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6 Glaucoma Myths Debunked

6 Glaucoma Myths Debunked 640×350Glaucoma can do a great deal of damage to your visual system if it goes undetected and untreated. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there about glaucoma symptoms, detection and treatment that cause people to wait to see an eye doctor until it’s too late to prevent vision loss. Temecula Valley Optometry Lasik & Cataract Surgery Center debunks 6 glaucoma myths.

Myth 1: Glaucoma testing hurts

The Truth: Glaucoma testing is basically painless.

The most commonly used first test for glaucoma is an air puff test. Your optometrist will ask you to place your chin on a chin rest and while looking at a small light, a quick, soft puff of air will be blown at your eye to test the pressure inside your eye. The test takes mere seconds and reveals a great deal of valuable information to your eye doctor about your risk of glaucoma.

Your optometrist may also use an OCT device to create a full-color 3D scan of the inside of your eye, and perform visual field testing to see if the eye pressure has caused any changes to your field of vision. Both these tests can detect damage to ocular structures caused by glaucoma. Both tests are completely non-invasive, as neither touch the eye.

If necessary, your eye doctor may use anesthetic eye drops as part of a Goldmann applanation tonometry test. While these drops may sting slightly for a few seconds, the rest of the test is completely painless. After the anesthetic is applied, your eye doctor will use a small probe and a blue light to quickly and gently touch the cornea. This is an additional method to accurately determine the exact measurement of your inner-eye pressure.

Myth 2: There’s no way to prevent glaucoma

The Truth: There are many steps a person can take to minimize their risk of developing glaucoma. They include:

  • Living a healthy lifestyle.

Research published in March 2016 in JAMA Ophthalmology has shown that a healthy diet that includes a lot of fruits and vegetables (especially the green leafy kinds) significantly reduces a person’s chances of developing glaucoma. Regular exercise helps as well, with experts suggesting that a regular routine of moderate to vigorous exercise may reduce risk by as much as 73%. Ask your physician about an appropriate exercise regimen for your age and body type. If you smoke, quitting could significantly lower your risk of glaucoma..

  • Having regular comprehensive eye exams. This one is especially important if you have a history of glaucoma in your family, since glaucoma can be hereditary. Even if you don’t have a family history, regularly scheduled eye exams are important. Early detection of risk factors associated with glaucoma can put your optometrist on the lookout for subtle warning signs.
  • Protecting your eyes from injury. Severe eye injuries can significantly raise your risk of glaucoma. [Eye_doctors] recommend wearing protective eyewear any time you take part in activities where foreign objects may get in your eyes. This includes woodworking, soldering or working with any kind of paints or chemicals. Many sports, including baseball and racquetball, have a high incidence of eye injury.

Myth 3: There’s only one type of glaucoma

The Truth: There are several types of glaucoma. Each has its own causes and treatments.

The two most common types of glaucoma are open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma.

With angle-closure glaucoma, the structure in your eye responsible for the healthy outflow of fluid from the eye, known as the trabecular meshwork, becomes blocked. This prevents the outflow of fluid from the eye, elevating the intraocular pressure, damaging the ocular nerve and leading to vision loss.

This increase in eye pressure and nerve damage can occur suddenly or gradually over time. If a sudden spike in pressure occurs, the symptoms may include severe headache, nausea, vomiting, eye pain and seeing halos around lights.

Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the trabecular meshwork remains open, but there is still resistance to the outflow of fluid from the eye. This resistance creates a slow build up pressure inside the eye, and just as in angle-closure glaucoma, damages the optic nerve and leads to vision loss. Open-angle glaucoma develops slowly and shows no obvious symptoms until irreversible damage to your eyes and vision has occurred.

Myth 4: Nothing can be done to help once you have glaucoma

The Truth: While it is true that there is no cure for glaucoma, optometrists do have a number of options to help lower intraocular pressure, reduce its impact and save your sight

Treatment usually starts with medicated eye drops and oral medications that either increase the outflow of fluid from the eye or decrease the amount of fluid your eye produces.

If these treatments don’t work, eye doctors may also recommend the surgical implantation of drainage tubes, laser therapy or minimally invasive glaucoma surgery.

Myth 5: Only older people get glaucoma

The Truth: It is true that people over 60 are at the highest risk for glaucoma. However, glaucoma can affect people at any age.

