Blepharitis

August 28, 2013

Blepharitis is an eyelid inflammation; it can cause red, irritated, itchy eyelids which may or may not exhibit dandruff-like scaling on the eyelashes. It can be annoying or uncomfortable, but generally does not cause any permanent damage to eyesight. There are two main types of blepharitis: anterior blepharitis (occurring at the outer edge of the lid where eyelashes connect) and posterior blepharitis (occurring at the inner edge of the lid which comes into contact with the eyeball).

Symptoms of Blepharitis

Gritty/burning sensation in the eyesExcessive tearingItchiness of the lidsRedness/swelling of the lidsDry eyesCrusting of the eyelidsBlurring vision 

What causes blepharitis?

The cause of blepharitis can vary from bacteria or general dandruff to an influx of oil gland production or even mites!

How is blepharitis treated?

In many cases, a regular cleaning routine can reduce or even resolve symptoms. Good lid hygiene is important; this may include warm compresses, face washing, cleaning the eyelids, and avoiding overuse/sleeping in makeup and contact lenses. If the cause of blepharitis is bacterial in nature, topical treatments may be added to alleviate symptoms.

A tip for warm compresses: fill a coffee mug with water that is as hot as you can tolerate. Bring a clean washcloth and the mug with you and sit down and relax. Dip the washcloth into the hot water in the mug, then hold across closed eyes; rewet washcloth in the mug to reheat as needed. This allows for a reduced need to get up and reheat the washcloth!


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Back to School!

August 21, 2013

Can it be that time already?! Back to school examinations can get your child ready for the school year ahead. Nothing is quite as beneficial for kids as going back to school relaxed from their summer vacation with clear vision! A large percentage of children under 8 have never had a comprehensive eye exam (some estimate at 50%!). Making sure your child’s vision and eye health are in working order is a great way to prepare them for the school year ahead. New frames for kids are lightweight, versatile, and comfortable, in addition to the benefits corrective lenses give them!

Because a child’s vision adapts and compensates for low qualities, your child may not even complain of poor vision! As we discussed earlier this month, that can be a big problem if their vision is compromised by an “invisible” condition like amblyopia (lazy eye) or a sometimes visible condition like strabismus (eye turn). While in-school vision checks may be sufficient for the very basic vision testing, a comprehensive eye examination is recommended to give your child the most expert level of care.


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Color Vision Deficiency and Stereovision

August 14, 2013

Color Vision Deficiency

Color vision is the ability to distinguish objects based on the wavelengths of light that are reflected, emitted, or transmitted. Human color perception is a brain response to stimuli produced and reacted with by cone photoreceptors in the eye. Color vision deficiency, or “color blindness,” manifests as a loss of color perception to one or many color wavelengths. Often, color vision deficiency is a congenital disorder, though it may be produced by physical or chemical damage to the eye, optic nerve, or brain. Color vision deficiency affects a large portion of individuals, occurring with much greater frequency in men than in women. Deficiencies in the red-green fields are most common. While color vision deficiencies are not treatable, people with the disability generally do not notice a significant negative impact in their daily activities. Examinations in childhood will often pick up on these deficiencies.

Want to test your color vision?! Follow the link below!http://www.toledo-bend.com/colorblind/Ishihara.asp

 

Stereovision

Do you know that there are some people who can’t see 3D? Stereoscopic vision in humans gives us our ability to see depth; under normal conditions, the eyes work together to provide vision of an image, along with its depth. In people with limited or no stereoscopic vision (ex: those affected by amlyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (eye turn), or patients with a blind or only one eye), depth perception may be limited or nonexistent. In patients with limited stereoscopic vision due to strabismus or amblyopia, treatments may be available to correct vision in the impaired eye, possibly providing some development of stereoscopic vision, though treatment as early as possible is desirable to ensure that possibility.

Want to test your stereovision?! Follow the link below!

http://www.vision3d.com/frame.html


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Childhood Eye Disorders

August 7, 2013

Disorders of the eye can be detrimental at any age, but can be especially devastating in childhood. Many of these conditions can be terrifying, especially to a nervous parent; thankfully, many congenital disorders and/or disorders developed in childhood can be treated and kept in check, even if they are not “curable.” In April, we discussed one such childhood disorder, retinoblastoma (http://www.legarretaeyecenter.com/blog/news-and-updates/cancer). This week, we’ll dive into some less frightening disorders of childhood: amblyopia, strabismus, and refractive errors.

Amblyopia

Developmental problems in the brain causing delayed or stunted visual development are most often the cause of amblyopia, or “lazy eye.” Within childhood visual development, there is a period of critical development which, if treatment for amblyopia is not adhered to, can cause lifelong visual limitations. What makes determination and treatment difficult is the ability of the brain to compensate for poor vision, out of one eye especially; children affected by amblyopia may not even realize that they have limitations. Amblyopia is usually congenital and can be secondary to other eye conditions, including congenital cataracts, strabismus (misaligned eyes), and anisometropia (unequal refractive error between the two eyes).

Treatment, often in the form of patching or blocking the vision of the better seeing eye, can be integral to increasing the visual capabilities. Difficulties arise in compliance, especially with children adhering to advised treatments. Parents are urged to be vigilant in recommended treatments; vision not developed within the fundamental visual development period is lost forever. After the visual developmental period is over, no further treatments have significant effects on vision in amblyopic eyes, and children may be excluded from certain careers (and are more at risk for limited capabilities if better seeing eye is damaged).

Strabismus

Strabismus is a condition where the eyes are misaligned; this may be a constant or may be intermittent, somewhat controllable or completely uncontrollable. While it is a relatively rare condition, it is estimated that it is present in approximately 4% of children. Advised treatments should be begun as soon as possible to ensure the best possible visual outcome; treatments include surgery on the muscles of the eyes, prisms in refractive spectacles, and monitoring. Symptoms include an eye that turns out, in, up, or down; this may switch between either eye, or may be only affecting one eye; further, constant or intermittent misalignment may be noted. During your child’s examination, testing may be performed to attempt to cause the affected eye(s) to deviate if it is not immediately apparent.

Refractive Errors

Refractive errors are simply the visual disorders many of us are born with or develop; nearsightedness, astigmatism, and farsightedness are common refractive errors. It is important to treat these in childhood with glasses, if deemed necessary by your eye care professional. Some symptoms of refractive errors include sitting more closely to the television, holding books closer while reading, squinting, and complaining of poor vision. Teachers and parents may notice a decrease in performance in school or difficulties reading the chalk/smartboard or books. Determination of refractive error is often a simple, non-invasive eye examination.


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