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What is Astigmatism, and How is it Treated?

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Mon, Jul 16, 2018 @ 05:08 PM

astigmatism testDo you feel as though your vision is blurry from all distances? Do you find your self suffering from eye strains and headaches when reading or watching television for a prolonged period? If so, you may be one of the millions of Americans who have astigmatism.

Astigmatism is not an eye disease, but an error in the way that the eyes refract light. These refractive errors are caused by imperfections in the round shape of the cornea, or the lens inside of the eye. Ideally, these parts are perfectly round and symmetrical.  However, for people with astigmatism, their curvature is misshapen.  Instead of a perfectly round cornea and/or lens, these structures are more oval or “football-shaped.”  This results in an eye with essentially two different refractive errors (i.e. glasses prescriptions).  One along the long axis of the football, and one along the short axis.   

Three Types of Astigmatism.

Astigmatism affects different patients in different ways and may appear in any of the following forms:

  • Myopic- Both of the two refractive errors are near sighted. This results in blurry distance vision and better vision up close.  But unlike a nearsighted person without astigmatism, even near objects are not perfectly clear because of the irregular eye shape.
  • Hyperopic- The two errors of the eye are farsighted. This will make objects closer to the eyes appear blurry. Far away objects will look better than close objects, but still not crisp and clear.
  • Mixed- One axis of astigmatism is nearsighted and one is farsighted. This results in vision that is not particularly better at any certain distance, and is not very clear overall.

Diagnosis of Astigmatism

Diagnosing astigmatism is very simple and may be accomplished using a number of different tests.  These include:

  • Vision Test – You will be asked to read letters off of a chart from 20 feet away.
  • Refraction – You will look at the chart through a series of different lenses, telling your doctor which ones appear clear or blurry.
  • Keratometry – Your doctor will use a machine to measure the degree of bend in the center of your cornea.
  • Corneal Topography – You will focus on a specific point as a computer collects measurements of your cornea, producing a detailed map.

Treatment for Astigmatism

Astigmatism is very common, and there are a variety of ways to treat it. For many, it is as simple as choosing glasses or contact lenses to improve blurred vision, while LASIK surgery is also gaining popularity as another corrective option. Through this procedure, a laser is used to reshape the eye’s cornea to an appropriate curvature, thereby correcting associated refractive errors and astigmatism.

No matter what route you choose to correct your vision, Eye Specialists of Louisiana has a highly-trained staff who are dedicated to helping improve your vision. If you are suffering from blurred eyesight due to astigmatism, scheduling an eye exam is the first step to correct the problem. Contact us today, and schedule a consultation with an ophthalmologist to determine what treatment options are best suited to address your vision problems.

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Tags: Astigmatism

3 Common Eye Diseases Helped by Exercise

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Mon, May 21, 2018 @ 11:05 AM

Portrait of happy men and women on fitness balls exercising with resistance bands in gym classThe health benefits of exercise are no secret.  You already know that being physically active is important for maintaining a healthy weight, building strength and endurance, and keeping important aspects of your health, such as the heart, protected.  However, what you may not realize is that exercise is good for your eyes too.  No, we aren’t about to give you a list of eye exercises to perform.  Instead, allow us to elaborate on some common eye diseases and how regular physical exercise now may help reduce your risk for developing them later on.

Exercise Decreases Risk for Cataracts

Cataracts are among the most common eye conditions affecting people as they age.  In fact, it is estimated that half of all Americans will have developed them by the age of 75.  However, multiple studies have shown that cataracts may have a direct link to physical activity.  Those who regularly enjoy a run, or even a brisk walk, seemingly have a decreased risk of cataract development later in life.  Furthermore, the studies have linked lack of physical activity to an increased risk for the condition.

Exercise Reduces Risk for Wet Age-Related Macular Degeneration

There are two forms of age-related macular degeneration (AMD): wet and dry.  While the dry form accounts for the majority of cases, wet AMD is responsible for about 90 percent of all instances of severe vision loss from the disease.  It occurs when abnormal blood vessels begin to develop and grow underneath the retina, ultimately leaking fluid and blood into the eye.  While early detection and treatment can help slow the progression of AMD, there is no way to restore vision once it is lost.  Fortunately, research has shown that there are steps that can be taken now to help prevent the development of this vision-stealing disease.  In particular, study participants who exercised three times or more each week are less likely to suffer from wet AMD.

Exercise Reduces Eye Pressure Associated with Glaucoma

The culprit behind glaucoma is increased intraocular pressure (IOP) that develops when fluid within the eye is unable to drain properly.  Again, this is a disease for which early detection and treatment is critical and in which vision lost cannot be restored.  However, studies have once again noted a connection between this condition and exercise.  Findings reveal that those who regularly participate in low-impact exercise of moderate intensity also experience a decrease in eye pressure.

Now that you know that benefits of exercise for your long-term eye health, it’s time to get moving.  Institute an exercise regimen such as regular running or brisk walking, and keep up with regular ophthalmology exams to identify and circumvent any potential eye problems.  The steps you take today, both literally and figuratively, will benefit your vision and eye health tomorrow.  Contact Eye Specialists of Louisiana to request an appointment.

