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Is Too Much Screen Time Bad For Children’s Eye Development?

Today’s kids are smart. So smart in fact that if you need help operating your smartphone, your 5 year old likely knows how to fix it. That said, your kids knowing how to operate a smartphone is probably not a good thing. Look, we get it — parenting is hard. Sometimes you just need a break, and nothing captures your child’s attention quite like a big shiny tablet, phone or TV. Don’t worry, it’s not just you — we see this all the time. Next time you’re out at a restaurant look around you and pay attention to how many kids are only willing to eat if their favorite show is streaming inches from their face. What many people don’t know is just how detrimental screen time can be for children’s eyes as well as their overall development.

How Screens Affect Children

We’ve all spent enough time in front of the TV or hunched over our laptops to know that after a few hours, our eyes feel tired, dry and maybe even red or irritated. Aside from potential blue light exposure and exposure to unnaturally vibrant screens, people tend to blink about 50% less when staring at screens. For children, whose eyes are less developed and less accustomed to the unnatural hues of a screen, short-term and long-term damage can be much worse. In fact, overexposure to screens will likely age your children’s eyes much quicker than when we were growing up.

To avoid too much eye damage, we recommend following guidelines such as the 20/20/20 rule. For every 20 minutes of screen time look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to reduce overall eye strain. Our children tend to have less self-control; therefore, it’s up to us to regularly remind them to take breaks between TV shows. Shorten the use of screen time to give your child’s eyes some rest. This method will help lessen cumulative eye damage caused by screens that can result in macular degeneration. Nearsightedness,or myopia, is a common symptom of too much screen usage as well.

Finally, children can become overstimulated when in front of a screen for too long. Overexposure can potentially cause circadian rhythm (sleep pattern) disturbances. Some studies even suggest that overuse of screens may put your children at a slightly higher risk (about 10% higher) of developing ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Posture Issues That Often Arise

Our posture habits are developed during our formative years as kids and teens. Screens are widely to blame for posture problems modern-day kids face. For starters, teens seem to have a high uptick in development of “text neck”, or a stress injury to the neck as a result of using smartphones and other handheld devices excessively,

Many of our chiropractor friends have grown quite concerned about the posture of present-day teens. This damage has accumulated over many years due to poor posture while consuming TV, utilizing laptops and texting on smartphones. The most common complaints chiropractors have heard from teens is neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain and frequent headaches.

For kids, poor posture such as slouching on computers can lead to a lifetime of issues as their little bodies are still developing and are highly malleable.

What Can We Do to Help?

  • Follow the 20/20/20 rule and ingrain it into your children. For every 20 minutes of screen time try to look 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds to reduce overall eye strain.
  • Set rules around how much time screens can be used in the house, and use timers or dry-erase boards to stay on top of accumulated usage time throughout the day.
  • Help your children adjust screen brightness according to the environment they are in. 100% brightness in a dark room is a no-go and 50% screen brightness in a well-lit room is an easy way to increase eye strain as well.
  • Give your children paper books to read rather than e-readers or iPads.
  • Want to watch the latest Disney movie with your kids? Consider watching it in 30 minute increments throughout the day or even over several days.
  • Look for new and interesting ways to engage your children in activities that do not require screens.
  • Emphasize the importance of good posture whenever you notice your child slouching.
  • Between the ages of 5 and 13, take your children to get eye exams annually. This way your optometrist can keep an eye out for any developmental concerns. Overdue for an eye appointment? Contact us today to schedule yours.

We hope this information has been eye opening for you (no pun intended). We know this can feel like we’ve given you a whole new set of responsibilities and perhaps we’ve taken away your go-to method for a mental break within your home, but remember: Your children have long lives ahead of them. The last thing you want to be responsible for is having been complaisant on screen usage and as a result having your children deal with long-term eye health problems. Bottom line is that teaching your kids better habits while they’re young is a surefire way to prevent early onset eye-health issues.

