A New You

How Smoking Promotes Early Cataract Growth: And What You Can Do To Stop It

So you’re young, a smoker, in the prime of your life, and in nearly perfect health. However, your doctor is noticing the early warning signs of cataracts on your eye, something that you can hardly believe. Your smoking likely has something to do with it. Here’s what you need to know about smoking and cataracts and how quitting smoking can help. How Much Does Smoking Increase The Risk Of Developing Cataracts Early In Life? Smoking is one of the world’s leading causes of cataracts, which are the most common cause of blindness. While many people will develop cataracts in their life, smoking will increase your risk exponentially. Just how much does it affect early cataracts? One study suggests that men who smoked at least a pack of cigarettes every day had a 200% increased risk of developing posterior subcapsular cataracts and a 100% increased risk of developing nuclear sclerosis cataracts. Though the increase in risk for women was smaller (60%), it was still noticeable. A local cataract surgeon can have a go to website for you to learn more about cataracts and their removal. Is Smoking The Only Way They Develop Early? Smoking isn’t the only reason people develop cataracts early. Some people are born with cataracts, but these are usually removed early in their life. Injuries, such as impact during a sporting event or banging the eye against a wall, can also cause early cataract development. And diseases, such as diabetes and the use of medical steroids also increase the risk. Quitting Smoking Reduces The Risk While it’s obvious that smoking raises your risk of developing cataracts early in life, can you actually reverse the progress by quitting? Thankfully, a Swedish study reported in Reuters Health followed 45,000 men and found that quitting dropped the risk of developing cataracts by at least 50%. However, this reduced risk of cataracts wasn’t immediate: the study took place over a 20-year period, so quitting early is imperative. And even though it might be tough, it’s worth decreasing the risk of cataracts by giving it a shot. How To Quit Smoking Quitting smoking is a complicated and difficult process that varies wildly from person to person. For example, some people can’t quit just cold turkey by never picking up another pack. Others struggle with that route and need a cessation aide, such as nicotine gum or e-cigs. SmokeFree.gov suggest choosing a specific day […]

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3 Reasons To Order Your Eyeglasses Online

Although you might normally buy your prescription eyeglasses from your eye doctor’s office, there is another option — buying your glasses online. More and more people are beginning to order their eyeglasses on the Internet, and it’s something for you to consider yourself if you wear glasses. These are the three top advantages to ordering your eyeglasses on the Internet. 1. Save Money Prescription glasses can cost hundreds of dollars, even if you opt for a simple set of frames that aren’t from a designer brand. One of the primary benefits of buying your eyeglasses online is that you can save money — sometimes a lot of money — or you can get more for your cash by buying higher-end frames for less than you’d pay for “cheaper” ones at the eye doctor’s office. One reason why online eyeglasses retailers are able to offer lower prices is because they don’t have all of the overhead that your local optician has. Plus, since they have to compete with all of the other online eyeglasses retailers, they have to have more competitive pricing. 2. Enjoy a Much Larger Selection If you have ever had trouble finding the perfect pair of glasses, it could have been because of the limited selection. When you shop online, however, you can visit many websites until you find the designer brand or the style that you are looking for. It’s a great way to find a pair that you might not be able to find in your local area. Plus, you won’t have to worry about having the same pair of glasses that tons of other people in your community have. 3. Shop from the Convenience of Home Going to the eye doctor can be a hassle. Unlike other retail stores, they are often limited to regular business hours. This can make it tough for you to shop for a new pair of eyeglasses especially if you have a job that requires you to work during the daytime hours. If you shop online, however, you do not have to worry about this issue getting in the way of buying a great pair. If you aren’t already ordering your eyeglasses online, now is the time to start. These are just three of the many reasons to consider ditching your eye doctor’s office — other than for your annual eye exam, of course — and to order them on […]

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4 Tips For Wearing Makeup And Eyeglasses

