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Treating Dry Eyes for Free

Treating Dry Eyes for Free 300×200Do your eyes feel itchy or irritated on a regular basis? Do you have blurred vision or red eyes? You may be suffering from Ocular Surface Disease. Ocular Surface Disease, also known as dry eye, can occur from certain medications, naturally by aging, or as a symptom arising from systemic diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome, Rheumatoid arthritis, or Lupus. If you have a minor case of dry eye, you may be experiencing irritation, excessive tearing, fluctuating vision, and/or a burning sensation in your eyes. Excessive dry eyes, or dry eye symptoms that go untreated, have the potential to damage eye tissue, scar your corneas, and impair your vision.

Vision Source Specialists’ Dry Eye & Ocular Surface Disease Clinic offers FREE dry eye screenings and varying treatment options depending on the severity. While dry eyes cannot be cured, there are various ways to soften or lessen your symptoms. There are even free ways for a person to work towards eliminating dry eye.

20-20-20 RULE

There are many jobs and lifestyles where we spend hours in front of computer screens, tablets, or cellphone screens every day. Due to this lifestyle or work condition, more people are feeling the effects of increased “screen time”, including dry eyes. To combat this, it is recommended to follow the “20-20-20 Rule”. Every 20 minutes a person should spend at least 20 seconds looking at something 20 feet away. Looking at screens for long periods of time can strain your eyes and this is an excellent exercise to give your eyes a break.

TURN THOSE BLINKERS ON

Blinking more regularly, while it is something we often do not think about, can help with dry eye. It allows for the renewal of tear film that protects and moisturizes a person’s eyes. On average healthy blinking is 10 to 15 times per minute. But this drastically drops by half or more when a person is using electronics such as a computer, tablet, or looking at a television screen. This increases the likelihood of dry eye.

WARM COMPRESS

A warm compress to your eyes can help your eyelids produce more lipids. Lipids boost tear quality and can relieve some dry eye symptoms. You want to make sure your warm compress is warm enough to be therapeutic but is not too hot or cold. It is also important your warm compress is clean and sterile.

Dry Eye Syndrome can affect a person’s livelihood and experiences. Trying these three simple steps daily can make a difference in preventing and combatting dry eye. To learn if you have dry eye, contact Vision Source Specialists’ Dry Eye & Ocular Surface Disease Clinic today at (605) 399-3937. Sign up for your FREE dry eye screening and work with their team in the treatment of dry eye including with the use of state-of-the-art technology, LipiFlow. This is a treatment device specifically designed for effectively removing blockages from the meibmomian glands, allowing them to properly function and produce the oils that make up the top protective lipid layer of the tear film. During your appointment, Vision Source Specialists will discuss the treatment options that best fits your needs and help you develop a plan in helping your symptoms of dry eye.

Reading with the “RightEyes”

Right Eyes 300×200Back to school is in full swing! Your child has the newest clothes, a brand new lunch box, sharpened pencils, and a backpack they have been eyeing all summer. While your child may appear ready to head back into the classroom, are they truly ready? One in four children has a vision problem that affects learning and vision problems could be affecting your child’s sight of the board, after-school activities, and even reading abilities. Vision Source Specialists new Performance Vision Training Center (PVTC) can help a variety of people including athletes, patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries or concussions, and even those students who are struggling with visual activities such as reading. The PVTC offers different assessments and training to improve and enhance various vision skills a student needs when attending school, doing day-to-day activities, and even reading.

VISION DISORDERS

You may believe your child has 20/20 eyesight, but vision issues could still be plaguing their learning. Did you know that actually, 50% of vision disorders go undiagnosed? You may be questioning how this can occur. The answer is simple: vision disorders often share the same symptoms are many learning disabilities. Some of the symptoms can include poor handwriting, low comprehension, disinterest, letter reversals, short attention span, and more. These symptoms can be detrimental to your child, their development, and their educational journey. Luckily, with Vision Source Specialists Performance Vision Training Center, there is an answer to identifying vision disorders and working with your child to improve their vision skills.

