Thursday, November 21, 2013

What is Macular Degeneration???

Age-related macular degeneration, (ARMD) sounds like a mouthful, but it’s the number one leading cause of blindness in this country. Sadly those numbers are increasing each year therefore we thought it a very important topic to discuss and understand to help reduce these increasing numbers.   

The macula is located in the center of the back of the eye and contains mostly cone cells (receptors cells that are sensitive to light that form images in the eye to send to the brain). These receptors are responsible for the sharpness of our vision. As we approach our later years damage may occur to these very important cells. This can be caused by a number of factors, including excessive UV exposure (the lighter color eyed patients tend to have higher risk), genetic predisposition (runs in your family), and/or smoking (might be the highest risk factor of all).  

There are two types of macular degeneration which may occur; dry and wet. In dry ARMD, debris builds up in the back of the eye due to free radicals of oxygen that form in our elder years.  These radicals of oxygen affect the proper production of healthy receptor cells in the macula which eventually leads to their death and hence loss of central 20/20 vision. This form is usually seen first and much more common. Though there is no cure, vitamins and antioxidants (preventing the free radicals from forming) can slow its progression.  Still proper oxygen levels are extremely important to keeping those nerve cells alive, hence the reason smoking always leads to receptor destruction in the eye.  

Wet AMD is less common and much more severe than dry. In conjunction with the debris build-up of dead receptor cells; abnormal blood vessel growth starts to aid the dying tissue but only causes more complications. These new blood vessels are poorly built by the immune system is have a tendency to bleed and leak, causing rapid irreversible damage to more receptor cells. Certain drugs and laser treatments can help prevent the growth of these blood vessels if caught early enough.  Still most of the damage is very difficult to treat.  Thankfully stem cell research is helping to make some changes in this aggressively blinding disease.  

Macular degeneration itself typically does not result in complete blindness. Rather, advanced ARMD renders only the center of vision useless, while the periphery remains unaffected. Needless to say this sort of lost can be devastating to most patients especially since our central vision is crucial to daily function. For this reason we at Eyed LA highly recommend yearly dilations and check ups for our seniors, even if they don’t require glasses; health must be checked.  Early detection can save someone’s vision and keep them as active members of our communities.  Call us today for more information.  

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

Friday, October 25, 2013

How is Eyed LA different from the rest?

With an optometry office on practically every other block of Los Angeles, it’s difficult for an Optometrist to stand out from the rest. However Eyed LA has figured out a way with its exemplary service and emphasis towards comprehensive patient care. Having just opened in December 2012, many Los Angeles residents have already noticed the difference patients experience at Eyed LA. Allows us to tell you why patients are excited about our practice.  

Eyed LA Optometry is designed to engage patients from the very first step through the door. The staff always welcomes clients with a warm smile, a complimentary beverage and a simple sign-in process which requires only two signatures on laminated forms (reducing environmental impact). Patients are given a short questionnaire and reminder of items needed via email prior to their exam to increase efficiency.  Keeping the company promise of being environmentally responsible and respectful of patient’s time. 

Choosing the most up to date technology allows for the exam to be comprehensive, stress-free and most importantly painless.  Checking for ocular diseases without the use of the dreaded “air-puff” test or dilation drops can all be attained at Eyed LA.  Our retinal imaging camera allow us to view the entire retina without side effects of stinging drops or blurred vision lasting 4 hours; helping our clients to return to work or drive after their complete exam.  

The core philosophy of personalized health care is the key to success; patients aren’t an average but individuals with specific needs that need to be tailored per request. The exam is scheduled for about 45 minutes for each patient, in which time questions on health, lifestyles and desired outcomes are addressed.  This entire time is spent with the me, your Optometrist.  In turn, patients can quench their curiosity about their eyes and are fully encouraged to ask questions to best suit their needs.  Through education and understanding patients are empowered to really expect the best from an eye exam.  

Eyed LA works with our patients to ensure that they are more than satisfied with their end product. Once the patient has left the office they are informed to stay in touch with any questions or concerns throughout the year. Keeping a line of communication always open from patient to doctor, a luxury most office can’t afford.  However as part of change for the better in health care, Eyed LA feels this is crucial to keeping clients healthy.  Eyed LA places personalized health care at the core of the practice and patients are noticing. Check us out on Yelp, people love us...and we love them back!

