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How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Eyesight

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How Pregnancy Can Affect Your Eyesight

Pregnancy can impact almost every part of a woman’s body and health — including her eyes. In fact, an estimated 14% of pregnant women report experiencing visual changes during pregnancy that usually resolve on their own within a couple of months after giving birth. 

Knowing the different visual symptoms that can present when you’re expecting can help alert you to potential underlying health concerns that your physician may need to address. 

Normal Visual Changes During Pregnancy

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision is the most common visual symptom that pregnant women may experience. Hormonal fluctuations are usually to blame for the temporary decrease in visual acuity, and your eyesight will likely return to normal soon after giving birth. 

The influx of pregnancy hormones causes fluid retention in some areas of the body and can cause the cornea to thicken slightly. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused accurately and vision may be blurred. 

Less commonly, blurred vision can signal gestational diabetes, a pregnancy complication affecting 6-9% of pregnant women. The rise in blood sugar level impacts the focusing lens of the eye, leading to blurry vision. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, including gestational diabetes, it’s a good idea to book an eye exam to monitor for retinal changes.

Blurred vision is also a common side effect of dry eye syndrome, a condition characterized by tears that don’t adequately lubricate the eyes, which can be brought on or exacerbated by pregnancy. 

Eye Dryness

Pregnancy hormones can cause a reduction in the amount of tears your eyes produce or affect the quality of the tears. These changes can affect a woman throughout her entire pregnancy, but studies show that eye dryness is particularly common in the last trimester. For this reason, some women find it difficult to wear contact lenses in their third trimester and temporarily switch to glasses. 

Eye Puffiness

Yet another body part that swells during pregnancy: the eyelids and tissues around the eyes. 

Pregnancy-related water retention may cause your eyelids to appear puffier than during your pre-pregnancy days. You may also notice darker areas under the eyes. If your puffy eyes bother you, try limiting your salt and caffeine intake, as they can worsen the problem. 

Visual Changes That May Indicate a Problem

The following visual changes warrant a prompt call to your eye doctor or obstetrician to rule out any underlying complications. 

Flashes or floaters

Seeing stars during pregnancy can signal high blood pressure, which is associated with preeclampsia — a serious medical condition that requires close monitoring by your physician and possible treatment. 

It’s crucial to have your blood pressure monitored throughout your pregnancy, as preeclampsia can potentially endanger the life of mother and child, as well as damage the cornea and retina. 

Temporary vision loss

Temporary vision loss is concerning for pregnant and non-pregnant individuals. Vision loss is another warning sign of preeclampsia, so contact your doctor promptly if you suddenly lose any portion of your visual field. 

Sensitivity to light

Light-sensitivity can either be a normal side effect of fluid retention in the eye, or it can signal dangerously high blood pressure and preeclampsia. 

How We Can Help

At ​​Suburban Eye Care, our goal is to keep your vision and eyes healthy throughout your pregnancy and beyond. If you experience any visual symptoms, we can help by thoroughly examining your eyes to determine the underlying cause and provide you with guidance on what next steps to take. 

Pregnancy is a wonderful time, when self care should be at the forefront — and that includes comprehensive eye care. 

To schedule an eye exam or learn more about our eye care services, call Suburban Eye Care in Livonia today!

 

Q&A

Why are regular eye exams important? 

Having your eyes evaluated by an optometrist on a regular basis is crucial for detecting early signs of eye diseases and changes in your prescription, including during pregnancy. Many serious eye diseases don’t cause any noticeable symptoms until they’ve progressed to late stages, when damage to vision may be irreversible. Whether or not you wear glasses or contact lenses for vision correction, ask your optometrist about how often to schedule a routine eye exam. 

Will my baby need an eye exam after  birth? 

According to the American Optometric Association and the Canadian Association of Optometrists, babies should have an eye exam within the first 6-12 months of life, even in the absence of noticeable vision problems. Healthy vision is a significant part of healthy overall development, so be sure not to skip your baby’s eye exams! 

Do You Get Blurred Vision After Eating?

