The iris serves as your eye’s main defense against bright light. This is the colored part of your eye responsible for reducing and enlarging the size of your pupil. When intense light rays reach your eye, the iris responds by constricting the pupil, thus protecting the retina and helping it process the incoming image better. The opposite occurs in low light when the iris dilates the pupil to allow as much light in as possible.
Can Bright Light Damage Your Vision?
In short, yes, staring at bright lights can damage your eyes. When the retina’s light-sensing cells become over-stimulated from looking at a bright light, they release massive amounts of signaling chemicals, injuring the back of the eye as a result.
The sun shines with such intensity that staring directly at it for just a few seconds can cause permanent retinal damage. Chronic exposure to UV rays over many weeks, months or years can also harm the macula, cornea and lens. A damaged macula leads to macular degeneration. A “sunburned” cornea can cause blurry vision and loss of eyesight. A damaged lens may develop a cataract, or clouding of the lens that blurs vision.
Blue light, even at moderate intensity levels, can damage your retinas slowly over time. Blue light has shorter wavelengths than warmer light, so it has more energy. Prolonged exposure may increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Sunlight is the most prominent source of blue light, but other examples include fluorescent lights, LEDs, TVs, computer monitors and Smartphone screens.
How to Treat and Prevent Eye Problems from Bright Light
Protect your vision with these tips:
- Choose glasses with anti-reflective lenses to reduce glare from bright lights.
- Wear dark-tinted sunglasses and a brimmed hat while outside. Polarized sunglasses with UV protection further shield your eyes from the effects of blue light and ultraviolet rays.
- Decrease daily screen time and take frequent breaks to rest your eyes.
- Turn on your computer’s “night light” feature to decrease the amount of blue light the screen emits.
- Wear blue-blocking computer glasses with yellow-tinted lenses that ease digital eyestrain.
- Choose CFLs and LEDs that emit “warm” light.
- If you require cataract surgery, seek blue-blocking intraocular lens (IOL) implants to protect your retinas the same way sunglasses do.
If you’re experiencing any vision problems or discomfort after exposure to bright light, visit Gerstein Eye Institute in Chicago, IL for an evaluation. Our commitment to helping patients protect their vision dates back to 1968. For more information, or to schedule an eye appointment, please contact us at 773.596.9545 today.
When it comes to your health, prevention is the best medicine. That’s why regular eye doctor visits are invaluable for maintaining your vision. When you get your eyes checked, the ophthalmologist makes sure your prescription hasn’t changed and tests for various conditions that could affect your eyesight. When caught and treated early, it’s possible to keep your vision crisp and clear.
The question many people have is how often should you get your eyes checked? Consider these recommendations.
Vision Correction Eye Exam
If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you should visit the eye doctor for a vision checkup every one to two years. Your prescription expires after this length of time, so it’s important to make sure your eyes haven’t changed before you buy new glasses or order more contacts.
Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exam
During more thorough eye exams, the ophthalmologist administers special eye drops that make your pupils dilate, or open wide so the doctor can take a closer look at the inside of your eyes. This is useful for detecting eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration.
Preventblindness.org advises having a comprehensive eye exam as often as recommended by your eye doctor. Here are the general guidelines for how frequently you should have comprehensive dilated eye exams:
- 20 to 39 years old: Schedule a dilated eye exam every two to four years if you’re African-American, or every three to five years if you’re Caucasian.
- 40 to 64 years old: Schedule a dilated eye exam every two to four years.
- 65 years and older: Schedule a dilated eye exam every one to two years.
- People with special needs: If you’re at risk for eye problems because you have diabetes, a previous eye trauma or surgery, or family history of eye disease, talk to your eye doctor about how often you should get your eyes checked.
Signs You Should Schedule an Eye Exam
Having a vision checkup once a year and following the above-recommended schedule for comprehensive dilated eye exams should keep your vision in good shape. However, if you experience symptoms of eye trouble, you should visit an ophthalmologist right away, no matter when your last eye exam was. Here are the signs you should schedule an eye exam:
- Your eyes are itchy, red and dry.
