Focus on Optical

March 27, 2013

Opticians are specialists in all aspects of glasses, including current fashion trends; it is okay to ask them questions or have them help you select the best kind of eyewear suitable for you. They are here to assist you in selecting and enjoying your eyewear choices. Feel free to come in during any of our office hours to visit the optical department and ask them any questions you may have regarding glasses or contacts. We asked one of our specialized opticians, Tim, the following questions:

What do you take into consideration when helping someone select glasses?

Tim:  The fit, style and prescription. We will talk to the patient to find out what they are looking for or what they like.

What are your recommendations when someone wants to wear contacts for the first time?

Tim:  We would recommend starting with Daily Disposables (if applicable).

What is the best and proper way to clean my glasses? What about my contact lenses?

Tim:  To clean glasses, use our spray cleaner and a soft cloth (NO paper products!). And for contacts, use an all in one solution to clean contacts every day!

What is the difference between all of the lens types? What about frame materials?

Tim:  Basic is CR 39 Plastic, Better is Polycarbonate (thin, durable, UV & scratch resistant), Best is 1.67 High Index (thinner than the Polycarbonate plus all the other benefits), Premium is 1.74 High Index. The Crizal anti-reflective coating can go on any lens. All of these are available in Single vision, Bi-focals and Tri-focals, and numerous styles of progressive lenses.

What are some of the brands/labels you offer at Legaretta Eye Center?

Tim: Dolce & Gabbana, Prada Linea Rossa, Coach, Michael Kors, Silhoette, Ray Ban, Oakley, Axel, BCBG, Line Art, OGI, Maui Jim

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March 20, 2013

Headaches can certainly interrupt the flow of your day! Though some are idiopathic in origin (meaning, we don’t really know what causes them), many can be caused by outside factors, including eye strain. There are many common eye problems which can bring on headaches, including astigmatism, hyperopia or presbyopia, and glaucoma. For this reason, recurrent, especially painful, and/or vision-impairing headaches should be diagnosed as early as possible. For example, a condition called acute angle closure glaucoma can cause severe eye pain/headaches in addition to vision loss. If this is not treated in an expedited timeframe, vision loss can be permanent and irreparable.

Ocular strain can be the cause of headaches; subconsciously, we focus harder when trying to compensate for uncorrected vision. This is one of the reasons why having an up-to-date glasses or contact lens prescription can be essential for eye comfort. Further, the extent to which we use computers, smart phones, and tablets can increase our eye strain; as we discussed in our blog post on dry eye, computers can be detrimental to tear film as we tend to blink less when performing staring activities.

Headache symptoms can present (in relation to the eye) as: tearing, ocular redness, ptosis (eyelid drooping), pupil size changes, blurred vision, and pain or discomfort in and/or around the eye(s). Any presentation of a headache can be cause for some concern; when they become recurrent, it is usually best to follow with your primary doctor, your eye care doctor, and/or a neurologist as headaches can denote severe problems which can require medical attention.

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Vitamin Therapy

March 13, 2013

As with the rest of the blog entries, this entry is not intended to replace a doctor’s medical advice, nor should it supersede your current health regimen. Please consult your medical care provider PRIOR to beginning any medical regimen, even vitamin therapy, as some vitamins can counteract certain medications and even put your health at risk.

Having a broad range of food groups from which you obtain your daily caloric count is essential to overall health. Ensuring that you include leafy greens, naturally-vitamin enriched fruits and vegetables, and limiting your intake of fats and simple carbohydrates can do quite a bit to increase your overall health. However, even diets rich in the essential nutrients for your best health can benefit from the addition of vitamin therapy. Certain vitamins can even aide in ocular health! Always make sure that you purchase vitamins from a reputable company; while certain products may be absorbed by the body more easily than others, purchasing higher quality vitamins can even be safer than inexpensive, foreign-market derived vitamins.

Dietary Choices and Ocular Health

There is a veritable smorgasbord of foods that are wonderful for eye health. Focusing on the main vitamins that promote ocular health is a great way to start any dietary change as the foods that aide in eye health aide in overall health as well.

Types of Vitamins Which Can Aide in Ocular Health:

A. Fish Oil/Flaxseed Oil/Omega-3s; these vitamins are a full-body enhancer, meaning, they can aide in the overall health of the body, from hair growth to ocular lubrication, to protection against cancers and Alzheimer’s disease. One tip for fish oil supplements: freezing the tablets can reduce their “repeat” effect (burping/fishy taste), which can often be a deterrent for patients who have had issues in the past. The addition of fish or flaxseed oils should be monitored by your primary care physician. There are natural sources for Omega-3s as well, including seafood, walnuts, flaxseed, fresh basil, and Chinese broccoli. 

B. Antioxidants and Vitamins C and E; while there are many delicious natural sources of antioxidants and Vitamins C and E (including blueberries, sweet red peppers, strawberries, citrus fruits, and broccoli), many patients may prefer to add a vitamin supplement in addition to their dietary regimen.

Because Vitamin C is water-soluble (meaning, excess amounts are excreted in urine), taking above the recommended daily allowance is generally considered to be safe. In addition to providing a reduced risk for coronary heart disease, it is believed that 500mg of Vitamin C daily can reduce the risk of early cataract development. Smoking, while detrimental to general health, can decrease the effectiveness of Vitamin C, and should be considered when taking therapeutic treatments.

C. Lutein & Zeaxanthin.These important nutrients are found in leafy green vegetables and eggs. They can reduce risks for AMD and cataracts. High intakes of Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Vitamin E can decrease cataract development by neutralizing free radicals.

D. Zinc.An essential trace mineral, zinc aides in transferring Vitamin A from the liver to the retina to produce melanin, which provides pigmentary protection to the eyes. Zinc deficiency can lead to poor night vision, cataracts, and infection susceptibility. Patients who are at risk for AMD may benefit from increased zinc intake. This can be done via supplementation or by adhering to a diet rich in wheat germ, eggs, seafood, mixed nuts, black-eyed peas, tofu, and baked beans.

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March 6, 2013

Hypertension, or High Blood Pressure, can and does affect ocular health in many patients by causing a disorder known as Hypertensive Retinopathy. Hypertensive Retinopathy can damage the retina, the back layer of the eye where visual imaging occurs, which can severely deplete visual capabilities. Further, Hypertensive Retinopathy can signal to your ocular specialist that your blood pressure is not under control and you may be at a greater risk for severe systemic damages, including blindness, stroke, and even death. 

Unfortunately, Hypertensive Retinopathy is much like glaucoma, in that it can often be a “silent” until the disease has progressed to late or severe state. Symptoms can include: loss of vision (sometimes sudden), visual changes, double vision, blurred or dim vision, and headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they occur suddenly, immediacy of treatment is one of the most important factors in potentially saving some of your vision. 

Depending on the severity of retinopathy, your eye care professional may wish to monitor your status or send you to a retinal specialist for further evaluation, which may include more extensive testing to determine blood vessel flow. Hypertensive retinopathy is graded on a scale of 1 to 4, 1 being minimal to no damage and 4 being severe damage, possibly including optic nerve or macular swelling and severe decreases to vision.

Treating your hypertension, whether with medications, diet, exercise, or a combination of the above, is the best method to ensure that hypertensive retinopathy is not an issue affecting your ocular health. Following with eye care professionals and your primary medical doctor may provide a significant boon to your overall health.

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