Skip to main content
Home »

optometrist near me

Top 4 Eyecare Tips for Summer Vacation

This summer, whether you’re headed across state lines on a family road trip, flying off to Europe, grabbing a quick weekend getaway, or taking a vacation in your own backyard, don’t forget to protect your eyes!

Summer Eye Care Near You

Check out our top 4 tips for ensuring healthy eyes this summer, and remember, your eye doctor is here to help make the most out of your vision. Dr. Chirag R. Patel sees patients from all over the San Leandro, California area. Let us give you the top-quality eye care you and your family deserve, not only during the summer, but all year long.

  1. Don’t Leave Home Without It

If you have a chronic illness and need to head out of town for a few days, you would never leave home without your medications, right? That’s because you know that if something happens and your meds aren’t with you, you could suffer discomfort or complications to your health.

The same is true for your vision. If you suffer from dry eyes, make sure to take artificial tears or medicated eye drops with you when you travel. Preservative-free eye drops are a traveler’s friend. They’re also available as individual strips, which are recommended since there’s less risk of contamination.

Running low on disposable contact lenses? Include an extra pair in your carry-on suitcase and stock up on new lenses ahead of time. If you wear eyeglasses, bring a spare set and a copy of your prescription along with you, just in case they get lost or broken.

We recommend speaking to Dr. Chirag R. Patel before you leave for vacation to make sure your vision needs are all set.

  1. It’s Getting Hot Outside

Usually, most people think of protecting their skin from sunburns when they’re at the beach, by the pool, or just spending time outdoors.

Did you know that your eyes can get sunburned, too?

This happens when the cornea is exposed to excessive UV rays. When the sclera (the white part of your eye) looks red, that’s a sign that you’ve got sunburned eyes. You might also notice symptoms like a sudden sensitivity to light, or your eyes may feel like something is stuck in them, or they could feel sore.

The best way to prevent sunburned eyes? Always wear sunglasses with 100% of UVA and UVB light blocking protection.

  1. Watch Out for the Pool

Swimming is one of summer’s greatest pastimes. There’s nothing quite like a dip in a pool or ocean to cool off from the sweltering summer heat. While you’re slicing through the water, remember to protect your eyes.

Remove contacts before going swimming, wear goggles while underwater, and rinse your eyes with cold water when you get out of the pool (it helps get the chlorine or salt out). If your eyes feel dry or scratchy after a swim, use some moisturizing eye drops to lubricate your eyes.

  1. Back to School is Sooner Than You Think

Your kids will be back in school before you know it. Help them prepare for the upcoming school year by scheduling an eye exam now. If they need new glasses because their prescription has changed or your teen simply wants a new look for the new school year, come in to Turner Eye Institute for a consultation and take a look at the newest selection of frames and contact lenses.

Have you had a sudden eye injury or emergency while on vacation? Don’t wait until you’re back home to handle it — seek immediate care today. Certain eye injuries can damage your vision or lead to ulcers, so if you notice symptoms like redness, eye pain, changes to your vision, or flashing light, contact your eye doctor right away.

At Turner Eye Institute, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision this summer and throughout the year.

Cataract Awareness Month

June is Cataract Awareness Month. During this important time, people living with cataracts (and their loved ones) are encouraged to talk about their personal experiences by giving each other helpful information and sharing their knowledge and advice. Use the hashtag #CataractAwarenessMonth on your social media channels to encourage and support others.

Did you know that over 24 million Americans have cataracts? More than 3.5 million Canadians are blind from cataracts, making it one of the most common – and serious – eye conditions today. Dr. Chirag R. Patel treats cataract patients from all over San Leandro, California with the newest and most effective methods of eye care.

With millions of people living with the condition, it’s now more important than ever to bring awareness to this serious condition.

What Are Cataracts?

So what exactly are cataracts?

