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3 Benefits of Anti-Glare Coating

Glare refers to the excessive brightness caused by direct or reflected light. It can cause eye strain, digital eye strain (when using a computer, for example), halos, and headaches. Glare can also reduce visibility, making it unsafe to drive.

Anti-glare coating, also known as anti-reflective (AR) coating, is a thin layer applied to the surface of your eyeglass lenses that allows more light to pass through your lenses. By reducing the amount of glare that reflects off of your lenses, you can see more clearly and experience more comfortable vision. You can request anti-glare coating for lenses when you buy eyeglasses.

AR Coating Offers 3 Major Advantages

Better Appearance

Without an anti-glare coating on your glasses, camera flashes and bright lights can reflect off your lenses. This can hinder your appearance when speaking to people or in meetings, cause flash reflections when picture-taking, and make it difficult to find the right angle for video calls. Anti-reflective coating eliminates the harsh reflections and allows others to clearly see your eyes and face.

Reduced Digital Eye Strain

You know that tired, irritated feeling you get after staring at a digital screen for several hours? That’s digital eye strain. Anti-glare coating helps reduce digital eye strain by lowering exposure to excessive glare from digital devices and lighting.

Safe Driving at Night

The bright headlights from cars driving in the opposite direction can pose a serious danger when driving at night. These sudden glares can lead you to momentarily lose focus of the view ahead. AR coating on your prescription eyewear effectively reduces reflections from headlights at night, allowing you to enjoy a better view of the road and safer driving at night.

Let your eyes look and feel better every day with anti-glare coated lenses. Contact us to book your appointment today!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Brian Switalski

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

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

What You Should Know About Night Blindness

If you don’t see well while driving at night, there’s a chance you have night blindness. Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is the inability to see well at night or in dim lighting. It’s not considered an eye disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem.

Our eye doctor can help diagnose, manage and treat your night blindness so that you can enjoy being out at night again.

Here are 4 things you should know about night blindness:

Causes of Night Blindness

The inability to see well at night can be the result of a condition such as:

Vitamin A Deficiency — Vitamin A helps keep your cornea, the layer at the front of your eye, clear; it’s also an important component of rhodopsin, a protein that enables you to see in low light conditions. Although uncommon in North America, deficiency of this vitamin can induce night blindness.

CataractsA buildup of protein clouds the eye’s lens, leading to impaired vision, especially at night and in poor lighting conditions.

Diabetic RetinopathyDamage to the eyes’ blood vessels and nerves can result in vision loss, including difficulty seeing at night.

GlaucomaThis group of eye diseases is associated with pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve. Both glaucoma and the medications used to treat it can cause night blindness.

MyopiaAlso called nearsightedness, myopia makes distant objects appear blurry, and patients with it describe a starburst effect around lights at night.

KeratoconusAn irregularly shaped cornea causes blurred vision and may involve sensitivity to light and glare which tend to be worse at night.

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)A progressive genetic eye disease which can be associated with other diseases, RP leads to night blindness and peripheral vision loss.

Usher SyndromeThis genetic condition causes both hearing loss and vision loss, including night blindness and RP, mentioned above.

Symptoms of Nyctalopia

Since night blindness is a symptom of some serious vision problems, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice that you don’t see as well in dim light as you used to, such as when driving at night or when adjusting from being outdoors in the sunshine to being indoors.

Symptoms of Night Blindness Include:

  • Reduced contrast sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing people outdoors at night
  • Difficulty seeing in places with dim lighting, like a movie theater
  • Trouble adapting to the dark while driving
  • Excessive squinting at night
  • Trouble adjusting from bright areas to darker ones

Treatments for Night Blindness

Your eye doctor will want to diagnose the cause of your night blindness in order to treat it. For example, in the rare case of vitamin A deficiency, it can be treated with vitamin supplements and vitamin-A rich foods; myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Other conditions may require medications or surgery.

If night blindness is caused by a birth defect, Usher syndrome, or retinitis pigmentosa, low vision aids and devices can help you make the most of your remaining vision.

