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Tips to Relax Your Eyes

Do your eyes hurt after spending a significant amount of time reading, playing video games, driving, or staring at a screen? These visually intense activities can sometimes be hard on the eyes, causing uncomfortable symptoms like headaches and blurry vision. Other symptoms of eye strain can include light sensitivity, neck and shoulder pain, trouble concentrating, and burning or itchy eyes.

Fortunately, preventing painful computer vision syndrome and eye fatigue symptoms can be as simple as trying a few of these eye exercises. To learn more about digital eye strain and discover the best relief options for you, call Healthy Eye Center Family Optometry at 714-962-6400 and schedule an eye exam with Dr. Tran.

Relax Your Eyes with These Supportive Techniques

Many of these exercises are designed for computer users. Eye strain resulting from long drives, reading, or other activities, can be alleviated by modifying some of these recommendations.

The Clock Exercise

The clock exercise relieves strain on overworked eye muscles and can help you avoid headaches and eye pain, among other symptoms. Begin the exercise by imagining a large analog clock a few feet in front of you. Keep your head still and move your eyes to the imaginary 9, then to the imaginary 3.

Keep moving your eyes to the opposite pairs on the clock — 10/4, 11/5, 12/6, and so on. Hold your gaze for a second or two on each number before moving on to the next one. Continue doing this for 4-5 minutes.

The 20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 rule helps you avoid dry eyes and eye strain by giving your eyes frequent breaks. After about 20 minutes of screen time or doing close-up work, focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives the eyes a much needed rest and helps them relax. There are also free apps available that provide pop-up reminders that notify you when it’s time to shift your gaze.

Screen Ergonomics

The American Optometric Association recommends placing computer monitors 20 to 28 inches, or 50-70 cm, away from your eyes and the top of the computer should be at eye level or right below for optimum eye comfort. Glare filters can reduce the amount of glare produced by digital devices and improve your viewing experience.

Poor sitting posture can also contribute to eye strain. Your chair should be situated so that your feet are flat on the floor, or use an angled footrest for additional comfort.

Optimize your Eyewear

Since regular prescription lenses or glasses may not adequately meet your visual needs for lengthy computer use, you may benefit from wearing computer glasses. These prescription glasses are customized to your needs and also reduce glare and block blue light.

 

You don’t have to live with the discomforts of eye strain. If symptoms persist, it may be time to visit Healthy Eye Center Family Optometry and get the relief you seek. Call our office to schedule a convenient eye doctor’s appointment.

 

Glaucoma Q&A with Dr. Tran

QA Glaucoma2We were fortunate enough to catch Dr. Tran and asked him some questions about Glaucoma- here is what he had to say.

Q. What is glaucoma?
A. It is a disease of the optic nerve which, when progressing, will slowly stop transmitting images in the eyes to the brain. Usually the disease affects the peripheral vision first and then the central vision. Eventually, if untreated, blindness will result.

Q. What causes glaucoma?
A. It is believed that a poor perfusion of the optic nerve (poor blood circulation) causes the optic nerve fibers to die prematurely. It is also found that in many cases of glaucoma, there is an increase in the eye pressure due to the imbalance of production and the removal of the fluid (aqueous humor) inside the eyeballs.

Q. Who gets glaucoma?
A. There are several risks factors for Glaucoma: – your age (above 50), – your genetics (being of Irish, African-American, Japanese, Russian or Scandinavian descent), – having a history of eye trauma, – poor vision, – diabetes, – use of steroids.

Q. Will I go blind from glaucoma?
A. Since it is a progressive nerve atrophy disease, untreated glaucoma will eventually lead to loss of peripheral then central vision. The disease is irreversible, so it is important to detect and treat it early.

Q. How can I tell if I have glaucoma?
A. The patient cannot tell because the condition has no sign and no symptom. Only the eye doctor can detect and treat it. By the time the patient is aware of the loss of vision, the condition has already reached the advanced stage.

Q. How is glaucoma detected?
A. The methods include measurement of eye pressure, inspection of the health of the optic nerves and test of the integrity of the visual field. Often it may take several visits and many months to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

Q. How is glaucoma treated?
A. With one or a combination of the following methods: prescription eye drops, oral medications, laser surgery, or a more traditional operation.

