Eye Exam Honolulu, HI

May is Ultraviolet Awareness Month: Just in Time for Summer!

We don’t seem to get too many cloudy days around here. For the most part, both the locals and the travelers to our lovely island paradise understand that ultraviolet light is the norm. Sunny days are appealing, but they also present a risk of sun damage and skin cancer. To mitigate these risks, we have learned to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen products on the daily. But what about our eyes?

Did you know that ultraviolet light can cause sunburn on the cornea of the eye? If you’ve ever surfed on a sunny day, you may have experienced this first-hand. In addition to the pretty rare occurrence of a corneal sunburn, UV light has also been associated with an increased risk of cataracts as well as cancer around or in the eye. This is precisely why we have something called Ultraviolet Awareness Month, and why your Mililani ophthalmologist encourages annual eye exams.

Is it Really That Easy for Sun Damage to Affect the Eyes?

The eyes are vulnerable to a variety of factors, including exposure to sunlight and other UV light. It may not be that the eyes can’t handle any amount of exposure, but that damaging ultraviolet rays are inflicting their powerful energy on the eyes anytime we’re outdoors. Think of the ordinary times that you go outside without thinking to don a pair of shades. UV related eye damage may occur from details as simple as:

  • Having light-colored eyes.
  • A family history of eye disease such as cataracts or cancer.
  • Having an occupation that requires a lot of outdoor time, especially during the midday hours.
  • Frequently working or playing around water or sand without adequate eye protection.
  • Spending any amount of time outdoors without sufficient sunglasses.

In case you didn’t catch it, we mentioned eye protection and sunglasses as a vital measure to avoid increased risks of potentially serious conditions. What does that mean, though? Is any pair of sunglasses good enough? Not really.

Sunglasses need to offer no less than 99% blockage of UV light. The more skin that is covered around the eyes, the better. Wider frames and frames that wrap around the face are ideal because they protect not only the ocular structure but also the skin on the eyelids and directly around the eyes. Depending on the extensiveness of outdoor time, it may also be worth it to invest in a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Polarized lenses reduce the intensity of glare from sunlight.

In addition to wearing quality sunglasses every day, even on the rare occasion of cloudiness, eye protection may be increased by wearing a hat and by not smoking. Many people are not aware that smoking exacerbates UV damage.

Take a step toward lifelong eye health. Call 808-625-5577 to schedule your routine eye exam.

LASIK Eye Surgery Honolulu, HI

Laser Eye Surgery: What You need to Know about Driving

The prospect of having laser eye surgery can be both intimidating and exciting. There is a lot to look forward to, like being able to read without eyeglasses. On the other hand, patients often express a small amount of concern related to unknown factors like what it will be like to drive after laser eye surgery, or when they will be able to drive after their procedure. Let’s discuss this.

Driving After Surgery

Eye procedures that involve laser technology are gentle and efficient. There is very little down time after laser eye surgery. However, patients are not able to drive immediately after their procedure. If laser eye surgery is in your future, you will need to arrange for a friend or family member to drive you to and from your appointment. It is acceptable to use public transportation if necessary, but you should be accompanied even in this situation.

Legally, driving is not supposed to resume until your ophthalmologist has cleared you to do so. In most cases, a follow-up appointment is scheduled for the day after surgery. Like the day of surgery, you will need transportation to this appointment as well. During the follow-up visit, the progress of healing is observed, and the matter of driving may be discussed. Often, patients can safely get behind the wheel within a few days of their procedure and usually need to wait no longer than a week for full recovery.

After the All-Clear

Being cleared to drive and perform other activities is a good sign of progress. There are still a few things that patients need to keep in mind after laser eye surgery. Although the initial recovery from eye surgery is very short, it may take some time for eyes to fully adjust to their new state. Some patients notice that bright lights now have a glare around them, a side-effect of eye conditions or treatments that may make night-driving something to get used to again. To make this transition easier, you may want to go out at night as a passenger first, then as the driver. Noticeable glares and halos typically decrease quite a bit within a few weeks of surgery, and continually improve over time.

