When Should My Child Have Her First Eye Exam?

Young children can have problems with their eyes, just like adults. In fact, young children can have eye issues before they leave the womb. However, there is a difference between an adult with eye problems and a young child. Young children with eye problems that arent treated can cause significant visual problems down the line. Furthermore, young children have to deal with learning new concepts that adults don’t. So having good eyesight is essential to your child’s success academically. In the end, the school system is probably not the best place to check vision in children. An optometrist should be consulted for a child’s potential vision issues. They are trained and know how to assess the beginning of treatable vision issues like lazy eye or crossed eyes. Both of those conditions, if treated early, can be eliminated or minimized early on. Young children in school often learn through visual media. Everything from picture books, computer screens, chalkboards viewed from far away, and even phone screens can pose a problem for a child with vision problems. However, the child may not have the know-how or maturity to know that their vision is impaired. That is why an adult needs to get the child examed early instead of waiting for the child to mention issues. Also, the visual history of the child’s family should be taken into account. If you, as the parents, have vision issues, it is a good chance that your child might also have problems.

When to Get That First Exam

It is recommended that a child’s eyes should be examined by an optometrist as early as six months after birth. The exam at six months won’t be the same as an adult. Babies aren’t able to say what they see on an eye chart yet. However, there can still be issues that an optometrist can find out without having to engage with the child verbally. The optometrist will focus mainly on if the child’s eyes are healthy and free of defects. Some defects can impair vision so severely, if not treated, that vision can be affected for the duration of the child’s life.

Next, at age three, another exam should happen, and then the child should be examined about three years later. From there, like with adults, the child should have their eyes checked every two years. Now, if the child is prescribed eyewear, then it is recommended that you have the child’s eyes checked every year.

Getting your child’s eye examined early is essential to the health and learning capabilities of the child. If you have any concerns about your child’s eyesight, consult with your optician right away.

 

Common Symptoms of Dry Eyes

Have you been experiencing a burning, gritty, or sticky sensation? Or have your eyes been unusually red or watery? You may have dry eye syndrome that affects more than eighteen million American’s regardless of their age, lifestyle, or occupation. But you don’t have to live with it.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

In a healthy eye, tiny glands inside your eyelids called Meibomian glands produce a complex oil that mixes with your natural tears. The presence of this oil stabilizes the tear film that moistens and lubricates your eye, washes away dust and debris, fights bacterial infection, and produces all-day comfort that allows you to see as clearly as possible.

If these glands aren’t functioning properly, or if other factors are at play, the tear film becomes unstable, fails to do its job, or may evaporate more quickly than normal. The result is the dry, burning, or gritty sensations, and less than optimal vision.

Symptoms of Dry Eyes

One very common symptom of dry eye syndrome is a stinging or burning sensation in the eye. This may be extremely uncomfortable. Eye drops can be used to help alleviate this symptom, but this is not a sustainable solution, as eye drops can make the condition worse over time.

Another common symptom of dry eyes is eye redness, which is often misdiagnosed as another condition, such as conjunctivitis or insomnia.

If you wear contact lenses, you may have difficulty wearing them. There may be a sensation of discomfort or irritation that prohibits you from wearing them for long periods of time. If, after applying eye drops, your eyes still feel irritated wearing contact lenses, dry eyes may be the cause.

You may feel sensitivity to light when being outdoors or when watching television or using the computer, this can be caused by your eyes not having enough lubricant to properly function. Being in bright rooms or outdoors may exacerbate this condition and you may feel more comfortable being in dark rooms with little light.

When Should You See an Eye Doctor?

If you have the symptoms listed above, it’s worth it to see a doctor to check for dry eye syndrome. Contact our office to book your appointment now.

 

Managing Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is a condition that affects as many as 50 million American citizens and is a leading cause of vision loss among those over 65 years of age. As the population grows older, macular degeneration rates are expected to increase proportionally, especially now that today’s seniors are living longer than at any time in history. Unfortunately, medical science has yet to find a cure for this condition, but the good news is that plenty is known about managing it. Here’s what you need to know about managing age-related macular degeneration.

Stop Smoking

Smoking damages more than just the lungs — it also constricts blood vessels, which can significantly affect ocular health. Smoking is a known risk factor in the development of age-related macular degeneration and is also a suspected culprit in the condition’s progression.

