Exposure Keratitis and Sleeping with Your Eyes Open

We’ve all heard about people who sleep with their eyes open, but did you know that this can cause serious issues with your eyes?

Sleeping with the eyes open, either partially or fully, is actually a medical condition known as nocturnal lagophthalmos. This is a relatively common condition is a form of partial facial paralysis, and it can cause many eye issues.

When you cannot fully close your eyes during sleep, your eye is left exposed to air. Tears then evaporate, leaving the eye without the moisture it requires. When the eyes don’t have adequate moisture, patients are at a higher risk for eye infections and blurred vision. Many common symptoms include dryness, scratchiness, and a foreign body sensation, particularly upon waking. Patients who experience nocturnal lagophthalmos often notice that the symptoms worsen in the winter, due to the low humidity, both indoors and out.

The green specks are unhealthy cells that are at risk for infection.

The green specks are unhealthy cells that are at risk for infection.

The patient above has dry eye syndrome complicated by exposure keratitis. Her family members have confirmed that she doesn’t close her eyes when she sleeps. Her condition has also caused her to experience blurry vision that is not remedied by prescription eyeglasses. The external ocular photograph above is a popular method for monitoring treatment. The unhealthy cells that are at risk for infection appear as green spots and specks, while the blueish color is the light from the microscope.

Treatment for nocturnal lagophthalmos and resulting exposure keratitis and dry eye syndrome can include wearing a sleep mask, lubricating eye drops and ointments, and, in more serious cases, surgery. Because a number of underlying conditions can cause nocturnal lagophthalmos, it is important to speak with your eye care professional to determine the best course of treatment.

 From the eye doctors, opticians and staff at Rinkov Eyecare Centers. We’ve provided comprehensive eye exams, contact lenses, eyeglasses, sunglasses and medical treatment of eye disease, such as cataract treatment, in Columbus, Ohio for over 35 years. Come see an optometrist at one of our Columbus locations – Downtown, West, East, Westerville, Dublin, Bexley, Worthington and Nationwide Plaza.

Tint Matters

Sunglasses

The tint of your sunglasses may seem like just a fashion preference, but did you know the tint you choose can also cater to your visual needs? The lens tint color you choose can determine how much visible light reaches your eyes.  Some tint colors improve contrast and color, while other tints may reduce both.  Quality prescription sun wear also protects your eyes from 99-100% of harmful ultraviolet radiation (UV-A and UV-B).

Generally, a gray or smoke lens tint is the most popular.  This shade reduces glare and does not distort colors. Gray is considered a general-purpose tint, and it best used when true color perception is most important. However, depending on your visual needs, other lens tints can offer benefits that are more specific.

Brown or amber tints provide contrast and minimize eyestrain.  These colors are ideal for high-glare sports like boating, skiing and snowboarding. For everyday use, brown or amber tints are excellent for driving.

For improved contrast in low-light conditions, a green tint is a good choice. This shade also reduces eyestrain in bright light, making it a popular multipurpose tint for daily wear.

Yellow and orange tints also provide excellent contrast in low-light conditions and are great to wear on overcast days. Additionally, this tint improves depth perception, making it an excellent choice for specialty lenses for sports like shooting.

You can enhance your lens tints by choosing polarized lenses. Polarization reduces reflected glare and protects your eyes from UV light, making it ideal for bright, sunny days. Check out Oakley’s guide to lens tints below before purchasing your next pair of sunglasses.

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 From the eye doctors, opticians and staff at Rinkov Eyecare Centers. We’ve provided comprehensive eye exams, contact lenses, eyeglasses, sunglasses and medical treatment of eye disease, such as cataract treatment, in Columbus, Ohio for over 35 years. Come see an optometrist at one of our Columbus locations – Downtown, West, East, Westerville, Dublin, Bexley, Worthington and Nationwide Plaza.

You have a pterygium…now what?

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A pterygium is a growth of fibro-vascular tissue that develops on the conjunctiva, or white of the eye, and extends into the cornea, which is the clear covering over the colored part of the eye.  This type of tissue growth causes symptoms similar to dry eye, such as burning, redness, or a foreign body sensation.

Image of cornea

Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops or a short course of steroid eye drops commonly treat and manage these symptoms. However, if the tissue grows into a patient’s line of sight, surgical methods are needed to preserve vision.

Exposure to UV light causes many occurrences of pterygium, so wearing proper sun protection is key to preventing this tissue growth. Be sure to ask your eye care professional about polarized sunglasses, which block damaging UV rays. Foreign bodies also cause tissue growth, because the objects continuously rub across the surface of the eye. Make sure that you wear the proper safety glasses when exposure to foreign bodies is a risk.

From the eye doctors, opticians and staff at Rinkov Eyecare Centers. We’ve provided comprehensive eye exams, contact lenses, eyeglasses, sunglasses and medical treatment of eye disease, such as cataract treatment, in Columbus, Ohio for over 35 years. Come see an optometrist at one of our Columbus locations – Downtown, West, East, Westerville, Dublin, Bexley, Worthington and Nationwide Plaza.

Why is my contact lens prescription a different strength than my glasses prescription?

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Many contact wearers notice that the numbers on their contact lens prescription are different from the numbers on their glasses prescriptions. While some patients may think this is a mistake, there is a very simple explanation: distance.

The distance at which a corrective lens sits from the eye causes a notable difference in the strength of the prescription. This can easily be demonstrated by taking one’s glasses and extending them further away from the surface of the eye. If you have a nearsighted prescription, you will notice the power of the lens becomes weaker as you move it further away, and a farsighted prescription becomes stronger as you move it further away. Because of this, it is important that glasses prescriptions be tested at a similar distance to where a frame sits from a patient’s eye. During an eye exam, your doctor uses a phoropter to present multiple lens options at approximately 12 millimeters from the surface of the eyes.

When fitting contact lenses, the prescription must be adjusted, because contacts are placed directly on the eye, which is 12 millimeters closer than eyeglass lenses.  For nearsighted prescriptions, this means that the minus power of the contact will need to be weaker than in a glasses prescription. For farsighted prescriptions, it means the plus power of the contact will need to be stronger than in a glasses prescription. This difference varies depending on the strength of the prescription and only affects prescriptions over four diopters.

From the eye doctors, opticians and staff at Rinkov Eyecare Centers. We’ve provided comprehensive eye exams, contact lenses, eyeglasses, sunglasses and medical treatment of eye disease such as cataract treatment in Columbus, Ohio, for over 35 years. Come see an optometrist at one of our Columbus locations – Downtown, West, East, Westerville, Dublin, Bexley, Worthington and Nationwide Plaza.

Stereo Acuity and Summation: The Advantage of Two Eyes

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Frequently during eye exams, patients will notice they see better on the eye chart with two eyes open, and will try to sneak around the cover paddle to get to two eyes ASAP. We are well familiar with the mathematical rule, the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts, but eyes are an exception to this rule. Summation describes the brain’s ability to add the vision from each eye in order to produce better visual acuity than one eye provides alone. As a result, the exam chart may read something like this:

20/20 Right(OD), 20/20 Left(OS), 20/15 Both(OU)

Stereo acuity, or 3-D vision, is another binocular (when two eyes work together) visionprocess. Because the eyes are physically separated by space, they view object from a different angle, and the brain can then interpret depth. For example, those of you without stereo cannot appreciate 3-D puzzles and movies.

Eye conditions that can limit summation and stereo acuity include refractive error, amblyopia, monovision, esotropia, exotropia and a host of possible medical eye concerns.

We advise all minions, one and two-eyed, to have regular eye exams.

From the eye doctors, opticians and staff at Rinkov Eyecare Centers. We’ve provided comprehensive eye exams, contact lenses, eyeglasses, sunglasses and medical treatment of eye disease such as cataract treatment in Columbus, Ohio, for over 35 years. Come see an optometrist at one of our Columbus locations – Downtown, West, East, Westerville, Dublin, Bexley, Worthington and Nationwide Plaza.

Eye boogers!

