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My Eyelid Hurts, Do I Have a Stye?

Emergency Eye Care Services Near You in Tempe

First of all, don’t panic! Styes may cause pain, yet they are generally harmless and very rarely have any effects on your vision or eyeball. In addition, they’re pretty common. Most people experience at least one or two styes at some point during their life, and these irritating bumps tend to recur. If you have swelling, tenderness and red-hot pain near the edge of your eyelid, don’t wait for your annual eye exam to get it checked.

What is a Stye?

A stye is a small lump either on the inside or outside of your eyelid. Most of the time a stye is visible on the surface, yet sometimes they can occur deep inside the eyelid. What’s inside this lump? It is a pus-filled abscess, generally due to an eye infection by staphylococcus bacteria.

All Styes are Not the Same

When a stye is located on the outside of your eyelid, it begins as a small spot next to an eyelash. Over the next few days, it will develop into a red and painful swelling. Typically, the stye will then burst and heal. Fortunately, the whole experience begins and ends relatively fast.

An internal stye, which is located on the underside of your eyelid, also leads to a red and painful swelling. However, the hidden location prevents the stye from creating a whitehead. Instead, it will disappear slowly once the infection is past, or a small cyst filled with fluid may remain. If that happens, your Tempe eye doctor may need to open and drain the cyst.

Cause of Styes

Many types of friendly bacteria live and breed on the surface of your skin, all of the time. Yet, when the conditions are right, some of these bacteria – such as the staphylococcal bacteria – feast on dead skin cells and other debris. As a result, a stye can develop. The process is similar to the way in which pimples appear.

In addition, a chronic facial condition called rosacea may be the root of your stye problem. Visit your eye doctor or dermatologist to diagnose rosacea and prescribe the best medical treatment.

Signs that You Need Emergency Eye Care

Extreme symptoms of inflammation and pain are typical reasons that patients call our Tempe, eye doctor for urgent care. However, even if you experience only mild irritation and swelling of your eyelid, you need to consult with an eye doctor if it doesn’t go away within a few weeks.

We advise you to seek medical advice for the following:

  • Eyelid swelling that interferes with your vision
  • Inflammation that doesn’t disappear within a week or two
  • Pain in your eye
  • Recurrent styes; these can indicate a chronic skin problem

Treatment for Styes in Tempe

Fortunately, most styes will improve and heal on their own within a few weeks. Never try to pop or squeeze a stye! It’s important to let them rupture and release the pus on their own. With regard to self-care, our eye doctor recommends that you apply warm compresses to your closed eyes for about 10 minutes, four times a day for a few days. The mild heat will relieve your pain and swelling as it also encourages the style to come to a head. As soon as you see the white head appear, continue applying warm compresses to promote bursting.

Sometimes, medical treatment is necessary and only a qualified eye doctor can evaluate your condition fully. If your style was caused by an infected eyelash follicle, we may need to remove the lash closest to the stye. Other times, the pus may need to be drained. After this procedure, the eyelid heals rapidly.

Is there a way to prevent styes?

If you find that your styes recur frequently, it’s a sign that you need to improve your eyelid hygiene. Start using lid scrubs to remove excess cellular debris and germs. Follow these steps:

  1. Add a few drops of mild baby shampoo into a cup filled with warm water. Stir well.
  2. Dip a cotton wool ball into the mixture and gently rub the soapy solution along the baseline of your eyelashes. Keep your eyelids closed while you do this.

We also recommend that you take care not to dry your face on dirty towels, rub your eyes with dirty hands, or use old and/or shared cosmetics.

Many of our Tempe patients tell us that they felt pinpoint tenderness near a few eyelashes before the stye appeared. If you experience this, you may be able to prevent the stye from forming by applying warm compresses frequently. Being proactive in this way can help you avoid further blockage of the eyelid glands.

Remember, while styes can be very painful – they do not typically pose any hazard to your vision. If you have symptoms of a stye, our eye doctor will provide emergency eye care to help alleviate the pain and promote healing.

At Tempe Eyecare Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 602-626-3907 or book an appointment online to see one of our Tempe eye doctors.

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Trouble Seeing at Night? All About Night Blindness

At this time of year when the sun sets earlier, many people are affected by night blindness. Night blindness or nyctalopia refers to difficulty seeing at night or in poor or dim lighting situations. It can be caused by a number of underlying conditions, sometimes completely benign and sometimes as a symptom of a more serious eye disease. So, if you are experiencing trouble seeing in low light, especially if it is a sudden onset of the condition, it is worth having it checked out by your eye doctor.

