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Eye Exams Can Reveal These 5 Health Issues!

Eye Care & Designer Frames in Plano

Eye Care & Designer Frames in Plano

Eye doctors are trained to detect a wide range of ocular problems during a comprehensive eye exam. But did you know that they can often diagnose general health conditions just by examining your eyes?

That’s yet another reason to go for regular eye exams, even if your eyesight is perfect.

Here are 5 health problems that your eye doctor may find while performing a thorough eye exam.

Diabetes

During an eye exam, your eye doctor may notice damaged blood vessels at the back of your eye. This is common among diabetic patients, in a condition called diabetic retinopathy.

In its early stages, diabetic retinopathy doesn’t usually cause noticeable symptoms, so you may not know you have it.

The earlier it’s diagnosed and managed, the better your chances of preserving your eyesight.

High Blood Pressure

Elevated blood pressure can cause the blood vessels at the back of your eye to change shape or leak. These changes tell your eye doctor that you may be suffering from high blood pressure. Once your blood pressure is under control, the risks of other eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy are reduced.

High Cholesterol

Patients with high cholesterol sometimes develop a yellow or bluish ring around their cornea. High cholesterol levels may also be detected if deposits are found in the blood vessels in the retina.

In certain cases, an eye doctor may be able to tell whether a person is at high risk of having a stroke or other vascular incident caused by high cholesterol, simply by looking at their eyes.

Cancer

Some forms of cancer either originate in the eye or manifest in or near the eye.

  • Common skin cancers may be present on the outer surfaces of the eye or the eyelids.
  • Leukemia or lymphoma can cause changes to the interior of the eye.
  • Breast cancer and other bodily cancers can metastasize and spread to the eye.

Thyroid Disease

If your eyeballs are bulging or protruding from eyelids that seem to be retracting, your eye doctor will suspect an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism), which is often caused by Grave’s Disease. This autoimmune condition affects the muscles and tissues around the eye, and symptoms may also include dry eyes, blurry vision or vision loss.

Several medical conditions, including those mentioned above, may begin with no discernible symptoms. Left undiagnosed or untreated, they can quickly become serious or even life-threatening. The earlier a condition is discovered, the better the outcome.

Make sure to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with Switalski Eye Care in Plano, even if you’re not experiencing any obvious vision problems. Eye exams are a simple yet important way to protect your eye and general health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often should I have an eye exam?

  • A: It’s important to have regular eye exams every one or two years, or as recommended by your eye doctor. Children should also have regular eye exams so that any vision-related problems are detected early on.

Q: What does my eye doctor look for during an exam?

  • A: During an eye exam, your eye doctor can detect a refractive error like nearsightedness or farsightedness, and may also be able to identify possible signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, stroke, leukemia, and several other conditions.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Switalski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


Should My Baby Wear Sunglasses Sometimes?

Eye Care & Optical | Switalski Eye Care

Does A Baby Need Sunglasses?

Did you ever stop to think, “should my baby wear sunglasses?”

The answer is yes. While adults know the benefits of sunglasses, many parents aren’t aware that a baby’s eyes are especially vulnerable to the sun’s harmful UV rays.

At Switalski Eye Care we care about you and your family’s eyes. We help patients of all ages find sunglasses that protect their eyes while making them look and feel great.

Why Should My Baby Wear Sunglasses?

Sunglasses protect the eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet light is linked to the development of macular degeneration, cataracts, benign growths on the sclera (the white of the eye), corneal sunburn, and even eyelid cancers.

But did you know that babies and children are even more vulnerable to UV light than adults? Because children’s eye lenses are clearer than in adults’, 70% more UV light penetrates the eye. Without protection, the damage done by UV rays accumulates over time, leading to an increased risk of permanent eye damage or disease in adulthood.

It’s no wonder that an estimated 80% of UV eye damage in our lifetime occurs by the age of 18!

What to Look for When Purchasing Sunglasses for Your Baby

When buying sunglasses, keep these tips in mind:

UVA and UVB protection – Look for sunglasses that filter at least 95% of UVA and UVB rays. 100% blockage is even better.

Polarization – Polarization leads objects to appear sharper and reduces glare. Keep in mind that that polarization isn’t the same as UV protection.