Prevention

While there is no proven way to prevent night blindness resulting from genetic conditions or birth defects, consuming healthy, nourishing foods and taking certain vitamin supplements may prevent or slow the onset of some eye conditions that cause night blindness.

If you experience poor vision at night or in dim lighting, we can help. Contact Switalski Eye Care in Plano to schedule your appointment today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Brian Switalski

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

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

Top 5 Holiday Gifts for People Who Wear Glasses

holiday gifts 640

The holiday season is upon us. For most people, that means going online or running to the mall to shop for gifts. When buying a present for someone who wears glasses it’s good to know what’s trending today. At Switalski Eye Care we carry the latest selection of designer frames, prescription eyeglasses and eyewear accessories.

Eye Doctor & Optical Store

If someone on your gift list wears glasses, below are 5 gift ideas to inspire you:

1. Gift Card

You can’t go wrong with a Switalski Eye Care gift card. Investing in a loved one’s vision goes beyond just providing clear vision. It shows them that you’re thinking of them and care about their health.

2. A Glasses Case

A quality pair of eyeglasses need to be protected. Buying a nice printed or colored eyeglass case allows people to keep their glasses protected in style. There are thousands of cases to choose from. A hard case is usually the best choice, as it delivers a higher level of protection. Consider your friend or loved one’s style preferences when shopping for the perfect case.

3. Eyeglass Repair Kit

An eyeglass repair kit may not be the most unique holiday gift, but it’s among the most useful gifts to have at home or when traveling. A repair kit usually comes with a microfibre cloth, screwdrivers, tweezers, and more. An eyeglass repair kit can be a lifesaver, especially during holidays and weekends, and for those who are often on the go.

4. NerdWax

Any eyeglass wearer will tell you how annoying it is to have to frequently push up their glasses from the bridge of their nose, or how frustrating those red marks on their nose can be because of their frames.

Nerdwax is a tube of wax that enables glasses to stay in place, all while stopping them from irritating the nose. This simple gift can bring increased comfort to the eyeglasses-wearer, enhancing their quality of life.

5. Cleaning Kit

Because eyeglasses require daily cleaning, an eyeglass cleaning kit is a great gift for those who regularly wear specs. Clean glasses not only offer clearer vision, but they help prevent glare, which enhances safety, particularly while driving. Using a proper cleaning kit also prevents the lenses from scratching and incurring permanent damage. A proper cleaning kit should include lens cleaning solution and at least one microfiber lens cloth.

With the assistance of our team, your gift recipient can choose from a wide selection of eye care products. Contact Switalski Eye Care to find out what a gift card can be used towards this holiday season.

Are Eye Problems More Common in Women Than Men?

three happy girls outdoors | Eye Exam Eye Care Vison Health

Schedule an Eye Exam or Contact Lenses Fitting At Switalski Eye Care

Being a Woman Increases The Chances of Developing Eye Problems

When it comes to eye health and vision, men and women aren’t created equal. It might surprise you to learn that, worldwide, two-thirds of all cases of blindness and visual impairment occur in women.

Read on to learn why being a woman increases the chances of developing eye problems, and how regular visits to your eye doctor can help.

Longer Life Expectancy

Women live about 5 years longer than men on average. Moreover, women tend to remain healthier longer than their male counterparts. According to the World Health Organization, the average woman can expect to live a full 70 years before experiencing a major disease or injury, compared to 67 healthy years for a man.

But a woman’s increased life expectancy has significant implications when it comes to her eye health and vision. Age is a major risk factor for conditions and diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and dry eye syndrome.

The longer a woman lives, the more likely that she will develop a serious eye condition or disease.

Hormones

Women experience a remarkable amount of hormonal fluctuation throughout their lifespan. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause all cause surges of estrogen, which can affect vision. Taking birth control pills also can cause visual or ocular symptoms, due to the varying levels of progesterone and estrogen.

Fluctuating estrogen levels can result in dry eye syndrome, which causes uncomfortable symptoms like red, itchy, watery eyes and, if untreated, possibly eye damage. Some women also experience blurred vision during estrogen surges. This is common during pregnancy but vision tends to normalize shortly after birth.

