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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Ask Us About Our LASIK Procedure

 LASIKNot all of us are born with perfect vision. Some are born with stigmatisms and other issues. Some develop problems with their vision later in life. The solutions to most optical problems after being checked over by a certified optometrist are glasses and contact lenses. However, this means that regular vision check-ups are in order as well as new prescriptions every few years. For contact lenses, glasses, or both, it costs money even with the help of insurance. The amount of money spent to acquire tools to help you see can build up over time. Having great vision should be a necessity, not a luxury. Why not try LASIK?

LASIK surgery involves the use of a laser reshaping your cornea. This will ensure better vision, and more importantly, you will no longer need glasses or contacts and the burden of those costs. If you are interested in LASIK surgery, call our office and ask to speak with one of our LASIK consultants. We will have you come in for an assessment where the following will be tested:

  • Dilation of eyes
  • Thickness of corneas
  • Pupil size
  • Tear production
  • Overall stability of eyes

By observing these features, our LASIK consultants will be able to determine if LASIK will be a beneficial procedure or if other options would be better. It’s essential that these assessments occur before the actual procedure. This way, we know exactly how to proceed and ensure you receive the best vison possible. Call our office today to schedule an appointment!

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We’ll Be There for All of Your Ocular Emergencies

Ocular EmergenciesIf you’ve had any sudden problems with your sight, the first question you need to ask is, “Is this an ocular emergency?” Why is it so important that you ask yourself this question? Here is the answer: your optical health is just as important as your physical health. You rely on your eyesight heavily. Should something go wrong or issues occur, it is vital that you seek appropriate help immediately. Prolonging aid could cause the issue to escalate and leave irreparable damage. Ocular emergencies should be treated with the same severity as any other kind of emergency involving your health.

Here is a list of issues that are considered ocular emergencies:

  • Flashing lights – While normal if you just had your picture taken with the flash on, it is not normal if it occurs at random.
  • Floaters – These are spots in your vision, and while they might also occur from looking at the flash of a camera, if no camera was involved and if floaters are accompanied by flashing lights, this poses as a serious problem.
  • Sudden Vision Changes – This includes a curtain-like shadow and partial or full vision loss.
  • Pain/Discharge – Should this occur, you may have a foreign body (metal or organic) in your eye, an infection, or an allergic reaction. Rubbing the area could make it worse, putting you at risk for a corneal abrasion.
  • Damage – This includes chemical burns, trauma from hemorrhages, or blunt force trauma, like a fist to the face.
  • Irritations –Ingrown eye lashes, red eyes, and eye lid skin lesions fall under this category.

For whatever reason, should any of these ocular emergencies happen to you, it’s vital that you come in to our ocular emergency walk-in clinic. Should you have an ocular emergency outside of our standard hours, contact our office immediately so you can receive proper treatment.

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Eye Exams: What You Need to Know

Eye ExamsWhen approached about eye exams, you may put it off thinking that your vision is fine, so no big deal. While this may be your attitude, it’s recommended that eye exams be scheduled every year, not just when you start experiencing problems. The reason behind this is so that your eyes will be monitored with the potential of catching future problems before they become worse. At Dr. Miller & Dr. Tilis Family Optometry, we want to ensure you receive the best care possible.

Here’s what you can expect from our eye exams:

  • Close & Distant Vision – If you have visions issues already, such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, it’s critical you have an annual eye exam. Prescription glasses, contact lenses, or corrective surgery can help solve these problems.
  • Your Eyes – We can see how your eyes are functioning together. If your eyes are working individually, instead of as a team, this can cause headaches and distorted vision.
  • Eye Disease – By having a routine eye exam, you can prevent eye diseases, such as glaucoma. If diabetic, we can also help with any vision concerns we detect. There are a variety of eye diseases that are present – having an annual eye exam is an essential preventative step to help you maintain great eye health.

Eye exams are not meant to scare you – just as a physical ensures that your body is functioning as it should, so should an eye exam ensure your eyes are performing at their best. Your optical health is just as important as your physical health – your eyes are part of your body, so when you schedule your annual physical, make sure to schedule your annual eye exam.

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Why Adult Eye Exams Are as Vital as Your Annual Physical

Adult Eye ExamsYou may read this title, and think “’Adult Eye Exams?’ Shouldn’t that just read ‘Eye Exams?’” and “Are eye exams really as important as physicals?” To the first question – no. To the second question – yes and here’s why.

“Adult Eye Exams”? Shouldn’t that read “Eye Exams?”

Eye exams should be exact in who they are designed for. A child’s eyes versus an adult’s eyes are two vastly different scenarios. Whatever type of vision you are born with, one thing is guaranteed: your sight will change as you age. Some may retain 20/20 vision, while others may need to see an optometrist early in life. Children’s eyes are different than adult eyes. Having a specific eye exam will better help you receive the best care possible.

Are eye exams really as important as physicals?

Adult eye exams shouldn’t be scheduled when you notice changes or problems with your vision. It’s actually recommended that adult eye exams be scheduled annually, more so if you are over the age of 60. This is to monitor your vision and be able to find potential problems before they escalate.

Here are a series of questions you can expect when you come in for your appointment:

  • What vision issues are you experiencing?
  • What is your eye history, especially in your family?
  • What medications are you currently taking?

At Dr. Miller & Dr. Tilis Family Optometry, we want to make sure you receive the best care possible to ensure prolonged optical health. In addition to adult eye exams, we also do children’s and senior citizen eye exams. Call us today to schedule your appointment!

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