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Why Does Your Eye Doctor Dilate Your Pupils for an Eye Exam?

If you’ve been following the guideline to have regular eye exams, then you’re probably familiar with having your pupils dilated. Why does your eye doctor do this?

By dilating your pupils, the eye doctor can get a better view of your inner eye structures – so the eye exam is more comprehensive and more detailed. While the back of your eye can be seen through an undilated pupil, it cannot be examined as fully.

A full evaluation of your macula, retina and optic nerve is possible through dilated pupils. In many common eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, these are the parts of the eye that exhibit signs of a problem. Also, health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can often be detected on these parts of the eye.

What happens when the eye doctor dilates your pupils?

Your eye doctor or a technician will insert eye drops into your eyes; it takes 20 – 30 minutes for them to take full effect. Then, your eye doctor will use a lighted microscope to inspect your eyes.

Initially, you may feel a slight stinging when the drops are first inserted, but the discomfort is typically minor and short-lived. For a few hours afterwards, your eyes will be extra-sensitive to light and vision may be slightly blurred. Wearing sunglasses can help manage this sensitivity. Dilation usually wears off within four to six hours.

Even though getting your pupils dilated for an eye exam may feel like a nuisance, it enables your eye doctor to check your ocular health and overall body health with much more accuracy. So the benefits are clear! Contact an expert eye doctor near you to schedule an eye exam.

At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

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How Can You Solve the Challenges of Driving When Colorblind?

Visit your eye doctor for a range of solutions for colorblindness behind the wheel

If you’re colorblind, you can probably see colors but can’t distinguish easily between certain colors. Most commonly, seeing reds and greens is problematic; less commonly, seeing blues from yellows is tricky; rare is a form of colorblindness that shows everything in black and white.

While there is no known cure to treat colorblindness, a variety of glasses lenses and contact lenses with filters are available to help correct the deficiencies. At EYEcenter Optometric, our eye doctor will recommend the most helpful solutions for coping with colorblindness during daily life, such as when driving. Visit our eye care offices in Citrus Heights, Gold River, Rocklin, Folsom, and Sacramento, California , to learn how you can add glorious hues to your views!

How can colorblindness affect driving?

  • Reading traffic lights – Since red-green colorblindness is the most usual form, many colorblind people cannot tell when the light switches. To cope, memorizing the order of standard traffic lights is successful. Red is at the top; green is at the bottom; yellow is in the middle.
  • Reading road signs – Even if you can’t see the sign’s color, you can still see the shape. STOP signs are octagonal, road condition warning signs and construction signs are diamonds with black symbols or text on them, and a yield sign is an upside-down triangle.

What colorblind aids are available for driving?

Wearing colored filters (tinted lenses) can enhance color perception; generally only one tinted lens is needed. Another option is a device made of two tinted filters, one red and one green.

Use these tips to drive safely to our eye doctors in Citrus Heights, Gold River, Rocklin, Folsom, and Sacramento, California , for more colorblind solutions!

At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

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3 Ways Diabetes Can Affect Your Vision and Eyes

Did you know that people with diabetes are 20 times more likely to get eye diseases than those without it? There are three major eye conditions that diabetics are at risk for developing: cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. To prevent these sight-threatening diseases, it’s important to control your blood sugar level and have your eyes checked at least once a year by an eye doctor.

But First, What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that is associated with high blood glucose levels. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps our cells get energy from the sugars we eat. Diabetes develops when the body doesn’t produce or respond to insulin effectively, leaving too much sugar in the blood stream instead. Over time, diabetes can lead to potentially irreversible ocular damage and poor eyesight. However, by taking care of your blood sugar levels and your eyes, you can prevent vision loss.

Annual eye exams are recommended for everyone, but routine screenings are even more important for diabetics. Eye doctors may send diabetic eye health reports to a patient’s primary care physician or internist to adjust medication as needed to prevent complications.

What’s the Link Between Vision and Diabetes?

Blurred vision or fluctuating eyesight clarity is often one of the first noticeable signs that diabetes has begun to affect your eyes. Sometimes, fluid leaking into the eye causes the lens to swell and change shape. This, in turn, makes it difficult for the eyes to focus, resulting in fuzzy vision. Such symptoms can indicate that an eye disease is developing, or may simply be due to imbalanced blood sugar levels which can be rectified by getting your blood sugar back to healthy levels.

