Eye Care Honolulu, HI

How High Blood Pressure Can Affect Eye Health

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition that we commonly associate with heart health. According to studies, high blood pressure often goes undetected for years due to a lack of consistent medical care. Annual physicals with your general health practitioner are as important to your eyes as they are to the rest of your body. Here, we discuss the way that high blood pressure can degrade eye health.

Hypertension in the Eye

High blood pressure means that there is an excessive amount of force being placed on the walls of blood vessels when the heart beats. This increase, over time, causes damage to the various vessels in the body. The blood vessels in the eyes are particularly small and delicate. Without showing symptoms such as pain, these tiny vessels can suffer damage, which we refer to as hypertensive retinopathy.

Ideally, the effects of high blood pressure on the eyes are discovered during a routine annual eye exam. During this assessment, the eye doctor observes the various structures of the eye using an ophthalmoscope, a lighted instrument that illuminates the back of the eye. Signs of hypertensive retinopathy may include visible narrowing of the blood vessels around the retina, macular edema (swelling in the center of the retina), swelling around the optic nerve, and tiny hemorrhages in the eye.

Obvious symptoms of hypertensive retinopathy do not typically occur until the latter stages of disease. By this time, it is possible that vision has been irreparably affected. Symptoms of retinal damage include double vision, cloudy vision, and a sudden loss of vision.

Treatment for Hypertensive Retinopathy

There is currently no treatment available for latter-stage hypertensive retinopathy. Eye doctors grade the stage of retinopathy based on the severity of symptoms and, once the optic nerve has been damaged by hypertension, lost vision may not be recovered. For this reason, it is vital that patients with high blood pressure obtain annual dilated eye exams and annual wellness checkups with their primary care provider.

The best way to treat hypertensive retinopathy is to reduce blood pressure by using lifestyle strategies and medical therapies as needed. In many cases, a reduction in blood pressure leads to an improvement in the condition of the blood vessels in the eye.

Get a detailed view of your eye and eye health. Call our Mililani office at 808.625.5577 to schedule a dilated eye exam with Dr. Omphroy.

Eye Exam Mililani, HI

The Kids are Back in School, but Are they Fully Prepared?

Usually, the beginning of a new school year is something to cheer. Many children look forward to all the things school offers, from challenging math problems to the release of energy during sporting activities. The weeks before children return to the classroom are often spent preparing. This can mean seemingly endless days of shopping for school supplies, sports gear, clothes, books, and more. In the controlled chaos, it is easy to overlook the vital necessity of eye exams for students.

Keep Your Student Healthy and Happy with These Tips for Eye Health

See the eye doctor.

Children should see the eye doctor before they begin elementary school. If there are risks for eye conditions or the child needs glasses, future eye exams are needed every year. Without risks or vision problems, eye exams are recommended every two years. This aspect of health care is vital to students because, when textbooks or the chalkboard are blurry, learning cannot happen as it should. Often, children with uncorrected vision problems suffer academically and then lose any excitement they had for education.

Protecting the eyes.

There are three things we need protection from:

  • The highest risk for pink eye occurs during childhood. Viral pink eye is spread quite quickly, and accounts for about 3 million missed school days, according to one study. One of the best ways children can protect themselves from pink eye is by washing their hands frequently throughout the school day. Merely touching an object that was handled by someone with pink eye is enough to contract this uncomfortable infection.
  • Statistics show that approximately 35,000 eye injuries occur during sporting activities each year. Every child who plays a sport should wear appropriate glasses. These might be goggles or clear lenses that provide some degree of protection if a collision with another player or ball were to happen. Some helmets come with or can be fitted with helmet-mounted shields to protect the eyes and face without impeding performance.
  • We have come to realize that sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory, they are vital eyewear to protect the structures of the eyes from unnecessary UV damage. Rays of sunshine permeate the eyes and can degrade structure, increasing the risk for future eye disease in adulthood. Children who wear sunglasses significantly reduce their risk.
  •  Digital eye strain can lead to dry eye and chronic headaches if care is not taken to limit the time spent staring at a screen or book. It is easy to close the eyes for a few minutes during those intense study sessions and to turn digital devices off long before bedtime to give the eyes time to rest.

We should point out that we can all benefit from these tips, and that your Mililani eye doctor is here to help you and your family. To schedule a visit with us, call 808-625-5577.

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.