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What is Excessive Screen Time Doing to Your Kid’s Vision?

Schools across the country are learning virtually, which means kids are spending long hours staring at a computer screen. This has prompted eye care professionals everywhere to question the impact of prolonged screen time on children’s eyes.

Long periods of screen time have been associated with lasting effects on kids’ vision and physical health. Since much of the time spent on digital devices is for learning purposes and therefore unavoidable, it’s vital to teach kids healthy habits to prevent future eye problems. Our eye doctor near you summarizes the concerns and provides advice for how parents can help mitigate the effects.

Common Symptoms Caused by Screens

  • Eye strain and fatigue
  • Red eyes
  • Eye rubbing
  • General vision discomfort
  • Headaches

All of the above symptoms can make it harder for kids to learn and focus on the school work they need to get done. However, as children spend more and more time on computers, they often get used to the uncomfortable symptoms and assume they’re normal, so they won’t even complain. That’s why it’s up to parents to spot the signs and consult an optometrist near you. Neglecting to consult with an eye care provider for assistance and relief from the symptoms, may cause your child’s learning to suffer.

Vision Can Change

Hours spent learning online can also change your child’s vision prescription enough that new eyeglasses or contact lenses are required. By not visiting an eye clinic near you for an eye exam to check vision, kids may also begin to dread and avoid learning, because it’s simply too hard to see it clearly and comfortably. If your child’s grades begin to slip, it’s recommended to book an eye exam with vision testing by a qualified eye doctor.

Tips to Help Prevent Vision Problems

It’s essential to be proactive with pediatric vision and not simply to wait until problems surface. By practicing preventive eye care, you can help promote success for children in school and in life. In particular, we recommend kids who learn and play on a computer or other digital device, take regular breaks to play outdoors. Also, book routine pediatric eye exams. Yearly checkups are recommended for school-aged children; for kids under age 5, visit an optometrist near you at one, three, and five years of age.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our West Roxbury eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at Michael L. Smookler, O.D. eye clinic near you in West Roxbury, Massachusetts to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 844-945-2020

Michael L. Smookler, O.D., your West Roxbury eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • My child is struggling in school. Should I have his/her eyes examined?

    A comprehensive eye examination by an optometrist can often determine if there are visual issues interfering with a child’s ability to perform in school. Many visual symptoms, some obvious, others less so, can contribute to a child’s poor academic achievement. The most common symptoms to watch out for: Blur at distance or near Skipping or re-reading lines or words Reduced reading comprehension Difficulty shifting focus from near to far or far to near Difficulty copying from the smart board Double vision Closing or covering an eye when working at near Headaches; especially in the forehead, temple, or eyebrow regions Difficulty attending to near work or an avoidance of reading Poor spelling Misaligning numbers in math Unusual head or body posture when working at near Some of these issues can be alleviated with a good pair of eyeglasses while others may require vision therapy. Vision therapy, like occupational therapy or physical therapy, is a systematic program where the body, in this case, the visual system, can be retrained and strengthened to improve its ability to function.

  • My child says it gets blurry when looking from his paper to the board at school, and getting him to read is difficult. Is there anything I can do to help?

    Your child is not alone. While we have seen some children with focusing problems for many years, there is a huge increase in accommodative(focusing) problems with children today. Michael L. Smookler, O.D. has helped many children make reading easier and more enjoyable. Words shouldn’t move in and out of focus or move around when you are reading. Either with spec lenses with extra power for reading or multifocal contacts, we can make reading more comfortable for many children. There is no reason to make school and reading more difficult by straining and having the eyes work harder to see.

  • My child passed the screening test at school, isn’t that enough?

    Distance and reading are two different things. Someone with perfect distance vision can still have focusing problems up close. Doctors need to check for both, many children have undiagnosed accommodative (focusing) problems because no one ever looked for it before. We always check the distance and near vision of all ages because it is so important. Other areas that need to be checked are eye muscle alignment, color vision, depth perception, and overall health of the eyes.

  • What can I do about Digital Eye Strain?

    We can help! We offer a number of different eyeglass lenses that can help people of all ages relieve Digital Eye Strain and ease fatigue after extended reading or computer use. There are also lens treatments such as anti-reflective and blue light blocking to protect our eyes and make our eyes more comfortable. We also prescribe many different types of contact lenses to make reading more enjoyable and make it easier to focus from distance to near.

What Is the Long-Term Impact of Virtual Learning on Children’s Eyes?

Kids, like adults, are spending more time online. At some point during the COVID-19 pandemic, many children attended school via Zoom and completed assignments online. The trend toward more screen time — whether playing games or being in touch with friends — is likely to continue even after everyone returns to the classroom.

We already know that prolonged screen time can cause digital eye strain as well as dry eye symptoms, among other problems in children and adults. There is some indication that extended exposure to blue light may impact the development of retinal cells. However, studies on actual subjects still need to be done to establish a clear connection.

Dry Eyes

Spending a long time in front of screens can impact how quickly our tears evaporate, because we blink around 66% less when using a computer compared to other daily activities. When tears evaporate too quickly and aren’t replenished with blinking our eyes start to feel dry and gritty. So remember to blink every few seconds to prevent your eyes from drying out!

