Some Hidden Signs of Vision Problems in Children

a male child getting an eye exam

As a child grows, their eyes and vision can change. While parents may hope that their child would let them know if they are having trouble seeing, many kids have difficulty identifying shifts in their visual acuity as a problem, even if it’s causing them hardship. As a result, they might not know to speak up about what they’re experiencing, leading the vision problem to remain untreated.  

However, that doesn’t mean parents can’t spot vision changes in their children. If you’re wondering how, here are some hidden signs of vision problems in kids.  

Shortening Attention Span  

If it seems like your child is losing interest in activities faster than usual, that could be a sign of a vision change. When a kid is struggling to see clearly, they may choose to walk away from an activity that’s become difficult because of their vision problem.  

Skipping Up Close Activities  

In some cases, children will try to avoid activities that strain their vision. If your kid is suddenly trying to skip out on up-close activities that they once enjoyed, like reading or drawing, that could be a sign of a vision problem.  

Changing Interest or Performance in Sports  

Many sports require participants to visually track objects, including some that move at high speeds and travel great distances. If a child has a vision change, that may become increasingly difficult, causing either their interest in the sport to fall or their performance to decline.  

Losing Track of Their Place When Reading  

When a child’s vision changes, they may struggle to read. Usually, vision problems can make tracking where they are on a page harder. As they lose their place, they may repeat sections they’ve already covered or skip ahead by mistake.  

Turning Their Head When Looking at Something  

If your child starts turning their head to the side when they look at something positioned in front of them, that may be a sign of a vision change. Refractive issues like astigmatism may cause a kid to shift their head’s position in an attempt to see more clearly.  

Falling Grades or Behavioral Problems at School  

When a child is having trouble seeing, staying focused in the classroom isn’t easy. Since school work tends to rely heavily on clear vision, children with vision problems may struggle to complete their assignments, causing their grades to fall. Additionally, they might become frustrated, increasing the odds that they’ll lash out during class.  

What to Do If You Spot a Sign of a Vision Change in Your Child  

Like adults, children should get regular eye exams. By regularly seeing your eye doctor, they can identify potential issues early, increasing the odds that they’ll be treated or corrected before they become problematic.  

However, even if your child has been to their regular appointments, if you believe you’ve seen a sign of a vision problem in your child, schedule a visit with your eye doctor immediately. A child’s vision can change fast, so it’s wise to have the situation checked at the earliest sign of trouble.  

Helping Your Child See More Clearly is our Goal 

At ECVA, our staff works diligently to care for the eye health of our patients. If your child hasn’t had an eye exam recently, schedule an appointment with a Buffalo pediatric ophthalmologist at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

Broken Blood Vessel in the Eye – Is It Serious?

close up of a African American male with a blood vessel in his eye

Spotting a broken blood vessel in the white section of your eye can be scary. Often, it stands out dramatically, which alone can be concerning. Additionally, most people view bleeding as a sign of trouble, particularly if they spot it in their eye.  

While bleeding in your eye can certainly be serious, a broken blood vessel isn’t typically as bad as it appears. If you are wondering whether you should be concerned, here’s what you need to know about broken blood vessels in the eye.  

Common Causes of Broken Blood Vessels in the Eye  

A broken blood vessel in the eye is called a subconjunctival hemorrhage. When a small blood vessel breaks beneath the conjunctiva, the clear outer eye surface, blood can pool. In many ways, it is similar to a bruise, though it tends to be brighter red in coloring.  

When it comes to common causes, dramatic spikes in blood pressure are a major one. This can occur when coughing or sneezing, as well as during moments of intense laughter. Vomiting can cause a blood vessel to break, too. Similarly, exercise or work that involves heavy lifting can also be responsible for a blood pressure increase that could result in a broken vessel.  

However, blood pressure changes aren’t the only potential cause. People who take blood thinners may have a vessel occasionally break. Additionally, a broken blood vessel can be caused by eye surgery or injury. At times, even vigorous rubbing of the eye may burst a vessel.  

