Hevesy and Dr. Emily LaSalle can recommend or prescribe the most suitable type for your eyes.

Wear Protective Eyewear

Exposure to the elements can leave your eyes feeling dry and uncomfortable. Wearing protective eyewear, such as sports goggles or wrap-around sunglasses, can protect your eyes from harsh winds, debris in the air, and sunlight. Even a light breeze can strip the eyes of their protective tear film and accelerate the rate of evaporation.

Visit Your Dry Eye Optometrist

While the above recommendations can provide temporary relief, a dry eye evaluation with Dr. Dylan Reach, Dr. Brie Hevesy and Dr. Emily LaSalle can help identify and treat the underlying cause of your symptoms. Dr. Dylan Reach, Dr. Brie Hevesy and Dr. Emily LaSalle will recommend the latest and most effective dry eye treatments for long-lasting relief and optimal comfort. If you or a loved one is suffering from dry eye syndrome, call Acworth Family Eyecare to schedule your consultation today.

Acworth Family Eyecare serves patients from Acworth, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Cartersville, and throughout Georgia.

Ever Wonder What Causes Eye Twitching?

Dry Eye Africam American Man 640×350Many of us have experienced an involuntary eyelid spasm but didn’t give it much thought. These eyelid spasms, or twitches, are a repetitive and involuntary spasm of the muscles in the eyelids. The twitch most frequently occurs in the upper eyelid, but can occasionally occur in both upper and lower eyelids.

The twitch sensation is generally painless and harmless. It can be caused by several factors and rarely indicates a more serious underlying condition. One condition, however, that can contribute to eyelid twitching is dry eye syndrome (DES). Below, we’ll briefly explain DES and how it can trigger eyelid twitching.

What Is DES?

Dry eye syndrome is characterized by the chronic lack of sufficient ocular lubrication and can be caused by allergies, irritants, and insufficient or poor quality tears. Some symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Grittiness
  • Stinging or burning sensation

If you suspect you have DES or experience any of the above symptoms, speak with Dr. Dylan Reach, Dr. Brie Hevesy and Dr. Emily LaSalle about finding relief and regaining the quality of life you seek.

How Is Eyelid Twitching Related To DES?

When the eyes lack lubrication, the nervous system compensates by increasing the eyes’ blink rate to try and refresh the tear film. If the brain sends too many signals to increase the blink rate, the eyelid’s muscles may begin to twitch due to the overload of signals fired from the brain. Eventually, as the eyelid muscles become more fatigued from the excess blinking, twitching becomes more noticeable and irritating.

What Can Be Done To Ease Symptoms?

Eyelid twitching can be bothersome and can even interfere with performing daily tasks. Though twitching episodes usually subside after a minute or two, there are some steps you can take to shorten their duration or eliminate them altogether.

Try using lubricating eye drops to bring some moisture back to your eyes, thus reducing the signals sent to the nervous system to increase the blink rate. Dr. Dylan Reach, Dr. Brie Hevesy and Dr. Emily LaSalle can recommend which over-the-counter drops best suit your eyes’ needs, or prescribe more potent eye drops.

Try gently massaging your closed upper eyelids to suppress the twitching when it occurs. The light pressure can help relax the surrounding muscles. You can also apply a warm eye compress when the lid is twitching or whenever your eyes feel irritated.

Additionally, if you experience twitching or cramping in other muscles, such as in your legs, taking some magnesium may help reduce the frequency of the spasms.

How We Can Help

Mild eyelid spasms and twitches are generally not something to be concerned about, unless they are prolonged, frequent, or distract you from your normal routine. At Acworth Family Eyecare, we aim to provide you with relief from any dry eye symptoms using the latest treatments available. If you or a loved one suffer from eye twitches or any other DES symptoms, let us help you manage your ocular condition for a lifetime of clear and comfortable vision.

Acworth Family Eyecare provides dry eye relief and other services to patients from Acworth, Woodstock, Kennesaw, Cartersville, and Georgia.

 

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