Q. Can glaucoma be prevented?
A. Since glaucoma is an optic nerve atrophy, maintaining good blood flow in the eye helps in the prevention of Glaucoma; getting regular exercise, having a healthy diet and stop smoking. Also, protecting the eyes from injuries or infection, will reduce the risk of glaucoma. And most importantly, regular eye exams with your eye doctor are necessary in the early detection of effective treatment of glaucoma.

For more information about Glaucoma, please click here.

Questions about Dry Eyes with Dr. Tran

Questions on DRY EYES

Q: Is it true that Dry Eye symptoms seem to be more severe in the winter than in the warmer spring and summer months?

A: Dry eye symptoms are worst in the winter because outdoors cold winds irritate the eyes, and indoors heaters blow dry heat to the eyes. The symptoms are worse if the person already has a current chronic dry eye condition such as poor tear quality, tear production insufficiency, eyelid diseases, or wear eye accessories (contact lenses, eye makeup,…).

Q: When should a person come in to see their optometrist for Dry Eye symptoms?

A: If the symptoms last for more than a day or two, interfere with your activities, cause blurry vision, or are accompanied by other signs or symptoms such as redness, pain, mucous discharge, burning sensation, or increased light sensitivity.

Q: What is the examination like to determine whether someone is suffering from Dry Eyes?

A: The doctor will determine the quality and the amount of tears produced, diagnose the diseases that cause dry eyes such as arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome,…, and identify the physical causes of dry eyes (dry working environment, extended contact lens wear,.,,).

Q: I have a friend whose eyes are frequently overly watery. That isn't Dry Eye, is it?

A: Watery eyes condition has many causes, among which is dry eyes. This may sound like a contradiction, but because of the tear reflex, dry eyes force more tears to be produced to protect the cornea. So, by treating the cause of the dry eyes, the eyes will stop watering.

Q: Are some people more prone to having Dry Eyes than others?

A: Besides environment and life style (dry environment, extended contact lens wear,…), the following conditions may cause dry eyes: skin or eyelid disease (rosacea,…) inflammation of the eyelid (blepharitis,…), infection (conjunctivitis,…), medical condition (Sjogren’s syndrome, arthritis,…).

DryEyeTreatmentQ: What are the typical treatments used to help people suffering from Dry Eyes?

A: The use of artificial tears during waking hours and/or lubricating gels before sleep should alleviate most dry eye conditions. Warm compresses, which are a gentle “massage” of the eyelids with a warm wet towel, will keep the eyelashes clean and healthy, thus giving more comfort to the cornea. Taking omega-3 fatty acid supplement may increase tear quality and tear production. If the symptoms of dry eyes persist, one should consult an eye doctor.

Our Office, Healthy Eye Center Family Optometry, provides comprehensive eye exams where we diagnose and treat Dry Eye condition.

Mental Health and Your Vision

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the USA; in Canada, Mental Health week is May 6th to 12th. Since 1949, it has been observed throughout the United States as a way of drawing attention to the importance of proper mental health. This year’s theme is #4Mind4Body. The idea is that using elements around us, such as the people in our lives, faith, nature, and even pets, can strengthen wellness and overall mental health.

Did you know that your vision can affect your mental health? While things like stress, trauma, and family history are factors that impact mental health, vision can also impact it.

How Does Vision Affect Mental Health?

Certain types of eye diseases and visual impairments can lead to emotional problems like anxiety and depression. This is particularly common in cases of severe vision loss. Patients with glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy, for example, can experience mild to acute vision loss. This can make everyday activities like driving, running errands, watching TV, using a computer, or cooking, a difficult and painful experience. When this happens, it can cause a loss of independence, potentially leaving the person mentally and emotionally devastated.

Like most surgical procedures, LASIK corrective surgery is permanent and irreversible. Although it has very high success rates, LASIK has been considered the cause of depression and mental health issues in a few instances.

Kids’ Vision and Mental Health

Increased screen time among school-age children and teens has been shown to reduce emotional stability and cause repeated distractions and difficulty completing tasks, while also increasing the likelihood of developing nearsightedness.

Kids with visual problems often experience difficulty in school. If they can’t see the board clearly or constantly struggle with homework due to poor vision, they may act out their frustration or have trouble getting along with their peers.

