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Eye Consultants of Colorado

(303) 838-9165

Eye Conditions

Myopia is a vision condition often referred to as nearsightedness. It is characterized by the ability to see close objects clearly, with distant objects appearing blurry. Nearly 30% of Americans are affected by this visual condition.

Myopia is known as a refractive error of the eye. Our ability to perceive objects, near or far, is determined by the eyes ability to refract (bend) light. If you have myopia, you have an optical imperfection that prevents light entering your eye from being focused properly.

What Causes Myopia?

The exact cause behind myopia is not known at this time, though research suggests that many patients inherit the tendency to develop myopia.

The optical imperfections of myopia refer to the shape of your cornea and the length of your eyeball. The result of this distorted shape is nearsightedness, as the light entering your eye is refracted incorrectly.

What Are The Symptoms of Myopia?

If you are nearsighted, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty seeing at night (night myopia)
  • Eye strain from squinting to see distant objects
  • Blurry vision when looking at distant objects
  • Headaches caused by eye strain

How is Myopia Treated?

There are a few options available to regain clear distance vision if you have myopia.

For most people, the first option is non-invasive treatment via contact lenses1 or eyeglasses2.

If you would like to potentially eliminate the need for prescription eyewear entirely, corrective eye surgery3 may be an ideal treatment option for you. To find out if you would be a good surgery candidate for this procedure, we invite you to book a laser surgery consultation4 with one of our Optometrists.
Orthokeratology (Ortho-K or CRT) may be a good option for you if you do not qualify for corrective eye surgery or would like to explore a non-surgical method for treating your myopia. This method is also known as corneal refractive therapy. It involves a series of specially designed rigid contact lenses that are worn while you are asleep and taken out the following morning.

These breathable lenses gradually reshape the curvature of your cornea, allowing for the light entering your eye to refract properly. This temporary effect will provide clear vision that lasts for the majority of the day.

Hyperopia is a vision condition most often referred to as farsightedness. Approximately 1 in 4 Americans will develop hyperopia in their lifetime. If you struggle to focus on objects near you but are able to see distant objects clearly, you likely have hyperopia.

Just like myopia (nearsightedness)1, hyperopia is a refractive error of the eye. How well we perceive objects both near and far is determined by our eye’s ability to refract light properly.  This means that if you have hyperopia, the light entering your eye is refracted (bent) improperly due to an optical imperfection.

What Causes Hyperopia?

Hyperopia occurs when the eye’s length is naturally shortened or the cornea is too flat. This results in an optical imperfection that forces the light entering your eyes to refract improperly.

Much like myopia, the exact cause behind hyperopia is not known at this time, though research suggests that many patients inherit the tendency to develop hyperopia.

What Are The Symptoms of Hyperopia?

The typical symptoms of hyperopia include:

  • Close objects appear blurry
  • Difficulty reading
  • Eye strain (from squinting to focus)
  • Headaches (from straining your eyes to focus)
  • Eye fatigue

How is Hyperopia Treated?

This vision condition is relatively easy to treat. Most patients choose non-invasive treatment via contact lenses2 or eyeglasses3.
If you would like to potentially eliminate the need for prescription eyewear entirely, corrective eye surgery4 may be an ideal treatment option for you. To find out if you would be a good surgery candidate for this procedure, we invite you to book an eye exam5 with one of our Optometrists.

Astigmatism is a relatively common eye condition that affects 1 out of every 3 Americans. It is a refractive error of the eye, much like myopia1 and hyperopia2. Most people have some degree of astigmatism, though slight astigmatism usually doesn’t affect vision or require any treatment.

A refractive error of the eye refers to our eye’s ability to refract (bend) light properly.  Astigmatism causes the light entering your eye to be refracted improperly due to an optical imperfection, directly affecting how well you perceive objects both near and far.

If you have astigmatism, you will experience blurry vision when looking at an object, regardless of lighting or distance.

What Causes Astigmatism?

Typically, our eye is naturally shaped like a sphere. Astigmatism causes the shape of your eye’s cornea or lens to present as an elongated shape similar to a football.

This irregular shape is caused by small differences in the growth and alignment of your eye. The outcome of this optical imperfection is the improper refraction of light rays as they enter your eye, resulting in distorted, blurry vision.

The exact reason why the corneal shape differs amongst us is not known at this time, though research suggests many patients inherit the tendency to develop astigmatism.

What Are The Symptoms of Astigmatism?

Symptoms typically associated with astigmatism are:

  • Objects both near and far are blurry
  • Difficulty reading small print
  • Squinting to focus
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye strain
  • Headaches

How is Astigmatism Treated?

Regaining clear vision from your astigmatism is possible through effective and non-invasive treatment methods.

The common choice for most patients with astigmatism is corrective eyewear via contact lenses3 or eyeglasses4.

If you are deemed to be a good surgery candidate, corrective eye surgery5 may be a great choice for treating your astigmatism. Most patients do not need eyeglasses or contact lenses post surgery.
If you do not qualify for corrective eye surgery, or you would like to try another non-invasive option, there is a treatment called Orthokeratology (Ortho-K or CRT). Also referred to as corneal refractive therapy, this method involves a series of specially designed rigid, breathable contact lenses that are worn overnight and taken out the following morning.

These lenses gradually reshape the curvature of your cornea, thereby allowing the light entering your eye to refract properly. This temporary effect will provide clear vision that lasts for the majority of your day.

Strabismus is a condition where both eyes do not work in unison to look at the same place at the same time. Although it usually develops in infancy or early childhood, typically by the age of 3, adults and children have the potential to develop strabismus later in life.

The misalignment of your eyes results in your brain receiving two different images, which is very confusing for your brain. This will ultimately force it to focus on the images it is receiving from one eye and ignore images from your other eye.

If strabismus is left untreated, the ignored and underused eye will develop poorly and will eventually experience complete vision loss. This condition is known as Amblyopia1,or lazy eye.

If you have strabismus, it will be classified according to the direction of your eye turn.

  • Esotropia – Inward turning
  • Exotropia – Outward turning
  • Hypertropia – Upward turning
  • Hypotropia – Downward turning

What Causes Strabismus?

Strabismus can be the result of problems with the nerves that transmit information from your brain to the eye muscles, the control center in your brain that directs eye movement, or issues with the eye muscles themselves.

There are 6 muscles attached to each eye that directly control how your eye moves. These muscles receive signals from your brain to coordinate their movements. For most of us, these muscles work together to ensure they point at the same place- allowing our brain to receive matching images. In someone with strabismus, these muscles will not be working in unison and result in the relaying of two separate images to the brain.

What Are The Symptoms of Strabismus?

Proper eye alignment is necessary for good depth perception, avoiding seeing double, and for preventing the development of poor vision.

If you or your child have strabismus, the symptoms may present as:

  • Uncoordinated eye movements
  • Double vision
  • Eyes are not looking in the same direction
  • Eye strain
  • Eye fatigue
  • Headaches

How is Strabismus Treated?

Because strabismus typically presents in early childhood, the initial method of treatment is prescription eyeglasses2.

The severity and frequency of your child’s strabismus will determine if vision therapy is required in conjunction with eyeglasses. Vision therapy is a structured program of visual activities to improve eye coordination and ability to focus. An eye patch is used to train the eyes and brain to work together effectively. The stronger eye is covered by the eye patch, forcing the brain to use the poorly developed eye and bring it up to matching functionality.  

For cases where there is a constant eye turn, eye muscle surgery may be required to change the length or position of muscles around the eye so that they appear straight. Vision therapy is typically required after eye muscle surgery to improve eye coordination and maintain alignment.

Commonly referred to as lazy eye, amblyopia is visual development disorder in which an eye fails to develop properly or in conjunction with the other eye. This eye condition affects approximately 3% of the American population and typically affects children during infancy and early childhood.

If one eye does not develop properly alongside the other eye, the brain will begin to favor the stronger eye and only focus on receiving that eyes images. The ignored eye gradually begins to weaken as the child continues to grow, ultimately producing vision loss.

What Causes Amblyopia?

There are 3 common causes of amblyopia:

  1. Strabismic Amblyopia – An imbalance in the 6 muscles that directly control eye movement. The brain ignores the weaker eye in order to avoid double vision from receiving two different images.
  2. Deprivation Amblyopia – Resulting from a problem in one eye that affects clear vision, such as a Cataract1.
  3. Refractive Amblyopia – Occurs when there is a significant difference between the refractive errors in each eye (Hyperopia2 or Myopia3), or when one eye has moderate Astigmatism4 and the other eye does not.

