Halloween is a great time to have fun for all ages.  Kids dress up as fun characters and go trick-or-treating, and adults join in on costume parties.  It’s exciting to get into character for a night but we shouldn’t sacrifice safety for fun. 

Costumes today also include decorative contact lenses.  Contact lenses can really enhance a costume, but at what price?  Contacts can be dangerous to wear, especially if they are not fit to your eyes carefully.  Purchasing contacts without a proper fit can cause damage to your eyes, sometimes causing irreparable scarring.  The greatest risk is losing your vision for one night of dressing up.

August is that time we start gathering school supplies and buying clothes for the new school year.  Our supply lists keep growing as our kids move up the academic scale.  What’s that one very important item that should not be missing from that school supply list…….an eye exam. 

As our kids grow, their vision can change.  Every year of school brings new visual demands and new levels of comprehension.  Did you know that 80% of our learning is through vision?  If the visual system is not working properly then our learning is slowed or stalled.  Vision is more than seeing 20/20, it is how the eyes are working together.

Vision screenings provide less than 4% of vision tests needed to evaluate your child’s vision, more than 60% of vision problems are missed or misdiagnosed.  We are grateful for the vision screenings in our schools, but they are not complete.  We recommend a complete eye exam for every child, every year. 

Helena Eye Clinic cares about your children and wants to make sure every child can have their eyes examined thoroughly by an eye care professional.  We want to make sure that every child has the best opportunity to learn and grow without their vision getting in the way.


June is national Cataract Awareness Month.  Did you know that Cataracts affect over 24.4 million Americans age 40 and older, or about one in every six people in this age range.  Also, Cataracts are the leading cause of reversible blindness and visual impairment globally.  So now you may ask…What are they? What causes them? How and where are they treated?

We all go through our annual checklist for our health….

  • Yearly physical
  • Dentist appointment
  • Kids exams

So what about your vision exams?  Did you forget to schedule that again? 

It is just as important to take care of your eyes as anything else.  Our eyes work for us all day long, every day.  It should be a priority to make sure they are healthy.  Whether you are enjoying your view from the office or can’t wait to see the world on vacation, we can help you make sure that your view is the best.

Here are several ways to keep your eyes healthy:

March is Save Your Vision Month! 

This year our focus is to help you reduce your risk of prolonged exposure to blue light and the importance of receiving regular, comprehensive eye exams.

Over exposure to blue light from our electronics causes a variety of problems including eye strain, neck and shoulder pain, dry and red eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and sleep disorders. Over 80% of Americans know that looking at their screen is unhealthy, but we continue to do so for over 8 hours a day.  We know that it is almost impossible to get away from our electronics and our lives can be centered around our computer, smartphones, and tablets but that doesn't mean you should suffer.

Consider using the “20-20-20 Rule”.....

February is Macular Degeneration Awareness Month. 

Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common cause of blindness that affects people as they get older.

AMD affects the very back of the eye, the retina.

The retina is located in the very back of the eye.  It consists of cells that detect light.  If the retina were a dartboard, the macula would be the bullseye.  It has the best vision of the retina and is responsible for the vision that we use to read or to recognize faces.

 

Eye Health.We hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and the beginning of the holiday season.  With all of the great feasts prepared for this time of year, it’s a good time to discuss ocular nutrition.

We’ve all been told to eat our carrots to help our sight. We’ve seen vitamin preparations advertised as improving macular degeneration.  So, what role does nutrition have in maintenance of healthy eyes?

This week’s topic is retinal detachment.  The retina is located in the back of the eye and works similar to the film of a camera.  It consists of several layers of nerve cells that sense light and relay the image to the brain.  A retinal detachment occurs when one layer separates from the others.

Retinal detachments are most often caused by the vitreous (gel on the inside of the eye) separating from the retina.  During this process the vitreous can create tears in the retina.  Fluid flows into these tears and between the retinal layers causing a detachment. 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women (behind skin cancer).  More than a quarter million new cases are diagnosed each year.  This year more than 40,000 women are expected to die of this disease.  My mother was one of them.

Fortunately, the death rate from breast cancer has been declining due to advancements in treatment and early screening.  Self examination and mammography are used to detect cancer early.

 

 

Diabetes is a disease where the blood sugar becomes elevated.  It affects nearly 30 million Americans and nearly a third of  these people don’t know they have the disease. 

Diabetes can affect every part of the eye.  The most serious threat to vision occurs when diabetes causes damage to blood vessels in the retina.  This is called retinopathy.  The damaged blood vessels can leak fluid and blood.  When this happens the retina does not receive the nutrients and oxygen it needs.  The retina responds by releasing a hormone that causes new blood vessels to grow.