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Top Eye Diseases and Eye Care Tips by Austin’s Top Optometrist

Here is a rundown on the top eye care tips and diseases that are treated by Austin Optometrists.

Refractive conditions of the eye are the most common reason people visit the optometrist. Myopia (nearsightedness) occurs when the front of the eye is too curved or the eyeball grows too long. This causes blurred distance vision. Austin optometrists correct for myopia by prescribing eyeglasses and contact lenses. Hyperopia (farsightedness) is when the eye has more difficulty seeing things at near compared to things in the distance. Glasses or contact lenses are prescribed to compensate for hyperopia. Astigmatism is a common condition caused by irregular curvature of the cornea. People with astigmatism may experience distortion in their vision, headaches, or blurred vision. Many advancements have been made in eyeglass and contact lenses to correct astigmatism. Optometrists use special toric contact lenses to provide stable, clear vision for astigmatism. New digital eyeglass lenses are able to provide a wider field of view and more natural feeling vision for people that have astigmatism.

Presbyopia is leading reason people visit the optometrist. Whether you are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism, presbyopia causes a loss of near vision focusing that happens to everyone starting in their early forties. Reading glasses, bifocals, and progressive eyeglass lenses are the most prescribed ways of treating presbyopia. New developments in contact lenses now allow optometrists to treat presbyopia with multifocal or monovision contact lenses. Our Austin optometrists are experts in presbyopia treatment. The progressive eyeglasses lenses we prescribe have the widest field of vision and optimized optics to allow people with presbyopia to see at all ranges clearly and with more visual comfort than was previously possible.

Are you on the computer a lot? Do you find yourself always looking at your phone? If so, you are not alone! Studies have shown that most people view digital devices including computers, tablets, and phones for many hours every day. These devices emit harmful and eye fatigue causing high-energy blue light. Recent advances in eyeglass technology have developed special lenses and lens coatings that can block a percentage of this harmful blue light. The result is more comfortable vision, less eye fatigue, and potential retinal health benefits. Our optometrists are on the cutting edge of all the options for protection your eyes from this harmful blue light.

Another condition our optometrists treat is computer vision syndrome. Computer Vision Syndrome happens when we view computers or digital devices for long periods of time. This can cause stiff or strained muscles in the back and neck, dry eyes from reduced blinking, strained vision from too much high energy blue light, and blurred vision from focusing muscle fatigue and spasm. Optometrists use custom “office” or computer eyeglass lenses to reduce focusing fatigue, protect against harmful blue light, and aide in proper ergonomics to reduce back and neck strain. Standing desks and other suggestions from our optometrists can help configure your work station to reduce the symptoms of computer vision syndrome.

Dry Eye Syndrome affects up to 50% of Austin area residents and is even more common in females and as we age. Environmental allergens, diet, dehydration, and stress are all factors that can contribute to dry eye. Optometrists perform in office testing that can identify your particular form of dry eye. Based on this evaluation our optometrists provide treatment starting with specific OTC lubricant eye drops. We also treat dry eye with warm compresses, eyelid massage, Omega 3 supplementation, punctal plugs, and prescription dry eye therapies like Restasis and Xiidra. Having dry eye does not prevent you from wearing contact lenses. Our optometrists will recommend daily disposable and super-hydrating contact lenses that will allow you to still wear contact lenses part-time or for special occasions.

A very common condition that is present in dry eye patients is blepharitis. Blepharitis occurs when there is an overproduction of bacteria in and around the oil glands in the eyelids. This overproduction of bacteria causes redness and irritation. Although this is a chronic condition our optometrists can prescribe various forms of relief. Treatment includes warm compresses, foaming eyelid cleansers, eyelid scrubs, antibiotic ointment, Omega 3 supplementation, and diet changes.

If Blepharitis is severe it can cause Conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is an infection of the conjunctiva (the clear covering of the eye). Bacterial infection, viral infection, and inflammatory disease like dry eye and eye allergies can all cause conjunctivitis. Optometrists treat conjunctivitis with antibiotic eye drops, anti-allergy eyedrops, and lubricants. If you think you may have conjunctivitis it is a good idea to wash your hands frequently and see the optometrist for diagnosis and treatment.

Blurry vision can be a symptom of simple nearsightedness or farsightedness, but it can also be a symptom of something more serious like cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration. Our optometrists test for all of these conditions as part of your annual wellness exam. Cataracts typically start in your fifties or sixties and cause a gradual increased in blurred vision. The optometrist will monitor your cataracts until they require surgical removal. Modern cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure that removes the cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear lens. In addition to replacing the cloudy lens, cataract surgery can compensate for your prescription to reduce the need for glasses or contact lenses after surgery. Glaucoma is a disease that causes the optic nerve to degenerate, causing a gradual loss of vision. Typical treatment is with eyedrops or minor in office surgical procedures.

Macular degeneration is common disease affecting the retina as it ages. New developments in vitamin supplementation and injectable medicines allow macular degeneration to be treated effectively. Optometrists evaluate the retinal health to detect early signs of macular degeneration and recommend treatment based on the severity and type of macular degeneration present. Close monitoring of you vision and regular exams are important in maintaining your eye health and preventing loss of vision.

As rates of diabetes increases, diabetic retinopathy is a condition affecting more and more people every day. As part of the retinal evaluation, our optomterist screens for the early signs of diabetic retinopathy and works in close partnership with retinal specialists for treatment.

Whether you are coming in for a routine wellness exam, new eyeglasses or contact lenses, or monitoring for a condition like glaucoma or cataracts, rest assured that our Austin optometrist will provide thorough, comprehensive care to make sure you are seeing clearly for years to come.