Category

Blog

6 Simple Ways to Take Better Care of Your Eyes

By | Blog, Community Outreach, Eye Care, Eye Facts, Eye Safety, Health and Nutrition, Latest Heritage News
Your eye doc wanted us to pass these along.
Woman rubbing eyes outside

If any of your body parts were to write a mournful ballad about feeling underappreciated, it might be your eyes. Be real: Is eye care really at the top of your priority list? Probably not, but it likely needs to be a little higher than it is right now. Think about how much your eyes do for you all day long, from the moment you snap them open to, you know, begin your day, to when you close them at night so you can finally get some rest. Taking care of them is essential.

Looking after your eyes (lol) when there’s nothing wrong with them might feel pointless. But you’ll appreciate it in the long run, Beeran Meghpara, M.D., an eye surgeon at Wills Eye Hospital, tells SELF. “I see people daily in my office with eye problems that are preventable,” he says.

Since you probably don’t want to join their ranks, we polled eye doctors for their tips on simple, easy things you can do to take better care of your eyes. Try these to preserve your vision and lower the odds you’ll have to deal with eye issues in the future.
1. Take your contacts out before you shower, swim, or otherwise get water on your face.

You probably already know other contact lens must-dos, like never sleeping in them. But a lot of contact lens wearers don’t realize they shouldn’t let their lenses get wet.

Your contact lenses basically act as a sponge, Dr. Meghpara says. Wearing contacts in the shower and while swimming can expose them to things like bacteria and parasites. “[They] get absorbed into your lenses, which are a conduit into your eyes,” Dr. Meghpara says.

Some of those pathogens may cause eye irritation or an eye infection, he says, but others can be more serious. One of those is acanthamoeba, a parasite that can live in lakes and oceans and cause a rare infection called acanthamoeba keratitis. This is an infection of the cornea that can cause eye pain and redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, excessively watery eyes, and a feeling that something is in your eyes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the worst cases, acanthamoeba keratitis can cause blindness. “It can be devastating,” Dr. Meghpara says

Again, acanthamoeba keratitis is rare. But why increase your risk of even garden-variety eye irritation by wearing your contacts in water?

2. Wear safety glasses when you do any home improvement projects—even with simple stuff.

It makes sense that someone like Chip Gaines would wear safety glasses, since he regularly wields a nail gun. Nails and eyes aren’t quite peanut butter and jelly. Even if you don’t have a home renovation show, you should don protective eyewear when you DIY improvement projects, including ones as simple as hanging a picture frame, Dr. Meghpara says: “We’ve seen people try to hang up a picture, and a piece of the nail or frame broke off and ended up in their eye.” Dr. Meghpara says.

Eye protection is especially important if you work with tools for your job. Every day, about 2,000 workers in the United States have job-related eye injuries that require medical treatment, according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Wearing safety goggles can prevent about 90 percent of these injuries, according to the American Optometric Association, making this a super important step.

3. See an eye doctor at least every two years, or more frequently if necessary.

You probably do this just about as often as you visit the dentist, which might be…uh…next to never. But instead of rolling your eyes at this advice, do your due diligence and walk them on over to the eye doctor every two years. That’s how often the American Optometric Association recommends that adults aged 18 to 60 get an eye exam.

“It is very important to have a comprehensive eye exam at least every other year,” Tatevik Movsisyan, O.D., M.S., assistant clinical professor of advanced ocular care and primary care clinics at The Ohio State University College of Optometry, tells SELF.

This applies even if you think you have great vision. Regular eye exams can detect eye diseases and conditions that may have no early symptoms, like glaucoma, James Khodabakhsh, M.D., chief of the department of ophthalmology at Cedars Sinai Medical Center and CEO/medical director of the Beverly Hills Institute of Ophthalmology, tells SELF. Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that can cause blindness, but catching it early can hinder its progress. Bottom line: See your eye doctor every other year, or more frequently than that if you have risk factors like a family history of eye diseases.

4. Pamper your eyelids with a warm compress every day.

Your eyelids have Meibomian glands that pump oil onto the surface of your eyes and create a healthy tear film, Dr. Meghpara says. But as you get older, these glands don’t pump out oil as much as they used to.

If your eyelids aren’t pumping out enough oil, you can develop dry eye or blepharitis (a condition that causes an inflammation of the eyelid), Dr. Meghpara says. Applying warmth to those glands can soften up any oil that’s clogged in there, making them more likely to work the way they should.

