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Signs of Eye and Vision Problems in Infants

Infant Eyesight

Despite nine months of growth in utero, babies are not born with fully developed eyes and vision – just like they can’t walk or talk yet. Over the first few months of life, their visual systems continue to progress, stimulated by their surroundings.

Babies will develop the ability to track objects, focus their eyes, and move them like a team. Their visual acuity will improve and they will gradually be able to see more colors. They will also form the neural connections that will allow them to process what they see, to understand and interact with the world around them.

Healthy eyes and good vision are necessary for proper and timely progress; ocular or visual problems can lead to developmental delays.

So how do you know if your infant is developing normally? What can you do to ensure your baby’s eye health and vision are on track? While infant eye problems are not common here are some steps you can take to ensure your child’s eyes are healthy.

#1 Schedule a six month check-up.

It is recommended to get the first professional comprehensive eye and vision exam for your child between six and 12 months of age.

Your optometrist should check for the following skills at the 6-month checkup:

  • Visual acuity (nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism)
  • Eye muscle and movement capabilities
  • Eye health

If you have any concerns prior to six months, don’t hesitate to take your baby for an exam earlier.

#2 Engage in visually stimulating play.

Incorporating visually stimulating play for your child will help develop visual processes like eye tracking and eye teaming.

A baby’s initial focusing distance is 20-30 cm, so to nurture healthy vision skills, keep high contrast “reach and touch” toys within this distance. Alternate right and left sides with each feeding, and provide toys that encourage tracking of moving objects to foster eye-hand coordination and depth perception.

Pediatricians in North America recommend that NO screen time be allowed under the age of 2, as many forms of development may be delayed from premature use of digital devices.

#3 Be alert to eye and vision problems.

Keep an eye out for indications of an eye health problem, and contact an eye doctor to discuss any concerns you may have. Some symptoms to pay attention to include:

  • Red eyes or eyelids, which may or may not be accompanied by discharge and crusty lids. This may indicate an eye infection that can be very contagious and may require medication.
  • Excessive eye watering or tearing. This may be caused by a problem with the tear ducts, such as a blockage.
  • Extreme light sensitivity. While some light sensitivity is normal, significant sensitivity to light can be a sign of disease or elevated eye pressure.
  • Eye “jiggling” or bouncing. This suggests a problem with the muscle control of the eyes.
  • Eye turn. Whether it is an eye that seems to cross in or a “lazy eye” that turns out, this is often associated with a refractive error or eye muscle issues that could require treatment such as eyeglasses, vision therapy, patching or surgery.
  • White pupil. This can be a sign of a number of diseases, including cancer. If you see this have it checked out immediately.

Since your infant’s eyes are still maturing, any issues that are found can likely be corrected with proper care and treatment. The important thing is to find a pediatric eye care provider that you trust because you will want to regularly check the health of your child’s eyes to ensure proper learning and development throughout infancy and beyond.

How to Safely View the Great American Eclipse of 2017

On August 21st, for the first time since 1979, a solar eclipse will be visible across North America. What’s even more historic is that it will also be the first time an eclipse will be visible across the continent, from coast to coast, since 1918. If you want to bear witness to this historic event, it is important to do so safely which means being knowledgeable about the event and prepared to protect your eyes from potential serious damage and vision loss.

First of all, here are the facts about the upcoming eclipse. A total solar eclipse is when the moon completely blocks the face of the sun (called the photosphere) leaving only the sun’s outer ring, called the corona, in view. This event happens briefly, and will only be visible for certain parts of the United States for up to two minutes and forty seconds during the upcoming celestial event. All of North America, including mainland US and Canada, however, will be able to view a partial eclipse for the duration of about two to three hours. You can search online to see which part of the eclipse will be visible from your location and what time you will be able to see it.

With 500 million people in the viewing range of the eclipse, thousands are excitedly preparing for what could be for many a once-in-a-lifetime experience, however, it’s crucial to make sure that this is done safely to protect your eyes and vision from serious damage that can occur from viewing an eclipse without proper eye protection.

