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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.

    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:

    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 Michael L. Smookler, O.D. in West Roxbury, Massachusetts to check your eye health today!

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    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.

     

    What’s The Link Between Obesity And Eye Disease?

    People who are obese are at higher risk of developing some sight-threatening eye conditions and diseases. Read on to discover why, and how we can help.

    It is well documented that obesity impacts health in numerous ways, from a higher incidence of diabetes to cardiovascular disease. What many people don’t know is obesity’s negative effect on vision and eye health. Speak with our Eye care professionals at Michael L. Smookler, O.D. about any concerns you may have about your eye health or vision.

    There is increasing evidence that obese individuals have a greater risk of developing serious, sight-threatening eye diseases.

    Researchers at the Goldschleger Eye Institute at the Sheba Medical Center found a consistent link between obesity and the development of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.

    The researchers noted that the public is largely unaware of this link, despite the evidence. If more people knew about the risk, they said, it might motivate them to try to shed some extra weight.

    How Does Obesity Impact The Eyes?

    A body mass index (BMI) of 25-30 is considered overweight and any BMI over 30 is considered obese. Recent studies indicate that a handful of ocular diseases can now be added to the list of medical conditions associated with an elevated BMI.

    Diabetic retinopathy, floppy eyelid syndrome, retinal vein occlusions, stroke-related vision loss, and age-related macular degeneration are all risk factors of obesity.

    While the cause is not yet certain, researchers believe this may be due to the peripheral artery disease prevalent among people who are obese. When the tiny blood vessels around the eyes are compromised, they may have trouble delivering oxygen and other nutrients to the eye area.

    Obesity is also a risk factor for developing cataracts (the clouding of the eye’s natural lens). Poor nutrition or high blood sugar levels, which are commonly found in people with obesity, may contribute to the cloudiness.

    Although obesity may contribute to cataract formation, losing weight may not significantly reduce the risk of developing them, partly because cataracts are also a common consequence of aging, whatever one’s weight.

    Additionally, morbid obesity is associated with higher inner eye pressure, which may increase one’s risk of glaucoma and glaucomatous optic neuropathy — leading causes of vision loss and blindness. Morbid obesity is defined as having a BMI of 40 or above, or 35 and above with health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes.

    Stay Active, Healthy, and Have Regular Eye Exams

    An active lifestyle and a nutritious diet can help you maintain a healthy weight and improve overall physical and eye health. Try to include several key nutrients into your diets, such as vitamins C and E, zeaxanthin, omega-3, zinc, and lutein, as they may help delay or prevent certain eye diseases.

    While a balanced diet and regular exercise significantly increase your chance of living a healthy life, it’s also crucial to have regular eye exams. A comprehensive eye exam with Michael L. Smookler, O.D. can help detect the onset of ocular disease and ensure the earliest and most effective treatment to preserve your gift of sight.

    Don’t hesitate to call Michael L. Smookler, O.D. in West Roxbury with any questions or concerns regarding your vision or eye health — we’re here for you.

    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

    FOLLOW US

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • What is diabetic retinopathy?

      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.

    Childhood Myopia Global Crisis!

    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 disease 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

    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.

    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.

    How We Can Help

    Certain eye doctors offer treatment methods known as myopia control or myopia management. These include orthokeratology, bifocal or multifocal contact lenses, and eye drops like low dose atropine. Regular eyeglasses and contact lenses don’t prevent its progression but do correct myopia so the child can see and function normally.

    If your child shows signs of myopia, schedule an eye exam with Michael L. Smookler, O.D. in West Roxbury as soon as possible.

    Book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT or Call 844-945-2020

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    How is myopia diagnosed?

    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.

    Can myopia lead to blindness?

    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.

    Exercise Helps Keep Your Eyes in Shape Too!

    Michael L. Smookler, O.D. An Active Body is Linked to Healthy Eyes near you in West Roxbury, Massachusetts

    You know all about how regular exercise strengthens your heart and lungs, as well as boosts your energy. Did you also know it can promote healthy vision? Remember, your body is one interconnected unit, and every organ benefits from getting a workout. Our Eye doctor near you in West Roxbury, Massachusetts explains how physical activity helps to preserve your quality vision.

    The Importance of Preventive Health Care near you in West Roxbury, Massachusetts

    A variety of scientific studies have confirmed that regular exercise can reduce the risks of common eye diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration. The effects of exercise on your quality of life are therefore far-reaching, helping to prevent visual impairment and blindness. Sharp vision is intricately connected to your physical and mental health, enabling you to work and enjoy all the activities you love to do.

    When assessing risk factors for ocular disease, eye care providers focus on a holistic view of the person. Eye health can be related to your overall health, with conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes being risk factors for vision loss.

    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, 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.

    How Much Exercise Is Recommended?

