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EDC for Sunglasses Lovers

Review of your everyday carry collection for outdoor vision

What are your daily eyewear essentials for the sunny outdoors? Whether you need prescription eyeglasses to see or not, sunglasses are a must for your personal EDC. And so are many of the updated accessories that trend with them.

To help you put together the best EDC collection for sunglasses lovers, the staff at our LaGrange, Kentucky, vision care center put together this rundown of different elements that matter:

Features for your EDC sunglasses frames

Just like your EDC must be streamlined and lightweight, sunglasses shouldn’t weigh you down. The lighter your glasses, the more comfortable they are on your face and for toting around in your bag or tucked into your collar.

  • Lightweight doesn’t mean fragile. Sunglasses take a lot of abuse and need to have a durable construction with scratch-resistant lenses.
  • A snug – but not pinching – fit is necessary. It’s best to buy frames that are slightly wider than your face, so the temples fit smoothly around your ears, but not loosely or they’ll slip off. It unsightly and annoying to keep pushing your sunglasses up on your nose every few minutes.
  • Lenses must give ultimate function, with 100% UVA and UVB protection and a tint that promotes top performance, as well as soothes your eyes in bright light.
  • As the foundation of all the features above, your EDC sunglasses should have an affordable price tag, not so high that if you lose them it’ll burn a hole in your EDC wallet.

Storage designs for EDC sunglasses

One of the most efficient ways to store sunglasses is in their own customized case. Look out for frames that are engineered to fold up in a collapsible, storable case. Otherwise, there’s a fabulous variety of conventional, and not-so-conventional cases that fit efficiently into your EDC.

  • Microfiber pouches are weightless and prevent smudges and scratches on your lenses as they bump in your bag.
  • Going camping or engaging in the extreme? Semi-rigid cases with a protective padded liner are rugged without bulk. They’re ideal for active people who have real concerns about crushing their EDC sunglasses.
  • Ultralight zippered neoprene cases with a clip are flexible and convenient, attach them to your belt loop or bag for easy access. Plus, they come in a rainbow of fabrics for fun wearing.

Sunglasses straps

One might argue that the primary function of eyewear straps is to keep sunglasses on while playing sports, but they certainly have additional advantages. For example, if you take your sunglasses on and off constantly and are then fretless to find them, you’re the perfect candidate for making straps a part of your EDC.

 

Also called eyewear retainers or simply neck cords, these accessories are crafted from various materials. Once upon a time, they were all made from bulky chains, but fortunately for your modern EDC, they’re now made from more contemporary materials – such as nylon climbing rope, neoprene, knitted cotton yarn (washable!), stainless steel wires, and silicone. Choose a lightweight strap with slip-less temple grips that are easy to slide on your sunglasses. If you’re concerned about restricting your neck mobility, don’t buy a design that rests on your neck.

Cleaning cloths for sunglasses

What good are your sunglasses if you can’t see through the lenses? A compact eyewear cleaning kit will fit easily into your EDC. For heavy dirt buildup, there are biodegradable sprays that come with mini-microfiber cloths – give a spritz and wipe for a gleaming shine. Or forego the spray, and polish fingerprints off your sunglasses with a nonabrasive smudge-buster cloth.

Where can you buy sunglasses EDC?

We stock a wide range of inventive, high quality eyewear accessories in our LaGrange, Kentucky, optical store. As you equip yourself for days spent outdoors, pop in to Gaddie Eye Centers to choose sunglasses and all the helpful EDC to complement them.
At Gaddie Eye Centers, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 502-423-8500 or book an appointment online to see one of our LaGrange eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

Top 5 Tips for Managing Eye Allergies This Spring

There are some things you can do to minimize the discomfort throughout the spring season. Check out Our Top 5 Tips for Getting Through Ocular Allergy Season.

Women’s Health and Your Vision

International Women's Day is a time for women to focus inwards on their personal goals, relationships, and health. Let's talk about women and vision.

Help! My Child Doesn’t Want to Wear Glasses!

Whatever the cause, getting your kids to wear eyeglasses can be a parenting challenge. Our optometrist can help. Book your eye exam today!

