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Women and Eye Health Risks

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Most women understand how important it is to visit the doctor regularly so they can stay healthy and feel their best. However, many don’t realize this means having their eyes checked as well. This is especially important for women since they are more likely than men to suffer from eye-related diseases and conditions such as:

  • Cataract
  • Glaucoma
  • Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Two out of every three people living with blindness or vision problems are women, according to the National Eye Institute. And unfortunately, many women don’t know about this heightened risk and are not doing enough to care for their healthy sight. This can lead to staggering healthcare costs down the road. In an effort to educate the public on the increased risk for women and vision health issues, as well as steps that can be taken to prevent vision loss, April has been declared Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month. Did you know that other health conditions can also impact vision? Not only are women at greater risk for many eye diseases, they are also at risk for several overall health conditions that impact their vision. These include:

  • Diabetes – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 10 American women over the age of 20 has diabetes. Diabetes increases risk for several eye diseases, diabetic retinopathy, most commonly, as well as damage from ultraviolet (UV) light. People with diabetes often experience light sensitivity, difficulty distinguishing colors in low lighting, and trouble driving at night.
  • Autoimmune diseases – According to the National Institute of Health, women are more likely to develop several autoimmune diseases that can affect the eyes. These include:
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Breast and other cancers – Some cancer treatments can cause:
  • Bleeding in the eye
  • Light sensitivity
  • Cataracts
  • Dry, itchy eyes

While these eye problems may sound scary, your eye doctor can help educate you on the changes and find ways to ease the symptoms, so you have the best chance at maintaining optimal eye health.

Are Your Eyes Putting in Overtime?

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As we continue to work and learn from home, the amount of time we spend in front of a screen is probably more time than we spend doing anything else. Today’s world runs on digital. From the living room to the board room, we rely on our devices to stay informed, connect with others, attend classes and in many cases, earn a living. Mobile devices and computers deliver countless benefits.
However, they can also have an unpleasant side effect – more exposure to blue light.

What is blue light? And how does it impact our eyes?

Blue light is the range of light with the highest amount of energy in the visible light spectrum (the light we can see). Modern devices like smartphones, tablets, and computer monitors all emit blue light. While historically we’ve gotten our daily dose of blue light from the sun, our increased exposure to blue light from these modern devices has been linked to the onset of digital eye strain.

Why does blue light exposure matter?

Your eyes weren’t built to process blue light well; so, they work extra hard trying to bring this light into focus. Think of it like running a marathon where someone keeps moving the finish line back. With 63% of U.S. employees now working from home and parents reporting a recent 500% increase in children’s online screen time, exposure to blue light from digital devices is at an all-time high. Your eyes are putting in overtime daily which can contribute to digital eye strain and symptoms like tired eyes, blurred vision, headaches, and dry eyes.

Is there something that can help?

There are two types of products that can help reduce blue light exposure:

  • A premium anti-reflective coating that targets blue light wavelengths associated with digital eye strain. Because this coating both absorbs and reflects blue light, it has an attractive, near-clear appearance that provides better cosmetic appeal than other blue-light lens products.
  • Light-reactive lenses offer comparable blue light filtration indoors in their clear state. Outdoors, the lenses darken and increase the amount of blue light filtration from sunlight to match the increased intensity of the source.

Interested to learn more? Give us a call! Our doctors can talk to you about blue light lens options and other recommendations to reduce or prevent digital eye strain. Sacramento Optometric Group 916-443-3524

Healthy Heart, Healthy Eyes

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They say the eyes are the window to your soul, but did you know they can also show how healthy your heart is? If you weren’t aware, you’re not alone. According to a survey conducted by VSP Vision Care and YouGov, only 1% of people know that signs of diseases and conditions that affect the heart and eyes, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, can be detected through an eye exam. This is incredibly concerning because if conditions like these are left untreated, they can cause eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, hypertensive retinopathy, and macular degeneration. All of which can cause serious vision issues or complete loss of sight if left untreated.

The arrangement of blood vessels at the back of the eye is closely connected to the health of your heart. So, you may not realize that cardiovascular and eye diseases share the same underlying causes, as well as the same treatment. A root symptom of many of these diseases is inflammation, which your eye doctor can identify through an annual comprehensive eye exam.

Your eye doctor sees a range of heart-related eye diseases. A patient may come in with only a complaint of blurry vision and may be unaware of the state of their overall health and how their blurry vision may be caused by an underlying condition.