If you start to notice blurry vision, make an appointment with Palmer N. Lee, O.D. as soon as possible.

The 3 Ways Diabetes Impacts Vision

Cataracts

While cataracts are extremely common and a part of the natural aging process, those with diabetes tend to develop cataracts earlier in life. Characterized by a clouding or fogging of the lens within the eye, cataracts impede light from entering the eye, causing blurred vision and glares. The best treatment is cataract surgery, which is very safe and effective.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases characterized by optic nerve damage. Since it tends to impact peripheral vision first, glaucoma often goes unnoticed until significant damage has occurred. However, routine glaucoma screenings can detect warning signs; early treatment can prevent disease progression and vision loss.

Although there is no true cure for glaucoma, most glaucoma patients successfully manage it with special eye drops, medication, and on occasion, laser treatment or other surgery. The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and managed, the better the outcome.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels on your retina (capillaries) become weakened and then balloon (microaneurysm) due to poorly controlled blood sugar levels. The resulting poor blood circulation in the back of the eye causes more abnormal blood vessels to grow, which also bleed or leak fluid, and can lead to scar tissue, retinal detachment and even blindness, over time.

Often there are no symptoms until the advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy, where patients may begin to see spots and missing patches in their vision. Retinopathy can be treated through surgery and eye injections, but the best way to prevent this disease from progressing is to regularly have your eyes screened.

The good news is that diabetic eye disease can often be prevented with early detection, proper management of your diabetes and regular diabetic eye exams. Contact EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights to set up your eye doctor’s appointment today.

Your Eyes Are the Windows to Your Health

Your eyes aren’t just the windows to your soul — they can also reveal valuable information about your general health beyond whether you need glasses, including: diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. It is not unusual for people to come in for an eye exam just to check their eyesight and then have certain health issues or predispositions picked up by the optometrist. 

Eye Exams and Your Health

Eye examinations can help doctors detect general health conditions early enough to intervene. Advanced screenings enable eye doctors to better predict cardiovascular incidents like stroke, and possibly detect signs of mental changes such as Alzheimer’s. Read below to learn how eye exams can unveil a whole lot more than just eye health.

Brain Cancer & Stroke

Because of the similarities between the blood vessels in the eye and brain, an eye doctor can occasionally detect an issue taking place in the brain by examining the blood vessels in the eyes. If swelling or shadows in the eye is observed, it may indicate a serious condition in the brain, like a tumor, or clots that might result in a stroke.

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina at the back of the eye, resulting in Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) and Diabetic Macular Edema (DME). If an optometrist detects leaky blood vessels in the eye, the patient would be advised to see a doctor to help control their blood sugar. Changes are gradual, and they start before visual symptoms are noticed. The earlier diabetic eye disease is managed, the better the chances are of preserving eyesight. 

Hypertension

High blood pressure, characterized by having too much pressure in the blood vessels, can be detected during an eye exam, sometimes even before it’s diagnosed by your regular doctor. The damaged blood vessels lead to swelling, hemorrhages, and leaking — all of which can be observed in the eyes. According to the CDC, hypertension “the silent killer” affects nearly 1 in 3 adults, and up to a whopping 20% of those don’t even know they have it. So early detection at an eye doctor’s evaluation can be truly life-saving.

High Cholesterol 

Eye exams can also detect a buildup of cholesterol. High cholesterol is among the easiest conditions to spot during a complete eye exam, as the cholesterol deposits manifest on the front of the eye, appearing as a thin, gray rim around the cornea. It can also be detected in the retina by assessing artery and vein patterns.

These deposits may indicate the current or future development of Retinal Blood Vessel Occlusion, a condition where blockages restrict blood flow to the back of the eye, causing temporary or permanent vision loss. 

Heart Conditions

In some cases, heart conditions associated with a buildup of plaque in the carotid artery in the heart can also lead to deposits that clog the ocular arteries in the eye. If an optometrist detects such changes to the vascular structure at the back of the eye, he or she will typically recommend going to a specialist.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Sudden vision loss may be attributed to Multiple Sclerosis (MS). While the optometrist can recognize signs indicating the presence of MS, such as the color and appearance of the optic nerve, such cases will be referred for further testing to confirm the diagnosis.

