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woman holding eyeIs It Eye Allergies or Dry Eyes?

Eye Allergy and Dry Eye symptoms tend to be very similar. They both include redness, itchiness, tearing, and a gritty or burning sensation in the eyes.

 

Is it really an allergic reaction, or could it be Dry Eyes? Before running to the pharmacy for some antihistamines, it would be worth digging into the cause of these reactions in order to assure that you’re choosing the right treatment option.

If you’ve been using artificial tears, prescription allergy medication, or other over the counter medicine to relieve the itchy, dry feeling, but see no improvement— it may be worth visiting the The Dry Eye Center At Optical Zone and speaking with Dr. Akshet Joshi O.D., who can provide a diagnosis and solution for your condition.

What’s the Difference Between Eye Allergies and Dry Eyes?

Eye allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, occur when the eyes react to elements that irritate them (allergens). One can develop eye allergies from pet dander, dust, pollen, smoke, perfumes, or even certain foods. To fight off the allergen, the eyes produce a substance called histamine, which causes the eyelids to become red, swollen and itchy — and at times to tear and burn. Those with eye allergies tend to experience nasal allergies as well, which include an itchy, stuffy nose, along with frequent sneezing.

People with Dry Eyes suffer from eyes that feel dry, itchy, swollen, irritated, and at times very painful. Dry eye syndrome can be developed as a result of genetics, age, environment, lifestyle, medications, and the overall health of your eyes. When one has dry eyes, the eyes are either not producing enough tears to keep your eye lubricated, or the tears are not composed of the correct balance of water, lipids, and mucous to maintain proper lubrication.

How Are Eye Allergies and Dry Eyes Treated?

eye drops

Eye allergies can be treated using artificial tears, medicated eye drops, decongestants, antihistamines, or anti-inflammatory medications. Depending on your specific case, Dr. Akshet Joshi O.D. may recommend a combination of treatments.

However, if it is determined that you have dry eyes, Dr. Akshet Joshi O.D. may suggest artificial tears or lubricant eye drops to alleviate the discomfort, and in some cases, may even prescribe drops or steroids. For patients with more acute cases of dry eyes, the doctor might suggest alternative treatment options, such as LipiFlow, True Tear, TearCare or scleral lenses.

If you’re suffering from any of the above symptoms, speak with , who will examine and thoroughly assess the source of these reactions, determine whether they are caused by allergies or Dry Eyes, and provide the right treatment.

The The Dry Eye Center At Optical Zone services patients from Plano, Allen, Frisco, Richardson, and throughout Texas.

Book An Appointment
Call Us 972-733-6981

Can I Wear Contact Lenses With Dry Eyes?

Dr. Akshet Joshi

Dry eyes occur when there is a lack of tear production. The water, mucin, and oil level of the tears are off. One of the biggest complaints our contact lens wearing patients have is, how can I wear my contact lenses if I have dry eyes? Is there a risk to the eye, such a tear in the cornea?

While in most cases one can technically wear contact lenses with dry eyes for most or at least part of the day, it may prove to be bothersome on the eye to do so. Woman Tired Blue Eyes 1280x480

What are the solutions? In general, we like to recommend a daily disposable lens to our patient. These lenses are worn once then thrown out at the end of the day. This means less build up, a fresh lens every day, and a much more comfortable experience.

If the patient is already wearing daily lenses, we can discuss various eye drops, eye compression masks, vitamins, medications, and even steroids. Keep in mind, if using drops throughout the day, you will need to take out your contact lenses each time to insert the drops and that can get tedious.

The last option is to look at alternatives such as Lasik, just wearing glasses and OrthoOrthokeratology

Give us a call at 972-992-5665 to discuss what works best for you.

Why does my child need an eye exam?

child having an eye exam in Plano TXProper eye care is an extremely important part of a child’s development. Developments during this period will effect a child for the rest of his/her life. It is extremely important that children receive attention regarding their eyesight from a very early age to be sure that everything is developing correctly and to diagnose and treat any problems before they worsen or lead to more serious complications. Because many conditions may show symptoms even while your child is still an infant and become much harder to correct the longer they go untreated, it is very important to have regular eye exams for your child. Dr. Joshi at Optical Zone in Plano recommends that “Beginning from the age of 6 months, children should have comprehensive eye exams at least every year to assess any conditions that may hinder a child’s development.”

