BY ALLY MERRITT
March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month. Each year, thousands of Americans visit the emergency room due to an eye injury that happened at work. While wearing approved protective eyewear to prevent these types of injuries is important, it is also important to protect your eyes from other eye conditions that may go unnoticed. Below are some frequently asked questions and tips about common conditions and diseases that could help keep your eyes healthy.
What is glaucoma – what are the symptoms?
Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that requires early diagnosis and treatment to prevent optic nerve damage and vision loss. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, it usually happens when fluid builds up in the front part of your eye. That extra fluid increases the pressure in your eye, damaging the optic nerve. Early symptoms may include blurred vision, halos, mild headaches, or eye pain. People with these symptoms should be checked by their ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there are often no warning signs or obvious symptoms in the early stages. Jiaxi Ding, MD, and Frank Moya, MD specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of all types of glaucoma. They routinely provide care for people who are at high risk, have been diagnosed, or haven’t had success with glaucoma treatments.
What are cataracts – am I at risk?
A cataract occurs when the normally clear lens inside the eye becomes cloudy. Age is the most common culprit, but medication use, diseases, and trauma can also cause the lens to cloud. A cataract can also be present at birth. When a cataract affects your vision, your best option is the surgical removal of the cataract and placement of an intraocular lens that permanently corrects your vision. Duke experts Terry Semchyshyn, MD, Angela Verkade, MD, Jiaxi Ding, MD, and Frank Moya, MD specialize in cataract surgery, employing innovative surgery techniques and devices to improve your vision.
What is strabismus – can it be treated?
Described by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, strabismus (crossed eyes) is a common eye condition among children. It is when the eyes are not lined up properly and they point in different directions (are misaligned). One eye may look straight ahead while the other eye turns in, out, up, or down. These conditions can be present at birth, acquired at an early age, or develop in later childhood and adulthood. However, there are treatment options available such as eye patches, corrective lenses, prisms, vision therapy, and eye muscle surgery. Faramarz Hidaji, MD specializes in strabismus and amblyopia, reducing visual acuity in one or both eyes. He works with people of all ages who have eye movement disorders and can help identify the cause of your eye movement disorder and help you receive the most effective treatment.
Does dry eye go away?
If your eyes do not produce enough tears or the right type of tears, it is called dry eye and can be very uncomfortable, leaving you with redness, blurry vision, and irritation. Fortunately, there are many treatment options that can help. It is important to get prompt diagnosis and treatment as dry eye can worsen over time, and in some cases, lead to irreversible damage. Getting relief for dry eyes can involve trying different over-the-counter products, prescription medications, and more advanced approaches. Dianna Seldomridge, MD, specializes in the most advanced dry-eye treatments available and can recommend one or more of these treatments, depending on what works best for you.
How can I protect my eyes from increased screen time?
With so many working and attending school remotely, it is important to keep your eyes and your child’s eyes healthy and to avoid eyestrain – focusing on a task for a long period of time without blinking can cause your eyes to feel dry or tired. Fortunately, these symptoms typically subside once you rest your eyes or take steps to ease the discomfort. Don’t sit too close to the screen. A computer screen should be at least a forearm’s length from the face, and the height of the screen should be at or slightly below eye level. Adjust screen brightness. It should match the light in the room. Follow the 20/20/20 rule. At least every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. Remember to blink. Blinking keeps the eyes moist and is essential for eye comfort. Wear anti-glare glasses. If you or your child wears glasses, an anti-glare or anti-reflective coating reduces glare from the screen and can provide relief from eye strain. Following these tips can prevent or significantly reduce eyestrain. However, if you or your child experience frequent headaches, blurred vision, or eye discomfort, it’s time to see an eye doctor. In some cases, signs and symptoms of eyestrain can indicate an underlying eye condition that needs treatment.
Duke Eye Center of Winston-Salem is located at 1340 Creekshire Way, Suite 100. Learn more about their services and their team of expert eye care providers at dukehealth.org/locations/duke-eye-center-of-winston-salem or call 336-768-3240 to schedule an appointment.