Some people mistakenly believe that wearing eyeglasses means that you cannot wear makeup any longer. In actuality, if you previously wore makeup before getting eyeglasses, you can continue to wear it. However, there are some adjustments you should make to ensure that your makeup and glasses do not clash. Here are some tips you can use to help with putting on makeup while wearing glasses.  Use Makeup Reading Glasses Applying makeup while wearing your eyeglasses can be challenging. Unfortunately, if you need the glasses to clearly see your face as you are applying the makeup, you could be forced to deal with the difficult task.  There is a solution though. Makeup reading glasses allow you to flip up one lens and apply makeup for that eye while still being able to see out of the other eye. The glasses are available in low strengths, but should be sufficient enough to provide you the view needed to finish your makeup. Apply Powder or Primer One of the most annoying features of eyeglasses is that they can sometimes slip down your face. Not only does this result in the need to push up the glasses throughout the day, but it can also mess up your makeup work.  To avoid the slippage, apply powder or primer to the bridge of your nose when applying your makeup. Both helps to keep the bridge from getting oily and keeps the glasses from sliding down.  Use Mascara Some eyeglasses wearers have shied away from using mascara because of a myth that it will stick to the lenses. In reality, the mascara does not touch the lenses and it can help enhance your eyes.  Remember, your eyes are somewhat dulled down by the eyeglasses. The use of mascara can draw attention more to your eyes and bring them out.  Match Your Eyeliner to the Frames How much eyeliner you use should be dictated by the frame of your eyeglasses. If you have a thicker frame, apply the eye liner a little thicker. If you have thin frames, a thin liner is enough.  By matching the eyeliner to your frames, you help to not only draw attention back to your eyes, but you make sure that your eye liner is not over- or underdone.  There are many other ways you can help your makeup and eyeglasses mesh. Talk to your optometrist about other tools and tips that he […]

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Three Things You Need to Know about Macular Degeneration

When it comes to vision, you are probably well aware of common eye conditions such as glaucoma and cataracts. But did you know that macular degeneration causes more vision loss than cataracts and glaucoma combined and that it affects more than 10 million Americans? Here are three more things you should know about this incurable disease of the eye. Types of Macular Degeneration There are two types of this eye condition, which is sometimes referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD): Dry (atrophic) Wet (exudative) The dry type of macular degeneration is much more common and makes up between 85 and 90 percent of all macular degeneration cases. It is caused when tiny yellow deposits called drusen form in the macula. This results in a thinning or deterioration of the macula, which is the middle part of the retina. Those who have this dry type of macular degeneration can eventually experience severe loss of vision. The wet type of macular degeneration is caused when abnormal blood vessels grow under the macula. Fluid gets leaked into the retina by these blood vessels and vision becomes distorted. Scarring from the bleeding blood vessels can cause permanent loss of central vision. Causes of Macular Degeneration While the most well-known cause of macular degeneration is age, there are also some other known causes, including the following:  Race—it is more prevalent in Caucasians Genetics and family history Cigarette smoke—smoking or exposure to cigarette smoke increases the risk Obesity—those who are obese increase their chances of getting a more severe form of AMD Some health professionals also suggest that a lack of certain vitamins found in fruits and vegetables can increase the chances of developing macular degeneration. Treatment for Macular Degeneration While there is no cure for macular degeneration, these types of treatment that can help alleviate its symptoms: Being proactive in caring for the eyes, including regular eye exams Eating certain foods such as fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, fish, and nuts Being aware of symptoms such as blurred central vision and straight lines looking distorted Wearing sunglasses outdoors can also help protect the eyes from macular degeneration. If you already have the disease, ask your optometrist about prescription sunglasses that can completely eliminate UV rays, reduce the intensity of light, get rid of horizontal glare, and protect the eyes from all directions. Do you have risk factors associated with macular degeneration? When is the […]

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Are Eye Floaters Anything To Worry About?

If you’ve ever noticed the presence of floating spots in front of your eyes? If you have floaters and have been alarmed by them, your anxiety is understandable. In some instances, floaters are a completely normal part of life, but in others, they can be a sign that something’s seriously wrong. This guide will explain what causes floaters and whether you should be worried or not. “Normal” Floaters and their Causes Many people experience floaters in front of their eyes, and it’s actually a common part of aging. Floaters aren’t a hallucination or optical illusion, but actually a substance inside your eyes. The fluid inside your eyes, called vitreous humor, sometimes casts shadows onto your retina, creating the image of a floater. As people grow older, floaters become more common, but they’re not dangerous in any way.  Abnormal Floaters Floaters aren’t always a normal part of life, however. If you have a high quantity of floaters that are visible all the time, there may be a different cause. Uveitis is an inflammatory disease that can cause high quantities of floaters that are more noticeable than regular floaters. While normal floaters can usually only be seen when staring at a non-moving surface or at a bright sky, uveitis floaters may drift over your eyes at any time.  Other Symptoms of Uveitis While floaters are one common symptom caused by uveitis, they aren’t the main symptom, and they still aren’t in and of themselves harmful. If you’re having any of these other symptoms, you should see an ophthalmologist right away: Blurred Vision – Uveitis causes inflammation and tissue damage in the eye, which may cause vision to become blurred as a result. Pain – Like inflammation in any other part of the body, eyes afflicted with uveitis may be itchy and painful, or sensitive to pressure. Redness – Redness is another potential sign of inflammation. Redness may appear anywhere on the eye, including the white of the eye or the pupil. In addition, if you already have an auto-immune disease, you have a higher likelihood of developing uveitis, which is also an auto-immune disease. Essentially, an auto-immune disease means that the immune system in your body is attacking healthy cells, which can include the eyes. Treatment If you think there’s any chance that you may have uveitis, you should see an ophthalmologist right away. Immediate treatment is needed to control the inflammation. […]

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Pink Eye: Do You Need Eyedrops?

