articles

Sports Vision

Sports vision is a growing niche in the eyecare industry, helping athletes improve their performance skills through the enhancement of visual skills. While regular eye exams are important for checking the health of your eyes and your visual acuity (how clearly you can see a still object at different distances), sports vision testing is recommended for anyone who takes their athletic performance seriously. 
 

Visual skills needed for sports performance

 

There are several key visual skills that are enhanced through sports vision programs for athletes that aim to achieve their optimal sports performance, these include:


Dynamic visual acuity: this refers to the patient’s ability to see objects clearly while in motion. This is exceptionally important as hand-eye coordination and reflex reactions are essential for success in most sporting activities.


Contrast sensitivity: good contrast sensitivity is needed to determine the difference between an object and its surroundings. Contrast sensitivity is particularly important in situations where there may be low light, fog or glare that could diminish the natural contrast between objects and backgrounds. 


Eye tracking: this refers to the ability to follow a fast-moving object, such as a ball or puck.


Switching eye focus: athletes need to be able to change their focus quickly and accurately from one distance to another. 


Binocular vision skills: also known as eye teaming skills, these skills determine how well your eyes work with one another to produce a single, clear image.


Processing speed: visual processing speed is defined as the amount of time it takes to make a correct judgement about a visual stimulus – for example, how fast a ball is travelling towards them. 


Peripheral awareness: athletes also need to be able to be aware of what is happening at the edges of their vision while also concentrating on a fixed object in front of them.

Sports vision testing can enable your eye doctor to spot any weaknesses that you may have in any of these key visual skills. By identifying them, it is possible for you to undergo treatment to overcome theses issues and meet your specific goals that will ultimately enhance your overall athletic performance. This is known as sports vision training.
 


Considering Your Face Shape When Choosing Eye Glass Frames

When it’s time to select a new pair of eyeglasses, it can be challenging to find the frame that feels the best for you. Eyeglass makers have become increasingly aware of their clients’ desire to customize frames as well as offer a variety of colors, designs, and frame shapes. Understanding more about your face shape and the types of frames that would look best on you can help to reduce the amount of time you spend trying on frames that don’t complement your face shape. Here are a few useful tips to help you find glasses best suited for your face shape.
 

Face Types

While there are thousands of different frame shapes, there are only seven different face shapes.
 

Round

This face type is as wide is it is long. There are no specific or well-defined angles to this face type. Most people with this facial type look for frames that will elongate their face in order to draw out their natural features as well as give their face a thinner appearance. A good choice is often to select a frame that is angular and narrow.


Heart

If you can imagine the shape of a traditional heart, this face shape is easy to identify. The top 1/3 of the face is wider while the rest of the face tapers to a narrow chin. Individuals with this face shape will often seek frames that are wider at the bottom of the lens. This helps to balance the face and give the appearance of a narrower face at the top. Another great fit for this face type would be rimless frames.
 

Base Down Triangle

This face type contains a wide jaw and cheekbones but is narrow at the forehead. Cat-eye type frames are great for this face type, as are frames that are heavier near the eyebrow to provide more balance.
 

Diamond

This face type is the rarest. The diamond face is like the base-down triangle but differs because it has a narrow chin, thus appearing like a diamond. When selecting eyeglasses, look for oval-shaped frames, or frames that have more detail along the brow line.
 

Oblong

This face type looks like an oval, but these individuals have a straight cheek line. This face is fuller than it is long. Frame types that add some depth are ideal for this face. This can be done by finding frames that have decorative pieces along the temples or that have more depth with a reduced width.
 

Oval

Oval faces are the most common face type. They are considered to have balanced proportions so that most frame types will work well. An oval face is longer than it is wide and includes plump cheekbones. Walnut shaped eyeglasses are an ideal choice, but frames that are as wide or wider than the broadest part of your face would work as well.
 

Square

These individuals have a broad forehead and jaw that gives the appearance of the face having equal and straight sides. These face types usually do well with narrow or oval-shaped frames which will help to soften their features.
 

Additional Tips

Your hair color may play a role in the best frame color for you. Individuals with warm hair colors (brown or black hair) do best to choose a lighter colored frame to add contrast. People that have hair on the lighter end of the spectrum can pick just about any frame color that they would like and may look to other features like eye color or skin tone to help make their decision.

Skin tone has the opposite effect from hair color on the best choices for the frame color. Those with lighter skin hues do best with similar frame colors, and those with warmer skin tones can pick and choose options that they enjoy the most.

Above all else, you should pick a frame that you like best. There may be additional factors to consider when choosing the right frame for you, but perhaps the most important factor is your overall happiness and comfort.


Overview of Common Ocular Diseases

Both optometrists and ophthalmologists treat many common types of ocular disease. However, for the best outcome, it’s important to see an eye doctor regularly. They can identify any issues before they become serious problems.


