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6 Top Treatment Options for Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a condition that occurs as a person ages, which causes the lens of the eye to become less elastic. This results in issues with near vision for people 40 years old and over, which can cause difficulties with simple everyday tasks like reading, writing, or working on a computer.

Fortunately, your Ashburn eye care team at Loudoun Eye Associates can easily diagnose presbyopia as part of a routine comprehensive eye exam. Once diagnosed, we can offer a number of treatment options to make sure you enjoy your best vision at all times.

Here are six of the most common treatments for presbyopia correction:

Bifocal and Progressive Lens Eyeglasses

Bifocal and progressive lens eyeglasses are far and away the simplest and most commonly prescribed treatment for presbyopia.

A bifocal lens offers two distinct sections in a single lens. The primary section helps correct for distance vision, while the secondary section, usually a much smaller section of the lens, allows for clear near-vision.

Progressive lenses function in a similar manner. However, instead of the distance and near vision sections being in distinct zones, they’re more blended. This offers a more seamless viewing experience, though it can sometimes take longer to get used to.

Contact Lenses

There are two common types of contact lenses when it comes to the treatment of presbyopia with contacts:

Monovision contact lenses come in different prescriptions for each eye; one eye is fitted with a lens for distance vision and one for near vision. This solution may not be for everyone, however, as it can sometimes take some time to get used to.

Multifocal contact lenses work in much the same way that multifocal eyeglasses do. They’re designed to offer clear vision across distance, moderate and near vision. They come in various types, including soft disposable, rigid gas permeable, and hybrid contact lenses.

Corneal Inlays

Corneal inlays are very small implantable lenses that your eye doctor surgically places in the cornea to address issues with presbyopia. There are a few different kinds of corneal inlays currently available. Each of these lenses works in a slightly different way:

Corneal inlays that rely on exploiting the pinhole effect are implanted in the non-dominant eye allowing the lens to extend the patient’s overall range of vision.

Corneal inlays that are made from biocompatible hydrogel are designed to imitate the cornea in your eye. This inlay treats presbyopia in the same way as multifocal contact lenses, changing the curvature of the eye, and altering the way light enters and is focused on the retina.

Monovision LASIK

Although traditional LASIK procedures don’t address presbyopia, certain variations can help reduce symptoms and minimize your reliance on bifocals or reading glasses.

Monovision LASIK is the most widely used surgical correction for presbyopia. It corrects the dominant eye so that you can see better at a distance while leaving the less-dominant eye nearsighted. This relies on the idea that the non-dominant eye is only mildly nearsighted, so it is still able to see things up close without the need for reading glasses.

Refractive Lens Exchange

For refractive lens exchange (RLE), an eye surgeon replaces your eye’s natural lens using an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL improves near vision and reduces your need for near vision solutions such as reading glasses. There are multiple strategies that can be employed to address your particular case, including different types of lenses in each eye. Speak to your eye doctor to find out what will work best for you.

Eye drops are among the newest solutions for the treatment of presbyopia and are most effective in patients who have just begun to experience symptoms. They are miotic drops, meaning they rely on making the pupil contract to create a “pinhole effect” that mimics the eye’s natural ability to focus. This allows for improved vision close-up in patients with presbyopia.

For more information on how we can help you see your best with presbyopia, contact our Ashburn eye care team at Loudoun Eye Associates today!

Q&A

Are multifocal contact lenses difficult to get used to?

Some people will be able to adjust immediately to multifocal contacts, while others may take around a week to adjust. During the adjustment period, you may find that your distance vision is not as crisp as you like, and that you see shadows around some images up-close.

What is the pinhole effect?

The pinhole effect is a method of focusing your vision by causing the pupil to dilate or get smaller. This causes light that is scattered and unfocused to be able to enter your eye, leaving only focused light to enter and reach your retina. This results in sharper, more focused vision.

What to Wear to Protect Your Eyes

Your eyes are among the most important organs in the body when it comes to discovering and interacting with the world around you. Unfortunately, they are also among the most exposed, and vulnerable to damage. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that proper protective gear is worn in places and situations where you might accidentally sustain an eye injury.

Whether it’s participating in sports, working with chemicals while cleaning or in a lab, or working on do-it-yourself projects around the home, it’s important to know what counts as proper protection, and what doesn’t.

Fortunately, our eye doctors at are here to explain.

Do Normal Prescription Glasses Count As Safety Equipment?

In short, no. Prescription glasses are built with materials that are primarily useful in promoting wearer comfort and helping you see better and more clearly.

