Blocked Tear Duct: What, Why, and How?

blocked tear duct Mililani HI Tears occur so continuously, and naturally, that eye lubrication is not something we usually think about. When we do, it is because something has gone awry. Most often, the type of abnormal tear production that we hear about is dry eye syndrome. Today, we want to go in the other direction and talk about blocked tear ducts, what they are, why they happen, and how this problem may be treated.

What is a blocked tear duct?

The tears that moisten the surface of the eye come from the lacrimal glands. Any excess in production drains into the tear ducts and the nasal passageway. The tiny tubule structure may become blocked, causing tears to back-flow and eyes to water excessively.

Blocked tear ducts are commonly seen in newborns, and often clear without medical treatment. However, there are additional reasons that this condition may develop.

Why a Tear Duct may Become Obstructed

  • Tumor
  • Trauma to the nose
  • Abnormal craniofacial skeletal development
  • Nasal polyps (benign growths inside the nose or sinus)
  • Infected Conjunctiva (aka “pink eye”)
  • Natural Age-related changes in ocular structure

Certain factors can increase the risk of tear duct blockage, including:

  • Chronic inflammation of the eyes
  • Surgery to the sinus or nose
  • Surgery or trauma to the eye near the tear ducts
  • Radiation treatment centered on the face or head

How a Blocked Tear Duct may be Treated

In some situations, no treatment is needed to clear an obstructed tear duct. Treatment should be obtained if redness or swelling become significant. The risk associated with this treated problem is that fungi, viruses, or bacteria may grow in the stagnation of unshed tears, which could lead to chronic infection.

Contact your eye doctor if you experience:

  • Blood-tinge in tears
  • Discharge of pus from the eye
  • Recurrent infection
  • Crust on the eyelashes
  • Blurred vision
  • Excessively watery eyes

In the office of your eye doctor, a thorough consultation is performed along with appropriate diagnostic evaluation that may involve irrigation and drainage testing. Treatment for a blocked tear duct revolves around the cause of excessive tearing. Sometimes irrigating the tear duct, or a course of medication is sufficient for resolution. In some cases, tiny tubes may need to be inserted to support drainage.

We are proud to provide a high standard of eye care to patients from Honolulu and Mililani. Call 808-625-5577 to schedule a visit with us.

Is One of These Falsehoods Keeping You From LASIK?

LASIK
Millions of people across the globe have restored clearer vision by undergoing the LASIK procedure. This treatment was developed over two decades ago and has been one of the most-studied ophthalmic surgeries. Success rates have been consistently high, and the technique has improved as innovative technologies have been developed. With all of the value that we clearly see with LASIK, we also frequently hear falsehoods as reasons that patients have not yet moved forward with their corrective procedure. Let’s see what they are, and how they are wrong.

LASIK does not correct astigmatism.

The asymmetry of astigmatism causes distortion at all distances. It may be as difficult to read street signs as it is to read product labels. When the cornea is not perfectly round, but more oval and pointed at the edges, there is no way for light to focus on one point at the back of the eye. The LASIK procedure resolves asymmetry so the focus of light follows the straight and narrow, as it should.

Farsightedness means you cannot get LASIK.

If you are farsighted, chances are you rely on corrective lenses to read and perform other up-close tasks. Farsightedness is a refractive error that is not unlike nearsightedness – it’s just its opposite. In each condition, similar to astigmatism, light does not land on the retina as needed for visual clarity. To focus light appropriately, LASIK is performed with the intent of reshaping the cornea using the appropriate technique.

LASIK equals night glare.

Daytime vision would have to be pretty poor for a person to choose to have a corrective procedure that would then disable their ability to drive at night. Fortunately, this is not a side effect associated with modern LASIK procedures. In fact, some say that LASIK makes night driving more comfortable by reducing glare, rather than adding to it.

