3 Ways To Ease Your Child’s Anxiety About Having Cataract Surgery

About one in every 250 children develop cataracts at some point, so your little one isn’t alone when it comes to living with blurry or distorted vision. Luckily, surgery can produce a clear retinal image and allow your child to see without impairment as they grow up. The surgical process typically involves using an operating microscope under general anesthesia to remove the cataract, so your little one should be in and out of the medical facility on the same day. But while the removal of cataracts is a quick and relatively painless process, it’s sure to be a new experience for your child, which may result in a bit of anxiety about their scheduled surgery. Here are a few things you can do to support your little one and help ease the anxiety of having cataract surgery:

Get to Know the Surgeon

It’s a good idea to schedule an initial consultation appointment with your child as the center of attention at least one time before their scheduled surgery date. While it is important that you are able to have your questions and concerns addressed during the consultation, it’s essential that your child has an opportunity to get to know the surgeon’s personality and manner so they’re more likely to feel comfortable and safe while being treated. Perhaps the surgeon is willing to sit and read a page or two o your child’s favorite book with them during the meeting. Engagement is the key to “breaking the ice” and encouraging trust in your youngster.

Practice Beforehand

If your child will require the use of contact lenses or glasses to help optimize their vision after surgery, it’s helpful to practice using similar tools at home before surgery. This will give your little one a chance to get used to their feel and performance so they can quickly and easily adapt to their regular use after having the cataracts removed. You can use toy glasses or ask your child’s doctor for non-prescription strength contacts to use at home.

If working with contacts, practice putting them in your child’s eyes so they can be worn for an hour or two a day during the week leading up to surgery. If working with glasses, have your little one wear them while they read and for an hour at a time periodically throughout the week before surgery. This should help make the transition to everyday use less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Make Recovery Relaxing

Aside from a small amount of itching and some sensitivity to light during the first few hours after surgery, the recovery process should not produce any ill side effects for your little one to face. However, you’ll want to keep your child calm and relaxed for a day or two after having their cataracts removed so their bodies can use all of their energy to properly heal. Set up a quiet corner on the living room couch where your child can rest without being separated from the rest of the family, and keep the lights low so they don’t cause irritation or sensitivity.

Schedule movie night for the evening after surgery so the whole family can enjoy a relaxing activity during recovery. Focusing on indoor activities, such as painting projects and baking, for a day or two after surgery will help to ensure that your little one gets the rest they need so they’re back to their old selves quickly. And to minimize rambunctious physical behavior during recovery, make sure other kids in the family have a clear understanding of how they’ll be expected to behave around their sibling after they come home from surgery.

These tips and tricks should help to provide both you and your child with some extra peace of mind throughout the cataract removal process and recovery thereafter.  

Cataract Surgery and Lens-Particle Glaucoma: 4 Things to Know

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve—the tissue that converts light into images and sends those images to your brain—through increased intraocular pressure. Lens-particle glaucoma is a type of glaucoma that can develop after you have surgery on your eyes, like cataract surgery. Here are four things you need to know about lens-particle glaucoma.

1. What causes lens-particle glaucoma?

To understand the cause of lens-particle glaucoma, you need to be familiar with the relevant structures of the eye. The lens is a transparent structure within your eye that helps to refract light as it enters your eye. Your lens is located right behind your iris and pupil. It’s kept safe by a membrane called a lens capsule.

If this capsule gets damaged, the aqueous humor (the fluid in front of the lens) will hydrate the lens, which causes it to break down. Pieces of your lens will then be released into the anterior chamber of your eye, where they can block the release of fluids from your eyes. When the fluids can’t drain normally, they get trapped inside the eye, and pressure builds up. The end result of this process is lens-particle glaucoma.

This process may begin if you suffer a penetrating or blunt force injury to your eye. It can also occur as a complication of eye surgeries like cataract removal. For example, if your surgeon didn’t remove all of your lens during your cataract surgery, the remaining fragments can then cause lens-particle glaucoma. To protect your eyes, make sure to choose a cataract surgeon that has performed many of these procedures with success. The optometrist or ophthalmologist who diagnosed your cataracts can refer you to a trusted colleague for this procedure. 

