Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut

COMMON ANNOYANCES OF WEARING GLASSES

The team at Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut has encountered thousands of people that have poor vision due to a refractive error and rely on glasses to see clearly. These individuals are not shy about sharing the challenges and irritation associated with visual aids. If you are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism, you can probably relate to the plethora of annoyances caused by dependence on glasses. Here are some of the most common:

  • Noticing in the middle of the day that your glasses frames clash with your outfit.
  • The feeling that you look older than you really are because of your glasses.
  • Nosy people that want you to try your glasses on and then express shock at their strong prescription.
  • The inability to go into the water at the beach or pool because you won’t be able to see well.
  • Being questioned as to why you don’t wear contacts.
  • Repeated expense associated with buying new frames, lenses and cleaning supplies.
  • The need to pack back-up pairs when traveling.
  • Laying on your side and having your glasses dig into your face.
  • Early morning mist that fogs up your glasses.
  • Rain that coats your lenses.
  • Practicing yoga and having your glasses slip down your nose during certain poses or inversions.
  • Trouble getting close enough to the lens of a nice camera to take a proper picture.
  • The possibility of squashing your glasses up against your partner’s face during a kiss.
  • The panic of setting your glasses down and later forgetting where you put them.
  • Fogged-up lenses when walking into a warm room from out in the cold.
  • Accidentally rolling over glasses that you left on your bed instead of the nightstand.
  • Your child accidentally knocking your glasses off your face with an errant swipe.
  • The challenge of applying makeup that complements your eyes and coordinates with your glasses.
  • Smudging makeup on your lenses.
  • Whiteheads or blemishes on the skin where your glasses touch your face.
  • The heart-sinking moment when a loose screw falls out of your eyeglass frames.
  • Headaches from frames that are just a bit too tight.

Laser Vision Correction for a Glasses-Free Lifestyle

Thanks to laser vision correction procedures like LASIK, the aforementioned annoyances no longer have to impede your lifestyle. Take a second to imagine the many ways your life would improve with clear vision and independence from glasses. If that idea intrigues you, schedule a LASIK consultation to learn more. Call 203-366-8000 or email us today to make your appointment.

CORNEAL CROSS-LINKING CAN SAVE SIGHT IN KERATOCONUS CASES

An exciting new treatment offers promise to individuals that suffer from a degenerative eye disease known as keratoconus. When performed early enough, corneal cross-linking could reduce the need to wear corrective lenses or, if the disease progresses too far, have a corneal transplant. The team at Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut is pleased to announce that we are now offering corneal cross-linking at our Fairfield location.

What Is Keratoconus?

To appreciate the possibilities of corneal cross-linking, it is important to understand keratoconus. The progressive disease affects the eye’s cornea, or the outermost layer that is responsible for focusing light that enters the eye. Normally, the cornea is round, but keratoconus causes the cornea to take on a more conical shape. In addition to morphing in shape, the cornea also thins and bulges outward from the eye.

All of these changes compromise the cornea’s ability to focus light. As a result, individuals with keratoconus may experience nearsightedness and astigmatism. They may need to change their prescription in glasses and contact lenses frequently to compensate for visual changes. Other symptoms of the disease can include sensitivity to light, glare and eye irritation.

Why Ophthalmologists Are Excited about Corneal Cross-Linking

For many years, ophthalmologists focused on managing the symptoms of keratoconus with visual aids in the early stages and, if the disease progressed far enough, recommending corneal transplant surgery. However, corneal cross-linking is intended to halt the progression of the disease, so that more invasive treatment in the future is not needed. Corneal cross-linking was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016.

The cornea has small protein fibers called collagen, which help keep it strong and intact.  The goal of corneal cross-linking is to strengthen these fibers, to hold the cornea in place and prevent it from distorting.

What Happens During Corneal Cross-Linking

Corneal cross-linking is an in-office procedure that takes between 60 to 90 minutes. Patients may need more than one treatment to achieve the desired outcomes.