Blue Light Exposure

Screens, such as those that appear on computers, phones and tablets emit blue light. Recent studies have shown that overexposure to blue light can damage the retinal cells at the back of your eyes. This may increase the risk of vision issues such as age-related macular degeneration which eventually leads to permanent loss of vision.

Excess blue light has also been shown to disrupt the circadian rhythms that regulate our sleep patterns, as it tricks your internal clock into thinking that it is the middle of the day. This may lead to difficulty in falling asleep, insomnia, and daytime fatigue.

Digital Eye Strain

Nearly 60% of people who routinely use computers or digital devices experience symptoms of digital eye strain — also called computer vision syndrome. Symptoms of eye strain include eye fatigue and discomfort, dry eye, headaches, blurred vision, neck and shoulder pain, eye twitching, and red eyes.

Taking frequent breaks from your screen can help reduce eye strain and neck, back and shoulder pain during your workday.

It is recommended to take at least one 10-minute break every hour. During these breaks, stand up, move about and stretch your arms, legs, back, neck and shoulders to relieve tension and muscle aches.

Also, look away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This relaxes the focusing lens inside the eye to prevent fatigue.

How to Make Virtual Learning Safer For Your Child

The following tips can lessen the impact of screens on your child’s eyes:

  • Reduce overall screen time
  • Encourage frequent breaks
  • Use accessories that filter blue light (for example, blue light glasses)
  • Schedule regular eye exams

Make Sure Your Child Gets Routine Eye Exams

Children need comprehensive eye exams to assess the health of their eyes, correct their vision and spot potential problems which can affect learning and behavior.

To schedule a pediatric eye exam near you, call our optometrist in West Roxbury today!

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Q&A With Our Eye Doctor in West Roxbury, Massachusetts

What are blue light glasses?

Blue light glasses, also known as computer glasses, effectively block the transmission of blue light emitted from devices and computer screens. They often include a coating to reduce glare to further reduce eye strain. These glasses can be purchased with or without a prescription.

What’s the 20-20-20 rule?

If you find yourself gazing at screens all day, whether your computer, smartphone, iPad or television, you’re at risk of experiencing eye strain. So make sure you schedule frequent breaks from your screen and follow the 20-20-20 rule; every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. And while you’re at it, use this time to get up, walk around, and stretch.

Dry Eye After LASIK Is More Common Than You May Think!

Dry eye syndrome is the most common side effect of LASIK, especially in the weeks following the procedure. Here’s what you need to know about LASIK-related dry eye syndrome and how it’s treated.

Many people choose refractive surgery like LASIK to permanently correct their vision without the need for glasses or contacts. And although it’s considered a safe and effective procedure, LASIK carries risks of complications and adverse effects, just like any other surgery.

One of the most common post-LASIK complications is dry eye syndrome, a condition characterized by chronic eye dryness. In fact, about 95% of patients report having symptoms of dry eye syndrome for up to a few days or even weeks after surgery. That number drops to about 60% a month after LASIK and by 6-12 months post-surgery, most patients have recovered. Few patients report having symptoms of dry eye syndrome a year after surgery and beyond.

Symptoms of Post-LASIK Dry Eye Syndrome

Patients may experience any number of the following dry eye symptoms following LASIK:

  • Irritation
  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Feeling that something is stuck in the eye
  • Eye fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Reduced visual acuity
  • Why Can LASIK Cause Dry Eye Syndrome?

Why Can LASIK Cause Dry Eye Syndrome?

LASIK can disrupt the feedback system that alerts your brain about eye dryness.

During LASIK, the surgeon makes tiny incisions in the cornea that can damage corneal nerves, making the cornea less sensitive to stimuli and sensations. Because of this, the normal cornea nerve impulses that control tear production may not function fully, and signals that would ordinarily tell the brain to begin tear production may not be sent.

This results in underproduction of tears, and a dry ocular surface.

Who’s at Risk of Developing Post-LASIK Dry Eyes?

You’re more likely to develop dry eyes following LASIK if any of the following apply to you:

  • Preexisting dry eye syndrome
  • High myopia before the surgery
  • Older age, especially a woman after menopause
  • Have an autoimmune disease, for example Sjorgen’s syndrome
  • Take certain medications that dry out the eyes, like allergy medication, blood pressure regulators or antidepressants
  • Live in a dry environment
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Keratoconus

Your surgeon will evaluate your ocular condition before performing surgery, and take into account any risk factors for developing dry eye syndrome after the procedure.

How We Can Help

Whether you have dry eyes or not, annual eye exams are vital for maintaining healthy eyes and clear vision. If signs of dry eye syndrome are detected during the examination, we’ll discuss the next steps to take for restoring healthy and refreshed eyes.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our West Roxbury eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at Michael L. Smookler, O.D. eye clinic near you in West Roxbury, Massachusetts to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 844-945-2020

Michael L. Smookler, O.D., your West Roxbury eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • My eyes are always burning and tired, what is causing this and what can I do about it?

    These are often signs of dry eye syndrome, a very common condition that affects many people over time. Women are generally more prone to developing these symptoms and aging is often a cause as well. Dryness of our eyes is often due to a decrease in the oil production in our eyelid glands which causes the surface of the eye to become irritated. Certain medications and health issues can also contribute to dryness. There is no true cure for dryness but many treatments are available such as the use of artificial tears, nutritional supplements incorporating Omega 3, prescription medications such as Restasis, and eyelid hygiene. No single treatment works for every individual so we customize treatments for each person and their specific condition.’