Medications

In almost every society around the world, women take more medication than their male counterparts. This includes both prescription and over-the-counter medications. What many don’t know is that several of these medications can pose significant risks to your eye health and vision, if taken in high dose and over an extended period of time.

Some medications that can affect your eyes include corticosteroids, antihistamines, antimalarials, and antipsychotic and antidepressant medications. Always consult your doctor before taking any prescription or nonprescription medications.

Autoimmune disorders

An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s own immune system backfires and attacks the body’s own tissue. While the exact reason is still unclear, it is well documented that women have far more autoimmune diseases than men.

According to The National Institutes of Health, 75% of people living with an autoimmune disease are female. Some common autoimmune disorders that impact eye health include rheumatoid arthritis, Sjorgen’s syndrome, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and Graves’ disease (hyperthyroidism). These can cause symptoms like dry and red eyes, foreign-body sensation, pain, changes in vision, and sometimes vision loss.

What Can Women Do To Preserve Their Eye Health?

Whether you are male or female, taking a preventative approach to eye care is the best way to preserve your vision.

Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins A, C, E, Omega-3’s, and zinc to support eye health. Quit or reduce smoking if you haven’t already. Also, limit your alcohol intake.

In addition to healthy lifestyle choices, a key factor in minimizing your risk of eye disease is seeing your eye doctor regularly.

Having frequent comprehensive eye exams allows your eye doctor to screen your eyes for early signs of disease. By detecting eye disease early, you’ll increase your chances of receiving effective treatment and preserving your vision.

Switalski Eye Care optometrists in Plano, Texas provide expert eye exams and quality eye care services.

Call Switalski Eye Care to schedule your comprehensive eye exam today.

REFERENCES

Women are at Higher Risk for Eye Disease than Men

5 Reasons Why Women are at Higher Risk of Eye Disease

WHAT MAKES WOMEN MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO EYE DISEASES

Ocular Manifestations of Autoimmune Disease

Eye Health Benefits of Eating Pumpkin

Eye Care at Switalski Eye Care

Eye Care at Switalski Eye Care

Are Pumpkins High in Vitamins & Minerals?

From pumpkin spice lattes to warm and comforting pumpkin soup, this winter squash is a favorite autumn ingredient — and for good reason. Not only are they delicious, they’re packed with several key nutrients that support ocular health. In fact, the nutrients in pumpkins and other carotenoids are strongly associated with a reduced risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Here’s why your eyes will thank you for consuming more pumpkin this autumn.

High in Vitamins A and C

Vitamin A plays a key role in protecting the cornea and supporting clear vision in dimly-lit settings.

When taken in combination with Vitamin A, Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the risk and slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration — a leading cause of blindness in adults. Vitamin C also reduces the risk of developing cataracts.

Great Source of Zeaxanthin and Lutein

Zeaxanthin and Lutein can be thought of as the eye’s natural “sunscreen.” They help filter out damaging high-energy light rays from the eyes.

Consuming sufficient amounts of these nutrients is also linked to a reduced risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Rich in Zinc

Zinc is an essential nutrient for eye health: high levels of it are found in the retina and choroid (the vascular layer of the eye). Zinc deficiency has been linked to having poor nighttime vision and the presence of cataracts.

It also helps deliver Vitamin A to the retina to form melanin (a pigment that protects the eye).

What’s more, zinc reduced the loss of visual sharpness by 19% and significantly slowed the progression of age-related macular degeneration in the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS) sponsored by the National Eye Institute. The study found that getting 40-80 mg/day of zinc (in combination with other antioxidants) slowed the progression of AMD by 25%. Other studies determined that even a daily zinc intake of 25mg reduces AMD progression.

Some delicious and healthful ways to up your pumpkin intake are roasted pumpkin, pumpkin smoothies, pumpkin seeds for snacking, and last but not least — delectable pumpkin soup.

Below is an easy and nutritious recipe for pumpkin soup that will warm you up on chilly autumn days.

