Women Are at Higher Risk for Dry Eye Disease

It’s no surprise that for many Spring flowers, pollen and other allergens can wreak havoc on your eyes and while allergy symptoms come and go with change of seasons, dry eye disease may not. Did you know that women are at higher risk for Dry Eye Disease, a condition where the eyes do not produce enough tears or enough quality tears to keep the eyes lubricated?

Dry Eye DiseaseAccording to reports provided by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, Dry Eye is more prevalent in women in the menopausal and postmenopausal age group, due to the changes in balance of hormones. Women who are pregnant, or on certain types of birth control, may also experience dry eye.

While allergy and dry eye disease share common symptoms, allergies typically cause itching and only during certain times of the year or when you have a reaction to allergens. Dry eye disease symptoms include:

  • Feeling a burning or stinging in your eyes
  • Feeling like there are particles in your eyes
  • A gritty, sandy feeling in your eyes
  • Redness and inflammation of your eyes
  • Stringy mucus in your eyes
  • Extreme sensitivity, especially to cigarette smoke
  • Itchiness

After a comprehensive exam, Dr. Shofner, along with Dr. Patel at Shofner Vision Center offer patients relief with dry eye treatment with prescription eye drops and punctal plugs. Punctal plugs are tiny, biocompatible devices that can be inserted into tear ducts to block drainage. This increases the eye’s tear film and surface moisture to help relieve certain forms of dry eye.

Many of our patients receive almost instant relief with semi-permanent and dissolvable tear duct plugs. Temporary or dissolvable punctal plugs usually last from a few days to as long as several months. This is done at our office and patients do not experience any discomfort or downtime. In many cases, no aesthetic is needed. For extreme dry eye cases, Dr. Shofner offers Dry Eye Surgery. This procedure involves cauterizing the tissue at the opening of the punctum, which seals the eye’s fluid drainage system permanently.”

Once diagnosed, eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and dry eye should all be addressed immediately. Vision loss can be significantly lessened when eye problems are detected and treated early. If you experience dry eye symptoms or any other changes in vision, contact Shofner Vision Center to schedule an appointment. Visit us online or call (615) 340-4733 today.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Cataract, Eye Health

Should Safety Glasses Become Mandatory for Athletes?

A recent study shows that playing basketball has the highest risk for eye injuries for adults. For children 13 years old and younger, baseball is the number one sport causing eye injuries. Many of us take our vision for granted and while most sports require specific headgear, knee and shoulder pads, the eyes for many athletics are left unprotected.

Eye Safety for AthletesEach month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recognizes one or more observances dedicated to raising awareness about important eye health topics. This month, the Academy observes Sports Eye Safety Month. Dr. Stewart Shofner, father of four very active children who participate in a variety of sports (volleyball to rugby) strongly encourages others to understand the importance of eye safety and why some believe eye protection for athletes should be mandatory.

Eye protection isn’t required for most professional athletes, but some players are opting to wear safety glasses as a precaution. Each year, an estimated 100,000 people are hurt by sports-related eye injuries. About 13,500 of these injuries result in permanent vision loss…according to National Eye Institute (NEI), ninety percent could have been prevented with the use of protective eyewear.

Dr. Shofner suggests that parents, coaches, teachers and childcare staff must insist that children wear safety glasses or goggles whenever they play. Protective eyewear includes safety glasses, goggles, safety shields and eye guards. This protective eyewear is made of ultra-strong polycarbonate and is 10 times more impact resistant than other plastics. Ensure the eyewear has been tested to meet the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. Additionally, most protective eyewear can be made to match prescription glasses; else safety goggles should be worn over them.

You can participate in the poll “Should Professional Athletes Have to Wear Eye Protection” at aao.org. Currently, close to 40% voted “Maybe it should be encouraged, but not required.” Perhaps your feedback could make a difference as 32% believe “Yes, all athletes, always.”

