Surprising Diagnoses You Can Get from Routine Eye Exams

Routine Eye ExamsIt’s been said that the eyes are the window to the soul, but did you know that the eyes can be a window to your overall health as well? While many of us go to the optometrist for our routine eye exams to determine the quality of our eyesight and get corrective options if necessary, there are far more things your optometrist can diagnose than whether or not you have 20/20 vision.

For example, during a routine eye exam, your optometrist uses specialized instruments to look at the back of your eyes and inspects the retina, lenses and vessels. Many optometrists can see evidence of diabetes due to the way the disease affects the eyes with excess fluid buildup and leaky blood vessels.

Another disease you might not know you have until you visit your eye doctor is hypertension. Known in medical circles as “the silent killer,” hypertension (or high blood pressure) is an issue that is a problem for many people and has virtually no symptoms. Chronic hypertension can cause or aggravate many health problems, and is manifested in the eyes by kinks, bends, and other issues with the tiny blood vessels located there.

Just a look at the shape of your eyes can tell your optometrist if you have a thyroid condition, since thyroid deficiencies can cause your eyes to bulge slightly. While you might not be able to tell the difference, an eye expert can!

These are just a few examples of surprising diagnoses that you can get from routine eye exams. Because of these issues, many optometrists recommend routine eye exams every one to two years, even if your eyesight hasn’t changed. If you’d like to come see our excellent optometrists here at Dr. Miller & Dr. Tilis Family Optometry, we would love to see you. Contact us today!

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What Qualifies as an Ocular Emergency?

Ocular Emergency
An unplanned visit to the emergency room is something that every parent dreads and hopes will be a rare occurrence! Most of us know the protocol when it comes to something that constitutes a visit to the emergency room versus something that can wait for regular office hours. When it comes to our eyes, however, do we know what qualifies as an ocular emergency? Many of us don’t know much about what we should do in an ocular emergency, so we have come up with a few warning signs that you need to look out for and can qualify as an ocular emergency. They include:

• Sudden and/or persistent eye pain
• Damage to the eye or eyelid
• Partial or full vision loss
• Ingrown eyelash
• Excessive tear production
• Redness or infection
• Seeing flashing lights in your vision
• Floaters and flashing lights in your vision
• Chemical exposure

While this is a lengthy list of ocular emergencies, it’s also important that you use your best judgement when it comes to ocular emergencies. Many, if not all, optometrists would much rather have you come in and be able to tell you there’s nothing to worry about than have you wait and end up with irreversible damage to your eyes or vision!

If you have an ocular emergency, try to make it to your optometrist rather than heading to a standard emergency room. Many optometry offices will try to accommodate you if you experience these symptoms. A medical emergency room, however, isn’t always equipped or able to deal with ocular emergencies.

At the office of Dr. Miller & Dr. Tilis Family Optometry, we see ocular emergency patients on a walk-in basis on Thursdays and will work you in on other days. Don’t risk your sight or eye health, if you are having an ocular emergency, come see us!

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What Every New Contact Lens Wearer Needs to Know

Making the decision to get contact lenses can be an exciting one. No longer do you have to be worried about broken frames for your glasses, figuring out how to keep glasses on during sporting activities, or the lenses fogging up after exiting a cool space into a warm one. When it comes to contact lenses, you need to take certain precautions to ensure the health of your eyes. We have come up with a few tips to ensure that your eyes remain healthy as you transition to contact lenses.

Contact Lenses

First, see a professional optometrist when looking for contact lenses. Not only can they make sure you have the right prescription, but they can also let you try out several different types of lenses to see which ones fit most comfortably. Just like shoes or pants, people have different preferences for how their lenses fit most comfortably.

Second, educate yourself thoroughly on contact lens hygiene. Contact lenses can cause problems like irritation and infection when not cared for properly, so clean lenses are crucial. Make sure you wash your hands before handling your lenses. Clean them with contact lens solution and let your lens case dry out during the day. All of these can help you prevent common issues with your contact lenses.