Eye Exam at Switalski Eye Care

Pumpkin Soup – Food for the Soul and Your Eyes

You’ll need:

  • 2 sugar pumpkins or 2 ¼ cups of pureed pumpkin
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup coconut milk or other non-dairy milk
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp honey or maple syrup
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp each of nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Then, cut the tops off the pumpkins and cut them in half. Scrape out all of the seeds with a sharp spoon. Here’s a tip: keep the seeds on the side and roast them later for snacking.

Brush the flesh of the pumpkins with olive oil and place them on the parchment paper, cut side down. Place in the oven for 40-50 minutes, until a fork easily pierces the skin.

Remove the pumpkins from the oven and let them cool enough to handle. Remove the skin from the pumpkin and set aside.

In a medium pot placed over medium/high heat, add the olive oil, diced shallots, and garlic. Cook until translucent or slightly browned, stirring occasionally.

Add the pumpkin and remaining ingredients to the pot and simmer for 20 minutes.

Use an immersion blender to puree the soup into a thick and creamy bisque.

Serve hot and enjoy!

REFERENCE Pumpkin picking for eye health

Beware of Eye Infections – Eye Makeup & Decorative Contact Lenses

Eye Care at Switalski Eye Care

Eye Care at Switalski Eye Care

What is Keratitis?

Keratitis is an inflammation of the cornea (the clear outer covering of the eye). There are two types: infectious keratitis and non-infectious keratitis.

Though there are many fun aspects to Halloween, it can rapidly become scary if things go awry, especially when it affects your eye health. Halloween eye makeup, decorative contact lenses, shared eyewear or makeup, and the use of glitters can all potentially increase the risk of eye infections and unpleasant ocular conditions. So what is keratitis and what steps can you take to keep it from ruining your Halloween fun?

Infectious keratitis can be caused by a virus, fungus, bacteria, or parasites, and can only be treated with medication.

Non-infectious keratitis is usually caused by an eye injury, a foreign substance stuck in the eye, or wearing contact lenses longer than the recommended wear time.

What Are the Symptoms of Keratitis?

Signs and symptoms of keratitis include:

  • Eye redness
  • Eye pain
  • Excessive tearing or eye discharge
  • Blurred vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty or inability to open the eye
  • Decreased vision or temporary blindness
  • The feeling that something is stuck in your eye

If any of these feel familiar, promptly contact Dr. Switalski for immediate treatment.

So How Exactly Is Keratitis Treated?

Keratitis should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Any delay in treating the condition can lead to complications — even blindness.

The first step is going to your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam and getting an accurate diagnosis. Once keratitis is diagnosed, Dr. Switalski will get to the root of the problem, determine the exact cause, and will provide treatment accordingly.

Mild non-infectious keratitis is generally treated with artificial tear drops to soothe any ocular discomfort until it heals. More severe cases of non-infectious keratitis can be treated with an eye patch and topical eye medications.

Infectious keratitis, on the other hand, is treated with antibacterial, antiviral, or antifungal eye drops, depending on the type of infection.

What Steps Can I Take to Prevent Keratitis?

We cannot emphasize it enough: to prevent complications, always maintain strict ocular hygiene.

  • Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling your contact lenses
  • Replace your contacts at the recommended time
  • Replace your lens case every 3 to 6 months
  • Don’t swim or shower with contacts on
  • Switch to daily disposable contacts if you’re prone to eye infections
  • Avoid touching your eyes if you have an outbreak of cold sores/herpes, unless you’ve thoroughly washed your hands
  • Only use eye drops suggested or prescribed by your eye doctor and check when they need to be discarded.

While we certainly want our patients to enjoy themselves and have fun this Halloween, at Switalski Eye Care we care about eye safety while partaking in good-spirited fun.

Contact Switalski Eye Care with any further questions or to schedule your eye exam.

REFERENCES –Keratitis

Risks Of Decorative Contact Lenses

Contact Lens Eye Exam at Switalski Eye Care

Contact Lens Exam at Switalski Eye Care

Changing the look of your eyes with the help of decorative contact lenses can take your Halloween costume to the next level. But did you know that purchasing these lenses without a prescription from an eye doctor can actually pose serious harm to your eyes and eyesight?

