Sometimes headaches or migraines are accompanied by vision issues which can be very disruptive to a person’s day. These ocular migraines usually fade rapidly and are often not a cause for alarm, but there are some cases when a migraine accompanied by visual disruptions—known as a retinal migraine—signals a much more serious underlying condition.
So how do you know if your ocular migraines are harmless or serious? The board-certified ophthalmologists at Colorado Ophthalmology Associates have answered some FAQs to help you know the difference.
What are the symptoms of ocular migraines?
Ocular migraines that involve your vision can contain auras that are present in both eyes. Auras are disruptions in the vision that usually don’t last long and may or may not be accompanied by a headache. According to Mayo Clinic1, these symptoms can include:
- Flashes of light
- Zigzagging patterns
- Blind spots
- Shimmering spots
- Sparkling lights
- Blurred vision
- Fuzzy areas or swirled colors
- Sensation of looking through broken glass, water, heat waves, etc.
- Loss of color vision
- Depth perception issues
What are the symptoms of retinal migraines?
Retinal migraines are rarer than ocular migraines. They can affect one eye, rather than both, and are much more serious than ocular migraines. Retinal migraines can come before or accompany a headache and the symptoms can be recurring. The symptoms include2:
- Diminished vision
- Areas with decreased vision
- Temporary blindness
- Twinkling lights
- Tunnel vision
- New dark spots or floaters in one eye only
- New flashes of light in one eye only that persist over an hour
When should I see my ophthalmologist?
If you are experiencing any vision changes, such as ocular migraines or retinal migraines, you should see your ophthalmologist at Colorado Ophthalmology & Associates right away. We can track the changes you’re experiencing and help determine a course of action to try to head off future migraines.
If you have suddenly lost vision in one eye or have experienced decreased vision or changes in one eye, go to the nearest emergency room (ER) immediately. This could be a symptom of a much more serious condition, such as a stroke, diabetes or concussion.
What is the treatment for ocular migraines?
Patients suffering from recurring migraines are encouraged to keep a headache diary and try to pinpoint the triggers and then avoid them. Common triggers could be anything like disrupted sleep patterns, alcohol, caffeine, food additives, perfumes, dehydration, hormones or stress3.
Over-the-counter medications can help alleviate symptoms until they subside. Prescription medications are also available and some things like beta-blockers might be prescribed to be taken daily as a preventative measure.
Get help with your ocular migraines today!
If you’ve been suffering from migraines that affect your vision, come to one of our two Colorado locations for an initial exam so we can track your vision changes and evaluate your eye health. Our ophthalmologists are experienced in evaluating and treating ocular migraines and are ready to bring our expertise to help you start to feel better. Call us today to make an appointment:
What does your child’s school year look like? In-person, online at home, graduated returning, hybrid learning? No matter how your child is going to receive his or her education this year, clear vision is crucial to school success. Since being able to see properly can directly impact a student’s academic achievement, Colorado Ophthalmology Associates recommends each child receives an annual eye exam in preparation for a great school year.
To get your student started on the right track, schedule a comprehensive eye exam today. Our board-certified ophthalmologists are able to make sure your child is ready for success in a predominantly visual-based learning environment.
What does a back-to-school vision test include?
Your board-certified ophthalmologist will use a few different tests to determine your child’s visual acuity and eye health.
This eye exam may include:
- Pupil dilation to examine optic nerve and retina
- Examination for conditions such as lazy eye, drooping eyelid, color blindness or crossed eyes
- Testing depth perception
- Testing eye-hand coordination
- Examination for near-sightedness or far-sightedness
- Recommendation for eye protection for specific sports
Warning Signs in Children
Many parents feel a false sense of security because they know their child receives a vision screening in school each year. In fact, these screenings only catch a small percentage of the vision problems with which students may be silently struggling.
