While most people think about eye injuries at the workplace, in reality, nearly half of eye injuries occur at home.1 The good news is 90% of these eye injuries can be prevented simply by using protective eyewear.2 To raise awareness, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has designated October as Eye Injury Prevention Month. At Colorado Ophthalmology Associates of Denver, CO, we are working to help our patients understand the hazards that could result in serious or blinding eye injuries.
For a safe and fun Halloween, for example, we recommend opting for face paint or hat-style costumes rather than masks that can obstruct vision or interfere with glasses or contacts.
Thinking through hazards at work, at home, at school and where your children play is a key step in preventing eye injuries. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you come into contact with chemicals or chemical vapors?
- Is there dust, chalk or irritants that could impact the eyes?
- Are there airborne hazards such as sawdust, chips, fragments or sand?
- Are there burn hazards from hot particles, chemicals or splashes?
- Is there a possibility of radiation or light damage from something like welding?
- What kind of eye protection is available? Do you know and follow the right procedures for eye safety?
- Where are the chemicals or chemical vapor hazards?
- What kind of eye protection do you have available at home? Is there child size available?
- What kind of eye and body protection do you wear to mow the lawn?
- What kind of eye protection do you use with power tools?
- Are there any tripping hazards like dark stairways, exposed cords or slippery throw rugs that are hard to see?
- Are there child safety locks on the chemicals and hazards such as guns?
- When was the last time your child had an eye exam?
- Have you taught your child not to rub his/her eyes?
- Does your child understand the safe use of scissors, rubber bands, paperclips and other things that could become an eye hazard?
- Have you discussed any eye safety issues with your children with things like sports, clubs, chemicals, etc.?
- Do your kids play with projectile-based toys such as toy guns, airsoft rifles, bow and arrow, slingshot, darts or other missile throwing toy?
- Have you discussed safe play practices with your child?
- Do you look for toys marked with ASTM to certify standards by American Society for Testing and Materials?
- Have you removed any tripping hazards in the home and yard?
- Does your child have protective eyewear for sports?
- Do you use safe practices with fireworks? Bottle rockets are especially a major eye injury hazard.3
Make sure your family has the proper eyewear and safety goggles for safe practices at home, school, play and work. Call us today for a family appointment at one of our two Colorado locations. We can order the right protective eyewear for sports and work and can give you advice for safe practices to make sure you and your family have taken steps to guard against eye injuries. Our board-certified ophthalmologists are here to help safeguard your eyes from potential injuries.
With the start of the new school year comes a surge in sports participation. Athletes in soccer, softball, football, basketball, tennis, volleyball, skiing, track, wrestling, hockey, lacrosse and more are ramping up for a competitive year. Whether they are 5 or 50, these athletes need proper eye safety training and equipment to prevent serious eye injuries or even blindness from occurring. Colorado Ophthalmology Associates of Denver, CO, follows the guidelines set by the National Eye Institute (NIH) making September our national Sports Eye Safety Month.
The bad news is eye injuries are a leading cause of blindness in children in the United States.1 The good news is many sports-related eye injuries are preventable. With the proper protective equipment, your son or daughter can safely enjoy years of exciting sports participation.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, almost 30,000 cases of eye injuries caused by sports are treated in U.S. emergency rooms each year. Of these eye injuries, 90% of them could have been prevented.2
Who Should Wear Protective Eyewear?
Every participant in a sport should wear protective eyewear every time. If you have contacts or glasses, your safety eyewear can be made to fit your prescription. If you are playing a high contact sport, sport goggles are especially important. Protective eyewear should always be worn, whether it is practice, a game or just informal play.
If you wear glasses, they are not considered protective eyewear. Glasses are not enough to protect your eyes and can actually cause an injury if they shatter.
What Kinds of Protective Eyewear are Available?
- Sports goggles made with polycarbonate lenses are the top pick among athletes. Fastened with a flexible strap, these lightweight goggles protect the eye from all angles and can be made to prescription.
- Face shields made of a polycarbonate material are also a good option for many different kinds of athletes.
