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Risk Of Overusing Eye Drops

If you find yourself constantly reaching for eye drops, it’s time to start looking into the bigger issue: Why do you need them so often? While they may provide a quick and satisfying fix for irritated or itchy eyes, they don’t focus on what might be causing the irritation to begin with.

Two signs that you’re overusing eye drops: you often exceed the daily recommended dose and/or you view eye drops as a cure rather than a temporary treatment.

Risks of Overusing Eye Drops

When overusing eye drops you can run the risk of:

  • Washing away your natural tears. Artificial tears feel great as they lubricate your eyes and help with insufficient tear production. But overuse can literally wash away the natural moisturizers and your natural tears that protect your eyes.
  • Rebounding. As the effects of the eye drops subside or upon discontinuation of the drops, the original eye symptoms may return stronger than before. This is known as eye rebounding. Eye drops clamp down on the blood vessels in the eye to stop itchiness, which means your sclera isn’t getting the oxygen and nutrients it needs. When you stop using eye drops, or their effects wear off, your eyes may work in overdrive to deliver oxygen to those vessels.
  • Masking a more serious problem. Addressing the symptoms of red, itchy eyes rather than the cause could be more serious than you think.

Conditions That Eye Drops Could Be Masking

Red, itchy eyes are a symptom of several conditions, including:

  • Blepharitis – Red and inflamed eyelids, caused by a fungal or bacterial infection, gland dysfunction, parasites, or dry eye, all of which require treatment beyond over-the-counter eye drops.
  • Eye trauma – Scratching or rubbing your eye can cause blood vessels to break, making the eye itchy and red. Some more serious traumas will require prescription eye drops or surgery.
  • Eye strain – Focusing on work all day and night can cause irritated, tired, and strained eyes.
  • Foreign objects – An eyelash, dust, or something worse could be in your eye. If you have long-term issues with itchy or dry eyes, make sure a foreign body isn’t the culprit.
  • Allergies – Allergies to the environment or pets can cause dry, itchy eyes.
  • Pink eye – A bacterial or viral eye infection, also called conjunctivitis, can cause burning, swelling, and itchiness.
  • Dry eye syndrome – Irritation, redness and itchiness are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. In severe cases, DES can damage the cornea.

Regardless of why you often use eye drops, the only way to get to the root cause of your symptoms is a thorough eye exam. Don’t cover up the symptoms with eye drops.

If you’re suffering from irritated, dry eyes that haven’t resolved on their own, contact University Optometry in Palo Alto. We can help you find the long-lasting relief you’ve been looking for.

At University Optometry, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 650-666-2191 or book an appointment online to see one of our Palo Alto eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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Frequently Asked Questions with Dennis E. Ratinoff, OD

Q: What are symptoms of dry eye syndrome ?

  • A: Irritation, redness and itchiness are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. In severe cases, DES can damage the cornea.

Q: Are OTC eye drops safe ?

  • A: Eye drops may provide relief. But don’t overuse them. Overuse can cause more harm than good. Find out what happens when you overuse those relieving eye drops.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Palo Alto, California. Visit University Optometry for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

6 Ways To Maintain Eye Health If You’re Over 50

Aging and certain lifestyle choices can affect your vision, especially if you’re in your 50’s and up. While it’s normal for your eyes and vision to change, there are certain actions you can take to protect your sight.

6 Tips for 50+ Eye Health

  1. Eat Well

    A well-balanced diet helps maintain a healthy body including healthy eyes, and reduces your odds of developing some very serious eye diseases. Nutrients and nutritious foods, which help prevent vision loss include:

    • Vitamin A: Carrots, spinach, kale, egg yolks, dairy products
    • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits and juices, broccoli, potatoes, green peppers
    • Vitamin E: Whole grains, eggs, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils
    • Fatty Acids: Coldwater fish, such as mackerel, rainbow trout and salmon; corn oil, sunflower oil
    • Lutein: Kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, corn
    • Zinc: Poultry, meat, fish, dairy products, whole grains
  1. Quit Smoking

Smoking can significantly increase the chances of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as diabetic retinopathy in diabetics. So if you’re a smoker, the sooner you quit, the better.