Have you been considering LASIK but stalling because of falsehoods that seem real? Get the details about this procedure and learn if LASIK is right for you. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam and consultation with Dr. Omphroy in our Mililani office. Call 808-625-5577.

Best Timing for Lasik

LASIKWearing eyeglasses or contacts all day every day can become a nuisance for many people. There is the constant threat of misplacing the spectacles that help you see clearly, or dropping a contact lens as you try to insert it into your eye. When corrective lenses of any type begin to feel like a frustration, it may be time to consider LASIK.

LASIK for Better Vision

LASIK is an expedient and efficient procedure that can correct vision to such a degree that the need for eyeglasses or contacts ends. Because LASIK is a surgical procedure, though, this can raise some questions, such as what to expect and when to schedule treatment.

One of the primary advantages of the LASIK procedure is that it requires very little time. There is no lengthy recovery, and even the office visit for treatment is short. So, the obvious answer related to the timing of this eye surgery is that you should schedule it when you are no longer willing to wear glasses or contacts. Beyond that, it is helpful to recognize the minor restrictions that are associated with post-treatment recovery. These include:

  • No swimming or hot tub use for 2 weeks.
  • This includes no watersports on lakes, rivers, streams, or in the ocean, only extend that to 1 month.
  • Avoid environments that may be windy, smoky, dusty, or dirty. This means no sitting around a campfire or bonfire, no hiking or biking on windy days.

When you consider these restrictions, and also take into account the need for a one-day, one-week, and one-month follow-up the visit to check your recovery, it becomes easy to see that the worst time to schedule LASIK would be right before a planned vacation.

With summer on the way, now may be as good a time as any to schedule a LASIK consultation in our office near Honolulu. Dr. Omphroy has been in practice for over 3 decades and is one of the pioneers of laser eye treatments in not only in Honolulu but in the nation. To make an appointment in our comfortable, professional office, call 808-625-5577.

 

Why that 3D Entertainment isn’t Hitting your Sweet Spot

eye conditionsIn recent years, we have seen a new interest in 3D entertainment. Movies out of Hollywood are jumping off the screen to get our attention. If you have attempted to enjoy this type of entertainment but found that your eyes just can’t seem to agree, you’re not alone.

Normal Vision Imitated

The technical action behind 3D imaging is an attempt to imitate the natural workings of the eye. We do observe objects in 3 dimensions as we go about our day. Once images are placed on a screen, however, they are diminished to 2 dimensions. The whole point of 3D is to make the events happening before we feel more authentic. Who doesn’t like the idea of being front and center for that fight between King Kong and Godzilla!

How it Works

Because our eyes are naturally a couple of inches apart, each has its unique perspective. You can test this by closing one eye at a time when you observe your environment. Without moving your head, observe the same environment with the other eye closed. The world looks slightly different when you do this. When we use both of our eyes, the brain fuses these two perspectives to form a singular 3-dimensional view. Pretty amazing!

To recreate this for our entertainment, 3D films are made from two different lenses. These lenses are situated the same average distance as the eyes, a few inches from one another. Because of this technical approach, it is impossible to see the images on the screen clearly without the assistance of special glasses.

Historically, 3D glasses have been filtered; one lens blue and the other red. Today, most of these spectacles are simply polarized. This advancement filter colors in a way that allows images to project 3-dimensionally without obstructing the fullness of all hues.

The trouble with 3D Entertainment?

Have you tried to sit through a 3D movie and found that, even with your special glasses, you cannot seem to focus properly on what is in front of you? This can be frustrating and may also leave you feeling slightly motion sick! If you have had this experience, it could be because your eyes are not fully coordinating their movements. This is referred to as binocular vision, and approximately 30 percent of the population has it to some degree.

Does binocular vision require treatment? Not necessarily, unless you have other eye conditions that are impeding your clearest vision. However, there is no wrong time to get your eyes checked! To schedule a thorough eye exam in the Honolulu area, call 808-625-5577.