If you or your children are due for their annual eye exams, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

If You Want Perfect Vision For Summer, Start Thinking LASIK Now!

woman enjoying summerWhether you have big summer plans or prefer a more low-key vacation, having clear vision without having to wear contacts or glasses will give you the freedom to experience the world in a whole new way. If you’ve been contemplating LASIK for a while and pushing it off, perhaps the following reasons will convince you this is a great time to consider this successful option for getting rid of your glasses once and for all. Could it be the right time to visit for a consultation regarding your LASIK candidacy and start your path to life without eyeglasses?

Why Is It Best To Have LASIK Done Before Summer Vacation?

Make Your Travels Comfortable

If you wear glasses or contacts, you know the struggle involved in traveling with eyewear. You want to sleep on the plane or in the car but don’t know the best place to safely keep your glasses. Following LASIK, you’ll no longer have to worry about losing a contact lens or breaking a pair of glasses.

Hassle-Free Vision

When you wear glasses or contacts, the list of eye-related items to pack in a suitcase can be daunting. In the past, you may have packed an extra pair of glasses, prescription sunglasses, extra contact lenses, storage solution, lens cases and cleaning solutions. With clearer vision after LASIK, you’ll be able to cross these items off your packing list.

Even if your summer plans involve little more than playing some ball with your kids and lounging by a pool, not having to worry about breaking or misplacing your eyewear can make these activities more pleasant and less stressful.

Enjoy The Great Outdoors

One of the most compelling reasons to undergo LASIK before the summer is quality of life. You’ll be able to see underwater while swimming and participate in watersports without the need for prescription goggles or the fear that your glasses might break or your lenses might pop out. Then there’s the ability to simply notice every small detail of your vacation with vivid clarity.

Perfect For College Students, Too

An additional, yet important, benefit of choosing LASIK before the summer is that college students will have enough time to recover and adjust to their new vision before the new academic year begins. The surgery is generally free of complications and requires very little down-time, but blurry vision can sometimes be a short-term side effect. While this doesn’t apply to the majority of patients, giving yourself enough time to completely recover before school starts in the fall will set you up for success.

Get Your LASIK Screening By Calling

There are so many reasons to choose LASIK now, before summertime. But all those reasons boil down to an overall increased quality of life, which is what our practice offers with LASIK. If you are ready for improved, hassle-free, and effortless vision, call today.

With summer’s warm weather just around the corner, you might be planning for more time out in the fresh air.

If you’re a glasses or contact lens wearer, you know that they can be uncomfortable for doing sports, swimming, and being in windy conditions.

LASIK surgery can give you the freedom to engage in whatever outdoor activities you like without needing to wear glasses or contact lenses.

Visit our practice to evaluate your LASIK candidacy and begin your journey to hassle-free vision.

Can a Nutritious Diet Prevent Age-Related Cataracts?

slice orange fruit and strawberries 1116558Age-related cataracts are extremely common — so common, in fact, that more than half of all adults develop cataracts in one or both eyes by age 65. Left untreated, cataracts can gradually cause vision loss, even blindness. You can take steps to prevent this. By consuming foods or supplements rich in antioxidants, you may be able to slow the development and progression of cataracts.

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts refer to the clouding of the eye’s natural lens due to light passing through to the retina in a scattered, rather than focused, manner. This leads to changes in vision, resulting in blurry vision and faded colors. This also impacts one’s ability to clearly see at night.

Cataracts come in three forms: nuclear, cortical, and posterior capsular, each of which depends on their locations on the lens.

Age-related cataracts are caused by tissue breakdown and protein clumping on the lens. Exactly why this happens isn’t yet clear. Cataracts must be taken seriously. Unaddressed, they can lead to vision loss or even blindness.

Once a cataract has developed, there is no cure except to have it surgically removed

How Are Cataracts Diagnosed?

To diagnose cataracts, an optometrist will assess the patient’s visual acuity, color vision, and evaluate their sensitivity to bright light. will also examine the front of the eye using a microscope, called a slit lamp, and check the retina for signs of cataracts.

Once cataracts have been diagnosed, the condition must be carefully monitored with regular eye exams. Because vision deteriorates over time, eyeglass or contact lens’ prescriptions will need to be frequently adjusted.