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Top 4 Eyecare Tips for Summer Vacation

This summer, whether you’re headed across state lines on a family road trip, flying off to Europe, grabbing a quick weekend getaway, or taking a vacation in your own backyard, don’t forget to protect your eyes!

Summer Eye Care Near You

Check out our top 4 tips for ensuring healthy eyes this summer, and remember, your eye doctor is here to help make the most out of your vision. Dr. Gaddie sees patients from all over the LaGrange, Kentucky area. Let us give you the top-quality eye care you and your family deserve, not only during the summer, but all year long.

  1. Don’t Leave Home Without It

If you have a chronic illness and need to head out of town for a few days, you would never leave home without your medications, right? That’s because you know that if something happens and your meds aren’t with you, you could suffer discomfort or complications to your health.

The same is true for your vision. If you suffer from dry eyes, make sure to take artificial tears or medicated eye drops with you when you travel. Preservative-free eye drops are a traveler’s friend. They’re also available as individual strips, which are recommended since there’s less risk of contamination.

Running low on disposable contact lenses? Include an extra pair in your carry-on suitcase and stock up on new lenses ahead of time. If you wear eyeglasses, bring a spare set and a copy of your prescription along with you, just in case they get lost or broken.

We recommend speaking to Dr. Gaddie before you leave for vacation to make sure your vision needs are all set.

  1. It’s Getting Hot Outside

Usually, most people think of protecting their skin from sunburns when they’re at the beach, by the pool, or just spending time outdoors.

Did you know that your eyes can get sunburned, too?

This happens when the cornea is exposed to excessive UV rays. When the sclera (the white part of your eye) looks red, that’s a sign that you’ve got sunburned eyes. You might also notice symptoms like a sudden sensitivity to light, or your eyes may feel like something is stuck in them, or they could feel sore.

The best way to prevent sunburned eyes? Always wear sunglasses with 100% of UVA and UVB light blocking protection.

  1. Watch Out for the Pool

Swimming is one of summer’s greatest pastimes. There’s nothing quite like a dip in a pool or ocean to cool off from the sweltering summer heat. While you’re slicing through the water, remember to protect your eyes.

Remove contacts before going swimming, wear goggles while underwater, and rinse your eyes with cold water when you get out of the pool (it helps get the chlorine or salt out). If your eyes feel dry or scratchy after a swim, use some moisturizing eye drops to lubricate your eyes.

  1. Back to School is Sooner Than You Think

Your kids will be back in school before you know it. Help them prepare for the upcoming school year by scheduling an eye exam now. If they need new glasses because their prescription has changed or your teen simply wants a new look for the new school year, come in to Gaddie Eye Centers for a consultation and take a look at the newest selection of frames and contact lenses.

Have you had a sudden eye injury or emergency while on vacation? Don’t wait until you’re back home to handle it — seek immediate care today. Certain eye injuries can damage your vision or lead to ulcers, so if you notice symptoms like redness, eye pain, changes to your vision, or flashing light, contact your eye doctor right away.

At Gaddie Eye Centers, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision this summer and throughout the year.

Cataract Awareness Month

June is Cataract Awareness Month. During this important time, people living with cataracts (and their loved ones) are encouraged to talk about their personal experiences by giving each other helpful information and sharing their knowledge and advice. Use the hashtag #CataractAwarenessMonth on your social media channels to encourage and support others.

Did you know that over 24 million Americans have cataracts? More than 3.5 million Canadians are blind from cataracts, making it one of the most common – and serious – eye conditions today. Dr. Gaddie treats cataract patients from all over LaGrange, Kentucky with the newest and most effective methods of eye care.

With millions of people living with the condition, it’s now more important than ever to bring awareness to this serious condition.

What Are Cataracts?

So what exactly are cataracts?

The lens of the eye is normally clear, which allows you to see things clearly and in sharp detail. Over time, the lens can become cloudy, causing blurry vision. It’s as if you’re looking through a dirty window and can’t really see what’s outside. This clouding of the lens is called a cataract, and it can affect one or both of your eyes.

What Causes Cataracts?

