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What Exactly is an Eye Chart?

If there’s one aspect of optometry that everyone recognizes, it’s the traditional eye chart, with its rows of big letters on top, which gradually become smaller the farther down you go. This chart is usually known as the Snellen chart.

Yet how much do you really know about this eye chart? Are all eye charts the same? How are these eye charts used? And when were they invented?

Here’s everything you need to know about eye charts and more!

What is an Eye Chart?

An eye chart is one of the tools your eye doctor uses to assess your eyesight. Based on how well you can see various letters on the chart, your optometrist will determine whether you have myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), presbyopia (age-related farsightedness) or astigmatism, and will measure the prescription that will give you the clearest, most comfortable vision.

Are All Eye Charts The Same?

There are a number of variations to the standard Snellen eye chart. The one an eye doctor uses depends on the personal needs and abilities of the patient. For example, eye doctors will use charts with pictures or patterns for younger children who may not have learned to read or identify letters and numbers.

There are also certain charts that specifically measure distance vision, while others are better for measuring near vision.

History of the Snellen Eye Chart

The Snellen eye chart was developed by Dutch eye doctor Hermann Snellen in the 1860s. Before this standardized eye chart was developed, each eye doctor had their own chart that they preferred to use.

Having so many different eye charts made it impossible to standardize the vision correction available to patients. Eyeglass makers didn’t receive the defined measurements they needed to accurately design, manufacture and measure the optical prescriptions their patients needed.

For the first time, the Snellen eye chart allowed a person to provide a standardized prescription from any eye care provider they chose to any eyeglass maker, and get the same optical lenses to accurately correct their vision.

How The Snellen Chart Is Used in Eye Exams

The standard Snellen chart displays 11 rows of capital letters, with the first row consisting of a single large letter. The farther down the chart you go, the smaller the letters become.

Your eye doctor will ask you to look through a phoropter – an instrument used to test individual lenses on each eye during an eye exam – and look at the Snellen chart placed 20 feet away. Your eye doctor will prescribe the lenses that provide you with the clearest and most comfortable vision.

In many offices, where 20 feet of space may not be available, you’ll be asked to view the chart through a mirror. This provides the same visual experience as if you were standing 20 feet away.

If you have 20/20 vision, it means you can see what an average person can see on an eye chart from a distance of 20 feet. On the other hand, if you have 20/40 vision, it means you can only see clearly from 20 feet away what a person with perfect vision can see clearly from 40 feet away.

If you have 20/200 vision, the legal definition of blindness, this means what a person with perfect vision can see from 200 feet away, you can see from 20 feet away.

Does 20/20 Visual Acuity Mean Perfect Vision?

No. While eye chart tests identify refractive errors, they can’t detect signs of visual skill deficiencies or diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration. These are diagnosed using advanced equipment as part of a comprehensive eye exam with your local eye doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions are essential to ensuring long-term vision and eye health.

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How do you keep your eyes healthy?

You only have one set of eyes – don’t take them for granted!

Make sure to implement the following habits for healthy eyes (and body). These include:

  • Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, fruits and vegetables
  • Drinking plenty of water to hydrate your body and eyes
  • Not smoking, and avoiding 2nd-hand smoke
  • Wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) rays
  • Maintaining normal BMI with regular exercise
  • Regular visits to your eye doctor as recommended

What health conditions can an eye exam detect?

A comprehensive eye exam can often detect certain underlying diseases that can threaten your sight and eye health, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tumors, autoimmune conditions and thyroid disorders. This is why having your eyes checked regularly is key. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome and the higher your quality of life.

Bloodshot Eyes – Should You Be Concerned?

You wake up in the morning ready to start your day, only to discover that your eyes are bloodshot. That might not be surprising if you stayed up late to finish a project, had too many drinks at a party or spent time in a smoke-filled room.

But bloodshot eyes can also signal an underlying eye problem. If your eyes appear red or bloodshot, make an appointment with an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam to determine the cause and to receive effective treatment.

Why Do I Have Bloodshot Eyes?

When blood rushes to the front of the eye, the tiny red blood vessels on the white of the eye dilate and become visible. This makes the eyes appear red and irritated.

So why do these blood vessels dilate, causing your eyes to look bloodshot?

