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Year: 2020

What Causes Low Vision And Blindness In Children?

Low Vision And Blindness In Children 640×350Every year, more than half a million children suffer from low vision or blindness in North America. Having impaired vision makes it difficult to read, play sports, participate in social events, and recognize faces. Low vision can also make it difficult to navigate outdoors, especially on crowded sidewalks and busy streets.

Often, the first signs of low vision can manifest as a child appearing clumsy or inattentive, when the true problem lies in their vision.

We understand how impaired vision can adversely impact a child’s life, and we’re here to help. Our low vision doctors offer a variety of helpful strategies vision aids that can help maximize your child’s remaining vision, thus ensuring the highest quality of life under the circumstances.

Read on to learn about some common causes of low vision and blindness in children and discover how a low vision optometrist can help children with impaired vision live their best lives.

Leading Causes of Pediatric Low Vision and Blindness

Albinism

Albinism is an inherited condition that affects melanin production. Melanin is the pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes that gives each person their own unique coloring. Some people with albinism have very little melanin, while others have no melanin at all.

Aside from making a person look different on the outside, albinism can also affect how the eyes function. Healthy amounts of melanin are used in the development of the retina (light sensitive lining at the back of the eye). Reduced amounts of melanin in the eyes, or none at all, can cause a range of vision problems including:

  • Poor eyesight — nearsightedness or farsightedness
  • Low vision — irreversible vision loss
  • Astigmatism — where the clear part at the front of the eye (cornea) isn’t curved correctly or the lens is abnormally shaped, causing blurred vision
  • Photophobia — light sensitivity
  • Nystagmus — involuntary, rapid eye movements
  • Squint — eyes pointing in different directions

Vision problems associated with albinism last a lifetime, but typically don’t worsen over time.

Pediatric Cataracts

A cataract is the opacity or cloudiness that occurs in the eye’s lens, which is crystal clear in a healthy eye. Some cataracts are small and won’t interfere with vision, while others are large and can cause severe vision loss.

An estimated 3 out of 10,000 children have cataracts. Common causes of pediatric cataracts are genetics, infections, and abnormal lens development in utero. Not all cataracts interfere with vision, as some are small or on the outer edges of the lens. If a cataract interferes with the child’s vision, it should be surgically removed as soon as safely possible.

Pediatric Glaucoma

Pediatric glaucoma (also referred to as childhood or infantile glaucoma) is generally diagnosed before a child’s first birthday. Glaucoma causes an increase in the eye’s internal pressure, which can lead to permanent optic nerve damage. Aside from vision loss, symptoms of pediatric glaucoma include enlarged eyes, photosensitivity (light-sensitivity), excessive tearing, and cloudiness in the cornea. In many cases, childhood glaucoma can be effectively managed and treated.

Retinal Diseases

Certain retinal diseases, like Stargardt macular dystrophy, retinitis pigmentosa (RP), Usher syndrome, Leber congenital amaurosis, and Bardet-Biedl syndrome can cause low vision or blindness in children. Children with these retinal diseases should be closely monitored by a low vision optometrist as the condition progresses.

Ocular Trauma

Ocular trauma is a leading cause of acquired monocular blindness (blindness affecting one eye) among children. According to a study published in The Journal of Ophthalmology, about a quarter of a million children are treated for serious ocular trauma yearly in the USA alone. Up to 14% of those cases resulted in visual impairment or blindness. Whenever possible, ensure that your child is wearing protective eyewear when doing certain crafts, playing sports, or engaging in any activity that could pose a risk to their eyes.

How a Low Vision Optometrist Can Help

Many children with vision loss can live full and independent lives. While we may not be able to restore lost vision, we do offer several low vision aids and devices that can help maximize a child’s usable vision. This will enable the child to make the most of their sight, continue to function as independently as possible, and not miss out on the joys of being a kid.

If you have a child with low vision, contact Low Vision Optometry of Southern California today. We can help.

Low Vision Optometry of Southern California serves patients from Riverside, Orange County, Temecula, and Mission Viejo, throughout California.