  • Are there some every day activities that can cause Dry Eye?

    Yes. Generally, those that suffer from allergies, or have systemic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and Sjogren’s, or those who use the computer or digital devices often and even contact lens wearers tend to be more susceptible to dry eye symptoms.

  • Am I a good candidate for refractive surgery?

    Patients who are at least 18 years of age, have healthy eyes that are free from retinal problems, corneal scars, and any eye diseases are generally suitable. Many patients who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism are potential candidates. We will also discuss your lifestyle needs to help you decide if LASIK is the best alternative for you. If you would like to schedule a free LASIK consultation, please contact our office.

  • What are some of the qualifications for being a good LASIK candidate?

    Some of the qualifications include having healthy eyes, good general health, corneas that are not too thin, stable vision, a prescription that is not too high, realistic expectations, and being at least 18 years of age.

Do You Get Blurred Vision After Eating?

Have you ever gotten up from the table after enjoying a meal and noticed that things appeared fuzzy or blurry? If so, you may have experienced a temporary spike in blood sugar that affected your eyes.

If your vision is often blurred after meals, you should schedule a visit to your optometrist and general practitioner to rule out diabetes and other conditions.

The Link Between Blood Sugar and Vision

Diabetes is characterized by excessively high blood sugar levels. In some people it causes food to be digested faster than usual, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar can lead to fluid to build up in the eyes, resulting in blurry vision.

The eye’s natural crystalline lens and cornea are responsible for focusing light onto the retina for clear vision. The lens changes its shape to accommodate focusing on near or far objects. In some cases, when the eye swells due to excess fluid resulting from the high blood sugar, it temporarily doesn’t focus light with the same accuracy.

Foods that are high in sugar and other carbohydrates are most likely to cause blood sugar to spike. Some examples include:

  • White rice and pasta
  • Most breakfast cereals
  • Potatoes in all forms
  • Sugary sodas and beverages
  • Candies and baked goods
  • Fruit juice

Other Possible Causes of Temporary Blurred Vision

Temporary eyesight changes don’t always mean diabetes. Intermittent blurred vision can be caused by other problems or conditions, including:

Many of these conditions will also present with symptoms other than blurred vision, so be sure to be open with your optometrist if you experience any unusual visual symptoms.

If you notice blurred vision only following a high-carb meal, it may be worth tracking your meals and symptoms to try and find a pattern. This information will be valuable for your optometrist and other health care professionals.

How We Can Help

At Michael L. Smookler, O.D., we offer a wide range of eye care services, such as eye exams and eye disease management, including diabetic eye disease. If you’re concerned about temporary blurred vision after eating or any other visual symptoms, contact us to schedule your comprehensive eye exam.

If signs of diabetes are discovered during your visit, don’t worry. We’ll explain the next steps to take, to ensure the best possible outcome. Our goal is to provide top-notch eye care delivered with a smile for all of our patients.

To schedule your eye exam near you, call Michael L. Smookler, O.D. in West Roxbury today!

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Q&A With Our Optometrist in West Roxbury, ?

The American Optometric Association recommends that adults have their eyes checked by an optometrist every 1-2 years. For high risk patients, patients who wear glasses or contact lenses, or those over the age of 65, annual eye exams are recommended. Certain conditions like diabetes may make it necessary to visit your optometrist more often.

Does being diabetic make a person more likely to experience vision loss?

Diabetes can negatively impact your eyes in more ways than one, but preventing vision loss and blindness is becoming easier with new technology and treatments. Having undiagnosed diabetic retinopathy puts a person at a much greater risk of going blind. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, be sure to schedule regular diabetic eye exams including retinal scans, to significantly reduce the chances of experiencing permanent vision loss.

How to Deal with Contact Lens Discomfort

Do your eyes itch or burn when wearing contact lenses? There are several reasons why you may be experiencing contact lens discomfort. Discover the possible causes behind the problem and see what you can do to relieve your discomfort.

What Causes Contact Lens Discomfort?

Some of the top causes of uncomfortable contacts are:

Dry eyes

Dry eye syndrome is a common condition that arises when your tears can’t keep your eyes sufficiently lubricated due to an imbalance in the tear film. Certain diseases, medications and environmental factors, like high levels of dryness and wind, can cause or contribute to red, itchy or irritated eyes, especially when wearing contacts.

Allergies

Allergens are typically harmless substances that induce an allergic response in certain people. Pollen, mold, dust and pet dander are some of the most common airborne allergens that trigger eye allergies. Cosmetics and certain eye drops, such as artificial tears with preservatives, can also induce eye allergies, which can make contact lens wear uncomfortable.

Corneal irregularities

The cornea at the front of the eye may be irregularly shaped due to astigmatism, keratoconus, eye surgeries (i.e. LASIK or cataract surgery), eye injuries or burns, scarring, corneal ulcers and/or severe dry eye. Irregular corneas often prevent traditional contact lenses from fitting correctly and comfortably.