When to Be Concerned About Broken Blood Vessels in Eyes  

Generally speaking, you only need to be concerned about a broken blood vessel in the eye under specific circumstances. First, if the subconjunctival hemorrhage is accompanied by other worrisome symptoms, such as signs of an infection, the overall situation could be an emergency.  

Broken blood vessels don’t automatically cause eye pain, discharge, or vision changes. If you have symptoms like that, you may have another condition that needs immediate assessment and, potentially, treatment.  

Additionally, if a broken blood vessel occurred after an eye injury, it’s wise to see an eye doctor. The subconjunctival hemorrhage could result from eye trauma, and the situation may worsen, depending on the nature of the injury.  

What to Do If You Have a Broken Blood Vessel in the Eye  

Generally, if you don’t have signs of an infection or injury, you can potentially wait until the broken blood vessel resolves itself. In most cases, this can take one to two weeks, as the blood has to be reabsorbed, and that process can take time.  

If you’re having other symptoms along with the broken blood vessel or the situation isn’t getting better over time, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. They can assess the subconjunctival hemorrhage, determine a cause, identify any other problems that may be occurring, and ensure prompt treatment if needed.  

See an Ophthalmologist in Buffalo NY 

At ECVA, our staff works diligently to care for the eye health of our patients. If concerned about a broken blood vessel in your eye or you simply haven’t had your eyes checked recently, schedule an appointment with your closest ECVA clinic today. 

When Should My Child Get an Eye Exam?

a male child getting an eye exam

Most parents are diligent about caring for their child’s health. However, many overlook the importance of eye exams or aren’t fully aware of when their child should see an eye doctor. This is especially true with younger children who aren’t yet in school or reading.  

But even if your child is too young to read an eye chart, that doesn’t mean you should forgo regular eye exams. If you are wondering when you should bring your child in for an appointment, here’s what you need to know.  

When Your Child Should Get Their First Eye Exam  

While most pediatricians check your child’s eyes on a basic level, their exams aren’t as comprehensive as what your child receives from an eye doctor. Ideally, your child should come in for their first official eye exam when they are six months to one year old. This creates an opportunity for certain issues or anomalies to be spotted early, making treatment simpler and more effective.  

When Your Child Should Come in Again for an Eye Exam  

After an initial exam, many children won’t need a second one until they begin kindergarten. It’s wise to have their vision checked at that time, ensuring they can see clearly when they start attending school.  

However, if your child is exhibiting any signs of a vision problem, it’s best to come in earlier. This could include squinting, issues with headaches, holding items closer to the face than usual, and more.  

Additionally, if there’s any evidence of an abnormality, it’s wise to schedule an appointment immediately. Issues like strabismus or lazy eye – where eyes are crossed, turned, or otherwise misaligned – are often fairly apparent.  

It’s also wise to bring children in more often if there is a family history of certain eye issues. This can include eye conditions like those above and early development of near- or farsightedness.  

How often they need to come in for appointments after that can vary. For children without vision issues, a history of eye problems in the family, and no symptoms of vision challenges, an eye exam every two years may be enough. If your child requires vision correction or there’s a family history of eye conditions, then once a year is wise.  

However, it’s also crucial to bring your child in immediately if they are exhibiting symptoms that could indicate an eye or vision condition. This can include changes in how they act or interact with objects, trouble reading, a sudden decline in their grades, coordination challenges, and more.  

As with adults, early intervention is the key to eye health. Plus, by seeing your eye doctor regularly, you can make sure your child’s vision is sharp, ensuring they can learn, participate in activities, and otherwise have a fantastic childhood.  

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for the eye health of our patients. If your child hasn’t had an eye exam recently, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

What Are the Types of Glaucoma?

a close up of a female having her eyes examined

January is Glaucoma Awareness month, a time of year where we take a close look at the condition and focus on sharing information to help patients maintain their eye health. While we covered the basics in a recent article – Understanding Glaucoma – we wanted to seize this opportunity to take a deeper dive into the topic.  

Glaucoma is often thought of as a single eye condition. However, there is more than one type of glaucoma, each with its own unique characteristics.  

