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The spots, strings, or cobwebs that drift in and out of your vision are called “floaters,” and they are more prominent if you’re looking against a white background.

These floaters are tiny clumps of material floating inside the vitreous (jelly-like substance) that fills the inside of your eye. Floaters cast a shadow on the retina, which is the inner lining of the back of the eye that relays images to the brain.

As you get older, the vitreous gel pulls away from the retina and the traction on the retina causes flashing lights. These flashes can then occur for months. Once the vitreous gel completely separates from the back wall of the eye, you then have a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), which is a common cause of new onset of floaters.

This condition is more common in people who:

  • Are nearsighted.
  • Are aphakic (absence of the lens of the eye).
  • Have past trauma to the eye.
  • Have had inflammation in the eye.

When a posterior vitreous detachment occurs, there is a concern that it can cause a retinal tear.

Symptoms of a retinal tear include:

  • Sudden increase in number of floaters that are persistent and don't resolve.
  • Increase in flashes.
  • A shadow covering your side vision, or a decrease in vision.

In general, posterior vitreous detachment is unlikely to progress to a retinal detachment. Only about 15 percent of people with PVD develop a retinal tear.

If left untreated, approximately 40 percent of people with a symptomatic retinal tear will progress into a retinal detachment – and a retinal detachment needs prompt treatment to prevent vision loss.

Generally, most people become accustomed to the floaters in their eyes.

Surgery can be performed to remove the vitreous gel but there is no guarantee that all the floaters will be removed. And for most people, the risk of surgery is greater than the nuisance that the floaters present.

Similarly, there is a laser procedure that breaks the floaters up into smaller pieces in hopes of making them less noticeable. However, this is not a recognized standard treatment and it is not widely practiced.

In general, the usual recommendation for floaters and PVD is observation by an eye care specialist.

 

Article contributed by Jane Pan M.D.

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ. This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.

In trying to answer the question of how blue light affects eye health we need to explore several topics.

Sunlight Exposure and Damage to the Eye

There have been multiple studies over the years that have shown excessive exposure to sunlight might cause damage to the eyes and the eyelids.

There is a very strong association with exposure to ultraviolet light and the incidence of skin cancer on the eyelids.

Research has demonstrated that exposure to sunlight also increases the risk of cataracts.

These studies include:

  • Chesapeake Watermen Study (Taylor et al. New Engl J Med. 1988; 391:1429-33.)
  • Beaver Dam Eye Study (Cruickshanks et al. Am J Public Health 1992; 82:1658-62)
  • Salisbury Eye Evaluation (West et al. J Am Med Assoc. 1998; 280:714-8)
  • Blue Mountains Eye Study (Mitchell et al. Ophthalmology 1997; 104:581-8).

The majority of this research implicates the UV portion of sunlight as the source of the damage, not blue light.

So where does the blue light problem come in?

Blue Light and Its Potential Effect on the Retina

Most of the evidence pointing to the potential detrimental effects of blue light has been inferred from an accumulation of several experimental studies, rather than any studies of direct correlation

A study by Han et al. (Nature 1976; 260:153-5) demonstrated that the retina of a rhesus monkey was most sensitive to shorter wavelengths of visible light with a maximum sensitivity at 441 nm, which is in the violet/blue spectrum.

Some of the studies mentioned previously that demonstrated a connection between sunlight exposure and cataracts also showed some increase in the amount of macular degeneration seen later in life in these same patients. Since UV light is almost completely absorbed by our own natural lens, the portion of sunlight that reaches the retina is the visible portion of light. Experimental evidence has shown that it is the blue/violet end of the visual spectrum that is the mostly likely cause of retinal damage.

The Beaver Dam eye study mentioned above showed that people who reported more than five hours of summer sun exposure in their early years had a higher rate of early macular degeneration. And since it appears that the blue/violet end of the visible spectrum causes the most retinal damage, it infers that blue light may be the major culprit.

Blue Light and Sleep

Blue light suppresses melatonin receptors. Suppressing these receptors helps improve “wakefulness,” so exposure to blue light during daylight hours helps keep us awake and attentive.

This same exposure to blue light in the evening may inhibit your ability to get to sleep by suppressing those same receptors.

Therefore, it might be wise to limit your exposure to screens on cell phones, tablets and E-readers in the hour or two before bedtime if you are having trouble falling asleep.