The kinds of plastics and metals used in the frames are built for comfort, but may not hold up against flying shards of metal and wood.

Likewise, lens materials in prescription eyeglasses are chosen for their ability to be easily shaped and molded to give you optimum vision while minimizing aberrations. This ability to be easily molded does not lend itself well to also being impact-resistant.

Safety equipment gear for the eyes is also built with an extra guard around the sides to protect from flying debris and chemicals from all-around. This extra guard is not present in the vast majority of prescription eyeglasses.

So what IS considered proper safety equipment for protecting your eyes?

Personal Protective Equipment For Protecting Your Eyes

In general, there are three types of accepted safety equipment depending on your particular needs and preferences:

Safety Glasses

are made with shatter-resistant lenses, which are manufactured from materials like propionate plastic or polycarbonate. They also have side shields that help from debris and dust that may enter from the sides of, rather than in front of, the face.

What are safety glasses good for? These glasses are designed to be shatter-resistant and protect the eye from large, physical objects such as wood chips or metal or glass shards that could impact the eye, causing serious injury. Some types of safety glasses also offer laser light filtration, preventing reflections from the laser entering the eye, causing painful retinal burns.

What are safety glasses NOT good for? Safety glasses are not meant for protection from liquids or vapors.

Safety glasses can be purchased with or without prescription lenses and can also be ordered with bifocals.

Safety Goggles

These are another common type of personal protective equipment. They may be vented or non-vented.

Non-vented goggles are used as protection from mists, vapors, fumes, or other airborne hazards that require the eyes to be completely covered.

Vented goggles are meant to protect the eyes from liquid chemicals that pose no danger from vapor or mist. These also have a series of buttons embedded into the plastic that house something called a “baffle plate,” which allows air to pass through, but acts as a blockage so that liquid can’t get in.

Be aware that there are many types of goggles on the market, and some are not meant for certain kinds of work. Common, hardware-store goggles, for example, often have holes drilled into the plastic, which can let vapors and liquids into the mask, making them unfit for laboratory work.

Face Shields

These are actually not meant to be worn as the sole line of protection for your eyes. Rather, they are supplemental protection for the entire face, and goggles worn underneath the face shield block any vapor or liquid which may make it past.

Still not sure what kind of eye protection you need? Come visit our eye care practice to find out more!

At Loudoun Eye Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 703-724-0330 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ashburn eye doctors.

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Q&A

Do Normal Prescription Glasses Count As Safety Equipment?

In short, no. Prescription glasses are built with materials that are primarily useful in promoting wearer comfort and helping you see better and more clearly. Safety glasses can be purchased with or without prescription lenses and can also be ordered with bifocals. Safety goggles may be vented or non-vented.

What are Non-vented goggles ?

Non-vented goggles are used as protection from mists, vapors, fumes, or other airborne hazards that require the eyes to be completely covered.

9 Signs Your Child Might Need Glasses

It can sometimes be hard to tell if your child is having trouble seeing. That’s because children are often unaware of their own vision problems, and in many cases may not even have the words to describe what they’re seeing.

Though eye and vision problems are very common in school-age children, the signs are often subtle and easy to miss. When these issues go undiagnosed and untreated, a child may have difficulty learning in the classroom and playing sports, among other things. Fortunately, some vision issues can be easily solved with a simple pair of eyeglasses.

Here are 9 subtle signs that your child may need glasses:

1. They struggle with intense near vision activities like homework, computer use, taking exams or reading. They may also avoid distance vision activities such as sports.

2. They have a hard time keeping their place while reading

3. They tilt their head or squint when watching TV or in class

4. They have problems with unusually teary eyes or frequently rub or squint their eyes

5. They complain about eye fatigue and headaches, especially after reading or other vision-intensive activities

6. They may close one eye while reading or watching TV in order to see better

7. They hold books unusually close to their face in order to read

8. They sit very close to TVs or computer screens in order to see better

9. They use their finger to guide their eyes along the page as they read.

If you notice these or any other signs that your child may be experiencing poor vision, it is important to bring them in for a pediatric eye exam as soon as possible.

Pediatric Eye Exams and Eyeglasses

During your child’s eye exam our eye doctor will test for signs of refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. If your child has a refractive error, our eye doctor will prescribe prescription glasses to correct their vision and help them thrive at school and at home.

School aged students may be prescribed eyeglasses if their eyes have difficulty focusing. The glasses allow the eyes to function better and remove eye strain. These eyeglasses are often only worn when in class, when reading, using a digital screen or during examinations.

