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6 Ways To Maintain Eye Health If You’re Over 50

Aging and certain lifestyle choices can affect your vision, especially if you’re in your 50’s and up. While it’s normal for your eyes and vision to change, there are certain actions you can take to protect your sight.

6 Tips for 50+ Eye Health

  1. Eat Well

    A well-balanced diet helps maintain a healthy body including healthy eyes, and reduces your odds of developing some very serious eye diseases. Nutrients and nutritious foods, which help prevent vision loss include:

    • Vitamin A: Carrots, spinach, kale, egg yolks, dairy products
    • Vitamin C: Citrus fruits and juices, broccoli, potatoes, green peppers
    • Vitamin E: Whole grains, eggs, sunflower seeds, vegetable oils
    • Fatty Acids: Coldwater fish, such as mackerel, rainbow trout and salmon; corn oil, sunflower oil
    • Lutein: Kale, spinach, broccoli, brussels sprouts, corn
    • Zinc: Poultry, meat, fish, dairy products, whole grains
  1. Quit Smoking

Smoking can significantly increase the chances of developing age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, as well as diabetic retinopathy in diabetics. So if you’re a smoker, the sooner you quit, the better.

  1. Exercise

Exercising for at least 20 minutes a day is great for your whole body, including your eyes, by increasing blood flow to the optic nerve and retina! It isn’t necessary to engage in strenuous exercise—in fact, a brisk walk will suffice.

  1. Protect Your Eyes

Sunglasses

Protecting your eyes from ultraviolet rays with UV-blocking sunglasses can slow down the development of cataracts, prevent sun damage to your retina, and lower the risk of skin cancer near your eyes.

Protective eyewear

Another way to protect your eyes is to wear protective eyewear. If you play sports or work with materials such as wood, glass or metal, protective eyewear can shield your eyes from splinters and shards, as well as fast-moving objects like balls and hockey pucks.

  1. Give Your Eyes a Rest

If you spend a lot of time reading, driving or looking at digital devices, you may develop eye strain and eye fatigue. By implementing the 20-20-20 rule, especially during prolonged computer or smartphone use, you can give your eyes some much-needed rest. All you need to do is this: every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

  1. Have Regular Eye Exams

And finally, a comprehensive eye exam is crucial, as it can detect eye conditions that don’t display any symptoms until vision loss has already occurred.

These conditions include:

When detected early, treatment can often prevent permanent vision loss or even blindness. Less serious and more common, presbyopia or age-related farsightedness, develops with age, and simply updating your prescription for glasses or contact lenses at your routine eye checkup can keep you enjoying the arm’s-length activities you love.

Age-related vision changes can be challenging, both emotionally and physically. However, some of these can be mitigated by implementing the tips above.

Schedule an eye exam with Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates in Chicago, Illinois to check your eye health today!

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Q&A

How does aging affect your eyes?

Aging causes changes in every part of your body, including your eyes. As you age, the lens inside your eye begins to harden, which leads to presbyopia (age-related farsightedness). This makes it more difficult for your eyes to focus on near objects and tasks like reading. Other common age-related eye problems include:

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetic Retinopathy
  • Dry Eyes
  • Floaters
  • Changes to Peripheral Vision

Can I do anything about my chances of vision loss?

It is estimated that half of all visual impairment and blindness can be prevented through early diagnosis and treatment. So make sure you get regular eye exams to ensure that all is in check.

 

Why Eye Exams Are More Important Than Ever

Why Are Eye Exams near you in Chicago, Illinois Important?

Since the onset of COVID-19, many children have been learning remotely through distance learning programs. While parents are concerned about their children falling behind academically, eye doctors are concerned that undiagnosed vision problems may impact the child’s school performance.

Undetected vision problems may hinder a child’s ability to learn. That’s why eye doctors strongly recommend that children undergo a thorough Eye Exam before the new school year begins.

While it’s tempting to rely on vision screenings provided by schools, these superficial visual acuity tests can identify only a limited number of vision problems. Only a comprehensive Eye Exam conducted by an eye doctor can accurately diagnose and address a wide range of problems related to vision and eye health.

How Is Vision Affected By Online Learning?

The amount of time children spend looking at digital screens was already a concern in the pre-pandemic era—but the covid pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. According to the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology, children spent twice as much time on screens during COVID-related closures than they did prior to the pandemic.