The lens of the eye is normally clear, which allows you to see things clearly and in sharp detail. Over time, the lens can become cloudy, causing blurry vision. It’s as if you’re looking through a dirty window and can’t really see what’s outside. This clouding of the lens is called a cataract, and it can affect one or both of your eyes.

What Causes Cataracts?

Aging is the most common cause of cataracts. The lens of your eye contains water and proteins. As you age, these proteins can clump together, and when that happens, the normally clear lens becomes cloudy.

Did you know that certain types of major eye surgeries and infections can trigger cataracts? Other issues that can lead to cataracts include congenital birth defects, eye injury, diseases, and even various kinds of medications. If you’re already developing cataracts, be careful when going outside. UV rays from the sun can make cataracts develop faster.

How Can I Lower My Risk of Cataracts?

Certain risk factors increase your chance of developing cataracts. These typically include:

  • Diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Family and medical history
  • Medications
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • UV ray exposure

To lower your risk, consider reducing your alcohol intake, quit smoking, start an exercise program, eat foods rich in vitamin A and C, and wear 100% UV blocking sunglasses.

Common Symptoms of Cataracts

If you have cataracts, you may experience some common symptoms like:

  • Blurry vision
  • Colors that used to be bright now appear dim
  • Double vision
  • Glare from natural sunlight or from artificial light, like light bulbs and lamps
  • Halos around lights
  • Night vision problems
  • Sensitivity to light

If you or a family member notice any of these signs, talk to Dr. Chirag R. Patel right away. The sooner you seek treatment, the faster we can help you get back to clear vision.

Coping With Cataracts

If you’re experiencing vision problems from cataracts, there is hope. If you have a mild case, a combination of a different eyeglass prescription and better lighting in your home, office, or other environment can improve your vision. In more advanced cases, your optometrist will likely recommend cataract surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear one.

Do I Need Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures today. In fact, the American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that 2 million people undergo the procedure each year.

During the procedure, the doctor will gently remove the cataract from the eye and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens (known as an IOL). Because it’s a common procedure, cataract surgery is usually performed in an outpatient clinic or in your eye doctor’s office. There is no need to stay in a hospital and you can usually resume your normal activities in just a few days.

If you’ve exhausted every other solution and still suffer from blurry vision from cataracts, surgery may be an option. Schedule a consultation online or call 800-339-2733 to book an eye doctor’s appointment at Turner Eye Institute and together, we’ll determine if cataract surgery is right for you.

During this Cataract Awareness Month, share your stories and successes, and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.

Help! My Child Doesn’t Want to Wear Glasses!

Do your kids need glasses in order to see clearly? Maybe they have a strong case of nearsightedness, perhaps they have astigmatism, or another type of refractive error. Whatever the cause, getting your kids to wear eyeglasses can be a parenting challenge.

Dr. Chirag R. Patel treats patients from all over San Leandro, California with their vision correction needs. The knowledgeable, caring staff at Turner Eye Institute can help you and your kids if they’re struggling with their glasses or don’t want to wear them.

Why Won’t My Child Wear His or Her Glasses?

To help your children get the best vision possible, you first need to understand why they’re fighting with you over their glasses. It usually stems from something physical, emotional, or social, such as:

  • Wrong fit
  • Wrong prescription
  • Personal style
  • Reactions from friends

How do you know which it is? Pay close attention to the signs, from what your kids say, to how they behave, to how they interact with others.

Physical

Improper fit is a big reason why glasses could feel uncomfortable. If they slip down, itch behind the ears, or put pressure on the bridge of the nose, it can explain why a child wouldn’t like to wear them.

If there’s been a big change to their prescription, they may need time to get used to it. If they were given the wrong prescription, they may be straining their eyes, getting headaches, or having eye fatigue. An incorrect prescription can make wearing glasses painful or awkward. It doesn’t correct their vision, either, so they’ll still see blurry images. When this happens, your eye doctor can check the prescription and make an adjustment.

Emotional

Your kids at home aren’t the same as your kids in school, on the sports field, or with their friends. They may be afraid of being made fun of in school, or they may not want the sudden attention on their appearance. These feelings can be even stronger among the tween and teen set.