Even infants can develop glaucoma if they’re born with certain conditions or birth defects that affect the eyes.

Individuals who are more susceptible include:

  • People who have sustained a serious eye injury in the past
  • People with a family history of glaucoma
  • Diabetics and those suffering from conditions such as cardiovascular disease and sickle-cell anemia
  • Those taking steroid medications long-term
  • African Americans and Hispanics
  • Asians (have a higher risk of closed-angle glaucoma)

Myth 6: You can’t have glaucoma if you don’t have symptoms

The Truth: Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma, accounting for over 90% of all glaucoma cases. Unfortunately, this type of glaucoma shows no noticeable signs or symptoms until vision loss has occurred.

Since glaucoma tends to impact the peripheral (side) vision first, many people might not notice that their vision is gradually shrinking. This is why regular comprehensive eye exams are so important to ensure that glaucoma is caught early, and a treatment plan can be devised well before serious damage has occurred.

Glaucoma can be a devastating eye condition if not caught and treated as early as possible. To find out more about prevention and treatment of glaucoma and similar eye conditions, contact us today.

Temecula Valley Optometry Lasik & Cataract Surgery Center serves patients from Temecula, Murrieta, Elsinore, and Menifee, California and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Winkelstein

Q: Can smoking harm my eye health?

  • A: Yes. In multiple studies, researchers have found that the more cigarettes a person smokes each day, the higher their risks of developing glaucoma.Beyond glaucoma, smokers are also at a significantly higher risk of developing other eye diseases, including cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and dry eye syndrome.

Q: When should I consider glaucoma surgery?

  • A: Glaucoma surgery should be considered if your eye doctor has tried all other treatments, including prescription eye drops, oral medications and laser therapy, without success.Many types of glaucoma surgery exist. Ask your eye doctor to assess your condition and help decide which surgery is the best option to reduce your risk of vision loss, including blindness.

    Surgery cannot restore vision already lost because of glaucoma, but it can help protect the vision you still have and prevent your glaucoma from worsening.

Can Restricting Online Gaming Time Reduce Myopia Progression?

Two kids playing online gamesThe Chinese government recently implemented a new policy that’s sparked conversations about childhood myopia and online gaming.

Under the policy, Chinese children and teens under the age of 18 are only permitted to play online video games for one hour on weekend evenings and public holidays — a significant reduction compared to their previous online gaming allotment. This restriction includes all forms of video games, from handheld devices to computer and smartphone gaming.

The government hopes to combat a common condition called online gaming disorder, or video game addiction, which affects more than 30% of children in China. Another potential benefit of limiting online gaming may be a reduction in childhood myopia progression, something we explore below.

The Link Between Online Gaming and Myopia Progression

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition that causes blurred distance vision. Several factors contribute to the onset and progression of myopia, including genetic and environmental.

Several studies have found that screen time, along with other forms of near work, is associated with higher levels of myopia and myopia progression in children.

According to a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology (2019), children who engage in screen time for more than 3 hours per day have almost 4 times the risk of becoming myopic. Younger children, around ages 6-7, are even more susceptible to experiencing screen-related nearsightedness, with 5 times the risk compared to children who don’t use digital screens.

Limiting screen time may also encourage children to spend more time outdoors in the sun, a protective factor against developing myopia and slowing its progression.

In The Sydney Adolescent Vascular and Eye Study (2013), researchers found that spending at least 21 hours outdoors per week was more important for delaying the onset of myopia than limiting near work in both younger and older children, although both were effective.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Although online gaming can give children a sense of community and togetherness, excessive online gaming can increase a child’s risk of developing myopia and contribute to its progression.

The good news is that parents can make eye-healthy choices for their children that can have lifelong benefits. Limiting near work activities like online gaming and other screen time, and encouraging your children to play outdoors can significantly reduce their chances of developing high (severe) myopia.

How Myopia Management Can Help

The best thing that parents can offer their children to prevent myopia and halt its progression is a custom-made myopia management treatment plan with an eye doctor.

Whether or not myopia has set in already, we can help preserve your child’s eye health and lower their risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal detachment in the future.

To learn more about our services or schedule your child’s myopia consultation, contact Temecula Valley Optometry Myopia Management Center in Temecula today!

Temecula Valley Optometry Myopia Management Center offers myopia management to patients from Temecula, Murrieta, Elsinore, and Menifee, California and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Winkelstein

Q: Who is an ideal candidate for myopia management?

  • A: Children, teens, and young adults who are nearsighted or are at risk of becoming nearsighted are ideal candidates for myopia management. If you think myopia management is right for you or your child, speak with us about how we can help. Remember, the sooner your child starts myopia management, the better their outcome will be.

Q: Is myopia management based on scientific evidence?

  • A: Yes! The treatments used in myopia management are all safe and clinically proven to slow the onset and progression of myopia in children and teens. There have been several scientific studies that support its effectiveness.

What’s a Multifocal Intraocular Lens?

Elderly Lady with Multifocal Intraocular LensesA cataract clouds the eye’s natural lens, leading to significant visual distortions that can affect your ability to see clearly. Eventually, the natural lens will need to be removed and replaced with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) that provides clear vision.

While most patients pick monofocal IOLs, many patients choose multifocal IOL lenses. Discuss with your [eye_ doctor] which type of IOL is right for you.

What Is a Multifocal Intraocular Lens?

A multifocal IOL allows patients to see all distances clearly. These IOLs allocate different optical powers on the IOL. The varying optical powers are created by the IOL design, which incorporates concentric rings on the surface of the lens. These allow images at a variety of distances to be in sharp focus.

It can take some time for people to adapt to multifocal IOL lenses because the focusing power the lenses provide is different from what people are accustomed to. Since the IOL relies on a different design than the bifocal or multifocal optical lenses used in eyeglasses, the brain might need time to adjust.

To ease the adjustment, most cataract surgeons recommend having multifocal IOLs implanted in both eyes, rather than just one.

Are Multifocal IOLs Right for You?

If you are looking for an IOL that can provide you with clear vision for reading, driving and watching TV, a multifocal IOL may be just right for you.

After cataract surgery, multifocal IOLs can reduce the need for reading glasses or computer glasses. These implanted lenses widen your field of vision, allowing you to see well both up close and far, often without the use of glasses. Many patients who choose multifocal IOLs find that they can go glasses-free or only occasionally need reading glasses for small print after surgery.

Despite the obvious benefits of these lenses, they may not be suitable for everyone. Some patients find that it takes longer to adapt to multifocal lenses than to monofocal lenses. Contact Temecula Valley Optometry Lasik & Cataract Surgery Center to discover whether IOL multifocal lenses are right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Winkelstein

Q: How does a multifocal IOL work?

  • A: When wearing bifocal or multifocal glasses, you look through the bottom part of the lens for near vision and through the top part of the lens for distance vision. A multifocal IOL is specially designed to provide clear vision at all distances at all times. Your brain adjusts, allowing you to see clearly for the task at hand.

Q: Will a multifocal IOL eliminate the need for glasses?

  • A: Most people find they do not need glasses with multifocal IOLs, but some do, depending on the situation. There may be times when the print or graphics are simply too small or too far away to be seen without glasses.
  • Temecula Valley Optometry Lasik & Cataract Surgery Center serves patients from Temecula, Murrieta, Elsinore, and Menifee, California and surrounding communities.

What’s The Link Between Dry Eye And Accutane (Acne Medication)

What’s The Link Between Dry Eye And Accutane 640×350Accutane, generically called isotretinoin, is an oral medication that is widely prescribed to treat severe acne that hasn’t responded to other treatments.

Although this drug often does a great job of reducing acne, it has several potential side effects that can affect many bodily systems, including the eyes.

Isotretinoin and Dry Eyes

Isotretinoin works by decreasing the size of the oil glands that secrete oil onto the skin. By reducing the production of the facial oils, the pores become less clogged and the amount of acne diminishes.

As the medication travels through the bloodstream, it also penetrates the eyelids’ meibomian glands, which produce the oil for tears.

These meibomian glands, which line the inner portion of the eyelids, play an important role in keeping the eyes hydrated and healthy by secreting oil to stabilize the tear film. When Accutane suppresses their function, the oil layer in the tear is inadequate, allowing excessive tear evaporation. As a result, the eyes dry out.

A 2012 study published in JAMA Dermatology analyzed the ocular effects of isotretinoin and concluded that taking it places patients at a significantly higher risk of experiencing a range of adverse ocular effects.