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

Thursday, October 10, 2013

If the white part of my eye is getting yellow, should I be worried?

The conjunctiva (thin transparent skin that covers the white of the eye, you can move it with your finger if you so dare) and sclera (the actual white harder structure that forms the eye) may both be affected and change colors for various reasons.  Even though they look like one complete structure it's important for this lesson to understand that they are separate and can be effected differently with varying prognosis.

Let's take the conjunctival tissue first, explain it's similarities to skin and how it reacts to the exterior elements.  As previously mentioned, it's loose on the surface of the eye and is completely transparent.  It's histological formation is just like the skin all over our bodies, thankfully not exactly otherwise we'd be transparent with all our organs in plain sight, yikes!  Still it reacts to sun just like our skin, it gets darker (more yellow) and sometimes thicker.  I'm sure you've seen some form of this amongst your friends or family, a sectoral (specific spot) area in the eye is yellow, thicker with splashes of red.  We call them pinguecula (smaller yellow bump) and pterygiums (larger yellow bump getting close to the corneal center of the eye).  The sun is mostly to blame for their existence.  Therefore UV protection (aka sunglasses) is extremely important to prevent their formation.  Still both are quite harmless in the realm of health, both can be surgically removed for cosmetic or visual reasons.  

Now the sclera is a more bone-like structure, it's how the eye maintains it's round, firm shape.  This is where we get the milky white color, actually the sclera is a hue of blue but it's perceived as white to us.  When this appears to yellow consuming the whole eye, it leads us to believe there may be systemic involvement.  We consider the patient may be suffering from problems in the liver, pancreas, spleen or blood (usually sickle cell anemia).  In most cases we highly advice blood work by the patient's primary care physician (your regular doctor) in order to rule out any serious life threatening diseases.  Eyes are an amazing tool, as optometrist we can connect your entire body's health to small parts of your eye.  Some say eyes are the window to the soul, I say they are the window to your health.  Get your eyes checked every year and you'll learn how preventive medicine can really help.

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

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Optometrist? Optician? Ophthalmologist?? Which one is my eye doctor??

People who don’t use or need glasses are often confused by the similar sounding titles of eyecare professionals. Even patients who have been seeing an eye doctor since they were young don’t always know where to go if they want LASIK or have an eye infection. Knowing what services are covered by which profession could save you some time and money!

Optometrists are primary care physicians for your eyes; therefore the first stop one should make when considering a check for their vision. Patients will receive a routine eye exams which includes a prescription for glasses and/or contact lenses along with a total health assessment of the exterior and interior of the eye. If a patient is in need of treatment for dry eyes or infections, Optometrist can treat these issues.  However if surgery or laser treatment is warranted than the patient is referred to an Ophthalmologist.

After getting a routine eye exam, patients are usually directed to a sales floor where they’ll find a selection of frames and lenses. The Opticians will help you choose frames, as well as recommend specific lens options best suited for you. Opticians also take lens measurements, adjust frames, and conduct contact lens training. Just like pharmacists that fill prescriptions given by medical doctors, opticians help the patient select vision correction aids prescribed by Optometrist.

Ophthalmologists, commonly known as eye surgeons, are licensed to practice medicine and conduct surgical operations. These include anything from LASIK to invasive surgeries to save patients’ vision. With such a wide variety of services, ophthalmologists often specialize to give the best care possible (ie. retinal specialists, glaucoma specialist, LASIK specialist).  The vast umbrella of ophthalmology is one reason to see an optometrist first, as they can refer you over to the correct specialist as needed.

As you can see, whether you need new glasses or are experiencing abnormal eye issues, an Optometrist will help direct you to the proper place for your needs.  Eyed LA believes in easing the transition for patients to get the best care available.  

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Saturday, September 14, 2013

School screenings vs Screenings with Eyed LA!

You might be familiar with the classic “eye chart” that starts with a giant E and continues with letters that get smaller with each successive line. This chart is often used in vision screenings at health fairs or schools. Children who are not able to read the line corresponding to “20/20” are deemed in need of eye exam, while those who can read the “20/20” line are determined to have perfect vision.