First, riboflavin drops are administered to the surface of the eye, and then ultraviolet light is delivered to the eye at differing levels of intensity and time intervals. The reaction between the ultraviolet light and riboflavin helps to strengthen the collagen links in the cornea. By strengthening the cornea, corneal cross-linking slows the progression of keratoconus and staves off vision loss.

To learn more about keratoconus and corneal cross-linking, please contact OCC Eye. Call 203-366-8000 or email our practice today.

IS LASIK SAFE?

If your eyesight isn’t optimal you have probably considered finding a LASIK specialist in Fairfield, CT. This state-of-the-art vision correction procedure is performed by creating a flap in your cornea, reshaping the underlying tissue, and returning the flap to its original position, where it heals on its own. LASIK typically leaves people with 20/20 vision or better when they have recovered from the surgery, but not everyone is considered a good candidate.

The Risks Are Rare

As with any type of surgery, laser or otherwise, there is always some risk associated with the procedure. For example, in rare cases the cornea may heal slowly or become infected, or the flap may fail to re-adhere to the underlying tissue naturally once the procedure is over. The truth, however, is that few LASIK patients experience serious complications.

A more common risk of LASIK is that you could end up with dry eye after the procedure, either on a short-term or long-term basis. This could hamper your eye’s ability to heal. This can be handled by adding eye drops to your recovery routine to make it easier for your eyes to heal.

Most LASIK patients never experience any of these problems. Overall, LASIK is one of the safest procedures that one can have to correct their vision to perfect, or nearly perfect, parameters.

OCC Can Determine Whether You Are a Good Candidate for LASIK

Not everyone with bad vision is a good candidate for LASIK. This determination should be made by a board-certified ophthalmologist who specializes in procedures of the cornea, and is based on the health and condition of your eyes before the procedure. Contact Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut today to schedule an appointment with us today.

MYTHS AND MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT YOUR EYES

Young woman's face

There are many old wives’ tales when it comes to the eyes. Some of them, like wearing someone else’s glasses, were started as a way to keep people from touching objects that were not there, but others, such as a contact lens getting stuck behind your eyeball, no one is really sure how to trace. In case you are not quite sure which is accurate and which is simply a myth, here are some of the more common myths about your eyes, and the truth behind them.

Which of These Eye Myths Have You Heard?

How many of us have been told that watching too much television will ruin our eyesight? Certainly just about every kid that ever got lost in Saturday morning cartoons has heard this one. The truth is, you may get a headache from the super-stimulation that your mind goes through when watching television, especially if you happen to do it in the dark, but that is about it. Your eyesight will not be any worse for the wear.

When you weren’t eating your veggies, did your parents tell you that eating carrots would improve your eyesight? The truth is, they do help maintain good eyesight, but they require a balanced diet in all facets to help improve much of anything. Going on an all-carrot diet won’t give you eagle vision.

Have you heard that if you exercised your eyes, it would boost your eyesight? While your eyes will benefit from your exercising, there are no eye-specific exercises that can help improve your vision. Instead of trying to go out and focus near and far, just focus on getting healthy and staying fit, for your eyes, and the rest of you.

OCC Can Help Distinguish Myths from Fact When It Comes to Your Eyes

Taking care of your eyes is very important, and it can have a significant impact on your quality of life. It is very important that you know how to care for your eyes — and luckily for you, Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut can help! Contact us today to schedule an appointment with us.

EYE MAKEUP SAFETY TIPS

Portrait of a fresh and lovely woman with makeup

When it comes to keeping your eyes safe, there are a few stringent rules that you must abide by when putting on makeup. You need to make sure you are being safe with everything you put on or near your eyes, as the damage done to the eyes can be immediate and difficult to reverse. In order to keep your eyes safe while still wearing the makeup you love, follow these tips each time you put makeup on.