Finally, be careful of which lenses you use. Switching from brand to brand can be irritating on your eyes and it can be helpful to be consistent with ones you like. Furthermore, be wary of decorative lenses that aren’t sold for vision corrective purposes and don’t require a prescription for purchase. These lenses are not regulated and can lead to many problems with your eyes, some of them permanent.

If you would like to know more about contact lenses, contact Dr. Miller & Dr. Tilis Family Optometry for great care and advice!

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Optometrist Tip: Eat Healthy Foods

You probably turn to your optometrist to correct vision issues and treat other ocular conditions. You might also find that you can gain plenty of important information and tips about eye health as well. One of the tips your optometrist may tell you is to eat healthy foods. We often hear about eating carrots to improve vision, but there is more you should know about how diet can affect eye health. Since your eyes require certain minerals, nutrients, and vitamins to function properly, a few changes in your diet could help you enjoy healthy eyes for a lifetime.

Optometrist Tip: Eat Healthy Foods

  • Eggs & Leafy Greens – These are the two best sources for the lutein and zeaxanthin that your eyes need to reduce the chance of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Leafy greens are also a good source of beta-carotene.
  • Nuts & Sweet Potatoes – These contain vitamins C and E, which are antioxidants that can protect your eyes from free radicals that lead to the loss of visual acuity. These foods will also help you avoid or delay the development of age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Fish – Fish and other foods that provide omega-3 fatty acids are known to play a role in retinal function and visual development, not to mention having plenty of other health benefits.
  • Oysters – While other foods also offer vitamin A and zinc, oysters are the highest per serving. You can also get vitamin A from those carrots so heavily touted, but without zinc to help it, the vitamin A won’t make the vital trip from your liver to your retinas. Vitamin A is vital for eye health – a deficiency can lead to blindness. By the way, if you don’t like carrots, you can also opt for other fruits and vegetables that offer beta-carotene, such as yellow and orange fruits and vegetables.

As a trusted optometrist, here at Dr. Miller & Dr. Tilis Family Optometry, we are dedicated to helping you enjoy good eye health for a lifetime. We recommend you visit us every couple of years even if you aren’t having any vision problems, so we can provide you with even more tips and be sure your eyes are doing well.

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Can Smoking Cause Vision Problems?

As a smoker, you probably get inundated by family and other well-meaning people telling you about lung cancer, heart disease, and other risks involved with smoking to encourage you to quit. What you often don’t hear about, however, is that smoking can damage your eyesight, too. The resulting vision problems may not end your life as smoking-caused diseases can, but they can certainly affect your quality of life. Here are a few of the vision problems that smokers are more susceptible to:

Can Smoking Cause Vision Problems?

  • Retinopathy – Smoking doesn’t cause this directly, but it does increase the chance of diabetes by as much as 40 percent. Diabetic retinopathy can lead to blindness as the damaged blood vessels starve the oxygen the cells in the retina need.
  • Cataracts – Although cataracts are surgically removable to reverse the vision problems involved, it is important to note that smokers have double the risk of developing cataracts. If you are a heavy smoker, your risk is tripled. Untreated cataracts lead to blindness, making them the leading cause of blindness in the world.
  • Macular Degeneration – While this is a disease with devastating effects, leading to irreversible blindness, it is largely age-related. If you are a smoker, you stand the chance of it developing as much as 10 years sooner. If you quit now, your risk will drop by six percent after just one year.

If you are a smoker, quitting is the right choice for your vision health to lower your chances of vision problems. However, at the very least, be sure to keep regular appointments with your optometrist here at Dr. Miller & Dr. Tilis Family Optometry. We can alert you to signs of diabetes that show up in the eyes, as well as check for cataracts and macular degeneration. Call us today to schedule your appointment and get any questions you may have addressed.

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Follow These Tips for Healthier Eyes [infographic]

Taking good care of your eyes and protecting your vision are important things to do, especially as you age. At Dr. Miller & Dr. Tilis Family Optometry, we care about your eye health and want you to follow these tips to protect it well into your golden years:

•   Get your eyes dilated—Having us perform a comprehensive dilated eye exam is the best way to ensure your eyes are healthy. One of these eye exams is also the best way to detect common eye diseases, like glaucoma, in their early stages.

