What Makes Eyes Sensitive to Light?

Light & Eye SensitivityDo you find yourself closing your eyes, squinting or shielding your eyes when exposed to light? You may have light sensitivity or photophobia, a common and usually benign symptom that causes slight and momentary discomfort. Most light-sensitive people are only bothered by bright lights, whether it be sunlight or harsh indoor lighting. But in severe cases any light can irritate the eyes.

Although photophobia is not an eye disease, it can be a sign of a serious underlying problem. Here, the team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons discusses the causes of and treatment options for light sensitivity. Continue reading “What Makes Eyes Sensitive to Light?”

How Do Hormones Affect Vision?

Hormones are chemical messengers created in the endocrine glands that control and coordinate most of the body’s functions, including sleep, mood, hunger and reproduction. Increased or insufficient hormone levels can affect nearly every part of the body, including the eyes.

Here, the team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons reveals some of the surprising ways hormonal fluctuations that occur throughout life can affect the eyes and vision. Continue reading “How Do Hormones Affect Vision?”

Can Maintaining Good Vision Stave Off Cognitive Decline?

Vision Loss and Cognitive Decline in Older AdultsThere are many factors that influence the aging process, including diet, physical activity and other lifestyle choices. Based on the results of a new study, it appears that visual acuity can also play a part in how quickly our minds decline with age.

A research team sponsored by the National Eye Institute and the National Institute on Aging found a link between worsening vision and the loss of mental capacity in older adults. Their findings hint that preserving good vision could help stave off cognitive decline.

In this post, the team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons shares more details about this compelling research. Continue reading “Can Maintaining Good Vision Stave Off Cognitive Decline?”

Are You Having Trouble Driving at Night?

Tips for Safe Driving at NightWith the end of daylight savings time this month, you might find yourself driving home from work in less light. The approaching winter weather may create additional concerns about safe driving.

Navigating the roads safely can be especially difficult if you have dry eye, cataracts or other eye conditions that affect night vision, including age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons cares deeply about your safety and well-being. In this post, we want to share some tips to help you navigate the roads safely and confidently at night. Continue reading “Are You Having Trouble Driving at Night?”

Swimming and Eye Safety

Eye Safety while SwimmingSummertime means spending more time swimming, whether it’s at the beach, lake or even the backyard pool. As enjoyable as swimming is, there are certain precautions to take to protect the eyes from danger. Armed with the right information, you can keep your and your family’s eyes safe from possible hazards.

Below, the team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons shares what you should know about swimming and eye safety. Continue reading “Swimming and Eye Safety”

The Best Ways to Preserve Vision As You Age

Your vision is precious and directly influences your quality of life. Unfortunately, vision problems tend to become more common with age — for reasons that may or may not be under our control.

There are things you can do to lower your risk of vision problem and preserve the health of your eyes. Read on as our team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons shares our best advice. Continue reading “The Best Ways to Preserve Vision As You Age”

Why People with Diabetes Need Routine Eye Exams

Diabetes threatens the health of numerous organs and systems of the body, including the eyes and visual system. It raises the risk of serious eye problems that can lead to blindness. One of the most prominent vision-related threats to people with diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, which damages the small blood vessels in the retina. The disease can cause the retina to grow weak, abnormal blood vessels that leak blood and fluid; it can also trigger the growth of scar tissue in the eye.

Routine eye exams can catch problems like diabetic retinopathy in their early stages and keep them at bay. The team at Berks Eye Physicians and Surgeons encourages people with diabetes to be diligent about scheduling regular eye exams to stay ahead of vision problems. Continue reading “Why People with Diabetes Need Routine Eye Exams”

Your Annual Eye Exam is Important

snyderI had an interesting case the other day that does a good job of exemplifying the need for a thorough annual eye exam including dilation.

I have been seeing this patient, a 45 year old male, on a yearly basis for the last three years. It had been about 12 months so, on this visit, I did a thorough investigation of his total ocular status, including a check of his visual acuity, eye movements, field of vision, pupils, and generated an updated eyeglasses prescription as well. I then dilated his pupils after checking the health of the front part of his eyes.

Once his pupils were large enough to adequately look through, I noticed on my direct views of the fundus (the back of the eye) several small retinal hemorrhages in his right eye. Retinal hemorrhages are areas where blood has “leaked” out of a blood vessel into the surrounding tissue. Though retinal hemorrhages can be due to a number of causes, the size, location, and appearance can tell us as eye doctors a lot of information.

Diabetes Revealed
The most common reason for new retinal hemorrhages is typically either diabetes or high blood pressure. He denied being diabetic or hypertensive but had not had a routine physical exam in over a year as well. Nonetheless, I checked his blood pressure which was normal. I then requested he make an appointment with his primary doctor for a full examination with blood work to determine the cause of the retinal hemorrhages. At his follow-up exam about a month later he reported that, indeed, he did have high blood sugar and is now being treated for Type 2 Diabetes.

Here are some interesting statistics about Diabetes:

  • In 2012, 29.1 MILLION Americans, or 9.3% of the population, had diabetes. Almost 1 in every 10 people!
  • Of those, 8.1 million were undiagnosed (like my patient).
  • In 2005–2008, of adults with diabetes aged 40 years or older, 4.2 million (28.5%) people had diabetic retinopathy, damage to the small blood vessels in the retina that may result in loss of vision.
  • Diabetes remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • The total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is estimated at $245 billion.

Of course, I don’t encounter such urgent findings on most complete eye exams. But you would be amazed how frequently I do encounter undiagnosed problems, problems that I find outright or, through conversation, a patient and I discover together – like eye allergies, contact lens comfort issues, risk factors for glaucoma or macular degeneration, glare issues from cataracts, and the ever ubiquitous DRY EYES!  It goes on and on. The point is that while problems like these probably won’t happen to you, if they do, it is much better to find out before they cause a major problem rather than react to it once they already have.

Now go out there and get those eyes checked!

By: Dr. J. Mark Snyder