Signs of Night Blindness

The main indication of night blindness is difficulty seeing well in dark or dim lighting, especially when transitioning from a brighter to a lower light environment, like walking from outside into a dimly lit room. Many experience difficulty driving at night, particularly with the glare of streetlights or the headlights from oncoming traffic.

Causes of Night Blindness

Night blindness is a condition that can be present from birth, or caused by a disease, injury or even a vitamin deficiency. In order to treat the condition, your eye doctor will need to determine the cause. Here are some of the common causes:

  • Nearsightedness (myopia) – many people with nearsightedness (or difficulty seeing objects in the distance) experience some degree of night blindness, especially when driving.
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa – a genetic condition in which the pigmented cells in the retina break down causing a loss of peripheral vision and night blindness.
  • Cataracts – a clouding of the natural lens of the eye causing vision loss.
  • Glaucoma – a group of diseases that involve damage to the optic nerve and subsequent vision loss.
  • Vitamin A Deficiency – vitamin A or retinol is found in greens (kale, spinach, collards, broccoli etc.), eggs, liver, orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, mango etc.), eggs and butter. Your doctor may also prescribe Vitamin A supplements if you have a serious deficiency.
  • Eye Surgery – refractive surgery such as LASIK sometimes results in reduced night vision as either a temporary or sometimes permanent side effects.
  • Injury – an injury to the eye or the part of the brain that processes vision can result in reduced night vision.
  • Uncorrected Visual Error – many people experience better daytime vision as the pupils are smaller and provide greater depth of field to compensate for any vision problems. At night, the pupils dilate, so blur is increased from uncorrected nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or distortions/aberrations on the cornea from refractive surgery. Even a slight prescription for someone who may not need glasses during the day can make a significant improvement in night vision.
  • Eyewear Problems – even if your vision correction is accurate, badly scratched glasses or poor/defective lens coatings can also cause trouble seeing at night. Special lens coatings are now available on glasses for night time and foggy conditions.

Treatment for Night Blindness

Some causes of night blindness are treatable, while others are not, so the first step is a comprehensive eye exam to determine what the root of the problem is. Treatments range from simply purchasing a special pair of glasses, lens coatings or contact lenses to wear at night (for optical issues such as myopia) to surgery (to correct the underlying problem such as cataracts), to medication (for diseases like glaucoma). In some cases, your doctor may recommend that you avoid driving at night. During the day, it may help to wear sunglasses or a brimmed hat to ease the transition indoors.

As with any change in vision, it is critical to get your eyes checked as soon as you begin to experience symptoms, and on a routine basis even if you’re symptom-free. Not only will this improve your chances of detecting and treating a vision-threatening disease if you have one brewing, but treatment will also keep you more comfortable seeing in low-light, and keep you and your loved ones safe at night or in poor light conditions.

At Tempe Eyecare Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 602-626-3907 or book an appointment online to see one of our Tempe eye doctors.

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Diabetes Awareness Month – Learn about Diabetic Eye Health in Tempe

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time to learn more about diabetes of all types – type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.

Everyone knows the word “diabetes,” but can you define the condition? Diabetes is a disease characterized by higher than normal glucose levels in your blood. Blood glucose is what fuels your body, and it comes from the food you eat. When blood sugar flows through your bloodstream, insulin is needed to help it enter your body cells so it can be used for energy. However, if you have diabetes, your body may make insufficient insulin or not be able to use the insulin properly. As a result, all that sugar stays circulation in your blood – unable to be converted into energy.

Diabetes can be managed very well through diet, exercise, and taking medication. Without controlling diabetes by keeping blood sugar levels within the parameters recommended by your doctor, the high blood sugar can damage many organs – including your eyes. Staying healthy by following your personalized diabetes management plan and making sure to visit your eye doctor for regular eye exams, you can pave your path to good vision and eye health!

Diabetic eye health & diabetic eye disease

To state the facts – diabetes-related eye disease can lead to vision loss, but if you have diabetes, you can minimize your risk of developing diabetic eye disease. Taking charge of your health and visiting our Tempe eye doctor for regular eye exams can help prevent these diseases from developing.