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You know that stuff you wake up with in the corners of your eyes? Some might call it sleep, eye boogers, mattering, or just plain old crusty stuff. Whatever you call it, most of us have it in the morning, so what is it exactly?

This discharge, known as rheum, is nothing more than a combination of mucus, oil, dead skin cells and other debris such as makeup or dust that accumulates in the corners of the eyes and lash lines while you sleep. Normally we remove excess mucus, oil and debris after each blink, preventing them from accumulating. However, we aren’t blinking while we sleep, which means that the debris forms the eye boogers we find in the morning.

Sometimes people mistake this crusty stuff as discharge from an infection. While a little mucus in the morning is normal, there may be something else going on if the consistency or amount changes. There are different types of discharge with different causes. Conditions like conjunctivitis (pink eye), blepharitis, sties and dry eye can all produce discharge along with other symptoms. You should schedule an appointment with your eye care professional if you experience any out-of-the-ordinary symptoms.

From the eye doctors, opticians and staff at Rinkov Eyecare Centers. We’ve provided comprehensive eye exams, contact lenses, eyeglasses, sunglasses and medical treatment of eye disease such as cataract treatment in Columbus, Ohio, for over 35 years. Come see an optometrist at one of our Columbus locations – Downtown, West, East, Westerville, Dublin, Bexley, Worthington and Nationwide Plaza.

What is Snow Blindness?

Snow blindness is like sunburn for your eyes.

Snow blindness is like sunburn for your eyes.

Did you know that spending a day outside in winter could be worse on your eyes than a day at the beach?  Snow can reflect up to 85% of UV rays from the sun.  UV reflection from snow, streets and vehicles can cause glare, impair vision and damage the eyes.  Studies show that UV exposure contributes to cataracts and increases the risk of macular degeneration.  Excessive exposure to reflected light on the snow can also damage the cornea and conjunctiva and cause photokeratitis, more commonly known as snow “blindness.”

Think of photokeratitis like a sunburn to the eyes.  Symptoms include increased watering, pain, light sensitivity and the feeling like there is sand in your eyes.  Treatment includes artificial tears, cool compresses and pain medication.  Typically, symptoms resolve anywhere within a few days to a week.

UV protection, specifically polarized sunglasses, is the best preventative measure to combat glare and prevent UV damage to the eyes.  Polarized sunglasses are better than regular sunglasses because they contain a special filter that blocks reflected light, which, in turn, reduces glare.  Ask your eye doctor about prescription polarized sunglasses or non-prescription polarized sunglasses if you wear contact lenses.

From the eye doctors, opticians and staff at Rinkov Eyecare Centers. We’ve provided comprehensive eye exams, contact lenses, eyeglasses, sunglasses and medical treatment of eye disease such as cataract treatment in Columbus, Ohio, for over 35 years. Come see an optometrist at one of our Columbus locations – Downtown, West, East, Westerville, Dublin, Bexley, Worthington and Nationwide Plaza. 

Juvenile Xanthogranuloma and Eye Health

Regular eye exams can monitor ocular involvement of juvenile xanthogranuloma

Regular eye exams can monitor ocular involvement of juvenile xanthogranuloma.

Juvenile xanthogranuloma is a relatively uncommon dermatological condition that appears in early childhood. Typically, these skin legions are firm and dome-shaped. While the legions may appear red at first, they usually progress to an orange-ish brown shade later on.

While juvenile xanthogranuloma is benign, it is possible to develop the legions on or near the eye, affecting the iris, retina and eyelid. It is important that patients with this condition be monitored once every three months, up to the age of three, in order to detect any ocular involvement. In fact, most eye-related symptoms occur before patients are two-years-old.

If your child has been diagnosed with juvenile xanthogranuloma, it is important to speak with your child’s eye care professional to understand the complications this condition may cause. Ocular legions will need to be addressed if they lead to visual problems. Typically, only one eye is affected, but if left untreated, ocular juvenile xanthogranuloma can cause glaucoma, corneal blood staining, hyphema, cataract development, vascular occlusion and retinal detachment. It is possible that complications can lead to amblyopia and eventual blindness.