Early Prevention in Plano, TX

Many eye conditions that can cause difficulties later in life can be easily detected and treated in childhood if parents are cautious to have eye exams early and often for their children. Two such conditions are Strabismus and Amblyopia.

In Strabismus the eyes are not aligned together, with one eye looking straight while the other may look inward, outward, up or down. This happens when muscles that control eye movements are misaligned or underdeveloped. Children who have other conditions affecting development, such as cerebral palsy, downs syndrome, prematurity or brain tumors are especially susceptible. In eyes which are healthy and properly aligned, each eye sees essentially the same image of an object being viewed, with only slight variation and the brain combines these two slightly varied perspectives into a single interpreted image. This is called Binocular Fusion. In a child with Strabismus, the misalignment of the eyes sends completely different images, causing Binocular Fusion to be unusually difficult or impossible. The child’s brain eventually reacts to the differing images sent by the misaligned eyes by eliminating images coming from one of the eyes. This can cause a condition called amblyopia, or “lazy eye.” Amblyopia, sometimes known as lazy eye is a condition in which a person has very poor sight in one eye because that eye did not develop healthy sight during the person’s development. Several problems can develop that can seriously effect vision from childhood into adulthood if amblyopia is not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. The weaker eye may develop a serious and permanent visual defect and depth perception may be lost.

Eye Exams Help Your Child Succeed

You should also be cautious to have regular eye exams for your child at Optical Zone because your child’s success in school relies heavily upon enjoying proper vision. In these eye exams the eye doctor will check for less serious conditions such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. “Your child’s eyesight is his or her front line in the struggle for knowledge. If your child doesn’t receive proper eye care, the classroom may just be one big blind spot, and you may be sentencing your child to failure before the battle has even begun.” cautions Dr. Joshi. “Your eye doctor also needs to check early for basic skills related to good eyesight for learning. These include eye movement skills, Peripheral awareness and Hand-eye coordination.”

For more information, or to speak to an optometrist, call our office at 972-618-3588.

UV Safety Month

How to protect your skin and eyes from UV radiation:

Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap!

SLIP – Slip on a shirt

SLOP – Slop on plenty of sunscreen

SLAP – Slap on a hat

WRAP – Wrap on sunglasses to protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around them

 

 

Nurse Appreciation Week

Take a moment this week to thank a nurse. You can make your nurse feel appriciated by a simple "thank you", or just by saying, "Happy Nurse Week." You may even want to make a simple, homemade card that expresses your appriciation for his/her services and care that each patient recieves. 

Happy Nurse Appreciation Week to all of our nurse friends and patients!!  -Optical Zone

9 Tips for Coping With Eye Allergy Season

flowers3

Spring is on the way. Soon the sun will be shining, the flowers blooming and allergy season will be upon us. If you have allergies, your eyes are often affected by the high pollen count along with other allergens floating in the fresh spring air. Tree pollens in April and May, grass pollens in June and July and mold spores and weed pollens in July and August add up to five months of eye-irritating allergens, leading to red, itchy, watery eyes, headache and sometimes fatigue.

Here are some practical tips on how to keep your eyes happy as the seasons change.

These are only a few steps you can take to make your eyes more comfortable. Remember to seek medical help from your eye care professional if symptoms persist or worsen. Sometimes allergy medication or an antihistamine may be necessary for relief.

  1. Avoid rubbing your eyes as this intensifies the symptoms.
  2. One of the prime seasonal allergens that most disturbs eyes is pollen. Stay indoors when pollen counts are high, especially in the mid-morning and early evening.
  3. Wear sunglasses outside to protect your eyes, not only from UV rays, but also from allergens floating in the air.
  4. Check and clean your air conditioning filters.
  5. Use a humidifier or set out bowls of fresh water inside when using your air conditioning to help humidify the air and ensure that your eyes don’t dry out.
  6. Take a shower or bath to help maintain skin and eye moisture and improve your resistance to allergens.
  7. Allergy proof your home:
    • use dust-mite-proof covers on bedding and pillows
    • clean surfaces with a damp implement rather than dusting or dry sweeping
    • remove/ kill any mold in your home
    • keep pets outdoors if you have pet allergies.
  8. Remove contact lenses as soon as any symptoms appear.
  9. Use artificial tears to keep eyes moist.