Diabetic eye disease comprises several ocular conditions:

  • Diabetic retinopathy – occurs when the small blood vessels in your retina bleed and leak
  • Macular edema – swelling that occurs along with retinopathy; it happens when the retinal blood vessels in the macula (central region of the retina) leak and lead to inflammation
  • Cataracts – a clouding of the lens in the eye, which can cause blurry vision
  • Glaucoma – increased intraocular pressure, which damages the optic nerve and can cause loss of peripheral vision

Diabetes eye exams

With regular check-ups by our Tempe eye doctor, you can help prevent eye problems or keep the problems minor. One mistake that many people with diabetes make is to assume that a diabetes eye exam is only necessary if they notice any symptoms. This couldn’t be further from the truth! A comprehensive eye exam is the only reliable way to detect several eye conditions that can cause vision loss, such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts. Early detection of these problems can make the difference between effective, successful treatment and damage to your vision. During your dilated eye exam, the eye doctor will use high-powered magnification to inspect the inner tissues of your eye thoroughly, checking the retina for signs of diabetic retinopathy and checking the optic nerve for any damage.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) guidelines:

  • People with type 1 diabetes should have their first diabetic eye exam within the first five years
  • People with type 2 diabetes should visit their eye doctor for the first diabetic eye exam immediately after diagnosis. Type 2 diabetes can remain undetected for years, and vision damage can occur during this time.
  • Women with gestational diabetes should have an eye exam during the first trimester of pregnancy

After the first diabetic eye exam at Tempe, our eye doctor advises all adults with diabetes to visit yearly for a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

At Tempe Eyecare Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 602-626-3907 or book an appointment online to see one of our Tempe eye doctors.

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Tips on how to choose the best decorative color contact lenses

Not just for Halloween, color contacts transform any so-so costume or outfit into a truly eye-catching ensemble. Add a pair of bloodshot eyes to your ragged zombie garb or match your eyes to your favorite turquoise shirt. Do you see 20/20? Don’t worry, even if you don’t require vision correction, you can still wear decorative color contacts to change your look.

However, even if you don’t require prescription lenses – remember you still need a vision prescription to buy fashion contacts. Visit our Tempe eye doctor at Tempe Eyecare Associates for an eye exam to rule out any preexisting conditions that may interfere with your comfort and eye health when wearing contact lenses. We’ll evaluate your vision and ocular condition, and measure your eyes to prescribe costume contacts with a perfect fit.

Color contacts can be pretty, but they’re not cosmetics

Costume contact lenses, even the ones you only plan to wear on Halloween, are actually categorized as a medical device by the FDA. Contrary to what many people think, fashion lenses are not an over-the-counter item and require a prescription for purchase. All of the online USA vendors and local beauty shops that sell decorative contact lenses without a prescription are illegal. To buy color contacts safely and from an FDA-approved source, visit your eye doctor for a certified prescription.

A prescription ensures a proper fit

Contacts that don’t fit properly can lead to painful vision and even eye injury. To prescribe the ideal contact lenses for you, our Tempe optometrist will measure each eye. We’ll also assess your tear film to make sure your eyes have sufficient natural moisture. Your valid prescription will include a brand-name, your contact lens measurements, lens powers (if needed), and an expiration date.

When you simply insert decorative color contacts for Halloween or any other occasion without visiting an eye doctor first, you are increasing your risk of problems, such as red eyes, a corneal scratch, swelling, or infection. To help keep your vision healthy for as long as possible, visit a qualified eye doctor for a personalized prescription.

Fashion contacts need care

Just like your regular clothing, Halloween costume, and standard contact lenses – decorative color contacts also need to be cared for and handled properly! When our Tempe eye doctor fits you with fashion lenses, we’ll provide clear instructions on how to clean and store your new eyewear. Our optometry staff will also recommend the best disinfectants, eye drops, and solutions to use for your eye health. Neglecting to use the correct solutions can lead to infections.

Looking for decorative color contacts? Visit a professional eye doctor near you for an eye exam and precise contact lenses fitting!

At Tempe Eyecare Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 602-626-3907 or book an appointment online to see one of our Tempe eye doctors.

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Fall is Here! Do You Wish You Could See the Leaves Changing Color?

We offer specialized glasses for color blindness in Tempe

As autumn pushes the year forwards, everyone oohs and ahs over the fiery tones of the changing fall leaves set against a vivid backdrop of summer greenery. But if you have color blindness, whether you visit or live in a location with fall foliage, you probably suffer from a feeling of missing out. At Tempe Eyecare Associates, we understand – and we can help brighten your view of the world.

Despite the name, color blindness has nothing to do with going blind. It is a vision condition, more appropriately called color vision deficiency, in which the ability to discern colors is compromised. While colorblind individuals usually don’t see a stark black and white picture of the surrounding scenery, they do see colors differently from most people.

How do I know if I have color blindness, and who gets it?

Color blindness is not rare, affecting millions of people around the world. According to current statistics, about one in every 12 men in the United States is colorblind and one in every 200 women. (And yes, that is a possible reason why so many men ask for help when matching their tie to their shirt!)

