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Does Your Parent Have Low Vision?

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Visit Our Salt Lake City Low Vision Center for Help

Many people have an aging parent who lives with some type of visual impairment. That’s because a variety of age-related eye diseases and vision conditions can cause low vision, such as glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and macular degeneration. Regardless of which ocular problem led to your parent’s visual problems, their quality of life is reduced. At our Salt Lake City eye care office, our low vision specialists can help restore some of their visual independence, thereby enhancing the ability to enjoy life!

Specialized Eye Exams at Our Low Vision Center

Many people with low vision hear the word eye exam and think, “Another eye exam? How will that help?” At Magna Family Eyecare, we understand that your parent has probably been told already that there is no way to improve their vision. However, that’s not a reason to give up! We offer a range of customized aids and strategies to maximize remaining vision. For example, we can fit your parent with telescopic eyeglasses, prismatic eyeglasses for macular degeneration, or binoculars with glasses. A through low vision eye exam is the best way for us to recommend the most effective visual aid for someone who suffers from vision loss.

We will evaluate:

  1. The amount of vision your parent needs to perform the activities he or she wants to do
  2. How much remaining vision your parent has
  3. The optimal type of magnification aid for their personal condition and needs

Low Vision Aids in Salt Lake City

We stock a wide variety of affordable low vision devices, with a selection that goes way beyond drugstore magnifiers. With the appropriate aid, your parent can return to reading, watching TV, using a computer, and identifying the faces of friends and family.

Our selection includes:

  • Telescope glasses: a small device that can be attached to regular glasses, so vision problems (like nearsightedness) will still be corrected at the same time that the telescope helps with vision loss
  • Prismatic glasses for macular degeneration: specialized eyeglasses that enhance magnification and reduce blind spots by modifying the path of light through the lenses
  • Binoculars with glasses: these can be mounted high on eyeglasses, which allows the wearer to use them only when necessary, such as to read faraway signs

Low Vision Device Fitting

We won’t simply send your mother or father home with a low vision aid and wish them luck. We will make sure that the device fits properly and fulfills their needs. We will also provide instruction on the most efficient ways to use every particular aid.

There is no reason for anyone to simply settle for reduced vision. Make an appointment at our Low Vision Center in Salt Lake City, to see all the ways we can help your parent maximize their eyes and quality of life.

Start School Right with Eye Exams for Kids!

Child with glasses thinking

Learning Begins with A+ Vision

One of the best ways to help your child succeed in school is with a back to school eye exam. Throughout the past year, your child probably grew a size or two. The clothes that fit last spring may already be snug. Well, just like kids’ bodies change and grow, so do their eyes. However, it isn’t always easy for parents or children to notice vision changes. Your child needs a thorough, professional eye exam to detect a vision problem.

Visual skills progress rapidly throughout the early years. For example, focusing abilities (accommodation) and eye mobility need to grow stronger and more coordinated. When this development doesn’t happen, it can compromise basic learning skills, such as reading and writing. To make sure your children are fully equipped for the new school year, our Salt Lake City eye doctor assigns the first homework – bring your kids to our eye care clinic for a friendly, gentle, and comprehensive eye exam!

Don’t Wait for a Problem

It is common for kids not to complain when they can’t see perfectly. Just because your child doesn’t come home saying that the classroom board is blurry or the computer screen isn’t clear, it doesn’t mean that their vision is acute. Only a qualified eye doctor can detect the signs of many pediatric vision conditions. Why wait until your young student is struggling to keep up in school? Call our Salt Lake City optometry office today.

Eye Exams Check Much More than 20/20 Vision

Many parents ask us why their child needs an eye exam if the school nurse performs vision screening? Basically, vision screening involves having kids stand at a certain distance and read a basic eye chart of letters and numbers hung on the wall. This is a direct way to check for myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. However, vision is made up of many more parts that cannot be evaluated with this type of test.

In contrast, our Salt Lake City eye doctor also checks for problems with focusing, tracking, convergence, eye-hand coordination, visual processing, and lazy eye (amblyopia). All of these skills are essential for the visual system to function at top efficiency. When learning in school, all of these visual skills are needed for kids to master reading, writing, arithmetic, and coordinated performance in sports or on the playground.

Kids and Myopia

Myopia, nearsightedness, is the most common vision condition diagnosed in children. When you have myopia, you can see objects up close but everything far away will appear blurry. In the classroom, this means your student may have trouble seeing what the teacher is writing on the board or displaying on a screen.