Social

Even young kids can feel different when they put on a pair of glasses, especially if it’s for the first time. Feeling different or weird, in their eyes, translates to a negative experience. When wearing glasses makes them feel like the odd man out, they may not want to wear them. The last thing your child wants is to feel like a social outcast. After all, everyone wants to belong.

How We Can Help

First, bring your child in to the eye doctor for an eye exam. Our optometrist, Dr. Chirag R. Patel, will check to make sure that your child has the right prescription and that any vision problems are being corrected. Next, we’ll take a look at the glasses and place them on your child’s face to determine if they’ve got the proper fit. Our optician will take care of any adjustments that need to be made.

The Vision They Need, The Style They Want

Fashion isn’t only for adults. Your budding fashionista or trendy young stud wants to look awesome, so don’t forget about style. When your kids look great, they’ll feel great! Give them the top-quality eyewear they need without compromising on style. Your kids are a lot more likely to wear glasses when they like the way they look.

What You Can Do to Help

Encourage, stay positive, and don’t give up. Avoid telling them what you want them to wear. Let them choose for themselves. In the end, they’re the ones wearing the glasses. Making decisions is an important life skill, something they’ll need as they grow up and become more independent.

For younger children, use positive words to encourage them. Talk about how glasses are like magic, letting them see beautiful things around them. Show them how a pretty flower or a bright red truck looks with the glasses on, and how different it looks with the glasses off. For older kids, throw in a little pop culture. Tell them how trendy they’ll look by showing them pictures of celebrities who also wear glasses. You’ll also rack up some cool parent points.

At Turner Eye Institute, we have the experience and unique approach to children’s eyewear that will make your kids want to wear their glasses. Schedule an eye exam today – you can book an appointment online right here. If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call and we’ll be glad to help.

Get Ready for Summer, Get LASIK

LASIK eye surgery, Eye Doctor in San Leandro, Concod, and Castro Valley, CA

Now is the time to start thinking about summer and your vision. As you dream about all those sizzling weekend escapes to the shore, you’re probably also checking out the trending fashions for beachwear. Don’t forget about your eyes! A pair of designer sunglasses is a fantastic way to upgrade your look and see clearly on sunny days. However, if you need prescription eyeglasses to see, then you’ll need a pair of prescription sunglasses. If you’re not thrilled with the idea of carrying around two pairs of glasses, one for indoors and one for outdoors, we have a better summer solution for you – LASIK eye surgery at Turner Eye Institute, located in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley, CA.

What do you have to gain from LASIK?

The benefits of LASIK are particularly appreciated during the summer months. While prescription sunglasses are fine for strolling the streets, they won’t help you see underwater. Also, they don’t offer the wide peripheral vision that you need for summer sports. And although contact lenses can offer an alternative to prescription glasses, anyone who has ever spent a day at the beach in contacts will understand how uncomfortable it can be for your eyes. Even the tiniest grain of sand on your contacts can ruin your carefree day with excruciating, painful vision. In addition, wearing contacts when you swim is an unhealthy practice that threatens the health of your eyes.

LASIK solves all of these summer challenges, giving you safe, healthy, and crystal-clear vision both underwater and on dry ground. LASIK laser eye surgery also allows you to pick up a pair (or many pairs) of stylish nonprescription sunglasses for a much cheaper price than buying prescription sunglasses.

What exactly is LASIK?

LASIK is a modern, popular method of laser eye surgery to correct myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), an

female eye closeup digital, Eye Care in San Leandro, Concod, and Castro Valley, CA

d astigmatism. In the comfort of our eye care centers in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley, our eye surgeon will use a laser to make a thin corneal flap. This flap will be laid back in order to provide access to the inner part of the cornea, which our eye doctor will reshape by removing microscopic amounts of tissue with a laser. After this part of the procedure, the flap is replaced in position and eye drops are inserted.

