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Allergy Season Is Here And Stronger Than Ever

Spring is here! Flowers are blooming and pollen is drifting through the warm air, wreaking havoc on people who suffer from eye allergies. Many people say their seasonal allergies arrived ahead of schedule this year, and that their symptoms are more intense than in previous years.

Below, we’ll explain what eye allergies are and why allergy season is becoming longer and stronger.

What Are Eye Allergies?

Eye allergies, also known as “allergic conjunctivitis,” are the eyes’ reaction to irritants and allergens in the environment. Symptoms of eye allergies may vary from inconvenient to debilitating, but they’re usually treatable.

Symptoms of eye allergies include red, itchy, swollen eyes, watery or painful eyes, and are often accompanied by sneezing, a runny nose and nasal congestion.

Major causes of eye allergies include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Makeup and cosmetic products
  • Preservatives found in eye drops

Eye allergies are treated on a case-by-case basis, depending on what allergen is the culprit. Treatment can include oral or topical antihistamines, decongestants, lubricating eye drops and limiting exposure to allergens.

Why Does Allergy Season Seem Longer and Stronger This Year?

Several studies have observed the relationship between climate change and pollen season. As atmospheric temperatures rise, flowers and trees sense the warmth and start to release pollen.

When comparing the pollen season of 1990 to that of 2018, scientists noticed that it had increased by 20 days during that timespan. What’s more, the environmental pollen concentration had also increased by 21% over the same period. In other words, allergy season is becoming longer and more intense each year.

Aside from warming temperatures, the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels also plays a role in making allergy season more intense. Plants need CO2 to grow, and more CO2 means larger, stronger plants.

As atmospheric CO2 increases with climate change, flowers are producing significantly more pollen. CO2 can also make certain plants more potent and increase the amount of allergen-containing particles per pollen grain.

In fact, if atmospheric CO2 levels keep rising at this pace, it is projected that by the end of the century there will be 200% more pollen in the air!

You may be wondering if you’re in the clear because there aren’t many pollen-producing plants in your area. But some research suggests that changes in wind patterns due to climate change can expose people to pollen originating hundreds of miles away.

If You Suffer From Eye Allergies, We Can Help!

Although climate change is bad news for allergy sufferers, the good news is that we can help you manage your symptoms.

Don’t let eye allergies put a damper on your time in the sun. To schedule an eye exam and learn how we can offer long-lasting relief, call Switalski Eye Care in Plano today!

At Switalski Eye Care, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 972-424-2019 or book an appointment online to see one of our Plano eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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Glaucoma & Your Eye Health What You Need To Know

Children’s Learning Through Vision.

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Q&A

#1: What else can you do to ease the symptoms of eye allergies?

Wearing wraparound sunglasses whenever outdoors can protect your eyes from airborne allergens like pollen and dust. Also, you may want to temporarily stop wearing contact lenses until your symptoms subside. Allergens can build up on the surface of the lens and irritate your eyes every time you insert them. Additionally, keep your windows closed whenever you’re indoors to prevent allergens from entering.

#2: Are eye allergies dangerous?

Eye allergies rarely cause any permanent damage to your eyes, but they can cause temporary blurred vision. Symptoms of eye allergies can be quite distracting and even painful, so be sure to visit your local optometrist at the first sign of discomfort.

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.

What Are The Main Causes Of Blindness?

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Switalski Eye Care

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Switalski Eye Care

About 39 million people around the world currently live without sight.

Why so many? What causes it?

There are several reasons people become blind, which we will delve into below. Hopefully, by spreading awareness about the causes of blindness and ways to prevent it, Switalski Eye Care in Plano will help people like you preserve their vision for a lifetime. Call today to schedule your eye exam.

Top Causes of Blindness

1. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

This eye disease is the leading cause of near-vision impairment in people over the age of 50. Patients living with AMD often lose part or all of their central vision, making it hard to perform daily tasks like driving, recognizing faces, and watching television.

2. Cataracts

A cataract occurs when the eye’s natural lens begins to cloud. While most people associate cataracts with advanced age, they can actually occur at any point in a person’s life, and for a variety of reasons. Risk factors for cataracts include genetics, age, radiation, trauma, and certain medications.

