Keep up-to-date on the latest vision-related news and eye care events in our practice. The items are displayed by year and month. To view older entries use the links in the box below to select the year and month you would like.
Did you know that people with diabetes are 20 times more likely to get eye diseases than those without it? There are three major eye conditions that diabetics are at risk for developing: cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. To prevent these sight-threatening diseases, it's important to control your blood sugar level and have your eyes checked at least once a year by an eye doctor.
But First, What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that is associated with high blood glucose levels. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps our cells get energy from the sugars we eat. Diabetes develops when the body doesn't produce or respond to insulin effectively, leaving too much sugar in the blood stream instead. Over time, diabetes can lead to potentially irreversible ocular damage and poor eyesight. However, by taking care of your blood sugar levels and your eyes, you can prevent vision loss.
Annual eye exams are recommended for everyone, but routine screenings are even more important for diabetics. Eye doctors may send diabetic eye health reports to a patient’s primary care physician or internist to adjust medication as needed to prevent complications.
What's the Link Between Vision and Diabetes?
Blurred vision or fluctuating eyesight clarity is often one of the first noticeable signs that diabetes has begun to affect your eyes. Sometimes, fluid leaking into the eye causes the lens to swell and change shape. This, in turn, makes it difficult for the eyes to focus, resulting in fuzzy vision. Such symptoms can indicate that an eye disease is developing, or may simply be due to imbalanced blood sugar levels which can be rectified by getting your blood sugar back to healthy levels.
If you start to notice blurry vision, make an appointment with Dr. Young as soon as possible.
The 3 Ways Diabetes Impacts Vision
While cataracts are extremely common and a part of the natural aging process, those with diabetes tend to develop cataracts earlier in life. Characterized by a clouding or fogging of the lens within the eye, cataracts impede light from entering the eye, causing blurred vision and glares. The best treatment is cataract surgery, which is very safe and effective.
Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases characterized by optic nerve damage. Since it tends to impact peripheral vision first, glaucoma often goes unnoticed until significant damage has occurred. However, routine glaucoma screenings can detect warning signs; early treatment can prevent disease progression and vision loss.
Although there is no true cure for glaucoma, most glaucoma patients successfully manage it with special eye drops, medication, and on occasion, laser treatment or other surgery. The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and managed, the better the outcome.
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels on your retina (capillaries) become weakened and then balloon (microaneurysm) due to poorly controlled blood sugar levels. The resulting poor blood circulation in the back of the eye causes more abnormal blood vessels to grow, which also bleed or leak fluid, and can lead to scar tissue, retinal detachment and even blindness, over time.
Often there are no symptoms until the advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy, where patients may begin to see spots and missing patches in their vision. Retinopathy can be treated through surgery and eye injections, but the best way to prevent this disease from progressing is to regularly have your eyes screened.
The good news is that diabetic eye disease can often be prevented with early detection, proper management of your diabetes and regular diabetic eye exams. Contact TSO MidCounty in Port Arthur to set up your eye doctor’s appointment today.
Your eyes aren't just the windows to your soul — they can also reveal valuable information about your general health beyond whether you need glasses, including: diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. It is not unusual for people to come in for an eye exam just to check their eyesight and then have certain health issues or predispositions picked up by the optometrist.
Eye Exams and Your Health
Eye examinations can help doctors detect general health conditions early enough to intervene. Advanced screenings enable eye doctors to better predict cardiovascular incidents like stroke, and possibly detect signs of mental changes such as Alzheimer's. Read below to learn how eye exams can unveil a whole lot more than just eye health.
Brain Cancer & Stroke
Because of the similarities between the blood vessels in the eye and brain, an eye doctor can occasionally detect an issue taking place in the brain by examining the blood vessels in the eyes. If swelling or shadows in the eye is observed, it may indicate a serious condition in the brain, like a tumor, or clots that might result in a stroke.
Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). If an optometrist detects leaky blood vessels in the eye, the patient would be advised to see a doctor to help control their blood sugar. Changes are gradual, and they start before visual symptoms are noticed. The earlier diabetic eye disease is managed, the better the chances are of preserving eyesight.
High blood pressure, characterized by having too much pressure in the blood vessels, can be detected during an eye exam, sometimes even before it's diagnosed by your regular doctor. The damaged blood vessels lead to swelling, hemorrhages, and leaking — all of which can be observed in the eyes. According to the CDC, hypertension "the silent killer" affects nearly 1 in 3 adults, and up to a whopping 20% of those don't even know they have it. So early detection at an eye doctor's evaluation can be truly life-saving.
Eye exams can also detect a buildup of cholesterol. High cholesterol is among the easiest conditions to spot during a complete eye exam, as the cholesterol deposits manifest on the front of the eye, appearing as a thin, gray rim around the cornea. It can also be detected in the retina by assessing artery and vein patterns.
These deposits may indicate the current or future development of Retinal Blood Vessel Occlusion, a condition where blockages restrict blood flow to the back of the eye, causing temporary or permanent vision loss.
In some cases, heart conditions associated with a buildup of plaque in the carotid artery in the heart can also lead to deposits that clog the ocular arteries in the eye. If an optometrist detects such changes to the vascular structure at the back of the eye, he or she will typically recommend going to a specialist.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Sudden vision loss may be attributed to Multiple Sclerosis (MS). While the optometrist can recognize signs indicating the presence of MS, such as the color and appearance of the optic nerve, such cases will be referred for further testing to confirm the diagnosis.
Thyroid disease can make itself apparent through the eyes in several ways. The thyroid gland controls the hormones that regulate tear production so some thyroid disorders can cause dry eye disease. Additionally, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can make the extraocular muscles enlarge and stiffen, causing bulging eyes — an indicator of Graves' disease.
Systemic conditions that are associated with inflammation in the body can have an inflammatory effect on the eyes. Uveitis, for example, causes eye inflammation, redness, and blurred vision, and tends to occur in people with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases.
Breast cancer, leukemia, and other metastatic cancers are occasionally discovered during an eye evaluation. In addition to brain cancer mentioned above, melanoma and basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) can be detected, and eye doctors can also diagnose lymphoma and other eye tumors. Eye exams save lives.
What the Future Holds
Recent studies show that a non-invasive and precise imaging device called Octa (optical coherence tomography angiography) can signal the presence of eye changes associated with Alzheimer's disease. Because the retina is in many ways an extension of the brain, the altered blood vessels at the back of the eye offer a glimpse into the changes taking place within the brain.
Parkinson's Disease can often be misdiagnosed as its early symptoms are characteristic of other conditions. Research has shown that subtle eye tremors, an early Parkinson's marker, could be detectable using advanced eye exam technology. One day soon, practitioners may send patients to an eye doctor to test for this and other diseases.
Your Eye Doctor's Appointment Could Change Your Life
So the next time you visit Dr. Young at TSO MidCounty in Port Arthur, remember that a comprehensive eye exam can do more than determine your eyeglasses or contacts prescription. Dr. Young can evaluate your eyes for existing or potential health issues, and communicate them to your primary care physician for the best possible care. By knowing that you're at risk for a certain disease, you can take precautions early on and manage the condition as needed. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Smoking harms nearly every system in your body — including your eyes.
Though we are all aware of the health effects associated with smoking, such as lung cancer, heart disease, and bad teeth, few know about the negative impact it can have on our vision.
Smoking and Eye Disease
Smoking, especially 20 cigarettes or more daily over a long period of time, can adversely impact your vision. Cigarette smoke is made up of compounds that can damage health and have been shown to cause cerebral lesions which affect the area of the brain that processes vision.
More specifically, tobacco addiction increases the risk of developing vision-robbing diseases such as macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy. Moreover, smoke is an irritant that can cause or exacerbate dry eye syndrome. Below we'll delve a little further into each of these conditions.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Smokers run a high risk of developing AMD, a condition that severely impairs central vision, making it difficult or impossible to read, drive, recognize faces and colors, and leads to permanent vision loss in those aged 65 or older. Fortunately, the risk can be dramatically diminished by putting an end to tobacco smoking — even if later in life.
Heavy smokers double their risk of developing cataracts, the leading cause of blindness. Cataracts are characterized by clouded, blurred or double vision, photophobia, and reduced night vision. However, cataract surgery is common and replaces the clouded lens with an artificial intraocular lens.
Uveitis, the inflammation of the eye's central layer, is an ocular disease that can lead to blindness. This condition damages important structures of the eye, notably the iris and retina, and can lead to cataracts, glaucoma and retinal detachment. Smokers have a 2.2 times higher risk of developing uveitis than non-smokers.
Smoking raises one's risk of developing diabetes by up to 40 percent thereby increasing the risk of retinopathy as well. Diabetes damages the blood vessels in the retina, causing them to leak blood into the eye, which — in severe cases — can deprive the retina of oxygen and result in blindness.
Dry eye syndrome is a common eye condition characterized by insufficient 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. Common symptoms include red, itchy, and gritty eyes.
Heavy smokers, and those exposed to secondhand smoke, not only double their risk of developing dry eye but also exacerbate an existing condition, especially among the contact lens wearers.
Secondhand Smoke and Eye Disease
Secondhand smoke— which includes the smoke that emanates from the end of a cigarette as well as the smoke exhaled— is nearly as harmful to health and vision. Second-hand smoke places others' eyesight in danger, particularly in young children and infants. Furthermore, studies indicate that women who smoke during pregnancy put the newborn baby at risk of being born with eye disease or visual impairment that could affect his or her ability to learn.
Stop Smoking to Save Your Vision
The good news is that giving up smoking can have an immediate effect on your health — and it’s never too late to quit! Once the habit is broken, your body will begin to repair itself to prevent vision loss. It can be challenging to quit, as it requires dedication, support, and advanced planning. Dr. Young and the rest of the staff at TSO MidCounty in Port Arthur care about your health and will be happy to provide any assistance or resources to help you quit smoking and improve your eye health. Keep in mind that if you smoke, quitting smoking is the most important step you can take to protect your health and vision.
Once you and your doctor have decided on the type of contact lenses you'll need, it's time to choose the most suitable contact lens solution for your eyes and contacts.
There exist 2 different types of solution for contact lenses: Multipurpose and Hydrogen Peroxide-based. While both remove debris and build-up, and disinfect lenses, only hydrogen peroxide is capable of penetrating the microbial biofilms for a deeper clean. As an added benefit, hydrogen peroxide does not contain preservatives — which can be particularly beneficial for those with allergies or eye sensitivities.