Aging is the most common cause of cataracts. The lens of your eye contains water and proteins. As you age, these proteins can clump together, and when that happens, the normally clear lens becomes cloudy.

Did you know that certain types of major eye surgeries and infections can trigger cataracts? Other issues that can lead to cataracts include congenital birth defects, eye injury, diseases, and even various kinds of medications. If you’re already developing cataracts, be careful when going outside. UV rays from the sun can make cataracts develop faster.

How Can I Lower My Risk of Cataracts?

Certain risk factors increase your chance of developing cataracts. These typically include:

  • Diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Family and medical history
  • Medications
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • UV ray exposure

To lower your risk, consider reducing your alcohol intake, quit smoking, start an exercise program, eat foods rich in vitamin A and C, and wear 100% UV blocking sunglasses.

Common Symptoms of Cataracts

If you have cataracts, you may experience some common symptoms like:

  • Blurry vision
  • Colors that used to be bright now appear dim
  • Double vision
  • Glare from natural sunlight or from artificial light, like light bulbs and lamps
  • Halos around lights
  • Night vision problems
  • Sensitivity to light

If you or a family member notice any of these signs, talk to Dr. Gaddie right away. The sooner you seek treatment, the faster we can help you get back to clear vision.

Coping With Cataracts

If you’re experiencing vision problems from cataracts, there is hope. If you have a mild case, a combination of a different eyeglass prescription and better lighting in your home, office, or other environment can improve your vision. In more advanced cases, your optometrist will likely recommend cataract surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear one.

Do I Need Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures today. In fact, the American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that 2 million people undergo the procedure each year.

During the procedure, the doctor will gently remove the cataract from the eye and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens (known as an IOL). Because it’s a common procedure, cataract surgery is usually performed in an outpatient clinic or in your eye doctor’s office. There is no need to stay in a hospital and you can usually resume your normal activities in just a few days.

If you’ve exhausted every other solution and still suffer from blurry vision from cataracts, surgery may be an option. Schedule a consultation online or call 502-423-8500 to book an eye doctor’s appointment at Gaddie Eye Centers and together, we’ll determine if cataract surgery is right for you.

During this Cataract Awareness Month, share your stories and successes, and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.

Spring Allergies & Your Vision

How to relieve your itchy eyes when spring is in the air

Bright, beautiful flowers are blossoming, the bees are buzzing, and new shoots of grass are coating the lawn with green… these are the classic images that herald spring. But they aren’t the only noticeable signs of the changing season. For many people in LaGrange, itchy eyes, swollen eyelids, sneezing, and a runny nose also appear at this time of year. That’s because the loveliest visions of spring typically release an abundance of pollen and allergens into the air – triggering the start of spring allergies.

Effects of spring allergies on your eyes

Although the nose tends to get most of the media attention when hay fever (another name for spring allergies) is discussed, eye irritation is also pretty common. Millions of people in the United States are treated for uncomfortable or painful eye symptoms due to spring allergies, particularly when the level of grass pollen is high.

While all of us in Kentucky love spending the spring days outdoors, we are sad to report that LaGrange is actually one of the worst cities for seasonal allergies. In fact, it’s so bad that the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked LaGrange the #6 spring allergy capital for 2019. This is mainly due to large amounts of tree and grass pollen that get trapped in the air stagnating between the hills to our north and south.

The most common eye symptoms caused by spring allergies are:

  • Swollen, puffy eyelids
  • Itchiness
  • Redness
  • Grittiness
  • Watery eyes
  • Sensitivity to light

Also called “allergic conjunctivitis”, the annoying symptoms of eye allergies lead many of our patients to seek eye care at Gaddie Eye Centers. What is the best treatment to soothe your symptoms? And is there anything you can do to get rid of your spring allergies? Our LaGrange eye doctor shares some tips on how to recognize and relieve your painful peepers.