Once the optometrist determines your child’s prescription, our friendly and professional optical team can help you and your child choose just the right frames. Our wide selection of designer frames includes designs and materials to fit every need and sense of style. From versatile metal or polycarbonate frames that can stand up to the rigors of sports, to lightweight frames that are comfortable to wear during the school day, has you covered.

For more information on how to tell if your child needs glasses, and how our eye care practice can help, call us at or visit us in person today!

At Loudoun Eye Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 703-724-0330 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ashburn eye doctors.

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Q&A

Can refractive errors cause problems other than poor vision?

Yes. Myopia in childhood has been linked to an increased risk of developing potentially sight-threatening eye conditions later in life. These conditions include glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. Speak to your eye doctor about the best ways to minimize your child’s risk.

Will wearing glasses weaken my child’s vision?

No. Many people mistakenly believe that eyeglasses make your eyes reliant on them, and that this reliance weakens your eyes. Children with refractive errors will experience changes in their vision, even when their nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism isn’t corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

10 Ways to Give Your Eyes Some Love This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the time to express your love and appreciation to those you care about most. But it’s also a great opportunity to take the time to pamper yourself — so why not start with your eyes?

Practice these 10 healthy lifestyle habits to help protect your eye health and vision.

1. Be Mindful of the Food You Eat

Fill your plate with fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grains. A well-balanced diet is good for your body and can lower your risk of eye disease.

Studies show that foods high in vitamins A, C, E, Omega-3, lutein and zeaxanthin are especially beneficial for promoting eye health.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day will keep your body hydrated and your eyes moist — which is essential for preventing dry eye syndrome. To add some flavor to your water, try adding a splash of lemon juice or swap some of those glasses of water for an herbal tea or other non-caffeinated beverage. Caffeinated drinks have a dehydrating effect, so try to limit your coffee consumption as much as possible.

3. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is widely known for its physical and mental health benefits, but studies show that it can also lower your risk of serious eye conditions and diseases. Cardio exercise in particular has been shown to lower eye pressure and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye. So grab your gym bag and get moving!

4. Don’t Smoke

If you’ve been thinking about quitting, there’s no better time than now. Smoking tobacco significantly raises your risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and can also lead to their early development.

Smoking also robs the body of the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain eye health, and contains around 7,000 chemicals that can lead to eye irritation and dry eye.

5. Practice Good Makeup Hygiene

While wearing makeup can accentuate your eyes and make you feel more beautiful, it’s important to note that if not used properly, certain makeup products can adversely affect eye health.

To keep your eyes and vision healthy, make sure to:

  • Clean your brushes and applicators regularly
  • Toss any expired products, or eye makeup you’ve used during an eye infection
  • Only apply makeup to the outer margin of your eyelids
  • Remove your makeup before going to bed
  • Never share makeup or use in-store testers

Following these safety tips will help to lower your risk of eye infections and other serious complications.

6. Wear Sunglasses

Studies show that prolonged UV exposure can damage the eyes and lead to the development of sight-threatening eye conditions, like cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma, in the future.

Purchase a pair of stylish sunglasses with 100% UV protection and wear them any time you venture outdoors — the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the clouds and reflect off of snow, sand, water and pavement. So keep a pair of sunglasses next to your front door and a spare pair in your bag or car to ensure you have UV protection wherever you go.

7. Prevent Eye Injuries

About 90% of vision loss from eye injuries can be prevented by wearing the right eye protection.

Protective eyewear like sports goggles or glasses with polycarbonate lenses are designed with sturdy materials that are less likely to break or shatter while you play sports, and can protect your eyes from small particles that fly in the air when you mow the lawn or engage in DIY projects.

8. Learn First Aid for Eye Injuries

Let’s be real, accidents can happen even if we take all the right measures to protect ourselves. But knowing what to do in case of an unexpected eye injury can potentially save you or someone you love from permanent eye damage or vision loss.

Note: Any type of eye injury should be taken seriously, and promptly examined by an eye doctor.

9. Avoid Digital Eye Strain

Prolonged screen time can cause eye strain, dry eyes, blurry vision and headaches — and lead to a condition called digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome.

Avoid symptoms of digital eye strain by limiting screen time as much as possible. If prolonged screen time is unavoidable, practice the 20-20-20 rule: set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to take breaks every 20 minutes to focus on an image at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

10. Visit Your Eye Doctor

Regular eye exams are crucial when it comes to maintaining your eye health. With an eye exam, your eye doctor can identify early signs of sight-threatening eye diseases and conditions — enabling earlier treatment and increasing your chances for optimal results.