RIGHTEYE

If your child is struggling in the classroom, RightEye is the latest technology in vision that can assist them. RightEye is an eye-tracking system that shows how a child can see and, if needed, can recommend personalized EyeQ Trainer Exercises that can be done at home. This technology measures and records eye movements delivers easy to read results in the form of a Reading EyeQ report. RightEye can measure nearly 20 vision skills in a matter of seconds. Some of these skills include but are not limited to vergence, ocular motility, reading comprehension, reading regressions, head tilt, eye movement skills, and more. These reports can be used by patients, families, doctors, and even teachers to understand the vision problem and take the next steps to improve vision skills and care.

Before your student goes back to school, remember to take time to ensure your child’s success in and outside of the classroom with a comprehensive eye exam and the use of the RightEye technology at Vision Source Specialists Performance Vision Training Center. Taking time to make sure these tasks are completed will set up your child to do well whether they are reading the board, completing homework, or taking a test. RightEye technology is the latest in vision training therapy and can enhance your child’s vision skills for life.

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 Dr. Jared Pearson and the team at Vision Source Specialists 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 Dr. Jared Pearson.

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 Dr. Jared Pearson and the knowledgeable staff at Vision Source Specialists to schedule a consultation and see whether vision therapy is right for your child.

Dr. Jared Pearson serves patients in Rapid City, Philip, Spearfish, and Gillette, and throughout South Dakota.

Request A Functional Visual Exam
How Can We Help You? 605-399-3937

 

LEARNING I HAVE DRY EYE SYNDROME

BY: WHITNEE PEARCE

I have worn glasses since I was in 3rd grade and now I am nearly 30 years old. In the 6th grade I started wearing contacts. During these years I have played video games, watched television, surfed the web, typed, worked online and on the computer, read for hours digitally, Netflixed, and more. As the years have passed my digital use has drastically increased and unbeknownst to me, my eyes have suffered.

Working as a former optician, yearly eye exams are something that I view as vital. Comprehensive eye exams allow me to not only learn if I need new glasses or order contacts, but they enable me to understand about the health of my eyes. At my last eye exam after speaking with Dr. Wattenhofer, we both determined it would be best if I did dry eye testing. Some of my symptoms included trouble focusing after long computer use, irritated eyes, red eye, and more. Vision Source Specialists now offer the Oculus Keratograph 5M, an advanced technology that can accurately can diagnosis Dry Eye Syndrome. The technology can look at a variety of factors including how well tear film is being created from the glands in your eye lids. The Oculus Keratograph 5M also allows for the imaging and data to be saved, so if a patient did need treatment, a proper compare and contrast can occur after treatment.

Upon doing the test on the Oculus Keratograph 5M, I was quite alarmed at what was found. Yes, I did have dry eye syndrome and not only did I have it because some of my glands were not working properly to produce the tear film my eyes needed but some of the glands were permanently damaged. Due to permanent damage they would never be able to produce the tear film that my eyes need to maintain health. Going over the results and imaging with Dr. Wattenhofer allowed me to understand more about what was happening with my eyes and the importance of keeping the glands I do still have healthy and working their optimum.

From there we created a plan and decided on the next steps of treatment that would be best for me. Stay tuned for my next blog, where I experience the Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System, an advanced technology that is designed to improve gland function. With this treatment, along with other treatments such as supplements, eye masks, and more, I will be tracking the health of my eyes and giving the truth about the process of having Dry Eye Syndrome.

For more information on Dry Eye Syndrome, treatment for dry eyes such as the Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System, or the Oculus Keratograph 5M, contact Vision Source today.

STURGIS MOTORCYCLE RALLY : WHY HAVE MOTORCYCLE GLASSES?

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the largest motorcycle rally in the world, is in full swing from August 8th-August 14th in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. This year marks the 76thAnniversary for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and thousands of people will ride into the city for fun, excitement, various vendors, and to experience the amazing motorcycles that have come from all over the world. Another popular treat for many bikers during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, is the winding roads and breath-taking scenery that the Black Hills has to offer, perfect for every biker – young and old. Before hitting the open road on your way to Sturgis Motorcycle Rally stop by Vision Source Specialists for your riding sunglasses to make the most of your time in the Black Hills.

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Why Have Motorcycle Riding Glasses?