It is strongly advised to regularly wear sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats to avoid the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays on the eyes. Furthermore, since cataracts cause poor night vision, with halos around street lights and car headlights, people with cataracts may need to stop driving at night.

Once the condition has reached an advanced stage, the cataract will have to be surgically removed and replaced with a synthetic intraocular lens (IOL).

Diet and Nutritional Supplements Can Help Against Cataracts

Research suggests that antioxidants play an important role in staving off cataracts. In one study of 30,000 women aged 49 and older, those who consumed the most antioxidants had a 13% lower risk of developing cataracts than the group of women who consumed the least.

Certain foods and supplements rich in antioxidants may protect against free radicals — unstable atoms that cause cellular damage — that attack the lenses of the eyes and contribute to the formation of cataracts. Four powerful nutrients, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, lutein and zeaxanthin, can delay the onset and even decrease the risk of developing cataracts.

Foods containing these nutrients include:

Lutein and zeaxanthin

Kale, spinach, egg yolks, salmon and certain yellow and orange vegetables, such as cantaloupes, corn, carrots and peppers

Vitamin C

Apples, bananas, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, spinach, tomatoes

Vitamin E

Nuts: hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts (including peanut butter)

Seeds: sunflower seeds

Oils: soybean, canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, wheat germ

Green leafy vegetables: spinach, broccoli

Fruit: kiwi, mangos, tomatoes

Vitamin-fortified cereals

To preserve eye health and reduce the risk of cataracts, you’ll want to avoid processed, fried and junk foods.

Consult to learn about nutrition’s role in avoiding cataracts and which other steps you can take to maintain eye health.

serves patients from Clifton, Arlington, Sterling and Alexandria, in Virginia.

References:

https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/cataracts.htm#:~:text=Antioxidant%20vitamins%20and%20phytochemicals%20found,and%20E%2C%20lutein%20and%20zeaxanthin.

https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/nutrition/nutrition-and-cataracts

https://www.aop.org.uk/advice-and-support/for-patients/eye-conditions/cataracts

https://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/eye-and-vision-problems/glossary-of-eye-and-vision-conditions/cataract#:~:text=A%20cataract%20is%20a%20cloudy,in%20infants%20and%20young%20children.

https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/cataracts-treatment

https://www.reviewofoptometry.com/article/how-to-help-prevent-cataract

https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/lutein.htm#:~:text=The%20best%20natural%20food%20sources%20of%20lutein%20and%20zeaxanthin%20are,and%20zeaxanthin%20include%20egg%20yolks.

 

Is It Normal To Have Long-Lasting Symptoms After A Head Injury?

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair 897817Perhaps you can relate to one of these scenarios:

After sustaining a mild head injury in a car accident, you now have trouble focusing any time you try to read. You can’t concentrate and feel the need to shut or cover your eyes to find some relief.

Or maybe your child fell and took a blow to the head while playing sports and has complained of headaches ever since. Traditional headache remedies just aren’t effective, and your primary care doctor assures you that no obvious brain damage has occurred and that the headaches will resolve shortly — but they persist.

For the estimated 1.5 million Americans who suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) every year, these scenarios are typical of post-TBI struggles. Concussions and other forms of TBI can seriously impact lives by generating long-lasting symptoms. Fortunately, a neuro-optometrist can provide a crucial component to the healing process with neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

If you or a loved one has suffered even a mild TBI, call to schedule a functional visual evaluation and determine if you can benefit from neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy.

What Types of Symptoms Follow a Head Injury?

The brain controls much of what goes on in our bodies, so it’s no surprise that a TBI can produce a wide range of symptoms. Below we’ll discuss the most common symptoms and how we can help treat them.