- You see spots, excessive floaters or flashes of light.
- You have difficulty reading street signs while driving at night.
- You get headaches or experience blurred vision or eye strain after working at a computer for a long time.
- You have trouble following moving targets or get dizzy and nauseated when you try.
- You have to squint to read books or newspapers up close.
- You notice sudden changes in your vision, especially after experiencing head
- You can’t remember the last time you had an eye exam.
Get your eyes checked today – call Gerstein Eye Institute in Chicago, IL at 773.596.9545 to schedule your next appointment!
If you suffer with seasonal allergies, you’re not alone. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, up to 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children experience allergies each year.
Along with sneezing, runny nose and congestion, many seasonal allergy sufferers experience red, itchy, swollen or watery eyes. With more information about what causes common eye allergies, you can learn to avoid them and find solutions for your symptoms.
Most Common Eye Allergies
An allergy is when your body reacts negatively to a usually harmless substance. There are all sorts of sensitivities, but the most common culprits of eye allergies include:
- Pet dander
- Eye drops
Avoiding Eye Allergens
The first step is to figure out what you’re sensitive to with allergy testing or through simple observation. Then, you can take necessary precautions to prevent exposure to them.
- If your eyes itch and swell after petting animals and then touching your eyes, you should keep pets out of your bedroom and wash your hands immediately after handling dogs or cats.
- If outdoor allergens are to blame, stay inside on days when pollen counts are high, and wear wraparound sunglasses to shield your eyes from pollen.
- If dust sets you off, wash your bedding weekly in hot water and replace wall-to-wall carpeting with hardwood floors.
- If cosmetics or eye drops make your eyes swell, look for all-natural products to prevent this.
It may also be helpful to switch from contact lenses to glasses during allergy season. Contacts can accumulate airborne allergens, which irritate your eyes and worsen your symptoms. Glasses, on the other hand, actually help keep irritants out of your eyes.
Solutions for Eye Allergies
If you need relief from your symptoms, try these tips:
- Apply eye drops. Over-the-counter varieties should work for relatively mild symptoms, while you may need a prescription to treat more severe eye allergies.
- Take antihistamines and decongestants to reduce the symptoms of an allergic reaction, including red, itchy eyes.
- Apply a cool washcloth to your eyes to relieve puffiness. Cumber slices are also effective.
- Apply cold, damp tea bags to your eyelids. After steeping tea, save the bags. Keep them in the fridge until your next allergy flare-up. Then, place them on your closed eyes for two to five minutes.
- Flush away irritants with saline solution. Stand over a sink and rinse your eyes with sterile saline or artificial tears.
Eye allergies are just one consideration in your overall eye health. To ensure your vision stays crisp and clear, make it a priority to visit Gerstein Eye Institute in Chicago, IL for preventative eye care. We have been helping patients take care of their vision since 1968, and we’re committed to helping you find the right treatment for you! For more information, or to schedule an eye exam, please contact us at 773.596.9545 today.
Cataracts are quite common in older people, but if you haven’t experienced them you may not know much about what they are. A cataract is a clouding of the eye lens that negatively affects your vision. By the age of 80, at least half of the population will have a cataract or have undergone cataract surgery.
Cataracts can happen in both of your eyes or in just one of them. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms you may have a cataract:
- Blurred vision
- Faded colors
- Glare from sunlight, headlights, etc. or a halo around lights
- Difficult seeing at night
- Double vision
- Frequent changes in prescription for eyewear
Cataracts typically develop slowly and at first they can be helped by getting new glasses, using anti-glare sunglasses or magnifying lenses, and using brighter lighting. If you haven’t experienced a cataract, it can be compared to looking through a foggy or frosty window.
If you notice any of the previously mentioned symptoms, you should make an appointment for an eye exam. See your doctor right away if you experience sudden eye pain, sudden vision changes, or sudden headaches.
