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cooking holiday meals If your November traditions include preparing a Thanksgiving meal, this means there will be plenty of time spent in the kitchen, often with family and friends around to add to the chaos and distractions. This is why it’s a great time of year to be reminded of eye safety, particularly when it comes to kitchen safety. With so many holiday traditions involving food, you should be mindful of your eyes and the eyes of those around you while preparing and serving meals and snacks alike. You should especially watch out for the following:

  • Kitchen Liquids. If any liquids splash into your eyes while you are cooking or preparing food, take care to properly clean your eyes. Be sure to flush the affected eye or eyes thoroughly with water. Some burning and tearing isn’t atypical with liquids that have some acidity to them, but be mindful that some liquids can cause infection, such as liquids from raw meats. See an eye doctor if your symptoms continue without improvement after the holiday.
  • Grease and Hot Liquids. While you are cooking, hot oils and grease frequently splatter from pans and have the potential to cause issues for your skin, clothing, and eyes. Preventative measures against this include goggles, but at the very least you should always use a grease shield or use lids on pans with splattering liquids. This is especially important if you have children or pets in your household that might be closer to eye-level exposure.
  • Sharp Objects. Sharp objects commonly found around the house such as knives, forks, and scissors are a major cause of eye injuries, especially among children. If there are children in the household as you cook, take extra care with where you are leaving sharp objects to ensure small hands can’t accidentally grab them. Return items to safe locations after using them. These precautions will help keep your kitchen workspace safe.
  • Cleaning Products. In preparation for the holidays, you may be doing some cleaning, both in and out of the kitchen. Don’t forget that cleaning products are dangerous and should be treated accordingly. Wear eye protection while you’re working with cleaning products such as bleach and other chemical cleaners, and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards to avoid accidental contact with eyes. They can cause serious eye damage if they get in your eyes.

Taking action before anything gets into your eyes can go a long way in protecting your vision this season. If you have additional or specific concerns about eye safety, we are here to help! At Everett and Hurite, our staff can assist you with questions or concerns you may have about eye problems. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Image courtesy of Pexels.com 

eye_macular_degeneration.jpgYou’ve probably heard the term “dry macular degeneration” during a visit to the eye doctor, but exactly what does it mean? It turns out, macular degeneration is fairly common among Americans who are 65 and older, with dry macular degeneration affecting 85% - 90% of cases. This condition involves the drying out of the macula, which is a portion of the retina that is responsible for providing clear vision. The American Macular Degeneration Foundation explains that in the “dry” type of macular degeneration, the deterioration of the retina is associated with the formation of small yellow deposits, known as drusen, under the macula. This phenomenon leads to a thinning and drying out of the macula, causing the macula to lose its function. The amount of central vision loss is directly related to the location (typically in your central line of vision) and amount of retinal thinning caused by the drusen. When this occurs, images are not received correctly, which can lead to wavy or blurred vision.

Put simply, as a result of this thinning and drying within your eye, your vision is blurred and becomes spotty in the center of your field of vision. The condition can be quite frightening to experience, and reading about may have you wondering what your options are for prevention and treatment.

Let’s take a look at causes, symptoms, prevention, and signs that tell you it may be time to be looked at by an eye doctor.

 

Common Symptoms

Dry macular degeneration symptoms are generally painless and can develop over extended periods of time. The condition can impact one or both eyes or just one, depending on the patient. Other conditions can show similar symptoms, so it’s important to consult with your eye doctor on the diagnosis. While symptoms vary from patient to patient, some common problems may include the following:

  • Distorted vision
  • Reduced central vision
  • Difficulty recognizing faces
  • Increased blurriness when reading print
  • Difficulty adapting to different low light levels

 

Common Causes

So you’ve discovered these symptoms, but what could have caused this to happen? While a main cause cannot be identified, there are a number of risk factors that can be attributed to dry macular degeneration. Some of these common risk factors could be:

  • Age, typically in adults age 65 or older
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Family history
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol

 

Preventive Measures

It’s important to have your eyes checked regularly, especially if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed earlier. If not corrected promptly, dry macular degeneration can have a negative, lasting impact on your vision. Having routine eye exams will allow your eye doctor to check up on your eyes and point out any abnormalities or signs of dry macular degeneration, even before problematic symptoms appear. It’s also wise for your overall vision to exercise regularly, eat a diet consisting of plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid smoking, and keep your health in check. A healthy body can also have a positive impact on vision.

Dry macular degeneration can negatively affect vision, which can make going through life a bit more difficult. Having regular eye doctor exams and keeping your overall health in check can prevent symptoms from arising, and as well as reduce your risk of developing a number of other vision issues. If you’re having concerns about macular degeneration or you aren’t sure what you can do to correct, it, we can help. At Everett and Hurite, our staff can assist you with questions or concerns you may have about the dry macular degeneration or other eye problems you could be faced with. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Good eye care is a must when wearing contact lenses. Those with eyesight issues, whether they’re major or minor, have a few correcting options for helping them see clearly. While glasses are an option for many, contact lenses have stepped up to be one of the other more popular choices. It’s estimated that that roughly 40 million Americans wear contact lenses. Contacts can free up one’s face and can be easy to insert and remove from the eye, but they can also cause quite a few problems when not properly taken care of. Fortunately, knowing how to care for your contacts - and how to watch for potential problems - can help you see clearly for a while to come.

 

Be Aware of Risk Behaviors

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2016 six out of every 7 contact lense wearers reported at least one behavior that could put them at risk for lense-related eye infections. This includes both adult and adolescent contact lense wearers, but adolescents were more likely to indulge in a bad habit. When done frequently, many of these behaviors can lead to long-term issues, such as eye infections that potentially lead to blindness. These are some risk behaviors that could be problematic:

  • Wearing contact lenses while sleeping or napping
  • Replacing lenses at longer intervals than prescribed
  • Not making annual visits to the eye doctor
  • Swimming in contact lenses
  • Storing or rinsing lenses in tap water
  • Mixing old contact lense solutions with new ones

 

Ending Bad Habits

In order to correct some of the bad habits many contact lens wearers may have developed, here are some recommended safe practices.

  • Many of the risk behaviors listed above involve exposing contact lenses to bacteria and microorganisms, such as pool water or tap water. Contact lenses must be stored and handled in approved contact solution, which will destroy any bacteria that could cause real damage to your eyes.
  • As for mixing solutions, this may not seem harmful, but it’s more trouble than it’s worth. When you top off an old contact solution with a new one, the solution that has been sitting in the case could chemically react and lead to an eye infection if done frequently. Always clean out your case before filling it with a new solution.
  • When it comes to sleeping or napping, always remove your contact lenses unless your doctor tells you otherwise. This bad habit can put stress on the cornea, which reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the eyes. Less oxygen to the eye increases the risk of painful or vision-threatening infections.
  • Making yearly visits to the eye doctor, especially if you’ve been having issues with contact lenses, is one of the best ways to catch an infection or developing vision problems early. Your doctor may ask you if you have been guilty of any of these habits, and it’s best to be honest with them so they can provide the best solution for you.

 

If you’re guilty of any of these risk behaviors, it’s time to put a stop to them as soon as possible. Habits can be hard to break, but with serious eye infections and even healthy vision on the line, it’s time to make your eye health a priority over convenience. At Everett and Hurite, our staff can assist you with questions and any other eye concerns you may have about contact lense health or best practices for taking care of your eyes. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Image courtesy of pexels.com

Nutrition can help prevent glaucoma.It’s the 2nd leading cause of irreversible blindness in the world - “it” being glaucoma. Glaucoma develops when the optic nerve in your eyes is progressively damaged, often due to excessive pressure caused by excess amounts of fluid buildup. This damage can lead to vision loss, starting with peripherals, and eventually affecting the rest of our eyes.

In the United States, it’s estimated that roughly three million people have glaucoma - but about half of them don’t realize they have the disease because of the lack of early symptoms. So how can one be proactive and reduce their risk of glaucoma?

While there is no surefire way to avoid glaucoma, there are things you can do to reduce your risk of developing it. Specifically:

  • Eating a diet rich in vegetables. Eating plenty of vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens is not only good for overall health and well-being, but these foods are also beneficial to our eyes. Fruits and vegetables contain carotenoids, which benefit our vision health. Foods rich in vitamins A and C - such as cabbage, kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, celery, carrots, peaches, radishes, green beans, and beets - have also been shown to boost our eye health and aid in reducing the risk of glaucoma. (Click here to take a look at some other fruits and vegetables that keep our eyes healthy.)
  • Eating a balanced diet with vision-supportive vitamins and minerals. Many nutrients that help prevent glaucoma can be found in other parts of a balanced diet. As previously mentioned, vitamin A and vitamin C are beneficial to our eyes, but vitamin E has also been shown to boost vision. Vitamin E can be found in wheat and cereal, seafood, avocados, nuts, egg yolks, and more. Zinc, Lutein and Zeaxanthin are also great for your eyes and can reduce your risk of glaucoma. However, it’s important to remember that too much of a good thing can actually have a negative impact on your body. We’ve written about whether or not supplements can be beneficial in the past, and our advice then stands here as well!
  • Knowing your family's eye health history. If a relative has glaucoma, you’re more likely to develop it yourself. Always mention your family history to an eye doctor to ensure that you’re getting the eye screenings you need to catch glaucoma early on. Doctors may also prescribe eye drops to help protect your eyes from pressure-related damage to help keep glaucoma symptoms at bay.
  • Exercising (safely). Regular, moderate exercise may not just help keep your body in healthy shape - it may also help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure. Depending on your age and health, however, you may need to take precautions before exercising - there’s no reason to put an unhealthy strain on your heart, joints, or another problem area. That’s why working with a doctor to develop an exercise routine specifically tailored to your limitations is recommended to help reduce the risk of glaucoma.

It’s important to remember that while good food, exercise, and even prescription eye drops can reduce the risk of glaucoma, they aren’t the cure or a guaranteed way to prevent glaucoma. Working with an eye doctor is the only way you can detect possible problems and keep them at bay, as early problems or risk factors can only be detected through regular eye exams. This is why checking up on your eye health is crucial, particularly if you have concerns about glaucoma or other serious eye conditions.

Addressing and diagnosing any issues with glaucoma, or starting treatment options early, will save many patients a lot of stress before symptoms become worse. Everett and Hurite’s staff can assist you with questions and any other eye concerns you may have. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Back_To_School_Eye_Exams_Children_Eye_Health.jpg With summer vacation coming to an end, many students and parents are beginning to prepare for the upcoming school year. But between purchasing school supplies, signing up for fall activities and sports, orientations, and finishing up last-minute summer trips, many forget to schedule an eye exam prior to the start of the school year. In fact only 50 percent of parents take their children under 12 years old to visit their eye doctor, even though skipping annual visits can lead to vision problems being missed in their early stages.

Making sure your child’s eyes are in good health and are ready for the school year ahead is important, and scheduling a comprehensive eye exam is the only way to diagnose any vision problems or concerns early on. Still not convinced? We’ve compiled a few reasons why you should add a back to school vision exam to your list of things to do before the first day of school.

Vision Dependence in School: Children tend to be visual learners, so schools rely on visuals to keep students engaged. If a child is having problems seeing the chalkboard, reading books, or participating in sports or activities, they tend become frustrated, which leads to learning being negatively impacted. School infirmaries do offer vision checks, but they are often limited in scope and rarely pinpoint issues in a child’s vision. That’s why the best way to keep your child’s vision in check is to take them in for annual eye exams. This way, they’ll be ready to hit the books without worrying about their vision.

Changes in Eyesight: As children get older and use their eyes for more computer work or reading, they can start to experience vision problems. Nearsightedness can develop or worsen between ages 11 and 13, so it’s important to check up on this if your child is having issues seeing what’s on the chalkboard or across the room. Other issues, like farsightedness, strabismus, and astigmatism can also be diagnosed during a comprehensive vision exam.

Set your child up for success in the upcoming school year by checking up on their eye health. Addressing and diagnosing any issues prior to the first day of school will not only keep your child’s vision in check, but also save them from frustration and headaches as the year progresses. Everett and Hurite’s staff can assist you with questions and any other eye concerns you may have. Schedule your back to school appointment by contacting us today!

 

Ever notice strange shapes moving around in your eye? Are these shapes more prominent when you’re looking at a bright blue sky or a white sheet of paper? These could be eye floaters - small pieces of collagen that are part of a gel in the back of your eye called the vitreous. So what makes these pieces of collagen move from the back to the front of the eye, and what can be done to remove or prevent this from happening? Here are answers to some common questions regarding causes, symptoms, and treatments for eye vitreous floaters.

You will want to get an eye exam if you develop floaters.

 

What Causes Floaters?

It’s no secret that the older we get, the more problems we experience with our eyes. One of these problems could be the breaking down and clumping of the protein fibers that make up the vitreous, which contributes to shadows being cast on the eye. When the vitreous becomes less jelly-like and becomes more of a liquid, the fibers clump and cause the shadows to appear.

Floaters can occur in adults at any age, although they’re more common between the ages of 50 and 75. You’re more likely to get them if you’re nearsighted or have experienced cataract surgery. Floaters can also result from various eye diseases and injuries, tumors, or diabetic retinopathy.

 

What Are The Symptoms?

Floaters can appear differently in every person who experiences them, but there are a few common symptoms that most patients experience. These symptoms include transparent spots or strings on the eyes, spots that move quickly when looking in different directions, spots that are noticeable when looking at bright lights or plain colors (like a bright, blue sky), or spots that drift out of the line of vision. If you are experiencing these symptoms you should see a specialist as soon as possible to confirm that nothing major is developing in your eye, especially if more severe symptoms develop as well (i.e.new floaters appearing, an abundance of floaters, sudden flashes of light, or peripheral vision loss).

 

How Can Floaters Be Treated?

While floaters can be annoying, most of the time they are harmless, and will go away over time on their own. However, if floaters are continuously getting worse, you will want to see your doctor about possible treatments. There are no treatments for floaters without risks, however. In the past, a vitrectomy, or a removal of the vitreous, was the best recommendation. However, this procedure has a risk of retinal tearing, retinal detachment and cataract formation. Laser vitreolysis is another treatment and it’s performed in a doctor’s office. A laser is projected into the eye through the pupil to target and break up the large floaters. This procedure also carries the risk of retinal tear and detachment. There is also a medication that can be injected into the eye, but this carries a risk of infection, retinal swelling, and retinal tear or detachment. These are all risks that you and your doctor can discuss if the need for treatment ever arises. Fortunately, the majority of floaters resolve naturally, with little to no hassle!

Experiencing any symptoms of floaters? Concerned about your eye health? We can help! Everett and Hurite’s staff can assist you with questions about floaters, symptoms, treatments, and any other eye concerns you may have. Schedule an appointment by contacting us today!

Image courtesy of pixabay.com

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