Symptoms of Contact Lens Discomfort

  • Burning, itchy, stinging eyes
  • Sensation of something being stuck is in the eye
  • Excessive watering or tearing of the eyes
  • Unusual eye secretions
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Reduced sharpness of vision
  • Blurred vision, rainbows, or halos around objects
  • Sensitivity to light

How to Relieve Contact Lens Discomfort

Try Different Contact Lenses

Nowadays, there are many types of contact lenses on the market, including specialty contacts for dry eyes and astigmatism. Meet with our optometrist for a personalized eye exam for contacts.

With the variety of contact lens brands available, switching to a different contact lens may be the simplest answer if you’re experiencing discomfort that isn’t connected to improper fitting or issues with tear production. If your existing lenses fit well but still irritate and dry out your eyes, speak to us about trying a different design or brand of contact lenses, or changing your lens-wearing schedule.

Artificial Tears or Eye Drops

Over-the-counter artificial tears or eye drops are a common way to temporarily relieve contact lens discomfort. However, it’s important to keep in mind that unless prescribed by an eye doctor, they may not be treating the root of the problem.

Moreover, certain eye drops are incompatible with contact lenses, and may damage your contacts or harm your eyes. We also recommend staying away from products that claim to remove redness from your eyes, which temporarily reduce the size of blood vessels to lessen redness, but do not address the underlying cause of the condition, and can actually worsen it over time.

Take Good Care of Your Lenses

Inadequate contact lens care leaves residue on your lenses, which can discomfort, harmful eye infections and inflammation. Below are a few important contact lens hygiene guidelines to follow:

  • Before handling your contact lenses, thoroughly wash and dry your hands.
  • Remove your lenses before showering, bathing or swimming to prevent infection.
  • Do not sleep in your contact lenses (unless they are approved for sleeping).
  • Replace your contact lenses according to the manufacturer’s instructions (e.g., don’t reuse daily wear lenses).
  • Regularly clean your contact lens case and ask your eye doctor when to replace it.
  • Only use a contact lens solution that is appropriate for your lenses.
  • Never reuse or mix contact lens solutions.
  • Schedule regular appointments with your eye doctor.

If you are experiencing discomfort with your contact lenses, get in touch with Michael L. Smookler, O.D. in West Roxbury today. We’ll get to the bottom of the problem and provide effective solutions for all-day comfort.

Schedule an contact lenses eye exam with Michael L. Smookler, O.D. in West Roxbury, Massachusetts to check your eye health today!

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Q&A

What kinds of contacts are available?

Contact lenses are available in a wide range of materials and replacement schedules. Disposable contact lenses and extended wear contacts are the most convenient for many users.

I’ve already been fitted for contact lenses, so why did my optometrist ask me to come back?

If you’re asked to return a week later, it’s because your optometrist wants to rule out any issues, such as contact lens-related dry eye or irritation.

If it’s been around a year since your last eye checkup, you’ve likely been contacted to check whether your prescription has changed and to evaluate your eye health. The sooner problems are detected and treated, the better the outcome.

What is Viral Conjunctivitis?

Viral conjunctivitis, also called “pink eye”, is a highly contagious eye infection that causes inflammation of the eye’s outer surface. Read on to learn more about this condition and how we can help.

You wake up one morning, look in the mirror and notice that one or both of your eyes is swollen, red, and watery. Is it serious? Will it go away on its own? Should you call your eye doctor?

All great questions — and below we’ll answer them and give you a better understanding of what viral conjunctivitis is and when to contact your eye doctor.

For any and all concerns or questions about your eye health, or to schedule your annual eye exam, Michael L. Smookler, O.D. in West Roxbury is here for you.

What Is Viral Conjunctivitis?

Commonly known as “pink eye”, conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the eye’s conjunctiva, the thin membrane that lines the inside of the eyelid and covers the eye’s surface. There are three types of conjunctivitis: viral, bacterial, and non-infectious.

The virus that most commonly causes conjunctivitis also causes the common cold, so coughing and sneezing can easily transfer the infection from one host to another.

What are Some Signs and Symptoms?

Someone with viral conjunctivitis may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Pink or red eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Grittiness
  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Burning sensation
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Crusty eyelids in the morning
  • Watery eye discharge

Because viral conjunctivitis is often caused by the common cold virus, you may experience a runny nose or sore throat along with your pink eye.

When Should You Call Your Eye Doctor?

Even in mild cases of viral conjunctivitis, the infection can be highly contagious, so it is highly recommended to contact your eye doctor to discuss the best ways to manage the condition.

Severe viral conjunctivitis warrants an immediate call to your eye doctor. Promptly let us know if you experience any of the following symptoms along with your pink eye:

  • Intense eye pain
  • Inability to open the affected eye
  • Visual disturbances
  • Severe light sensitivity
  • Extreme redness

Even if you only have mild symptoms, contact your eye doctor if your condition doesn’t improve within two days. Bacterial conjunctivitis produces similar symptoms but requires antibiotic medications, which your eye doctor will prescribe. Only an eye exam can determine which type of conjunctivitis you have.

Treatment for viral conjunctivitis focuses primarily on symptom relief, and your local West Roxbury Eye Doctor will recommend the most effective treatment to help soothe your eyes and ensure the infection is controlled.

If you or a loved one has pink eye or any other eye problem, call Michael L. Smookler, O.D. in West Roxbury, Massachusetts to schedule your comprehensive eye exam today.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our West Roxbury eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Michael L. Smookler, O.D., your West Roxbury eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Call 844-945-2020 today, or book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • Is allergic conjunctivitis the same as “pink eye”?

