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10 Ways to Give Your Eyes Some Love This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the time to express your love and appreciation to those you care about most. But it’s also a great opportunity to take the time to pamper yourself — so why not start with your eyes?

Practice these 10 healthy lifestyle habits to help protect your eye health and vision.

1. Be Mindful of the Food You Eat

Fill your plate with fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grains. A well-balanced diet is good for your body and can lower your risk of eye disease.

Studies show that foods high in vitamins A, C, E, Omega-3, lutein and zeaxanthin are especially beneficial for promoting eye health.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day will keep your body hydrated and your eyes moist — which is essential for preventing dry eye syndrome. To add some flavor to your water, try adding a splash of lemon juice or swap some of those glasses of water for an herbal tea or other non-caffeinated beverage. Caffeinated drinks have a dehydrating effect, so try to limit your coffee consumption as much as possible.

3. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is widely known for its physical and mental health benefits, but studies show that it can also lower your risk of serious eye conditions and diseases. Cardio exercise in particular has been shown to lower eye pressure and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye. So grab your gym bag and get moving!

4. Don’t Smoke

If you’ve been thinking about quitting, there’s no better time than now. Smoking tobacco significantly raises your risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and can also lead to their early development.

Smoking also robs the body of the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain eye health, and contains around 7,000 chemicals that can lead to eye irritation and dry eye.

5. Practice Good Makeup Hygiene

While wearing makeup can accentuate your eyes and make you feel more beautiful, it’s important to note that if not used properly, certain makeup products can adversely affect eye health.

To keep your eyes and vision healthy, make sure to:

  • Clean your brushes and applicators regularly
  • Toss any expired products, or eye makeup you’ve used during an eye infection
  • Only apply makeup to the outer margin of your eyelids
  • Remove your makeup before going to bed
  • Never share makeup or use in-store testers

Following these safety tips will help to lower your risk of eye infections and other serious complications.

6. Wear Sunglasses

Studies show that prolonged UV exposure can damage the eyes and lead to the development of sight-threatening eye conditions, like cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma, in the future.

Purchase a pair of stylish sunglasses with 100% UV protection and wear them any time you venture outdoors — the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the clouds and reflect off of snow, sand, water and pavement. So keep a pair of sunglasses next to your front door and a spare pair in your bag or car to ensure you have UV protection wherever you go.

7. Prevent Eye Injuries

About 90% of vision loss from eye injuries can be prevented by wearing the right eye protection.

Protective eyewear like sports goggles or glasses with polycarbonate lenses are designed with sturdy materials that are less likely to break or shatter while you play sports, and can protect your eyes from small particles that fly in the air when you mow the lawn or engage in DIY projects.

8. Learn First Aid for Eye Injuries

Let’s be real, accidents can happen even if we take all the right measures to protect ourselves. But knowing what to do in case of an unexpected eye injury can potentially save you or someone you love from permanent eye damage or vision loss.

Note: Any type of eye injury should be taken seriously, and promptly examined by an eye doctor.

9. Avoid Digital Eye Strain

Prolonged screen time can cause eye strain, dry eyes, blurry vision and headaches — and lead to a condition called digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome.

Avoid symptoms of digital eye strain by limiting screen time as much as possible. If prolonged screen time is unavoidable, practice the 20-20-20 rule: set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to take breaks every 20 minutes to focus on an image at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

10. Visit Your Eye Doctor

Regular eye exams are crucial when it comes to maintaining your eye health. With an eye exam, your eye doctor can identify early signs of sight-threatening eye diseases and conditions — enabling earlier treatment and increasing your chances for optimal results.

From all of us at Turner Eye Institute in San Leandro, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Q&A With Our Eye Doctor in San Leandro, California

What’s the difference between an eye exam and vision screening?

Vision screenings are basic tests of visual acuity, generally conducted by a school nurse or pediatrician. These screenings can’t identify many vision conditions that impact learning or work performance, and are unable to detect ocular health problems.

