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What Type of Sunglasses Are Best For People With Low Vision?

What Type of Sunglasses Are Best For People With Low Vision 640×350

While everyone should wear sunglasses that block 100% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, those with low vision greatly benefit from the sunglasses’ decreased glare and improved contrast and clarity.

Below are a few things to consider when selecting glasses if you have low vision.

Protection

The first and most crucial feature to look for in sunglasses are lenses that provide 100% UV-A and UV-B protection. Your eyelids, cornea, lens, and certain sections of the retina can all be damaged by ultraviolet light.

Don’t buy sunglasses if the label doesn’t say 100% UV Protection against both UVA and UVB’ or 100% protection against UV 400. Consider purchasing wrap-around or tight-fitting sunglasses that don’t allow UV light to reach your eyes from the sides or the top of the glasses.

Visibility

Many people often believe that darker lenses equal better protection. In fact, darker lenses don’t necessarily provide better protection and may even reduce visibility, especially for people with eye conditions like glaucoma. Before purchasing sunglasses, discuss the optimal lens darkness with your low-vision eye doctor. Then try a variety of lens shades in the office to see which ones provide the most visibility and comfort.

Glare

Glare sensitivity is a symptom of macular degeneration and many other eye conditions. Even when sitting in the shade, the sun can reflect off the water, the road, a car’s hood and other surfaces, creating a harsh glare. Polarized sunglass lenses decrease the glare reflected off these and other surfaces. This results in increased comfort, improved clarity and reduced eye fatigue.

Clarity

Since macular degeneration reduces one’s sharp vision, wearing sunglasses with high-quality lenses is critical. The clarity of the lens is determined by the quality of the lens material. When trying on the lenses, ask the staff to get you the clearest sunglass lenses they have.

Enhanced Contrast

People with low vision struggle to distinguish contrast. Fortunately, certain tinted lenses provide improved contrast. These include orange and yellow lenses.

So before you select your new pair of sunglasses, make sure to wear them outside and see whether they provide optical clarity, decreased glare, and improved contrast.

If you or a loved one has low vision, contact Low Vision Center At Mascoutah Eye Care to discuss which sunglasses are right for you.

Our practice serves patients from Mascoutah, Belleville, O'Fallon, and Edwardsville, Illinois and surrounding communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. McDaniel

Q: What is low vision?

  • A: Low vision is an eye condition that cannot be corrected with conventional eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery. It includes eye conditions like macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.

Q: Why is UV protection important for low vision patients?

  • A: Sunglasses may help people with low vision prevent future vision loss caused by UV radiation exposure.

 

June 27 Is National Sunglasses Day!

Monday, Jun 27, 2022 is National Sunglasses Day, so grab your favorite pair of sunnies and celebrate!

Many people think sunglasses are little more than a fashion accessory or a way to minimize glare while driving.

But the truth is that wearing sunglasses is vital if you want to safeguard your eye health and vision.

Why Sunglasses are Important

The number one reason to wear sunglasses is that they prevent ultraviolet (UV) light from entering your eyes.

UV light has been shown to age every part of the eye, from the delicate outer eye tissue to the tiny structures within the eye itself. Chronic UV exposure raises your risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and corneal damage.

The skin on your eyelids is the thinnest skin of your body, and UV light exposure can further thin eyelid skin, leading to premature aging and the appearance of dark circles and under-eye bags. Additionally, wearing sunglasses can help prevent wrinkles because you’ll squint less in the sunshine. Who knew sunglasses can be a key player in your anti-aging routine?

Moreover, UV light has been shown to slow the cornea’s ability to heal itself, making sunglasses a medical necessity for people who’ve recently had eye surgery like LASIK, or those who frequently wear contacts (overwearing contacts can irritate the cornea).

Finally, sunglasses are a fun way to show the world your personality and accessorize any outfit.

Activities for National Sunglasses Day

Not sure how to celebrate National Sunglasses Day? Here are a few ideas you may enjoy.

Sport your favorite pair of sunglasses during an outdoor activity, whether it’s a barbecue with friends, a concert at a stadium or time spent in the park.

You can also celebrate National Sunglasses Day by gifting a pair of quality sunglasses to a friend, spouse or child!

No matter how you choose to celebrate National Sunglasses Day, we hope you enjoy and keep your eyes protected.

For all matters related to eye health, ​​Mascoutah Eye Care in Mascoutah is here for you. Contact our eye doctor today!

FAQ With Our Optometrist

Should kids wear sunglasses?

Yes, children of all ages should wear sunglasses whenever they’re outdoors. In fact, it’s crucial because a child’s crystalline lens within the eye is much more clear than an adult’s, letting more light through. Contact us to learn more about kids’ eye health or to schedule an eye exam.

Can sunglasses block blue light?