Do you need more information about laser eye surgery? Call our office near Honolulu at 808-625-5577.

Diabetic Eye Treatment Mililani, HI

Diabetic Retinopathy a Precursor to Macular Edema

Individuals with the chronic condition of diabetes have a lot to think about. Due to the nature of unregulated blood sugar and insulin resistance, the body tends to be at risk for some secondary ailments such as gum disease, heart disease, and potentially serious eye diseases.

The most common eye condition that we worry about in certain individuals is diabetic retinopathy. This problem originates in the blood vessels of the retina, the tissue that sits at the back of the eye. The retina is what transmits light that enters the front of the eye into signals that travel to the brain through the optic nerve. The blood vessels in the retina are delicate and prone to leakage or bleeding if damaged by elevated pressure in the eye.

Diabetic retinopathy may occur as non-proliferative or proliferative types.

  • Non-proliferative retinopathy is an early stage condition in which blood vessels have started to become weak and swollen. These areas of swelling within blood vessels may lead fluid onto the retina.
  • Proliferative retinopathy is an advanced condition in which blood vessels are spreading. New blood vessels are more delicate than their predecessors, which means they are more likely to bleed and form scar tissue that can lead to retinal detachment and macular edema.

From the Retina to the Macula

When diabetic retinopathy has been diagnosed, the risk that concerns eye doctors is vision loss related to macular edema or swelling around the retina. The bad news about macular edema is that it can lead to vision impairment. The good news is that, while it can occur at any time due to diabetic retinopathy, macular edema usually develops in later stages of that disease. That means we have an opportunity to prevent permanent damage with early action.

The best way to reduce the risk of macular edema and vision loss is to prevent or treat retinopathy. And to do that, diabetics are encouraged to develop strategies aimed at maintaining health. These include:

  • Eating a healthy diet that keeps blood sugar regulated.
  • Controlling blood pressure.
  • Taking medications as directed by a physician.
  • Maintaining or implementing a good exercise routine. This could be as simple as a daily walk.
  • Avoiding alcohol and tobacco.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, we know you have a lot to think about. We are here to support you in the long-term health of your eyes. Call our office near Honolulu at 808-625-5577.

Macular Hole Treatment Honolulu, HI

Diagnosing and Treating the Macular Hole

Our eyes are like small cameras, and not just because they capture images that are stored in the brain. Structurally speaking, the eyes resemble cameras through the presence of a lens at the forefront, into which light flows. After passing through the lens, beams of light are then focused on the retina along the back wall of each eye. To clarify the images formed on the retina, we rely on a conglomerate of nerve cells at the center of the retina. It is this collection of cells that we call the macula.

A Hole Where?

We aren’t surprised by learning of holes in the galaxy. In the eye, though, is a phenomenon we don’t see all that often. Macular holes are possible and can affect daily living if not treated properly. Macular holes are diagnosed and treated by retinal specialists and, fortunately, tend to respond well to appropriate care.

What often incites a macular hole is the breakdown of the layer of nerve cells situated on the retina. This decline in the thickness of these cells is related to the natural aging process. Sometimes, retinal detachment occurs simultaneously to this thinning.

Diagnosing the Macular Hole

Anytime vision changes occur, there is the good reason to seek consultation with your eye doctor. Indications that a macular hole has formed include waves of vision and a sensation of looking through dense fog. Squarely within the central field of vision, a dark spot may be noticed. Additionally, the fine details of objects may look fuzzy or hard to make out when observed in central vision. Typically, these symptoms are only noticed in one eye.

To confirm a diagnosis of macular hole, it is necessary to use a special instrument to closely observe the back of the eye. Diagnosis does not require invasive technique and may involve special imaging that allows us to see the details of the retina and macula.