Common ocular conditions that were associated with this acne medication were dry eye syndrome, blepharitis, conjunctivitis, photosensitivity, contact lens intolerance and papilledema.

The researchers found that the ocular conditions resulted from changes to the cornea, eyelids, retina and meibomian glands. Additionally, the drug was found in the tear film and caused increased ocular irritation.

The good news is that these effects are often temporary, and resolve within a few months after completing treatment. One study, published in Optometry and Vision Science (2015), however, found that 1% of patients developed permanent meibomian gland dysfunction after taking isotretinoin.

How a Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

Some dermatologists will refer their patients to an optometrist for a dry eye evaluation before prescribing isotretinoin to treat acne. If the patient already has signs of ocular surface disease or is taking other medications that interfere with tear production, the doctor may decide against prescribing isotretinoin.

We can help by thoroughly assessing your ocular condition to help your dermatologist determine the best acne treatment for you, and by managing your dry eye symptoms if they arise.

If you or a loved one is currently taking or has taken isotretinoin and is experiencing symptoms of dry eye syndrome like eye irritation or burning eyes, we can offer long-lasting solutions.

To schedule your dry eye consultation or learn more about our services, call Temecula Valley Optometry Dry Eye Center in Temecula today.

Temecula Valley Optometry Dry Eye Center serves dry eye patients from Temecula, Murrieta, Elsinore, and Menifee, California and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Winkelstein

Q: Should I use lubricating eye drops while taking acne medication like isotretinoin?

  • A: Lubricating eye drops may be an appropriate treatment for medication-induced dry eye syndrome However always consult with your optometrist before purchasing drops from the drugstore. The huge range of choices in your local pharmacy can be hard to navigate alone, and not all eye drops will be right for you. We can help guide you to the best eye drops for your condition.

Q: What are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Common symptoms of dry eye syndrome include: watery eyes, gritty eyes, burning or painful eyes, red and irritated eyes, mucus around the eyes, the inability to wear contact lenses, sensitivity to light and blurred vision. The frequency and severity of these symptoms can range greatly from patient to patient, and treatment will depend on the underlying cause of your symptoms.

8 Benefits of Wearing Scleral Lenses

8 Benefits of Wearing Scleral Lenses 640×350Scleral contact lenses have an extra-wide diameter and are rigid gas permeable. Unlike standard contact lenses, they vault over the sensitive cornea and rest on the whites of the eyes.

Our eye doctors at Temecula Valley Optometry are experts at fitting scleral lenses. We offer expert vision correction for a variety of difficult-to-fit eye conditions, including keratoconus and irregular corneas. When other forms of contacts don’t perform well for astigmatism, we prescribe scleral lenses.

Here are 8 reasons why scleral contact lenses may be beneficial for you:

1. Keratoconus causes blurred vision

Keratoconus causes the cornea to thin and bulge, leading to significant vision problems and, eventually, the inability to wear standard lenses. Scleral lenses correct the visual distortions caused by keratoconus while ensuring a smooth and comfortable wearing experience.

2. Scleral Lenses for Astigmatism

In addition to prescribing scleral lenses for keratoconus, we also propose cutting-edge scleral lenses for astigmatism, especially for extreme astigmatism that other contacts aren’t able to correct.

3. Comfortable for Dry Eyes

Scleral lenses form a pocket that fills with artificial tears as they vault over your cornea. This lubricating cushion provides an extremely comfortable wearing experience as well as improved eye health. Additionally, because sclerals don’t touch your corneal surface, they lower the risk of corneal abrasions.

4. Stable Vision

Even if your cornea is exceedingly irregular, scleral lenses will provide you with continuously clear vision. Their extra-large diameter keeps them centered and steady on your eye. Even if you play sports or have an extremely busy lifestyle, their size prevents sclerals from easily popping out.

5. Wide Visual Field and Reduced Glare

Scleral contact lenses have extra-wide optic zones that provide wider, more precise peripheral vision. They also reduce glare and light sensitivity.

6. Sclerals are Safe

Scleral contact lenses have an excellent safety record.

7. Long-Lasting Lenses

These rigid gas permeable contacts, which are made of high-quality, long-lasting materials, last about a year in most cases. Refer to your eye doctor for guidance and when it’s time to replace your lenses.