If you wake up one morning with one pair of eyelids stuck together and an itchy, red, watery, possibly painful eye, the first thing you should do is call your optometrist or ophthalmologist. Chances are good that you have conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye. Sometimes, your eye doctor will prescribe you eye drops, but other times, you may be sent home without medication; the reason is that there are several different types of pink eye, and different drops work on different types. Bacterial Pink Eye If you have a bacterial infection, you’re very likely to go home with antibiotic eyedrops; if left untreated, bacterial conjunctivitis can cause eye damage. It’s also very contagious, and getting it under control with antibiotics can reduce the chances that you’ll spread it to someone else. The bacterial type of this condition often causes eyelid swelling and a greenish or yellow discharge from the eye. This is the type that is most likely to result in you having a hard time opening your eye in the morning. Viral Pink Eye Sometimes, a virus causes conjunctivitis. Like bacterial pink eye, the viral type is very contagious. Unfortunately, antibiotic drops will not make the viral infection go away, nor will they help prevent you from spreading the virus to others. The good news, however, is that it should clear up on its own in a few days without any treatment. Symptoms of viral pink eye include a clear, water discharge and light sensitivity. It’s important to avoid rubbing your eyes and to wash your hands often to prevent spreading the conjunctivitis to your other eye and to other people. Allergic Pink Eye If you have seasonal or environmental allergies, your eyes can become very irritated and develop allergic conjunctivitis. While antibiotic drops will not help, your optometrist might recommend steroid drops to settle the inflammation and bring you some relief. In addition, you might need allergy medication (pills or liquid oral medication) to get your allergies under control. Allergic pink eye is not contagious, so you won’t have to worry about spreading the condition to others. You should still practice good hygiene to avoid further irritating the affected eye or eyes. Your eye doctor might take a swab of your eye discharge to determine whether the cause is bacterial, viral or allergic. If the pink eye is severe and the eye doctor isn’t sure which […]

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Diabetes And Your Eyes

Diabetes affects your eyes in subtle ways. You may not realize that you have a problem until you suddenly develop severe eyesight issues. Frequent diabetic eye exams by your vision center are needed to stay ahead of this damaging disease. Here is what you need to know about how diabetes affects your eyes and how to keep it from stealing your vision. Damage to Blood Vessels is the Problem Diabetes causes the blood vessels in your eyes to become weak. Normal blood vessels are flexible and expand and contract as the blood pulses through them. Some of these weakened blood vessels become rigid and contract, which causes a rise in the blood pressure in your eye. Other blood vessels expand with the blood in them and allow the blood to pool instead of moving through. Both of these weakened blood vessels contribute to your eyesight issues. Diabetic Retinopathy The damage to your eyes shows up in one of two ways. Called diabetic retinopathy, the damage can quickly cause you to lose all or part of your vision. Nonproliferative retinopathy – In this version of the disease, the weak blood vessels allow fluid to leak out onto the surface of the retina. As the fluid builds up on the retina, it blocks the amount of light that hits this portion of your eye. At first, your vision becomes blurry. As the disease progresses, you’ll develop dark patches in your eyesight.  The disease can progress until most of your visual field is obscured by the leaking fluid. Proliferative retinopathy – New blood vessels begin to grow over the retina that are smaller and weaker than healthy vessels. These blood vessels create scar tissue, which becomes tight on the surface of the retina. When enough scar tissue has developed, it can slowly pull the retina away from the back of your eye. This stops the retina from sending signals to your brain, resulting in blindness. Gradual Symptoms Sneak Up on You You may begin to have subtle problems with your eyesight that get worse unless you see your eye doctor for treatment. Some of the common symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include: inability to focus on objects tiny gray patches in your vision floaters that move across your vision feeling of pressure in your eyes easily tiring eyes Treatment Options This eye condition cannot be cured, but the loss of vision can be slowed […]

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3 Warning Signs Your Child May Be Color-Blind And The Importance Of Early Diagnosis