For one thing, spending prolonged periods of time on digital screens forces the eyes to work harder, making children and adults more susceptible to digital eye strain, one of the hallmark symptoms of computer vision syndrome. People who spend 2 or more consecutive hours staring at a screen are at higher risk of developing this condition.

Some digital eye strain symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Eye fatigue
  • Eye pain
  • Headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain

These symptoms can be caused by a combination of the following factors:

  • Glare and reflections from the screen
  • Excessive time looking at a screen
  • Poor lighting
  • Poor posture
  • Screen brightness
  • Undetected vision problems

In addition to digital eye strain, several studies have found that children who spend many hours indoors doing “near work” — writing, reading and looking at computers and other digital devices — have a higher rate of myopia progression.

A study published in the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s professional journal, Ophthalmology, found that first-graders who spent at least 11 hours per week playing outside in the sunshine experienced slower myopia progression. Some researchers theorize that exposure to sunlight and looking at distant objects while playing outdoors might help prevent myopia progression.

Our optometry practice near you in Chicago, Illinois, offers a wide range of eye care services, including pediatric eye exams, contact lenses fitting and ocular diseases management

Why Are Eye Exams Important?

Up to 80% of a child’s learning is visual, so even the slightest vision problem can have a negative impact on their academic achievement. Taking a child in for an Eye Exam once a year will allow your eye doctor to detect and correct refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, and check their visual skills, such as convergence insufficiency, binocular vision, focusing and more.

Comprehensive eye exams are the best way to detect mild and serious eye health conditions. Eye exams are especially important for children with a family history of eye health problems.

While regular eye exams are essential for every member of the family, they’re especially for those who spend a good portion of their day in front of a screen.

Don’t put off your child’s annual Eye Exam. Schedule an appointment with Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates in Chicago today!

Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates, your Chicago eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Schedule a Back To School Eye Exam With Our Optometrist in Chicago, Illinois

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At what age should a child have an Eye Exam

According to the American and Canadian Optometric Associations, it’s recommended for a child to have their first Eye Exam between 6-12 months of age.
Before a child starts school, they should undergo an Eye Exam, and every one to two years after that, based on their Eye Doctor’s recommendation.

Does my child need an Eye Exam if they passed the school vision screening?

Yes! School vision screenings are superficial eye evaluations designed to diagnose a limited number of vision problems like myopia. They do not check for visual skills and other problems that may hinder your child’s academic success.
Your Eye Doctor will evaluate your child’s vision and eye health, along with visual abilities, including depth perception and eye tracking, to let you know whether your child’s eyes are “school-ready.”

Why Are Blue Eyes More Sensitive To Light?

Why Do Your Eyes Need Sun Protection?

Eyes of all colors need shielding from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Exposure to UV light can contribute to the formation of short-term and long-term eye conditions such as corneal sunburn and macular degeneration.

That’s why it’s so important to choose high-quality Sunwear with 100% UV blocking lenses and to throw on a sun hat for an added layer of protection.

UV protection is important for individuals of all ages—especially children—who are more susceptible than adults to the sun’s harmful rays and tend to spend more time outdoors. It is estimated that up to 80% of a person’s lifetime exposure to UV rays happens before the age of 18.

Why are Blue Eyes More Sensitive to Light?

Lighter-colored eyes like blue, hazel, and green have less of a pigment called ‘melanin’ than brown eyes do.

Melanin helps protect the retina from UV damage and blue light, putting those with blue eyes at a higher risk of developing UV-related eye damage.

If you have blue eyes, you may have experienced this first-hand. Bright light may be uncomfortable or you may want to reach for your shades as soon as you leave the house on a sunny day.

That’s why optometrists urge blue-eyed patients to be particularly vigilant about UV protection, so as to mitigate their chances of developing eye disease and other complications.

How We Can Help

Whether you have blue eyes or not, sunglasses are an important part of keeping your eyes healthy for a lifetime.

At Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates, we’ll be happy to advise on the perfect high-quality and protective pair of sunglasses to suit your needs and personal style.

Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates, your Chicago eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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Should I wear sunglasses even when it’s not sunny outside?

Yes! You should wear your sunglasses whenever outdoors during the day, even on an overcast, winter day. UV light can pass through clouds and reflect off surfaces like car windows and pavement.

What type of sunglasses are the most suitable for blue eyes?

