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Sugar, Diabetes & Glaucoma – What’s the Connection?

Sugar, Diabetes Glaucoma 640Diabetes is a disease caused by the body’s inability to use or produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone responsible for taking sugar out of the blood and placing it into cells, where it is used to create energy. When the body can’t use or produce sufficient insulin, it causes sugar levels to rise too high.

A common complication for people with diabetes is diabetic eye disease, a group of sight-threatening eye problems. Glaucoma is one of these diseases.

In fact, having diabetes doubles your risk of developing glaucoma

Glaucoma is one of the most common causes of blindness worldwide. It is caused by pressure build-up within the eye, which leads to permanent damage to the retina and the optic nerve.

If you have diabetes, it’s important to manage your condition in order to preserve your eyesight.

How Diabetes Affects Your Eyes

Diabetes affects your body’s ability to maintain normal blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar rises too high, it can place stress on major organs, including your eyes and kidneys.

The vast majority of glaucoma cases present no symptoms until irreversible vision loss has occurred. Fortunately, your eye doctor can detect sight-threatening eye diseases early on by examining the retina and optic nerve. Left untreated, glaucoma can seriously impair your vision, or leave you partially or completely blind.

Importance of an Eye Exam

To limit the impact of diabetes on your vision, schedule regular visits to your eye doctor. This will enable your eye doctor to assess your eyes and diagnose any diabetes-related vision problems as early as possible. This can improve your chances of preventing or slowing the progression of glaucoma significantly.

If you have diabetes and are concerned about potential risks to your vision, contact River Place Vision Center to schedule an appointment. We can help preserve your vision before it’s too late.

River Place Vision Center serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills and Hudson Bend, Texas and surrounding communities.

Q&A

Q: Is there a cure for glaucoma?

  • A: There is no cure for glaucoma. However, with early diagnosis and proper treatment, the risks of vision loss can be significantly reduced. That’s why routine comprehensive eye exams are so important.

Q: What glaucoma treatments are currently available?

  • A: Your eye doctor will most likely prescribe glaucoma eye drop medications that reduce intraocular pressure. If the eye drops don’t work, laser or eye surgery may be the next step. Depending on the advancement of your glaucoma, surgery might be the first option for glaucoma treatment.


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Call 512-343-2020

Can People With Dry Eye Syndrome Wear Eye Makeup?

Eye Makeup 640×350If your eyes feel dry and irritated after wearing eyeliner—you aren’t alone. Many patients report symptoms of dry eye syndrome after rocking a smoky eye look, especially for extended periods of time.

The good news is those makeup lovers who have dry eye syndrome can continue to put their best face forward with the guidance of their dry eye optometrist.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic lack of ocular hydration that can be caused by several factors, including genetics, environmental irritants, allergies, certain medical conditions, specific medications and hormonal fluctuations.

Symptoms of DES may include:

  • Burning eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Mucus around the eyes
  • Discomfort while wearing contact lenses
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Eyes that ache or feel heavy

DES treatment depends on the underlying cause of the problem. Your dry eye optometrist will thoroughly evaluate your eyes to find and treat the source of your symptoms.

Can Eyeliner and Other Eye Makeup Cause Dry Eyes?

Our eyes are lined with tiny glands, known as meibomian glands, at the edge of both the upper and lower eyelids that secrete nourishing oils into our tears to help prevent premature tear evaporation. Any blockages or irritation in these glands can lead to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a leading cause of dry eye symptoms.

A recent study published in The Journal of Cornea and External Disease found that the regular use of eyeliner can cause the tear film to become unstable as the eyeliner can clog these small meibomian glands.

An important measurement, known as tear film breakup time, was much lower in the eyeliner-wearing group in the study, indicating that their tears evaporated more quickly. The same group also had reduced meibomian gland function and more symptoms of MGD.

The good news is that you can still wear eyeliner and other eye makeup products, despite having dry eyes. Here’s how:

Tips for Safely Wearing Eyeliner With Dry Eyes

  1. Only use eye makeup products that are intended for use around the eye area.
  2. Keep your makeup and applicators clean. Sharpen your eyeliner pencil and clean your brushes before each use to avoid contamination.
  3. Replace your eye makeup as often as recommended by the manufacturer.
  4. Never share your makeup with friends or family members.
  5. Avoid liners or shadows with glitter, as the particles can easily disrupt your tear film.
  6. Try to stick to cream-based products for the least amount of irritation.
  7. Apply eye makeup to the outside of your eyelashes. Lining the inner rim of your eyelids can clog or irritate the meibomian glands.
  8. Be diligent about eye hygiene. Always thoroughly wash your face and eyes before bed with eye-safe cleaning products.
  9. Visit your dry eye optometrist!

