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

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My contact lenses roll back into my lids, why?

The contact lens will not wind up in your brain or come out of your ears; just to clarify before the learning process starts.  All jokes aside, I realized how annoying this issue might be for some patients.  Don't worry; there are preventative measures that help stop this problem.  

Contact lens brands and proper fits are extremely important when having your annual contact lens exam.   There are many companies offering new products on a yearly basis; ask your doctor. Newer versions allow better oxygenation and hydration of the cornea to promote healthier and more comfortable experiences.  Dry lenses will fold and hide under the upper lid; refitting to a more moist lens will prevent this issue.  Raise your expectation of comfort with your optometrist to find the best fit.    

Once the doctor has chosen the proper brand the rest is the patient's responsibility.   Personal hygiene and care of the lenses become the next crucial step.  Removing the lenses before bed to disinfect with CL cleaning solution is step number one.  Even if the multipurpose solution indicates no rubbing, always RUB them.  The next important step is replacement (ie. 2wks vs. 1 month).  It's extremely important to respect this rule, often times ignoring this will lead to expensive infections.  Consider both steps a prevention of GPC (giant papillary conjunctivitis).  

GPC is an allergic reaction your inner lids will experience from excessive debris/microbes existing in your ocular environment.  This reaction will cause the formation of bumps under the lids that will in turn rub the contact lens and displace the contact lens.  Often times patients have to discontinue contact lens wear for months in order for GPC to completely disappear.  Prevent this reaction by simply removing lenses before bed, cleaning them properly, and replacing them on schedule. 

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