  1. Exercise

Exercising for at least 20 minutes a day is great for your whole body, including your eyes, by increasing blood flow to the optic nerve and retina! It isn’t necessary to engage in strenuous exercise—in fact, a brisk walk will suffice.

  1. Protect Your Eyes

Sunglasses

Protecting your eyes from ultraviolet rays with UV-blocking sunglasses can slow down the development of cataracts, prevent sun damage to your retina, and lower the risk of skin cancer near your eyes.

Protective eyewear

Another way to protect your eyes is to wear protective eyewear. If you play sports or work with materials such as wood, glass or metal, protective eyewear can shield your eyes from splinters and shards, as well as fast-moving objects like balls and hockey pucks.

  1. Give Your Eyes a Rest

If you spend a lot of time reading, driving or looking at digital devices, you may develop eye strain and eye fatigue. By implementing the 20-20-20 rule, especially during prolonged computer or smartphone use, you can give your eyes some much-needed rest. All you need to do is this: every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

  1. Have Regular Eye Exams

And finally, a comprehensive eye exam is crucial, as it can detect eye conditions that don’t display any symptoms until vision loss has already occurred.

These conditions include:

    • Age-Related Macular Degeneration
    • Cataracts
    • Glaucoma
    • Diabetic Retinopathy

When detected early, treatment can often prevent permanent vision loss or even blindness. Less serious and more common, presbyopia or age-related farsightedness, develops with age, and simply updating your prescription for glasses or contact lenses at your routine eye checkup can keep you enjoying the arm’s-length activities you love.

Age-related vision changes can be challenging, both emotionally and physically. However, some of these can be mitigated by implementing the tips above. Schedule an eye exam with University Optometry in Palo Alto to check your eye health today!

Q&A

How does aging affect your eyes?

Aging causes changes in every part of your body, including your eyes. As you age, the lens inside your eye begins to harden, which leads to presbyopia (age-related farsightedness). This makes it more difficult for your eyes to focus on near objects and tasks like reading. Other common age-related eye problems include:

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Dry Eyes
  • Floaters
  • Changes to Peripheral Vision

Can I do anything about my chances of vision loss?

It is estimated that half of all visual impairment and blindness can be prevented through early diagnosis and treatment. So make sure you get regular eye exams to ensure that all is in check.

Protect Your Child’s Eyes with Sports Glasses

Nearly half of all sports-related eye injuries occur in children aged 15 and under. Luckily, 9 out of 10 sports-related eye injuries can be prevented with the right protective eyewear. If your child plays sports, discuss protective eyewear with their eye doctor. .

What Is Protective Eyewear?

Protective eyewear is made of ultra-strong polycarbonate, a form of impact-resistant plastic that can withstand a hit without breaking. Polycarbonate glasses also protect the eyes from UV rays.

While protective eyewear is essential even for children with 20/20 vision, most protective eyewear can be customized to fit a child’s prescription. Some children may prefer to wear their regular glasses or contact lenses under safety goggles.

Different types of protective eyewear are required for different sports.

  • For high-risk eye-injury sports like softball or baseball, football, basketball, tennis, soccer, hockey or volleyball, one-piece plastic sports frames with nonprescription or prescription polycarbonate lenses provide protection and clear vision.
  • For lower-risk eye-injury sports like skating or cycling, invest in polycarbonate lenses with a strong eyeglass frame.

The Importance of Sports Protective Eyewear

Eye injuries may involve being struck in the eye, poked or jabbed, or being hit in the eye by a flying object.

Despite these risks, eye protection is often an afterthought, even for athletes who wear gear to protect their head, wrists, knees and even teeth.

Although protective eyewear is worn to protect the eyes of children and adults, it can also help your child enjoy clearer vision. Furthermore, wearing protective eyewear allows them to concentrate on the game instead of worrying about getting injured or losing or breaking their everyday frames or contact lenses.

