Category Archives: In The News

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Seven Common Eye Concerns for Adults 40 and Older

It’s a fact of life for adults. Just like crow’s feet, a slower metabolism, bald spots and gray hair, age eventually affects your eyes. Some of these changes are normal, age-related developments. Others may be signs of a vision-threatening disease or condition.

“It’s important to understand how the eyes change with age and what we can do to keep our eyes as healthy as possible. The best defense for aging eyes is to be proactive,” sayid Sandy T. Feldman, an ophthalmologist and the Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center in San Diego.

“We all know what to do to keep our bodies in top working order—exercise, eat right, get enough sleep, and stay out of the sun—but equal attention needs to be paid to our eyes and our vision, especially as we get older.”

Dr. Feldman offers a handy overview of common eye conditions and diseases experienced at different stages of adulthood:

1. Presbyopia: The lens inside the eye starts to lose flexibility beginning in the late 30s and early 40s, making it difficult to read up close. This condition is called presbyopia (“aging eye”) and is often easily remedied with over-the-counter reading glasses.

2. Dry eyes: Dry eyes develop with age and the use of certain medications. It is also a common problem for women during pregnancy and menopause, when hormonal changes cause changes in the eye’s tear production. People with this condition can also develop an eyelid irritation or swelling called blepharitis. In addition to seeing an ophthalmologist, there are many simple strategies to keep the eyes moist, such as using eye lubricants and taking breaks from computer screens and other electronic devices.

3. Diabetic retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels inside the retina swell, leak fluid or close off completely due to elevated blood sugar levels. Diabetics in their 50s, 60s and 70s can take steps to prevent this condition by carefully monitoring their blood sugar and blood pressure levels and seeing an eye doctor on a regular basis for screening exams.

4. Cataracts: As we age, proteins in the lens of the eye begin to clump together. These clumps—or cataracts—make the lens less transparent and cause blurry, cloudy or dim vision and increased glare. Cataracts can interfere with daily activities like driving at night and distinguishing colors. Treatment for this very common condition includes eyeglasses and surgery to remove cataracts.

5. Glaucoma: A condition that primarily affects people aged 65 and over, glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information to the brain. This damage often leads to loss of peripheral vision; left untreated, it can eventually cause complete blindness. Typically there are no symptoms in the early stages, so many people who have the disease are unaware of it. Another good reason to have regular eye exams!

6. Floaters and Flashes: As people grow older, the fluid that fills the inside their eye starts to shrink, forming clumps or strands. These can appear as “floaters” (small specks or lines moving in the field of vision). This fluid can also pull away from the back of the eye, causing you to see flashing lights or lightning streaks. This is normally harmless, but in some cases it can lead to retinal detachment and cause blindness. If you experience new floaters and flashes, it’s important to see an eye doctor as soon as possible.

7. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): AMD affects the central vision, limiting a person’s ability to read and recognize faces. This can be caused by a thinning of the macula (the light-sensitive part of the retina) or by a growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina. AMD can lead to blindness if not treated—in fact, it’s the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 65. Early and regular visits to an ophthalmologist can reduce vision loss and even recover vision.

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Keep Your Eyes Healthy This Halloween

Keep Your Eyes Healthy This Halloween

Decorative contact lenses can be a great way to add those final touches to your Halloween costume. But be careful! To avoid a real-life Halloween horror story, don’t wear costume contact lenses purchased without a prescription. Many of these illegally sold cosmetic lenses may not be sterile and can cause a host of serious eye problems, including blindness and infection.

Use these Halloween contact lenses tips to make sure you keep your eyes healthy, so Halloween stays fun and not a nightmare. Read more here.

Learn more about how LASIK eye surgery can improve your life. Contact us today!

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Why You Should Be Afraid — Very Afraid — Of Non-prescription Costume Contact Lenses for Halloween

With Halloween only a few days away, many of you are looking for ways to spice up your Halloween costumes with accessories such as facial masks, special makeup and costume contact lenses. After all, what could be a better disguise than different eye color? However, wearing non-prescription contact lenses can result in a painful eye injury or even permanent damage to vision.