•   Familiarize yourself with your family’s eye history—Find out if anyone in your family has or had an eye condition or disease. Many of these are hereditary, and having this knowledge can help you be proactive about detecting warning signs.

•   Eat right—Consuming a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, especially dark, leafy greens like kale and spinach, can keep your eyes healthy.

•   Stay at a healthy weight—Being overweight puts you at risk for diabetes and other systemic conditions that can affect your eyes and even lead to vision loss. Make it a priority to maintain a healthy weight and speak with your doctor if you are having trouble with this.

•   Protect your eyes—When you’re playing sports or doing projects around your house, always put on a pair of protective eyewear.

•   Stop smoking—Smoking is bad for your entire body, including your eyes. Many studies have shown that smoking increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration, optic nerve damage, and cataracts, which are all conditions that can cause blindness.

•   Wear your shades—Not only are sunglasses a great fashion accessory, but they also protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays produced by the sun. When you buy new shades, look for a pair that blocks out 100% of UV-B and UV-A radiation.

•   Rest your eyes—If you’re like many people, you might spend most of your day looking at a computer screen. To avoid digital eye strain, look away from your screen every 20 minutes for a few seconds.

•   Wash your hands before handling contact lenses—Before you put in or take out your contact lenses, wash your hands thoroughly to reduce your risk of infection. You should also replace your lenses as instructed and follow basic disinfection practices.

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Unique and Rare Optometry Cases

Most of us think of eye features only in terms of whether or not they can see clearly with or without corrective lenses. Other than the itching and burning when we spend too much time looking at a computer screen, we’re pretty oblivious to the workings of our eyes. However, for a few of us who have a rare optometry situation, life is a bit different. Here are a few of the unique and rare optometry cases that some people face in their daily life

Unique and Rare Optometry Cases

  • Colour Blindness – This condition is mostly determined by an X chromosome recessive gene that is hereditary in nature. Because it is in the X chromosome, women are less likely to have colour blindness as they need two of the recessive genes – one from mom and one from dad. As a result, less than one percent of women experience colour blindness. Men, on the other hand, only need one X chromosome, so roughly eight percent of men are colour blind. There are different types of colour blindness, with red/green being the most common and blue/yellow being rarer. The rarest is monochromacy, which leaves only shades of gray. Corrective lenses can be used to minimize the effect of colour blindness in cases that aren’t too severe.
  • Heterochromia – This rare optometry case affects only 6 in 1,000 people. Heterochromia is when a person (or animal) has two different eye colours. It can occur at birth genetically or develop later in life because of trauma or disease. If you’ve had it develop, it is important to visit an optometry professional. There are different categories of heterochromia. Some cases have completely different colour irises, while others have just a patch of a different colour or a ring around the pupils that is different.
  • Blindness – Blindness can be from birth or happen later in life from disease or injury. It is the most drastic and difficult of all optometry cases in terms of lifestyle adjustments to be made. One of the best ways to avoid later-life blindness is to schedule regular optometry visits and follow the advice given for good eye health.

Here at Dr. Miller & Dr. Tilis Family Optometry, we treat each patient with individualized care, so even the rarest optometry cases are given proper care and attention. We focus on overall eye health so that you can enjoy the best vision now and for a lifetime. Feel free to call us with any questions you may have or to schedule an appointment.

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Ask Your Optometrist About the Role of Tears

Some people cry at the drop of a hat while others manage to hold back tears even in the worst of situations and may only experience extra tearing when cutting an onion or getting something in their eyes. If you are in the latter category, it might interest you to know that your optometrist really wishes you’d let go and have a good cry now and then. The reality is that although our eyes are covered in a protective film of basal tears that are necessary for good eye health, a good way to avoid dry eye conditions is to toss a few emotional tears in the mix, too. This is especially true as you get older and basal tear production is lower.