If you haven’t experienced cataracts, it might not be too late to help prevent them from forming. Regular eye examinations can lead to early detection of cataracts. Unhealthy activities like smoking or drinking too much can increase your risk of cataracts. Managing health conditions like diabetes and eating fruits and vegetables with antioxidants can also help prevent cataracts.
Cataract surgery is very common and is a relatively simple and painless procedure to help regain vision. More than three million Americans undergo the procedure each year and 90% of them regain very good vision, from 20/20 to 20/40. You will likely still need reading glasses and may require progressive lenses.
To learn more or schedule an appointment with Gerstein Eye Institute, give us a call today at 773-596-9545.
LASIK is still the most common laser eye surgery in the United States. The procedure can be completed with a laser or a blade and creates a thin flap in the cornea. The cornea is reshaped to correct the refractive error and improve vision.
Laser eye surgery was first available in the 1980s and by 2001 LASIK was the most common elective surgery in the world. LASIK is considered a third option in addition to wearing eyeglasses or contact lenses.
There are several benefits of having LASIK performed, and the most obvious is having your vision improved without having to wear glasses or contacts. After LASIK surgery, your vision will improve immediately, and it may continue to improve for a year.
LASIK eye surgery can be performed in both eyes on the same day and you’ll likely be able to get back to work in just a day or two. LASIK is a viable option for about 80% of the adult population. If you’re 18 or older, have a common vision problem such as far or nearsightedness or astigmatism, lead an active lifestyle, are in general good health, and cannot or would prefer not to wear glasses or contacts, LASIK could be right for you.
More Benefits of LASIK
- The safety of LASIK eye surgery has increased over the years
- Typically causes little to no pain
- Vision is corrected almost immediately or at least by the day after the procedure
- Quick recovery
- Adjustments can be made for years
- Most patients will no longer need corrective eyewear
- You’ll actually save money over the years on frames and lenses or contacts and contact solution as well as optometrist appointments
- Improved self-confidence
- Can participate in activities such as swimming or surfing without worrying about eyewear
- Reduced allergy symptoms compared to wearing contacts
To schedule an appointment with Gerstein Eye Institute, call 773-596-9545.
- Don’t let pollen into your house. Even though the weather may be pleasant, it’s best to keep doors and windows closed, especially at night. Stay inside as much as possible in the early morning hours, because pollen is typically emitted between 5 and 10 am. If you’ve been outside, take a shower and change clothes as soon as you get home, and never dry clothing or linens outside, where it can pick up pollen.
- Clean your home thoroughly to remove allergens. Pollen is one culprit, but there’s also dust, pet dander, mold, and cockroach droppings to contend with. Cleaning on a regular schedule can help minimize allergens in your home and help you breathe easier. Wear a dust mask when you’re cleaning, and use a damp or treated cloth to dust, so you don’t scatter the dust. Vacuum once or twice a week, using a vacuum with a HEPA filter. Wash your bedding at least once a week in hot water, and dry it in a hot dryer. If you have pets, bathe them once a week to keep dander under control, and wash your hands any time you pet an animal.
- Protect yourself from allergens when you’re outside. Wear glasses, to keep pollen out of your eyes. If you want to enjoy the outdoors, do it on cloudy, windless days, because pollen levels are higher when it’s dry, warm, and windy. Finding out what you’re allergic to can be very helpful: if you can recognize it on sight you can more easily avoid it, and if you know what it is you can stay inside during its high pollen hours.
- If you’re suffering from eye allergies, have a plan to treat them. Using lubricating eye drops can help rinse away pollen, as can saline nose spray. Decongestant eye drops can constrict the blood vessels in the eyes, reducing redness, but shouldn’t be used for more than three days. Oral antihistamines can sometimes help, but in some cases, they can cause dry eyes and may worsen eye allergy symptoms.
