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Questions

Why do my eyes hurt or ache after using the computer?

In today’s busy environment, our eyes are used more than ever before. There are more demands placed on the eyes by computers, video games, and PDAs. With over-use of computers or improper placement of the screens, your eyes may feel tired, irritated, and blurry. You may even suffer from headaches or double vision. This occurs because our eyes do not focus the same way while looking at a computer screen as they do while reading a book or magazine. In addition, we tend not to blink nearly as much as we should. These symptoms and others like it make up a condition called Computer Vision Syndrome. For long term work on a computer some solutions include computer glasses, anti-glare screens or a special coating on your glasses. Taking continuous visual breaks can help your symptoms and there are even eye exercises if needed. The doctors here at Metropolitan Vision know what signs and symptoms to look for and we can help improve your visual comfort at work.

Why are my eyes red?

Red eyes can be caused from a variety of conditions. Most commonly red eyes are a sign of infection, dry eye, or allergy.

EYE INFECTIONS

“pink eye” or conjunctivitis, can cause the eyes to appear red. Other signs include tearing, discharge upon awakening, and swollen eyelids or swollen glands in the neck. Eye infections can be caused by bacteria, as most often seen in children. Or they can be caused by a virus, like the common cold. Often an eye infection will coincide with you feeling run-down and tired or being sick at the same time. Eye infections are contagious and can be spread by direct contact. Frequent hand washing and disinfecting shared telephones and keyboards is a good approach to avoiding catching and spreading the conjunctivitis. If you think you have pink eye, see your eye doctor immediately.

DRY EYE

is a common condition that is often overlooked and ignored by patients and doctors alike. Yet dry eye can be devastating to a person’s quality of life. Dry eye can cause symptoms of dryness, irritation, grittiness, redness, blurred vision, achy eyes and even headaches. Dry eye can be caused by environmental irritants like dust and wind, or from aging and hormonal changes. Certain medications like anti-histamines and anti-depressants, as well as diseases of the thyroid and diabetes also increase ones risk for dry eye. Most dry eye is not due to a lack of tears, but rather to a poor quality tear film that occurs from inflammation of the lids and glands of the eye. In our office, we treat the cause of the dry eye and don’t just try to hide the symptoms. An innovative treatment plan is specifically designed for each patient suffering from this disease. We are almost always successful in treating patients whose problems have not been alleviated with previous attempts. (Read more on dry eye in our “learning center”)

ALLERGY

sufferers know all too well the feelings of eye itchiness that arise in times of allergy season. Itchy, red, and puffy eyes are commonly seen when affected by allergy. Stringy or ropy discharge is often present. Many patients become intolerant to wearing contact lenses during this time. Seasonal causes including, pollen and ragweed, often occur in the fall and spring. Dust, mold, and pets can be problematic at any time. An allergic reaction in the eye occurs over a series of steps. First, your eyes must be exposed to anything to which you are allergic. Then, histamine is released and the conjunctival blood vessels become swollen. This leads to increased, redness, tearing, and itch. Relief can be attained by avoiding the offending agent, applying cool compresses, or using an oral or topical anti-histamine. Rubbing the eyes causes even more histamine release and will not make you feel better. There are many over-the-counter and prescription treatments for allergy sufferers. Some work better than others. If your eyes are bothering you, it is best to see your eye doctor so that the correct treatment can be initiated. For seasonal allergy sufferers, often a medication can be started a few weeks before allergy season to prevent a flare up of symptoms.

Why do I need to be dilated?

A dilated fundus examination allows the doctor to thoroughly evaluate the structures in the eye, including the macula, optic nerve, and peripheral retina. Without this test, a diagnosis of eye or systemic diseases may be missed. Many vision conditions present without obvious symptoms and you may not realize there is a problem. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases is important for maintaining good vision. To dilate your eyes, a series of one or two eye drops are added to relax the muscles in the iris. The drops temporarily blur your vision and may cause light sensitivity. You can request disposable sunglasses as you leave our office.

Did you know?

  • Diabetes and High Blood Pressure increase risk for vision related disorders, such as Glaucoma and Macular Degeneration
  • Fluctuating vision can be an early sign of diabetes
  • Glaucoma has no symptoms and can affect any age, race, and gender
  • 4 million Americans have glaucoma, and only half know it
  • Glaucoma is the 2nd leading cause of blindness worldwide and the leading cause among African Americans
  • A stye is an infection within a gland of the eye, which can cause local pain and tenderness to the touch
  • The retina contains rods and cones. The rods help us see at night and the cones are important for color vision
  • Ultraviolet light is harmful to the eyes, even on cloudy days
  • Cataracts are the leading cause of reversible blindness world wide
  • Age related macular degeneration is the #1 cause of central vision loss in the US
  • Dark leafy vegetables and brightly colored fruits contain anti-oxidants that help protect the eyes
  • Dry eyes affect women 3x as often as men. Menopause and hormonal changes are directly related
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