Coping with Vision Problems One of the most important ways to cope with visual problems is awareness. Simply paying attention to the signs and symptoms — whether the patient is an adult or a child — is a crucial first step.

Family members, close friends, colleagues, parents, and teachers can all play an important role in detecting emotional suffering in those with visual difficulties. Pay attention to signs of changes in behavior, such as a loss of appetite, persistent exhaustion, or decreased interest in favorite activities.

Thankfully, many common vision problems are treatable. Things like double vision, hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), amblyopia (lazy eye), and post-concussion vision difficulties can be managed. Vision correction devices, therapeutic lenses, visual exercises, or special prism glasses may help provide the visual clarity you need. Your primary eye doctor can help and a vision therapist or low vision expert may make a significant impact on your quality of life.

How You Can Help

There are some things you can do on your own to raise awareness about good mental health:

Speak Up Often

Just talking about mental health struggles can be incredibly empowering. Ask for help from family and friends or find a local support group. Be open and honest about what you’re going through and talk with others who are going through the same thing. Remember: you’re not alone.

If you experience any type of sudden changes to your vision — even if it’s temporary — talk to your eye doctor. A delay in treatment may have more serious consequences, so speak up and don’t wait.

Get Social

Developing healthy personal relationships improves mental health. People with strong social connections are less likely to experience severe depression and may even live longer. Go out with friends, join a club, or consider volunteering.

Have an Animal

Having a pet has been shown to boost mental health and help combat feelings of loneliness. Guide dogs can be especially beneficial for people suffering from vision loss. Use Visual Aids If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health issues caused by vision loss, visual aids can help. Devices like magnifiers or telescopic lenses can enlarge text, images, and objects, so you can see them more clearly and in greater detail.

Kids can benefit from vision correction like glasses, contacts, or specialized lenses for more severe cases of refractive errors. Vision therapy may be an option, too. It is a customized program of exercises that can improve and strengthen visual functions.

Always talk to your eye doctor about any concerns, questions, or struggles.

Thanks to programs like Mental Health Awareness Month, there is less of a stigma around mental health than just a few decades ago. Advancements in medical technologies and scientific research have led to innovative solutions for better vision care.

During this Mental Health Awareness Month, share your share your struggles, stories, and successes with others. Use the hashtag #Mind4Body and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.

Call Healthy Eye Center Family Optometry on 714-962-6400 to schedule an eye exam with our Huntington Beach optometrist.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Huntington Beach eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

Read what our patients have to say on Google Reviews

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Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

3 Eye Exercises To Relieve Eye Strain

10 Steps to Prevent Vision Loss

Coronavirus and Your Eyes – What You Should Know

Is Too Much Screen Time Dangerous For Your Kids?

Parkinson’s Awareness Month and Your Vision

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month in the USA and Canada, a time when those living with the disorder, their family members, friends, and community come together to raise awareness and share helpful information. People with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and their loved ones are encouraged to share their stories, struggles, and successes in order to educate and support others.

The Parkinson’s Foundation has announced this year’s theme: #KeyToPD and Parkinson Canada advocates the same involvement. What is the key to living a high quality of life while living with Parkinson’s? Patients, doctors, caregivers, and families are encouraged to use this hashtag on social media to give of their knowledge and experience.

In order to successfully manage the disorder, it’s essential to understand the disease, symptoms, and treatments. After all, knowledge is power.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control physical movement. It typically affects middle aged people and the elderly. Parkinson’s causes a decrease in the brain’s natural levels of dopamine, which normally aids nerve cells in passing messages within the brain. According to The Parkinson’s Foundation and Statistics Canada, the disorder affects an estimated 1 million people in the United States, 55 000 Canadians, and 10 million globally.

What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?

Although much research has been done on the subject, the exact cause of the disease isn’t really known. What doctors and scientists do know is that certain nerve cells located in the brain somehow break down. This damage interferes with both motor and non-motor functions.

How Does Parkinson’s Affect Vision?

Parkinson’s can have a significant impact on vision and ocular health. Patients with PD often find themselves unable to control blinking. Blinking is good for the eyes as it moisturizes the surface and clears it from foreign substances. Less blinking can cause Dry Eye Syndrome, resulting in itchy, red, or gritty-feeling eyes. Other people blink too much or can’t keep their eyes open.