    Allergic conjunctivitis is the clinical term of ocular inflammation of the lining or membrane of the eye, called the conjunctiva, caused by allergic reactions to substances. Although a patient may present with red or pink eyes from excess inflammation, the common term “pink eye”can signify a broad term of conditions and can be misleading, as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other irritating substances can cause redness resembling a “pink eye.” Your eye doctor can differentiate between an allergy reaction and a true infection, which can lead to faster healing with proper treatments.

  • What gets rid of pink eye fast?

    If you’re having bacterial pink eye symptoms, the fastest way to treat them is to see your local Eye Doctor. Your doctor can prescribe antibiotic eye drops. Using antibiotic eyedrops can shorten the duration of pink eye.

  • How Long Does Pink Eye Last?

    Most of the time, pink eye clears up within a few days to two weeks.

  • How long are you contagious with pink eye?

    Pink eye is a common eye condition that causes painful, red, and itchy eyes. Bacteria, viruses, or allergies can cause pink eye. Viral and bacterial pink eye are both highly contagious. Both adults and children can get pink eye and should stay away from work, school, or daycare until their symptoms clear.

All About Cataract Surgery

In a normal, healthy eye, the lens is transparent. When there is a cataract, the lens becomes cloudy. Consequently, cataracts can cause blurred vision, poor night vision, muted color vision, and increased glare around lights.

Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the United States, with over 3.5 million cataract removals performed annually. To clear up any confusion about this widespread procedure, our West Roxbury, Massachusetts, put together the following list of questions and answers; read on.

When is cataract surgery recommended?

During the early stages of a cataract, the visual symptoms may be so mild that you aren’t bothered. Your doctor will just perform regular eye exams to monitor your condition. However, as the cataract progresses, the effects on your vision usually become more disruptive – to the point that many regular daily tasks become difficult. That’s when your eye doctor may recommend cataract surgery. If a cataract gets in the way of treating another eye problem, such as diabetic retinopathy or age-related macular degeneration, cataract surgery may also be advised.

What is cataract surgery?

When your ophthalmologist performs eye surgery to remove a cataract, the procedure involves removing the cloudy natural lens of your eye and replacing it with a clear, artificial intraocular lens. This outpatient procedure is often done with laser-assisted technology.

What risks are involved with cataract surgery?

In general, cataract removal is regarded as very safe. Complications are infrequent, and most can be treated successfully. (Note: if you have another ocular disease or a serious medical condition, your risk of complications is higher.)

Some possible risks are:

  • Infection
  • Inflammation
  • Bleeding
  • Drooping eyelid
  • Dislocation of artificial lens
  • Retinal detachment
  • Glaucoma
  • Secondary cataract
  • Loss of vision (rare)

What happens during cataract surgery?

When your eye doctor performs this eye surgery, you should expect the procedure to last about an hour or less. To begin, dilating eye drops will be inserted and you’ll receive a local anesthetic to numb the region. Sometimes, relaxing sedatives are also given.

During the surgery, the clouded lens will be taken out and a clear artificial lens will be implanted. There are a few different methods for removing cataracts, such as:

  1. Ultrasound waves to emulsify the cataract, which is then suctioned out
  2. Advanced lasers are used to make incisions, soften the cataract, and remove the cloudy lens
  3. Removing the lens intact through a large incision (called extracapsular cataract extraction); this procedure is done infrequently

Your eye doctor will determine the best technique for your cataract removal and intraocular lens implantation procedure.

What should you expect after cataract surgery?

After the procedure, your vision may initially be blurry as your eye heals. It’s also common to see colors as much brighter than you are used to because you are now viewing the world through a new, clear lens.

Itching and some minor discomfort are usual; it’s important not to push on or rub your eye. These symptoms typically disappear after a couple of days, and full healing usually occurs within two months. If you have a cataract in your other eye too, second cataract surgery is usually scheduled after the first eye has recuperated entirely.

For a few days following cataract removal, you may be instructed to apply eye drops or other medication to prevent infection, keep the eye pressure under control, and reduce any swelling. Also, you may need to wear a protective eye shield for a few days or while you sleep, as your eye recovers.

A day or two after your surgery, your doctor will probably perform an eye exam to monitor the healing. Eventually, your eye doctor will tell you when your eyes have recovered sufficiently for you to reach your final vision prescription for glasses.

What is posterior capsule opacification (PCO)?

This technical term is a formal way to describe a secondary cataract or “scar tissue,” which is a common complication of cataract surgery. It occurs when the back of the lens capsule (the part of your lens that was not removed during cataract surgery) becomes opaque or wrinkled, disturbing your clear vision. PCO can happen weeks, months, or years after the first surgery.

Treatment for PCO is relatively easy and efficient. It involves a quick procedure called YAG laser capsulotomy. In this outpatient surgery, your eye doctor will use a laser beam to cut a small hole in the clouded capsule, creating a path for light to pass through so you can enjoy clear vision.

How should you choose a cataract surgeon?

Choosing a cataract surgeon is the first step you need to take once your cataract significantly interferes with your ability to see. You need an eye surgeon who is qualified and has a high success rate.