Eyeballs come in various shapes, and myopia occurs because of either an elongated eyeball (similar to a football shape) or a cornea that is too curved. These irregularities affect the path of light when it enters the eye, and therefore the light is not focused properly on the retina. The result is blurred vision.

Is myopia prevention possible?

Usually, nearsightedness is diagnosed during a child’s elementary school years. As the eye grows, myopia tends to grow and worsen too. Genetics are the major determinant behind myopia, yet the rate of progression appears to be affected heavily by how kids use their eyes. Children who spend hours staring at a digital screen (be it a computer, tablet, smartphone…), avid bookworms, or kids who do any fine work for long spans, may all be at an increased risk of myopia.

Therefore, one method of myopia prevention is to encourage your child to spend more time outdoors! Physical activity and playing in fresh air is healthy for the whole body, and switching your focus between near and far has tremendous benefits for the eyes.

Does myopia control work?

If your child needs a stronger vision prescription every year, our Salt Lake City eye doctor may recommend myopia control, which can slow down the progression of nearsightedness. At present, a few myopia control options exist. The most popular is orthokeratology, ortho-k lenses. These specialized hard contact lenses are worn while sleeping, and they gently reshape the cornea. As they mold the eyeball’s surface, ortho-k lenses have demonstrated success in slowing the growth of kids’ eyes. This reduces existing myopia and diminishes the progression.

Other myopia control options include atropine eye drops and wearing bifocal contact lenses. To learn more, please meet with our optometrist for a consultation.

Score High with Back to School Eye Exams!

Pediatric eye exams are the first step towards helping your child enjoy crisp, clear, and healthy vision. To help your child excel in school, on the sports field, and across the board in life – book an appointment at Magna Family Eyecare.

Can Custom Contact Lenses Help Patients With Keratoconus?

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Salt Lake City patients with Keratoconus or corneal scarring will often face difficulties such as stinging/redness/swelling, blurry vision, difficulty driving during the night, and difficulty wearing contact lenses. Keratoconus patients in Utah should be happy to know that using an advanced, custom-made contact lens you will have comfort and clarity of vision like never before.

So what are these custom contact lenses?

Scleral lenses are more than just custom made contacts. They are also extremely wide, which allows them to vault over the eye.

Why is this “vaulting design”important?

This design allows for three major improvements for patients with Keratoconus in Salt Lake City.

  1. The contact lens rests on the white of the eye, reducing pain from the sensitive areas of the eye.
  2. This vaulted design creates a new corneal layer, with drastic improvements in clarity and quality of vision day and night.
  3. Between the lens and the eye, the vaulted design allows for a liquid reservoir, keeping your eyes moist all day long.

In addition to the big three benefits of Scleral lenses for Keratoconus patients, there are additional benefits:

  1. Their size means they do not move around, which is an improvement of vision and comfort.
  2. Because they are larger they block out dust and dander which cause eye allergies. (Proper cleaning should be done to reduce the build-up of allergens on the lens).

Contact our office to set up your scleral lens consult, today.

Welcome to our New Website

We invite you to take a look around our new site to get to know our practice and learn about eye and vision health. You will find a wealth of information about our optometrists, our staff and our services, as well as facts and advice about how to take care of your eyes and protect your vision.

Learn about our Practice specialties including comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings and the treatment of eye diseases. Our website also offers you a convenient way to find our hours, address and map, schedule an appointment online, order contact lenses or contact us to ask us any questions you have about eye care and our Practice.

Have a look around our online office and schedule a visit to meet us in person. We are here to partner with you and your family for a lifetime of healthy eyes and vision. We look forward to seeing you!

Pink, Stinging Eyes?

Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is one of the most frequently seen eye diseases, especially in kids. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even allergies to pollen, chlorine in swimming pools, and ingredients in cosmetics, or other irritants, which touch the eyes. Some forms of conjunctivitis might be quite transmittable and quickly spread in school and at the office.

Conjunctivitis is seen when the conjunctiva, or thin transparent layer of tissue covering the white part of the eye, becomes inflamed. You can identify conjunctivitis if you notice eye redness, discharge, itching or swollen eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes early in the day. Pink eye infections can be divided into three main types: viral, allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis.