Typically, color blindness is inherited – so blame genetics if you can’t make out all the hues of the rainbow. Also, it can be present from birth, show up during childhood, or make a sudden appearance in adulthood. Other than genetics, color blindness can also be due to chemical or physical damage to parts of the brain that process color cues, to the eye itself, or to the optic nerve. As cataracts develop, they can also dim and dull your color vision.

If you notice that colors don’t look distinct to you, a specialized eye exam using diagnostics to test color vision in our Tempe eye care center can diagnose this disorder. Contact us to book an appointment with our eye doctor.

What causes color blindness?

You need to understand the basics of color vision in order to understand the loss of this ability. Our Tempe optometrist explains that your eyes and brain partner to see all the properties of light. When you see reflected light, you see color – and the particular color depends on how long the reflected wavelengths of light are. For example, a red rose is only red because it reflects the long wavelengths of red light, absorbing all others at the same time.

In order to see all of the light around you, your cornea and lens focus the wavelengths onto the retina at the back of your eye. There awaits millions of photoreceptors – called rods and cones – which are cells that are sensitive to light. The rods and cones contain photopigment molecules that absorb light, and this process triggers electrical signals to be conveyed from the retina to the brain.

Rods respond more powerfully to dim light, and cones react more forcefully to bright light. Also, cones contain one of three different photopigments, making them sensitive to red, green, and blue light wavelengths. That means in order to see all the hues that are out there, you need all your cones to function fully and properly. When there is a defect in the genes that produce your photopigments, congenital color blindness results.

Is there only one kind of color blindness?

No, there are three main types:

  1. Deuteranopia, most common, is a form of red-green color blindness
  2. Protanopia is another form of red-green color blindness that affects the ability to discern between blue and green and between red and green
  3. Tritanopia, also called blue-yellow color blindness, causes people to get confused between blue and green or violet and yellow

What’s the treatment for color blindness?

While there’s no magic bullet to cure all color blindness, specialized lenses and advanced optics are now available to enhance your ability to precisely differentiate between colors. Called “color blind glasses”, this eyewear is crafted with amazing technologies. Basically, the lenses have built-in, customized tints that filter out certain wavelengths of light – giving you a more accurate perception of the spectrum of color tones.

We are always excited to see the reaction of patients who put on color blind glasses for the first time in our Tempe eye care clinic. Suddenly, traffic lights make sense and flowers bloom in more than one shade!

Ready to see not only the trees, but the vibrant red and green of the leaves too? Book a color blindness eye exam and consultation with our experienced eye doctor at Tempe Eyecare Associates.

6 Tips for Having Healthy Eyes & Contact Lenses

Your eyes do so much for you every day, show your love and appreciation by taking care of them! When you wear contact lenses, caring for them properly will help keep your eyes and your vision in top shape. However, if you don’t practice correct hygiene and handling with your contacts, you increase your odds of getting a serious eye infection and put your sight at risk.

Read the following contact lenses health tips from our friendly, knowledgeable eye doctor near you to ensure that you give your eyes the attention they deserve:

1. Keep your contacts away from water

Yes, that includes showering, swimming, and rinsing or storing your contact lenses in water. Although water may look clean and sparkling, it’s actually teeming with dangerous germs that can transfer into your cornea and lead to a sight-threatening eye infection. In particular, water-borne bacteria can cause acanthamoeba keratitis, a rare eye infection that can lead to blindness.

Recently, a woman in England was diagnosed with acanthamoeba keratitis after showering and swimming in her contact lenses. An article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, in July 2019, reported how the woman wore monthly disposable soft contact lenses and began to experience painful, blurry vision and light sensitivity in one eye. After two months of these disturbing symptoms, she booked an appointment with her eye doctor.

At her eye exam, it was discovered that her vision in her left eye was only 20/200. By taking a corneal scraping and inserting dye into her eye, her eye doctor was able to confirm a diagnosis of acanthamoeba keratitis. She was treated with antimicrobial eye drops, and the infection cleared up. However, her vision loss remained due to a corneal scar and a cataract that had developed. About a year later, she had eye surgery that was able to relieve all pain and restore her vision to 20/80.

Why is the risk of acanthamoeba keratitis higher for contact lenses wearers?

This uncommon, aggressive eye infection affects only one to two million contact lenses wearers in the United States per year. It shows up more frequently in people who wear contacts because the lenses absorb water and anything contained in that water. As contacts rest directly on top of your eye, they provide a clear path to your cornea. Acanthamoeba keratitis must be treated immediately, because it can damage vision quickly.