Visual Difficulties

Approximately 90% of all TBIs result in some degree of visual dysfunction. When the eye-brain connection is disrupted, a decrease in visual ability results. Some visual difficulties that may follow a TBI include:

  • Blurred or double vision
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Convergence insufficiency — the inability of the eyes to focus on a near object
  • Binocular vision disorder — eye turn or lazy eye
  • Problems with eye-tracking or eye-teaming
  • Difficulty reading or often losing your place while reading
  • Color contrast issues
  • Peripheral vision defects
  • Eye strain or tired eyes
  • Decreased visual acuity

Headaches and Migraines

In many cases, headaches, including migraines, can be caused by a visual dysfunction. Following a TBI, the ocular muscles will need to exert extra effort to compensate for trauma to the visual system. This additional effort can lead to eye strain.and cause pain in the temples and forehead similar to —and often mistaken for— a tension headache or migraine. Correcting the visual problem will, in many cases, alleviate the intensity and frequency of headaches, or eliminate them entirely.

Dizziness and Balance Problems

The eyes provide the brain with vital information regarding balance and coordination, so when the eye-brain connection is affected you may feel off-balance. This is especially true when a binocular vision disorder is present. Even the slightest misalignment of the eyes can make you feel dizzy, light-headed, or lose balance. Small degrees of misalignment can often be overlooked during routine eye exams, making it all the more important to see a neuro-optometrist in the presence of symptoms.

Concentration

Another possible after-effect of a concussion or other TBI is difficulty concentrating, especially when reading. It may be challenging to keep your place on the page or smoothly navigate along a sentence without having to stop and close your eyes momentarily for relief. Other potential challenges include problems with comprehension, memory difficulties, or trouble with multitasking.

Is It Normal To Have Long-Lasting Symptoms After A Head Injury? generic from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

How A Neuro-Optometrist Can Help

Neuro-optometrists are Doctors of Optometry (OD) who’ve been through postgraduate training to assess and treat visual disorders related to TBI and other similar conditions. The goal of neuro-optometric rehabilitation is to retrain the eyes and brain to work in unison and regain clear and comfortable vision by using specific visual exercises. Just as with any other rehabilitation therapy, the earlier one starts the rehabilitation program following a TBI, the higher the chance of recovering lost visual skills.

provides neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy and other services to patients from Clifton, Arlington, Sterling, Alexandria, and throughout Virginia.

https://www.theraspecs.com/blog/long-term-effects-of-moderate-severe-traumatic-brain-injuries-tbi/

https://www.aao.org/eyenet/article/traumatic-brain-injury-visual-disorders-what-every-2

http://uwmsktc.washington.edu/sites/uwmsktc/files/files/TBI_cognitive.pdf

 

Dizziness and Balance: How Vision Plays a Vital Role

dizzyImagine trying to navigate a grocery store when, all of a sudden, a dizzy spell hits. The room starts to spin and you lose your balance. You struggle to stand up straight, your vision becomes blurred and orienting yourself in your surroundings becomes insurmountable. To those with vertigo and balance problems, performing simple daily tasks — such as grocery shopping — can feel defeating.

Maintaining proper balance is complex and relies on the collective, healthy functioning of three separate systems: the inner ear, muscle-joint feedback, and vision. Ongoing research suggests that there may be a relationship between a heightened risk of falling and poor vision.

If you experience frequent dizzy spells and difficulty maintaining your balance, make an appointment with [tokensname=’SpDoctorVT’] to rule out any visual dysfunction that could be at the root of the problem.

How Does Vision Affect Balance and Dizziness?

A good sense of balance depends on your ability to see where you are in relation to your surroundings as well as where certain key body parts are in relation to the rest of the body. This information is received by receptors in the muscles and joints but also implicates vision.

The most important visual skill needed to maintain balance is binocular vision, which is the eyes’ ability to work together in creating a clear and unified view of the world around you. The visual system helps regulate the other systems involved in maintaining balance, this means that any defect in the visual system can lead to frequent falls and a balance disorder.

Visual dysfunctions that cause blurred or double vision are common in balance disorders, but can also be its root cause. By improving your vision functionality, you could significantly improve balance and diminish the frequency of dizzy spells.