- Ask your doctor for help. There are prescription medications that can be helpful in controlling eye allergy symptoms. There are antihistamine, mast cell stabilizer, NSAID and corticosteroid eye drops that can alleviate or prevent allergy symptoms. Your doctor may also prescribe non-sedating oral antihistamines, or recommend allergy shots.
One of the leading eye centers in Illinois, the Gerstein Eye Institute in Chicago has been helping patients take care of their eyes since 1968. Our certified professional staff has decades of ophthalmologic experience and has worked together to perform over 20,000 procedures. Dr. Gerstein, well-versed in the most advanced technologies, is committed to helping patients find the treatment that’s right for you. For more information call (773) 596-1245 or visit our website today.
- Two-tone frames are a fun trend. Whether the frames are one color on the rims and another on the temples, or the tops and bottoms of the rims are shaded differently, expect to see plenty of pairs of two-toned glasses this year.
- Bold colors are everywhere in eyewear this year. Whether your favorite color is purple, teal, blue or red, you’ll find frames to suit your style. There is also a wide range of pastel hues from which to choose in 2018. Not feeling the full force of color? Try a subtler look, wearing translucent frames with faded colors, or go for clear, white or neutral frames.
- 2018 is the year of unique shapes in eyewear. Look for lots of angles, and lenses set in contradictory frames to create a shape within a shape. You’ll also see square and round frames, and frames embellished with crystal, beads, and other decorative touches.
- Eyewear styles in 2018 will give you a look forward and back. Look for lots of angles, and lenses set in contradictory frames to create a shape within a shape. You’ll also see square and round frames, and frames embellished with crystal, beads, and other decorative touches.
- Cat eye wood frames are a twist on a couple of different trends. Cat eye frames are a big part of the retro look this year, and can really come in any color, from tortoiseshell to bright primary tones. A natural material like wood makes them modern, though. Whether they’re made of pear wood, bamboo, maple, sandalwood, or zebrawood, these frames are a conversation starter. One benefit of wooden frames? They float.
Are you ready to take the plunge and update your glasses? Schedule a doctor’s visit to make sure your eyes are healthy, first. One of the leading eye centers in Illinois, the Gerstein Eye Institute in Chicago has been helping patients take care of their eyes since 1968. Our certified professional staff has decades of ophthalmologic experience and has worked together to perform over 20,000 procedures. Dr. Gerstein, well-versed in the most advanced technologies, is committed to helping patients find the treatment that’s right for you. For more information call (773) 596-1245 or visit our website today.
- Do you wear your contacts too long? Some people wear their contact lenses until they begin to feel uncomfortable, but this is a mistake. Follow your doctor’s instructions, because wearing contacts that have outstayed their expiration date can be bad for your eyes, and may keep you from being able to see well.
- Stick with the program. Keeping your contact lenses clean is of utmost importance, yet some people don’t follow instructions about how to do this. Use contact lens solution every time- not, saliva, water, or any other liquid.
- Don’t neglect to wash your hands. Part of keeping your lenses clean is not introducing them to more germs. If you touch lenses with dirty hands, you’re contaminating them. This can cause eye infections which sometimes cause permanent damage to the eyes.
- Washing isn’t enough- you’ve also go to dry them! You’ve washed your hands, but did you dry them? Many people don’t think about it, but water on your hands can conduct harmful microorganisms onto the lenses and then right into your eyes.
- Cheaper isn’t always better. The desire to be frugal is admirable, but choosing a cheap, generic contact lens solution will cost you in the long run. It’s a much better idea to choose the care system made specifically for your lenses, so that you can properly care for them and, by extension, your eyes.
- Dirty cases mean dirty lenses. Clean hands- check! Clean lenses- check! But if you put them away in a dirty case, you’re undoing all the good work you just did, when you took so much care to get them clean. Empty out the old solution, wash the case with new solution and allow it to dry. Every now and then, clean it with boiling water. Even if you keep it perfectly clean, though, the case should still be replaced every three months.