Have you ever gotten up from the table after enjoying a meal and noticed that things appeared fuzzy or blurry? If so, you may have experienced a temporary spike in blood sugar that affected your eyes. 

If your vision is often blurred after meals, you should schedule a visit to your optometrist and general practitioner to rule out diabetes and other conditions. 

The Link Between Blood Sugar and Vision

Diabetes is characterized by excessively high blood sugar levels. In some people it causes food to be digested faster than usual, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar. Elevated blood sugar can lead to fluid to build up in the eyes, resulting in blurry vision. 

The eye’s natural crystalline lens and cornea are responsible for focusing light onto the retina for clear vision. The lens changes its shape to accommodate focusing on near or far objects. In some cases, when the eye swells due to excess fluid resulting from the high blood sugar, it temporarily doesn’t focus light with the same accuracy. 

Foods that are high in sugar and other carbohydrates are most likely to cause blood sugar to spike. Some examples include:

  • White rice and pasta
  • Most breakfast cereals
  • Potatoes in all forms 
  • Sugary sodas and beverages
  • Candies and baked goods
  • Fruit juice

Other Possible Causes of Temporary Blurred Vision

Temporary eyesight changes don’t always mean diabetes. Intermittent blurred vision can be caused by other problems or conditions, including: 

  • Carotid stenosis
  • Migraines
  • Certain medications
  • Eye strain
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Keratitis
  • Glaucoma
  • Macular degeneration

Many of these conditions will also present with symptoms other than blurred vision, so be sure to be open with your optometrist if you experience any unusual visual symptoms. 

If you notice blurred vision only following a high-carb meal, it may be worth tracking your meals and symptoms to try and find a pattern. This information will be valuable for your optometrist and other health care professionals. 

How We Can Help 

At Suburban Eye Care, we offer a wide range of eye care services, such as eye exams and eye disease management, including diabetic eye disease. If you’re concerned about temporary blurred vision after eating or any other visual symptoms, contact us to schedule your comprehensive eye exam. 

If signs of diabetes are discovered during your visit, don’t worry. We’ll explain the next steps to take, to ensure the best possible outcome. Our goal is to provide top-notch eye care delivered with a smile for all of our patients. 

To schedule your eye exam, call Suburban Eye Care in Livonia today!

Q&A

How often do I need an eye exam? 

The American Optometric Association recommends that adults have their eyes checked by an optometrist every 1-2 years. For high risk patients, patients who wear glasses or contact lenses, or those over the age of 65, annual eye exams are recommended. Certain conditions like diabetes may make it necessary to visit your optometrist more often. 

Does being diabetic make a person more likely to experience vision loss?

Diabetes can negatively impact your eyes in more ways than one, but preventing vision loss and blindness is becoming easier with new technology and treatments. Having undiagnosed diabetic retinopathy puts a person at a much greater risk of going blind. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diabetes, be sure to schedule regular diabetic eye exams including retinal scans, to significantly reduce the chances of experiencing permanent vision loss. 

Tips to Relax Your Eyes

Do your eyes hurt after spending a significant amount of time reading, playing video games, driving, or staring at a screen? These visually intense activities can sometimes be hard on the eyes, causing uncomfortable symptoms like headaches and blurry vision. Other symptoms of eye strain can include light sensitivity, neck and shoulder pain, trouble concentrating, and burning or itchy eyes. 

Fortunately, preventing painful computer vision syndrome and eye fatigue symptoms can be as simple as trying a few of these eye exercises. To learn more about digital eye strain and discover the best relief options for you, call Suburban Eye Care at 734-245-2928 and schedule an eye exam with Dr. John Jacobi. 

Relax Your Eyes with These Supportive Techniques

Many of these exercises are designed for computer users. Eye strain resulting from long drives, reading, or other activities, can be alleviated by modifying some of these recommendations.

The Clock Exercise

The clock exercise relieves strain on overworked eye muscles and can help you avoid headaches and eye pain, among other symptoms. Begin the exercise by imagining a large analog clock a few feet in front of you. Keep your head still and move your eyes to the imaginary 9, then to the imaginary 3.  

