The Dangers of UV Rays

It’s always fun to go out in the sun, but sometimes, the sun can cause more harm than good. Many people are aware of the damage the sun can cause on the skin but don’t know about the impact on our eyes. Without proper protection, the sun’s UV rays can negatively impact the health of your eyes years down the road.

Eye Conditions Caused By UV Rays

Extended and unprotected exposure to the sun increases your risk of developing the following:

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss occurring when the retina starts to deteriorate. Over time, macular degeneration will cause central vision loss, impacting your ability to see with fine detail.

Cataracts

A cataract is the clouding of the lens in your eye. Many people are unaware they have a cataract in its early stages. Over time, cataracts can blur your vision, make objects less colorful, and cause difficulties reading or doing other day-to-day activities.

Pterygium

A pterygium is a growth of the conjunctiva or mucous membrane covering the white part of your eye over the cornea. Often, a pterygium doesn’t cause vision problems or require any treatment, but this growth can be removed if it interferes with your vision.

Corneal Sunburn

Corneal sunburn is an effect of being exposed to high UV-B rays. Although temporary, corneal sunburn can cause a gritty feeling in your eyes, causing eye pain, tearing, swelling redness, or sensitivity to bright light.

UV Rays & Children

Typically, children are exposed to more annual sun exposure than adults. In addition to exposure time, a child’s lens cannot filter UV light or prevent it from reaching their retinas as effectively as an adult. As a result, by the age of 18, half of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV radiation has already occurred.

Sunwear is a Must-Have for All Ages

With the proper protection for all ages, you can keep your and your child’s eyes safe from UV damage. To best protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays, always wear sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays, as well as a pair that protects the skin around your eyes.

In addition to sunglasses, try wearing a wide-brimmed hat on sunny days. It has been shown that wearing a hat can reduce exposure to UV rays by up to as much as 50%.

So, are you ready to take the next steps in protecting your eyes from the sun and dangerous UV rays? Contact our office today to learn more.

What is the Right Age for Contact Lenses?

Children today are developing myopia sooner than in the past. Myopia, or nearsightedness, results in prescription glasses or contact lenses. Many parents might prefer the traditional frame over having their child wear contact lenses. But, the same question crosses through a lot of minds: contact lenses for children – what is the right age?

The answer depends on the eye doctor.

The right age for contact lenses

In a recent study, 51% of eye doctors surveyed felt the earliest age to prescribe contact lenses is 10, while only 12% felt 8 is a good time to introduce them.

67% of eye doctors felt if your child is younger than eight years old, they should stick to a traditional frame. But as your child gets older, the introduction of contact lenses becomes more prevalent. 66% of eye doctors recommended contact lenses as the primary vision correction method for children between the ages of 15-17.

For eye doctors that prescribe contact lenses at an earlier age, most say they prescribe daily disposable lenses for ease of use and maintenance.

Reasons for contacts

Two out of five optometrists say that many parents request their child be fit to wear contact lenses because their child refuses to wear glasses, or the frames interfere with sports or even their daily activities.

Many young people feel more confident wearing contacts. Some kids feel self-conscious in glasses. For children active in sports, contact lenses offer added convenience and safety. If. Sport contact lenses can eliminate the chance that their glasses break or cause injury. They provide other benefits as well, such as better peripheral vision since there is no frame in the way.

Do you want to take the next steps in ensuring your child has options with his or her vision? Contact our office with any questions.

Are You Overexposed to Blue Light?

Blue light is the type of light with the shortest wavelength and highest energy. It’s everywhere! Although many people associate blue light with technology, the sun is the primary source of these rays.

Many human-made devices also emit blue light, and in recent years, the time individuals are spending on these devices has increased dramatically.

Key Points

About Blue Light

The anterior structure of your eye, made up of the cornea and lens, is very effective at blocking UV rays from reaching the retina, located at the back of your eye. However, blue light cannot be filtered naturally by the eye and passes through the cornea and reaches your retina. Your retina’s continued exposure to these harmful rays can result in a higher risk of developing macular degeneration over time, and eventually, permanent vision loss.

Not all blue light is bad, though. Some exposure is proven to be good for your health. Blue light–taken in appropriate amounts–can boost alertness, improve memory and cognitive functions, and elevate your mood.