Thyroid

Thyroid disease can make itself apparent through the eyes in several ways. The thyroid gland controls the hormones that regulate tear production so some thyroid disorders can cause dry eye disease. Additionally, overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can make the extraocular muscles enlarge and stiffen, causing bulging eyes — an indicator of Graves’ disease. 

Inflammation

Systemic conditions that are associated with inflammation in the body can have an inflammatory effect on the eyes. Uveitis, for example, causes eye inflammation, redness, and blurred vision, and tends to occur in people with lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases. 

Cancer

Breast cancer, leukemia, and other metastatic cancers are occasionally discovered during an eye evaluation. In addition to brain cancer mentioned above, melanoma and basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) can be detected, and eye doctors can also diagnose lymphoma and other eye tumors. Eye exams save lives.

What the Future Holds 

Alzheimer’s 

Recent studies show that a non-invasive and precise imaging device called Octa (optical coherence tomography angiography) can signal the presence of eye changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Because the retina is in many ways an extension of the brain, the altered blood vessels at the back of the eye offer a glimpse into the changes taking place within the brain.

Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease can often be misdiagnosed as its early symptoms are characteristic of other conditions. Research has shown that subtle eye tremors, an early Parkinson’s marker, could be detectable using advanced eye exam technology. One day soon, practitioners may send patients to an eye doctor to test for this and other diseases.

Your Eye Doctor’s Appointment Could Change Your Life

So the next time you visit Palmer N. Lee, O.D. at EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights, remember that a comprehensive eye exam can do more than determine your eyeglasses or contacts prescription. Palmer N. Lee, O.D. can evaluate your eyes for existing or potential health issues, and communicate them to your primary care physician for the best possible care. By knowing that you’re at risk for a certain disease, you can take precautions early on and manage the condition as needed. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Wearing Colored Contact Lenses This Halloween? Beware and Take Care!

Countless adults, teens and even children will be wearing colored contact lenses this Halloween, but few are aware of the risks involved. Ever wondered what those cat-eye contacts are doing to your eyes? If you got them without a prescription, beware of health complications.

Enjoy a safe and happy Halloween by educating yourself and others about the dangers of wearing colored contact lenses without a prescription.

Why Can Over-The-Counter Colored Contact Lenses Cause Eye Damage?

Contact lenses made to change one’s appearance go by many names: cosmetic, theatrical, Halloween, circle, decorative, colored, or costume contact lenses. While it’s illegal to sell colored contact lenses without a prescription, authorities rarely enforce the law — which means they’re still accessible in many places.

Many people believe that wearing non-prescription color contact lenses can cause no harm. This unfortunate myth has led to many contact lens complications. For instance, when a person feels that a contact lens is “dry”, it could be because the lens is not a good fit. Ideally, the lens should follow the contour of the eye, and stay centered, with enough lens movement to allow tear exchange beneath the lens.

Furthermore, non-medical colored contact lenses are often produced by unlicensed manufacturers that tend to use inferior plastic and toxic materials, such as lead (often used in lens coloring), which can get absorbed through the eyes into the bloodstream. These illegal lenses may also contain high levels of bacteria from unsanitary packaging, shipping, and storage conditions.

Therefore, purchasing any kind of contact lenses without a prescription or medical oversight can result in a variety of eye complications, such as corneal abrasions, eye sores, conjunctivitis, other eye infections, vision impairment and, in rare cases, even permanent vision loss.

Even if you have perfect vision, all contact lenses, including colored contacts, require a prescription and proper fitting by an optometrist.

Contact us at EYEcenter Optometric and make an appointment with Palmer N. Lee, O.D. to get properly examined for a contact lens prescription.

The Dos and Don’ts of Colored Contact Lenses

  • DO make sure you undergo a comprehensive eye exam by an optometrist who will measure your eyes and properly fit you for contact lenses.
  • DO get a valid prescription that includes the measurements, expiration date and the contact lens brand name.
  • DO purchase the decorative contact lenses from a reliable retailer (hint: they should demand a prescription.)
  • DO follow the contact lens hygiene directives (cleaning, inserting and removing lenses) provided by your eye doctor.
  • DO make sure to undergo follow-up eye exams as directed by your eye care professional.
  • DON’T ever share contact lenses with anyone else.