The most protective sunglasses are wraparound sunglasses that protect the eyes from every angle. You can also opt for photochromic lenses, which offer total UV protection but only become tinted when exposed to outdoor sunlight, and turn clear when you come indoors again. Your optometrist can help you choose the best lens and frame options for your needs and lifestyle.

Why Are Dilated Eye Exams So Important?

Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates Dilated Eye Exam near you in Chicago, Illinois

Having your eyes dilated during an eye exam may seem like a nuisance. But when you consider the benefits of a dilated eye exam, the temporary blurred vision and sensitivity to light that typically follow are definitely worth it.

What Are Dilated Eye Exams?

At some point during a comprehensive eye exam, your optometrist will shine a bright light into your eyes to examine the back of your eye, called the retina. The problem is that bright light causes the size of the pupil’s opening to shrink, which makes it hard for the optometrist to see a large portion of the retina.

That’s why eye doctors apply special eye drops in each eye to keep the pupils open. A dilated pupil allows for a much more accurate assessment of your eye’s structures, including the focusing lens, blood vessels and tissues at the back of the eye called the retina, as well as the optic nerve and macula.

Dilating the eyes makes it easier for your optometrist to detect the following conditions and diseases:

It’s important to note that many of these conditions can develop without noticeable symptoms, until they cause vision loss at which point treatment may be more challenging, making dilated eye exams all the more crucial.

The Dilation Process

First, your eye doctor will apply eye drops to each eye to trigger dilation of the pupil. Your eyes should be fully dilated about 10-20 minutes later.

Your eyes will remain dilated for 4-6 hours, and during this time you may be sensitive to light. That’s because the larger pupil allows more light than usual to enter the eye. Many patients find it more comfortable to wear sunglasses until their eyes return to normal.

Reading and using a computer may be difficult with dilated eyes, and your vision may be blurred. Some patients report feeling a tightening sensation in their eyelids, or headaches.

Dilated eye exams are a crucial part of keeping your eyes healthy. To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, call Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates in Chicago today!

Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates, your Chicago eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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At what age should one have a dilated eye exam?

You should have your dilated eye exam no matter your age. Most eye doctors will dilate a new patient at their first exam regardless of age to get a baseline of their retinal health.

Will I be able to return to work after a dilated eye exam?

Everyone reacts differently, so it’s hard to tell. If your job requires you to focus on small print or detail, it may be challenging. Typing and writing may also be difficult with dilated pupils. To be on the safe side, book your appointment at the end of your work day, clear your schedule after your eye exam and only plan to do activities which aren’t visually demanding.

Why Does Bono Always Wear His Signature Shades?

Ask our optometrist in Chicago how Do Sunglasses Help People With Glaucoma?

Ever wonder why rock superstar Bono wears sunglasses, even when indoors? It’s not due to his “look”, but rather is related to managing his glaucoma.

Ever wonder why Bono always wears shades, even when indoors? U2’s frontman doesn’t wear sunglasses simply as part of his image. Bono has had glaucoma, a build-up of pressure in the eyeball, which can damage the optic nerve and potentially lead to blindness if untreated—for over two decades now.

The real reason he wears his trademark shades is due to this progressive, sight-robbing eye disease, to protect his sensitive eyes from light and glare.

How Do Sunglasses Help People With Glaucoma?

People with glaucoma experience sensitivity to light (or photophobia) and glare, among other symptoms. When the sun is strong, those with this condition will be more affected by glare emanating from a variety of surfaces, like water, snow, sand or pavement, than the average person. Furthermore, certain glaucoma medications constrict the pupils, which can further contribute to acute sensitivity to glare and light, as well as redness and irritation.

That’s why people with glaucoma — and lots of people without glaucoma — feel best wearing sunglasses when outdoors on a sunny day, in a bright indoor space, or while driving in the early evening.

Here’s How You Can Protect Your Eyes

By wearing sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection, you can reduce your risk of developing sight robbing diseases, like cataracts and macular degeneration, and reduce glaucoma symptoms. Polarized lenses, in particular, can help with glare. With yearly comprehensive eye exams, early diagnosis and consistent treatment, you can prevent vision deterioration from glaucoma or similar sight-threatening eye diseases. Contact Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates in Chicago to book your eye doctor’s appointment today.

Book an eye exam at an eye clinic near you to learn more about your candidacy for contact lenses and which type is right for you.

Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates, your Chicago eye doctor for eye exams and eye care

Alternatively, book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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Can glaucoma be cured?

While there is currently no cure for glaucoma, there are many effective treatment options available. Treatments that can help stop or slow the progression of glaucoma include eye drops, oral medications, as well as laser and surgical procedures.

How can glaucoma vision loss be prevented?

The best way to avoid glaucoma-related eyesight deterioration is to undergo regular eye exams, as glaucoma can be detected and treated even in its early stages, which can prevent significant vision loss or blindness. That’s why routine eye exams that include glaucoma testing are so important.

Frequently Asked Questions on Eyeglasses

Optical store in Chicago, Illinois

Eye Care and Optical Store in Chicago, Illinois

How can I get rid of reflections on my glasses?

If you’re experiencing annoying reflections on your lenses, have your optician replace the lenses with ones that include an anti-reflective coating (AR coating). Though this will come at an extra cost, the AR coating will help you see more clearly, let others see your eyes better and eliminate annoying glare spots on your lenses.

I’d like to know more about the glasses that transform into sunglasses.

Glasses that transform into sunglasses when in direct sunlight are known as photochromic lenses. The lenses darken once exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UV) rays and progressively return to their clear state when no longer exposed to these rays.

Photochromic lenses are an excellent choice for those who wear glasses all day and regularly spend time outdoors, yet don’t want to invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses.

However, it’s important to note that most photochromic lenses don’t darken as well when inside a vehicle. The windshield glass blocks much of the UV required to initiate the lens darkening process. Thus, it’s best to get a separate pair of prescription sunglasses for driving.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I choose glasses that my child will actually want to wear?

If you want your child to wear glasses, get him or her to pick them out. Whenever children choose glasses frames that they like and feel good wearing, they are much more likely to enjoy wearing them.

How can I prolong the life of my eyeglasses?

Below are a few tips to keep your glasses in great condition:

  • If you’re buying a single pair of glasses, avoid trendy frames that could soon go out of vogue.
  • If your child’s prescription changes regularly, ask for the new lenses to be placed in the old frames, rather than purchasing new frames every time.
  • Buy frames with spring hinges. These allow the temples to slightly flex outward without breaking the glasses.
  • Apply scratch-resistant coating to the lenses.

Why do certain glasses leave indents on the sides of my nose?

When nose pads are maladjusted or too tight, they leave indents. Fortunately, this problem can be easily solved with a few adjustments by an optician who will ensure that the pair of glasses evenly distributes pressure on the nose, head width, and ears.

Why do my glasses cause pain behind my ears?

If the arms of the frame are bent too tightly around the ears, you will experience aches behind the ears. Ask your optician to loosen the arms and adjust them as needed for maximum comfort.

My glasses keep sliding off my nose. What should I do?

If your glasses aren’t sitting comfortably on your face, then there’s clearly an adjustment problem. Visit Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates in Chicago to adjust the frame width and bridge size.

How do I keep my glasses clean?

The most efficient method for cleaning glasses is to run them under water; place a tiny drop of dishwashing soap on the lenses and lather them using the tip of your finger. Rinse with warm water and dry using a microfibre cloth. Keep your lenses away from chemicals and high temperatures, as they can destroy the protective coating on your lenses.

Q: Why should I see an eye doctor when I can easily pick up an inexpensive pair of eyeglasses at the store?

  • A: You should visit your eye doctor for several reasons.Routine eye exams are the only way to detect underlying diseases (i.e. glaucoma) in their early stages. When caught early, they can be more effectively treated before permanent vision loss occurs. Furthermore, the one-size-fits-all reading glasses that you find at a regular store doesn’t correct for astigmatism or those with differing eye prescriptions. This is something only an eye doctor, such as our eye doctors, can provide.

Q: When buying reading glasses at a pharmacy or corner store, how do I know which prescription to get?

  • A: Off-the-shelf glasses should only be used for emergency situations, as they can’t perfectly correct your prescription. That said, it is recommended to get a slightly weaker correction than your usual prescription.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

How To Care For Your Glasses

Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates Offers You The Very Best In Eye Care

Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates Offers You The Very Best In Eye Care

If you’re like most people, your eyeglasses are your window to the world and an expression of your personal style. You chose them with care, and now you want to ensure that your investment lasts.