Bloodshot eyes tend to be caused by:

  • Dry eyes
  • Irritants such as smoke, pollen and perfume
  • Lack of sleep
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Spending too much time in front of the computer

Bloodshot eyes due to lifestyle and environmental irritants may disappear on their own, or you can try to relieve them with over-the-counter eye drops or liquid tears. Lifestyle changes, such as getting more sleep, cutting down on alcohol intake and limiting screen time can often be helpful. If allergies are the culprit, oral antihistamines and antihistamine eye drops may relieve symptoms.

At other times, underlying problems requiring prompt medical attention can cause your eye’s blood vessels to dilate. The following are some of these medical conditions:

Conjunctivitis

You’ve probably heard of “pink eye.” It’s another name for infectious conjunctivitis – an infection of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane covering the eyelid and the front surface of the eye.

There are two types of infectious conjunctivitis – bacterial and viral.

If your child has conjunctivitis, they’re not alone. About 12% of kids get bacterial conjunctivitis every year. This highly contagious condition affects children and adults. In addition to reddish eyes, the following symptoms are associated with conjunctivitis:

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis – irritated eyes, swollen eyelids, eye discharge, crusty eyelids and excessive tearing
  • Viral conjunctivitis – cold or flu-like symptoms, runny nose, fever, itchy eyes, excessive tearing

If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to schedule a prompt appointment with an eye doctor, who can diagnose whether the conjunctivitis is viral, bacterial or due to allergies.

Depending on the diagnosis, your eye doctor will prescribe antibiotic eye drops or creams to treat bacterial conjunctivitis. The viral form may run its course after a few days, but cold compresses and non-prescription eye drops may provide relief.

Dry Eye Syndrome

If your eyes are chronically bloodshot you may have dry eye syndrome (DES). Signs of DES include:

  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Burning or stinging eyes
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • A feeling you have something stuck in your eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eyes

Dry eye syndrome is most commonly caused by a blockage of the tiny meibomian glands in the eyelids. These glands secrete oil that keeps eye moisture from evaporating too quickly. Without the oil, tears dry fast, leaving your eyes feeling dry, itchy and with a bloodshot appearance.

Too much screen time, aging, certain medications such as antihistamines, and medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome can cause dry eye syndrome.

In addition to any medications or in-office treatments your eye doctor recommends, make sure to get plenty of hydration, take frequent breaks from digital screens and use a humidifier in your home.

Uveitis

In addition to bloodshot eyes, if you also experience blurred vision, see floaters or your eyes feel painful, you may have an eye inflammation called uveitis. The causes of uveitis include:

  • Autoimmune or inflammatory condition
  • Infection
  • Medication side effects
  • Cancer (in rare cases)

Unfortunately, uveitis symptoms can often be mistaken for something less serious. That’s the reason it’s important to get an eye exam if your eyes are bloodshot. Left untreated, uveitis can lead to serious conditions such as retinal scarring, cataracts and vision loss.

Depending on the cause and severity, your eye doctor may treat uveitis with prescription eye drops, steroid pills, injections or eye implants.

Eye Injury

It’s vital that all eye injuries receive immediate eye care from an eye doctor.

Even a minor eye injury can cause a big red blotch to form on the white part of the eye (sclera). The cause is a broken blood vessel or a subconjunctival hemorrhage.

Although the appearance of this blood looks severe, and can make the entire white part of the eye appear bright red, a subconjunctival hemorrhage is usually painless and doesn’t cause vision loss. Any time you notice excessive blood on the eye following an eye injury, schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to assess the health of your eye.

Glaucoma

In rare cases, bloodshot eyes may signal the presence of glaucoma – a leading cause of vision loss and blindness.

While some types of glaucoma don’t show symptoms in the early phases, bloodshot eyes can indicate the type of glaucoma that requires immediate medical care. This disease causes damage to the optic nerve due to excessive pressure within the eye. When this pressure suddenly rises, the eye’s blood vessels become dilated and visible, making the eye appear red.

If you have bloodshot eyes and/or have the following risk factors for glaucoma, immediately schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.

  • Family history of glaucoma
  • Aged 60+
  • African American, Asian or Hispanic
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure

Bloodshot Eyes Won’t Go Away?

Talk to Us Any time you notice bloodshot eyes or blood on the front of the eye, don’t wait. Schedule your eye exam with Dr. Buck Buchanan at 1HourEyeDocs in Montrose today.

Q&A With Your Local Optometrist

Can I get bloodshot eyes after LASIK surgery?