Sunglasses with lenses that have a yellowish tint offer the most amount of blue light protection, from the sun and other sources. If you’re interested in blocking the blue light that’s emitted from your digital devices, speak with us to determine if computer glasses are right for you.

What’s The Connection Between Dry Eye And Asthma?

Woman with Dry Eye And AsthmaResearchers have already established several known risk factors for developing dry eye syndrome: the quality of your tears, excessive screen time, air pollution, hormonal fluctuations, aging, certain medications and medical conditions, and even one’s gender (females are more prone).

Here’s another risk factor that’s recently been added to the list: having asthma.

Asthma is a disease of the lungs that affects about 300 million people around the globe. Symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, coughing and breathlessness.

Fortunately, asthmatic patients are usually able to do the activities they enjoy by taking prescription medications that facilitate easier breathing.

But medical professionals have noticed that individuals taking these medicines, and sometimes even asthmatic patients who don’t, have a higher incidence of dry eye syndrome.

If you have asthma or any other risk factors for dry eye syndrome, let your eye doctor know. The eye care professionals at Mascoutah Eye Care can identify the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms and provide you with lasting dry eye relief.

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes consistently lack proper lubrication, either due to insufficient tears or tears that lack essential oils.

Here’s a list of the common dry eye symptoms:

  • Burning, gritty or itchy eyes
  • Eye dryness
  • Red or painful eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Stringy mucus around the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty or inability to wear contact lenses
  • Feeling that something is stuck in your eye

What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?

Most cases of dry eye syndrome result from the dysfunction of the meibomian glands in the eyelids, which produce the vital oils needed for healthy tears, and which reduce tear evaporation. But dry eyes can also be caused by some autoimmune diseases, hormone replacement therapy, certain medications and, it appears, asthma or the medications that treat it.

Environmental factors that can bring on dry eye syndrome include exposure to wind or airborne irritants, pollution, infrequent or incomplete blinking (people blink less when they use digital devices), heating, air conditioning and dry weather. Certain makeup products, including mascara, and application methods such as applying makeup on the eyelid margin, can block the glands that lubricate the eyes.

Can Dry Eye Syndrome Be Cured?

There is now a wide range of treatment options that can successfully manage your dry eyes. The key is to allow us to find and target the underlying cause of your condition, so we can create a plan to minimize and sometimes eliminate your dry eye symptoms.

What’s the Link Between Asthma and Dry Eye Syndrome?

Several studies have examined the relationship between asthma and dry eye syndrome and found that although a link exists, researchers aren’t sure exactly why.

One study, published in BMJ Open (2019), found that asthmatic people of Australian, Caucasian and Asian descent have higher rates of dry eye syndrome than those without asthma.

Another study, published in Medicine (2020), established a significant link between asthma and dry eye syndrome, and found that children with asthma tend to have an unstable tear film — a common cause of dry eyes.

One hypothesis is that asthma medications, like inhaled corticosteroids, oral antihistamines and leukotriene receptor antagonists may contribute to eye dryness by inhibiting tear production, but further research is needed.

Could asthma itself be the culprit? Possibly, but more research is needed for a better understanding. What is known, however, is that having low blood oxygen levels caused by severe asthma can deprive the front section of the eye (the cornea) of oxygen, potentially leading to dry eye syndrome.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Research shows that having asthma may increase your risk of experiencing dry eye symptoms.

If you have asthma, speak with your optometrist about lowering your risk of developing dry eye syndrome and make sure to bring all of your asthma medications to your next eye exam.

If you already have certain symptoms of dry eye syndrome, promptly contact Mascoutah Eye Care to schedule a dry eye consultation. We’ll create a personalized treatment plan so you can enjoy long-term relief.

Our practice serves patients from Mascoutah, Belleville, O'Fallon, and Edwardsville, Illinois and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. McDaniel

Q: What at-home remedies can relieve dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Make sure to stay hydrated and wear sunglasses whenever outdoors. If you use an indoor heater or air conditioner, direct the airflow away from your face. Use a humidifier at home and at work. You can also try using a warm eye compress. Ask your eye doctor for instructions on how to do so. But keep in mind that trying to manage dry eye syndrome without seeing a dry eye optometrist won’t be as effective.

Q: How is dry eye syndrome treated?

  • A: The type of treatment depends on what’s causing the symptoms. For example, if premature tear evaporation is the problem, your optometrist may prescribe eye drops. Or if your meibomian glands aren’t functioning as they should, unclogging the glands may do the trick. Medicated eye ointment or drops may be prescribed, or we may recommend certain in-office dry eye treatments. Each treatment plan is carefully formulated with your eyes and lifestyle in mind.

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 618-566-6270

Could Working From Home Be Hurting Your Vision?