- Sunglasses with UV protection are used by bicyclists and track athletes who need protection from the wind, dirt and sun but not necessarily from physical contact.
- Swim goggles can protect the eyes from dirt, germs and chemicals that would enter the body through exposure.
- Helmets with a faceguard are essential for batting and football, allowing protective space around the face and eyes.
- Masks are essential protection for sports such as hockey, fencing or paintball.3
What to Do if Your Eyes are Injured
In the case of an eye injury during sports, play or work, come to Colorado Ophthalmology Associates immediately or go to the nearest emergency room. Even if the injury seems minor, it is important to have the eye examined immediately by a qualified health professional. Untreated eye injuries can become complicated over time.
Get Your Goggles On
Signed up for a sport? Call today for a sports safety goggle or mask fitting, or come to one of our two Colorado locations for all-inclusive optical exams. We can order the right sports eyewear to give you long lasting protection as you play.
Our board-certified ophthalmologists are here to help you find the right protective wear for the right sport. Let us help you try to prevent eye injuries that could lead to blindness or permanent eye impairment so you can enjoy the thrill of the sport with less risk to your vision.
It’s back to school time again and parents are busy buying backpacks, lunch bags and gym clothes, but one of the most important things that is often overlooked is making sure your child has an eye exam. Since vision can change rapidly as a child grows, it is important to have an annual checkup to make sure your child can see up close to read a book as well as to see the whiteboard at a distance.
Increased screen time is a major concern
With the tremendous spike in screen time for children caused by the COVID-19 pandemic shifting learning online, it is more important than ever to have your child’s eyes examined at Colorado Ophthalmology Associates. This increasing habit of computer, TV, video game and cell phone use for long periods of time has had a profound effect on accelerating cases of myopia in children.1
Eye exams vs. vision screenings
Early detection of vision problems can set your child up for success in school this year. If you’ve been relying on school vision screenings, it is important to know that they are not enough. According to the American Optometric Association, up to 75% of vision problems go undetected in school vision screenings.1
Unlike vision screenings, which only test a child’s reaction to visual clarity up to 20 feet, eye exams conducted by a board-certified ophthalmologist will examine overall eye health and potential diseases, refractory conditions, color vision, tracking, and acuity.
Learning is mostly visual
Since learning is 80% visual, it is important to make sure your child is set up for success by having an annual eye exam. Undiagnosed vision problems are common, affecting 1 in 4 children in the United States.2 This can have a tremendously negative impact on a child’s education as well as participation in sports and other activities.
Corrected vision can help
If your child is struggling at school, it is possible that vision problems are making things worse. Once a child has corrected vision, he or she often sees improvements in school performance. Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, tired eyes and distraction issues can all be indicators that there might be a vision issue.
Watch out for warning signs
The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) describes four hidden warning signs3 that your child may be struggling with vision problems:
- Concentration problems – a short attention span may be an indicator that your child has problems seeing clearly
- Skipping lines – if your child frequently loses his place while reading, it could be a vision problem
- Avoidance – if your child avoids reading or doing close-up work, it could be because he or she is not able to see it
- Laying head down – if you notice your child will lay his head down when drawing, writing or reading, or tips it to the side, then it could be caused by a refraction error that is helped by looking out of the side of the eye
Start them early
When should you take your child to the ophthalmologist? The AAO recommends4 the following schedule for infant and childhood eye exams:
- Newborn – screening for basic health
- 6-12 months – screening for healthy eye alignment and movement
- 12-36 months – photoscreening test to check for lazy eye
- 3 to 5 years – vision and eye alignment check and visual acuity check
- 5 years – eye exam
- Over 5 – yearly eye exam
Make an appointment today
Spots are filling up fast, so call today for an appointment for your child and come to one of our two Colorado locations for an eye exam. Our board-certified ophthalmologists are experienced with children and able to offer some of the best vision care in the region.