Here are some tips on choosing a cataract surgeon who is right for you:

  • Consult with your regular eye doctor, who may be able to refer you to an experienced, recommended eye surgeon in the West Roxbury, Massachusetts area.
  • Speak to family and friends who have already undergone cataract surgery. Word-of-mouth referrals are powerful – if a patient had a positive experience with their cataract surgeon, it’s worth a lot.
  • Online research and reviews can be a good method for choosing a cataract surgeon near you.
  • When you meet with any prospective surgeons, make sure you feel comfortable with the entire office staff. You want a team that’s professional, polite, and willing to take the time to provide information about the procedure and answer all your questions.
  • Find out who performs eye exams following your cataract surgery. Will it be the surgeon or a different team member, and are you comfortable with the answer?

Do you have more questions about cataract surgery?

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our West Roxbury eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at Michael L. Smookler, O.D. eye clinic near you in West Roxbury, Massachusetts to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 844-945-2020

Michael L. Smookler, O.D., your West Roxbury eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • What are multifocal lens implants?

    Multifocal lens implants are often used in cataract surgery to reduce the dependency upon glasses for both distance and near vision after the surgery is completed. As with other medical technology, not everyone will be a good candidate for this type of surgical implant. Patients with conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, etc. may not receive the full benefit of these lenses. Also, some patients with corneal scarring or those with significant astigmatism are not always the best candidates for these lens implants either. Your eye care professional can help determine if this lens implant option is right for you.

  • What are cataracts and how can they be treated?

    Cataracts are a clouding of the lens inside the eye. They are common with age, certain medications and medical conditions. Patients usually feel like they are looking through a dirty window, cannot see colors the way they used to or have increased difficulty with glare. Currently, the treatment is surgery to remove the cloudy lens. Stay tuned for medical advances in cataract treatment in the future!

  • What are cataracts and how do they affect my vision?

    A cataract is a gradual clouding of the crystalline lens, located inside the eye, causing decreased vision. Cataracts most commonly occur with aging and are a normal part of the aging process. Other causes of cataract development include ocular trauma/surgery, radiation, smoking, systemic disease (metabolic and genetic conditions), and certain medications (particularly corticosteroids). Symptoms of cataract vision loss depending on the type, location, and severity of the cataract. Cataracts may cause gradual blurry vision, halos around lights, poor night vision, prescription changes, and glare symptoms. A cataract is treated with outpatient surgery, in which the crystalline lens is removed and replaced with a clear lens implant. Surgery is typically done with local anesthesia, with minimal or no complications. Nearly all patients achieve improved vision and often do not require glasses post-surgery. Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most common surgeries performed in the United States. Your optometrist will evaluate your eyes for cataracts at each comprehensive eye exam. Please let your optometrist know if you experience any of the above symptoms.

  • What is a cataract? How will I know when I have one? What can be done to fix it?

    A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens. The crystalline lens sits behind the iris or the colored part of the eye. Its function is to fine-tune our focusing system by changing shape as we view objects at different distances. Our lens eventually loses its ability to change shape; this is when we require reading glasses or bifocals. In addition, the crystalline lens can become cloudy or yellow as a part of normal aging. This is also known as an age-related cataract. Normal, age-related cataracts are unavoidable and everyone will develop them at some point if they live long enough. The discoloration of the lens leads to an overall blur, a decrease in contrast sensitivity, and a worsening of glare, especially at nighttime. Because they tend to develop gradually, the symptoms are often unnoticed by the patient. A yearly eye exam will allow your optometrist the opportunity to identify cataracts and advise on how to proceed. When your optometrist decides your cataracts are affecting your vision and are advanced enough to remove, you will meet with an ophthalmologist. Cataract surgery is a safe and effective outpatient procedure that will reverse any vision loss caused by cataracts, and it is usually covered by your medical insurance.

5 Ways To Maintain Good Vision And Healthy Eyes

Here’s what you need to know about keeping your eyes and vision healthy, and why you shouldn’t skip your annual eye exam.

Having healthy vision allows us to discover new information and experience life’s adventures. That’s why it’s important to keep those peepers healthy and safe.

Here are our top 5 tips for keeping your eyes and vision in great condition for a lifetime.

5 Ways To Maintain Great Eye and Visual Health

1. Wear Sunglasses Whenever You’re Outdoors

Sunglasses aren’t just a fashionable accessory — they actually play a key role in keeping your eyes healthy. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause sight-threatening conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.

You should wear your sunglasses any time you are outdoors, whether it’s cloudy and overcast or hot and sunny. Sport your shades year-round for optimal eye protection.

Be sure to choose a quality pair of 100% UVA/B sunglasses. Sunglasses that don’t offer UV protection can actually harm your eyes.

2. Include Eye-Healthy Foods In Your Diet

Here’s a way to keep your eyes healthy from the inside out: eat foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that are essential for keeping your eyes seeing well and feeling good. You may even be able to ward off sight-threatening diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Try to include foods like salmon, tuna, green leafies, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, citrus fruits, eggs, beans, and nuts.

3. Make Sure You’re Wearing The Correct Prescription

Wearing glasses and contact lenses with the wrong prescription can be a headache — both literally and figuratively. If you experience eyestrain, headaches, or eye discomfort, there’s a good chance you may not be wearing the most accurate prescription.