How fast does LASIK work?

This eye surgery usually takes about 10-15 minutes total, and many patients report improvement immediately – as soon as they sit up from the surgery.

How long does it take to recover from LASIK?

Recovery is fast and typically, very little discomfort is experienced. You may experience light sensitivity, mild irritation, and some visual side effects from the eye surgery, which will all be temporary and typically disappear within a few weeks. In order to fully enjoy your summer with your new vision after LASIK, we recommend planning ahead! To make the most of LASIK, book your laser eye surgery with Dr. Patel at Turner Eye Institute before the seasons switch.

Plan your LASIK eye surgery in time for summer

Don’t wait until the day before summer vacation – call our eye care clinics in San Leandro, Castro Valley, and Concord, CA, to schedule a pre-operative consultation and get started with your new vision today.

Eye Care, Woman getting eye exam in , California

What is PRK and how does it differ from LASIK

The names and acronyms of the many types of laser eye surgery are confusing, and it’s common for our patients at Turner Eye Institute to ask for an explanation of the differences between all these procedures. Our San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley, CA, eye care specialists are pleased to explain!

Introducing your cornea

To understand how PRK works and how it differs from LASIK, it’s helpful to become more familiar with your cornea. This outer part of your eye has several layers. The primary layer is the stroma, which is the middle layer and makes up 90% of the thickness of your cornea. It has collagen tissue fibers that are arranged in a way that gives the cornea a high refractive index and translucency. These are the essential characteristics that you need for your eye’s lens to focus. The outermost cornea layer is a clear epithelial (skin) coating that protects the cornea from the surrounding environment.

If the surface epithelial layer of your cornea is damaged, it will heal and grow back. However, the collagen fibers of the stroma do not grow back. That’s how both LASIK and PRK work – your eye doctor will use a laser to sculpt the stroma layer, removing tiny amount of tissue and permanently reshaping the cornea. Once the cornea is changed to correct your vision condition, the light that enters your eye will be focused more acutely, giving you sharp vision without glasses or contact lenses.

PRK – Photorefractive Keratectomy

This type of laser eye surgery can help resolve nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. It is most effective if your vision condition is mild or moderate. During PRK, your eye surgeon will use a cool pulsing beam of UV light on the outermost surface of your cornea.

Your eye surgeon will numb your eye with a topical anesthetic before precisely removing an area of surface epithelium in order to access your cornea. This removal is quick, and you may feel slight pressure on your eye. Then, an excimer laser will be used to reshape your cornea. The entire procedure takes about ten minutes, maximum.

After PRK, a bandage contact lens will be placed over your eye. You will need to wear this bandage for the first four or five days after surgery, so your eye can heal. The eye doctor will remove the lens about a week later, and usually by this point there is functional vision. Over the next six months, you will need to visit our San Leandro, Castro Valley, or Concord, CA, eye care center a few times for follow-up exams.

Throughout the first few weeks, your vision may switch back and forth from clear to blurry. Until it stabilizes, you may need eyeglasses to read or drive at night. Other side effects include dry eye. You will receive eye drops to prevent infection and keep your eyes moist. Gradually, your vision will improve, and you should experience the final results within a month to a few months.

Differences between PRK and LASIK

Both PRK and LASIK are regarded to be safe and effective. Just like PRK, LASIK uses an excimer laser to correct vision by reshaping the stroma layer of the cornea. However, PRK is done differently. As opposed to LASIK, which just moves the outer layer of corneal tissue out of the way to perform the reshaping, PRK actually removes the tissue.

With PRK, the healing is slightly longer than it is with LASIK, because the epithelial tissue has to become as smooth and regular as it was before. After about a month, most people have 20/20 vision.

The advantages of PRK lie in the fact that there is no cutting of a corneal flap, like there is with LASIK. Although the recovery from PRK can be longer and more uncomfortable, the rate of complications with PRK are virtually nonexistent. The modern bladeless technology eliminates the risks. In addition, people who do not have a thick enough cornea to qualify as a candidate for LASIK will often qualify for PRK.