Blurry spots in your vision that occur as you grow older may be attributed to a condition called age-related macular degeneration. Since this condition can grow slowly or quickly, at Colorado Ophthalmology Associates, we check your eyes for macular degeneration at every eye exam. While it usually doesn’t cause total blindness, the blurry spots can cause significant interference with vision and impede your lifestyle. That’s why early detection is crucial.
What is Macular Degeneration?
More than 10 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with macular degeneration. It is the leading cause of vision loss.1
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the deterioration of the macula layer of the retina. There are two kinds: dry and wet. All AMD begins as dry and some deteriorate into wet, which is the more serious kind. Most people with AMD have the dry kind.
Dry macular degeneration is the thinning of the macula and may affect only one eye. A buildup of tiny yellow protein under the macula causes it to dry out and thin.
Wet macular degeneration occurs in late stage dry AMD. Fewer people suffer from wet AMD, but it is a more serious condition. Blood vessels develop under the macula and can cause pressure with fluid buildup. Much of the central vision can be lost.
What Causes Macular Degeneration?
Several of the risk factors for macular degeneration are inherited. However, some of the causes are preventable.
Your risk for AMD may increase from2:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Family history of AMD
- Gender – women may be at higher risk
- Race – whites are at higher risk
- Sunlight exposure
- Late stage AMD in one eye increases risk for the other eye
Symptoms of Macular Degeneration
Early detection is key in slowing cases of AMD. However, early stage dry macular degeneration is not noticeable by the patient. Your ophthalmologist can check for it during dilated eye exams. Symptoms include3:
- Blurriness in central vision
- Trouble seeing in dim light
- Blank spots in vision
- Wavy lines that should be straight
Treatment for Macular Degeneration
While there is no cure for macular degeneration, your ophthalmologist will keep close watch over early stage dry AMD. Meanwhile, it is important to take steps to improve your health and to slow your AMD condition.
Begin by eating a healthy diet complete with plenty of dark, leafy greens and fatty fish2. Regular exercise and weight loss will also help slow AMD. Your ophthalmologist may recommend supplements of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, wear UV-rated sunglasses outdoors to lessen exposure to harmful rays.
See your primary care physician regularly. Smoking cessation is very important and your doctor will be able to assist you with that. Keeping your hypertension under control is also important.
In late stage wet AMD, your ophthalmologist may utilize options like eye injections called anti-VEGF drugs, photodynamic therapy (PDT) injections, or laser treatments2. Research continues into developing treatments for macular degeneration.
Make an appointment today
If it has been over three years since you’ve had your eyes checked for macular degeneration (a dilated eye exam), call us today for an appointment and come to one of our two Colorado locations for a complete exam. Our board-certified ophthalmologists are here to help you protect your vision as your body ages.
When jobs and schools transitioned to a work from home situation because of COVID-19, screen time skyrocketed and, consequently, so did cases of myopia or nearsightedness in both children and adults. Recent studies have shown there is a link between increased screen time and myopia or other problems like eye strain, blurred vision, headaches and sleep disruption.1 The eye experts at Colorado Ophthalmology Associates explain how increased, unrelenting eye strain from computer, tablet, smart phone, video game or television use can harm your vision.
Myopia—or nearsightedness—is an eye focusing disorder, rather than a disease.2 The problem occurs in the refraction of light. The eye may be shaped long, causing the light to focus in front of the retina instead of on it. Or, the cornea may be formed too steep. The result is close objects are clear, but far away objects are blurry.
In addition to decreased vision, myopia can increase a person’s risk for other eye conditions2 such as:
- Detached retina
The link between computer use and myopia
In the United States, cases of myopia in children have more than doubled in the past 50 years.3 The highest prevalence of increased myopia was in children of the age of six.4 Additionally, ophthalmologists have seen a marked increase in myopia in adults.5 Through these studies and more, it is well documented that the cases of myopia have increased in conjunction with the digital age.
Prevention of myopia
When using a digital device for extended periods of time, we recommend the 20-20-20 rule. Every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Being near a window and setting a recurring alarm can help with this goal, though it is important to keep glare off your screen. Set a visual reminder to blink more frequently to prevent dry eyes and increased eye strain.