Another alternative is to wear blue-light-blocking lenses when using those devices in the evening. Wearing those same glasses in the daytime might actually decrease your attentiveness.

So What Should You Do?

Remember, the strongest evidence that light causes health problems is still the damage that can be done from the UV spectrum in sunlight. Cataracts and eyelid skin cancer are both strongly correlated with sunlight exposure. A good pair of sunglasses during daylight hours is the most important health benefit you can give yourself when it comes to protecting yourself from light damage.

As far as blue light is concerned, it might make sense to consider blue-light-filtering lenses if you are staring at light-emitting screens all day, particularly in the evening hours when exposure to blue light might throw off your sleeping patterns. The evidence that blue light exposure is a definitive risk factor for macular degeneration, especially at the levels given off by screens as opposed to sunlight, is much less clear.

So the answer is, there some evidence that there are some real possible health risks with exposure to blue light. But the degree of hype the subject is getting - especially by some specialty eyeglass makers - might be out of proportion to the degree of evidence that these effects are truly harmful at the levels to which we are currently being exposed.

 

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ

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Here are 11 bad things that can happen if you don’t wear and care for your contact lenses properly.

1) Sleeping in your contacts. This is the No. 1 risk factor for corneal ulcers, which can lead to severe vision loss and the need for a corneal transplant. Your cornea needs oxygen from the atmosphere because it has no blood vessels. The cornea is already somewhat deprived of oxygen when you have your eyes closed all night, and adding a contact on top of that stresses the cornea out from lack of oxygen. You don’t need to see when you are sleeping. Take your contacts out!!!! I promise your dreams will still look the same.

2) Swimming in your contacts. Salt, fresh or pool water all have their individual issues with either bacteria or chemicals that can leach into your contacts. If you absolutely need to wear them to be safe in the water, then take them out as soon as you are done and clean and disinfect them.

3) Using tap water to clean contacts. Tap water is not sterile. See No. 2.

4) Using your contacts past their replacement schedule. The three main schedules now are daily, two weeks and monthly. Dailies are just that – use them one time then throw them away; they are not designed to be removed and re-used. Two-week contacts are designed to be thrown away after two weeks because they get protein buildup on them that doesn’t come off with regular cleaning. Monthly replacement contacts need to have both daily cleaning and weekly enzymatic cleaning to take the protein buildup off. Using your lenses outside of these schedules and maintenance increases the risk of infection and irritation.

5) Getting contacts from an unlicensed source. Costume shops and novelty stores sometimes illegally sell lenses. If you didn’t get the fit of the lenses checked by an eye doctor, they could cause serious damage if they don’t fit correctly.

6) Wearing contacts past their expiration date. You can’t be sure of the sterility of the contact past its expiration date. As cheap as contacts are now, don’t take the risk with an expired one.

7) Topping off your contact lens case solution instead of changing it. This is a really bad idea. Old disinfecting solution no longer kills the bacteria and can lead to resistant bacteria growing in your case and on your lenses that even fresh disinfecting solution may not kill. Throw out the solution in the case EVERY DAY!

8) Not properly washing your hands before inserting or removing contacts. It should be self-evident why this is a problem.

9) Not rubbing your contact lens when cleaning even with a “no rub” solution. Rubbing the lens helps get the bacteria off. Is the three seconds it takes to rub the lens really that hard? “No rub” should never have made it to market.

10) Sticking your contacts in your mouth to wet them. Yes people actually do this. Do you know the number of bacteria that reside in the human mouth? Don’t do it.

11) Not having a backup pair of glasses. This is one of my biggest pet peeves with contact lens wearers. In my 25 years of being an eye doctor, the people who consistently get in the biggest trouble with their contacts are the ones who sleep in them and don’t have a backup pair of glasses. So when an eye is red and irritated they keep sticking that contact lens in because it is the only way they can see. BAD IDEA. If your eye is red and irritated don’t stick the contact back in; it’s worst thing you can do!

 

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ

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Hygiene is critical to wearing your contact lenses

Contact lenses can significantly improve your vision but it’s very important to care for them properly to avoid potentially serious infections or other problems.

Your habits, supplies, and eye doctor are all essential to keeping your eyes healthy so it’s important to follow instructions for proper care and to call us if you have concerns. 

These recommendations will help extend the life of your contact lenses and keep your eyes safe and healthy. 