Similarly, not being able to see out of one eye or other visual disturbances may be an indication of a deeper heart-related issue. Being aware that the lens you’re seeing the world through can determine the status of your overall health is the first step to healthier living. When early signs of diseases such as stroke, bacterial endocarditis, and diabetes can be identified through an eye exam, there is no reason to forego it.

The next time you’re due for an annual eye exam with us, remember how crucial it is in taking care of your overall health. Your body will thank you later!

Don’t Let Glaucoma Steal Your Sight

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Vision problems are often one of the first indications that we are not as young as we feel.

Even people who have never needed glasses or contacts may start to experience blurry vision or other noticeable imperfections. Many of these developments, such as difficulty seeing nearby objects, are a normal part of aging and can be easily treated.

However, serious eye conditions become more likely in middle-age and beyond. That is why it’s important to take vision health seriously as we age, as catching eye diseases like glaucoma in the early stages can lead to more effective treatment.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that gradually steals sight without warning. When the internal pressure in the eyes increases enough it can damage the nerve fibers in the optic nerve and cause vision loss.

There are several types of glaucoma, and most people will not experience any symptoms until the condition has become extremely dangerous. It’s important to see your eye doctor each year so they can spot any warning signs.

Optometrists have a variety of ways to screen for glaucoma, by measuring the pressure in the eyes, examining the inside of the eyes, and dilating your pupils to get a better look at the optic nerve and drainage angle.

Is there treatment?

There are several treatment options your eye doctor will consider if you are found to be suffering from glaucoma. These include eye drops, medication, laser surgery, or conventional surgery. The best course of action depends upon the particulars of your case and how you respond to treatment.

A comprehensive vision exam is essential to catch serious eye conditions, such as glaucoma, before irreversible damage is done.

Has it been a while since your last comprehensive vision exam? Give us a call to schedule one today!

5 Ways to Protect and Improve Your Child’s Eyesight

Your child’s vision is their primary window into the world around them. Keeping their eyesight healthy is an important part of allowing them to experience life to the fullest.

Here are 5 tips on how to protect and improve your child’s eye health:

1. Take them to the eye doctor for routine eye exams

One of the most important take-aways from any article you read on the subject of keeping your child’s vision and eyes healthy, is the need to keep up with routine comprehensive eye exams.

Although your kid’s school may perform vision screenings, these tests can only detect the most basic issues, such as myopia (nearsightedness) or severe amblyopia. They are not equipped to check for eye diseases that can affect your child’s long-term ocular health, or binocular vision disorders that can hinder their ability to learn.

Our Sacramento eye doctor will be able to perform a comprehensive eye exam to check for the presence of these and other conditions. If ocular diseases or vision disorders are detected, your eye doctor will have the equipment and expertise to properly treat them.

2. Limit their screen time

Digital screens are an ever-present part of our lives. Children can spend hours every day texting, playing video games, watching television, doing schoolwork, and more. It’s all too easy to spend way too much time in front of digital devices that emit blue light, which may contribute to digital eye strain. Symptoms of digital eye strain may include:

  • Tired eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Headaches
  • Sore eyes

To combat digital eye strain and reduce your child’s exposure to blue light, limit their screen time, when possible, and turn off devices a few hours before bedtime to allow your child to wind down.

3. Encourage them to eat healthy foods and get exercise

As with every part of the body, a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in ensuring the long-term health of your child’s eyes.

Eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids is a great way to promote eye health. Good sources include fish such as salmon and herring. For vegans and others who don’t eat fish, flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts are also a great option.

Leafy greens and fruits are also important, as they’re high in vitamins A, C and E, which are all important for the development and maintenance of healthy vision.

Along with a healthy diet, you should encourage your child to get up and exercise. Physical activity is good for the whole body, and that includes the eyes.

Bonus points if you can get your child outside, as sunlight and outdoor play have been shown to slow or even prevent the development of myopia. Just make sure your child wears sunglasses and a sun hat — UV rays have a cumulative effect that could lead to eye diseases like macular degeneration later in life.

4. Help them avoid eye injuries

Eye injuries are an all-too-common occurrence, especially among children.

If you have little ones at home, make sure that paints, cleaners and other dangerous chemicals and irritants are put away somewhere safe. If these ever get into their eyes, they can cause severe damage to your child’s visual system, including permanent loss of vision.