Keep moving your eyes to the opposite pairs on the clock — 10/4, 11/5, 12/6, and so on. Hold your gaze for a second or two on each number before moving on to the next one. Continue doing this for 4-5 minutes. 

The 20-20-20 Rule

The 20-20-20 rule helps you avoid dry eyes and eye strain by giving your eyes frequent breaks. After about 20 minutes of screen time or doing close-up work, focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives the eyes a much needed rest and helps them relax. There are also free apps available that provide pop-up reminders that notify you when it’s time to shift your gaze.  

Screen Ergonomics

The American Optometric Association recommends placing computer monitors 20 to 28 inches, or 50-70 cm, away from your eyes and the top of the computer should be at eye level or right below for optimum eye comfort. Glare filters can reduce the amount of glare produced by digital devices and improve your viewing experience. 

Poor sitting posture can also contribute to eye strain. Your chair should be situated so that your feet are flat on the floor, or use an angled footrest for additional comfort.  

Optimize your Eyewear

Since regular prescription lenses or glasses may not adequately meet your visual needs for lengthy computer use, you may benefit from wearing computer glasses. These prescription glasses are customized to your needs and also reduce glare and block blue light. 

 

You don’t have to live with the discomforts of eye strain. If symptoms persist, it may be time to visit Suburban Eye Care and get the relief you seek. Call our office to schedule a convenient eye doctor’s appointment.

 

Cataract Awareness Month

June is Cataract Awareness Month. During this important time, people living with cataracts (and their loved ones) are encouraged to talk about their personal experiences by giving each other helpful information and sharing their knowledge and advice. Use the hashtag #CataractAwarenessMonth on your social media channels to encourage and support others.

Did you know that over 24 million Americans have cataracts? More than 3.5 million Canadians are blind from cataracts, making it one of the most common – and serious – eye conditions today. Dr. John Jacobi treats cataract patients from all over Livonia, Michigan with the newest and most effective methods of eye care.

With millions of people living with the condition, it’s now more important than ever to bring awareness to this serious condition.

What Are Cataracts?

So what exactly are cataracts?

The lens of the eye is normally clear, which allows you to see things clearly and in sharp detail. Over time, the lens can become cloudy, causing blurry vision. It’s as if you’re looking through a dirty window and can’t really see what’s outside. This clouding of the lens is called a cataract, and it can affect one or both of your eyes.

What Causes Cataracts?

Aging is the most common cause of cataracts. The lens of your eye contains water and proteins. As you age, these proteins can clump together, and when that happens, the normally clear lens becomes cloudy.

Did you know that certain types of major eye surgeries and infections can trigger cataracts? Other issues that can lead to cataracts include congenital birth defects, eye injury, diseases, and even various kinds of medications. If you’re already developing cataracts, be careful when going outside. UV rays from the sun can make cataracts develop faster.

How Can I Lower My Risk of Cataracts?

Certain risk factors increase your chance of developing cataracts. These typically include:

  • Diabetes
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Family and medical history
  • Medications
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • UV ray exposure

To lower your risk, consider reducing your alcohol intake, quit smoking, start an exercise program, eat foods rich in vitamin A and C, and wear 100% UV blocking sunglasses.

Common Symptoms of Cataracts

If you have cataracts, you may experience some common symptoms like:

  • Blurry vision
  • Colors that used to be bright now appear dim
  • Double vision
  • Glare from natural sunlight or from artificial light, like light bulbs and lamps
  • Halos around lights
  • Night vision problems
  • Sensitivity to light

If you or a family member notice any of these signs, talk to Dr. John Jacobi right away. The sooner you seek treatment, the faster we can help you get back to clear vision.

Coping With Cataracts

If you’re experiencing vision problems from cataracts, there is hope. If you have a mild case, a combination of a different eyeglass prescription and better lighting in your home, office, or other environment can improve your vision. In more advanced cases, your optometrist will likely recommend cataract surgery to remove the cloudy lens and replace it with a clear one.

Do I Need Cataract Surgery?

