Ways to Take Better Care of Your Eyes in 2023

Caring for your eyes is an excellent way to help keep them healthy. Specific eye care habits can reduce your odds of developing specific conditions, while others can keep your eyes comfortable during changing environmental conditions. 

Fortunately, creating an effective eye care routine is typically far simpler than most people expect. If you are prioritizing your health this new year, here are a few simple ways to care for your eyes every day. 

Wash Your Hands Regularly (and Avoid Touching Your Eyes) 

Regular hand washing helps remove bacteria, dust, and dirt, reducing the odds of transfer if you contact your eye area. By also avoiding touching and rubbing your eyes, you make it even less likely that any substance or bacteria will infect your eyes. Plus, not rubbing can reduce irritation if anything is in your eye, making injuries less likely, too. 

Adopt Healthy Eating Habits 

Eating a healthy, balanced diet and drinking enough water can improve your eye health. Remaining hydrated can prevent your eyes from getting dry and irritated. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, lycopene, lutein, beta-carotene, and others also help ensures your eyes have what they need to stay healthy. 

Quit Smoking 

Smoking isn’t just harmful to your lungs; it also negatively impacts your eyes. Smokers are more at risk of developing certain conditions, including cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, and others. Smoking also leads to optic nerve damage that can reduce your visual acuity over time, even if it doesn’t lead to another condition. By quitting, you reduce your risk significantly, so it’s worth doing. 

Where UV-Blocking Glasses 

Ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your eyes in several ways. Corneas are susceptible to sunburns which, along with being uncomfortable, can potentially lead to vision issues. Exposure to UV rays is also associated with conditions like photokeratitis and age-related macular degeneration. 

By wearing UV-blocking sunglasses or getting UV-blocking coatings on regular glasses lenses, you can filter out harmful UV light. Coupling those with hats or visors can also make the approach more effective. 

Use Screens Correctly 

Digital devices and screens can lead to a variety of eye issues. Improper distances, excessive glare, or extended durations classically lead to problems like eye strain and dry eye. 

When you’re using screens, keep the brightness and angle appropriate. For computer screens, that generally means keeping the monitor about 20 degrees below eye level and the distance close to arm’s length. For any screen, make sure you look away every 20 minutes and focus on a spot that’s about 20 feet away from your position. It’s also wise to take breaks regularly, giving you a chance to move around and rest your eyes before returning. 

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. We recommend that everyone get their eyes checked annually by an eye doctor to ensure eye health and early detection of any problems. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today, we’d love to see your family for a checkup. 

Standard vs. Premium IOLs for Cataract Surgery: Is it Worth it to Upgrade?

Most people who live into their 70s will develop cataracts in one or both eyes. Cataracts cause a gradual dimming of vision and, if not corrected, may cause blindness. Fortunately, cataract lens replacement can restore clear vision. Cataract surgery is one of the most highly effective medical procedures of all time

What Are Cataracts?

Cataracts are a common condition that occurs when the eye lens becomes cloudy or opaque, causing vision to blur or distort. The eye lens is the clear dome located behind the iris (the colored part of the eye) and the pupil (the black circle in the center of the iris). The lens is essential for focusing light into the retina, the layer of cells at the back of the eye that converts light into electrical signals. But as you age, the proteins in the eyes can break down, causing the cloudy film known as cataracts to occur.

What Happens During Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is a simple, safe procedure where the surgeon makes a small incision in the front of the eye and removes the cloudy lens. The surgeon will then replace the lens with an intraocular lens implant. More than 3.7 million people every year have cataract lens replacement surgery. Beyond choosing your doctor, each patient also has options when selecting their intraocular lens implant. 

Types of Replacement Lenses for Cataract Surgery

Once you’ve decided on cataract lens replacement, you will need to decide if standard or premium IOLs are right for you. There are several different types of IOLs available. The type that is best for a particular patient will depend on several factors, including their age, overall health, and specific vision needs.  

Talk with your eye doctor in Buffalo about the premium IOLs available and the benefits of premium intraocular lenses over standard.   

What is a Standard IOL?

A standard IOL is designed to provide good distance vision but may not provide optimal vision for reading or other close-up tasks. Standard IOLs are suitable for people who do not need correction for presbyopia, a common age-related condition that causes problems focusing on up-close objects.  

Standard IOLs are typically the most affordable type of IOL and are often covered by insurance. Because they are single-vision, you may still need to wear glasses for up-close or distance vision. However, they may not be suitable for everyone. Some people may prefer to pay extra for a more advanced type of IOL that provides better vision for a wider range of distances. Your ophthalmologist will be able to discuss the different types of IOLs available and help you choose the one that is best for you. 

What is a Premium IOL?

Premium IOLs are more advanced and designed to provide a wider range of vision than standard IOLs. There are several types of premium IOLs available, each with unique features and benefits. Some premium IOLs are designed to correct presbyopia by correcting your near vision. Some premium IOLs are multifocus lenses for cataract surgery that can do the work of glasses and eliminate your cataracts. Premium IOLs may be more expensive than standard IOLs and may not be covered by insurance. However, they can provide a broader range of vision and may be a good option for people who want to minimize their reliance on glasses and contact lenses. 