Symptoms of Overexposure

Some of the most notable signs of overexposure are:

  • Eye Strain
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Blurry Vision
  • Dry Eyes
  • Inability to Focus
  • Disruptions in Sleep Patterns

Protecting Your Eyes

Digital devices aren’t going anywhere, so it’s essential to ensure that you are taking preemptive steps to protect your eyes from blue light. With electronic devices, consider these few tips to reduce the harmful rays reaching your retina.

  • Hold your Device at an Angle
  • Wear Blue Light Blocking Glasses
  • Use a Screen Filter
  • Install a Blue Light Blocking App
  • Take Advantage of “Comfort View” Settings

Ready to take protection to the next level? Ask us about computer eyewear! Computer eyewear will drastically reduce eye strain by filtering emitted light before it reaches your eyes. Many electronic devices are starting to offer apps or different settings that are intended to lessen the amount of blue light that is emitted so it’s less harsh on your eyes. While these settings don’t necessarily protect your eyes from the blue light, it does cut down on eye strain considerably by lessening the contrast.

Do you have more questions about how you can protect your eyes? Stop by our office or give us a call and we would be more than happy to answer your questions!

Healthy Living for Healthy Eyes

Everyone probably tells you to eat healthy, exercise, and spend time away from the screen. Sure, it’s good for your health, but does it help your eyes? Absolutely! Here are a few key areas of healthy living that are also essential to your healthy eyes and vision.

>Healthy Diet

To help keep your eyes healthy, make sure to load up on nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins c and e. Foods like green leafy vegetables, salmon or other oily fish, eggs and nuts, oranges, and pork contain these essential nutrients. Additionally, the vitamins and minerals found in these foods can help prevent many age-related problems such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

A well-balanced diet also helps maintain a healthy weight. Generally speaking, when you eat healthily and are at a lower risk of obesity, you have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, the leading cause of blindness in adults.

>Exercise

Exercise also impacts your eye health. By simply going for a walk, you can significantly lower the chances of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. When someone develops glaucoma, doctors usually treat it by lowering high intra-ocular pressure. Recent research has implicated that, by exercising, you can reduce the pressure in your eye, helping to lower your risk for glaucoma.

Staying Hydrated

Staying hydrated is another critical factor to consider in keeping your eyes healthy. When you don’t drink enough water, your body’s instinct is to conserve it in any way that it can. This conservation includes altering your eyes! Your body will decrease the number of tears produced when it doesn’t have enough water. When this happens, you may develop symptoms of dry eye or eye strain. So what can you do? Drink water! The average water intake per day is about eight, 8-ounce glasses of water, but make sure to consume more during warmer weather or intense exercise.

Habits to Avoid

There are a few bad habits most individuals do that are bad for your eyes.

Rubbing Your Eyes

First, make sure you don’t rub your eyes! Rubbing your eyes can break blood vessels under eyelids, causing bloodshot eyes or dark circles that make you look tired.

Overusing Eye Drops

Another problem that you may not realize is the overuse of eye drops. While eye drops may temporarily soothe your eyes, overusing them may cause your eyes to become irritated over time.

Do you have more questions about ways your lifestyle can help your eyes? Contact our office today and ask us your vision questions!

FAQ: Dry Eye Syndrome

What is dry eye syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is caused by your eyes not producing enough lubricant to keep the surface of your eyes moist. You may experience a burning and aching sensation, heavy and itchy eyes, sore and dry sensation, and blurred vision. Dry eye syndrome is a common eye condition, and if you are a female, aging, and use the computer often, you are at a higher risk.

What causes it?

So what exactly causes dry eye? Your eye’s tears contain three components: an oily component, a water component, and a mucous-like component. Each of the three plays an essential role in helping the tears in your eyes from evaporating too quickly. A problem with any of the tear components can result in dry eye syndrome.

Many factors can increase the chances of developing dry eye. If you use a computer, it’s normal not to blink as much, which leads to more of the liquids in your eyes evaporating, increasing the risk of developing dry eyes. You are also more likely to develop dry eye after the age of 50.

Another factor that increases the risk of developing dry eye syndrome is heavy use of air conditioning and forced-air heating because they lower the amount of humidity in the room, speeding tear evaporation. Smoking also causes various problems for the eyes, such as dry eye, macular degeneration, and cataracts.

How is it treated?

If you believe that you have dry eyes, contact your eye doctor. Your eye doctor will look at your medical history to see if medications or environmental factors may be making your eyes worse. Your doctor may also look at your eyelid structure and evaluate your blinking pattern to see if it is contributing to your dry eyes.