An estimated 17% of North Americans above the age of 40 have cataracts. Fortunately, they are easily removed through surgery. Left untreated, cataracts can eventually lead to blindness.

3. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases caused by increased ocular pressure. The two most common forms are open-angle glaucoma and closed- angle glaucoma. Open-angle is more common and typically progresses silently over a long period of time. Closed-angle glaucoma is a more painful and acute form of the disease. All forms of glaucoma can eventually lead to blindness.

Early detection and treatment are key in preventing vision loss from glaucoma.

4. Diabetic Retinopathy (DR)

DR is a complication of diabetes that occurs when excess sugar in the blood damages the retina’s blood vessels. There are 4 stages of DR, with the first stages rarely presenting noticeable symptoms. In many cases the condition can be managed and treated by your eye doctor, especially if caught early on.

Regular dilated eye exams are crucial for patients with diabetes, as it helps ensure the earliest possible detection of DR.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vision Care

Q: What does it mean to be ‘legally blind’?

  • A: People often assume those who are blind are unable to see anything. The truth is that to be considered legally blind, a person’s eyesight must be 20/200 — in other words, you’d need to stand 20 feet away from an object that one with healthy vision could see at a distance of 200 feet away. Furthermore, those who are legally blind cannot correct their vision with glasses or contact lenses.

Q: Can blindness be reversed?

  • A: Certain types of blindness are reversible. In cases of cataracts, corneal diseases, wet AMD and some instances of diabetic retinopathy, surgery, injections, and other treatments can return at least some sight to an individual who has experienced vision loss. On the other hand, diseases like glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, and dry age-related macular degeneration can cause irreversible vision loss.

Quality Frames For Prescription Glasses & Computer Glasses


As you may have noticed, the underlying theme in preventing all of these sight-threatening conditions is early detection. By undergoing yearly comprehensive eye exams, you stand a higher chance of keeping your eyes and vision healthy for the long term.

To schedule your annual comprehensive eye exam, call Switalski Eye Care in Plano today.

Refs
https://ibvi.org/blog/what-are-the-main-causes-of-blindness/

How Sleep Apnea Affects The Eyes

Did you know that some eye conditions are associated with sleep apnea? According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and Health Canada reports similar prevalence. It’s a sleep disorder where people stop breathing — often multiple times per night — while sleeping.

If you have sleep apnea: it tends to take longer for your tears to be replenished, you’re more likely to have ocular irritation, you have a higher chance of developing floppy eyelids, and you’re at increased risk for glaucoma.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

There are different types of sleep apnea. The most common one is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). During OSA, your airway becomes partially blocked due to relaxed muscles in your nose and throat. This causes apnea (the absence of breathing) or hypopnea (abnormally shallow, slow breathing). It’s twice as common in men, and is more likely to affect people with obesity, hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.

What are the common symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing. These temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and affect the body’s oxygen supply, which can lead to potentially serious health consequences.

While snoring is a common symptom, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Interrupted sleep can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability or depression, headaches in the morning, difficulty concentrating and thinking, and a sore throat.

Which Eye Conditions Are Associated With Sleep Apnea?

Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when increased pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, leading to vision loss and sometimes blindness. In some cases, it might be due to a drop in blood oxygen levels, which happens when you stop breathing. However, CPAP machines, one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea, can also cause glaucoma.

So, people with sleep apnea — even if it’s being treated — need to get their eyes checked on a regular basis for glaucoma.

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES) is an eye condition where a person has an unusually large and floppy upper eyelid. It can cause eye redness, irritation, discharge, or blurry vision — and over 90% of people with FES also have sleep apnea.

Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is an eye condition that occurs when there is a loss of blood flow to the optic nerve. Patients typically complain of significant vision loss in one eye without any major pain. Approximately 70-80% of patients with NAION have been found to have OSA.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Also referred to as an ‘eye stroke,’ retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina. A recent study of 114 RVO patients found that sleep apnea was suspected in 74% of the patients that had previously been diagnosed with RVO.