What Are The Signs of Amblyopia?

Detecting amblyopia during infancy and early childhood can often be a difficult task for parents, as their child may not be presenting visibly obvious symptoms. Because children have the ability to adapt quickly to what they are experiencing, they may not know anything is wrong with their vision or be able to properly articulate what they are experiencing.

Early detection through regular eye exams is key in preventing vision loss from amblyopia. The American Optometric Association recommends that children have a comprehensive eye exam5 by 6 months of age and again at age 3.

Amblyopia symptoms include:

  • Misaligned or crossed eyes (Strabismus6)
  • Poor depth perception
  • Decreased vision in one or both eyes
  • Tendency to bump into objects on one side

How is Amblyopia Treated?

If amblyopia is not detected and treated early on in life, permanent vision loss is inevitable.

The first step in correcting mild cases of amblyopia is typically with eyeglasses7 or contact lenses8, depending on the age of the patient.

If the weakened eye is not responding well via prescription eyewear alone, we may recommend vision therapy.

Vision therapy is a treatment program of visual activities performed to improve eye coordination and ability to focus. One of the main exercises is eye patch therapy, where the brain is forced to use the poorly developed eye by wearing an eye patch over the strong eye. Over time, the brain develops new pathways to the weak eye, increasing the communication between the two and correcting the lazy eye.  
If you suspect you or your child may have amblyopia, we invite you to book an eye exam with one of our Optometrists.

If you have diabetes, you are at an increased risk for developing certain eye conditions.  This is what is referred to as diabetic eye disease. Chronically high blood sugar levels and blood pressure are the primary causes for the eye conditions grouped within diabetic eye disease. All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause severe vision loss or total blindness.

The group of eye conditions that comprise diabetic eye disease are diabetic retinopathy (DR), glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic macular edema (DME). You are not guaranteed to develop one of these eye conditions, just as anyone without diabetes has the potential to develop one of them.

The Diabetic Eye Diseases

Diabetic Retinopathy

This particular eye disease is the most common form that those with diabetes are at risk for developing. The blood vessels of your retina – the light sensitive tissue that lines the back of your eye – are directly affected by diabetic retinopathy. These damaged blood vessels are weak and tend to leak blood and other fluids into your eye. This leakage causes the retinal tissue to swell, leading to your vision being distorted or noticeably dim.

If diabetic retinopathy is left untreated, complete vision loss can be expected.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy include:

  • Seeing spots or floaters
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • A dark or empty spot in the center of your vision

The 4 Stages of Diabetic Retinopathy

  • Mild/Moderate/Severe Nonproliferative Retinopathy – As nonproliferative retinopathy progresses through its stages, the tiny blood vessels of the retina experience microaneurysms. These microaneurysms risk leaking fluid into the retina. As it progresses into the moderate stage, the blood vessels that directly sustain the retina may swell and become disfigured, leading to decreased vision.

    The damaged blood vessels will likely lose their ability to transport blood to the retina. As nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy progresses into its final and severe stage, patients will experience:
    1. Vision loss (increasingly blurred vision)
    2. Loss of color perception
  • Proliferative Retinopathy (PDR) – Fragile blood vessels begin to form inside the surface of the retina. During this advanced stage, leakages of these vessels begins.

    Your vision will begin to cloud as blood and other fluids leak into the interior substance of your eye (the vitreous). These newly formed weak blood vessels gradually begin to scar over your retina. This risks your retina being pulled on and eventually detaching, ultimately leading to a loss of vision.

    Early detection and treatment of retinal tears/detachment increases your chance of preventing complete vision loss.

    If you have diabetes, it is recommended that you have an eye exam every year..  This gives our Optometrist the opportunity to closely monitor your overall ocular health.

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

This eye condition results from diabetic retinopathy. DME is the result of fluid accumulating in the macula – the part of your retina that controls your ability to see details – due to poorly formed blood vessels leaking fluid.

DME symptoms include:

  • Eye floaters1
  • Double vision
  • Blurry vision
  • If left untreated, complete vision loss

In order to stop the leakage of fluids into the macula, DME can be treated with a laser procedure.

Glaucoma

Diabetes doubles your risk for developing Glaucoma, which is an eye condition that causes damage to the eye’s optic nerve. If glaucoma is left untreated it can result in complete vision loss.

Learn more about glaucoma2.

Cataracts

The clouding of the eye’s natural lens is known as a cataract. Diabetes increases your risk of developing cataracts.

Learn more about cataracts3.

Eye Exams Reduce Your Risk of Vision Loss by 95%

If you have diabetes, or any kind of health condition that increases your likelihood of developing an eye condition, we recommend having a comprehensive eye exam4 every year. Our Optometrist may require an increased frequency of visits if they discover an ocular issue that needs to be monitored closely.
Many of the early stage symptoms of diabetic eye disease are gradual and silent, damaging your vision before you notice them. The only way to stay on top of your overall eye health is to have regular eye exams. The earlier our Optometrist is able to detect potential eye conditions, the more likely they are able to prevent you from experiencing complete vision loss.

Eye Health Articles

Our mountain climate is an ideal area for dry eye to develop. Low ambient humidity and higher altitudes make it a condition that is more likely to form here than a more humid area (such as Hawaii). This isn’t to say that everyone will get dry eye if they live here; indeed, the majority of people won’t experience the onset of dry eye.

As dry eye specialists, we spend a great deal of time educating not only our patients, but other Optometrists and doctors about dry eye, its symptoms, and effective treatments.

In this article we are going to break down some of the symptoms of dry eye that are often confused with other conditions, as well as effective treatment options. It goes without saying that if you are looking for dry eye treatment that we are always accessible to you- please book an appointment to come see us.

Common Symptoms of Dry Eye and Their Respective Treatments

Dry eye has many symptoms, some of which are often mistaken with allergic conjunctivitis (red eye as a result of eye allergies) or other developing eye conditions.

Stinging, Burning, and Sandy/Gritty Feelings in the Affected Eye

This sensation is uncomfortable, especially considering that the discomfort can exist in varying levels of severity. This is a result of a lack of moisture and can generally be addressed via lubricating eye drops or Restasis.

Periods of Blurred or Hazy Vision

These symptoms are usually caused by excessive tear production (albeit of poor quality). This seems counter-intuitive to most people, as dry eye is a result of a lack of lubrication. However, these tears do not last long on the eye and fail to provide proper lubrication.

Punctal plugs can prevent tears from draining from the eye too quickly. Certain medications can also influence tear quality.

Contact Lens Discomfort

Again caused by a lack of lubrication. Lubricating eye drops can provide relief, as can Restasis.

Inability to Cry When Emotionally Distressed, Unable to Produce Tears

A result of a lack of tear production, medications such as Restasis can influence these symptoms.

Eye Fatigue, Difficulty Reading or Working at a Computer, DIfficulty Maintaining Eye Focus for Prolonged Periods

These symptoms are a result of a combination of factors. The fact is that when you are experiencing discomfort or pain in the eye that it takes more energy (effort) to complete regular tasks. Treating your symptoms holistically will alleviate these concerns.

What to Do When Standard Treatments Fail to Provide Relief?

Most cases of dry eye can be effectively managed via standard treatments. However, some advanced or chronic cases may fail to adequately respond. In these cases, we move into more advanced options such as LipiFlow or IPL treatment.

What matters the most is that we establish a healthy partnership and work together to find the relief you need. If you are experiencing dry eye that simply will not let up, please come visit us- we are here to help you.

Look no further than the cover of any fashion magazine to see that sunglasses convey a true sense of personality and style. Yet the health benefits of sunglasses often get overlooked.

Everyone is at risk for ultraviolet damage from the sun, especially when you get as many days of sunlight as we do living in Colorado. Damage from UV radiation and over-exposure to the sun can lead to many eye problems such as macular degeneration, cataracts, or melanoma. Wearing sunglasses with maximum UV protection can protect your eyes and preserve your eye health. Aside from reducing the health risks from sunrays, sunglasses also offer these benefits: protection from wind, dust and dryness, contrast enhancement, and improvement of overall visual function, and reduction of eye fatigue from glare.

Who Should Wear Sunglasses?

  • Outdoor Enthusiasts
  • Children
  • Individuals who have had Cataract Surgery
  • Individuals with Retinal Disorders
  • Contact Lens Wearers
  • Those who have had LASIK Surgery
  • People who just want that Stylish Look

Can I Get it in my Prescription?

Most people who wear prescription eyewear easily understand their need for it – their vision is impaired without correction. Don’t think of prescription sun wear as just a darkly tinted version of your clear prescription glasses; think of it as eyeglasses specially designed for your active lifestyle. With this definition, colored or multi-colored mirror coatings, anti-reflective coating, ultraviolet protection, polarized lenses, impact resistance, frame durability, and a host of other options become a spectrum of unique features to add to your prescription sun wear. These days, almost any prescription and any combination of features can be made to suit your tastes and needs.

The Frame Details

Why not have sunglasses that help boost your performance in activities that your enjoy? And, of course, you have to look good too. Today’s sun wear runs the fashion gamut from retro-looking to the trendy large, chunky plastic frames. The wide variety of lightweight frame materials, such as magnesium, aluminum, stainless steel, titanium, carbon fiber, nylon composites, and injected alloy can improve performance and provide durability and comfort. Style features such as non-slip bridges, gripper temples, spring hinges, shields, wraps, and venting systems add value and comfort and pump up your performance at the same time. While the newer, innovative frame materials and high-tech finishes make them look appealing; it’s the lenses that really complete the eyewear’s allure. Whether it’s new anti-reflective (AR) lenses or a mirror coating, the lenses provide function while catering to the fashion minded trend seekers.

Lens Technology: What Do I Really Need?

Ultraviolet Protection: Sunglasses should offer 100% UV protection covering UVA and UVB rays up to 400nm. Features such as mirror coatings, anti-reflective coatings, and polarization are great and may increase comfort and visibility but offer no additional protection against UV rays.

Anti-Reflective (AR):

AR lenses reduce reflections and improve contrast, visual acuity and comfort in all types of lighting conditions.

Photochromatic Lenses:

These lenses automatically darken or lighten depending upon light conditions to provide the right level of protection and comfort. These lenses are more commonly called Transitions® or Photogray.

Polarized Lenses: These lenses filter out reflected glare from surfaces such as water and windows. They improve contrast and visibility while reducing eyestrain and squinting, plus they help you see a sharper, more focused world. However, some polarized lenses can block the reflected light of LCD’s in many dashboards, bank automated tellers, and other electronic devices. So, if you use a PDA, laptop, or have an electronic dashboard, you may want to check that the lenses you choose will not block the LCD light as well.

Impact Resistance:

Polycarbonate lenses are strong and impact-resistant, a perfect combination for those sports enthusiasts who play on the edge.

Which Color Lens is Best?

The color of the lens has absolutely nothing to do with the amount of protection sunglasses provide. It is the density of the lens material as well as the lens coatings that determine the amount of protection. For instance, clear sunglasses may offer better protection than many “dark” sunglasses off the rack. However, some lens colors allow for better visual performances than others. Below is a list of the various colors and the situations in which they provide the best performance.

Brown or Amber lenses enhance contrast with minimal alteration of natural colors. This lens tint is great for sports, fishing, driving, or any activity where contrast is important.

Grey lenses are generally the darkest lenses available. They do not enhance contrast, but they do not distort colors either. They are most suitable for people who are sensitive to glare.

Yellow and Orange lenses provide excellent depth perception and contrast in low light conditions. They are often used as shooting glasses and with night driving. These lenses are often too bright to be used in normal light conditions.

Green lenses are a good everyday tint. They are of medium darkness and have some contrast enhancing qualities, while not distorting colors.

What’s the Most Important School Supply?

A Healthy Pair of Eyes!

Make sure your child’s vision is “school-ready”:

  • With early vision screening by age 30 months or before the age of three as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • A full eye exam by an optometrist as recommended by your children’s physician.
  • A complete well-child check-up with vision, hearing and dental exams as well as other developmental checks that are recommended for your child’s age.

ECC is a proud participant in Infant See, the national initiative of helping infants to establish a lifetime of healthy vision.

www.infantsee.org

What you can do to protect your child’s vision:

Below we have included a few warning signs for you, the parent, to be aware of. If you notice any of these things, please have your child be seen by an eye doctor immediately.

Infants

  1. Do they consistently turn their head to one side when picking something up?
  2. Do they seem startled if you approach from one side vs. the other?
  3. Do they seem to consistently miss seeing something of interest?
  4. Were there any complications during or immediately after birth?
  5. Do their pupils look the same?
  6. Do they have a family history of lazy eye?

Pre-school Children

  1. Do they sit close to the TV because they say they cannot see it?
  2. Do they complain of headaches?
  3. Do they tilt their head to one shoulder or to one side consistently when watching TV or reading?
  4. Do they have a shorter attention span than usual when doing near tasks?
  5. Were they slower than expected in hitting their milestones?

Elementary & Jr. High

  1. Do they have attention issues?
  2. Do they complain of consistent headaches?
  3. Do they complain of double vision or blurred vision at distance or near?
  4. Do they have trouble seeing the board?
  5. Have their reading comprehension scores started to drop?
  6. Do they lose their place on the page or use their fingers to keep track of where they are on the page (after 2nd grade)?

Recommended eye exams:

A comprehensive eye exam is recommended at the following ages:

  • By 12 months (Free of charge as part of Federal Infant See Program)
  • Age 2
  • Kindergarten
  • Third Grade
  • Sixth Grade
  • High School Freshman or before driving
  • College Freshman or Equivalent

Interesting Facts

Why is it important for you to provide your children with eye care?

80% of what we learn in life is through our visual system YET:

  • Less than 15% of all preschoolers receive eye examinations.
  • Less than 22% of all preschoolers have an adequate vision screen.
  • There are no uniform criteria for screening failure across the country, state, county or school district.
  • 25% of 10 year olds have vision problems that affect their learning ability.

Should your child end up needing glasses, we offer affordable “kid’s packages” that include all of the add-ons a kid will need when it comes to their glasses. Ask about this deal at your child’s next vision exam.

Contact lenses don’t have to be worn exclusively by adults. There are many good reasons why you should consider contact lenses for your child. Though not every child will fit into contacts well, here are a few things to take into consideration before getting your child fit for contacts:

  • Hygiene – Handling contact lenses increases the risk for bacteria being introduced into the eyes. A contact lens wearer, whether adult or child, must have good hygiene when it comes to their contact lenses. That means thoroughly washing hands before handling contact lenses, keeping the case clean and changing it out regularly, as well as changing the lenses on schedule. If you notice your child has good hygiene when it comes to other activities in their life, he or she may be a good candidate for contact lens wear.
  • Maturity – We decide whether or not a child would fit into contact lenses by reviewing the child’s level of maturity, though you know your child best. Observe your child’s maturity level compared to their peers and make sure to ask them about wearing contacts before deciding for them.
  • Activities – If your child participates in sports and other activities that require moving around, glasses could become a problem. Fitting your child into contact lenses in order to alternate between contacts and glasses could be the solution to this problem. Here at Eye Consultants, we sell Daily disposable contact lenses. This type of contact lens is perfect for children in this position. He or she would simply wear a pair of contacts during activities and sports and dispose of the contacts when they are finished.
  • Consistent Lost or Broken Glasses – If your child continuously breaks and/or loses their glasses, switching him or her to contact lenses might be the solution. This would eliminate the responsibility of keeping track of their glasses and keeping them safe.
  • Compliance – In the end, it comes down to whether or not your child is willing to try contact lenses. It makes things more difficult when the parent makes the decision for their child. Make sure your child would be willing to try contact lenses and that they fit the above characteristics.

If you believe your child is ready to try contact lenses, feel free to call our office and schedule a contact lens consultation with your doctor. We have many options for children when it comes to contact lenses and we will work with them during the entire fitting process.

The Omega-3 & Your Health: What You NEED to Know

Let’s first start with some basic facts about dietary fats and how our bodies use them. Dietary fats come in two forms—saturated and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats include essential fatty acids (EFA’s), which are considered polyunsaturated fats. They are termed “essential” because the human body cannot make them and must acquire them through the diet. There are three forms of EFA’s: Omega 3, 6, & 9. Omega 3’s typically come from cold‐water fish like salmon, sardines, anchovies, tuna, mackerel, cod and herring. Omega 6’s are found in vegetable oils like soybean, palm, and sunflower, as well as nuts and cereals. Omega 9’s are found in nuts like almonds and walnuts. As little as 50 years ago the American diet was fairly balanced between 6’s and 3’s with consumption ratio of almost 1 to 1. Over the last 50 years however, that ratio has significantly changed with omega 6’s dominating almost 16 to 1. Interestingly, we have also seen a tremendous increase in general inflammatory diseases including most forms of cancer, cardiovascular disease and auto‐immune disease. Omega 6’s are processed by the body and are turned into compounds like prostaglandins, arachadonic acid and leukotrienes—all which create inflammation in the body.

Omega 3’s produce anti‐inflammatory agents, as well as act as blood thinners and have been shown to have tremendous health benefits in terms of reducing inflammatory cardiovascular disease, stabilizing hormone levels, decreasing triglycerides, improving mood, and even decreasing many risk factors for dementia, diabetes, hypertension, and auto‐immune disease. Additionally, a balanced increase in EFA’s intake has been shown to be beneficial for the health of skin, hair, nails, and overall digestive function. Ideally, we would all consume 2‐4 servings of fish per week but once again, the American diet doesn’t really allow for that. Thus, most individuals need to take omega 3 supplements to re‐establish their EFA balance.

However, not all omega‐3 supplements (O‐3’s) are created equal. All O‐3 supplements are created from the body oils of small fish like sardines, anchovies, and herring. Utilizing these smaller fish has eliminated any concerns about mercury buildup in the fish higher in the food chain that was once commonplace. The extracted body oils are then purified by distilling them. This leaves the O‐3 in what is known as the ester ethyl form. Creating O‐3 in ester ethyl form is a relatively simple process and is where most of the over the counter, grocery store products stop. These forms are not easily absorbed nor utilized and can be associated with unwanted “social” gastrointestinal side effects.

Higher quality forms of O‐3s undergo another step, converting them into a form that the body can more easily absorb: compounds called DHA (called brain food because it protects the health and function of nervous tissue) and EPA (anti-inflammatory). Scientific studies have been mixed on what is the optimal dosages of EPA and DHA are but most agree that is it is at least 300 mg of combined EPA and DHA. That leaves you, the consumer, with two choices: Take approximately 2 grams of higher quality, O‐3, which costs more but allows you to take a lower dosage and avoid many of the gastrointestinal side effects, or take a significantly greater quantity of the O‐3 in ester form (5‐6 grams). When you compare the efficacy vs. the price of the two options the higher quality fish oil actually ends up being less expensive. In terms of specific eye health, the DHA and EPA by‐products of the omega‐3’s have been studied extensively in the prevention and even treatment of dry eye disease and age related macular degeneration. Interestingly, increased percentage of intake of omega‐6’s in relation to omega‐3’s has been shown to have a direct relationship with macular degeneration as well as progression of dry eye disease, ocular allergies, and other forms of ocular inflammatory disease.

Quality versus Quantity

Omega 3’s are the natural remedies used to decrease many ocular degenerative problems and ocular inflammatory conditions our patients may experience. The nutriceauticals our office provides include Nordic Naturals’ Pro Omega D and Pro DHA Eye. The Nordic Naturals vitamins are considered superior to other omega supplements. The oils used “surpass strict international standards for proven purity and freshness.” Their special triglyceride form gives you up to 70% better absorption than other omega supplements on the market, which means you can take a lesser does than the OTC version at most stores. Adding to the quality of the oil, all the fish used is wild caught and is lab tested for heavy metals, dioxins, and PCBs. Below we have the quantity comparison of Nordic Naturals versus other omega supplements available at various places.

Among the many things that we tend to ignore or overlook (pardon the pun), nothing ranks higher than our sight. The importance of preventative eye care cannot be overstated, and yet most of us wait for a problem before visiting an optometrist.

Like all (most?) eye specialists, no one at the Eye Consultants of Colorado is going to bite, so why not give us a call and arrange your annual eye exam sooner rather than later?

Tell you what, we’ll give you the rundown on why preventative eye care is so important, and then you can decide whether or not to make it a priority. Sound good? Let’s go!

Silent Symptoms

Many eye diseases do not reveal symptoms until the condition has substantially progressed. Diabetics, for example, are all at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy, an illness which will show virtually no symptoms until their vision has become severely threatened.

Similarly, Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) presents very few early symptoms, but then hits you hard with blurred vision, dark patches in your eyesight or straight which appear distorted. What do these illnesses have in common?

The fact that a professional eye exam will spot them extremely early.

This preventative care could drastically reduce any vision impairment normally caused by the disease. One study involving 11,500 people4 found that 35% did not seek eyecare because they felt they didn’t need it. You may not, but it’s definitely worth checking.

Your Eyes Are Not Teeth

Vision is the most valuable of the senses; that’s pretty much undisputed. The trouble is that as much as science has made incredible advancements in the last few decades, eye replacements are very far from reality. You only get two.

Since our eyes cannot be replaced, anything other than temporary vision loss is going to stay lost. Permanently. By having your eyes checked regularly, the odds of avoiding any serious vision impairment vastly improve. However, preventative care goes beyond simply getting tests; here’s what else you can do:

  • Maintain a healthy, balanced diet all-year-round.
  • Acknowledge any vision-based symptoms and see a specialist.
  • Exercise regularly, even if it’s only a moderate walk.
  • Wear sunglasses if you’ll be exposed to long bouts of bright sunshine. The value in protecting your eyes from UV cannot be measured.
  • Quit smoking.

Be Sensible

When it comes to injuries to the eye, there’s an element of poor luck involved. Preventative treatment extends to acts of sensibility like wearing appropriate headgear in contact sports, or protective goggles when working with machinery.

Of course, if you notice any unusual symptoms which affect your vision, get in touch with us immediately so we can get you in for an exam. More Americans than ever are developing vision impairments as they age, and the importance of preventative eyecare in minimizing, or completely side-stepping these conditions is overwhelming.

So what do you think? Time to book an eye exam?

What is it?

The American Optometric Association defines computer vision syndrome as “the complex of eye and vision problems related to near work which are experienced during or related to computer use.”

The first step is identifying someone as having CVS. Many people, however, don’t relate these symptoms to computer vision syndrome. While any symptoms listed (to the right) can be associated with CVS, a combination of one or more of these symptoms should necessitate further investigation. There is a list of questions on the back of this brochure that we would like you to review to see if you have symptoms related to CVS. We will be using the answers to many of these questions to help define what the root of the problem is.

Causes

Typically, four factors contribute to the development of CVS:

  1. The condition of your eyes
  2. Your prescription
  3. Your physical working environment
  4. Your work habits

Working at a computer requires a specific posture with specific positioning of the head, eyes, and hands. We know that carpal tunnel syndrome also has reached epidemic proportions for many of the same reasons. Proper positioning is crucial in the treatment of CVS which include monitor distance, monitor height, head position, desk viewing distances, general and task lighting, windows, glare and maybe more. In most situations, CVS is due to a near point problem. We typically read things about 16 inches away however, most computer stations have visual tasks located at multiple distances. Our computer is at one distance and direction while our reading material is typically at a different location and direction. What results is movement back and forth between multiple distances but also into different visual positions. Did you also know that the pixels on a computer screen are slightly more concentrated in the center of the screen than in the periphery? All of this causes varying stresses on our visual system, especially when it occurs all day, every day.

Symptoms

  • Eye Strain/Fatigue
  • Blurred Vision
  • Headaches
  • Back and Neck Aches
  • Dry Eyes
  • Double Vision
  • Distorted Color Vision
  • Difficulty Focusing
  • Loss of Focus
  • Itching
  • Irritation

Treatment

We need to test how you use your eyes together, your ability to focus or accommodate, as well as their range of accommodation. We will also test your computer prescription in front of a computer to check how you do in a real life situation. All of these factors become important when trying to decide whether to use bifocals, progressive lenses, or some other form of reading prescription.

Many times, dry eye and other types of ocular surface disorders can also cause a problem. We know that when we read or perform some near task for a prolonged period of time, our blink rate decreases. The result is increased dryness and an unstable front tear surface. Many times, we need to counsel you regarding the ergonomics of your workplace, in addition to giving you task specific glasses. We also tell you to blink more often and take a visual break. You need to look up and away from the computer screen every few minutes to prevent eyestrain caused from accommodative spasm. The blinking helps to spread the tear film and prevent the eyes from drying out.


Computer Vision Syndrome Questionnaire

1. Do you wear glasses while working at the computer? Y | N

2. If yes, what type? (Please circle one)

Single Vision | Bifocal | Progressive | OTC Reading Glasses

3. Do you wear contacts while working at the computer? Y | N

4. Do you have any of these symptoms during or after VDT work? (Circle all that apply)

  • Eye Strain
  • Double Vision
  • Headaches
  • Backaches
  • Neck/Shoulder/Wrist Ache
  • Color Distortion
  • Blurred Near Vision
  • Blurred Distant Vision
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Dry/Irritated Eyes

5. Number of hours per day of computer use _____

6. How often do you take vision breaks? (Circle one)

Intermittent: Periods of < 1 Hour

Intermittent: Periods of > 1 Hour

Constant: Informal Breaks, as Required

Constant: Regular Breaks

Constant: No Breaks, other than Meals

7. Viewing distance from your eye to the computer screen: ______ inches

8. Is the monitor supported on a stand, desk or CPU? Y | N

9. Can the monitor be tilted? Y | N

10. Can you adjust the monitor height? Y | N

11. Top of computer screen (above, equal to, or below) eye level?

12. Viewing distance from your eye to keyboard: ______ inches

13. Viewing distance from your eye to hard copy material: ______ inches

14. What type of lighting is present overhead? (Circle one)

Fluorescent | Incandescent | LED

Did you know that in the U.S. about 2,000 workplace eye injuries occur every day? Almost 70% of accidents happen because of flying or falling objects. And would you believe, most of the objects are smaller than the head of a pin!

Most workplace eye injuries occur where safety eyewear isn’t required, or left up to the individual to decide if they’ll wear it. Many of those injured on the job didn’t think they needed to wear safety glasses or protective gear, or were wearing eyewear that didn’t provide adequate protection. Many of these injuries could have been prevented if the individual had just worn some sort of protective eye wear. A general rule is if your subconscious says “I should be careful,” then you should probably be looking for some type of eye protection.

An on-the-job (or an at home) eye injury can cause lasting and permanent vision damage, potentially disabling a person for life. Even “minor” eye injuries can cause long-term vision problems and suffering, such as recurrent and painful corneal erosion from a simple scratch from sawdust, cement, or drywall. However, an estimated 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented using proper protective eyewear, per OSHA. Don’t become an eye injury statistic! Follow the eye safety rules to protect your vision

What can do Harm?

  • Chemicals. This may include both splashes or fumes
  • Projectiles: Dust, wood, metal, materials that can lodge in the eye or on the surface.
  • Radiation: UV, infrared or heat, and lasers.
  • Exposure: Computer Vision Syndrome, though may not be outright trauma can do just as much to affect workplace visual function. It is a group of eye and vision related problems that results from prolonged digital device use.

How can I Prevent and Protect?

There are four key things you can do to protect or prevent eye injuries.

  • Know the eye safety hazards at work
  • Eliminate as many of those hazards as possible
  • Use proper eye protection
  • Replace any safety eye wear that becomes scratches or damaged.

What do I look for in safety eyewear?

The type of safety eye protection you should wear depends largely upon the hazards in your workplace.

  • Nonprescription and prescription safety glasses. Although safety glasses may look like normal dress eyewear, they are designed to provide significantly more eye protection. The lenses and frames are much stronger than regular eyeglasses. Safety glasses must meet standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Look for the Z87 mark on the lens or frame. Side shields and wraparound-style safety glasses can provide additional side protection in environments with flying particles. Safety lenses are available in plastic, polycarbonate and Trivex™ materials. Make note: this does not mean side shields on your “everyday” glasses.
  • Goggles. Goggles provide protection from impact, dust, and chemical splash. Like safety glasses, safety goggles are highly impact-resistant. In addition, they provide a secure shield around the entire eye and protect against hazards coming from any direction. Goggles can usually be worn over prescription glasses and contact lenses.
  • Face shields and helmets. Full face shields protect workers exposed to chemicals, heat, or blood-borne pathogens. Face shields and helmets are often used in conjunction with safety glasses or goggles, so the eyes are protected when the shield is lifted.
  • Special protection. Helmets or goggles with special filters to protect the eyes from optical radiation exposure should be used for welding or working with lasers.

What if you get an injury?

In most instances (except for chemical splashes-see below) you should immediate seek medical attention. The longer a forging substance is in contact with the eye surface the more damage is typically done and the more difficult the treatment and the longer the recovery.

First aid for chemicals in the eye:

Immediately flush the eye with water for at least 15 minutes. Place the eye under a faucet or shower, use a garden hose, or pour water into the eye from a clean container. If you are wearing contact lenses, immediately remove them before flushing the eye. Do not try to neutralize the chemical with other substances. THEN seek immediate medical attention.

First aid for particles in the eye:

Do not rub the eye. Irrigate the eye with an artificial tear solution or water. DO not use any other type of fluid. Some particles, particularly metallic ones, can cause rusting spots on the eye if left untreated for several days. If you are unsure if the object is gone, do not delay medical care.

First aid for blows to the eye:

Gently apply a cold compress without putting pressure on the eye. Crushed ice in a plastic bag can be placed gently on the injured eye to reduce pain and swelling.

First aid for cuts and punctures to the eye or eyelid:

Do not wash out the eye. Do not attempt to remove an object that is stuck in the eye. Seek immediate medical care.

Rare Disease Day® is February 28th, 2017

“With research, possibilities are endless.”

Rare Disease Day® is held on the last day of February every year. A rare disease constitutes an illness or condition that affects less than 200,000 people in the United States. The main objective of this day is to raise awareness with the general public about rare diseases and their impact on patient’s lives. Imagine a life where no doctor can pinpoint what is happening to your body and can give you no real answers. You learn that whatever is happening to you has no treatment or cure because there is very little information about it. When we spread awareness of these rare diseases and raise money for research, we are positively impacting thousands of people’s lives suffering from the multitude of rare diseases.

In honor of Rare Disease Day®, we have provided you with some education on and awareness of a very rare eye-related disease called Usher’s Syndrome.

Usher’s Syndrome

What is it?
Usher’s syndrome is a genetic disorder that combines Retinitis Pigmentosa, a vision disorder, with an associated hearing dysfunction. Retinitis Pigmentosa is characterized by a progressive loss in visual acuity, constriction of peripheral vision, nyctalopia (night blindness), and photophobia (light sensitivity). It is the most common condition that affects both hearing and vision. In the U.S., approximately 4 out of every 100,000 babies are born with Usher’s Syndrome.

There are three types of Usher’s Syndrome. Children with Type I Usher’s Syndrome experience total deafness at the time of birth and have severe balance problems. Vision problems usually start progressing during the pre-teen years, almost always by the age of 10. These vision problems usually start with difficulty seeing at night but quickly progress until the person is completely blind. Children with moderate hearing loss and normal balance at the time of birth characterize Type II Usher’s Syndrome. Vision problems usually appear in the teenage years and progress slower than in Type I Usher’s Syndrome. Children with Type III Usher’s Syndrome have normal hearing and normal balance at the time of birth, though balance issues may start to progress later on. Hearing and vision problems worsen as the child ages into their teenage years, with vision problems beginning with difficulty seeing at night and progressing until the person is completely blind.

General Symptoms & Clinical Signs

  • Poor Night Vision
  • Difficulties Going from Dark to Light Settings, and Vice Versa
  • “Tunnel vision”
  • Reduced Color Vision
  • Decreased Vision
  • Constricted Peripheral Vision
  • Changes in the Retinal Blood Vessels, Optic Nerve and Macula as well as Various Vision Problems

Evaluation and Diagnosis
If we receive any sort of indication that a patient may be experiencing symptoms of Usher’s Syndrome, we would perform the following tests to either rule it out or confirm and diagnose it. We would begin as we would with any other visual complaint and perform a complete eye examination. We would test the patient’s color vision and visual field to measure peripheral vision and perform a complete retinal examination to assess the health and function of the retina. Various electrodiagnostic tests may also be necessary for the diagnosis of this rare eye condition. These electrodiagnostic tests assess things like the eye’s electrical response to light and involuntary eye movement, which would indicate a balance problem. We would most likely refer the patient to specialists to test hearing and balance issues in more detail. Early diagnosis of Usher’s Syndrome is very important for the patient (child) as well as for the parents.

Management and Treatment
Currently, there is not a cure for this rare eye condition. The best ways of managing this condition typically include hearing aides, assistive listening devices, cochlear implants or other communication methods, orientation and mobility training, low vision services, and auditory training. Though not yet proven, some research suggests a high daily intake of vitamin A may slow the progression of Retinitis Pigmentosa. People who consider using vitamin A for Retinitis Pigmentosa should discuss this decision with their health or eye care provider before beginning to do so. Patients may also be prescribed specialty glasses that provide low vision correction to help with activities of daily living.

May marks the observance of “Healthy Vision Month.” This month, Eye Consultants of Colorado is focusing on educating you about ways you can preserve the health of your eyes by your everyday actions. It’s no surprise that when asked what sense you would least like to lose, most people say vision. Our eyesight is so precious and we are so dependent upon it that we cannot image what life would be like if we could no longer see.

Many of the most common eye diseases in the U.S. can, in some way, be slowed or in some cases reversed by the intake of certain vitamins and minerals found in fruits and vegetables, or taken in supplement form. Diseases like glaucoma and dry eye can be helped by the proper dietary intake of Omega 3 fatty acids found in some fish, or taken in supplement form. Other disease like macular degeneration and cataracts are severely affected by a healthy diet that is high in antioxidants, Vitamin A and carotenoids. Many of these nutrients are found in dark, leafy greens.

Another way you can keep the health of your eyes in check is by having an annual dilated exam. Many eye diseases go unnoticed for many years before they begin to show symptoms. A dilated exam allows your optometrist to view the back of the eye and detect diseases at their beginning stages. By catching the disease early, interventions can begin that prevent the disease from getting any worse or reverse it completely. The most important thing to consider is that most vision-threatening eye diseases do not show symptoms until the disease has progressed and already caused irreversible damage to the eye. Schedule your annual exam with Eye Consultants of Colorado today so we can check the health of your eyes.

It’s also very important to wear the proper protective eyewear for your specific lifestyle. Those of you who work in jobs that handle chemicals, machinery, flying objects, tools, particles, or other hazards should wear the proper safety eyewear to prevent penetrating, blunt, or chemical-related injuries to the eye. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to ensure workers have suitable eye protection. All eye protection should be certified by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as ANSI Z87. Proper eye safety also applies to people who spend any amount of time outdoors. The harsh UV rays can severely damage your eyes; cataracts are directly related to unprotected sun exposure. You should wear quality UV-blocking, polarized sunglasses anytime you are outdoors whether it’s cloudy, sunny, winter or summer – as any sun exposure can cause damage.

As with your general health, it’s important to know your family history of eye disease. Knowing what you are genetically prone to will help determine what daily actions are most important for your eye health. For example, those of you who are prone to cataracts should take extra caution in wearing the proper protective sun wear everyday and eating a healthy diet that leans toward cataract prevention.

if you have any questions regarding the health of your eyes, Eye Consultants is here to answer you – just give us a call! We also provide all of the safety-related eyewear mentioned in this article at our optical dispensary. The experienced opticians at our office will guide you in the right direction for choosing the proper protective eyewear for all of your needs. We also sell a variety of eye-healthy nutritional supplements. The supplements we sell were chosen by Dr. Scot Morris after extensive research – they are the top-quality supplements on the market today. Stop by our office anytime during business hours to purchase your protective eyewear, sun wear or nutritional supplements; or give us a call to schedule your annual exam.

Procedures

LASIK (laser-assisted in-situ keratomileusis) is a laser eye surgery that corrects refractive errors of the eye.  It is performed by an Ophthalmologist.  For many patients, LASIK can be a permanent solution to eyeglasses and contact lenses.

Conditions corrected by LASIK include:

  • Hyperopia1
  • Myopia2
  • Astigmatism3

How Do I Know If I Am A Good Candidate for LASIK?

Your candidacy must be determined through a consultation with our Optometrist. For more details on what is involved, we invite you to head over to our laser refractive surgery consultation page.

What Happens During LASIK?

You will be awake during the procedure and are unlikely to feel any pain or discomfort during the surgery itself. Topical anesthesia is administered in the form of eye drops. It is uncommon to even be able to feel the device used to keep your eyelids open.  

The surgeon will use an automated device, known as a microkeratome, to create a precisely thin corneal flap; this will temporarily blur your vision during the procedure. Your cornea will then be exposed by gently pulling the newly created flap back. A computer-controlled excimer laser is used to reshape your cornea tissue, thereby correcting the specific refractive eye error you have.

The corneal flap is then placed back using special instruments, naturally closing and beginning the healing process immediately.  Both eyes are typically completed in less than 15 minutes.

What Can I Expect After My LASIK Procedure?

Immediately after your LASIK procedure you can expect to experience minor itching or burning sensations, and you may feel like there is something in your eye. It is important that you do not rub your eyes as this may dislodge the flap. Both of your eyes may water and your vision will likely be a little blurry. The effects are temporary.

You will be prescribed antibacterial and steroid eye drops post surgery that you will apply for one week.
Improved vision within 24 hours can be expected for most patients. There will be several follow ups with your doctor post surgery to ensure you are healing properly.

Vision Health Concerns

Presbyopia will eventually affect the vision of every American over the age of 40 years old. It is an age-related visual impairment that is the direct result of our body’s natural ageing process. The progression of this eye condition is often gradual.

What Causes Presbyopia?

The exact cause behind presbyopia is not fully understood at this time. Research suggests a correlation between the loss of elasticity in the natural crystalline lens of the eye and the muscles that surround the lens.

The lens of your eye typically retains its elasticity and flexibility for the first 4 decades of your life. When the lens is soft and flexible, it provides you the ability to focus quickly and with accuracy on the objects around you. It is believed that as we age, the proteins in our lens begin to change, progressively making the lens rigid and gradually reducing its flexibility over time.

The hardening of your eye’s lens leads to difficulty focusing on objects. This is why you tend to see people over the age of 40 adjusting the distance of their reading material in order to be able to see it properly.

While age is the typical culprit of your presbyopia, it can also result from trauma, a systemic disease, heart disease, or the side effect of a drug.

What Are The Symptoms of Presbyopia?

The onset of presbyopia is gradual. Symptoms will present as:

  • Difficulty reading fine print, specifically in dim lighting conditions
  • Eyestrain when reading for extended periods of time
  • Momentarily blurred vision when transitioning from nearby objects to ones that are far away
  • Eye fatigue
  • Headaches

How is Presbyopia Treated?

Presbyopia is one of the easiest eye conditions to treat. The most common first step is corrective eyewear via contact lenses1 or eyeglasses2.

As a result of its ongoing progression, your prescription will need to be increased as you age.
If you would like to avoid the hassle of eyeglasses and contacts lenses, corrective eye surgery3 is a viable treatment option for the right candidate. While the results of this surgery are not permanent for presbyopia, they will last for a considerable amount of time.

What Causes Eye Floaters and Flashes?

There are a number of potential causes for eye floaters and flashes, including:

  • Retinal tear or detachment – very serious with an imminent risk of permanent vision loss
  • Eye infection
  • Inflammation of the eye
  • Eye or head trauma
  • Natural ageing process

What Are Eye Floaters and Flashes?

Eye Floaters

The interior of our eye – a gel-like substance – is called the vitreous. As we age, our body’s natural ageing process gradually begins to shrink the vitreous. During this process, the vitreous will detach from the retina (the back portion of your eye) and create a watery center. For most people, this process happens without any issue or symptoms.

As the vitreous shrinks, small clumps of matter will form, creating what we refer to as eye floaters. Floaters appear as small spots, flecks, or squiggles that drift around in your field of vision. They are typically not cause for alarm and will go away on their own.  

Eye Flashes

Sometimes the vitreous will pull or rub on your retina – the light-sensitive tissue layer at the back of your eye – causing what seems like flashes or streaks of light. When the vitreous detaches from the retina, a part of the natural ageing process, you may see flashing lights sporadically for a couple of weeks.

When Should I Be Concerned About Eye Flashes and Floaters?

If you find that your eye flashes or floaters have suddenly increased in quantity or size, it is recommended that you see the Optometrist as soon as possible. A change like that can be indicative of a retinal tear or complete retinal detachment. Both of these situations are extremely serious and can lead to permanent blindness. Early detection and treatment is the only way to ensure this does not occur.

If you experience a sudden change in your vision we invite you to visit our Optometrist for a complete assessment of your ocular health.

Glaucoma is comprised of a group of eye disorders that progressively damage your eye’s optic nerve. It is the leading cause of blindness in Americans over the age of 60 years old.

Your optic nerve, made up of many nerve fibers, is connected to your eye’s retina (the layer of light-sensitive tissue lining the inside of your eye). Signals are sent from your retina to your brain via your optic nerve. When there is a buildup of fluid pressure in your eye caused by glaucoma, the optic nerve is unable to handle the pressure and ends up being damaged.

Without a healthy optic nerve, your brain is unable to receive images from your eye.

Common types of glaucoma include:

 

  • Open-angle Glaucoma – This is the most common form of glaucoma and occurs when the meshwork of the eye is unable to efficiently drain fluid.
  • Angle-closure Glaucoma – This is a less common form of glaucoma, it is the result of the drainage angle closing or becoming blocked.
  • Secondary Glaucoma – The result of an injury or eye disease. A variety of medical conditions, medications, and eye abnormalities can lead to secondary glaucoma.
  • Normal-tension or Low-tension Glaucoma – Occurs even when the eye pressure remains normal. Research has yet to determine why the optic nerve becomes damaged.

 

What Are The Risk Factors for Glaucoma

The following factors increase your chance of developing glaucoma:

  • Diabetes1– Doubles your risk of developing glaucoma
  • Myopia2
  • Family medical history
  • Age – Beginning at 40 years old, with a significant increase in risk after the age of 60 years old
  • Corticosteroid use for prolonged periods of time
  • Eye tumors
  • Certain ethnicities

What Causes Glaucoma?

The exact cause of glaucoma is unknown, though here are many theories. Glaucoma is most often associated with elevated eye pressure (intraocular pressure or IOP) causing damage to the optic nerve.

The inside front portion of your eye contains a clear fluid known as aqueous humor. Your eye creates new aqueous humor as it simultaneously allows an equal amount of it to flow out; maintaining a consistently healthy eye pressure level. The discarded aqueous humor flows through a mesh-like channel.

If you have glaucoma, this channel is blocked, causing a buildup of fluid in the eye and increasing the intraocular pressure. Unfortunately, your optic nerve is not designed to handle this kind of pressure and ends up damaged; complete vision loss is the result of this process.

What Are The Symptoms of Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is known as the silent thief of vision, for good reason. The initial symptoms steal your vision gradually, without any warning. By the time symptoms of glaucoma are noticeable, damage has already occurred.

Symptoms include:

  • Tunnel vision – Resulting of gradual loss of your side (peripheral) vision
  • Central vision loss – Late stages of the disease
  • High eye pressure

How is Glaucoma Treated?

The severity and type of your glaucoma will determine which course of treatment will be advised by our Optometrist. By keeping your eye pressure under control with the appropriate course of treatment, the damage to your optic nerve can be slowed down or stopped completely.

Treatment options include:

  • Trabeculoplasty (Laser Surgery)
  • Drainage valve implants
  • Trabeculectomy (Conventional Eye Surgery)
  • Prescription medications to reduce eye pressure (eye drops, oral medication)

Glaucoma is a condition that requires ongoing treatment for the rest of your life. There is no cure for glaucoma. Early detection and treatment, paired with regular eye exams3,is the best way to control your glaucoma and reduce your chances of complete vision loss.

When your conjunctiva – thin, clear tissue that covers the white part of your eye – becomes inflamed, you have a condition commonly referred to as pink eye or red eye (conjunctivitis).

Conjunctivitis is a common eye condition that anyone can contract, especially children. It can affect one or both eyes and, depending on the type you have, it can be highly contagious.

There is an increased likelihood of being exposed to the contagious versions of conjunctivitis for those who are in close proximity of others (schools, daycare, etc.).

What Are the Symptoms of Conjunctivitis?

If you have conjunctivitis you may experience a combination the following symptoms:

  • Sandy or gritty feeling
  • Excessive tearing
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Thick, yellow discharge crusting over your eyelashes
  • Increased light sensitivity
  • Red/pink inner eyelid or whites of your eye
  • Blurry vision

How Are the Different Types of Conjunctivitis Treated?

The type of conjunctivitis you have will dictate the appropriate course of treatment for your particular case. A proper assessment and diagnosis by one of our Optometrists will be necessary to confirm the treatment required.

Types of Conjunctivitis

  • Bacterial Conjunctivitis – Conjunctivitis caused by bacteria is treated with an antibiotic regimen. This may include eye drops, medicated ointments, or oral medication. Bacterial conjunctivitis is contagious and can be transferred through direct contact with infected hands or objects that have touched the eye.  

  • Viral Conjunctivitis – Since the root cause of viral conjunctivitis is a virus, antibiotics have no effect. Much like the common cold, this form of conjunctivitis must run its due course. Because viral conjunctivitis is contagious it is recommended that, in addition to strict personal hygiene, you avoid public places and contact with others.

  • Allergic Conjunctivitis – Red eye is a common symptom faced by allergy sufferers. It can be treated by over the counter allergy medications such as eye drops or oral medication.

  • Irritants – Things such as air pollution, smoke, shampoo, swimming pool chlorine, or exposure to noxious chemicals. If your pink eye is caused by the more innocuous substances, treatment by thoroughly rinsing your eyes with water for several minutes may suffice.  

    If an acid or alkaline substance, like household cleaners, is the cause of your conjunctivitis, you will require immediate medical attention to avoid potentially losing your vision.

 

If you suspect you have conjunctivitis we invite you to book a consult with one of our Optometrists. We are equipped to diagnose and treat all forms of conjunctivitis in a fast and effective manner.
Please let our receptionist know at the time of your booking that you think you have pink eye, as this provides us the opportunity to schedule your appointment as soon as possible.

A cataract presents as a cloudy area in the usually clear crystalline lens of your eye. They can develop in one or both eyes and are one of the most common causes for vision loss in Americans over the age 40 years old.

Unfortunately, a byproduct of our natural ageing process is the eventual clouding of the eye’s lens. The lens in our eye progressively increases in thickness and decreases in flexibility and transparency- resulting in cataracts.

Risk Factors for Developing Cataracts

The following may increase or directly cause cataracts:

  • Diabetes1
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Smoking tobacco
  • Corticosteroids used for prolonged periods of time
  • Exposure to bright sunlight
  • Trauma to the head or eyes
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

Symptoms of Cataracts

The type of cataracts will determine which of the below symptoms you will experience. They may include:

  • Clouded vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision in one eye
  • Difficulty seeing in dim lighting
  • Halos around lights
  • Decreased ability to see at night

Treating Cataracts

Early detection by regular eye exams is critical for diagnosing and effectively treating your cataracts before vision loss has occurred. The type and severity of your cataracts will determine the course of treatment prescribed by our Optometrist.  

If you are in the early stages of cataracts, the initial form of treatment will likely be eyeglasses2 or contact lenses3, which will provide a visual improvement.

When your prescription eyewear no longer provides functional vision, and your cataracts are interfering with your daily activities, our Optometrist will discuss cataract surgery with you. Due to the prevalence of cataracts in the ageing population, cataract surgery has been well researched and practiced for many years. The success rate for vision correction from this procedure is approximately 90%.
If you qualify as a viable surgery candidate, our Optometrist will refer you to an Ophthalmologist for a surgery consultation.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration is a progressive eye disease that affects your central vision. It is the leading cause of severe vision loss in Americans over the age of 50 years old.

AMD occurs when the macula – the small central portion of the retina – begins to deteriorate. The macula is responsible for central vision, allowing you to see fine details like reading books or recognizing the faces of your loved ones.

There are 2 types of AMD, of which you can potentially have one or both types. Roughly 90% of AMD cases are dry (atrophic), with the remaining 10% being wet (exudative).

 

  • Dry (Atrophic) AMD – Dry AMD occurs when the layer of cells beneath the retina begin to age and thin out. The most common sign of this type of AMD is yellow deposits (called drusen) in the macula. Over time the drusen grow in size and quantity, affecting your vision by causing it to appear increasingly distorted and dim.

    If left untreated, advanced stage dry AMD will result in the complete loss of central vision.
  • Wet (Exudative) AMD – This is the more severe form of AMD. Irregular and weakened blood vessels form underneath the retina, breaking into the macula and causing blood and other fluids to leak. This results in distorted vision and blind spots.

 

What Are The Risk Factors For Developing AMD?

The following factors can increase your risk of developing AMD:

  • Obesity
  • Age
  • Family history
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Certain ethnicities
  • Prolonged exposure to bright sunlight

What Are The Symptoms of AMD?

