Recent Articles From Our Blog
Many of us have heard glaucoma, but do we really understand what it is and how to know if we are at risk for it? Glaucoma is an eye disease that is a problem all over the world. The scary thing about glaucoma is that there are often no symptoms in the early stages of the disease. It’s estimated that 50% of people with glaucoma don’t even know they have it. However, certain groups of people have a higher risk than others. Unfortunately, there is no cure for glaucoma right now, but there are effective treatment options. The key to treatment is receiving a diagnosis early in the disease before you or a family member loses sight.
Because glaucoma is hereditary an estimated 50% of the time, it’s important to pay attention to your family history. For example, the rate of glaucoma is 10 times higher among individuals who have a sibling with glaucoma. Anyone who is a blood relative of someone with glaucoma is at an increased risk. Therefore, it’s important to talk with your family about the history of vision in your family. Once you share your concern about glaucoma with your family, help them get appointments to get their eyes fully checked.
It is incredibly important for you and your family to get complete eye exams every year. Once you and your family are more attune to the need for comprehensive eye exams. If glaucoma and its hereditary nature concerns you, make sure to mention it to Dr. Matzkin at your next eye exam. This will enable him to diagnosis and prescribe treatment to help prevent vision loss.
February is American Heart Month! While you may instantly think about exercising more and eating better when it comes to improving your heart health, did you know that obtaining an eye exam can also help?
A Heart-healthy Eye Exam
Although it’s important to watch your blood pressure and cholesterol levels when it comes to having a healthy heart, it’s equally important not to skip out on comprehensive eye exams. Not only can these eye checks help keep your vision on point, but they can also help detect cardiovascular disease.
For instance, did you know that high blood pressure can damage the blood vessels in your retina? Known as hypertensive retinopathy, this condition occurs when the blood vessels narrow, and it can lead to vision loss.
Because factors that can damage the eyes (such as obesity, high cholesterol and smoking) can also hurt your heart, damaged vision could be a clue that other health issues, including heart disease, could be a concern. An eye exam could spot signs of health conditions that could lead to further testing, which could lead to earlier diagnosis. And—as with most health problems—the earlier the diagnosis, the better the outcome.
Did you know that women have a higher risk than men for eye disease and blindness, especially after turning 40? Women represent over half of the cases of age-related eye disease – 61% of glaucoma patients and 65% of age-related macular degeneration patients are women! Women also are more at risk for cataracts, diabetic-related eye issues, and dry eyes.
While these statistics may seem all gloom and doom, part of the reason is that women, on average, live longer than men – a recent study said that there are two times as many women over the age of 85 in the USA than men. Women also may be working longer because of this longer life expectancy, which exposes them to conditions like dry eyes and eye strain due to their blue light and UV exposure.
All this information aside, there are definitely lifestyle changes that women, especially women over 40, can make to reduce their risk for age-related eye diseases because many causes of blindness can be preventable or treatable with proper awareness. Here are three ways that women can ensure their eye health as they age.
1) Maintain a healthy lifestyle. When you eat healthy and exercise regularly, your overall health will improve, including the health of your eyes. A diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits, proteins, and healthy fats all promote eye healthy. Also, limit the amount of sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. Finally, if you currently a smoker, work towards quitting smoking for the health of your whole body, including your eyes.
2) Toss expired make up and skincare products. A lot of women often ignore the expiration dates on their make up and skincare products, but it can be dangerous to do so. Harmful bacteria that can cause infections and irritation in your eyes can fester in make up, especially liquid products. Make sure to check the expiration date on your products and toss any that are expired, as well as any brushes that you have had for a while because these can also carry bacteria.
3) Schedule regular eye exams. Many of the eye diseases that women have an increased risk of are age-related or happen gradually over time. Because of this, early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to prevent vision loss. It’s necessary to have comprehensive eye exams annually to identify any early signs of disease and assess your overall eye health. It is also important to let Dr. Matzkin know about your family history and your lifestyle concerns that could increase your risk of eye diseases.