Fortunately, they can treat all of the diseases mentioned below, and in some cases, you can do certain things to prevent them from developing. Look at the most recent statistics, and you’ll see why good eye health care matters.


Currently, more than 4.2 million people in the U.S. alone over the age of 40 are partially blind or have poor visual acuity. Although a lot of things cause these problems, the ocular diseases listed below are the most common.

 

Macular Degeneration

 

This is commonly referred to as “age-related macular degeneration” because it affects seniors. Not only does it cause blurriness and distortion but left untreated, individuals lose their central vision. In other words, they are unable to see anything through the center portion of the eye.


Two types of this ocular disease exist. First, wet macular degeneration means that abnormal blood vessels that are located behind the retina grow under the macular. Along with leaking blood and fluid, this leads to scarring and, sometimes, permanent damage. Second, dry macular degeneration progresses slowly as part of the natural aging process. Typically, it affects both eyes at some point.

 

Cataracts

 

Roughly 20 million people in the U.S. over the age of 40 have cataracts in either one or both eyes. While they can develop in children, teens, and young adults, cataracts are most often associated with age. With this, a film covers the eye, which, in turn, makes everything appear blurry.


Of all the different kinds of ocular diseases that lead to blindness worldwide, cataracts rank number two. Fortunately, an eye doctor can remove the damaged lens, followed by implanting an artificial one. After recovery, patients see amazingly well.

 

Diabetic Retinopathy

 

If you have diabetes, then you’re at risk of developing this ocular disease. This particular disease causes progressive damage to the retina’s blood vessels. The first stage consists of mild non-proliferative retinopathy and then moderate non-proliferative retinopathy, which blocks some of the vessels.


Then, it moves into stage three or severe non-proliferative retinopathy, which means more blood vessels become blocked. The fourth and final state, proliferative retinopathy, is the most advanced. Although Diabetic Retinopathy does affect just one eye on occasion, it typically involves both eyes.


Start by improving your overall health. Eat balanced meals, keep your blood pressure and cholesterol levels down, and take insulin. In addition, regular exercise, losing weight, and giving up smoking all make a huge difference. From there, a qualified eye doctor can provide you with treatment options to reduce the risk of losing your vision.

 

Glaucoma


Many people think glaucoma is one type of ocular disease. However, it’s a group of diseases that cause damage to the optic nerve. When that happens, people face the risk of losing their sight completely. With glaucoma, the fluid pressure inside the eyes gradually rises.


There are also two categories of glaucoma: open-angle and closed-angle. Not only is open-angle glaucoma chronic, but it also progresses slowly. Often, a person can have this type without knowing it. Unfortunately, they don’t realize there’s an issue until they have a comprehensive eye exam performed.


As for closed-angle glaucoma, it’s usually painful and it comes on suddenly. In addition, an individual can lose their vision much faster with this kind of glaucoma compared to the open-angle kind. Because this happens fast and involves pain, it’s diagnosed much quicker as well.


For these common types of ocular diseases, it’s important to have your vision checked. An eye doctor might simply diagnose you with myopia or hyperopia, followed by prescribing either eyeglasses or contact lenses. If an ocular disease is diagnosed, the optometrist will determine the best treatment plan for optimal eye health and vision.


Best Foods for Eye Health

Generally, despite knowing how important the role of our eyes is in our day to day functioning, we tend to neglect the day to day care necessary to maintain optimal eye health. Just close your eyes for a minute or you put a non-transparent cloth across your eyes and try to walk around your home or workspace. It is quite difficult, right? That is how indispensable the eyes are.

While it is common knowledge that eye issues are a result of eyestrain or aging, most people are ignorant of the fact that an unbalanced diet, as well as deficiency in certain nutrients, can also facilitate eye issues. This implies that eating healthy means that there are certain nutrients that can help reduce the risk of eye issues. Some of these nutrients include omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, copper, zeaxanthin, zinc, vitamin E, A, C, and beta-carotene. For healthy eyes, there are foods that should be part of your diet daily. They include:

1. Fish- Fish is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, especially oily fish which have oil inside their body tissue and guts. They are regarded as the major source of omega-3 fatty acids which help in improving the immune system and brain function. More so, it helps in the development of the eye and retina and in keeping the eyes from dryness. It is therefore important to incorporate fish into your diet about 3 times a week. Incorporating fish rich with this needed nutrient such as salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, herring, mackerel, and anchovies about 3 times a week is important in helping to maintain optimal eye health.

2. Eggs- The yolk of an egg contains a combination of the nutrients vitamin A, zeaxanthin, and lutein which help to safeguard the cornea, reducing the chances of suffering from cataracts and macular degeneration and zinc which keeps the retina healthy and aids night vision. Eggs are very complimentary food as it can go with other foods and can also take various forms based on your taste.