Working at home is a great way to ditch your commute and enjoy more flexible hours, but there can be an unexpected consequence—digital eye strain. If you’re like many workers, you probably spend most of your day on a computer or other digital device, and likely experience the headache, blurred vision, sore eyes or achy back so common with digital (computer) eye strain.

In contrast to being in the office, where workers take coffee breaks and socialize, working solo at home often translates into spending more time on the computer without breaks, and often beyond the typical 9 to 5 schedule. This can increase the likelihood of developing digital eye strain.

What Is Digital Eye Strain?

Digital eye strain, also called computer vision syndrome (CVS), affects an estimated 70% of adults, especially those between the ages of 18 and 34.The eye strain results from extended hours focusing on a computer screen, and may be worsened by hours of exposure to blue light, high-energy visible light emitted by digital screens.

Blue light can cause short-term eye strain and discomfort, and scientists are researching whether it could also be linked to serious eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts.

Moreover, staring at a screen, or even a printed book, causes people to blink up to 66% less often. Blinking is essential as it hydrates your eyes and stimulates the release of oil from the tiny glands in your eyelids. This oil also prevents tears from evaporating too quickly, thus drying out the eyes. Dry eyes can cause blurry vision, which further exacerbates eye strain.

What Are the Symptoms of Digital Eye Strain?

The following are common symptoms of digital eye strain:

  • Blurry vision
  • Eye soreness
  • Headaches Dry eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Neck, back and shoulder pain

How Can I Prevent Digital Eye Strain?

No need to ditch your job in order to avoid eye strain. There are other, more practical, ways to lessen the negative impact of screen time on our eyes. Below are some helpful tips.

Take Breaks

Even if you aren’t at the office and may not have co-workers to hang out with at the coffee machine or water cooler, make sure to take frequent breaks that don’t require screen time. Perhaps take a walk or reward yourself with a short nap. These breaks not only give your eyes a rest, but can rest your mind for a few minutes so you can work more efficiently.

Consider adopting the 20/20/20 habit. For every 20 minutes you spend in front of a screen, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away. This will prevent you from overstraining your eyes and will encourage you to blink more, providing your eyes with much-needed hydration.

Adjust Screen Brightness

Bright screens can place a significant burden on your eyes. Simply adjusting your screen’s brightness can help rest your eyes.

See Your Eye Doctor

If you spend prolonged periods in front of the screen, it’s important to schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor to discuss whether you would benefit from lubricating eye drops or a pair of computer glasses. These computer glasses (or blue light glasses) allow your eyes to relax and make you feel as if you’re focusing on faraway objects. They also reduce glare and filter out blue light.

Whether you’re suffering from any of the symptoms related to digital eye strain or simply want to prevent it, we invite you to book an appointment with Mascoutah Eye Care in Mascoutah. With the right eye care and work habits, you should be able to successfully and quickly reduce and prevent eye strain.

Q&A With Our Optometrist

How long does it take to recover from computer eye strain?

If you don’t have an underlying eye condition, symptoms of digital eye strain can sometimes disappear within a few hours or days. But if you have recurrent eye strain, speak with your eye doctor, as the right eye drops or computer glasses could improve your visual comfort and quality of life.

Can digital eye strain affect my work productivity?

You may think spending hours in front of a computer screen will improve your productivity, when in reality, it may have the opposite effect. According to a study at the University of Alabama/Birmingham School of Optometry, even minor vision problems, such as eye strain, disrupt worker productivity by at least 20%.

So make sure to take steps to control lighting and glare on the device screen and establish proper working distances and posture for screen viewing. To learn more and to alleviate or prevent eye strain, contact Mascoutah Eye Care today.

Low Vision and Visual Hallucinations

Illustrating Visual HallucinationsAny eye condition that results in vision loss can lead a person to experience visual hallucinations. Wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is no exception. Wet AMD is caused by new blood vessels leaking fluid into the retina, resulting in permanent macular damage and vision loss.

Visual hallucinations caused by vision loss are also known as Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) — an infrequent yet disabling symptom of wet AMD. These hallucinations, unrelated to mental illness, can be highly disconcerting and even frightening when they first appear.

The hallucinations have no known cure or single treatment. However, by understanding what causes them, you’ll be able to reduce your anxiety when they occur and establish techniques to get through them with minimal discomfort.

Contact Low Vision Center At Mascoutah Eye Care if you’re experiencing vision loss and associated hallucinations. We can help you manage your symptoms and help you maximize your remaining vision.

What is Charles Bonnet Syndrome?

It is estimated that 50-60% of people suffering from severe vision loss experience visual hallucinations. Patterns, as well as more complex pictures such as people, animals, flowers, and buildings, can appear during these hallucinations.

This occurs because, in patients with severe eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy, the eyes no longer send visual signals to the brain as before. Without them, the brain fills the void by recalling images from memory, resulting in visual hallucinations.