For contact and ball/puck sports, ensure your child wears the right eyewear to protect their eyes from accidental impacts or pokes. Helmets should also be worn where the sport warrants it, to prevent concussions and other head injuries that can have an effect on vision.

5. Reduce eye infections

Even small, common infections such as pink eye can have an impact on your child’s vision.

Hands are some of the most bacteria-filled parts of our bodies. Your child should learn not to touch their eyes with their unwashed hands, as this is the primary way of introducing germs to the eye that may result in infection.

On a similar note, if you have contact lens wearers, be sure to teach them to wash their hands each and every time they put in or take out their contact lenses. They should also learn to store and clean their lenses strictly according to their eye doctor‘s instructions and should change lenses according to their intended schedule. Daily contacts should be changed daily, monthly contacts, monthly.

For more information on how best to protect and improve your child’s eyesight, contact Sacramento Optometric Group in Sacramento today.

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Kenneth Sakazaki, O.D.

Q: Can I rely on the vision screenings at my child’s school to catch vision and eye health issues?

  • A: No. School-based vision screenings check for basic visual acuity. Even if your child has perfect 20/20 vision, there may still be issues with visual skills or undetected eye diseases that these types of screenings are not equipped to catch.It is important not to rely on school vision screenings as a replacement for an annual comprehensive eye exam with your local optometrist. During these visits, your eye doctor will be able to assess your child for vision skills such as:Eye teaming ability
    Convergence and divergence skills
    Tracking and focusing Visual accommodationThey will also be able to diagnose and treat conditions such as:Amblyopia
    Strabismus
    (Rarely) pediatric glaucoma or cataractsThese and other conditions can only be diagnosed and treated by a trained optometrist as part of a comprehensive eye exam.

Q: Can vision problems be misdiagnosed as ADHD/ADD?

  • A: It is unfortunately common for learning-related vision problems to go undetected. These vision problems can often mimic the symptoms of ADD/ADHD, leading to misdiagnosis and mistaken treatment.As many as 1 out of every 4 school-age children suffers from some form of visual dysfunction. If not properly treated, a child may struggle throughout their entire school career, harming their learning and possibly their long-term self-confidence.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Sacramento, California. Visit Sacramento Optometric Group for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Eyesight

Pregnancy can impact almost every part of a woman’s body and health — including her eyes. In fact, an estimated 14% of pregnant women report experiencing visual changes during pregnancy that usually resolve on their own within a couple of months after giving birth.

Knowing the different visual symptoms that can present when you’re expecting can help alert you to potential underlying health concerns that your physician may need to address.

Normal Visual Changes During Pregnancy

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision is the most common visual symptom that pregnant women may experience. Hormonal fluctuations are usually to blame for the temporary decrease in visual acuity, and your eyesight will likely return to normal soon after giving birth.

The influx of pregnancy hormones causes fluid retention in some areas of the body and can cause the cornea to thicken slightly. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused accurately and vision may be blurred.

Less commonly, blurred vision can signal gestational diabetes, a pregnancy complication affecting 6-9% of pregnant women. The rise in blood sugar level impacts the focusing lens of the eye, leading to blurry vision. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, including gestational diabetes, it’s a good idea to book an eye exam to monitor for retinal changes.

Blurred vision is also a common side effect of dry eye syndrome, a condition characterized by tears that don’t adequately lubricate the eyes, which can be brought on or exacerbated by pregnancy.

Eye Dryness

Pregnancy hormones can cause a reduction in the amount of tears your eyes produce or affect the quality of the tears. These changes can affect a woman throughout her entire pregnancy, but studies show that eye dryness is particularly common in the last trimester. For this reason, some women find it difficult to wear contact lenses in their third trimester and temporarily switch to glasses.

Eye Puffiness

Yet another body part that swells during pregnancy: the eyelids and tissues around the eyes.

Pregnancy-related water retention may cause your eyelids to appear puffier than during your pre-pregnancy days. You may also notice darker areas under the eyes. If your puffy eyes bother you, try limiting your salt and caffeine intake, as they can worsen the problem.

Visual Changes That May Indicate a Problem

The following visual changes warrant a prompt call to your eye doctor or obstetrician to rule out any underlying complications.

Flashes or floaters

Seeing stars during pregnancy can signal high blood pressure, which is associated with preeclampsia — a serious medical condition that requires close monitoring by your physician and possible treatment.