However parents should know that even if they pass the screening at school, they should still visit with an optometrist every year. The main reason for this is because school screenings only test for distance vision, and cannot detect near vision issues which ironically has a much higher prevalence before the age of 12. Therefore most children are referred out by the school nurse after the age of 12 for distance problems and children suffering with near issues are not detected. Though they may be able to read the eye-chart just fine at a distance, they may have trouble reading their textbooks. This causes a ripple effect of poor learning skills which too often are labeled as a learning disability versus a visual impairment. (check our other blog: Learning Disability or Visual Disability?)

A free screening can detect issues at near or far for any person.  At Eyed LA, we have an automated machine to get an estimate of the prescription the patient might potentially need; there is no participation from the patient to achieve this measurement.  Therefore a child that may not know their letters can still be checked for visual impairments (check out other blog: How soon can my kids get an Eye Exam?).  If that child requires correction, we recommend a complete eye exam to further investigate.  The free screening we provide is solely by Eyed LA and other optometrist may not offer a free screening, make sure to ask. We believe this service will support better performance for the school year and potentially saving parents worry and time with other treatments that may not be warranted. Eyed LA is part of movement to improve healthcare in this country with prevention, education and responsibility to our future.

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Saturday, August 31, 2013

How do I know which contact lens modality is best for me?

Patients use contact lenses for many different reasons. Some don’t like the look or weight of glasses on their face, others only wear them to play sports and finally some like the vision they experience with their contact lenses. Whether you are an occasional or frequent contact lens user, knowing what options are available can allow you a safer and more effective wear.  

Soft contact lenses are disposable, and can be separated into dailies, bi-weeklies, and monthlies. Dailies are designed to be used once within a 14-16 hour wear period. Since they are one time use, no cleaning case or cleaning system is needed; reducing risk of infections and increasing overall comfort of wear. This option is great for occasional contact lens wearers who wear glasses most of the week and don’t want to deal with the hassle of cleaning/caring for contact lenses. Often these wearers will simply order a small supply of lenses to last them throughout the year, cost effective with ease of use.  

Weekly or monthly contact lenses can be used for a more extended period of time, the same pair being recycled for reuse the following day until replacement is indicated. Once the pair is opened the 2-week or monthly lifespan begins. These lenses must be cleaned and disinfected every night (do not sleep in your contact lenses is Eyed LA’s golden rule) to reduce the risk of infection and to maximize the performance of the lens.  They must be discarded after their lifespan to decrease risk to the eye (some risk are long term that may lead to decrease vision and in some cases blindness).  Patients wanting to wear lenses daily and with better cost effectiveness will usually request these modalities.  The cost of a year supply of these lenses will vary from company to company, however they are usually more cost effective when directly compare to a year supply of dailies.

Effective communication of the intended usage and how the contact lens feels will help the optometrist determine which contact lens brand and modality are best. Once chosen, the contact lens prescription will be good for a year. Annual contact lens fittings are required by law in all 50 states to ensure patients are wearing the most healthy, comfortable and clear contact lens on the market.  Make sure to schedule your appointment and keep your eye care professional informed of your needs.  

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I can’t see with my new glasses! Why does it take longer to adjust to my new glasses than some of my friends?

Your stylish Tom Ford glasses have finally arrived and to your surprise your expected perfect vision for distance seems blurry, why? Your optometrist encourages you to give them a couple days and sure enough your eyes eventually adjust. Why is it that hyperopes (problems with near and/or distance) sometimes take a while to adjust to glasses, while myopes (problems with distance only) seem to gain X-ray vision the instant a new Rx is given?

In the eye there is an optic lens within the eye about 5 millimeters behind the surface of the eye that helps to focus near and distant objects; doing so by flexing and relaxing.  In a patient with perfect vision, the lens is relaxed for distance and flexed for near (this ability reduces itself as we get older; hence the reason most people need glasses after a certain age).  In a myope the lens performs similarly, relaxed for distance and flexed for near. In a hyperopic patient the optic lens needs to be flexed for distance and even more for near; most of the day it's working. Therefore hyperopes in need of glasses are constantly straining their eyes and complain of red-ness, fatigue and occasional blur.  Glasses are prescribed in order to reduce all those physical symptoms along with making images more clear.