Don’t make eye contact with allergens

Go on the defensive and stay away from the allergens that trigger your spring allergies. This is by and large the most important action you can take to prevent your eye irritation. However, since grass and tree pollen are the most common triggers, you’re likely scratching your head (and your itchy eyes) as you wonder how to successfully avoid these widespread, airborne irritants. Before you lock yourself in your bedroom and wait for winter, our LaGrange optometrist has some easier solutions to recommend:

  • Keep your windows closed when the pollen count is high. Use a/c in your home, office, and car in order to keep the air around you clean and clear.
  • Don’t rub your eyes! Rubbing your itchy eyes is a great way to spread the pollen all over, exacerbating your symptoms.
  • When outdoors, wear glasses and sunglasses to block pollen from contact with your eyes.
  • Don’t wear your contact lenses! Contacts can make spring allergies worse for your eyes, because the pollen sticks and accumulates on them.
  • As soon as you go indoors, rinse your eyes with saline drops and wash your hands well.
  • Use a damp mop, not a broom, to clean your floors. Dry sweeping will only push any pollen that’s settled back up into the air.
  • If you have a dog, give him or her a bath after taking a walk. This will keep all the allergens from falling from the dog’s fur onto your furniture.

Our LaGrange eye doctor offers treatment for spring allergies

Some ocular allergy symptoms can be managed well with over-the-counter drugs, especially if you have a mild case. Artificial tears eye drops are a great frontline treatment to keep your eye surface clean. Decongestant eye drops may also help, but use them sparingly and with caution – prolonged use can worsen your condition.

Antihistamine eye drops, mast cell stabilizer eye drops, corticosteroid eye drops, and NSAID eye drops are all accepted short-term treatments for ocular irritation caused by spring allergies. Because these are all prescription drugs, you will need to visit our LaGrange eye doctor (and possibly an allergist too) to determine the best medication for your individual condition.

While some non-sedating oral histamines may also be effective at alleviating your itchy eyes and irritation, they can also dry out your eyes and make the irritation worse. If your spring allergies are extreme and get in the way of normal life, immunotherapy allergy shots or tablets may offer long-term relief.

Are spring allergies disrupting your days? Visit Gaddie Eye Centers for more tips on how to soothe your symptoms in LaGrange!

Help! My Child Doesn’t Want to Wear Glasses!

Do your kids need glasses in order to see clearly? Maybe they have a strong case of nearsightedness, perhaps they have astigmatism, or another type of refractive error. Whatever the cause, getting your kids to wear eyeglasses can be a parenting challenge.

Dr. Gaddie treats patients from all over LaGrange, Kentucky with their vision correction needs. The knowledgeable, caring staff at Gaddie Eye Centers can help you and your kids if they’re struggling with their glasses or don’t want to wear them.

Why Won’t My Child Wear His or Her Glasses?

To help your children get the best vision possible, you first need to understand why they’re fighting with you over their glasses. It usually stems from something physical, emotional, or social, such as:

  • Wrong fit
  • Wrong prescription
  • Personal style
  • Reactions from friends

How do you know which it is? Pay close attention to the signs, from what your kids say, to how they behave, to how they interact with others.

Physical

Improper fit is a big reason why glasses could feel uncomfortable. If they slip down, itch behind the ears, or put pressure on the bridge of the nose, it can explain why a child wouldn’t like to wear them.

If there’s been a big change to their prescription, they may need time to get used to it. If they were given the wrong prescription, they may be straining their eyes, getting headaches, or having eye fatigue. An incorrect prescription can make wearing glasses painful or awkward. It doesn’t correct their vision, either, so they’ll still see blurry images. When this happens, your eye doctor can check the prescription and make an adjustment.

Emotional

Your kids at home aren’t the same as your kids in school, on the sports field, or with their friends. They may be afraid of being made fun of in school, or they may not want the sudden attention on their appearance. These feelings can be even stronger among the tween and teen set.

Social

Even young kids can feel different when they put on a pair of glasses, especially if it’s for the first time. Feeling different or weird, in their eyes, translates to a negative experience. When wearing glasses makes them feel like the odd man out, they may not want to wear them. The last thing your child wants is to feel like a social outcast. After all, everyone wants to belong.

How We Can Help

First, bring your child in to the eye doctor for an eye exam. Our optometrist, Dr. Gaddie, will check to make sure that your child has the right prescription and that any vision problems are being corrected. Next, we’ll take a look at the glasses and place them on your child’s face to determine if they’ve got the proper fit. Our optician will take care of any adjustments that need to be made.