We Treat Visual Dysfunctions To Improve Balance and Reduce Dizziness

To get to the root of the condition and to assess its connection with vision, will evaluate a wide range of visual skills, such as oculomotor skills, eye teaming and tracking, focusing, visual processing, and how well the brain interprets visual information.

If a visual dysfunction is detected, a fully customized neuro-optometric rehabilitation program will be provided to treat the visual components contributing to the balance disorder. With the patient’s participation and diligence, the visual skills and abilities can be improved over time.

What Is Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Therapy?

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy, a form of vision therapy, enables those suffering from visual problems to retrain the brain and eyes to regain functionality and quality of life. This therapy uses a variety of methods and techniques to train both eyes to work as a team. It is made up of individualized exercises, which, when done over a period of time rehabilitate visual, perceptual and motor disorders, thus helping the patient regain balance. This effectively reduces or resolves symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, and lack of balance.

The neuro-optometric rehabilitation program offered at can help detect and treat the underlying vision problem causing your dizziness and balance issues.

If you’ve tried other types of therapies and still experience dizziness and balance problems, it’s time to see what can do for you. Start your journey to recovery by calling and schedule your appointment today.

Dizziness and Balance: How Vision Plays A Vital Role from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

serves patients from Clifton, Arlington, Sterling, Alexandria, and throughout Virginia.

Do Sunglasses Protect Our Eyes from Radiation?

We all have our favorite pair of shades. Aside from adding to our overall “cool” factor and making it easier to see on particularly sunny days, sunglasses are highly functional for our overall eye health. We would like to provide you with more information on what sunglasses protect us from and how to choose the right sunglasses to maximize protection of your eye health.

Please note that UV radiation is just as harmful in the winter as it is in the summer. You should be diligent in protecting your eyes with sunglasses year-round.

How UV Radiation Affects Our Eyes

At this point it’s no surprise that ultraviolet (UV) radiation is harmful to humans in more ways than one. For starters, it’s the leading cause of skin cancer, ages our skin prematurely, dehydrates us, etc. There’s more itthan sunburn, cancer and early aging, however. UV radiation from the sun can damage our eyes in different ways with both short-term and long-term exposure.

Short Term UV Damage

A large amount of exposure to UV radiation over even just a few hours can cause permanent damage to our eyes. Sunburn of the eye, also known as snow blindness or Photokeratitis, affects the surface of our cornea and conjunctiva. Photokeratitis can cause red eyes, pain, blurriness, tearing, grittiness in the eye, swelling, headache and even temporary vision loss. Your doctor can diagnose Photokeratitis by understanding recent activities you’ve partaken in, examining your eyes and using fluorescein dye to determine whether UV damage is present in your eye. Photokeratitis can usually be treated through resting your eyes, using artificial tears and applying antibiotic eye drops if necessary. If you are experiencing significant discomfort, apply a cold compress on the eyes and ask your doctor about pain killers you can use for relief.

It’s important to note that even if you are careful to avoid the sun, Photokeratitis can result from exposure to UV radiation that is mirrored on light reflecting surfaces such as water, ice, white sand and snow.

Long Term UV Damage

Long-term exposure to UV radiation can be much more harmful than the temporary impairments caused by Photokeratitis. UV radiation can cause the following long term eye damage:

  • Macular degeneration (common), or loss of vision in the center of your field of vision.
  • Cataracts (common), or cloudy areas on the lens of your eye.
  • Pterygium (very common), which causes growth of the white of the eye over the cornea.
  • Cancer of the eye (uncommon) in the form of melanoma, lymphoma or intraocular cancer.

What to Look for in Sunglasses

There are a lot of sunglasses in the world to choose from, but how do you know which ones will actually protect your eyes? No need to fret, we will tell you exactly what you should be looking for.

UV Coating — As you can guess, UV coating protects against UV rays that would otherwise interact with your eyes and cause sometimes irreversible damage. UV damage accumulates over the years, so it’s best to always keep a pair of UV protecting sunglasses at hands reach.