As a woman, it is even more important for you to be conscious of your eye health and the risk that you face for age-related eye disease. If it has been a while since your last eye exam, reach out to our office at (423) 855-8522.
A new year means you will be one year older. While getting older has its perks, one of them is not the deterioration of your eyesight. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, 1/3 of Americans will have a vision-impairing eye disease by age 65. Early treatment of eye disease can often slow or stop vision loss altogether.
In light of the new year, make one of you resolutions taking care of your eyes. Here are 5 ways that you can best care for your eyes to keep your vision safe in 2019:
- Know your risk – We all have ignored our family medical history over the years, but it is especially important to find out as much as you can about your family’s medical history and tell Dr. Matzkin at your next eye exam appointment because some eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and glaucoma are hereditary and can be directly linked to our genetics.
- Get your eyes checked – Once you turn 40, it is essential to have an annual, thorough medical eye exam. Often, early signs of eye disease and any changes in vision may occur without any obvious symptoms following the entry into our fourth decade of life.
- Don’t smoke – If you are a smoker, a new year is the time to stop, not just for your lung health, but for your eye health too. Smoking increases the risk of cataracts and other forms of age-related macular degeneration. It also raises your risk for cardiovascular diseases that can end up damaging your eyes. Finally, secondhand smoke can negatively affect the eyes of those around you by causing dry eye and discomfort.
- Resolve to eat right – Aside from weight loss, your eyes can benefit greatly from a healthy diet that is low in fat and contains a large amount of fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. Some food that are especially good for you eye health are nuts, dark green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits.
- Wear sunglasses – Sunglasses and hats are not just fashion statements, they also help prevent exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. Prolonged exposure to UV light from the sun can increase the risk of cataracts, so it is vital to wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection, as well as a hat.
The health of your eyes is important. The new year is a great time to make resolutions that will benefit your overall health, but have an especially great benefit to prolonging the health of your eyes and your vision.
Dr. Matzkin is one of the most well-known neuro-ophthamologist in the region. One of the areas he specializes in is LASIK eye surgery, and our team at Allied Eye prides ourselves in helping our patients regain their vision through LASIK and Epilasik procedures. However, it is crucial to continue routine eye exams following a vision-correction procedure.
Often, patients are so excited about their new ability to see clearly that they forget that our eyes are more than just how clearly we can see. Dr. Matzkin doesn’t just check your vision when you come in for an eye exam, he also checks for signs of diseases, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and glaucoma. It is important to stay on track, or get back on track if you’ve stopped, with eye exams after vision correction surgery like LASIK.
Even though you’ve had LASIK or another type of vision correction surgery, Dr. Matzkin will be able to ensure that your vision doesn’t need further correction if you adhere to routine eye exams. You may also experience dry eyes following surgery, and Dr. Matzkin can provide you with some solutions to help ease your discomfort and avoid any eye injury. Finally, even if you are not wearing glasses any longer, thanks to your LASIK, Dr. Matzkin can help determine if you need blue light filtering glasses to avoid digital eye strain.
It’s crucial to remember that eye exams are vital, every year, no matter how good you think your vision is or what types of vision correction surgery you undergo. Our team at Allied Eye would love to see you in our office – call (423) 855-8522 to make an appointment.
With the new year around the corner, it’s the time for reflection and resolutions. As you look back over the past year, were there times that your glasses or poor eyesight got in your way? If your answer is yes, then maybe the new year is the time to revisit your vision and eye care.
If you are currently a glasses-wearer, you may want to consider contacts. Contacts can offer additional flexibility that glasses cannot – for example, the ability to wear sunglasses that are not prescription glasses. They can also give you a new look for the new year!
Contacts can be Comfortable, Convenient, and Fresh Look. Contacts are comfortable to wear, especially if you want to be able have a wider field of vision than you can have with glasses. Contacts are also convenient. You don’t have to worry about your glasses fogging up or breaking in your day to day life. Finally, contacts can give you an easy way to change up your look.