If you think that being colorblind is a rare phenomena in humans, then you may not catch the warning signs that your child is colorblind. As many as 8-percent of all men and .5-percent of women today suffer from color vision deficiency, which is the clinical name for being colorblind. While most cases are inherited, many hereditary disorders skip generations, and you may not be aware that you had a color-blind great-grandparent or other ancestor. Here is a guide to why it is important to determine if your child is colorblind at an early age and a few of the first signs that your child may have this disorder. Why Early Colorblind Detection is Important While colorblind adults you may know have likely learned to live just as happily with their disorder than without, children who are color blind may first be suspected to have learning difficulties. This can occur when your child is learning the names of colors and doesn’t seem to “get it.” This can lead to unneeded stress and worry that your child may have learning problems when the true source of this problem is color vision deficiency. Also, some forms of colorblindness can be managed with special tinted glasses prescribed by your ophthalmologist. The sooner your child is diagnosed, the sooner he or she can begin wearing the lenses. Early Warning Signs That a Child is Colorblind Red-green color vision deficiency is the most common type of colorblindness, but there are other types to watch out for, including tritanopia, which is blue-yellow colorblindness and monochromacy, which results in gray-scale vision (this type is very rare). There is a great online tool that lets you see objects as if you were color-blind. Here are some signs that your child may be suffering from some form of color vision deficiency: Trouble learning colors. If your child is progressing well in pre-school or with at-home teaching but is having trouble recognizing colors, then you may at first become alarmed that he or she is having trouble learning. This occurrence is often the first sign of a color-blind child. Sensitivity to light. Proper processing of color and light in the eyes relies on two types of cells in the retinas called rods and cones. Rods process light, and cones process colors. In people who can see the full color spectrum clearly, there is a balance of rods and cones. There […]

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Understanding Cataracts

Failing eyesight can be an incredibly scary prospect. Cataracts affect a huge number of people every year, but thankfully, they can be treated with surgery. Whether you suspect that you might have cataracts or your doctor has told you that you have cataracts, you might be confused, worried, or just curious about how cataracts work. To help you out, here is an overview of what cataracts are and how they are treated. What is a cataract? The eye is composed of several parts that work together. When one such part (the lens) becomes cloudy, vision can suffer severely as a result. The clouding of the lens can make colors seem less vivid, create difficulties with the perception of bright lights, and can just weaken your vision in general. How can you tell if you have cataracts? If you have a problem with your vision, then the first thing that you should do is visit your eye doctor. There are many different conditions that affect the eyes, and some are treatable while some are not. Additionally, some conditions should be caught early in order to allow for a time-sensitive treatment regimen. Therefore, the only way to determine whether or not you really have cataracts is to pay a visit to your eye doctor. What are the risk factors? Although anyone can get cataracts, they are mostly common in the elderly and as a genetic factor. Some individuals are born with cataracts, while others might never develop them. In rarer cases, individuals who have been exposed to radiation may develop cataracts. On the other hand, some substances, diseases, and surgeries can also increase the risk for cataracts. Alcohol and tobacco consumption and diabetes may increase risk of cataracts later in life. Unfortunately, some surgical procedures on the eyes can also lead directly to cataracts, especially if there was some error in the procedure. What is the treatment? The most common treatment for cataracts is phacoemulsification. In this process, you are given anesthetic, small cuts are made into the eye, a small instrument is used to deliver ultrasound waves to the lens, and then the problematic matter is sucked out. The whole process is relatively painless and usually takes less than an hour. This means that you can get your cataracts dealt with quickly and easily with minimal downtime. Cataracts can develop very slowly over time and you might not even realize that you […]

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3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Travel Overseas for Cataract Surgery

If you are currently facing the need to have cataract surgery done on one or both of your eyes, you might not be looking forward to the cost of this procedure. If you are uninsured or underinsured, there is a good chance that you will be held responsible for the cost of your surgery. This could leave you thinking about traveling overseas to have the surgery done at a lower rate, but this is a decision that you should seriously reconsider. Even though people from all over the United States travel overseas to have various procedures done at lower prices, this can be a very bad idea, especially if you are having surgery done on your eyes. These are a few reasons why. 1. The Surgery Might Not Be Safe Depending on the country that you are thinking about traveling to for your surgery, you should know that many overseas countries don’t require their physicians to be held to the same standards as they are held to in the United States. This means that you could end up having your procedure done by a physician who would not be considered qualified to do the job in the United States. The surgery could also be an outdated surgery and might not be as successful or as safe as the procedure that you would have done at home. 2. You May Not Be Able to Get the Medication That You Need After cataract surgery, you will need to use various types of eye drops to keep your eyes properly lubricated and to help them heal properly. The prescription that you get from overseas will not be considered valid in the United States, however, which could make it very difficult for you to get the medication that you need to properly treat your eyes after the procedure. 3. It Might Not Be Safe to Travel Home Afterward As you might already know, airplane travel can make your eyes very dry in even the best of conditions. However, after cataract surgery, it is very important to keep your eyes properly lubricated so that they can remain comfortable and heal properly. Along with causing problems with the lubrication of your eyes, you may also find yourself in a medical emergency without access to a doctor while you are on the plane. If you have the procedure done in the United States, however, you do not […]

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