Wraparound – Sunglasses that wrap around a child’s head prevent light from entering the eye from the sides.

Color – Lenses should be gray-tinted so they don’t interfere with your child’s ability to recognize colors.

Safety and Security – Because babies and toddlers can be rough with sunglasses, make sure you choose ones that don’t break easily. For optimal safety, get polycarbonate lenses as they’re impact-resistant. You’ll also want the sunglasses to stay on your baby’s face, so make sure you select those that include a Velcro strap or a band that holds the two ends together.

Whenever you feel that you should be wearing sunglasses, your baby should be wearing them, too. Whether they’re in a stroller or baby carrier, their eyes need to be protected from potential UV damage.

We at Switalski Eye Care care about your child’s eyes. Stop by Switalski Eye Care in Plano for help and advice on choosing the perfect pair of sunglasses for your baby.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:When should my baby wear sunglasses?

  • A: Sunglasses aren’t just for the summer. Protect your baby’s eyes with sunglasses year-round.

Q:How do I get my baby to keep their sunglasses on?

  • A: The earlier your child is introduced to sunglasses, the more natural they’ll feel. Also, make sure the sunglasses fit well and don’t pinch. No one likes to wear a pair of sunglasses that aren’t comfortable, so why would your baby?

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Switalski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Frequently Asked Questions on Eyeglasses

Optical store in Plano, Texas

Eye Care and Optical Store in Plano, Texas

How can I get rid of reflections on my glasses?

If you’re experiencing annoying reflections on your lenses, have your optician replace the lenses with ones that include an anti-reflective coating (AR coating). Though this will come at an extra cost, the AR coating will help you see more clearly, let others see your eyes better and eliminate annoying glare spots on your lenses.

I’d like to know more about the glasses that transform into sunglasses.

Glasses that transform into sunglasses when in direct sunlight are known as photochromic lenses. The lenses darken once exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UV) rays and progressively return to their clear state when no longer exposed to these rays.

Photochromic lenses are an excellent choice for those who wear glasses all day and regularly spend time outdoors, yet don’t want to invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses.

However, it’s important to note that most photochromic lenses don’t darken as well when inside a vehicle. The windshield glass blocks much of the UV required to initiate the lens darkening process. Thus, it’s best to get a separate pair of prescription sunglasses for driving.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I choose glasses that my child will actually want to wear?

If you want your child to wear glasses, get him or her to pick them out. Whenever children choose glasses frames that they like and feel good wearing, they are much more likely to enjoy wearing them.

How can I prolong the life of my eyeglasses?

Below are a few tips to keep your glasses in great condition:

  • If you’re buying a single pair of glasses, avoid trendy frames that could soon go out of vogue.
  • If your child’s prescription changes regularly, ask for the new lenses to be placed in the old frames, rather than purchasing new frames every time.
  • Buy frames with spring hinges. These allow the temples to slightly flex outward without breaking the glasses.
  • Apply scratch-resistant coating to the lenses.

Why do certain glasses leave indents on the sides of my nose?

When nose pads are maladjusted or too tight, they leave indents. Fortunately, this problem can be easily solved with a few adjustments by an optician who will ensure that the pair of glasses evenly distributes pressure on the nose, head width, and ears.

Why do my glasses cause pain behind my ears?

If the arms of the frame are bent too tightly around the ears, you will experience aches behind the ears. Ask your optician to loosen the arms and adjust them as needed for maximum comfort.

My glasses keep sliding off my nose. What should I do?

If your glasses aren’t sitting comfortably on your face, then there’s clearly an adjustment problem. Visit Switalski Eye Care in Plano to adjust the frame width and bridge size.

How do I keep my glasses clean?

The most efficient method for cleaning glasses is to run them under water; place a tiny drop of dishwashing soap on the lenses and lather them using the tip of your finger. Rinse with warm water and dry using a microfibre cloth. Keep your lenses away from chemicals and high temperatures, as they can destroy the protective coating on your lenses.

Q: Why should I see an eye doctor when I can easily pick up an inexpensive pair of eyeglasses at the store?