The Vision They Need, The Style They Want

Fashion isn’t only for adults. Your budding fashionista or trendy young stud wants to look awesome, so don’t forget about style. When your kids look great, they’ll feel great! Give them the top-quality eyewear they need without compromising on style. Your kids are a lot more likely to wear glasses when they like the way they look.

What You Can Do to Help

Encourage, stay positive, and don’t give up. Avoid telling them what you want them to wear. Let them choose for themselves. In the end, they’re the ones wearing the glasses. Making decisions is an important life skill, something they’ll need as they grow up and become more independent.

For younger children, use positive words to encourage them. Talk about how glasses are like magic, letting them see beautiful things around them. Show them how a pretty flower or a bright red truck looks with the glasses on, and how different it looks with the glasses off. For older kids, throw in a little pop culture. Tell them how trendy they’ll look by showing them pictures of celebrities who also wear glasses. You’ll also rack up some cool parent points.

At Gaddie Eye Centers, we have the experience and unique approach to children’s eyewear that will make your kids want to wear their glasses. Schedule an eye exam today – you can book an appointment online right here. If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call and we’ll be glad to help.

Mental Health and Your Vision

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the USA; in Canada, Mental Health week is May 6th to 12th. Since 1949, it has been observed throughout the United States as a way of drawing attention to the importance of proper mental health. This year’s theme is #4Mind4Body. The idea is that using elements around us, such as the people in our lives, faith, nature, and even pets, can strengthen wellness and overall mental health.

Did you know that your vision can affect your mental health? While things like stress, trauma, and family history are factors that impact mental health, vision can also impact it.

How Does Vision Affect Mental Health?

Certain types of eye diseases and visual impairments can lead to emotional problems like anxiety and depression. This is particularly common in cases of severe vision loss. Patients with glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy, for example, can experience mild to acute vision loss. This can make everyday activities like driving, running errands, watching TV, using a computer, or cooking, a difficult and painful experience. When this happens, it can cause a loss of independence, potentially leaving the person mentally and emotionally devastated.

Like most surgical procedures, LASIK corrective surgery is permanent and irreversible. Although it has very high success rates, LASIK has been considered the cause of depression and mental health issues in a few instances.

Kids’ Vision and Mental Health

Increased screen time among school-age children and teens has been shown to reduce emotional stability and cause repeated distractions and difficulty completing tasks, while also increasing the likelihood of developing nearsightedness.

Kids with visual problems often experience difficulty in school. If they can’t see the board clearly or constantly struggle with homework due to poor vision, they may act out their frustration or have trouble getting along with their peers.

Coping with Vision Problems

One of the most important ways to cope with visual problems is awareness. Simply paying attention to the signs and symptoms — whether the patient is an adult or a child — is a crucial first step.

Family members, close friends, colleagues, parents, and teachers can all play an important role in detecting emotional suffering in those with visual difficulties. Pay attention to signs of changes in behavior, such as a loss of appetite, persistent exhaustion, or decreased interest in favorite activities.

Thankfully, many common vision problems are treatable. Things like double vision, hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), amblyopia (lazy eye), and post-concussion vision difficulties can be managed. Vision correction devices, therapeutic lenses, visual exercises, or special prism glasses may help provide the visual clarity you need. Your primary eye doctor can help and a vision therapist or low vision expert may make a significant impact on your quality of life.

How You Can Help

There are some things you can do on your own to raise awareness about good mental health:

Speak Up

Often, just talking about mental health struggles can be incredibly empowering. Ask for help from family and friends or find a local support group. Be open and honest about what you’re going through and talk with others who are going through the same thing. Remember: you’re not alone.

If you experience any type of sudden changes to your vision — even if it’s temporary — talk to your eye doctor. A delay in treatment may have more serious consequences, so speak up and don’t wait.

Get Social

Developing healthy personal relationships improves mental health. People with strong social connections are less likely to experience severe depression and may even live longer. Go out with friends, join a club, or consider volunteering.