Just like athlete’s muscles can become tense after over use, a hyperopic eye will become difficult to relax after years of use.  The eye becomes accustomed to constantly flexing its optic lens and requires time to learn how to relax. This is why hyperopes vision may be distorted when trying on new glasses however as days pass it eventually gets clear.  Eyed LA always recommends 3-5 days of constant wear to allow your eyes to accommodate; however if headaches or blur continues return to your optometrist.  All we ask is for our patients to have patience with their own bodies; the results will surprise you.  So relax optic lens and take those gorgeous new Tom Ford frames out on the town.   

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I'm getting older and my vision is changing, what are my options?

Hyperopes (near vision issues) have had to troubleshoot their prescriptions according to their reading distance since their first eye exams. Myopes (distance vision issues), on the other hand can wear their glasses all day long for all activities. However as we all get older, every single person will eventually need help focusing on objects whether near or far. Understanding your options can be quite challenging when patients are use to doing something one way for most of their lives.  Are bifocals or progressives right for you? Should you ask for one pair of glasses for distance and another for near?  Who can keep track of so many glasses and focusing needs all at once?  I know I can’t!

Let’s start by clearing things up by understanding the different ranges optometrist use to determine the best prescription to suit patient needs.  Our distance prescriptions are used for looking at objects beyond 30 inches, distance doesn’t imply from here to China!  Objects 16 inches or closer to your face are deemed a near prescription.  However everyone has a different reading range according to body type, habits or physical limitations.  Your optometrist should ask what your normal near distance is; along with knowing the type of computer device you use.  Desktops and laptops require different distances and might require different prescription.  

Prescribing glasses is very much a dynamic process between the doctor and patient, as your optometrist will recommend lenses tailored to your personal needs. A student that is on the computer 8 hours a day may require different glasses than someone only needing help occasionally to read an iPad. A patient who doesn’t need any help in the intermediate range may prefer bifocals (top of the lens is distance; bottom of the lens is for near).  Where a progressive design contains a gradient of prescriptions to give distance, intermediate and near all in one lens.  As you can imagine those take more practice and time to get use to, however once the body understands the purpose they serve the optimal purpose of mimicking the perfect vision we had as children. Allowing the patient more control on focusing on different objects at different distances.  This design has become the most popular in the last few decades due to visual needs at an intermediate level, aka COMPUTERS.  This is why it is important to describe your lifestyle as much as possible! A good eye care professional will ask the right questions to create the best prescription for you.  Communication, as with everything in life, will get you to where you need to be.  

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Why do I need an eye exam every year as a diabetic?

Patients with diabetes unfortunately have the highest risk factors for visual complications compared to other patients being treated for different systemic diseases.  The longer amount of time a patient is diabetic the higher the risk for retinal complications that can lead to serious vision lost.  For this specific reason, we highly recommend preventative care by visiting your eye care professional once a year for a comprehensive eye exam including dilation.  An optometrist or ophthalmologist can conduct this routine check up for you, only if surgery is warranted will an optometrist have to refer to a retinal specialist.  

The warning signs will always be there.  Diabetic patients will sometimes experience fluctuations in their vision after a meal or feel as if their glasses no longer help their vision.  These visual swings are very much connected to the diet and medication of the patient, a visit with an eye care professional is suggested at this point.  

During the routine eye exam the doctor will dilate the patient's pupil to better view the entire retinal tissue to check for any abnormalities caused by diabetes.  Diabetes can cause blood vessels to break down and lead to bleeding of that vessel; affecting the nutrient levels the tissue is expecting but not receiving.   Nerves that are starving for nutrition can't survive very long, leading to vision loss in the area where leaking is occurring.  If the leakage is minor, the optometrist will alert the patient and patient's physician of the findings.  Dietary and medicinal adjustment may help to control the sugars levels so the bleeding may stop.  When the leakage is more prominent, a retinal specialist may be needed to treat the actual retinal tissue with lasers to help assist the closing of those leaks.  These procedures are very delicate and require a good understanding by the patient of the expectation of the vision post-treatment.  Sadly some vision loss can become permanent even with surgical intervention.  Hence the reason these routine check ups are so incredibly important.  Preventative care is the best care we can hope to provide for our patients.  

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I don't want to use my readers over my contacts, isn't there any easier solution?

