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Recognizing Ocular Migraines

Have you ever noticed a sliver of shimmering light or zigzagging lines that widened until they completely filled your field of vision?

If so, you may have suffered from an ocular migraine — a migraine that involves visual disturbance. Ocular migraines are usually nothing to be concerned about, but for someone who hasn’t had one before, they can be unsettling. Since ocular migraines aren’t necessarily associated with unpleasant headaches, the term ‘migraine’ can be misleading.

Types of Ocular Migraines

Most ocular migraines come on quickly and disappear quickly. However, they can sometimes be disabling, affecting your lifestyle and, depending on the type, can signal more serious health issues.

Migraine With Aura

Ocular migraines may occur in 1 out of every 5 people who suffer from standard migraine headaches, and appear as a warning sign that a full migraine is about to occur. Any visual distortions you may experience before a headache should be described to your doctor. Some people find that avoiding migraine triggers such as stress, bright light and particular foods reduces the frequency of their migraines.

Painless Ocular Migraine

This strange visual phenomenon occurs without the usual headache, and it can manifest differently in various people. Some individuals may see flashing or shimmering lights, while others may perceive psychedelic images or zigzagging lines or stars. Regardless of how it appears, it usually starts as a minor visual distortion that quickly spreads across your visual field until it entirely obscures your vision before eventually dissipating.

While painless ocular migraines don’t cause headaches, they sometimes cause other symptoms, like a momentary loss of speech or motor function. They may not signal a major medical problem, but they can make it difficult to do things like drive, read or write.

Retinal Migraine

The third and most uncommon type of ocular migraine is the most dangerous. Retinal migraines may cause brief attacks of blindness or visual problems like flashing lights in one eye. Retinal migraines are different from other types of migraines in that they only affect one eye (though they can still precede a full migraine headache). Retinal migraines occur when the arteries in the retina (the nerve layer at the back of the eye) contract, reducing blood supply to the eye. An insufficient supply of blood to the eye can cause vision loss.

Retinal migraines may occur only once every few months. However, they represent a serious eye condition, so be sure to tell your eye doctor about your symptoms to determine whether they are caused by a serious health problem.

If you think you’ve experienced a form of ocular migraine, schedule an appointment with Eyeworks in Ft. Worth. We’re here to answer your questions about ocular migraines and all areas related to vision and eye health.

At Eyeworks, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 817-346-7077 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ft. Worth eye doctors.

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How long does an ocular migraine last?

An ocular migraine typically lasts less than 60 minutes.

How are ocular migraines treated?

Migraine medications work best when given at the first sign of an impending migraine, or as soon as the signs and symptoms of ocular migraines appear. Treatment will depend on the type of ocular migraine and its severity.

15 Things You Do That Can Harm Your Eyes

Eye health isn’t just about going for that yearly eye exam. Certain actions you take (or don’t take) in your daily routine can also have drastic effects on the health of your eyes and vision. Here’s our list of 15 things you may be doing that could pose damaging risks to your eyes.

It’s important to note that before changing any of your habits, consult with a medical professional to make sure they are right for you and your overall health.

1. Smoking

We all know that smoking can cause heart disease and cancer, but its effects on the eyes are far less known to many. The truth is that smoking can actually lead to irreversible vision loss by significantly increasing the risk of developing macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. It can also cause dry eye syndrome. If you are a smoker, do your eyes (and body) a favor and try to kick or reduce the habit.

2. Not Wearing Sunglasses

Exposing your eyes to the sun’s harmful UV radiation can damage the eye’s cornea and lens. Overexposure to UV rays can also lead to cataracts and even eye cancer. That’s why it’s important to always wear 100% UV-blocking sunglasses while outdoors, all four seasons of the year. Always check the sunglasses have FDA approval.

3. Sleeping with Makeup On

When you sleep with eyeliner or mascara, you run the risk of the makeup entering the eye and irritating the cornea. Sleeping with mascara on can introduce harmful bacteria to the eye and cause an infection. Abrasive glitters and shimmery eyeshadow can scratch the cornea as well. Be careful to remove all makeup with an eye-safe makeup remover before going to bed.

4. Buying Decorative Contact Lenses Without a Prescription

Although ordering decorative lenses without first visiting your optometrist may sound more convenient, purchasing them without a prescription isn’t worth the long term risks. Decorative contact lenses are sometimes made by unlicensed manufacturers who tend to use poor-quality or toxic materials that can get absorbed through the eyes into the bloodstream. They also may contain high levels of microorganisms from unsanitary packaging and storage conditions.