If you are diagnosed with glaucoma, it’s wise to explore more about your specific variant. That way, you won’t just know more about how the condition is impacting your eye health, but also how the treatment options and outcomes can differ.  

Here’s a look at each of the types of glaucoma, including their characteristics, treatment options, and more.  

Open-Angle Glaucoma  

Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the condition. With open-angle glaucoma, the angle between the cornea and the iris is wide and open, essentially the way it is meant to be. Issues arise when the drainage canals become blocked, preventing proper fluid flow and leading to fluid accumulation.  

As the fluid builds up, the pressure increases. That pressure ultimately causes damage to the optic nerve, disrupting vision signals between the eye and the brain.  

Many people with open-angle glaucoma are initially unaware they have the condition. The fluid buildup usually happens slowly over time and doesn’t typically result in physical discomfort. Typically, people with open-angle glaucoma only become aware once they begin experiencing vision loss unless it is caught earlier during a standard eye exam.  

Open-angle glaucoma can lead to significant vision loss, up to blindness. With proper treatment, damage can be mitigated or slowed, potentially preserving your vision. However, there is no cure for any form of glaucoma, including open-angle.  

Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma  

Angle-closure glaucoma is also the result of fluid buildup. However, fluid flow is disrupted due to the narrowing of the entrance points of the drainage canals. At times, those openings are simply too small to allow for proper fluid flow. However, they can also be shut entirely, either by design or due to clogging.  

With angle-closure glaucoma, symptoms typically appear quickly. Along with vision loss, eye pain, headaches, and nausea commonly occur. There may also be eye redness as well as a halo effect around lights.   

Angle-closure glaucoma causes vision loss and may lead to blindness. It is also considered a medical emergency. As with open-angle glaucoma, there isn’t a cure. Though, with quick treatment, it’s possible to reduce the harmful effects of the condition.  

Normal-Tension Glaucoma  

With normal-tension glaucoma, pressure isn’t the issue, though optic nerve damage still occurs, resulting in vision changes or loss. In some cases, trauma may be to blame. In others, it could be heightened optic nerve sensitivity, blood flow issues, or circulation impairments.  

Normal-tension glaucoma, like the other versions, also can’t be cured. However, it can be managed, especially if caught early.  

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for the eye health of our patients. If you haven’t had your eyes checked recently or are experiencing symptoms of glaucoma, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

Strabismus (Crossed Eyes), Causes and Treatment

child receiving an eye exam

Strabismus – the technical term for crossed eyes – is a condition where a person’s eyes don’t point in the same direction simultaneously. Typically, it presents with at least one eye pointing up, down, in, or out compared to the other. However, both eyes can be affected.  

If you wonder what causes strabismus and what treatment options are available, here’s what you need to know.  

Risk Factors for Strabismus  

Generally, strabismus is caused by poor eye muscle control or development. For childhood strabismus, the exact reason for its occurrence isn’t always known. However, the condition tends to run in families, which could suggest a genetic component.  

Certain medical conditions may make strabismus more likely in both children and adults. For example, any muscle or nerve impacting illness could increase the occurrence of strabismus, as well as premature birth. Connective tissue disorders may be responsible, as well as brain or eye tumors.  

Head injuries can also cause crossed eyes if the movement controlling muscles or nerves are damaged. Graves’ disease or a stroke can lead to the condition as well.  

For adults, blood vessel or eye damage can be responsible. Additionally, farsightedness, cataracts, or other conditions that cause the eyes to try and compensate for vision problems may lead to strabismus development.  

Strabismus Testing  

At times, identifying strabismus is fairly straightforward. If the eyes don’t point in the same direction, strabismus is the likely diagnosis.  

However, additional tests are usually conducted to confirm strabismus. For example, your eye doctor may take turns covering each eye, allowing them to assess how each one turns and to what degree. It also allows them to determine under which conditions the turn happens.  

Strabismus Treatment Options  

Several strabismus treatment options available, though which one is best may depend on the severity of the condition. For mild strabismus, glasses may be all that’s necessary. For example, the lens over the impacted eye can be made with a prism, alleviating any symptoms while wearing their glasses.  

In some cases, wearing a patch over the stronger eye (if one is unaffected) may help. It forces the weaker eye to do more work, potentially strengthening it and leading to better alignment. Certain kinds of eye exercises may also have a similar impact.  

For many cases, strabismus correction surgery is necessary. With this, the eye muscles are adjusted to improve alignment. After surgery, additional vision therapy may be needed to enhance eye coordination and reduce the chances of a reversion.  

If you or a loved one may have strabismus, it’s wise to make an appointment with your eye doctor right away. They can assess the severity of the condition and choose an appropriate treatment option, ensuring the misalignment is compensated for or corrected before it becomes more severe.  

Western New York’s Best Eye Doctors 

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for the eye health or our patients. If you suspect strabismus, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

A Big Thank You To Our Patients

Each year, ECVA hosts an annual basket raffle for the month of November to benefit a family in need at Christmas. The money raised gets matched by our physicians and this year, ECVA employees raised an amazing $7,410! 

Thanks to our patients and staff, we were able to adopt a local veteran family of 9 through Western New York Heroes which is a local veterans’ assistance organization. This would not have been possible without your support, so we want to say,  

Thank You for your generous donations! 

This is truly a rewarding experience that touches all of our hearts, particularly at the holidays and especially when we are able to assist those who served our country and their families. Our employees look forward to this project every year and are always eager to help out. 

Since starting our basket raffle in 2015, ECVA employees and partners have raised more than $31,000 to assist needy families throughout  Western New York. 

Thank you for your support.

Sincerely,

Eye Care and Vision Associates

How to Tell If You Have a Scratched Cornea

person rubbing their eyes

The cornea is the thin, transparent outer layer of the eye that extends over the iris and pupil. Since it’s on the surface of the eye, it can sustain a direct injury.  

Corneal abrasions – or scratches on the cornea – can vary in severity. At times, the abrasion is relatively mild, causing only subtle symptoms. However, the scratches can be incredibly serious and may lead to additional problems, including corneal ulcers or iritis.  

Understanding the symptoms of a scratched cornea can help you determine if such an abrasion may cause any symptoms you’re experiencing. If you are wondering whether you have a scratched cornea, here’s what you need to know.  

Causes of a Scratched Cornea  

Generally speaking, scratched corneas can occur when something comes in contact with the surface of the eye. While it can be caused by a traumatic event, such as being intentionally or accidentally poked in the eye by a person or pet, those aren’t how must occur.  

Everyday incidental contact is a more likely culprit. For example, sand and dust getting into your eye could lead to abrasion, as well as debris from an industrial workplace. Makeup brushes can cause scratches as well, along with incorrectly removing a contact lens.  

Even dry eyes can be to blame. If your eyes get dry while sleeping, opening your eyelids in the morning can lead to abrasions due to the lack of moisture and the increased amount of friction.  

Essentially, anything that touches the cornea directly can damage the delicate tissue.  

Symptoms of a Scratched Cornea  

A scratched cornea can cause a range of symptoms, including:  

  • Eye Discomfort
  • A Gritty Sensation in the Eye
  • Eye Pain
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Excessive Tearing
  • Eye Redness
  • Blurry Vision
  • Headache

Mild abrasions may only produce mild symptoms, such as a general feeling of discomfort. The more severe the abrasions tend to be, the more noticeable symptoms often are. However, even a mild scratch can evolve into a more dangerous condition if not properly treated.  

Common Treatment for a Scratched Cornea  

If you suspect that you’ve scratched your cornea, it’s wise to take a few steps immediately. If you have scratched cornea symptoms, remove your contact lenses (if you wear them) carefully. Additionally, please don’t wear them again until your eye is fully healed.  

Flushing the eye with a saline solution is a smart move. That will help rinse out any dust, dirt, or debris, if any is present. After rinsing, blink multiple times to help remove the particles naturally.  