Have Regular Eye Exams

Most patients with age-related macular degeneration should schedule an eye exam every six months to determine what changes in their vision have occurred. This gives your eye doctor a chance to determine whether the condition is getting worse. You might be a candidate for antivascular therapy that restricts the development of additional blood vessels. This treatment usually requires an injection into the retinal area once per month.

Ask Your Eye Doctor About Low Vision Rehabilitation

Low vision rehabilitation is designed to develop a customized routine using a variety of tools and adjustments. Instead of being focused on diagnosing or treating eye conditions, low-vision therapy is designed to provide ways to retain optimal independence and quality of life while dealing with loss of vision. Examples of low vision rehabilitation include modifying the home so that it’s easier to navigate, improving lighting conditions to provide bright ambient light that eliminates tricky shadows, and labeling important items such as medications and household cleaners.

Ask Your Eye Doctor About Vitamins Designed for Ocular Health

Evidence suggests that certain supplements may be instrumental in slowing the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Lutein, in particular, has been found to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration. Other ingredients in eye health supplements include zinc, copper, and vitamins A, C, and E.

 

Please contact our office at your convenience for more information on ocular health or to schedule an appointment with a member of our skilled staff.

 

Why Regular Eye Exams Are Good For Your Overall Health

In an effort to help protect our community against the global pandemic illness COVID-19, Lifetime Vision Center is currently open for emergency appointments only. But our Grand Forks optometry team is looking forward to opening our doors again for routine eye exams.

Regular exams actually offer significant benefits to your overall well-being. Keep reading to learn how!

3 Reasons Why a Routine Eye Exam is Good for Overall Health

1. An Eye Doctor Can Detect Underlying Health Conditions

Many eye health conditions diagnosed and treated by our Grand Forks optometrist team are related to other underlying problems, including high blood pressure and diabetes. In some cases, we’re able to alert patients to these potential issues even before they’re aware of them!

2. Routine Eye Exams Can Inspire You to Take Better Care of Your Vision and Eye Health

Seeing an eye doctor regularly improves the chances of early detection and treatment of common eye conditions. This helps slow the progression of a disease, manage symptoms, or even prevent issues from occurring in the first place—an important point, since many eye diseases don’t have any signs or symptoms in their earliest stages.

Keeping in regular contact with your eye doctor also boosts your vision care education and helps you keep eye health lifestyle habits in mind, such as:

  • Wearing UV-blocking eyewear
  • Not smoking
  • Keeping prescription eyewear up-to-date
  • Adopting low vision strategies to help compensate for vision loss caused by conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration

3. Routine Eye Exams Help You Establish a Relationship With Your Eye Care Provider

Seeing your eye care provider regularly gives you an important “foot in the door” to the healthcare system. By building a good relationship with your eye doctor, you’ll have someone on your side who knows your health background, needs, and goals. Our Grand Forks optometrist team are proud advocates for our patients and are happy to refer to other specialists and providers as needed to make sure our community has the best experience.

 

Would you like to schedule your next eye exam so you don’t have to wait for a consultation once our office is open again for non-emergency visits? Contact Lifetime Vision Center at 701.746.6745 today.

 

How Do You Know It’s Time for a New Glasses Prescription?

Most people who wear glasses will get their glasses at the eye doctor and then delay going back to have their eyes checked for a long time. Unfortunately, many eye conditions that require you to wear glasses can change or worsen with time, so getting a new glasses prescription periodically is an important thing to do. Here is a look at a few signs that should signal you to schedule an appointment to have your eyes checked

You find yourself squinting a lot.

Squinting is one of the first signs that should let you know your glasses are not performing for your eyes as you should. You may catch yourself squinting when trying to read, watch television, or view something from afar. Pay close attention to what you are doing when you catch yourself squinting so you can let the eye doctor know how you feel your vision has changed.

You haven’t had your vision checked in several years.

It is best if you have your eyes checked about every three to five years until you reach 40 years old. Then, it is best to get more frequent exams; usually, every two to three years unless there are specific eye health concerns. Not getting your vision checked can leave you more at risk of having glasses that simply don’t work as they should.

Your health has changed drastically due to illness or disease.

If there has been a sudden change in your health, it is always a good idea to have your vision checked for changes as well. For example, people who are diabetic can develop problems with their vision rather quickly. Plus, certain illnesses and diseases can mean you will need a prescription change with your glasses.

Find Out More About New Glasses in Grand Forks, ND

Your glasses serve you and your eye health well. But, if your prescription is outdated, you simply do not reap the benefits that you should. Therefore, periodic assessment of your vision and the glasses or contacts you wear are important. Reach out to us at the Lifetime Vision Center for more information or to schedule an appointment to have your vision and current prescription assed.

