Wednesday, November 10, 2021 Special Events 10 am – 3 pm
Berks Eye wants to thank you for allowing us to share in the care of your eye health. As a special thank you, we are inviting you to join us at our office on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 for a day full of fun! Come see us at 1802 Paper Mill Road in Wyomissing for:
• Raffle Prizes • Games & Giveaways • Refreshments • Special Discounts on Glasses • Fun!
In its early stages, macular degeneration does not cause symptoms. That is why it is critical to see a doctor as soon as possible if mild symptoms occur. That could mean the degeneration has progressed. The eye care specialists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons explain signs of potential macular degeneration.
The macula is the area of the retina responsible for direct line-of-sight vision. It also allows you to see fine details. Macular degeneration affects central vision but not peripheral vision. While both eyes are usually affected, the condition tends to prove worse in one eye.
There are two types of macular degeneration: wet and dry. The former often comes on suddenly, while it can take years for the latter to progress. However, wet macular degeneration starts out as the dry form. Eventually, blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak, resulting in the wet form.
Either type can lead to permanent vision loss, with the wet version more likely to cause complete blindness.
Macular Degeneration Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of macular degeneration usually start after age 50. Initial symptoms, which are not painful, include:
Blurred spot in the visual field
Colors appearing dull or less intense
More light needed to read
Problems recognizing faces
Signs of wet macular degeneration include distorted vision. For instance, straight lines may appear curved. Suspect wet macular degeneration if your eyes suddenly have trouble adjusting to less light in a room.
When to See a Doctor
Since early treatment can slow macular degeneration, it is crucial to see an eye care professional as soon as possible once symptoms begin. If colors seem less bright or words are increasingly blurry on the page or screen, that is a potential red flag.
If there is a family history of macular degeneration, seeing an eye doctor is even more urgent. Additional risk factors include smoking, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Those with light-colored eyes are more prone to macular degeneration than dark-eyed individuals.
The macula gets thinner with age. The doctor can detect minute protein clumps called drusen on the macula. These clumps are common in those with macular degeneration.
If you are experiencing symptoms of potential macular degeneration, contact the eye care specialists at Berks Eye to schedule a consultation. Even if you are not yet experiencing symptoms, it is wise to undergo comprehensive eye examinations at least every two years after age 50. These regular exams can detect macular degeneration while the condition is still asymptomatic. While there is no cure for macular degeneration, prompt treatment will help keep your vision healthy for as long as possible.
Summer brings with it lots of opportunities for fun, but also poses certain risks for the eyes. The dedicated eye care specialists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons offer tips to help keep your eyes and vision safe while enjoying the summer season.
When outdoors, wear sunglasses. Not only do you protect your vision, but wearing sunglasses helps prevent wrinkle formation in the delicate eye area since there is little squinting. Sun glare can cause eye pain and contribute to headaches.
Exposure to UV-A and UV-B light has been linked to macular degeneration and other serious eye conditions. Purchase polarized sunglasses, which have anti-glare protection. As for style, choose sunglasses with larger frames that minimize the amount of light coming in from all sides.
Of course, you already know that wearing your contacts while swimming is not a good idea. Not only are your contacts likely to float off, but even if they stay in place, bacteria can get trapped in your eyes. If infection results, it could potentially cause vision loss.
Wear watertight goggles when swimming to protect your eyes from bacteria. If you are swimming in a pool, your eyes require protection from chlorine. Splash cold water into your eyes as soon as possible after leaving the pool.
Those with serious vision impairment who cannot see well enough to swim without corrective lenses should speak with their eye care professional about obtaining watertight prescription eyewear.
Wear a Hat
Wearing a hat protects your skin from sun damage, but did you know that it is also recommended to safeguard your eyes? A hat boosts the benefits of wearing sunglasses. Remember to wear sunglasses and hats even on cloudy days, since UV rays are still a threat.