Have an Animal

Having a pet has been shown to boost mental health and help combat feelings of loneliness. Guide dogs can be especially beneficial for people suffering from vision loss.

Use Visual Aids

If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health issues caused by vision loss, visual aids can help. Devices like magnifiers or telescopic lenses can enlarge text, images, and objects, so you can see them more clearly and in greater detail.

Kids can benefit from vision correction like glasses, contacts, or specialized lenses for more severe cases of refractive errors. Vision therapy may be an option, too. It is a customized program of exercises that can improve and strengthen visual functions.

Always talk to your eye doctor about any concerns, questions, or struggles.

Thanks to programs like Mental Health Awareness Month, there is less of a stigma around mental health than just a few decades ago. Advancements in medical technologies and scientific research have led to innovative solutions for better vision care.

During this Mental Health Awareness Month, share your share your struggles, stories, and successes with others. Use the hashtag #Mind4Body and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.

 

How to Prevent the Pain of Computer Vision Syndrome

Tips from your eye doctors in Louisville

Do you spend hours daily working in front of a computer screen? Nowadays, many people in many different professions can answer yes to this question! And if you are like millions of other people in the world (statistics currently estimate the number of sufferers at 70 million worldwide!), as you sit there you probably begin to experience a variety of uncomfortable or painful symptoms as the clock ticks on. For example, your eyes may sting or burn, you may suffer from a headache, or your back and neck may begin to ache. These are all signs of computer vision syndrome, which we diagnose frequently in our eye care offices in Oxmoor, LaGrange, Carrollton, and Springhurst. After your rest your eyes for a bit, the annoying symptoms will generally begin to dissipate – only to return again after you go back to work.

Eyes suffer the most from computer vision

While computer vision syndrome can generate neurological and musculoskeletal symptoms too, it is the visual system that typically suffers the most. Many people experience dry eyes, red eyes, burning, itching, and/or blurry, double vision. The primary reason for this is because digital displays are composed of pixels, which have blurred edges that challenge your eyes’ ability to focus. Without your knowledge, your eyes repeatedly try to rest while you work, by shifting their focus to an area outside of the screen. This constant back and forth focusing between screen and relaxation can lead to fatigue and digital eyestrain.

The other unconscious behavior that leads to ocular symptoms of computer vision syndrome is a reduced rate of blinking. Without realizing it, you blink less when staring at a screen. This causes dry, irritated eyes. To help avoid this problem, our eye doctors in Oxmoor, LaGrange, Carrollton, and Springhurst, KY, remind you to practice the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, turn your gaze to something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. It also helps to use preservative-free artificial tears eye drops, and consciously remember to blink as often as you can; this will lubricate your eyes.

Position and posture play a role

If you’ve never given much thought to how far your head is from your computer screen, now’s the time to consider it! To provide your eyes with a comfortable distance for focusing, your computer monitor should be approximately 20-26 inches away from your face. The closer your eyes are to the screen, the harder they need to work to focus on it. Also, when you are gazing directly ahead, your eyes should be level with the top of the monitor, making the center of screen about four to eight inches lower than your eyes. This can help minimize dryness and itching by decreasing the exposed surface of your eyeballs, because you won’t need to open them wide to see. An added benefit of this posture is that it enables your neck to remain in a more relaxed position.

Dim the lights

Visual contrast is critical, and it is achieved best by viewing black writing on a white screen. To maximize the effects, your computer screen should be brighter than the ambient light. Very bright overhead lights and sunlight streaming in through the windows will force your eyes to strain to see the font on the screen. A bright monitor also causes your pupils to constrict, which gives your eyes a larger range of focus. If you struggle daily with glare from the artificial lighting or windows in your office, it may help to reposition your desk, lower the window shades, or install a dimmer switch on the overheads. Another tip to is use an anti-glare cover on a flat screen, and put on a pair of glasses with anti-glare or tinted lens treatments.

Computer glasses can help

If you work from printed materials, continuously moving your eyes back and forth from these pages to the computer screen, you are likely bothered by neck strain. Mounting documents on a stand next to your monitor may help minimize your discomfort. Another helpful solution could be to invest in a pair of specialized computer glasses. These prescription glasses are bifocal or progressive, with the upper portion of the lenses used to target screen reading and the lower part of the lenses designed for print distance.