In more serious cases, Parkinson’s affects the nerves that help us see. Someone with PD may experience blurry vision, double vision, difficulty seeing color and contrast, problems with focus, and other visual symptoms.

In addition to the inherent impact of the disease, some of the medications used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms have known side effects including dry eyes, blurred eyesight and even hallucinations in advanced PD.

Common Visual Symptoms of Parkinson’s

Although the most recognized physical symptom is uncontrollable tremors, patients can experience other symptoms that affect their vision. These typically include:

  • Apraxia (inability to open the eyelids)
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye twitching
  • Focusing problems

Parkinson’s Patients and Eye Exams

Eye exams can be particularly challenging for a PD patient, so choosing the right doctor is essential. Make sure your eye doctor regularly treats patients with PD. They’ll understand your or your loved ones’ unique needs and will take the time needed.

Common Non-Visual Symptoms of Parkinson’s

PD affects other areas of the body that may or may not – depending on each patient – be related to their eye health and visual needs.

Some of the most common non-visual symptoms are:

  • Depression
  • Excessive saliva
  • Loss of smell
  • Moodiness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Slow movement (bradykinesia)
  • Stiff limbs
  • Tremors

Coping With Vision Problems From Parkinson’s

Despite the struggles caused by this degenerative disease, there is hope. Talk to your eye doctor. He or she may recommend medicated ointments or drops, injections, therapeutic lenses, visual aids, vision therapy, or a combination thereof. Additionally, a Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation doctor can provide comprehensive eye care specifically designed for neurological disorders like PD.

Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

There is currently no cure for the disease itself, but there are options to treat the symptoms of PD. A combination of medications, physical and/or occupational therapy, support groups, and of course, top-quality vision care can give a PD patient relief for some of their symptoms and tools to help cope with the condition.

Research and clinical trials are continuing as doctors and others in the medical community work towards the goal of finding a cure for PD.

No two patients are alike, and each can experience PD differently from the other, so finding what works for you or your loved one is key. During this Parkinson’s Awareness Month, share your #KeyToPD and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.

Call Healthy Eye Center Family Optometry on 714-962-6400 to schedule an eye exam with our Huntington Beach optometrist.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Huntington Beach eye doctor has prepared the following information about eye care.

Local Parkinson’s Eye Care, Eye Exam in Huntington Beach, California

Read what our patients have to say on Google Reviews


Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

Why do I need a Routine Eye Exam?

Gift The Gift Of Sight Month

What Will Optometry Practices Look Like Post-COVID?

Halloween Eye Safety

Top 5 Tips for Managing Eye Allergies This Spring

Spring is a season of new beginnings, when the cold harsh winter months are behind us, flowers bloom, and people begin spending more time outdoors.

For people with allergies, spring means one more thing: suffering. Spring may be in the air, but for allergy sufferers, so is pollen, pet dander, mold, and dust. These airborne allergens can trigger uncomfortable reactions such as watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, congestion, and sinus pain.

There are some things you can do to minimize the discomfort throughout the spring season.

Check out Our Top 5 Tips for Getting Through Eye Allergy Season:

  1. Pollen tends to have a higher count in the mornings and early evenings. During these times, stay inside and keep windows closed. If you enjoy an early morning exercise run, consider an alternative indoor workout during peak allergy season.
  2. Take a shower before going to sleep. Doing this at night can rinse away any lingering allergens and leave you with a clearer eye and nasal area, as well as a more restful night’s sleep.
  3. Keep artificial tears close by. They can temporarily alleviate ocular allergy symptoms by lubricating your eyes when they feel dry and itchy, and they’re usually small enough to fit inside a purse or pocket. If you don’t have any good eye drops, use a cool compress as an alternative method of relief.
  4. If your allergies are caused by dust or pet dander, vacuum. A lot. Dust collects quickly and can be difficult to spot until there’s a high amount of it. Pets can shed fast and often, and just when you think you’ve removed all the fur from your sofa, carpet, or bed, you suddenly find more, so vacuum a few times each week.
  5. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and change your linens more often during the spring season. Remnants of airborne allergens can stay on your hands, towels, and bed sheets. Washing them more frequently can minimize some of your allergic reactions.