REFERENCES

Why Do Colors Appear Less Vibrant?

colors 640You’re deciding which clothes to wear, but wonder why their bright colors suddenly seem subdued. Or perhaps they look faded with your right eye but not your left eye.

Odd, right?

Not seeing colors the way you used to is often a symptom of optical problems, especially as we age. Let’s take a look at some of these diseases and explore ways a low vision eye doctor can help you improve or at least maximize your vision.

Cataracts occur when protein deposits accumulate on the eye’s crystalline lens and turn it opaque. Once-clear vision becomes cloudy and colors begin to fade.

The good news is that cataract surgery is a very safe procedure that replaces your cloudy lens with a new, clear lens. If you’ve had cataract surgery to restore clear vision, you’ll notice right away that colors appear much brighter than before. A few years after cataract surgery, some patients notice that colors may start to appear subdued. This is normal and can be treated very quickly using a laser procedure.

Glaucoma results from high pressure build-up inside the eye, which damages the optic nerve, reduces vision and can lead to blindness. Color-vision deficiency — the inability to tell certain colors apart — can be one of the signs that glaucoma is starting to affect the eyes.

The difficulty in distinguishing between blue and yellow colours is often associated with early glaucoma, whereas red-green deficiencies are generally associated with advanced glaucoma. However, there are times when it is difficult to measure or quantify acquired color vision deficiency, and color tests performed with standardized color test charts frequently characterize it as combined or nonspecific color vision deficiency.

Macular degeneration primarily affects older people by causing a deterioration of the macula, the center of the retina. This leads to blurriness and significant vision loss. Experiencing difficulty distinguishing between similar colors and hues is an early sign of the condition.

Optic neuritis occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the myelin coating on nerve fibers, causing blurriness and partial vision loss in one or both eyes. Colors, especially shades of red, become subdued, and it becomes harder to distinguish against a similarly colored background. Fortunately, the condition is usually temporary.

Diabetic retinopathy affects people with diabetes when high blood-sugar levels damage blood vessels in the retina. This causes these tiny blood vessels to swell, leak fluid, or close, and can even cause abnormal new blood vessels to grow. These new vessels are very fragile and prone to being damaged. Symptoms often include fading colors, blurriness, vision loss, and more.

What to Do When Color-Related Difficulties and Other Visual Symptoms Arise

If you notice that your color vision is reduced, you may be in the early stages of a range of eye diseases. It is important for any eye condition to be diagnosed and treated early on so it can be effectively treated.

If these eye diseases are not managed early, the color-related problems you’re experiencing could worsen, eventually affecting your vision permanently, resulting in what is known as low vision. Low vision indicates that your vision has deteriorated to a point which makes your everyday tasks challenging and can negatively impact your quality of life.

If you notice that colors are diminished or you are experiencing other worrying symptoms affecting your vision, immediately consult Dr. Richard Shuldiner. We will examine you by:

  • Dilating your pupils
  • Evaluating your visual acuity
  • Providing a visual field examination
  • Providing a colour vision assessment
  • Conducting eye pressure tests

The sooner we identify the underlying cause behind your reduced color vision, the sooner you will be able to start treatment to improve or maximize your vision.

Low Vision Optometry of Southern California helps patients in Riverside, Orange County, Temecula, Mission Viejo, and throughout California.

References

How to Know If You’re at Risk for Glaucoma

happy senior outside 640×350Glaucoma is a dangerous eye condition that can cause blindness. The condition occurs when fluids in the eye put pressure on the optic nerve. It is a leading cause of blindness worldwide, with more than 3 million cases in North America alone.

By testing your vision, dilating your pupils, examining your eyes, and testing your eye pressure, Dr. Richard Shuldiner can detect whether you have glaucoma. Additional tests can determine whether your peripheral vision has declined.

Because glaucoma’s early stages affect the peripheral nerves in your retina, your side vision is damaged before your central vision. Furthermore, as this nerve damage is almost always pain-free, often this condition is discovered only after causing irreversible vision loss. While glaucoma’s effects can be managed, its damage is permanent.