Mascara Has a Shelf Life

One of the staples of eye makeup is mascara, but using it is not always straight forward. You need to mark down when you buy it, and make sure that you throw it out if it has gone past four months. You should throw it out at the first signs of it drying out, and replace it. Adding moisture to it only has the potential to introduce infection into your eyes, and should always be avoided.

Sharing Makeup is Dangerous

Just because your eyes are used to your germs, does not mean that all eye germs are the same. Sharing eye makeup with a friend can introduce a whole new set of germs to your makeup, and thus, your eyes. Instead of hurting your eyes, even inadvertently, make sure that you are the only one using your makeup.

Don’t Use Makeup from Other Parts of Your Face On Your Eyes

Lip liners are meant for lips, so no matter how much you may want your lips and your eyes to match, you need to keep your makeup separate. Use the makeup intended for your eyes, just on your eyes, and don’t use the same makeup for the rest of your face. Cross-contamination can be dangerous, and should be avoided at all costs.

For More Eye Makeup Safety Tips, Contact OCC

The Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut (OCC) have many eye specialists on hand that can help you if you want tips to keep your eyes safe while using makeup. Contact us today to cchedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations.

PREPARING FOR LASIK SURGERY

Beautiful, smiling Caucasian woman leaned on a white, empty billboard

Thanks to the breakthrough and effectiveness of the refractive procedure widely known as LASIK, millions of patients across the globe have forever ditched their dependence on corrective eyewear, zooming in on the freedom of clear vision. While patients prepare to undergo this revolutionary procedure (which reshapes the curvature of the cornea to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and/or astigmatism), there are certain guidelines they must follow and precautions they must take. To guide you in preparing for LASIK surgery, the trusted specialists at Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut provide detailed instructions for a successful procedure and overall experience.

Know the Cost

Since LASIK surgery is considered elective, most insurance companies won’t cover the cost. The first step is to conduct a financial consultation with your doctor and explore your payment options, since you will likely pay out of pocket for the procedure.

Say Goodbye to Your Contact Lenses

Some patients mix it up and use both contact lenses and glasses for their corrective vision needs. If you wear contact lenses, you’ll need to switch to glasses full time for the two to four weeks leading up to your procedure, depending on whether the lenses are soft or gas permeable. If you continue wearing your contact lenses, it can lead to inaccurate surgical outcomes, since contact lenses may distort the shape of your cornea. Since each patient is different, your doctor will provide custom guidelines solely designed for you.

Skip Your Beauty Routine

Not using eye makeup, creams, lotions or perfumes the day of your surgery is mandatory. You may also use artificial tears to cleanse your eyes and wash your eyelashes carefully leading up to the surgery, to get rid of any debris. This will allow for a clean slate — and will minimize the risk of infection.

Surgery Day

If you are using any medication, continue to do so unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon. Ask any questions you may need answered, and if you feel anxiety, motion to the surgical staff or surgeon and let someone know; there is normally anti-anxiety medication on-site to help you relax.

Post-surgery Care

Arrange for a family member or close friend to drive you to and from your surgery, since you will most likely have blurry vision immediately afterward and may feel slightly groggy. You shouldn’t drive until your surgeon checks your vision and confirms you are clear and safe to sit behind the wheel.

Contact Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut

For any questions related to your eye health, to speak to one of our surgeons or to schedule an appointment at one of our locations, please call or email the Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut today.

YOUR GLAUCOMA QUESTIONS, ANSWERED

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, approximately 3 million Americans have glaucoma, an eye disease that causes vision loss and even blindness. Glaucoma is often referred to as the “silent thief of sight” because many people experience little to no symptoms during the early stages of the disease. If you believe you are experiencing vision loss caused by glaucoma, the Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut can help. In this blog post, we answer commonly asked questions regarding the eye disease.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve and usually occurs when fluid builds up in the front part of the eye. The extra fluid increases the pressure in the eye, damaging the optic nerve. If the nerve fibers in your eye are permanently damaged, vision is lost. If left untreated, blindness may occur.