PRK vs. LASIK – which is right for you?

To make this decision, call to book a consultation at Turner Eye Institute. Our eye doctor will evaluate your eyes to see if you are candidate for both procedures. If you qualify for both types of laser eye surgery, then we will discuss the pros and cons to make a decision. We have an eye care clinic located conveniently to serve you – choose from our Concord, Castro Valley, and San Leandro, CA, offices.

Mental Health and Your Vision

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the USA; in Canada, Mental Health week is May 6th to 12th. Since 1949, it has been observed throughout the United States as a way of drawing attention to the importance of proper mental health. This year’s theme is #4Mind4Body. The idea is that using elements around us, such as the people in our lives, faith, nature, and even pets, can strengthen wellness and overall mental health.

Did you know that your vision can affect your mental health? While things like stress, trauma, and family history are factors that impact mental health, vision can also impact it.

How Does Vision Affect Mental Health?

Certain types of eye diseases and visual impairments can lead to emotional problems like anxiety and depression. This is particularly common in cases of severe vision loss. Patients with glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy, for example, can experience mild to acute vision loss. This can make everyday activities like driving, running errands, watching TV, using a computer, or cooking, a difficult and painful experience. When this happens, it can cause a loss of independence, potentially leaving the person mentally and emotionally devastated.

Like most surgical procedures, LASIK corrective surgery is permanent and irreversible. Although it has very high success rates, LASIK has been considered the cause of depression and mental health issues in a few instances.

Kids’ Vision and Mental Health

Increased screen time among school-age children and teens has been shown to reduce emotional stability and cause repeated distractions and difficulty completing tasks, while also increasing the likelihood of developing nearsightedness.

Kids with visual problems often experience difficulty in school. If they can’t see the board clearly or constantly struggle with homework due to poor vision, they may act out their frustration or have trouble getting along with their peers.

Coping with Vision Problems

One of the most important ways to cope with visual problems is awareness. Simply paying attention to the signs and symptoms — whether the patient is an adult or a child — is a crucial first step.

Family members, close friends, colleagues, parents, and teachers can all play an important role in detecting emotional suffering in those with visual difficulties. Pay attention to signs of changes in behavior, such as a loss of appetite, persistent exhaustion, or decreased interest in favorite activities.

Thankfully, many common vision problems are treatable. Things like double vision, hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), amblyopia (lazy eye), and post-concussion vision difficulties can be managed. Vision correction devices, therapeutic lenses, visual exercises, or special prism glasses may help provide the visual clarity you need. Your primary eye doctor can help and a vision therapist or low vision expert may make a significant impact on your quality of life.

How You Can Help

There are some things you can do on your own to raise awareness about good mental health:

Speak Up

Often, just talking about mental health struggles can be incredibly empowering. Ask for help from family and friends or find a local support group. Be open and honest about what you’re going through and talk with others who are going through the same thing. Remember: you’re not alone.

If you experience any type of sudden changes to your vision — even if it’s temporary — talk to your eye doctor. A delay in treatment may have more serious consequences, so speak up and don’t wait.

Get Social

Developing healthy personal relationships improves mental health. People with strong social connections are less likely to experience severe depression and may even live longer. Go out with friends, join a club, or consider volunteering.

Have an Animal

Having a pet has been shown to boost mental health and help combat feelings of loneliness. Guide dogs can be especially beneficial for people suffering from vision loss.

Use Visual Aids

If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health issues caused by vision loss, visual aids can help. Devices like magnifiers or telescopic lenses can enlarge text, images, and objects, so you can see them more clearly and in greater detail.

Kids can benefit from vision correction like glasses, contacts, or specialized lenses for more severe cases of refractive errors. Vision therapy may be an option, too. It is a customized program of exercises that can improve and strengthen visual functions.

Always talk to your eye doctor about any concerns, questions, or struggles.