From the eye doctors, opticians and staff at Rinkov Eyecare Centers. We’ve provided comprehensive eye exams, contact lenses, eyeglasses, sunglasses and medical treatment of eye disease such as cataract treatment in Columbus, Ohio, for over 35 years. Come see an optometrist at one of our Columbus locations – Downtown, West, East, Westerville, Dublin, Bexley, Worthington and Nationwide Plaza. 

Aging Eyes and Drooping Eye Lids

Many years ago, as my dad entered middle-age, my brother and I often teased him about his growing waistline. My dad would always defend himself, naming Dunlap’s Disease as the culprit.

“It’s Dunlap’s Disease! My belly has done lapped over my belt!” he explained.

My dad said many strange things that have stuck with me through the years, and now, as I enter middle-age, it appears he has stuck me with something else: Dunlap’s Disease must be genetic, because I am starting to show signs and symptoms.

blepharochalasis

In the picture above, you can see the upper eyelid has done lapped over the lashes. Dermatochalasis—or blepharochalasis when referring specifically to the eye—is an age-related condition that causes folds of skin to lap over and weigh the eyelid down. It is a common cause of ptosis, which is the medical term for drooping eyelids.

Patients who have this condition will experience blurred vision, visual interference from the eyelashes, and/or “blocked” vision, which results in visual field defects. This condition typically requires surgery to build up the muscles of the eye, effectively lifting the skin to clear the visual field.

There are many other causes of ptosis, which can be much more sinister. These causes are usually due to systemic difficulties such as a stroke or trauma to the eye, among others. If you are experiencing symptoms of ptosis, you should have a discussion with your eye care practitioner to find the cause and the appropriate remedy.

From the eye doctors, opticians and staff at Rinkov Eyecare Centers. We’ve provided comprehensive eye exams, contact lenses, eyeglasses, sunglasses and medical treatment of eye disease such as cataract treatment in Columbus, Ohio, for over 35 years. Come see an optometrist at one of our Columbus locations – Downtown, West, East, Westerville, Dublin, Bexley, Worthington and Nationwide Plaza. 

 

How to Have Healthier Eyes in 2015

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We promise this resolution is easy!

We promise this resolution is easy!

Now that the New Year is under way, many people are working on their New Year’s resolutions. You may be working on getting fit, getting organized or getting your finances in order, but there is one easy resolution you probably forgot about: taking better care of your eyes. By making a few minor changes, you will be crossing this resolution off your list in no time.

 

  1. Schedule a yearly eye exam

A yearly eye exam is the first step to better eye health and it is essential to catching any early signs of eye disease. Many feel if they are seeing well, an eye exam is not necessary. This is not true, because many eye diseases do not show symptoms until it is too late. In addition, annual eye exams can alert your doctor to changes in your overall health.

  1. Wear your sunglasses

Sunglasses are not just a fashion statement, nor are they just for people who need prescription sunglasses. Your shades help to shield your eyes from UV radiation, which can contribute to cataracts, macular degeneration, and cancers of the eye. They can also protect your eyes from particles in the air.

  1. Follow your contact lenses’ directions

For those who wear contact lenses, you can drastically improve your eye health by simply following the directions for your contact lenses. Most people wear their contact lenses longer than what is recommended by their eye doctor every day. By following your optometrist’s recommendations, you can drastically reduce discomfort and risk of infections from over-wearing your contact lenses. Many contact lens wearers fail to replace their contacts on the schedule prescribed. Wearing your contact lenses past the replacement date makes you much more vulnerable to eye infections and permanent scarring of the cornea. If you’re running low on your contacts, make sure you have a current prescription and order new ones ASAP. 

By following these three simple steps, you will be able to cross this resolution off your list. These minor changes will not only lead to healthier eyes, but a healthier you.

From the eye doctors, opticians and staff at Rinkov Eyecare Centers. We’ve provided comprehensive eye exams, contact lenses, eyeglasses, sunglasses and medical treatment of eye disease such as cataract treatment in Columbus, Ohio, for over 35 years. Come see an optometrist at one of our Columbus locations – Downtown, West, East, Westerville, Dublin, Bexley, Worthington and Nationwide Plaza.