CBS was named after Charles Bonnet, an 18th-century Swiss scientist who first identified this condition in his grandfather and then developed it himself.

What Do Visual Hallucinations Look Like?

CBS hallucinations may appear as simple as flashes of light, colors or shapes.

Others may experience more complex structures, such as geometrical grids and lattices.

Landscaped gardens, animals, people, and a procession of costumed characters wearing hats have also been reported by CBS patients.

Some people find their hallucinations enjoyable, while others find them to be an unwelcome inconvenience, especially if they temporarily obstruct vision.

When Do Visual Hallucinations Occur?

CBS hallucinations come and go without warning, typically spanning over months or years, with no apparent reason and no connection to cognitive or psychiatric disease.

The syndrome’s prevalence in patients with visual impairment varies from 10% to 15%, but can also affect patients with other eye conditions or diseases, including glaucoma and stroke.

While CBS is more frequent in those over the age of 80, it can affect anyone at any age. In fact, people can also experience visual hallucinations even if they just have minor vision loss or small blind spots.

What Causes CBS?

Exactly what causes visual hallucinations is unknown, but researchers believe that the interruption or destruction of nerve cells leads to the loss of signals from the eye to the brain. MRIs show that these visual signals ordinarily inhibit some nerve activity in the brain. So when the signals between the eye and brain are missing, there is more spontaneous nerve activity, which is perceived as hallucinations.

How to Manage Visual Hallucinations

Eye movements appear to reduce the severity and duration of hallucinations. Even if individuals have limited remaining vision, eye movements engage visual areas of the brain in people with macular degeneration. Certain types of hallucinations, notably patterns and colors, may be stopped by these motions.

[Eye_doctors] recommend patients consciously move their eyes when experiencing a hallucination.

Try the following exercise:

    • Imagine two locations on a wall in front of you that are about 3 feet apart from each other. For 15–30 seconds, stand 3.5 feet away and glance from one place to the other once every second or faster. When looking left and right, don’t move your head and keep your eyes open.
    • Repeat the exercise if your hallucinations are still there.

    The technique is unlikely to work if the hallucinations have not stopped after four or five attempts. However, you might want to try again later.

    Other ways to stop a hallucination:

    • Look away from the image towards an object on the side of your vision or shut your eyes
    • Turn on the lights in the room or, if you’re in a brightly lit room, go somewhere darker.
    • Get up and engage in physical activity.

    If you have wet AMD and are experiencing visual hallucinations, contact Low Vision Center At Mascoutah Eye Care. We can help.

    Our practice serves patients from Mascoutah, Belleville, O'Fallon, and Edwardsville, Illinois and surrounding communities.

     

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. McDaniel

    Q: Are there risk factors for CBS?

    • A: While people of any age can be affected by Charles Bonnet hallucinations, it tends to occur later in life and usually after a sudden deterioration of vision.

    Q: Can other conditions cause visual hallucinations?

    • A: Other disorders that might cause visual hallucinations include psychiatric diseases and neurologic conditions like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Visual hallucinations can also be caused by a variety of prescription and illegal substances, as well as withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. Speak with your eye doctor if you are experiencing hallucinations.

    What Exactly is an Eye Chart?

    If there’s one aspect of optometry that everyone recognizes, it’s the traditional eye chart, with its rows of big letters on top, which gradually become smaller the farther down you go. This chart is usually known as the Snellen chart.

    Yet how much do you really know about this eye chart? Are all eye charts the same? How are these eye charts used? And when were they invented?

    Here’s everything you need to know about eye charts and more!

    What is an Eye Chart?

    An eye chart is one of the tools your eye doctor uses to assess your eyesight. Based on how well you can see various letters on the chart, your optometrist will determine whether you have myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia (age-related farsightedness) or astigmatism, and will measure the prescription that will give you the clearest, most comfortable vision.

    Are All Eye Charts The Same?

    There are a number of variations to the standard Snellen eye chart. The one an eye doctor uses depends on the personal needs and abilities of the patient. For example, eye doctors will use charts with pictures or patterns for younger children who may not have learned to read or identify letters and numbers.

    There are also certain charts that specifically measure distance vision, while others are better for measuring near vision.

    History of the Snellen Eye Chart

    The Snellen eye chart was developed by Dutch eye doctor Hermann Snellen in the 1860s. Before this standardized eye chart was developed, each eye doctor had their own chart that they preferred to use.

    Having so many different eye charts made it impossible to standardize the vision correction available to patients. Eyeglass makers didn’t receive the defined measurements they needed to accurately design, manufacture and measure the optical prescriptions their patients needed.

    For the first time, the Snellen eye chart allowed a person to provide a standardized prescription from any eye care provider they chose to any eyeglass maker, and get the same optical lenses to accurately correct their vision.

