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Trouble Seeing the Fine Print? Here are Your Options…

Every good pair of eyes eventually gets old and with age comes a condition called presbyopia. Presbyopia, which usually begins to set in some time around 40, occurs when the lens of the eye begins to stiffen, making near vision (such as reading books, menus, and computer screens) blurry. You may have this age-related farsightedness if you notice yourself holding the newspaper further and further away in order to make out the words, and you may begin to experience headaches or eyestrain as well.

The good news is, presbyopia is very common. It happens to most of us eventually and these days there are a number of good options to correct it. First of all, let’s take a look at what causes the condition.

What Causes Presbyopia?

As the eye ages, the natural lens begins to lose its elasticity as the focusing muscles (the ciliary muscles) surrounding the lens have difficulty changing the shape of the lens. The lens is responsible for focusing light that comes into the eye onto the retina for clear vision. The hardened or less flexible lens causes the light which used to focus on the retina to shift its focal point behind the retina when looking at close objects. This causes blurred vision.

Presbyopia is a progressive condition that gets worse with time. It is a refractive error just like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism.

Signs of presbyopia include:

  • Blurred near vision
  • Difficulty focusing on small print or close objects
  • Eyestrain, headaches or fatigue, especially when reading or doing close work
  • Holding reading material at a distance to see properly
  • Needing brighter light to see close objects

Presbyopia can be diagnosed through an eye exam.

Treatments for Presbyopia

There are a number of options for presbyopia treatment which include glasses, contact lenses or surgery.

Glasses

The most common form of correction is eyeglasses. Reading glasses adjust the focal point of the target to reduce the focusing demand on the eyes. A side effect of the convex lenses is that they also magnify the target. For some, reading glasses are sufficient to improve close vision. Others, especially those with another refractive error, require more complex lenses.

Bifocal or multifocal lenses, including progressive addition lenses (PALs), offer a solution for those with nearsightedness or farsightedness. These lenses have two or more prescriptions within the same lens, usually in different areas, to allow correction for distance vision and near vision within the same lens. While bifocals and standard multifocals typically divide the lenses into two hemispheres (or more), requiring the patient to look in the proper hemisphere depending on where they are focusing, with an unattractive contour calling attention to the presbyopia portion of the lens, progressive lenses provide a progressive transition of lens power creating a smooth, gradual change. Some people prefer progressive lenses for aesthetic reasons as they don’t have a visible line dividing the hemispheres.

Contact Lenses

Like glasses, contact lenses are also available in bifocal and multifocal lenses. Alternatively, some eye doctors will prescribe monovision contact lens wear, which divides the vision between your eyes. Typically it fits your dominant eye with a single vision lens for distance vision and your weaker eye with a single vision lens for near vision. Sometimes your eye doctor will prescribe modified monovision which uses a multifocal lens in the weaker eye to cover intermediate and near vision. Newer contact lens technology is making both lenses multifocal, and therefore doctors are becoming less dependent on monovision. Sometimes monovision takes a while to adjust to.

Based on your prescription, your eye doctor will help you decide which option is best for you and assist you through the adjustment period to determine whether this is a feasible option. Since there are so many baby boomers with presbyopia nowadays, the contact lens choices have expanded a lot within recent years.

Surgery

There are a few surgical treatments available for presbyopia. These include monovision LASIK surgery (which is a refractive surgery that works similar to monovision glasses or contact lenses), corneal inlays or onlays (implants placed on the cornea), refractive lens exchange (similar to cataract surgery, this replaces the old, rigid lens with a manufactured intraocular lens), and conductive keratoplasty (which uses radio waves to reshape the cornea in a noninvasive procedure).

Medication – On the Horizon

There are currently clinical trials with promising early results that are testing eye drops that restore the flexibility of the human lens. It could be possible that in the near future eye drop prescriptions could be used to reduce the amount of time that people have to use reading glasses or contact lenses.

These procedures vary in cost, recovery and outcome. If you are interested in surgery, schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable doctor to learn all of the details of the different options.

As people are living longer, presbyopia is affecting a greater percentage of the population and more research is being done into treatments for the condition. So if your arm is getting tired from holding books so far away, see your eye doctor to discuss the best option for you.

Pink, Stinging Eyes?

Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is one of the most frequently seen eye diseases, especially in kids. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even allergies to pollen, chlorine in swimming pools, and ingredients in cosmetics, or other irritants, which touch the eyes. Some forms of conjunctivitis might be quite transmittable and quickly spread in school and at the office.

Conjunctivitis is seen when the conjunctiva, or thin transparent layer of tissue covering the white part of the eye, becomes inflamed. You can identify conjunctivitis if you notice eye redness, discharge, itching or swollen eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes early in the day. Pink eye infections can be divided into three main types: viral, allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis.