For children, set an alarm for computer use or space out bookmarks or paperclips to remind them to take an eye break when reading a book. Limit unnecessary screen time and increase outdoor play time. Train children to use screens 24 inches or farther away, rather than under 12 inches which is too close to the eyes. Use UV protection sunglasses.
The most important thing you can do to protect your vision or your child’s vision is to keep regular visits with your ophthalmologist to closely track any vision changes or strains that may be occurring without your knowledge.
Cure for myopia
While there is no cure for myopia, refractive surgery might be possible to correct the vision. Otherwise, corrective devices will be required, such as contact lenses or eyeglasses. Additionally, some studies have documented success with low-dose atropine treatments.6
Make an appointment today
If you have accelerated your use of screens and have noticed a change in your vision or an increase in eye strain, call us today for an appointment and come to one of our two Colorado locations for a consultation. Our board-certified ophthalmologists are available to evaluate your eye health and to help protect your vision during this time of increased close work and highly concentrated screen time.
As the sun ramps up for the summer, it’s time to take a closer look at how you’re protecting your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) damage. Since May is UV Awareness Month, Colorado Ophthalmology Associates offers these tips on avoiding UV eye damage and how to choose the best sunglasses to help protect your eyes.
What is UV Light?
Ultraviolet light rays are emitted from the sun and many of them are blocked by the earth’s atmosphere. Still, many come through. These rays are important since they help the skin in the creation of Vitamin D. However, there can be too much of a good thing. UV rays can damage the skin and the eyes over time. The short rays enter the eye and damage the macula of the retina, which is responsible for the center field of vision. Additionally, the cornea and lens can be damaged by UV rays.1
Eye Conditions Caused by UV Damage
Apart from skin cancer, which can even be located on eyelids and around the eyes, UV damage can cause a number of conditions.2 These conditions include:
- Corneal sunburn – overexposure to the sun hurts the eyes like a sunburn.
- Photokeratitis – temporary loss of vision due to corneal sunburn or from sun glancing off of water, snow or highly reflective surfaces.
- Pinguecula – irritating growth on the white of the eye that requires surgery to remove.
- Eye cancer – takes longer to develop but can culminate from years of UV ray abuse.
- Macular degeneration – develops from overexposure of UV light over time. Vision loss cannot be regained.
- Cataracts – UV rays contribute to the development of cataracts later in life. Surgery will likely be needed.
- Pterygium – growth on the eye, also called surfer’s eye. Requires surgery to remove.
Prevention of UV Damage to the Eyes
There are some simple steps to help protect your eyes against UV damage. Be especially vigilant at higher elevations and locations closer to the equator where UV rays are more intense.
Choose a wide-brimmed hat that will shadow your face from UV rays. Some rays are blocked by glass but others will go through glass, so don’t expect to be fully protected indoors.
Wear sunglasses every day, even on cloudy days. UV light will be present all the time. Make sure your children also wear UV-rated sunglasses.
Choose sunglasses that are rated at 99% and greater UVA and UVB protection.3 Look for sunglasses that cover a wide surface and even wrap around. Grey lenses offer the closest thing to true color perception.
Stop smoking or don’t start smoking. Smoking can speed up UV light damage to the eyes. Talk to your medical provider about getting help to stop smoking.
See your ophthalmologist regularly. To make sure your eyes are not being damaged by overexposure to UV rays, make sure you get regular check-ups.
Discuss with your ophthalmologist
To kick of the sunny season, call us today for an appointment and come to one of our two Colorado locations for a consultation. Our board-certified ophthalmologists are ready to evaluate your eyes for UV damage and to recommend the best eye protection to help prevent damage as you enjoy the benefits of being in the sun this season.
With the fresh waves of spring’s new growth comes the dreaded eye allergy season. The misery that comes from red, itchy, watery eyes may have you rethinking your love of the great outdoors. How can you get ahead of spring allergies that can cause so much eye discomfort? Colorado Ophthalmology Associates offers tips for understanding spring eye allergies—known as allergic conjunctivitis—and preventing eye problems caused by allergies.
Symptoms of Eye Allergies
- Watery eyes
- Red eyes
- Swollen eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Burning eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Often accompanied by nasal allergies – itchy, stuffy, runny nose and sneezing
Causes of Eye Allergies
Substances in the air, such as pollen, grass pollen, ragweed pollen, pet dander, dust, smoke, perfumes, mold, and even cooking odors, irritate the eye and trigger the release of histamines to combat them. The histamines cause the eye to become red and watery and can increase the itchy feeling and the swelling.1
Eye allergies can be inherited. If both of your parents suffer from allergic conjunctivitis, your risk for inheriting the condition is greatly increased.1
Prevention of Seasonal Eye Allergies
If you suspect you will suffer from seasonal eye allergies this spring, you can begin protecting your eyes by eliminating exposure to the sources of irritation. If the fresh flowers and pollen affect you, avoid these triggers by staying indoors as much as possible. Use air conditioning and keep windows closed. Consider using special air filter units or add HEPA filters to your air conditioner and HEPA bags in your vacuum cleaner.
When you do go outside, try wearing sunglasses, goggles or eye shield to protect your eyes from the pollen. The best time to go outdoors is after a rain has settled the pollen. Avoid windy, dry days and early mornings when pollen count is at its highest. Listen to the weather reports that give pollen counts for the day. Wear a pollen mask outdoors.2
Frequently wash your hands and face to remove irritants before they are inadvertently passed onto your eyes. If you’ve been working outdoors, remove clothes and shower to remove allergens.2
Treatment for Seasonal Eye Allergies
While there are over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines, that can be taken, some of them can dry out the eye and not readily improve the eye discomfort you may be experiencing. Antihistamines with diphenhydramine, such as Benadryl™ or ChlorTrimeton™ can dry out the mouth and eyes. Try medications with cetirizine or levocetirizine, fexofenadine, loratadine or desloratadine that won’t cause drowsiness or dry eyes.3
Artificial tears can quickly wash irritants from the eyes before histamines are triggered. They can also keep the eyes moist. Use according to directions on the label and no more than six times a day.4
Other eye drop options include: corticosteroid eye drops, antihistamine eye drops, or decongestant eye drops. These should be used as directed and under the supervision of your ophthalmologist.4
Finally, there are immunotherapy shots that may be prescribed to help with severe seasonal allergies. Ask your ophthalmologist if you are a good candidate for this treatment option.4
Discuss your seasonal eye allergies with your ophthalmologist
Ready to nip your allergies in the bud? Call us today for an appointment and come to one of our two Colorado locations for a consultation. Our board-certified ophthalmologists are experienced in helping everything from mild to severe cases of spring allergies so you can enjoy the season free from eye discomfort.
Recently, ophthalmologists have been able to offer more and more options for specialized kinds of intraocular lens (IOL) replacements, giving you some control over how well you will see up close or far away, and if you will need to supplement with glasses. Intraocular lens replacements are most commonly used in cataract surgery.
If you have cataracts, you’re not alone. More than 25 million Americans have cataracts with approximately 4 million having cataract corrective surgery yearly1. At Colorado Ophthalmology Associates, we’re here to take the mystery out of IOLs and to help you choose the one that’s right for you.
An intraocular lens can be used as a replacement for a cloudy lens that has caused diminished vision. However, it can go beyond just being a replacement, it can also correct certain kinds of vision problems. For example, if you’ve been experiencing natural vision loss due to aging (presbyopia) and have been using reading glasses, a special IOL can help with that condition.
There are different choices of materials within each of the five kinds of IOLs. Your ophthalmologist will discuss the best choice for your unique eye needs.