Multipurpose solutions are straightforward and easy to use; only one solution is needed to rinse, clean, disinfect and store your contacts (as seen in the image). Their convenience and low cost make them a popular choice.
Hydrogen Peroxide Solution
Hydrogen peroxide solutions, such as Clear Care® by Alcon or Refine One Step™ by CooperVision, contain no preservatives or allergens. This solution thoroughly breaks up the proteins and removes deposits on the lenses during the disinfection process, which can be beneficial for people who tend to accumulate large amounts of build-up on their lenses. Moreover, hydrogen peroxide is more effective at battling acanthamoeba keratitis (an eye infection that may lead to blindness) than all other types of contact lens solutions.
Since hydrogen peroxide is a chemical that causes stinging and burning when it touches the eye, after the contacts have been disinfected the solution must be neutralized to be healthy for your eyes. Included with every solution bottle is an upright contact lens case containing a platinum-coated disk that chemically reacts with hydrogen peroxide to decompose it into a safe, non-irritating, sterile saline solution. This chemical reaction produces bubbles inside the case as it undergoes the transformative process over a period of several hours. Since the neutralizing disk loses its effectiveness over time, it is critical to regularly replace it.
If your eyes do make contact with hydrogen peroxide, make sure to immediately flush it out with sterile saline. If saline is not available, wash your eyes with water or artificial tear drops and make sure to see Dr. Young as soon as possible. Though painful, it doesn't cause permanent eye or vision damage.
How does it work?
To clean your lenses, place them in the designated case that is freshly filled with the hydrogen peroxide solution and soak them for 6-8 hours. This can be a one-step or two-step process, depending on the product. The one-step products contain a built-in neutralizer in the contact lens case, while the two-step products require you to add a neutralizing tablet to the solution after cleaning.
Make sure not to reuse or top off hydrogen peroxide solution after it has been neutralized, as it will have lost its disinfecting power.
Be sure to dry your case thoroughly between uses and to replace your case every 2-3 months to prevent infection.
It is important to note that hydrogen peroxide solutions will change into unpreserved saline. Therefore, if contact lenses are stored for extensive periods of time (e.g. more than a couple days), it is safer to consider multiple-purpose solutions for long term.
Hydrogen peroxide-based solutions are known for their exceptional disinfecting ability. At TSO MidCounty, in Port Arthur, our patients are extremely satisfied with the cleanliness and comfort they experience when using hydrogen peroxide-based solutions for their contact lenses. Speak with Dr. Young to find out whether this solution is right for you.
Swimming in a pool with your contacts on or topping off your solution may seem harmless, but they could compromise your contact lenses and your vision.
Below are daily habits to adopt for optimal contact lens care:
Wash Your Hands Regularly
Whether you use daily or monthly contact lenses, make sure to first wash your hands. Placing your finger on some clear tape and seeing the mark you leave will give you some indication of what you’re putting on your contact lenses if you don’t wash and dry your hands beforehand. Avoid using scented or oily soaps, as their residue might stick to the lens surface. Similarly, avoid creams and lotions prior to inserting contacts into your eyes.
This one simple and easy habit can make a massive difference in your eye health and can potentially prevent eye irritation and infections.
Clean Your Contacts Daily
You must clean and disinfect your contact lenses on a daily basis, unless you use daily disposables, of course. There are several cleansing systems and solutions available — the choice depends on the type of lens you use. Speak with Dr. Young to determine the best cleaning solution for your lenses and eyes.
Avoid Contact with Water
It might seem harmless, but we advise against using tap water, as it contains impurities and microorganisms that can cause infections. Furthermore, tap water can lead your contacts to swell and change their shape. If you must swim with your contact lenses on, make sure to wear protective goggles and clean them with solution when you come out of the pool.
Never Ever Use Saliva
Your mouth is filled with germs, which are fine for your teeth but not for your eyes. Avoid using saliva to “clean” or moisten your contact lenses.
Do Not Top off Solution
Just as you shouldn’t mix spoiled food with fresh foods, you should not top off yesterday’s solution in your contact lens case with fresh solution. The concoction might not contain enough disinfectant to kill off organisms and clean your lenses.
Routinely Change the Contact Lens Case
Many people don’t know about this one, but it’s recommended to change your contact lens case every 2-3 months, as microscopic dirt may linger in the case, leading to contamination and eye infections.
Don’t Sleep with Your Lenses On
It’s important to give your cornea a chance to breathe; sleeping with your contacts may cause redness, soreness and infections. So make sure to remove your contact lenses before you get some shut-eye, unless they’re specialty lenses which are intended to be worn overnight.
If you’re using orthokeratology (ortho-k) lenses to reshape your cornea, do wear them at night or as instructed by your eye doctor.
Get That Annual Eye Exam
Don’t forget to book your yearly eye exam at TSO MidCounty in Port Arthur, as your vision can change. You can’t purchase new contact lenses with an expired prescription anyway, so you’ll need an updated one when your contact lens supply is running low. Furthermore, getting an exam is also an excellent opportunity to ask Dr. Young any questions you may have.
Whether you live in a cold climate or have visited one in the winter, you have probably seen someone who just walked in from the cold outdoors sporting glasses that are no longer transparent, or perhaps you’ve experienced it yourself.
Why Do Glasses Fog Up?