Though it may be tempting, don’t rub your eyes. This can actually aggravate the allergy response. If you find yourself using artificial tears more than 4 times a day, or other short-term solutions aren’t enough, speak with your eye doctor. You may be able to receive antihistamine eye drops or other prescription medications to ease your discomfort.

Healthy Eye Center Optometry Eye Clinic and Eye Allergies, Eye Care, Eye Doctor in Huntington Beach, California

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Huntington Beach eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease. When It’s More Than Allergies Certain eye allergy symptoms can also be signs of eye conditions or diseases, so pay close attention to any reactions that don’t dissipate after allergy season ends.

These Eye Symptoms can include:

  • Dryness
  • Excessive tearing
  • Itchiness
  • Persistent eye pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

These Symptoms Can Indicate Eye conditions, Such As:

  • Blepharitis (inflamed eyelids)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Corneal
  • Abrasions
  • Dry Eye Disease
  • Styes (an oil gland infection that causes a bump or pimple-like shape in the eyelid)

Eye Allergies and Contact Lenses If you wear contact lenses, speak to your doctor about daily disposable contacts. These can be a great option for allergy sufferers. Since dailies are thrown away at the end of the day, there’s no heavy allergen buildup on the lenses to worry about.

Consider switching to eyeglasses for a while. Even the most comfortable soft lenses can feel irritable during allergy season. Use the springtime to get yourself a new look. With a wide range of incredible styles to choose from, including exclusive eyewear collections from today’s hottest designers, there’s something for everyone. Not sure what the choose? Talk to your optician to help you find a style that’s right for you. An Ocular Allergy Optometrist Near You We’re here for you, and we want to help. Contact your eye doctor for any specific questions or concerns about your eye allergies. Call Healthy Eye Center Optometry on 7149626400 at 8907 Warner Ave, Ste 125, Huntington Beach, CA to schedule an eye exam with our optometrist.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

FOLLOW US


Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

Why You Shouldn’t Visit the ER for Eye Emergencies During COVID-19

What Women Need to Know About Eye Health

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Are You Missing Your Child’s Hidden Vision Problem?

Local Eye Allergies, Eye Care, Eye Doctor in Huntington Beach, California

Why do I need a Routine Eye Exam?

Here are common some questions that patients ask Dr. Johan Tran, Ph.D., O.D.

Patient: “I see fine without glasses. Why do I need a routine eye exam?”

Eye Exam

Dr. Johan Tran: “Clear vision alone does not mean that your eyes are perfectly healthy. Here are the possible reasons why you need a regular eye exam:

  1. Your vision may still be not good enough for many activities such as driving, certain jobs and a number of sports (as many people surprisingly find out when they take the vision test for driving, jobs, etc…). In the office, the eye doctor will determine what your optimal vision would be and will recommend different ways to maintain your eye health and improve your vision.
  1. If you have unequal vision, the “better” eye does most of the focusing while the other less active eye may gradually lose its function over time. This is critical, especially for pre-teens and teens whose vision is still in the development stage. Children usually are not aware of this low vision condition (amblyopia, or “lazy” eye). They do not complain about their unequal vision, thus their poor vision is not noticed and will not be treated.
  1. There are many eye diseases (such as glaucoma, eye cancer, diabetic or hypertensive retinopathy…) which show no symptoms but will eventually cause serious irreversible damage to your vision if they are not detected early and acted upon promptly. Also, if all members of your family and extended family have regular eye exams, the eye doctor will have a better history of any genetic eye disease in your family.
  1. Researchers have established that more than 80% of learning are through the visual system. Any deficiency in vision has a negative impact on learning and performance. A child’s critical eye development period is between 6 – 12 yrs old. Please make sure that children start their routine eye exams early in their life to maximize their learning efficiency.

Patient: ”How frequently should I have my eyes checked?”

Photo2Dr. Johan Tran: “The eye doctor will determine how frequent one’s routine eye exam should be. The frequency depends on the person’s age, current general health, family eye history and life style. For example, a child or an elderly person may misplace, mishandle their glasses or neglect to wear protective sunglasses outdoors, therefore needs more frequent eye exams; a diabetic patient needs more frequent eye care because uncontrolled sugar level causes the eyes to swell and bleed; a person with a family history of glaucoma or cancer has a higher risk of having these diseases; and a smoker has a very high risk of macular degeneration.