From all of us at Loudoun Eye Associates in Ashburn, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

At Loudoun Eye Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 703-724-0330 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ashburn eye doctors.

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Q&A

What’s the difference between an eye exam and vision screening?

Vision screenings are basic tests of visual acuity, generally conducted by a school nurse or pediatrician. These screenings can’t identify many vision conditions that impact learning or work performance, and are unable to detect ocular health problems.

A comprehensive eye exam, which is performed by an eye doctor, includes tests for visual acuity and functional vision, as well as close examination of the inner and outer structures of the eye.

How often do I need to have an eye exam?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), it is important to have your eyes examined every one to two years, depending on your age, whether or not you wear glasses or contacts, your family history of eye disease, and your ocular health to date. Annual eye exams help your eye doctor monitor your eye health and easily identify any changes in your vision.

5 Ways to Protect and Improve Your Child’s Eyesight

Your child’s vision is their primary window into the world around them. Keeping their eyesight healthy is an important part of allowing them to experience life to the fullest.

Here are 5 tips on how to protect and improve your child’s eye health:

1. Take them to the eye doctor for routine eye exams

One of the most important take-aways from any article you read on the subject of keeping your child’s vision and eyes healthy, is the need to keep up with routine comprehensive eye exams.

Although your kid’s school may perform vision screenings, these tests can only detect the most basic issues, such as myopia (nearsightedness) or severe amblyopia. They are not equipped to check for eye diseases that can affect your child’s long-term ocular health, or binocular vision disorders that can hinder their ability to learn.

Our Ashburn eye doctor will be able to perform a comprehensive eye exam to check for the presence of these and other conditions. If ocular diseases or vision disorders are detected, your eye doctor will have the equipment and expertise to properly treat them.

2. Limit their screen time

Screens are an ever-present part of our lives. Children can spend hours every day texting, playing video games, watching television, and more. It is all-too-easy to spend way too much time on these digital devices, causing symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eye
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain

Excessive blue light, like the kind that comes from these screens, interferes with sleep and may increase eyestrain.

To prevent symptoms and protect your child’s long-term vision health, limit their screen time, when possible, to less than two hours, and devices should be turned off a few hours before bedtime to allow your child to wind down.

3. Encourage them to eat healthy foods and get exercise

As with every part of the body, a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in ensuring the long-term health of your child’s eyes.

Eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids is a great way to promote eye health. Good sources include fish such as salmon and herring. For vegans and others who don’t eat fish, flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts are also a great option.

Leafy greens and fruits are also important, as they’re high in vitamins A, C and E, which are all important for the development and maintenance of healthy vision.

Along with a healthy diet, you should encourage your child to get up and exercise. Physical activity is good for the whole body, and that includes the eyes.

Bonus points if you can get your child outside, as sunlight and outdoor play have been shown to slow or even prevent the development of myopia. Just make sure your child wears sunglasses and a sun hat — UV rays have a cumulative effect that could lead to eye diseases like macular degeneration later in life.

4. Help them avoid eye injuries

Eye injuries are an all-too-common occurrence, especially among children.

If you have little ones at home, make sure that paints, cleaners and other dangerous chemicals and irritants are put away somewhere safe. If these ever get into their eyes, they can cause severe damage to your child’s visual system, including permanent loss of vision.

For contact and ball/puck sports, ensure your child wears the right eyewear to protect their eyes from accidental impacts or pokes. Helmets should also be worn where the sport warrants it, to prevent concussions and other head injuries that can have an effect on vision.

5. Reduce eye infections

Even small, common infections such as pink eye can have an impact on your child’s vision.

Hands are some of the most bacteria-filled parts of our bodies. Your child should learn not to touch their eyes with their unwashed hands, as this is the primary way of introducing germs to the eye that may result in infection.

On a similar note, if you have contact lens wearers, be sure to teach them to wash their hands each and every time they put in or take out their contact lenses. They should also learn to store and clean their lenses strictly according to their eye doctor‘s instructions and should change lenses according to their intended schedule. Daily contacts should be changed daily, monthly contacts, monthly.

For more information on how best to protect and improve your child’s eyesight, contact Loudoun Eye Associates in Ashburn today.

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Richard Kao

Q: Can I rely on the vision screenings at my child’s school to catch vision and eye health issues?