8. Cost-effective

Scleral lenses are custom-fit, which necessitates additional professional training for your eye doctor as well as several appointments to achieve the ideal fit. For these reasons, sclerals cost more than conventional contacts. However, their life span is greater, and because they are a medical necessity, your insurance plan may cover the cost.

Ready to Try Sclerals? Come in For a Fitting!

Our eye doctors are well trained and experienced in the fitting of scleral lenses. To find out if you’re a good candidate for these specialty lenses, schedule an appointment with one of our Manhattan Beach or Redondo Beach optometrists. We take exact measurements of your cornea to fit scleral lenses that are tailored to each patient’s eyes and specific ocular condition.

Temecula Valley Optometry Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center provides scleral lenses to patients from Temecula, Murrieta, Elsinore, and Menifee, California and surrounding communities.

6 Things To Know About Keratoconus

6 Things To Know About Keratoconus 640×350Keratoconus is an eye disease that causes the cornea, the clear dome-shaped front surface of the eye, to become misshapen and bulge. This progressive disease usually occurs in both eyes and affects approximately 50-200 in every 100,000 individuals.

People who have keratoconus often experience problems like blurred vision, distorted vision, night blindness and sensitivity to light. Clear vision correction for keratoconus can be challenging to achieve because the irregular corneal shape makes it difficult or impossible for standard eyeglasses or contact lenses to provide you with sharp vision.

Thankfully, there are ways for people with keratoconus to achieve clear and comfortable vision, something we explore below, along with several other key points about keratoconus.

1. Everyone has different risk factors for developing keratoconus

Some risk factors for developing keratoconus include:

  • Hereditary predisposition
  • Eye rubbing
  • Other medical conditions like Down syndrome, allergic dermatitis and connective tissue disorders
  • Eye inflammation

2. Keratoconus can develop at any age

Although most cases of keratoconus are first diagnosed in adolescence or young adulthood, it can appear during any stage of life. That’s why regular eye exams are crucial, even if your vision seems clear and your eyes appear to be healthy.

3. Early diagnosis is key

This rings true for almost every eye disease, especially keratoconus. Catching it early in its tracks can allow the eye doctor to implement various treatments to slow down its progression during the initial stages, when this condition tends to worsen more rapidly.

4. Keratoconus progresses at different rates throughout life

Keratoconus progression varies from person to person, and one person can experience varying degrees of progression in each eye. Some patients live with mild keratoconus their entire lives, while other patients develop severe keratoconus early on.

Often, optometrists will recommend that patients undergo certain procedures to strengthen the cornea and prevent or slow down further progression.

5. Keratoconus can be treated with surgery or scleral contact lenses

Corneal cross-linking surgery is an effective option to provide enhanced strength to the cornea and is the only FDA approved method of stopping or slowing keratoconus progression. However, if the condition develops into severe keratoconus, a corneal transplant may be the best option for treating the condition and restoring clear vision.

Scleral contact lenses offer another option to surgery. They are ideal for patients with early or moderate levels of keratoconus because they safely and effectively correct vision without irritating the misshapen cornea. In fact, studies have shown that patients with keratoconus who wear scleral contact lenses greatly reduce their risk of needing keratoplasty (corneal transplant surgery).

The large diameter of scleral contact lenses allows them to vault over the sensitive corneal tissue and then also coat the cornea in a nourishing reservoir of fluid for optimal comfort and visual clarity. Because eye rubbing and corneal irritation are significant risk factors for the progression of keratoconus, the protective qualities of scleral lenses can help to minimize keratoconus progression.

6. You can live a normal life with keratoconus

With the proper care and treatment from your optometrist, keratoconus shouldn’t stop you from living your life to the fullest. Although it can be discouraging to experience vision problems that can’t be resolved with standard lenses or glasses, know that there are other options available.

At Temecula Valley Optometry Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center, we help patients with keratoconus and other corneal abnormalities achieve crisp and comfortable vision using scleral contact lenses and other specialty lenses.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with keratoconus, call Temecula Valley Optometry Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center in Temecula to schedule a consultation today!

Temecula Valley Optometry Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center provides scleral lenses to patients from Temecula, Murrieta, Elsinore, and Menifee, California and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Winkelstein

Q: Who else can benefit from wearing scleral contact lenses?