There are two major types of glaucoma, open-angle glaucoma and narrow-angle glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma occurs when the drainage channel has been damaged, leading to fluid pressure in the eye. Narrow-angle glaucoma is a rare form of the disease that occurs when something blocks or covers the eye’s drainage channel.

What are Common Symptoms?

Open-angle glaucoma typically has no initial symptoms. The condition often progresses undetected until the optic nerve already has been irreversibly damaged, leading to permanent vision loss.

On the other hand, narrow angle glaucoma occurs suddenly and has noticeable symptoms including blurry vision, halos, intense eye pain, nausea and vomiting.

Am I at Risk?

You may be at higher risk for glaucoma if you:

  • Are over the age of 35
  • Are African-American
  • Are diabetic
  • Are extremely nearsighted
  • Have elevated eye pressure
  • Have a family history of glaucoma

Can Glaucoma be Prevented?

Research has shown there are several factors that can reduce one’s risk of developing the disease. Regular exercise paired with a healthy, balanced diet rich in vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids can protect your eyesight and protect against eye diseases such as glaucoma. Additionally, numerous studies have found smoking can increase the risk of developing glaucoma and other eye diseases.

How Can Glaucoma be Treated?

While glaucoma has no cure, early detection and treatment can help preserve your vision. In its early stages, glaucoma can be treated with prescription eye drops and medication to lower eye pressure. The Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut offer both traditional and laser surgery to minimize vision loss and prolong your eyesight. Speak to a member of our team to learn more about treatment options. Contact us today to schedule a personal appointment.

FIVE TIPS TO HELP PREVENT MACULAR DEGENERATION

Throughout the month of February, ophthalmologists around the nation are working to raise awareness of macular degeneration, an eye disease that affects central vision and is the leading cause of blindness among Americans age 65 and older. While there is no known cure for macular degeneration, there are ways to reduce one’s risk of developing the disease. In honor of National Macular Degeneration Awareness Month, we share five ways you can reduce your risk of developing the eye condition.

Don’t Smoke

Not only is smoking terrible for your overall health, it can increase your risk of developing eye diseases, including macular degeneration. In fact, one study found smokers are up to four times more likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers!

Eat a Balanced Diet

When it comes to healthy eyes, nutrition matters. According to research, eating the right foods can help decrease your risk of certain eye conditions, including cataracts and macular degeneration. A healthy balanced diet should include vegetables rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, two key nutrients for eye health. Eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., cold water fish, walnuts and flaxseed) can also prevent macular degeneration or slow down its progression.

Exercise Regularly

According a study from the British Journal of Ophthalmology, regular exercise can reduce your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by as much as 70 percent. Exercising regularly is also beneficial in controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, which in turn can help prevent macular degeneration.

Wear Sunglasses Year Round

Research shows long-term eye damage caused by overexposure to the sun can lead to macular degeneration. Safeguard your eyes by wearing sunglasses that offer 100 percent UV protection while outdoors, even during cloudy weather.

Schedule an Eye Exam

While there is no cure yet for macular degeneration, regular eye exams can help detect the condition in its early stages, when it is easier to manage. The goal is to slow its progression and help prolong your vision. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people between the ages of 45 and 60 have a dilated eye exam every two or three years and those over 60 should have an eye exam every year.

To learn more about macular degeneration, including how to detect and manage it, contact the Ophthalmologists Consultants of Connecticut. Please contact us today.

FOUR MISTAKES YOU’RE MAKING AT YOUR DESK THAT ARE HURTING YOUR EYES

Close-up of a businesswoman thinking in front of a computer

Do your eyes constantly hurt or feel sore when staring at your computer screen at work? Chances are, you may be doing something that is causing strain to your eyes. This is common, as many people nowadays experience some form of digital eye strain or computer eye syndrome. Symptoms include red eyes, eye twitching, dry eyes and headaches. In this blog post, the Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticutreveal common mistakes you may be making at your desk that are hurting your eyes, as well as solutions to relieve eye strain.