There is treatment available for dry eye syndrome, and your doctor may suggest using artificial tears while also implementing small lifestyle changes, such as taking breaks from using a computer.

If you have any of the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, contact our office today! We are ready to answer all of your questions and help you with all of your vision care needs.

Don’t Wait For Symptoms

Many people with medical eye diseases don’t show symptoms immediately, but with an underlying disease, the damage is already underway. Regular comprehensive eye exams are essential in diagnosing eye diseases early.

Comprehensive Eye Exams Diagnose Medical Eye Disease

By not getting a comprehensive eye exam on a regular basis, you’re putting your eyes at risk because once symptoms show, it might be too late for effective treatment. If detected early, your eye doctor can help treat and improve your vision.

An eye exam can reveal health conditions unrelated to your eyes. During an eye exam, your eye doctor can evaluate the health of the blood vessels in your retina and help predict the overall health of the blood throughout your body. Diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia can all appear during a routine eye exam

Common Eye Diseases

Refractive Errors

Refractive errors are the most commonly diagnosed eye disorder in the United States. Myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), astigmatism (distorted vision), and presbyopia (loss of the ability to focus up close) are all refractive errors that can be corrected if diagnosed early. Early symptoms of a refractive error include seeing a glare around bright lights, having to squint, and having double vision.

Age-related Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is typically associated with aging. The results are a loss of the clear central vision needed for many day-to-day tasks.

Wet age-related macular degeneration: abnormal blood vessels form under your retina. They may eventually bleed and leak fluid, and cause the macula to rise and distort your central vision.

Dry age-related macular degeneration: more commonly diagnosed than wet age-related macular degeneration, this eye condition presents fewer symptoms in the early stages. By the time symptoms appear, vision is likely already impaired.

Cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of your eye’s lens. A cataract makes it challenging to read, drive a car, and perform day-to-day activities. Cataracts can strengthen over time and interfere with your vision. Symptoms usually include clouded or blurred vision, sensitivity to bright light, a halo effect around bright lights.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy causes damage to the blood vessels in your retina. As the disease progresses, common symptoms include floating dark spots, blurred vision, impaired color vision, or vision loss. It usually shows no symptoms in the early stages, but can eventually lead to blindness.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma causes damage to the optic nerves and doesn’t typically show symptoms in the early stages. Signs in the later stages include eye pain, blurred vision, red eyes, and seeing halos around bright light. There is no cure for vision loss caused by glaucoma, so it’s essential to have annual vision exams before it’s too late.

Contact our office today and ask our staff any questions you might have about scheduling your eye exam and treating medical eye diseases.

FAQ: Cataracts

Think you may be at risk for developing cataracts? Here is an overview of the most frequently asked questions about cataracts, including potential cataract treatment and congenital cataracts. Give our office a call and schedule an appointment to have your questions answered!

What are cataracts?

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens and are the most common cause of vision loss in the world. According to Prevent Blindness America, more than 22 million Americans have cataracts.

Who gets cataracts?

Cataracts begin to form in those over the age of 40. However, it is typically after age 60 that cataracts cause problems with vision.

Are there any signs or symptoms?

Cataracts start small and have little effect on your vision at first. However, you may notice symptoms once the cataract is well developed.

Potential symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Cloudy or foggy vision
  • Light from the sun or a lamp feels too bright or glaring
  • Oncoming headlights while driving cause more glare
  • Colors appear dimmed or faded

What causes cataracts?

As we age the natural protein in our eyes can clump together and cover a small area of the lens. Over time this may grow larger and cloud more of the lens. This cloud is what we refer to as a cataract.

Can I prevent cataracts?

It is not believed that there is anything you can do to prevent cataracts. However, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of developing cataracts. Nutrients such as vitamin E and vitamin C are believed to reduce your risk. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet can help. Additionally, wearing sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays can reduce cataract risk.

What increases my risk for cataracts?

  • UV radiation
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Family history
  • Significant alcohol consumption
  • Certain medications

Is there cataract treatment?

The treatment for cataracts will vary for each person. When symptoms begin to appear patients may use new stronger prescription glasses. Cataract surgery will become an option if the cataract progresses far enough to impair your vision. Cataract surgery is the most frequently performed surgery in the United States and is successful in restoring vision.

What are congenital cataracts?

Congenital cataracts occur in newborn babies because the eye’s natural lens is cloudy instead of clear. Often this results in vision problems for the child. However, this occurs in only 0.4% of all births and is relatively uncommon.