A comprehensive eye exam, which is performed by an eye doctor, includes tests for visual acuity and functional vision, as well as close examination of the inner and outer structures of the eye.

How often do I need to have an eye exam?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), it is important to have your eyes examined every one to two years, depending on your age, whether or not you wear glasses or contacts, your family history of eye disease, and your ocular health to date. Annual eye exams help your eye doctor monitor your eye health and easily identify any changes in your vision.

5 Ways to Protect and Improve Your Child’s Eyesight

Your child’s vision is their primary window into the world around them. Keeping their eyesight healthy is an important part of allowing them to experience life to the fullest.

Here are 5 tips on how to protect and improve your child’s eye health:

1. Take them to the eye doctor for routine eye exams

One of the most important take-aways from any article you read on the subject of keeping your child’s vision and eyes healthy, is the need to keep up with routine comprehensive eye exams.

Although your kid’s school may perform vision screenings, these tests can only detect the most basic issues, such as myopia (nearsightedness) or severe amblyopia. They are not equipped to check for eye diseases that can affect your child’s long-term ocular health, or binocular vision disorders that can hinder their ability to learn.

Our San Leandro eye doctor will be able to perform a comprehensive eye exam to check for the presence of these and other conditions. If ocular diseases or vision disorders are detected, your eye doctor will have the equipment and expertise to properly treat them.

2. Limit their screen time

Screens are an ever-present part of our lives. Children can spend hours every day texting, playing video games, watching television, and more. It is all-too-easy to spend way too much time on these digital devices, causing symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eye
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain

Excessive blue light, like the kind that comes from these screens, interferes with sleep and is also thought to increase the risk of macular degeneration later in life.

To prevent symptoms and protect your child’s long-term vision health, limit their screen time, when possible, to approximately one hour, and devices should be turned off a few hours before bedtime to allow your child to wind down.

3. Encourage them to eat healthy foods and get exercise

As with every part of the body, a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in ensuring the long-term health of your child’s eyes.

Eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids is a great way to promote eye health. Good sources include fish such as salmon and herring. For vegans and others who don’t eat fish, flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts are also a great option. 

Leafy greens and fruits are also important, as they’re high in vitamins A, C and E, which are all important for the development and maintenance of healthy vision.

Along with a healthy diet, you should encourage your child to get up and exercise. Physical activity is good for the whole body, and that includes the eyes.

Bonus points if you can get your child outside, as sunlight and outdoor play have been shown to slow or even prevent the development of myopia. Just make sure your child wears sunglasses and a sun hat — UV rays have a cumulative effect that could lead to eye diseases like macular degeneration later in life.

4. Help them avoid eye injuries

Eye injuries are an all-too-common occurrence, especially among children.

If you have little ones at home, make sure that paints, cleaners and other dangerous chemicals and irritants are put away somewhere safe. If these ever get into their eyes, they can cause severe damage to your child’s visual system, including permanent loss of vision.

For contact and ball/puck sports, ensure your child wears the right eyewear to protect their eyes from accidental impacts or pokes. Helmets should also be worn where the sport warrants it, to prevent concussions and other head injuries that can have an effect on vision.

5. Reduce eye infections

Even small, common infections such as pink eye can have an impact on your child’s vision.

Hands are some of the most bacteria-filled parts of our bodies. Your child should learn not to touch their eyes with their unwashed hands, as this is the primary way of introducing germs to the eye that may result in infection. 

On a similar note, if you have contact lens wearers, be sure to teach them to wash their hands each and every time they put in or take out their contact lenses. They should also learn to store and clean their lenses strictly according to their eye doctor‘s instructions and should change lenses according to their intended schedule. Daily contacts should be changed daily, monthly contacts, monthly.

For more information on how best to protect and improve your child’s eyesight, contact Turner Eye Institute in San Leandro today.

Q&A

Can I rely on the vision screenings at my child’s school to catch vision and eye health issues?