Protect your child’s eyes from sports-related eye injuries and give them more confidence while playing by contacting Village Eye Centre Sherwood Park today!

At University Optometry, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 650-666-2191 or book an appointment online to see one of our Palo Alto eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Dennis E. Ratinoff, OD

Q: What Is Protective Eyewear?

  • A: Protective eyewear is made of ultra-strong polycarbonate, a form of impact-resistant plastic that can withstand a hit without breaking. Polycarbonate glasses also protect the eyes from UV rays.While protective eyewear is essential even for children with 20/20 vision, most protective eyewear can be customized to fit a child’s prescription. Some children may prefer to wear their regular glasses or contact lenses under safety goggles.

Q: What is Importance of Sports Protective Eyewear?

  • A: Eye injuries may involve being struck in the eye, poked or jabbed, or being hit in the eye by a flying object.Despite these risks, eye protection is often an afterthought, even for athletes who wear gear to protect their head, wrists, knees and even teeth.Although protective eyewear is worn to protect the eyes of children and adults, it can also help your child enjoy clearer vision. Furthermore, wearing protective eyewear allows them to concentrate on the game instead of worrying about getting injured or losing or breaking their everyday frames or contact lenses.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Palo Alto, California. Visit University Optometry for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Back-To-School: Why [Eye_Exams] Are More Important Than Ever

Since the onset of COVID-19, many children have been learning remotely through distance learning programs. While parents are concerned about their children falling behind academically, eye doctors are concerned that undiagnosed vision problems may impact the child’s school performance.

Undetected vision problems may hinder a child’s ability to learn. That’s why eye doctors strongly recommend that children undergo a thorough eye exam before the new school year begins.

While it’s tempting to rely on vision screenings provided by schools, these superficial visual acuity tests can identify only a limited number of eyesight problems. Only a comprehensive eye exam conducted by an eye doctor can accurately diagnose and address a wide range of problems related to vision and eye health.

Why Are Eye Exams Important?

Up to 80% of children’s learning is visual, so even the slightest vision problem can have a negative impact on their academic achievement. Taking a child in for an eye exam once a year will allow your eye doctor to detect and correct refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, and check their visual skills, such as convergence insufficiency, binocular vision, focusing and more.

Comprehensive eye exams are the best way to detect mild and serious eye health conditions. Routine eye exams are especially important for children with a family history of eye health problems.

How Is Vision Affected By Online Learning?

The amount of time children spend looking at digital screens was already a concern in the pre-pandemic era—but the COVID pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. According to the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, children spent twice as much time on screens during COVID-related closures than they did prior to the pandemic.

For one thing, spending prolonged periods of time on digital devices forces the eyes to work harder, making children (and adults) more susceptible to digital eye strain, one of the hallmark symptoms of computer vision syndrome. People who spend 2 or more consecutive hours staring at a screen are at higher risk of developing this condition.

Some computer vision syndrome symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye pain
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

These symptoms can be caused by a combination of the following factors:

  • Glare and reflections from the screen
  • Excessive time looking at a screen
  • Poor lighting
  • Poor posture
  • Screen brightness
  • Undetected vision problems

In addition to digital eye strain, several studies have found that children who spend many hours indoors doing “near work” — writing, reading and looking at computers and other digital devices — have a higher rate of myopia progression.

A study published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s professional journal, Ophthalmology, found that first-graders who spent at least 11 hours per week playing outside in the sunshine experienced slower myopia progression. Some researchers think that exposure to sunlight and looking at distant objects while playing outdoors might help decrease myopia progression.

While regular eye exams are essential for every member of the family, they’re especially important for those who spend a good portion of their day in front of a screen.

Don’t put off your child’s annual eye exam. Schedule an appointment with University Optometry in Palo Alto today!

Q&A

1. At what age should a child have an eye exam?

According to the American and Canadian Optometric Associations, it’s recommended for a child to have their first eye exam between 6-12 months of age.