Mistake #1: You’re Sitting Too Close to Your Computer

Sitting too close to your computer (or staring at your smartphone or tablet too close) doesn’t cause permanent damage to your eyes but it does cause unnecessary strain. Position your computer screen 20 to 24 inches away from your eyes. Ideally, the center of your screen should be about 10 to 15 degrees below your eyes so your head and neck are comfortable.

Mistake #2: Your Computer Screen is Too Bright or Too Dark

The brightness of your computer screen should closely match the brightness of your surroundings. To determine the best brightness settings, look at the white background of a web page or word processing document. The screen may be too bright if it looks like a light source. On the other hand, if the screen looks too dull or gray, it may be too dark. Additionally, try adjusting the text size and contrast of the screen to make reading easier.

Mistake #3: You’re Not Taking Enough Breaks

Do you constantly experience neck, shoulder and back pains when sitting at your computer desk? Sitting in one place for an extended period of time can easily cause tension or muscle fatigue. Avoid eye, back and neck strain by standing up more often, stretching your arms, legs, neck and back. Set a reminder on your eye or write yourself a note on your desk to remind yourself to get up and move about every so often.

Mistake #4: You Don’t Blink Enough

Research shows people tend to blink much less while using a computer — about one-third as often as we normally do. Blinking helps moisten the eyes and prevents dryness and irritation. Try blinking 10 times every 20 minutes, each time closing your eyes very slowly, as if falling asleep.

Contact Us Today

For more information on how to keep your eyes healthy, contact the Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut. Contact us today to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.

HOW TO CHOOSE A LASIK SURGEON

Choosing to undergo LASIK surgery can trigger a range of emotions. The idea of clearer vision can be exciting, but having to trust someone with something as delicate as your eyes can be nerve wracking. The best way to calm any worries you may have before your surgery is to choose an experienced and skilled eye surgeon who specializes in LASIK procedures. In this blog post, the Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticutshare a few guidelines to keep in mind when choosing a LASIK surgeon.

Specialized Training

Above all else, the LASIK surgeon you choose should be board certified and credentialed by the American Board of Ophthalmology or the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This ensures your surgeon graduated from an accredited medical school and has completed specialized surgical training and examinations. Being board certified also means your LASIK surgeon is required to continue their education related to their specialty.

Extensive Experience

Your potential surgeon should have years of experience performing LASIK surgeries and have an exceptional track record. Find out how many procedures your surgeon performs and beware of misleading claims. For example, a surgeon may claim to have performed a certain number of procedures but they may be grouping several different types of surgery together, not just LASIK. The ideal eye surgeon has performed thousands of LASIK procedures.

Advanced Laser Technology

There have been many advances in laser technology in recent years. Your surgeon should only use the latest instrumentation during your procedure. The Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut are well-trained in custom LASIK, which involves reshaping the cornea, and conventional LASIK, which uses the latest advancements in wavefront technology to correct vision.

Patient Satisfaction

A great surgeon should have glowing patient referrals and reviews. Don’t hesitate to ask your potential surgeon to see reviews from past patients. Another way to ensure you choose a trustworthy surgeon is by asking those closest to you (friends and family) for a referral. Is there a specific eye doctor whom your loved ones rave about or trust? If so, this is a great way to narrow down your options.

The Surgeon’s “Personal Touch”

Before making a final decision, it’s a good idea to visit your potential LASIK surgeon’s practice yourself. Is the entire staff both professional and friendly? Are they willing to answer all of your questions? Interacting with the surgeon and their staff beforehand will allow you to assess whether or not they are a good fit for you and your needs. A LASIK surgeon should be responsive to your individual needs and give you peace of mind that your vision is in good hands.

Learn more about LASIK surgery from the experienced and friendly team at Ophthalmic Consultants of Connecticut. Contact us today to schedule a personal consultation in any one of our four locations.