As a parent, you have to stay vigilant about your child’s vision health. To help, here are some warning signs you can watch out for that can tip you off to your child’s vision problems:
- Squinting to see signs in the car or unable to read signs
- Sitting too close to the TV
- Holding book or electronic device close to the face
- Squinting to look at you
- Unusual amount of tripping or clumsiness
- Eye-hand coordination problems that show up in sports
- Doing poorly in school subjects
- Sensitivity to light
- Frequently rubbing eyes
- Stopping normal activities such as doing puzzles or reading
- Asking friends to read what’s on the board
- Shortened attention span
- Inability to look right at the camera for pictures
What about screen time and eye health?
With the sharp increase in online learning, ophthalmologists are seeing more and more cases of nearsightedness and computer fatigue symptoms1. If your child is suffering from dry eyes, headaches or tired eyes, try these tips to help offset the effects of screen time.
- Take a 20 second eye break every 20 minutes. Look out a window or focus on something far away. Set a timer for this action.
- Get plenty of time out in the sun away from devices.
- Keep computer screens away from window glare.
- Keep screen at least 18 to 24 inches from the face.
- Remind child to blink more often.
At what age should I begin my child’s eye exams?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends eye screening beginning at birth2 and continuing to the start of school, then annually after that. If you’ve never had your child’s eyes examined, now is the time to start. Your doctor will do a comprehensive eye exam to ensure healthy vision.
Even if your child is no longer a child but is going off to college this year, there are some important eye health tips for college students. Make sure he or she has an eye exam as well before leaving.
Schedule your child’s back-to-school vision exam today!
Set your student up for success with a comprehensive vision exam at one of our two Colorado locations. Choose the location that is convenient for you and let our board-certified ophthalmologists do the rest. Call us today to make an appointment @
During this time of uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be wondering if it is safe to come to Colorado Ophthalmology Associates for routine care and emergent eye conditions. Rest assured, your good health is our top priority. We are actively working within some of the strictest guidelines to maintain a safe and sanitary facility for our patients and staff.
What the CDC Recommends
We adhere to the CDC recommended coronavirus safety guidelines for medical providers including measures such as: spacing out appointments and maintaining 6’ social distancing within the building and waiting room. We continue some of the highest standards of facility sanitation and make sure our equipment, rooms and furniture are thoroughly disinfected between patients.
Our staff all wear masks and we require our patients to wear masks as well. Before coming to work, each staff member is required to take his or her temperature to ensure good health. Patients are instructed to do the same before coming to the facility. Additional screening measures are in place to be on the alert for any symptoms of illness.
Going Above & Beyond
In addition to the CDC guidelines, we have implemented additional measures of our own design to be extremely cautious during this time. We have removed any unnecessary items from the waiting room and exam rooms, such as magazines and extra chairs, to facilitate ease in cleaning efforts and to eliminate germ transmission. Non-essential personnel have been allowed to work from home or to schedule work after clinical hours. Non-essential visitors have been restricted from the facility.
All surfaces are disinfected between patients including chairs, light switches, counters, sign-in pads, computers and more. Hand sanitizer is readily available and encouraged for patient use. Our physicians and staff maintain strict hygiene protocol including frequent and careful hand washing as well as protective face coverings.
Prior to your appointment, you will receive a phone call informing you of the proper procedures to prepare for your visit. We are working to maintain clear communication with our patients to alleviate any confusion or unease during this time.
Talk with us any time
If you have any other questions or concerns about our response to COVID-19, please call us today at (303) 320-1777. Our two Colorado locations are working hard to provide some of the best ophthalmological care during this difficult time while making sure your health and safety is our top priority.
Playing a variety of fast-paced sports is one of the joys in life, but not every participant takes time to think about the connection between visual acuity and physical ability. If there is a slight variance to the eye, the result could be vision changes that reduce your performance. In addition to visual acuity, players need to be concerned about eye protection. Whether you enjoy basketball, softball, martial arts, tennis or even badminton, there can be a high risk of eye injury in any activity or sport.
Important vision skills required to excel in sports include things like depth perception, eye tracking, eye-hand-body coordination, peripheral vision, visual memory, visualization, visual reaction time and visual concentration.1 Not only can your performance be adversely affected by having a vision issue, but your physical safety could also be compromised.