Before a child starts school, they should undergo an eye exam, and every one to two years after that, based on their eye doctor‘s recommendation.

2. Does my child need an eye exam if they passed the school vision screening?

Yes! School vision screenings are superficial eye evaluations designed to diagnose a limited number of vision problems like myopia. They do not check for visual skills and other problems that may hinder your child’s academic success.

Your eye doctor will evaluate your child’s vision and eye health, along with visual abilities, including depth perception and eye tracking, to let you know whether your child’s eyes are “school-ready.”

Is It Really That Bad to Sleep or Shower In Contact Lenses?

Is it safe to wear contact lenses while showering or sleeping?

No. It’s absolutely not safe to wear contacts while immersed in water or when sleeping (unless you have contacts specifically intended for overnight wear).

Sleeping in your contact lenses can dry out your eyes and potentially harm your vision as a result of infection. Contact lenses should also be kept away from water as it’s a natural breeding ground for bacteria and microorganisms, which can get trapped under the contact lens, putting you at risk of a waterborne eye infection.

Why Does Sleeping in Contacts Increase the Risk of Infection?

To stay healthy, your corneas require hydration and oxygen. Blinking keeps your eyes wet, and the tears you produce allow oxygen to enter your eyes.

Sleeping in standard contacts limits the amount of oxygen and hydration that reach your eyes. As a result, your corneas are more dry and susceptible to corneal abrasion, and they have a harder time fighting bacteria, causing your eyes to be more prone to infection.

If, after sleeping in contact lenses, you experience blurred vision, discharge from your eyes, redness or watering, you may have an eye infection. Left untreated, infection can lead to corneal damage, and—in extreme cases—loss of vision.

What are the Risks of Showering While Wearing Contacts?

Contact lens wearers are more likely to develop keratitis, an inflammation of the cornea, if their lenses come into contact with water. Left untreated, keratitis can cause vision loss.

In microbial keratitis, microorganisms invade the cornea and cause an infection of the eye. The microorganisms that cause these infections can be found in a variety of water sources, including rivers, lakes and streams, showers, tap, a pool or jacuzzi. Normally, the antimicrobial properties of tears protect your eyes, but that process is hindered by contact lenses.

Furthermore, contact lenses can stick to your eye when exposed to water, potentially leading to corneal abrasions. These scratches may enable microorganisms found in non-sterile water to penetrate the cornea and cause an infection.

Eye Care Tips for Contact Lens Wearers

  • In order to avoid eye infections, it’s important to follow the tips below. However, do not consider these tips as medical advice. Always speak to your eye doctor for individual advice on wearing and caring for your contact lenses.
  • Avoid water while wearing contacts. Keep your contacts away from water. Make sure to remove your contacts before showering, bathing, or swimming. Don’t rinse or store your contacts in water, and if it does occur, make sure to throw away or disinfect them thoroughly.
  • Don’t sleep in your contacts. Avoid wearing your contacts when sleeping, unless you have special overnight lenses or your eye doctor has told you that it’s safe to do so.
  • Use clean hands. Always wash your hands and dry them thoroughly before touching your contacts.
  • Follow product instructions. Always follow the directions when cleaning or disinfecting your contacts.
  • Store contacts properly. Make sure your contacts are exclusively stored in fresh contact lens solution. Never reuse old solution.
  • Wear contacts for the proper length of time. Avoid wearing your contacts for longer than the recommended time period.

So, remove those lenses before going to bed and showering. If you experience symptoms like eye pain, discharge, or sensitivity to light, immediately remove your lenses and consult University Optometry in Palo Alto without delay.

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dennis E. Ratinoff, OD

Q: Who can wear contact lenses?

  • A: Almost everyone can wear contact lenses, no matter their age, prescription or lifestyle.

Q: What if I accidentally fall asleep with my contacts?

  • A: If you fall asleep with your contacts on, you may wake up with them attached to your eye’s surface. If they don’t come out easily, blink and apply lens drops until the surface of your eye is moist. That should make it easier to remove the lenses.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Palo Alto, California. Visit University Optometry for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

What Eye Drops Are Best For My Eyes?

