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6 Things To Know About Keratoconus

happy couple in winter 640×350Keratoconus is an eye disease that causes the cornea, the clear dome-shaped front surface of the eye, to become misshapen and bulge. This progressive disease usually occurs in both eyes and affects approximately 50-200 in every 100,000 individuals.

People who have keratoconus often experience problems like blurred vision, distorted vision, night blindness and sensitivity to light. Clear vision correction for keratoconus can be challenging to achieve because the irregular corneal shape makes it difficult or impossible for standard eyeglasses or contact lenses to provide you with sharp vision.

Thankfully, there are ways for people with keratoconus to achieve clear and comfortable vision, something we explore below, along with several other key points about keratoconus.

1. Everyone has different risk factors for developing keratoconus

Some risk factors for developing keratoconus include:

  • Hereditary predisposition
  • Eye rubbing
  • Other medical conditions like Down syndrome, allergic dermatitis and connective tissue disorders
  • Eye inflammation

2. Keratoconus can develop at any age

Although most cases of keratoconus are first diagnosed in adolescence or young adulthood, it can appear during any stage of life. That’s why regular eye exams are crucial, even if your vision seems clear and your eyes appear to be healthy.

3. Early diagnosis is key

This rings true for almost every eye disease, especially keratoconus. Catching it early in its tracks can allow the eye doctor to implement various treatments to slow down its progression during the initial stages, when this condition tends to worsen more rapidly.

4. Keratoconus progresses at different rates throughout life

Keratoconus progression varies from person to person, and one person can experience varying degrees of progression in each eye. Some patients live with mild keratoconus their entire lives, while other patients develop severe keratoconus early on.

Often, optometrists will recommend that patients undergo certain procedures to strengthen the cornea and prevent or slow down further progression.

5. Keratoconus can be treated with surgery or scleral contact lenses

Corneal cross-linking surgery is an effective option to provide enhanced strength to the cornea and is the only FDA-approved method of stopping or slowing keratoconus progression. However, if the condition develops into severe keratoconus, a corneal transplant may be the best option for treating the condition and restoring clear vision.

Scleral contact lenses offer another option to surgery. They are ideal for patients with early or moderate levels of keratoconus because they safely and effectively correct vision without irritating the misshapen cornea. In fact, studies have shown that patients with keratoconus who wear scleral contact lenses greatly reduce their risk of needing keratoplasty (corneal transplant surgery).

The large diameter of scleral contact lenses allows them to vault over the sensitive corneal tissue and then also coat the cornea in a nourishing reservoir of fluid for optimal comfort and visual clarity. Because eye rubbing and corneal irritation are significant risk factors for the progression of keratoconus, the protective qualities of scleral lenses can help to minimize keratoconus progression.

6. You can live a normal life with keratoconus

With the proper care and treatment from your optometrist, keratoconus shouldn’t stop you from living your life to the fullest. Although it can be discouraging to experience vision problems that can’t be resolved with standard lenses or glasses, know that there are other options available.

At Midwest Eye Associates Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center, we help patients with keratoconus and other corneal abnormalities achieve crisp and comfortable vision using scleral contact lenses and other specialty lenses.

Our practice provides scleral lenses to patients from Creve Coeur, Wentzville, St. Peters, and St. Charles, Missouri and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Byergo

Q: Who else can benefit from wearing scleral contact lenses?

  • A: Scleral contact lenses are ideal for patients with any of the following conditions: corneal abnormalities, severe dry eye syndrome, post-LASIK or corneal transplant, eye allergies, high refractive error or corneal trauma. Speak with your optometrist to find out if scleral lenses are right for you.

Q: Do all optometrists fit specialty contact lenses like sclerals?

  • A: No. If you are interested in scleral contact lenses, be sure to choose an optometric practice that has years of experience fitting specialty lenses. At Midwest Eye Associates Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center, we have the knowledge, skill and experience necessary to provide you with the best lenses for your eyes. Call us to learn more or schedule your scleral lens fitting.

The Link Between Myopia Progression and COVID Confinement

The Link Between Myopia Progression and COVID Confinement 640×350Several months into the COVID-19 pandemic eye doctors began to notice that children’s myopia was worsening. Researchers set out to learn whether there was, in fact, a link between the pandemic and increased myopia progression, and if so, why.

How The Pandemic Affected Children’s Vision

A recent study published in JAMA Ophthalmology (2021) found that children aged 6 to 13 experienced an increased rate of myopia progression since the beginning of the pandemic, and the lockdowns and restrictions that accompanied it.

