Saturday, November 13, 2010

Red eyes? Don't go grabbing just any eyedrop!


If you have red, irritated eyes, you may be tempted to grab the nearest bottle of Visine "Get the Red Out". These eyedrops contain a special ingredient which temporarily constricst the blood vessels, helping the eyes to whiten in most cases. However, there is a 'rebound reaction', and the blood vessels can return. Sometimes people become dependent on them, and if you read the small print on the bottle label, it might say "Overuse may cause more redness". Great!

Eye redness may be due to multiple factors. Sometimes staring at a computer screen all day can dry out the eye and cause redness. Eye fatigue, dryness, irritation, allergies, infection and contact lenses can all contribute to mild redness. It is best to have a thorough exam where your tear film can be evaluated and we can determine the cause and extent of your redness.

Some mild dry eye and redness problems can be solved with over-the-counter eyedrops. I have a few favorites, but it depends on each person as to which one works best for them. Some are formulated better for allergies, some are for severe dry eye, and some are for mild dry eye. There are also several prescription eye drops which help relieve more persistent cases of redness or dry eye.

If you have trouble with dry, irritated or red eyes, please do not settle for an eyedrop that might make things worse! Come in and see us for a thorough, personal exam to determine the best treatment for you!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

You are what you see...


What do you see to the left? A young lady or an old woman?

I see the back of a young lady, but if you look closely enough, you will notice that it could also be a picture of an old woman. Turn the young lady's ear into a wrinkled eye, and turn the young chin into a crooked nose of an old woman.

This optical illusion is a reminder that there is often more than one way to 'see' any situation. If we undergo a hardship in life, it may look like an 'old woman' when in reality it is a 'young lady' full of life and promise.

What is your 'old woman' that needs to be turned into a 'young lady'? I am reminded of a patient who came to our office for an exam because his labrador puppy had chewed up his expensive glasses. He was so mad at that puppy! However, because of the exam and the retinal photos that were taken, it was found that he had early stages of an eye disease. It turns out the puppy may have saved his vision because his condition was managed at an early stage and will not progress to vision loss.

I believe that any, and I mean any negative situation can be turned around for good. Look at it in a positive light and it will become a positive experience. We are what we see... Let's see the good in any situation!

If you have a story you'd like to share to help encourage the rest of us, don't be shy! Feel free to leave your story below.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Struggling in school? How to check for hidden vision disorders

Did you know that 80% of learning depends on vision? Make sure your child does not have a hidden vision disorder that may contribute to poor learning in school. They may not even know they have a problem because they think everyone else sees the blurriness that they see!

The American Public Health Association recommends eye exams at the ages of 6 months, 2 years, and 4 years. After age 5, they recommend exams at least every 1-2 years, depending on the needs of the individual.

Common vision disorders are:

Nearsightedness (Myopia): Objects at near are in focus, but objects at a distance are blurry.

Farsightedness (Hyperopia): Objects far away may be in focus, but objects up close may be blurry or require additional work in order to keep clear. Sometimes people with high amounts of farsightedness have blurry vision even at a distance.

Astigmatism: Objects such as letters are blurry, distorted, or may seem double. This may be noticeable both at distance and near.

Rare, but more serious conditions include:

Lazy eye (Amblyopia): Objects are out of focus usually only in one eye due to poor development of the visual system or a problem with the visual pathway. This may or may not be associated with an eye turn (strabismus).

Convergence insufficiency: The eyes have difficulty turning inwards while focusing to read. This may cause double vision or a decreased ability to concentrate while reading.

What to check for in children or adults:
  • Squinting
  • Holding a book very close to the eyes
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Closing one eye
  • Headaches
  • Blurry or double vision
  • Tilting the head
  • Short attention span
  • Avoiding near work
A thorough exam is necessary to determine what treatments could help. Some conditions are simply treated with glasses, whereas other cases may require vision therapy or specialized treatment plans. The gift of clear vision enables a person to perform to their highest potential both at school and socially. During the critical period of development and as a child or teenager grows, it is even more important that they have regular eye examinations to make sure they are performing their best!

If you know of a child or teenager who is struggling in school or exhibiting any of the above symptoms, an eye exam may help. Appointments can be made at 272-0848, or online at www.RichmondOptometry.com. Check yearly, see clearly!


Friday, October 8, 2010

Can contact lenses be TOO comfortable?

The latest advances in technology have created contact lenses that are very breathable and even approved for overnight wear. I do not recommend overnight wear of soft contacts on a general basis. Recent studies have shown that sleeping in soft contact lenses can increase your risk of a bacterial infection by 8-10 times. However, some patients have accidently overworn their lenses without even knowing it!