  • A: No. School-based vision screenings check for basic visual acuity. Even if your child has perfect 20/20 vision, there may still be issues with visual skills or undetected eye diseases that these types of screenings are not equipped to catch.It is important not to rely on school vision screenings as a replacement for an annual comprehensive eye exam with your local optometrist. During these visits, your eye doctor will be able to assess your child for vision skills such as:

    Eye teaming ability
    Convergence and divergence skills
    Tracking and focusing Visual accommodation

    They will also be able to diagnose and treat conditions such as:

    Amblyopia
    Strabismus
    (Rarely) pediatric glaucoma or cataracts

    These and other conditions can only be diagnosed and treated by a trained optometrist as part of a comprehensive eye exam.

Q: Can vision problems be misdiagnosed as ADHD/ADD?

  • A: It is unfortunately common for learning-related vision problems to go undetected. These vision problems can often mimic the symptoms of ADD/ADHD, leading to misdiagnosis and mistaken treatment.As many as 1 out of every 4 school-age children suffers from some form of visual dysfunction. If not properly treated, a child may struggle throughout their entire school career, harming their learning and possibly their long-term self-confidence.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Ashburn, Virginia. Visit Loudoun Eye Associates for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Why Do Onions Make Us Cry?

Onions are one of the most common staple foods around the globe. Ironically, for a vegetable so delicious, they can often be tear-jerkers.

Read on to learn why onions cause your eyes to tear and sting, and what you can do to minimize discomfort.

Why Does Cutting Onions Cause Tearing?

Onions produce a sulfur compound called propyl sulfoxide that is stored in the cells of the onion bulb (the part of the onion we eat). Onions grow underground, where they can be eaten by all types of creatures. This odorous sulfuric compound acts as a deterrent to small animals with big appetites.

When one slices into an onion and breaks open its cells, the sulfur compound is released and mixes with the moisture in the air — turning it into smelly and irritating sulfuric acid. When this chemical rises up and comes in contact with your eyes, it stings!

To keep your eyes from potentially being damaged from this chemical exposure, your brain triggers your eyes to tear and flush out the irritating gas particles. Once enough tears have flushed out the sulfuric acids particles from the eye, clear vision and comfort is usually restored. Although your eyes may sting and feel unpleasant, symptoms are temporary and the sulfuric acid won’t damage your eyes.

How Can I Reduce Eye Discomfort When Chopping Onions?

Most experienced chefs will tell you that chilling your onions in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before slicing them will reduce the amount of tearing they cause. Propyl sulfoxide escapes slower in cooler temperatures, reducing the amount of sulfuric acid in the air.

You can also try cutting the onions at arm’s length, or direct the odorous air away with a small fan. Some say that chopping onions immersed in water also helps. Another option is to wear kitchen goggles to protect your eyes.

Furthermore, try to use fresh onions whenever possible. The longer an onion has been stored, the more likely it will induce tearing and discomfort. Try to avoid slicing near the root end of the bulb, as that area has the highest concentration of sulfuric compounds.

Still Having Eye Problems Out of the Kitchen?

If you frequently suffer from eye irritation — and not just while cutting onions — we can help. At Loudoun Eye Associates, we treat a wide range of eye conditions and can provide you with the treatment and relief you seek.

For further questions or to schedule an eye exam, call us today.

At Loudoun Eye Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 703-724-0330 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ashburn eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Richard Kao

Q: What exactly is glaucoma?

  • A: Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This means that your eye has too much aqueous humor in it, either because it produced too much, or because it’s not draining properly. Other symptoms are optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma is a silent disease that robs the patient of their peripheral vision. Early detection is very important.

Q: What’s the difference between vision insurance and eye insurance?

  • A: Vision insurance” really isn’t insurance, but rather a benefit that covers some of your costs for eyewear and eye care. It is meant to be used for “routine” care when you aren’t having a problem but want to be sure everything is OK, like having an annual screening exam with your Primary Care Physician. It often, but not always, includes a discount or allowance toward glasses or contact lenses. It is usually a supplemental policy to your medical health insurance. Medical health insurance covers, and must be used when an eye health issue exists. This includes pink eye, eye allergies, glaucoma, floaters, cataracts, diabetes, headaches, and many other conditions. Blurry vision is covered medically if it relates to a medical condition, for example the development of a cataract. For some reason, however, it is considered non-medical if the only finding is the need for glasses or a change of prescription. Of course you can’t know this until you have the exam. In this case, with vision coverage, you would only be responsible for your co-pay, but with medical coverage without vision coverage, you’d be responsible for the usual charge.

Q: How does high blood pressure affect vision?