Be Aware of the Risk Factors

You should be alert to the dangers of glaucoma, especially if you:

  • are over 40 years old
  • are African American or Hispanic
  • have diabetes, heart disease, sickle cell anemia, or high blood pressure
  • have a family history of glaucoma
  • sustained an eye injury
  • have extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness
  • have used corticosteroid medications
  • notice any vision loss

How Do I Know if I Have Glaucoma?

Contact Dr. Richard Shuldiner at Low Vision Optometry of Southern California, who will dilate the pupil of your eyes and perform a comprehensive eye examination to determine whether you have the condition. If you do, we will start treatment immediately, usually by prescribing eye medications to prevent the glaucoma from worsening, and schedule follow-up visits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a thorough dilated eye exam by age 40 to catch glaucoma and other eye diseases early.

Other proactive steps the CDC advises to prevent glaucoma include:

  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • monitoring your blood pressure
  • staying active
  • not smoking

 

Low Vision Optometry of Southern California treats patients with glaucoma — and people at risk for it — in Riverside, Orange County, Temecula, Mission Viejo, and throughout California.

References

The 3rd Person in the Exam Room

adult woman with senior womanMany of the people who enter our offices seeking low vision care do so with a mixture of anxiety and trepidation. By the time we see them they will have already tried over-the-counter reading glasses, a variety of routine eyeglass prescriptions, hand-held magnifiers, and probably retinal treatments and AREDS vitamins — often to no avail.

Not only has their vision not improved, but they have been repeatedly told by their physician that “nothing more can be done,” at least from a medical perspective.

Eager for solutions, they reach out to Low Vision Optometry of Southern California to give it one more try, often accompanied by a friend or loved one.

We recognize how important it is for many patients to have a “3rd person in the exam room.” Having a support person can be invaluable for the patient, in a variety of ways, by providing emotional support and guidance during and after visits to the practice. This support person can be a significant other, spouse, partner, adult child, aide, or caregiver.

Reasons to Have a Support Person Present at the Low Vision Evaluation

There are many reasons for having that third person in the room. One of them is the familiarity that helps calm the patient’s anxieties. Furthermore, even if a patient’s memory is intact, they rarely remember all the suggestions and recommendations discussed during the doctor’s visit — something a support person can help with.

The support person may be able to fill in any missing information regarding the patient’s visual needs and medical history if the patient isn’t able to do so.

Accompanying the patient to exams can give the support person a deeper understanding of the patient’s visual capabilities and limitations. They may be dismayed at the patient’s poor vision during the eye chart testing or elated to discover that the patient has usable vision that can be enhanced with the use of low vision aids and devices.

The “3rd person” can act as a cheerleader, encouraging the patient to try activities they thought were beyond their visual abilities. They can encourage the patient to try telescope glasses or read small print using a microscopic lens.

The support person can also help and remind the patient to correctly follow the instructions when using the low vision aids by, for example, ensuring the patient is holding the reading material at the correct reading distance and situating the desk lamp for maximum benefit and brightness.

Bring a Support Person to Your Next Low Vision Consultation

To ensure the best outcome, we highly recommend that patients invite a support person to join them for their vision evaluations and consultations with Dr. Richard Shuldiner.

To learn more about how Low Vision Optometry of Southern California can help low vision patients make the most of their vision, please contact Dr. Richard Shuldiner today.

We serve low vision patients from Riverside, Orange County, Temecula,Mission Viejo, all throughout California.

Reading Tips For Those With Macular Degeneration

Woman 1.7FD w Cap.KinkadeThe most serious symptom of macular degeneration (AMD) is the loss of central vision, with those in the more advanced stages of AMD experiencing a smudge or black spot in the center of their vision. This makes it difficult to read and causes many people to give up on reading.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Below you will find a list of low vision devices and strategies that can help people with AMD read more easily and comfortably.

Members of The International Academy of Low Vision Specialists are experts in determining which low vision devices will work best for you for reading.

Low Vision Devices for Reading

Reading Magnifier

Hand-held magnifiers are the most commonly used visual aids for spot reading among those with AMD and other low vision conditions. In the correct power, they are useful for reading medicine bottles, prices, labels, oven dials, etc. While you can find small pocket magnifiers, full-page illuminated magnifiers, and magnifiers that are mounted on adjustable stands, only your low vision doctor can determine exactly what power you need.

