Healthy Insights

Looking for quick and easy ways to improve your family’s eye health? By following these healthy insights from the doctors at Wheaton Eye Clinic, you will protect your eyes, and the eyes of those you love, from disease, injury or debilitating conditions.

Stop Smoking

Everyone knows smoking causes lung cancer and dramatically increases the chances of most other cancers. But smoking also is a major cause of macular degeneration and its complications, including blindness. Smokers have three times the risk of going blind from abnormal blood vessels that can leak in an eye with macular degeneration than non-smokers. This is just one more reason to quit smoking.

Dry Eye can be Alleviated

Although you sip extra water to stay hydrated, don’t count on your water bottle to combat dry eyes. Medications, long hours in front of the computer and aging are common causes of dry eye. Symptoms include excessive tearing, fatigue, burning and scratchiness. Severe dryness can even create scarring of the cornea and lead to permanent vision loss. Over-the-counter artificial tears may temporarily relieve dry eye symptoms, but many other treatments are available. Any of our dry-eye specialists can diagnose the cause of your dry eye and recommend appropriate therapy.

When are Flashers & Floaters Dangerous?

As people age, they sometimes experience bright flashing lights or floating spots in their vision. Changes in the vitreous jelly in the back of the eye are responsible for these symptoms. While floaters become increasingly common with age, a sudden increase in either floaters or flashers can be an early warning sign of a serious eye disorder such as a retinal detachment. If you experience these symptoms, call Wheaton Eye Clinic for an immediate, same-day appointment.

Stop the Spread of Conjunctivitis

The medical term for pinkeye is conjunctivitis. This common eye infection is highly contagious and often associated with upper respiratory infections. It is important to protect others by staying home from work or school during the acute phase of conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis caused by a virus has no available treatment but bacterial conjunctivitis, which occurs more commonly in children, should be treated with antibiotic drops or ointments. You can prevent the spread of conjunctivitis by washing hands frequently and by not sharing towels, washcloths, pillows, blankets or any other household items.

Celebrate Your 40th with Us!

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has issued a new recommendation for those celebrating their 40th birthday: schedule an appointment to have your eyes examined by an ophthalmologist. Early signs of several eye diseases such as glaucoma may start to occur at age 40, often without any obvious symptoms. By uncovering problems during these examinations, many disorders can be caught early enough to be successfully treated or controlled.

Lazy Eye can be Treated

Every year between two and four percent of children are affected by amblyopia, a condition commonly referred to as lazy eye. If diagnosed early, amblyopia is treatable. However if it goes undetected until a child is in grade school, the condition may be irreversible even with aggressive treatment. Many times amblyopia is suspected by a child’s pediatrician in the first few years of life or by vision screening that is performed at age three or four. But amblyopia can be diagnosed only by a professional who specializes in the care and treatment of children’s eye problems.

Don’t Suffer Unnecessary Tearing

If you, or someone you know, is experiencing excessive tearing, you will be glad to hear that overflow tearing is not harmful to the eye. However, this condition, known as epiphora, may be the result of a serious medical condition. If bothersome symptoms persist, an ocular plastic specialist can determine the cause of the tearing and start any one of several effective treatments. No one should suffer the annoyance or discomfort of tearing.

Know the Signs of Macular Degeneration

Age related macular degeneration affects one third of people over the age of seventy. It is painless and causes gradual or sometimes sudden loss of central vision. Symptoms can include blurred reading vision, distortion or a dark spot near the center of vision. Recent studies show that certain nutritional supplements, including zinc, vitamin C, E and beta carotene, can be beneficial. Promising new treatments using medications or lasers also are available. If you have macular degeneration and develop sudden loss of vision, prompt evaluation and treatment are essential.

It’s a Great Time to Wear Contact Lenses

More than 30 million Americans wear contact lenses because of the convenience, improved vision and pleasing appearance they offer. If you have never tried contacts, or been unsuccessful in the past, this is a good time to revisit the idea. Many advances in contact lenses, especially new materials, allow them to wet better and transmit more oxygen to the cornea. This means a much more comfortable fit for our contact lens wearers. Besides correcting nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, bi-focal contact lenses can now correct presbyopia. There’s never been a better time to wear contact lenses.

Illinois Mandates Kindergarten Eye Exams

All children entering kindergarten, or entering the Illinois school system for the first time, are required to have a professional eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Wheaton Eye Clinic has several ophthalmologists and optometrists who are available to perform the required Illinois school eye examinations.

Decrease Your Chances for Cataracts

Cataracts occur in everyone as they age. There are lifestyle exposures that influence the rate of cataract development. Smoking and excessive alcohol intake can increase cataract formation by up to 40%. Ultraviolet light exposure from the sun has been found to be a risk factor, so it’s important to wear sunglasses with UV-A and UV-B protection when outdoors. Ongoing use of vitamin supplements with anti-oxidants also may decrease the formation of cataracts.

Prevent Eye Accidents Through Protection

Accidents causing blindness affect all people of all ages. Athletic-related injuries usually involve balls moving at high speed or a finger to the eye. The most common industrial accident occurs when a chip of metal penetrates the eye as a worker pounds a nail or chisel. A common injury to the elderly occurs when they strike their eyes on nearby furniture during a fall. Anyone with permanently reduced vision in one or both eyes should wear protective goggles with polycarbonate lenses when playing sports or doing mechanical work. No one is too young or too old to be injured.