No. School-based vision screenings check for basic visual acuity. Even if your child has perfect 20/20 vision, there may still be issues with visual skills or undetected eye diseases that these types of screenings are not equipped to catch.

It is important not to rely on school vision screenings as a replacement for an annual comprehensive eye exam with your local optometrist. During these visits, your eye doctor will be able to assess your child for vision skills such as:

  • Eye teaming ability
  • Convergence and divergence skills
  • Tracking and focusing
  • Visual accommodation

They will also be able to diagnose and treat conditions such as:

  • Amblyopia
  • Strabismus
  • (Rarely) pediatric glaucoma or cataracts

These and other conditions can only be diagnosed and treated by a trained optometrist as part of a comprehensive eye exam.

Can vision problems be misdiagnosed as ADHD/ADD?

It is unfortunately common for learning-related vision problems to go undetected. These vision problems can often mimic the symptoms of ADD/ADHD, leading to misdiagnosis and mistaken treatment.

As many as 1 out of every 4 school-age children suffers from some form of visual dysfunction. If not properly treated, a child may struggle throughout their entire school career, harming their learning and possibly their long-term self-confidence.

Refractive Lens Exchange – Not Just for Cataracts!

How does this vision correction surgery compare with LASIK?

If you’re interested in seeing crisp and clear without glasses or contact lenses and LASIK isn’t suitable for your eyes, refractive lens exchange (RLE) may be the right option for you. This procedure is a type of lens replacement surgery that can correct refractive error, giving you crisp and clear vision without prescription eyewear.

Refractive lens exchange is done by removing your eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an artificial intraocular lens (IOL) that corrects your refractive error, giving you sharp sight. It is particularly suitable for people with extreme farsightedness or presbyopia, for whom LASIK, PRK, or phakic IOL surgery isn’t typically recommended.

After refractive lens exchange in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley, California, most of our patients can see clearly with a significantly reduced reliance on prescription glasses. They are excited about the new ability to leave their bifocals or reading glasses behind!

Lens replacement surgery isn’t just for cataracts

Cataract surgery involves replacing the cloudy lens caused by cataracts with a transparent intraocular lens. While the cataract surgery procedure is the same as refractive lens exchange, the difference is that RLE is done to replace your clear lens – and not to replace the diseased lens of cataracts. Our eye surgeon at Turner Eye Institute performs lens replacement regularly (especially when LASIK or other refractive surgery isn’t appropriate) to help patients focus clearly without prescription eyewear, even if no cataracts are present.

Types of IOLs used

Intraocular lenses are not one-size-fits-all; the fit is personalized. Your eye surgeon will evaluate your visual needs and eye health to recommend the most effective IOL.

Just like when replacing cataracts, three different kinds of intraocular lenses are available as substitutes for your natural lens. These three types are:

  • Monofocal fixed-focus IOLs – for clear vision at near, distance, and intermediate ranges, but not all three types of vision at once. Monofocal IOLs also include toric lenses to treat astigmatism.
  • Multifocal IOLs – with these, you can benefit from clear vision at multiple distances.
  • Accommodating IOLs – this type of monofocal lens enables you to focus and see clearly at multiple distances, because it shifts its positioning in the eye

Lens replacement surgery to treat presbyopia

If you’re over 40 years old, you’re probably familiar with presbyopia – the vision condition that makes it hard to focus on close objects and read fine print. Typically, people wear reading glasses, bifocals or progressive lenses, monovision contacts, and multifocal contact lenses to correct presbyopia. While LASIK cannot directly address presbyopia – refractive lens exchange can do it successfully! RLE is often the most suitable surgical option for people with presbyopia, and a range of FDA-approved multifocal IOLs is now available, such as Restor by Alcon, ReZoom and Tecnis by Abbott, and the accommodating IOL Crystalens by Bausch & Lomb. These replacement lenses give you the ability to focus at all distances, including reading tiny text up close.