Here are our top tips for keeping your glasses in tip-top shape.

Handle Them Carefully

When removing your glasses, firmly hold them by the corner of the temples to avoid accidentally bending the temples and earpieces.

Be sure to never set them down directly on the lenses. Instead, lay them with the lenses facing upward.

Clean Them Properly and Often

Don’t wipe your glasses with the bottom of your shirt or a tissue. Using anything but a microfiber cloth to wipe them can transfer dirt to your lenses.

Furthermore, cleaning your lenses while they’re dry can scratch them. Instead, wash away debris and dirt with clean tap water and a drop of dish soap or eyeglass cleaner provided by your eye doctor. Never use hot water, as it can damage or strip the lenses of certain coatings.

Let your glasses air dry or dry them with a clean microfiber cloth. Paper towels and tissues may be too abrasive.

Cleaning your specs daily will help keep them in optimal condition.

Store Them Safely

Keep your glasses in a hardshell case whenever they aren’t on your face. Hard cases protect your specs from being bent, crushed, scratched, or soiled.

If you prefer a less bulky case, consider storing your glasses in a microfiber pouch and placing them in a safe place where they won’t be disturbed.

Store your glasses in the same place every time to reduce your chance of losing them. Never leave your glasses in a hot car — the heat can damage or warp the lenses.

Glasses that are well-maintained provide the best in visual clarity and comfort. Scratched lenses or misaligned earpieces can cause eyestrain when worn for extended periods of time.

If your glasses (or eyes) need a little TLC, we can help. To schedule an eye exam or ask any questions about proper eyeglass upkeep, call Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates in Chicago today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use a standard glass cleaner to clean my eyewear?

  • A: Absolutely not. Cleaning solutions like window cleaner, ammonia, and bleach can ruin any specialized coatings on your lenses. Also, don’t use saliva. Spitting on your lenses can introduce substances like oil and bacteria — not things you want on your lenses.

Q: How often should I replace my glasses?

  • A: When worn and cared for properly, a good pair of glasses should last between 1-3 years, assuming your lens prescription doesn’t change. Of course, feel free to get some new frames whenever you want to spruce up your look.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


How Can You Tell If Your Baby Has a Vision Problem?

Eye Care & Optical | Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

Eye Care & Optical | Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

Babies heavily rely on their vision to explore and learn about the world around them. But what many don’t realize is that vision is a learned skill, just like walking and talking. Without a healthy vision, babies who grow into toddlers may not be able to reach some developmental milestones on time or may find ordinary activities very challenging.

That’s why it’s so critical to check that your child’s eyes and vision are developing as they should. Below are some warning signs that parents and caregivers should keep an eye out for, as it may signal the need to visit an optometrist.

To schedule an eye exam for your baby, toddler or anyone else in your family, Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates in Chicago is here for you.

Signs That May Indicate a Vision Problem In Infants

If your baby displays any of the following signs and symptoms, consult with your pediatrician or your eye doctor.

  • Eye turn, when one eye turns inward, outward, up or down
  • Excessive tearing or watery eyes
  • White or grayish coloring in the pupil
  • Crustiness or pus around either eye
  • Persistent eye redness
  • Extreme light-sensitivity
  • Very droopy eyelids
  • Eyes that rapidly move from side to side or up and down
  • Eye pain or discomfort that doesn’t resolve
  • Squinting or head tilting
  • Difficulty maintaining eye contact

Visual Milestones to Keep in Mind

Below are a few examples of visual milestones that are important to achieve as your baby develops into a toddler within the first 2 years of life.

0-4 Months

When babies are born, they are usually able to focus on objects that are about 9 inches away (the distance between their eyes and their parent’s face while being held or during breastfeeding).

Within a few months, vision rapidly improves, allowing them to track moving objects with their eyes and develop the beginnings of hand-eye coordination.

If you notice that your newborn’s eyes appear to be crossed or if one eye turns outward at times, this is usually no cause for concern and will likely resolve as their visual system strengthens. However, just to be sure, consider scheduling an exam with your pediatrician or eye doctor.

After 3 to 4 months, babies should be able to track moving objects and reach for things.

5-8 Months

Babies begin to see the world in 3 dimensions at around 5 months. Depth and color perception are new visual skills that evolve during these months.