Portable Electronic Magnifiers

A portable electronic magnifier resembles an iPad or a tablet. By holding this device in front of your reading material, you can view the magnified version on its LED screen.

High-Power Reading Glasses

Strong magnifying reading eyeglasses enable a person with severe visual impairment to read the fine print. Your low vision eye doctor will determine the correct near prescription and demonstrate how they work.

Video Magnifier

Although traditional optical magnifiers, such as magnifying glasses, are generally very helpful, some people benefit more from a video magnifier. A video magnifier, or closed-circuit television (CCTV), has a camera that transmits magnified images (up to 50x or higher) and displays them on a large monitor or TV screen. You can sit as close to the screen as you like and adjust the magnification, brightness, and contrast for reading clarity.

Tele-Microscopic Glasses

Tele-microscopic lenses are mounted on the eyeglass lenses and may be prescribed for one or both eyes. They allow people with low vision to read, use a computer, write, and perform other tasks at a comfortable distance.

Certain low vision devices require a prescription from an eye doctor as they are custom-made for your specific needs. Consult Dr. Richard Shuldiner, who will help determine which vision aids are best for your needs, based on your lifestyle and level of vision impairment.

Other Strategies To Help You Read With Macular Degeneration

Increase in Contrast

It’s important to ensure a stark contrast between the text being read and its background. Newspapers don’t offer much contrast because the grey letters sit on an off-white background.

Many electronic screens allow you to tailor the contrast to your needs: black lettering on a white background; white lettering on a black background; black lettering on a yellow background; and yellow lettering on a dark black background. Try the different color combinations and settle on the color contrast combination that offers the best contrast for the most comfortable reading experience.

Increase Lighting

Increasing the amount and type of lighting can greatly improve reading ability in those with AMD.

Direct light. A standard table lamp usually won’t provide sufficient light for reading a book. Consider getting an adjustable gooseneck lamp that allows you to focus the light directly onto the reading material.

Sunlight. Because natural sunlight is the ideal lighting for reading, try to arrange your furniture in such a way that you can sit near a window for comfortable daytime reading.

Lightbulbs. Use the brightest light bulbs for each light fixture in the house. These include LED, halogen, and full-spectrum light bulbs (which mimics natural sunlight more than incandescent bulbs). Be careful with halogen, however, as they may create excessive heat. Replace any fluorescent lighting in the house, as it can cause glare, particularly for those with low vision. For reading, however, the best option is to use lower strength light bulbs and bring the lamp closer.

E-reader. Kindles and other e-readers conveniently include a built-in light that allows you to adjust brightness for more comfortable reading.

Large Print Books or Larger Fonts

Consider purchasing large print books online or in book shops, as they include larger fonts, more spacing and better contrast. If you opt for electronic books, you can conveniently increase the font size, rendering it easier and more enjoyable to read.

Adjust Spacing

Your electronic reading device allows you to adjust the spacing between the lines as needed. By widening the space between lines, you will find reading easier and will experience less eye strain.

Speak with Dr. Richard Shuldiner for more advice on reading with macular degeneration or to get low vision aids and devices.

Low Vision Optometry of Southern California serves low vision patients in Riverside, Orange County, Temecula, and Mission Viejo, throughout California.

 

What Services Can I Get Using Tele-Optometry?

Tele-optometry is a branch of telemedicine that can cover a wide range of problems and treatments related to vision and ocular health. Tele-medicine delivers medical care through digital medical equipment and telecommunications technology, such as online videos accessible through smart phones and tablets. This allows patients to easily receive screenings, diagnoses, prescriptions and monitoring from the comfort and safety of their home. 

Optometrists can provide virtual medical eye consultations for a variety of eye problems, including:

  • Eye infections (i.e.conjunctivitis/pink eye)
  • Itchy eyes and allergies
  • Eye pain and redness
  • Scratched eye (i.e. corneal abrasion) 
  • Flashers & floaters
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Distorted vision 
  • Dry eye syndrome 
  • Blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid) 
  • Dermatitis

Other services:

  • General Consultations
  • Refractive Surgery Follow-Ups
  • New Prescriptions 
  • Prescription Refills

Which Digital Devices Can I Use For a Virtual Eye Evaluation? 