If you are involved in playing a sport or activity, Colorado Ophthalmology Associates provides sports vision testing to determine if any vision correction is needed to enhance performance. Additionally, we can recommend the best protective eyewear to prevent eye injuries during play. These two considerations—visual acuity and eye protection—are important to discuss with your eye doctor before playing any kind of sport.
What does a sports vision test include?
There are several techniques and technologies used in testing for sports vision. Your board-certified ophthalmologist will use a few different tests to determine your visual acuity and eye health.
These tests may include a focus on:
- Overall visual proficiency
- Refractive errors
- Eye tracking
- Ocular alignment
- Contrast sensitivity
- Eye dominance
- Depth perception
- Reaction time
- Eye-hand coordination
What are the most common sports eye injuries?
An elbow to the eye, a finger poke, a hit with a ball, a collision or an impact can all cause mild to severe eye damage. The most common injuries we see are:
- Retinal detachment
- Scratched cornea
- Blood between cornea and iris
- Fractured eye socket
- Traumatic cataract
How can I protect my eyes while enjoying my favorite sport?
Prevention is the #1 focus when playing any sport. Having the right protective eyewear is crucial as your frontline defense against a blow, hit or a collision. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the following for your favorite sport:
- Shatterproof goggles
- Shatterproof lenses
- UV protection
- Sports glasses
- Face shield
- Eye shield
What sports are the most dangerous for eyes?
Basketball is the most hazardous sports for eye health. Baseball, softball, airsoft, pellet guns, paintball, racquetball, hockey, boxing and martial arts all pose high risks for eye injury and blindness.2
Get your sports vision exam done today!
If you love to play, consider getting a sports vision screening today to make sure you’re seeing everything you need to see to bring home the win. Our two Colorado locations provide convenient access to quality vision exams. Our board-certified ophthalmologists can also make recommendations to make sure you have the right protective eyewear or prescription googles to keep you covered for your favorite activities. Call us today to make an appointment:
The earliest stages of eye disease and vision deterioration often take place in the farthest reaches of the eye and are difficult to find in a traditional retinal health check. Examining the far periphery of the eye requires special high-resolution imaging technology, such as the Zeiss Clarus® 500. This state-of-the-art—but difficult to find—technology is readily available at Colorado Ophthalmology Associates.
This is a simple system that uses photography without requiring dilation, which is a popular feature for many patients. While an additional dilation exam of the retina may be required for some patients, the Clarus eye exam can frequently take the place of dilation for others. When it comes to evaluating your eye health, we go above and beyond to protect your vision.
With this diagnostic technology available in our Denver and Lakewood, CO, offices, our ophthalmologists can detect the early stages of disease and can establish a baseline of images to compare with future exams to track your ongoing eye health. By conducting an ultra-wide fundus exam, the peripheral regions are able to be examined at the same time as the front areas. This comprehensive view enables your eye doctor to identify and treat common ocular conditions in their earliest stages.1
Interestingly, one of these common early detection conditions is diabetic retinopathy. The Clarus technology makes it possible for your ophthalmologist to diagnose early-onset diabetes—perhaps even before you know about it. This can give you the opportunity to receive prompt medical care that can help treat the diabetes in its earliest stages.
What common conditions can Clarus ultra-wide exams detect?
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Retinal hemorrhages, holes or tears
- Retinal detachment
- Hypertensive retinal damage
- Ocular tumors
- Edema or lesions
- Macular degeneration
- Lattice degeneration
- Retinal vasculitis
- Choroidal melanoma
- Chorioretinal scarring
Who should have a Clarus eye exam?
Among other patients, those who have a pre-existing medical condition may be good candidates for the ultra-wide fundus exam. Some common conditions that may indicate the need for a Clarus exam includes:
- Skin cancer/moles
How does the imaging technology work?
The Clarus digital technology has the ability to take 133° images. Additionally, it can capture two 200° photos and merge them together to make one image. This autoflorescent acquisition technology delivers a clear, true color image. In a couple minutes, your doctor can have a comprehensive picture of both of your eyes. These translucent images clearly show veins, discolorations, edema and more, aiding in the diagnosis of many different eye conditions.2
What is a Clarus exam like?
