I was recently diagnosed with diabetes and my doctor recommended annual eye exams. I see ﬁne, so why do I need to get my eyes checked?
Great question. Admittedly, it does seem curious that an eye exam would be recommended annually if a person has diabetes, but your doctor is right. I like to refer to the eyes as “the windows into your overall health,” because the eye is the only place in the whole body where we can view blood vessels and nerve tissue in their natural state, without surgery. As I examine a person’s ocular / eye health, I can tell many things about their overall “systemic” health. For example, the blood vessels within the retina take on a certain appearance if a person has high blood pressure. If a person’s diabetes is taking its toll on the body, through lack of control or duration of disease, certain other signs are common within the eye – like hemorrhages, oxygen starvation spots, and / or fragile blood vessel growth. The ﬁndings of an eye exam are critical in preventing blindness and progression of diseases such as diabetes. Communication between your eye doctor and family practice doctor allows for a necessary multidisciplinary approach to caring for your health.
Concerned about your health? Be sure to see your eye doctor routinely. Eye Care Professional Center – a difference you can feel.
I’d describe myself as a salt-of-the-earth American. I was raised in the country outside the small town of Zillah, Washington. I learned to work hard at a young age on our family cherry and apple farm, for which I’m grateful. After high school, having more motivation than direction, I spent nearly 3 years trying to find my path in life before discovering my passion for vision and ocular health. The next 8 years went quickly, earning my way through school working several jobs: diesel mechanic, lab tech., electrician, grounds keeper, and meat cutter. After graduation, I was blessed with the opportunity to serve our country as a commissioned officer within the United States Public Health Service. I spent the next 7 years as the Chief of Optometry for two under-served duty-locations, in remote Dillingham Alaska and at the Yakama Indian Health Center in Toppenish Washington. In late 2015, after much debate, I felt it was time for a change. Having visited family in the L/C Valley many times and knowing how special this area is, I looked no further. Fortunately, Dr. Gregory Reed was thinking of retiring after practicing in the same location on Thain for 44 years. I assumed ownership in November of 2015, and am so glad I did. My wife Cheryl and I will celebrate our 22nd wedding anniversary in June, and have 5 wonderful children ranging from 3-16 years old. I enjoy helping people see better, spending time with family, my faith in the Lord, hunting, fishing, and working with my hands.
Can you help me understand glaucoma? My sister’s being treated for it and said I should be checked too.
Glaucoma, what an interesting and complex topic! It’s a disease process in which the optic nerve is damaged from simply having too much fluid pressure within the eye. It’s critically important for the fluid pressure to remain in a safe range, and in order for this to maintain, the tissue (ciliary body) producing the fluid must not out-pace the tissue (trabecular meshwork) that drains this fluid from the eye. If fluid is being produced faster than it can drain, pressure increases = BAD! This increased pressure leads to permanent vision loss, beginning with our peripheral vision and eventually effecting our central vision. Glaucoma is usually painless and slowly progressive, often occurring without a person even knowing. There are several types of glaucoma, each describing unique causative characteristics, which help the eye doctor tailor a treatment plan. Risk factors include ethnicity, age, past injuries, nearsightedness, steroid use, and relation to someone with glaucoma (usually a first degree relative, i.e. sibling or parent). I hope that helped, and to answer your second question: yes, because of your sister’s diagnosis, you should be checked. Has this article left you wondering or concerned? Call your eye doctor today to schedule your glaucoma evaluation. If you don’t have an eye doctor, call us at Eye Care Professional Center, where you’ll feel the difference!!
I was recently diagnosed with “dry eyes” and was told to use artificial tears several times a day. It seems that shortly after using the drops, my eyes feel dry again. Is there a treatment that might work better?
Yes!!! There are several options far superior to artificial tears! Artificial tears essentially act as a lubricant, but their benefit is short-lived, and they don’t treat the root cause of your condition. It’s important to note that treatment needs to be specifically tailored to your case, depending on the cause – whether it be hyposecretory, evaporative / inflammatory, auto-immune mediated, or other. Some of my favorite treatment modalities include warm compresses followed by expression lid mas- sage, fish or fax oil supplementation, oral doxycycline, topi- cal steroids, topical immunomodulators (Restasis), punctal occlusion (blocking the tear drainage system), and in some cases therapeutic contact lenses.
Chronic dry eye can be daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Come see me today; I can help. At Eye Care Professional Center, you will feel the difference.