Treating the Macular Hole

Macular holes to not usually heal on their own. The danger in putting off treatment is that the hole may expand over time, further decreasing vision. To prevent this, surgery may be necessary. The success rate for macular hole surgery is high.

Contact our Mililani office at 808-625-5577 to arrange a visit with Dr. Omphroy.

LASIK Eye Surgery Mililani HI

A Clear Picture of Laser Eye Surgery

Eye surgery can be an incredibly stressful prospect for most people, even though this is most often an elective procedure. You may be thinking about a procedure like LASIK because you want to see better; you want to see better without needing those eyeglasses anymore. Losing reliance on eyeglasses and contacts can mean more convenience in your life. In some cases, we see laser eye surgery lead to better overall quality of life because patients feel freer to engage in activities they enjoy. Still, there are other instances in which we know false ideas about laser eye surgery may stand in a person’s way of getting that freedom they want to have.

If you have questions about laser eye surgery, contact our office near Honolulu. A friendly conversation with your eye doctor can clear any misperceptions right up. We’ll cover a few here.

Lasers are hot.

The idea that all types of laser devices emit a white-hot beam of light is not new. It’s also not true. There are multiple laser devices used in medicine today. Some are based on wavelengths of light that, when they come into contact with human tissue, cause some degree of burn. There are advantages to hot laser therapy in certain instances. Not when it comes to your eyes. Laser eye surgery involves the use of particular cold laser devices that are gentle in their effect on ocular tissue.

Eye surgery is painful.

The idea that eye surgery is painful is in line with the idea that surgery itself is painful. When we consider other surgeries, though, there is an understanding that pain is assured through the use of some anesthesia, whether general or local. Eye surgery is no different. In fact, it might even be better. Before conducting laser eye surgery, we numb the eyes with eye drops. The effect of medicated drops develops quickly and lasts through the surgical procedure and, in many cases, wears off gradually over the course of a few hours. In short, eye surgery does not hurt.

We are happy to speak with you about the important aspects of laser eye surgery, including safety and efficacy (both of which are high). Call our Mililani office at 808-625-5577.

Eye Conditions Mililani, HI

Swollen Eyes? Let’s Take a Look!

If you wake up to swollen eyes, you may assume you have not had a good night’s sleep. In fact, you probably know you haven’t slept well because you also feel groggy! This is a normal part of life that we all experience now and then. The swelling that occurs when we’ve missed out on sleep is temporary and only slightly frustrating. There are other instances in which the eyelids may hold on to excess fluid, though. In such cases, we may want to look more closely at what is behind this retention. Sometimes, treatment is necessary to resolve the underlying factor leading to swollen eyes.

Swelling of the tissue around the eyes may be caused by:

  • The swelling that occurs as a histamine response to an allergen is one of the easiest things to treat. What is needed is an anti-histamine to reduce the body’s reaction to the allergen. A cold compress may also improve comfort until the antihistamine has affected the immune system.
  • Pink Eye. No one likes to hear this term, used to describe the infection we know as conjunctivitis. Pink Eye is pretty contagious, so you want to see your doctor right away if you suspect this could be the cause of eyelid swelling. In addition to this symptom, this infection of the inner lining of the eye usually causes excess tearing and eye pain.
  • Like Pink Eye, a stye is also a type of infection that needs to be treated to resolve swelling and other symptoms. You may know you have a stye by the appearance of a bump along the lash line or in a tear duct.
  • One heck of a word for one uncommon bump on the eye. This cause of swelling isn’t one that we hear of much. It isn’t much different than a stye regarding appearance. However, the reason for this type of bump is a blockage in a tear duct, not the infection.
  • There is a good chance that you will know if your eye is swollen because of an injury. However, there are cases of minor scratches that cause swelling without there being an obvious event that caused the injury. Because eye injuries could affect long-term eye health and even vision, it is beneficial to have your ophthalmologist take a look.

It is better to understand the cause of eye swelling and not need treatment than to try to self-treat and miss a larger problem. To schedule a visit to our Mililani office, call 808-625-5577.