The researchers examined the rate of myopia progression from 2015 to 2020 in more than 120,000 children from 10 elementary schools, based on school vision screenings. By the end of the study, children were shown to have significantly higher rates of myopia progression in 2020 than in previous years.

The higher rate of progression was especially severe in children between the ages of 6 and 8. Researchers theorized that the children’s earlier stage of visual development might have been the crucial factor.

Other studies have already determined that children who spend at least 2 hours a day outdoors experience less myopia progression than their peers who stay mostly indoors.

Researchers from the National Eye Institute found that children who spent significant time outdoors — about 14 hours a week — significantly reduced their chances of needing glasses for myopia. Among children with two myopic parents, the chances of needing glasses are roughly 60% if they don’t spend significant time outdoors. However, this study found that, after spending the prescribed 14 hours per week outside, the same children’s risk of myopia dropped to around 20%.

Similar results appear in a study published by the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (February 2019), that shows a significant link between the amount of time children spend engaged in near-work tasks and increased myopia progression.

Taken together, these studies give us a clearer picture of the challenges children have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, and why myopia rates in children have soared.

What Can Parents Learn From All Of This?

Parents should make an effort to encourage their children to go outside as often as possible and to spend more time away from screens and other near-work tasks. Moreover, progressive myopia in childhood has been linked to heightened risks of developing sight-robbing eye diseases later in life, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts.

If you’re concerned about your child’s myopia, make an appointment with their eye doctor as soon as possible, as delays in seeking professional advice can make myopia management more challenging in the future.

Our practice offers myopia management to patients from Creve Coeur, Wentzville, St. Peters, and St. Charles, Missouri and surrounding communities.

 

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33443542/

https://www.aaojournal.org/article/S0161-6420(17)33464-4/fulltext

 

Can Restricting Online Gaming Time Reduce Myopia Progression?

Two kids playing online gamesThe Chinese government recently implemented a new policy that’s sparked conversations about childhood myopia and online gaming.

Under the policy, Chinese children and teens under the age of 18 are only permitted to play online video games for one hour on weekend evenings and public holidays — a significant reduction compared to their previous online gaming allotment. This restriction includes all forms of video games, from handheld devices to computer and smartphone gaming.

The government hopes to combat a common condition called online gaming disorder, or video game addiction, which affects more than 30% of children in China. Another potential benefit of limiting online gaming may be a reduction in childhood myopia progression, something we explore below.

The Link Between Online Gaming and Myopia Progression

Myopia, or nearsightedness, is a condition that causes blurred distance vision. Several factors contribute to the onset and progression of myopia, including genetic and environmental.

Several studies have found that screen time, along with other forms of near work, is associated with higher levels of myopia and myopia progression in children.

According to a study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology (2019), children who engage in screen time for more than 3 hours per day have almost 4 times the risk of becoming myopic. Younger children, around ages 6-7, are even more susceptible to experiencing screen-related nearsightedness, with 5 times the risk compared to children who don’t use digital screens.

Limiting screen time may also encourage children to spend more time outdoors in the sun, a protective factor against developing myopia and slowing its progression.

In The Sydney Adolescent Vascular and Eye Study (2013), researchers found that spending at least 21 hours outdoors per week was more important for delaying the onset of myopia than limiting near work in both younger and older children, although both were effective.

What’s the Bottom Line?

Although online gaming can give children a sense of community and togetherness, excessive online gaming can increase a child’s risk of developing myopia and contribute to its progression.

The good news is that parents can make eye-healthy choices for their children that can have lifelong benefits. Limiting near work activities like online gaming and other screen time, and encouraging your children to play outdoors can significantly reduce their chances of developing high (severe) myopia.

How Myopia Management Can Help

The best thing that parents can offer their children to prevent myopia and halt its progression is a custom-made myopia management treatment plan with an eye doctor.

Whether or not myopia has set in already, we can help preserve your child’s eye health and lower their risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and retinal detachment in the future.

To learn more about our services or schedule your child’s myopia consultation, contact Midwest Eye Associates Myopia Management Center in St. Charles today!

Midwest Eye Associates Myopia Management Center offers myopia management to patients from Creve Coeur, Wentzville, St. Peters, and St. Charles, Missouri and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Byergo

Q: Who is an ideal candidate for myopia management?

  • A: Children, teens, and young adults who are nearsighted or are at risk of becoming nearsighted are ideal candidates for myopia management. If you think myopia management is right for you or your child, speak with us about how we can help. Remember, the sooner your child starts myopia management, the better their outcome will be.

Q: Is myopia management based on scientific evidence?