When you have an exam using the Clarus imaging technology, you will likely be pleased at how easy it is. Like other exams, you will place your chin and forehead on the provided rests. But unlike other machines, the Clarus will rotate slightly around you, so you can relax. You will be instructed where to look, and the painless, simple imaging exam will be done in less than two minutes. No dilation is needed!
Get your ultra-wide fundus imaging exam done today!
When considering a retinal health checkup, it’s important to go to the board-certified ophthalmologists who are investing in some of the most advanced technology and providing some of the best vision care in the region. Our two Colorado locations provide convenient access to this advanced imaging technology for optical diagnostics. Call us today to make an appointment:
Spending hours, days, and weeks in front of the computer can take its toll on your eyes, causing eye strain, fatigue, dryness and discomfort. Severe fluorescent lights and overly bright windows can combine with computer screen lights to create a harsh environment for your eyes. Over time, your eyes may become tired and dry out faster as the day progresses. Before long, you could be suffering daily from computer vision syndrome (CVS).
Symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome:
- Itchy eyes
- Dry eyes
- Tired eyes
- Neck strain
- Blurred vision
- Red eyes
But what can you do? You have to be able to work on your laptop or PC. At Colorado Ophthalmology, our team of eye doctors has put together some tips to help you prevent or relieve computer-related eyestrain.
1. See your eye doctor
Regular visits to your ophthalmologist will ensure your eyes are healthy and not changing. Discuss any eye fatigue, pain, or dry eye symptoms you have been experiencing. Make sure you tell your doctor how many hours a day you spend on the computer as well as how close you sit to the screen.
If you wear glasses, your doctor can prescribe special anti-reflective coating (AR) to cut down on light glare from computer work. If you don’t wear glasses, there are clear AR glasses that can be easily purchased online or in stores. These can help cut down on the glare from your computer.
2. Adjust your lighting
The best lighting to use when working on a computer is an adjustable desk lamp. If there is a window nearby, it is best to turn your computer so the light comes in from the side. Bright window lighting behind or in front of your computer can encourage eyestrain, so either turn away from it or add heavy curtains.
Also, check to make sure your computer or laptop has the newer LED screen rather than the older CRT screen that has a slight flicker and can cause eye fatigue. If you are still using the old CRT screen, consider an upgrade to a flat screen LED. Additionally, anti-glare screen protectors can be purchased to fix over the top of computer screens.
Another option to cut down on glare is to trade your bright, light colored walls for a darker color painted in a matte finish. Repainting your office walls may go a long way in easing your eye pain.
3. Take eye breaks
To give your eyes a break, remember the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes look at something farther away—like 20 feet—for 20 seconds. Also, take a break every hour and walk around, look outside, and give your eyes a chance to rest.
4. Drops, drinks and blinks for dry eyes
If you suffer from dry eyes, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans have chronic dry eyes. And age may be a factor. According to studies, 3.2 million women aged 50 and over1 and 1.68 million men aged 50 and over2 suffer from dry eyes.
There are several good brands of dry eye lubricant drops available over the counter. You may need to try a few before deciding which one works best for you.
Staying hydrated is another important consideration. If you are dehydrated, your eyes will be as well. Keep a big glass of water or a cold bottle of water on your desk and keep it refilled all day.
Studies have shown that staring at the computer screen can significantly cut down on the amount of blinking you do. When you blink less, your eyes don’t get the coatings of tears as they normally would. Combine this with a dry environment and a fan and your eyes can dry out quickly. Try to blink more frequently. Also, use a humidifier for the room and point fans away from you to create a better environment for your eyes.
If you continue to have trouble with dry eyes, you need to see your ophthalmologist. Some eye conditions can cause dry, irritated eyes and your doctor will need to rule those out. You can also get a prescription for lubricant drops from your doctor.
5. Adjust your computer
Your computer screen should be slightly higher than eye level when you are sitting straight. Ideally, it should be about two feet from your face.