Facts about refractive lens exchange

  • Altogether, this lens replacement surgery takes about 15 minutes, performed on an outpatient basis in our eye clinics in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley, California.
  • Each eye is operated on separately, with surgeries done about a week apart.
  • Numbing eye drops will be administered to provide a pain-free experience.
  • Typically, the recovery period is about a week, and then you’ll be able to return to your normal daily activities, including driving.
  • Most people report vision improvement almost immediately after RLE, however the final results can take up to a few weeks to see.
  • During recovery, possible side effects include blurry vision, seeing glare or halos, and a scratchy sensation in your eyes during the healing process.
  • Usually, people don’t feel the IOL in their eye, and because it’s not worn on the surface of your eye – nobody else can see it either.
  • The risk of vision deterioration or loss of vision correction is minimal over time.

Refractive lens exchange versus LASIK

If you have a severe refractive error or an irregular cornea, you may not be a good candidate for LASIK. In these cases, our eye doctor in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley, California, may recommend lens replacement surgery as the preferred surgical alternative. When it comes to correcting high hyperopia (farsightedness), visual acuity after RLE is generally much sharper than the results of LASIK.

Lens replacement surgery is a more invasive procedure than LASIK, and therefore the risks are slightly higher. Yet, serious complications are rare, and most problems that may develop later can be treated successfully.

Usually, RLE is not the frontline option for people with nearsightedness (myopia), because people with myopia have an increased risk of retinal detachment during the procedure. That’s when LASIK may be a better vision solution.

Also, RLE tends to be costlier than LASIK, and it is not usually covered by vision insurance.

Is lens replacement surgery for you?

Our eye doctors are experienced and knowledgeable about this breakthrough vision correction procedure, and we’re happy to share our knowledge! We have the answers to your questions; book an appointment at one of our advanced eye care centers in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley, California, for more info.

At Turner Eye Institute, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 800-339-2733 or book an appointment online to see one of our San Leandro eye doctors.

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What Is 20/20 Vision?

If your last eye exam revealed that you have 20/20 vision, you probably walked out of the eye care center with a big smile! It’s a great feeling to be able to see without eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, did you know that 20/20 vision is not the same as having perfect vision? So what is it?

At Turner Eye Institute, when Dr. Chirag R. Patel announces the results of your eye exam, he is reporting on your visual acuity, which is the clarity of your eyesight. These numbers describe how well your eyes can see an object that’s 20 feet away. If you can see it clearly, then your vision is considered “normal” – but not “perfect.” That’s because even if you have 20/20 vision, you could still have problems with peripheral vision, color vision, eye coordination, focusing, or depth perception. To find out your visual acuity and total eye health, book an eye exam with our San Leandro, California, optometrist near you.

How does my eye doctor test visual acuity?

Typically, every eye exam and vision screening includes having you read the Snellen Eye Chart. This diagnostic tool appears as lines of block letters and numbers printed in progressively smaller sizes. The first line will display one huge letter, such as an “E”, and as you move down the chart row by row, the letters get smaller, and there are more of them per line. The lower down on the chart you can read correctly, the closer you are to being diagnosed with 20/20 vision. The bottom row (eight down) is 20/20 vision.

What if I don’t have 20/20 vision?

Don’t worry, you’re in good company! Statistics say that almost half of US adults don’t have 20/20 vision.

Depending on what your visual acuity is, you may need vision correction with prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, or LASIK refractive surgery, to help you achieve 20/20 vision, or close to it. But not everyone can get to 20/20 – even with corrective treatment. In other words, some people can only see at 60 feet what others with normal vision can see at 20 feet (=20/60 vision). However, that doesn’t mean you can’t see well enough to function. For example:

  • If our eye care professional detects that you have 20/40 vision, it’s still enough to get a driver’s license.
  • If you have 20/80 vision, you should still be able to read headlines in a newspaper and tell the time on an alarm clock placed 10 feet away.
  • If your visual acuity deteriorates to 20/200 vision, you’ll be classified as legally blind.