When an eye injury does occur, Dr. Shofner recommends an ophthalmologist or other medical doctor examine the eye as soon as possible, even if the injury seems minor. Delaying medical attention can cause the damaged areas to worsen and could result in permanent vision loss or blindness. Additionally, it is imperative to not treat a serious eye injury yourself. Dr. Shofner has treated several patients that have a sports related eye injury. If you have experienced an eye injury or sudden change of vision, contact Shofner Vision Center to schedule an appointment. Visit us online or call (615) 340-4733 today.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Eye Health, General

Enjoy Spring Without Irritated Eyes

Enjoy Spring

Spring has arrived and this season plays a big factor in dry eye symptoms, mostly due to the presence of allergens, like pollen. Most cases, pollen is to blame for worsening symptoms during the spring months. Red, watery eyes are the hallmark of both allergies and dry eye.

If you have chronic dry eye that gets worse in spring, you may have allergies too. Dr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center identifies the key differences between seasonal allergies and dry eye disease along with recommended treatment and tips to provide relief so you can enjoy Springtime activities.

Dry eye can significantly impact a person’s quality of life by inducing burning, irritation and blurred vision. The majority of dry eye is caused by a decrease in this lipid layer. Certain medical conditions can also cause dry eye. The most common symptoms include burning, a sandy, gritty feeling, redness and sometimes reflex tearing. While ocular allergies can also cause redness and tearing, the main symptom is itching.

Recommended Treatment

  • Dry eye treatment includes treating the meibomian glands, the underlying inflammation, and using tear lubricants. It’s important to schedule an exam with your vision care provider to determine if you have dry eye disease.
  • Ocular allergy treatment includes using antihistamine (or mast cell stabilizers) to prevent the release of histamine from the mast cells.

Additional tips to alleviate the burning and irritation from seasonal allergies include:

  • Wear goggles outside while performing yard work
  • Use air filters indoors during spring allergy season
  • Use a humidifier in the cooler months
  • Prescription eye lubricating drops
  • Cool compresses

Some people choose to use over- the- counter artificial lubricants to self- treat dry eye and ocular allergy problems. Many times, the cost of OTC products exceeds the cost of prescription products, which are more effective. If you feel that you have dry eye or ocular allergies, see your vision care provider for a comprehensive exam, he or she will recommend the best treatment options for you.

If you have experienced vision changes, increased dry eye symptoms or if it’s been more than a year since your last eye exam, we encourage you to contact Shofner Vision Center to schedule an appointment. Visit us online or call (615) 340-4733 today.

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Eye Health

Importance of Workplace Eye Wellness Month

Nearly one million Americans have already lost some degree of sight due to an eye injury. Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety group, has declared March as Workplace Eye Wellness Month to provide everyone with free information on the best ways to keep vision healthy on the job.

According to the CDC, every single day, about 2,000 U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. Experts believe and Dr. Stewart Shofner agrees that the right eye protection could have lessened the severity or even prevented 90% of eye injuries in accidents.

More than 25,000 eye injuries occur from the use of welding equipment and power tools every year. This important awareness covers much more than the construction industry. Whether you’re a full-time employee or a freelancer working from home, it’s important to be aware of the risks of workplace eye injuries and the various safety practices you should follow.

Workplace Eye Safety Awareness

Wearing protective eyewear that fits, such as goggles, safety glasses, welding helmets, full-face respirators, or face shields can be your number one protection to avoid: chemical burns, thermal burns, radiation, blunt force trauma, flying particles and even exposure to infectious disease.

Those that work with computers, tablets and other electronic devices are also at risk of digital eye strain. Symptoms may include blurred vision, dry eyes or headaches. “It’s important for those who use electronic devices for more than 2 hours to give your eyes a break every 15-20 minutes,” says Dr. Shofner. It is also recommended to sit about 30 inches away from your computer screen.

For more information and to help prevent work related eye injuries, visit weeklysafety.com or download and share this helpful information for employers and employees: “10 Ways to Prevent Occupational Eye Injuries.”

In the event of a workplace eye emergency, it is important to take action immediately and see a doctor as soon as possible. No matter what type of damage, remember to never rub the eye and if there is a foreign object stuck, do not try to remove it yourself. Dr. Shofner has treated several patients that have incurred a work related eye injury. We accept most all insurance including workman’s comp, if you have experienced an eye injury or sudden change of vision, contact Shofner Vision Center to schedule an appointment. Visit us online or call (615) 340-4733 today.

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in General

Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, has declared February as Age-related Macular Degeneration/Low Vision Awareness Month. Dr. Stewart Shofner explains why this awareness month is so important, especially for people over the age of 50.