Mirror Layer — Have you ever had a pair of sunglasses that allows you to see without squinting on even the sunniest days? There’s a high chance these sunglasses have a mirror layer. The mirror layer is the first part of the sunglasses that sunlight engages with. This layer reflects back most of the direct sunlight your eyes would normally engage with. This helps avoid unnecessary squinting, eyestrain, headaches and any other ailments that are caused by sun exposure.

Polarized Lenses — Polarized light is the light that reflects off of snow or ice, causing glare, added eyestrain and can make it difficult to see clearly. Polarized lenses block reflected light, making your day-to-day activities easier. Note: polarized lenses do not filter UV rays.

Trustworthy Brands

When you’re looking to buy sunglasses, you have thousands of options, which can make it difficult to narrow down which brands are trustworthy. With keeping trends in mind, our recommendations are the following:

  • Woodies ($$) — 100% UV protection, all sunglasses are polarized, unisex, well-built
  • Ray Bans ($$$$) — 100% UV protection, high quality, for the everyday minimalist
  • Quay ($$$) — 100% UV protection, lightweight, very trendy, great value considering the high quality

By now you know that UV protection isn’t just for your skin. Invest in a few great pairs of sunglasses to protect your eyes in the long run. If you’re looking for prescription sunglasses, come visit us, and we’ll help you find the perfect pair. Friendly reminder: Don’t forget your kids! Buy your children sunglasses that fit comfortably on their faces and teach them to care for their eyes while they’re young.

Have your eyes been exposed to UV radiation more than you’d like to admit? If you are worried about your eye health, contact us today to schedule an eye appointment so we may assess further.

Does Blue Light Affect Vision?

For years our patients have asked us if blue light causes long term vision damage or other health effects related to its exposure. The reality is that we are exposed to many types of light on a daily basis even if we can’t see it; however, not all forms of light are harmful. Much like ultraviolet light, blue light can affect us even though we are not able to see it. Because this is a reoccurring question we receive, we want to dive into a few common questions: What is blue light? How does it affect our bodies and our eyes? What can I do to protect myself from blue light exposure? Let’s begin!

What Is Blue Light?

Blue light is a form of visible light that is present in the light spectrum between 380 and 500 nanometers (nm). While blue light is in fact blue, it can also be present in different colored light as well, including white light. For example, when you look at your computer or phone screen, though it seems to emit a white backlight, blue light is still very much present. Light rays with longer wavelengths tend to harbor less energy as the energy itself is spread “thinner”. Blue light has the shortest wavelength of visible light. Because of this, exposure to blue light results in exposure to more concentrated energy, which is why it is a concern.

Blue Light & Our Circadian Rhythm

Our biggest source of blue light is the sun, which is why many scientists are concerned that exposure of blue light from our electronics can disturb our body’s circadian rhythm, the natural process within our body that determines our sleep-wake cycle, by suppressing our natural melatonin secretion. Because there is quite a bit of evidence to support this theory, companies like Apple have created “Night Mode”. Night Mode lessens the amount of blue light emitted by our Apple electronics to lessen circadian rhythm confusion within our own bodies. Apple recommends utilizing Night Mode from 10 PM until 7 AM, though this feature allows you to customize your Night Mode schedule as you please.

Fun Fact: Blue light emitted by our sun is the reason we perceive the sky as blue!

How Might Blue Light Affect Our Eyes?

The truth is that our eyes are not structured to handle the energy emitted by blue light very well. While our eyes are great at blocking ultraviolet (UV) light, 100% of the blue light we are exposed to makes its way to our retina. Scientists and eye doctors alike are concerned that too much exposure to blue light may result in macular degeneration. Long story short, scientific evidence suggests that blue light kills our photoreceptor cells and these cells do not regenerate. The plus side is the vitamin E present in our eyes protects us from blue light damage to our photoreceptor cells. The bad news is that the amount of vitamin E present in our retina lessens with age, potentially causing blindness after many years of exposure to blue light.

How Can We Protect Ourselves From Blue Light?