Wash Your Hands
We’ve all gotten into the habit of washing our hands more frequently, and it’s a good habit to keep up. During the summer, when more outdoor activities take place, it is easier to pick up bacteria on the hands. A quick eye rub can spread germs. Regular hand-washing lowers the risk of accidentally introducing bacteria into the eye.
Wear Appropriate Eye Protection
Summer means lawn mowing and weed whacking. Always wear protective eyewear when working around machines. Summer also means baseball, volleyball and other fun activities, but eye injuries happen in sports. Again, protect your eyes with the appropriate eyewear.
Have fun in the sun but protect your eyes while doing it. If you experience any vision changes, or have not had an eye examination recently, contact the dedicated eye care specialists at Berks Eye to schedule a consultation.
When the eye produces too few tears or the tears they produce do not offer adequate lubrication, the result is dry eye. The eye care specialists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons explain how to relieve dry eye in the short term. Chronic dry eye, however, requires professional evaluation and treatment.
Dry Eye Causes
Temporary dry eye can result from the use of certain medications. The side effects of antihistamines and nasal decongestants include dry eye. That is also true of certain drugs prescribed to lower blood pressure, as well as antidepressants and acne medications. Do not stop using prescription drugs without consulting your doctor. Discuss whether there are suitable substitutes that may not cause dry eye.
Here are a few ways to relieve occasionally dry eyes:
1. Artificial Tears
Use over-the-counter artificial tears to soothe mildly dry eyes. Do not use products advertised to reduce redness if your eyes are not red. By constricting blood vessels, they may cause irritation. Artificial tears are applied several times daily.
2. Reduce Screen Time
Excessive screen time and dry eye often go hand-in-hand. If possible, reduce the amount of time spent staring at screens, including television, and see if symptoms subside. When using screens, take regular breaks and make sure to blink regularly.
3. Omega-3 Supplements
Taking omega-3 fatty acid supplements may relieve dry eye symptoms over time, although they do not provide immediate relief. An alternate or complement to supplements is consuming foods containing large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, walnuts and flax or chia seeds.
4. Stay Hydrated
Hydration is crucial for good health. A lack of hydration may cause various issues, including dry eye. Keep water on hand and drink it throughout the day.
5. Use a Humidifier
A dry environment aggravates dry eye. Use a humidifier to keep a healthy amount of moisture in your indoor environment.
Permanent Dry Eye Solutions
If dry eye is an ongoing issue, consider permanent dry eye solutions. An eye care professional will determine the source of your chronic dry eye and devise the best solution for your needs.
Prescription medications can reduce eyelid inflammation contributing to dry eye. Other drugs may increase tear production. Other solutions involve contact lenses designed to hold moisture, eye inserts that dissolve slowly and mimic tears, and light therapy accompanied by eyelid massage. Many patients benefit from a combination of therapies.
If you are experiencing ongoing dry eye, contact the dedicated eye care specialists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons to schedule a consultation. You need a definitive diagnosis as to the cause of chronic dry eye for appropriate therapy. We will answer all of your questions and let you know your treatment options.
Consuming healthy foods and taking certain supplements decreases the likelihood of developing several common eye conditions. This includes age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of blindness in those 60 and up. The eye care specialists at Berk’s Eye Physicians and Surgeons Ltd. of Reading, PA explain the benefits of good nutrition for eye health.
Eye Healthy Diet
The American Optometric Association recommends adding particular dietary nutrients to preserve vision and protect against certain eye diseases. For overall health, Americans are urged to eat at least five fruits and vegetables daily. Along with regular exercise, a healthy diet may reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease. High blood pressure and other cardiac-related ailments may prove harmful to eye health. Taking good care of yourself requires a holistic approach.
Fruits and vegetables that may boost eye health include:
Omega-3 fatty acids are another essential element for eye health. These fatty acids aid retinal function and assist visual development. They can help prevent dry eye and lessen the odds of AMD development. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids include:
Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
Obtaining nutrients through foods is the best route for eye health, but taking the right vitamins and supplements also plays a role. Vitamins and minerals critical for eye health include:
Most of these vitamins are antioxidants. Antioxidants battle the free radicals that break down healthy tissue, including eye tissue. Antioxidants may help in cataract prevention. Vitamin C intake is especially valuable in cataract reduction, as are lutein and zeaxanthin.