As we age our focusing system start to change in our vision.  Primarily near vision becomes more problematic after the age of 40, leading to blur and much too often strain.  Lots of patients already wearing glasses graduate to bifocal or progressive designs to be able to manage their distance needs and newly diagnosed near demands.  

The back print on a credit card isn't getting smaller; this isn't a conspiracy against your eyes but the simple truth of aging eyes.  Should you have to give up your contact lenses now that the demand is for two areas of focus (near and distance)?  Should you add reading glasses over your contact lenses to compensate?  Are you stuck in glasses now and forever? No, technology and smart medicine has allowed us to offer more options.   

Not only are contact lens companies producing more comfortable materials but also more variable in their correction.  There are contact lenses that can assist in vision for both distance and near within one design. These bifocal contact lenses can even help patients not wanting to carry around reading glasses for those moments of reading menus, magazines, or even looking at a smart phone.  The distance portion has no correction while the reading portion helps with reading that impossibly smart print that seems to be getting tinier by the minute.  Eyed LA Optometrist can provide that type of technology that comes with great knowledge of the topic.  There are many variables that can aid in finding the right fit for each patient's need.  

Patients in Los Angeles and all around the US aren't always informed of the newest technologist available to them.  Allow us to help educated you in options that are readily available to improve your overall visual function throughout the day.  

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Friday, June 21, 2013

Can I open my eyes under water?

It's officially summer time for half of the hemisphere, happy summer days to all!  This means lots of outdoor activities, which usually include cooling off in various bodies of water.  Patients will start to ask about swimming with contact lenses or simply just opening their eyes under water.  Here's my advice to keep those pearly white eyes happy all summer.

Our tears are composed of two very well balanced substances; one is a watery layer and the other an oily layer.  The balance they play all day long creates a perfect PH for us to be well hydrated and comfortable.  When these layers are disturbed by malfunction of the tear glands, injuries, diseases or chemicals burns our eyes suffer great discomfort that usually requires treatment.  Eyed LA's favorite treatment for most of these issues is preventative measures to avoid the pain caused by these disturbances.  

Opening your eyes while under water, whether sweet or salty water, will throw the perfect PH balance into a frenzy.  The chemicals in pools along with the salty ocean water are almost considered a chemical burn on the surface of eyes.  Most pool/beach enthusiast end the day with red, achy eyes...especially kids who spend lots of hours playing in the cooling waters.  Once the eyes have been stripped of their balance, patients will often rub them to soothe the discomfort.  Now think of dry skin (which is precisely how the eye behaves once the balance has been disturbed) and how itching that skin will sometimes lead to scratches.  The surface of the eye will work exactly the same with rubbing, more scratches which can lead to possible infections.  Therefore keep those eyes closed or use goggles to keep the tear layers protected.  Lubricated drops (not "gets the red out" drops) found at your nearest pharmacy can help after a long day at the beach.  One my favorite brands are Systane Balance or Refresh tears, make sure to check with your optometrist before using any of these products. 

For some of you that wear contact lenses, this issue is only made worse when wearing contact lenses. The contact lens will absorb the water even more and suspend the chemicals for longer times on the surface of the eye, making the PH even worse.  Remove your lenses or simply get some really fun swimming goggles to protect your precious white, healthy eyeballs.  

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How important are good sunglasses?

That gorgeous bright orb in the sky that gives us life can also age us very quickly.  Harmful UV rays leaving the sun have been known to cause early aging along with increased health risk.  That beautiful star we call the sun must be respected so that we can take all the good it gives and leave all bad.

There are three very common conditions UV exposure will create, all of which are preventable with proper UV protected sunglasses.  The first condition, being the mildest, is called Pingueculitis.  The conjunctiva (clear surface overlying the sclera (white bone-like structure)) will protect itself from exposure by creating layers of yellow-pigmented tissue.  Resulting in a yellow appearance near the corners of the eye.  The second condition, much more aggressive and bothersome, is called Pterygium.  The conjunctiva will again protect itself with even more tissue that will grow in elevation, creating a more pink appearance that will lead to physical discomfort.  Most patients complain of a sandy, gritty feeling in the eyes.  The last condition, most common of all, is called Cataract.  Cataracts are usually seen in the elderly because they've lived in the sun most of their lives and are expected to have some as they age.  This will slowly decrease their vision until surgery is performed to extract that cataract.  However more and more younger people are seen with early cataract, especially in states like California where the sun is more intense.  

