Friday, August 31, 2012

Are You Experiencing
Symptoms of Cataracts?

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in people 55 and older.  Everyone should be aware of the symptoms of cataracts, for the sake of their vision and for someone they know.

A cataract is a clouding of the lens of the eye and they tend to ‘grow’ gradually, so changes in vision may not be noticeable at first.

Symptoms of cataracts may include:

  • “Cloudy” vision
  • Sensitivity to bright sunlight
  • “Halos” appear around headlights at night
  • Colors appear faded

The most common cataracts are age-related.  By age 80, almost half the population either has a cataract or has had a cataract surgically removed.

Cataract surgery is the most common form of surgery in the United States, with more than 1.5 million procedures every year.  Surgery is not the first option for anyone with a cataract.

Some of the symptoms of cataracts in the early stages can be managed with sunglasses or eyeglasses with anti-reflective lenses.  When the cataract interferes with daily activities such as reading or driving, it’s time to consider surgery.

As with any eye disease, early detection and treatment are the keys to successful management of cataracts.  And the first step is a comprehensive eye examination annually, especially for persons over 60 years of age.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tech Use Taking Toll On Kids' Eyes

 Tech Use Taking Toll On Kids' Eyes

Doctor: School vision exams don't catch everything

AUSTIN ( - One-in-four school-aged children have vision problems that can affect learning. But often, children and parents don't have a clue there's anything wrong.
Between buying school supplies, school lunches and new clothes, parents have their hands full getting kids ready to head back to class.

But there's one more thing that can start them off on the right foot.

"It's really imperative that all children receive a comprehensive vision exam before they start school," said Dr. Mary McMains.

McMains says school vision screenings only detect about 5 percent of problems and often miss identifying children who have trouble seeing up close.

The National Eye Institute also reports longer stints in front of the computer screen are leading to more eye problems at an earlier age.

"What we're seeing is that we're having more nearsightedness, more complaints of double vision, blurry vision, tired eyes, headaches," McMains said.

When Kirby Youngblood first came to her office, the third grader was experiencing several headaches a day and his school work was suffering.

"You can see there's colored letters that are thicker, erase marks -- I didn't erase very well," Kirby Youngblood said.

After eight months of special vision therapy catered to kids that often looks more like an arcade than a doctor's office, his vision has improved.

"It's like watching your child transition into someone new -- someone you always knew that they were, but something was holding them back," said Sheila Youngblood.

Because most kids don't know there's a problem, there are warning signs to look for.

"Rubbing the eyes, watery red eyes can be a factor or if you notice a child is taking their book and holding it too close and pushing it far away, squinting, turning their heads so that their nose might be blocking one eye because they're having difficulty coordinating both eyes on the page," McCains said.

A good rule of thumb is to be proactive rather than reactive.
Doctors recommend a child's first eye exam be done before they turn age one, then again at age three and another right before schools starts.