 

Here’s a list of the most challenging places to live with eye allergies in the US: http://www.aafa.org/pdfs/FINAL_public_LIST_Spring_2014.pdf

Protecting Your Eyes From The Desk Job

girl using computer

There are so many people who spend hours a day, if not most of the day working on a computer or mobile device. They usually do so without taking notice of the effect this has on their bodies. Using a computer or handheld device for extended amounts of time can cause physical stress to your body due to improper positioning such as slouching, sitting without foot support, extending your wrists and straining your eyes.

Individuals  who look at a computer or mobile screen for prolonged periods can develop computer vision syndrome (CVS) which places an enormous amount of stress on your visual system and can induce headaches and fatigue, neck, back and shoulder pain, and dry eyes among other symptoms.

Here are some tips for creating a workstation that reduces your risk of eye strain, discomfort and the potential injury that can result from prolonged computer use.

1.     Take breaks

Your eyes are at work all the time so sometimes it is good to give them a break. Since the eyes use more than one muscle group, you can do this by shifting your focus from near to far on a regular basis. How often? Apply the 20/20/20 rule – take a 20 second break every 20 minutes to focus your eyes on an object 20 feet away. This can prevent eyestrain and help your eyes refocus.

You can also roll your eyes: first clockwise then counterclockwise briefly.

2.     Position your Monitor

Ensure that your screen is placed so that the top of the display is at or slightly below eye level. This will allow you to view the screen without bending your neck. If you aren’t able to adjust the screen height, you can adjust the height of your chair to achieve this positioning, but if this causes your feet to dangle, it is advisable to use a footrest.  

3.     Reduce Glare on the Screen

Glare is the main cause of eye strain.  Use blinds and curtains on windows to control the amount of light entering the room. If glare is caused from overhead lights, use a dimmer or replace light bulbs with lower wattage bulbs. Sometimes you don’t have control over the lighting, like if you work in an office.  Consider purchasing an anti -glare screen to put on the monitor to help filter reflected light.

4.     Blink Frequently

Make a conscious effort to blink frequently to prevent the surface of your eye from drying out. Dry eyes can be a problem with extensive screen viewing because your blink rate decreases when looking at a screen. This is particularly important if you wear contact lenses. If you find that blinking is not reducing your feelings of dry eyes, try over the counter artificial tears. Consult your optometrist about dry eye and artificial tears, because some eye drops may work better for you than others.

5.     Rest your eyes from strong lights

Some holistic practitioners recommend “palming” to rejuvenate: without touching your eyes, cup your hand lightly over your eyes for 30 seconds to rest them from light.

Either way, simply closing your eyes for a longer period than a blink can be comforting once in a while.

6.     Make sure your glasses fit the screen

If you wear reading glasses, bifocals or multifocals, you should be able to look at your monitor without tilting your head back. If not, adjust so that you can see comfortably.

7.     Consider Computer Glasses

Computer glasses are specifically designed for prolonged computer usage. The lens power aims to relax the amount of accommodation you need to keep objects in focus at the distance of the computer monitor and provides the largest field of view. Speak to your eye doctor to explore this option.

Some optometrists recommend certain lens coatings for computer use, for example blue blocker lens coatings that protect the eyes from high energy visible light (HEV).

8.     Move!

Sitting at the computer for too long is not only harmful to your eyes. It can cause stiffness and pain in the rest of your body, too.  Avoid this by getting up and moving around on a regular basis.

  • Every 10 minutes, take a short 10-20 second break by getting out of your computer chair and moving around.
  • Every 30-60 minutes, take a 2-5 minute break to stretch your arms, back and neck and walk around.