To use a warm compress, simply wet a washcloth with warm water, close your eyes, and press the compress up against your eyelids for a few moments, Muriel Schornack, O.D., an optometrist at the Mayo Clinic, tells SELF. “I tell all my patients: If you do this now every day, it can hopefully prevent a problem with dry eye later on,” Dr. Meghpara says.

5. Eat a balanced diet.

The American Optometric Association specifically recommends that you try to get certain nutrients in your diet on a regular basis for the sake of your eyes.

These include lutein and zeaxanthin, which are found in foods like spinach, kale, and eggs, and may reduce your risk of chronic eye diseases. Vitamin C, which is in tons of fruits and vegetables (including ones other than oranges), might slow the progression of age-related vision loss. Then there’s vitamin E, which you can get from vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and green veggies like spinach and broccoli, and which can potentially help protect cells in your eyes from tissue breakdown. Omega-3 fatty acids from sources like flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and fish are important for proper functioning of your retina, which sends visual messages to your brain. There’s also zinc (found in oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, crab, lobster, and more), which helps your body produce melanin, a protective pigment in the eyes.

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet also reduces your risk of developing or exacerbating hypertension and type 2 diabetes, all of which can lead to eye complications, Dr. Movsisyan says.

6. Wear your sunglasses—yes, even when it’s cloudy or freezing.

While the sun might not seem as powerful when hiding behind clouds or during winter, it’s still there—and it can still harm your eyes. Sunglasses can protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation, which may cause eye issues like pinguecula and pterygia (growths on the conjunctiva, the clear tissue that covers the white part of the eye), or keratitis (inflammation or damage to the cornea itself), Dr. Schornack says.

While some eye protection is better than none, the Mayo Clinic specifically recommends looking for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays, screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light, have lenses that are perfectly matched in color and free of distortions and imperfections, and have lenses that are gray so you can see colors clearly. Wrap-around or close-fitting sunglasses are also ideal to protect your eyes from every angle, the organization says.

If you have any questions at all about your eye health, call your eye doctor or get one if you don’t have one already. A lot of times, eye conditions can be controlled or reversed if they’re caught early, Dr. Meghpara says. Translation: Future you might thank present you for sticking with an eye-care regimen.

High Definition Custom LASIK at Heritage Eye, Skin & Laser Center

By | Blog, Eye Care, Eye Facts, Laser Vision Correction, LASIK, Latest Heritage News, Uncategorized

LASIK is a laser vision correction procedure that can correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, and can reduce or eliminate the need for glasses or contact lenses. LASIK surgery is considered to be a safe, accurate, and permanent procedure.

Your First Step Towards Freedom from Glasses and Contacts

You’ll begin your LASIK experience with a free consultation. After some preliminary eye tests and evaluations, you’ll meet with Dr. Kenneth Miselis, our LASIK Surgeon.  Dr. Miselis will get to know you, your eyes, your health, and determine if you are a candidate for LASIK. This is a great opportunity to get a feel for our office, the staff, and your surgeon. Afterwards, you’ll meet with our LASIK Surgery Counselor, who will further discuss the treatment, and answer any questions or concerns you may have.  If you decide to schedule LASIK, your LASIK Surgery Counselor will be available to you from start to finish.

 

What is High Definition Custom LASIK?

High Definition Custom LASIK begins with creating an individualized treatment plan for every patient. We use state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to examine your eyes and obtain highly accurate measurements that ensure very precise surgical outcomes.

Each patient’s cornea is different from all others. During the pre-op exam, we perform a test that scans the front of the eye and generates a 3D model of the cornea and the lens. Through advances in wavefront technology, Dr. Miselis will be able to identify and treat tiny visual imperfections called higher-order aberrations that are unique to each individual eye. We are able to zero in on these microscopic imperfections that can be corrected with LASIK but cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.  That is why High Definition Custom LASIK at Heritage Eye, Skin & Laser Center is truly a customized and much more effective LASIK treatment.

What is it Like to Have LASIK?

LASIK is a very quick and painless procedure. Before the  procedure, you’re given medication to help you relax. Numbing eye drops are applied to your eyes to prevent any discomfort during the procedure.

The actual laser portion of the treatment only takes 20-50 seconds. The LASIK procedure is a two-step process. In the first step, Dr. Miselis creates a small hinged flap on the cornea. In the second step, the flap is folded back and the cornea is reshaped so that it can focus light more precisely and evenly to produce crisp, sharp vision. The flap is then closed so it can heal. The laser portion of the procedure is painless, although you may feel some pressure on your eye.