The viral type is usually a result of a similar virus to that which produces the recognizable red, watery eyes, sore throat and runny nose of the common cold. The red, itchy, watery eyes caused by viral pink eye are likely to last from a week to two and then will clear up on their own. You may however, be able to reduce some of the discomfort by using soothing drops or compresses. Viral pink eye is transmittable until it is completely cleared up, so in the meantime maintain excellent hygiene, remove eye discharge and try to avoid using communal pillowcases or towels. If your son or daughter has viral conjunctivitis, he or she will have to be kept home from school for three days to a week until symptoms disappear.

A bacterial infection such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. One should notice an improvement within just a few days of antibiotic drops, but be sure to adhere to the full prescription dosage to prevent pink eye from recurring.

Allergic pink eye is not contagious. It is usually a result of a known allergy such as hay fever or pet allergies that sets off an allergic reaction in their eyes. First of all, to treat allergic pink eye, you should eliminate the irritant. Use cool compresses and artificial tears to relieve discomfort in mild cases. When the infection is more severe, your eye doctor might prescribe a medication such as an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine. In cases of chronic allergic pink eye, topical steroid eye drops could be used.

Pink eye should always be diagnosed by a qualified eye doctor in order to identify the type and best course of treatment. Never treat yourself! Keep in mind the sooner you begin treatment, the lower chance you have of giving pink eye to loved ones or prolonging your discomfort.

 

Progressive Frames or LASIK: Which Would You Choose?

senior woman wearing glassesEye doctors today can help most patients who have vision problems stemming from presbyopia. Glasses and laser surgery are both options that are available to correct vision in this circumstance. Each option to correct vision has some advantages and disadvantages.

Progressive Frames

Glasses are an effective and common way to correct most vision problems, including presbyopia. Stylish, sophisticated and funky glasses are available for every occasion and personality.

Advantages:

Glasses are easy to wear, convenient, and comfortable. Progressive eyeglasses have become a common way to treat presbyopia, as you have one pair of glasses for reading, computer work, and distance, as opposed to needing different glasses for near and far vision. The newest lens technology makes lenses light and accurate. A wide selection of coatings for lenses are available, such as anti-reflective coatings, photochromatic coatings, and polarized coatings. Special glasses can be created for those who have special needs for work or sporting events.

Disadvantages:

Glasses without high index lenses that have strong prescriptions can be thick, and heavy, and less comfortable on your face than not wearing glasses. Glasses can fog up in the cold, and lesser quality lenses can have spots that appear blurry.

Laser surgery

Laser surgery has been an available vision correction option for about twenty years. Various procedures are available, and your eye doctor will decide what method is best for you. Generally, patients can see clearly shortly after the procedure. The most important requirement for an optimal procedure is that you are a good candidate for laser surgery to begin with. The surgical procedure is often performed as out-patient surgery, and usually only takes a few minutes.

Advantages:

You will not need glasses after the laser surgery. Modern laser correction procedures correct presbyopia. For people who hate glasses and can’t wear contact lenses, laser surgery can be a great solution. The other requirements for laser surgery are that the eye be fully formed (adults only can have this surgery), your refraction has not changed in two years, and and the cornea needs to be a certain thickness. As long as you use an experienced eye doctor, laser surgery is very low risk.

Disadvantages:

As with any surgery, laser surgery is an invasive procedure, which is performed on a basically healthy eye. Some side effects and complications could include temporarily dry eyes. These symptoms can last up to twelve weeks. Also, it’s possible that the procedure, while successful, won’t completely correct your vision, and you may need to continue to wear glasses.

Still not sure which is best for you, eye glasses or laser surgery? Schedule an appointment with our eye doctor to discuss the options.

Safety and Sports Glasses

Each year, thousands of individuals sustain eye injuries due to sports and other accidents, many causing permanent damage and vision loss. Over 98% of these injuries can be prevented by proper eye protection. Further The National Eye Institute states that when it comes to children, eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness and that most of these injuries are sports-related.

Just like wearing a helmet when riding a bike or swinging a bat, sports safety glasses or goggles should be part of the uniform and equipment of any high impact sport. Not only do sports glasses protect your eyes but they can also improve vision and performance. Similarly, when involved in work or hobbies that pose a danger on the eyes, such as construction, chemical use, or home improvement projects, safety goggles should always be worn.

What are Sports and Safety Glasses or Goggles?

Sports and safety glasses or goggles are specialized, protective eyewear that are made to reduce the risk of eye damage during sports or work that could be dangerous to the eyes. They are typically made from impact resistant and shatterproof materials such as hard plastics and polycarbonates (frames) or polycarbonate or Trivex (lenses) and cover a larger surface area around your eyes for enhanced protection. Depending on the type of glasses and for what sport or activity they are intended, they may have additional features such as UV protection, polarized lenses, scratch resistance or ultra flexibility or coverage.