Thanks to programs like Mental Health Awareness Month, there is less of a stigma around mental health than just a few decades ago. Advancements in medical technologies and scientific research have led to innovative solutions for better vision care.

During this Mental Health Awareness Month, share your share your struggles, stories, and successes with others. Use the hashtag #Mind4Body and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.

 

Am I a good candidate for PRK?

Criteria for PRK laser eye surgery

lasik eye surgery at Turner Eye Institute in San Leandro, Concord and Castro Valley CARight after LASIK, PRK is one of the most commonly performed laser eye surgery options. These two procedures are very similar, but also have significant differences. Neither laser eye surgery is always better than the other, but one of them is likely better for you! Depending on your personal needs and unique vision condition, your eye doctor will decide whether PRK or LASIK is the best fit.

PRK and LASIK use the same basic laser eye surgery technology, yet LASIK involves cutting a flap to access the corneal tissue, and in PRK, your eye surgeon will remove the outer layer (epithelium) entirely. How does your eye doctor determine whether you are a good candidate for PRK? Our eye doctor at Turner Eye Institute explains.

Candidacy for PRK

Your eye doctor will meet with you to discuss your lifestyle requirements and to perform a detailed eye exam to check if you qualify for PRK. The following variables will be considered:

Vision prescription

PRK is used most commonly to correct myopia (nearsightedness). PRK is generally the preferred laser eye surgery to treat severe myopia.

Corneal thickness

This is important because of the different ways that LASIK vs. PRK are performed. During LASIK, a corneal flap is created. To be safe and effective, this requires a thicker cornea. In contrast, PRK laser eye surgery doesn’t entail cutting a flap. That’s why it is a popular, suitable option for people with thin corneas who do not qualify for LASIK.

Type of employment or occupation

The corneal flap created during LASIK is contraindicated for people who work in certain industries, such as construction, military, or manufacturing careers. That’s because the risk of eye trauma is higher in these jobs, which increases the possible risks of the corneal flap. Our Turner Eye Institute eye doctor often recommends PRK instead of LASIK for patients who are employed in these fields.

Hobbies

Just like LASIK isn’t always the best option for certain occupations, it’s also not recommended for people who play contact sports or engage in martial arts and other types of high-intensity activities. These hobbies expose the eyes to potential trauma, and PRK may therefore be the preferable solution for laser eye surgery.

Ultimately, only a qualified eye doctor can decide which laser eye surgery is right for you. To find out more about PRK, contact Turner Eye Institute for a consultation.

Schedule A Free Lasik Consultation

3 Q’s You Need to Ask Your LASIK Surgeon

Eye Care, Woman getting eye exam in , California

What you need to know when choosing a doctor for vision correction

Did you decide that it’s time to get LASIK and finally get rid of your eyewear? We applaud your decision and wish you success with your new vision! But before you sign on the dotted line, there are a few important questions you should ask your eye surgeon.

LASIK was approved as an advanced vision correction surgery in the US back in 1999. Since then, its popularity has grown considerably and many doctors currently offer this procedure in their eye care clinics. With so many choices out there, how can you decide which eye surgeon to use? To boost your confidence in choosing the best eye care center and surgeon for your LASIK surgery, our staff at Turner Eye Institute outlined the top 3 questions for you to ask:

  1. How many laser vision correction procedures have you done?

Experience is essential. A reputable eye surgeon should welcome any questions about his or her qualifications and expertise. Nowadays, it isn’t unusual for a highly experienced doctor to have performed over 25,000 LASIK surgeries. In our offices in San Leandro, Concord, and Castro Valley, CA, we’ve provided tens of thousands of patients with crisp vision with laser eye surgery! We are proud to have a long-standing record of excellent results and outstanding surgical outcomes.

2. Do you own your own eye care practice?

Bottom line – you want an eye doctor who is dedicated to you and your vision. Generally, the owner of a private eye care practice will be much more committed to providing exceptional service and ensuring patient satisfaction than someone who simply clocks in and out. In addition to the actual surgical procedure, the preoperative consultation and postoperative care are important parts of the entire LASIK process. At Turner Eye Institute, Dr. Patel is passionate about helping his patients navigate every step of vision correction comfortably.