Good vision should be comfortable, so call Michael L. Smookler, O.D. if your prescription lenses are causing you any trouble.

4. Wear Protective Eye Gear

A whopping 90% of all eye injuries could be prevented if people wore protective eyewear. Be sure to wear the appropriate eyewear when performing hazardous tasks like yard work, when using power tools, or when handling potent chemicals.

5. Visit Your Eye Doctor

This may be the most important thing you can do for your eyes and vision. Regular comprehensive eye exams can help detect serious eye conditions and diseases like glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy early enough to prevent or halt vision loss.

Children should undergo yearly eye exams to ensure healthy visual development and clear eyesight, both of which contribute to overall success.

Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a Comprehensive eye exam, Pediatric eye exam and Contact lens eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Astigmatism, Pink Eye or conjunctivitis Myopia or Nearsightedness , Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Is LASIK eye and vision surgery an option for you ? Our West Roxbury eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at Michael L. Smookler, O.D. eye clinic near you in West Roxbury, Massachusetts to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 844-945-2020

Michael L. Smookler, O.D., your West Roxbury eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • Aren’t sunglasses really only needed in the summer?

    No. Although we think of summer when we think about sunglasses, the damage from UV radiation occurs year-round. Long-term exposure to UV has been shown to increase the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

  • I see fine. Why do I need to see an Eye Doctor?

    Regular eye exams are the only way to catch “silent” diseases such as diabetes, glaucoma, and other conditions in their early stages when they’re more easily managed or treated. Many conditions can be discovered in a carefully planned eye exam. Those who consider mass-produced, over-the-counter reading glasses are truly doing themselves a disservice, both financially and medically. One-size-fits-all reading glasses not only do not work well for most people who have a different prescription in each eye, and/or astigmatism, or whose lens and frame parameters are not measured correctly, they bypass the opportunity to have their eyes checked for early detection of many manageable diseases or conditions. For those insisting on selecting glasses not measured specifically for their eyes, headache and eye fatigue are common symptoms.

  • My vision seems fine. That means that my eyes are healthy, right?

    Unfortunately, no. Most eye diseases will not affect your vision until they are quite advanced. The only way to determine if your eyes are really healthy is to have them examined.

  • Does reading my smart phone or tablet in the dark damage my eyes?

    Reading from a tablet or smartphone in the dark is okay for your eyes, as long as this is not for a long period of time. There is good lighting from these devices, with good contrast. There is, however, the blue light emitted from these devices. Blue light is a short wavelength light, with high energy that may cause damage to the structures of the eye if exposed for a long period of time. As well, studies have shown this blue light can disrupt melatonin production which is required for a healthy sleep cycle. Doctors of Optometry recommend limiting screen use during the last hour before bedtime.

What Are the Best Ways to Take Care of Your Eyes?

Around the world, more than 30 million people suffer from blindness. Conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease and eye trauma make up the bulk of these cases. Unfortunately, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, additional factors – such as excessive screen time – have led to a further decline in global eye health. It’s never been a better time to focus on the necessity of quality eye care!

The most significant action you can take to optimize your eye health is to visit an eye doctor near you for regular eye exams. When you consider the fact that about 80% of all vision impairment could have been prevented by early detection and treatment, it’s a glaring alert that too many people are unaware of the need to schedule regular visits to an eye clinic near you.

In addition to eye exams, follow these simple and effective tips for promoting good eye health:

Match your glasses to their function

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, be sure to wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection to protect your eyes from the dangerous effects of UV rays. Too much sun exposure has been associated with cataract formation and other serious eye diseases.

If you spend a lot of time on a computer or any digital device, you can help prevent computer vision syndrome by blocking hazardous blue light emitted from the screen. Ask an optometrist near you about computer glasses with a blue light filter.

Eat Right for Your Eyes

    • Leafy green vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach and kale, are rich with lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which can help limit the development of AMD and cataracts. Lutein also boosts the pigments that prevent hazardous UV rays from damaging your eyes.
    • Vitamins C and E and zinc have been linked to a lower risk of age-related macular degeneration.
    • Antioxidants, found in abundance in yellow peppers, egg yolk, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots and blueberries, can help protect your peepers against sun damage.

    Moisturize Your Eyes

    Dry eye syndrome is a common condition, and it is occurring more frequently worldwide as pollution worsens. Long periods spent in front of the computer have also contributed to the growing incidences of dry eye. If you suffer the irritating symptoms of this condition, visit an eye doctor near you for an evaluation and treatment. You can also help yourself by resting your eyes and blinking often enough, which lubricates the eye surface. If necessary, use preservative-free artificial tears eye drops to soothe dry, irritated eyes.

    Michael L. Smookler, O.D., your West Roxbury eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

    Book an appointment online here

          • What is diabetic eye disease?

            Diabetic eye disease is a condition which can occur at any stage or type of diabetes. In fact, many times diabetes is identified during an eye exam in a person who never suspected they may have diabetes. It is caused by damage to the very delicate blood vessels within the retina. Over time, these blood vessels may start to leak blood and fluid into the retina or other areas of the eye. If the condition progresses, new vessels may begin to grow within the retina, which places the retina at risk of additional and sometimes sudden complications including internal bleeds and retinal detachment.