When it comes to sports, protective eyewear is becoming more of a norm that it was in previous generations with many leagues requiring their use as a prerequisite to play. Whether it is high speed balls, elbows, debris, snow, sun or water, sports glasses come in a variety of options to suit the particular needs of the sport you play.

Many options will come with rubber padding around the frame to improve safety to the area around the eyes and increase comfort, fit and stability.

Prescription Sports and Safety Eyewear

Advances in sports and safety eyewear technology not only allow for enhanced sharpness and color vision but for corrected visual acuity for those with vision impairment. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, chances are most safety glasses are available with prescription lenses, allowing you to see and perform your best under all circumstances. Another option is to wear contact lenses under your safety eye gear.

Look for Fit and Comfort

Especially when it comes to children, comfort and fit are essential for compliance in wearing protective eyewear. Additionally, instead of enhancing performance, glasses that don’t fit will cause a distraction that hurt your ability to play or work at optimal success. Look for frames that are held in place (wraparound frames and bands help with this), don’t slip, don’t press in at the temples or nose and that fit nicely around the eyes. If you plan to wear goggles over your prescription glasses, make sure that you try them on together and that they fit properly and are able to provide full protection with your prescription glasses on. Similarly, if a helmet will be worn, make sure that the glasses fit, snug but not too tight, within the helmet.

With children who grow, it is important to reassess sports glasses each year to make sure they have not gotten too tight or small, otherwise they could be doing more harm than good.

Sunglasses: High Style with High-Level Protection against Skin Cancer and Vision Loss

It’s common knowledge that ultraviolet sun rays are harmful to skin, and too much exposure will put you at a greater risk of skin cancer. This damage begins from a young age, starting with kids who fail to adequately protect their delicate skin from the sun. Kids’ skin is particularly sensitive to sun damage, and the effects are cumulative. Children love to spend time in the shining, bright outdoors. It’s critical to keep them safe while they have fun in the sun. Wearing UV protective sunglasses is one eye-catching, effective way to help prevent skin cancer around the eyes and nose and to keep vision healthy.

Woman Blue SunglassesSunburn, which indicates damaged skin cells, is the most immediate symptom caused by UV rays. Red or blistered skin should serve as a warning sign that your child is being placed at risk for worse problems – as burnt, damaged skin cells are at a much higher risk of becoming cancerous. Some of your child’s most vulnerable skin tissue surrounds the nose and eyes. Sunglasses are a voguish way to save this skin and keep it healthy, supple and soft.

In addition to blocking UV rays from reaching skin, sunglasses act as a barrier over your child’s eye lens. Until about age 10, the lens is clear, which enables more solar rays to penetrate. As kids grow and their visual system develops, the lens becomes more opaque, providing enhanced natural protection. Retinal exposure to UV rays is linked to cataracts and macular degeneration later in life. When you take measures to protect your young child’s eyes, you’re setting the base for healthier vision later on.

When shopping for the ideal sunwear for kids, it’s best to buy sunglasses that block 99-100% of UV rays. Another rule of thumb is that the more skin covered by the sunglasses – the more efficient the protection. Think wraparound designs for high coverage. Kids nowadays are tuned into their own fashion sense and expression. Save yourself loads of time and energy by letting them choose their own trend-setting sunglasses. They’ll look forward to showing off their new style, and soon all their friends will be sporting sunglasses too.

Macular Degeneration: Who is at risk?

There are many risk factors for Macular Degeneration. Some of these risk factors are things that you cannot control, and some are things that you can control.

senior couple at risk for AMDRisk Factors that you can’t control:

Age – Age is a major risk factor for AMD. The disease is most likely to occur after age 60, but it can occur earlier.

Gender – AMD is more common in women than men

Eye Color – AMD is more common in people with blue eyes

Smoking – Research shows that smoking doubles the risk of AMD.

Race – AMD is more common among Caucasians than among African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos.

Family history and Genetics – People with a family history of AMD are at higher risk. At last count, researchers had identified nearly 20 genes that can affect the risk of developing AMD. Many more genetic risk factors are suspected.

Risk Factors you can control:

Smoking – Smoking increases your risk, especially if AMD runs in your family

Diet – A poor diet, low in antioxidants and high in saturated fats and processed foods.