  • A: Scleral contact lenses are ideal for patients with any of the following conditions: corneal abnormalities, severe dry eye syndrome, post-LASIK or corneal transplant, eye allergies, high refractive error or corneal trauma. Speak with your optometrist to find out if scleral lenses are right for you.

Q: Do all optometrists fit specialty contact lenses like sclerals?

  • A: No. If you are interested in scleral contact lenses, be sure to choose an optometric practice that has years of experience fitting specialty lenses. At Temecula Valley Optometry Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center, we have the knowledge, skill and experience necessary to provide you with the best lenses for your eyes. Call us to learn more or schedule your scleral lens fitting.

Blinking Exercises for Dry Eye

Blinking Exercises 640×350Did you know that the average person spends around 7 hours a day looking at a screen? The glare and reflections from computer, smartphone, and tablet screens can reduce blink rates by as much as 60%. When we concentrate intensely we tend to blink less, which can, in turn, lead to dry eye syndrome.

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome include red and dry eyes, irritated eyes, blurred vision, painful or stinging eyes, light sensitivity and mucus around the eyes.

Blinking helps keep our eyes healthy and comfortable. With every blink, the ocular surface is cleaned of debris and lubricated, so less blinking means more irritation and dryness.

Below are a few blinking exercises to help you ensure that your eyes remain lubricated and refreshed throughout the day.

Blinking Exercises

Blinking exercises are simple to do and can be seamlessly integrated into your daily routine. These exercises should be done a few times an hour. Try alternating between the 2 exercises below.

1. Close-Pause-Pause-Open-Relax

  1. Without squeezing, gently close your eyes.
  2. Pause and keep your eyes closed for 2 seconds.
  3. Gently open your eyes and relax them.
  4. Repeat 5 times

2. Close-Pause-Pause-Squeeze-Open-Relax

  1. Without squeezing, gently close your eyes.
  2. Pause and keep your eyes closed for 2 seconds.
  3. While keeping your eyes closed, squeeze your eyelids together slowly and gently.
  4. Gently open your eyes and relax them.
  5. Repeat 5 times

The Importance of Fully Blinking

It’s important to fully blink to completely lubricate your eyes. If you’re only partially blinking, it can render your dry eye symptoms worse.

To find out whether you are fully blinking, just look at your eyes in the mirror. If they feel dry or appear red, or if you see a horizontal stripe of red blood vessels across your eyes, then you have been partially blinking.

If you’ve incorporated blinking exercises into your routine but are still experiencing eye irritation, you may have dry eye syndrome. We can diagnose the underlying cause of your symptoms, and offer a variety of dry eye treatments to alleviate any discomfort. Schedule an eye exam with Temecula Valley Optometry Dry Eye Center today to receive effective, long-lasting relief.

Temecula Valley Optometry Dry Eye Center serves dry eye patients from Temecula, Murrieta, Elsinore, and Menifee, California and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Winkelstein

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome is caused either by insufficient tears or poor tear quality. Every time you blink, you leave a thin film of tears over the surface of your eyes. This helps keep your vision clear and your eyes healthy. If your tears don’t keep the surface of your eye moist enough, you will experience dry eye symptoms. Some medical conditions, certain medications, dysfunctional glands, allergies and environmental irritants can all cause dry eye symptoms.

Q: What are the symptoms of dry eyes?

  • A: Symptoms of dry eye include irritation; a gritty, scratchy or burning sensation; blurred vision; excessive tearing; and/or a feeling of having something stuck in the eye.

6 Tips For Adjusting To Wearing Scleral Lenses

6 Tips For Adjusting To Wearing Scleral Lenses 640×350Congratulations on your new pair of customized scleral contact lenses! As with most new things, there can be a learning curve when getting your scleral contacts to feel and fit just right.

Whether you’ve been prescribed sclerals for keratoconus, dry eye syndrome, corneal abnormalities or other conditions, it can take up to two weeks for you to feel completely comfortable in your new contacts.

Here are some tips to help shorten the adjustment period on your scleral lens journey:

1. Stick to proper hygiene protocol

Even the most perfectly fitted scleral lenses won’t feel right if they aren’t cleaned and cared for properly. Carefully follow the hygiene guidelines prescribed by your optometrist without cutting any corners. Although it may seem tedious at first, your efforts will be well worth the results.

2. Practice makes progress

The only way to make inserting and removing your lenses second nature is to wear them. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a bit more time to insert them than you’d anticipated. Wearing your sclerals daily will give you the opportunity to practice wearing and caring for your lenses.

