If your eyes itch, are red, tearing or burning, pay attention to what they may be telling you. You may have eye allergies, or allergic conjunctivitis, a condition that affects millions of people each year. It is a condition that can occur alone, but often accompanies nasal allergy symptoms, such as sneezing, sniffling and a stuffy nose. And, while most people treat nasal allergy symptoms, they often ignore their itchy, red, watery eyes.
Eye allergy triggers
Allergens that may be present indoors or outdoors can cause eye allergies. The most common outdoor airborne allergens are grass, tree and weed pollens. People who are sensitive to these allergens suffer from seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, the most common type of eye allergy.
Pet hair or dander, dust mites and molds are the most common indoor allergens. These indoor allergens can trigger symptoms for some people throughout the year, resulting in perennial allergic conjunctivitis.
Cigarette smoke, perfume and diesel exhaust may inflame your eyes. They can act as irritants that cause non-allergic symptoms, or they can make your allergic response worse.
Eye allergy causes
Just like hay fever and skin rashes, eye allergies develop when the body's immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to something that is ordinarily harmless. An allergic reaction can occur whenever that "something" - called an allergen - comes into contact with your eyes. The allergen causes certain cells in the eye (called mast cells) to release histamine and other substances or chemicals that cause blood vessels in the eyes to swell, and the eyes to become itchy, red and watery.
Can eye allergies harm my eyesight?
Eye allergies, specifically allergic conjunctivitis, can be extremely annoying and uncomfortable, and they may disrupt your day-to-day activities, but they usually do not harm your eyes. However, there are rare conditions that are associated with atopic dermatitis (eczema) and other diseases can cause inflammation that may affect the eyesight. Chronic forms of eye allergy may also be caused by application of eye drops and creams, or even cosmetics.
What to do if you are unsure?
More than likely a simple antihistamine can help with your symptoms, but in cases where the allergy symptoms are persistent or unbearable, we can have a look for you and let you know what you can do to make the symptoms better. Book your appointment by calling (905) 751-0169.
Most of us are aware that not getting enough shut eye can be harmful for your body; however, you may not know that a lack of rest can be hazardous for your eyesight. While lack of sleep is often blamed for dark circles under your eyes, not getting enough rest can interfere with your overall eye health.
Studies have shown that the eye needs at least five hours of sleep per night to properly replenish. Without that time, eyes cannot work at their full potential. One common side effect of lack of sleep is eye spasms. Eye spasms are defined as involuntary eye twitches that occur when you have a spasm in your eyelid. These involuntary spasms are known as myokymia. Eye spasms should not be painful or do damage to your vision; however, they can be very aggravating and disruptive. Avoid eye spasms by making sure you get an adequate amount of sleep per night.
Over time, lack of sleep can lead to serious ramifications on your vision including popped blood vessels due to eye strain. Additionally, a shortage of sleep can cause dry eye, a condition when tears do not adequately lubricate your eyes. When dry eye sets in you can experience some pain, light sensitivity, itching, redness or even blurred vision.
You might rub your eyes when you're anxious or stressed, when you wake up in the morning or even when you sleep, but could rubbing your eyes actually cause some damage?
Healthy eyes and vision are a critical part of kids' development. Their eyes should be examined regularly, as many vision problems and eye diseases can be detected and treated early.
When should your children have their eyes tested?
Newborns should be checked for general eye health by a pediatrician or family physician in the hospital nursery.
At about 3.5 years kids should undergo eye health screenings and visual acuity tests with their family doctor.
If there are no symptoms of vision problems before, around age 5 kids should have their vision and eye alignment evaluated by an optometrist.
Children who are prescribed vision correction lenses should visit their optometrist annually.
Spotting Eye Problems Early
Signs that a child may have vision problems include:
If caught early, eye conditions often can be reversed.
Have you had your spinach today? The savory dark-green leafy green, among many vibrantly colored vegetables and fruits, is frequently overlooked, and often nonexistent on the plates of Americans across the country.