Dr. Levy had an experience that he describes:

"A middle aged father came in for an exam complaining that his one eye had been blurry for a month. I took a look at him behind the biomicroscope, and asked him how long this badly coated and deposited contact lens had been on. "What are you talking about?" he asked; "I don't wear contacts!" "Sir," I replied, "I guarantee you that I am looking at a contact lens on your eye, and it is badly coated with deposits." "But I don't wear contacts," he protested; "I only borrowed a pair from my son for a race about a month ago." "And how long has that eye been blurry?" I asked. "About... a ... month..." came the sheepish reply. I just smiled, didn't say a word, and he took the dirty lens out."

A month? In someone else's dirty contacts? He was very fortunate that his 'tough' eyes did not experience more severe consequences, such as infection, blisters, or severe dryness.

We will take advantage of the excellent new comfortable contact lens technology, but we will use this responsibly to provide the best vision and eye health. Just remember to take your lenses out and clean them daily, and to NEVER borrow someone elses contacts!

Please don't let this happen to you!

Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) can arise from contact lens abuse, such as not taking them out daily, or not throwing them way at the recommended time period prescribed by the doctor. The overwear of contacts may cause a patient to develop small little 'blisters' underneath the eyelid, such as those shown in this picture. Think of how painful a blister on your foot can be - well a blister in your eye can be quite painful! Please wear your contacts safely and responsibly!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Slightly Nerdy but Helpful Bed Spectacles

Not the prettiest glasses in the world. I use these "Bed Spectacles" while lying flat on my back on my couch. However, even though I am looking straight up at the ceiling, I am actually viewing my computer laptop on my lap. These glasses allow you to lie flat on your back and look up, but you actually see something about 90 degrees below, such as a computer, a book, or TV. Do you know of anyone confined to a bed and is sick of looking at the ceiling? How about using them to peek around corners and spy? Maybe I could bring them to the dentist next time and see what he is really doing!


PROS: A person can watch TV or do computer work while lying flat on their back and looking straight up.


CONS: Due to gravity, they kept sliding onto my face and hitting my eyelashes so that I couldn't blink. The secret to wearing them is to put the temples outside of your ears to hold them off your face a little so they don't slide into you.
I also noticed my eyes would dry out after a while because I was holding them open so wide looking up at the ceiling. It was better when I took the glasses off and tilted my head at an angle and my eyes were slightly closed. However, some people may not be able to tilt their head if they are in a neck brace, etc.




Even though I am lying flat on my back and you have a great view of my chin, you can see my eyeballs peeking through the glasses.

There are actually different types of these glasses, and I do not endorse any particular brand. I have yet to find one that is adjustable so that you can alter the angle from 90 degrees to any any degree. Let me know if you find one!

Monday, August 2, 2010

FREE Youth Vision Screening!


Free Youth Vision Screening!

Please join us on Thursday, August 12th from 10am-2pm at our office next to LensCrafters in the back of the Stony Point Fashion Park Mall (near Dillard's). We will be conducting a free vision screening for the first 50 youth, ages 4-18. Please bring any current glasses.

For more information, please call our office at (804) 272-0848.


(this does not replace a full eye exam but is intended to help detect hidden vision problems. Glasses prescriptions will not be measured or released, and referrals may be recommended for a full exam if warranted.)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Seeing 20/10 in the year 2010 - Presentation 7/21 at noon

Have you ever wondered if you are a candidate for the newest forms of LASIK or cataract surgery to help you see better than 20/20? Have you wondered what new treatments there are for eye disease, and what new nutritional supplements you can take to help preserve your vision? There are many amazing new advances in the eye care industry that can help!

Come learn more about cool advances in the optometry world by attending the Lunch Break Science presentation at the Science Museum of Virginia on Wednesday, July 21st at noon. Admission is free, and you may bring a bagged lunch! Dr. Paull will be discussing many of latest advances, so have some tricky questions prepared!

We look forward to seeing you!

The Science Museum of Virginia is located at 2500 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23220. Their phone number is: (804) 864-1400. When you arrive, just go to the front desk and tell them you want to see the Lunch Break Science presentation.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

See 20/20 in your dreams

I used to see 20/400 in my right eye - very nearsighted. That means if I was not wearing glasses or contacts, I wouldn't be able to read a sign that the normal person could read at 400 feet away, until I was 20 feet close to it. However, I am now 20/20 in that eye, thanks to Corneal Refractive Therapy (CRT). I am very pleased with this procedure and we offer it at our office to qualified participants.

CRT is a non-surgical alternative to LASIK. Only people who have prescriptions for mild to moderate nearsightedness can qualify. It involves wearing a special, hard contact lens at night while you are sleeping. The lens is like a retainer for the eyes - it gently 'straightens out' the cornea. Unlike LASIK, which is permanent, CRT is temporary, and the effect lasts 24-48 hours. Therefore, most people must wear their CRT lens every night in order to see clearly witthout any correction for the next day. Even children over age 8 have had excellent success with this procedure!