What is macular degeneration?

Macular degeneration also known as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is when a part of the retina called the macula becomes damaged due to deterioration or breakdown of the macula. The macula is a small area in the retina at the back of the eye that allows you to see fine details clearly and perform activities, such as reading and driving.

What are the symptoms?

When the macula does not function correctly, blurriness, dark areas or distortion can affect your central vision. Macular degeneration affects your ability to see near and far, and can make some activities — like threading a needle or reading — difficult or impossible. Although macular degeneration reduces vision in the central part of the retina, it usually does not affect the eye’s side (peripheral) vision. For example, you could see the outline of a clock but not be able to tell what time it is.

Over 1.65 million Americans have Macular degeneration and is the leading cause of vision loss in people ages 65 and older. Even in more advanced cases, people continue to have some useful vision and are often able to take care of themselves. In many cases, macular degeneration’s impact on your vision can be minimal. There are two different types of AMD: dry and wet.

Dry AMD:

Macular Degeneration

  • Most common form of the disease (about 80% people have dry form)
  • Macula deteriorates
  • Causes a blurred central vision or blind spots
  • Can progress to wet AMD at any time

Wet AMD:

  • Abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina and leak fluid and blood into the macula
  • Visual distortions occur (straight lines appear wavy, street signs look lopsided)
  • Symptoms usually appear and progress rapidly

Differences between Dry and Wet AMD

People lose vision faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD. Many don’t realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. This is why it is important to have regular visits with an ophthalmologist. He or she can look for early signs of AMD before you have any vision problems.

Who’s at Risk?

Risk factors are similar for both dry and wet AMD. They include:

  • Older than 50
  • Family history of AMD
  • History of smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure/cholesterol
  • Lack of vitamins prevalent in fruits and vegetables

To help reduce your risk of vision loss, there are several actions you can take to have healthy eyesight. Dr. Shofner suggests scheduling regular dilated eye exams, wearing UV protective sunglasses, quitting smoking, and wearing safety eye protection in hazardous situations.

Additionally, a recent National Eye Institute study indicates that high dosage supplements of zinc, vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene may slow the progression of both forms of AMD, but they are not a cure. “We offer the highest quality vision supplements at our office, however it’s very important to consult with your physician before taking any nutritional supplements,” says Dr. Shofner.

If you have experienced vision changes or at high risk for AMD, we encourage you to contact Shofner Vision Center to schedule an appointment online or call us at (615) 340-4733.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Eye Health

Can Your Heart Affect Your Eyes?

Hypertension, a general cardiovascular disease, can have repercussions throughout the body, including the eye. “Hypertension can predispose you to having a variety of eye problems,” says Dr. Stewart Shofner. Along with causing heart and kidney issues, people with untreated high blood pressure may experience changes in their vision or develop eye disease known as hypertensive retinopathy.  Hypertension can cause damage to the blood vessels in the retina, the area at the back of the eye where images focus. The damage can be serious if it is not treated.

What are the Symptoms?

Current research suggests that hypertensive retinopathy disease may be spotted early through a regular eye exam because symptoms of the condition may be spotted in the eyes sooner than they are spotted in the body. However, some patients might experience symptoms such as: headaches, tension and vision changes.

How Is Hypertensive Retinopathy Diagnosed?

Optometrists or ophthalmologists can detect early signs of heart disease during preventive eye exams. Through careful examination of the retina, your eye doctor can view small changes in the blood vessels in the back of the eye, which can indicate more serious systemic disease. Using an ophthalmoscope, an instrument that projects light to examine the back of the eyeball, the doctor will look for signs of retinopathy that include:

  • Narrowing of blood vessels
  • Spots on the retina known as cotton wool spots and exudates
  • Bleeding in the back of the eye
  • Swelling of the macula and optic nerve

How to Prevent Hypertensive Retinopathy?Hypertensive Retinopathy

To prevent hypertensive retinopathy, it’s important to keep your blood pressure under control by reaching and maintaining your optimal weight, sticking with a diet recommended by your physician, regular exercise, and taking appropriate medications as prescribed by your physician. Dr. Shofner recommends, “Check in with your doctor regularly for follow-up care and be sure to discuss high blood pressure with your vision care provider.”