For more information about how to prevent computer vision syndrome and alleviate the painful symptoms of this contemporary condition, visit our experienced optometrists at Gaddie Eye Centers, in Oxmoor, Carrollton, Springhurst, and LaGrange, KY.

Parkinson’s Awareness Month and Your Vision

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month in the USA and Canada, a time when those living with the disorder, their family members, friends, and community come together to raise awareness and share helpful information. People with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and their loved ones are encouraged to share their stories, struggles, and successes in order to educate and support others.

The Parkinson’s Foundation has announced this year’s theme: #KeyToPD and Parkinson Canada advocates the same involvement. What is the key to living a high quality of life while living with Parkinson’s? Patients, doctors, caregivers, and families are encouraged to use this hashtag on social media to give of their knowledge and experience.

In order to successfully manage the disorder, it’s essential to understand the disease, symptoms, and treatments. After all, knowledge is power.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control physical movement. It typically affects middle aged people and the elderly. Parkinson’s causes a decrease in the brain’s natural levels of dopamine, which normally aids nerve cells in passing messages within the brain. According to The Parkinson’s Foundation and Statistics Canada, the disorder affects an estimated 1 million people in the United States, 55 000 Canadians, and 10 million globally.

What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?

Although much research has been done on the subject, the exact cause of the disease isn’t really known. What doctors and scientists do know is that certain nerve cells located in the brain somehow break down. This damage interferes with both motor and non-motor functions.

How Does Parkinson’s Affect Vision?

Parkinson’s can have a significant impact on vision and ocular health. Patients with PD often find themselves unable to control blinking. Blinking is good for the eyes as it moisturizes the surface and clears it from foreign substances. Less blinking can cause Dry Eye Syndrome, resulting in itchy, red, or gritty-feeling eyes. Other people blink too much or can’t keep their eyes open.

In more serious cases, Parkinson’s affects the nerves that help us see. Someone with PD may experience blurry vision, double vision, difficulty seeing color and contrast, problems with focus, and other visual symptoms.

In addition to the inherent impact of the disease, some of the medications used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms have known side effects including dry eyes, blurred eyesight and even hallucinations in advanced PD.

Common Visual Symptoms of Parkinson’s

Although the most recognized physical symptom is uncontrollable tremors, patients can experience other symptoms that affect their vision. These typically include:

  • Apraxia (inability to open the eyelids)
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye twitching
  • Focusing problems

Parkinson’s Patients and Eye Exams

Eye exams can be particularly challenging for a PD patient, so choosing the right doctor is essential. Make sure your eye doctor regularly treats patients with PD. They’ll understand your or your loved ones’ unique needs and will take the time needed.

Common Non-Visual Symptoms of Parkinson’s

PD affects other areas of the body that may or may not – depending on each patient – be related to their eye health and visual needs.

Some of the most common non-visual symptoms are:

  • Depression
  • Excessive saliva
  • Loss of smell
  • Moodiness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Slow movement (bradykinesia)
  • Stiff limbs
  • Tremors

Coping With Vision Problems From Parkinson’s

Despite the struggles caused by this degenerative disease, there is hope. Talk to your eye doctor. He or she may recommend medicated ointments or drops, injections, therapeutic lenses, visual aids, vision therapy, or a combination thereof. Additionally, a Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation doctor can provide comprehensive eye care specifically designed for neurological disorders like PD.

Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

There is currently no cure for the disease itself, but there are options to treat the symptoms of PD. A combination of medications, physical and/or occupational therapy, support groups, and of course, top-quality vision care can give a PD patient relief for some of their symptoms and tools to help cope with the condition.

Research and clinical trials are continuing as doctors and others in the medical community work towards the goal of finding a cure for PD.

No two patients are alike, and each can experience PD differently from the other, so finding what works for you or your loved one is key. During this Parkinson’s Awareness Month, share your #KeyToPD and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.

Top 5 Tips for Managing Eye Allergies This Spring

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 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.

When 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)

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.