LASIK surgery is highly effective minimally invasive laser eye surgery that can correct refractive errors, but like all surgical procedures, it can have side effects. Your eyes may be bloodshot or you could see halos from a few days to three weeks after surgery. Additionally, you may experience other dry eye symptoms. Eye drops and liquid tears can alleviate these symptoms, but if you have any concerns about your eyes following LASIK surgery contact your eye surgeon.

What Should I Expect from a Glaucoma Exam?

If you have a family history and/or other risk factors for glaucoma, and if your eyes look bloodshot, consider scheduling a glaucoma exam. Your eye doctor may perform the following tests:

  • Tonometry – eye pressure test
  • Gonioscopy – to see how fluid is draining out of your eye
  • Vision field test – to examine the functioning of the optic nerve
  • Dilated pupil exam – to detect any damage to the optic nerve
  • Retinal photo or OCT – digital examination of the retina and optic nerve health

What’s Your Optometrist Role in Cataract Surgery?

If you’re over the age of 60, there’s a good chance you’ll develop cataracts sometime in the next 20 or so years. While the only effective long-term treatment for cataracts is surgery, it can take years or even decades for a cataract to reach the point where it needs to be surgically removed.

In the meantime, your optometrist can monitor its progression, manage your symptoms and ensure you have the best vision possible. Once your cataract makes it difficult for you to function day-to-day, your eye doctor will refer you to an ophthalmologist who will perform eye surgery to replace your eye’s natural lens with a clear artificial lens.

Following your surgery, your optometrist will co-manage your post-op recovery in coordination with your eye surgeon.

Your Optometrist Will Discuss Cataract Treatment Options

A cataract, a clouding of the eye’s natural lens caused by the breakdown of proteins in the lens, leads to progressively blurry vision. So if you’ve been diagnosed with a cataract but aren’t yet ready for surgery, you’ll be having regular contact with your optometrist, who will explain the condition, discuss your treatment options and help manage your symptoms.

Once you’re diagnosed with cataracts, you may want to slow the progression of the condition. Working with an optometrist who knows your personal and family health history as well as your various options for cataract management and surgery is a massive advantage, as your optometrist can give you advice on dietary and lifestyle changes.

The Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams are important for everyone, and particularly if you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts. Because the cloudy areas on your eye lenses will worsen with time, your optometrist will carefully monitor your vision and upgrade your glasses or contact lens prescription as needed. Your optometrist will perform a visual acuity test and other tests to gauge increased sensitivity to light and glare, as well as deterioration in your contrast and color vision.

When’s It Time for Cataract Surgery?

At some point, your optometrist may determine that your cataracts are severe enough to require surgery. That’s typically when options to correct your vision — updated prescriptions and speciality filters that block glare and increase contrast vision — are no longer sufficient to give you the vision you need.

Your optometrist can recommend an ophthalmologist and provide information about what to expect during cataract surgery. You’ll see your eye surgeon for post-surgery check-ups, and your optometrist for long-term eye care.

If your vision is blurred or if you notice a cloudy patch forming on your eye, you may have developed cataracts. For optimal vision care and cataract management, make sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Buck Buchanan at 1HourEyeDocs in Montrose today.

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What’s the best treatment for cataracts?

Although many people use glasses to manage cataract symptoms and improve their deteriorating vision, the only way to really treat cataracts is via surgery. You may want to delay the procedure, but once your quality of life is affected to the degree that it’s difficult to drive or perform everyday tasks, it’s time to have cataract surgery.

Will cataracts return after surgery?

Generally, no. Because the eye’s natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial one during cataract surgery, a cataract can’t return to that eye. That said, there’s a possibility that a few years after the surgery, you may need a quick laser procedure if the proteins on the lens capsule — the layer that holds the artificial lens in place — becomes cloudy.

5 Vision-Saving Tips for National Save Your Vision Month

March is here. And you know what that means…

It’s National Save Your Vision Month!

In honor of this special month, which not only signals the start of spring but reminds us to protect our eyes, we’ve put together a list of 5 essential ways that you can ‘save your vision.’

It goes without saying that routine eye exams are a top priority when it comes to taking care of your eyes, so here are 5 additional things you can do to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear.

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet

You’re likely aware that a balanced diet consists of all different types of nutritious foods that contain the vitamins and nutrients you need to keep your body healthy and strong.

But did you know that certain foods actually promote eye health and can lower your risk of eye disease?