Flashes and Floaters Mililani, HI

Why You Shouldn’t Let Floaters Fly on By

Floaters and flashes are relatively common, though sometimes disturbing, apparitions that momentarily distort vision. To see what we call a floater indicates that something like a speck, thread, or cobweb has appeared in your visual field. To see a flash means that a burst of brightness occurs. This may coincide with blinking, or a flash may occur randomly for no apparent reason. Generally, eye doctors do not become overly concerned about the occasional flash or floater across the eye. However, there are details that should be known so professional evaluation may be obtained at the first indication of a potential problem.

Let’s Look More Closely at Floaters

The reason why threads or webs may flutter across the field of vision is because the egg-like gel, called the vitreous humor, has accumulated a small cluster of cells or protein deposits. The vitreous connects to the retina at the back of the eyeball. To see a floater is actually to see the shadow that is cast on the retina as cells group together on the vitreous. This is somewhat of a normal event because this soft part of the eye naturally shrinks a bit with age, becoming somewhat stringy in consistency. The more shrinkage that occurs, the more likely we are to see the occasional floater fly on by.

When to Call Your Eye Doctor

The danger with floaters is not that they occur, but why they may occur. If floaters begin to occur frequently, seemingly for no reason, an ophthalmic examination should be scheduled right away. This is especially relevant for younger patients whose vitreous humor should be in relatively healthy condition (no substantial shrinkage). A sudden development of floaters could indicate that the posterior vitreous is tugging a bit too much on the retina. We refer to this as posterior vitreous detachment. If this condition is not treated promptly, retinal detachment may occur.

Contact your eye doctor if you experience:

  • Sudden onset of floaters or flashes
  • Gradually darkened vision starting from one side toward the center
  • Central vision that declines quickly

Surgical care may be performed to correct retinal tears or detachment when obtained right away. For prompt eye care, call our Mililani office at 808-625-5577.

Eye Conditions Mililani HI

Women’s Health Also Involves the Eyes

Women’s health is an important aspect of aging optimally. We are living longer, and that means there is naturally a greater opportunity for unexpected health problems to arise. In fact, research does indicate the that longer lives that women seem to lead compared to men may come with a few surprises. When those surprises affect vision, we see a problem with that. Here, we want to discuss the factors that may increase a woman’s risk for eye disease, and what can be done to protect long-term vision.

Natural Risk Factors

Eye diseases such as glaucoma and cataracts do not get enough attention during the years that lead up to their obvious symptoms. These are two of several potentially serious eye conditions that statistics tell us are more prevalent among women. Along with them, we also see increased cases of:

  • Dry eye syndrome.
  • Age-related macular degeneration.
  • Refractive errors.
  • Blindness.

We could explain the commonness of these diseases in women with the longevity statistic, but there are other mitigating factors that should also be pointed out. Studies suggest that a woman’s changing hormones after mid-life have a direct impact on the moisture that remains present in the eyes at all times. The chronic dryness, or dry eye syndrome, that may develop persistent causes discomfort, and may also increase the risk of other eye diseases. Statistics demonstrate that more women than men are affected by autoimmune disorders. Diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis affect the entire body due to widespread inflammation, and that inflammation can increase intraocular pressure and affect the eyes adversely.

Balanced Living for Balanced Health

We do not share these statistics to frighten women about potential eye diseases that could threaten long-term visual clarity. We share them along with suggestions for eye care. To promote healthy eyes through every stage of life, a woman is encouraged to:

  • See her eye doctor every year for a comprehensive eye exam. This means dilation. It means having the pressure within the eye measured and the structures throughout the eye observed by an experienced professional.
  • Consume foods that are high in antioxidants and phytonutrients. This means fresh vegetables and low-sugar fruits. If necessary or more convenient, supplements may be considered as a compliment to healthy dietary choices.
  • Avoid cigarettes. Smoking presents direct contact between the eyes and caustic chemicals that can dry the ocular surface and deplete nutrients from the eyes.

