Should You Have a Retinopathy Scan?

A retinopathy scan is the first step in detecting disease in the retina of your eye. If you’re diabetic or hypertensive, your eye doctor in Grand Forks, ND, may recommend a retinopathy scan as a preventive measure, even if you’re not experiencing difficulties with your vision. Early detection and treatment of retinopathy may help prevent total vision loss.

What Is a Retinopathy Scan?

During a retinopathy scan, your eye professional will use eye drops to dilate your pupils. Afterward, you’ll stare into a machine that takes a picture of your eyes. From this image, they can tell whether you have damage to the retina or other areas of the eye. The procedure is painless and non-invasive, though your eyes may be sensitive to light for several hours afterward.

What Causes Retinopathy?

Usually, diabetes or hypertension cause retinopathy. This disease develops due to abnormal blood flow to the eyes. Because your retinas are the areas of the eyes responsible for sensing light, damage to the retinas may lead to vision impairment or vision loss. In the case of retinopathy, damage has occurred to one or more of the many blood vessels within the retina.

What Are the Symptoms of Retinopathy?

Symptoms of retinopathy may include one or more of the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Floaters
  • Dark areas in your vision
  • Blindness

If you’re experiencing any problems with your vision, it’s a good idea to schedule a routine eye exam with your eye doctor. And if you struggle with diabetes or high blood pressure, talk with your primary care provider about the symptoms and treatment for retinopathy. They can refer you to a vision specialist for a retinopathy scan in Grand Forks.

Treatment for Retinopathy

In some instances, no immediate treatment may be needed for someone who is in the early stages of retinopathy. Your eye doctor will want to keep tabs on your eye health, however. Also, your primary care provider will recommend that you learn to manage your diabetes or hypertension. This will lessen the symptoms of retinopathy and may prevent symptoms from worsening.

If you do need retinopathy treatment, this may include medication, laser treatment, or eye surgery.

If you suspect you may have retinopathy, contact Lifetime Vision in Grand Forks, ND. Our friendly and professional staff is happy to sit down with you to discuss your concerns and your options for diagnosis and treatment.

What Causes an Astigmatism?

Astigmatism affects the curve of the eye, specifically the lens. When one curve is round and the other is oval-shaped, you may start to experience blurred vision regardless of how near or far you are. This is a common condition, one that’s pretty easily treated though. If you’re wondering what the causes are, we’ll look at how it typically occurs and what you can do if you have one.

Slight Imperfections and Causes

Many people are born with astigmatisms, and it’s not always a cause for concern. A slight mismatch between the curves of your eye may not require any medical care at all. For some people, astigmatism is the result of surgery, disease, or injury to the eye. Squinting of any kind, whether it’s from sitting near a TV or reading in poor light, will not cause this disorder. It’s also possible that you can actually develop astigmatism from pressing too hard on your eyes frequently.

Can Astigmatism Occur with Vision Problems?

Yes. You might also experience either near- or farsightedness if you have astigmatism. With nearsightedness, your cornea is curved too much, while with farsightedness, your cornea is curved too little. If you have poor night vision, eyestrain, or headaches, these could be symptoms of astigmatism. Correcting this condition is usually done by wearing proper corrective eyewear.

Seeing a Doctor

It’s important to know that astigmatism can occur at any age. Misperceptions of different kinds of eye disorders can often cause people to dismiss astigmatism as a possibility. You should also know that there’s a wide degree of severity when it comes to this disorder. As long as you’re having regular eye checkups, your doctor will be able to tell you whether your astigmatism needs treatment. Usually, treatment comes in the form of custom eyewear but laser surgery may also be an option as well.

If you’re between eye checkups though and start noticing problems with your vision — enough that it’s causing interference in daily activities — it may be time to schedule an impromptu visit. This way, you can get timely updates about your eyes and determine the best course of treatment.

 

Common Optometric Issues Resulting from Cancer Treatments

Cancer treatment can range depending on the situation. However, chemotherapy, immunotherapy drugs, steroids, and radiation treatment continue to be some of the most commonly used forms of treatment. While effective, these types of cancer treatment can lead to a long list of other health concerns, including problems with your eyes. Here is a look at some of the eye health issues you may experience during cancer treatment.

Dry Eyes or Lacking Tear Production

Dry eyes can be the result of certain medications taken during cancer treatment. For example, steroids and certain chemotherapy drugs may block tear production and lead to your eyes feeling dry and irritated. The eye doctor may be able to help by giving you eye drops that help keep your eye lubricated throughout treatment. As an adage, some patients experience the opposite problem; they deal with excessive tearing.

Sensitivity to Sunlight

Some cancer treatment drugs can actually make you more sensitive to sunlight or UV rays. You may notice that your ordinary sunglasses no longer offer enough protection. You may also notice your eyes seem to burn or get irritated easily when you are outdoors.

Changes in Eye Color

While not as common, some cancer patients do experience changes in eye color during the more intensive forms of treatment like radiation or treatment with chemotherapy drugs. Even though changes in eye color are usually just a cosmetic change, it is important that you have an eye doctor assessing the situation carefully to ensure nothing further is taking place.

Changes in Vision

Blurry vision is perhaps the most common complaint patients have during cancer treatment. Numerous types of treatment can cause changes in your vision. You may notice blurriness, but you may also notice things like:

  • Dark spots in your field of vision
  • Eye floaters
  • Changes in peripheral vision
  • Issues with depth perception

Work with an Optometrist in Grand Forks to Protect Your Eyes During Cancer Treatment

When you find out what your treatment will look like after a cancer diagnosis, it is a good idea to get your eye doctor on board to protect your vision through the process. Reach out to us at Lifetime Vision Center in Grand Forks, ND to schedule an appointment.

 

woman using eye drops

What to do if You Get Something in Your Eye

In most cases, if something gets in your eyes, you can easily remove it. Foreign objects are dangerous as they can scratch the cornea. It may take several days for a scratched cornea to heal, and you may also need to visit your doctor. This part of the eye is a protective covering for the front of your eye. Light enters the eye through the cornea and focuses it on the retina. Foreign items refer to things that get into the eyes from outside the body. This can be any object that doesn’t naturally belong in your eyes, from dust particles to metal shards.

Flush With Water

You may be able to flush out foreign objects in your eyes using a gentle stream of clean, warm water. Place an eyecup or small drinking glass on the bone below your eye socket. Another easy way of doing this is opening the eyelid and aiming a gentle stream of water on the forehead. If you’re wearing contact lenses, ensure you remove them before or when applying the water. Some objects may be stuck under the lens. Avoid rubbing the eyes or using sharp objects when touching the eyeball.

How Do You Look at Your Eye?

It’s not always easy to tell where a foreign item is located inside your eye. Therefore, ensure you have enough light while trying to remove it. First, open your eyes wide. Secondly, pull the lower lid down and look into a mirror. Lastly, lift the upper lid and look into the mirror again.

How to Remove Makeup in the Eyes

If some makeup gets into your eyes, you may be easily able to remove it. The ideal method will depend on where the items are located. If they are in the lower eyelid, pull the eyelid out and press on the skin below it. If you see the particles, use a damp Q-tip to remove it. Take caution to avoid damaging the eyeball. If anything more substantial gets in your eyes, contact your eye doctor for assistance.

When Should You Get Medical Help?

If you cannot easily remove the foreign objects in your eye, or need emergency treatment, contact your eyecare professional as soon as possible.

 

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.

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.