    How The Snellen Chart Is Used in Eye Exams

    The standard Snellen chart displays 11 rows of capital letters, with the first row consisting of a single large letter. The farther down the chart you go, the smaller the letters become.

    Your Mascoutah eye doctor will ask you to look through a phoropter – an instrument used to test individual lenses on each eye during an eye exam – and look at the Snellen chart placed 20 feet away. Your eye doctor will prescribe the lenses that provide you with the clearest and most comfortable vision.

    In many offices, where 20 feet of space may not be available, you’ll be asked to view the chart through a mirror. This provides the same visual experience as if you were standing 20 feet away.

    If you have 20/20 vision, it means you can see what an average person can see on an eye chart from a distance of 20 feet. On the other hand, if you have 20/40 vision, it means you can only see clearly from 20 feet away what a person with perfect vision can see clearly from 40 feet away.

    If you have 20/200 vision, the legal definition of blindness, this means what a person with perfect vision can see from 200 feet away, you can see from 20 feet away.

    Does 20/20 Visual Acuity Mean Perfect Vision?

    No. While eye chart tests identify refractive errors, they can’t detect signs of visual skill deficiencies or diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration. These are diagnosed using advanced equipment as part of a comprehensive eye exam with your local Mascoutah eye doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions are essential to ensuring long-term vision and eye health.

    For more information, give us a call at 618-566-6270 or visit us in person at Mascoutah Eye Care, today!

    Q&A With Your Local Optometrist

    How do you keep your eyes healthy?

    You only have one set of eyes – don’t take them for granted!

    Make sure to implement the following habits for healthy eyes (and body). These include:

    • Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables
    • Drinking plenty of water to hydrate your body and eyes
    • Not smoking, and avoiding 2nd-hand smoke
    • Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays
    • Maintaining normal BMI with regular exercise
    • Regular visits to your eye doctor as recommended

    What health conditions can an eye exam detect?

    A comprehensive eye exam can often detect certain underlying diseases that can threaten your sight and eye health, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tumors, autoimmune conditions and thyroid disorders. This is why having your eyes checked regularly is key. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome and the higher your quality of life.

    Bloodshot Eyes – Should You Be Concerned?

    You wake up in the morning ready to start your day, only to discover that your eyes are bloodshot. That might not be surprising if you stayed up late to finish a project, had too many drinks at a party or spent time in a smoke-filled room.

    But bloodshot eyes can also signal an underlying eye problem. If your eyes appear red or bloodshot, make an appointment with an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam to determine the cause and to receive effective treatment.

    Why Do I Have Bloodshot Eyes?

    When blood rushes to the front of the eye, the tiny red blood vessels on the white of the eye dilate and become visible. This makes the eyes appear red and irritated.

    So why do these blood vessels dilate, causing your eyes to look bloodshot?

    Bloodshot eyes tend to be caused by:

    • Dry eyes
    • Irritants such as smoke, pollen and perfume
    • Lack of sleep
    • Excessive alcohol consumption
    • Spending too much time in front of the computer

    Bloodshot eyes due to lifestyle and environmental irritants may disappear on their own, or you can try to relieve them with over-the-counter eye drops or liquid tears. Lifestyle changes, such as getting more sleep, cutting down on alcohol intake and limiting screen time can often be helpful. If allergies are the culprit, oral antihistamines and antihistamine eye drops may relieve symptoms.

    At other times, underlying problems requiring prompt medical attention can cause your eye’s blood vessels to dilate. The following are some of these medical conditions:

    Conjunctivitis

    You’ve probably heard of “pink eye.” It’s another name for infectious conjunctivitis – an infection of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane covering the eyelid and the front surface of the eye.

    There are two types of infectious conjunctivitis – bacterial and viral.

    If your child has conjunctivitis, they’re not alone. About 12% of kids get bacterial conjunctivitis every year. This highly contagious condition affects children and adults. In addition to reddish eyes, the following symptoms are associated with conjunctivitis:

    • Bacterial conjunctivitis – irritated eyes, swollen eyelids, eye discharge, crusty eyelids and excessive tearing
    • Viral conjunctivitis – cold or flu-like symptoms, runny nose, fever, itchy eyes, excessive tearing

    If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to schedule a prompt appointment with an eye doctor, who can diagnose whether the conjunctivitis is viral, bacterial or due to allergies.

    Depending on the diagnosis, your eye doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops or creams to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. The viral form may run its course after a few days, but cold compresses and non-prescription eye drops may provide relief.

    Dry Eye Syndrome

    If your eyes are chronically bloodshot you may have dry eye syndrome (DES). Signs of DES include:

    • Dry, irritated eyes
    • Burning or stinging eyes
    • Discharge from the eyes
    • Light sensitivity
    • A feeling you have something stuck in your eyes
    • Blurred vision
    • Watery eyes

    Dry eye syndrome is most commonly caused by a blockage of the tiny meibomian glands in the eyelids. These glands secrete oil that keeps eye moisture from evaporating too quickly. Without the oil, tears dry fast, leaving your eyes feeling dry, itchy and with a bloodshot appearance.