These lenses may look neat, especially those that give the appearance of tiger eyes, orange eyes, checkered pupils, and numerous other spooky effects. However they are not sterile, poorly fit the eye, and are often sold illegally.

“Most people who purchase costume contacts don’t have a clue about the dangers they can pose, such as eye infections, corneal abrasions, and even blindness,” said Dr. Sandy T. Feldman. “That’s why the Federal Drug Administration regulates the sale of all contact lenses, to prevent serious damage that non-prescription lenses can cause if they don’t fit right or aren’t properly cleaned or disinfected. Contact lenses need to be cleaned daily.”

The FDA banned the sale of all non-prescription contact lenses ten years ago, classifying all contact lenses as medical devices and allowing only licensed eye care professionals to distribute and prescribe them to patients.

If you’re planning to wear a Halloween costume this year that requires decorative lenses, make sure to following Dr. Feldman’s advice:

    • Consult a professional: When purchasing costume contact lenses, it is best to consult first with an eye care professional, such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
    • Get an eye exam: An eye exam is important in order to ensure that the contact lenses fit properly and are appropriate for the user.
    • Follow proper care instructions: Be sure to follow the specific instructions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing your lenses.
    • Be aware of unusual symptoms: When wearing contact lenses, be aware of any unusual or excessive discharge, redness, swelling, or discomfort.
    • Check the fit of face masks: Make sure the eyeholes are large enough that they don’t restrict vision.
    • Do a trial run with costume makeup: Chemicals in costume makeup can irritate the skin and eyes, so be sure to do a small test patch of any product on your hand well before the big night.

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An Eye Doctor’s Tips for Navigating Drugstore Aisles

Have you ever walked through the aisles of your local drugstore and felt overwhelmed? Often times, you’ll encounter a dizzying array of over-the-counter products, including contact lens solutions, lubricating drops, and ready-made reading glasses.  With an overabundance of eye-care products on the shelves, so many consumers end up with feelings of “option paralysis.” So how do you determine what products are best for you and your eyes?

“It’s wonderful that we have so many over-the-counter options for eye-care now, but many people find it rather overwhelming,” says Dr. Sandy T. Feldman. She offers some tips for navigating today’s ever-expanding selection of drugstore products:

Contact lens solutions

“If you wear contacts, never switch care regimens without asking your eye doctor first,” Dr. Feldman cautions. “Some products are not compatible with each other, or shouldn’t be used with certain types of contacts.”

  • Use daily cleaner to clean your contacts each and every day. Place a few drops in the palm of your hand and gently rub the lens for about 10 to 20 seconds to loosen debris.
  • Use disinfectant solution to sterilize the lenses. Always use fresh disinfectant solution—never “top off” old solution.If your eye doctor recommends it, use an enzymatic cleaner or daily protein removal liquid to remove protein buildup.
  • Use products marked “preservative-free” if you have sensitive eyes or develop an allergy to the chemicals in contact lens solutions.Multipurpose solutions can clean, rinse, and disinfect, all with a single product.
  • Store lenses in a clean case with saline solution that is frequently changed. Be sure to change the case itself on a frequent basis, too. Using a dirty lens case can lead to a painful eye infection.

Eye drops

“The eye drops section of the drugstore can be especially daunting, as there are literally dozens of products available now for purchase,” says Dr. Feldman. “The key thing to remember is that OTC eye drops are for short-term use only. If your eyes are frequently irritated, see your eye doctor to determine the cause, such as allergens or inflammation. And to avoid infection, never share or borrow eye drops!”