Can I have better than 20/20 vision?

Sure, especially if you’re a bird of prey! Falcons see about eight times better than humans, with a visual acuity of about 20/2. All jokes aside, even humans can have vision that’s sharper than 20/20, such as 20/15. That means you can back up five feet during your eye exam and still read the Snellen eye chart the same as a person with normal vision standing five feet closer to the chart.

Why do I need good vision?

There are lots of reasons why it’s smart to invest in good vision by visiting our San Leandro eye care center near you for regular eye exams. Don’t underestimate the value of sharp, healthy vision in your life! Here are a few important benefits of 20/20 vision:

  • Reading with ease: reading is essential for day-to-day life, whether you read the newspaper, your smartphone, documents at work, letters and bills, or just want to enjoy a good novel.
  • Comfort: without sharp vision, you’ll need to squint all the time, leading to headaches and muscle strain.
  • Safety: activities such as driving and biking become extremely hazardous if you can’t see. Even if you’re just taking a walk, having sharp visual acuity will help prevent you from tripping and falling.
  • Quality of life: clear eyesight goes far towards your quality of life! Without sharp vision, who knows what scenes and wonderful moments you’ll miss out on?

At Turner Eye Institute, we’ll help you to see the best that you can see! Contact our San Leandro, California, optometrist to schedule an eye exam near you today.

At Turner Eye Institute, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 800-339-2733 or book an appointment online to see one of our San Leandro eye doctors.

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Who is the Ideal LASIK Candidate?

Guidelines from your San Leandro, California, eye doctor

Most people who have worn eyeglasses or contact lenses for years dream about getting up in the morning and seeing clearly without eyewear. LASIK refractive eye surgery can make that dream come true! However, is LASIK right for you? There are pros and cons to every form of vision correction. Also, not everyone can get LASIK, and an important factor to weigh in making this decision is your eye doctor’s professional recommendation. At Turner Eye Institute, we meet with patients regularly to discuss their candidacy for LASIK.

What criteria determine if you are eligible for LASIK?

  • Good eye health, with no ocular disease. Conditions such as chronic eye infections, severe dry eye syndrome, cataracts, corneal disorders, macular degeneration, uncontrolled glaucoma, and eye injuries may make LASIK a poor choice for you.
  • Corneal thickness must be adequate for reshaping your cornea. Performing LASIK on a cornea that is too thin or extremely irregular can reduce the success of the procedure. However, this rule isn’t as steadfast as it once was, because new types of LASIK are now available that enable surgeons to perform the laser vision correction. Our San Leandro, California, will measure your cornea during your LASIK consultation eye exam to recommend the most suitable method of laser eye surgery.
  • The best visual success with LASIK is with people who have prescriptions in the following parameters: up to +6 diopters for farsightedness, up to 6 diopters of astigmatism (cylinder), and up to -12 diopters of nearsightedness.
  • Ocular maturity is important. The best LASIK results are achieved in people who have had a stable vision prescription for about a year before undergoing refractive surgery.
  • A good overall health condition, with no pre-existing conditions that can slow healing, such as hypertension, Sjogren’s syndrome, and poorly controlled diabetes.
  • LASIK is FDA-approved for patients above age 18. Generally, there is no maximum age for laser eye surgery. But, be aware that once you are in your 40s, you may still require reading glasses to correct near vision after undergoing LASIK.
  • LASIK is not suitable for women who are pregnant or nursing, due to the fact that hormonal changes can affect the corneal shape. Typically, it’s advised to wait a few months after pregnancy.

Set realistic visual expectations

If you are seriously considering LASIK, it’s important to face reality. While most people are thrilled with their LASIK results, there are still risks and possible side effects and complications. You need an experienced eye doctor to perform a personalized eye exam and consider whether or not you are an ideal candidate for laser eye surgery – as well as advise you about which specific type of vision correction is most appropriate.