Candidates for LASIK

Over 94% of the eligible population are good candidates for LASIK. A good candidate for LASIK is someone who is over 18 with a prescription that has remained stable for at least a year. It is also important to have sufficiently thick corneas to accommodate the procedure. If your cornea is too thin or you have corneal scarring, there may be other vision rejuvenation procedures with different requirements.

There are certain conditions and factors which can increase your risk of an undesirable outcome or limit optimal LASIK results. These include:

  • Chronic dry eyes
  • Too thin or irregular corneas
  • Large pupils
  • High refractive error
  • Women who are pregnant or nursing
  • Unstable vision
  • If you have certain degenerative or active autoimmune disorders

Custom LASIK Recovery and Results

Most patients experience better vision almost immediately after having High Definition Custom LASIK – which continues to improve over the next few months as the eyes stabilize.

You will need a ride home after the procedure, as you will not be able to drive. It is important to wear protective eye shields while sleeping for a couple of weeks after the procedure to protect the eyes while they heal.

It is also important to use anti-inflammatory and antibiotic eye drops, and to keep the eyes well moisturized.

Ultimately, the majority of our patients achieve 20/20 vision or better with our High Definition Custom LASIK procedure. In addition, the procedure frequently produces an improvement in overall visual clarity when compared with glasses and contacts.

If you would like a LASIK Consultation, please call our office at 209.465.5933 or call our LASIK Department directly at 209.932.0220.

 

Heritage Eye, Skin & Laser Center’s Response to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

By | Blog, coronavirus, COVID, COVID-19, Eye Care, Health and Nutrition, Latest Heritage News

At Heritage Eye, Skin & Laser Center, the health and well-being of our patients, associates, and community is our top priority. We understand the concern and uncertainty you may be experiencing surrounding the coronavirus (COVID-19) and we are committed to being responsive to the needs of our patients as the situation evolves.

As it has always been, the safety and security of our patients and team members remains our highest priority. We take great pride in maintaining the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene. In response to the coronavirus, we have taken additional measures developed in consultation with global and local public health authorities (including the WHO and CDC) to make our cleaning  protocols even more rigorous:

  • We have increased the frequency of cleaning our public areas (including chairs, door handles, public bathrooms, etc.) and have continued the use of hospital-grade disinfectant.
  • All frames in our optical department are sanitized after every patient.
  • We have increased the deployment of antibacterial hand sanitizers in all our patient areas.

As always, the health, safety and well-being of our patients, our associates and our communities is of paramount concern. We will continue to monitor this quickly evolving situation.

For additional information about COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at cdc.gov.

It’s That Time Of Year- Understanding Eye Allergies

By | Blog, Community Outreach, Eye Care, Eye Facts, Health and Nutrition, Latest Heritage News

Understanding Eye Allergies

When you say, “I have allergies,” people expect you to sneeze. But your nose isn’t the only part of your body that gets hit during an allergy attack. You can also have red, swollen, and itchy eyes.

The usual suspects — pollen, dust mites, pet dander, feathers, and other indoor or outdoor allergens — can set off eye  allergy symptoms. To treat them, find out what triggers them and stay ahead of the symptoms. Eye drops and other medications can bring relief.

Eye Allergies Triggers

Eye allergies are also known as “allergic conjunctivitis.” Just like any other allergic reaction, they are caused by a misfiring of the immune system, the body’s natural defense mechanism.

When you have allergies, your body reacts to things that aren’t really harmful, like pollen, dust mites, mold, or pet dander. It releases histamine, a chemical that causes swelling and inflammation. The blood vessels in your eyes swell and your eyes get red, teary, and itchy.

You can be allergic to:

Pollen from grasses, weeds, and trees. These are the most common kinds of eye allergies and are called seasonal allergic conjunctivitis.

Dust, pet dander, and other indoor allergens. These eye allergies last year-round and are called chronic (perennial) conjunctivitis.

Makeup, perfume, or other chemicals can trigger eye allergies called contact conjunctivitis.

An allergy to contact lenses, called giant papillary conjunctivitis, can cause bumps on the inside of your eyelid, making your eyes sensitive and red both with and without wearing your contact lenses.

Symptoms to Watch For

You may start to have symptoms as soon as the eyes come in contact with the allergen, or you may not have symptoms for two to four days.

Symptoms of eye allergies include:

Red, irritated eyes

Itchiness

Tearing or runny eyes

Swollen eyelids

Soreness, burning, or pain

Sensitivity to light

Usually you’ll also have other allergy symptoms, such as a stuffy, runny nose and sneezing.

 

Treating Eye Allergies

Some of the same medicines you use for nasal allergies work for eye allergies. For quick relief, over-the-counter eye drops and pills can help.