All of these conditions are in no way harmful to the health of the eye (Pterygium may grow large enough to cover an eye; however most of these patients eventually make it to our office before it gets too aggressive).  The treatments are usually surgical with low risk factors and high success rates.  Still all these measures can be avoided by using sunglasses to shade the eyes.  

Next time you head outdoors make sure to bring your UV approved shades along with some sunscreen.  Even on cloudy days UV rays will penetrate through the clouds leading to UV damage.  Not only do you look cool but will help your eyes stay young and brilliantly white like the stars in the sky.  

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Thursday, June 6, 2013

I sleep in my contact lenses all the time, is that really bad???

Why?  Why are we so lazy about this simple, quick task every night?  There are extremely serious risks you’re taking every time you fall asleep in front of the television with those little pieces of plastic in your eyes.  Allow me to rant a little and I might save your vision. 

Contact lenses are all made of specific types of plastic that our bodies accept as friendly.  In the last handful of years the contact lens scientists have really constructed safer, clearer and more comfortable options with prescriptions that range quiet broadly now.  Now here's where things get complicated for adults (children are better patients here).  If this high oxygen (ie. Oasys, AirOptics, Purevision, Biofinity, Avaira) contact lens is sitting in your eye all day, collecting dirt, how could your eye possibly survive overnight infection free?  The immune system in your body will fight all the bacteria sticking to the surface of the contact lens.  Your poor white blood cells are exhausted by morning; evidence of them will be seen in large clusters of mucus.  After several days, months or years of this constant battle your eye eventually loses.  You'll wake up with a bacterial conjunctivitis, an expensive visit to your eye doctor and drops you’ll have to use often for a week during which time no contacts can be worn.  Go find your old glasses! 

Now let's pretend your immune system is super strong and you "never" get infections and have loyally slept in contacts forever. You have proven my warnings useless right?  Wrong.  As that lens gets dirtier and less permeable to oxygen it's no longer serving its purpose to keep you safe.  The cornea (front transparent surface) begins to become hypoxic (suffocating without oxygen) and starts to malfunction.  The cornea wants to stay transparent so that you can see the world, but now it’s becoming opacified (cloudy) from the excess water it can no longer excrete.  Your perfectly corrected 20/20 vision starts to fade one letter at a time.  Scarring starts to slowly form on the corneal surface, mostly irreversible damage.  This patient will often ask for more power in their prescription and I simply have to explain that it's not a prescription problem but a health issue.  Now ask yourself if those 5 seconds in front of the bathroom sink are worth permanent damage to your visual acuity.  

Eyed LA's advice, if you know yourself to always pass out with your lenses in your eyes please remove them earlier in the night.  Take the 5 seconds; remove your contact lenses with clean hands, place them into a clean case with fresh new solution (don't reuse) and walk away with the knowledge that you are protecting your eyes.  It’s that simple. 

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Thursday, May 30, 2013

I see zig-zag lines with some lights in my vision, what is that?

Flashes of light are considered to be an extremely important symptom where immediate attention needs to be provided by an eye care professional.  This complaint can mean the difference between sight and blindness for a patient.  Before we run to the emergency room, let's discuss what might potentially be happening to the visual system when this occurs. 

Your optometrist will try to determine the duration, location, frequency and timeline of these flashes.   Including any injuries/accidents that may have occurred near your eye (ie. head injury as a child, boxer, car accident.) along with systemic health history (ie. uncontrolled blood pressure, migraines, vertigo...).  These details will aid your doctor in finding a more efficient diagnosis.  

A complete eye exam including dilation should be conducted to address the complaint as best as possible.  Eye care professionals are looking to the retina to check for tears in the tissue that could potentially lead to a complete retinal (sensory tissue inside the eye) detachment.  If the retinal tissue detaches we will loss complete sensory information in that portion of the eye.  Most patients that experience this light will describe it as lasting 2-5 minutes, usually in one spot of the vision, and will occur at any time of the day.  