  • A: You should visit your eye doctor for several reasons.Routine eye exams are the only way to detect underlying diseases (i.e. glaucoma) in their early stages. When caught early, they can be more effectively treated before permanent vision loss occurs. Furthermore, the one-size-fits-all reading glasses that you find at a regular store doesn’t correct for astigmatism or those with differing eye prescriptions. This is something only an eye doctor, such as Dr. Switalski, can provide.

Q: When buying reading glasses at a pharmacy or corner store, how do I know which prescription to get?

  • A: Off-the-shelf glasses should only be used for emergency situations, as they can’t perfectly correct your prescription. That said, it is recommended to get a slightly weaker correction than your usual prescription.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Switalski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

How To Care For Your Glasses

Switalski Eye Care Offers You The Very Best In Eye Care

Switalski Eye Care Offers You The Very Best In Eye Care

If you’re like most people, your eyeglasses are your window to the world and an expression of your personal style. You chose them with care, and now you want to ensure that your investment lasts.

Here are our top tips for keeping your glasses in tip-top shape.

Handle Them Carefully

When removing your glasses, firmly hold them by the corner of the temples to avoid accidentally bending the temples and earpieces.

Be sure to never set them down directly on the lenses. Instead, lay them with the lenses facing upward.

Clean Them Properly and Often

Don’t wipe your glasses with the bottom of your shirt or a tissue. Using anything but a microfiber cloth to wipe them can transfer dirt to your lenses.

Furthermore, cleaning your lenses while they’re dry can scratch them. Instead, wash away debris and dirt with clean tap water and a drop of dish soap or eyeglass cleaner provided by your eye doctor. Never use hot water, as it can damage or strip the lenses of certain coatings.

Let your glasses air dry or dry them with a clean microfiber cloth. Paper towels and tissues may be too abrasive.

Cleaning your specs daily will help keep them in optimal condition.

Store Them Safely

Keep your glasses in a hardshell case whenever they aren’t on your face. Hard cases protect your specs from being bent, crushed, scratched, or soiled.

If you prefer a less bulky case, consider storing your glasses in a microfiber pouch and placing them in a safe place where they won’t be disturbed.

Store your glasses in the same place every time to reduce your chance of losing them. Never leave your glasses in a hot car — the heat can damage or warp the lenses.

Glasses that are well-maintained provide the best in visual clarity and comfort. Scratched lenses or misaligned earpieces can cause eyestrain when worn for extended periods of time.

If your glasses (or eyes) need a little TLC, we can help. To schedule an eye exam or ask any questions about proper eyeglass upkeep, call Switalski Eye Care in Plano today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use a standard glass cleaner to clean my eyewear?

  • A: Absolutely not. Cleaning solutions like window cleaner, ammonia, and bleach can ruin any specialized coatings on your lenses. Also, don’t use saliva. Spitting on your lenses can introduce substances like oil and bacteria — not things you want on your lenses.

Q: How often should I replace my glasses?

  • A: When worn and cared for properly, a good pair of glasses should last between 1-3 years, assuming your lens prescription doesn’t change. Of course, feel free to get some new frames whenever you want to spruce up your look.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Switalski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

How Can You Tell If Your Baby Has a Vision Problem?

Eye Care & Optical | Switalski Eye Care

Eye Care & Optical | Switalski Eye Care

Babies heavily rely on their vision to explore and learn about the world around them. But what many don’t realize is that vision is a learned skill, just like walking and talking. Without a healthy vision, babies who grow into toddlers may not be able to reach some developmental milestones on time or may find ordinary activities very challenging.

That’s why it’s so critical to check that your child’s eyes and vision are developing as they should. Below are some warning signs that parents and caregivers should keep an eye out for, as it may signal the need to visit an optometrist.

To schedule an eye exam for your baby, toddler or anyone else in your family, Switalski Eye Care in Plano is here for you.

Signs That May Indicate a Vision Problem In Infants

If your baby displays any of the following signs and symptoms, consult with your pediatrician or your eye doctor.

  • Eye turn, when one eye turns inward, outward, up or down
  • Excessive tearing or watery eyes
  • White or grayish coloring in the pupil
  • Crustiness or pus around either eye
  • Persistent eye redness
  • Extreme light-sensitivity
  • Very droopy eyelids
  • Eyes that rapidly move from side to side or up and down
  • Eye pain or discomfort that doesn’t resolve
  • Squinting or head tilting
  • Difficulty maintaining eye contact

Visual Milestones to Keep in Mind

Below are a few examples of visual milestones that are important to achieve as your baby develops into a toddler within the first 2 years of life.