In summary, even though you have no apparent vision problem or experience no vision change, a routine eye exam is always recommended to ensure healthy eyes and continued good vision.”

Johan Tran, Ph.D., O.D.

To learn more about what is involved in an annual eye exam, click here.

What You Need to Know About Glaucoma – The Sneak Thief of Sight

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma, a silent eye disease, is the most common form of irreversible blindness in the world. It is actually a group of diseases that causes progressive damage to the optic nerve.

  • Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that can lead to permanent vision loss if not controlled.
  • There is currently no cure for glaucoma, but there are many treatments available for stopping and slowing the progressive damage to the eye. Treatment, however, can’t reverse damage that is already done.
  • Glaucoma affects the optic nerve which sends visual information from your eye to your brain.
  • Glaucoma is called the “Sneak Thief of Sight” because there are often no symptoms in the early stages such as pain or “pressure sensation” as one may expect, and by the time it is diagnosed there may already be permanent vision loss.
  • When vision loss occurs, peripheral vision is typically affected before central vision. As a result, glaucoma is a major public health issue because individuals usually do not notice any problem with vision until end stages of the disease when there is severe and irreversible vision loss.
  • Awareness and regular eye exams are key to early detection and preventing vision loss.

What Causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is caused by a buildup of natural fluid that doesn’t drain properly from the eye. The buildup of fluid can result in high pressure in the eye which is the most common cause of the condition. There are many types of glaucoma, which include:

Chronic (open angle) glaucoma occurs when pressure builds up over time, usually as a result of aging. This is the most common type of glaucoma.

Acute (angle closure) glaucoma is an acute condition where pressure builds up suddenly and demands immediate medical attention. Symptoms include blurred vision, eye pain, headaches, seeing halos around lights, nausea and vomiting.

Secondary glaucoma results from another eye disease, condition or a trauma to the eye.

Normal tension glaucoma is when there is no build up of pressure but the optic nerve is still damaged. We are still not yet sure what causes this type of glaucoma.

Who is at Risk for Glaucoma?

Everyone is at risk of glaucoma however there are certain factors which increase the likelihood of developing the condition. Vision loss from glaucoma can be greatly reduced when detected and treated early which is why knowing your risk factors can play a tremendous role in prevention.

Age

Age is one of the biggest risk factors, as your chances of developing glaucoma increase significantly after the age of 40. In fact people over 60 years old are six times more likely to get the condition.

Ancestry and Family History

Individuals from African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American or Aboriginal Canadian descent are at increased risk. Family history is a very strong factor as the condition occurs twice as much in people with close relatives who have had glaucoma.

Previous Eye Injury, Traumas or Surgery

Eye injuries, traumas or surgeries have been known to sometimes cause secondary glaucoma which can happen immediately after the injury or procedure, or even years later. Even childhood injuries can result in secondary glaucoma later in life.

Use of Steroids

Studies show that prolonged steroid use is linked to increased elevated intra-ocular pressure which increases the risk of open-angle glaucoma.

Certain medical and eye conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and high myopia (nearsightedness) also increase a person’s risk of developing glaucoma.

 

Glaucoma Treatment

While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are treatments to slow down the progression of the disease including eye drop medications, iridotomies, iridectomies, laser procedures and surgeries.

Glaucoma Prevention

Other than taking care of any underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing glaucoma, there is little one can do in the way of prevention. You can however reduce your chances of suffering vision loss. The first step is knowing the risk factors and signs of the condition (even though as mentioned most cases have no symptoms in the early stages, until vision is already lost).

The best possible way to prevent vision loss is to have regular comprehensive eye exams to check the health of your eyes and if your eye doctor prescribes medication for glaucoma, make sure to diligently take them as directed. Your eye doctor will be able to conduct certain tests to detect eye diseases such as glaucoma before you even begin to notice symptoms. If you have any of the risk factors above, mention it to your eye doctor, and always be sure to schedule a yearly eye exam, or as often as your eye doctor recommends, to check the health of your eyes and rule out any underlying or developing eye conditions like glaucoma.

World Braille Day 2019

Each year during the month of January we recognize World Braille Day which gives us the opportunity to take a moment and appreciate the incredible gift that Braille has given to those who are blind or suffer from vision loss.

What is Braille?