There are several factors that cause your glasses to fog up — one of which is ambient heat, in other words, the actual temperature in your surrounding environment. Eyelashes that touch the lens can cause fogging, as well as tight-fitting frames that touch the cheeks (many plastic frames cause this problem), which impede proper airflow. Lastly, high humidity and the sweat and moisture that accompany overexertion/ exercise can also trigger foggy lenses.
Ultimately, glasses cloud over due to moisture in the air condensing on the cold surface of your lenses.
Now that you know the most common reasons why your glasses fog up, it’s time to read about some possible solutions. Below are a few tips to help keep your lenses clear year-round.
6 Tips to Steer Clear of Cloudy Specs
1. Invest in Anti-Fog Coating
Anti-fog coating blocks out moisture that would normally stick to your lenses, by creating a surface layer that repels water and mist. An optician applies the treatment to both sides of the lens in order to prevent fogging so you can see clearly in any climate or environment.
Ask us about our proven anti-fog treatment for your glasses and be on your way to clearer vision, all the time.
2. Use Anti-Fog Wipes, Sprays, or Creams
Commercial anti-fog products are an alternative to lens coatings. These products, typically sold in either gel or spray form, are specially designed to prevent condensation and moisture from building up on your lenses. Apply the product as directed on the packaging and remove it with the supplied cloth, wipe or towelette. If a cloth wasn’t included in the box, use a scratch-free cloth.
Aside from the gel or spray, you can use anti-fog wipes. These pre-treated napkins are perfect for those who are on the go.
3. Move Your Glasses Further Away from Your Face
Eyeglasses tend to trap moisture and heat, particularly if they are positioned close to your eyes or face, which increases the buildup of fog on your lenses. Consider adjusting the position of your eyewear by pushing your glasses slightly further down your nose. It will stimulate proper air circulation, thereby reducing fog accumulation.
4. Wear Your Seasonal Accessories Wisely
If the weather cools down, try not to wear too many layers, to prevent overheating and producing sweat, which can make your glasses to fog up more. Wear only the necessary amount of clothing to stay warm. If you’re wearing a scarf, consider one with an open weave or a more breathable material to let the air pass through.
5. Avoid Abrupt Temperature Changes
Allow your eyewear to acclimate to changes in temperature. If you are moving from an environment that is cold into one which is warm and humid, try to let your glasses adjust accordingly.
- As you enter a building, stand in the doorway for a minute or two as the temperature slowly transitions from cool to warm.
- When in the car, gradually adjust the heat, particularly when your hands aren’t free to simply remove your glasses and wipe off the fog.
Fogged up glasses are not only irritating but can also be dangerous, especially for those who drive, ski, or operate machinery. So make sure to take the necessary precautions, especially as the weather changes.
6. Swap Glasses for Contact Lenses
If contacts are an option for you, you might want to wear them on those cold days, to avoid foggy glasses syndrome (yeah, that’s a made-up term).
Want to keep your glasses from fogging up? Speak with Dr. Young. At TSO MidCounty in Port Arthur, we can advise you about a variety of contact lenses, anti-fog treatment and other solutions to help you see clearly— any day.
Good Eye Care Habits & Hygiene
By practicing good eye care habits and hygiene, you can prevent many vision problems from occurring. Eye problems and the risks associated with vision loss only grow as you age. By neglecting eye care, you place yourself at a higher risk of suffering from cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and low vision.
So make sure you maintain great eye health by following these 12 tips for optimal eye health.
1. Avoid rubbing your eyes
Itchy eyes can be a hallmark symptom of allergies, and though rubbing may bring temporary relief, it ultimately increases swelling and worsens the itch. If you wear contact lenses, rubbing your eyes can also dislodge or even break a lens, causing the lens to get lost or scratch the cornea. Plus, eye rubbing can lead to eye infections, since our hands are typically covered with a host of germs.
2. Regularly wash your hands
Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is often caused by germs and bacteria carried to your eyes by unclean hands. Frequently washing your hands with soap and warm water helps keep bacteria away and prevents eye contamination. Prior to inserting or removing contact lenses, make sure to wash your hands with mild soap and dry them using a lint-free towel.
3. Beware of UV rays
By exposing yourself to sunlight and UV rays, you increase the risk of developing macular degeneration and corneal sunburn. Beyond just adding some style and zest to your look, sunglasses should protect your eyes from dangerous UV rays. Speak to your optometrist about the different options available for people who wear prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses too, to keep your eyes safe in the sun.
4. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is crucial for your body’s overall health and wellbeing — and that includes your eyes. Among other complications, if you don’t have enough fluid in your body, it impacts tear production and can cause dry eyes and irritation. Drink up!
5. Don’t smoke cigarettes
Need some extra motivation to quit smoking?
Smokers are more prone to developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye conditions. Cigarette smoking can also destroy optic nerves, which can adversely affect your vision over time. So think twice before you light up, and speak to your doctor about getting help to quit.
6. Eat a healthy diet
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure that your diet is rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamins A and C. These can be found in leafy greens (your mom was right about spinach!), orange vegetables (think, carrots and sweet potato) and citrus fruit. Furthermore, fatty fish like salmon contain essential omega-3 fatty acids which also promote excellent eye health.