So don’t let an eye infection get in the way of your fun this Halloween. Wearing decorative lenses without a valid prescription can result in serious harm to your eyes, which can haunt you long after October 31st.

Get your comprehensive eye exam and contact lens fitting by an eye doctor in Citrus Heights at EYEcenter Optometric.

At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

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School Vision Tests: Why 20/20 is Not Enough & 3 Non-Eyeglasses Vision Troubles in the Classroom

Class is back in session! There are many steps to preparing your student for another successful year. Thankfully, a vision test is checked off the list due to a screening performed at school…right? Maybe not.

We all know vision and learning are linked. Our eyes give us about 80 percent of the information we need to process new information. So while kids are in school, checking their eyesight becomes especially important.

A similar method is used in many school vision screenings. Typically a Gant chart (the lettered poster with the big ‘E’) is used to see if a child has issues making out objects from a distance.

But a simple distance vision test doesn’t give any information about other visual skills that could be affecting the way a child’s brain gets information.

While routine school vision screenings may appear helpful, they give parents a false sense of security as there are a range of vision problems that may be missed. Failing to evaluate the entire visual system of a child could leave them at a disadvantage in the classroom. Here are three visual skills that should also be assessed, to ensure your child has the tools for successful learning:

  1. Eye teaming: Also known as binocular fusion, is the eyes’ ability to stay aligned at the same point, at the same time. When eyes have trouble working together, this can cause double vision and loss of depth perception.Back to School
  2. Tracking: Otherwise known as ocular motor control. Troubles in this area cause eyes to jump around when we’re trying to move them in a straight line—like while we’re reading. This often caused readers’ eyes to skip around, missing words and even entire lines. They can also lose their place easily while reading.
  3. Focusing: Also known as accommodation, is the eyes’ ability to see clearly. Sometimes objects appear blurred only at certain distances, or are a struggle to remain in focus. Headaches can also be caused by a struggle to keep objects clear in our sight.

When these skills are functioning properly and smoothly, this offers higher levels of processing visual information. In other words, concepts are more easily understood for the learner.

Make sure your student gets an evaluation of their complete visual system. This will uncover potential difficulties with any of the above skills, and if one is found, help you plan treatment options.

At EYEcenter Optometric, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 916-727-6518 or book an appointment online to see one of our Citrus Heights eye doctors.

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Do I really need to check my eyes ?

Everyone, regardless of age or physical condition, is recommended to go for regular eye exams.

Thorough evaluations of your eye health and vision by EYEcenter re the best way to check for signs of vision conditions and ocular disease.

At EYEcenter Optometric, our optometrists will inspect your eyes thoroughly, using first-rate skill and advanced diagnostic technology. Your vision matters to us, and we will consider the individual needs and health of each patient. We are located conveniently in Folsom, Rocklin, Citrus Heights & Gold River, California, and we are pleased to serve patients from the greater area.

The importance of routine eye exams

Early detection of many typical adult eye diseases can have a powerful effect on the success of treatment. When we examine your eyes in our office in Folsom, Rocklin, Citrus Heights & Gold River, California, we will take a very close look for signs of disease that may still be symptom less. To prevent future vision loss or complications, we’ll begin treatment as soon as possible.

With children, an undetected vision condition could harm their ability to learn properly.

Common eye problems that are diagnosed in children include astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness and weak eye teaming. If your child is diagnosed with any of these problems during our comprehensive pediatric eye exam, we will determine the most effective treatments. Eye exams can thereby prevent or lead to resolution of many learning problems in school.

When should you schedule your comprehensive eye exam?

The American Optometric Association (AOA) issued the following guidelines:

Children

  1. First eye exam at 6 months old, to check that the visual system is developing normally
  2. Second eye exam at 3 years old
  3. Complete eye and vision evaluation prior to entering school, around age 5-6. If no vision problems are diagnosed, then follow-up examinations should be done at least every 2 years. If your child needs vision correction, then exams must be scheduled at least once a year.