Looking at a Solar Eclipse

Viewing a solar eclipse without proper eye protection is extremely dangerous and can cause permanent vision loss. Looking directly at the sun can cause a condition called Solar Retinopathy or retinal burns which can cause damage to and destroy cells in the retina, which communicates visual cues with the brain. It can also burn the macula which is responsible for central vision. While we usually have a hard time looking directly at the sun which helps to protect us from this condition, during an eclipse because the sun is partially covered by the moon, looking directly at the sun becomes less difficult. Nevertheless, the exposure to the damaging rays of the sun is just as strong and therefore the risk just as great.

It’s important to note that solar burns to the retina do not cause symptoms during that time that you are looking at the eclipse. There is no pain or discomfort. However, the longer you look at it, the deeper the hole that burns through the retina and you would not notice the vision loss until hours later. There is no treatment for solar retinopathy. Many will notice recovery in vision, but depending on the severity of damage there may be only partial recovery which may take up to 6 months after viewing the eclipse.

Eclipse Glasses: Solar Eclipse Eye Protection

Do not view the eclipse without proper eye protection. Protecting your eyes during an eclipse with specially designed eyewear or solar viewers is a must. The American Optometric Association and NASA have released the following statement regarding eye protection: “There is only one safe way to look directly at the sun, whether during an eclipse or not: through special-purpose solar filters. These solar filters are used in “eclipse glasses” or in hand-held solar viewers. They must meet a very specific worldwide standard known as ISO 12312-2.”

It’s important to note that regular sunglasses are not sufficient in protecting your eyes. Here are some additional safety tips issued by NASA for viewing the eclipse:

  • Stand still and cover the eyes with eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove the filter—do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the un-eclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer—the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury.
  • If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it gets quite dark.

If you plan to view the eclipse, make sure that you plan ahead and obtain eclipse glasses or solar viewers for every person that plans to enjoy the experience. Keep this once in a lifetime experience a safe and enjoyable one.

 

Exciting end-of-year news!

merry christmas from your fulton and jefferson city optometrist!

For Christmas 2016 the entire staff chose to adopt three angels from the Skybrook Golf Clubs Salvation Angel Tree in lieu of exchanging gifts among the staff.

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It was such a rewarding experience for the staff and Doctors as everyone got involved in choosing the gifts for our 3, 7 and 10 year old Angels. We have chosen to make this a yearly event at Vision Loft. We would like wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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It has been an exciting year at the Vision Loft as 2016 is coming to an end. We have had the honor of welcoming two new additions to our employee families. Congratulations to Megan on her precious baby girl in November and Erika on the birth of her handsome son in December! Other exciting news is that we continue to grow and add some new faces to the Vision Loft family. Join us in welcoming Rachelle, Cheri, Catlin and Susanne. Just so everyone knows Pat and Lindsay are still here! If you come in and don’t see there smiling faces and southern voices please just ask for them. They would love to assist you.

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The optical department has added several new designer frames lines in 2016. They include: You’s Amsterdam, EyeFunc, Kensie and Lily Pulitzer by Kenmark, Polaroid Eyewear, DVF by Marchon Eyewear and Swarovski Crystal by Marcolin. Please stop in and let us assist you in finding your new eyewear.

jefferson city eye doctor insurance

With the New Year we understand that many of our current and prospective patients will have new vision insurance plans. If you have any questions in reference to your vision insurance coverage for 2017 we are happy to assist. We currently are in-network providers for the following vision insurance companies: VSP, Eyemed, BCBSNC, Spectera, Community Eye Care, Superior Vision, and United Healthcare Vision.

Welcoming Cheri to our family

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Cheri joined the Vision Loft team as our Patient Care Coordinator in June 2016 and offers our Concord NC patients over 18 years of Optometry experience. She is primarily dedicated to patient care and managing the patients adventures throughout our busy office. She is the first friendly face you see when you arrive at our office as you check in for your appointment and is most often the person who’s calling to make sure your appointment time still works for you! Cheri hails from Saratoga Springs, New York, which she keeps telling us is not New York City. She enjoys spending time with her husband, John, on the weekends at their family beach house. You can find her spending most weekends eating all of the seafood her heart desires and she is passionate about spending time with her family, especially her grandson.