To protect against all types of eye infection, our eye doctor near you recommends never coming into contact with water while you are wearing contact lenses!

2. Treat your contact lenses to fresh solution every time you clean or store them.

Never top up used solution with additional new solution to make the bottle last longer! Doing this reduces the cleaning power of your disinfectant, leaving your contact lenses susceptible to bacteria.

3. Don’t sleep with contact lenses, unless your eye doctor lets you

Sleeping with contacts is contraindicated, unless your eye doctor instructs you that your type of contacts is suitable for overnight wear. Many scientific studies have shown that wearing lenses while sleeping raises the risk of eye infection six to eight times higher!

4. Clean your contacts by rubbing them

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, not only should you clean your hands well before touching your contact lenses, but you should also take care to rub your contacts. Rubbing your lenses helps to loosen any bacteria build-up, and studies show it’s a very effective way to reduce your chances of getting an eye infection.

5. Throw out your contact lenses on time

Only wear your lenses for the duration of time that your eye doctor recommends. For example, if you have monthly contact lenses – don’t continue to wear them after 30 days have passed.

All of the above tips from our eye doctor near you will optimize the health of your eyes as you enjoy the clarity and comfort of wearing contact lenses!

Is School Work Causing Computer Vision Syndrome in Your Child?

Eye health tips for students from our Tempe eye doctor

The start of fall means back-to-school for kids of all ages – and our team at Tempe Eyecare Associates wishes everyone a smooth and successful return to the classroom!

When your child enters school after a summer of outdoor fun, many of the summer’s vision hazards are left behind. Yet, that doesn’t mean all eye health risks are eliminated! Nowadays, the majority of learning is computer based – exposing students’ eyes to the pain and dangers of blue light and computer vision syndrome. Fortunately, a variety of helpful devices and smartphone apps are available to block blue light and keep your child’s vision safe and comfortable.

To help you safeguard your child’s vision for the upcoming semesters and the long term of life, our Tempe optometrist explains all about computer vision syndrome and how to prevent it.

Symptoms of computer vision syndrome

It’s smart to familiarize yourself with the signs of computer vision syndrome. If your child complains about any of these common symptoms, you can help prevent any lasting vision damage by booking an eye exam with our Tempe eye doctor near you:

  • Eye irritation and redness
  • Neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eyes, due to reduced blinking
  • Headaches

Basics of blue light

Students spend endless hours in front of digital screens, be it a computer monitor, tablet, or smartphone. There is homework to be done, research to be conducted, texting with friends, and movies and gaming during downtime. All of this screen time exposes your child’s eyes to blue light.

Many research studies have demonstrated that flickering blue light – the shortest, highest-energy wavelength of visible light – can lead to tired eyes, headaches, and blurry vision. Additionally, blue light can disrupt the sleep/wake cycle, causing sleep deprivation and all the physical and mental health problems associated with it. As for your child’s future eye health, blue light may also be linked to the later development of macular degeneration and retinal damage.

How to avoid computer vision syndrome

Our Tempe eye doctor shares the following ways to block blue light and protect against computer vision syndrome:

  • Computer glasses, eyeglasses lenses treated with a blue-light blocking coating, and contact lenses with built-in blue light protection are all effective ways to optimize visual comfort when working in front of a screen. These optics reduce eye strain and prevent hazardous blue-light radiation from entering the eyes.
  • Practice the 20-20-20 rule; pause every 20 minutes to gaze at an object that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This simple behavior gives eyes a chance to rest from the intensity of the computer or smartphone screen, preventing eye fatigue.
  • Prescription glasses can be helpful when using a computer for long periods – even for students who don’t generally need prescription eyewear. A weak prescription can take the stress off of your child’s eyes, decreasing fatigue and increasing their ability to concentrate. Our Tempe optometrist will perform a personalized eye exam to determine the most suitable prescription.
  • Moisturize vision with eye drops. One of the most common symptoms of computer vision syndrome is dry eyes, namely because people forget to blink frequently enough. Equip your child with a bottle of preservative-free artificial tears eye drops (available over the counter) and remind them to blink!
  • Blue light filters can be installed on a computer, smartphone, and all digital screens to minimize exposure to blue. A range of helpful free apps are also available for download.
  • Limit screen time for your child each day, or encourage breaks at least once an hour. Typically, the degree of discomfort from computer vision syndrome is in direct proportion with the amount of time your child spends viewing digital screens.
  • Set the proper screen distance. Younger children (elementary school) should view their computer at a half-arm’s length away from their eyes, just below eye level. Kids in middle school and high school should sit about 20 – 28 inches from the screen, with the top of the screen at eye level.