Toric IOLs

Toric IOLs are designed to correct astigmatism, which causes distorted or blurry vision due to an irregularly shaped cornea. Astigmatism occurs when the front surface of the eye (the cornea) is not perfectly round, but rather has a more football-like shape. This irregularity causes light to focus at two different points on the retina, rather than one, resulting in distorted or blurry vision. Toric IOLs are shaped differently from standard IOLs and are designed to correct this distorted focus by realigning the cornea’s irregular shape.

Multifocal IOLs

Multifocus lenses for cataract surgery, also called multifocal intraocular lens implants, are designed to correct presbyopia. Multifocal IOLs redirect light into the eye to correct your inability to see items that are close-up. This causes problems reading, working on a computer, or performing other tasks. Presbyopia typically worsens as you age, requiring reading or computer glasses. But multifocal premium lenses for cataract surgery can eliminate your need for vision correction while also eliminating a cataract.

Accommodating IOLs

There is another type of premium intraocular lens called accommodating IOLs. These IOLs work with your eye muscles to help with the natural process of focusing your eye. An accommodating IOL moves forward when the muscles around the eye tighten to look at close-up objects, then moves backward with the eye relaxes to allow you to look at more distant objects. 

Your ophthalmologist can discuss the different types of premium IOLs available and help you choose the best option.

What are the Benefits of Premium Lenses for Cataract Surgery?

Selecting premium lenses for cataract surgery means you receive the more advanced IOL designed to provide a wider range of vision options. Premium IOLs are a good option for people who want to minimize their need for corrective lenses after cataract surgery. Some of the benefits of premium IOLs for cataract lens replacement include: 

  • Improved distance and close-up vision without glasses. 
  • Correction of astigmatism, a condition where the cornea is irregularly shaped. 
  • Improved night vision that reduces glare and light halos. 

Costs of Premium Lenses for Cataract Surgery

Premium IOLs are generally more expensive than standard IOLs and may not be fully covered by your insurance carrier. While the typical standard lens, the cost can range up to $4,000 or so per eye. Premium IOS procedures can range closer to $7,000 per eye, depending on several factors. The cost can vary depending on the type of IOL chosen, the geographic location of the surgery, and your insurance coverage. But every doctor is different, so speak with your provider about cost, insurance coverage, and the treatment that’s right for you.

Alcon Premium Lenses for Cataract Surgery in Buffalo, NY

The cataract surgeons at ECVA have a variety of premium Alcon IOL options, including:  

Our team is standing by to provide you with the highest quality cataract surgery in Western New York. We have offices in Buffalo, Orchard Park, Niagara Falls, and Williamsville. Contact the ophthalmologists at ECVA today to learn more about our selection of Alcon premium lenses for cataract surgery.  

What Are the First Signs of Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye condition involving damage to the optic nerve, at times also including increased intraocular pressure. Over time, glaucoma typically leads to permanent vision loss as the optic nerve deteriorates. 

Anyone is technically at risk of developing glaucoma, so understanding what the first signs of the condition are critical. That allows you to take swift action if symptoms develop, making it easier to preserve your vision through proper treatment. 

The First Signs of Glaucoma 

There are a few early warning signs that glaucoma is developing. Some patients may only have a single symptom, while others may experience several. Regardless of the number of symptoms, it’s critical to understand that they’re potentially indicative of a serious condition. 

Here’s a look at some of the first signs of glaucoma. 

Blurry or Hazy Vision 

Intraocular pressure and optic nerve damage both impact visual acuity. As a result, one of the first signs may people with early-stage glaucoma notice is blurriness or hazy vision. In some cases, patients may also experience other visual distortions. Regardless of its nature, any vision changes are worrisome, as they’re often indicative of an eye condition. 

Eye Redness 

Increased pressure in the eye can lead to redness. Its severity can vary, as well as its persistence. However, eye redness without a clear cause is a potential sign of glaucoma. 

Halos Around Lights 

Halos around lights are potentially a symptom of several eye conditions, including glaucoma. In some cases, the halos experienced by those developing glaucoma are described as both colorful and bright. However, any halos that aren’t attributed to a known condition are potentially concerning. 

Eye Pain 

Glaucoma can cause eye pain, even in the early stages. Additionally, headaches can also occur in the eye area. Often, the pain is severe, often so much so that it differentiates itself from other types of headaches. 

Nausea or Vomiting 

Typically, nausea or vomiting alone aren’t symptoms of glaucoma. However, if they’re accompanied by vision changes and eye pain, they’re potentially symptoms of the condition. 

What to Do If You Have Signs of Glaucoma 

If you’re experiencing any of the early signs of glaucoma above, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your eye care provider right away. They can formally evaluate you for the condition, and if glaucoma is responsible for your symptoms, they’ll develop a plan to reduce damage and alleviate symptoms. 

Even if glaucoma isn’t responsible, some of the symptoms above are associated with other serious eye conditions. As a result, it’s always best to get evaluated right away if you’re experiencing vision changes, eye pain, unexplained redness, or halos, including if it is or isn’t associated with nausea or vomiting. 

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above that could indicate glaucoma or simply haven’t seen your eye care provider in the past year, the ECVA team is here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.