We often hear why we need fruits and veggies - for heart health and cancer prevention. Now we can add to that list "eye health" - something that's so often taken for granted when we're young. But, don't assume your vision will keep getting worse as you age and that there's nothing you can do about it. You can do something about it.
"Nutrition is critical," says Robert Abel, Jr., M.D., clinical professor of Ophthalmology at Thomas Jefferson University and author of "The Eye Care Revolution." A firm believer that the eyes can be a good indicator for general body health, Abel adds, "We need an orchestra of nutrients, not just one player" for good eye health. The nutrient "players" at the top of the good eye-health chart are largely found in fruits and veggies. So, make sure you're consuming a total of five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. That's a minimum!
Where to Begin
Are certain fruits and veggies better than others for eye health? Yes. But just eating more fruits and vegetables period is the best place to begin. According to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, just 27 percent of women and 19 percent of men report eating the Food Guide Pyramid-recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Maye Musk, a registered dietitian, international speaker, and author of "Feel Fantastic" and "Executive Stamina" says, "Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially dark-colored ones like carrots, broccoli and Hubbard squash" is important for the eyes. The deep-colored fruits and vegetables are typically "good sources of beta-carotene and many, many carotenoids," she adds. Beta-carotene and certain carotenoids (plant pigments) are just a handful of the array of nutrients linked to good eye health.
Let's take a closer look at some of the vital vision-healthy nutrients, especially those so richly found in veggies, fruits and other plant-based foods.
A water-soluble vitamin and effective antioxidant, vitamin C helps keep eyes young and healthy by protecting some parts of the eye against damage caused by ultraviolet light. Antioxidants are substances that help protect cells from the natural but damaging effect of oxidation.
Barbara Gollman, M.S., R.D., an expert on functional foods and phytochemicals and co-author of "The Phytopia Cookbook: A World of Plant-Centered Cuisine," says, "Vitamin C might help prevent cataracts or delay their development, but studies do not confirm this yet." Cataracts, a clouding of all or part of the lens of the eye, cause blurred or dimmed vision and unusual sensitivity to light.
Think of vitamin C as an age-protector for your eyes, kind of the way rust-protector is for your car or wrinkle cream is for your skin. Thanks to the popularity of OJ, most Americans meet their minimum vitamin C needs, which is 75 milligrams for women and 90 milligrams for men.
But studies indicate we might need as much as 300 milligrams, possibly more, for a cataract-preventive effect. Where do you find vitamin C besides citrus fruits? Go for guava, red bell peppers, papaya, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, mango, strawberries, raspberries and pineapple.
This fat-soluble vitamin and potent antioxidant, may help in prevention of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common eye disease associated with aging. AMD impairs vision by affecting the macula, a small spot in the center of the retina where vision is sharpest. Blurred vision is often the first symptom of this leading cause of irreversible blindness in people over age 65.
Abundant in the food supply, vitamin E is especially high in vegetable oils. That's one good reason why we don't want to overdo our "fat-free" eating. Some of the best sources of vitamin E: wheat germ oil, sunflower seed kernels, sunflower oil, hazelnuts, almonds, cottonseed oil, wheat germ, papaya, fortified cereals and peanut butter.
This trace mineral may have a protective effect on the development of some forms of early AMD. As zinc is acutely concentrated in the eye, Dr. Abel says zinc is "very important for the retina," the back part of the eye that senses light.
Zinc intake seems to drop as we age - when our eyes need it most. To be sure you're getting enough zinc, enjoy wheat germ, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, sunflower seeds, almonds, tofu, brown rice, milk, ground beef and chicken.
A carotenoid and antioxidant, beta-carotene aids in night vision and maintaining good vision. It may play a small role in cataract prevention. Luckily, beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the body, is easily obtained through the diet. Gollman suggests, "Beta-carotene supplements are not recommended."
Don't worry about eating too much beta-carotene. Your skin might temporarily turn an unusual shade of orange, but it's harmless. For a beta-carotene boost, choose apricots, carrots, sweet potatoes, collard greens, beet greens, turnip greens, kale, spinach, papaya, red bell pepper, cantaloupe, winter squash and romaine lettuce.
Carotenoids are antioxidants that are plant pigments. This category is considered by many eye-care and nutrition experts to be the most promising of the eye-protective nutrients. Over 600 carotenoids are known, though just a handful are found in the diet and even fewer are found in the human body. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin are all found in the body, but only lutein and zeaxanthin are found in the eye.
Specifically, these two carotenoids help maintain the health of the retina and macula, potentially "protecting against AMD" adds Gollman. Carotenoids give foods their rich colors. They give spinach, kale and broccoli their delicious orange-yellow color. Huh?
Actually the carotene is disguised as dark green by the chlorophyll in their leaves. Carotenoids also make tomatoes ruby red, watermelons vivid pink, and sweet potatoes deep orange.
So, "color" your plate happy - it'll make your eyes healthy!
Amblyopia: Also called lazy eye. Decreased vision in one eye that leads to the use of the other eye as the dominant eye. A problem most commonly associated with children.
Astigmatism: An eye condition where the eye cannot focus light uniformly in all directions resulting from an irregular curvature of the cornea, the crystalline lens, or the eye itself. Astigmatism results in mild to moderately blurred vision and/or eyestrain.
Cataracts: A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye that makes it hard for light to pass through and be focused properly. In a normal eye, the crystalline lens is almost transparent, however injury, age or disease can cause the lens to eventually lose its clarity. When the lens becomes 'opaque,' it is called a cataract. Treatable by surgery.
Conjunctivitis (Pinkeye): An eye condition caused by the inflammation of the conjunctiva, or clear membrane covering the white part of the eye and lining of the eyelids. The eyes will often appear swollen and red while also feeling gritty. It is often viral and may be contagious. There are actually 20 different types of conjunctivitis – from fairly common strains that usually pose no long-term danger to you or your child's vision – to types that are resistant to antibiotics. Call or see your doctor to treat pinkeye.
Cornea: The transparent, multi-layered front part of the eye that covers the pupil and iris. It provides most of the eye’s optical power.
Floaters and Spots: A generalized term used to describe small specks moving subtly but noticeably in your field of vision. A floater or a spot is likely a tiny clump of gel or cells in the vitreous – the clear, jelly-like fluid inside your eye. Aging, eye injury and breakdown of the vitreous are the main causes of floaters and spots. If you notice a sudden increase in the number you see, call your eye care professional.
Fovea: A tiny spot in the center of the retina that contains only cone cells. This area is responsible for our sharpness of vision.
Glaucoma: A common cause of preventable vision loss when excessive pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve. Treatable by prescription drugs or surgery.
Hyperopia: A condition where distant objects are seen clearly, yet objects close up are seen less clearly. Also commonly referred to as “farsighted.”
Iris: The pigmented (colored) membrane that lies between the cornea and the crystalline lens that controls the size of the pupil.
Crystalline Lens: The eye’s natural lens located directly behind the iris. It has the ability to change shape to focus light rays onto the retina.
Macula: The part of the retina responsible for the sharp, central vision needed to read or drive.
Macular Degeneration: A group of conditions that include a deterioration of the macula causing a loss of central vision needed for sharp, clear eyesight. It is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in those 65 years of age and older. Macular Degeneration is also called AMD or ARMD (age-related macular degeneration).
Myopia: A condition where distant objects appear less clearly and those objects up close are seen clearly. Also commonly referred to as “nearsighted.”
Nyctalopia: Commonly called “night blindness,” this is a condition that presents as impaired vision in dim light or darkness.
Optic Nerve: A bundle of nerve fibers that carries messages from the eyes to the brain.
Photophobia: Also called “light sensitivity”, this is a condition that can have many underlying causes, and can be prompted by many medications. Protection from bright light is critical for anyone with photophobia.
Pterygium: A raised growth on the eye that is most often directly related to over-exposure to the sun. Dry, dusty conditions may also contribute to development of these growths. Protecting your eyes from UV radiation is a critical preventive measure.
Pupil: The opening in the center of the iris that changes size to control how much light is entering the eye.
Pupillometer: An instrument used to measure the distance between pupils. This measurement is used to position the eyeglass prescription correctly in front of the eye.
Retina: Part of the rear two-thirds of the eye that converts images from the eye’s optical system into impulses that are transferred by the optic nerve to the brain. Consists of layers that include rods and cones.
Rods and cones: These are cells inside the eye used by the retina to process light. Rods are used for low light levels (night vision), cones are used for sharp visual acuity and color perception.
Sclera: The white part of the eye – composed of fibrous tissue that protects the inner workings of the eye.
Single-Vision: Types of lenses that correct one vision problem, like near or far-sightedness.
Snellen Chart: This is the commonly seen eye chart often topped by a large letter “E” used in eye examinations. This measures your eye’s visual acuity, or the ability to see sharp detail clearly.
Strabismus: Sometimes called “crossed eyes” in young children, this condition is the lack of coordination between the eyes, such as one or both eyes turning in, out, up or down.
image provided courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net
It is an all too common misconception that yellow tinted or yellow polarized night driving glasses are beneficial for night time driving. The thought is, the yellow or amber color reduces glare and improves contrast.
However, in reality, when driving at night or dusk in already limited lighting conditions, ANY tint further reduces the amount of light transmitted to the eye, and consequently, further impairs vision.
While yellow lenses can be effective for foggy or hazy daylight conditions, they are not effective against headlight glare and should not be worn at dusk or night. If glare from headlights is a problem, the first step should be a thorough eye examination, as this could be an early indication of cataracts or other medical conditions. Book your exam: 905-751-0169
The best option for night time driving is a pair of spectacles with clear lenses and an Anti-Reflective (AR) coating. The AR coating is beneficial in two ways. First, it minimizes internal reflections within the lenses, reducing halo problems, and second, it increases the transmittance of light through the lens to the eye.
For more information on anti-reflective coating and your lenses, call us or visit us in store 905-751-0169
Our vision is arguably the most important of our five senses and yet, still, many thousands of York Region residents go without glasses when they really should be wearing them.
Vision deteriorates slowly over time, meaning, most often, we haven't noticed our vision has changed. This is why it's so important to have our eyes checked regularly.
Here are five signs that you may need glasses:
This is the single most likely sign that you need glasses and people tend to do it when they are trying to view distant objects. Squinting temporarily improves your vision because it effectively reducing the size of the pupil in your eye, thus temporarily reducing blurred vision.
Headaches are likely to occur after you have being concentrating on a task for a long period of time. Headaches that are caused by your eyes tend to be at the front of your head (frontal) and at the sides (temporal). The headache will normally manifest as a dull ache which can last for hours.
Holding books further away from you
We have a natural lens in our eye whose function is to focus on objects that are near to us. As we get older so this lens does not work as well and hence we start holding things further away from us. This unfortunately continues to deteriorate as we get older, meaning we need stronger and stronger glasses.
If you find you are struggling to judge distances, such as when you are parking a car, this may mean your eyes are not properly in focus. This can happen if either eye is out of focus from the other.
Getting tired quicker
Our brain is more stimulated when our vision is perfect, meaning we feel awake for longer. Blurred vision can result in tiredness and lack of concentration which can affect performance.
Do you need glasses?
If you have answered yes to any of the above five signs then you should consider booking yourself in for an eye test. 905-751-0169
- See more at: http://www.habachat.com/en/app/blog/2014/01/5-signs-you-may-need-glasses_hqqmiys2.html#sthash.jW9u1XS1.dpuf
With over 30 years experience licensed optician Joe Bushara and his highly experienced team, bring you the latest trends in frames and technologies in lenses from around the world.