 

We have a fabulous team here at Vision Loft and there are a few faces you will not see on our website. The team members are key to helping our office be the best it can be by providing superior service to our patients throughout their visit. Rachelle has been with us since April 2016 and she is our part-time technician and optical sales associate. She moved to North Carolina from Ohio and offers over eight years of experience in the optical field. She is married and has three children and loves to take vacations going back to Ohio to visit her parents and other family and friends. Dr. Patel joined us in September 2016 and sees patients on Wednesdays. She is passionate in providing the most comprehensive eye exams and ensuring that your eyes are healthy and you are getting the best vision possible.

 

Out with the old and in with the new! We are excited that we have a new coffee machine! When you come in for your visit check out our new coffees, teas and hot chocolate! YUMMY!

Dr. Chen in Peru – We’re Proud of You!

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Dr. Bonnie Chen traveled with Lions In Sight http://www.lionsinsight.org/wp/ for a mission trip in April 2016 to Lima Peru. While there the team performed vision screening and assisted in providing eyewear to over 1000 patients per day. The Lions In Sight typically conduct 10-12 clinic missions per year.

Clinic locations are different each year.Lions In Sight have conducted over 190 clinic missions in 31 countries and have helped over 193,000 people improve their vision and their lives. Lives are diminished as vision is diminished. Children with poor vision struggle in school, limiting their opportunities to lead a normal, productive life.

Adults lose productivity as their near vision predictably declines with age. Seniors lose their independence and dignity as they become increasingly reliant upon others for the simplest tasks.Basic eye care and eyeglasses contribute not only to the improvement of the quality of life for all ages, but also to the process of national development.

We are dedicated to bringing basic eye care and eyeglasses to a world of people in need.

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What is a stye anyway?

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A stye (known by eye doctors as a hordeolum) is an infection of an oil gland which forms a pimple-like bump on the base of the eyelid or within the eyelid itself. Styes can be uncomfortable, causing swelling, pain, redness, discomfort and sometimes excessive tearing or blurred vision if it is large enough to distort the front surface of the eyes.

What causes a stye?

The oil glands on the eyelid sometimes become blocked with dirt, dead skin or a buildup of oil and when this happens, bacteria can grow inside. Blockage is also commonly from eye cosmetics that block the orifices within the lid. This blockage causes the gland to become infected and inflamed, resulting in a stye. A stye can form on the inside or the outside of the eyelid and can cause swelling around the eye, sometimes affecting the entire eyelid.

Treating a stye

Styes are treated with antibiotics, often in severe cases with a prescription for oral antibiotics, to reduce the bacteria responsible for the infection. Treatment for a stye is recommended otherwise there is a likelihood of recurrence. Applying a hot compress to the eye for 10-15 minutes a few times throughout the day will bring some relief and speed up the healing process.

Similar to a pimple, the stye will likely rupture, drain and heal on its own. Occasionally a stye, especially one on the inside of the eye will not resolve itself and may require the assistance of an eye doctor for additional treatment. In such a case the stye is surgically opened and drained to reduce the swelling and cosmetic issues associated with the style.

You should never pop a stye! This can cause the bacteria to spread and worsen the infection. If a stye is getting worse, more painful or irritated, contact your eye doctor for treatment.

In cases where styes occur frequently, your eye doctor may decide to prescribe topical antibiotic ointment or a cleansing regimen to prevent recurrence.

Chalazia: Another type of bump on the eyelid

Similar to a stye, a chalazion is a blocked oil gland on the eyelid that becomes enlarged. The main difference between a chalazion and stye is that the chalazion is non-infectious. Treatment involves lid hygiene, warm compresses and lid massage. If it is persistent, then surgical removal (incision and curettage) would be performed.