Flashes can also be seen with migraine patients (most cases).  They experience lights (ie. starburst, shaking lights) vision that last about 20 minutes and can be followed by a migraine headache.  However some patients never get the headache just the visual aura (effect); this is still considered a migraine.  Have the dilation to rule out retinal detachment then consult your medical doctor for options. 

Sudden flashes that occur with standing too quickly or a drop in blood pressure can also frighten a patient.  These will only occur for seconds at a time related to an event.  Again the doctor will dilate your eye to rule out detachments but most likely related to nutrition, medications or health conditions.  

I highly recommend contacting your eye care professional or us at Eyed LA Optometry (424-208-3107) to discuss your flashing lights.  Keep in mind the sooner we are able to exam a patient the better the prognosis (outcome).  

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

I’m 8 months pregnant and my vision seems to be getting worse?

This phenomenon is more common then you may think.  I’d like to address this small question so that I may actually save the mothers-to-be a little time out of doctor’s office (which they seem to have a lot of during those months). 

During pregnancy women experience a huge fluctuation in hormones levels from one month to the next.  This is why pickles, peanut butter, and ice cream sandwiches taste so delicious to a very pregnant mother-to-be, her hormones have taken control of everything.  This does not exclude the ocular system.  The cornea (front surface) and lens (inside the eye, helps to focus near objects) may experience a sense of swelling just like the swelling seen in pregnant ankles.  This is completely different from gestational diabetes (meaning you only have diabetes while you’re pregnant) or hypertension (high blood pressure), which also affects the vision.  So please don’t assume that if your vision is blurry, that you have gestational diabetes.  This swelling has been linked to hormones and seems to be worse during month 8, 9, and 10.  Yes even after giving birth your vision may still be blurry.  The blur is usually noticed a distance, however near may also become blurry.  Feeling as if you're current glasses/contact lenses no longer function to their full capacity.  

Often times we refuse to make any changes in your prescription because these changes are temporary.  This would be my advice; check with your optometrist (or call Eyed LA) to rule out gestational diabetes and/or hypertension, take a break from wearing contact lenses (they exacerbate the corneal swelling & risk for infections are higher), call your optometrist if the change seem drastic to you.  There are always exceptions to all rules, more serious underlying issues may be present accompanied by more symptoms besides blur (headaches, loss of vision, photophobia and/or diplopia (double vision)).  Always use your resources to your best ability to save yourself some time and worry.  No question is ever a unless question.

Please feel free to either comment on this blog or email us:  Our website will also have our office hours if a visit is warranted, we are near Santa Monica. 

"See and Be Seen" @ Eyed LA Optometry in Brentwood, West Los Angeles

Thursday, May 16, 2013

My vision is getting worse because I stare at computers 10 hours/day, isn't it???

How is my tech filled life affecting my vision and its development?  Patients worry their computers are destroying their eyes, parents worry video games are destroying their child's vision, and older patients blame television for destroying man kind's gift of perfect vision.  The answer is simple; everyone is wrong and right exactly at the same time.  Evolution of our visual system plays the biggest role in our ever-changing eyes.   

Our visual system is pre-determined in our genes before we even open our eyes to the world.  Our ancestor's refractive discrepancies have been around for millennia, however the snellen chart (letter chart) has not.  When the written word was put on walls or paper our ancestors began to standardize vision.  In order for a room of students to view the same book they all had to see exactly the same; birth of the 20/20 standard.  Hence genetics may have created a farmer with poor vision, but industrialization repurposed that same person into an accountant who needs glasses to function.  Visual systems are influenced by genetics and environmental factors.  

As a growing world we demand more of our visual system than any other system.  A person reading a book for 10 hours a day is no different than another staring at a computer.  The eyes cannot tell the difference; work is being done and muscles are being influenced.  Patients usually develop more myopia as they become more studious or tech friendly.  This is an inevitable destination for anyone wanting to participate in modern life.  Your eyes aren't getting "worse", they are simply adapting to demand placed on them.  The most important factor in your vision is ocular health through proper nutrition and yearly eye exams with your eye care provider.    

So sit in front of that computer, play those video games and watch all the television you want.  Keeping in mind we are animals that also need to physically move to stay strong, balance your task as best you can.  Taking breaks from these modern day systems will never hurt, realistically though their significance is minor compared to our technological demands placed on our eyes by our ever-growing connective societies.  

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