Laptop/Desktop:

You can easily do your tele-optometric visit from any laptop or desktop that’s equipped with a camera and a microphone. Having a strong internet connection will help ensure high-definition video calls.  

Smartphones/ Tablets/ iPads: 

Many smartphones, tablets, and iPads now have very high-resolution cameras, which are great for taking quality pictures and videos that doctors can use to provide a diagnosis.

How Can an Eye Doctor Diagnose Through a Digital Platform? 

The optometrist will provide a diagnosis based both on the images and the information you supply, and if the eye doctor believes that your issues require emergency care, you will be referred to a specialist to better help treat your condition. With tele-optometry, you can feel confident that you are receiving care from a licensed, practicing eye doctor from the comfort of your home. 

Will Insurance Cover My Virtual Eye Care Visit? 

In most cases insurance plans will cover telehealth visits, but to be on the safe side, we ask that you double-check with your insurance provider prior to the visit.

If you’re experiencing certain eye concerns, including red eyes, pink eye, itchy eyes, flashes, floating spots, or double vision, contact us today to receive a diagnosis and effective treatment plan. 

Make a tele-optometry appointment before going to the emergency room or urgent care clinic to avoid the wait and any potential exposure to COVID-19. Contact us at  Low Vision Optometry of Southern California at Corona to schedule your in-home eye evaluation today! 

COVID-19: Protect Your Eyes From Too Much Screen Time

You and your children are likely spending more time on mobile devices and computer screens than ever before. Too much time spent staring at screens can cause computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain, in certain people. While not serious, this condition can be very uncomfortable, potentially causing:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness

Below are some useful tips to help you and your children avoid computer vision syndrome:

Blink more! 

Staring at a screen strains the eyes more than reading printed material because people tend to blink 30-50% less. This can also cause your eyes to dry out. Be mindful of blinking and make it a habit when focusing on a screen, as it will keep your eyes healthy and lubricated.

Follow the 20-20-20 Rule 

Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object located 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Doing so will allow your eyes to relax and will give both you and your eyes some rest.

Keep your distance

Your eyes work harder to see close up than at a distance. Try keeping your monitor or screen at arm’s length, or about 25 inches away.

Lighting matters

Make sure that your surrounding light is similar in strength to the light emanating from your screen. Contrasting levels of light, such as looking at a bright screen in a dark room, can strain the eyes.

Take breaks from the screen

You may want to stipulate ‘screen free’ time for yourself and/or your children, such as during meal times or for several hours throughout the day. Engage in hobbies that don’t require a screen, such as drawing, reading books, doing puzzles, playing an instrument or cooking (among many others).

Don’t use devices before bed

Studies show that blue light may affect your body’s circadian rhythm, also known as the natural wake and sleep cycle. Stop using screens one to two hours before bedtime or use nighttime settings to minimize blue light exposure.

Although it may require a bit of planning to protect your family’s eyes during this stressful time, ultimately, it’s all about balance — and what works for you and your family may differ from others.

From all of us at Low Vision Optometry of Southern California at Corona, we wish you good health and please stay safe.

Why All Low Vision Patients Are Upset

Bifocal Type R.By Richard J. Shuldiner, OD, FAAO, FIALVS, Chief Clinical Editor

In 1960, at the age of seven, Wayne F. was diagnosed with amblyopia in his left eye (commonly referred to as Lazy Eye), but it was left untreated. As an adult, Wayne scheduled regular eye exams every few years and received new glasses each time the vision in his right eye changed. In November of 2019, it was time to renew his driver’s license. During all previous DMV visits, Wayne could read the vision charts with the help of glasses. This trip was different.