In addition to supplements designed specifically for eye health, you may want to take fish or flaxseed oil capsules for the omega-3 fatty acids. That is probably the most effective way to ensure you are receiving an adequate amount of omega-3 fatty acids if you do not like to eat fish.
The National Eye Institute sponsored the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS). This major clinical study involved 3,640 people between the ages of 55 and 80. The results showed that taking a vitamin or mineral supplement reduced the progression of AMD by roughly 25 percent. Some of the subjects reduced their visual acuity loss by 19 percent.
Follow-up studies indicate that those with a high dietary intake of lutein and zeaxanthin may reduce the risk of geographic atrophy, the advanced form of AMD.
If you would like more information about the role nutrition plays in eye health, contact the eye care specialists at Berks Eye in Reading, PA to schedule a consultation. We can advise you on the best eye care vitamin and mineral supplements for your individual needs.
Diabetic retinopathy is the primary cause of blindness in diabetic individuals. Both eyes are usually affected. The dedicated eye care specialists at Reading’s Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeon Ltd. explain how to recognize the condition and why prompt treatment is necessary.
Causes of Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy results from the damage to the blood vessels in the retina’s tissue. The retina, a thin layer of tissue located at the back of the eye, converts light signals from the lens into neural signals and then transmits them to the brain.
Too much sugar in the blood can affect the minute blood vessels feeding the retina. The blood supply to these vessels is cut off or diminished. While the eye tries to grow new vessels, they are weaker and more likely to leak.
Blood vessel damage is progressive. Eventually, scar tissue created by new blood vessel growth can cause retinal detachment. Sometimes, the new blood vessels wreak havoc on the eye’s fluid flow. This can result in the buildup of pressure and optic nerve damage. Glaucoma is the end result. In time, retinal detachment or glaucoma can lead to total vision loss.
Risk Factors for Diabetic Retinopathy
While anyone with diabetes may develop diabetic retinopathy, some are more vulnerable than others. The longer you have had diabetes, the higher the risk. Other factors include:
Poor blood-glucose level management
High blood pressure
Smoking is a significant risk factor. So is pregnancy. Diabetic retinopathy occurs more frequently in those of Black, Hispanic and Native American ancestry.
Diabetic Retinopathy Symptoms
Early signs of diabetic retinopathy are subtle. The condition may have progressed before symptoms appear, another reason annual eye exams are critical.
Suspect diabetic retinopathy if experiencing any of the following vision symptoms:
Dark vision areas
Difficulty seeing at night
Loss of color vision
Always contact your eye doctor immediately if any vision changes occur.
Diabetic Retinopathy Treatment
Treatment for diabetic retinopathy depends on whether the disease is caught in its early stages or has advanced. Early treatment may consist of good diabetes management and more frequent eye exams. Advanced diabetic retinopathy may require surgery, laser treatment, or medication injected directly into the eyes.
As you know, diabetes is not curable. That means diabetic retinopathy could recur after treatment. Because good diabetes management is essential, follow your doctor’s orders regarding nutrition and exercise and monitor your blood sugar levels several times daily.
Schedule a Consultation at Berks Eye
While everyone should have their eyes examined regularly, it is especially crucial that those with diabetes undergo annual checkups. Contact the dedicated eye care specialists at Berks Eye in Reading, PA to schedule a consultation. The sooner diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed, the more treatment options are available.
LASIK surgery corrects vision swiftly. That is the primary benefit, and the one patients pursue. However, there are pros to LASIK that many people do not take into consideration. The eye care specialists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons Ltd. in Reading, Pennsylvania explain some of the procedure’s long-term benefits.
1. Sharper Vision
Laser eye surgery offers numerous benefits and can dramatically improve your quality of life. Most people achieve 20/20 vision or better after the surgery. We look forward to tailoring a treatment plan to your specific needs, and providing the highest standard of care. The little things often make the most difference. You can read street signs without glasses. The minute you wake up, everything is clear. You do not have to scramble to reach for your glasses before getting out of bed or looking at the alarm clock for the time.
2. Freedom From Prescriptions
After LASIK surgery, you are freed from the need to continually change eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions. You are also freed from the fear of losing your glasses or contact lenses, requiring a rapid replacement.
3. Views Unobstructed by Frames
The world looks different when you can view it without the obstruction of eyeglass frames. If you have worn glasses most of your life, looking at the world without the context of frames might initially prove surprising.
Others’ views of you are also unobstructed by frames. People can appreciate your features as they are, without the interference of glasses. Lack of glasses can make you appear more youthful.
4. Cost Savings Over Time
If you are concerned about the cost of LASIK surgery, sit back and do the math. Keep in mind it is a one-time expense. Over the long term, having LASIK surgery performed to correct your vision will save you money. You no longer have to pay for eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions. You do not have to purchase new eyeglass frames for practical or style purposes.
5. Improved Self-Confidence
One of LASIK’s greatest benefits is the boost it gives to your self-confidence. That is not something you can measure, like the clearer vision or the cost savings eventually achieved. Think of that renewed self-confidence as priceless.
Poor vision can make some people feel uncomfortable or awkward. Wearing glasses may make them feel less attractive. LASIK can raise your self-esteem. That self-confidence can result in additional business and social opportunities.
You may find yourself playing sports or participating in other activities that are not conducive to those wearing glasses. LASIK surgery can open up a whole new world.
If you would like more information about LASIK and whether you are a candidate for this procedure, contact the dedicated eye care specialists at Berks Eye in Reading, PA, to schedule a consultation. We will explain the procedure in detail and answer all of your questions.
Most of us already know how important it is to protect our skin from the power of the sun. The effects of damage from ultraviolet solar rays are obvious: dry, wrinkled skin, sun spots, and in too many cases, skin cancer. The trusted vision care team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons reminds you that your eyes are much more sensitive than your skin, and need a level of protection at least as strong as the sunscreen you use daily.
Costs of Neglect
The consequences of subjecting your eyes to years of unprotected exposure to ultraviolet rays can be severe — for your eyes and for the delicate skin surrounding your eyes. In fact, up to 10 percent of all skin cancers occur on the fragile skin near your eyes. The eyelids are a common location for this type of malignancy.
For the eye itself, long-term exposure to the sun can cause cataracts; macular degeneration, which often leads to total loss of vision; pterygia, which are growths on the eye; and photokeratitis, which is essentially a sunburn on the eye.
Framing the Issue
Given these facts, it’s clear that sunglasses should be an indispensable daytime fashion accessory for everyone. And it’s also clear that when it comes to the health of your eyes and the sharpness of your vision, frugality is not a virtue.
Those cheap sunglasses you see on the rack at the drugstore can be quite costly in the long run. Most of these inexpensive varieties block only part of the sun’s harmful UV rays. Meanwhile, they trick you — and your eyes — into thinking that you are wearing adequate protection. The darker lenses of the sunglasses reduce visible light, and in response your pupils dilate. In doing so, they are allowing a higher intensity of ultraviolet light to enter and begin damaging the retina.
For optimal protection from all these risks, look for sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVB and UVA ultraviolet rays. If the label includes a UV 400 notation, that is a sign that the product offers complete blockage of ultraviolet light.
Because much of the ultraviolet light reaching your eyes is reflected off the inner surface of the lenses or penetrates through the side, wraparound or large, snug-fitting sunglasses are ideal. Wraparound sunglasses have the added benefit of protecting more of the delicate skin near your eyes. Some types of sunglasses feature anti-reflective coatings for the inner lenses. Polarized lenses are also a prudent investment, as these lenses almost always provide exemplary protection from damaging ultraviolet rays.