Here are 5 kinds of intraocular lenses and what they can do for vision problems1:
The basic lens available for cataract surgery is the monofocal lens. This offers the best night vision with less glare, dull vision and halo problems for those who drive at night. Monofocal lenses can be designed for near vision or for far vision, depending on your choice. If you work on the computer a lot, you may desire near vision and then supplement with glasses for driving. Or, if you prefer to see well at a distance and don’t mind wearing glasses for up-close work, you can choose far vision IOLs.
These lenses offer the greatest range of vision correction with different zones on the lens that allows you to see up close and far away. Intermediate vision is also an optional lens zone. Your brain helps you adapt to these zones in the same way as using bifocal or trifocal glasses.
Extended Depth-of-Focus Lenses
These lenses have one corrective zone, like the monofocal lenses, requiring you to supplement with glasses. But this zone is designed to stretch to include both intermediate and far away vision.
Like multifocal lenses, accommodative lenses allow the patient to see near, far and even intermediate but not because of zones on the lens. Instead, the lens flexes, allowing the focus power of the eye to be increased to see the object more clearly.
These lenses are designed to correct astigmatism. They have different zones in different areas of the lens, allowing the best correction for astigmatism when expertly placed by your ophthalmological surgeon.
Is there a price difference between the IOLs?
Yes, IOLs range in price from the lowest, monofocal lenses, to the highest, premium lenses. Premium lenses are not considered as necessities and are not fully covered by Medicare and other insurance companies, though they will often cover basic, monofocal lenses. Premium lenses can range from $1,500 to $3,000 per eye, above what insurance will cover. Additional costs may include laser procedures or limbal relaxing incisions needed to correct vision and to adapt to the IOL.
What is monovision2?
One final option for your IOLs includes monovision, which results from having two different kinds of lenses implanted – one in either eye. This can be done to offer you a greater choice in vision, such as having one eye that can see close and one eye that can see far. Or, this procedure can be done to compensate for different levels of astigmatism in each eye. Your brain adapts to the two different visions and, for some patients, this is a good option.
Get an appointment for an eye exam today
To get more information on the variety of IOLs available, call us today. If cataract surgery is in your future, we can provide expert care from start to finish. Come to one of our two Colorado locations for an exam by one of our board-certified, experienced ophthalmologists and let’s discuss the right intraocular lens that can help you see beautifully again.
While many people know that diabetes can affect your eyesight, few know that your ophthalmologist can be the first to detect diabetes by giving you a complete dilated eye exam. The eyes are directly linked to glucose levels in the body, and blood sugar that is too high for too long can often cause damage to the retina or cause changes to the lens. At Colorado Ophthalmology Associates, we are experienced in diagnosing and treating a group of vision concerns known as diabetic eye disease.
Symptoms of diabetic eye disease1
- Floaters – dark spots or strings that float in your vision
- Blurred vision
- Wavy vision
- Vision changes
- Flashes of light
- Loss of color clarity vision
Eye conditions that can be caused by diabetes
The change in pressure to the eye caused by diabetes can cause blood vessels to grow differently, which can cause a type of glaucoma, or it can cause swelling and blurred vision. Here are some of the eye conditions2 that can be caused or exacerbated by blood sugar that is out of control.
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Diabetic macular edema
- Retinal detachment
Prevention of diabetic eye disease
Your ophthalmologist at Colorado Ophthalmology Associates may be able to catch diabetic eye disease before it becomes serious, but taking steps to control your glucose levels is crucial. Here are some other ideas to help you prevent diabetic eye disease.
- Increase your daily physical activity
- Follow a healthy diet restricting carbs and sweeteners
- Lower your cholesterol levels
- Manage your blood pressure
- Stop smoking
- Carefully manage your diabetes with insulin and glucose testing
- Get annual eye exams
- Monitor any vision changes
- Get annual physical exam including an A1c test
When should I see a doctor?
You should receive a yearly ophthalmology exam with dilation if you have diabetes or are pre-diabetic. Your doctor may recommend even more frequent eye exams. If your ophthalmologist detects an elevation of glucose or a diabetic condition, you should follow up with a visit to your primary care physician.