0-4 Months

When babies are born, they are usually able to focus on objects that are about 9 inches away (the distance between their eyes and their parent’s face while being held or during breastfeeding).

Within a few months, vision rapidly improves, allowing them to track moving objects with their eyes and develop the beginnings of hand-eye coordination.

If you notice that your newborn’s eyes appear to be crossed or if one eye turns outward at times, this is usually no cause for concern and will likely resolve as their visual system strengthens. However, just to be sure, consider scheduling an exam with your pediatrician or eye doctor.

After 3 to 4 months, babies should be able to track moving objects and reach for things.

5-8 Months

Babies begin to see the world in 3 dimensions at around 5 months. Depth and color perception are new visual skills that evolve during these months.

This is also the stage when most babies learn to crawl. Crawling supports a baby’s hand-foot-body coordination and may help strengthen their visual system. As babies crawl, they look up into the distance and then back at their hands, and up again. Constantly shifting their points of focus in coordination with their own movement helps develop their binocular vision and hand-eye coordination.

9-12 Months

By this stage, a baby should be able to pick up small objects with their thumb and forefinger.

Most babies will also try to pull themselves up to a standing position and may try to walk. Encourage your baby to crawl as much as possible, as this bolsters their hand-eye coordination and binocular vision.

A baby this age should be able to judge distances pretty well.

12-24 Months

Hand-eye coordination is well developed by the age of 2. Toddlers this age are able to recognize faces and point out objects in a picture book.

What Can Parents Do For Their Baby’s Visual Health?

Babies need visual stimulation in order to develop a healthy visual system. Parents and caregivers should engage in age-appropriate activities that will boost their visual development.

For example, provide the baby with plenty of free time to play with toys on the floor. Talk to your baby as you walk around the room to help develop their visual tracking skills. Read books and point to objects. Give your child building blocks and balls that support visual-spatial skills and fine motor skills.

Of course, all babies develop at their own speed — and that’s fine. Some healthy babies may not reach every milestone right on the mark. The best way to learn whether your child’s visual system is developing normally is to have them assessed by an optometrist.

If you suspect that your baby may have a visual problem, bring them in for an evaluation with Dr. Switalski. Generally, the earlier visual problems are diagnosed, the better the outcome. Whether you suspect a visual problem or not, all babies should have their eyes examined when they reach 6 months.

To schedule your baby’s eye exam, contact Switalski Eye Care in Plano today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often should babies and children have their eyes checked?

  • A: All babies should have their first eye exam at 6 months of age, even if no visual problems are suspected. During the eye exam, the eye doctor will check for things like farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism, eye alignment, and eye movement ability. If no problem is detected, and your child’s eyes continue to be healthy, your optometrist will let you know when is the best time for their next eye exam.

Q: What are the most common vision problems in babies and toddlers?

  • A: The most common vision problems in babies and toddlers are refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism), strabismus (eye turn), amblyopia (lazy eye), congenital abnormalities, genetic eye diseases, pediatric ptosis, and nystagmus.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Switalski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


What Are Eye Allergies?

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Switalski Eye Care

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Switalski Eye Care

Eye allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, are caused by environmental allergens and irritants. While their symptoms range in severity from uncomfortable to incapacitating, it’s often possible to attain relief.

What Causes Eye Allergies?

Allergies occur when the immune system becomes hypersensitive to certain allergens, such as dust mites or pollen. Histamines are released into the bloodstream when allergens are introduced to the body, causing swelling and inflammation.

Some airborne allergens that can cause eye allergies to include:

  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Trees
  • Pollen
  • Weeds

Non-airborne allergens include:

  • Cleaning chemicals
  • Preservatives in multi-use eye drops
  • Contact lens solutions
  • Perfume
  • Makeup
  • Skin-care products

What Are Common Symptoms of Eye Allergies?