Keep your eyes healthy this Halloween by asking Dr. Switalski about the safest way to obtain and wear colored or cosmetic contact lenses.

How Can Decorative Contact Lenses Harm Your Eyes?

Because decorative contact lenses usually don’t correct vision, many consumers believe that it’s fine to purchase them without a prescription, online, from a street vendor, or beauty supply store. The truth is that decorative contact lenses can increase your risk of serious eye disease.

While few eye doctors stock decorative lenses, your eye doctor can provide you with a contact lens prescription based on an examination and fitting, as well as instructions on how to care for them in a safe, hygienic way. Never order lenses unless they conform to an optometrist’s prescription.

Some of the risks of decorative lenses include:

  • Bacterial or viral infection
  • Allergic reaction (red, watery eyes)
  • Corneal abrasion (a cut or scratch on the eye’s surface)
  • Permanent changes to vision
  • Blindness

Decorative contact lenses are often made by unlicensed manufacturers that tend to use lesser-quality or toxic materials such as lead (often used in lens coloring), which can get absorbed through the eyes into the bloodstream. They also may contain high levels of bacteria from unsanitary packaging, shipping, and storage conditions. We think that’s a reason to be spooked!

Furthermore, wearing decorative contacts without a proper fitting by an optometrist can lead to a permanently damaged or scarred cornea. The feeling of dryness that sometimes accompanies wearing these contacts often means they fit poorly and are scratching the cornea.

Even if you don't need vision correction but still want to wear decorative contact lenses, make an appointment with Dr. Switalski for a comprehensive eye exam and contact lens fitting to avoid potential eye damage.

Checklist for Decorative Contact Lens Wearers

  • Make sure to undergo a comprehensive eye exam by an eye doctor, who will measure your eyes and provide a thorough fitting of the contacts.
  • Obtain a valid prescription that includes all relevant information, like the contacts’ parameters, expiration date, and brand name.
  • Ensure the contact lenses you’ve ordered match the prescription in every detail.
  • Always purchase decorative contact lenses from a reliable retailer (tip: reliable retailers should demand a prescription.)
  • Carefully follow the hygiene instructions for cleaning, inserting, removing, and storing lenses laid out by your eye doctor.
  • Make sure to undergo a follow-up eye exam as directed by your eye care professional.
  • Never share contact lenses with anyone else.

By following these guidelines for safe contact lens use, you’ll be able to enjoy your Halloween without the worry or discomfort of an eye infection or damaged cornea. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call Switalski Eye Care or visit our Plano office.

Help! My Child Doesn’t Want to Wear Glasses!

Do your kids need glasses in order to see clearly? Maybe they have a strong case of nearsightedness, perhaps they have astigmatism, or another type of refractive error. Whatever the cause, getting your kids to wear eyeglasses can be a parenting challenge.

Dr. Switalski treats patients from all over Plano, Texas with their vision correction needs. The knowledgeable, caring staff at Switalski Eye Care can help you and your kids if they’re struggling with their glasses or don’t want to wear them.

Why Won’t My Child Wear His or Her Glasses?

To help your children get the best vision possible, you first need to understand why they’re fighting with you over their glasses. It usually stems from something physical, emotional, or social, such as:

  • Wrong fit
  • Wrong prescription
  • Personal style
  • Reactions from friends

How do you know which it is? Pay close attention to the signs, from what your kids say, to how they behave, to how they interact with others.

Physical

Improper fit is a big reason why glasses could feel uncomfortable. If they slip down, itch behind the ears, or put pressure on the bridge of the nose, it can explain why a child wouldn’t like to wear them.

If there’s been a big change to their prescription, they may need time to get used to it. If they were given the wrong prescription, they may be straining their eyes, getting headaches, or having eye fatigue. An incorrect prescription can make wearing glasses painful or awkward. It doesn’t correct their vision, either, so they’ll still see blurry images. When this happens, your eye doctor can check the prescription and make an adjustment.

Emotional

Your kids at home aren’t the same as your kids in school, on the sports field, or with their friends. They may be afraid of being made fun of in school, or they may not want the sudden attention on their appearance. These feelings can be even stronger among the tween and teen set.