Looking to take the next step beyond glasses or contacts? We’re giving a $500 discount for LASIK scheduled during January! All we need is a $500 deposit to secure your appointment and you’ll receive the deepest discount we’ve ever given on corrective surgery. LASIK only takes five minutes and most patients can even go back to work within a couple of days1
If you are interested in a more permanent vision correction opportunity, Allied Eye offers a variety of vision correction surgery options. Give our office a call at (423) 855-8522. Dr. Matzkin is a neuro-ophthalmologist, which means he specializes in providing the best eye care and vision correction options, including contacts, LASIK, or Lens Replacement Surgery.
If eyes are the window to the soul, then eyelashes are the curtains. However, they are more than just pretty window-dressings, they serve important purposes. They reduce airflow, keep out excess moisture, filtering sunlight, and alerting your body to danger.
Reduce airflow – We, as humans, have naturally moist eyes due to the tear film that protects your eye, provides nutrients for your eyes, and refracts the light away from your eyes. Airflow can make the moisture of your eyes evaporate, while also blowing dust and other irritants into your eyes. However, your eyelashes serve to minimize the air flow over your eyeball.
Keep out moisture – Eyelashes don’t just keep your eyes moist by reducing the flow of air over your eyeball, they also serve to keep external moisture, like rain or sweat, out of your eyes. The curved shape of eyelashes help catch the moisture and redirect it away from your eye.
Filtering sunlight – We all know that UV rays can be dangerous for your skin, but sunlight can also be harmful to your eyes. While your eyelashes don’t filter out all the dangerous rays that the sun releases and you shouldn’t forgo your sunglasses altogether, eyelashes can help to shield your eyes from the bright sunlight.
Danger alerts – When you see a cat, you might first notice their whiskers twitching. Similar to the cat’s whiskers, eyelashes serve as sensors to let your brain know that potential danger is imminent. If your eyelashes sense danger, just like a cat’s whiskers will send signals to the cat to move out of the way, your eyelids will react and close.
While your eyelashes make your eyes pop, they also provide significant safety benefits for your eyes. Don’t take them for granted!
With the holiday season comes delicious food, quality time with family, and…eye injuries! Did you know that some of the prettiest decorations and most iconic holiday celebrations can cause eye injuries to you or your family? Just like any time of the year, it is important to stay conscious of your surroundings and be aware of potential hazards. During the holiday season, it is important to pay attention to the following risky situations:
- Toys with sharp edges – In the excitement of holiday celebrations, it can be easy to forget to check new toys and games for sharp edges of plastic or pointy toy parts. But this is important to remember because eye injuries often occur in children when they are excited and playing with new toys, when they are most likely to not pay enough attention to their surroundings.
- Mistletoe – Sure, it’s sweet to meet your special someone under the mistletoe, but if you’re tall and the mistletoe is hung low, you might collide with the decoration before you notice it. Whether it’s plastic or real greenery, it can cause an injury should you or your significant other run into it, so if keep an eye out for unexpected hanging mistletoe, especially if you’re tall.
- Christmas lights – We all love the shiny twinkle of lights, but if we don’t replace them after a few years, they can be a safety hazard. The thin glass that makes up the lights can break and if they are old, they could even explode. The small shards of thin glass are a safety risk, and the bulbs could also break while you are untangling them or hanging them up on your tree or house. Make sure to take caution while decorating.
- Christmas tree – If you have a living Christmas tree in your home, you could potential injure your eye while doing something as simple as watering the tree. Since tree branches can come dangerously close to your eye while putting water in the tree or adjusting an ornament. As you decorate and tend for your tree, pay attention to the branches and make sure they avoid contact with your eyes to avoid injuries.
- Champagne corks – Celebrating New Year’s or any other holiday parties are often synonymous with champagne. And often champagne bottle corks go hand in hand with eye injuries. When uncorking your champagne this year, put a hand towel over the cork to make sure it doesn’t fly across the room and make sure that your guests are aware that you are opening the bottle. While it might seem fun and festive to pop the cork and let it fly across the room, having to call an ambulance for a friend or family member is not a fun holiday memory.
Make sure to celebrate the holidays this year safely by being conscious of the decorations and celebrations around you! Should you have an eye injury during the holiday season, give our staff at Allied Eye a call (423) 855-8522.
