A zoomed in photo of an eyeball with a blue iris.

Cataract Prevention and Awareness

June is Cataract Awareness Month! That’s why our doctors are committed to providing you with the advice, resources, and helpful tips you need to know about cataracts.

A cataract occurs when an eye’s lens becomes clouded. This condition inhibits or complete-ly blocks vision. Almost all cataracts are caused by age, so the people who are most at risk for cataracts are people over the age of 60.

Since we know that cataracts are age-related, there are some steps you can take to pro-tect your vision as you age.

What Causes Cataracts?

When you look at something, there is a lens in your eye that focuses light to the back of your eye. This light goes to the retina, where images are received. Your lens also adjusts the eye’s focus, which allows you to see images clearly, no matter how close or far they are.

As we age, the protein may clump together, creating a cloud. This makes it harder for light to pass through the lens onto the retina, which means it’s harder to see images clearly.

Symptoms of a Cataract

The most common symptoms of a cataract are:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Seeing faded colors
  • Glare, often from headlights, lamps or sunlight
  • Halos appearing around lights
  • Poor night vision
  • Double vision or multiple images in one eye
  • Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses

How to Prevent Cataracts

The best way to monitor for cataracts is by receiving annual, comprehensive eye exams. Eye exams are key indicators of your overall health, and when you get eye exams consistently, doctors are able to track changes in your eye health more accurately.

UV exposure has also been linked to cataracts, so along with receiving annual eye exams, always make sure to wear sunglasses. UV rays can still impact you even in cold months, so be sure to wear sunglasses year round! The more protection the better. A wide-brimmed hat paired with sunglasses is a great way to keep your eyes and vision healthy.

 

Want to learn more about protecting your vision as you age? Our doctors have the information you need and the important tips you can put into practice starting today. Visit one of our 55 locations or schedule an appointment. We can’t wait to see you!

Rx Optical Blog Image Diabetes and Eye Health 11.09.18

Diabetes and Your Eye Health

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and according to the CDC, there are more than 100 million U.S. adults living with diabetes or prediabetes. The serious disease, which affects the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, can cause health issues such as heart disease, kidney failure, amputations, and vision loss.

Diabetes is a major risk factor for developing glaucoma and cataracts, but the most common and threatening vision problem facing diabetics is diabetic retinopathy.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy, which is a leading cause of blindness in American adults, is caused by damage or changes in the blood vessels of the retina due to high blood sugar levels. In certain cases, retinal blood vessels can swell and leak fluid, while others may experience abnormal and new blood vessels growing on the surface of the retina. These changes in the eye can result in vision loss or blindness.

According to the National Eye Institute, nearly 7.7 million people age 40 and older have diabetic retinopathy, and this number is projected to increase to more than 11 million by 2030.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy can be very difficult to detect yourself, as there are no symptoms in the early stages. As the disease progresses, you may begin to notice the following symptoms:

  • Increasing number of floaters
  • Blurry vision
  • Blank or dark areas in your vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Colors appearing faded or washed out

The symptoms of diabetic retinopathy typically affect both eyes.

Prevention & Treatment

While fully preventing diabetic retinopathy is difficult, you can greatly reduce your risks by controlling your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes and experience any of the above symptoms, you should schedule a comprehensive eye exam as soon as possible. Catching and treating the disease in its early stages, before it causes vision loss or blindness, is key for protecting your eye health.

It is crucial that all people with diabetes get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every year. Dilated exams allow for eye doctors to see more of the inside of your eyes in order to check for signs of the disease.

Our expert team of doctors at Rx Optical is committed to helping protect your eye health. Schedule an exam with us today and take the first step in ensuring that your vision stays clearer, longer.

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DIABETIC EYE DISEASE AWARENESS MONTH: DIABETES AND YOUR EYES

With November being Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, we wanted to take the time to focus on diabetes and your eyes. During the month of November, we will be sharing news and information to increase awareness and encourage patients to seek treatment of vision problems related to diabetes.

You can’t feel it. You can’t see it—until it’s too late. Diabetic retinopathy, the most common form of diabetic eye disease, is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 20–74. It occurs when diabetes damages blood vessels in the retina.

While it presents no symptoms in its early stages, diabetic eye disease can lead to:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic retinopathy
  • Diabetic macular edema

If you have diabetes, tell your eye doctor. During your Diabetic eye exam, your doctor will use the following to detect any abnormalities:

An eye chart to test your ability to see various distances

  • Tonometry to test the pressure in your eye
  • Pupil dilation
  • Communication with your primary care giver

Between 40 and 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some stage of diabetic retinopathy, but only around half are aware of it because symptoms aren’t always obvious. When detected early, treatments are more effective and vision loss can often be prevented. This means getting into your eye doctor on a regular basis. And, between visits, watch for signs of progression such as blurred vision as it could be a sign of swelling or bleeding caused by changing retinal blood vessels.

If you have questions about diabetic eye disease or need to set up a Diabetic exam, give us a call today at (800) RX CARES.

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LET’S TALK ABOUT UV

Now, we’re not trying to scare you but we do want to educate you. I know we say it all the time, but you only get one pair of eyes – don’t take them for granted.

According to the American Optometric Association, the longer your eyes are exposed to solar radiation, the greater the risk of developing cataracts or macular degeneration later in life. See that is scary.

If you follow the below tips you will protect your eyes all year long (not just in the summer).

  •  Wear UV-blocking sunglasses. Don’t worry we have the best brands and styles, check out our blog on 2017 trends.
  •  Don’t be fooled by an overcast day, the sun penetrates haze and thin clouds.
  •  Never look directly at the sun. This can damage your eye’s retina which is obviously not good.
  •  Throw a hat on your kid along with sunglasses when out and about. Seniors and children are especially susceptible to the sun’s UV rays.

The good thing is this is all preventable and you get to look cool being safe. We encourage our patients to wear sunglasses, just like your dermatologist recommends sunscreen because it is for your own safety.

Take a look at our segment on WZZM13’s My West Michigan, where we discuss sunglass safety in honor of National Sunglasses Day on Tuesday, June 27.

Questions? Give us a call at 1-(800)-RX-CARES. We love to hear from you.