Social

Even young kids can feel different when they put on a pair of glasses, especially if it’s for the first time. Feeling different or weird, in their eyes, translates to a negative experience. When wearing glasses makes them feel like the odd man out, they may not want to wear them. The last thing your child wants is to feel like a social outcast. After all, everyone wants to belong.

How We Can Help

First, bring your child in to the eye doctor for an eye exam. Our optometrist, Dr. Switalski, will check to make sure that your child has the right prescription and that any vision problems are being corrected. Next, we’ll take a look at the glasses and place them on your child’s face to determine if they’ve got the proper fit. Our optician will take care of any adjustments that need to be made.

The Vision They Need, The Style They Want

Fashion isn’t only for adults. Your budding fashionista or trendy young stud wants to look awesome, so don’t forget about style. When your kids look great, they’ll feel great! Give them the top-quality eyewear they need without compromising on style. Your kids are a lot more likely to wear glasses when they like the way they look.

What You Can Do to Help

Encourage, stay positive, and don’t give up. Avoid telling them what you want them to wear. Let them choose for themselves. In the end, they’re the ones wearing the glasses. Making decisions is an important life skill, something they’ll need as they grow up and become more independent.

For younger children, use positive words to encourage them. Talk about how glasses are like magic, letting them see beautiful things around them. Show them how a pretty flower or a bright red truck looks with the glasses on, and how different it looks with the glasses off. For older kids, throw in a little pop culture. Tell them how trendy they’ll look by showing them pictures of celebrities who also wear glasses. You’ll also rack up some cool parent points.

At Switalski Eye Care, we have the experience and unique approach to children’s eyewear that will make your kids want to wear their glasses. Schedule an eye exam today – you can book an appointment online right here. If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call and we’ll be glad to help.

School and Vision: 2 Important Partners

It’s February and that means we’re smack in the middle of winter, which is also the middle of the school year. It’s the season when kids fervently hope for snow days and parents hope they don’t happen. As we head towards the second half of the school year, you’ve probably attended a few parent-teacher conferences and discussed your child’s education.

Like peanut butter and jelly, school and vision go hand-in-hand. Both are important partners in ensuring that children excel in their learning, extracurricular activities, and relationships with their peers.

ADD/ADHD and Vision Problems

Did you know that certain vision problems can mask themselves as behavioral or learning difficulties? In fact, education experts often say that 80% of learning is visual.

A 3rd grader may be misdiagnosed with ADD or ADHD if they display behaviors like being fidgety, having difficulty focusing or concentrating, or having a short attention span. These symptoms may not always be purely behavioral; they could be vision-related. A child who experiences blurry vision, suffers from headaches or eyestrain, or itches their eyes excessively may, in fact, have a refractive error such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism, or another condition such as convergence insufficiency.

Undiagnosed myopia, for example can cause these same types of behaviors that are commonly attributed to attention disorders. That’s because if your child has to squint his eyes to see the board clearly, eyestrain and headaches are bound to follow. Struggling with reading or writing is common too. Other vision disorders can cause similar behavior patterns. An additional challenge is that kids don’t always express their symptoms verbally, and often they don’t even realize that other people see differently than do.

This can also impact kids emotionally. When they feel like they’re not keeping up with their peers or their learning is inferior in some way, this may lead the child to act out verbally or even physically.

Distinguishing between colors is an important skill for early childhood development. While color vision deficiency affects both children and adults, kids, in particular, can experience difficulty in school with this condition. Simply reading a chalkboard can be an intense struggle when white or yellow chalk is used. When a teacher uses colored markers on a whiteboard to draw a pie chart, graph, or play a game, this can be a difficult experience for a young student with color blindness. A child, his or her parents, and teachers may even be unaware that the child is color blind.

What School Vision Screenings Miss

Many parents believe that an in-school vision screening is good enough. However, an eye chart test only checks for basic visual acuity, so kids with blurry or double vision, for example, may be able to pass a vision screening while still struggling to read, write, or focus on the board. Children who have problems with their binocular vision, which means using both eyes together to focus on something, can pass the screening when they use just one eye to read the chart.