For additional info, book a consultation and eye exam at Tempe Eyecare Associates

When you and your child meet with our Tempe eye doctor, we’ll ask questions about your child’s school and study habits to provide customized recommendations on the most effective ways to stay safe from computer vision syndrome and blue light. Our optometrist stays up-to-date with the latest optic technologies and methods to prevent painful vision and eye health damage from using a computer, so you can depend on us for contemporary, progressive treatment.

Rest Your Eyes & Get a Good Night’s Sleep!

You know how you feel when you don’t get enough sleep – cranky, foggy, dragging through the day? And your eyes may be red and puffy with black bags underneath. But not only does lack of sleep affect the appearance of your eyes, it can also interfere with your eye health. How? Your Tempe eye doctor explains all about the connection between sleep and your vision.

What do eyes do during sleep?

Studies have shown that when you sleep throughout the night, you experience three to five episodes of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, comprising 20-25% of your sleep time. During these sleep stages, most of your body’s muscles shut down and relax, but not your eyes. In fact, eyes move so fast during REM that they can reach up to 1,000 degrees of movement per second.

The precise purpose of REM sleep remains unknown, however we do know that if you don’t get enough solid zzz’s, serious eye problems can result.

What happens when your eyes don’t sleep enough?

Puffiness and dark circles under your eyes

These are only cosmetic issues and not a dangerous side effect of sleep deprivation. But they can be quite unattractive and make you look old and tired.

Red eyes

Sometimes a poor night’s rest leads to popped blood vessels in your eye. Though they’re not painful, most people don’t like sporting the zombie look.

Twitching or eye spasms

Also known as myokymia, these involuntary eye movements can be uncomfortable, but they will pass after you get more rest. Yet, in the meantime they can be very frustrating and make it hard to drive, work, or read.

Dry, itchy eyes

Without enough sleep, the fluid circulation of lubricating tears in your eyes doesn’t work well, leading to dry eyes or making a case of dry eye syndrome even worse. Not only do dry eyes cause irritation, but they can also compromise the health of your eyes. You may experience an increased sensitivity to light or blurry vision. Also, people with dry eyes tend to rub them, which exacerbates the problem and can lead to infection. And of course, if you are sleep deprived, your immune system is weakened; so infection can occur more easily. If your dry eyes last more than a few days, call our Tempe to book an eye exam and get relief from personalized dry eye treatment.

By the way, if you try to solve your sleep problem with sleeping pills, beware! According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, these drugs can have serious side effects that may complicate your body’s ability to secrete moisture, which can cause dry eye.

Glaucoma

This sight-threatening eye disease happens when too much pressure builds up inside the eye and there is damage to the optic nerve. A 2019 article published in The Journal of Glaucoma reported the results of a study of more than 6,700 people over 40 years old in the US who have glaucoma, and a strong link was found between having glaucoma and having various sleep problems.

AION – Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

This condition is closely linked to sleep apnea. AION is a persistent inflammation of eye vessels, which can lead to vision loss eventually. It results from the optic nerve not getting a proper supply of blood and oxygen.

Did you know eyes eat as you sleep?

When you doze through the night, your body organs get nourished. Everything you eat passes first through your liver, and at night, the energy from this food travels throughout your body – including to your eyeballs. So to keep your eyes healthy and your vision working efficiently, you need solid, restful sleep!

If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, our Tempe advises you to ask us about taking eye vitamins to counteract some of the side effects of sleep deprivation. These supplements can alleviate some of the pain of dry eye too.

Are you tired?

Most likely, you’re fully aware of when you are sleep-deprived. And if you aren’t self-aware, then usually someone around you – family, co-workers, friends – will point out your grouchy attitude. When that happens regularly, it’s time to take a look at your daily habits and figure out the root of your sleep loss (before you lose your friends too!). Remedying this problem can give you a whole new perspective on waking up in the morning!

At Tempe Eyecare Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 602-626-3907 or book an appointment online to see one of our Tempe eye doctors.

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Get Some Fresh Air! Go Outside to Boost Your Body & Eye Health

Scientific studies abound with support for the timeless wisdom of moms everywhere! Spending more time outdoors is good for kids. It keeps their bodies in good shape, protects against obesity and a variety of diseases, sharpens distance vision, and reduces their chances of myopia (nearsightedness). Are you a skeptic that sending your kids outside to play really packs so much power? Our Tempe eye doctor explains the benefits of the great outdoors:

Indoor children are at risk

In the past twenty years, childhood has taken a cushy seat indoors. The average kid in America now spends as little as a half-hour a day playing outside daily – and more than seven hours per day gazing at a digital screen! What does all this time indoors on the couch mean for kids’ health? The effects are obvious:

  • Rates of childhood obesity have more than doubled
  • The US is now the largest consumer of ADHD medications worldwide
  • Many children are suffering the effects of not enough sleep
  • Pediatricians are prescribing more antidepressants than ever
  • Myopia is reaching epidemic proportions

Since when is sun exposure a good thing?