2. What are the signs of lens-particle glaucoma?

Often, lens-particle glaucoma is asymptomatic, according to Medscape, but if your intraocular pressure and intraocular inflammation are severe, you may have eye pain or blurred vision. Since this condition often doesn’t cause symptoms, you need to have your intraocular pressure checked regularly after cataract surgery. 

If you’ve had cataract surgery in the past, you should have your intraocular pressure checked at least every one to two years after age 35. Your optometrist may recommend a more frequent screening schedule if they think it’s necessary.

3. How does lens-particle glaucoma differ from other types?

Like other types of glaucoma, lens-particle glaucoma occurs when the fluids inside your eye aren’t able to drain properly, leading to high pressure inside the eye. However, it’s also unique in a lot of ways.

Unlike other types of glaucoma, it occurs as a direct result of trauma to your eye. It’s not related to your age, your race, or your medical history, while other types of glaucoma are. It’s also not genetic, so if you develop lens-particle glaucoma, your family members don’t need to worry that they’ll also get it.

4. How is lens-particle glaucoma treated?

Other types of glaucoma can be treated with miotic eye drops, a type of medication that encourages drainage of fluids from the eyes, but these drops can’t be used for people with lens-particle glaucoma. In people with lens-particle glaucoma, they can lead to synechia, which means that the iris gets stuck to either the cornea or the lens. Synechia can raise your intraocular pressure; this is why your optometrist won’t give you the pressure-reducing drops that other glaucoma sufferers get.

Instead, you’ll be given topical corticosteroids to help reduce your inflammation. Your optometrist will then monitor your eyes to make sure the lens material is absorbed. If the lens material doesn’t absorb quickly, you’ll need surgery to resolve your glaucoma. This surgery involves removing all of the remaining lens material.

Lens-particle glaucoma is a possible complication of cataract surgery. After your cataract surgery, you’ll need to see your optometrist regularly to be screened for this type of glaucoma.

5 Things You Need to Know about Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer vision syndrome, also known as digital eye strain, is an eye condition that occurs when you spend too much time looking at the screen of your computer, phone, or tablet. Here are five things you need to know about computer vision syndrome.

1. What are the signs of computer vision syndrome?

The most common symptom of computer vision syndrome is eye fatigue: this symptom affects 64.95% of people with the condition. Other common symptoms include eye strain and eye irritation. You may also notice that your eyes are itching or burning, and your vision may be blurred. Some people also develop excessive tearing.

Computer vision syndrome frequently causes non-eye-related symptoms, as well, like headaches, neck pain, and back pain. You may also feel tense or generally tired. If you notice these signs, step away from your computer and get evaluated by your optometrist right away.

Why do digital screens cause eye strain?

While reading a computer or phone screen may not feel much different from reading printed materials, the visual demand is not the same, and your eyes need to work harder to read a digital screen. This is the case for many reasons.

A digital screen is made up of many tiny pixels, and this means that the borders of letters aren’t as clear as they would be on paper. This effect is worse if your computer has a low screen resolution, as a low screen resolution means that there are fewer pixels.

The contrast of a digital screen is also a factor. Digital screens are backlit, and this backlighting creates a strong contrast between the words and background. This contrast is not present when you’re reading from printed materials.

Glare and reflections on your digital screens can also put demands on your eyes. This can be a problem if your computer is near a window of if you use your phone outdoors. Light reflects off of your screen and into your eyes, and you may struggle to see the words on the screen past the objects that are reflected in the screen.

How common is this condition?

Computer vision syndrome is reported to be a very common condition. According to the American Optometric Association, between 50% and 90% of people who use computers will suffer from eye-related symptoms at some point. Every year, optometrists in the United States perform about 10 million eye exams that are related to computer vision syndrome complaints. Since this condition is so common, all computer users should assume that they’re at risk and take steps to protect their eyes.