3. Carrots- This is the most common food for eye health. It contains beta-carotene and vitamin A which protect the surface of the eyes and help to prevent infections. Vitamin A is a form of protein known as rhodopsin and it is tasked with the responsibility of aiding the eyes in absorbing light. A lack of vitamin A is the reason why there are about 500 thousand blind children every year.  Carrots are easy to get and very affordable. They can serve as snacks or be sliced or diced into salads. 

4. Nuts and Legumes- Legumes and nuts provide a lot of vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids which guard the eyes against age-related disorders. Brazilian nuts, peanuts, walnuts, lentils, and cashews are perfect examples of legumes and nuts and can be eaten as a form of dessert or taken as snacks based on your choice.

5. Citrus Fruits- Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, an essential nutrient for healthy eyes. Vitamin C helps in keeping the blood vessels in the eyes healthy. It also stands against cataracts, and with other nutrients, it helps against macular degeneration. Citrus fruits include oranges, grapefruits, and lemons. The good thing about this food is that they can be consumed on their own or turned into a juice.
 


Latisse Eyedrops

Many people don’t realize that eyelashes are both functional and attractive. The purpose of eyelashes is to act as a first line of defense for our eyes, preventing airborne dirt, dust and other debris from reaching the delicate tissues of our eyes. You probably don’t know that when your eyes are closed, your eyelashes form a nearly impenetrable barrier against foreign irritants entering the eyes. 

Unfortunately, we aren’t all blessed with naturally thick, luscious lashes. In fact, many people choose to get artificial eyelashes or eyelash extensions to make them appear longer or thicker than they really are. Unfortunately, the challenge of achieving voluminous eyelashes is even greater if you suffer from a condition called hypotrichosis. 

 


Vision Therapy

Vision therapy is a treatment plan that is intended to develop and improve a patient’s visual skills and abilities, with the goal of making their day-to-day life easier. You may also hear Vision Therapy referred to as VT. Although most commonly associated with children, whose visual skills are still naturally developing, adults can also benefit from vision therapy.
 

Any patient who does not have the necessary visual skills could find themselves suffering from a range of unpleasant symptoms, including headaches, eye fatigue, stiff neck, and double vision. Fortunately, vision therapy is a simple, painless technique to help patients to enhance their visual skills and overcome any issues that they may have been experiencing.
 

Skills that can be developed and improved through vision therapy

 

Vision therapy has been shown to be an effective way of developing and improving the following visual skills, all of which are important for day-to-day life. 
 

Tracking: this refers to the ability to follow a moving object smoothly and accurately with both eyes – such as moving traffic or a ball coming towards you.
 

Depth perception: this is the ability to judge relative distances of objects and move accurately in a 3D space – for example, being able to walk down a flight of stairs.
 

Peripheral vision: this refers to the edges of your vision and your ability to assess what’s happening in your peripheral vision while paying attention to something directly in front of you.
 

Acuity at different distances: this is the ability to see clearly enough to identify and understand objects at both near and far distances. 
 

Fixation: enabling patients to quickly and accurately look at, identify and understand stationery objects one after the other, for example, reading word to word. 
 

Binocular vision: the ability for both eyes to work together in perfect synchronization.
 

Shifting focus: patients with this skill can look quickly at different distances without momentary blur. 
 

Visualization: a valuable visual skill that enables patients to form and retain images in their head. 
 


Diabetic Related Eye Exams

You have almost certainly heard of diabetes, which is one of the most common chronic health conditions in the United States with an estimated 100 million adults currently living with diabetes or pre-diabetes. This metabolic disorder occurs when the body is no longer able to regulate its own blood sugar levels and requires intervention to keep them stable. Most people are aware that diabetes can have serious consequences for our health. However, you may be surprised to learn that it can also influence our vision. This is because patients who are diabetic can go on to develop a complication that is known as diabetic retinopathy. Without prompt treatment, diabetic retinopathy can cause permanent vision loss. It is for this reason that patients who suffer from diabetes are asked to attend regular diabetic-related eye exams. 
 

What is diabetic retinopathy?

For us to be able to see clearly, our eyes need to be healthy and functioning perfectly. The most important component of our eyes are the retina. Found at the very back of the eye, the retina is a patch of light-sensitive cells that have the job of converting the light that passes into the eye into messages that are passed up the optic nerve and into our brain. Our brain then receives them and tells us what we can see and how clearly we can see it. 


The retina relies on a continuous supply of blood, which is delivered using a network of tiny blood vessels. Over time, having continuously high blood vessels can damage these blood vessels causing a leak of blood and other fluids onto the retina. If this happens, scarring may occur which could compromise the quality of your vision. 
 

Am I at risk of diabetic retinopathy?