  • Use artificial tears to lubricate and soothe dry eyes.
  • If you have itchy, red, or watery eyes, talk to your doctor about using eye drops with antihistamines, decongestants, or other medications. Overusing “get the red out” medications can make your eyes even redder.Most eye drops come in a liquid that imitates the feel of real tears. For longer lasting relief from dry eyes, opt for a thicker gel version.
  • Contact lens wearers can use specially formulated eye drops that are gentler and won’t interfere with lenses.

Eyeglasses

“Ready-made reading glasses are fine for many people, but they aren’t for everyone,” says Dr. Feldman. “For example, drugstore glasses can’t correct astigmatism, and they also don’t work for nearsighted people.”

  • All ready-made reading glasses have stickers indicating their power, ranging from +1 to +4 diopter, in increments of +.25. Try the lowest power (+1) first.Many drugstores don’t carry “high power” readers—glasses with a power of +2.75 or more. If you need stronger magnification, you may need a prescription pair.
  • Note that the powers of ready-made reading glasses are the same for each eye. If you need a different power for each eye, you’ll need to get a prescription pair.
  • Hold some reading material at a comfortable distance, about 12 to 24 inches. If you have to hold the material too far out to be able to read it, increase the power. Keep testing different powers until you can read clearly.
  • There are many styles of readers to choose from, but you may want to start with a larger pair. You can always go down in size once you’re used to wearing them.

“If you’ve tried drugstore glasses and still have trouble with your vision, see an optometrist or an eye doctor for prescription readers, bifocals, or another solution that’s tailor-made for your eyes,” suggests Dr. Feldman. “In the long run, it’s never worth taking shortcuts when it comes at the expense of your vision.”

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Bad Habits of Contact Lens Wearers (Exposed!)

These days, it’s easier than ever to wear and care for contact lenses. However, a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that 99 percent of contact lens wearers have at some point engaged in bad habits that can lead to a painful eye infection and possibly even long-term vision damage.

Dr. Sandy T. Feldman is not surprised by the CDC’s latest findings. “I’ve probably seen it all over the years. Lenses that aren’t cleaned properly. Dirty lens cases. Reusing the same solution over and over. Sleeping with contacts, swimming with contacts, wearing disposable lenses far longer than they’re meant to be used. Any one of these things can put the health of the eyes at risk,” said Dr. Feldman.

The CDC report reveals that most contact lens wearers have been guilty of some form or another of questionable lens hygiene. Nearly one-third of the 1,000 lens wearers surveyed experienced a red or painful eye that required a visit to a doctor’s office. It’s estimated that more than 40 million people in the U.S. wear contacts.

Dr. Feldman offers some simple tips for caring for contact lenses:

  • Clean lenses daily, using only recommended products for your type of lens.
  • Clean the lens case daily and replace it every three months. Cases should be rinsed out with disinfecting contact lens solution and air-dried every day.
  • Replace the disinfectant solution every time you store contact lenses in a case. Don’t re-use the same solution multiple days or “top off” old solution.
  • Avoid wearing lenses when swimming or showering, which can lead to an eye infection caused by bacteria, fungus and even amoebas in the water. If vision is an issue, consider prescription goggles. If contacts are worn in water, they should be disinfected afterwards or thrown away if they are disposable lenses.
  • Don’t attempt to extend the life of disposable contacts. This can result in a scratched cornea, allowing germs to infiltrate the eye and become a breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Don’t go to sleep without removing contact lenses. This is one of the most common causes of eye infections.
  • Use daily disposable contact lenses only as directed. Try to avoid the temptation to economize by wearing them beyond a day.

“Contact lenses are a great option for people who want freedom from glasses. However, it’s important to take good care of your contacts to avoid irritated eyes or an infection,” Dr. Feldman cautions. “It’s all too easy to cut corners to save some time, but that can really have a negative impact on the health of your eyes.”

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Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Centers Salutes Veterans and Active Military Members

Have you made your weekend plans yet? If not consider attending the MCAS Miramar Air Show starting Friday October 2nd and running through Sunday October 4th.  As the largest military air show in the nation this event has earned high praise in past years. Attendees will have the opportunity to get an up close and personal look at military aircraft capabilities.  There will be returning favorites such as the Blue Angels and Golden Knights as well as musical performances by the Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band that was established during WWII.  General admission to the Air Show is free!