Ask Your Optometrist About the Role of Tears

What you are really going for is avoiding dry eyes, which isn’t just uncomfortable, but could send you to your optometrist if it leads to blurred vision or vision loss. The role of tears also goes beyond lubrication. They also clean and disinfect your eyes. Without tears, dust and other contaminants would stick around and end up scratching and damaging your eyes. Here’s an interesting fact about tears, too – under normal circumstances, your basal tears evaporate as produced. However, what doesn’t evaporate follows the ducts at the inner corner of your eye to your nose. This is why your nose starts running when you cry.

Here at Dr. Miller & Dr. Tilis Family Optometry, we are dedicated to helping you maintain good eye health for a lifetime. We provide a welcoming and friendly environment in our quest to treat your family like our family. You’ll enjoy our relaxing lounge area with guest Wi-Fi and Keurig coffee that will make you cry with happiness! We have to help you with tear production somehow, right? Call today to schedule an appointment to talk with an optometrist to learn more about the role of tears and make sure your eyes are producing enough basal tears to avoid dry eye.

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Can Blue Light and Digital Eye Strain Lead to Ocular Conditions?

The number of people spending numerous hours a day on their cell phones, tablets, and computers has risen dramatically in the past few years. In fact, roughly 90% of us spend at least a couple of hours a day on devices. The question on many minds is whether the human eye can handle that much use or will a majority of people face ocular conditions down the road.

Can Blue Light and Digital Eye Strain Lead to Ocular Conditions?

It is always challenging to gauge the long-term effects of lifestyle changes and new technology, but optometrists are already seeing their patients complain of more dry eye issues. When we concentrate on a computer screen, cell phone or other digital device, we naturally blink less. If you’ve ever noticed burning and itchiness, you should be concerned that your eyes aren’t getting the tearing they need for optimal health. Blue light that emits from devices is also a concern, but we just don’t know the long-term ramifications yet.

There are a few things you can do to avoid ocular conditions both in the short and long term. First, take breaks. A good rule of thumb is to take a break every 20 minutes. Look away for at least 20 seconds, preferably to something across the room. Concentrate on blinking. Although it comes naturally, if you think about it, you can avoid the reduction in blinking that happens. Practice good posture that will keep you a safe distance from your computer screen and be sure to position the screen to reduce glare. It is best not to tilt it upward. There is also specialized eyewear that can reduce the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes. Talk about this and other ways to avoid ocular conditions with your optometrist.

Finally, if you can’t reduce your screen time, which is also recommended, be sure to schedule regular visits with your optometrist to check for ocular conditions and keep your eyes healthy. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, give us a call at Dr. Miller & Dr. Tilis Family Optometry.

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We Offer a Variety of Contact Lenses and Glass Frames in Our Optical Boutique

Optical BoutiqueSo, you’ve survived your eye exam and now need glasses and contact lenses. Where should you look? What will look good? Here at Dr. Miller & Dr. Tilis Family Optometry, don’t look any further! We have our own optical boutique that offers a variety of contact lenses and glass frames.

Here is a list of the brand names we offer for eyeglass frames:

  • Oakley
  • MiraFlex
  • RayBan
  • Silhouette
  • Prodesign Denmark
  • Coach
  • Dilem
  • Italia Independent
  • Etnia Barcelona

Here is a list of the brand names we carry for contacts:

  • Acuvue
  • CooperVision
  • PureVision
  • Air Optix
  • Focus Night & Day
  • Aqua Comfort Dailies

Appointments are not necessary – you are free to come in and explore what we offer at any time. Not only does our optical boutique have a wide variety of frames and contacts, we also offer extended warranties, repairs, and adjustments for our options.

We are confident you will find what you are looking for in our optical boutique. If there is a brand that you would like, but we do not carry, please let us know so that we can take steps to get you the brand you need. We want to ensure that once you find the prescription, the right fit, and the right look, you will be taken care of.

The next time you need new glasses or contacts, visit our optical boutique. Contact us today if you have any questions!

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