When your eyes come in contact with an allergen you may start to have symptoms almost immediately, or hours or days later. Eye allergy symptoms include:

  • Burning or painful eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Irritated or itchy eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sneezing
  • Swollen eyelids

How To Treat Eye Allergies

Once your eye doctor has thoroughly examined your eyes and ruled out other causes of your symptoms, they can advise you on how best to treat your symptoms.

Decongestants or Antihistamines

Decongestants can help you breathe easier by shrinking swollen nasal pathways that might become inflamed due to allergies. Decongestants can also shrink the blood vessels in the whites of the eyes, relieving red eyes.

Antihistamines work by blocking the attachment of the histamine to the body’s cells that produce an allergic reaction, reducing or eliminating symptoms.

Limit Allergen Exposure

A good way to reduce allergy flare-ups is to avoid allergens or at least reduce exposure to them. If pollen causes your eyes to become itchy and red, try limiting your time outdoors and driving with the windows closed. In addition, wearing wrap-around glasses can protect your eyes from allergens and irritants.

Temporarily Remove Your Contact Lenses

Allergens can accumulate on the surface of contact lenses, which makes it difficult to get rid of symptoms while wearing them. If you suffer from eye allergies, try temporarily switching to glasses and see if your symptoms continue. For many people, the best contact lenses for those with eye allergies are daily disposables, which are discarded at the end of each day.

Try Eye Drops

Over-the-counter antihistamine and lubricating eye drops can help soothe itchy, irritated, and red eyes. There are many brands and types of drops that will offer the best relief. Your eye doctor may even prescribe a more powerful eye drop than the ones available at your local drugstore.

Aside from soothing irritated eyes, artificial tears and lubricating eye drops can help remove any foreign substances and flush the eye of allergens.

Scheduling an eye exam at Switalski Eye Care in Plano is the best way to rule out other possible eye conditions and determine the cause of your symptoms. If you suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact us today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are eye allergies dangerous?

  • A: Most eye allergies are more irritating than dangerous. They can, however, cause scarring of the cornea due to all the eye rubbing.

Q: How can I tell whether it’s an eye allergy or eye infection?

  • A: If you experience eye pain and ocular discharge (excluding tears), there’s a strong chance you might have an infection. Viral eye infections usually clear up on their own, but bacterial eye infections can only be treated with medication. If you suspect you have an eye infection, make sure to visit your eye doctor as soon as possible.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Switalski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


What Can I Do to Prevent Glaucoma?

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Switalski Eye Care

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Switalski Eye Care

Glaucoma affects approximately 3.5 million North Americans aged 40 and older. It is a primary cause of preventable vision loss and blindness among adults on this continent and around the world.

Glaucoma is three to four times more common, and 15x more likely to cause blindness in African Americans than in Caucasians. The prevalence of glaucoma rises rapidly in Hispanics over the age of 65.

While there is currently no cure, early detection with an annual comprehensive eye exam can slow or prevent vision loss. So get your eyes checked at Switalski Eye Care in Plano before it’s too late.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve. This nerve is the only neural communication between the eyes and the brain, so any damage in that area causes permanent and irreparable vision loss.

The main risk factor is increased pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure (IOP). IOP usually increases due to the buildup of excess fluid inside the eye, which damages the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss and even blindness.

While glaucoma is most common in those aged 40 and over, it can occur at any age. Early detection and treatment can often prevent glaucoma-related damage. This is why it is absolutely crucial to undergo routine comprehensive eye exams that include glaucoma testing.

What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?

Open-angle glaucoma (OAG) is the most common type of glaucoma, accounting for over 90% of all glaucoma patients. This type of glaucoma has no obvious symptoms until irreparable damage to the optic nerve has occurred. This condition is often called the ‘Silent Thief of Sight’ and results in vision loss known as ‘tunnel vision.’