Influenza usually gets the buzz during the Fall as students and parents get flu shots in mass. But, just as common during the Fall as children and adults alike touch door handles, keyboards, desks, railings, technology, etc. When you consider how many things you touch during the day, combined with how often humans touch our face (spoiler alert: hundreds of times a day), viruses and bacteria can quickly spread from one person to another, especially the most common eye infection – conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.
Pink eye is the swelling and inflammation of the thin layer of eye tissue that covers the white part of your eye, which is known as the conjunctiva. This infection can affect one or both of your eyes. It is highly contagious, either when it is bacterial conjunctivitis or viral conjunctivitis. Bacterial conjunctivitis is the result of strep or staph bacterial infection in the eye, which can start in your respiratory system and then is spread through physical contact with an affected person or when touching your face or eyes without washing your hands. Bacterial pink eye can also be caused by contacts that have not been cleaned properly or through sharing mascara or eye liner. Viral pink eye is caused by the same virus as the common cold. This is spread through sneezing, coughing, or touching your eyes or face with unwashed hands. Conjunctivitis can also be cause by allergies because allergens make your eyes itchy, which can lead to the germs getting in to your eye via germs on hands.
The symptoms of pink eye are irritated, pink discoloration to the white portion of your eye. You can also experience itching or burning, discharge coming from the infected eye, or your eyelids swelling. If you think you or your child may have pink eye, it is important that you contact our team at Allied Eye for treatment. We can help ease the discomfort and reduce the length of the infection, plus keep it from spreading to other members of your family or friends. With bacterial pink eye, we may prescribe antibiotic eye drops, but with viral pink eye, there isn’t a quick fix since the virus must run its course. However, with viral pink eye, we can help find options to alleviate the pain associated with the infection – such as warm compresses to your eye, steroid eye drops etc. If you wear contacts and have pink eye, it is important to let us know that because there is a protocol with contacts and conjunctivitis that should be followed to prevent the spreading of the infection.
Now that we’ve discussed what to do when you have contracted pink eye, let’s talk about what you can do to prevent it. You should make sure to wash your hands, especially during flu season to prevent germs on hands that can then be deposited into your eyes. Also, don’t share makeup, pillow cases, or contact cases with other people to avoid exposure. Finally, make sure to protect your eye with eye glass or sunglasses on windy days because the allergens in the Fall breeze can irritate your eyes and increase the likelihood of you touching or itching your eyes with unclean hands.
If you are concerned about pink eye exposure or are experiencing some of the symptoms above, please contact our office to make an appointment by calling us at 423-855-8522.
Almost 10% of people in the United States suffer from diabetes. This means that 29 million people have glucose, or blood sugar, levels that are elevated. Over the years, this high level of glucose can damage your eyes. The most common eye problem linked to diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, which is a leading cause of blindness for adults in America. This means that the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye, your retina, becomes damaged; a healthy retina is vital for clear vision. Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy are blurry vision, floating or dark spots, and a pain or pressure in your eyes. Diabetes is also linked to an elevated risk of cataracts and glaucoma. These are all serious eye diseases that can be prevented by good eye care. There are 3 main ways to avoid diabetes-related eye complications:
- Manage your blood sugar and high blood pressure. While diabetes is an elevated blood sugar level, you can slow the damage to your eye’s blood vessels by keeping your glucose levels under control. Make sure to get an A1c blood test multiple times a year. Also, high blood pressure is often linked to diabetes and can lead to eye disease. Ask your doctor to check your blood pressure any time you are in their office.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you suffer from diabetes, make an effort to live a healthy lifestyle. For example, focus on eating healthy and exercising regularly, which can help influence your blood sugar. Also, if you smoke, quit because smoking can cause problems with your blood vessels, further increasing your risk for these eye complications.
- Don’t skip your yearly eye exam! In order to spot any problems early, make sure to get your eyes checked ever year. It is important for your eye doctors to check the blood vessels in your eyes for early signs of damage and enable them to treat any complications. If you need to schedule your eye exam, contact us at Allied Eye at 423-855-8522.