    Too much screen time, aging, certain medications such as antihistamines, and medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome can cause dry eye syndrome.

    In addition to any medications or in-office treatments your eye doctor recommends, make sure to get plenty of hydration, take frequent breaks from digital screens and use a humidifier in your home.

    Uveitis

    In addition to bloodshot eyes, if you also experience blurred vision, see floaters or your eyes feel painful, you may have an eye inflammation called uveitis. The causes of uveitis include:

    • Autoimmune or inflammatory condition
    • Infection
    • Medication side effects
    • Cancer (in rare cases)

    Unfortunately, uveitis symptoms can often be mistaken for something less serious. That’s the reason it’s important to get an eye exam if your eyes are bloodshot. Left untreated, uveitis can lead to serious conditions such as retinal scarring, cataracts and vision loss.

    Depending on the cause and severity, your eye doctor may treat uveitis with prescription eye drops, steroid pills, injections or eye implants.

    Eye Injury

    It’s vital that all eye injuries receive immediate eye care from an eye doctor.

    Even a minor eye injury can cause a big red blotch to form on the white part of the eye (sclera). The cause is a broken blood vessel or a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

    Although the appearance of this blood looks severe, and can make the entire white part of the eye appear bright red, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is usually painless and doesn’t cause vision loss. Any time you notice excessive blood on the eye following an eye injury, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to assess the health of your eye.

    Glaucoma

    In rare cases, bloodshot eyes may signal the presence of glaucoma – a leading cause of vision loss and blindness.

    While some types of glaucoma don’t show symptoms in the early phases, bloodshot eyes can indicate the type of glaucoma that requires immediate medical care. This disease causes damage to the optic nerve due to excessive pressure within the eye. When this pressure suddenly rises, the eye’s blood vessels become dilated and visible, making the eye appear red.

    If you have bloodshot eyes and/or have the following risk factors for glaucoma, immediately schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

    • Family history of glaucoma
    • Aged 60+
    • African American, Asian or Hispanic
    • Diabetes
    • High blood pressure

    Bloodshot Eyes Won’t Go Away?

    Talk to Us Any time you notice bloodshot eyes or blood on the front of the eye, don’t wait. Schedule your eye exam with Dr. McDaniel at Mascoutah Eye Care in Mascoutah today.

    Q&A With Your Local Optometrist

    Can I get bloodshot eyes after LASIK surgery?

    LASIK surgery is highly effective minimally invasive laser eye surgery that can correct refractive errors, but like all surgical procedures, it can have side effects. Your eyes may be bloodshot or you could see halos from a few days to three weeks after surgery. Additionally, you may experience other dry eye symptoms. Eye drops and liquid tears can alleviate these symptoms, but if you have any concerns about your eyes following LASIK surgery contact your eye surgeon.

    What Should I Expect from a Glaucoma Exam?

    If you have a family history and/or other risk factors for glaucoma, and if your eyes look bloodshot, consider scheduling a glaucoma exam. Your eye doctor may perform the following tests:

    • Tonometry – eye pressure test
    • Gonioscopy – to see how fluid is draining out of your eye
    • Vision field test – to examine the functioning of the optic nerve
    • Dilated pupil exam – to detect any damage to the optic nerve
    • Retinal photo or OCT – digital examination of the retina and optic nerve health

    Does Your Child Struggle With Reading?

    Family Reading Books TogetherSome kids are bookworms while others struggle to read, no matter how hard they try. For kids whose eyes aren’t perfectly aligned, trying to focus on letters and track words can be an exercise in frustration. If your child often loses their place while reading or covers one eye to see better, they may have binocular vision dysfunction (BVD)

    BVD often exists under the radar, whether at school or at home. In some cases, a teacher or pediatrician may mistakenly attribute a child’s behavioral and academic problems to learning disabilities or ADHD, when the source of these problems is eye misalignment or binocular vision dysfunction.

    What Is a Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD)?

    Binocular vision allows us to take nearly identical pieces of visual information from each eye and merge them into a single 3D image. When the two eyes aren’t properly aligned, your child may see double or the image may be blurred. The effort to turn the two distinct images into one clear 3D image often results in eyestrain, headaches, dizziness and difficulty reading. They may also suffer from motion sickness, poor coordination and concentration problems.

    So if your child complains of any of these symptoms and avoids reading, the real source of the issue could be eye misalignment.

    How Do You Know If Your Child Has Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD)?

    The only way to know if your child has binocular vision dysfunction is through a comprehensive eye exam performed by an eye doctor experienced in diagnosing and treating BVD.