  • A: Yes! The treatments used in myopia management are all safe and clinically proven to slow the onset and progression of myopia in children and teens. There have been several scientific studies that support its effectiveness.

Blinking Exercises for Dry Eye

Blinking Exercises 640×350Did you know that the average person spends around 7 hours a day looking at a screen? The glare and reflections from computer, smartphone, and tablet screens can reduce blink rates by as much as 60%. When we concentrate intensely we tend to blink less, which can, in turn, lead to dry eye syndrome.

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome include red and dry eyes, irritated eyes, blurred vision, painful or stinging eyes, light sensitivity and mucus around the eyes.

Blinking helps keep our eyes healthy and comfortable. With every blink, the ocular surface is cleaned of debris and lubricated, so less blinking means more irritation and dryness.

Below are a few blinking exercises to help you ensure that your eyes remain lubricated and refreshed throughout the day.

Blinking Exercises

Blinking exercises are simple to do and can be seamlessly integrated into your daily routine. These exercises should be done a few times an hour. Try alternating between the 2 exercises below.

1. Close-Pause-Pause-Open-Relax

  1. Without squeezing, gently close your eyes.
  2. Pause and keep your eyes closed for 2 seconds.
  3. Gently open your eyes and relax them.
  4. Repeat 5 times

2. Close-Pause-Pause-Squeeze-Open-Relax

  1. Without squeezing, gently close your eyes.
  2. Pause and keep your eyes closed for 2 seconds.
  3. While keeping your eyes closed, squeeze your eyelids together slowly and gently.
  4. Gently open your eyes and relax them.
  5. Repeat 5 times

The Importance of Fully Blinking

It’s important to fully blink to completely lubricate your eyes. If you’re only partially blinking, it can render your dry eye symptoms worse.

To find out whether you are fully blinking, just look at your eyes in the mirror. If they feel dry or appear red, or if you see a horizontal stripe of red blood vessels across your eyes, then you have been partially blinking.

If you’ve incorporated blinking exercises into your routine but are still experiencing eye irritation, you may have dry eye syndrome. We can diagnose the underlying cause of your symptoms, and offer a variety of dry eye treatments to alleviate any discomfort. Schedule an eye exam with Midwest Eye Associates Dry Eye Center today to receive effective, long-lasting relief.

Midwest Eye Associates Dry Eye Center serves dry eye patients from Creve Coeur, Wentzville, St. Peters, and St. Charles, Missouri and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Byergo

Q: What is dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome is caused either by insufficient tears or poor tear quality. Every time you blink, you leave a thin film of tears over the surface of your eyes. This helps keep your vision clear and your eyes healthy. If your tears don’t keep the surface of your eye moist enough, you will experience dry eye symptoms. Some medical conditions, certain medications, dysfunctional glands, allergies and environmental irritants can all cause dry eye symptoms.

Q: What are the symptoms of dry eyes?

  • A: Symptoms of dry eye include irritation; a gritty, scratchy or burning sensation; blurred vision; excessive tearing; and/or a feeling of having something stuck in the eye.

Why Ortho-K Is A Great Alternative To LASIK

Why Ortho K Is A Great Alternative To LASIK 640×350Most people elect to have refractive surgery like LASIK for the hassle-free, crisp vision it provides. But did you know that you can achieve the same results as LASIK without undergoing surgery?

Orthokeratology, commonly referred to as ortho-k, safely eliminates the need for daytime glasses or contact lens wear by correcting myopia (nearsightedness), and is a popular alternative to LASIK surgery.

What Is Ortho-K?

Ortho-k uses rigid gas-permeable contact lenses to gently and safely reshape the front surface of the eye, the cornea, for clear daytime vision. These specialized lenses are designed to be worn overnight while you sleep, and removed in the morning, leaving you with corrected, stable vision throughout the day.

These custom-designed lenses work by gently applying light pressure to the epithelial layer of the cornea and molding its shape to alter its focusing power.

What are the Advantages of Ortho-K Over LASIK?

Lower Risk of Complications

Any medical device or procedure involves some risk of complications. Both ortho-k and LASIK have associated risks, but those of LASIK are considered more serious.

LASIK complications, while rare, can leave patients with corneal disorders, such as astigmatism or severe dry eye syndrome and — more commonly — visual problems like glare, distortion and seeing halos around lights.

In contrast, the risks associated with ortho-k lenses are no different from those connected to any other rigid contact lenses. Poor hygiene is the biggest risk factor for developing contact-lens irritation and complications.

Orthokeratology is Reversible

LASIK surgery is not reversible, and in the event of complications, further medical procedures may be necessary to correct any resulting problems.