The viral type is usually a result of a similar virus to that which produces the recognizable red, watery eyes, sore throat and runny nose of the common cold. The red, itchy, watery eyes caused by viral pink eye are likely to last from a week to two and then will clear up on their own. You may however, be able to reduce some of the discomfort by using soothing drops or compresses. Viral pink eye is transmittable until it is completely cleared up, so in the meantime maintain excellent hygiene, remove eye discharge and try to avoid using communal pillowcases or towels. If your son or daughter has viral conjunctivitis, he or she will have to be kept home from school for three days to a week until symptoms disappear.

A bacterial infection such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. One should notice an improvement within just a few days of antibiotic drops, but be sure to adhere to the full prescription dosage to prevent pink eye from recurring.

Allergic pink eye is not contagious. It is usually a result of a known allergy such as hay fever or pet allergies that sets off an allergic reaction in their eyes. First of all, to treat allergic pink eye, you should eliminate the irritant. Use cool compresses and artificial tears to relieve discomfort in mild cases. When the infection is more severe, your eye doctor might prescribe a medication such as an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine. In cases of chronic allergic pink eye, topical steroid eye drops could be used.

Pink eye should always be diagnosed by a qualified eye doctor in order to identify the type and best course of treatment. Never treat yourself! Keep in mind the sooner you begin treatment, the lower chance you have of giving pink eye to loved ones or prolonging your discomfort.

 

Welcome to our New Website

We invite you to take a look around our new site to get to know our practice and learn about eye and vision health. You will find a wealth of information about our optometrists, our staff and our services, as well as facts and advice about how to take care of your eyes and protect your vision.

Learn about our Practice specialties including comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings and the treatment of eye diseases. Our website also offers you a convenient way to find our hours, address and map, schedule an appointment online, order contact lenses or contact us to ask us any questions you have about eye care and our Practice.

Have a look around our online office and schedule a visit to meet us in person. We are here to partner with you and your family for a lifetime of healthy eyes and vision. We look forward to seeing you!

Progressive Frames or LASIK: Which Would You Choose?

senior woman wearing glassesEye doctors today can help most patients who have vision problems stemming from presbyopia. Glasses and laser surgery are both options that are available to correct vision in this circumstance. Each option to correct vision has some advantages and disadvantages.

Progressive Frames

Glasses are an effective and common way to correct most vision problems, including presbyopia. Stylish, sophisticated and funky glasses are available for every occasion and personality.

Advantages:

Glasses are easy to wear, convenient, and comfortable. Progressive eyeglasses have become a common way to treat presbyopia, as you have one pair of glasses for reading, computer work, and distance, as opposed to needing different glasses for near and far vision. The newest lens technology makes lenses light and accurate. A wide selection of coatings for lenses are available, such as anti-reflective coatings, photochromatic coatings, and polarized coatings. Special glasses can be created for those who have special needs for work or sporting events.

Disadvantages:

Glasses without high index lenses that have strong prescriptions can be thick, and heavy, and less comfortable on your face than not wearing glasses. Glasses can fog up in the cold, and lesser quality lenses can have spots that appear blurry.

Laser surgery

Laser surgery has been an available vision correction option for about twenty years. Various procedures are available, and your eye doctor will decide what method is best for you. Generally, patients can see clearly shortly after the procedure. The most important requirement for an optimal procedure is that you are a good candidate for laser surgery to begin with. The surgical procedure is often performed as out-patient surgery, and usually only takes a few minutes.

Advantages:

You will not need glasses after the laser surgery. Modern laser correction procedures correct presbyopia. For people who hate glasses and can’t wear contact lenses, laser surgery can be a great solution. The other requirements for laser surgery are that the eye be fully formed (adults only can have this surgery), your refraction has not changed in two years, and and the cornea needs to be a certain thickness. As long as you use an experienced eye doctor, laser surgery is very low risk.

Disadvantages:

As with any surgery, laser surgery is an invasive procedure, which is performed on a basically healthy eye. Some side effects and complications could include temporarily dry eyes. These symptoms can last up to twelve weeks. Also, it’s possible that the procedure, while successful, won’t completely correct your vision, and you may need to continue to wear glasses.

Still not sure which is best for you, eye glasses or laser surgery? Schedule an appointment with our eye doctor to discuss the options.

Inside a Life With Color Vision Deficiency

What’s it like to be color blind? Contrary to what the name implies, color blindness usually does not actually mean that you don’t see any color, but rather that you have difficulty perceiving or distinguishing between certain colors. This is why many prefer the term color vision deficiency or CVD to describe the condition. CVD affects men more than women, appearing in approximately 8% of men (1 in 12) and .5% of women (1 in 200) worldwide. 