There are many different reasons to have motorcycle riding glasses from embellishing your style to increasing your safety and vision possibilities on your motorcycle. Motorcycle riding glasses come in a variety of styles which can showcase your unique preference in color, design, and also shape. From frames that offer a great deal of coverage, to lenses that feature pops of color, to temples with design…there are so many options for motorcycle riding glasses that can really showcase your personality as a rider.

Not only can motorcycle riding glasses show off your style, but they are more importantly a safety must-have for riders. Motorcycle riding glasses are just as important as helmets for riders as they protect eyes from debris, allow riders to see clearly even in the direct sun, and can prevent accidents from occurring. Motorcycle riding glasses allow riders to see to their best abilities during various weather conditions or even through the bright sun, which helps keep not only them safer on the road, but everyone on the road. Motorcycle riding glasses are essential for every rider, especially for those going to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and riding throughout the Black Hills.

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Popular Styles of Motorcycle Riding Glasses

There are many different styles of motorcycle riding glasses, but many riders prefer glasses that have “wrap”, or are curved to fit snuggly to their face. This allows for less sun exposure, allow for more protection, and are less likely to “fly off” during rides, and fit better under helmets. There are many different popular brands for motorcycle riding glasses and some of the top styles that Vision Source Specialists offer include Oakley, Wiley X, Ray Ban, Vicious Vision, Carrera, and our latest style the Amphibia sunglasses. These sunglasses feature not only a wrap, but can go from land to sea – they even float if dropped in water!

For more information on motorcycle riding glasses to make your time at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally perfect contact Vision Source Specialists today. We offer three convenient locations in downtown Rapid City, Hot Springs, and Philip, SD. With our wide variety of brands, style, and designs you may have trouble only finding one pair for Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

LIPIFLOW TREATMENT: MY EXPERIENCE

Upon being diagnosed with Dry Eye Syndrome after Dr. Dawn Wattenhofer examined images of my eyes from the Oculus Keratograph 5M machine; I was introduced to the idea of the seeking treatment from the Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System. The Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System is an advanced technology that is designed to improve gland function. At first, I was a bit alarmed and unsure if I wanted the treatment. But after speaking with my doctor, staff of Vision Source Specialists, and doing my own outside research- I knew I wanted to try this treatment of my Dry Eye Syndrome.

The Facts

The Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System is an automated thermal eyelid massage that applies consistent yet gentle heat and pulsating pressure to the eyelids. LipiFlow is the only FDA cleared device that provides both inner and outer lid therapy. During treatment, the small LipiFlow device will be applied to the eyelids one at a time. The device works to unblock clogged meibomian glands, restoring the appropriate balance of oils in the eye’s tear film to relieve dry eye. This oil is essential for a healthy tear film and for protecting the tear layer or watery layer of your eyes. When the water layer is exposed due to lack of oils on the top of the tear film because of gland blockages, the result is the leading cause of Dry Eye Symptoms.

My Experience

My appointment was early in the morning and I wore no makeup to the eye doctor. I had been advised as they would be placing the pulsation system on my eyelids. While I felt a bit nervous, the process was not only easy but the doctor and the doctor’s technician vocalized the process in a clear manner and made me feel comfortable. After a few numbing drops to both my eyes, the system was placed on both of my eyelids. Soon the system’s temperature started to rise and I could feel slight warmth. Little did I realize the system was reaching nearly 108 degrees. It felt much like a warm compress on my eyes and I felt no discomfort. Then after reaching the peak temperature the system began to “pulsate” or massage my eyelids internally and also externally. This also did not hurt, but instead felt soothing. Then in approximately 12 minutes the entire process was finished. Immediately, my eyes felt almost “glossy” and better than they had in years.

Now it is time to wait for the full effects of the Lipiflow to take place, which for many patients take 6-8 weeks after treatment. While I wait I have also started other treatments, which I will go into detail with in my next blog. Typically the Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System takes some time for maximum effects, I did feel immediate relief after using the system. My eyes did not feel as dry and the next morning my eyes were not dry, crusty, or have blurry vision at first. I will take this as a win and I look forward to more relief my eyes will feel over time from the Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System.