Cataract surgery is one of the most common procedures today. In fact, the American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that 2 million people undergo the procedure each year.

During the procedure, the doctor will gently remove the cataract from the eye and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens (known as an IOL). Because it’s a common procedure, cataract surgery is usually performed in an outpatient clinic or in your eye doctor’s office. There is no need to stay in a hospital and you can usually resume your normal activities in just a few days.

If you’ve exhausted every other solution and still suffer from blurry vision from cataracts, surgery may be an option. Schedule a consultation online or call 734-245-2928 to book an eye doctor’s appointment at Suburban Eye Care and together, we’ll determine if cataract surgery is right for you. 

During this Cataract Awareness Month, share your stories and successes, and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.

Can I do Vision Therapy instead of surgery???

The short answer is…YES YES YES.

People with strabismus (also known as an eye turn, or “lazy eye”) are often told they will need surgery to correct the problem. While some more extreme cases may in fact require surgery, many eye turns can be cured with a great vision therapy program; designed by a developmental optometrist and implemented by a vision therapist. In those extreme cases where someone does need surgery to correct the problem, they will also almost certainly need vision therapy in order to teach the eyes and the brain to work together correctly. Often times, we see children who have gone through eye surgery…only to have their eye turn return, or their vision continue to be impeded; even if they look “normal” cosmetically. This is because cutting the muscles in eye surgery does not TEACH the eyes and the BRAIN to work together, as is done in vision therapy. It is important to be seen by a developmental optometrist to determine what is needed for the individual patient.

Here is a great article written by a woman who went through quite an ordeal with strabismus. She describes her difficulties in school and work, less than desirable experiences with some doctors, as well as how vision therapy changed her life.

http://www.betsyyaros.com/the-cost-of-eye-surgery-vs-vision-therapy

Contributed by Amanda Timbre, COVT

Eye Exam VS Vision Screening…Tomato Tomahto?

Eye Exam VS Vision Screening…Tomato Tomahto

Is a vision screening the same as an eye exam…. or a “online eye exam?” This is a common question. Many schools and pediatricians perform vision screenings…does your child still need an eye exam in-person with an optometrist?

The answer is 100% YES, because a vision screening is not the same as a comprehensive eye exam, and neither is an eye exam done online. Vision screenings at the school or pediatrician’s office are designed to detect obvious problems with SIGHT. As you have learned from our previous blog posts, sight is only one component of vision. Children who pass vision screenings often have vision problems that affect their learning. It is better to have an optometrist examine your child, and BEST to have a developmental optometrist perform the exam. This is because developmental optometrists, like our very own Dr. Jacobi, are certified in vision and learning development and test for vision issues that vision screenings as well as other optometrists often miss.

Another important thing to mention, is that vision screenings do not check the health of a person’s eyes. A vision screening is the first step to detecting an issue, but a comprehensive eye exam with a developmental optometrist will provide you with much more information in regards to the performance and health of your child’s eyes.

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that children have their first comprehensive eye exam at 6 months old, and (providing that there are no issues), again at age 3, just before starting Kindergarten, and annually thereafter. Because we believe in the importance of this, we offer free comprehensive eye exams for children who are entering Kindergarten.

Summer is a great time to schedule an eye exam for your family! Make sure that your children begin the school year ready to learn. Should your child need to begin vision therapy, getting a head start over the summer is very helpful! And don’t forget about yourself – whether you have a family history of eye disease, dry eyes, allergies, need specialty contacts or vision therapy – we are your friendly and knowledgeable eye care professionals.

Contributed by Amanda Timbre, COVT

What if you saw letters like this?

What if you saw letters like this

Today we discovered that our patient sees any print within arms reach as though it is overlapped. And no one ever knew. She has had eye exams before, but her specific difficulties and diagnoses were not discovered until she came to see Dr. Jacobi for a comprehensive eye exam with a developmental optometrist. She sees 20/20 and her sight is fine, which is why other eye doctors did not diagnose her with any vision difficulties. But when she reads she has to pick which word makes more sense in the context and not surprisingly she HATES writing. I realized this when she couldn’t read anything with both eyes open within 12 inches of her face. With one eye covered, she can read the letters, but with both eyes open she would squint her eyes, tilt her head, close an eye…She said it looked blurry like black blobs… so I had her draw exactly what she saw. This is what she drew.