Ortho-k, on the other hand, is non-invasive and completely reversible if you ever decide to cease treatment. After a few nights of not wearing the lenses, your corneas will slowly revert back to their original, natural shape.

Better For Dry Eyes

If you have symptoms of dry eye syndrome like dryness and irritation, you may want to think twice before undergoing LASIK. A common side effect of LASIK is dry eye syndrome, and many people who already have the condition are advised to not have refractive surgery.

Dry eye syndrome can also make it uncomfortable to wear standard contact lenses.

Ortho-k is great for people with mild to moderate dry eyes because there’s no need to wear eyewear, such as standard contacts, during the day.

More Cost-Effective

Both LASIK and ortho-k will most likely save you money in the long term, as eyeglasses, contact lenses and other related expenses are no longer incurred. That said, in most cases, the up-front expenses of ortho-k lenses are about half the cost of LASIK surgery.

The exact cost of ortho-k lenses will vary depending on many factors and the degree of your refractive error.

Reduce Myopia Progression

Myopia, or nearsightedness, significantly increases the risk of developing sight-threatening diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, retinal detachment and macular degeneration later in life. The higher (worse) the myopia, the greater the risk. As myopia progresses and worsens, the risks further increase.

Slowing myopia can effectively reduce this risk. Myopia can continue to worsen into a person’s 20’s, and at least 10% of nearsighted adults from ages 20 and older will still experience some degree of myopia progression.

Ortho-k has been clinically proven to slow the progression of myopia in children and young adults, making it an excellent treatment for nearsightedness.

LASIK, on the other hand, offers no such benefits. Refractive surgeries simply alter the focusing power of the cornea to produce clear vision, while ignoring the underlying problem that causes the eyeball elongation associated with myopia.

LASIK is only offered to those whose eyes have stopped growing, usually people 21 and older. So, unlike ortho-k, it generally cannot slow the myopia progression in teens and young adults.

In fact, many teenagers and young adults who are interested in eventually choosing LASIK use ortho-k lenses to stabilize their myopia and increase their chance of successful LASIK outcomes in their 20s, once their eyes stop growing.

Interested in Ortho-K? We Can Help!

If you are interested in correcting your vision without surgery or the need to wear daytime contact lenses or glasses, contact us to learn if ortho-k lenses are right for your eyes and lifestyle.

At Midwest Eye Associates Myopia Management Center, our friendly and knowledgeable optometric team will guide you through all of your options and help you achieve optimal vision.

To learn more about ortho-k or to schedule a consultation, call Midwest Eye Associates Myopia Management Center today!

Midwest Eye Associates Myopia Management Center offers myopia management to patients from Creve Coeur, Wentzville, St. Peters, and St. Charles, Missouri and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Byergo

Q: Who is a candidate for Ortho-K?

  • A: Children (ages 8 and above) and adults with mild to moderate nearsightedness/astigmatism who want clear vision without daytime eyewear are great candidates for orthokeratology. Ortho-k is also a great option for athletes who require stable vision without worrying about eyewear that can be damaged.

Q: Are there any disadvantages of Ortho-K?

  • A: Ortho-k lenses must be cleaned after each use to maintain hygiene and reduce the risk of contact lens-related problems. Occasionally, ortho-k lenses aren’t suitable for patients with very high prescriptions.

References

7 Ways to Wish Dry Eye ‘Goodbye’

7 Ways to Wish Dry Eye Goodbye 640×350There’s no reason to suffer through the uncomfortable, sometimes debilitating symptoms that can accompany dry eye syndrome. Living with chronically dry, red and irritated eyes can affect your productivity and overall enjoyment of life.

That’s why we’ve put together 7 of our top tips for relieving dry eye syndrome.

1. Stay Hydrated

The tears are mostly made up of water, supplied by the tear glands. People need to drink enough liquid to maintain a stable tear film, so if your body isn’t sufficiently hydrated, your eyes won’t be able to produce sufficient tears and will suffer the consequences.

Keep your water bottle at arm’s reach throughout the day. You can even sip on juices, broths and dairy or plant-based milk to keep your body and eyes properly hydrated. Many health authorities recommend drinking between 2-3 liters of hydrating fluids per day.

If your eyes have been feeling dry or irritated, try limiting your alcohol intake because it is a diuretic.

2. Use Artificial Tears

Artificial tears aren’t just great for making your eyes feel more comfortable; they also have protective properties that can prevent ocular surface damage from occurring or worsening.

The tricky part is choosing the correct drops for your specific condition.

