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.
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.
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:
Wondering about laser eye surgery in Denver? Tired of your contacts, glasses and not being able to see clearly? The answer to your vision challenges might be a refractive surgery, such as LASIK. LASIK surgery is a corrective surgery that allows people with nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism to see better.
By reshaping the cornea with laser technology, your ophthalmologist from Colorado Ophthalmology Associates can manipulate how the light strikes the retina and then travels to the brain as an image. In effect, this surgery could reduce or eliminate the need for glasses altogether.
Am I a good candidate for LASIK?
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology1, candidates for LASIK surgery must meet several requirements such as:
- Must be 18 years or older, but ideally over 21 when your vision is more likely to have stopped changing.
- Your eyes should not have changed much in the past year.
- The refraction needed to correct your vision must be viable for LASIK treatment.
- Eye health is key. Your corneas need to be thick enough and healthy enough and your eyes must be healthy.
What kinds of things would eliminate me from consideration for LASIK?
Conversely, several conditions would make you not a good candidate for LASIK surgery. Some of these conditions include:
- Cone-shaped corneas
- Dry eyes
- Eyes that are changing or unstable
- Extreme levels of nearsightedness, astigmatism or farsightedness
- Cornea disease or damage
- Corneas that are too thin
- Pregnancy or nursing
What are the risks of LASIK surgery?
There are certain risks that come with LASIK surgery2. These risks include:
- Dry eyes
- Light sensitivity – may be temporary
- Double vision
- Reduced vision in dim light or fog
- Corneal flap problems
- Vision loss or changes
What can I expect from my LASIK surgery?
Your ophthalmologist will perform a thorough eye exam, including measurements, to ensure you are a good candidate for the surgery and have healthy eyes. Before the surgery, you will be asked to not use eye makeup, lotions or perfumes the day before or the day of surgery to minimize the risks of infection2. Cleansing the eyelashes prior to surgery will also help minimize the risk of infection.
The day of surgery, you will need someone to drive you to the clinic and home again. The procedure is short, so plan on over an hour. You will lie back in a comfortable reclining chair and numbing drops will be placed in your eye. With your eye numb, an instrument will hold your eyelid open. Your surgeon will place a suction ring on the cornea and you will notice a change in your vision. A careful incision will be made on the cornea flap to expose the cornea. A pre-programmed laser will then reshape the cornea. The flap will be placed back in place and will reattach in minutes. It will heal on its own with no stitches. The procedure will then be repeated on the other eye, if needed.
After surgery, you will experience burning, itching, gritty feeling, watering eyes, dry eyes, and/or some pain. Prescription drops and pain relievers may help alleviate some of these symptoms. You will likely feel like sleeping once you get home. You will need to wear eye shields when you sleep. We will schedule several visits to examine you after surgery.
Your eyes need several weeks to heal and your vision to stabilize. You will need to refrain from eye makeup for a few weeks and avoid hot tubs, swimming or contact sports as your eyes heal.
Get an appointment for an eye exam today!
Intrigued by the possibility of LASIK surgery to help you see better? Come to one of our two Colorado locations for a comprehensive exam to determine if the procedure would correct your vision concerns. Since it is considered an elective surgery, your insurance provider may not cover it. We can discuss payment options during your exam. Call us today to make an appointment:
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:
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: