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The Need For Winter Sunglasses

We all know why we need to wear sunglasses and sunscreen in the summer. Winter, however, can be deceiving. It’s an illusion to assume that we are safe from sunburns during the colder season.

Snow acts as a powerful mirror for sunlight and magnifies the effects of UV rays which would otherwise be absorbed by the ground. As a result, the eyes are exposed to both the UV radiation bouncing back from the snowy carpet and the rays shining down directly from the sun.





If your family is skiing or snowboarding up in the mountains, you need to be even more careful! UV rays are more powerful at higher altitudes. Another important factor to remember is that ultraviolet radiation penetrates through clouds, so even if the sun is hidden behind them, it can still damage your eyes.

Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses that absorb at least 95% of ultraviolet radiation when you go outside, no matter what time of year it is. Even though you want to look great in your shades, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Make sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers – UV400. The good news is you don’t necessarily have to pay more for full coverage for your eyes. Dozens of reasonably priced options exist that still provide total ultraviolet protection.

Another important factor in selecting sun wear is the size of the lenses. You want to make sure your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also prevent UV waves from entering from the sides.

If you like to ski or frolic in the snowy hills, you should be aware that the sun’s rays are stronger at higher elevations, so you need to be especially careful to keep your eyes shaded on the slopes. In addition to sunglasses, it’s a good idea to put on a wide brimmed hat that covers your eyes.

Make a point to be knowledgeable about proper eye protection throughout the year. Don’t forget to wear your sunglasses.

Top 5 Tips for Managing Eye Allergies This Spring

Eye allergy relief near you

Spring is a season of new beginnings, when the cold harsh winter months are behind us, flowers bloom, and people begin spending more time outdoors.

For people with allergies, spring means one more thing: suffering. Spring may be in the air, but for allergy sufferers, so is pollen, pet dander, mold, and dust. These airborne allergens can trigger uncomfortable reactions such as watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, congestion, and sinus pain.

There are some things you can do to minimize the discomfort throughout the spring season.

Check out Our Top 5 Tips for Getting Through Eye Allergy Season:

    1. Pollen tends to have a higher count in the mornings and early evenings. During these times, stay inside and keep the windows closed. If you enjoy an early morning exercise run, consider an alternative indoor workout during peak allergy season.
    2. Take a shower before going to sleep. Doing this at night can rinse away any lingering allergens and leave you with a clearer eye and nasal area, as well as a more restful night’s sleep.
    3. Keep artificial tears close by. They can temporarily alleviate ocular allergy symptoms by lubricating your eyes when they feel dry and itchy, and they’re usually small enough to fit inside a purse or pocket. If you don’t have any good eye drops, use a cool compress as an alternative method of relief.
    4. If your allergies are caused by dust or pet dander, vacuum. A lot. Dust collects quickly and can be difficult to spot until there’s a high amount of it. Pets can shed fast and often, and just when you think you’ve removed all the fur from your sofa, carpet, or bed, you suddenly find more, so vacuum a few times each week.
    5. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and change your linens more often during the spring season. Remnants of airborne allergens can stay on your hands, towels, and bed sheets. Washing them more frequently can minimize some of your allergic reactions.

Though it may be tempting, don’t rub your eyes. This can actually aggravate the allergy response. If you find yourself using artificial tears more than 4 times a day, or other short-term solutions aren’t enough, speak with your eye doctor. You may be able to receive antihistamine eye drops or other prescription medications to ease your discomfort.

Galbrecht Eyecare Eye Clinic and Eye Allergies Treatment in Olathe, Kansas

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Olathe eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.

Help! It’s More Than Allergies

Certain eye allergy symptoms can also be signs of eye conditions or diseases, so pay close attention to any reactions that don’t dissipate after allergy season ends.

These Eye Symptoms can include:

      • Dryness
      • Excessive tearing
      • Itchiness
      • Persistent eye pain
      • Redness
      • Swelling

    These Symptoms Can Indicate Eye conditions, Such As:

        • Blepharitis (inflamed eyelids)
        • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
        • Corneal Abrasions
        • Dry Eye Disease
        • Styes (an oil gland infection that causes a bump or pimple-like shape in the eyelid)

     

    Local Eye allergies treatment in Olathe, Kansas

    Eye Allergies and Contact Lenses

    If you wear contact lenses, speak to your doctor about daily disposable contacts. These can be a great option for allergy sufferers. Since dailies are thrown away at the end of the day, there’s no heavy allergen buildup on the lenses to worry about.

    Consider switching to eyeglasses for a while. Even the most comfortable soft lenses can feel irritable during allergy season. Use the springtime to get yourself a new look. With a wide range of incredible styles to choose from, including exclusive eyewear collections from today’s hottest designers, there’s something for everyone. Not sure what the choose? Talk to your optician to help you find a style that’s right for you.

    Questions & Answers About Eye Care

    Why does allergy season affect my eyes?

    It’s that time of the year for allergies, and for those who suffer, it’s more than just sneezing. It can mean months of itchy, watery, and puffy eyes. Because many of the allergens are in the air, they easily get into the eyes and cause problems. For many people, a sudden case of red and watery eyes can feel like an infection when really it’s just allergies. Eye allergies, known as “allergic conjunctivitis”, can often be treated with over the counter medication, but for some, it is not enough. Let us help you manage your allergies this season.

    Optometrist Near Me

    We’re here for you, and we want to help. Contact your eye doctor for any specific questions or concerns about your eye allergies.

    Call Galbrecht Eyecare on 913-815-8548 at 395 N K 7 Hwy, Olathe, KS to schedule an eye exam with our optometrist. Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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    Just in case you missed them, here are some of our previous blog posts :

    Signs of Eye and Vision Problems in Infants

    Does Chlorine Hurt your Eyes?

    When Did You Last Have a Comprehensive Eye Exam?

    Know the Risks and Symptoms of Diabetic Eye Disease

    How Can I Protect My Eyes From Diabetes?

    Galbrecht Eyecare - Local Vision Center in Olathe, Kansas

    Diabetes is becoming much more prevalent around the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults were living with diabetes in the year 2017 and 352 million more people were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2045 the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise to 629 million.

    Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness as well as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, neuropathy (nerve damage) and lower limb amputation. In fact, in 2017, diabetes was implicated in 4 million deaths worldwide. Nevertheless preventing these complications from diabetes is possible with proper treatment, medication and regular medical screenings as well as improving your diet, physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

    Local Eye Care, Eye Doctors in Olathe, Kansas

    What is Diabetes?

    Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the hormone insulin is either underproduced or ineffective in its ability to regulate blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which damages many systems in the body such as the blood vessels and the nervous system.

    How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

    Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions which are caused, or worsened, by diabetes; including: diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes increases the risk of cataracts by four times, and can increase dryness and reduce cornea sensation.

    In diabetic retinopathy, over time, the tiny blood vessels within the eyes become damaged, causing leakage, poor oxygen circulation, then scarring of the sensitive tissue within the retina, which can result in further cell damage and scarring.

    The longer you have diabetes, and the longer your blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, the higher the chances of developing diabetic eye disease. Unlike many other vision-threatening conditions which are more prevalent in older individuals, diabetic eye disease is one of the main causes of vision loss in the younger, working-age population. Unfortunately, these eye conditions can lead to blindness if not caught early and treated. In fact, 2.6% of blindness worldwide is due to diabetes.

    Diabetic Retinopathy

    As mentioned above, diabetes can result in cumulative damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy.

    The retina is responsible for converting the light it receives into visual signals to the optic nerve in the brain. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or hemorrhage, causing bleeding and distorting vision. In advanced stages, new blood vessels may begin to grow on the retinal surface causing scarring and further damaging cells in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can eventually lead to blindness.

    Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

    The early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have no symptoms, which is why it’s vitally important to have frequent diabetic eye exams. As it progresses you may start to notice the following symptoms:

    • Blurred or fluctuating vision or vision loss
    • Floaters (dark spots or strings that appear to float in your visual field)
    • Blind spots
    • Color vision loss

    There is no pain associated with diabetic retinopathy to signal any issues. If not controlled, as retinopathy continues it can cause retinal detachment and macular edema, two other serious conditions that threaten vision. Again, there are often NO signs or symptoms until more advanced stages.

    A person with diabetes can do their part to control their blood sugar level. Following the physician’s medication plan, as well as diet and exercise recommendations can help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

    Retinal Detachment

    Scar tissues caused by the breaking and forming of blood vessels in advanced retinopathy can lead to a retinal detachment in which the retina pulls away from the underlying tissue. This condition is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately as it can lead to permanent vision loss. Signs of a retinal detachment include a sudden onset of floaters or flashes in the vision.

    Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

    Diabetic macular edema occurs when the macula, a part of the retina responsible for clear central vision, becomes full of fluid (edema). It is a complication of diabetic retinopathy that occurs in about half of patients, and causes vision loss.

    Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema

    While vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and DME often can’t be restored, with early detection there are some preventative treatments available. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (when the blood vessels begin to grow abnormally) can be treated by laser surgery, injections or a procedure called vitrectomy in which the vitreous gel in the center of the eye is removed and replaced. This will treat bleeding caused by ruptured blood vessels. DME can be treated with injection therapy, laser surgery or corticosteroids.

    Prevent Vision Loss from Diabetes

    The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease is early detection and treatment. Since there may be no symptoms in the early stages, regular diabetic eye exams are critical for early diagnosis. In fact diabetics are now sometimes monitored by their health insurance to see if they are getting regular eye exams and premium rates can be affected by how regularly the patients get their eyes checked. Keeping diabetes under control through exercise, diet, medication and regular screenings will help to reduce the chances of vision loss and blindness from diabetes.

    Call Galbrecht Eyecare at 913-815-8548 in Olathe, KS to schedule an eye exam with our optometrist.

    Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

    Have an Eye Safe Halloween

    Galbrecht Eyecare - Local Eye Care Clinic in Olathe, KS

    Dr. Galbrecht Wishes You an Eye Safe Halloween

    Brush Up Before You Dress Up
    Halloween is one of the most fun times of the year for children and adults alike. When else do you get to dress up as anyone (or anything) you want, socialize with friends and eat lots of treats? Nevertheless, lurking behind those costumes and all that fun are some hidden dangers that you need to be aware of and many of them could affect your eyes and vision. Brush up on these preventative measures to help you and your children to stay safe and enjoy the holiday.

    Local Eye Care Clinic in Olathe, KS

    We are conveniently located at, 395 N K 7 Hwy. In Walmart, West Olathe

    Masks
    Masks can really make or break a costume but they can also increase danger, especially for children. Masks that block visibility or the ability to breathe can be extremely dangerous. You want to make sure that you and your children have a complete, unobstructed visual field, especially if they will be crossing streets.
    Facepaint
    Facepaint can be a great alternative to a mask, but it comes with its own set of precautions. Buy face paint that is hypoallergenic and do a spot test to make sure there is no allergic reaction anyway. Make sure to keep the paint out of the eyes and be careful during application especially with sharp, pointed brushes that can scratch the eye. If face paint or any other substances get into the eyes, immediately flush the eyes thoroughly with saline or water as chemical splashes can cause significant eye damage within minutes. This should be done before consulting your eye doctor. If irritation persists however, it should be looked at by an eye doctor.

    Props
    Try to avoid costumes with sharp or pointed props such as spears, swords or guns that shoot. Warn children at play to never point an object at a person’s head or eyes. That goes for spray cans of silly-string, as well. The chemicals in these products can be very dangerous to the eyes, risking chemical conjunctivitis and serious eye irritation. The pressure at which the string is sprayed can also cause eye damage including a corneal abrasion (a scratch to the surface of the eye) if sprayed into the eye at a close range. These popular Halloween products should be avoided or, if necessary, children should be seriously cautioned not to spray anyone near the neck or face.

    Visibility
    Speaking of sight, you want to make sure that you and your children are visible to motorists on the streets. Chose brightly colored costumes and carry a flashlight to increase visibility. Consider adding some reflective tape to the costume or props as well.

    Decorative Contact Lenses
    Decorative contact lenses can look great, but they can cause serious damage. That’s why even non-corrective contact lenses are considered a medical device, which must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration or Health Canada, and require a prescription from an eye doctor.

    Never buy fashion, decorative, cosmetic, colored or theater contact lenses (or any other name that they go by) from a beauty or costume supply store or any unauthorized vendor. You should purchase them only with a prescription from an eye doctor after an eye exam to measure your eye and assess your eye health.

    Why?
    Contacts obtained through an unauthorized source may not be safe to wear. They might cause a corneal abrasion, allergic reactions, infections and decreased vision which can even lead to blindness.

    Plus, your optician or eye doctor will give you instructions for proper use and hygiene such as washing your hands, storing and cleaning the lenses properly and removing them as prescribed.

    If you are wearing any type of contact lenses and you notice redness, pain or blurred vision, take them out immediately. If symptoms persist, see your eye doctor as soon as possible.

    Stay Safe
    Don’t make Halloween into a truly scary holiday. Take heed of these potential dangers and take the necessary precautions to stay safe. Happy Halloween!

    Call Galbrecht Eyecare at 913-764-9300 in Olathe, KS to schedule an eye exam with our optometrist.

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    Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

    Dr. Galbrecht Talks About Children’s Vision

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    Question: How often should children have an eye exam?

    Dr. Galbrecht: Every child should have a comprehensive eye exam to determine if they have normal vision or if they need glasses, and also to see if they need help with any of the learning processes in school. If they can’t see normally they can’t learn. The first eye exam should be between 6 months old to 1 year old. In addition, before the school year is a good time to come in so if there is a problem, we will catch it before school begins and they will start school on the right foot.

    Question: What eye problems do children have compared to adults?

    Dr. Galbrecht: Children have more binocularity problems compared to adults. Therefore, just because they can see well, doesn’t mean they can read well. Many children have problems with accommodation or their ability to focus, which adults don’t have. Even if the child has 20/20 vision, they may not be reading up to their grade level due to these problems. If a child does have focusing or accommodation issues, I will refer them to my colleague who is a vision therapy specialist and he will work one on one with the patient to resolve the problem.

    Question: What is different about a children’s eye exam than adult eye exam?

    Dr. Galbrecht: We run a few extra tests which we don’t need to run on adults. Most children’s eyes are cycloplegic, therefore I will dilate their eyes, which inhibits their ability to focus, so I can get a perfect reading of their prescription. Additionally, we check their ability to see 3D. Then we determine: Can they fix and follow? Are they able to accommodate from far to near and from near to far? There are some of the extra texts we wouldn’t necessarily do on an adult.

    Question: What do you check for in older children?

    Dr. Galbrecht: As the child gets a little bit older we will focus more on the health of the eye compared to just the binocularity of a younger child. We will look for anything else that may be in the eye that may cause the child problems, such as a corneal disease, or retinal disease, glaucoma, diabetic changes, and these sorts of issues.

    Question: Does insurance cover my child’s eye exams?

    Dr. Galbrecht: All vision insurance covers children’s eye exams. As for medical insurance, if you are on a newer plan, let’s say the past 6 years, then yes, all children under the age of 18 years of age are covered for yearly eye exams.

    Question: How do most children come to you? Are they referred to you or do they come for a regular checkup?

    Dr. Galbrecht: I would say it’s half/half. Half of my pediatric patients come to me because the school recommended it, or because a parent saw an issue they wanted to check out. The other half come in because they know that most optometrists recommend yearly routine eye exams for children, and they just want to make sure their child’s eyes are OK. Of these patients, about 25-30% of the children do actually have a vision problem that we discover during the routine exam.

     

    What is a stye anyway?

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    A stye (known by eye doctors as a hordeolum) is an infection of an oil gland which forms a pimple-like bump on the base of the eyelid or within the eyelid itself. Styes can be uncomfortable, causing swelling, pain, redness, discomfort and sometimes excessive tearing or blurred vision if it is large enough to distort the front surface of the eyes.

    What causes a stye?

    The oil glands on the eyelid sometimes become blocked with dirt, dead skin or a buildup of oil and when this happens, bacteria can grow inside. Blockage is also commonly from eye cosmetics that block the orifices within the lid. This blockage causes the gland to become infected and inflamed, resulting in a stye. A stye can form on the inside or the outside of the eyelid and can cause swelling around the eye, sometimes affecting the entire eyelid.

    Treating a stye

    Styes are treated with antibiotics, often in severe cases with a prescription for oral antibiotics, to reduce the bacteria responsible for the infection. Treatment for a stye is recommended otherwise there is a likelihood of recurrence. Applying a hot compress to the eye for 10-15 minutes a few times throughout the day will bring some relief and speed up the healing process.

    Similar to a pimple, the stye will likely rupture, drain and heal on its own. Occasionally a stye, especially one on the inside of the eye will not resolve itself and may require the assistance of an eye doctor for additional treatment. In such a case the stye is surgically opened and drained to reduce the swelling and cosmetic issues associated with the style.

    You should never pop a stye! This can cause the bacteria to spread and worsen the infection. If a stye is getting worse, more painful or irritated, contact your eye doctor for treatment.

    In cases where styes occur frequently, your eye doctor may decide to prescribe topical antibiotic ointment or a cleansing regimen to prevent recurrence.

    Chalazia: Another type of bump on the eyelid

    Similar to a stye, a chalazion is a blocked oil gland on the eyelid that becomes enlarged. The main difference between a chalazion and stye is that the chalazion is non-infectious. Treatment involves lid hygiene, warm compresses and lid massage. If it is persistent, then surgical removal (incision and curettage) would be performed.

     

    Bifocal and Multifocal Contact Lenses 

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    If you are over 40 and have difficulty seeing close up, you probably have a common age-related condition called presbyopia which is when the eye’s natural lens loses the ability to focus on close objects. Presbyopia is a natural process that occurs as the eye ages and affects the majority of people from age 40 and upward. Individuals with presbyopia are often familiar with the need to hold reading materials such as newspapers an arm’s length away from their eyes in order to see clearly, yet reading glasses with bifocal or multifocal (such as progressive) lenses can help.

    Fortunately for those who don’t like the look, feel or inconvenience of reading glasses, there is another option. Bifocal and multifocal lenses are also available in contact lenses in both soft and Rigid Gas Permeable (RGP) varieties.

    Multifocal contact lenses give you added freedom over glasses and they allow you to be able to view any direction – up, down and to the sides – with similar vision. People wearing progressive lenses in glasses on the other hand have to look over their glasses if they want to view upwards or into the distance.

    Multifocal contact lenses are generally designed in one of two ways, as either simultaneous vision lenses or alternating vision lenses.

    Simultaneous Vision Lenses

    The most popular version of multifocal contact lenses, simultaneous vision lenses present the distance and near vision zones of the lens at the same time. Typically after a short adjustment period your eyes learn to utilize the segment of the lens that they need to focus on the desired object and essentially ignore the other.

    Translating or Alternating Vision lenses

    Similar to bifocal eyeglass lenses, these contacts are divided into distinct areas or zones and your pupil will move to the desired zone depending on your vision needs. Typically the top of the lens, which is what you look through when looking straight ahead is for distance vision and the bottom area (what you look through when you look down) is for near vision. However, this can be reversed according to unique vision needs.

    An Alternative Option to Multifocal Contact Lenses: Monovision

    Monovision is another contact lens alternative for presbyopia particularly if you are having difficulty adapting to multifocal lenses. Monovision splits your distance and near vision between your eyes, using your dominant eye for distance vision and your non-dominant eye for near vision.

    Typically you will use single vision lenses in each eye however sometimes the dominant eye will use a single vision lens while a multifocal lens will be used in the other eye for intermediate and near vision. This is called modified monovision. Your eye doctor will perform a test to determine which type of lens is best suited for each eye and optimal vision.

    Are Contact Lenses Right for You?

    If you have presbyopia, contact lenses may be a great option for you. Many people prefer the look and convenience of contact lenses over traditional reading glasses. Speak to your eye doctor about the options available to you.

    Eye Allergies

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    Along with congestion, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, headaches and difficulty breathing, individuals with allergies often suffer from eye allergies or allergic conjunctivitis resulting in red, watery, itchy and sometimes swollen eyes. Just as irritants cause an allergic response in your nasal and respiratory system, your eyes also react with an oversensitive immune response, triggered by an environmental substance that most people’s immune systems ignore. Millions of North Americans are affected by allergies, particularly with seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) which is common during the spring, summer and fall.

    What Causes An Eye Allergy

    Eye allergies, or any allergies for that matter, occur when the immune system is hypersensitized to a stimulus in the environment that comes into contact with the eye. The allergen stimulates the antibodies in the cells of your eyes to respond by releasing histamine and other chemicals that cause the eyes and surrounding tissue to become inflamed, red, watery, burning and itchy.

    Eye allergens commonly include:

     

    • Airborne substances found in nature such as pollen from flowers, grass or trees.
    • Indoor allergens such as pet dander, dust or mold.
    • Irritants such as cosmetics, chemicals, cigarette smoke, or perfume.

     

    Tips for Coping With Eye Allergies

    To reduce exposure to allergens:

    1. Stay indoors and keep windows closed when pollen counts are high, especially in the mid-morning and early evening.
    2. Wear sunglasses outside to protect your eyes, not only from UV rays, but also from airborne allergens. Wraparound styles may offer more protection than others.
    3. Avoid rubbing your eyes, as this can intensify symptoms and increase irritation. When the eyes get itchy, it is difficult not to rub and scratch them. However, rubbing the eyes can aggravate the allergic cascade response, making them more swollen, red, and uncomfortable.
    4. Check and regularly clean your air conditioning filters.
    5. Wash your hands after petting an animal that you may be allergic to.
    6. Use dust-mite-proof covers on bedding and pillows and wash linens frequently.
    7. Clean surfaces with a damp cloth rather than dusting or dry sweeping.
    8. Remove any mold in your home.
    9. Reducing contact lens wear during allergy season, and make sure to clean them thoroughly at the end of the day, or switch to daily disposable contact lenses.

    Treatment for the uncomfortable symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis includes over-the-counter and prescription drops and medications. It is best to know the source of the allergy reaction to avoid symptoms. Often people wait until the allergy response is more severe to take allergy medication, but most allergy medications work best when taken just prior to being exposed to the allergen and it builds up in your system, so it’s best to take allergy medication consistently according to your doctor’s advice, rather than “as needed”. Consult your eye doctor to find out the right treatment for you.

     

    Non-prescription medications include: Prescription medications include:
    • Artificial tears (to reduce dryness)
    • Decongestant eyedrops
    • Oral antihistamines
    • Eyedrops such as antihistamines
    • Mast-cell stabilizers or stronger decongestants
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids.

     

    Immunotherapy which are allergy injections given by an allergist are sometimes also helpful to assist your body in building up immunity to the allergens that elicit the allergic response.

    If no allergy medicine is on hand, even cool compresses and artificial tears can help alleviate symptoms.

    Allergies can go from mildly uncomfortable to debilitating. Knowing how to alleviate symptoms and reduce exposure can greatly improve your comfort and quality of life, particularly during allergy season which can last from April until October. Finding the right treatment for your allergies can make all the difference in your quality of life, particularly during the time of year when most of us like to enjoy the outdoors.

    Dr. Galbrecht Answers Your Pediatric Eye Care Questions

    1. Why is it important for children to have their eyes examined?
    It is important for children to have the eyes examined by an optometrist in order to evaluate and manage any eye conditions a child may have with or without the parent noticing so that they may develop and grow with the best possible vision.children in black and white coats

    2. At what age should a child have his or her first eye doctor’s appointment?
    A child may have their first evaluation at 6 months of age, again at age 3, and every year thereafter through their childhood years. During a child’s first 18 years, an optometrist may also want to have the child seen in 6 month intervals if necessary secondary to prescription changes or for disease management.

    3. Are there any signs that a child should have his or her eyes checked?
    Many times, signs and symptoms from a child go unnoticed. These are some of the more common ones parents should be aware of so that they may help their child as soon as they first appear. A child may rub one or both of their eyes in order to try to clear up their vision. A child may also turn their head or change their posture in order to see better without eye strain. In younger children, they may be more accident prone. As children age, reading may become problematic for school aged children. They will complain of headaches, may push reading material away, or abstain from reading all together.

    4. Why is pediatric eye care different from adult eye care?
    A pediatric examination is different from an adult because you are evaluating a few more areas of eye development that you don’t normally do with adults. An optometrist will check for eye alignment, ability to fixate and follow an object, color vision, and ability to see in 3D. A child may also need to have further evaluation if they are not able to use both eyes together, also known as a binocular vision examination.Toddler and Baby on Bed

    5. What can a child / parent expect during a pediatric eye exam?
    Both parent and child can expect to have pre-testing and testing in the doctor’s room. During pre-testing, we hope to get results that would allow us to determine a starting point for a glasses prescription if needed, the pressure in the eyes, the limitations if any of their visual field, a photo for gross evaluation of the back of the eye, color vision testing, and 3D testing. They may also check their blood pressure. In the doctor’s room, the doctor will check for glasses and look at the health of the eye with microscopes, called slit lamps. Most children will also be dilated so a more thorough exam may be performed.