By assessing your eyes, your eye doctor can determine what’s causing your eyes to be dry and recommend the most appropriate drops. There are numerous types of artificial tears on the market, and what may work for a friend or relative may not be the best option for you.

3. Up Your Omega-3 Intake

A healthy tear film consists of three layers: water, oil and mucus. An imbalance in any of these components can result in tears that evaporate prematurely. To ensure that your eyes can produce enough of the oils that stabilize your tears, include the recommended daily intake of Omega-3’s in your diet. You can take a supplement and/or eat foods like fatty fish, seeds and nuts.

It’s best practice to speak with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet or introducing a new supplement to your routine.

4. Wear Sunglasses

Sunglasses not only reduce your glare symptoms and provide important UV protection, but also effectively offer relief from dry eyes.. Dry eyes are vulnerable to irritation from light winds that can dry out the eye’s tear film.

Whenever outdoors, wear a pair of protective wraparound sunglasses to minimize the effects of wind and seal out dirt and debris that can be carried in the breeze. For severe cases of dry eye syndrome, ask your optometrist about specific lenses or eye drops to provide even more relief from dry eyes.

5. Use a Humidifier

When the air around you is too dry, it pulls the remaining moisture from your tears,, leaving your eyes feeling parched.

Humidifiers combat the dryness in any indoor environment by replenishing moisture to the air. Whether at work or home, use a humidifier to offset dryness, especially if you are using a fan, heater or air conditioner in the room.

6. Try Warm Compresses

Warm eye compresses are a great way to relieve symptoms of mild to moderate dry eye syndrome.

The gentle heat from a compress helps to soften any hardened oils that may be clogged in the little oil glands that line the eyelashes. Your oil glands will work more efficiently to deliver tear-stabilizing oils to your eyes’ surface once the glands aren’t blocked. Your eye doctor will instruct you on how to easily prepare a warm eye compress at home.

7. Visit Your Dry Eye Optometrist

Your [eye doctor] offers a range of successful options to treat your dry eyes to ensure you always have clear vision and comfortable eyes. Call your dry eye optometrist to have your eyes thoroughly evaluated and treated for long-lasting relief. There are a wide range of in-office treatments that can alleviate symptoms of dry eye syndrome and help your eyes feel refreshed.

To learn more about our dry eye services and schedule a consultation, call Midwest Eye Associates Dry Eye Center in St. Charles today!

Midwest Eye Associates Dry Eye Center serves patients from Creve Coeur, Wentzville, St. Peters, and St. Charles, Missouri and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Byergo

Q: What are other symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Aside from redness and dryness, dry eye syndrome can also cause watery eyes, stinging or burning, stringy mucus, blurred vision, grittiness, light sensitivity and difficulty wearing contact lenses. Symptoms can range from mild to debilitating, and from occasional to chronic.

Q: Does dry eye syndrome need to be treated?

  • A: If left untreated, dry eye syndrome can cause eye inflammation, corneal ulcers or abrasions and even vision loss in severe cases. Dry eye syndrome also puts a person more at risk of developing eye infections. If you have any symptoms of dry eye syndrome, contact us for a tailor-made treatment plan.

World Keratoconus Day + Keratoconus Treatment Options

world keratoconus day November 10 640×350World Keratoconus Day is dedicated to raising awareness about keratoconus (KC), as well as educating and advocating for those living with keratoconus and ectatic corneal disorders.

Keratoconus, or KC, is a degenerative non-inflammatory eye condition affecting the cornea. In KC, the cornea, which is normally dome-shaped, gradually becomes thinner and bulges out as it begins to assume a cone shape.

Keratoconus tends to develop during the early teens, with mild symptoms. As the disease progresses, the cornea’s shape changes to a point where wearing regular contact lenses is no longer an option and eyeglasses cannot fully correct one’s vision.

Fortunately, with the right contact lenses, those with keratoconus can once again see the world clearly and comfortably.

Keratoconus and Contact Lenses

In its early stages, people with keratoconus can usually wear glasses or standard soft contact lenses to correct resulting astigmatism and improve clarity. As the condition progresses, however, your eye doctor will prescribe the most suitable contact lens to accommodate a cone-shaped cornea to provide you with the clearest vision possible.

There are a variety of contact lens options for keratoconus, all of which depend on the severity of the condition.

1. Soft Toric Lenses

Astigmatism can be corrected with soft toric lenses, a comfortable and effective solution during the early stages of KC. However, this may not be a good treatment option as the condition worsens.