The lens allows you to see clearly while you are wearing it (pleasant dreams!), and clearly without it on for about 24 hours! No, your dreams may not become any clearer, but your daytime vision certainly will!

For more information, please visit http://www.paragoncrt.com/ or contact our office at (804) 272-0848.

During the month of July, we will be offering free CRT consults and
$50 off the lenses for those who qualify!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Are your glasses dirty or is it just cataract?

It may not seem funny at the time, but many patients unintentionally spend a lot of trying to clean their glasses because they are seeing blurry. However, sometimes certain conditions such as cataract can cause blurriness that isn't correctable by cleaning or changing your glasses!

Dr. Rob Levy is an associate practitioner at our practice who shares this story:

A cataract patient of ours had a big old town car, and he took pride in washing his whitewall tires every day, although he never could seem to get them clean. He had his cataracts removed, and went home and saw that his whitewall tires WERE white - and had been all along! He had been washing clean tires every day, thinking they were yellow because of his cataracts. But as happy as he was to see his tires finally as the shining white color that they were, he then lamented that we had taken away his "hobby", and NOW what was he going to do with all his time?

Moral of the story: cataract removal may help you see things correctly, but you may be surprised at what you see!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

How far can the human eye see?

Under completely perfect conditions, the human eye is capable of viewing a candle at 14 miles away. How amazing. There are about 1.5 million nerve fibers that transmit the information from the eye to the brain, allowing us to see. The eyeball is an awesome creation that we often take for granted, so let's be thankful for what we can see - even if it isn't exactly 14 miles away!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The secret to instilling eyedrops in a toddler

Patients tell me quite frequently that they are 'scared' of eyedrops. Perhaps they were traumatized when younger by a huge eyedrop bottle lunging towards their eye. Now they may have that wonderful blink reflex that doesn't allow anything to come near their precious eyes!

I found out the secret to instilling eyedrops when I had to give my own 2-year old daughter eyedrops:

First, always wash your hands whenever you touch anyone's eyes. Then, get a treat (we use chocolate-covered raisins) and a tissue. Lay the child down flat on their back (on either a changing table or a bed). Hold the treat up and let them know they will get the treat if they stay nice and still. Then, calmly pull down on their lower eyelid and quickly place a drop right into the lower eyelid area (the pink area). Try not to touch the dropper tip to the eye, or it may contaminate the bottle. Immediately give them the treat to distract them and reward them. They should not cry, or this will wash out the eyedrop and you must do it again. They may keep their eye closed and you can then blot it with the tissue. Always give positive reinforcement after the eyedrop and praise them for being so good.

My daughter now loves getting eyedrops and she has even started to help by pulling down on her eyelids when I need to put the eyedrop in.

It is very important that children develop positive associations with eyedrops so that they will not be scared of them in the future.

Proven once again: chocolate is the answer to any problem!!

PS - adults can benefit from this treat reward system as well! It is easy to instill eyedrops - just lean your head back, pull down on your lower lid, and place a drop in the lower eyelid. Do not touch the dropper tip to the eye, and if you miss, just try again! You'll love that chocolate reward...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The eye is the window to your body's health

Did you know that many diseases, such as uncontrolled diabetes or high blood pressure can show up by looking into the eye?

The small blood vessels that are all over the body are the same type that line the inside of the eye. Therefore, if a person is being affected by bodily conditions, they may show up by changes in the retina (the tissue lining the inside of the eye).

One of the most common diseases that affects the inside of the eye is diabetes. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in adults under the age of 60. If a person has uncontrolled diabetes, it can cause their blood vessels to leak blood inside their eye and cause blurry vision. It is estimated that approximately 650,000 Americans have vision loss due to diabetes. If it is caught early through a comprehensive eye exam, it can be treated. However, if it progresses, retinal scarring and permanent vision loss can develop.

It is important to have a yearly eye exam not only to check on your glasses or contact lens prescription, but also to check your overall eye health. Dr. Amanda Paull and Associates offers special retinal photography to detect early stages of disease. You may schedule appointments online at www.RichmondOptometry.com or call the office at 272-0848. We look forward to helping you check your eyes!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Eyes Have it on Memorial Day

Do you know when the first Memorial Day was observed? Guess...

It was actually first observed on May 30th, 1868. We often we take for granted the service and lives that were lost for our freedom. Thankfully, ever since the Civil War, we have had this special day to remember those who have served to protect our nation.

Did you know that about 13% of injuries during the Cold war involved the eye? We may take our good vision for granted, but please stop and also remember those who now are blind or severely visually impaired due to their military service.

If you are able to read this blog, please remember what a true blessing it is to have good vision. Thank you to all our military soldiers who selflessly serve, and especially those who lose vision or another aspect of their life due to their service. We appreciate you!!!