This is also the stage when most babies learn to crawl. Crawling supports a baby’s hand-foot-body coordination and may help strengthen their visual system. As babies crawl, they look up into the distance and then back at their hands, and up again. Constantly shifting their points of focus in coordination with their own movement helps develop their binocular vision and hand-eye coordination.

9-12 Months

By this stage, a baby should be able to pick up small objects with their thumb and forefinger.

Most babies will also try to pull themselves up to a standing position and may try to walk. Encourage your baby to crawl as much as possible, as this bolsters their hand-eye coordination and binocular vision.

A baby this age should be able to judge distances pretty well.

12-24 Months

Hand-eye coordination is well developed by the age of 2. Toddlers this age are able to recognize faces and point out objects in a picture book.

What Can Parents Do For Their Baby’s Visual Health?

Babies need visual stimulation in order to develop a healthy visual system. Parents and caregivers should engage in age-appropriate activities that will boost their visual development.

For example, provide the baby with plenty of free time to play with toys on the floor. Talk to your baby as you walk around the room to help develop their visual tracking skills. Read books and point to objects. Give your child building blocks and balls that support visual-spatial skills and fine motor skills.

Of course, all babies develop at their own speed — and that’s fine. Some healthy babies may not reach every milestone right on the mark. The best way to learn whether your child’s visual system is developing normally is to have them assessed by an optometrist.

If you suspect that your baby may have a visual problem, bring them in for an evaluation with our eye doctors. Generally, the earlier visual problems are diagnosed, the better the outcome. Whether you suspect a visual problem or not, all babies should have their eyes examined when they reach 6 months.

To schedule your baby’s eye exam, contact Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates in Chicago today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How often should babies and children have their eyes checked?

  • A: All babies should have their first eye exam at 6 months of age, even if no visual problems are suspected. During the eye exam, the eye doctor will check for things like farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism, eye alignment, and eye movement ability. If no problem is detected, and your child’s eyes continue to be healthy, your optometrist will let you know when is the best time for their next eye exam.

Q: What are the most common vision problems in babies and toddlers?

  • A: The most common vision problems in babies and toddlers are refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism), strabismus (eye turn), amblyopia (lazy eye), congenital abnormalities, genetic eye diseases, pediatric ptosis, and nystagmus.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


What Are Eye Allergies?

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

Eye allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, are caused by environmental allergens and irritants. While their symptoms range in severity from uncomfortable to incapacitating, it’s often possible to attain relief.

What Causes Eye Allergies?

Allergies occur when the immune system becomes hypersensitive to certain allergens, such as dust mites or pollen. Histamines are released into the bloodstream when allergens are introduced to the body, causing swelling and inflammation.

Some airborne allergens that can cause eye allergies to include:

  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Mold
  • Trees
  • Pollen
  • Weeds

Non-airborne allergens include:

  • Cleaning chemicals
  • Preservatives in multi-use eye drops
  • Contact lens solutions
  • Perfume
  • Makeup
  • Skin-care products

What Are Common Symptoms of Eye Allergies?

When your eyes come in contact with an allergen you may start to have symptoms almost immediately, or hours or days later. Eye allergy symptoms include:

  • Burning or painful eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Red eyes
  • Irritated or itchy eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sneezing
  • Swollen eyelids

How To Treat Eye Allergies

Once your eye doctor has thoroughly examined your eyes and ruled out other causes of your symptoms, they can advise you on how best to treat your symptoms.

Decongestants or Antihistamines

Decongestants can help you breathe easier by shrinking swollen nasal pathways that might become inflamed due to allergies. Decongestants can also shrink the blood vessels in the whites of the eyes, relieving red eyes.

Antihistamines work by blocking the attachment of the histamine to the body’s cells that produce an allergic reaction, reducing or eliminating symptoms.

Limit Allergen Exposure

A good way to reduce allergy flare-ups is to avoid allergens or at least reduce exposure to them. If pollen causes your eyes to become itchy and red, try limiting your time outdoors and driving with the windows closed. In addition, wearing wrap-around glasses can protect your eyes from allergens and irritants.

Temporarily Remove Your Contact Lenses

Allergens can accumulate on the surface of contact lenses, which makes it difficult to get rid of symptoms while wearing them. If you suffer from eye allergies, try temporarily switching to glasses and see if your symptoms continue. For many people, the best contact lenses for those with eye allergies are daily disposables, which are discarded at the end of each day.