If you have experienced vision changes or if it’s been more than a year since your last eye exam, we encourage you to contact Shofner Vision Center to schedule an appointment. Visit us online or call (615) 340-4733 today.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Eye Health

NEW YEAR – NEW YOU WITH IMPROVED VISION

How many made resolutions this year? How many have already tossed those resolutions to the side? Most of us have good intentions at the beginning of a new year. Maybe your resolutions include efforts towards a healthier lifestyle or establishing a strategic plan to grow professionally. Whatever your goals may be, never give up on yourself.

Improve Your VisionImprove Your Vision

As we age, most of us begin having difficulty seeing, especially at night and reading.  Since many times the changes are subtle, we learn to adapt or use glasses or contacts to help us see better and complete our daily activities. But what if there was something better than glasses or contacts to improve vision? GOOD NEWS…THERE IS!

LASIK

While eyeglasses and contact lenses help improve your eyesight, there is no comparison to the freedom LASIK vision correction surgery provides. Laser in situ keratomileusis, or LASIK, is an outpatient surgical procedure used to treat myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness), and astigmatism. With LASIK, your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) uses a laser to reshape the cornea (the clear covering of the eye) to improve the way the eye focuses light onto the retina. Dr. Shofner has performed more than 40,000 LASIK vision correction surgeries, offers a free LASIK consultation/exam and special discounted pricing to all Military, Law Enforcement, Firefighters and EMTs.

CATARACT

Although LASIK vision correction surgery improves your vision, the problem might be cataracts.  But don’t be alarmed, cataract surgery is very safe and opens up a world of possibilities to see better. Your vision can improve dramatically after cataract surgery. Dr. Shofner, Nashville’s top cataract surgeon, has performed more than 20,000 ocular surgeries.

RAINDROP®

Did you know Dr. Shofner offers a long-term solution to patients with presbyopia with Raindrop® Near Vision Inlay?  Raindrop® Near Vision Inlay improves near and intermediate vision by simply reshaping the front part of the eye. Raindrop is a small transparent disc called an inlay. In a quick, LASIK-like procedure the Raindrop is designed to help you regain your near vision without the need for reading glasses. Schedule a complementary Raindrop screening to learn more and see if you are a candidate.

By improving your vision, you can improve your lifestyle. Any of these circumstances listed below sound familiar to you…

  • Ever have comfort issues while wearing contacts or glasses?
  • Can you swim, play sports, perform yard work, or other activities wearing contacts or glasses?
  • Have you ever found yourself away from home without your contact supplies?
  • Do you wonder where you placed your readers or have a pair in every room?
  • Too young to sport a chain around your neck to hold your glasses?

If you answer yes to one or more of these questions above, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Improve your vision this year and remember, the decision to have any eye procedure or surgery is the patient’s, and we at Shofner Vision Center respect that decision. Contact us to schedule an appointment today at (615) 340-4733 or schedule online.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Cataract, Contact Lenses, Eye Health, General, LASIK/PRK

IMPORTANCE OF GLAUCOMA AWARENESS MONTH

Over 3 million people in the United States, and over 60 million worldwide, have Glaucoma. The National Eye Institute projects this number will reach 4.2 million by 2030, a 58 percent increase. Why is Glaucoma Awareness Month so important? “Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness and also referred to as “the sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms,” says Dr. Stewart Shofner.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that gradually steal sight without warning. Although the most common forms primarily affect the middle-aged and the elderly, glaucoma can affect people of all ages. Vision loss is caused by damage to the optic nerve. This nerve acts like an electric cable with over a million wires. It is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain.

Types of Glaucoma

Chronic open-angle glaucoma: This is the most common form of glaucoma in the United States. The risk of developing chronic open-angle glaucoma increases with age. The drainage angle of the eye becomes less efficient over time, and pressure within the eye gradually increases, which can damage the optic nerve. In some patients, the optic nerve becomes sensitive even to normal eye pressure and is at risk for damage. Treatment is necessary to prevent further vision loss. Learn more about specific types of glaucoma on our website.