Early Stage AMD Symptoms – During the initial stages of AMD there are no noticeable symptoms. Without detection (via an eye exam1) these initial stages of AMD progress unnoticed.

Intermediate Stage AMD Symptoms – This is the stage where the symptoms of AMD begin to show. They include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Distorted center of vision
  • Dark areas or complete white outs in center of vision
  • Straight lines appear wavy/distorted

 

Advanced Stage AMD Symptoms – Once AMD reaches the advanced stage, complete loss of central vision is the only symptom.

How is AMD Treated?

There is no cure for AMD. If there is any loss of central vision as a result of your AMD going undiagnosed, it cannot be restored.

Prevention and living a healthy life are the best ways to delay the onset of AMD for as long as possible. Try the tips below to reduce your risk factors for AMD:

 

    • Eating a well balanced, nutritious diet
    • Physical activity (exercise) several times a week
    • Cessation of smoking
    • Regulating blood pressure
    • Reducing your exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays

 

  • Regular eye exams to monitor your ocular health closely

 

 

If you are unsure of the cause of your eye allergies, or if you would like guidance in properly treating and managing them, we recommend seeing our Optometrist for a consultation. An accurate diagnosis is important to maintaining your overall ocular health, as eye allergies share symptoms similar to other eye conditions

What Causes Eye Allergies (Allergic Conjunctivitis)?

When your body’s immune system reacts to an substance that is normally harmless, it is known as an allergy. When that particular allergen (pet dander, grass, hay, etc) comes in contact with your eyes, your body responds accordingly. Cells in your eyes, called mast cells, release histamine to combat the allergens your immune system has deemed harmful. The result is itchy, irritated, red eyes. Unlike viral or bacterial conjunctivitis1, allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious.

There are a number of possible causes for your eye allergies. They may include:

  • Outdoor Allergens – Smoke, grass, pollen, weeds, hay
  • Indoor Allergens – Pet dander, dust, mold, feather bedding
  • Irritants – Perfume, cosmetics, vehicle exhaust
  • Other allergens that don’t come in direct contact with your eyes, such as insect bites/stings or certain types of food

What Are The Symptoms of Eye Allergies?

The cause of your allergies will dictate which symptoms you experience. You may notice a combination of the following:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning sensation
  • Excessive tearing
  • Irritated, red eyes
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Mucous discharge
  • Contact lens discomfort

You may also suffer from nasal allergies and experience an itchy, stuffy nose and sneezing.

How Are Eye Allergies Treated?

The cause of your allergies will determine the best course for managing and treating your symptoms. Our Optometrist can assess your overall eye health during an eye exam2 to determine the cause of your allergies, and to make sure there are no other underlying issues.

There are a number of adjustments you can make to your lifestyle, as well as medications, to help alleviate the discomfort you experience with your eye allergies.

Managing Your Eye Allergies

  • Do not rub your eyes. Relief will be brief and this will further aggravate your symptoms
  • Avoid using window fans, as they can draw allergens into your home (like pollen or mold)
  • Monitor the pollen report for the Denver area, and stay indoors when pollen counts are at their peak
  • Wear sunglasses or glasses to minimize the amount of allergens coming into contact with your eyes
  • Keep your windows closed at home and in the car
  • Replace the filters in your furnace and air conditioner monthly during their peak seasons, when seasonal allergy peaks
  • Dust weekly (or more) with a damp cloth to reduce the amount of dust in your home
  • Wash your bedding often

Treating Your Eye Allergies

  • Over the Counter or Prescribed Medications: Antihistamine eye drops, artificial tears, decongestant eye drops, ointments, oral antihistamines

Immunotherapy – Allergy shots or oral medication

Your tears are crucial for maintaining healthy eyes and providing clear vision. They wash away foreign matter, keep the surface of your eye smooth and clear, and reduce the risk of developing an eye condition.

Dry eye is a condition that occurs when your eyes are not making enough tears (aqueous tear-deficient dry eye) or the right quality of tears (evaporative dry eye) to nourish and lubricate your eye.

Anyone can develop dry eye at some point during their lifetime. If you live in an arid environment, like Colorado, your chances of having dry eye symptoms are significantly increased.

What Causes Dry Eye?

Dry eye is more common with increasing age, certain ethnicities, and in women.

Other causes may include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Birth control
  • Refractive surgery (LASIK)
  • Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Decongestants
  • Antidepressants
  • High blood pressure medication
  • Low humidity climates
  • Environmental conditions, such as smoke or wind

Who Can Develop Dry Eye?

Anyone can develop dry eye in their lifetime, whether it is chronic dry eye or situational dry eye.

What Are The Symptoms of Dry Eye?

If you have dry eye you may experience:

  • Feeling as if something is in your eye, like sand
  • Red, painful eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Blurred vision
  • Mucus discharge around eyes

How is Dry Eye Treated?

The form of treatment that is right for you will depend on the cause of your dry eye condition. The best course of action is to have a consultation with one of our Optometrists to determine the cause of your dry eye and discuss the subsequent treatment options.

Common treatments include

 

  • Artificial Tears and Ointments – Available over the counter, and often the first step in treating your dry eye. They come in a wide selection of ingredients and forms, including thick ointment for overnight wear.

  • Steroid Eye Drops – Steroid eye drops are prescribed when inflammation of the eye and surrounding tissue requires treatment. They are generally used as a short-term solution to quickly manage your dry eye symptoms. The Optometrist may advise you to use these alongside artificial tears or restasis.

  • Punctal plugs – To help your tears remain on the surface of your eye longer, the Optometrist may recommend the insertion of a small, sterile device called a punctal plug.

  • Restasis – You may be prescribed restasis eye drops to use in conjunction with artificial tears. Their purpose is to reduce the inflammation in your eye and promote natural tear production.

 

 

The goal of treating your dry eye is to control or eliminate your symptoms, as well as maintain and preserve your vision.

UV Radiation is Harmful to Your Eyes. Learn Why, and How, to Protect Them

While many people are aware the damage that UV rays can do to their skin, most people don’t realize that your eyes are just as vulnerable. At Eye Consultants of Colorado, we advocate for continuous UV protection for your eyes- they’re worth the investment.

With warm weather coming, now’s the time that we start to enjoy our mountain community. From biking, to hiking, or perhaps something as simple as flying a kite on a sunny day, there’s something outdoors that every Coloradan is looking to enjoy this summer.

As Optometrists, we thought now would be a great time to introduce you to UV radiation, how it effects our eyes, and how you can protect them.

What is UV Radiation?

UV (ultraviolet) radiation is a spectrum of light that exists just beyond our ability to perceive with our eye. Being invisible to us doesn’t mean they can’t harm us. In fact, UV radiation can have profound impacts on our eye.

UV radiation is emitted primarily from the sun. Most man-made light sources do not emit UV rays, though some (such as the lights used in a tanning beds) do.

There are three types of UV radiation:

  • UVA – These rays are known to contribute toward serious eye conditions, such as cancer of the eye.
  • UVB – These rays are also known to contribute towards serious eye conditions, such as cataracts.
  • UVC – These rays generally don’t reach the Earth’s surface, as they are filtered out by the atmosphere.

How to Protect Your Eyes from UV Rays

First, pay attention to the UV index if you are planning on being outside. The UV index can be found on most weather station websites and in the paper.

UV rays are at their strongest from 10 am – 4 pm. During these times it is recommended that you wear sunscreen (to protect your skin), and glasses that block UV rays to protect your eyes. Most sunglasses sold offer 100% UV protection, though some low quality pairs may not. All the sunglasses we carry are rated for 100% UV protection.

It’s important to remember that the level of tint a pair of glasses has is not reflective of how much UV radiation they block. Clear lenses can also block UV radiation. So long as a lens carries the “UV 400” rating (which means they block light waves up to 400 nanometers), they are effective at protecting your eyes.

Wearing a hat with a brim can also help protect your eye.

Cloudy Days and Winter Months

UV rays easily pass through clouds, meaning that even though it may not seem like you need to wear sunglasses on a cloudy day, it is still recommended to protect your eyes.

It’s also important to be mindful of the winter months, where UV rays can actually be more intense at times when there is lots of snow on the ground. Snow reflects a great deal of UV rays.

Come Visit Us to Take a New Pair of Sunglasses for a Test Drive

We carry a variety of sunglasses from today’s top brands. If you’re needing a new pair of sunglasses, we welcome you to come try ours on for size.

Have a safe summer, and remember to protect your eyes!

(720)463-2613