To discuss your risk for developing cataracts schedule an appointment today! The best way to prevent vision loss is by having regular eye exams.

 

Computer Vision Syndrome: Eye Strain

According to The Vision Council, 65% of adults experience some form of computer vision syndrome. Often individuals associate eye strain as a “normal” part of computer work. However, the eye strain you are experiencing is a symptom of computer vision syndrome and can be reduced or avoided!

What is Computer Vision Syndrome?

Computer vision syndrome is caused by the eyes and brain reacting to the characters on a computer screen. On-screen characters have less contrast than characters in print and are more challenging for our eyes to focus on. The difficulty of having to focus on the characters on computer screens is what causes eye fatigue and strain.

Symptoms of CVS

Depending on the individual they may experience one, several, or all symptoms of computer vision syndrome. These symptoms can cause discomfort for the individual and make it difficult to complete work effectively.

  • Headaches
  • Loss of focus
  • Burning eyes
  • Tired eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Double vision
  • Eye twitching
  • Blurred vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain

Ways to Combat CVS

Many computer users find their eyes feel strained working under fluorescent lights. Users feel more eye comfort when using floor lamps instead of harsh overhead lights. Minimize the reflection of glare off your computer screen by installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor. Consider closing the blinds to prevent the sun from reflecting off your computer screen as well.

The type of screen and settings of your screen can also impact your eye strain. We recommend making sure you have an LCD screen because it has an anti-reflective surface and is more comfortable for the eyes.

Additionally, you can adjust the settings of your screen for optimal viewing. A few settings to adjust are the brightness, text, and color temperature. The brightness should be the same as your surrounding workstation, the text size and contrast can be changed to your comfort level, and reducing the color temperature lowers the amount of blue light emitted by your screen.

Computer Eyewear

One of the best ways to reduce your risk of computer vision syndrome is to visit our office. Your eye doctor can perform a few tests to detect vision problems which could be contributing to your computer vision syndrome and help decide if computer eyewear is the solution for you. Many individuals discover computer eyewear helps reduce their symptoms and improves their productivity.

Schedule an appointment with our office to discuss the impact computer work is having on your eyes and the best ways to reduce your eye strain and fatigue.

Nutrition and Your Eyes

The foods you eat and the dietary supplements you take affect your overall health and the health of your eyes. Nutrition and your eyes are linked together and can help prevent certain eye diseases along with other health problems.

Healthy Foods

Choosing healthy foods improves your overall health as well as your eye health. Dark green or brightly colored fruits and vegetables are essential parts of a healthy diet. These fruits and vegetables may also help to reduce the risks of developing eye diseases. Sugars and white flours may increase your risk of age-related eye disease, instead, opt for whole grains which do not have the same risks. Healthy fats containing omega-3 essential fatty acids are critical to your diet. These healthy fats can help prevent dry eyes and cataracts.

Hydration

Staying hydrated is essential to the health of your eyes. Drink plenty of water every day! We also recommend choosing healthy beverages and avoiding high sugar beverages. Proper hydration is linked to the reduction of dry eye symptoms.

Nutrients

Nutrients are an essential part of a healthy diet. These nutrients can be found in foods but can also be taken in supplements to ensure you are receiving the proper amount in your diet. Consult with your primary care provider before taking any dietary supplements. Here are a few nutrients that may have a link to eye health:

  • Vitamin A: may protect against night blindness and dry eyes
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: may prevent macular degeneration and dry eyes
  • Vitamin C: may reduce risks of cataracts and macular degeneration
  • Vitamin D: may reduce risks of macular degeneration
  • Zinc: may reduce risks of night blindness
  • Vitamin E: may reduce the risk of advanced macular degeneration

Aging Eyes

As you age, it is essential to consider all factors that could affect the overall health of your eyes. Not only should you adopt a healthy diet, but you can also do several other things to protect your eyes. One way to protect your eyes is to avoid overexposure to ultraviolet rays, which includes wearing sunglasses outdoors and staying away from tanning beds. Now is the time to quit smoking, not only is smoking harmful to your overall health it also increased your risks for many eye diseases. Finally, ensure that you are getting annual eye exams to detect any eye diseases before they cause permanent vision loss.

Nutrition and your eyes are highly connected, continue to find ways to feed your body the food and nutrients it needs to live a healthy life with healthy eyes.

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  • Concord, MA 01742
978-369-6707
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