3. Try out different insertion tools and techniques

At your initial fitting or follow-up consultation, your eye doctor will show you ways to safely and comfortably insert your lenses. Some patients prefer using a large plunger, while others prefer the scleral ring or O-ring. If neither of these recommended techniques are working for you, seek advice from your eye doctor.

4. Overfill the lens

A common problem that many patients encounter when they begin wearing scleral contact lenses is how to get rid of tiny air bubbles that get trapped in the lens’ bowl. Try filling up the lens with the recommended solution until it is almost overflowing. That way, you’ll have enough fluid left in the lens even if some spills out when you bring it up to your eye.

5. Give it time

If your scleral lenses feel slightly uncomfortable upon insertion — don’t worry. It’s recommended to wait 20-30 minutes to allow them to settle on the eye’s surface before attempting to readjust or remove them. Of course, remove them immediately and try again if you feel significant discomfort.

6. Follow up with your optometrist

Even once you leave your optometrist’s office, we encourage you to remain in touch with your eye doctor if something doesn’t feel right or if you have any questions regarding your scleral lenses.

To learn more or to schedule a scleral lens consultation, call Temecula Valley Optometry Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center today!

Temecula Valley Optometry Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center provides scleral lenses to patients from Temecula, Murrieta, Elsinore, and Menifee, California and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Winkelstein

Q: What are scleral contact lenses?

  • A: Scleral contact lenses are rigid gas permeable lenses with a uniquely large diameter. They rest on the sclera (whites of the eyes) instead of the cornea, making them a more comfortable and stable option for people with corneal irregularities or dry eye syndrome. Scleral contacts hold a reservoir of nourishing fluid between the eye’s surface and the inside of the lens, providing the patient with crisp and comfortable vision.

Q: Who is an ideal candidate for wearing sclerals?

  • A: Patients with keratoconus, corneal abnormalities, ocular surface disease (dry eye syndrome) and very high refractive errors can all benefit from scleral lenses. Moreover, those with delicate corneas due to disease or after surgery find scleral lenses to be comfortable and therapeutic, as the lenses don’t place any pressure on the sensitive corneal tissue.

The Link Between Myopia Progression and COVID Confinement

The Link Between Myopia Progression and COVID Confinement 640×350Several months into the COVID-19 pandemic eye doctors began to notice that children’s myopia was worsening. Researchers set out to learn whether there was, in fact, a link between the pandemic and increased myopia progression, and if so, why.

How The Pandemic Affected Children’s Vision

A recent study published in 2021 in JAMA Ophthalmology found that children aged 6 to 13 experienced an increased rate of myopia progression since the beginning of the pandemic, and the lockdowns and restrictions that accompanied it.

The researchers examined the rate of myopia progression from 2015 to 2020 in more than 120,000 children from 10 elementary schools, based on school vision screenings. By the end of the study, researchers determined that children experienced significantly higher rates of myopia progression in 2020 than in previous years.

The higher rate of progression was especially severe in children between the ages of 6 and 8. Researchers theorized that the children’s earlier stage of visual development might have been the crucial factor.

Other studies have already determined that children who spend at least 2 hours a day outdoors experience less myopia progression than their peers who stay mostly indoors.

Researchers from the National Eye Institute found that children who spent significant time outdoors — about 14 hours a week — significantly reduced their chances of needing glasses for myopia. Among children with two myopic parents, the chances of needing glasses are roughly 60% if they don’t spend significant time outdoors. However, this study found that, after spending the prescribed 14 hours per week outside, the same children’s risk of myopia dropped to around 20%.

At the same time, a study published by the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in February 2019 showed a significant link between the amount of time children engaged in near-work tasks and increased myopia progression.

Taken together, these studies give us a clearer picture of the challenges children have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and why myopia rates in children have soared.

What Can Parents Learn From All Of This?

Parents should make an effort to encourage their children to go outside as often as possible and to spend more time away from screens and other near-work tasks.

If you’re concerned about your child’s myopia, make an appointment with their eye doctor as soon as possible, as delays in seeking professional advice can make management more challenging in the future.

Temecula Valley Optometry Myopia Management Center offers myopia management to patients from Temecula, Murrieta, Elsinore, and Menifee, California and surrounding communities.