For more information on Dry Eye Syndrome, treatment for dry eyes such as the Lipiflow Thermal Pulsation System, or the Oculus Keratograph 5M, contact Vision Source today.

USE IT. DON’T LOSE IT: INSURANCE BENEFITS AND FLEXIBLE SPENDING ACCOUNTS

Do you have vision benefits or a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) money that needs to be used before December 31st? Use your benefits this year and don’t lose them!

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For many with vision insurance benefits or FSA accounts, your benefits start over January 1st. This means any unused benefits or money from Flexible Spending Accounts are not transferred over into the new year and actually expire. Yes, that is right, you can potentially lose what you earned for your insurance benefits or FSA accounts. To avoid losing your benefits, plan ahead. Schedule your appointment today to use your vision insurance benefits or FSA accounts.

We are also offering our Ultimate Deal on Lenses until Dec. 31st! Buy lenses from our Ultimate Lenses Package and get your second pair of lenses for FREE! Don’t miss this offer!

Our staff at Vision Source Specialists are trained to help you sort through your insurance benefits, answer questions about your FSA, and help you find the best eyewear to suit your prescription and personal needs. Vision Source Specialists can accommodate a variety of insurances including VSP and Davis. Contact us today for more information on using your vision insurance benefits before Dec. 31st!

8 Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes

Whether you live in a climate with cold winter weather or you are planning a ski trip up north, winter can be a challenge if you suffer from dry eyes. Dry, cool air, cold winds and even drier indoor heating can cause eye irritation, burning, itchiness and redness, and sometimes even excessively watery eyes as more tears are produced to compensate for the dryness. Many people have a chronic feeling that they have something in their eye and some even experience blurred vision. These symptoms can be debilitating!

Dry eyes is one of the most common complaints eye doctors get from patients during the winter season, especially in the cooler climates. That’s why we’d like to share some tips on how to relieve dry eye discomfort, and how to know when your condition is serious enough to come in for an evaluation.

Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes:

  1. Keep eyes moist using artificial tears or eye drops. You can apply these a few times each day when the eyes are feeling dry or irritated. If over-the-counter drops don’t help or if you have chronic dry eyes, speak to your eye doctor about finding the best drops for you. Since not all artificial tears are the same, knowing the cause of your dry eye will help your eye doctor determine which brand is best suited for your eyes.
  2. Use a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of indoor heaters or generally dry air.
  3. Point car vents or indoor heaters away from your face when the heat is on. Try to keep your distance from direct sources of heating, especially if they blow out the heat.
  4. Drink a lot! Hydrating your body will also hydrate your eyes.
  5. Protect your eyes outdoors with sunglasses or goggles – the bigger the better! Larger, even wrap-around glasses as well as a hat with a wide brim will keep the wind and other elements out of your eyes. If you wear goggles for winter sports, make sure they fit well and cover a large surface area.
  6. Soothe dry eyes using a warm compress and never rub them! Rubbing your eyes will increase irritation and may lead to infection if the hands are not clean.
  7. Give your eyes a digital break. People blink less during screen time which is why extensive computer use can lead to dry eyes. Follow the 20/20/20 rule by taking a break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds and make sure you blink!
  8. For contact lens wearers: If you wear contact lenses, dry eyes can be particularly debilitating as the contact lenses can cause even further dryness and irritation. Contact lens rewetting drops can help your eyes feel better and may also allow you to see more clearly. Not all eyedrops are appropriate for use with contact lenses, so ask your optometrist which eyedrop is compatible with your contacts and cleaning solution. If rewetting drops don’t help, consider opting for glasses when your dry eyes are bad, and speak to your optometrist about which brands of contact lenses are better for dry eyes. Many people find dry eye improvement when they switch to daily single use contact lenses.

Chronic Dry Eyes or Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tear film, or do not produce the quality of tear film needed to properly keep the eyes moist. While winter weather can make this condition worse, it is often present all year round. If you find that the tips above do not alleviate your discomfort or symptoms, it may be time to see a optometrist to see if your condition requires more effective medical treatment.

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes is becoming much more prevalent around the globe. According to the International Diabetes Federation, approximately 425 million adults were living with diabetes in the year 2017 and 352 million more people were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. By 2045 the number of people diagnosed is expected to rise to 629 million.