2. Custom Soft Contact Lenses

Custom soft contacts are an improvement over soft toric lenses since they are designed to match the exact contour of your cornea. Soft contact lenses can be custom-made for KC patients and may eliminate the need for glasses by fully correcting astigmatism.

3. Gas Permeable Contact Lenses

Gas permeable contact lenses (hard lenses) allow more oxygen into the eye than standard soft lenses. A gas permeable lens has a somewhat different shape than soft contact lens alternatives, as it rests on the cornea, and because the lens is hard, it creates a new optical surface. These lenses are suitable for people with moderate KC.

4. Hybrid Contact Lenses

These lenses are a cross between hard and soft lenses. The hard center provides a flat surface, which helps alleviate the issues associated with a misshapen KC cornea. The lens is rendered more comfortable by the soft outer ring. Hybrids combine the convenience and comfort of soft lenses with the crisp, clear vision of rigid gas permeable contacts.

5. Scleral Lenses

Scleral lenses are larger than standard hybrid, gas permeable or custom soft contact lenses. They vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, the white of the eye. The advantage of scleral lenses is that they do not sit on the cornea, which removes any rubbing and irritation on the corneal bulge. This reduces the risk of corneal injury from the contact lens.

Furthermore, as the scleral lens vaults above the cornea, the reservoir of pure saline solution between the underside of the lens and the front of the cornea keeps the eye in a liquid environment at all times. This enables the eye to receive an abundance of oxygen.

While both rigid gas permeable (GP) and scleral lenses deliver enough oxygen to the eyes, scleral lenses provide more comfort and better stability than regular GP lenses. For this reason, scleral contact lenses are a very successful option for people with keratoconus and irregularly shaped corneas.

Treatment for Keratoconus

We offer treatment for keratoconus that is tailored to each patient based on the severity and progression of the condition, as well as the patient’s lifestyle.

Contact Midwest Eye Associates Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center to learn more about scleral lenses and to discover ways we can help you manage your keratoconus.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Byergo

Q: For how many hours can scleral lenses safely be worn in a day?

  • A: Scleral lenses can be worn for 12-14 hours per day. To preserve the greatest possible vision and comfort, some patients may need to remove the lenses, clean them, and reapply fresh saline several times a day.

Q: Can scleral lenses completely correct my vision?

  • A: Scleral lenses hide abnormalities on the eye’s surface and may improve vision over other types of correction. However, you’ll probably need to wear glasses over the lenses to see clearly at all distances, particularly if you’re over 40 and require reading glasses for close work.

Midwest Eye Associates Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center provides scleral lenses to patients from Creve Coeur, Wentzville, St. Peters, and St. Charles, Missouri and surrounding communities.

Wear Progressive Glasses? Transition To Multifocal Contact Lenses!

As you age, you may notice some changes in your vision. Many people over the age of 40 require reading glasses to help with age-related farsightedness, called presbyopia.

For those who already wear glasses to correct for myopia, or nearsightedness, switching back and forth between reading glasses and regular glasses may become a bother. That’s why many people choose glasses with progressive lenses or multifocal contact lenses.

What are Progressive Glasses?

Progressive glasses correct 3 distance zones in your visual field: near, intermediate, and distant vision.

The difference between progressives and multi/bifocal glasses is that progressive lenses lack the telltale lines on the lenses that separate each visual zone. Progressive lenses provide a much more seamless transition between near and distant vision.

Although progressive glasses are a popular choice among older adults with multiple prescriptions, there are several benefits that multifocal contact lenses offer in addition to correcting the 3 visual zones.

Why Switch to Multifocal Contacts?

For starters, many patients prefer the appearance of contact lenses over glasses and the freedom they provide.

Multifocal contact lenses also provide some visual benefits that progressive glasses may not:

  • Progressive glasses can sometimes produce blurred side vision when focusing on near objects, while multifocal contacts provide clear side vision.
  • When wearing progressives glasses, you have to tilt your head downwards to read. With multifocal contacts, you can comfortably read without tilting your head, and have a larger reading area compared to progressives.
  • It’s much easier to read text that’s above head level with multifocal contact lenses.
  • The daily maintenance of contacts may be easier than glasses. You only need to clean your contacts in the morning and night, whereas glasses usually need to be cleaned several times per day.
  • Progressive glasses can sometimes make straight lines seem curved. Multifocal contact lenses usually don’t distort your vision.
  • If you use a computer, you may find that wearing multifocal contact lenses is more comfortable than wearing progressive glasses, as you can read the screen while maintaining a natural head and neck position.
  • Multifocal contact lenses may be more suitable than glasses for an active lifestyle.