A Workout for your Eyes could be Great for your Game

eye exerciseIf you play a sport, you know the importance of practice. Practicing that pitch makes you faster and more accurate. Running sprints can make you more precise on the football field. The list goes on and on and can be tailored to any sport. Did you know that adding a workout for your eyes could actually help your game, whatever that game may be? Here, we will look at some suggested exercises and what they can do for you.

  • Just like you stretch the muscles in your arms and legs that you will use during a sport, you can stretch your eyes. This is an easy practice; all you do is look from an object up close to one about 2 feet away, and then to an object about 20 feet away or farther. This change-up from near to far facilitates the muscular movements needed to maintain visual acuity.
  • Play the sidelines. It is equally as important to be able to visualize objects that are coming from either side of you as it is to see what is directly in front of you. We easily forget to pay attention to our peripheral vision, but we can work this out by spending a short amount of time each day just paying attention to what we see to the sides. Observe as many details as possible.
  • Alternate eyes. Depth perception is a must for all of us. So even if you don’t play a sport on a regular basis, you can benefit from working out one eye at a time. To do this, close one eye while you catch a ball, kick a ball, bounce a ball, or perform some other physical task. Another way to exercise your eyes for depth perception is to perform a task like threading a needle.

There is value in an eye workout for the average person as much as for the avid athlete. Engaging in eye exercises means we have better hand-eye coordination, visual acuity, memory recall, and peripheral vision. Who wouldn’t benefit from that?

If you are experiencing any changes to your vision, schedule an exam with board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Omphroy near Honolulu. Call 808-625-5577.

The Dilated Eye Exam: Here’s What it’s All About

eye-dilationIf you are due for an eye exam, you can expect that your doctor will place drops in your eyes that leave you “double-sighted” for a few hours. The short-lived blurriness that stems from dilating the eyes is well worth it. Here’s why . . .

Why Dilation Matters

The eyes naturally become dilated, or widened, in times of low light. The wider the pupils, the more light that is able to reach the back of the eye. During your eye exam, the amount of light that enters the eye equates to how well ocular structures are observed. Many of the common diseases that threaten long term vision have nearly imperceptible symptoms throughout the earliest stages of onset. Dilation gives us the best possible chance at detecting signs of conditions such as:

  • Diabetic retinopathy. This is an important condition to diagnose early because diabetic retinopathy robs more people of their eyesight than any other condition. The dilated eye exam gives us the opportunity to observe symptoms like abnormal growth in blood vessels or leakage from blood vessels in the retina.
  • Dilation enables us to view the details of optic nerve fibers, such as color and shape. Also, through the widened pupil, it is easier to notice heightened cupping where these nerve fibers intersect between the eye and the brain.
  • Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD.  Symptoms that indicate this potentially serious eye condition include clumping of pigmentation beneath the retina, or yellow deposits near that structure.

What to Expect during Dilation

To dilate the eyes, we insert special eye drops. The pupils respond to the solution over about a twenty minute period, after which light is shone into the eye to view the retina. Eye drops may sting a little. Some patients report a medicine-like taste in the mouth from their eye drops. Neither side-effect is typically uncomfortable.

After your exam, you may wear special throw-away sunglasses that wrap around your face. Some patients double the power of these sunglasses by wearing their normal UV protective glasses over them. In addition to blurred vision, most patients will be extra-sensitive to light until the effects of dilation wear off.

You cannot drive after having your eyes dilated, so plan to have a friend or loved one escort you to your exam.

Contact your Mililani ophthalmologist Dr. Carlos Omphroy at 808-625-5577.

Visual Disturbance? It could be an Ocular Migraine.

migraineWe often consult with patients who aren’t quite sure what is happening with their vision; they just know something is not right. Experience any type of visual disturbance, even for a few hours or minutes, can be frightening. If this has happened to you, we encourage you to contact our Mililani office. A thorough eye exam can help us determine whether or not your particular problem is linked to an ocular migraine.