Normal-tension glaucoma, also called low-tension glaucoma, affects up to 30-40% of all glaucoma patients with OAG. In these cases, the optic nerve is damaged even though the pressure in the eye is within normal limits. People with this kind of glaucoma may experience:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Low blood pressure

A far less common form of the disease is closed-angle glaucoma (CAG), affecting up to 10% of all patients. In this sight-threatening eye disease, the IOP can suddenly spike to over 50mmHg — more than double the normal range. This condition requires immediate emergency medical care as vision loss can be more dramatic and occurs quickly. Closed-angle glaucoma often presents with some or all of these symptoms:

  • Blind spots in the peripheral vision
  • Sudden severe pain in the eye or forehead
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Eye redness
  • Decreased or blurred vision

How to Manage Your Glaucoma

Although there is no cure for glaucoma, the good news is that if it is detected early, the condition can be treated and controlled to prevent vision loss. Most glaucoma patients can successfully manage their condition with eye drops, medication, and on occasion, laser treatment or surgery. All of these help to reduce the pressure on the eye by lessening the production and inflow of aqueous fluid into the eye or increasing the outflow pathways for more effective drainage from the eye.

It’s important to remember that having regular eye exams is vital, as glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss before you are even aware of any signs. Irreparable vision loss and blindness can be prevented if the disease is recognized in its early stages. Contact Switalski Eye Care in Plano to book your comprehensive eye exam today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can Glaucoma be treated?

  • A: While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are several treatments that can help slow down or prevent damage to your eyes. Treatments include eye drops, oral medication, surgeries and therapies such as filtering surgery, Laser therapy, drainage tubes, and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS)

Q: Can glaucoma be prevented?

  • A: The only way to prevent glaucoma is to undergo regular eye exams as significant vision loss or blindness can be prevented if glaucoma is diagnosed and treated in its early stages.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Switalski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


Macular Degeneration – What Is It?

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Switalski Eye Care

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Switalski Eye Care

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of severe vision loss in people over 60. An estimated 11 million people in the United States and 1.4 million Canadians have some form of macular degeneration.

The risk of suffering from AMD increases from 2% for ages 50-59, to nearly 30% for those over the age of 75.

Currently, there is no cure for macular degeneration. However, with lasers and injections, Switalski Eye Care can help you manage the condition and occasionally even restore some lost vision.

What is Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the central part of the retina, called the macula. It’s responsible for central vision, making it an extremely important part of our eyes. A large part of our ability to see fine detail and color comes from our central vision. Clear central vision is vital to our quality of life as it allows us to drive a car, recognize faces, read, watch TV and so much more.

The retina is the back layer of the eye that consists of nerves to record images and send them back to the brain. When functioning properly, the macula collects extremely detailed images at the center of our vision. It then sends signals through the optic nerve to the brain. When the macula deteriorates, the retina sends distorted and blurred images to the brain.

One way to understand the impact of AMD: When you look at a loved one, the image of their face is focused onto your macula. The deterioration of the macula makes it difficult, sometimes impossible to see clearly, impacting our enjoyment of life.

Types of Macular Degeneration

There are two main types of macular degeneration: “wet” and “dry.” Between 85% to 90% of people with macular degeneration have dry form. The dry form can eventually lead to the wet form.

Stargardt disease is another form of macular degeneration, which occurs in young people. Caused by a defective gene, it affects 1 in 10,000 people.

Wet vs. Dry Macular Degeneration

  • Wet (exudative) macular degeneration – this occurs when very fragile new blood vessels form in the retina. These abnormal blood vessels leak fluid and blood into the retina, causing vision to become distorted, resulting in lines that appear wavy instead of straight, or black spots in your vision. As the blood vessels continue to bleed, they form a scar, potentially leading to full or partial loss of central vision.
  • Dry (atrophic) macular degeneration – this occurs when yellow deposits of proteins called drusen build up under the retina and cause retinal distortion. While a few small drusen may not change your vision, when they grow bigger they may start to distort or dim your vision, particularly while reading. As the condition worsens, light-sensitive cells in your macula can deteriorate and eventually die. In your central vision, you may also notice large blind spots.

Stages of Dry Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration happens in three stages.

  • Early AMD – At this point most people have no loss of vision. This is when medium-sized drusen deposits accumulate under the retina and there are no pigment changes or deterioration of vision.
  • Intermediate AMD – Most people don’t experience any problems with daily tasks; however, there may be mild vision loss. This is when large drusen deposits accumulate and/or pigment changes occur, indicating that macula cells are starting to die.
  • Late AMD – Noticeable vision loss has occurred due to extensive damage to the macula.