Other Eye Health Issues Associated With Sleep Apnea

Some other ocular conditions that are more common in patients with sleep apnea include: papilledema, keratoconus, and central serous chorioretinopathy. Furthermore, in addition to glaucoma mentioned above, CPAP machines are associated with dry eye syndrome and bacterial conjunctivitis.

Talk To Your Doc

Get eye exams regularly to rule out eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss, especially if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. At Switalski Eye Care in Plano we encourage you to share your medical history with us so we can better diagnose and treat any eye conditions or ocular diseases you may have, and help you keep your eyes nice and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Brian Switalski

Q: What Causes Sleep Apnea?

  • A: Sleep apnea occurs when in-part or completely stop breathing when sleeping. This causes your lungs to strain harder for oxygen, and makes the brain send signals that jerk your body awake to resume proper breathing.

Q: What are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?

  • A: A common sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring. Snoring that is loud enough to disturb the sleep of the patient as well as others around, even across the walls. That said, not everyone who snores suffers from obstructive sleep apnea.

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

5 Sunglasses Trends Worth Knowing

Designer Sunglasses at Switalski Eye Care

Designer Sunglasses at Switalski Eye Care

Sunglasses have been a fashion accessory for decades, so it’s no wonder that favorite styles frequently make a comeback, while others remain popular year after year. So what’s changed? The realization that sunglasses aren’t just a fashion statement. They also protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.

At Switalski Eye Care in Plano we can offer you cool stylish looks while protecting your eyes with our large selection of designer sunglasses.

We’ve listed 5 sunglasses trends to keep in mind when shopping for your new pair of shades.

1. Oversized Lenses

Oversized designer sunglasses are not only a must-have accessory. They’re also highly functional. Larger frames and lenses help block more sunlight from your eyes. Oversized sunglasses also come in polarized and nonpolarized lenses, so you can see better and more clearly while still looking great.

2. Colorful Shades

If you already have a large collection of sunglasses, sunglasses with colorful lenses can be an inspired addition, both fashion-wise and functionally. Each tint provides different benefits to suit your lifestyle. For example, to improve depth perception choose a brown/amber or red tint. Red and yellow tints reduce eye strain. Gray-tinted lenses reduce glare on both sunny and cloudy days.

3. Aviator Sunglasses

There’s a reason that aviator glasses are a staple. They go with everything. Aviator sunglasses protect your eyes while also giving you a sporty, fashionable edge. To add some fun, check out aviator shades in pink, blue, or classic grey.

4. Round Sunglasses

Round sunglasses, which were immortalized by John Lennon, are always trending. They’re especially flattering to people with a round, square or heart-shaped face.

5. Mirrored Lenses

Mirrored lenses are not only stylish but provide a reflective optical coating. From the outside, the coating looks like a mirror and has a reflective surface that reflects a clear image. However, the mirror doesn’t pass on the inside of the lens. Mirrored lenses offer several advantages: they help with glare, making it more comfortable to drive; they keep light from getting into your lenses; they improve how well you see colors; and they protect your eyes from UV rays. They’re a sleek fashion accessory that enhances any outfit.

No matter what style you go for, remember it’s also about protection. The sun gives off strong UV rays, so it’s just as important to protect your eyes while looking cool and stylish. Visit us to see our large variety of designer sunglasses and get the look you’ve always wanted.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Switalski

Q: Should I wear sunglasses during the winter?

  • A: Absolutely! Ultra-violet (UV) rays are present and harmful whether it’s cloudy out or sunny! While we all know that UV rays can cause damage to the skin, UV exposure can also cause damage to several important parts of the eyes and can lead to problems such as early-onset cataracts and macular degeneration later in life.

Q: How do I know which sunwear lenses absorb UV rays the most?

  • A: Generally, most sunwear lenses will absorb UV lenses to some degree. Lenses that are marked CR-39R plastic, absorb about 88 percent of UV light. If sunglasses contain polycarbonate lenses, UV absorption will be 100 percent.

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

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!

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 in Plano can help diagnose, manage and treat your night blindness with specialized digital eye exams, so that you can enjoy being out and about 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.