Studies show that a whopping 43% of children who have vision problems can successfully pass a school vision screening. This means that the vision test may fail to detect the more subtle but significant and treatable vision problems. Early detection and diagnosis is critical to maintaining healthy eyes. That’s why it’s so important to make eye care a part of your child’s healthcare routine.

The Importance of Yearly Eye Exams

The #1 way to do this is to schedule annual eye exams. Your eye doctor can perform a comprehensive pediatric eye exam to check visual acuity, visual clarity, binocular vision, and screen for any eye diseases or vision problems.

Because children develop so rapidly at different ages, it’s essential that eye exams are done at specific stages of their young lives. In fact, The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends regular eye exams at age 6 months, 3 years, before school starts, and every 2 years thereafter.

Simply being aware of the tendency to associate a child’s learning issues with a learning disability or attention disorder instead of an underlying vision problem is critical for parents and educators. Both are partners in a child’s education and they must work together to ensure that each child gets the health care and attention he or she needs.

If you notice changes in your child’s schoolwork, behavior with friends or in sports or other after-school activities, it may be time to schedule an eye exam. You’ll want to be sure that your kids have all the tools they need to succeed in school and beyond.

Is Too Much Screen Time Dangerous For Your Kids?

Screen Time Pros and Cons

Whether it is homework, email, gaming, chatting with friends, searching the web or watching Youtube, kids these days seem to have an endless number of reasons to be glued to a screen. Many parents out there are wondering how bad this can be for their kids and whether they should be limiting screen time.

There are certainly benefits to allowing your kids to use digital devices, whether it is educational, social or providing a needed break. However, studies show that excessive screen time can have behavioral consequences such as irritability, moodiness, inability to concentrate, poor behavior, and other issues as well. Too much screen time is also linked to dry eyes and meibomian gland disorders (likely due to a decreased blink rate when using devices), as well as eye strain and irritation, headaches, back or neck and shoulder pain, and sleep disturbances. Some of these computer vision syndrome symptoms are attributed to blue light that is emitted from the screens of digital devices.

Blue light is a short wavelength, high-energy visible light that is emitted by digital screens, LED lights and the sun. Studies suggest that exposure to some waves of blue light over extended periods of time may be harmful to the light-sensitive cells of the retina at the back of the eye. When these cells are damaged, vision loss can occur. Research indicates that extreme blue light exposure could lead to macular degeneration or other serious eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness. Studies show that blue light also interferes with the regulation of the the body’s circadian rhythm which can have a disruptive impact on the body’s sleep cycle. Lack of quality sleep can lead to serious health consequences as well.

Beyond these studies, the long term effects of blue light exposure from digital devices are not yet known since this is really the first generation in which people are using digital devices to such an extent. While it may take years to fully understand the impact of excessive screen time on our eyes and overall health, it is probably worth limiting it due to these preliminary findings and the risks it may pose. This is especially true for young children and the elderly, who are particularly susceptible to blue light exposure.

How to Protect the Eyes From Blue Light

The first step in proper eye protection is abstaining from excessive exposure by limiting the amount of time spent using a computer, smart phone or tablet – especially at night, to avoid interfering with sleep. Many pediatricians even recommend zero screen time for children under two.

The next step would be to reduce the amount of blue light entering the eyes by using blue light blocking glasses or coatings that deflect the light away from the eyes. There are also apps and screen filters that you can add to your devices to reduce the amount of blue light being projected from the screen. Speak to your eye doctor about steps you can take to reduce blue light exposure from digital devices.

As a side note, the sun is an even greater source of blue light so it is essential to protect your child’s eyes with UV and blue light blocking sunglasses any time your child goes outside – even on overcast days.

The eyes of children under 18 are particularly susceptible to damage from environmental exposure as they have transparent crystalline lenses that are more susceptible to both UV and blue light rays. While the effects (such as increased risk of age-related macular degeneration) may not be seen for decades later, it’s worth it to do what you can now to prevent future damage and risk for vision loss.