Our Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

At River Place Vision Center, we know that our patients want to look and feel their best. That’s why we tailor your dry eye treatment to suit your lifestyle and needs.

If you or a loved one suffers from symptoms of DES to any degree, we can help. Our optometric team will determine the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms and offer the relief you seek.

To schedule a dry eye consultation, comtact River Place Vision Center today!

River Place Vision Center serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills and Hudson Bend, Texas and surrounding communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dennis Smith

Q: Are there any vitamins I can take to prevent or relieve dry eye disease?

  • A: Yes, certain foods help the eyes stay properly hydrated. Specific vitamins, fatty acids and trace elements are good not only for our overall health but also for our tear film. These include Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, B, C, E, as well as Lutein and Zeaxanthin.

Q: Is dry eye syndrome dangerous for eye health?

  • A: When chronic dry eye isn’t treated, several eye conditions can occur: pink eye (conjunctivitis), keratitis (corneal inflammation) and corneal ulcers. DES can also make it difficult or impossible to wear contact lenses, cause difficulty with reading and trigger headaches.

 

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 512-343-2020

Why Myopia Is Much More Than An Inconvenience

Mom Daughter Child Eye HealthFor some parents, having a nearsighted child simply means frequent visits to the optometrist and regular eyewear purchases. But the truth is that nearsightedness (myopia) is more than an inconvenient eye condition that frequently requires correction.

Taking the short-sighted approach to myopia by simply updating a child’s lens prescription every year or two doesn’t help them in the long run.

Below, we explore the connection between myopia and eye disease, and how myopia management can help your child maintain healthy eyes throughout their life.

How Can Myopia Lead To Eye Disease?

Myopia is caused by the elongation of the eyeball. When the eyeball is too long, it focuses light in front of the retina instead of directly on it, causing blurry vision.

As childhood myopia progresses, the retina (the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye) stretches and strains, making the child more prone to serious eye diseases, including macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinal detachment, in adulthood.

Having medium to high myopia (-3.00 to -6.00) also increases a child’s chances of developing cataracts fivefold, compared to a child with little to no myopia.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in adults around the world. Medium to high myopia makes a child 5 times more likely to develop this sight-threatening eye disease as an adult. Several studies have also shown that the higher the myopia, the greater the risk of developing glaucoma.

Retinal detachment is also heavily linked to childhood myopia. A child with low myopia (-1.00 to -3.00) is 4 times more likely to develop retinal detachment, while children with high myopia are 10 times more likely to suffer from retinal detachment.

Highly myopic children are also at a significantly greater risk of developing myopic macular degeneration — a rare condition where the retina thins so much, it begins to break down and atrophy, leading to visual impairment. This condition occurs in 10% of people with high myopia (-6.00 and higher).

The fact is that most parents aren’t aware of these risks. That’s why we’re here for any questions you or your child may have about myopia and how to slow its progression.

What Is Myopia Management?

Myopia management is an evidence-based treatment program that slows or halts the progression of myopia in children and young adults. These treatments reduce the ocular stress that contributes to the worsening of the child’s myopia.

Our optometric team will take the time to sit with you and your child to learn about their lifestyle and visual needs in order to choose the most suitable treatment.

Once a treatment plan is chosen, we will monitor your child’s myopia progression over a 6-12 month period to assess the plan’s effectiveness.

With myopia management, we bring your child’s future into focus.

To schedule your child’s myopia consultation, contact River Place Vision Center today!

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dennis Smith

Q: How old does my child have to be to begin myopia management?

  • A: Children as young as 8 years old can begin myopia management. In fact, children who are at risk of developing myopia or high myopia should ideally start before the age of 10 for optimal results, but it’s never too late to start! Either way, your optometrist will help determine whether your child is ready.

Q: Do children with very low myopia need myopia management?

  • A: Yes, definitely. Taking the ‘wait and see’ approach runs the risk of allowing your child’s prescription to rise as they grow older, increasing their risk of developing serious eye diseases in the long run.
River Place Vision Center serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, and Hudson Bend, Texas and surrounding communities.