6 Common Myths About Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disease in which increased pressure causes progressive, permanent vision loss and even blindness. Unfortunately, many misconceptions about the disease can leave you misinformed. Below we sort fact from fiction by debunking 6 of the most common glaucoma myths.

Glaucoma Facts vs. Myths

MYTH 1: Glaucoma is a single disease

FACT

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases; the most common ones are open-angle glaucoma (OAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG).

In open-angle glaucoma, the drainage structure in your eye (called the trabecular meshwork) doesn’t allow the fluid inside the eye to flow out as it should, causing an increase in internal ocular pressure that damages the optic nerve. OAG develops slowly, and usually by the time people perceive symptoms, such as peripheral vision loss, they already have optic nerve damage.

In angle-closure glaucoma, the eye doesn’t drain fluid as it should because the drainage channel between your iris and cornea becomes too narrow, causing increased eye pressure. This pressure damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. ACG can occur suddenly or gradually.

MYTH 2: Only the elderly suffer from glaucoma

FACT

Although it’s true that people over 60 are at a greater risk of developing open-angle glaucoma compared to people in their 40s, there are other types of glaucoma that can affect people aged 20 to 50 and even young infants (due to abnormal ocular development).

In addition to age, those with a higher risk of developing glaucoma include:

  • African Americans and Hispanics
  • Individuals with a family history of glaucoma
  • Patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or sickle cell anemia
  • Those who have previously sustained an eye injury
  • People taking steroid medications over the long term

MYTH 3: Glaucoma shows symptoms early on

FACT

The most common form of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, shows virtually no signs or symptoms until its later stages when vision loss sets in. Despite what people may think, the increased eye pressure causes no pain. And since peripheral vision is the first to go, you may not recognize vision loss until your vision has become significantly impaired. The only way to detect glaucoma is to undergo a comprehensive eye exam.

MYTH 4: Nothing can be done once you have glaucoma

FACT

While there’s currently no cure for glaucoma, many effective treatment options exist: eye drops, oral medications, as well as laser and surgical procedures that can help slow glaucoma progression. Each treatment option is used to get the fluid to flow properly out of the eye, reducing pressure inside the eye and decreasing damage to the optic nerve.

MYTH 5: Testing for glaucoma is painful

FACT

Actually, testing for glaucoma is practically painless. One of the tests includes a non-contact device that blows a gentle puff of air into each eye to test the intraocular pressure. The sound of the puff may be startling, but it’s over in a second and is painless. With the Goldmann applanation tonometry test, an anesthetic eye drop is inserted into each eye, which may cause a stinging sensation for a few seconds. Your eye doctor will then use a blue light to quickly and gently touch the cornea to precisely measure intraocular pressure. The most accurate of all, however, are visual field testing and OCT (optical coherence tomography), non-invasive imaging, both of which are also painless.

MYTH 6: You can’t prevent glaucoma

FACT

Regular eye exams are the only way to prevent glaucoma, as blindness or significant vision loss can be prevented if the disease is diagnosed and treated in the early stages. That’s why routine comprehensive eye exams which include glaucoma testing are so important.

Getting your eyes checked regularly can ensure that any existing eye problems are detected early enough to prevent or slow ocular damage. Contact Switalski Eye Care in Plano to book your comprehensive eye exam today!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Brian Switalski

Q: If one of my parents has glaucoma, does that mean I will develop it as well at some point?

  • A: Having a parent with glaucoma does not mean that the child will automatically develop the condition too. However, those people with an immediate family history (parents, siblings) of glaucoma are at more risk to develop this disease. Patients should have a comprehensive eye examination each year to evaluate the health of the eyes and to look for signs of glaucoma. Some of these signs can be an increase in the pressure of the eyes as well as changes to the appearance of the optic nerve. Many times there are no symptoms noticed by the patient. If there is suspicion of glaucoma, more frequent visits to the eye doctor along with additional nerve testing are often required.

Q: Why do I need to scan my retinas/back of the eye?

  • A: The retina shows us a lot about the overall ocular health as well as systemic conditions that can affect the eyes. Often diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol can be observed from a retinal scan. Also, retinal scans allow us to diagnose and treat macular degeneration and glaucoma. Scans are often very important for a complete eye check up.

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

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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.

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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.