If you would like to learn more about ways to protect your eyes from UV rays, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation in our Reading office with one of the skilled ophthalmologists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons today.
Regularly checking your eye pressure is an important way you can help preserve your vision for a lifetime. Elevated eye pressure can occur without symptoms, and is as dangerous to your eyes as hypertension is to your organs. It is often the first sign that you may be developing glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness.
Below, the experienced vision care team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons discusses prevention and treatment strategies for this serious condition.
In many cases, it is not clear what causes an imbalance to occur in the production and drainage of aqueous humor, the fluid inside your eye. Pressure builds as the eye creates new fluid and the channels which normally drain the aqueous humor become obstructed or damaged. Once that happens, the effect is similar to the over-inflation of a balloon. There’s no bursting of tissue, but serious damage to the optic nerve can result.
Injury to the eye can trigger this chain of events. Eye trauma can range from a sports injury to a car accident, and if it happens near the eye with sufficient velocity, it can damage those vital drainage channels, setting in motion the rise in pressure. Often there is no obvious injury or damage to the release channels, yet the natural system of drainage unexpectedly stops working.
You are at greater risk for developing ocular hypertension is you are over 40, have thin corneas or have a family history of glaucoma. African Americans also have a statistically higher risk.
Use of steroids, including steroid eye drops that are sometimes prescribed after eye surgery, is also linked to elevated pressure within the eye. In addition, ocular hypertension may suddenly appear with the onset of other eye conditions, such as pseudoexfoliation syndrome, a disease related to age and genetics in which small protein fibers accumulate, clump together and block the free flow of fluid within the eye.
Pigment dispersion syndrome can similarly cause accumulation of drainage-blocking particles in the eye. When this condition occurs, granules of pigment break loose from the iris and obstruct one or more channels. Other causes include the fat deposits associated with corneal arcus. These lipids can increase in number with age, although younger individuals with high cholesterol may also develop corneal arcus.
If you would like to learn more about the risks of elevated eye pressure, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation in our Reading office with one of the skilled ophthalmologists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons today.
When cataracts develop, images gradually become duller and hazier over time. Colors fade and vision slowly dims. These effects have real consequences for the quality of life and safety of individuals whose cataracts have become advanced.
Although the effects are the same, the types of cataracts that precipitate this visual decline vary. Here, the experienced vision care professionals of Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons review the fundamental causes and effects.
Cataracts occur when the eye’s lens becomes cloudy, obscuring the image it projects on the retina. This process can begin in our 60s and becomes more common with each passing year.
The most common type of cataract, the nuclear sclerotic cataract, follows this age-related pattern. With this type of cataract, the central part of the lens (nucleus) hardens and gradually becomes yellow or brown.
Cortical cataracts, by contrast, form around the edges of the lens nucleus. When the clouding begins at the back of the lens, the result is a posterior capsular cataract.
Congenital cataracts are less common, and are usually detected during a child’s first year.
Medications or diseases such as glaucoma and diabetes can cause a type of cataracts called secondary cataracts. Injury to the eye sometimes results in traumatic cataracts, which may appear years after the initial impact or injury. Radiation cataracts can develop in cancer patients who are receiving radiation treatment.
In each case, the solution is the same: cataract surgery, a simple, convenient and routine procedure. Millions of cataract surgeries are performed each year. In this procedure, the clouded lens is removed and replaced with a lens implant that will remain clear for life. Originally performed with the use of a miniature blade, cataract removal is now done using a femtosecond laser to make incisions.
Our premier eye surgeons perform advanced cataract surgical procedures for patients in Reading and throughout southeastern Pennsylvania. We also offer state-of-the-art intraocular lenses that will replace your natural lenses with permanent, resilient artificial lenses that, depending on your preference, can give you superb vision at a variety of distances.
If you would like to learn more about cataracts, we invite you to schedule a personal consultation in our Reading office with one of the skilled ophthalmologists at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons today.