3. Do you offer alternate options for vision correction?

LASIK isn’t for everyone. People with a thin cornea, certain pre-existing medical conditions, or an extremely high vision prescription are not always good candidates for this type of laser eye surgery. That’s why it is important to ask about alternate options and explore what’s best for you. If your eye doctor does a preoperative eye exam and determines that LASIK isn’t a viable solution, why go back to square one to research for a new eye care practice? You want an eye surgeon who is skilled in different types of surgery, such as PRK, LASEK, Epi-Lasik, and conductive keratoplasty (CK). Our eye doctor in San Leandro, Castro Valley, and Concord, CA, is experienced in performing many procedures, using both laser and non-laser technologies.

Parkinson’s Awareness Month and Your Vision

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month in the USA and Canada, a time when those living with the disorder, their family members, friends, and community come together to raise awareness and share helpful information. People with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and their loved ones are encouraged to share their stories, struggles, and successes in order to educate and support others.

The Parkinson’s Foundation has announced this year’s theme: #KeyToPD and Parkinson Canada advocates the same involvement. What is the key to living a high quality of life while living with Parkinson’s? Patients, doctors, caregivers, and families are encouraged to use this hashtag on social media to give of their knowledge and experience.

In order to successfully manage the disorder, it’s essential to understand the disease, symptoms, and treatments. After all, knowledge is power.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease is a neurological disorder that affects the brain’s ability to control physical movement. It typically affects middle aged people and the elderly. Parkinson’s causes a decrease in the brain’s natural levels of dopamine, which normally aids nerve cells in passing messages within the brain. According to The Parkinson’s Foundation and Statistics Canada, the disorder affects an estimated 1 million people in the United States, 55 000 Canadians, and 10 million globally.

What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?

Although much research has been done on the subject, the exact cause of the disease isn’t really known. What doctors and scientists do know is that certain nerve cells located in the brain somehow break down. This damage interferes with both motor and non-motor functions.

How Does Parkinson’s Affect Vision?

Parkinson’s can have a significant impact on vision and ocular health. Patients with PD often find themselves unable to control blinking. Blinking is good for the eyes as it moisturizes the surface and clears it from foreign substances. Less blinking can cause Dry Eye Syndrome, resulting in itchy, red, or gritty-feeling eyes. Other people blink too much or can’t keep their eyes open.

In more serious cases, Parkinson’s affects the nerves that help us see. Someone with PD may experience blurry vision, double vision, difficulty seeing color and contrast, problems with focus, and other visual symptoms.

In addition to the inherent impact of the disease, some of the medications used to treat Parkinson’s symptoms have known side effects including dry eyes, blurred eyesight and even hallucinations in advanced PD.

Common Visual Symptoms of Parkinson’s

Although the most recognized physical symptom is uncontrollable tremors, patients can experience other symptoms that affect their vision. These typically include:

  • Apraxia (inability to open the eyelids)
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Difficulty with balance
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye twitching
  • Focusing problems

Parkinson’s Patients and Eye Exams

Eye exams can be particularly challenging for a PD patient, so choosing the right doctor is essential. Make sure your eye doctor regularly treats patients with PD. They’ll understand your or your loved ones’ unique needs and will take the time needed.

Common Non-Visual Symptoms of Parkinson’s

PD affects other areas of the body that may or may not – depending on each patient – be related to their eye health and visual needs.

Some of the most common non-visual symptoms are:

  • Depression
  • Excessive saliva
  • Loss of smell
  • Moodiness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Slow movement (bradykinesia)
  • Stiff limbs
  • Tremors

Coping With Vision Problems From Parkinson’s

Despite the struggles caused by this degenerative disease, there is hope. Talk to your eye doctor. He or she may recommend medicated ointments or drops, injections, therapeutic lenses, visual aids, vision therapy, or a combination thereof. Additionally, a Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation doctor can provide comprehensive eye care specifically designed for neurological disorders like PD.

Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

There is currently no cure for the disease itself, but there are options to treat the symptoms of PD. A combination of medications, physical and/or occupational therapy, support groups, and of course, top-quality vision care can give a PD patient relief for some of their symptoms and tools to help cope with the condition.

Research and clinical trials are continuing as doctors and others in the medical community work towards the goal of finding a cure for PD.

No two patients are alike, and each can experience PD differently from the other, so finding what works for you or your loved one is key. During this Parkinson’s Awareness Month, share your #KeyToPD and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.

Top 5 Tips for Managing Eye Allergies This Spring

Spring is a season of new beginnings, when the cold harsh winter months are behind us, flowers bloom, and people begin spending more time outdoors.

For people with allergies, spring means one more thing: suffering. Spring may be in the air, but for allergy sufferers, so is pollen, pet dander, mold, and dust. These airborne allergens can trigger uncomfortable reactions such as watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, congestion, and sinus pain.

There are some things you can do to minimize the discomfort throughout the spring season.

Check out Our Top 5 Tips for Getting Through Eye Allergy Season:

  1. Pollen tends to have a higher count in the mornings and early evenings. During these times, stay inside and keep windows closed. If you enjoy an early morning exercise run, consider an alternative indoor workout during peak allergy season.
  2. Take a shower before going to sleep. Doing this at night can rinse away any lingering allergens and leave you with a clearer eye and nasal area, as well as a more restful night’s sleep.
  3. Keep artificial tears close by. They can temporarily alleviate ocular allergy symptoms by lubricating your eyes when they feel dry and itchy, and they’re usually small enough to fit inside a purse or pocket. If you don’t have any good eye drops, use a cool compress as an alternative method of relief.
  4. If your allergies are caused by dust or pet dander, vacuum. A lot. Dust collects quickly and can be difficult to spot until there’s a high amount of it. Pets can shed fast and often, and just when you think you’ve removed all the fur from your sofa, carpet, or bed, you suddenly find more, so vacuum a few times each week.
  5. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and change your linens more often during the spring season. Remnants of airborne allergens can stay on your hands, towels, and bed sheets. Washing them more frequently can minimize some of your allergic reactions.

Though it may be tempting, don’t rub your eyes. This can actually aggravate the allergy response. If you find yourself using artificial tears more than 4 times a day, or other short-term solutions aren’t enough, speak with your eye doctor. You may be able to receive antihistamine eye drops or other prescription medications to ease your discomfort.

When It’s More Than Allergies

Certain eye allergy symptoms can also be signs of eye conditions or diseases, so pay close attention to any reactions that don’t dissipate after allergy season ends.

These Eye Symptoms can include:

  • Dryness
  • Excessive tearing
  • Itchiness
  • Persistent eye pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling

These Symptoms Can Indicate Eye conditions, Such As:

  • Blepharitis (inflamed eyelids)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Corneal Abrasions
  • Dry Eye Disease
  • Styes (an oil gland infection that causes a bump or pimple-like shape in the eyelid)

Eye Allergies and Contact Lenses

If you wear contact lenses, speak to your doctor about daily disposable contacts. These can be a great option for allergy sufferers. Since dailies are thrown away at the end of the day, there’s no heavy allergen buildup on the lenses to worry about.

Consider switching to eyeglasses for a while. Even the most comfortable soft lenses can feel irritable during allergy season. Use the springtime to get yourself a new look. With a wide range of incredible styles to choose from, including exclusive eyewear collections from today’s hottest designers, there’s something for everyone. Not sure what the choose? Talk to your optician to help you find a style that’s right for you.

An Ocular Allergy Optometrist Near You

We’re here for you, and we want to help. Contact your eye doctor for any specific questions or concerns about your eye allergies.

[/lightbox]