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Tags: Healthy Eye Tips, Vision Disorders

6 Questions to Ask Your LASIK Surgeon [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted by Thomas Stuckey on Mon, Apr 30, 2018 @ 12:16 PM

Think you’re ready to ditch the glasses and contacts for good with LASIK?  Before you make your final decision, you’ll need to gain a better understanding of the procedure, what’s required of you as a patient, and any specifics regarding how your LASIK surgeon handles their procedures.  Asking the six questions listed in the infographic below is a great start and will give you a solid foundation of understanding.  From there, you can make your final decision with complete confidence.  So, read on, and get ready to see clearly!

lasik infographic-151327-edited

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Tags: LASIK

4 Ways to Protect Your Eyes from Blue Light

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 @ 12:07 PM

Computer screen blue lightThe device you are reading this blog on is illuminated by a very specific type of light known as blue light.  This short wavelength of light may not seem like much to you, but as we rely increasingly on devices that use it, researchers are spending greater amounts of time investigating the potential side effects.  Unfortunately, many of them are not good.  For instance, blue light can disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm, or internal clock, at night, leading to sleep disruptions.  It may also be linked to the development of eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration in the long run.  Of course, we understand that it may be impossible to fully escape electronic devices such as your computer or phone, but there are precautions you can take.  Here are four ways that you can help reduce your blue light exposure:

Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Blue light blocking eye glasses are becoming increasingly available to help reduce the negative effects of this light form.  With lenses designed to filter out blue light, these glasses may just help protect your eyes from future problems and help prevent sleep disruption.  While the jury is still out on how effective these glasses are, they may just be worth looking into for those who spend several hours per day in front of a screen.

Blue Light Screen Protectors

You likely already have a screen protector on your phone, so why not use one that can also reduce your blue light exposure?  Products like Ocushield serve double duty by accomplishing both.  You may even find it preferable to your phone’s own settings (like Apple’s Night Shift), because it doesn’t interfere with the color quality of your screen.

Dim Red Light Bulbs as a Blue Light Alternative

Electronics aren’t the only source of blue light we encounter day-to-day.  Those energy efficient, LED light bulbs are a source too.  This means that even if you aren’t looking at a screen prior to bed, your bedroom lights may still be causing a sleep problem.  Consider using dim, red light bulbs at night to give the room a soft glow that won’t bother your eyes or your sleep.

Blue Light Reducing Apps and Software

Your phone may use a similar setting already.  If not, there are apps and software available that allow your device to mimic the natural shift of sunlight.  Again, this is an option that may help you sleep better at night by minimizing disruption of circadian rhythms.  However, long-term use may also help protect your eye health by reducing your overall blue light exposure.

There are more threats to eye health than many realize.  Fortunately, the dangers of blue light have been well-publicized, prompting many to take action now and protect their eye health into the future.  Use the products above to help control your own blue light exposure, and always maintain regular eye exams to keep your vision strong and healthy.  Contact Eye Specialists of Louisiana to request an appointment.

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Tags: Healthy Eye Tips, Bad Habits for Eye Health

Most Common Types of Eye Infections: Causes and Symptoms

Posted by Eye Specialists of Louisiana on Wed, Mar 28, 2018 @ 07:56 PM

eye infections - styeOur world is filled with tiny microscopic organisms called bacteria and viruses, and, despite what many think, they are not all bad.  Some of these organisms aid in digestion, respiration, and circulatory functions.  However, there are others, known as pathogens, which can lead to disease and infection should they make it past the body’s immune system. 

We encounter sources of these pathogens in our everyday lives, from doorknobs to handshakes to the air around us, there is no shortage of potential carriers for infection, and when these infections occur in the eye, they can lead to bothersome symptoms such as watering, redness, drainage, and even more dangerous complications if left untreated.  Fortunately, eye infections are also very common, treatable, and usually have distinct and recognizable characteristics, allowing them to be quickly spotted and addressed.  Here are a few of their most common forms:

Common Types of Eye Infections

The delicate inner-workings of the eyes are protected by multiple layers, and it is in these layers where infections typically occur.  The first line of defense for your eyes are the lashes and lids. The skin and hair follicles around your eyelids can become infected while providing protection. The second line of defense is your conjunctiva. This thin membrane acts as a barrier between your eye and the outside world.  It also produces lubricants for the eye.  It is vulnerable to pathogens because of its exposure to the elements.  The infections most likely to occur in these areas include:

Blepharitis – Blepharitis is an infection of the eyelid resulting in inflammation.  It may cause itching, burning, and vision difficulties.  Antibiotics or steroids can help resolve this infection.  However, the condition will often clear on its own given proper care and hygiene. 

Stye – A stye is a painful bump along the lash line that results from bacteria invading the hair follicle or oil gland openings.  Treatment is not often needed, as these typically resolve on their own.  However, home remedies such as warm compresses can ease symptoms such as pain and redness until the infection has cleared.  Some require medications or even drainage if they persist.

Conjunctivitis – Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye, is the result of a virus or bacteria entering the thin mucus membrane that coats the eye.  This infection causes redness and discharge that can cause the eyelashes to stick together.  It can also be highly contagious, so it is important to take precautions to prevent it from spreading to others..

Treatment and Prevention of Eye Infections

Keeping the immune system healthy is the best way to combat any infection. A good diet, sleeping schedule, and exercise are key to helping your body efficiently fight off infection, as it can destroy pathogens very early on, before symptoms of infection even arise. Cleanliness and hygiene are also vital to prevention. Keeping the hands, face, and hair clean can remove bacteria from the surface of the skin and keep it away from the eyes. Contact lenses, in particular, are frequently handled and then placed in direct contact with the eyes, making them a major infection hazard.  Proper cleaning and care is therefore critical for all lens wearers.

If you do contract an eye infection, see an ophthalmologist to determine if treatments such as antibiotic eye drops, ointments, pills, or compresses are needed to help your body fight off the infection quickly. And, if you notice an infection is affecting your vision or treatment is not working as it should, set up an appointment with Eye Specialists of Louisiana. While these issues are generally minor leaving them untreated can lead to complications down the road.

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