Eating foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamins A, B, C and E, can protect your eye health and help save your vision from sight-threatening eye diseases, like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma.

If you don’t think your daily meals offer enough of these essential vitamins and nutrients, ask your doctor whether you should add a daily supplement to your diet.

2. Limit Screen Time

The digital world has created a new venue for working, communicating, socializing and entertainment. But it’s also brought about a new eye condition called computer vision syndrome (CVS) — also called digital eye strain (DES) — that’s a growing concern among eye care professionals.

Not only can too much screen time affect productivity in work and school, but it can also result in dry, red, irritated eyes, blurry vision, headaches, neck, back and shoulder pain, and even have a negative effect on your mood and quality of sleep.

So this month, take it upon yourself to be more aware of how much time you spend in front of a digital screen, and try to set boundaries whenever possible for you and your children. You can also practice the 20-20-20 rule — every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for a minimum of 20 seconds.

3. Use Protective Eyewear

Every day, thousands of people receive emergency care for an eye-related accident — many of them resulting in permanent damage and vision loss.

The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is by wearing protective eyewear for all activities that pose an eye health risk — from sports and water gun fights to lightsaber tournaments and science experiments. And, of course, this also implies any type of home-improvement project that involves small particles like grass, saw dust or metal flying into your eye.

Protective eyewear can truly save your vision.

4. Wear Sunglasses All Year Round

Sunglasses are more than just a fashion accessory to enhance your look. They shield your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which can damage your vision and lead to serious eye diseases like cataracts and macular degeneration.

Now you have an even better excuse to go out and buy yourself the new pair of shades you’ve been dreaming about. Just make sure they offer 100% UV protection.

Wear your new sunglasses all year round, even on cloudy and snowy days, because the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the clouds and reflect off the snow-covered ground, doubling your exposure.

5. Quit Smoking

If you’ve been thinking about quitting, now’s the time! Smoking is not only dangerous for your overall health, it increases your risk for sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

So, for the sake of your vision and overall health, take the first steps toward kicking your smoking habit.

In honor of National Save Your Vision Month, why not try some of these vision-saving habits that can help you keep your eyes and vision healthy for a lifetime. Your future self will thank you.

Interested in learning more about how you can protect your eyes and vision? Contact 1HourEyeDocs in Montrose today to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and to offer you the best possible eye care.

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Do children need to wear sunglasses?

Yes, sunglasses are essential for protecting your child’s eyes both now and in the future. A child’s eyes are still maturing and are therefore even more susceptible to UV damage than adults. Encourage your child to wear sunglasses whenever they play outside by setting a good example and making sure to wear sunglasses whenever you venture outdoors.

What are sports goggles?

Sports goggles are a type of protective eyewear worn by many athletes. These goggles contain impact resistant, durable polycarbonate lenses, offering the ultimate eye protection during sports activities. If you or your child play sports, sports goggles are an essential accessory to your athletic gear.

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 1HourEyeDocs in Montrose, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

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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.

How to Practice Natural Eye Care

It’s a fact of life. Eye health and vision naturally decline as you age. However, while some of these changes are inevitable, there are still natural actions (we’re not talking about taking medications!) you can do to improve eye health, even with the passing of years.

Our Montrose eye doctor, Dr. Buck (Chris) Buchanan has prepared a list of seven lifestyle hacks for enhancing your eye care naturally:

  1. Upgrade Your DietIn our fast-paced, instant-gratification society, ready-to-eat junk food abounds. It can be challenging to consistently maintain a healthy diet. But if you are sincerely dedicated to improving your health, it’s time to look closely at what you’re putting into your body and make changes, as necessary. Over time, poor nutrition can lead to a variety of serious health problems, many of which can affect your vision.Your diet should consist of plenty of fruits, veggies, and lean proteins, with healthy fats and carbohydrates mixed in. Choices such as berries and vegetables with carotenoids (carrots, bell peppers, squash), dark leafy greens, and fish, for example, are recommended to boost eye health.
  2. Manage Your WeightObesity can lead to many life-threatening conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes and arterial disease. These serious health issues are linked to vision damage. In addition to improving your diet, it’s vital to add exercise to your daily routine. Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes a week of physical activity. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to get it over within one-shot or spend all those minutes at the gym. Pick a physical activity that you enjoy, be it walking the dog, swimming in the community pool, or biking with your kids. Anything that keeps your body in motion, ideally for a minimum of 20 minutes at a time, qualifies.
  3. Wear SunglassesToo much sun exposure and UV rays can damage your eyes. Put on a pair of sunglasses with 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays every time you head outdoors, even if it’s cloudy. Wearing a hat and sunscreen is also advised.
  4. Don’t SmokeTobacco products aren’t meant to be introduced into your body. Smoking is a risk factor for many diseases, including eye disease. So if you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, now’s the perfect time to quit.
  5. Brew a Cuppa Green TeaPraised as a “miracle drink,” green tea may not be a scientific cure-all – but it certainly helps promote heart health, skin health, and weight loss. It has also been associated with reducing the risk of cancer, cognitive decline and diabetes, as well as helping to defend your eyes againstlens damage and retinal problems.
  6. Limit ScreentimeNowadays, so many parts of our lives are immersed in screens – from work to study to entertainment. Modern technology is amazing and beneficial, but it can also be hazardous to your eye health. Take care to take breaks when working in front of a computer; practice the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from your screen at something about 20 feet in the distance for 20 seconds.
  7. Visit an Optometrist Near You for Eye ExamsWhile following these recommendations for natural eye care can help you keep your peepers healthy, it doesn’t eliminate the need for regular eye exams from a qualified eye care provider. Eye exams check for major issues that can’t be detected or treated at home.

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? Do you suffer from Digital Eye Strain? Our Montrose eye doctor is always ready to answer your questions about eye disease and Contact lenses.

Book an eye exam at 1 Hour EyeDocs eye clinic near you in Montrose, [state] to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 888-536-8383

1 Hour EyeDocs, your Montrose eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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  • Which foods are good for the eyes?

    Your diet should consist of plenty of fruits, veggies, and lean proteins, with healthy fats and carbohydrates mixed in. Choices such as berries and vegetables with carotenoids (carrots, bell peppers, squash), dark leafy greens, and fish, for example, are recommended to boost eye health.

  • Can your weight affect your eyes?

    Obesity can lead to many life-threatening conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, and arterial disease. These serious health issues are linked to vision damage. In addition to improving your diet, it’s vital to add exercise to your daily routine. Aim for a minimum of 150 minutes a week of physical activity. Of course, that doesn’t mean you need to get it over within one-shot or spend all those minutes at the gym. Pick a physical activity that you enjoy, be it walking the dog, swimming in the community pool, or biking with your kids. Anything that keeps your body in motion, ideally for a minimum of 20 minutes at a time, qualifies.

  • How often should you get an Eye Exam

    While following these recommendations for natural eye care can help you keep your peepers healthy, it doesn’t eliminate the need for regular eye exams from a qualified eye care provider. Eye exams check for major issues that can’t be detected or treated at home.

  • Can screen time affect your eyesight?

    Nowadays, so many parts of our lives are immersed in screens – from work to study to entertainment. Modern technology is amazing and beneficial, but it can also be hazardous to your eye health. Take care to take breaks when working in front of a computer; practice the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from your screen at something about 20 feet in the distance for 20 seconds.

How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Eyesight

Pregnancy can impact almost every part of a woman’s body and health — including her eyes. In fact, an estimated 14% of pregnant women report experiencing visual changes during pregnancy that usually resolve on their own within a couple of months after giving birth.

Knowing the different visual symptoms that can present when you’re expecting can help alert you to potential underlying health concerns that your physician may need to address.

Normal Visual Changes During Pregnancy

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision is the most common visual symptom that pregnant women may experience. Hormonal fluctuations are usually to blame for the temporary decrease in visual acuity, and your eyesight will likely return to normal soon after giving birth.

The influx of pregnancy hormones causes fluid retention in some areas of the body and can cause the cornea to thicken slightly. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused accurately and vision may be blurred.

Less commonly, blurred vision can signal gestational diabetes, a pregnancy complication affecting 6-9% of pregnant women. The rise in blood sugar level impacts the focusing lens of the eye, leading to blurry vision. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, including gestational diabetes, it’s a good idea to book an eye exam to monitor for retinal changes.

Blurred vision is also a common side effect of dry eye syndrome, a condition characterized by tears that don’t adequately lubricate the eyes, which can be brought on or exacerbated by pregnancy.

Eye Dryness

Pregnancy hormones can cause a reduction in the amount of tears your eyes produce or affect the quality of the tears. These changes can affect a woman throughout her entire pregnancy, but studies show that eye dryness is particularly common in the last trimester. For this reason, some women find it difficult to wear contact lenses in their third trimester and temporarily switch to glasses.