In moderation and with appropriate protection for skin and eyes, exposure to the sun can be a good thing. Bodies need access to the sun to make vitamin D, which is key for many biological processes, such as strengthening your immune system and bone development.

In addition, spending time outdoors can help your kids get a good night’s sleep. Contemporary children tend to suffer from sleep deprivation, likely due to the way they fill their downtime with electronic gadgets and television. Spending time outside can promote a deeper sleep for children by keeping them more alert during the day, lifting their moods, and helping to set their biological clocks in a better wake-sleep cycle.

As you send your kids to the park, remember the advice of your Tempe optometrist: slather your kids with sunscreen to safeguard their skin and make sure they wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection to protect their vision. And don’t worry – sunglasses don’t block the benefits of sunlight.

Connection between sun and vision

The results of a large study conducted jointly by the USC Eye Institute and the NIH show that the rate of myopia among kids in America has more than doubled in the past 50 years! Even more dramatic are the statistics in Asia, where at least 90% of the population has been diagnosed with myopia, in contrast to only 10-20% 60 years ago. Why is this happening? Take a guess…. Yep! One primary reason is because kids are spending less time outdoors.

When kids stay inside watching television, swiping their phones, or clicking on their tablet, it stresses their eyes. They are only focusing on near objects, often in dim lighting with poor visual contrast and glare – all of which strain their eyes. Outdoors, children also relax their eye muscles by gazing into the distance.

Recent research explored the amount of time children spend outside in relation to nearsightedness. The study demonstrated that more time outside had a preventive effect for the onset of myopia. And if a child is already nearsighted, spending time outside can slow the progression of myopia.

Want to understand more about the science of eyes and vision? When kids play outside, they are exposed to UVB rays, which triggers the release of dopamine in the retina and circulates vitamin D in the body. Altogether, these processes help to protect their eyes against myopia. Natural light also appears to slow the axial growth of the eye, and it is precisely this type of growth that contributes to nearsightedness.

Balance indoor and outdoor time for kids

A healthy balance of spending time in the fresh air and staying safe from overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays is the rule to follow! Our Tempe eye doctor encourages parents to set limits on screen time for kids, and to remember that kids learn by example. You can make outdoor time into a family event by playing sports, going to the park, gardening, or even strolling around the block together (with your sunglasses on, of course!).

Optometrist’s Warning: Beaching without eye protection can damage your vision

Tips on what to pack in your beach bag to keep your eyes safe

Most people remember to bring a pair of sunglasses to the shore. But unbelievably, only 31% of Americans actually wears those sunglasses, according to a recent report by The Vision Council. So, the first advice from your Tempe eye doctor is a reminder that if you own sunglasses, you need to wear them to reap the benefits. Putting your sunglasses in your bag (or perched on top of your head for a sleek look) won’t block dangerous UV rays from reaching your eyes!

You know sunglasses are important, but why?

In the short term, a day at the beach without shades can cause photokeratitis, similar to a red and painful sunburn of your eye. And in the long term, excessive exposure to the UV rays can seriously damage your vision, increasing your odds of developing diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Bottom line for beach bums – wear your sunglasses over your eyes for ultimate protection!

Sunglasses features you need

Now that we’ve established why you need to block your eyes from UV light, what’s the best way to do it? According to our Tempe eye doctor, these are some of the most important criteria for choosing sunglasses:

  • Complete UV protection – 100% blockage against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for sunglasses labeled “UV400” or “100% UV Protection.” Also, don’t be fooled by the darkness of the lenses, it has everything to do with style and nothing to do with protective strength.
  • Wraparound designs – ideally, your frames should cover as much of the area surrounding your eyes as possible. That’s because sun rays can enter from the sides, bottom, and top too, and not just from straight ahead. Remember, harmful sunlight reflects off the ocean and white sand – and it can hit your face from any angle.
  • Polarized lenses – polarized sunglasses can block out the strongest light rays, and they eliminate glare for more comfortable vision too.
  • Prescription lenses – the perfect solution for anyone who normally needs glasses or contacts to see.

Match your eyewear to your sport

Riding the waves? Surf goggles are the latest craze for surfing, jet-skiing, bodysurfing, and all water sports – and our Tempe optometrist is a big fan of these protective specialty glasses! They will decrease your eyes’ contact with UV rays, reduce glare, and protect your delicate peepers against wind and water spray. Typically, the lenses are also anti-fog and impact-resistant. Wraparound styles are ideal, because they give you wide peripheral vision too. Surf goggles also enhance your underwater vision and reduce the risk of eye infection.

Ever hear of surfers’ eye? Officially termed pterygium, surfers’ eye results from prolonged exposure to the sun. It starts as a benign lesion that spreads across the white of your eye and can cause irritation and blurry vision. Sunglasses and surf goggles will protect against this unsightly condition!

Water sports aren’t the only way you can damage your eyes at the beach. When you play volleyball, beach soccer, or any other game on the sand, whizzing objects are a part of the fun. Sports goggles, which usually come with built-in UV protection, will keep your eyes safe from injury and the sun.

Planning to take a plunge? Goggles are a must for swimmers. The high salt concentration of ocean water can be irritating, and if the water is polluted with contaminants (sadly, this is common at many beaches) – then the risks to your vision are even greater.

Contact lenses and the beach are a bad combo

Contact lenses can trap nasty germs and harmful bacteria on the surface of your eye, where they can breed and lead to a serious eye infection. In fact, some of these eye infections can be so serious that they threaten your vision. Best practice is to remove your contact lenses before swimming and put on a pair of prescription swim goggles to see underwater.

If you simply refuse to listen to this advice from our Tempe optometrist, and you insist on wearing contacts when you swim – then the second best thing to do is wear daily disposable lenses and throw them out as soon as you emerge from the water. Then you can insert in a fresh pair.

Don’t let an overcast day cloud your judgement

A cloudy sky doesn’t fully block the intense UV rays of the summer sun. So no matter the forecast, you still need to bring your sunglasses. Also, our Tempe optometrist recommends staying out of the sun in the early morning (about 8-10am) and during the heat of the afternoon (2-4pm), when UV rays are strongest.

Hats help

Even the best sunglasses can leave a gap along the sides, which exposes your eyes to UV radiation. To shade the entire area around your eyes, we recommend wearing a hat with a brim that’s at least 3 inches wide. Not only are hats a trending finish to your fashion, but they also help prevent you from developing basal cell carcinoma, which is a skin cancer that often affects the eye area.

Sunburn in your eye?

The symptoms of photokeratitis are similar to that of a sunburn on your skin, and you won’t usually notice these symptoms until way after the damage has been done. You may have pain, blurry vision, redness, tearing, swelling, headache, increased sensitivity to light, a feeling of grit in your eye, eyelid twitching, and seeing halos. The longer you were exposed to UV radiation, the more severe the symptoms.

What should you do? Usually, nothing. Most of time photokeratitis heals on its own. Go indoors into a dark room, and refrain from rubbing your eyes. If you are wearing contact lenses, remove them immediately. To alleviate your symptoms, place a cold washcloth over your closed eyes, use artificial tears eye drops, and call to schedule an urgent eye exam at our Tempe optometry office. You may need pain relievers or antibiotic drops, as recommended by our eye doctor.

What to do when sand gets in your eyes

Sand in your eyes can be excruciating. And it’s smart to know what to do in advance, so you can get relief as fast as possible! If you get sand in your eyes, rinse it out with clean water or saline immediately, and blink a few times. If your eyes still feel irritated after an hour or more, call our Tempe eye doctor for guidance. You may have a corneal abrasion, which should be checked out. It’s important to get treatment as soon as possible (such as prescription antibiotic drops), because the sand can lead to an eye infection, which can cause a corneal ulcer when left untreated. To prevent this problem, put on sunglasses that cover your eyes and the whole area!

What to do when sunscreen gets in your eyes

The chemicals from sunscreen can sting or burn. However, while these sensations aren’t pleasant, don’t panic – sunscreen won’t cause any permanent damage to your eyes.

Take care when applying lotions, put them on your face slowly and avoid the eye area. Thicker lotions are ideal, so they won’t run into your eyes. All that said, if you get sunscreen in your eyes, flush them out with water. (First remove your contacts if you had them in!) Any steady stream of lukewarm water is good. Wait about a half-hour, and if your eye is still irritated, apply a cold compress to ease the pain. If the irritation persists for longer than a few days, contact our Tempe optometrist to book an eye exam.

Still not sure what to pack for your vacation days at the beach? Visit our eye doctor in Tempe and we’ll be happy to help you keep your eyes and vision safe and sound at the shore!