What to Know About LASIK and Dry Eye

What to Know About LASIK and Dry Eye 640×350Dry eye syndrome is an uncomfortable condition that can cause eyes to become dry, itchy, red, watery and gritty. It is caused by insufficient tears or poor quality oil in the tears that prevent the eyes from being properly lubricated.

Dry eye syndrome is a common side effect of LASIK surgery, so individuals considering laser surgery for long-term vision correction should speak with their eye doctor. An assessment at Temecula Valley Optometry Dry Eye Center in Temecula can help determine your likelihood of developing dry eyes after the laser procedure and take measures to treat this condition, so you can fully enjoy your clear vision.

The Connection Between LASIK Surgery and Dry Eye

LASIK is the most commonly performed type of laser vision correction. In this procedure, a laser is used to cut a flap in the front of the eye, the cornea, which allows the eye surgeon to reshape the cornea with the laser.

One side effect of cutting this flap is that corneal nerves may be damaged. LASIK surgery can sever the most superficial nerves in the cornea, which then reduces the eye’s sensitivity to dry eye symptoms. This, in turn, may reduce the body’s tear production since the eye glands produce the essential water and oils in response to neural messages.

It is estimated that 50% of people who undergo LASIK surgery report dry eye symptoms in the following days and weeks. However, some of these patients may have experienced dry eye symptoms before surgery. They might even have opted for LASIK due to discomfort when wearing contact lenses, not realizing that this discomfort might be caused by a pre-existing case of dry eye syndrome. In both cases, treatment of dry eyes is essential for these patients

Whether the problem of dry, itchy eyes precedes LASIK surgery or is an aftereffect, it is important to assess the risks of developing or exacerbating dry eye syndrome following the procedure.

Testing Risk Factors for Dry Eye Before LASIK Surgery

Before LASIK surgery, patients are given a full eye exam. These tests may include:

  • Tear breakup time tests
  • Schirmer’s test
  • Corneal imaging
  • Tear osmolarity and inflammation
  • Meibomian gland evaluation

A tear breakup test involves putting fluorescent dye on the surface of the eye to measure tear distribution and when the tears “break up.” For a Schirmer’s test, the doctor places a strip of paper under the eyelids to monitor tear production.

Corneal imaging uses non-invasive devices to assess the cornea and tear film without actual contact with the eye. The tear osmolarity and inflammation tests collect tears from the inside of the bottom eyelid to test protein levels that can signal a higher level of salt content and risk of inflammation in the tears.

What Increases the Risk of Developing Dry Eye?

  • Aging
  • Menopause
  • Medications, including antihistamines
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Hot, windy or dry conditions and climates
  • Pollution or poor quality air

Older patients, particularly post-menopausal women, and those suffering from autoimmune conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome, are more likely to have dry eye symptoms following the procedure. Those who take allergy medication and live in hot, dry climates should also take precautions.

Strategies to Prevent Dry Eye Caused by LASIK Surgery

Your eye doctor may recommend the following for patients who are at high risk of developing dry eye syndrome after LASIK surgery as well as those who have pre-existing symptoms:

  • Punctal plugs
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Lubricating eye drops
  • Prescription medication
  • In-office treatments

Punctal plugs reduce eye moisture loss by blocking tear drainage tunnels. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements and lubricating eye drops can stimulate moisture in the eye before the procedure. Your eye doctor may prescribe eye drops or use a range of effective in-office dry eye treatments.

It is essential to work with professionals you can trust before, during and after LASIK surgery.

Temecula Valley Optometry Dry Eye Center serves patients from Temecula, Murrieta, Elsinore, and Menifee, California and surrounding communities. Schedule your appointment for an assessment to discuss your questions about LASIK and dry eye syndrome.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Winkelstein

Q: Are There Natural Treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome?

  • A: Consuming foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as fatty fish and flaxseeds can stimulate the oils that are essential for tear quality. Warm compresses, gland expression and eye massage can often relieve clogged glands in the eyelids and provide relief. Maintaining eyelid hygiene and wearing protective sunglasses can also reduce symptoms.

Q: What Are Some Dry Eye Symptoms?

  • A: Along with dry eyes, some of the symptoms of dry eye syndrome may include redness, an itchy and burning feeling, stringy mucus, grittiness and excessive eye-watering.