Braille is a tactile representation of letters and numbers that can be utilized by people with vision loss to read using their fingers. The system uses combinations of six raised dots – three rows of two – that serve to represent the numbers, letters and even symbols such as music notes.

Braille History:

Braille was developed by a young Frenchman named Louis Braille and was first published in 1829. Braille invented the system at the age of 15 after he became blind as the result of an accident. The idea was originally based on night writing, a touch-based military code developed for Napoleon’s army by Charles Barbier as a strategy for soldiers to be able to communicate silently in the dark. Barbier’s code was ultimately rejected because it was too difficult to be used effectively by the soldiers. Barbier and Braille later met at the Royal Institute for the Blind in Paris and Braille was able to adapt the idea into a more functional system. In braille, the characters, or letters, are each represented by a cell or block with a particular arrangement of raised dots.

Not Just the ABC’s

While first developed for the French alphabet, braille has since been expanded for many languages including all the European-based languages, as well as Arabic and Asian languages. Even within those languages there are different forms of the system. For example, in English, there is Grade 1 braille which is composed of the representation of the 26 letters of the Roman alphabet and is primarily used for those learning to read and write the language. Grade 2 on the other hand is the type of braille you are likely to see written in public places such as menus or signs as it is more complex. Grade 2 includes higher level punctuation, abbreviations and contractions. Lastly, Grade 3 is a form of shorthand designed for personal use such as taking notes or writing letters.

In addition to the cells which represent the letters, braille may also include illustrations, graphs and symbols such as bullets or arrows. Further, a cell can also represent a number, a word or a punctuation mark. Because braille takes up more space than standard print, there are many abbreviations or contractions that represent words or word sequences to save space. This also helps to improve the speed at which one can read and write using the system.

How To Write Braille

Writing braille requires some tools. To do it by hand you need a stylus, which is a metal tool that is used to create the dots, a slate, which is a type of stencil used to align the dots into neat cells and card-stock paper which is heavy enough to emboss. You can also write braille with a special braille typewriter or an electronic brailler as well as certain computer programs with a braille embosser printer.

Being able to read and write braille allows those with vision impairment to learn and express themselves in a way that they would otherwise not be able to. While newer technologies such as screen readers and other computer based programs have become more common in recent years, braille is the foundation of innovation in improving the lives of the blind and vision impaired.

Questions and Answers on Ocular Emergencies with Dr. Tran

Ocular Emergencies

pink eye girl rubbing1280x480Q1. How do I know whether I have a serious eye condition that needs to be treated urgently or just some mild irritation that will go away the next day?

A1. Usually a serious eye condition shows obvious signs and symptoms: blurred vision, redness, pain, discharge, itchiness or swelling. However, even if a mild sign or symptom does not improve within 24 hrs, you should consult an eye doctor.

Q2. What should I do if I spill chemicals in my eyes?

A2. Immediately rinse the eyes with water under a faucet, in a shower, or under a continuous stream of water from a clean container, keeping eyes wide open, for at least 20 min. If you wear contacts, then after the initial rinse, remove them and rinse your eyes again. Then seek medical help. Alkali chemicals (ammonia, bleach) do more damage than acidic ones (vinegar, concentrated lemon juice,…).

Q3. What should I do if I get sand, metal or wood in my eye?

A3. Flush the eyes with copious amount of clean water or saline. Remove the contact lenses if you wear ones. Do not rub your eyes as this can cause damage.
Pull out the lower lid and try to find the foreign object. If you see it, use a damp cotton swab to tap it out. Then rinse your eyes with water.

Q4. Can my child go to school with an eye infection?

A4. For the welfare of others, a child should see a doctor and get treated before returning to school. With the proper treatment, the child can go back to school 1 or 2 days later, because the infectious period is in the early stage of the infection. Also, check with your school officials for rules and regulations.

Q5. My child scratched my eye, what should I do?

A5. Injuries caused by “organic” objects such as finger nails, tree branches,… may introduce pathogenic amoebas (single-cell parasites) which cause serious painful eye infections that are very difficult to treat. Again, the first step is to flush your eye with copious amount of clean water (preferably sterile saline or contact lens storage solution, and then promptly consult with your eye doctor. The doctor may prescribe a special class of antibiotics for treatment, and multiple follow-ups are necessary.

Johan Tran, Ph.D., O.D.

For more information on Eye Emergencies please click here.