Here are some more tips on how to design an ergonomic workstation

http://www.uhs.umich.edu/files/uhs/ergo.pdf

New Study Shows How Your Eyes Shed Light on Your Health

blue 20eye 20close 20up

It’s been said that your eyes are the window to your soul. Well, research is showing that your eyes are a window to a lot more than your thoughts and emotions; it can be an indicator of your overall health. A study by UnitedHealthcare entitled, “Impact of Eye Exams in Identifying Chronic Conditions” showed that through comprehensive eye exams, eye care practitioners can identify some chronic diseases and conditions to help with early diagnosis, an earlier start of treatment and better disease management and prognosis.

What makes the eye so special in this regard is that it is the only organ through which you can see nerves and blood vessels without an invasive procedure or surgery. Aside from known eye diseases, many other conditions have symptoms that manifest in your eyes. Sometimes an eye exam can reveal damage caused by chronic conditions and disease in other parts of your body, before you even begin to notice symptoms. For many chronic conditions and diseases, early diagnosis and treatment are essential for a successful outcome, and these discoveries through an eye exam can often detect the early stages of disease.

According to the study, eye doctors identified 15% of participants with diabetes and multiple sclerosis, in addition to a number of other chronic conditions including high cholesterol, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and Graves disease. An eye exam can also detect neurological, thyroid and autoimmune diseases.

Let’s have a look at some of these conditions individually and how an eye exam by an experienced eye doctor can detect a problem from the window of the eye:

Diabetes: Diabetes can cause an eye disease called diabetic retinopathy, where blood vessels inside the eyes become prone to leaking fluid and small amounts of blood onto the retina. Retinal vascular changes and blood vessel hemorrhaging areindicators that diabetes is present and may be affecting other sensitive organs and tissues like the kidney.

Hypertension / high blood pressure: High intraocular pressure readings obtained from measuring the pressure inside your eye are usually associated with glaucoma, but they can also indicate high blood pressure.

High cholesterol: High cholesterol puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease and strokes. Rarely, it can present in the eye by a white painless ring around the outer edge of the cornea, called an arcus, which is a buildup of fat particles (not to be confused with an arcus senilis , which affects the elderly and is not necessarily associated with cholesterol). Occasionally, a dilated eye exam can detect signs of high cholesterol. In severe cases, retinal vein occlusion can develop which means the blood flowing to and from your eye is blocked, which may be related to a clot that leads to sudden vision loss.

Neurological issues: Although your eye can twitch form time to time, a persistent eye twitch combined with a twitch on the side of your mouth and/or other symptoms might indicate that a neurological disease such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s is developing. Most eye twitches have benign causes like fatigue, stress, or caffeine.

Thyroid disease: Your thyroid gland regulates your body’s metabolism. A classic sign of thyroid disease is a bulging eyeball, because an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can cause swelling of the soft tissues within the eye socket. Since thyroid hormones are involved in hair production, an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can lead to hair loss in the outer part of the eyebrow.

Autoimmune disease: Certain autoimmune diseases can affect the eyes, including HIV, Graves Disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and uveitis.

These are only some of the diseases that present symptoms which manifest in your eyes, but this sample does illustrate how enlightening a simple eye exam can be. Eye exams are not only to make sure your vision is up to par. Have your eyes checked regularly to ensure you are keeping your eye health and overall health in check.

How to Encourage Young Kids to Wear their First Pair of Glasses

boy 20in 20front 20of 20eye 20chart

Your child’s first pair of glasses will make an important difference in his or her ability to see and interact with the surrounding world. However, a new pair of glasses can also present a big adjustment for both parents and kids as you get used to a new look and a new responsibility. For many families this can be a cause of conflict as children may refuse to wear their new specs or be forgetful or careless by losing or breaking them. Parents should also be sensitive to the fact that it could affect a child’s self esteem and unfortunately deal with teasing by peers.

Here are some ideas to pull you through the initial days of your child’s first frames and some tips on how you can help them ease into their new look.