Ocular migraines are different than the standard migraine; and the good news is that they are typically harmless. The primary concern with this condition is to ensure that symptoms are, in fact, caused by the migraine and not another, more serious, underlying cause. Scientists have not determined an exact cause for ocular migraines, but they do suggest that they are related to the temporary disturbance of blood flow to certain parts of the brain. In this instance, that is the visual cortex.

Are your symptoms characteristic of an ocular migraine?
There are several ways that an ocular migraine may present. Every person may have a different experience. Also, symptoms can vary from one migraine to another. Some of the most commonly reported symptoms include:

  • One eye or both eyes may be affected.
  • Vision may be affected for as little as a few minutes, or for hours.
  • A pulsating or shimmering jagged line may appear in the field of vision.
  • Tunnel vision may occur, or a “blank area” may be noticed in central vision.
  • Symptoms may worsen before they dissipate.
  • A mirage effect, like heat waves, may occur.
  • After symptoms start to fade, a slight headache may develop. If pain is severe, the likely cause is a true migraine rather than an ocular migraine.

Triggers
There are several factors that researchers believe could instigate an ocular migraine. However, sometimes, no cause can be identified. If you have experienced an ocular migraine, it could be due to:

  • A food additive or sensitivity to a certain food or drink.
  • Dehydration.
  • Stress.
  • Fatigue due to lack of sleep.
  • Sensitivity to a certain medication.
  • Hormonal imbalance (possibly from oral contraceptives).
  • Weather changes that affect barometric pressure.

Any type of visual disturbance can cause a great deal of stress. Don’t let this happen to you! Call 808-625-5577 to have your eyes examined.

Are you Enjoying all that Pumpkin Spice? Your Eyes are, Too!

eye nutritionPumpkin. It has long been the poster-child of Autumn, and not just on all those decorations, or the pumpkins we decorate for Halloween. Throughout this time of year, we can also partake of all kinds of pumpkin-inspired treats. Pumpkin spice lattes . . . Pumpkin pie . . . you get the picture. While you may be thinking that you have to think twice about your pumpkin spice obsession, we are going to give you good reason to say “Yes!” to this healthy treat.

The Superfood of Fall
Pumpkin is not only delicious, it is also really good for you! This food is loaded with potassium and fiber, both of which can have a positive effect on your waistline and your blood pressure. Oh, and let’s not forget that pumpkin also does your eyes more than a bit of good. Here’s why:

  • Pumpkins have zeaxanthin and lutein, antioxidants that have a sunscreen effect on the eyes. These two particular antioxidants also fight the free radicals that could cause eye disease.
  • Vitamin A in pumpkin builds eye strength to see well in low-light. The cornea also receives protective power from this vitamin.
  • Vitamin C in pumpkin can help lower the risk for sight-stealing diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts.

Not all Pumpkin Food is Superfood
Before you plan your mornings around that trip to Starbucks, let’s talk about the issue of real pumpkin versus pumpkin flavoring. A good amount of the pumpkin-inspired treats that are sold to us are pretty high in sugar content. Those yummy breads and cakes, and, sadly, even the average pumpkin pie. Sugar-containing pumpkin recipes need not be eliminated from your menu altogether; just take care not to overdo it. Sugar could counteract all the goodness that real pumpkin has to offer.

Want to indulge? Try this:

  • Whip up a pumpkin smoothie sweetened with honey or stevia.
  • Brew a pumpkin soup loaded with fall vegetables.
  • Roast pumpkin as your main course or a tasty side dish.
  • Bake pumpkin seeds and season with a dash of salt.

Fall isn’t really Fall without the robust fruit we love to eat and decorate with. Enjoying healthy pumpkin treats satisfies your taste buds while also nourishing your eyes.
We wish you a happy Fall!

Visit AllAboutVision.com to see our listing.

Red, Irritated Eyes? This could be Why!