Obesity – People who are very overweight have a higher risk of AMD.Exercise – A sedentary lifestyle contributes to AMD.

Cholesterol – High cholesterol is bad for your eyes and your heart.Blood Pressure – High blood pressure may be involved in AMD.

Sun Exposure – Ultraviolet and blue light from the sun and electronics can damage the eye.

What Steps Can You Take to Decrease Your Risk for AMD?

nutrition for AMDTo decrease your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, or to decrease the rate of progression if you already have age-related macular degeneration, here are some actions you can take:

  • Don’t smoke – and if you do smoke, try to stop.Don’t eat packaged, processed foods, as much as possible.Don’t eat artificial fats.
  • Eat real bakery goods, made with real fat – just don’t eat the whole box.
  • Do wear sunglasses, preferably with an amber, brown, or orange tint that blocks blue light.
  • Do eat lots of dark green leafy vegetables. These vegetables – such as kale, spinach, and collards – contain lutein, a substance that neutralizes the free radicals that will otherwise cause damage to the macula. If you are taking Coumadin and can’t eat these vegetables because of the vitamin K in them, you can take a lutein supplement.
  • Do eat lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, fish oil, flaxseeds, and some nuts. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation.
  • Do control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Do exercise regularly and keep your weight down.

Do You Know if Your Child Has Myopia?

Eye Exams Are Necessary to Diagnose, Treat & Control Myopia

Child Girl Brown EyesThere’s a lot of talk nowadays about myopia and “myopia control” as a part of kids’ eye care. Defined simply, myopia refers to nearsightedness – which means that when your child looks at objects in the distance, they appear blurry. At the beginning, kids may not complain about any vision problems, yet parents and teachers may notice them squinting constantly to see the board or anything faraway. This is a warning sign that it’s time for a pediatric eye exam! A comprehensive evaluation of your kid’s vision is the only reliable way to detect or rule out myopia or any vision problem. Additionally, routine eye exams enable early intervention, which goes far towards the eye health and general well-being of your child.

What causes nearsightedness?

Typically, myopia is genetic. (If your family has a history of being nearsighted, you have even more reason to schedule routine eye exams for your kids!) It is characterized by an elongated eyeball, which affects the way light focuses in front of the retina. Myopia often deteriorates throughout childhood and its progression stops by about twenty years old. However, at that time your child may need very strong corrective lenses in order to see clearly.

How is myopia treated?

Eyeglasses have always been the first line of treatment for myopia. However, new research shows that dual-focus contact lenses or orthokeratology may be a better option for vision correction, as they can also decelerate the progression. Many children with myopia find that their vision gets worse with time, and they need a new, more powerful prescription for lenses at every eye exam. Not only does this lead to thicker, unattractive eyeglass lenses, but it is also associated with a higher risk of eye disease in the future, such as cataracts, glaucoma and retinal detachment. Fortunately, that’s where myopia control enters the picture!

What is myopia control?

While there is no way to prevent or cure nearsightedness, various methods show promise for controlling the progression. Orthokeratology, better known as ortho-k, and dual-focus contact lenses are two relatively new ways to put the brakes on myopia.

Dual-focus contacts

The results of a comprehensive three-year long study were shared recently at the British Contact Lens Association Clinical Conference in Liverpool, England. 144 myopic children, aged 8 to 12, participated in this study, and the results showed that wearing dual-focus contact lenses was highly effective in controlling myopia with no side effects reported. These lenses, which have alternating zones for visual correction and treatment, slowed the progression of nearsightedness by 59%!

Ortho-k lenses

Ortho-k, or Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT) is another option for kids who want to see sharp without wearing eyeglasses or daytime contact lenses. Using advanced digital technology, your child’s eye doctor will map your cornea to custom-design your ortho-k lenses. These specialized lenses are worn only while sleeping, when they gently reshape the cornea to correct refractive error. During the day, your kid will have crystal-clear vision without any eyewear. Because ortho-k lenses mold the cornea and suppress the eyeball from growing further, they also suppress the progression of myopia. Ortho-k has shown tremendous success as a comfortable and safe way to control myopia in kids.

Eye Exams are the First Step towards Treating & Controlling Myopia

Eye exams to check children for myopia are an essential part of responsible family eye care! Don’t wait until your child’s vision condition advances and it is too late to treat it effectively. Maximize your kid’s healthy vision with routine pediatric eye exams – and ask us whether he or she is a good candidate for myopia control!

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