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.

Back to School! Is Your Child’s Vision Ready?

Good vision is important at every stage in life, but it is especially important that your child see well in school. Vision problems can adversely affect your child’s achievement in school, during sports and play, and even in social situations. Clear vision also helps your child stay safe. Children need certain vision skills to get the most out of school, and a vision screening can help ensure that your child has good vision.

About 20 percent of children have refractive errors, a type of eye problem that causes blurry vision because the eye does not focus light correctly. Nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism are common refractive errors. Nearsightedness means your child cannot clearly see faraway objects, while farsightedness means your child cannot see close up items, such as words on a page. Astigmatism causes blurry vision close up and far away so your child has trouble seeing at all distances.

Poor Vision Causes Problems In and Out of the Classroom

These conditions can prevent your child from seeing the chalkboard or computer screens well, which can prevent your child from learning all he or she can during class. Poor vision can cause poor eye-hand coordination and interfere with playground and sports activities – it is hard to catch a blurry ball or jump over a hurdle you cannot see! Even simple tasks, such as learning how to tie shoes or match socks, are more difficult with vision problems.

Vision problems can also affect a child’s social life. Poor vision can cause a child to miss visual cues, such as the facial expressions of others, during conversations. Inability to focus or see clearly can cause a child to squint, tilt his or her head to the side, or even invade another child’s personal space. These behaviors, in addition to poor performance in the classroom and during play, can lead to teasing, bullying, or being picked last for team activities. Having both poor vision and social problems at school can lead to low self-esteem, withdrawal and behavioral issues.

Poor vision can also lead to problems at home during the school year. Untreated vision problems can contribute to stress throughout the household because homework can take longer than it should and parents can become frustrated when the child “acts out” or lags behind.

Because vision problems often cause subtle symptoms, many parents do not realize their child has trouble seeing. The best way to make sure your child’s vision is ready for school, make an appointment with Lifetime Vision Center. Our team of skilled professionals aims to give every child we see the healthy vision they need for success in and out of the classroom.

Importance of Pediatric Eye Exams – Why Your Child Needs Them

Recently, our own Dr. Jeff Yunker was interviewed by KNOX Radio 1310. He discussed the importance of pediatric eye exams and why your child needs them. Here are some highlights of the show.

Staggering Statistics of Child Vision Needs

“Vision is an instrumental process in how a child develops,” said Dr. Yunker. “About one in five kids age 12 to 17 have difficulty seeing across the room.” This statistic is increasing with the proliferation of devices and the amount of time kids spend staring at screens. This actually increases nearsightedness, making it harder to see across the classroom. “Two thirds of kids under age six have never had an eye checkup or eye exam,” continued Dr. Yunker. “And 3 to 5% of kids have an undiagnosed lazy eye.”

What is a Lazy Eye?

Basically, a lazy eye is a condition where the two eyes aren’t working together. It creates a kind of monocular function that affects the occipital cortex of the brain. Left untreated, this condition becomes permanent, and there’s nothing anyone can do to change it. It can be compared to pouring concrete, says, Dr. Yunker. “Concrete hardens up and you’re not going to change the shape and what happens by age seven is, developmentally the brain that transduces an electrical impulse that’s sent to the back of your eyes so your brain can interpret what you’re seeing, those cells are like poured concrete.”

Why Your Child Needs Professional Eye Exams

School eyesight screenings help, but they can miss up to 75% of learning related vision problems. It’s so important to get kids in as soon as they start school to have a professional eye exam. Doing so can help avoid falling grades and even subsequent behavioral problems. “75% of juvenile offenders had undiagnosed vision problems,” Dr. Yunker said. If those kids hadn’t experienced vision problems in school and had failing grades, maybe they wouldn’t have turned to negative behaviors.

If you have a school-aged child, please book an appointment now. Chances are your insurance will pay for preventative eye appointments. For help with your appointment or payment options, please contact us today.

 

treatment-for-droopy-eyes

Is There Treatment for Droopy Eyelids?

It happens to the best of us. One day, we’re looking in the mirror, and we notice sagging skin on the upper eyelid that’s drooping down toward the eye. It’s just one of the exciting skin changes we can look forward to with aging, yet it may become more of a problem to some people based on your skin and facial structure. If you notice this problem and are concerned about it, let’s talk about your options.

Treatment for Droopy Eyelids

If your eyelids have been drooping or you have bags under your eyes, there is a treatment available to you. Your eye doctor is able to use a cutting-edge device that is normally used for glaucoma, known as a Humphrey 850 visual field, to check whether your drooping eyelids are a problem. This machine can measure how much the eyelid is in the way of your field of vision. If your vision is compromised, a plastic surgeon can fix the drooping eyelid, giving great results for both the way you see the world and the way you see yourself in the mirror. This is a safe, reliable technique performed by qualified medical professionals. The main potential risk is that the doctor could remove too much skin, preventing the eyes from closing fully, but that is a very low risk.

Does Insurance Cover This Treatment?

While you have to pay for most treatments that improve your looks with your own money, this one can be covered by insurance in many cases. That’s because the drooping eyelid skin can interfere with your line of sight. An eye doctor is able to test whether your vision is restricted and whether pulling the lid away would improve the visual field. If so, medical insurance should cover the procedure to the extent indicated by your plan. If by chance you’re not covered by medical insurance and want to have the procedure done for cosmetic purposes, it would cost you about $3,000 to $4,000 for the upper lids. You also have the option to improve your look by having the doctor fix undereye bags, which costs about the same as fixing the drooping eyelids.

If your drooping eyelids are bothering you, ask your eye doctor to test whether they’re blocking your field of vision during your next routine eye exam.