Progressive glasses and multifocal contact lenses each have their pros and cons, and your optometrist will help you decide which option works best for your eyes and lifestyle.

If you think that multifocal contact lenses may be for you, be in touch with Midwest Eye Associates in St. Charles to schedule a contact lens consultation. We look forward to hearing from you!
At Midwest Eye Associates, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 314-833-8663 or book an appointment online to see one of our St. Charles eye doctors.

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Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Carli Hays, OD

Q: Are there several types of multifocal contact lenses?

  • A: Yes. Multifocal contact lenses come in a few different designs, including concentric, aspheric, and segmented. The difference between each lies in the pattern of zone correction on the lens’ surface.

Q: How long does it take to adjust to multifocal contact lenses?

  • A: The adjustment period lasts between a week and up to a month or two. Wearing your lenses as often as possible will help your eyes adjust faster. Some patients experience eye strain and headaches while adjusting to the lenses, so speak with your optometrist about any symptoms you may have.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Charles, Missouri. Visit Midwest Eye Associates for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

7 Questions And Answers About Astigmatism

7 Questions And Answers About Astigmatism 640×350If you wear glasses or contact lenses, you probably have some degree of astigmatism. But how much do you really know about this all-too-common refractive error?

Below, we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about astigmatism and explain why scleral contact lenses are often prescribed to astigmatic patients.

1. What is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism is a common refractive error caused by a cornea that isn’t perfectly spherical. The cornea is the outer front covering of the eye and is partially responsible for refracting light onto the retina. When the cornea is misshapen, it refracts light incorrectly, creating two focus points of light entering the eye. Since the light is no longer focused on the retina, it results in blurred vision at all distances.

2. What are the Symptoms of Astigmatism?

The main symptom of astigmatism is blurred vision, but it can also cause symptoms like:

  • Objects appearing wavy or distorted
  • Squinting
  • Headaches
  • Poor night vision
  • Frequent eye strain

3. How Common is Astigmatism?

Astigmatism affects approximately 1 in 3 individuals around the world. Most people with myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness) also have some level of astigmatism.

4. What’s the Difference Between Astigmatism, Nearsightedness and Farsightedness?

Although all 3 of these refractive errors negatively affect visual clarity, they are caused by different mechanisms.

Astigmatism is a result of a non-spherical cornea, which causes two focal points and blurry vision. Myopia occurs when the corneal focusing power is too high and the light focuses in front of, instead of directly, on the retina. Hyperopia occurs when the corneal power is too weak, so the light rays focus behind the retina, not on it. Both myopia and hyperopia can occur with a spherical cornea.

5. How is Astigmatism Corrected?

In cases of mild to moderate astigmatism, the blurred vision can be easily corrected with prescription glasses or contact lenses. But for patients with high levels of astigmatism, standard contact lenses may not be an option. Toric contact lenses are a popular choice for patients with mild or moderate astigmatism due to their unique focusing features and oblong shape. Scleral contact lenses are suitable for moderate to severe astigmatism.

Refractive surgery is also an option, but comes with the risk of surgical complications.

6. Why Can’t Individuals With High Astigmatism Wear Standard Contact Lenses?

A highly astigmatic cornea has an irregularly shaped surface that isn’t compatible with standard soft contact lenses. Standard soft lenses are limited in the amount of astigmatism they can correct, as these lenses move around on the cornea due to the cornea’s irregular shape. This, in turn, reduces visual clarity and comfort.

Regular hard lenses can often correct astigmatism better than soft lenses, but they, too, have limitations: these lenses are smaller and may also move around too much.

7. Why are Scleral Lenses Ideal For Astigmatism?

Scleral contact lenses are customized to each patient. They have a larger diameter than standard lenses, and thus cover the entire front surface of the eye. These specialized rigid lenses gently rest on the white part of the eye (sclera) and don’t place any pressure on the sensitive cornea, making them suitable for even highly astigmatic eyes.

Furthermore, scleral contact lenses contain a nourishing reservoir of fluid that sits between the eye and the inside of the lens, providing the cornea with oxygen and hydration all day long. In fact, patients typically report that sclerals provide sharper vision than other types of contact lenses.

Have Astigmatism? We Can Help

If you’ve been told that you have astigmatism and that your current contacts or glasses just aren’t cutting it, ask your optometrist whether scleral contact lenses are right for you.

At Midwest Eye Associates Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center, we provide a wide range of eye care services, including custom scleral lens fittings and consultations. Our goal is to help all patients achieve crisp and comfortable vision, no matter their level of astigmatism or corneal shape.