Diabetes is a leading cause of blindness as well as heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure, neuropathy (nerve damage) and lower limb amputation. In fact, in 2017, diabetes was implicated in 4 million deaths worldwide. Nevertheless preventing these complications from diabetes is possible with proper treatment, medication and regular medical screenings as well as improving your diet, physical activity and adopting a healthy lifestyle.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic disease in which the hormone insulin is either underproduced or ineffective in its ability to regulate blood sugar. Uncontrolled diabetes leads to hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, which damages many systems in the body such as the blood vessels and the nervous system.

How Does Diabetes Affect The Eyes?

Diabetic eye disease is a group of conditions which are caused, or worsened, by diabetes; including: diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma and cataracts. Diabetes increases the risk of cataracts by four times, and can increase dryness and reduce cornea sensation.

In diabetic retinopathy, over time, the tiny blood vessels within the eyes become damaged, causing leakage, poor oxygen circulation, then scarring of the sensitive tissue within the retina, which can result in further cell damage and scarring.

The longer you have diabetes, and the longer your blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, the higher the chances of developing diabetic eye disease. Unlike many other vision-threatening conditions which are more prevalent in older individuals, diabetic eye disease is one of the main causes of vision loss in the younger, working-age population. Unfortunately, these eye conditions can lead to blindness if not caught early and treated. In fact, 2.6% of blindness worldwide is due to diabetes.

Diabetic Retinopathy

As mentioned above, diabetes can result in cumulative damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the light-sensitive tissue located at the back of the eye. This is called diabetic retinopathy.

The retina is responsible for converting the light it receives into visual signals to the optic nerve in the brain. High blood sugar levels can cause the blood vessels in the retina to leak or hemorrhage, causing bleeding and distorting vision. In advanced stages, new blood vessels may begin to grow on the retinal surface causing scarring and further damaging cells in the retina. Diabetic retinopathy can eventually lead to blindness.

Signs and Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

The early stages of diabetic retinopathy often have no symptoms, which is why it’s vitally important to have frequent diabetic eye exams. As it progresses you may start to notice the following symptoms:

  • Blurred or fluctuating vision or vision loss
  • Floaters (dark spots or strings that appear to float in your visual field)
  • Blind spots
  • Color vision loss

There is no pain associated with diabetic retinopathy to signal any issues. If not controlled, as retinopathy continues it can cause retinal detachment and macular edema, two other serious conditions that threaten vision. Again, there are often NO signs or symptoms until more advanced stages.

A person with diabetes can do their part to control their blood sugar level. Following the physician’s medication plan, as well as diet and exercise recommendations can help slow the progression of diabetic retinopathy.

Retinal Detachment

Scar tissues caused by the breaking and forming of blood vessels in advanced retinopathy can lead to a retinal detachment in which the retina pulls away from the underlying tissue. This condition is a medical emergency and must be treated immediately as it can lead to permanent vision loss. Signs of a retinal detachment include a sudden onset of floaters or flashes in the vision.

Diabetic Macular Edema (DME)

Diabetic macular edema occurs when the macula, a part of the retina responsible for clear central vision, becomes full of fluid (edema). It is a complication of diabetic retinopathy that occurs in about half of patients, and causes vision loss.

Treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy and Diabetic Macular Edema

While vision loss from diabetic retinopathy and DME often can’t be restored, with early detection there are some preventative treatments available. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (when the blood vessels begin to grow abnormally) can be treated by laser surgery, injections or a procedure called vitrectomy in which the vitreous gel in the center of the eye is removed and replaced. This will treat bleeding caused by ruptured blood vessels. DME can be treated with injection therapy, laser surgery or corticosteroids.

Prevent Vision Loss from Diabetes

The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye disease is early detection and treatment. Since there may be no symptoms in the early stages, regular diabetic eye exams are critical for early diagnosis. In fact diabetics are now sometimes monitored by their health insurance to see if they are getting regular eye exams and premium rates can be affected by how regularly the patients get their eyes checked. Keeping diabetes under control through exercise, diet, medication and regular screenings will help to reduce the chances of vision loss and blindness from diabetes.