Are you suffering from red, irritated and scratchy eyes? Do you feel like you have something stuck in your eyes? These are hallmark symptoms of dry eye syndrome, a condition that occurs when your eyes are not properly lubricated due to insufficient tear production, blocked glands, or unbalanced tear composition.

The symptoms can be so unpleasant that many rush to the nearest pharmacy to find the perfect eye drops that will offer them the relief they need so that they can get back to focusing on other things.

However, seeking the ideal artificial tears to relieve dry eyes can be a daunting process. The eye drops shelf at the drug store offers so many options that it’s hard to know which ones are right for you. What’s more, some can actually make your symptoms worse.

Not all eye drops are created equal—currently, there are 6 main categories of artificial tears available over the counter. Choosing the artificial tears based on your specific needs can help narrow your options.

The 6 Types of Eye Drops / Artificial Tears

Preserved Artificial Tears

Preserved artificial tears contain added preservatives to maintain a very long shelf and keep bacteria at bay once the bottle is opened. Unfortunately, it also causes inflammatory dry eye disease, meibomian gland dysfunction and an allergic reaction in those who are sensitive, leading to redness, irritation and inflammation. While these drops may offer temporary relief, long term they can do more harm than good. Moreover, the preservatives may leave residue on contact lenses.

Preservative-Free Artificial Tears

Preservative-free artificial tears are great for contact lens wearers as they don’t cause any preservative build-up on the lenses. They are also suitable for those with sensitive eyes since they contain fewer ingredients that can cause irritation.

Preservative-free eye drops typically come in a box of 28 to 30 small vials that fit in a pocket or purse.

To use these drops, just pop the top off and insert the drops into your eyes. Some of these vials can be re-capped to allow you to continue to use the vial for up to 24 hours, but not longer. Refrigerate opened vials between uses to prevent any bacterial growth.

Oil-Based Artificial Tears

Oil-based tears come in preserved and preservative-free versions. These are thicker than traditional eye drops, as they contain an oil-based formulation. The oil helps prevent the watery portion of the tears from evaporating too quickly.

If you suffer from moderate or severe dry eye, oil-based artificial tears may be a great option. However, they’re not recommended for contact lens wearers, as the oils may stick to the surface of the lenses, making it difficult to keep them clean.

Eye Drop Spray or Mist

These sprays are preservative-free and are used to relieve dryness and irritation in both the eyes and eyelids. They’re easy to use, especially for those who struggle to insert drops into their eyes.

To use the spray, just close your eyes and spray onto your closed eyelids. Once you blink, the tears will slide into your eyes.

Don’t use the spray if you’re wearing makeup, lotions, or creams on your eyelids, as it can cause the makeup or lotion to enter your eye.

Artificial Tear Gel

Artificial tear gel adds a thick coating of tears and can be used at any time of the day or night. However, the thicker consistency of the gel drop may blur your vision for several minutes.

The gel is applied in the same way as eye drops. It effectively soothes the eyes and provides extended relief for both moderate to severe dry eye.

Most artificial tear gels contain preservatives, so they can only be used up to 4 times a day, and usually they are not safe for contact lens wearers.

Artificial Tear Ointment

Dry eye ointments are thick and coat the front of your eye. They’re usually used 1 to 2 times daily as needed. It may be best to use them at bedtime, as it will blur your vision.

Get Dry Eye Relief Today!

Artificial tears may be a good way to temporarily relieve eye dryness. However, using the wrong type of eye drops can be worse than not using any drops at all. So be sure to consult your eye doctor before you get eye drops.

Keep in mind that eye drops don’t address the root cause of dry eyes; they just provide temporary respite from the uncomfortable dry eye symptoms. Only an eye doctor can examine your eyes to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend the best treatment for your unique case of dry eye.