As we mentioned above, Apple products come with Night Mode as a standard feature to protect us from blue light exposure. We would even go as far as to say you should be running Night Mode or an effective alternative on all of your electronic devices whenever possible. Another step you can take to limit your eyes’ exposure to blue light is to wear glasses and sunglasses with blue blocking technology. These lenses are designed with a spectrum control mechanism. These lenses can minimize blue light exposure to your retina by quite a bit, reducing eye strain and toxic damage blue light may cause. We recommend trying to find blue blocking lenses that reduce at least 95% of the blue light your eyes are exposed to. We are in very early stages of understanding how blue light affects our bodies and more specifically, our eyes. As we learn more, the likelihood of technology created to fight against blue light toxicity will also become more common. If you are concerned about the amount of blue light your eyes are absorbing, call us to schedule an eye exam today!

Best Foods for Healthy Eyes

Eye-health and maintenance is important at any age, but few of us ever take the time to consider how the food we consume affects our eyes. The Age- Related Eye Disease Study, or AREDS, published in 2001 found a direct correlation in the food we consume and our eye-health. So-much-so in fact, that eating an eye-friendly diet may reduce risk of eye-health decline by over 25%. Luckily, the foods that are beneficial for your eyes are the same foods that are beneficial for your heart, skin, kidneys, liver…well you get the idea. Let’s dive into the top 5 foods you should be eating regularly to maintain your vision and eye health.

Fish

Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are known as healthy fats. Omega-3 fatty acids assist in visual development and are beneficial for a whole host of reasons, some of them being: preventing dry eye, maintaining the health of your retina and promoting macular health. Sadly, most Americans are severely deficient in omega-3 fatty acids; however, this is easy to remedy by incorporating fish into your diet several times each week. The most omega-3-rich fish is wild-caught salmon.

Eggs

Eggs have long been known as a superfood and for good reason. Egg yolks are packed with vitamins your eyes need to function their best. Vitamin A is known to help your eye’s mucous membrane, reduce risk of eye infections, assist with dry eye, reduce the risk of macular degeneration and protect the cornea. Aside of this, eggs also contain lutein, zinc and zeaxanthin, which minimize the risk of developing cataracts. Zinc and Vitamin A also assist with night vision. In fact, those that are Vitamin A deficient can develop night blindness as a result.

Carrots

Our mothers have said it time and time again — carrots are good for your eyes. It’s true! Carrots contain high amounts of Vitamin A and beta carotene. Our body converts beta carotene into Vitamin A, which makes carrots major Vitamin A boosters. Another plus regarding carrots is that they’re small and portable, making them the perfect snack for when you’re on the go.

Kale ​

By this point you know that kale is a miracle vegetable. Kale is extremely high in vitamins and antioxidants, which is why they’re vital for eye-health. Kale contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are not produced by our bodies. Like the foods listed above, kale is great for reducing risk of macular degeneration and development of cataracts.

Almonds

Almonds are a great source of Vitamin E, one of the best vitamins for your eye-health. Vitamin E serves as a protectant against unstable molecules that may attack healthy tissue of the eye. One serving of almonds several times a week can help prevent macular degeneration as well as cataracts. Like carrots, almonds are easily portable and don’t spoil easily making them the perfect snack.

Note: Almonds are very calorie dense, so we recommend minding your intake.

These are our favorite foods to maintain eye-health. In fact, we try to keep each of these foods in rotation on the daily. Diets that are antioxidant, Vitamin A and Vitamin E rich will help maintain your eye-health and prevent major complications that can arise with aging. If you’re looking for more advice on maintaining your eyes, schedule an eye appointment with us today!

3 Reasons Why You Should Kickstart the New Year With Vision Therapy

holidays mug blog imageIt’s that time of year again when we sit down with a pumpkin spice latte in hand and think of a resolution we can take upon ourselves for the new year. Here at , we believe that the best resolutions are the ones that positively impact other areas of our lives and enhance our overall quality of life. Vision therapy offers just that! This therapy is made up of a series of customized visual exercises designed to develop or regain visual processing skills.