Eye Puffiness

Yet another body part that swells during pregnancy: the eyelids and tissues around the eyes.

Pregnancy-related water retention may cause your eyelids to appear puffier than during your pre-pregnancy days. You may also notice darker areas under the eyes. If your puffy eyes bother you, try limiting your salt and caffeine intake, as they can worsen the problem.

Visual Changes That May Indicate a Problem

The following visual changes warrant a prompt call to your eye doctor or obstetrician to rule out any underlying complications.

Flashes or floaters

Seeing stars during pregnancy can signal high blood pressure, which is associated with preeclampsia — a serious medical condition that requires close monitoring by your physician and possible treatment.

It’s crucial to have your blood pressure monitored throughout your pregnancy, as preeclampsia can potentially endanger the life of mother and child, as well as damage the cornea and retina.

Temporary vision loss

Temporary vision loss is concerning for pregnant and non-pregnant individuals. Vision loss is another warning sign of preeclampsia, so contact your doctor promptly if you suddenly lose any portion of your visual field.

Sensitivity to light

Light-sensitivity can either be a normal side effect of fluid retention in the eye, or it can signal dangerously high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

How We Can Help

At ​​1HourEyeDocs, our goal is to keep your vision and eyes healthy throughout your pregnancy and beyond. If you experience any visual symptoms, we can help by thoroughly examining your eyes to determine the underlying cause and provide you with guidance on what next steps to take.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time, when self care should be at the forefront — and that includes comprehensive eye care.

To schedule an eye exam or learn more about our eye care services, call 1HourEyeDocs in Montrose today!

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Q&A With Our Eye Doctor in Montrose, Colorado

Why are regular eye exams important?

Having your eyes evaluated by an optometrist on a regular basis is crucial for detecting early signs of eye diseases and changes in your prescription, including during pregnancy. Many serious eye diseases don’t cause any noticeable symptoms until they’ve progressed to late stages, when damage to vision may be irreversible. Whether or not you wear glasses or contact lenses for vision correction, ask your optometrist about how often to schedule a routine eye exam.

Will my baby need an eye exam after birth?

According to the American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists, babies should have an eye exam within the first 6-12 months of life, even in the absence of noticeable vision problems. Healthy vision is a significant part of healthy overall development, so be sure not to skip your baby’s eye exams!

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

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

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

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

Symptoms of Post-LASIK Dry Eye Syndrome

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

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

Why Can LASIK Cause Dry Eye Syndrome?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Glaucoma

  • Keratoconus

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

How We Can Help

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

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

Book an eye exam at 1 Hour EyeDocs eye clinic near you in Montrose, Colorado to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 888-536-8383

1 Hour EyeDocs, your Montrose eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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

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

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

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

  • Am I a good candidate for refractive surgery?

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

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

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

What is Viral Conjunctivitis?

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

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

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

For any and all concerns or questions about your eye health, or to schedule your annual eye exam, 1 Hour EyeDocs in Montrose is here for you.

What Is Viral Conjunctivitis?

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

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

What are Some Signs and Symptoms?

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

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

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

When Should You Call Your Eye Doctor?

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

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

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

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

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

If you or a loved one has pink eye or any other eye problem, call 1 Hour EyeDocs in Montrose, Colorado to schedule your comprehensive eye exam today.

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

1 Hour EyeDocs, your Montrose eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Call 888-536-8383 today, or book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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

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

  • What gets rid of pink eye fast?

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

  • How Long Does Pink Eye Last?

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

  • How long are you contagious with pink eye?

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

All About Cataract Surgery

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

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

When is cataract surgery recommended?

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

What is cataract surgery?

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

What risks are involved with cataract surgery?

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

Some possible risks are:

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

What happens during cataract surgery?

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

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

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

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

What should you expect after cataract surgery?

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

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

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

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

What is posterior capsule opacification (PCO)?

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

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

How should you choose a cataract surgeon?

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

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

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

Do you have more questions about cataract surgery?

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

Book an eye exam at 1 Hour EyeDocs eye clinic near you in Montrose, Colorado to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you. Call 888-536-8383

1 Hour EyeDocs, your Montrose eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

FOLLOW US

  • What are multifocal lens implants?

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

  • What are cataracts and how can they be treated?

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

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

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

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

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