4 Signs You May be Losing Your Vision

Vision is a gift that it’s easy to take for granted. Every day, you go about your day and night seeing your loved ones and everything else in the world around you. All over the world, people lose full or partial vision for one thing or another. The best thing you can do is to catch any signs of vision loss as soon as possible. Here are some of the signs you should look out for that could mean you are losing your vision.

1. Sudden, Severe Eye Pain

This could indicate something physical going on with the nerves and tissues that affect your vision. Eye pain may be caused by a secondary condition or something traumatic happening in the location of one or both of your eyes. If you experience this, contact your eye doctor immediately, even if it’s after hours. The answering service will instruct you as to the best course of action.

2. Flashes of Light

If you notice flashes of light appearing in your field of vision, this is a sign that something serious might be going on. It could indicate that your vision may be compromised in the future, and you should talk to it with your eye doctor as soon as possible.

3. Intermittent Blindness

Have you ever experienced bouts of sudden blindness? This sounds incredible, but it does happen to people who are losing their vision. If you have even one instance of this, contact your eye doctor immediately for testing.

4. Uncomfortable Pressure

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness. Unfortunately, this disease creeps up on people, and they may find themselves with a lost off the vision that is unexpected. If you experience uncomfortable pressure with the eye, this could very well be a sign of glaucoma. Your eye doctor can easily—and painlessly—check to see if you have advancing glaucoma. With luck, your doctor may be able to prevent blindness from occurring.

You should do everything within your power to protect your vision. By keeping an eye out for these signs that you may be losing your vision, you can keep your eyesight your entire life, as you should. If you experience any confusing symptoms that aren’t on this list, please consult with your eye doctor.

 

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a chronic disease that can potentially lead to blindness if is not detected and treated early enough. Because glaucoma has no symptoms in its early stages when it is best treated, it’s recommended that everyone undergo a glaucoma test at every eye exam. If glaucoma is caught early on, then the odds of preventing blindness are much higher. Glaucoma is much more prevalent in older generations. Because of this, it’s also recommended that no matter how excellent your vision is, if you are over the age of forty, you should visit your eye doctor at least once a year.

What Happens With Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is essentially a condition where to much pressure is built up in the eye. If the pressure within the eye is not treated, then the high pressure can cause damage to the optic nerve. The optic nerve is responsible for transmitting the signals from the eye to the brain. If the optic nerve is adversely affected by the high pressure, then it stops working. That’s when blindness occurs.

The worsening damage to the optic nerve from the high-pressure buildup of fluid is irreversible and cannot be repaired. This damage can happen over a period of time. This is yet another reason to be tested and get treatment early. If glaucoma is detected when just half of the optic nerve is destroyed, then the condition may be somewhat controlled. However, the damage that’s already occurred to the optic nerve can never be undone.

How Glaucoma is Detected

There’s only one way for glaucoma to be detected, and that is through an in-patient eye exam. This test can detect if the pressure within the eye is within a normal range. The test is completely painless and non-invasive. It only takes a few minutes. Glaucoma can be detected by examining the visual fields of the patient, including an examination of the back of the eye to look at the optic disc which is the front part of the optic nerve.

Glaucoma can have different forms, such as not having any symptoms at all or other types which are less common and can start almost acutely and have a lot of pain. There’s no reason not to have your eyes tested for glaucoma and every reason to have them tested. Contact your eye doctor today to have your eyes tested. Thereafter, make sure you visit your eye doctor at least once every year.

What is Pink Eye?

Pink eye is a condition that almost everyone experiences at least once in their lives. While pink eye is not life-threatening, it pays to understand what pink eye is so that you can have it treated right away. If pink eye is allowed to progress untreated, this condition could last longer than necessary, keeping you from getting on with your work and personal life. Following is some important information about what is pink eye.

What is Pink Eye?

Pink eye is characterized by an inflammation of the transparent membrane that covers the whites of your eye. This membrane is called the conjunctiva, and it also covers the interior of your eyelids. The official name for pink eye is conjunctivitis. The colloquial name for conjunctivitis is pink eye because it makes the whites of the eye appear pink or red.

Is Pink Eye Contagious?