If you’re pregnant, gestational diabetes can worsen diabetic eye disease, including diabetic retinopathy.3 It is important to have additional eye exams during pregnancy.
If you notice any changes in your vision, see your ophthalmologist right away. If you suddenly lose vision or experience flashes of light or floaters, it could be an urgent condition. Come to Colorado Ophthalmology Associates immediately for fast, quality care.
Treatment for diabetic eye disease
Depending on the kind of disease that has been detected, your ophthalmologist will offer a treatment plan that’s right for you. This plan could include1:
- Laser treatment
- Special equipment
Get an appointment for an eye exam today
Do you suspect your blood sugar levels may be changing your eyesight? Call us today to make an appointment for your exam. Come to one of our two Colorado locations for an exam by one of our board-certified, experienced ophthalmologists. We will go to work to check you for diabetes indicators and to check your eyes for good health and clear vision.
Tired, red, stinging, watery or itchy eyes can be a sign that you have dry eyes. Dry eyes can be an indication that your tears are inadequate or imbalanced. This can cause a condition that can become chronic. Nearly 5 million Americans suffer from dry eyes.1 If you’re one of them, start the New Year right by finding the solution to your problem with dry eyes. At Colorado Ophthalmology Associates, we treat chronic dry eyes with a balanced approach.
Symptoms of dry eyes
- Easily fatigued or tired eyes
- Red eyes
- Scratchy, gritty, itchy feeling
- Watery eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Difficulty with contact lenses
- Blurred vision
- Unusual, heavy or stringy discharge
- Stinging or burning eyes
- Difficulty with night vision
My dry eyes are irritating but are they really a serious condition?
Chronic dry eyes could be caused by atmosphere issues, such as fans or forced air, by computer eye fatigue, by hormone changes, by decreased tear production, or even by allergies. These causes can often be corrected with lifestyle changes and minor treatments.
But at other times, dry eyes can be the symptom of another underlying medical condition. If you have been suffering from dry eyes, get a complete eye exam to ensure your eyes are healthy. Some conditions that cause dry eyes include thyroid conditions, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, Bell’s palsy, and diabetes.
What options are available to treat my dry eyes?
At Colorado Ophthalmology Associates, we treat dry eyes starting with the most minimally-invasive options. Most conditions can be managed or reversed with these treatments and with lifestyle and environmental changes2.
- Over-the-counter products: artificial tears, gels and moisturizers
- Prescription eye drops
- Punctal plugs to block drainage duct
- Surgery to fix eyelids to prevent evaporation
- Vitamin A supplements
- Omega-3 fatty acid supplements
- Flaxseed oil supplements
- Prescription steroids
- Prescriptions slow-release eye lubricants
- Meibomian gland expression to open oil glands in eyelids
- Warm compresses
- Eye makeup removal and eye scrubs to make sure eyelids are clean
- Avoid contact lens use
- Antibiotic treatment for any eyelid inflammation or cornea inflammation
Is there any way to prevent dry eyes?
Yes, some kinds of dry eyes are preventable3. Environmental and lifestyle adjustments may be needed such as:
- Redirecting fans or staying out of the wind.
- Wearing wrap-around sunglasses to deflect wind.
- Don’t use hairdryers.
- Increase moisture with air humidifiers.
- Avoid smoke and stop smoking.
- Take frequent breaks when staring at computer or video screens. Use the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
- Lower your computer to below eye level so your eyes aren’t open as wide for as long.
- Increase blinking, especially when using a computer. Post reminders or use alarms to help you make more effort blinking.
- Use artificial tears as needed.
- Drink enough water each day.
- Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep in a darkened room each night.
- Medication management – some prescriptions can cause dry eyes. There are also prescriptions that can help manage conditions that cause dry eyes.
Get an appointment for an eye exam today
Dry eyes can reduce your quality of life and interfere with your activities. Let us give you a thorough examination to try to pinpoint the cause of your dry eyes. Come to one of our two Colorado locations for an exam by one of our board-certified, experienced ophthalmologists and let us help you start feeling better again. Call us today to make an appointment: