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Glaucoma & Your Eye Health What You Need To Know

Eye Doctor at Eye Mechanix

Eye Doctor at Eye Mechanix

Glaucoma is a leading cause of irreversible blindness in people over the age of 40. In honor of National Glaucoma Awareness Month, here’s what we think you should know about this sight-threatening eye disease.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that causes damage to the optic nerve, usually due to high pressure within the eye, called intraocular pressure (IOP). Left untreated, glaucoma can lead to irreversible vision loss, known as ‘tunnel vision,’ and eventually blindness.

The ‘Silent Thief of Sight’

This serious eye condition is known as ‘the silent thief of sight’ as it is often diagnosed too late to avoid irreparable vision loss. This is because glaucoma does not cause pain or any obvious symptoms until the eye has been extensively damaged. The only way to reduce your risk of permanent vision loss is to undergo regular comprehensive eye exams starting from the age of 40, even if you show no symptoms.

Who’s at Risk?

Certain factors can increase your risk of developing glaucoma:

  • Age — your risk of developing glaucoma increases with age. Because this is true for several eye diseases, it is recommended that adults undergo yearly comprehensive eye exams beginning at age 40. This is usually the age when early signs of eye disease are detectable and changes in vision may begin.
  • Family history — people who have a close relative (parent or sibling) with glaucoma are up to 9 times more likely to develop the disease.
  • Nearsightedness — myopia, or nearsightedness, increases a person’s risk of developing glaucoma. The higher the myopia, the higher the risk.
  • Ethnicity — The African American and Hispanic populations are 3 times more likely to have glaucoma than Caucasians. Blindness due to glaucoma is about 6 times more prevalent in African Americans than in Caucasian Americans. Additionally, individuals of Asian heritage have a higher risk of developing angle-closure glaucoma, a sudden and acute form of the eye disease.
  • Other health conditions — Having diabetes puts a person at risk of developing glaucoma, and so does sustaining a previous eye injury.

Is There a Treatment for Glaucoma?

While glaucoma isn’t preventable, patients with glaucoma can undergo treatments to successfully control this condition and prevent vision loss and blindness.

Glaucoma treatments include prescription eye drops, oral medications, and a variety of surgeries that reduce inner-eye pressure. Some procedures involve making small incisions in the eye to help fluid drain more easily, thereby reducing the pressure. Alternatively, small devices known as shunts or stents can be inserted into the eye to increase the flow of the fluid from the eye.

How We Can Help

Here’s a fact about glaucoma that may come as a surprise: half of all people with glaucoma don’t realize they have it! That’s why having yearly comprehensive eye exams is critical to detect underlying eye disease and begin treatment as soon as possible.

At Eye Mechanix, we offer comprehensive eye exams and other eye care services to help keep your eyes feeling and functioning at their best.

To schedule your eye exam, call Eye Mechanix in Lincoln Park today!

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Healthy Eyes in 2021

Prescription Eyeglasses at Eye Mechanix

Prescription Eyeglasses at Eye Mechanix

With 2021 just around the corner, you might be thinking about your New Year’s resolutions. Your eye health should be at the top of your priority list, and with the New Year nearly here, it’s important to maintain or create habits that will promote good health.

5 easy eye-healthy resolutions to consider adding to your list.

Schedule an Annual Eye Exam | Optometrist | Eye Mechanix

If you haven’t been to the eye doctor in a while, now is the time to call and schedule an appointment. An annual eye exam is crucial because even if your vision and eye health seem fine, an exam can uncover the early stages of many eye diseases before they can cause irreversible damage. An eye doctor can even spot signs of other potential health issues by checking your eyes, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and even many cardiovascular conditions. So, start off the new year right with an eye exam.

Wear Sunglasses

The sun’s UV rays aren’t just harmful to your skin, but to your eyes as well. UV rays have also been shown to be a major contributing factor in the development of many serious eye conditions, such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and more. So start the new year wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV rays whenever you are outside during the day, no matter the season.

Rest Your Eyes

Daily and prolonged computer use can lead to computer vision syndrome. Eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, and dry eyes are just some symptoms that may occur when using a digital screen for long periods of time. Give your eyes regular relief by following the 20-20-20 rule; take a 20-second break to view something 20 feet away, every 20 minutes.

Follow a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is a popular New Year’s resolution, as many look towards being healthier after the holiday season. It’s important to eat a balanced diet, not just for your overall health but also to promote good vision.

A diet containing the right amount of certain vitamins and minerals can boost your eyes’ health and help reduce the risk of certain eye conditions and vision loss.

For example, vitamin C — found in oranges, strawberries, broccoli, and peppers — can help slow cataracts and prevent macular degeneration.

Vitamin E also serves as a great antioxidant and agent against cataracts and macular degeneration. Vitamin E can be found in many nuts and dried fruit, like almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and pine nuts, as well as dried apricots.

Educate Yourself!

Take the time to learn about common eye conditions, including the signs, symptoms, and causes, as this can help you recognize any changes in your vision. The earlier an eye condition is detected, the better chance you have of preventing or managing it.

If you notice any vision changes, or if it’s time for your annual eye exam, schedule an appointment with Eye Mechanix for professional advice and treatment.

The Surge In Cosmetic Procedures During COVID Raises Eye Health Concerns

COVID-19 has indirectly impacted eye health in ways that few would have anticipated. With many classrooms, business meetings, and hang-outs being relocated to virtual settings like Zoom and FaceTime, people are spending more time scrutinizing other people’s faces — and their own.

For some people, the more time they spend watching themselves in the thumbnail, the more time they focus on real or imagined imperfections and features that make them feel insecure.

In fact, plastic surgeons and cosmetic doctors all over the world are reporting something called the ‘Zoom Boom’ — the recent surge in cosmetic procedures to perfect ‘Lockdown Face.’ Yep, it’s a thing.

What many don’t realize is that cosmetic facial procedures can pose serious risks to eye health and vision, and in some cases result in serious eye damage or vision loss.

While opting to undergo a cosmetic procedure is a personal choice that each individual should make for themselves, a fully informed decision requires a visit to your eye doctor. Also, those interested in having a cosmetic eyelid lift should consult with a reputable oculo-plastic surgeon who has experience in this particular procedure.

How Can Cosmetic Procedures Impact Your Eyes?

Before undergoing a cosmetic facial procedure, it’s important to know which procedures pose potential risks to your eyes and vision.

Eyelash Extensions

The adhesive used for eyelash extensions has been known to cause allergic lid reactions, infections, styes, and dry eye. Eye doctors unanimously agree that eyelash extensions should be the last resort for those who want fuller, thicker lashes.

Additionally, the addictive nature of eyelash extensions make them particularly risky. A side effect of lash extensions can be reduced eyelashes, which often drives the individual to have this procedure done repeatedly.

A safe alternative to getting eyelash extensions is using a medication called Latisse. This eyelash enhancing product can be prescribed by your eye doctor and may reduce the need for false eyelashes or extensions.

Laser Procedures

Lasers are used for various cosmetic procedures due to their high efficiency and accuracy. However, exposing the naked eye to a laser beam can be dangerous.

All laser procedures should be performed while the patient wears specialized goggles or corneal shields for protection. If the procedure is performed by an unlicensed individual, there is a much greater chance that effective eye protection won’t be used.

A study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology found that ocular injuries can occur even when protective shields are utilized correctly.

Episcleral Tattoos

This procedure is the tattooing of the whites of the eye. Dye is injected beneath the conjunctiva and into the sclera (the white of the eye) to make it appear the desired color.

Episcleral tattoos can cause headaches and severe light-sensitivity, and increase the risk of eye infections, conjunctival hemorrhaging, and permanent vision loss.

Botox Injections

Botox injections are one of the most popular cosmetic procedures offered today, but they can harm eye health and vision when injected around the eye area.

Some common complications include allergic reactions, blurred vision, and droopy eyelids. Most of these reactions are temporary, but if symptoms persist and if blurred vision is prolonged, see an eye doctor immediately.

Always choose a qualified and licensed doctor to perform the procedure.

When to Visit Your Optometrist

If you are considering having any facial or eye procedures done, speak with your optometrist about how to keep your eyes safe during the process.

An eye exam with Dr. Randall Ricketts will determine the state of your eye health and what risks would be involved with the procedure you want.

If you’ve already undergone a cosmetic procedure or surgery and are experiencing any eye health or visual symptoms, call Eye Mechanix in for a prompt eye exam.

We want you to feel confident in the way you look, while keeping your eyes healthy and safe. Call Eye Mechanix to schedule your eye exam today.

At Eye Mechanix, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 773-857-1260 or book an appointment online to see one of our Lincoln Park eye doctors.

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