 

 

Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 512-343-2020

How Eye Disease And Cataracts Affected The Work Of Famous Artists

For many art enthusiasts, analyzing the differences in color choices and techniques that an artist employed over the course of their career offers a window into the artist’s soul.

But to eye doctors, these changes in color and style offer a glimpse into the artist’s eye health.

When comparing the paintings from an artist’s youth to their older years, the changes suggest that eye disease may have affected their vision — and, consequently, their artwork.

Did Eye Conditions Affect the Work of Famous Artists?

Cataracts

Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s crystalline lens and a natural part of the aging process. People with cataracts eventually develop blurred vision and perceive colors as faded or yellow-toned.

Claude Monet struggled with cataracts in his 60’s. Upon noticing that his eyesight was changing, he wrote the following to an eye doctor in Paris:

“I no longer perceived colors with the same intensity… I no longer painted light with the same accuracy. Reds appeared muddy to me, pinks insipid, and the intermediate and lower tones escaped me.”

monet paintings2.jpegMonet’s early and well-known paintings of water lilies are full of vibrant blue and purple tones, with clear and sharp lines. As his vision deteriorated, his portrayal of nature became more abstract, and increasingly infused with yellow and red tones.

When Monet’s cataracts became very advanced, he could no longer rely on his eyes to select the correct paint colors; he had to read the labels on the paint bottles to know which color was inside. This is because cataracts caused light to scatter within his eye, blurring his vision.

Monet eventually had cataract surgery, which allowed him to see blue and purple again. However, he wrote to his eye doctor complaining that he couldn’t see yellows and reds anymore, which frustrated him. In those days, cataract surgery was fairly new and couldn’t fully perfect vision.

Eventually, he wore tinted lenses to help correct his color vision problem.

Degas retinal diseaseRetinal Disease

Macular degeneration affects the central portion of the retina, called the macula. The main symptoms of macular degeneration are poor central vision, perceiving straight lines as distorted, and blurred vision.

Medical experts believe that Edgar Degas suffered from retinal disease. Furthermore, he frequently complained about his declining eyesight in letters.

When comparing Degas’ paintings from his 40s to the ones from his 60s, the lack of shading and less-refined lines are glaring and may have been due to the deterioration of his retina.

Strabismus

image 01

Strabismus, or an eye-turn, is a misalignment of the eyes. The most obvious symptom of strabismus is that the two eyes don’t point in the same direction. This condition can also cause double vision, lazy eye and poor depth perception.

Rembrandt, whose eyes appear to be misaligned in his self-portraits, was thought to have strabismus. It is speculated that he needed to close one eye to avoid double vision, allowing him to accurately replicate what he saw onto the canvas. This would have affected how he painted his own eyes.

Don’t Let Eye Disease Change Your View of the World

Whether or not you are an artist, vision is one of your most precious senses and affects how you interact with the world around you.

Eye diseases and conditions that interfere with the way you see can significantly impact your quality of life. That’s why it’s our goal to help our patients maintain crisp and clear vision for a lifetime.

At River Place Vision Center, we diagnose, treat and manage a wide range of eye diseases and conditions using the latest in diagnostic technology. Our experienced and knowledgeable staff will answer all of your questions and make your visit as pleasant as possible.

To schedule your appointment, contact River Place Vision Center today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dennis Smith

Q: #1: How often should I have my eyes checked for eye disease?

  • A: Having your eyes tested on an annual basis is recommended for all adults, especially those over age 40. Early detection of ocular disease offers the best chance of effective treatment and vision preservation.

Q: #2: Can vision loss be prevented?

  • A: Certain conditions can be treated or managed to prevent vision loss. If you are at risk of any eye conditions, speak with your eye doctor about the best prevention plan for keeping your eyes healthy.


River Place Vision Center serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, and Hudson Bend, all throughout Texas.

 

Request An Appointment
Call 512-343-2020

Can Drinking Coffee Relieve Dry Eyes?

Can Drinking Coffee Relieve Dry Eyes 640Many of us enjoy a cup or two of coffee in the morning to keep our eyes awake and mind alert. But what else can caffeine do for our eyes?

If you suffer from dry eye syndrome (DES), characterized by dry, itchy and red eyes, you may have been advised by a friend or doctor to steer clear of caffeinated coffee due to its diuretic effect. Caffeinated beverages increase the frequency of urination, which leads to water loss. Yet some research suggests that a cup of caffeinated joe might actually promote tear production.

Below, we’ll explore scientific research that studies the relationship between caffeine consumption and tear film.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

  • Dry eye syndrome (DES) is an eye condition characterized by dry, stinging, red, itchy eyes. It can be caused by several factors: poor tear quality, insufficient tears, allergies, environmental irritants and excessive digital screen time. Left untreated, DES can lead to corneal damage and scarring and even permanent vision loss in severe cases.
    Certain foods and beverages have been shown to improve the symptoms of DES, like fish high in omega 3s, leafy greens, seeds, nuts, and…possibly coffee.

How Does Caffeine Consumption Impact Dry Eye Syndrome?

  • Caffeine contains a chemical called xanthine, which has been shown to stimulate tear production when applied topically to the eye. As yet, there is insufficient published research to confirm that ingesting xanthine provides the same tear-producing effect, though preliminary studies seem to suggest that it does.

 

A study published in Optometry and Vision Science found that drinking caffeinated beverages significantly increased tear production after 45-90 minutes. Interestingly, age, gender and body mass had no bearing on the outcome.

Another study, published in Ophthalmology, found similar results. Researchers measured the participants’ tear film twice: once after consuming caffeine and once after drinking a placebo. Their tear film was thickest after consuming caffeine, especially in those with a specific genetic makeup.

While both of these studies showed promising results, they didn’t include enough participants to accurately project the findings onto the general population.

If You Have Dry Eye Syndrome, We Can Help

Finding relief from dry eye syndrome relies on understanding the root cause of your symptoms. Only your eye doctor can diagnose the problem and determine the best treatment for you, whether in the form of medicated or lubricating eye drops, in-clinic treatments, personalized eye hygiene products like eyelid cleansing wipes, nutritional supplements and more.

For long-lasting relief from dry eye syndrome, schedule your dry eye consultation with River Place Vision Center today.

River Place Vision Center serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, and Hudson Bend, all throughout Texas.

References:

Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 512-343-2020

Why Does Outdoor Time Delay Or Prevent Myopia?

outdoor children 640Now that myopia (nearsightedness) is reaching epidemic proportions across the globe, it’s all the more important for parents to understand how myopia can impact their child’s future, and learn which actions they should take to protect their child’s eye health in the long run.

You see, myopia isn’t simply an inconvenience. Childhood myopia raises the risk of developing vision-robbing diseases like macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, retinal detachment and diabetic retinopathy later in life.

Myopia develops as the eye elongates more than it should, causing light to focus in front of the retina instead of directly on it. This manifests as blurred distance vision and clear near vision.

While myopia is caused by a combination of circumstances, including genetic and environmental, a key factor comes down to the amount of time a child spends outdoors in the sunlight.

How Does Outdoor Play Affect Myopia?

Although researchers haven’t yet pinpointed exactly why “sun time” prevents or delays myopia, almost all agree that it plays a large role.

One possible reason is correlated to the brightness of the sun. Some experts have found that the intensity of the sun’s rays triggers a dopamine release in the retina which is thought to slow down the elongation of the eye.

Another theory holds that outdoor time encourages a child to shift their gaze from near objects to faraway ones. Excessive near work, like staring at a digital screen, is believed to be a driving force behind the stark increase in myopic individuals today.

Sending a child outdoors to play gives their eyes a break from focusing on their tablets, smartphones, homework, gaming and other near work.

Additionally, spending more time in the sunshine means more Vitamin-D production. Small-scale studies have found nearsighted people have lower levels of Vitamin D than those with normal eyesight. However, more research is needed to confirm this theory.

Here’s the Bottom Line

Childhood myopia increases the risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases later in life. Parents should be proactive about their child’s eye health and do what they can to prevent myopia from developing or progressing at a rapid rate.

Even if your child doesn’t have myopia, encouraging them to play outdoors for several hours a day has been found to prevent the onset of myopia in certain instances.

So go ahead and give your child a water bottle, sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses—and send them out to play! Children aged 6 and up should spend about 2 hours daily outside in the sunshine.

But sun time alone isn’t enough to ensure the best possible outcome for their eye health. A myopia management program can help give your child the best odds of healthy vision for a lifetime.

To learn more about the myopia treatments we offer and schedule your child’s myopia consultation, call River Place Vision Center today!


Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dennis Smith

Q: #1: What is myopia management?

  • A: Myopia management is the science-based method used to slow or halt the progression of myopia. There are several options available, and your optometrist will sit down with you and your child to discuss which treatment option is most suitable for your child’s needs.

Q: #2: Who can benefit from myopia management?

  • A: Myopia management treatments have been approved for children as young as 8 and can be used until early adulthood. Myopia management is great for children with low myopia but can also be effective for slowing myopia progression in kids and teens with moderate to high myopia. Contact us to find out whether your child is a candidate for myopia management.

River Place Vision Center serves patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills and Hudson Bend, all throughout Texas.

 


Myopia Management Appointment
Want To Discuss Myopia? Call 512-343-2020

3 Reasons Women Are More Likely Than Men To Develop Dry Eye

3 Reasons Women Are More Likely Than Men To Develop Dry Eye 640Did you know that women are more likely than men to experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome (DES)? In fact, women represent about 6 out of 10 diagnosed cases of DES worldwide. This is due to several factors, 3 of which we’ll outline below.

If you aren’t familiar with DES, this eye condition refers to a chronic lack of ocular moisture that causes uncomfortable symptoms like red, burning, itchy, watery eyes. Left untreated, DES can damage the cornea.

Usually, DES is caused by insufficient tears or poor quality tears, but can also be precipitated by allergies, environmental factors, hormones and even certain medications. If you or anyone in your family suffers from DES, speak with Dr. Dennis Smith at River Place Vision Center, who can help ease your dry eye symptoms

3 Reasons Why Women Are Prone to Dry Eye Syndrome

1. Cosmetic Use

Makeup, skincare items, and hair styling products can all drastically effect onyour eyes. Women who wear makeup—especially eye makeup like mascara and eyeliner—are more likely to develop dry eye symptoms due to their sometimes irritating contents. Makeup and other cosmetics may include chemicals that, when in contact with the eye, can reduce the eye’s tear film and cause tears to evaporate too quickly.

Eyeliner and mascara may also block the tiny oil-secreting glands on the margins of the eyelids. Oil is an essential component of tears, as it reduces eye-eyelid friction and lessens tear evaporation.

We aren’t telling you to ditch your glam kit and go au naturel, but when you do wear makeup, make sure to give your eyes some extra TLC. Try to avoid applying makeup to the inner portion of the lash line, where it can clog your oil glands or irritate your eyes. And make sure to thoroughly remove your eye makeup before going to sleep, as sleeping with eye makeup can also lead to eye irritation and even infection.

2. Hormonal Changes

From puberty to pregnancy and menopause, women’s hormones are constantly changing. All those surges and dips in estrogen can affect your eyes, especially when it comes to dry eye syndrome. Some women even experience dry eyes at certain times of the month, when estrogen levels rise.

Women also produce androgens, also known as “male hormones,” which affect the quality of the tear film. In fact, both men and women who have low androgens may suffer from DES.

Women over the age of 50 who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are at a heightened risk of developing dry eye symptoms. About 4 out of 10 post-menopausal women in North America use HRT to manage symptoms of menopause. Women increase their chances of developing DES by 70% when using estrogen alone for HRT, and by 29% when estrogen and progesterone are used together, compared to women who don’t use HRT.

3. Certain Medications

Because women are more likely than men to take both prescription and over-the-counter medications, they are also more prone to experience adverse effects from those medications. The common medications that often cause or exacerbate symptoms of DES include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Corticosteroids
  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Acne medications
  • Sleeping pills
  • Birth control pills
  • Blood pressure medications

DES can be uncomfortable at the very least, and debilitating at its worst. The good news is that you can get the relief you seek! At River Place Vision Center, we provide long-lasting relief to patients suffering from dry eye syndrome by targeting the root of the problem.

If you or a loved one is suffering from dry eyes, call River Place Vision Center today.

River Place Vision Center provides dry eye relief to patients from Austin, Cedar Park, West Lake Hills, Hudson Bend, and throughout Texas.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Our Dry Eye Doctor in Austin

Q: Can I treat my dry eye symptoms at home?

  • A: While there are over-the-counter options available at your local drugstore, you should seek treatment from a dry eye optometrist for the most effective and long-lasting results. Generic dry eye remedies may not target the underlying source of your specific problem.

Q: Can women with dry eye syndrome still wear eye makeup?

  • A: Women with moderate-to-severe DES may find conventional makeup irritating. Try choosing makeup that is hypoallergenic, cream-based (instead of powder), and has a low water content. Thorough makeup removal is crucial for everyone— all the more so for those suffering from DES. So make sure you remove every bit of eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara before bed.

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Request A Dry Eye Appointment
Think You Have Dry Eye? Call 512-343-2020