Having color vision deficiency means that you perceive color in a more limited way than those with normal color vision. This ranges from mild, in which you may not even be aware that you are experiencing color differently, to severe, which is perhaps the more appropriate from to be called “color blind” and involves the inability to see certain colors. 

CVD can be inherited; it is caused by abnormalities in the genes that produce photopigments located in the cone cells in your eyes. The eyes contain different cone cells that fire in response to a specific color, blue, green or red and together allow you to see the depth and range of colors that the normal eye can see. The type of color blindness and therefore the type of color vision that is impaired, is based on which photopigments are abnormal. The most common form of CVD is red-green, followed by blue-yellow. Total color blindness or the complete inability to perceive color is quite rare. About 7% of males have congenital color blindness that they inherit from the mother’s X-chromosome. 

Color blindness can also be the result of eye damage, specifically to the optic nerve, or to the area in the brain that processes color. Sometimes an eye disease, such as cataracts, can also impact one’s ability to perceive color. Systemic diseases such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis can also cause acquired CVD. 

Living with CVD

Red-green color blindness does not mean only that you can’t tell the difference between red and green, but rather that any color that has some red or green (such as purple, orange, brown, pink, some shades of gray, etc) in it is affected. 

You many not realize all of the ways you use even subtle distinctions in color in your daily life. Here are some examples of ways that CVD can impact your life and make seemingly everyday tasks challenging:

  • You may not be able to cook meat to the desired temperature based on color. 
  • Most of the colors in a box of crayons will be indistinguishable.
  • You may not be able to distinguish between red and green LED displays on electronic devices that indicate power on and off. 
  • You may not be able to tell between a ripe and unripe fruit or vegetable such as bananas (green vs. yellow) or tomatoes (red vs green). 
  • Chocolate sauce, barbecue sauce and ketchup may all look the same. 
  • Bright green vegetables can look unappealing as they appear greenish, brown or grey. 
  • You may not be able to distinguish color coded pie charts or graphs (which can cause difficulty in school or work). 
  • Selecting an outfit that matches can be difficult. 

Knowing that one is color blind is important for some occupations that require good color discrimination such as the police officers, railway workers, pilots, electricians etc.  These are just a few of the ways that CVD can impact one’s daily life. So is there a cure? Not yet. 

While there is no cure for CVD, there is research being done into gene therapies and in the meantime there are corrective devices available including color vision glasses (such as the Enchroma brand) and color filtering contacts that for some can help to enhance color for some people. If you think you might have CVD, your optometrist can perform some tests to diagnose it or rule it out. If you have CVD, you can speak to your eye doctor about options that might be able to help you experience your world in full color. 

Safety and Sports Glasses

Each year, thousands of individuals sustain eye injuries due to sports and other accidents, many causing permanent damage and vision loss. Over 98% of these injuries can be prevented by proper eye protection. Further The National Eye Institute states that when it comes to children, eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness and that most of these injuries are sports-related.

Just like wearing a helmet when riding a bike or swinging a bat, sports safety glasses or goggles should be part of the uniform and equipment of any high impact sport. Not only do sports glasses protect your eyes but they can also improve vision and performance. Similarly, when involved in work or hobbies that pose a danger on the eyes, such as construction, chemical use, or home improvement projects, safety goggles should always be worn.

What are Sports and Safety Glasses or Goggles?

Sports and safety glasses or goggles are specialized, protective eyewear that are made to reduce the risk of eye damage during sports or work that could be dangerous to the eyes. They are typically made from impact resistant and shatterproof materials such as hard plastics and polycarbonates (frames) or polycarbonate or Trivex (lenses) and cover a larger surface area around your eyes for enhanced protection. Depending on the type of glasses and for what sport or activity they are intended, they may have additional features such as UV protection, polarized lenses, scratch resistance or ultra flexibility or coverage.

When it comes to sports, protective eyewear is becoming more of a norm that it was in previous generations with many leagues requiring their use as a prerequisite to play. Whether it is high speed balls, elbows, debris, snow, sun or water, sports glasses come in a variety of options to suit the particular needs of the sport you play.

Many options will come with rubber padding around the frame to improve safety to the area around the eyes and increase comfort, fit and stability.

Prescription Sports and Safety Eyewear

Advances in sports and safety eyewear technology not only allow for enhanced sharpness and color vision but for corrected visual acuity for those with vision impairment. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, chances are most safety glasses are available with prescription lenses, allowing you to see and perform your best under all circumstances. Another option is to wear contact lenses under your safety eye gear.