Symptoms of Macular Degeneration

You might not have any noticeable symptoms in the early stages of AMD. Irreversible damage may occur by the time significant symptoms reveal themselves. Wet AMD may cause the sudden appearance of these symptoms.

The first symptoms that you may experience of macular degeneration can include:

  • Blind or dark spots in the center of your vision
  • Decreased or blurry vision
  • Different color perception, in rare cases
  • Lines appearing wavy

What Eye Exams Can Help Detect AMD?

Your eye doctor will perform an eye exam to check for macular degeneration. This will include:

  • Dilated Eye Exam – Your eye doctor will need to dilate your pupils using eye drops. This will allow the doctor to see a magnified view of the drusen and macula, and detect any abnormal blood vessels.
  • Fluorescein Angiography – A dye is injected into the bloodstream to detect any leakage in the blood vessels in the retina.
  • Digital Retinal Image – This non-invasive, diagnostic tool produces high-resolution digital colored images of your retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels in the back of your eye, allowing your eye doctor to see more details of your eye.
  • Ophthalmoscopy – Your doctor will use a hand-held light to detect any changes or damage in the macula and retina.
  • Amsler Grid – This is used by a patient at home and allows for self-examination of your vision. It will help you notice any sudden appearance of blank or blurry spots in your field of vision. Immediately report any changes of vision to your eye doctor. This should not replace your yearly comprehensive eye exam.
  • Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) – This test allows eye doctors to see a cross-section of the retina and examine the blood vessels and layers beneath the surface of the retina. This includes the retina, optic nerve, macula, and choroid. The OCT provides 3D and full-color images.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are Macular Degeneration and Glaucoma Related?

  • A: While macular degeneration does not affect glaucoma, it can contribute to decreased vision along with glaucoma. The vision loss that may occur in macular degeneration tends to affect central vision, whereas glaucoma usually affects side vision. If both conditions arise, they do not actively affect one another. However, the visual impairment that may result will affect a larger area of vision than glaucoma alone.

Q: Can my vision improve if I am treated for AMD?

  • A: While there is no cure, certain treatment options can help improve your vision. For those with advanced dry macular degeneration in both eyes, one option to improve vision may be surgery to implant a telescopic lens in one eye. A telescopic lens looks like a tiny plastic tube that has lenses that magnify your field of vision.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Switalski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


3 Reasons To Wear Prescription Sunglasses

Designer Frames & Sunglasses at Switalski Eye Care

Designer Frames & Sunglasses at Switalski Eye Care

Sunglasses offer clear, comfortable vision while also protecting your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet light — which is a known risk factor for developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and other sight-threatening eye conditions. That’s why it’s important to always wear sunglasses whenever outdoors.

If you don’t already own a pair of prescription sunglasses, below we’ll explore 3 compelling reasons to pick up a pair from your local optometrist in Plano.

They’re Convenient

When you have a pair of prescription sunglasses, protecting your eyes while outdoors becomes a no-brainer.

Even those who wear contact lenses can benefit from owning a pair of prescription sunglasses for days when you just want to give your eyes a break from lenses.

They’re Customizable

Ask your eye doctor about how to personalize your prescription sunglasses to suit your needs.

Whether you prefer anti-reflective coatings, polarization, or other optical upgrades — your pair of prescription sunnies can be tailor-made for your eyes.

You can even order a pair of bifocal or multifocal sunglasses if you require more than one prescription.

They Offer Better Protection

When you order a pair of prescription sunglasses from your local optometrist, you can be sure you’re getting superior quality.

Sunglasses should always offer 100% UVA and UVB protection, but the fact is that many sunglasses available from other vendors don’t always provide that level of protection. And don’t be fooled by “UV blocking” stickers on the lenses — “UV blocking” is not the same as “100% UV protection”.

At Switalski Eye Care in Plano, we carry a wide range of fashionable, high-quality, protective sunglasses that will keep your eyes feeling and looking their best.

For all of your optical needs, we’re here for you. Call us today to learn more or schedule your appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is it important to wear sunglasses?

  • A: It’s important to wear sunglasses all year round. Prolonged exposure to harmful UV light has been known to cause a handful of sight-threatening diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration, and photokeratitis. Sunglasses also shield your eyes from harsh winds that carry debris and irritating allergens.