How Wayne Suddenly Became a Low Vision Patient

Wayne’s vision had slowly deteriorated to the point where the DMV eye chart became impossible to read, and, to his surprise, his license was revoked. Wayne scheduled an appointment with his eye doctor to get new glasses. He expected that a new prescription would improve his vision enough to get his driver’s license reinstated. It also seemed like an opportunity to get new frames and a new look. That’s when Wayne received the news that dry macular degeneration had developed in his right eye, and that new glasses would not improve his vision. He was told, “Nothing more can be done.”

Wayne was devastated. Confusion and worry took over as he asked himself, “How will I get to work? How will I pay the mortgage? How will I support my family? What will become of me?”

Low Vision Patients Have a Reason to Be Upset

ALL low vision patients are upset. Every one of them. And it doesn’t matter if they have a happy disposition, a good attitude or have “accepted” it. They are upset.

As we know, Wayne is not alone. Many patients are struggling with the shocking news that new glasses will not restore their vision. Loss of vision is one of the major fears that people have. When it happens, the upset can be truly debilitating.

Definition of Low Vision

What exactly is “low vision”? There are many ways to say it, but for me, this is the most understandable: Best corrected vision is insufficient to do what you want to do.

The definition contains two variables: vision and task— the amount of vision available to work with, and the tasks the patient wants to be able to do. A person with no visual goals does not have low vision, regardless of the extent of vision loss.

What Is it Like?

Consider the plight of most of the low vision patients we see. They have had decent vision for most of their lives. They needed glasses at some point, for any of the refractive reasons, including presbyopia. Some solved their conditions with glasses, others with contact lenses, vision therapy, or a surgical procedure. In each case, these solutions enabled them to see well enough to do what they wanted to do.

Now, after scores of eye examinations over the years, they once again don’t see well. Still confident that their vision can be corrected, they make an appointment with clear expectations and intentions: stylish new frames, better contacts, clearer vision to enjoy life and be productive. After all, they’ve been through this many times. Only this time, it doesn’t happen.

Instead, they are told they have an “eye condition” that has caused them to lose vision permanently!

And, they are told that if there is a treatment, it won’t bring back the vision they have lost!

And, they may lose more vision!

And it could happen at any time!

And they might go blind!

And lastly, they are told, “There’s nothing more we can do!”

Each sentence stabs like a knife.

What Being Upset Is All About

Surprisingly, there are only three things that upset human beings.

  • Unfulfilled expectations
  • Thwarted intentions
  • Undelivered communications

Think about any time you have ever been upset. Regardless of the circumstances, regardless of who you think was to blame, regardless of what “they” did, regardless of the topic or whom it was with, the upset falls into one or more of the above three categories.

No one expects to lose vision permanently.

No one expects to hear these words from their eye doctor: “There’s nothing more that can be done.”

The expectation is that the doctor will have a solution to the problem.

The intention is to get new glasses, see better, get new frames and have a new, fashionable look.

They walk out in a daze, unable to communicate or even think clearly.

Upset Reactions

Three things happen to a human being when they become upset:

  • A shift in reality
  • A loss of affinity
  • A decrease in communication

Everyone knows not to make decisions when upset. Why? Because the shift in perception of reality leads to bad decisions. We’ve all experienced a reduction in both love and appreciation when we are upset with a loved one. And, we all know that getting someone to open up and communicate when they are upset is nearly impossible.

Words From an Eye Doctor

Life is full of unexpected and upsetting events and, like a flash of lightning, life can change in an instant. An event, such as being told you have Macular Degeneration (or some other vision-affecting eye condition) and that new glasses won’t help, becomes so upsetting that clear thinking is virtually impossible. What I’ve seen over the years while working with low vision patients is a state of chaos, of not knowing what to do, who to turn to, and how to deal with permanent vision loss. Confusion and fear take over as people have no idea what their lives will be like or what they should do.

Providing a Future

When faced with “going blind,” all the hopes and dreams of the future seem to be destroyed. The idea of having time to read great novels, travel to see famous sights, watch the grandchildren play their sports, and more is crushed in their minds. The future they have imagined is gone.

This is where low vision care comes in. People need a future to live into. Dr. Richard Shuldiner can give them that and reduce the turmoil they feel.

We are telling our patients today: “There is life after vision loss. There are low vision doctors who can help to keep you doing those things you love. Your life is not over.”