Schedule an appointment with University Optometry in Palo Alto to learn more about dry eye syndrome and to find out which treatment is best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dennis E. Ratinoff, OD

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes either produce low-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes hydrated. This may be due to certain diseases (like diabetes or other autoimmune diseases), aging, allergies, hormonal changes, smoking, poor air quality, medications and the environment.

Q: What are the symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome can cause a wide range of symptoms including:Itchy eyes
    A feeling that there is grit or debris in the eye
    Blurred vision
    Burning sensation
    Dryness
    Irritation
    Sensitivity to light and glare

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Palo Alto, California. Visit University Optometry for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

How to Choose Eyeglass Frames For Your Features

You’re ready for new glasses. But how do you know which frames will best suit your features?

Some people take pictures of all the pairs they try on and send them to their friends, family or coworkers for feedback. But that’s time consuming and not particularly efficient.

Here’s a better way! Learn what frame features to look to suit the size and shape of your face, as well as your skin tone.

Below are a handful of tips that are sure to help select your frame.

What’s Your Face Shape?

The secret to finding your perfect frames is choosing a pair that best suits your face shape.

You see, our features vaguely resemble particular geometric shapes.

For example:

  • Heart-shaped faces have a narrow chin, a wide forehead and cheeks, and are sometimes topped off with a widow’s peak hairline
  • Round faces have full cheeks, a more rounded hairline and chin, and are similar in width and length
  • Oval faces are similar to round faces, except longer and thinner
  • Square faces have a strong jawline and forehead, and are roughly equal in width and length

So a pair of rectangular frames on a square face will further emphasize the squareness, but rounder glasses can help soften those angles. Rectangular frames are best suited for an oval or round face.

If you don’t already know your face shape, just look in the mirror, close one eye, and draw the outline of your face with a washable marker. The end result should resemble one of the above-mentioned shapes.

Size and Color Matter

Consider the size and color of the frames, along with their shape. They should be the right size for your face—not too big and not too small. This is true for both adults and children.

If you have a cool skin tone, colors to consider for your frames are blue, pink, blue-grey, silver, black, or rose-brown.

If you have warmer skin tones, frame colors like warm blue, off-white, fire-engine red, orange, copper, peach, copper or gold tend to look better.

Looking for Your Ideal Frames? We Can Help!

Want to look great and see clearly? Pop on over and select from a wide range of high-quality designer frames and independent eyewear that match your personal style.

If you need any help, our dedicated optician will happily help you find something that will make you feel confident as ever. Our inclusive selection of sunglasses, eyeglasses, reading glasses, and contact lenses guarantee that you’ll achieve clear and comfortable vision in style.

Contact or visit University Optometry in Palo Alto so we can start looking for the perfect frames for you.

At University Optometry, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 650-666-2191 or book an appointment online to see one of our Palo Alto eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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Q&A

Frequntly Asked Questions with Doctor Ratinoff

Q: How do I choose glasses that my child will actually wear?

  • A: When choosing frames for your child, the most important factor is to let them help in the selection process. When children are allowed to choose their glasses frames they will be much more likely to wear them.

Q: How often should I get a new pair of glasses?

  • A: Optometrists recommend updating to new glasses every one to three years as needed.
    If your prescription has changed, you should definitely get a new pair to prevent eye strain and increase comfort.

How’s Your Hand-Eye Coordination?

People with poor hand-eye coordination are sometimes perceived as clumsy or inattentive. The truth is that poor hand-eye coordination stems from a deficit in visual-motor coordination. Fortunately, your eye doctor will assess your coordination during a comprehensive eye exam.

What Is Hand-Eye Coordination?

Hand-eye coordination is a person’s ability to smoothly control their hand movements based on the visual cues they receive from the brain. When the eyes and brain are communicating effectively, a person’s hand-eye coordination can be drastically improved. Many activities, from driving a car to catching a ball, depend on our visual system working at its best.

Here’s how it works: Our eyes capture what they see around them, and send this visual information to the brain. The brain processes and interprets these images, and then communicates with our hands and arms, informing them of the object’s position, speed, size and many other parameters.