Resist the urge to rub your eyes. If any particles remain on the surface or embedded in the eye, rubbing can cause additional scratches or make an existing abrasion worse.  

When to Call a Doctor  

If you’ve rinsed your eye with saline and you’re still experiencing redness, pain, or the feeling that debris is stuck in your eye, seek immediate medical attention. A corneal abrasion can be incredibly serious, and prompt treatment is necessary to avoid further damage.  

Contact your optometrist or ophthalmologist right away for an emergency appointment. That way, they can evaluate your eye and determine if additional treatment is necessary.  

Your Eye Health is Our Priority 

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for our patients’ eyes, including evaluating and treating injuries as quickly as possible. If you suspect a corneal abrasion, schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

Caring for Your Eyes in Cold Weather

When the temperature drops, it’s essential to adjust your eye care routine. Dry heat, UV light, and outdoor activities can increase certain risks. As a result, you need to make sure you care for your eyes correctly.  

Luckily, it’s easy to adjust your routine to account for cold weather. If you want to make sure your eyes stay safe and healthy, here’s what you need to know.  

Dealing with Dry Heat  

When you turn on your home or workplace’s heaters during the winter, the air gets drier. Not only can the reduced humidity lead to dry skin, but it can also dry out your eyes, making them itchy and uncomfortable.  

One of the simplest ways to counteract the dryness is with a humidifier. This adds moisture back into the air, which can make your eyes feel more comfortable. Eye drops are also beneficial for quick infusions of moisture.  

If you wear contact lenses, make sure you select eye drops made for contact lens wearers. If you’re still struggling with dry eyes after that, consider making an appointment with your eye doctor. They may switch you to a different brand that uses a material that better combats dryness.  

Blocking Reflective UV Light  

Many people overlook the power of the sun during the winter, mainly because the temperature is lower. However, harmful UV rays do still exist, and they can bounce off of material like snow. In fact, UV light is more dangerous in snowy conditions because of snow’s reflective qualities.  

Usually, your best defense against UV light is a pair of sunglasses with lenses designed to block UVA and UVB rays. That limits the amount of UV light that actually reaches your eye, making it less likely that your eyes will be harmed.  

Contact lens wearers can also choose a brand with UV blocking abilities. This gives you an additional layer of protection against UV rays that aren’t blocked by sunglasses.  

Protecting Eyes During Activities  

Winter activities like skiing, ice skating, and snowball fights can be great options for getting exercise during the winter. However, while participating, your eyes could be at risk.  

Falls in the snow, snowballs hitting your face, and ice particles created by skating could harm your eyes. If you want to make sure that debris can’t damage your eyes, eye protection is a must. Choose options that won’t fog and that are designed for the activity, ensuring they won’t fall off while you’re having fun.  

Ultimately, just a few small changes to your eye care routine can make a big difference. It ensures your eyes stay safe, allowing you to avoid damage caused by dryness, UV light, or debris.  

Are You Overdue for an Eye Exam? 

At ECVA, our staff works diligently to care for patients’ eyes and will help you choose approaches that can keep your eyes healthy all year-long. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

But My Vision Is Fine – Why Everyone Needs Eye Exams

Many people assume that if they can see clearly, their eyes must be healthy. As a result, they skip regular eye exams or only come in when they think there’s a problem.  

However, while vision changes could undoubtedly indicate a problem, eye diseases don’t always impact your ability to see clearly. If you are wondering why you should get regular eye exams, even when your vision is fine, here’s what you need to know.  

Everyone Needs Eye Exams  

Eye exams are about more than vision correction. They allow your eye doctor to look for signs of disease or particular conditions. This increases the odds that any problems are spotted early, reducing the odds that your vision will be harmed.  

Eye conditions and vision changes can occur at any age. That’s why everyone needs to keep up with their regular eye exams, even if their vision seems fine.  

Eyes Exams Are Thorough But Quick  

In most cases, a comprehensive eye exam takes one to two hours. While that sounds like a long time, that’s a drop in the bucket when you think of how many hours are in a year. Generally, you only need to go once every two years as an adult if you don’t have risk factors for a condition or a family history of eye issues. For adults over 60 and children, an annual exam is best since eye health and vision quality can change rapidly during those times.  