Can you imagine being a young child in a classroom trying to keep up when this is how things look?? And these kids are often labeled as lazy, ADD, etc. These are the kids who are quick to give up and say they can’t, who tell me they just want to be smart, who cry when we tell they they are smart-we just need to help their eyes work better together. These are the moms that cry in the therapy room because they feel so bad they never knew. These are also the kids who learn during vision therapy that they can achieve great things- who gain confidence and success. The kids who make me fight back tears on their VT graduation day while mom cries and we discuss how far they’ve come. The good news is we can definitely change her life. This is why we work so hard and this is why we are so passionate about what we do!Vision Therapy is truly life-changing. Kids often don’t know how to describe what they see, and they often think everyone sees that way. This is why it is so important to take your child to a developmental optometrist. If you are not in our area, go to covd.org and search for a board certified optometrist who is a fellow at the college of optometry in vision development.
Contributed by Amanda Timbre, COVT

What’s the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?

What’s the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?

Ophthalmologists are medical doctors (MDs) who specialize in the health of the eye. When they assess vision, it is a confirmation that the eye is healthy and there is no disease. Their main focus is on surgery.

Optometrists are vision specialists (ODs, optometric doctors) who help people maximize the functional aspects of vision. When they assess the medical aspects of eyecare, it is because healthy eyes allow for better vision (with each eye and with both eyes as a team). Their training usually addresses the art of providing comfortable lenses for seeing with two eyes. They are also trained in the diagnosis and management of eye conditions and diseases as well as systemic diseases impacting the eye. It is a broad scope of training, and depends on the specific doctor and his or her specialties.

Pediatric ophthalmologists do conduct surgery related to eye-teaming. Unfortunately, vision rehabilitation and visual processing skills are not part of their training, and their opinion of vision therapy varies from doctor to doctor. Opthamologists are generally surgery focused, as they are surgeons. Unfortunately, surgery only corrects the cosmetic issue with eyes, and not the neurological issues of vision disorders. This is why generally vision therapy is the best treatment for an eye turn, or in some cases of a very large turn, a combination of surgery and vision therapy.

Developmental optometrists who specialize in vision therapy (“VTODs” such as Dr. Jacobi) undergo a considerable amount of post-doctoral training to enhance their understanding of vision development, visual information processing, visual rehabilitation concepts and techniques. Certifications for this include university-accredited residency programs and Fellowships attained with various post-doc organizations such as the COVD (College of Optometry and Vision Development), where Dr. Jacobi received his certification. Continuing education is also an important aspect of such certification.

If you or your child are in need of a comprehensive eye and vision assessment, I suggest beginning with a developmental optometrist, especially when there are problems which interfere with the ability to read, learn, comprehend, or even to pay attention. Sometimes, a person can have a vision disorder without realizing it, and a developmental optometrist can implement things to correct it before it becomes a bigger problem for the patient. Most optometrists assess sight at distance and don’t test vision, eye teaming and sight and vision at near (where kids spend most of their day looking). When managing strabismus (eye turns) or amblyopia (lazy eye), I again suggest a VTOD for a more complete rehabilitative approach. In cases where the turn is so large that surgery is needed in addition to vision therapy, Dr. Jacobi will refer a patient to a trusted ophthalmologist for collaborative care.

I hope this information is helpful to you! We understand that when you or your child is experiencing any difficulty, all of the information out there can be overwhelming and it is difficult to determine where to start. As with any profession, levels of expertise and competency will always vary based on individual experience and inspiration. At our office we specialize in contact lenses, dry eye, low vision and vision therapy. Dr. Jacobi is board certified with the COVD and has been working with children and adults with vision disorders for decades. We are passionate about what we do, and who we serve, and we would love to help more patients achieve the success they aspire to.
Contributed by Amanda Timbre, COVT