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 Protecting Your Vision as You Age 11.26.18

5 Tips for Protecting Your Vision as You Age

As you age, you may notice your eyesight getting weaker.

You avoid dimly lit restaurants and the font is as large as it can be on your phone. That’s because your eyes start to struggle with seeing close distances in your mid-40s, especially when you’re on your phone or reading a book or menu.

This is a normal change in the eye’s ability to focus, and is called presbyopia. Presbyopia is among the most common eye problems in adults aged 41-60.

So, what should you do to keep your eyes and vision protected as you age? Here are 5 tips from our expert team:

Wear Sunglasses

While we all know that looking directly at the sun isn’t safe, being outside without sunglasses is also harmful. UV rays take no days off, so always bring sunglasses with you. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from UV rays, even on cloudy or snowy days.

At Rx, we offer prescription sunglasses so that you never have to be without clear vision while protecting your eyes from damaging sunlight.

Wear Prescription Glasses

Are you noticing your vision is strained when reading up close or using your phone? Updating your prescription in your glasses can help alleviate the strain in your vision.

If you don’t wear prescription glasses already, scheduling an appointment with Rx is a great first step in determining if you need to wear glasses.

Boost Your Diet

Simply changing a few areas of your diet can help to keep your vision sharp. Including foods like eggs, legumes, citrus fruits, leafy greens, and fish in your diet can help to protect your eyes and vision. This is because they contain healthy elements like zinc, omega-3, and vitamins C and A.

Interested in learning more? Check out our blog on the “Top 5 Foods to Boost Eye Health”.

Stay Active

An active lifestyle is good for the entire body, and that includes your eyes. Exercising regularly can help to reduce your risk of developing problems that can end up leading to eye disease.

Want to protect your eyes as you exercise? Ask your Rx optician about prescription sports frames.

Comprehensive Eye Exam

Scheduling a comprehensive eye exam is the best thing you can do to identify what is causing your eyes to strain. Our experienced doctors will be able to develop a vision plan for you and get your vision set up for success.

 

At Rx, we employ an expert team of doctors who are committed to helping protect your eye health. Schedule an exam with us today and take the first step in protecting your eyes from aging.

A LOOK INTO THE FUTURE OF MACULAR DEGENERATION

As an optometrist there are very few things more defeating than having to tell a patient they are losing their vision and there is nothing I can do about it. Unfortunately this happens more than one might think. Conditions that can blind a patient have a large range. In the young it’s typically congenital conditions for example Stargardts disease, these are rare but I think most of us have had the unfortunate experience of telling a child and their concerned parent to prepare for the worst. In the elderly we see a greatly more prevalent condition called Macular Degeneration taking peoples vision at an alarming rate. Each patient will handle the situation and news differently, some I cry with, some hold their heads high and start problem solving their future and others just want a hug as they sit in dismay not quite knowing what to do next.

We as doctors sometimes have to give the worst news possible. It is also our job to give hope and direct our patients to the appropriate help when we can no longer treat the condition at hand. Many aren’t aware of the Association for the Blind and other local support that can teach them how to live independently without their vision. News of these organizations, although somewhat comforting to have a “next step”, usually don’t inspire hope for patients after receiving their diagnosis.

This brings me to something that is very exciting to our profession, hope for a cure. Stem cell research is something that has been in the news many times over the years. I am glad to say that they have found a safe way of obtaining the stem cells and are utilizing them in human trials. Currently progress is being made in a very small amount of chosen patients to regrow macular tissue. This is the area of the eye that many blinding conditions effect. Stem cells have been injected into the back of the eye in an attempt to try to regrow this tissue. Results thus far have been promising, although not perfect. The hope is to bring vision back to the blind and cure many types of macular conditions. The trial patients have gotten some tissue back and halted their various conditions from worsening. This is enough to have researchers saying that this will save the vision of those in early stages of their conditions. Thus far full vision in the blind has yet to be restored, even though motion and colors are being detected again. Much more research is needed before this will become available as many side effects and possible unforeseen complications need to be studied. Large population studies are expected to be underway.

I am so excited to tell my patients now that even though they are losing sight now and currently no treatment is available, soon there will be a treatment if not cure. There is hope, this won’t be permanent and if they can hang in there it won’t be long.

Written By: Dr. Angela Jammer, OD