Who’s at RiskGlaucoma Awareness

People of African, Asian, and Hispanic descent are at higher risk of developing glaucoma. Some studies indicate that diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease may increase the risk of developing glaucoma. Also those that have experienced a severe trauma, such as being hit in the eye, can result in immediate increased eye pressure. Dr. Shofner recommends those at higher risk for glaucoma should have routine eye exams to prevent vision loss.

Schedule an Eye Exam

According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing. The best way to protect your sight from glaucoma is to get a comprehensive eye examination. Then, if your doctor diagnoses glaucoma, treatment can begin immediately. Check with if the necessary eye tests can be performed with your local eye doctor or schedule an appointment online at Shofner Vision Center.

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Eye Health, General

Holiday Festivities – Bloodshot Eyes

December is a month filled with fun and Holiday cheer. It is also a month common to stress, long days, late nights, decorating, cooking, baking, and don’t forget the festive parties…one or all of these can contribute to waking up with bloodshot eyes.Bloodshot Eyes

What causes bloodshot eyes? The redness occurs when tiny blood vessels under the eye’s surface get dilated or inflamed. This is usually a response to external irritation.

No one wants to wake up with itchy or watery eyes. Here are a few recommendations to make the red streaks disappear and provide some relief:

  • Use over-the-counter, preservative free artificial tears. Dr. Stewart Shofner recommends preservative free because the preservatives can irritate the eye even more causing more harm than good. Refresh, Refresh Optive, Systane, and Thera Tears are all great products.
  • Use over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops with a steroid—if you’ve been previously diagnosed with red eyes due to allergies.
  • Place cool compresses or washcloth on your closed eyes a couple of times a day. Try swapping the cloth with a couple of cucumber slices for a refreshing treatment.
  • Avoid smoke, fumes, pollen, dust, chlorine/cleaning products, pet dander or other irritants.
  • Wash your hands often, not touching your eyes unless you’ve just washed your hands, and using clean bedding and towels daily.

Bloodshot eyes should clear up within a few days and up to a week. If your eyes are still red or irritated you may have an eye infection and should schedule an appointment with your family physician or paediatrician. Dr. Shofner recommends seeing a doctor if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Redness or discomfort lasts more than a week.
  • Fever or overall sickness.
  • Pain in or around your eyes or unusual tenderness.
  • Light sensitivity.
  • Eyes encrusted with mucous.
  • Exposure to pink eye (conjunctivitis), especially for children attending school.

If you have experienced vision changes along with any of the symptoms listed above, an Ophthalmologist can offer a comprehensive eye exam for a more-detailed evaluation. Feel free to contact our vision care providers at Shofner Vision Center if you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment at (615) 340-4733 or online. Hope you enjoy the Holidays!

Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Eye Health, General

WHAT TO DO IF YOU SCRATCH YOUR EYE

Scratched CorneaSnowball toss, eagerly unwrapping presents, flying toys, open fires, champagne corks…this month can be a very active and exciting month. It’s common to wear eye protection around July 4th or while trimming the yard in the summer, but this time of year our guard is often lowered. No matter how careful we are, accidents happen and a corneal abrasion (scratched eye) is one of the most common eye injuries.

Symptoms – Anything that makes contact with the surface of your eye can cause injury.

The cornea is one of the most sensitive parts of the body; even a very small abrasion can be extremely painful. Additionally, one may feel a gritty sensation, experience redness, tearing, light sensitivity, headache and changes to your vision.

Treatment – Minor corneal abrasions will heal on their own in a few days, however if your symptoms persist, Dr. Stewart Shofner recommends you schedule an appointment with your ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist may treat a corneal abrasion with antibiotic eye drops or ointment or use steroid eye drops to reduce inflammation and reduce the chance of scarring.

Who’s at Risk – People that have dry eyes or wear contact lens have an increased risk of a corneal abrasion. For example, eyes can dry out while sleeping; the eyelids may stick to the cornea and after awaking the lids can tear and dislodge a portion of the outer layer of the cornea (epithelium), causing a painful abrasion. Those that wear contact lens too long or if the lens are damaged, they could cause the cornea to become scratched.

We at Shofner Vision Center have treated patients with some unique eye injuries. Please be careful this season and if you think you may have suffered a corneal abrasion and are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, seek medical attention right away.

Tagged with: , , , , , ,
Posted in Eye Health, General
Categories