The theme of this year’s event is “A Salute to Veterans and Their Families”.  As part of Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center’s salute to veterans and active military members along with their families, we offer year round special pricing for LASIK.

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The Latest Eye Surgery Technology Comes to Clearview

Dr. Sandy T. Feldman spoke with Fox 5 San Diego about the new FDA-approved iDesign Advanced Wavescan Studio system that Clearview is now offering for LASIK procedures. Developed by NASA, this technology was originally developed for the space program and allows surgeons to provide computer-driven LASIK treatments that are completely customized and unique to each patient. Clearview has the first unit available for patient use in the United States.

Learn more about how Lasik can improve your life. Contact us today!

 

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6 Things to Consider Before Buying Summer Sunglasses

Dr. Sandy T. Feldman recently spoke with Fox Morning News about why sunglasses are just as important as sunscreen to wear during the summer.

When you buy sunglasses, Dr. Feldman suggests looking for a pair that blocks 100 percent of the sun’s ultra-violet light. Here are the other things you should consider when buying sunglasses for optimal eye health and protection.

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See The World Through UV Protected Glasses

From Audrey Hepburn’s oversize lenses in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” to John Lennon’s famous round shades to aviators and Ray-Bans that have popped in and out of style, sunglasses have stayed trendy and iconic over time.

But with summer here, health experts said it’s important to remember to pick a pair of shades that are not only trendy, but offer the right protection to ward off cancer in and around the eye.

And in addition to wearing sunglasses during the summer, experts said they should be worn year-round, especially in sunny spots such as San Diego.

“When shopping for sunglasses, people tend to focus more on appearance rather than UV protection. But it’s possible to find sunglasses that look great and protect the eyes from sun damage,” said Dr. Sandy T. Feldman, medical director at San Diego’s Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center. “We also tend to protect ourselves from the sun only during the summer, but it’s something to be cautious of all year long.”

The potential danger lies in the fact that eyelid skin is very thin, and too much ultraviolet light can lead to eye problems such as cataracts and various types of cancer.

Read more here about how UV protected glasses can decrease your risk of cancer.

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An Eye Doctor’s Tips for Choosing the Best Sunglasses

The sunshine-filled days of summer are here and many of us are diligently slathering on sunscreen to protect our skin from sun damage. But sunscreen can’t protect everything—the eyes, for example.

Eyelid skin is extremely thin and allowing too much ultraviolet (UV) through can cause a number of eye problems, including cataracts and several kinds of cancer. The best defense: a good pair of sunglasses.

“When shopping for sunglasses, people tend to focus more on appearance rather than UV protection. But it’s possible to find sunglasses that look great and protect the eyes from sun damage,” said Dr. Sandy T. Feldman.

To learn more about how you can avoid UV damage to your eyes, check out these six tips for purchasing sunglasses:

  1. Make it 100 percent. The single most important thing to look for when buying sunglasses is a sticker or tag indicating they block 100 percent of UV rays.
  2. Bigger is better. The more coverage from sunglasses, the less sun damage inflicted on the eyes. Consider buying oversized glasses or wraparound-style glasses, which help cut down on UV light entering the eye from the sides.
  3. Darker lenses don’t always better. Dark lenses may look cool but don’t necessarily block more UV rays.
  4. Color doesn’t matter. Some sunglasses have colored lenses, such as amber, green or grey. These lenses don’t block more sun but they can increase contrast, which may be useful for athletes who play sports such as baseball or golf.
  5. Polarized lenses cut glare, not UV. Polarization reduces glare coming off reflective surfaces like water or pavement. This doesn’t offer more protection from the sun, but can make activities like driving or being on the water safer and more enjoyable.
  6. Cost shouldn’t be a factor. Sunglasses don’t have to cost a lot to work well.

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