Q: Why should I buy eyewear from a local optometrist rather than online?

  • A: Whether you’re buying glasses, contact lenses, or sunglasses, it’s best to order them directly from your eye doctor rather than an online source. Online eyewear is more prone to manufacturing errors that can cause visual discomfort and even damage your eyes. When you buy from a local optometrist you get personal care and attention and can bring in your eyewear for adjustments and repairs.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Switalski Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Refs & Inspo
https://www.allaboutvision.com/sunglasses/reasons-you-need-prescription-shades/

Are You Susceptible To Vision Loss?

Vision loss is more common than you may think! In fact, it’s among the most prevalent disabilities in adults and children. Knowing what puts you at risk of developing vision loss is important and can help you to be proactive about caring for your eyes.

Below, we’ll explore the most common causes of vision loss and the risk factors associated with each.

Spreading awareness and education about visual health is just one way that our eye doctors near you can help. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call us today.

Common Causes of Vision Loss

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases caused by a buildup of pressure within the eye. Too much inner-eye pressure can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss.

Since symptoms don’t usually manifest in the early stages of glaucoma, getting regular eye exams is all the more crucial. Advanced or rapidly progressing glaucoma can show a variety of symptoms, such as blurred vision, headache, severe eye pain and redness, seeing halos around lights, and nausea.

Risk factors for developing glaucoma include:

  • Being 60 years or older
  • Family history of glaucoma
  • African, Asian, or Hispanic descent
  • High myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness)
  • Previous eye injury or certain eye surgeries
  • Certain medications, like corticosteroids
  • Thin corneas
  • Certain medical conditions, like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and sickle-cell anemia

Cataracts

Cataracts occur when the eye’s lens becomes cloudy. A healthy lens is clear and allows light to pass through it undisturbed.

Common cataract symptoms include cloudy or blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night, light sensitivity, double vision in the affected eye, and seeing colors as faded or yellowish.

Risk factors for developing cataracts include:

  • Aging
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Smoking
  • Previous eye surgery, injury, or inflammation
  • Alcoholism
  • Extended use of corticosteroids

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

AMD is the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over the age of 60. It occurs when the macula (the small central portion of the retina, which is responsible for sharp, colorful, central vision) begins to wear down.

Early stages of AMD usually go unnoticed, but later stages of the disease can produce symptoms like blurred vision, dark or blurry areas in your central vision, and problems with color perception.

There’s not yet a cure for AMD, but certain treatments can help prevent vision loss.

Risk factors for developing AMD include:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Aging
  • Long-term sun exposure
  • Hypertension
  • Heart disease
  • Family history of AMD
  • Light-colored eyes
  • Farsightedness

Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes that affects the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye called the retina.

Initially, diabetic retinopathy shows no symptoms but can eventually lead to blindness. As it develops, it can cause increased floaters, impaired color vision, dark spots in your visual field, and blurred vision.

Risk factors for developing diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Length of time from diabetes diagnosis — the longer you’ve had it, the higher your chances of developing visual complications
  • Uncontrolled blood sugar
  • Obesity
  • High cholesterol or blood pressure
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • African American, Hispanic, and Native American ethnicities
  • Family history of DR

So, what’s the bottom line ?

Multiple factors contribute to eye disease and vision loss, and some may even be relevant to you. If you think you may be at risk for vision loss or experience any of the symptoms listed above, speak with your eye doctor in Plano as soon as possible. We also recommend you have your eyes thoroughly examined every 1-2 years, or as often as your eye doctor recommends. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call Switalski Eye Care today.

 

Frequently Asked Questions With Our Plano Eye Doctors

  1. Can blindness be prevented?

When caught early, many eye diseases can be treated to halt or slow the progression of the disease and potentially prevent vision loss. The best things you can do to preserve your vision for the long term is to lead a healthy lifestyle and make sure you undergo a comprehensive eye exam every 1-2 years.

  1. Which eye diseases are genetically inherited?

More than 350 ocular diseases have some sort of genetic component. Certain diseases, like retinitis pigmentosa and albinism, are directly inherited through chromosomal information. In other cases, a predisposition to the disease is inherited, rather than the disease itself.

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