Try Eye Drops

Over-the-counter antihistamine and lubricating eye drops can help soothe itchy, irritated, and red eyes. There are many brands and types of drops that will offer the best relief. Your eye doctor may even prescribe a more powerful eye drop than the ones available at your local drugstore.

Aside from soothing irritated eyes, artificial tears and lubricating eye drops can help remove any foreign substances and flush the eye of allergens.

Scheduling an eye exam at Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates in Chicago is the best way to rule out other possible eye conditions and determine the cause of your symptoms. If you suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact us today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are eye allergies dangerous?

  • A: Most eye allergies are more irritating than dangerous. They can, however, cause scarring of the cornea due to all the eye rubbing.

Q: How can I tell whether it’s an eye allergy or eye infection?

  • A: If you experience eye pain and ocular discharge (excluding tears), there’s a strong chance you might have an infection. Viral eye infections usually clear up on their own, but bacterial eye infections can only be treated with medication. If you suspect you have an eye infection, make sure to visit your eye doctor as soon as possible.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


What Can I Do to Prevent Glaucoma?

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

Eye Exams and Vision Care at Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates

Glaucoma affects approximately 3.5 million North Americans aged 40 and older. It is a primary cause of preventable vision loss and blindness among adults on this continent and around the world.

Glaucoma is three to four times more common, and 15x more likely to cause blindness in African Americans than in Caucasians. The prevalence of glaucoma rises rapidly in Hispanics over the age of 65.

While there is currently no cure, early detection with an annual comprehensive eye exam can slow or prevent vision loss. So get your eyes checked at Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates in Chicago before it’s too late.

What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve. This nerve is the only neural communication between the eyes and the brain, so any damage in that area causes permanent and irreparable vision loss.

The main risk factor is increased pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure (IOP). IOP usually increases due to the buildup of excess fluid inside the eye, which damages the optic nerve, resulting in vision loss and even blindness.

While glaucoma is most common in those aged 40 and over, it can occur at any age. Early detection and treatment can often prevent glaucoma-related damage. This is why it is absolutely crucial to undergo routine comprehensive eye exams that include glaucoma testing.

What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?

Open-angle glaucoma (OAG) is the most common type of glaucoma, accounting for over 90% of all glaucoma patients. This type of glaucoma has no obvious symptoms until irreparable damage to the optic nerve has occurred. This condition is often called the ‘Silent Thief of Sight’ and results in vision loss known as ‘tunnel vision.’

Normal-tension glaucoma, also called low-tension glaucoma, affects up to 30-40% of all glaucoma patients with OAG. In these cases, the optic nerve is damaged even though the pressure in the eye is within normal limits. People with this kind of glaucoma may experience:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Low blood pressure

A far less common form of the disease is closed-angle glaucoma (CAG), affecting up to 10% of all patients. In this sight-threatening eye disease, the IOP can suddenly spike to over 50mmHg — more than double the normal range. This condition requires immediate emergency medical care as vision loss can be more dramatic and occurs quickly. Closed-angle glaucoma often presents with some or all of these symptoms:

  • Blind spots in the peripheral vision
  • Sudden severe pain in the eye or forehead
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Eye redness
  • Decreased or blurred vision

How to Manage Your Glaucoma

Although there is no cure for glaucoma, the good news is that if it is detected early, the condition can be treated and controlled to prevent vision loss. Most glaucoma patients can successfully manage their condition with eye drops, medication, and on occasion, laser treatment or surgery. All of these help to reduce the pressure on the eye by lessening the production and inflow of aqueous fluid into the eye or increasing the outflow pathways for more effective drainage from the eye.

It’s important to remember that having regular eye exams is vital, as glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss before you are even aware of any signs. Irreparable vision loss and blindness can be prevented if the disease is recognized in its early stages. Contact Dougal, McClellan, Sullivan, & Ethington Eye Associates in Chicago to book your comprehensive eye exam today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can Glaucoma be treated?

  • A: While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are several treatments that can help slow down or prevent damage to your eyes. Treatments include eye drops, oral medication, surgeries and therapies such as filtering surgery, Laser therapy, drainage tubes, and minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS)

Q: Can glaucoma be prevented?

  • A: The only way to prevent glaucoma is to undergo regular eye exams as significant vision loss or blindness can be prevented if glaucoma is diagnosed and treated in its early stages.

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