7. Keep a healthy distance from screens
Nip digital eye strain in the bud by positioning your computer monitor about an arm’s length away from the eyes and 20 degrees below eye level. Ideally, work in a room with enough diffused lighting to reduce stress on your eyes from the computer light.
8. Remember the 20-20-20 rule
Speaking of computers, have you heard of the 20-20-20 rule? When using digital devices, rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking 20 feet away for 20 continuous seconds.
Once you’re at it, blink 20 times in succession to prevent dry eyes, and make it a habit to rise from your seat and take 20 steps to promote good posture and blood circulation, which helps your vision too.
9. Be careful with eye make-up
Make sure that your eye shadow, mascara, and eyeliner don’t cause your eyes an allergic reaction. Get in the habit of removing your make-up before going to sleep in order to avoid bacterial build-up from residual make-up left in the eye area. And, from time to time, clean your make-up brushes, especially those used to apply cosmetics around the eye area.
10. Sleep is golden
Just as with the rest of your body, your eyes need a break. So make sure that you get sufficient shut-eye (8 hours) each night to keep your eyes revitalized and healthy.
11. Wear protective eyewear
Whatever you do, make sure your eyes are well-protected. If you’re swimming, wear goggles to prevent chlorine from entering your eyes. If you’re gardening or engaged in a DIY project at home, wear safety glasses to keep dust particles and bacteria at bay and prevent eye injuries. Ask your local eye doctor about protective eyewear for sports and other activities.
12. Regularly visit your eye doctor
Don’t underestimate the importance of getting a routine eye exam, whether you need an updated prescription or not. Even if you can see well today, a comprehensive eye exam can pick up early signs of eye diseases and conditions before symptoms become noticeable, such as glaucoma, diabetes, retinal holes which could lead to retinal detachment, and cancers like melanoma. Early detection and management can prevent further complications and serious vision loss down the line.
Only an eye doctor has the required knowledge, experience, tools and techniques to determine whether you have these or other eye conditions.
It is recommended that everyone gets a comprehensive eye exam once a year (or at least every two years). Children, whose eyes are rapidly developing, and people at higher risk for developing eye problems such as diabetics and older people, need to undergo eye exams even more frequently: at the minimum, yearly.
During the evaluation, the eye doctor will check for things like:
- Farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism and/or presbyopia
- Eye coordination
- Optic nerve and eye pressure tests to spot glaucoma
It’s also important to be on the look-out for any changes in your vision. If you experience hazy or double vision, worsening eyesight, red eyes, eye pain, swelling or floaters, contact Dr. Young.
Incorporate these tips and habits into your lifestyle to maintain healthy eyes and a high quality of life. TSO MidCounty offers comprehensive eye exams in Port Arthur, Texas , and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about ways to maintain healthy vision.
Countless adults, teens and even children will be wearing colored contact lenses this Halloween, but few are aware of the risks involved. Ever wondered what those cat-eye contacts are doing to your eyes? If you got them without a prescription, beware of health complications.
Enjoy a safe and happy Halloween by educating yourself and others about the dangers of wearing colored contact lenses without a prescription.
Why Can Over-The-Counter Colored Contact Lenses Cause Eye Damage?
Contact lenses made to change one’s appearance go by many names: cosmetic, theatrical, Halloween, circle, decorative, colored, or costume contact lenses. While it’s illegal to sell colored contact lenses without a prescription, authorities rarely enforce the law -- which means they’re still accessible in many places.
Many people believe that wearing non-prescription color contact lenses can cause no harm. This unfortunate myth has led to many contact lens complications. For instance, when a person feels that a contact lens is “dry”, it could be because the lens is not a good fit. Ideally, the lens should follow the contour of the eye, and stay centered, with enough lens movement to allow tear exchange beneath the lens.
Furthermore, non-medical colored contact lenses are often produced by unlicensed manufacturers that tend to use inferior plastic and toxic materials, such as lead (often used in lens coloring), which can get absorbed through the eyes into the bloodstream. These illegal lenses may also contain high levels of bacteria from unsanitary packaging, shipping, and storage conditions.
Therefore, purchasing any kind of contact lenses without a prescription or medical oversight can result in a variety of eye complications, such as corneal abrasions, eye sores, conjunctivitis, other eye infections, vision impairment and, in rare cases, even permanent vision loss.
Even if you have perfect vision, all contact lenses, including colored contacts, require a prescription and proper fitting by an optometrist.
Contact us at TSO MidCounty and make an appointment with Dr. Young to get properly examined for a contact lens prescription.
The Dos and Don'ts of Colored Contact Lenses
- DO make sure you undergo a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist who will measure your eyes and properly fit you for contact lenses.
- DO get a valid prescription that includes the measurements, expiration date and the contact lens brand name.
- DO purchase the decorative contact lenses from a reliable retailer (hint: they should demand a prescription.)
- DO follow the contact lens hygiene directives (cleaning, inserting and removing lenses) provided by your eye doctor.
- DO make sure to undergo follow-up eye exams as directed by your eye care professional.
- DON’T ever share contact lenses with anyone else.
So don’t let an eye infection get in the way of your fun this Halloween. Wearing decorative lenses without a valid prescription can result in serious harm to your eyes, which can haunt you long after October 31st.
Get your comprehensive eye exam and contact lens fitting by an eye doctor in Port Arthur at TSO MidCounty.