    A neurovisual eye exam identifies any problems with eye alignment that may cause binocular vision dysfunction. If diagnosed with BVD, the eye doctor will prescribe special lenses that will train your child’s eyes into proper alignment, making reading easier.

    Transform Your Child’s Vision and Help Them Enjoy Reading

    We at have witnessed countless transformations in our young patients’ vision, reading and self-confidence thanks to a customized and highly effective binocular vision dysfunction treatment program.

    If your child struggles with reading or writing, we will thoroughly assess their vision and help your child get the treatment they need. To get a proper diagnosis, schedule a neurovisual eye exam with at today.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. McDaniel

    Q: Can a Traumatic Brain Injury Cause BVD?

    • A: Yes. During a brain injury, the parts of the brain responsible for vision and balance can become damaged and impact the pathways between the eyes and the brain. In fact, more than 90% of TBIs result in some degree of visual dysfunction, including BVD. If you or a loved one has recently suffered a brain injury, make sure to get your vision and eye health assessed by a neuro-optometrist.

    Q: What’s the Connection Between BVD and Nausea, Dizziness and Vertigo?

    • A: A wide range of symptoms have been associated with BVD that result from the stress placed on your eye muscles to attempt to bring your vision into perfect alignment. For instance, many people suffer from nausea, dizziness, and vertigo, but many don’t realize that these symptoms may be caused by a binocular vision problem. If you regularly experience motion sickness or struggle to walk properly due to problems with balance or dizziness, consider scheduling a BVD eye exam.

    Coping with Low Vision? 5 Ways to Make Your Home Safer

    Man with Low Vision on SofaIf you’ve been diagnosed with low vision, you may be worried about banging into the furniture or falling down the stairs. These simple modifications will help you stay safe at home, even with limited vision.

    What is Low Vision?

    Low Vision refers to significant visual impairment that can’t be fully corrected with conventional glasses, contact lenses, medication or eye surgery. The condition impacts nearly 250 million people worldwide, and 7% of all people over age 65. The most common symptoms of low vision are:

    • Blurred vision
    • Blind spots
    • Tunnel vision
    • Poor night vision

    The condition is often the result of eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Low vision can also result from congenital conditions, eye injuries and stroke.

    Although vision loss can’t be reversed, adjustments in your home can help you remain active, independent and safe.

    5 Ways Low Vision Patients Can Stay Safe at Home

    Get [Organized]

    It’s time to organize your home. Remove things you don’t need and anything that can impede your mobility around the house.

    • Get rid of loose area rugs
    • Make sure your carpet is completely fastened to the floor
    • Use zip ties and other fasteners to keep long cords out of the way
    • Confine small stools or tiny tables to areas where you don’t walk

    Become a master [organizer]. Be sure to put kitchen utensils, tools and other items in separate drawers and containers. Organize clothing in your closet by color, coats from light to heavy and shoes by season.

    Label Everything

    Having a place for everything is key. Once you’ve decided where everything should be, the next step is labeling your belongings. Use large letters and dark ink against light-colored paper, or brightly colored labels to differentiate between items.

    Go for Contrast

    Using contrasting colors is an easy way to make items stand out. If your couch is dark, place light-colored pillows at each end so you can see where to sit. Place fluorescent strips on dark stairs or dark strips on light stairs so you can step safely.

    Lighten Up

    Lighting your home properly can make a huge difference in your ability to see things and live safely, especially in places like the kitchen. You can add more brightness by:

    • Installing lighting in closets and under cabinets
    • Choosing bulbs with higher wattage
    • Using lights during the day to reduce glare
    • Try different types of lighting to see what helps you maximize your vision

    Use Low Vision Aids and Devices

    Your Low Vision Optometrist may prescribe low vision glasses and devices to enable you to see better and by helping you maximize your remaining vision. These include:

    • Telescopes – hand-held, spectacle-mounted and clip-on
    • Magnifiers – hand-held and standing
    • Non-optical visual aids – devices that increase light and enhance contrast
    • Computer-based aids – use software and large screens
    • Mobile phone applications – allow easier communication

    Discuss this with your eye doctor to see which types of visual aids are best for you. Many people with low vision use several types of visual aids for specific activities — for instance, magnifiers for reading and additional lighting for preparing food.

    Make the most of the internet with voice search features. This is particularly helpful if you quickly need emergency numbers or need to locate other information.

    Smart technology has revolutionized life for people with low vision. Voice-activated features let you turn lights on and off, open and close your garage doors and contact emergency services immediately.

    Talk to Us for Assistance with Low Vision

    Need answers for living safely and comfortably at home with low vision? We’ll advise you on how to maintain your independence and recommend the best visual aids for your individual lifestyle and needs. We’ll help you maximize your remaining vision so you can continue to do the things you love. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Marianne McDaniel at Low Vision Center At Mascoutah Eye Care in Mascoutah today.