It’s crucial to have your blood pressure monitored throughout your pregnancy, as preeclampsia can potentially endanger the life of mother and child, as well as damage the cornea and retina.

Temporary vision loss

Temporary vision loss is concerning for pregnant and non-pregnant individuals. Vision loss is another warning sign of preeclampsia, so contact your doctor promptly if you suddenly lose any portion of your visual field.

Sensitivity to light

Light-sensitivity can either be a normal side effect of fluid retention in the eye, or it can signal dangerously high blood pressure and preeclampsia.

How We Can Help

At ​​Sacramento Optometric Group, our goal is to keep your vision and eyes healthy throughout your pregnancy and beyond. If you experience any visual symptoms, we can help by thoroughly examining your eyes to determine the underlying cause and provide you with guidance on what next steps to take.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time, when self care should be at the forefront — and that includes comprehensive eye care.

To schedule an eye exam or learn more about our eye care services, call Sacramento Optometric Group in Sacramento today!

Q&A

Why are regular eye exams important?

Having your eyes evaluated by an optometrist on a regular basis is crucial for detecting early signs of eye diseases and changes in your prescription, including during pregnancy. Many serious eye diseases don’t cause any noticeable symptoms until they’ve progressed to late stages, when damage to vision may be irreversible. Whether or not you wear glasses or contact lenses for vision correction, ask your optometrist about how often to schedule a routine eye exam.

Will my baby need an eye exam after birth?

According to the American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists, babies should have an eye exam within the first 6-12 months of life, even in the absence of noticeable vision problems. Healthy vision is a significant part of healthy overall development, so be sure not to skip your baby’s eye exams!

Keep the season (and your family’s eyes) safe and bright with these toy safety tips!

With the holiday season upon us, gift giving is in full swing. So it’s only appropriate that the American Academy of Ophthalmology has declared December as Safe Toys and Celebrations Month. As parents, seeing the excitement on your child’s face as they open their presents this time of year brings a great deal of joy, especially as they open that one special toy they’ve been hoping to receive.

According to Stanford Children’s Health, toys and home playground equipment cause more than 11,000 injuries to young eyes. However, you don’t have to let toy safety concerns get in the way of your celebration – keep the season (and your family’s eyes!) safe and bright with these toy safety tips:

· Examine toys for sharp or ragged edges. Safety regulations prohibit sharp points in new toys that are designed for use by children under eight years of age.

· Be sure to select toys that are age-appropriate for your child.

· When introducing new toys, be sure to show your child how to use or play with them safely and as intended.

· Store toys away after play to prevent falls.

Visit preventblindness.org for additional tips to gift-givers to make sure gifts are safe, especially those intended for children.

Need gift ideas? Consider sunglasses with UV protection. Give us a call, and we’ll help you find the perfect gift!

Happy Holidays from all of us!

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How Sleep Apnea Affects The Eyes

Did you know that some eye conditions are associated with sleep apnea? According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and Health Canada reports similar prevalence. It’s a sleep disorder where people stop breathing — often multiple times per night — while sleeping.

If you have sleep apnea: it tends to take longer for your tears to be replenished, you’re more likely to have ocular irritation, you have a higher chance of developing floppy eyelids, and you’re at increased risk for glaucoma.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

There are different types of sleep apnea. The most common one is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). During OSA, your airway becomes partially blocked due to relaxed muscles in your nose and throat. This causes apnea (the absence of breathing) or hypopnea (abnormally shallow, slow breathing). It’s twice as common in men, and is more likely to affect people with obesity, hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.

What are the common symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing. These temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and affect the body’s oxygen supply, which can lead to potentially serious health consequences.

While snoring is a common symptom, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Interrupted sleep can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability or depression, headaches in the morning, difficulty concentrating and thinking, and a sore throat.

Which Eye Conditions Are Associated With Sleep Apnea?

Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when increased pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, leading to vision loss and sometimes blindness. In some cases, it might be due to a drop in blood oxygen levels, which happens when you stop breathing. However, CPAP machines, one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea, can also cause glaucoma.

So, people with sleep apnea — even if it’s being treated — need to get their eyes checked on a regular basis for glaucoma.

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES) is an eye condition where a person has an unusually large and floppy upper eyelid. It can cause eye redness, irritation, discharge, or blurry vision — and over 90% of people with FES also have sleep apnea.

Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is an eye condition that occurs when there is a loss of blood flow to the optic nerve. Patients typically complain of significant vision loss in one eye without any major pain. Approximately 70-80% of patients with NAION have been found to have OSA.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Also referred to as an ‘eye stroke,’ retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina. A recent study of 114 RVO patients found that sleep apnea was suspected in 74% of the patients that had previously been diagnosed with RVO.

Other Eye Health Issues Associated With Sleep Apnea

Some other ocular conditions that are more common in patients with sleep apnea include: papilledema, keratoconus, and central serous chorioretinopathy. Furthermore, in addition to glaucoma mentioned above, CPAP machines are associated with dry eye syndrome and bacterial conjunctivitis.

Talk To Your Doc

Get eye exams regularly to rule out eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss, especially if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. At Sacramento Optometric Group in Sacramento we encourage you to share your medical history with us so we can better diagnose and treat any eye conditions or ocular diseases you may have, and help you keep your eyes nice and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Kenneth Sakazaki

Q: What Causes Sleep Apnea?

  • A: Sleep apnea occurs when in-part or completely stop breathing when sleeping. This causes your lungs to strain harder for oxygen, and makes the brain send signals that jerk your body awake to resume proper breathing.

Q: What are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?

  • A: A common sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring. Snoring that is loud enough to disturb the sleep of the patient as well as others around, even across the walls. That said, not everyone who snores suffers from obstructive sleep apnea.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Sacramento, California. Visit Sacramento Optometric Group for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

What You Should Know About Night Blindness

If you don’t see well while driving at night, there’s a chance you have night blindness. Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is the inability to see well at night or in dim lighting. It’s not considered an eye disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem.

Our eye doctor in Sacramento can help diagnose, manage and treat your night blindness with specialized digital eye exams, so that you can enjoy being out and about at night again.

Here are 4 things you should know about night blindness:

Causes of Night Blindness

The inability to see well at night can be the result of a condition such as:

  • Vitamin A Deficiency — Vitamin A helps keep your cornea, the layer at the front of your eye, clear; it’s also an important component of rhodopsin, a protein that enables you to see in low light conditions. Although uncommon in North America, deficiency of this vitamin can induce night blindness.
  • CataractsA buildup of protein clouds the eye’s lens, leading to impaired vision, especially at night and in poor lighting conditions.
  • Diabetic RetinopathyDamage to the eyes’ blood vessels and nerves can result in vision loss, including difficulty seeing at night.
  • GlaucomaThis group of eye diseases is associated with pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve. Both glaucoma and the medications used to treat it can cause night blindness.
  • MyopiaAlso called nearsightedness, myopia makes distant objects appear blurry, and patients with it describe a starburst effect around lights at night.
  • KeratoconusAn irregularly shaped cornea causes blurred vision and may involve sensitivity to light and glare which tend to be worse at night.
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)A progressive genetic eye disease which can be associated with other diseases, RP leads to night blindness and peripheral vision loss.
  • Usher SyndromeThis genetic condition causes both hearing loss and vision loss, including night blindness and RP, mentioned above.

Symptoms of Nyctalopia

Since night blindness is a symptom of some serious vision problems, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice that you don’t see as well in dim light as you used to, such as when driving at night or when adjusting from being outdoors in the sunshine to being indoors.

Symptoms of Night Blindness Include:

  • Reduced contrast sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing people outdoors at night
  • Difficulty seeing in places with dim lighting, like a movie theater
  • Trouble adapting to the dark while driving
  • Excessive squinting at night
  • Trouble adjusting from bright areas to darker ones

Treatments for Night Blindness

Your eye doctor will want to diagnose the cause of your night blindness in order to treat it. For example, in the rare case of vitamin A deficiency, it can be treated with vitamin supplements and vitamin-A rich foods; myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Other conditions may require medications or surgery.

If night blindness is caused by a birth defect, Usher syndrome, or retinitis pigmentosa, low vision aids and devices can help you make the most of your remaining vision.

Prevention

While there is no proven way to prevent night blindness resulting from genetic conditions or birth defects, consuming healthy, nourishing foods and taking certain vitamin supplements may prevent or slow the onset of some eye conditions that cause night blindness.

If you experience poor vision at night or in dim lighting, we can help. Contact Sacramento Optometric Group in Sacramento to schedule your appointment today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Kenneth Sakazaki

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Sacramento, California. Visit Sacramento Optometric Group for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

6 Common Myths About Glaucoma

Glaucoma is an eye disease in which increased pressure causes progressive, permanent vision loss and even blindness. Unfortunately, many misconceptions about the disease can leave you misinformed. Below we sort fact from fiction by debunking 6 of the most common glaucoma myths.