Can computer vision syndrome damage your eyes?

Computer vision syndrome isn’t dangerous, though it can still cause problems for sufferers. The discomfort can leave you unable to work on the computer for extended periods of time; this may mean that you need to find a new job that doesn’t involve using a computer. Young people who develop computer vision syndrome may end up needing to get glasses for distance vision, which can be a nuisance.

How can you protect your eyes?

To protect your eyes, take frequent breaks. After 20 minutes of staring at a digital screen, look at a distant object for about 20 seconds. This can be as simple as looking out the window or gazing around the cubicle farm. These short, frequent breaks allow the muscles around your eyes to relax, which helps to take the strain off of your eyes.

Computer glasses can also help your eyes relax. These glasses are designed based on your vision correction prescription, the distance between your body and your computer, the lighting in your office, and other factors. Your optometrist can prescribe the perfect pair of computer glasses based on your needs.

If you think you have computer vision syndrome, make an appointment with your optometrist to discuss your concerns. Click here to find out more about how an optometrist can help you with your eye health.

Eye Dilation And Thinning Retinas

If you’ve been to an optometrist lately, you probably had to get your eyes dilated. At least, the option was presented to you, whether or not you took your doctor up on it. But is it really necessary to determine the health of your eye? And what did it mean when your optometrist told you your retina might be thinning and to “keep an eye on that”?

Is Digital Imaging as Good as Eye Dilation?

To you, it might seem that dilating pupils is a little extreme. Optometrists have digital imaging available to them, and can view the inside of your eye with that technology. But many optometrists believe that these technologies serve different purposes. Digital imaging should be used as documentation, while dilation is a method of diagnosis. Eye dilation is much more precise, because the eye doctor can see your inner eye – both the peripheries and the center – more clearly with dilation. However, if a problem is detected, digital imaging and laser scans are used to document and track changes in your eye over a period of time.

How Serious is Retinal Thinning?

While less than 10% of the population experiences retinal thinning, it can seem like an ominous possibility to you. As you age, your retina will naturally develop holes. For most people, this isn’t vision threatening, it’s just a natural process. The concern for your vision lies in the thinning and tearing of the retina.

Following eye dilation, if your optometrist has told you that your retina appears to be thinning, then you run the risk of losing your vision. Tears in the side part of your retina can lead to peripheral blindness while tears in the center lead to overall vision loss. Rest assured, however, that retinal thinning doesn’t always result in tears and vision loss. When it does, a surgery to reattach your retina usually results in restored vision. It might put you out or work for a couple of months, but it shouldn’t result in permanent damage.

How do I “Keep an Eye” on My Retina?

Optometrist humor such as “keep an eye on that” doesn’t always clarify what steps you should take to maintain retinal health. And, unfortunately, there is little you can do to prevent retinal damage. However, if damage is caused by another health factor – such as diabetes or high cholesterol – keeping these under control will help maintain your eye health. If you participate in contact sports or work with power tools, always protect your eyes to prevent trauma from detaching your retina.

Other than that, the best thing you can do to “keep an eye” on your retina is to have routine checkups. Document any changes that occur in your inner eye. And, most importantly, know the symptoms of retinal detachment so you can get immediate attention.

What are the Symptoms of Retinal Detachment?

Some people describe the detachment of their retina like a curtain being closed over their eye. This could be gradual or sudden, but it will seem like someone has just shut the light out of your eye. Other times, you might see flashes of light or an increase in eye floaters (spots that move within your vision, an aura, or wiggly lines). If you experience any of these symptoms, you should schedule an emergency visit to your optometrist. Don’t put off a visit until it is convenient, because you want to catch the tear before your retina completely detaches.

Eye dilation is a necessary part of an eye exam – it is used to diagnose possible eye problems before they become major ones. So next time your optometrist recommends it, take them up on a dilation.  Click here to learn more, or contact a local eye clinic.