Children who have any of these risk factors should come in for eye exams more frequently:

  1. Premature birth
  2. Crossed or turned eyes
  3. Family history of eye disease
  4. Other physical disease
  5. History of eye injury
  • Delayed development Adults Until age 40, if no vision correction (such as eyeglasses or contact lenses) is needed, then complete eye assessments should be performed every two or three years.
  • After 40 years old, annual eye exams are encouraged. The incidence of many common eye diseases and vision problems rises as you age, and we will check for conditions such as presbyopia, cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma.
  • Everyone over age 60 is strongly recommended to schedule frequent eye exams.
  • Any adult who has a health issue, such as hypertension or diabetes, may require additional eye exams, as advised by an eye doctor.

What will happen at your comprehensive eye exam?

Our team of experienced optometrists will use many different testing procedures to check your eyes. Our Folsom, Rocklin, Citrus Heights & Gold River, PA, office is fully equipped with the latest equipment. To determine visual acuity, you will be asked to read a standard eye chart and we will check refractive error. To diagnose or rule out any eye diseases, we will inspect your inner eye tissues with a high-powered lens. This exam also provides significant information about your overall health.

For more information about comprehensive eye examinations, call EYEcenter at  (916) 726-1818 in Folsom, Rocklin, Citrus Heights, Midtown & Gold River, California to schedule an eye exam with our team of patient-centric optometrists.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

Do I really need to check my eyes ?

Everyone, regardless of age or physical condition, is recommended to go for regular eye exams.

Thorough evaluations of your eye health and vision by Dr. Leeare the best way to check for signs of vision conditions and ocular disease.

At EYEcenter Optometric, our optometrists will inspect your eyes thoroughly, using first-rate skill and advanced diagnostic technology. Your vision matters to us, and we will consider the individual needs and health of each patient. We are located conveniently in Folsom, Rocklin, Citrus Heights & Gold River, California, and we are pleased to serve patients from the greater area.

The importance of routine eye exams

Early detection of many typical adult eye diseases can have a powerful effect on the success of treatment. When we examine your eyes in our office in Folsom, Rocklin, Citrus Heights & Gold River, California, we will take a very close look for signs of disease that may still be symptom less. To prevent future vision loss or complications, we’ll begin treatment as soon as possible.

With children, an undetected vision condition could harm their ability to learn properly.

Common eye problems that are diagnosed in children include astigmatism, nearsightedness, farsightedness and weak eye teaming. If your child is diagnosed with any of these problems during our comprehensive pediatric eye exam, we will determine the most effective treatments. Eye exams can thereby prevent or lead to resolution of many learning problems in school.

When should you schedule your comprehensive eye exam?

The American Optometric Association (AOA) issued the following guidelines:

Children

  1. First eye exam at 6 months old, to check that the visual system is developing normally
  2. Second eye exam at 3 years old
  3. Complete eye and vision evaluation prior to entering school, around age 5-6. If no vision problems are diagnosed, then follow-up examinations should be done at least every 2 years. If your child needs vision correction, then exams must be scheduled at least once a year.

Children who have any of these risk factors should come in for eye exams more frequently:

  1. Premature birth
  2. Crossed or turned eyes
  3. Family history of eye disease
  4. Other physical disease
  5. History of eye injury
  • Delayed development Adults Until age 40, if no vision correction (such as eyeglasses or contact lenses) is needed, then complete eye assessments should be performed every two or three years.
  • After 40 years old, annual eye exams are encouraged. The incidence of many common eye diseases and vision problems rises as you age, and we will check for conditions such as presbyopia, cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma.
  • Everyone over age 60 is strongly recommended to schedule frequent eye exams.
  • Any adult who has a health issue, such as hypertension or diabetes, may require additional eye exams, as advised by an eye doctor.

What will happen at your comprehensive eye exam?

Our team of experienced optometrists will use many different testing procedures to check your eyes. Our Folsom, Rocklin, Citrus Heights & Gold River, PA, office is fully equipped with the latest equipment. To determine visual acuity, you will be asked to read a standard eye chart and we will check refractive error. To diagnose or rule out any eye diseases, we will inspect your inner eye tissues with a high-powered lens. This exam also provides significant information about your overall health.

For more information about comprehensive eye examinations Call EYEcenter Optometric on (916) 945-9411 - Folsom in Folsom, Rocklin, Citrus Heights & Gold River, California to schedule an eye exam with our optometrist, Dr. Lee.

Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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