Advanced LOW VISION CARE is available at Low Vision Optometry of Southern California and a fulfilling life is attainable. Low vision glasses (i.e. telescopes, microscopes, prismatics, filters, etc.), low vision devices, adaptive technology, large print materials, and auxiliary professionals, such as Occupational Therapists and Orientation/Mobility specialists are available. Dr. Richard Shuldiner is a member of the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists and has years of experience treating and caring for low vision patients.

This article first appeared here: https://emailactivity1.ecn5.com/engines/publicPreview.aspx?blastID=2606173&emailID=387066764

Is It Possible to Read and Write With Macular Degeneration?

man reading a newspaper 3393375Once you’ve been diagnosed with macular degeneration, you may find yourself overwhelmed with questions. The uncertainty as to whether you will be able to read, write, and recognize faces can be depressing. Before you let these concerns weigh you down, contact a low vision optometrist, such as at , dedicated to helping macular degeneration patients live independent, fulfilling lives.

The Importance of Vision in Daily Tasks

“To help a person do what he or she wants to do” is the central idea behind the work of every low vision optometrist. Our goal is to enable patients to carry out activities that are important to them. The ability to engage in daily tasks concerns patients with macular degeneration the most, as many routine activities, such as reading and writing, rely on central vision.

Reading With Macular Degeneration

Think about how often throughout the day you use your eyes to read labels, street signs, bills, or restaurant menus.

With the loss of central vision, reading can become a true challenge. The good news is that there are devices that can enable you to read again, even with macular degeneration.

Writing With Macular Degeneration

Your grandchildren are about to come for dinner, and you want to cook their favorite dish. First, you need to write the shopping list to buy the necessary groceries. And maybe you want to leave a note for your spouse on the fridge to let them know you went shopping.

With the help of low vision glasses provided by an IALVS optometrist, an eye doctor with advanced training in treating patients with vision loss, you can write shopping lists, sign checks, or fill in your favorite crossword puzzles.

Recognizing Faces With Macular Degeneration

Reading and writing are technical tasks. However, central vision loss due to macular degeneration can have an emotional impact as well. Being able to see the delighted smiles on your grandchildren’s faces when you serve them their favorite dish can bring tremendous joy.

IALVS optometrists understand the emotional impact of vision loss and will address your concerns with compassion. will work to maximize your vision every step of the way, so you can continue to enjoy looking into the eyes of your loved ones.

What Type of Low Vision Glasses Do You Need?

Different types of low vision glasses enable macular degeneration patients to accomplish the tasks mentioned above. These include telescopic, microscopic, and prismatic reading glasses.

Prismatic glasses and microscopic glasses are designed for reading and writing. Both types provide the wearer with clear vision at a close range. Thanks to these lenses, you can continue to engage in the activities you enjoy, such as play cards, knit sweaters, or build airplane models.

For face recognition, a low vision optometrist may recommend telescopic lenses. These help you clearly see things at a far distance — such as the face of a child walking towards you from the front gate.

Consult a Low Vision Optometrist

The three essential tasks for which vision is paramount can be helped with a variety of low vision aids and devices. Consult a low vision optometrist, such as at , who can enable you to engage in a variety of other tasks on your wishlist.

serves patients in Riverside, Orange County, Temecula, Mission Viejo, and throughout California.

8 Ways to Protect Your Eyes at the Office

Everyone seems to be staring at a screen these days, whether their computer, their smartphone or another digital device. The stress it puts on your eyes can cause a condition called “digital eye strain” (DES) or “computer vision syndrome” (CVS). Symptoms include eye fatigue, dry eyes, blurred vision, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, red eyes, and eye twitching.

How To Protect Your Eyes While You Work

Below are a few things you can do to lower your risk or mitigate any discomfort associated with DES. 

1. See your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam

This is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or treat symptoms associated with computer vision syndrome. During your eye doctor’s appointment, make sure to speak with Dr. Richard Shuldiner about your working habits, including the frequency and length of time you use a computer and other devices at work and at home.