          • My doctor says I have a cataract, but he wants to wait a while before removing it. Why?

            A cataract usually starts very small and practically unnoticeable but grows gradually larger and cloudier. Your doctor is probably waiting until the cataract interferes significantly with your vision and your lifestyle. You need to continue to visit your eye doctor regularly so the cataract’s progress is monitored. Some cataracts never really reach the stage where they should be removed. If your cataract is interfering with your vision to the point where it is unsafe to drive, or doing everyday tasks is difficult, then it’s time to discuss surgery with your doctor.

          • What exactly is glaucoma?

            Glaucoma is a condition in which the eye’s intraocular pressure (IOP) is too high. This means that your eye has too much aqueous humor in it, either because it produced too much, or because it’s not draining properly. Other symptoms are optic nerve damage and vision loss. Glaucoma is a silent disease that robs the patient of their peripheral vision. Early detection is very important.

          • Do eye vitamins help stop macular degeneration?

            While there is no definitive cure for macular generation, only treatments to halt or slow the progression, eye vitamins are shown in some studies to help strengthen the macula and aid in keeping this central area of the retina stable. Vitamins for this condition need to be rich in Lutein, Zeaxanthine, and Omega 3’s such as fish oil. Most vitamins for the eye can be found over the counter without a prescription.’

    Why You Need to Make Eye Care a Part of Your Health Care Plan!

    Regular physical exams and screenings for disease have become an integral part of routine health care for many people. Yet, what about eye care? Do you remember to visit your eye doctor yearly for eye care services, or do you only go if you have a problem with your vision?

    Many people neglect to include eye care in their regular health care plan. This is a mistake! Regular eye exams can provide your eye doctor with a chance to help you correct vision changes, as well as identify any signs of ocular disease at a very early stage.

    Vision correction

    When you wear glasses or contact lenses, yearly eye exams are important for detecting any changes in your vision that could lead to disturbing symptoms, such as headaches, eye strain, and double vision. Why wait until you experience painful symptoms?

    Your eye doctor will assess your visual acuity and visual skills thoroughly to ensure your prescription is up to date. Vision changes as you age, and conditions such as presbyopia are normal. A pair of reading glasses, bifocals or multifocal progressives can resolve this problem easily.

    Also, a variety of new surgical procedures and treatments are available to correct vision. If you’re interested in seeing clearly without prescription eyewear, ask your eye doctor about the latest eye care services on offer!

    Keep an eye on eye health

    As you reach your 60s and older, it’s important to be informed about different warning signs of age-related ocular health diseases and conditions that can lead to vision loss. Many eye diseases present no early warning signs, so an eye exam by a qualified eye doctor is the only dependable way to diagnose or rule out these problems!

    Vision disorders to watch out for include:

    • Age-related macular degeneration – this condition affects the macula, leading to a loss of central vision.
    • Cataracts – when the normally clear lens of your eye becomes cloudy, which can weaken your sensitivity to contrast, dim colors, and increase sensitivity to glare.
    • Diabetic retinopathy – this can occur in people with any type of diabetes; it’s caused by damage to the small blood vessels that supply oxygen to the retina and can lead to retinal inflammation, blurry vision, and blindness.
    • Dry eye syndrome – this condition is characterized by an inadequate quantity of tears or a poor tear composition, so the eye is lubricated well.
    • Glaucoma – this refers to a group of eye diseases that can damage the optic nerve, leading to permanent vision loss.
    • Retinal Detachment – a tearing or separation of the retina from underlying eye tissue.

    Remember, the earlier these diseases are detected – the more effectively they can be treated, before you suffer permanent damage to your vision.

    Primary eye care is vital for your health. To protect your lasting vision, take advantage of all the preventive, rehabilitative, and curative eye care services your eye doctor has to offer!

    Book an eye exam at Michael L. Smookler, O.D. eye clinic near you in West Roxbury, Massachusetts to learn more about your personalized eye care.

    Call 844-945-2020

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    • Is it possible to prevent Macular Degeneration?

      Doctors aren’t sure how to prevent macular degeneration. Research suggests that ultraviolet light (and possibly blue light) factors into the problem, so sunglasses could be very beneficial.

    • What are cataracts and how can they be treated?

      Cataracts are a clouding of the lens inside the eye. They are common with age, certain medications and medical conditions. Patients usually feel like they are looking through a dirty window, cannot see colours the way they used to or have increased difficulty with glare. Currently, the treatment is surgery to remove the cloudy lens. Stay tuned for medical advances in cataract treatment in the future!

    • What is diabetic retinopathy?

      Diabetic retinopathy is a condition which can occur at any stage or type of diabetes. In fact, many times diabetes is identified during an eye exam in a person who never suspected they may have diabetes. It is caused by damage to the very delicate blood vessels within the retina. Over time, these blood vessels may start to leak blood and fluid into the retina or other areas of the eye. If the condition progresses, new vessels may begin to grow within the retina, which places the retina at risk of additional and sometimes sudden complications including internal bleeds and retinal detachment.

    • Are there some every day activities that can cause Dry Eye?

      Generally those that suffer with allergies, or have systemic inflammatory diseases like arthritis and sjogrens’, or those who use the computer or digital devices often and even contact lens wearers tend to be more susceptible to dry eye symptoms.