    Our practice serves patients from Mascoutah, Belleville, O'Fallon, and Edwardsville, Illinois and surrounding communities.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. McDaniel

     

    Q: What is the difference between low vision and legal blindness?

    • A: Legal blindness is a legal term that refers to corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye or a visual field of 20 degrees or less. A person with low vision is someone who has permanent vision loss and cannot do those tasks they wish to do.

    Q: Who is at risk for low vision?

    • A: People with the highest risk for low vision are typically over 65 and have a family history of AMD. For some reason, AMD affects women more than me, and Caucasians/Asians more than African Americans. Similarly, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma also cause vision loss and tend to be more prevalent among African Americans.

    The Link Between Dry Eyes and Depression

    The Link Between Dry Eyes and Depression 640×350Depression is a serious illness that impacts a person’s mood and emotional well-being. It creeps into all areas of a person’s life, and can become life-threatening if left untreated.

    Not only does depression impact mental health; it can manifest as physical symptoms, too, like insomnia, chronic pain and inflammation, weight loss or gain and heart problems, among others. These physical problems can worsen depressive thoughts — sometimes leading to a vicious cycle.

    Interestingly, many patients with depression also suffer from severe dry eye symptoms. The question is, how are these two conditions related?

    What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

    Dry eye syndrome, also known as dry eye disease, is a chronic condition that results from inadequate lubrication of the eyes. Ocular hydration is crucial when it comes to keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear. Your tears are responsible for maintaining this necessary hydration, and in healthy eyes fulfill their unique mission each time you blink.

    Here’s how. Your tear film is made up of three layers, consisting of oil, water and mucus. If any of these layers become compromised, inadequate tear quality or insufficient tear quantity can result — and lead to a host of uncomfortable dry eye symptoms.

    The most common dry eye symptoms include:

    • Dry eyes
    • Red or irritated eyes
    • Itchy eyes
    • Gritty eyes
    • Light sensitivity
    • Blurry vision

    Can Depression Cause Dry Eye (or Vice-Versa)?

    This is what researchers are trying to find out.

    In a March 2022 study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, researchers examined the link between depression and severe dry eye symptoms. The study followed 535 dry eye patients for an entire year.

    After a year, the patients who tested positive for depression had more severe dry eye symptoms than the patients who didn’t have depression. Their symptoms were measured based on the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), Brief Ocular Discomfort Index and composite dry eye disease sign score.

    Additionally, severe depression was associated with more severe dry eye symptoms at baseline, six months, and one year.

    The study concluded that depression was associated with more severe dry eye symptoms, which suggests that among patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndrome, those with depression may be likely to have more severe dry eye symptoms.

    The researchers said further research is needed to learn exactly why people with depression have more severe dry eye symptoms than those without depression.

    Could the sometimes debilitating symptoms of dry eye syndrome actually cause depression and anxiety?

    A 2016 dry eye study published in Nature concluded that chronic discomfort and pain from dry eye symptoms can negatively affect the cognitive processes, sleep, mood and mental health. The researchers urged eye doctors to be aware of the higher incidence of dry eye syndrome in people with depression, whatever the underlying cause.

    Can Antidepressants Cause Dry Eye Symptoms?

    Yes. Antidepressants have been shown to increase dryness in the body, including the eyes. These medications work by blocking signals between nerve cells, which can result in insufficient tear production and dry eye syndrome.

    If you’re taking an antidepressant, be sure to inform your eye doctor at your next eye exam.

    How We Can Help

    At Mascoutah Eye Care in Mascoutah, we recognize that some of our patients that come in with dry eye symptoms may be suffering from depression.

    We’ll diagnose the cause of your dry eye symptoms and offer the most effective dry eye treatments to give you the relief you’re searching for.

    Contact us today to schedule a dry eye assessment and take the first step towards regaining your quality of life.

    Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. McDaniel

    Q: Who is affected by dry eye syndrome?

    • A: While dry eye syndrome is most common in adults over 50, it can occur at any age. The following factors can increase your risk of dry eye:
      – Aging
      – Hormonal changes
      – Medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis
      – Prolonged screen time
      – Living in a dry, dusty or windy environment
      – Eye allergies
      – Blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction
      – Certain medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, hormone replacement therapy
      – Vitamin A deficiency

    Q: How can you reduce your risk of dry eye?

    • A: While some dry eye risk factors can’t be avoided completely, making some lifestyle changes can help. Practice these recommended tips:
      – Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air
      – Wear wraparound sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from harsh winds
      – Take frequent screen breaks and blink often while using your digital device.
      – Quit smoking
      – Use lubricating eye drops
      – Consume a healthy diet including omega 3 and drink plenty of water.
      – Have regular eye exams

    Request A Dry Eye Appointment
    Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 618-566-6270