Look for Fit and Comfort

Especially when it comes to children, comfort and fit are essential for compliance in wearing protective eyewear. Additionally, instead of enhancing performance, glasses that don’t fit will cause a distraction that hurt your ability to play or work at optimal success. Look for frames that are held in place (wraparound frames and bands help with this), don’t slip, don’t press in at the temples or nose and that fit nicely around the eyes. If you plan to wear goggles over your prescription glasses, make sure that you try them on together and that they fit properly and are able to provide full protection with your prescription glasses on. Similarly, if a helmet will be worn, make sure that the glasses fit, snug but not too tight, within the helmet.

With children who grow, it is important to reassess sports glasses each year to make sure they have not gotten too tight or small, otherwise they could be doing more harm than good.

Sunglasses: High Style with High-Level Protection against Skin Cancer and Vision Loss

It’s common knowledge that ultraviolet sun rays are harmful to skin, and too much exposure will put you at a greater risk of skin cancer. This damage begins from a young age, starting with kids who fail to adequately protect their delicate skin from the sun. Kids’ skin is particularly sensitive to sun damage, and the effects are cumulative. Children love to spend time in the shining, bright outdoors. It’s critical to keep them safe while they have fun in the sun. Wearing UV protective sunglasses is one eye-catching, effective way to help prevent skin cancer around the eyes and nose and to keep vision healthy.

Woman Blue SunglassesSunburn, which indicates damaged skin cells, is the most immediate symptom caused by UV rays. Red or blistered skin should serve as a warning sign that your child is being placed at risk for worse problems – as burnt, damaged skin cells are at a much higher risk of becoming cancerous. Some of your child’s most vulnerable skin tissue surrounds the nose and eyes. Sunglasses are a voguish way to save this skin and keep it healthy, supple and soft.

In addition to blocking UV rays from reaching skin, sunglasses act as a barrier over your child’s eye lens. Until about age 10, the lens is clear, which enables more solar rays to penetrate. As kids grow and their visual system develops, the lens becomes more opaque, providing enhanced natural protection. Retinal exposure to UV rays is linked to cataracts and macular degeneration later in life. When you take measures to protect your young child’s eyes, you’re setting the base for healthier vision later on.

When shopping for the ideal sunwear for kids, it’s best to buy sunglasses that block 99-100% of UV rays. Another rule of thumb is that the more skin covered by the sunglasses – the more efficient the protection. Think wraparound designs for high coverage. Kids nowadays are tuned into their own fashion sense and expression. Save yourself loads of time and energy by letting them choose their own trend-setting sunglasses. They’ll look forward to showing off their new style, and soon all their friends will be sporting sunglasses too.

Pink, Stinging Eyes?

Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is one of the most frequently seen eye diseases, especially in kids. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even allergies to pollen, chlorine in swimming pools, and ingredients in cosmetics, or other irritants, which touch the eyes. Some forms of conjunctivitis might be quite transmittable and quickly spread in school and at the office.

Conjunctivitis is seen when the conjunctiva, or thin transparent layer of tissue covering the white part of the eye, becomes inflamed. You can identify conjunctivitis if you notice eye redness, discharge, itching or swollen eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes early in the day. Pink eye infections can be divided into three main types: viral, allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis.

The viral type is usually a result of a similar virus to that which produces the recognizable red, watery eyes, sore throat and runny nose of the common cold. The red, itchy, watery eyes caused by viral pink eye are likely to last from a week to two and then will clear up on their own. You may however, be able to reduce some of the discomfort by using soothing drops or compresses. Viral pink eye is transmittable until it is completely cleared up, so in the meantime maintain excellent hygiene, remove eye discharge and try to avoid using communal pillowcases or towels. If your son or daughter has viral conjunctivitis, he or she will have to be kept home from school for three days to a week until symptoms disappear.

A bacterial infection such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. One should notice an improvement within just a few days of antibiotic drops, but be sure to adhere to the full prescription dosage to prevent pink eye from recurring.

Allergic pink eye is not contagious. It is usually a result of a known allergy such as hay fever or pet allergies that sets off an allergic reaction in their eyes. First of all, to treat allergic pink eye, you should eliminate the irritant. Use cool compresses and artificial tears to relieve discomfort in mild cases. When the infection is more severe, your eye doctor might prescribe a medication such as an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine. In cases of chronic allergic pink eye, topical steroid eye drops could be used.

Pink eye should always be diagnosed by a qualified eye doctor in order to identify the type and best course of treatment. Never treat yourself! Keep in mind the sooner you begin treatment, the lower chance you have of giving pink eye to loved ones or prolonging your discomfort.

 

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To all Klein ISD employees. As you may know, we will no longer be providers on your vision plan for 2021. We value your business, therefore, beginning January 1st, we will be offering you significant discounts on eye exams and glasses in lieu of insurance. Please call our office for more details.