The brightness setting of your screen should be about the same as the room. If it is too bright, it may be casting light into the room. If it is too dark, the room is brighter than the screen. This setting may need to be tweaked as the daylight changes.
The text size should be a comfortable size so you don’t have to squint to read it. Reading color print for too long can be fatiguing, so choose black on a white background whenever possible.
The color settings of your computer can also be changed. The more blue that you have in the settings, the more eyestrain. The more reds and oranges in your screen color, the less eye fatigue.
Get your baseline eye exam done today!
If you haven’t been to the eye doctor in a while, it is time for a high quality baseline exam. We can bring you a comprehensive exam to make sure your eyes are healthy and can then watch for any changes from year to year. Our two convenient locations ensure that you can have fast access to an experienced ophthalmologist. Call us at the location closest to home:
Cataract surgery in Denver is a relatively common and simple procedure that helps improve eyesight, as well as quality of life. More than one million people over the age of 60 undergo cataract surgery in the United States, and as the years have passed, both the technology and safety of the procedure has seen enormous improvements.
Cataracts are characterized by the lens of the eye becoming blurred or cloudy. In Denver cataract surgery, the lens is removed from the eye and replaced by an artificial lens. This is done by the ophthalmologist making a small incision in the eye, while keeping a close look on your eye with a microscope. Sound wave technology is then used to break up pieces of the lens that will then be suctioned off the eye in a process called phacoemulsification. After the infected lens has been completely removed, an artificial lens is put in its place. The incision in the eye will then be closed and recovery can begin. Often, the surgery is performed on only one eye at a time. Sometimes only one eye is infected, but if both are infected, it may be advisable to wait a while between surgeries.
Denver cataract eye surgery is over in just about an hour, so the procedure is relatively quick. You will be awake throughout the procedure, but numbing medicine will be given so that you do not feel what is being done to your eye. There are very little risks involved with the procedure and you will be ready to go home soon afterwards. However, your vision will still be quite cloudy as your eye just underwent a traumatic experience. It will not be safe for you to drive, so always make sure to have a ride home pre-arranged. Be sure to follow post-op instructions carefully because they are imperative in making sure the cataract surgery was a success. You will be asked to use prescription eye drops, as well as given dark sunglasses to wear to protect your eyes from the sun. You will also need to make several post-op visits to your doctor to make sure your eyes are healing correctly. If there are any complications, your doctor will be able to know about them quickly and take care of them. You may also need a new pair of glasses or contact lenses after cataract surgery, and once your vision has improved enough and stabilized, your doctor will fit you with a new prescription that works well with the brand new lens that has added clear vision to your eyes.
Cataracts are a common ailment for people over the age of 60, and for some people, it is an ailment they feel they can live with. For others, it disrupts parts of their everyday lives and becomes more than just a nuisance. It becomes something they would much rather live without and fortunately, due to modern medicine, they can.
It is not always necessary to remove cataracts because they are not known to do much harm to the eye. However, what they can do is impair vision and this impairment is not something glasses or contact lenses can fix on a long-term basis. When deciding whether or not to have cataract surgery in Denver, you must first look at certain factors about your life and how seriously the cataracts in your eye or eyes are infecting your everyday functioning. Do you feel safe while driving or are the cataracts clouding your vision so much that this is becoming a dangerous issue? Are you sensitive to bright lights and unable to see clearly in brightly lit rooms? Are faces that were once clear blurry? Can you do your everyday chores around the house with ease and are you still able to enjoy entertainment like movies and television, as well as the internet, with ease? If any of these things have become difficult for you, then your life is becoming impaired by this eye ailment and Denver cataract surgery to remove them should be a consideration.
If your cataracts have already been diagnosed, but you chose to let it go and do nothing about them because they were not interfering with your everyday life, give your Denver cataract eye surgery center a call when they do start interfering. Make an appointment to discuss surgery options, including what the surgery will entail, how it is performed and what the recovery from this procedure will be like. Once you decide that surgery is the right choice for you, it is important to follow all of your doctor�??s pre and post-op instructions to help ensure that your vision will be protected. The actual procedure is done on an outpatient basis and should take no more than an hour and you will be awake for the whole thing. Sedation is an option, but the sedation will be mild enough that it will not put you to sleep. Make sure to have a ride home from the surgery, as it will not be safe to drive immediately following it.