Eye traumaWe see many patients in our Mililani ophthalmology practice, which gives us a front-row seat to a number of different conditions. There are certain symptoms that are more common than others. Redness, for instance, is a more common problem than eye pain. However common a symptom may seem, though, it is important to know what could be causing it so unnecessary stress does not linger. Here, we are going to look at some of the common reasons that eyes may become red and irritated, and what to do about them.

If your eyes are red and irritated, it could be due to:

  • Pink eye. This infection is relatively common among children, involving itching, stinging, burning, discharge, excessive watering, and swelling of the eyelid. Pink eye is typically perceived as a highly-contagious infection, but there is also a type that related to allergies and is not contagious. What to do: If pink eye, or conjunctivitis, is suspected, do not rub the eyes. Relief may be obtained with cool compresses. If discharge is yellow or green, if you have a fever, or if discharge causes the eyelids to be stuck together in the morning, schedule a consultation for treatment.
  • Allergies. Seasonal allergies or allergic reaction to fumes or pet dander can lead to itchy, watery, puffy, red eyes. What to do: If you know you have allergies, and they are severe, you may talk with your doctor about specific allergy medication. For temporary relief from symptoms, place cool compresses over the eyes and take an over-the-counter allergy medication.
  • Broken blood vessel. These tiny vessels throughout the eye can burst under substantial physical exertion, as a result of eye-rubbing, or simply because. The appearance of a broken blood vessel can be alarming due to the leakage of blood into the white of the eye. Typically, this condition is temporary and harmless. What to do: If a blood vessel in the eye bursts, it is a good idea to have your eye doctor perform an assessment to ensure there is no underlying condition that requires treatment. The broken vessel itself typically requires no treatment.

Eye trauma. An injury to the eye or face could lead to broken blood vessels, blurred vision, scratched cornea, or even a detached retina. What to do: Eye injuries should be evaluated by your eye doctor. Discomfort may be treated with cool compresses until care can be obtained. Depending on the severity of pain or the injury itself, a visit to the nearest emergency room may be necessary.

Do you need a visit with Dr. Omphroy? Give us a call at 808-625-5577.

Cataracts Affect more than Vision

cataractThe data regarding cataracts tell us a lot about the prevalence of this condition. If we look at the numbers, we see that 70% of us will develop cataracts in one or both eyes at some point. Generally, it is the “at some point” that we remember. This sounds like the distant future, and we like that; because who wants cataracts to threaten the longevity of their vision?

There are interesting aspects of the whole cataract conversation. On one hand, we hear that cataracts are the primary cause of vision loss in older adults. On the other hand, we hear that a person can have cataracts removed pretty much whenever they are ready. What is the best timing? Here are some ways to find out . . .

Your Lifestyle is Affected
The more we have learned about health and wellness, the better we care for ourselves. This is reflected in the recent increase in life span. It can also be seen in how older adults are maintaining their active lifestyle well into retirement age. As we age, we don’t want to have to cut back on our golf game, or our kayaking or skiing or whatever else we do to stay active! That being the case, there is good reason to attend to the issue of cataracts as early as possible.

Your Quality of Life is Affected
Not interested in running a 5K or riding your bicycle around town? That doesn’t mean you don’t want the highest quality of life you can live! Vision impairment from cataracts can make it difficult to fully see and enjoy the faces of the people you love. This condition could cause you to forego an outing, or to pass on a favorite activity such as gardening or even walking around your neighborhood. Life shouldn’t become constricted just because we get older. Managing eye health is one way to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Your Safety is Affected
The risk of falls is one of the most prevalent concerns older adults face. What studies show is that vision and the risk of falling are directly related. Research also indicates that individuals with cataracts may have a particularly difficult time driving at night, which increases and already-elevated risk for auto accidents.

Patients of Mililani ophthalmologist Dr. Carlos Omphroy receive one on one care for their eye health concerns. For an exam and consultation, call 808-625-5577.