    6. What do you look for in during a pediatric eye exam?
    During an exam, the optometrist is looking to make sure the eyes are aligned; the child is using eyes together, a glasses prescription, and diseases of the eyes. They want to make sure they are giving the child their best possible vision so they may grow and develop without any issues or school learning disabilities.

    7. In addition to a routine eye exam, what other services do parents bring their children to your office for?
    Along with normal comprehensive eye examinations, optometrists can also treat your child’s pink eye or any other complication that happens with the eye. Often times, an optometrist is your best starting point if you think your child has an eye infection or an abrasion of the eye since they will have all the equipment necessary for evaluation right there in the office.

    8. What is your busiest time of year for eye exams for kids?
    The busiest time of year for children to have their eyes examined is in August before school starts and through the first two months of the school year when nurses are screening children.Girl Pink Blowing Bubble

    9. Is there a story that was particularly successful or inspirational about pediatric eye care at your office?
    I remember when I first started in practice a mom brought her 9 year old son in to see me because she was concerned his eyes were why he was going to be held back in 3rd grade. The mom told me her son was smart, but the school was telling her that he needed a reading tutor, an IEP, and to be held back a year in order to catch up to his peers as well as summer school. When I asked her about his eyes, she said that he didn’t complain about his eyes, but did have frequent headaches and disliked reading. After a thorough examination, which included dilation, I found that he was farsighted with astigmatism. So, I prescribed a pair of glasses for this young man. I decided to follow-up in 3 months to check his progress. At his follow-up, the mom informed me that after summer school, he was caught up to his peers, at a normal reading level, and would not be held back. She was in tears because she was so happy. She was relieved her son just needed a pair of glasses in order to learn efficiently. This is just one of many stories like this I have had since then, but this is my most memorable.

    A bit About Vision Therapy

    Vision TherapyAs an optometrist with many years of experience, I have seen the benefits that vision therapy can have on my patients. This non-surgical program can correct certain vision problem and improve visual skills over time and can be beneficial for patients of all ages and backgrounds. While contact lenses and glasses can often correct vision problems, vision therapy involves a more holistic approach that trains parts of the brain that control vision.

     

    Vision therapy can transform the muscles and anatomy of the eye and will often involve filters, lenses and prisms, as well as balance boards and devices to help correct vision. There is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to this type of therapy. Instead, the program will be tailored according to the needs of the individual.

    As vision therapy helps to treat problems that can’t otherwise be fixed with contact lenses or glasses, it can help patients who suffer with more severe eye-related problems and essentially trains the eye muscles in both children and adults. Vision Therapy is another solution to the many problems a child my face when learning to read. It can be a great supplemental program to a reading specialist.

    What are the benefits of Vision Therapy?

    Vision therapy can be used to transform the visual system, including visual perception and parts of the brain that control vision. There are a number of patients who have conditions that qualify for this treatment, including those with strabismus, amblyopia, and eye movement disorders. Research has shown that vision therapy can correct the accuracy of eye movements and keep the eyes properly aligned when a patient is looking at objects at far distances or when reading.

    So what happens in a Vision Therapy session?

    I have noticed that the most effective vision therapy programs are those which take into account the patient’s circumstances. For example, a patient who has eye-related problems might need to undergo several tests that focus on the perception of depth, visual perception skills and eye movements. An initial consultation will take place where the patient will be given a detailed assessment and a vision therapy program might be recommended if need be. The length of the therapy and what it will involve will depend on various factors.

    Personalized treatment programs for each Patient

    I know that no patients are the same, and when it come to vision therapy, it is important that a patient embarks on a program that is best suited to their needs. The best vision therapy will need to be individualized for each patient and always performed under the supervision of a professional.

    The patient can then carry out further exercises at home after consulting with a trained optometrist. A typical vision therapy session will last between 30 minutes and an hour and take place once or twice a week. The patient will develop new visual abilities and skills, and emphasis will be placed on how they process visual information. There are a wide range of vision therapy techniques available, which include optical filters, prism lenses, and corrective lenses. Specialized computer software, eye patches, and balance boards might also be used during the session.

     

    References:

    http://www.aapos.org/terms/conditions/108