At Turner Eye Institute, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 800-339-2733 or book an appointment online to see one of our San Leandro eye doctors.

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Is School Work Causing Computer Vision Syndrome in Your Child?

Eye health tips for students from our San Leandro eye doctor

The start of fall means back-to-school for kids of all ages – and our team at Turner Eye Institute wishes everyone a smooth and successful return to the classroom!

When your child enters school after a summer of outdoor fun, many of the summer’s vision hazards are left behind. Yet, that doesn’t mean all eye health risks are eliminated! Nowadays, the majority of learning is computer based – exposing students’ eyes to the pain and dangers of blue light and computer vision syndrome. Fortunately, a variety of helpful devices and smartphone apps are available to block blue light and keep your child’s vision safe and comfortable.

To help you safeguard your child’s vision for the upcoming semesters and the long term of life, our San Leandro optometrist explains all about computer vision syndrome and how to prevent it.

Symptoms of computer vision syndrome

It’s smart to familiarize yourself with the signs of computer vision syndrome. If your child complains about any of these common symptoms, you can help prevent any lasting vision damage by booking an eye exam with our San Leandro eye doctor near you:

  • Eye irritation and redness
  • Neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eyes, due to reduced blinking
  • Headaches

Basics of blue light

Students spend endless hours in front of digital screens, be it a computer monitor, tablet, or smartphone. There is homework to be done, research to be conducted, texting with friends, and movies and gaming during downtime. All of this screen time exposes your child’s eyes to blue light.

Many research studies have demonstrated that flickering blue light – the shortest, highest-energy wavelength of visible light – can lead to tired eyes, headaches, and blurry vision. Additionally, blue light can disrupt the sleep/wake cycle, causing sleep deprivation and all the physical and mental health problems associated with it. As for your child’s future eye health, blue light may also be linked to the later development of macular degeneration and retinal damage.

How to avoid computer vision syndrome

Our San Leandro eye doctor shares the following ways to block blue light and protect against computer vision syndrome:

  • Computer glasses, eyeglasses lenses treated with a blue-light blocking coating, and contact lenses with built-in blue light protection are all effective ways to optimize visual comfort when working in front of a screen. These optics reduce eye strain and prevent hazardous blue-light radiation from entering the eyes.
  • Practice the 20-20-20 rule; pause every 20 minutes to gaze at an object that’s 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This simple behavior gives eyes a chance to rest from the intensity of the computer or smartphone screen, preventing eye fatigue.
  • Prescription glasses can be helpful when using a computer for long periods – even for students who don’t generally need prescription eyewear. A weak prescription can take the stress off of your child’s eyes, decreasing fatigue and increasing their ability to concentrate. Our San Leandro optometrist will perform a personalized eye exam to determine the most suitable prescription.
  • Moisturize vision with eye drops. One of the most common symptoms of computer vision syndrome is dry eyes, namely because people forget to blink frequently enough. Equip your child with a bottle of preservative-free artificial tears eye drops (available over the counter) and remind them to blink!
  • Blue light filters can be installed on a computer, smartphone, and all digital screens to minimize exposure to blue. A range of helpful free apps are also available for download.
  • Limit screen time for your child each day, or encourage breaks at least once an hour. Typically, the degree of discomfort from computer vision syndrome is in direct proportion with the amount of time your child spends viewing digital screens.
  • Set the proper screen distance. Younger children (elementary school) should view their computer at a half-arm’s length away from their eyes, just below eye level. Kids in middle school and high school should sit about 20 – 28 inches from the screen, with the top of the screen at eye level.

For additional info, book a consultation and eye exam at Turner Eye Institute

When you and your child meet with our San Leandro eye doctor, we’ll ask questions about your child’s school and study habits to provide customized recommendations on the most effective ways to stay safe from computer vision syndrome and blue light. Our optometrist stays up-to-date with the latest optic technologies and methods to prevent painful vision and eye health damage from using a computer, so you can depend on us for contemporary, progressive treatment.