If you feel cataracts are a hindrance on your daily enjoyment of life and are compromising your independence, call us today and we will set you on a path to the freedom that comes with clearer vision.
Cataract surgery is a relatively simple outpatient procedure performed on more than a million people over 60 each year in the United States. It helps improve the vision of those who suffer from this ailment, which is characterized by cloudy and blurred vision. During this procedure, the lens of the infected eye is removed and a new, artificial lens is put in this place. However, simple procedure does not mean this is not a surgery and like with all surgery, some pre-op and post-op measures must be taken to help ensure the best possible outcome.
Before your Denver cataract eye surgery, your ophthalmologist will go over your complete medical history, including any medications you may currently be taking. Depending on what those medications are, you may be asked to stop taking them in the days preceding the surgery. The day right before the surgery will have several instructions you must follow. First, do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your cataract surgery in Denver. You also should have someone drive you to the surgery location. This can sometimes be your doctor�??s office, but is most often a hospital or ambulatory surgery center. You will not see well immediately following the surgery, so having someone with you who can drive you home is pertinent.
Once you are at your Denver cataract eye surgery center, you will meet with an anesthesiologist. Although you will be awake during the surgery, you may want some sort of sedation and can discuss this with the anesthesiologist. The sedation is usually quite mild, and numbing drops will also be used so you do not feel what is taking place in your eye. The numbing agent may also come in the form of an injection, depending on what your anesthetist uses. The surgery itself should not take more than an hour to complete and afterwards you will be taken to a recovery room to rest before you are permitted to go home. Once home, you should rest your eyes some more for the rest of the day as rested eyes are more healthy eyes. You may experience some eye discomfort for a few days, and painkillers can be prescribed. However, your eyes should not feel severe pain. If they do, it is imperative that you contact your eye doctor immediately to make sure an infection has not developed.
Cataract eye surgery may seem simple, but should not be taken lightly. Your vision is a precious gift, and this procedure can give this modern medical procedure can help ensure this gift is yours for a long time to come.
Choosing to undergo LASIK surgery in Denver is one of the most important decisions you can make in life. This may be an elective surgery, meaning it is not a medical necessity as you can continue living healthily while wearing glasses or contact lenses, but it is still a momentous one that is can change your life for the better in a myriad of ways.
Perhaps you have been wearing glasses since you were a child and have always felt self-conscious about them. Despite buying fancy and trendy designer frames, there is just something about glasses that makes you feel less attractive or inferior to others. The option of contact lenses never appealed to you since you didn�??t like the idea of inserting something into your own eye. Or, maybe did not want to deal with the inconvenience of soaking them each night and putting them back in each morning. However, for many years these were your only options if you wanted to see clearly.
In 1999, another option was added when the FDA approved refractive eye surgery correction, also known as LASIK, for wide and general use. You may have been contemplating Denver LASIK eye surgery since then, but wondered if you could afford it or even if it was the right choice for you. Fear of the unknown may have gotten in your way, but Denver LASIK doctors can alleviate that fear by explaining how the procedure is performed, any side effects that may occur, as well as their own success rate and the success rate of this surgery throughout the United States.
Denver LASIK surgery is a relatively quick procedure, with the entire thing taking no more than 10 minutes most of the time. It is performed on an outpatient basis, meaning you can go home soon afterwards. And, most of all the quality of your vision will be better than anything you ever remembered. The world will look crisper and brighter to you and those pesky glasses will be what make the world unclear. If glasses had made you avert mirrors for years, you will now look at your own self in a whole new light. You will not have to worry about losing them, breaking them or getting a new prescription every year or every other year. You can open your eyes in the morning and just see as you had always dreamed. Call us today and take that first step to seeing a whole new world in a way you never have before.