Great question!!! Both are “eye doctors,” with much overlap between their skill- sets. Each type of eye doctor complements the other nicely, but there are some key differences. In general, optometrists are considered primary eye care providers, while ophthalmologists are typically utilized for referral purposes, for surgery or advanced disease management. Optometrists generally spend more one-on-one time with patients during any given appointment, and are very adept at providing general / routine eye care, ranging from new prescription glasses and contacts, to the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases. Ophthalmologists are also very adept eye care providers, specializing more in the treatment of advanced eye disease through surgery and / or other means. Again, both complement each other nicely, similar in a way to dentists and orthodontists. In summary, both are incredibly valuable and capable, willing and able to help you through life’s journey. Are you looking for an eye doctor? Give me a call at Eye Care Professional Center, where you’ll feel the difference.
I have three kids, ages 18 months, 3 years, and 5 years. Should I have their eyes checked even though they seem fine?
Yes…absolutely!!!!! Children quite often have visual conditions that go undiagnosed for years. Imagine being born with a visual system that’s out of focus, like a camera or binoculars that are maladjusted. It would be extremely noticeable to you and I because we know the difference, but for many kiddos, they unknowingly assume it’s normal. The American Optometric Association recommends that the first eye examination be performed at six months of age, and the second at three years, unless otherwise indicated based on signs or symptoms. The next exam should be per- formed before first grade and then every two years there- after, unless findings indicate more frequent exams. We need to advocate for our youth, as they often won’t speak up for themselves. If you see a child with a crossed eye or who’s squinting frequently, nicely ask the parent if “Jimmy” or “Jane” have had their eyes examined recently. There are many conditions that can absolutely hinder a child’s development, if left untreated.
If you or someone you know is in need of eye care, come experience a difference you can feel, at Eye Care Professional Center.
I keep hearing about laser eye surgery. If I were to have it done, would I still need to wear glasses?
Maybe… There are several types of laser eye procedures, ranging from refractive (enabling a person to be less reliant on glasses) to vision-saving (for various diseases / disorders). Refractive laser surgery often does allow a person to discontinue eyeglass and contact lens wear, usually for many years. PRK and LASIK are the two most common refractive laser procedures performed at the present time. Both are very effective at re-shaping the front surface curvature of the eye, by removing just the right amount of tissue from the cornea. Although these procedures are per- formed commonly and can be quite effective, not all people qualify. Also, there can be side effects, which include eye dryness, halos / glare around lights, possibly still needing reading glasses, and occasionally regression of effectiveness over time. For the right person, refractive surgery is a wonderful option. I feel blessed to live in a country and time with the options we currently have.
If you’re considering refractive surgery, call to schedule an appointment today. Together, we’ll perform an evaluation and discuss your many options.
Why do oncoming headlights bother me so much when I’m driving at night? It doesn’t seem like it used to bother me this much.
Great question, and you are not alone. That’s a concern I hear from patients frequently. It’s described in many ways, but probably the most alarming and frequently heard is: “I have to stare at the white line on the right side of the road when an oncoming car gets close, because I’m blinded if I don’t look away from their headlights” – scary and surprisingly common!!! There are several potential causes for the above, but most commonly it’s the result of a cataract. A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens within the eye, which sits directly behind / posterior to the pupil. In order for us to see, light must pass through several structures within the eye (cornea, pupil, lens, and vitreous) along its journey to the retina, at the back of / posterior aspect of the eye. Depending on the density of the cataract, light can be blocked and/or defracted (bent and scattered) as it passes through the lens, preventing the focusing of light on the retina – causing intense glare. In certain circumstances like driving at night, this glare can dramatically impact your vision. Other symptoms of cataracts can include blurred vision, color vision changes, double vision, and even eyeglass prescription changes. Are you noticing any or all of the above symptoms? If so, cataracts are a likely possibility. Cataracts can be removed through an outpatient procedure, restoring your visual function. Remember, there are other potential causes of the above too. Call Eye Care Professional Center today to schedule an appointment, and together we’ll evaluate your visual system and customize a treatment plan for you. We accept most insurances and offer cash discounts.
Yes!!! Our eyesight is so critical to our mobility and overall function, protection is critical. This is such a timely topic as A: we approach the 4th of July holiday, when so many enjoy celebrating with potentially dangerous fireworks. Eye protection is relatively simple, but often neglected. Protective eyewear comes in many forms, ranging from everyday prescription glasses and sunglasses, impact resistant “safety” glasses, face shields, ski goggles, swimming masks, and even welding masks. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun causes cataracts, similar to the effects of infrared light from glass blowing. One of the most common injuries I see in clinic is metal grinding accidents, where small fragments of metal become embedded in the cornea and need to be removed as soon as possible. Protect your eyes!! If you have any questions or need help with any eye related issues, please contact me at Eye Care Professional Center, where you will feel the difference.