September Is Sports Eye Safety Month!
Ocular sports trauma is among the leading causes of permanent vision loss in North America. Tens of thousands of people get treated for sports-related eye injuries a year, with the most common injuries occurring during water sports and basketball. Infections, corneal abrasions, eye socket fractures, and detached retinas are just a few of the typical cases eye doctors encounter on a regular basis.
Sports Eye Safety Month is sponsored by Prevent Blindness America (PBA) to remind people to protect their eyes when playing sports. Though young children are usually the most vulnerable to eye injuries, it should be noted that professional athletes can also suffer eye injuries while on the job.
Eye accidents can happen in a split second - the effects can last a lifetime...
By wearing protective eyewear, you can safeguard your eyesight without compromising on your favorite sports activities. Athletes who wear contact lenses still need additional eye protection for relevant sports.
At TSO MidCounty, our eye doctor is experienced and trained to treat sports-induced eye injuries sustained by our active patients. Dr. Young and our dedicated staff are committed to providing the most comprehensive eye care to help get you back on the field again. Furthermore, we provide consultations on a wide array of protective eyewear for all your sporting needs.
What Eye Injuries Can Be Caused by Sports?
A corneal abrasion, also known as a scratched cornea, is the most common sports-related eye injury. When someone gets poked in the eye, the eye’s surface can get scratched. Symptoms may include acute pain and a gritty or foreign body sensation in the eyes, as well as redness, tearing, light sensitivity, headaches, blurry or decreased vision. Medical care includes prevention or treatment of infection, and pain management. If you suspect that you have suffered a corneal abrasion, make sure to see an eye doctor right away.
Iritis is an inflammation of the iris, the colored part of the eye. The condition rapidly develops and typically affects only one eye. Symptoms include pain in the eye or brow region, blurred vision, a small or oddly-shaped pupil, and sensitivity to bright lights.
Hyphema is among the more common sports-related eye injuries, with racquet sports, baseball and softball accounting for more than 50% of all hyphema injuries in athletics.
A hyphema is a broken blood vessel inside the eye which causes blood to collect in the space between the cornea and iris, also known as the “anterior chamber”. Although the main symptom is blood in the eye, it can be accompanied by blurry or distorted vision, light sensitivity or eye pain.
If you recognize the signs and symptoms of hyphema, make sure to seek immediate medical attention in order to avoid secondary complications.
Angle recession can develop from an eye injury or bruising of the eye, caused by getting punched, elbowed, or hit with a ball. The trauma damages the fluid drainage system of the eye, which causes it to back up, increasing the pressure in the eye. In 20% of people with angle recession, this pressure can become so severe that it damages the optic nerve, and causes glaucoma (known as “angle-recession glaucoma”).
You may not notice any symptoms at first, and it may take years before you experience any signs of vision loss. Therefore, it’s critical to visit the eye doctor as soon as possible for a complete eye exam and make sure that you follow-up with routine screenings.
Retinal tear or detachment
Retinal detachment is a condition in which the retina gets lifted or pulled away from its normal position at the back of the eye. If not treated immediately, retinal detachment can develop permanent vision loss.
Symptoms include seeing flashing lights, floaters or little black spots in your vision. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency and requires an eye doctor’s immediate attention - surgical intervention may be necessary.
This happens when a blood vessel breaks on the white part of the eye. In addition to a sport-related injury, it can be induced by rubbing the eye, heavy lifting, sneezing or coughing. For those with subconjunctival hemorrhage, the eye appears intensely red - though this minor condition will often clear up within a couple weeks on its own without treatment.
This occurs when one or more of the bones around the eyeball break, often caused by a hard blow to the face - such as by a baseball or a fist. This is a major injury and should be assessed by an eye doctor, like Dr. Young, along with X-Rays or CT scan imaging to help confirm the diagnosis.
Black Eye or Periorbital Hematoma
A “shiner” can occur when a blunt object such as a fist or ball strikes the eye-area of the face and causes bruising. Typically, this kind of injury affects the face more than the eye. Blurry vision may be a temporary symptom, but it’s a good idea to get a black eye checked out by an optometrist in any case, because sometimes there is accompanying damage to the eye which could impact vision.
How Does One Prevent Sports-Related Eye Injuries?
One of the most important things one can do in order to prevent eye injuries is to wear protective eyewear. In fact, wearing eye protection should be part of any athlete’s routine, and should be prioritized just like wearing shin guards or a helmet.
Below are a few tips to prevent sports-related eye injuries:
- Wear safety goggles (with polycarbonate lenses) for racquet sports or basketball. For the best possible protection, the eye guard or sports protective eyewear should be labeled “ASTM F803 approved” - which means it is performance tested.
- Use batting helmets with polycarbonate face shields for baseball.
- If you wear prescription eyewear, speak with Dr. Young about fitting you for prescription protective eyewear.
- Sports eye protection should be comfortably padded along the brow and bridge of the nose, to prevent the eye guards from cutting into the skin.
- Try on protective eyewear to assess whether it’s the right fit and size for you and adjust the straps as needed. For athletic children who are still growing, make sure that last-year’s pair still fits before the new sports season begins. Consult Dr. Young to determine whether the comfort and safety levels are adequate.
- Keep in mind that regular glasses don't provide nearly enough eye protection when playing sports.