    At our eye clinic near you in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, patients constantly ask about the bottom line: how much is enough exercise to reap the eye health benefits? According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, you don’t need to run a marathon. Leading an active lifestyle, such as taking brisk walks, climbing up the stairs instead of using the elevator, and dancing can have a positive impact on eye health. In many cases, these types of exercise are enough to help lower blood pressure and keep blood sugars in control, which in turn helps prevent vision damage.

    The Importance of Preventive Health Care

    • Along with exercising and maintaining a healthy, nutritious diet, the team at our eye care center near you encourages everyone to follow these preventive tips to keep your vision healthy:
      Get routine eye exams so your eye doctor can inspect for any early signs of disease, which will allow you to receive treatment as early as possible. Early detection is essential for effective treatments to slow or prevent damage to your vision.
    • Know your family eye history and share the facts with your eye doctor.
    • Wear sunglasses whenever you’re outdoors, regardless of the season. Dangerous UV rays are always out there.
    • Don’t smoke; smoking increases your chances of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
    • Eat nutritiously, including fruits and vegetables and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon.

    Book an eye exam at an eye clinic near you to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you.

    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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    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.

    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 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.

    Is it possible to prevent Macular Degeneration?

    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.

    Why Are Dilated Eye Exams So Important?

    Michael L. Smookler, O.D. Dilated Eye Exam near you in West Roxbury, Massachusetts

    Having your eyes dilated during an eye exam may seem like a nuisance. But when you consider the benefits of a dilated eye exam, the temporary blurred vision and sensitivity to light that typically follow are definitely worth it.

    What Are Dilated Eye Exams?

    At some point during a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will shine a bright light into your eyes to examine the back of your eye, called the retina. The problem is that bright light causes the size of the pupil’s opening to shrink, which makes it hard for the optometrist to see a large portion of the retina.

    That’s why eye doctors apply special eye drops in each eye to keep the pupils open. A dilated pupil allows for a much more accurate assessment of your eye’s structures, including the focusing lens, blood vessels and tissues at the back of the eye called the retina, as well as the optic nerve and macula.

    Dilating the eyes makes it easier for your optometrist to detect the following conditions and diseases:

    It’s important to note that many of these conditions can develop without noticeable symptoms, until they cause vision loss at which point treatment may be more challenging, making dilated eye exams all the more crucial.

    The Dilation Process

    First, your eye doctor will apply eye drops to each eye to trigger dilation of the pupil. Your eyes should be fully dilated about 10-20 minutes later.

    Your eyes will remain dilated for 4-6 hours, and during this time you may be sensitive to light. That’s because the larger pupil allows more light than usual to enter the eye. Many patients find it more comfortable to wear sunglasses until their eyes return to normal.

    Reading and using a computer may be difficult with dilated eyes, and your vision may be blurred. Some patients report feeling a tightening sensation in their eyelids, or headaches.

    Dilated eye exams are a crucial part of keeping your eyes healthy. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call our optometry practice today!

    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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    At what age should one have a dilated eye exam?

    You should have your dilated eye exam no matter your age. Most eye doctors will dilate a new patient at their first exam regardless of age to get a baseline of their retinal health.

    Will I be able to return to work after a dilated eye exam?

    Everyone reacts differently, so it’s hard to tell. If your job requires you to focus on small print or detail, it may be challenging. Typing and writing may also be difficult with dilated pupils. To be on the safe side, book your appointment at the end of your work day, clear your schedule after your eye exam and only plan to do activities which aren’t visually demanding.

    What Causes Halos Around Lights?

    Michael L. Smookler, O.D. Local Cataract, Astigmatism, Fuch’s Dystrophy and Glaucoma Eye exams and treatment near you in West Roxbury, Massachusetts

    Have you ever seen bright rings or “halos” around sources of light? Read on to learn what can cause halos and when they’re a reason to visit an eye doctor near you.

    For local Management of Ocular Diseases near you in West Roxbury, Massachusetts

    Seeing bright rings or “halos” around sources of light can either be normal or a cause for concern. Below, we’ll explain the most common reasons that people see halos and when you should visit your eye doctor.

    We see halos around light fixtures and headlights when light entering the eye from a bright object is bent in an unusual way. This causes the bright light to appear as if it is surrounded by a ring of light, known as a halo. Several conditions can cause light to bend in this way.

    • CataractsA cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. Cataracts usually develop slowly and are most often seen in older people.

      When the lens becomes cloudy, light is dispersed abnormally as it enters the eye and causes a person to see halos around lights. In fact, seeing halos around lights is one of the most common symptoms of cataracts. Other symptoms that may accompany cataracts are blurred vision, light sensitivity, and difficulty seeing at night.