This process is very complex and must work seamlessly for our hands to react quickly to visual stimuli. Having good hand-eye coordination can be the difference between turning the steering wheel away from an encroaching car to avoid an accident, or being hit by that car.

We all utilize hand-eye coordination multiple times throughout the day when doing things like:

  • Writing
  • Driving
  • Typing
  • Playing a video game
  • Exercising or playing sports
  • Inserting a credit card into a chip reader

When the visual and motor systems don’t communicate efficiently, a person may experience symptoms like clumsiness at the very least, and professional, academic or developmental challenges at the worst. For example, poor hand-eye coordination can interfere with typing skills, attention and handwriting.

Even a person with perfect visual acuity (eyesight) and great motor skills can experience poor hand-eye coordination. That’s because the problem usually isn’t with the individual systems, but rather how the brain, eyes and the body interact with each other.

Eye Exams Can Detect Problems With Visual Skills

Assessing hand-eye coordination is crucial for both adults and children, as this skill greatly impacts most parts of life.

At your comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will check several visual skills, including hand-eye coordination. If a problem with hand-eye coordination or any other visual skill is found, Doctor Ratinoff will discuss the next steps in treating and correcting the problem.

To schedule an eye exam for you or your child, call University Optometry in Palo Alto today!

Q&A

#1: What other visual skills are evaluated during an eye exam?

During an eye exam, your optometrist will test for visual acuity, convergence, eye tracking, eye teaming, color vision, and focusing. Testing these skills is especially important for school-aged children, since learning and academic performance heavily depend on healthy vision.

#2: How often do you need a comprehensive eye exam?

Adults should have their eyes examined by an optometrist every year, or as frequently as their optometrist recommends. Children should have their eyes first checked at 6-12 months of age and then as frequently as advised by the optometrist. As a rule, most children should be seen when they are 2 or 3 years old, before first grade and then every year thereafter.

If you have any concerns about your child’s vision or are yourself due for an eye exam, contact us today. We want what’s best for your vision and life!

Childhood Myopia Is in Crisis Mode on a Global Scale

When it comes to the prevalence of myopia (nearsightedness), the statistics are staggering. By 2050, nearly half of the world’s population—about 5 billion people—will be myopic. Below are a few useful tips to help you prevent your child from being part of that statistic.

What Is Myopia?

Myopia occurs when the eye elongates, causing light rays to focus in front of the light-sensitive retina rather than directly on it, while looking at something far away. So, people with nearsightedness perceive distant objects as blurred while close-up objects can remain clear.

Myopia tends to develop during childhood, when the eyeballs rapidly grow (along with the rest of the body), mainly between the ages of 8-18. It can worsen slowly or quickly, but it is not simply an inconvenience. People with progressive myopia are more likely to develop serious eye diseases like cataracts, retinal detachment, macular degeneration and glaucoma later in life—conditions which may lead to permanent loss of vision and even blindness.

How To Know Whether Your Child Is Myopic

Below are some telltale signs to watch for:

  • Blurred distance vision – Objects in the distance are blurred; kids may complain that they can’t see the board
  • Headaches – When myopia isn’t corrected, it can cause eye strain and headaches.
  • Head tilting or squinting – If your child squints or tilts his or her head while watching TV, for example, it may be a symptom of myopia.
  • Looking at objects too closely – If you notice your child moving closer to the TV or squinting as they try to see the writing on the board, it may indicate myopia.

What Parents Can Do to Slow Their Child’s Myopia Progression

  • Encourage your child to go outdoors for at least 90 minutes a day, preferably in the sunshine. Studies show that playing outdoors reduces the risk of developing myopia and slows its progression.
  • Limit the amount of time your child spends staring at a screen, reading and doing close work such as homework.
  • When your child uses a digital screen, make sure that it isn’t too close to the face.
  • Teach the 20-20-20 rule: During screen time, take a break every 20 minutes to look at an object across the room or out the window about 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.
Frequently Asked Questions with Dennis E. Ratinoff, OD

Q: How is myopia diagnosed?