There are a few different possible causes for pink eye. One of them is a bacterial infection, one is a viral infection, one is an allergic reaction and one is due to a clogged tear duct. If the pink eye is caused by an allergic reaction or a clogged tear duct, then it’s not contagious. Cases, where pink eye is due to bacterial or viral infection, can be contagious. Since there is no way to know the exact cause of the pink eye without a doctor’s help, it’s safer to assume that all cases of pink are contagious in order to avoid spreading it to others.

What Are The Symptoms of Pink Eye?

Pink eye symptoms are relatively common in everyone who experiences this condition. Symptoms include:

  • pink or reddish tint to the whites of the eye
  • very dry feeling in the eye
  • sand or grit feeling when blinking
  • heavy discharge
  • watery eyes
  • blurred vision

If you experience the symptoms of pink eye contact, your eye doctor right away. Don’t try to wait it out or treat pink eye with online recommended remedies. In addition, avoid rubbing your eyes. Your eye doctor will be able to diagnose the cause and treat your pink eye accordingly. Pink eye can lead to permanent eye damage if not treated correctly. Contact your eye doctor for more information.

How to Protect Your Eyes From Electronic Devices

Electronic devices emit blue light, which can be harmful to your eyes over time. While the rest of the world contains the full spectrum, electronic devices give out predominately blue light. When this light is absorbed into your eyes without the other colors to balance it out, the effects can range from headaches, strained eyes and blurred vision. The long-term effects of blue light on vision have yet to be determined. It’s safe to say, though, that you need to protect your eyes—and your vision—from electronic devices. Here are some easy strategies to implement.

Opt For Reader Tablets Without Blue Light

If you enjoy reading eBooks on your tablet, consider investing in one that has no blue light, or very little of it. There are a few different makers of tablets like these. The added benefit is that they can be used in bright sunlight, too.

Use a Blue Light Blocking App

There are some apps for your phone and computer that change the hue of the screen to block the blue light. The light is similar to natural light and easier on your eyes. You’ll be able to turn the app on or off as desired, but chances are you’ll get used to the different hue and end up using it regularly.

Choose a Traditional Book Now and Then

Instead of always reading books on your devices, opt for a traditional paperback or hardback book now and then. This will help to balance out your reading time between regular books and those that expose your eyes to blue light.

Tilt Your Screen

Protecting your eyes from electronic devices can be as easy as tilting your screed. Instead of having the screen light coming directly at your eyes, you can still read the screen at an angle while the light is emitted away from your eyes. Try it. You’ll notice a vast improvement in the strain on your eyes.

Limit Time on Devices

The most basic thing you can do to protect your eyes is to limit the time spent on devices. Alternate your activities between electronics and other things that don’t require you to be “connected.”

Don’t let electronic devices threaten your eye health. Use these tips on a daily basis to save your eyesight for the long-term.

How to Protect Your Child’s Vision

Eyesight must be cared for along with other areas of the body. Vision problems can start at a very young age. As a parent, there are many things you can do to protect your child’s vision so they may enjoy a lifetime of good eyesight.

Teach Good Habits

Teach your child to have good habits surrounding their eyesight. Show them the proper distance to hold a book, which is 15 to 25 inches, according to experts. Of course, your child’s arm’s are shorter but don’t allow your child to hold books close up to their faces.

Look For Indicators of Poor Vision

Your young child may not be able to communicate that they have trouble seeing. They may also assume their vision is the same as other kids.’ Always be on the lookout for indicators of challenging vision. These include:

  • your child drops a lot of items
  • behavioral issues (stemming from frustration)
  • excessive tripping/falling
  • often complains that their head hurts
  • poor grades
  • excessive dislike of school

Install Adequate Lighting

Poor lighting causes eye strain. Although a child’s decorative lamps are cute, they may not be bright enough for bedtime reading. Opt for a minimum of 40 watts next to the bed. If your child enjoys reading or looking at picture books elsewhere, place reading lamps where needed.

Get Professional Screenings

Don’t wait until your child’s school has a vision screening day. By then it may be too late to correct problems. Arrange to have your child’s vision screened in a professional doctor’s office. Even if your child can’t yet read, their vision can be tested in other ways that are age-appropriate. The earlier any issues are detected, the better the prognosis.

Use Protective Sports Eyewear

If your child engages in any contact sports, make sure they wear protective eyewear. Contact injuries are common in childhood when motor skills are still developing. Eye trauma can permanently damage vision, yet it’s easily preventable with protective eyewear.

You can help protect your child’s vision until they’re old enough to do so themselves. Use these tips to give your child the best odds of a lifetime of good vision.