Vision Therapy is highly effective in treating:

  • Amblyopia, (or “lazy eye”)
  • Strabismus, (or “eye-turn”)
  • Eye movement disorders
  • Focusing disorders
  • Binocular vision problems
  • Vision, balance, and memory problems associated with brain injury

Even those with 20/20 eyesight can benefit from vision therapy because perfect eyesight doesn’t mean perfect vision. Below are the ways in which vision therapy will help you kick-off the new year.

Improve Existing Vision Skills

You’re good at what you do, be it at work, school or sports. But can you do better? By training the eyes and brain to work in unison, you increase your potential for greater performance. Not only will you be more efficient, but performing tasks will become more enjoyable. This especially applies to school-aged children, as their brains are still in rapid development. Vision therapy effectively enables the brain to correctly process information for optimal academic success.

Learn New Skills With Ease

Many people make it their resolution to learn a new skill in the upcoming year but an underlying vision problem can interfere with that. Since learning is 80% visual, vision therapy offers an excellent opportunity to gear up for success! Undiagnosed or untreated vision problems related to convergence and focus can cause memory and reading problems and hinder learning. will use an array of tools, such as prisms, specialized lenses, filters, balance beams, and computerized visual activities to train the eye-brain connection and help you learn more efficiently in almost any area that requires vision.

Gain The Confidence You Crave

Whether you’re a pro-athlete or a 4th grader struggling to read, improved vision skills will boost your confidence. This confidence will surely trickle into other areas of your life leading to increased self-esteem.

Start 2020 by empowering yourself or your child with vision therapy. Call to book your appointment today.

serves patients in Clifton, Arlington, Sterling, and Alexandria, and throughout Virginia.

Is My Child Too Young for Vision Therapy?

Preschool Children Vision TherapyThe first years of a child’s life are crucial in ensuring the healthy and normal development of various body parts, especially the visual system. As a child’s body grows, so do the eyes. This can cause changes in vision. Keeping a close eye on, well, your child’s eyes, can help ensure that they are developing in a healthy way.

It’s important for parents and teachers to be on the lookout for problems with visual processing, as they can interfere with a child’s academics, social life, and extracurricular endeavors. This is especially evident during the school years when reading, writing, homework, and after-school activities become a part of their normal daily routine.

Even if a child has no refractive errors (such as nearsightedness or farsightedness) and has 20/20 vision, he or she may still have difficulties with visual processing or focus. These types of visual complications are often more difficult to detect, but may still impact various aspects of a child’s development.

When a child’s visual difficulties hinder their learning or social interactions, it may be time to try vision therapy.

What is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is a personalized regimen of exercises that can improve and strengthen visual functions. Each patient has unique needs and different degrees of visual health, which is why and the team at create a customized vision therapy program to get the best results for your child.

Vision therapy is compared to physical therapy, only for the eyes instead of the entire body. The techniques and exercises can teach the eyes to improve specific areas of vision, such as focus, eye teaming, hand-eye coordination, and visual tracking, among other skills. The doctor may include prisms or special eyeglasses to boost the therapy program.

Most children’s vision therapy takes place in our office and usually once a week. You’ll be instructed to continue some of the exercises at home for 15-20 minutes daily, which will support the in-office treatment.

At What Age Can Children Begin Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is offered to children as young as 6 years of age. Kids can develop problems with visual perception and clarity that aren’t always detected with a standard vision exam or school screening. Of course, every child is different, and the best way to know if they’re ready for vision therapy is to schedule a consultation with .

Does Vision Therapy Really Work?

Vision therapy has been proven to improve visual skills and functions in both children and adults. It is an approved treatment by recognized organizations in the medical community, such as the American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists.

Keep in mind that it can take several months to notice significant improvement. Consistency is key. Young children, especially in the toddler years, need a steady routine to achieve the best possible results.

It’s important to note that vision therapy does not fix your child’s learning abilities or correct any refractive errors. The goal is to improve their visual function so that their skills in reading, writing, schoolwork, and social activities are strengthened for a better quality of life.

Contact and the knowledgeable staff at to schedule a consultation and see whether vision therapy is right for your child.

serves patients in Clifton, Arlington, Sterling, and Alexandria, and throughout Virginia.