To schedule your appointment or learn more about what we offer, call Midwest Eye Associates Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center today!

Midwest Eye Associates Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center serves patients from Creve Coeur, Wentzville, St. Peters, and St. Charles, Missouri and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Byergo

Q: Can a person outgrow astigmatism?

  • A: About 20% of all babies are born with mild astigmatism, but only 1 of those 5 babies with astigmatism still have it by the age of 5 or 6, at which point it is unlikely to diminish or disappear. Astigmatism can continue to change and even progress as the child grows, but tends to stabilize at around age 25.

Q: Can eye surgery cause astigmatism?

  • A: Yes. For example, cataract surgery may cause or worsen astigmatism as the surgeon makes a tiny incision in the cornea to replace the lens. During the healing process, the cornea may change its shape and lead astigmatism to develop.

7 Common Questions About Dry Eye Syndrome, Answered

7 Common Questions About Dry Eye Syndrome, Answered 640×350Millions of people around the world live with a chronic eye condition called dry eye syndrome (DES). Although DES is quite common, many people don’t know much about it — and that’s where we come in.

Here are answers to 7 of the most commonly asked questions about dry eye syndrome.

1. What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

DES occurs when your eyes chronically lack hydration. The tears in your eyes are responsible for keeping them feeling fresh and your vision clear. When your tear production is disrupted, or the quality of your tears is insufficient, your eyes may feel dry and irritated. DES is most frequently a result of poor functioning of the glands in the eyelids, which produce essential oils for the tears.

2. What are the Symptoms and Causes of DES?

The main symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:

  • Red, painful eyes
  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Foreign body sensation
  • [Mucus] around the eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Itchy eyes

Dry eye syndrome can be caused by several factors, including genetics and environment. Specific causes include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Aging
  • Certain medications
  • Eye allergies
  • Dysfunction of the glands in the eyelids
  • Hormonal fluctuations and hormone replacement therapy
  • Refractive surgery
  • Extended screen usage
  • Exposure to windy or dry climates
  • Infrequent or incomplete blinking
  • Polluted air

3. What are Risk Factors for Developing DES?

You are more likely to develop dry eye syndrome if you:

  • Are female
  • Are pregnant
  • Are above the age of 50
  • Have allergies
  • Have thyroid dysfunction
  • Are very deficient in Vitamin A
  • Have an autoimmune disorder, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Spend several hours per day in front of a digital screen
  • Smoke
  • Live in a place with poor air quality, such as large cities

4. Can DES Go Away On Its Own?

It really depends. If your dry eyes are caused by an external irritant or allergen, your symptoms will likely improve once the irritant is removed. Some people may only experience symptoms of dry eye syndrome in a dry climate, during allergy season, or after prolonged screen use (when people blink their eyes much less frequently), for example.

5. Is DES Permanent?

Although there are ways to manage and treat DES, it is considered a chronic condition. In many cases, symptoms may reappear if treatment stops. In other cases of DES, symptoms can be temporary, depending on the cause.

6. Is DES Harmful to Eye Health?

It can be. Severe dry eye syndrome can lead to corneal ulcers and scarring. In very rare cases, dry eye syndrome may produce partial blindness if left untreated.

7. How is DES treated?

There are several safe and effective treatments for dry eye syndrome. Treatment options will vary from patient to patient, depending on what’s causing your DES. Your optometrist will select the treatment that targets the underlying cause of your condition.

You may be prescribed medicated eye drops, lubricating eye drops, omega-3 supplements or in-office treatments to clean and/or improve the functioning of the glands in your eyelids. Speak with your optometrist about which treatment option is most suitable for you.

If you or a loved one is living with symptoms of dry eye syndrome, we can help. Midwest Eye Associates Dry Eye Center provides the latest, most effective treatments for dry eye syndrome for long-lasting relief.

To schedule your dry eye consultation, call Midwest Eye Associates Dry Eye Center in St. Charles today!

Midwest Eye Associates Dry Eye Center serves patients from Creve Coeur, Wentzville, St. Peters, St. Charles and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Byergo

Q: What are some lifestyle choices that can help ease symptoms of dry eye syndrome?

  • A: Some patients find that staying hydrated and eating more omega-3 rich foods help with DES. You may also benefit from wearing sunglasses when outdoors and using a humidifier when indoors to replenish the moisture in the air.

Q: Should I use over-the-counter eye drops for my dry eyes?

  • A: There are so many eye drops at the pharmacy, so it can be hard to choose the right product for your eyes. If your eyes are feeling dry, head over to your local optometrist before resorting to an over-the-counter option.