Technically, anyone who suffers from diabetes, whether it be Type 1 or Type 2, could be at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. However, the condition is more likely in certain situations. These include if:

  • your blood sugar levels are uncontrolled or poorly controlled

  • you have a long history of diabetes

  • you have high blood pressure (hypertension)

  • you suffer from high cholesterol 

  • you are pregnant


Regular diabetic-related eye exams will enable your eye doctor to monitor your condition and ensure that any signs of diabetic retinopathy are detected and acted upon immediately. 
 

What to expect from diabetic-related eye exams?

The process of a diabetic eye exam is very simple and straightforward. In fact, in most instances, it is included within the other elements of comprehensive eye exam and you may not even realize that you have had a specific test to check for diabetes-related complications. 


Diabetic eye screening is non-invasive. You will be given eyedrops which will blur your vision. These may sting a little when they are administered, but this will pass within just a few moments. Once your vision is blurred, you will be asked to rest your head onto a device and stare down a lens. This leads to a camera which will take images of the backs of your eyes so that your eye doctor can assess the structures, which include the retina, for any abnormalities. You will see a flash when each image is taken, but at no point should you be in any pain. 


In addition to the images of the back of your eye being taken, you will also be given a visual acuity test. This is where you will be asked to read letters off a chart a short distance away, as well as reading from a card held in front of you. 


The information that your eye doctor will obtain from your examination will be able to tell them if you are experiencing any of the signs of diabetic retinopathy. If so, they will discuss the best way to get your condition under control. This could involve a combination of elements, including controlling your diabetes more effectively, taking medications or more invasive treatment to preserve your vision. Your eye doctor will give you more specific information based on your individual circumstances. 


If you have further questions about diabetic-related eye exams, please contact our knowledgeable eye care team. 


Understanding Computer Vision Syndrome

Just a few decades ago, computer vision syndrome (CVS) was not known or understood. However, with an increase in the role of computers in our lives, it has become an increasingly common issue. Researchers believe that 50-90% of people who use computers in their daily lives have experienced CVS to some degree. The amount of time that many people stare into a computer screen is increasing, which puts significant strain on our eyes.

CVS is not considered a single specific problem, but a suite of issues. And with the increased use of school computers, tablets and smartphones, children are also becoming more susceptible to CVS.

This syndrome is similar to many other repetitive motion type conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Problems can start because as we are reading text on a screen, our eyes move in a repetitive motion throughout the day. Once the issue has started, continuing the same behavior can worsen any symptoms. While reading alone uses the same motion, digital screens add flicker, contrast, glare, and light that all put additional strain on our eyes.

Issues may also be accelerated if you should be wearing some type of corrective lens, but don't, and are therefore putting additional strain on your eyes.

Aging can also speed up the progress of these issues. Around the time that people turn 40, the lenses of the eyes begin to harden due to a disease called presbyopia, which affects your ability to see closer objects.
 

What Happens if I have CVS?

There is currently no proof that CVS causes long-term vision impairment or blindness. Continuing to use a computer or any other type of screen can continue to be an annoyance or reduce your ability to see properly. Some of the warning signs of CVS are:

  • Blurred vision

  • Double vision

  • Red or dry eyes

  • Headaches

  • Neck pain

  • Back pain

  • Eye Irritation


If you don’t properly treat CVS when these symptoms occur, you may begin to notice that you suffer from a decrease in overall quality of life or job performance.
 


Comprehensive Eye Exam

If you’ve had a vision screening recently, you might say, “My vision is fine! I don’t need a comprehensive eye exam.”

But a vision screening provides a limited perspective on the overall health of your eyes. It’s a bit like getting your blood pressure checked and not getting the rest of your annual physical. You’ll have useful information, but it’s not the whole picture.
 

What are the Limitations of a Vision Screening?

Vision screenings only test your ability to see clearly in the distance. This is called visual acuity and is just one factor in your overall vision. Others include color vision, peripheral vision, and depth perception. The screening also doesn’t evaluate how well the eyes focus up close or work together. Most importantly, it doesn’t give any information about the health of the eyes.
 

Vision screenings are conducted by individuals untrained in eye health.

Vision screenings are offered in many places – schools, health fairs, as part of a work physical or for a driver’s license. Even if your physician conducts the screening, they are a generalist and only has access to a certain amount of eye health training. Most individuals don’t have the tools or knowledge to give you a complete assessment of your vision or eye health.

Vision screenings use inadequate testing equipment.
In some cases, a vision screening is limited to an eye chart across the room. Even when conducted in a physician's office, they won’t have the extensive testing equipment of an eye doctor. They also won’t be aware of nuances such as room lighting and testing distances all of which are factors that can affect test results.
 

What are the Benefits of a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

Comprehensive eye exams evaluate all aspects of your vision and eye health.
The comprehensive eye exam looks at your eye externally and internally for any signs of eye disease, then tests your vision in a variety of ways.