Monday, October 15, 2012

Coming Soon: Eyed LA

Looking to learn something about your eyes today?  Unfortunately this blog will not be covering any new eye topics, however I will be sharing with you a sneak peak into my company Eyed LA which is set to open within the next handful of weeks.  

I've been in the optical industry since I was 15 years old.  Absorbing every ounce of knowledge that I could all the way from the lab manager making glasses, to the sales girls selling them, to the owner running the entire operation.  Every aspect of the work attracted me to the point I became an Optometrist years later.  

Having the theory of ocular medicine under my belt, I needed to learn the retail portion of the business.  I worked for many companies in New York and California, taking note to absorb the best parts and discard the worst. I soon realized there was a need for more personalized health care in this industry.  The fusion of medicine and fashion was proving to be difficult; most offices presented glasses as a medical device instead of fashion accessories with function.  I would wonder why there weren't more shops showcasing amazing frames, teaching patients about lens options and expecting their doctors to enlighten the patients with newer technologies in medicine.  Well I got tired of searching and created my own. 

Eyed LA has been created to master that balance.  We are bringing informative exams with doctors eager to spread the knowledge of optometry to each patient. We are bringing forward a staff that is educated in all things optical, facilitating the experience of choosing the right lenses and frame to compliment.  Our frame vendors will represent all the art, design and technical genius that go into creating a unique look for each client.  We want to leave a wonderful impression on every client walking through our doors.  We want them to notice our technology (i.e. retinal cameras), our green mindset (i.e. electronic records) and our undying dedication to redefining the optometric experience. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this and keep sending those questions.  

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What are styes? How do I get them?

Hordeolums (aka styes) are caused by your most common bacteria, which creep into your oil glands near your eyelashes leading to a painful inflammatory response.  The skin becomes swollen, tender and vision can become impaired by this monster pimple on your eye.  However this kind of pimple should NEVER be popped, allow me to explain its birth and death.  

Skin types are extremely important when determining when and how often hordeolums may occur.  If you have a history of acne or even oily skin, unfortunately the incidence will increase.  The glands will have more oils leading to a blockage, which will allow bacteria to grow.  The bacteria will infect this open gland at the base of your lashes and cause an inflammatory response (aka the birth of the stye).  Therefore the cleaner you keep your lashes (reducing oily build-up); the less often these inflammatory responses will occur.  Washing your lashes with warm water (no soap) by massaging your eyelids with your finger tips at least once a day will do the trick in preventing them.  Replacing make-up often will also help reduce the incidence.  

Treatment of the full-blown stye is just as easy with your optometrist to guide you through it.  Warm compresses are usually suggested several times a day (5 minutes with warm towel sitting on your tortured eye) along with an antibacterial prescription (provided by your optometrist).  The warmth will help to open the glands and release all the bacteria, again you aren't mechanically popping the stye (NEVER pop), make sure to wipe away an excess pus/mucous.  A visit to your optometrist will help with pain management and proper diagnosis of the condition.  Keep those eyelids clean and hopefully this stye will be your last.     

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What can I do with my blood-shot eyes?

Hyperemia of the conjunctiva, aka blood-shot eyes, may occur for a handful of reasons that can be easily solved.  A visit with your optometrist will save those eyeballs.  

Reason number one, being the most common (90%) of all, is strain.  When eyes are trying to focus on the world, using interior and exterior muscles (welcome wrinkles), the eye will find a way to complain by becoming red.  It's a system build into the body to alert extreme fatigue.  Tearing, headaches and frequent blinking could accompany the redness.  Often times patients are completely unaware of mild blur and blame stress or allergies on their present condition.  I suggest a visit with your eye care professional to rule out a need for glasses.  

Reason number two is most often presented with other symptoms.  There may be itching and swollen eyes in conjunction with the redness, a clear sign of allergic conjunctivitis (that implies a swelling of the conjunctiva; clear layer above white layer).  If there is yellow discharge and sticky lashes in conjunction with the redness, you may have a bacterial conjunctivitis.  Both are quite annoying and will have a patient running to the optometrist within days of onset.  Worry not; there are medications for both issues.  

Reason number three is more subtle and longer lasting.  Dry eyes are a painful condition that can last for years for some patients leading to constant redness.  It usually starts very slowly and can become worse with age, especially for post-menopausal women.  Changes in diet (lowering fats) can also create a dry eye syndrome for a patient, be aware of those lifestyle changes.  Allow your optometrist to ask dietary and hormonal questions which may lead to a better assessment of your hyperemia.  Treatments do exist for this condition, however be aware they vary from case to case. 

In all these cases I highly recommend consulting your optometrist to better address your needs.  Using visine, clear-eyes or any other brand to mask the redness is simply hiding the trust of the real issue at hand.  Don't delay your treatment because relief is right around the corner.   

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Friday, June 8, 2012

Should I give my eyes a rest from contact lenses?

Once patients reach a certain age of responsibility they start to worry about their ocular health and how contact lenses will affect their vision.  Fears of medical complications will start to influence wear time for some patients.  Let me ease some fears and emphasizes some good practices.  

Replacement schedules with contact lenses are a crucial step in staying in line with healthy eyes.  The doctor will recommend replacing lenses within a certain time.  Most are either daily, biweekly, monthly and a small few are quarterly.  Feel free to check online how often your brand should be replaced, in case your doctor skipped over that part during the exam. 

Lens brands are extremely important when deciding the hours of wear and continued days of wear.  If you've been refit into a higher oxygen lens in the last ten years, you're already doing a good job.  These lenses will allow the cornea to continue to breath and receive proper nutrition.  Therefore 12-14 hour wear schedules are more readily allowed in recent history, assuming patients are removing and disinfecting on a nightly basis.  However keep in mind these lenses will eventually accumulate too much debris to continue to give good comfort and safe wear.  Hence replacement, as discussed in the previous paragraph, is very important.  Older brands do not allow this freedom of wear.  The oxygen levels are much lower and sharing wear time with glasses is more often recommended.  The lower oxygen brands (which are still in high circulation) should be worn no more then 10 hours a day and skipping wear days is recommended once weekly.  I would suggest discussing a new fit with your doctor to increase your flexibility of wear.

I still generally think it's a great idea to give your eyes a break from contact lenses, regardless of brand.  Not so much for safety but to reduce any mechanical irritation the lids experience with these gentle plastics.  Allowing your body to discard any extra mucus will never hurt.  Let's say it's a recommendation of respect for your eyes and not an immediate necessity.   

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Thursday, May 31, 2012

What is the best kind of refractive surgery, LASIK or PRK?

I will begin by stating that I am not a surgeon/ophthalmologist, still I am able to provide some information on this topic as it is an alternative to corrective vision.  I'll explain the different in surgeries and advice at least two consults with different ophthalmologist to best determine your desired outcome.

PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) is procedure first performed in 1987 in order to correct vision.  The laser used has changed throughout the years however the technique has remained the same.  Essentially the corneal epithelium (front surface cells) is reshaped to mimic the shape of corrective lenses in your glasses.  The cornea, which is made of many layers, is reformed to the best possible shape without increasing complications for the ocular health in the future.  PRK lasers the immediate surface of the cornea and enter the stromal cornea (deeper tissue), vaporizing tissue one layer at a time.  Following the procedure the patient will be given a bandage contact lens to wear to protect the recently re-shaped tissue (considered an open wound).  The recovery is considered more painful and vision is blurred for a longer period of time. Most patients will claim better clarity within two weeks and up to 6 months.  With proper post-op care from your doctor the results can be wonderful.  

LASIK (Laser assisted in situ keratomileusis) was first performed in 1989 with use of lasers and a microkeratome (creates a perfect cut on the epithelial layer to separate from the stromal cornea).  The use of these two instruments allow the surgeon to peel the first couple of corneal epithelial layers, laser only the stromal tissue and replace the epithelium back to it's normal position (epithelium will have a loose attachment post-surgery).  As you can guess this will reduce pain and increase clarity post-operatively.  This extra loosely attached epithelium is referred to as the flap.  Most military facilities will suggest PRK surgery for their pilots, having a flap during a flight can be a huge risk for the pilot's vision. 

LASEK (Laser assisted sub-epithelial Keratectomy) is almost exactly like PRK with one difference.  The first couple of epithelial layers of the cornea will be peeled back with an alcohol solution to save some healthy surface tissue (this will not create a flap), the laser will only work on stromal cornea.  This will reduce the pain and visual recovery will be faster.  The procedure is taking the place of PRK and LASIK, however in some cases those are best recommended.    

For a list of requirements, complications, systemic contra-indications or more questions simply comment on the bottom of this blog and will forward you more helpful material.  Keep in mind refractive surgery isn't a permanent solution to visual discrepancies.  The success depends on the stability of your body's changing system, which is unpredictable.  

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Should I swim with my glasses on?


Have your doctor fit you for daily wear contact lenses for beach days.  Even if you don't wear contact lenses that often, dailies are great for outdoor events.  Imagine diving into the ocean from your friend's boat and thinking mid-jump that you are still wearing your expensive eyeglasses, yikes.  Make it easy on yourself this weekend (and for the rest of the summer) and book an appointment with your optometrist and ask for daily disposal contact lenses.  They require no cleaning and offer amazing clarity for watching the shore while enjoying the waves.  

Warning: if you do wear contact lenses do not open your eyes under water.  Not only would the lenses possibly float away but also microbes can enter.  Oceans are generally safer environments for eyes, however pools, lakes and Jacuzzi's are known to carry many more germs.  If you're eyes are irritated/red by the end of a water play day, make sure to remove the lenses into disinfecting solution and give your eyes the night off by wearing glasses.  If they are daily wear, simply toss them and start a new pair the next day.  Infection prevention is the name of the game.  

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Friday, May 4, 2012

Are polarized sunglasses that much better then just UV sunglasses?

UV protection should be on the tip of everyone's mind nowadays in regards to their skin and eyes when they take a stroll on Santa Monica beaches or any outdoor space.  Protecting your eyes from harmful rays can prolong healthy, clear vision for years to come.  Lately optometrist have been recommending polarized lenses over usual sunglasses; what is the real difference?

Most sunglasses you find in optical shops have UV protection, however not all are polarized.  Polarization of a lens means the lens is able to reduce not only direct light but also indirect light.  If you think about the sunlight it comes from one source; the sun (direct light).  There is also light that reflects from other surfaces, like puddles of water reflecting light from the sun (indirect light; glare).  The polarized lens will block the sunlight and this annoying glare; increasing comfort mostly.  Some motorcycle shields will add this to help motorist view puddles of oil on roads.  I find them especially useful on cloudy days when I can't seem to stop squinting from the glare leaving every cloud (light is bouncing from cloud to cloud to increase glare).  They allow me to view the world clearly and reduces my potential for wrinkles near my eyes.  

The UV protection exist in both polarized and non-polarized sunglasses; they are equal in benefits but different in visual comfort.  My personal advice would be to consider polarized lenses (Maui Jim sunglasses are known as world leaders in best polarized sunglasses, we are an official dealer at Eyed LA Optometry) if you spend a lot of time outdoors near reflecting surfaces like the ocean; you're eyes will thank you.   

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How soon can my kids get an eye exam?

A pediatric optometrist or ophthalmologist can see children as early as 6 months old (Eyed LA's favorite patients are kids).  Often times parents don't notice any abnormalities and so the first time we see most children is in middle school with a note from the school nurse requesting further testing.  As grateful as we are to the education system for helping health care professionals to detect blurry vision, I find it lacking that our laws have not yet enforced parents to take their children before the beginning of each school year.

The eyes are normally still developing until the age of seven on average.  This means the eye is still learning how to function in a 3D world.  Amblyopic (lazy eye) eyes can occur during these developmental years (not at birth as commonly believed); eye doctors screen for this constantly with children.  If only one eye is blurry it's easily overlooked by the visual system; try and think of the last time you covered one eye to check the other.  Children are highly adaptable and sadly never even notice until the eye turns or is discovered years later when treatment becomes more challenging.  The sooner your eye care professional detects an abnormality of vision or health, the higher success there is for treating the issue.

Here is my checklist for parents regarding their children's ocular health:

1. Find a pediatric optometrist (Call us for appointments: (424) 208-3107); it's very helpful if the doctor knows how to exam children and prescribe.

2. Child's age is irrelevant.  If you notice an eye turn, the child is getting close to objects to see them, constant eye rubbing or health issue just take them.  If you are being a preventive care parent, know that they don't need to read letters for eye doctors to evaluate their vision.  The exam is more objective (doctor takes notice) and much less subjective (patient participates; adults).  

3. As parents I know it can be hard to accept the reality your child might need glasses, so take the time to ask a lot of questions.  Be present in the exam room so you can view the results live.  Remember your doctors cannot predict the future of their development, however optometrist can improve the present to inspire the future to be more clear and comfortable for them.

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I have another eye infection, can I just use the drops you gave me last time?

Self-medicating can lead to further complications when an infection is present in the eye.  Usually the dosing precedes the visit; patients have already used old medications by the time they arrive the chair.  This can make diagnosing and treating quite challenging for your eye care professional.

Let's discuss that medication sitting in your medicine cabinet.  In most cases it's an expired prescription but let's say it's not, we still worry about contamination.  Droppers have a tendency to pick up lots of bacteria when in use.  Most people fear eye drops and will get the dropper as close to their lashes or eyelids to ensure the drops enters the eye.  I usually instruct patients to hold the dropper at least one inch from the eye and let it drop.  If you miss your eye don't worry there are many drops in those tiny containers.  Once the dropper touches any surface contamination may happen.  Infection gets worse!

Now let's say your drops are totally contamination free, would they help?  It depends if you have the same exact infection as last time.  It might look the same, feel the same and act the same but more often then not it's a completely different bug.  Self-medicating can build a resistance and the infecting agent will become immune to that medication in the future.  In no way is reusing medication ever recommended, call your doctor and make an appointment.

See and Be Seen! at Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles