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Archive for the ‘Eye Health’ Category

Frequently Asked Questions about Floaters

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Floaters and Retinal Detachment

Sometimes a section of the vitreous pulls the fine fibers away from the retina all at once, rather than gradually, causing many new floaters to appear suddenly. This is called a vitreous detachment, which in most cases is not sight-threatening and requires no treatment.

However, a sudden increase in floaters, possibly accompanied by light flashes or peripheral (side) vision loss, could indicate a retinal detachment. A retinal detachment occurs when any part of the retina, the eye’s light-sensitive tissue, is lifted or pulled from its normal position at the back wall of the eye.

A retinal detachment is a serious condition and should always be considered an emergency. If left untreated, it can lead to permanent visual impairment within two or three days or even blindness in the eye.

Those who experience a sudden increase in floaters, flashes of light in peripheral vision, or a loss of peripheral vision should have an eye care professional examine their eyes as soon as possible.

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What is Blepharospasm?

Sunday, June 5th, 2016

What is Blepharospasm?

Blepharospasm is an abnormal, involuntary blinking or spasm of the eyelids.

What causes Blepharospasm?

Blepharospasm is associated with an abnormal function of the basal ganglion from an unknown cause. The basal ganglion is the part of the brain responsible for controlling the muscles. In rare cases, heredity may play a role in the development of blepharospasm.

What are the symptoms of Blepharospasm?

Most people develop blepharospasm without any warning symptoms. It may begin with a gradual increase in blinking or eye irritation. Some people may also experience fatigue, emotional tension, or sensitivity to bright light. As the condition progresses, the symptoms become more frequent, and facial spasms may develop. Blepharospasm may decrease or cease while a person is sleeping or concentrating on a specific task.

How is Blepharospasm treated?

To date, there is no successful cure for blepharospasm, although several treatment options can reduce its severity.

In the United States and Canada, the injection of Oculinum (botulinum toxin, or Botox) into the muscles of the eyelids is an approved treatment for blepharospasm. Botulinum toxin, produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, paralyzes the muscles of the eyelids.

Medications taken by mouth for blepharospasm are available but usually produce unpredictable results. Any symptom relief is usually short term and tends to be helpful in only 15 percent of the cases.

Myectomy, a surgical procedure to remove some of the muscles and nerves of the eyelids, is also a possible treatment option. This surgery has improved symptoms in 75 to 85 percent of people with blepharospasm.

Alternative treatments may include biofeedback, acupuncture, hypnosis, chiropractic, and nutritional therapy. The benefits of these alternative therapies have not been proven.

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Why Eye Screening is Important for School-Age Children

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Photo two boys with ballsFrom the time that we are born, our eyesight slowly develops until adulthood. Babies and children, for instance, do not have fully formed vision centers in their brains yet. Good nutrition, regular visits to a health care practitioner and healthy habits are important in ensuring that a child’s vision develops normally. This is why eye screening is very important in key stages of development. Eye screening in children allows for potential problems to be detected and corrected in the early stages.

At the Beach Eye Medical Group, we recognize the importance of early assessment, detection and correction of any vision problems in children. We believe that good vision is important to help young people achieve their dreams. This is why we are committed to helping children living in and around Huntington Beach and Irvine, California, get their vision checked during key life stages.

When should eye screening be done?

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends eye screening during the following ages:

  • Newborn: All newborn babies should undergo a professional eye examination by a licensed health care professional. For babies who belong to the high-risk population (i.e. premature, or have signs of other abnormalities, etc.) a pediatric ophthalmologist should be called in for a more comprehensive assessment.
  • Infant: Babies should be re-assessed between the 6th and 12th month of life to check that their eyes are developing normally.
  • Pre-School: Before a child enters school, it is recommended that he/she be seen by a pediatrician or ophthalmologist to check the following:
    • Visual Acuity Test. The child’s ability to adjust to distances (near, middle and far) is assessed. At this stage, some children may be diagnosed as far-sighted but do not necessarily require corrective glasses or intervention.
    • Refractive or Alignment Test. If misaligned or refractive errors are detected by an ophthalmologist, early treatment is recommended to prevent vision deterioration.
  • School-Age: As children are expected to fully utilize their eyesight, it is crucial for them to undergo eye screening just before starting formal school. A common finding is nearsightedness or myopia, which can be easily corrected with eyeglasses.

While some schools do offer vision screening, these screenings are not as thorough as a comprehensive eye examination like the ones we offer at Beach Eye Medical Group. More often than not, a routine vision screening only assesses the child’s ability to read small letters on a chart. This is simply not enough to detect other, potentially more serious eye conditions that may affect a child’s ability to read, track or focus.

Comprehensive eye screenings for children

The expert eye care team at Beach Eye Medical Group offers comprehensive eye and vision screening at any of the crucial childhood stages mentioned above. Our team of licensed ophthalmologists, optometrists, and eye surgeons are trained in handling and assessing any eye-related diseases found in children.

At Beach Eye Medical Group, we strongly believe that prevention is better than cure. Visit either of our facilities in Irvine or Huntington Beach, California, to find out more about our school eye screening procedures.

Preventing Pinkeye

Monday, February 1st, 2016

pink eyeWith kids back in school, one of the most common eye conditions parents have to watch for is Pinkeye or conjunctivitis. While Pinkeye is one of the most common eye conditions for both children and adults, it also one of the most treatable.

Pinkeye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin, clear tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and the white part of your eyeball. The highly contagious infection spreads easily via contact and with kids in close contact during the school year and touching the same surfaces, cases rise while school is in session.

It is commonly thought that pinkeye is always due to a bacterial infection. However, this condition can be caused by things such as viruses, allergens and irritants.

These other types of conjunctivitis will typically resolve spontaneously without any additional treatment. However, bacterial conjunctivitis is very contagious and can quickly spread throughout a household or classroom. Therefore a physician should be consulted when bacterial conjunctivitis is suspected.

There are some easy ways to try and help prevent and deal with bacterial pinkeye.

One of the easiest is to wash your hands (for at least 15 to 20 seconds) and use alcohol sanitizer when water and soap are not available. Eye make-up should be avoided during an infection. Eye make-up that’s been used should be thrown away because it probably is contaminated.

It’s also a good idea to take your contacts out if you’ve been diagnosed with Pinkeye and wear your glasses until the infection has run its course. Try to avoid touching your eyes with your fingers, since that’s the way conjunctivitis spreads from one eye to another. Work and school should be avoided until you’ve been treated with antibiotics for at least 24 hours.

Understanding Keratoconus

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

Normal Cornea and Keratoconus - figureKeratoconus is an eye disorder that affects the cornea and can cause a series of vision difficulties.

The disorder occurs when the small protein fibers in the eye (collagen) that help hold the cornea in place become weak, allowing the cornea to bulge. Once that happens, the cornea can slowly take on a cone shape and create a number of potential vision problems. The corneal changes, which usually begin in one eye and later the other, can happen quickly or take a few years to develop and can result in the appearance of halos around lights at night and blurred vision. While the disorder will affect both eyes, the degree to which the eyes are affected is not always the same.

The corneal changes can potentially make it impossible for the eye to focus without the aid of glasses or contact lenses. LASIK surgery is not recommended for anyone with even a mild case of keratoconus.

The degenerative disorder is usually detected in a couple ways. When the cornea takes on a cone appearance instead of a ball shape, the corneal surface becomes wavy, creating an irregular astigmatism.

As the cornea changes from a ball shape to a cone shape, the smooth surface becomes slightly wavy, creating an irregular astigmatism. The expansion of the cornea forward into the cone shape also causes nearsightedness.

Other symptoms that might become apparent are:

Sudden change of vision or double vision in just one eye

The appearance of triple ghost images

Near and far objects look distorted

The appearance of halos around bright lights or lights streaking

For your eye care professional to determine if you have keratoconus, a measurement of the curvature of your cornea is required. A keratometer, which shines a light pattern onto the cornea and its reflection provides a measurable image of the curvature of the eye, is often used. There are also computerized instruments that can create a 3-D map of the cornea offering eye care professionals even greater ability to accurately assess the potential for keratoconus.

Keratoconus treatment often begins with glasses, but contact lenses might be used if the glasses do not deliver satisfactory adjusted vision. In advanced cases of the disorder a corneal transplant will be necessary.

Wash Your Hands

Monday, October 19th, 2015

hand washingStop rubbing your eyes!

We’ve all done it, whether it’s in the morning or after waking up or even after an exhausting stretch at the computer, but be careful about how often you are rubbing your eyes. Has it become a habit? For many people rubbing their eyes has become an almost an unconscious reflex to relieve minor eye irritation.

What we tend to forget is that over the course of the day, especially while at work, our hands are exposed to all kinds of dust and dirt. Touching and rubbing your eyes with your hands can transfer harmful germs quickly to your eyes. It’s the easiest way allergies and infections are spread.

While the simplest prevention is to stop rubbing your eyes, it’s often a natural reflex that’s hard to control when eyes feel irritation.

With that in mind, a great way to reduce the risk of germs coming in contact with your eyes is to periodically wash your hands. It’s a small thing that can have a big impact on your health.


5 Tips to Save Your Vision

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Millions of people suffer every day from vision loss and while not all diseases are preventable, there are many that are. The things people do everyday can have a major affect on their vision. Here are a few tips to help you maintain your healthy eyesight!

1. Eat Right: What you eat has a major impact on your body as a whole. Vitamin deficiencies can impair the retina resulting in vision loss. Its important to eat a varierty of vegetables, ones high in vitamin C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Eating healthy will lower your risk of eye diseases.foods to improve eyesight - pic

2. Don’t Smoke: Tobacco smoke has been proven many times to be linked to multiple different diseases and illnesses. Smoking increases your risk of developing cataracts and age-related  macular degeneration.Quit Smoking Cigarettes - pic

3. Shielding your eyes: It’s incredibly important to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays. UV rays can increase your risk for cataracts, retinal damage and skin cancer. Make sure to look for sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.Wear-Sunglasses

4. Contact Lens Care: Make sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for the care of your contact lenses. Sleeping in lenses not approved for extended wear, using expired solution or water to clean them can lead to corneal ulcers, pain and sometimes vision of contact lenses - photo

5. Baseline eye exam: Adults 40 or over should get a baseline eye exam. This is the time when early signs or diseases and changes in vision start to occur. With a baseline exam doctors are able to detect changes in your vision allowing them to notice a disease in its earlier stages.visit to ophthalmologist - photo