If you get a chance before you come, measure the distance between your eyes and your computer screen and bring that information to the optometrist, so that you can get your eyes tested for that specific working distance.

Computer vision syndrome may be exacerbated by an underlying dry eye disease, which can be diagnosed and treated at our eye clinic in Corona.

Sometimes people who have good visual acuity assume they don’t need any glasses. However, even very mild prescriptions can improve eyestrain and curb fatigue when working at a computer. 

2. Good lighting is key 

Excessively bright light, whether due to outdoor sunshine coming in through the window or harsh interior lighting, is a common cause of eyestrain. When using your computer, your ambient lighting should be about 50% dimmer than what is typically found in most offices. 

You can reduce exterior light by closing drapes, blinds or shades and diminish interior illumination by using fewer or lower intensity bulbs. Computer users often find that turning off overhead fluorescent lights and replacing them with floor lamps is easier on their eyes. 

3. Minimize glare

Eyestrain can be aggravated by glare from light reflecting off surfaces including your computer screen. Position your computer so that windows are neither directly in front of nor behind the monitor, but rather to the side of it. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your display. If you wear glasses, get anti-reflective (AR) coating on your lenses to reduce glare by limiting the amount of light that reflects off the front and back surfaces of your lenses (more on that below.)

4. Upgrade your display 

If you have a CRT (cathode) screen on your monitor, consider replacing it with a flat-panel LED (light-emitting diode) screen that includes an anti-reflective surface. Old-school CRT screens can be a major cause of computer eye strain due to the flickering images. 

For your new flat panel desktop display, choose one with a diagonal screen size of at least 19 inches, and the higher the resolution, the better.

5. Adjust display settings for added comfort 

Adjusting your computer display settings can help decrease eye strain and fatigue too.

  • Brightness: Adjust your device’s brightness to match the luminance around you. If the white background of this page looks like a light source, then it should be dimmed. However, if it appears dull and gray, it may not provide enough contrast, which can make it hard to read.
  • Text size: Adjust the text size for maximum eye comfort, particularly when reading, editing or writing long documents. Increase the size if you find yourself squinting, but bigger isn’t always better, since overly large text display may force your eyes to track back and forth too quickly for comfort.
  • Color temperature: This refers to the spectrum of visible light emitted by a color display. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light, whereas orange and red are longer wavelength hues. Exposure to blue light helps keep you alert but tends to cause eye fatigue after a while; yellow to red tints are more relaxing and may be better for long-term viewing, especially at night. Many devices allow the user to adjust the color temperature.

6. Get computer glasses

Nearly 70% of North Americans experience digital eye strain related to prolonged use of electronic devices. To combat these effects, Low Vision Optometry of Southern California recommends digital protection coatings, which act as a shield to cut the glare and filter the blue light emanating from digital screens and artificial light.

For the greatest eye comfort, ask Dr. Richard Shuldiner for customized computer glasses, which feature mildly tinted lenses that filter out blue light. These can be made with or without prescription vision correction, for the benefit of those with 20/20 vision or contact lens wearers, though many people with contacts actually prefer to have alternative eyewear to use when their lenses become dry and uncomfortable from extended screen time.

Low Vision Optometry of Southern California can help you choose from a vast array of effective optical lenses and lens coatings to relieve the effects of digital eye strain. 

7. Don’t forget to blink 

When staring at a digital device people tend to blink up to 66% less often, and often the blinks performed during computer work are only partial which aren’t as effective at keeping the eyes moist and fresh feeling. Making a conscious effort to blink more while working or watching can prevent dryness and irritation.

8. Exercise your eyes

Another cause of computer eye strain is focusing fatigue. Look away from your computer every 20 minutes and gaze at an object located 20 feet away, for a minimum of 20 seconds. This “20-20-20 rule” is a classic exercise to relax the eyes’ focusing muscles and reduce computer vision syndrome.

 

The steps above don’t require a tremendous amount of time or money to be effective. Contact Low Vision Optometry of Southern California in Corona to make an appointment with Dr. Richard Shuldiner and learn how the right eye drops, eye exercises, computer glasses, or AR coatings can improve eye comfort, reduce computer vision syndrome and potentially lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.