For athletes, whether amateur or pro, there is so much more at stake than just losing the game. Fortunately, by wearing high-quality protective eyewear, you can prevent 90% of all sports-related eye injuries.
Speak with Dr. Young at TSO MidCounty about getting the right sports-related protective eyewear to ensure healthy eyes and clear vision. Our eye care clinic serves patients from Port Arthur and the surrounding areas.
This summer, heat waves with scorching temperatures have hit communities nationwide, making an already hot summer even hotter. With high temps and heat waves in certain areas, it’s now more important than ever to protect yourself.
For best practices and tips for maintaining healthy vision in the summer heat, talk to the TSO MidCounty.
How Can Heat Affect Vision?
Staying out in the sun too long can give you a sunburn and make you feel exhausted. Did you know that it can affect your vision, too?
If you get dehydrated, lack of moisture can make it hard for your eyes to naturally produce enough tears, which can contribute to seasonal dry eye. If you already have dry eye, extremely dry heat can exacerbate your symptoms of itchy, red, sore, and irritated eyes.
Do you sit in front of a fan or air conditioning system? That may feel great, but it can also contribute to dryer and less comfortable eyes.
To give your eyes some temporary relief, keep artificial tears on hand. If your eyes still feel dry or uncomfortable, contact TSO MidCounty.
If You Love the Sun, Read This
Golden sunshine may sound dreamy, but too much isn’t a good thing.
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can be very harmful, and your eyes are no exception. UV radiation, which can gradually contribute to eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. Dr. Young recommends that you always wear sunglasses with 100% of UVA and UVB light blocking protection. There’s no shortage of trendy and sunglasses, designed with a flair for fashion, so you won’t have to compromise on style while protecting your eyes from dangerous UV rays.
Excessive sun exposure can cause headaches, blurry vision, eye pain, and eyestrain. So while you’re out at the pool, hanging out at the beach, sunbathing, or at a backyard barbeque, pay close attention to how much time you’re outside.
If you love the sunshine, you just need to protect yourself. Wear hats, sunscreen, and, of course, 100% UV protective polarized sunglasses. But if you experience discomfort or symptoms that don’t go away on their own, then it’s time to visit your eye doctor.
Computer Vision Syndrome in the Summer
There’s nothing quite like a family road trip or flying to a vacation getaway over the summer. Yet something about being stuck in the backseat of a car or inside of an airplane makes kids feel closed in and restless. It’s then that many kids will play on a smartphone, iPad, or gaming device over many hours to help pass the time.
When it comes to kids and computer use, they’re just as susceptible to the effects of digital eye strain, also called Computer Vision Syndrome, as adults are. In fact, studies show that 25% of children spend more than 3 hours each day on digital devices.
In the summer, when the heat is sizzling, it’s tempting for kids to spend more time than usual watching TV, using a computer, or playing games on their smartphones. To help ease the effects of digital eyestrain, Dr. Young suggests following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at something at least 20 feet away. It’s a great way to counteract the effects of Computer Vision Syndrome and let the eyes rest.
This summer, however you choose to beat the heat, don’t forget to protect your vision and keep your eyes strong and healthy. The TSO MidCounty is always here to help if you have any questions.
Have a great summer!
July is UV Safety Awareness Month, and no wonder! With the summer sun out in full force, it’s now more important than ever to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.
During this month, people who have suffered from UV ray damage and their loved ones are encouraged to share their experiences and advice. Use the hashtag #UVSafetyAwareness on your social media channels to support others in your community.
Did You Know?
Your eyes can get sunburned. It isn’t only your skin that’s at risk, but your eyes, too. When your cornea is exposed to too much UV radiation, a condition known as keratitis can occur. Keratitis can actually cause a temporary loss of vision, often after using a tanning bed or being out in the sun too long. UV radiation can also cause small growths on the white part of your eye, which are called pterygium and pinguecula. They can make your eyes feel dry, irritated, and scratchy.
If you experience any of these symptoms, TSO MidCounty can help.
UV ray exposure is a risk factor for eye conditions and diseases. In 20% of cataract cases, cataract growth has been linked to UV ray damage. Cataracts develop when the normally clear lens of the eye becomes cloudy. UVA rays are a known risk factor for macular degeneration – the leading cause of blindness in people over the age of 65. Macular degeneration occurs when the macula of the eye, which is responsible for clear central vision becomes damaged. It’s critical to be aware of UV ray exposure, especially if you or a family member are in this age group.
What Exactly Are UV Rays?
You may have heard about UV rays without knowing what they actually mean. UV stands for ultraviolet light. That’s a potentially harmful type of radiation, which is typically found in fluorescent lights, tanning booths. But its main source is from the sun, and it’s invisible to the naked eye, so you don’t even feel it as it touches your skin or body.
Why Are UV Rays Dangerous?
So why are they considered dangerous? Well, too much of a good thing isn’t really a good thing. Sunlight helps us make vitamin D, which is healthy. Too much sun exposure, though, can cause premature aging in the skin, burns in the eye, and may even change the shape of your cornea and other serious eye damage, leading to vision problems. It’s even more dangerous for younger people, especially children, because children's lenses are more transparent and transmit UV rays more easily.
If you or a loved one is experiencing vision problems or eye diseases, we can help. Dr. Young sees patients from all over the Port Arthur, Texas area, and can treat your condition with a number of advanced solutions. Regular eye exams and checkups are critical for keeping your vision healthy, especially during the summer.