  • A: If the blood pressure is very high it can be called malignant hypertension and cause swelling of the macula and acute loss of vision. Otherwise hypertension can cause progressive constriction of the arterioles in the eye and other findings. Usually high blood pressure alone will not affect vision much, however hypertension is a known risk factor in the onset and/or progression of other eye disease such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration as well as blocked veins and arteries in the retina or nerve of the eye that can severely affect vision.

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REFERENCES

https://www.britannica.com/story/why-do-onions-make-you-cry

https://theconversation.com/why-do-onions-make-you-cry-129519

Pink Eye? It Could Be Coronavirus

How to prevent conjunctivitis and protect your eyes

When you have a virus, especially one that causes a hacking cough, runny nose, and other symptoms of a common cold or flu, it’s typical for your eyes to also get puffy and red. You may be suffering from viral conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.

How do viruses get into your eyes?

It’s rather simple. When you’re sick, you can easily transfer viruses to your eyes by sneezing, coughing into your hands, or blowing your nose – and then touching the area around your eye.

The coronavirus – pink eye connection

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), doctors have discovered that COVID-19 can cause conjunctivitis. If you’re standing within six feet of an infected person, and they cough or sneeze, the virus can enter your eye. Alternatively, if someone sneezes and virus particles land on the shopping cart that you take and push around a store, and then you touch your eyes without washing your hands first – you’re giving the virus direct access.

However, despite the apparent ease with which coronavirus can infect eyes, the AAO reports that only about 1 – 3% of all patients with the virus contract pink eye.

Preventing pink eye

Like always, prevention is the most effective medicine! Eye care professionals recommend following these tips to help prevent getting viral conjunctivitis:

  • Wash your hands correctly

The CDC instructs people to wash their hands in accordance with these steps: wet your hands, turn off the tap, apply soap, lather and scrub for 20 seconds, turn on tap and rinse. Air dry your hands, use a disposable paper towel and discard it immediately, or use a clean (not shared) towel.

  • Keep your fingers away from your face

No rubbing or wiping your eyes! Even if you don’t feel any symptoms of coronavirus, it’s essential not to touch any part of your face. To wipe away tears or remove makeup, use a clean tissue.

  • Don’t share your personal things

As generous as you may feel about letting others use your personal items, now’s the time to keep things to yourself. For example, the CDC recommends not sharing eye drops, makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses cases, pillowcases, or towels. Pink eye is highly contagious.

  • Consider wearing glasses instead of contacts

While there’s currently no evidence to prove that wearing contacts raises your risks of contracting the novel coronavirus, there’s some evidence that shows you can get Covid-19 by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes. In general, contact lenses wearers touch their eyes more often than people who wear eyeglasses, so it may be smart to make a temporary switch from contact lenses to glasses. However, this is only a friendly recommendation and not a hard-and-fast rule. If you prefer to stick with wearing contacts, washing your hands thoroughly can help keep you and your eyes safe.

Treatment for conjunctivitis

Regardless of whether your pink eye is caused by coronavirus or a different virus, there is no treatment for viral conjunctivitis. Usually, it goes away on its own within one to two weeks.

To alleviate your painful symptoms, eye doctors recommend:

  • Taking an over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or any anti-inflammatory drug
  • Applying a warm compress on your eye for a few minutes; take care to use a clean wash cloth each time and for each eye
  • Use artificial tears (lubricating eye drops) to soothe your eye irritation; don’t touch the bottle tip to your eye

Are you sick and have pink eye symptoms?

Now is not the time to make a DIY diagnosis. Eye redness, even if you have a virus, doesn’t necessarily indicate that you have conjunctivitis. A wide range of other conditions can lead to the same symptoms. Contact an eye doctor near you for help to figure out what’s causing your eye pain. Don’t visit your eye care practice without calling for guidance first, because extra precautions must be taken with patients who may have COVID-19.

At Loudoun Eye Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 703-724-0330 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ashburn 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 Loudoun Eye Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 703-724-0330 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ashburn eye doctors.

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November is Diabetes Awareness Month

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Diet + Exercise + Eye Exams = Good Vision

Diabetes Awareness Month – Learn about Diabetic Eye Health in Ashburn

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 Ashburn 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 Ashburn 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 Ashburn, our eye doctor advises all adults with diabetes to visit yearly for a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

At Loudoun Eye Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 703-724-0330 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ashburn eye doctors.

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Please note: Our office will be closed on Monday, July 4th and reopen on Tuesday July 5th. Thank you.