Receive friendly care in our Mililani office. Call 808-625-5577.

Pterygium Mililani HI

Are you Affected by Surfer’s Eye?

Pterygium Mililani HI The term Surfer’s Eye is often used to describe pterygium, a benign growth that may develop over the slcera, or white of the eye. Surfer’s Eye has an affinity to those who take to the water, but that doesn’t mean land-babies are completely risk-free. Here, we want to offer a bit of information about this condition to help you recognize its symptoms.

What is pterygium, and how can you recognize it?

This growth that covers the sclera originates from the lining of the eyelid, the conjunctiva. From its starting point, the pterygium can expand to cover the cornea. The reason that pterygium is often referred to as Surfer’s Eye is that this growth is associated with exposure to UV light or sunlight. UV rays that bounce off the water are magnified and may cause noticeable damage to the eyes. Another factor that may instigate the growth of tissue over the eye is a dry or dusty or windy environment. Finally, people with chronic dry eye syndrome may develop pterygium.

There is a perception that pterygium is a white or clear growth. This isn’t consistent across the board. Some growths appear yellow, red, pink, even gray. More than one growth may develop, and it is also possible that vision may be affected should pterygium grow quite large.

The presence of a pterygium growth is an obvious indication of a slight problem. Additional symptoms of pterygium that may indicate the need for treatment include:

  • Eye irritation or redness.
  • The feeling of a foreign body in the eye.
  • Blurred vision.

What to Do About Pterygium

To know how to treat a benign growth on the surface of the eye, it is important to obtain a thorough ophthalmic exam. If the pterygium is not causing irritating symptoms, it is possible that your eye doctor will recommend eye drops to soothe any foreign body sensation. Individuals with this condition are also encouraged to undergo specific testing on an annual basis, such as slit lamp measurements, to assess the status of the growth. If pterygium causes cosmetic concerns, chronic irritation, or vision problems, surgical removal may be advisable.

Learn more about diagnosis and treatment for pterygium. Call our Mililani office at 808-625-5577.

Eye Exam Honolulu, HI

Children’s Eye Health is an Important Topic, Too!

Eye Exam Mililani, HIMost of our blogs center around general eye health and the conditions that may affect adults as they grow older. However, there is also need to discuss the vision and eye health needs of children. In honor of Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, we want to take a look at some important details that may be missed.

Eye Care is Necessary and Should Start Early

Throughout the early years of life, a child may see the pediatrician at least once a year. These general health visits are crucial to progressive development. Likewise, eye exams are integral to a child’s physical and academic development. When a child doesn’t see clearly, she may have difficulty engaging in sports as she gets older. Young students with poor eyesight may struggle to maintain grades, and lose a sense of confidence because of it.

Now that we know why it is important for children to see the eye doctor let’s talk timing.

The first eye exam should be performed at about six months of age. An infant’s vision is in a constant progressive stage. Before six months, the infant sees only high-contrast colors, such as red and black and white. Objects that are mid to far distance away cannot be observed before six months of age, either. This age is a landmark regarding vision, and an opportune time to evaluate the way the eyes are working together.

Subsequent eye exams are ideally performed between age 3 and 4, and then before a child begins kindergarten. Once a child is school-aged, annual eye exams should be the norm.

What the Eye Exam is All About

Eye exams for any person of any age are intended for more than vision assessment. In children, eye exams may alert parents to the presence of astigmatism, farsightedness, or nearsightedness, all conditions that may require corrective eyewear. Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is also easily detected early in life, and also easily treated at this time (using an eye patch).

One Cannot Assume

When it comes to children and their quality of vision, one cannot make an assumption that the child will speak up. Clues such as squinting or complaining of tired or irritated eyes may be all a child offers. To ensure the health of your child’s eyes, talk with your pediatrician about a pediatric eye exam.