  1. Display an encouraging and positive attitude about your child’s new look. Don’t just talk about how important glasses are for your child, but play up the fact that they now have a new, fun accessory or magic tool to help them have a better “power” of vision (whatever you think will speak to your child). On the other hand if your child picks up that you are disappointed about the new look, it will rub off and they might not be as willing to persevere.
  2. Ensure that your child is rested and in a good mood the first time he or she puts the glasses on.
  3. Let your child wear his or her glasses for short periods while doing an enjoyable activity where wearing glasses will make the biggest difference, for example while watching a favorite television show, or reading a favorite book. The aim here is that your child will be having fun and recognizing the benefits of the new glasses at the same time.
  4. Before you leave the eye doctor’s office, have the optician check that the glasses fit right and have a comfortable style. This means that they don’t slip, pinch or put pressure on your child’s face, are not too loose or too tight. Glasses that don’t fit right won’t feel right and children won’t want to wear them if they aren’t comfortable.
  5. Don’t turn wearing glasses into a battle or constantly nag your child to wear the frames. Help your child understand that being able to see is a gift.
  6. Encourage and praise your child when they do wear their new frames, especially until wearing glasses becomes second nature.
  7. Make glasses part of the daily routine. Make it the first thing your child does in the morning and the last thing to do before going to bed.

 

Remember, it can take time to adjust to wearing glasses, not to mention seeing with a new prescription. Be patient and remember to focus on the gift of eyesight and the enhanced quality of life your child will have in the long run.

Books for Kids

Here are some books you can read with your kids about wearing glasses:

The Princess Who Wore Glasses by Laura Hertzfeld Katz

Arlo Needs Glasses by Barney Saltzberg

Luna and the Big Blur: A Story for Children Who Wear Glasses by Shirley Day

Fancy Nancy: Spectacular Spectacles (I Can Read Book 1) by Jane O’Connor

New Year’s Resolutions for An Eye Healthy 2014

ytsSNcyThe New Year is a time to start fresh and renew our commitment to health, happiness and success. It’s important to include eye and vision health and safety in these resolutions. Here are the top six ways you can make your eyes and vision a priority this year.

  1. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam for each member of your family.

A comprehensive eye exam will ensure not only that your vision is at its best, but will also screen for any eye disease or issues with your eye health. In many cases of eye disease and damage, early detection is essential for treatment and preservation of eyesight.  

  1. Protect your eyes from the sun all year round.

Harmful UV and HEV (high-energy visible) radiation from the sun, and potentially from computer screens and digital devices as well, have been linked to serious eye conditions including macular degeneration, cataracts and non-cancerous and cancerous growths in the eye and eyelids. When you’re outdoors, make sure you wear sunglasses that are 100% protective from these harmful rays. Indoor clear lenses coatings are now available to protect from HEV light.

  1. Know your eye health risk factors.

Knowing who is at risk and catching the signs early are essential to preventing common vision threatening diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. Being aware of your family history, race, gender and lifestyle and how those factors can contribute to eye diseases, can help you help your doctor to keep a close eye on any signs of disease before it is too late.

  1. Take proper care of contact lenses.

Contact lenses can be one of life’s greatest conveniences but if not cared for properly, they can cause serious and debilitating problems for your eyes. Don’t risk infections, abrasions or even vision loss by skimping on the necessary steps to clean and store your contact lenses. Here is a short video about proper contact cleaning and storage for demonstration purposes only: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNOJ6RM-tts. Always follow your eye doctor’s instructions for care.

  1. Use proper eye protection for sports or work that poses a danger to your eyes.

According to Prevent Blindness America hospital emergency rooms treat more than 700 000 work related eye injuries, 125 000 eye injuries that occur at home and 40 000 sports related eye injuries a year.  Almost all of these injuries can be avoided with proper eye protection. Speak to your eye doctor about your work, hobbies and athletic activities to determine the best protective eyewear for your needs.

  1. Incorporate eye healthy foods in to your regular diet.

Foods that are rich in vitamins and antioxidants play an essential role in the health of your eyes. Research shows that a proper diet can reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, glaucoma, and other eye problems. Eat foods that are rich in beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin (such as spinach, kale, red/orange peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash), bioflavonoids (such as tea, red wine, citric fruits, blueberries, cherries, legumes, soy products), Omega-3 Fatty Acids (cold water fish, ground flaxseeds, walnuts) and fruits, vegetables and other foods rich in vitamins A, C and D.  Zinc is also linked to eye health and found in foods such as oysters, beef and dark meat turkey. 

Start the year off right with your eyes on your mind. These six resolutions will not only help you see a wonderful year, but will help you preserve healthy eyes and vision for a lifetime.