    • AstigmatismThis eye condition occurs when the cornea (the front surface of the eye) is irregularly curved. People with astigmatism may see halos around lights because of the way the cornea refracts incoming light.
    • Fuch’s Dystrophy This progressive genetic disease causes the cornea to swell. As the cornea swells and becomes misshapen, it causes light to enter at an incorrect angle. As a result, people with this condition see halos around lights.
    • GlaucomaGlaucoma occurs when the optic nerve becomes damaged due to high inner eye pressure, and is a leading cause of blindness worldwide. Seeing halos around lights can be an early sign of acute glaucoma, which is considered a medical emergency.

      If you suddenly start seeing halos around lights in addition to other symptoms like headache, vomiting, blurred vision, eye pain, and weakness, seek medical care without delay.

    • Dry Eye SyndromeDry eye syndrome occurs when the eyes are chronically dry. In moderate to severe cases, the eye’s surface can become irregularly shaped, which can cause light to enter at an odd angle.

    When To Visit Your Eye Doctor

    If you see halos around lights, it’s best to schedule a timely eye exam at an eye clinic near you, even if you suspect you know why it’s happening.

    A comprehensive eye exam by a qualified eye care professional is the only way to rule out a serious problem.

    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, 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

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    • 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.

    • My previous eye doctor told me I have “stigma!” Am I going to go blind?

      Stigma is actually referring to a type of refractive error known properly as astigmatism, and no, you will not go blind from having astigmatism; it is not a disease, in fact, it is relatively common. There are three types of refractive error, myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. The former two are more regularly referred to as nearsighted (cannot see far away) and farsighted (cannot see up close). Astigmatism is simply the third category; it affects both the near and far vision at the same time. Much like nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism is corrected using glasses or contacts. Technically speaking an eye with astigmatism requires two different prescriptions to correct vision in one eye due to the more oval shape of the cornea. This will require a more specialized contact lens and a more in-depth fitting procedure. Nonetheless, your eye care provider can, and will, correct your astigmatism with glasses and/or contacts.

    • 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.

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

    What You Should Know About Night Blindness

    If you don’t see well while driving at night, there’s a chance you have night blindness. Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is the inability to see well at night or in dim lighting. It’s not considered an eye disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem.  

    Our eye doctor can help diagnose, manage and treat your night blindness so that you can enjoy being out at night again. 

    Here are 4 things you should know about night blindness:

    Causes of Night Blindness 

    The inability to see well at night can be the result of a condition such as:

    Vitamin A Deficiency — Vitamin A helps keep your cornea, the layer at the front of your eye, clear; it’s also an important component of rhodopsin, a protein that enables you to see in low light conditions. Although uncommon in North America, deficiency of this vitamin can induce night blindness. 

    Cataracts — A buildup of protein clouds the eye’s lens, leading to impaired vision, especially at night and in poor lighting conditions.

    Diabetic Retinopathy — Damage to the eyes’ blood vessels and nerves can result in vision loss, including difficulty seeing at night.  

    Glaucoma — This group of eye diseases is associated with pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve. Both glaucoma and the medications used to treat it can cause night blindness. 

    Myopia — Also called nearsightedness, myopia makes distant objects appear blurry, and patients with it describe a starburst effect around lights at night.

    Keratoconus — An irregularly shaped cornea causes blurred vision and may involve sensitivity to light and glare which tend to be worse at night.

    Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) — A progressive genetic eye disease which can be associated with other diseases, RP leads to night blindness and peripheral vision loss.

    Usher Syndrome — This genetic condition causes both hearing loss and vision loss, including night blindness and RP, mentioned above.

    Symptoms of Nyctalopia

    Since night blindness is a symptom of some serious vision problems, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice that you don’t see as well in dim light as you used to, such as when driving at night or when adjusting from being outdoors in the sunshine to being indoors. 

    Symptoms of Night Blindness Include:

    • Reduced contrast sensitivity
    • Difficulty seeing people outdoors at night
    • Difficulty seeing in places with dim lighting, like a movie theater
    • Trouble adapting to the dark while driving
    • Excessive squinting at night 
    • Trouble adjusting from bright areas to darker ones 

    Treatments for Night Blindness

    Your eye doctor will want to diagnose the cause of your night blindness in order to treat it. For example, in the rare case of vitamin A deficiency, it can be treated with vitamin supplements and vitamin-A rich foods; myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Other conditions may require medications or surgery. 

    If night blindness is caused by a birth defect, Usher syndrome, or retinitis pigmentosa, low vision aids and devices can help you make the most of your remaining vision. 

    Prevention

    While there is no proven way to prevent night blindness resulting from genetic conditions or birth defects, consuming healthy, nourishing foods and taking certain vitamin supplements may prevent or slow the onset of some eye conditions that cause night blindness. 

    If you experience poor vision at night or in dim lighting, we can help. Contact Michael L. Smookler, O.D. in West Roxbury to schedule your appointment today.