  • A: Your child’s eye doctor will perform a thorough pediatric eye exam to diagnose myopia, which often includes a visual acuity test, where the eye doctor will use an eye chart made up of letters of varied sizes. If the test results indicate myopia, then the optometrist may shine a light into their eyes and evaluate the reflection off the retina to determine the degree of refractive error for their prescription.

Q: Can myopia lead to blindness?

  • A: High myopia may increase your child’s risk of developing more serious eye conditions later in life, such as cataracts, retinal detachment and glaucoma. Left untreated, high myopia complications can sometimes lead to blindness—which is why routine eye exams are critical.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Palo Alto, California. Visit University Optometry for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

Allergy Season Is Here And Stronger Than Ever

Spring is here! Flowers are blooming and pollen is drifting through the warm air, wreaking havoc on people who suffer from eye allergies. Many people say their seasonal allergies arrived ahead of schedule this year, and that their symptoms are more intense than in previous years.

Below, we’ll explain what eye allergies are and why allergy season is becoming longer and stronger.

What Are Eye Allergies?

Eye allergies, also known as “allergic conjunctivitis,” are the eyes’ reaction to irritants and allergens in the environment. Symptoms of eye allergies may vary from inconvenient to debilitating, but they’re usually treatable.

Symptoms of eye allergies include red, itchy, swollen eyes, watery or painful eyes, and are often accompanied by sneezing, a runny nose and nasal congestion.

Major causes of eye allergies include:

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Makeup and cosmetic products
  • Preservatives found in eye drops

Eye allergies are treated on a case-by-case basis, depending on what allergen is the culprit. Treatment can include oral or topical antihistamines, decongestants, lubricating eye drops and limiting exposure to allergens.

Why Does Allergy Season Seem Longer and Stronger This Year?

Several studies have observed the relationship between climate change and pollen season. As atmospheric temperatures rise, flowers and trees sense the warmth and start to release pollen.

When comparing the pollen season of 1990 to that of 2018, scientists noticed that it had increased by 20 days during that timespan. What’s more, the environmental pollen concentration had also increased by 21% over the same period. In other words, allergy season is becoming longer and more intense each year.

Aside from warming temperatures, the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels also plays a role in making allergy season more intense. Plants need CO2 to grow, and more CO2 means larger, stronger plants.

As atmospheric CO2 increases with climate change, flowers are producing significantly more pollen. CO2 can also make certain plants more potent and increase the amount of allergen-containing particles per pollen grain.

In fact, if atmospheric CO2 levels keep rising at this pace, it is projected that by the end of the century there will be 200% more pollen in the air!

You may be wondering if you’re in the clear because there aren’t many pollen-producing plants in your area. But some research suggests that changes in wind patterns due to climate change can expose people to pollen originating hundreds of miles away.

If You Suffer From Eye Allergies, We Can Help!

Although climate change is bad news for allergy sufferers, the good news is that we can help you manage your symptoms.

Don’t let eye allergies put a damper on your time in the sun. To schedule an eye exam and learn how we can offer long-lasting relief, call University Optometry in Palo Alto today!

At University Optometry, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 650-666-2191 or book an appointment online to see one of our Palo Alto eye doctors.

Want to Learn More? Read on!

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Why Do Onions Make Us Cry?

Exercise and Your Eye Health

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Q&A

#1: What else can you do to ease the symptoms of eye allergies?

Wearing wraparound sunglasses whenever outdoors can protect your eyes from airborne allergens like pollen and dust. Also, you may want to temporarily stop wearing contact lenses until your symptoms subside. Allergens can build up on the surface of the lens and irritate your eyes every time you insert them. Additionally, keep your windows closed whenever you’re indoors to prevent allergens from entering.

#2: Are eye allergies dangerous?

Eye allergies rarely cause any permanent damage to your eyes, but they can cause temporary blurred vision. Symptoms of eye allergies can be quite distracting and even painful, so be sure to visit your local optometrist at the first sign of discomfort.

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