- You snooze, you lose. While there are some lenses approved by the FDA for overnight use, it’s best not to sleep in your lenses. That’s because sleeping in your lenses can decrease the amount of oxygen your eyes take in, and can also cause little abrasions on the surface of your eyes. This damage to the eyes can have a negative effect on your vision, but it can also make it impossible to even wear lenses at all. It’s a better idea to take the extra few seconds and remove your lenses before you doze.
Ultimately, it comes down to this: choose a good eye doctor, and then follow your doctor’s instructions when it comes to caring for your eyes. One of the leading eye centers in Illinois, the Gerstein Eye Institute in Chicago has been helping patients take care of their eyes since 1968. Our certified professional staff has decades of ophthalmologic experience, and has worked together to perform over 20,000 procedures. Dr. Gerstein, well-versed in the most advanced technologies, is committed to helping patients find the treatment that’s right for you. For more information call (773) 596-1245 or visit our website today.
- Glass lenses are not a great idea. Glass used to be the only option, but it’s heavy and prone to breakage. That’s unfortunate because glass has the best optical clarity, but with all the other choices, it’s just not very practical. Now that there are so many other good options on the market, glass lenses are hardly ever used.
- CR-39 plastic lenses provide almost as much optical clarity as glass but are half as heavy. They’re also inexpensive, resistant to shattering, and not easily scratched. However, if you have a high prescription, CR-39 lenses will be very thick. Also, while they’re tough enough to handle the stress of regular life, they may not be the best option if you’re rough with your glasses. If you plan to go mountain-biking, for instance, you might want to choose another option.
- High-index plastic is lighter and thinner than CR-39. High-index lenses come in a variety of prescription options and are compatible with anti-reflective coating.
- Polycarbonate has been around since the 70’s, but it’s still a popular choice. Lighter and more impact-resistant than CR-39 plastic, polycarbonate was originally developed for safety applications, like bulletproof glass and Air Force helmet visors. It’s a great choice for children’s eyewear, safety glasses, and sports eyewear.
- Trivex is a lot like polycarbonate, but better. It’s got the same impact-resistant properties, but is lighter weight and is less likely to cause optical distortions in the peripheral vision. Both Trivex and polycarbonate lenses block UV rays without the need for special coating, which is also beneficial.
- Gunnar lenses make screen time easier on the eyes. That’s because they have a special anti-reflective coating that blocks high-energy artificial blue light, UV light, and glare, in order to protect your vision and reduce eye-strain. They’re expensive, even when they’re not prescription lenses, but it may be worth the money if you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, and you’re experiencing issues like strained, dry, or red eyes, blurred vision, or headaches.
- Transition lenses work both in and out of the sun. A convenient option, these lenses darken when the wearer goes out into the sunlight, and lighten indoors. This eliminates the need for two pairs of glasses, which saves money and hassle. They come in many different varieties, including shatter-resistant, bifocal and progressive.
The first step in choosing the right lenses is choosing the best eye doctor. One of the leading eye centers in Illinois, the Gerstein Eye Institute in Chicago has been helping patients take care of their eyes since 1968. Our certified professional staff has decades of ophthalmologic experience and has worked together to perform over 20,000 procedures. Dr. Gerstein, well-versed in the most advanced technologies, is committed to helping patients find the treatment that’s right for you. For more information call (773) 596-1245 or visit our website today.
The Connection Between Eye Pressure and Open-Angle Glaucoma
Healthy eye pressure requires the constant release of aqueous humor through the trabecular meshwork. If your eye doctor in Chicago is concerned that you may have glaucoma, one factor he or she will consider to make a diagnosis is your eye pressure. This video explains more.
Your eyes constantly produce and release aqueous humor. When this doesn’t happen, pressure in your eye will build up and damage may occur to the optic nerve fibers. If your eye doctor discovers this kind of damage in your eye, you may be diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma. Regular exams can let your eye doctor catch this buildup in pressure and prescribe the appropriate eye care to protect your vision.
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