Plus, it ensures that your eye doctor has enough time to test your vision, examine the health of your retina, check for signs of glaucoma, assess your peripheral vision, and much more. Plus, if you need corrective lenses, part of that time will determine your prescription, fitting contact lenses, and similar activities.  

Eye Diseases Can Start Symptomless  

During the early stages of many eye diseases, there are no obvious symptoms. For example, the condition may not initially cause vision or physical changes that a person would notice.  

However, during an eye exam, those early signs can be detectable. Your eye doctor may notice an issue before it causes any harm, allowing them to start treatment and potentially save your vision.  

Your Eye Doctor Is an Important Part of Your Healthcare Team 

By going to your regular eye appointments and using the same eye doctor or clinic, your eye doctor becomes an integral part of your healthcare team. They will get to know you, allowing them to monitor potential signs of trouble or changes that are unique to you. As a result, they may spot problems faster, allowing them to intervene at the earliest possible moment.  

If you haven’t had a regular eye exam within the last one to two years, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. That way, they can check the quality of your vision and your eyes’ health, ensuring you are in the best shape possible.  

Schedule Your Routine Eye Exam in Buffalo 

At ECVA, our staff works tirelessly to care for patients’ eye health and visual acuity, allowing them to identify changes early and intervene as quickly as possible. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.  

Types of Low Vision

There are numerous types of vision acuity changes, each with its own signs and symptoms. Some are simply differences in severity, while others cause losses in different areas. If you are wondering about the types of low vision, here’s a look at the most common kinds.  

Central Vision Loss  

With central vision loss, a person usually has a blurry section or blind spot in the middle of their visual field. However, the vision issue doesn’t extend to their peripheral (side) vision.  

Often, a person with central vision loss has difficulties reading. They may struggle with recognizing faces, as well as identifying details at a distance.  

In most cases, central vision loss has a limited impact (if any) on mobility. The remaining peripheral vision gives the person enough to generally move about safely.  

Peripheral Vision Loss  

Essentially a counter to central vision loss, with peripheral vision loss, the blurriness or blind spots can be on one or both sides, above, below, or all around the central portion of the visual area. Usually, the person can see directly ahead, creating a form of tunnel vision.  

Reading, identifying people’s faces, and even seeing at a distance may be manageable with peripheral vision loss. However, mobility may be impacted if the peripheral vision loss is severe. Additionally, in serious cases, reading speed may be slowed, as only a couple of words may be visible at a given time.  

Blurred Vision  

With blurred vision, a person’s entire visual field is affected. Everything may appear to be out of focus, regardless of whether an object is close or far away. The issue also remains even with corrective lenses.  

However, the field of view isn’t necessarily cloudy. Colors can remain clean and crisp, even as the objects seem to be out of focus. For example, a healthy grass lawn may appear vibrantly green, but the blades of grass can’t be separately identified.  

Generalized Hazy Vision  

At times referred to as cloudy vision, generalized hazy vision also impacts the entire visual field. It’s not unlike trying to see through glare or a film, or as if a fog has come to rest permanently in front of the person’s eyes.  

Light Sensitivity  

In extreme cases, light sensitivity significantly alters a person’s vision. It occurs when normal lighting conditions seemingly overwhelm the person’s eyes, causing images to appear washed out. At times, light sensitivity can be accompanied by physical discomfort or pain even when the area’s lighting is considered a normal level.  

Night Blindness  

With night blindness, a person can’t see in dimly lit spaces, such as movie theatres or outside at night. Starlight and moonlight are usually insufficient. Even vehicle headlights may not provide enough illumination for them to drive safely.  

Ultimately, if you are struggling with low vision, scheduling an appointment with your eye doctor is essential. The ECVA team will work diligently to determine the cause of your low vision, ensuring proper steps can be taken to ensure your eyes’ health and preserve or restore your vision when possible. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.