UV Safety Can Go a Long Way
Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to protect yourself from long-term exposure to UV rays. Check out our top 3 UV safety tips:
- Put on Those Shades
Snag a pair of sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB blocking power. Anything less than that won’t protect your eyes from harmful rays. Concerned about your look? Don’t worry, There are plenty of awesome sunglass designs, so you’ll protect your eyes without compromising on incredible style. Ask the optometrist which lens is best for you.
- Sunscreen and More Sunscreen
Mothers and doctors say it all the time, and with good reason! Use sunscreen before going outdoors and make sure it has a good SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number. If you’re in the water, reapply it every 2 hours. UV rays can reflect off of water, so if you’re hitting the pool or beach, take extra precautions.
- I Tip My Hat to You
Protect your head and the skin on your scalp with a hat. A wide-brimmed hat is best for a good amount of sun-blocking coverage, since it also protects the tops of your eyes which might not be shaded by your sunglasses, and is too sensitive for sunscreen. For the fashion-conscious, there are endless styles to choose from, so go shopping!
During this UV Safety Awareness Month, we encourage you to share your stories and successes. If you have any questions, Dr. Young is here to help.
This summer, whether you're headed across state lines on a family road trip, flying off to Europe, grabbing a quick weekend getaway, or taking a vacation in your own backyard, don't forget to protect your eyes!
Summer Eye Care Near You
Check out our top 4 tips for ensuring healthy eyes this summer, and remember, your eye doctor is here to help make the most out of your vision. Dr. Young sees patients from all over the Port Arthur, Texas area. Let us give you the top-quality eye care you and your family deserve, not only during the summer, but all year long.
Don't Leave Home Without It
If you have a chronic illness and need to head out of town for a few days, you would never leave home without your medications, right? That's because you know that if something happens and your meds aren't with you, you could suffer discomfort or complications to your health.
The same is true for your vision. If you suffer from dry eyes, make sure to take artificial tears or medicated eye drops with you when you travel. Preservative-free eye drops are a traveler's friend. They're also available as individual strips, which are recommended since there's less risk of contamination.
Running low on disposable contact lenses? Include an extra pair in your carry-on suitcase and stock up on new lenses ahead of time. If you wear eyeglasses, bring a spare set and a copy of your prescription along with you, just in case they get lost or broken.
We recommend speaking to Dr. Young before you leave for vacation to make sure your vision needs are all set.
It's Getting Hot Outside
Usually, most people think of protecting their skin from sunburns when they're at the beach, by the pool, or just spending time outdoors.
Did you know that your eyes can get sunburned, too?
This happens when the cornea is exposed to excessive UV rays. When the sclera (the white part of your eye) looks red, that's a sign that you've got sunburned eyes. You might also notice symptoms like a sudden sensitivity to light, or your eyes may feel like something is stuck in them, or they could feel sore.
The best way to prevent sunburned eyes? Always wear sunglasses with 100% of UVA and UVB light blocking protection.
Watch Out for the Pool
Swimming is one of summer's greatest pastimes. There's nothing quite like a dip in a pool or ocean to cool off from the sweltering summer heat. While you're slicing through the water, remember to protect your eyes.
Remove contacts before going swimming, wear goggles while underwater, and rinse your eyes with cold water when you get out of the pool (it helps get the chlorine or salt out). If your eyes feel dry or scratchy after a swim, use some moisturizing eye drops to lubricate your eyes.
Back to School is Sooner Than You Think
Your kids will be back in school before you know it. Help them prepare for the upcoming school year by scheduling an eye exam now. If they need new glasses because their prescription has changed or your teen simply wants a new look for the new school year, come in to TSO MidCounty for a consultation and take a look at the newest selection of frames and contact lenses.
Have you had a sudden eye injury or emergency while on vacation? Don't wait until you’re back home to handle it -- seek immediate care today. Certain eye injuries can damage your vision or lead to ulcers, so if you notice symptoms like redness, eye pain, changes to your vision, or flashing light, contact your eye doctor right away.
At TSO MidCounty, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision this summer and throughout the year.
TSO now has the Costa Ophthalmic frames!
Eyeglasses Are Back!
Picking out new eyeglasses can be a daunting task, whether you're getting your very first pair or you've worn them nearly all your life. The sheer volume of eyeglass choices can be torture to work your way through if you don't have any idea what you're looking for.
Not only are there many different shapes and colors in eyeglass frames, but advances in technology have also brought us a variety of new materials, for both the frames and the lenses, which makes eyeglasses more durable, lightweight and user-friendly. Eyeglass frames are now created from high-tech materials such as titanium and "memory metal" for the ultimate in strength and style, while the lenses are now thinner and lighter than ever before, even in high prescriptions.
Lens options, such as anti-reflective coating, light-changing tints, progressive lenses and new high-tech, light weight materials such as Trivex(TM) and polycarbonate, let you choose a pair of eyeglasses that enhances your vision, no matter what you like to do.
You can now request your next appointment online.
Visit the Contact Us section of our web site and complete the Patient Registration Form. The form is secure and our office will be notified once the form is complete. When you walk in for your next appointment, we'll already have the information entered into our computers. We're always looking for ways to serve our patients better.