An Ocular Allergy Optometrist Near You

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

Women’s Health and Your Vision

March 8th is International Women’s Day, a day when women are honored and their accomplishments celebrated worldwide. From medicine to law, entrepreneurship to corporate leadership, education to the military, women are achieving great strides in areas of business like never before.

In addition to professional achievements, International Women’s Day is a time for women to focus inwards on their personal goals, relationships, and health. From the adolescent years to pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, women’s bodies go through some major changes that can affect many areas of their health, especially their vision.

Age Is Just a Number, But Not For Your Vision

They say that ‘age is just a number’, but when it comes to women’s health, it’s essential to pay close attention to any signs of changing vision as we get older.

Women over 40 have a higher risk of developing eye disease, impaired vision, and blindness than men. They are more likely to develop eye conditions such as Cataracts, Diabetic Retinopathy, and Dry Eye Syndrome. In fact, 61% of Glaucoma patients and 65% of Age-Related Macular Degeneration patients are female, so it’s crucial that women know the risk factors and signs of developing these conditions.

Put Your Needs First

Women are typically the family caretakers, running a spouse, children, or elderly parents to the doctor, putting their own healthcare needs last. It’s time to put your eye care needs first. Don’t ignore symptoms or push them off for another day. Take care of yourself, and you’ll be able to continue being there for others.

Signs and Risk Factors of Vision Problems

Knowing what to look out for is a crucial step in keeping your eyes healthy and enjoying great vision.

Genetics often play a key role in many health issues. Just like people inherit eye color and shape, hair color and texture, and facial features from parents, vision difficulties or diseases can also be hereditary. If something runs in the family, you may be more susceptible to developing it and passing it on to your children, as well.

Pregnancy can temporarily affect a woman’s vision. This is due to the hormonal changes in the body, which typically stabilize after breastfeeding has stopped. A pregnant woman with diabetes must be closely monitored, since diabetic retinopathy (swelling or leaking of blood vessels in the retina) can progress more quickly during the pregnancy.

Climate and environment are also important factors when it comes to eye health. Extremely cold or hot climates can cause dry eye symptoms. A healthy amount of sun exposure is good for the skin, but an excessive amount can harm your eyes and even lead to vision loss. Smoking dehydrates the skin and can lead to eye bags and dark circles, not to mention a whole slew of serious eye diseases like cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic eye disease.

Symptoms of Declining Vision and Eye Conditions

Some of the most common signs of declining vision or eye disease include:

  • Blind spots
  • Blurry or distorted vision
  • Burning sensation
  • Gritty feeling
  • Itchy eyes
  • Redness
  • Shadows or dark spots on an image
  • Stinging
  • Swelling or soreness in the eye
  • Watery eyes

If you or a loved one experiences any of these symptoms, or if you feel like something just isn’t right with your eyes, speak with your eye doctor right away. Mention any other conditions or medications you may be taking, including birth control pills (a known contributor to Dry Eye Syndrome), and even natural supplements or vitamins. Other factors such as an irregular menstrual cycle, fertility treatments, or cosmetic procedures may impact your vision in ways you may be unaware of, so disclosing this to your doctor is important.

What Can You Do to Improve Your Eye Health?

There are some preventative measures that women can take to ensure their eye health and overall vision are at their best.

  1. Keep that body hydrated! Mothers always say it, doctors remind us too, and they’re right. Drinking 8 glasses of water daily is great for your skin and can prevent dry eye symptoms from forming.
  2. Quit smoking. Not only is it bad for your lungs, but it can cause eye problems, like dryness, itchiness, and swelling, as well as more serious eye diseases associated with vision loss.
  3. Love the outdoors? Wear UV-blocking sunglasses when you’re at the beach or even hanging out in your backyard, to protect against harmful sun rays. Polarized lenses are a great way to shield your eyes from strong glare.
  4. Eat healthy. A balanced diet including a variety of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables may help protect you from several eye conditions including dry eyes, macular degeneration, and even diabetic retinopathy.
  5. Try to get more shut-eye. A healthy amount of sleep ensures your eyes are rested and clear the next day.

On this International Women’s Day, let’s work together to keep the women in our lives healthy for many years to come.