Your lens insertion and removal routine

  • Before you handle contacts, wash and rinse your hands with a mild soap.
  • Make sure the soap doesn’t have perfumes, oils, or lotions. They can leave a film on your hands.
  • Dry your hands with a clean, lint-free towel before touching your contacts.
  • It’s a good idea to keep your fingernails short and smooth so you won't damage your lenses or scratch your eye when inserting or removing your contacts.
  • Lightly rubbing your contact in the palm of your hand with a few drops of solution helps remove surface build-up.
  • Rinse your lenses thoroughly with a recommended solution before soaking the contacts overnight in a multi-purpose solution that completely covers each lens.
  • Store lenses in the proper lens storage case.
  • Don't use tap water or saliva to wash or store contact lenses or lens cases.
  • If you use hair spray, use it before you put in your contacts.
  • Put on eye makeup after you put in your lenses. Take them out before you remove makeup.
  • Always follow the recommended contact lens replacement and wearing schedule prescribed.

Your supplies

  • Use doctor-recommended solution.
  • Rub and rinse your contact lens case with sterile contact lens solution. Never use water.
  • Clean the case after each use.
  • Replace your contact lens case at least once every three months. 
  • Don’t “top off” solution. Use only fresh contact lens disinfecting solution in your case. 
  • Never mix fresh solution with the old or used solution.
  • Change your contact lens solution according to the manufacturer's recommendations.

Your eye doctor

  • Visit us yearly or as often as recommended.
  • Ask us if you have questions about how to care for your contacts and case or if you are having any difficulties.
  • Remove your contact lenses immediately if your eyes become irritated. Call us and let us know what’s going on.
  • Call us if you have any sudden vision loss, blurred vision that doesn’t get better, light flashes, eye pain, infection, swelling, unusual redness, or irritation. 

Wear your contacts safely

  • Some contacts need special care and products. Always use the disinfecting solution, eye drops, and enzymatic cleaners your doctor recommends. Some eye products or eye drops aren’t safe for contact wearers.
  • Saline solution and rewetting drops do not disinfect lenses.
  • Use a rewetting solution or plain saline solution to keep your eyes moist.
  • Don’t wear your contacts when you go swimming in a pool or at the beach.
  • Don't sleep in your contact lenses unless prescribed by your eye doctor.
  • Don’t clean or store your contacts in water.
  • See us for your regularly scheduled contact lens and eye examination.
  • If you think you’ll have trouble remembering when to change your lenses, ask for a chart to track your schedule or make one for your needs.

Be sure to call us if you have any questions about caring for your contact lenses or if you’re eyes are having problems.

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Dr. Michelle Presson

Dr. Michelle Presson

Dr. Michelle received her undergraduate degree from the University of South Florida in Tampa and her Doctor of Optometry from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis in June of 1996.

Dr. Shane Presson

Dr. Shane Presson

Dr. Shane received his undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and his Doctor of Optometry from the Southern College of Optometry in Memphis in June of 1995.

Rachel Powell

Rachel Powell

Rachel is our General Office Manager. Rachel attended Grace Christian Academy through high school and received her Associates in Marketing at Pellissippi State in 2012. She graduated from King University with her Bachelor’s in Business Management in May 2014.

Michelle Beavers

Michelle Beavers

Michelle is one of our front office managers. Michelle has been with Karns Vision Center since the doors were opened in 2008. She is instrumental in all aspects of our office and patient care.

Kirsten Hibbert

Kirsten Hibbert

Kirsten is one of our front office managers. She went to Karns High School and graduated from Maryville College in 2010 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management.

Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn

Kaitlyn is one of our optometric technicians who assists our doctors with our patients. She is invaluable to our office in the optical as well. Kaitlyn graduated from Karns High School in 2011.

Kelsey

Kelsey

Kelsey is one of our optometric technicians. She helps our patients learn the basics of contact lens insertion and removal and assists in our optical department. Kelsey graduated from Karns High School in 2012 and is currently attending Johnson University to receive her Religious Studies and Bible Bachelor's Degree.

Zoë

Zoë

Zoe is one of our optometric technicians who helps in every department of our office. She graduated from Halls High School in 2012 and graduated in 2016 from Tusculum College with her Bachlor's Degree of Arts in Psychology.

The Vision Clinic

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