Glaucoma Facts vs. Myths

MYTH 1: Glaucoma is a single disease

FACT

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases; the most common ones are open-angle glaucoma (OAG) and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG).

In open-angle glaucoma, the drainage structure in your eye (called the trabecular meshwork) doesn’t allow the fluid inside the eye to flow out as it should, causing an increase in internal ocular pressure that damages the optic nerve. OAG develops slowly, and usually by the time people perceive symptoms, such as peripheral vision loss, they already have optic nerve damage.

In angle-closure glaucoma, the eye doesn’t drain fluid as it should because the drainage channel between your iris and cornea becomes too narrow, causing increased eye pressure. This pressure damages the optic nerve, leading to vision loss. ACG can occur suddenly or gradually.

MYTH 2: Only the elderly suffer from glaucoma

FACT

Although it’s true that people over 60 are at a greater risk of developing open-angle glaucoma compared to people in their 40s, there are other types of glaucoma that can affect people aged 20 to 50 and even young infants (due to abnormal ocular development).

In addition to age, those with a higher risk of developing glaucoma include:

  • African Americans and Hispanics
  • Individuals with a family history of glaucoma
  • Patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or sickle cell anemia
  • Those who have previously sustained an eye injury
  • People taking steroid medications over the long term

MYTH 3: Glaucoma shows symptoms early on

FACT

The most common form of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma, shows virtually no signs or symptoms until its later stages when vision loss sets in. Despite what people may think, the increased eye pressure causes no pain. And since peripheral vision is the first to go, you may not recognize vision loss until your vision has become significantly impaired. The only way to detect glaucoma is to undergo a comprehensive eye exam.

MYTH 4: Nothing can be done once you have glaucoma

FACT

While there’s currently no cure for glaucoma, many effective treatment options exist: eye drops, oral medications, as well as laser and surgical procedures that can help slow glaucoma progression. Each treatment option is used to get the fluid to flow properly out of the eye, reducing pressure inside the eye and decreasing damage to the optic nerve.

MYTH 5: Testing for glaucoma is painful

FACT

Actually, testing for glaucoma is practically painless. One of the tests includes a non-contact device that blows a gentle puff of air into each eye to test the intraocular pressure. The sound of the puff may be startling, but it’s over in a second and is painless. With the Goldmann applanation tonometry test, an anesthetic eye drop is inserted into each eye, which may cause a stinging sensation for a few seconds. Your eye doctor will then use a blue light to quickly and gently touch the cornea to precisely measure intraocular pressure. The most accurate of all, however, are visual field testing and OCT (optical coherence tomography), non-invasive imaging, both of which are also painless.

MYTH 6: You can’t prevent glaucoma

FACT

Regular eye exams are the only way to prevent glaucoma, as blindness or significant vision loss can be prevented if the disease is diagnosed and treated in the early stages. That’s why routine comprehensive eye exams which include glaucoma testing are so important.

Getting your eyes checked regularly can ensure that any existing eye problems are detected early enough to prevent or slow ocular damage. Contact Sacramento Optometric Group in Sacramento to book your comprehensive eye exam today!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Kenneth Sakazaki, O.D.

Q: If one of my parents has glaucoma, does that mean I will develop it as well at some point?

  • A: Having a parent with glaucoma does not mean that the child will automatically develop the condition too. However, those people with an immediate family history (parents, siblings) of glaucoma are at more risk to develop this disease. Patients should have a comprehensive eye examination each year to evaluate the health of the eyes and to look for signs of glaucoma. Some of these signs can be an increase in the pressure of the eyes as well as changes to the appearance of the optic nerve. Many times there are no symptoms noticed by the patient. If there is suspicion of glaucoma, more frequent visits to the eye doctor along with additional nerve testing are often required.

Q: Why do I need to scan my retinas/back of the eye?

  • A: The retina shows us a lot about the overall ocular health as well as systemic conditions that can affect the eyes. Often diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol can be observed from a retinal scan. Also, retinal scans allow us to diagnose and treat macular degeneration and glaucoma. Scans are often very important for a complete eye check up.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Sacramento, California. Visit Sacramento Optometric Group for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.