5. Not Washing Your Hands Thoroughly

Frequently washing your hands helps to reduce the possibility of bacteria and viruses entering the eye. Pink eye (conjunctivitis) and corneal ulcers are common eye conditions that can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, or parasites. When washing your hands, be sure to use warm water, soap, and thoroughly wash in between each finger and over the entire palm area. If you plan to insert or remove your contact lenses, wash and then dry your hands completely with a lint-free cloth or paper towel.

6. Overwearing Contact Lenses

Wearing contact lenses for longer periods of time than intended can lead to inflammation of the cornea (keratitis), conjunctivitis, eyelid swelling, and contact lens intolerance. Always follow the recommended wear time as instructed by your optometrist.

7. Being Nutrient Deficient

Poor nutrition can cause permanent damage to the visual system. Try to include lots of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet, along with adequate amounts of Omega-3. Some of the best vitamins and nutrients for eye health include Vitamins A, C, E, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc.

8. Using Non-FDA Approved Products

Whether it’s eyebrow enhancers, eye makeup, or eyelash growth serums, always choose products that have been FDA approved and/or meet government safety regulations. Non-approved products have been known to cause infections or allergic reactions in or around the eye area.

9. Not Cleaning Your Contacts Properly

If you are wearing contact lenses that need to be replaced once every two weeks or once a month, maintaining the highest level of contact lens hygiene is essential. Optometrists will tell you that a common reason patients come in to see them is due to an eye infection from contact lenses that haven’t been properly cleaned or stored. Some patients use their contact lens cases for too long, which can also cause eye irritation. To avoid eye infections, carefully follow your eye doctor’s instructions on how to clean, store, and handle your contact lenses.

10. Showering or Swimming with Contact Lenses

There is a significant amount of bacteria that can be carried in tap water and swimming pools. For this reason, it’s important to make sure that water and contact lenses don’t mix. If you need vision correction while swimming, it may be worth investing in a pair of prescription swimming goggles.

11. Not Following Medication Instructions

When it comes to eye disease, following the medication instructions is crucial. Forgetting to insert eye drops, or administering the incorrect dosage could dramatically reduce the effectiveness of treatment, or even do harm. Speak with your eye doctor if you’re not sure about when or how to take your medication.

12. Not Taking a Holistic Approach

Your eyes are just one part of the whole system — your body. Ignoring health conditions you may have, like high blood pressure or elevated blood sugar, can pose serious risks to your eyes.

13. Not Wearing Protective Eyewear

Shielding your eyes with protective glasses or goggles while working with potentially sharp or fast-moving objects, fragments or particles (wood working, cutting glass, welding, doing repairs with nails, certain sports) is the best defense against eye injury. In fact, 90% of all eye injuries could have been prevented by wearing protective eyewear.

14. Using Unsafe Home Remedies

Some might think that because something is “natural” that it is safe for use around the delicate eye area. Home remedies, like using breastmilk to cure pink eye, could introduce harmful bacteria to the eye and cause infection. If your eyes are giving you trouble, make an appointment to see your local optometrist.

15. Skipping Your Recommended Eye Exam

Your eye doctor will advise you how often you need to come for an eye examination. Adults should visit their eye doctor at least every year for a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether their optical prescription is up-to-date, and to check for the beginning stages of eye disease. Catching eye diseases in their early stages offers the best chance of successful treatment and preserving healthy vision for life.

At Eyeworks, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 817-346-7077 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ft. Worth eye doctors.

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How Can I Relieve Eye Strain?

Our eye care center shares eye exercises to soothe tired eyes

At the end of every long day spent working at the computer, the symptoms of eye strain set in. Eye fatigue, headaches, redness, scratchy dry eyes… What can you do to prevent and fight this painful problem?

Your eyes are vital to all parts of life, and taking care of them properly will give you endless rewards. Eye exercises can help strengthen your eye muscles, boost eye health and relieve tired eyes. Our optometrists in Ft. Worth and Southlake recommends doing the following eye exercises daily.

  • Rolling: Sit straight, relax your shoulders and look forwards (not at a screen!). Roll your eyes in all directions; repeat 10 times.
  • Blinking: Slowly close your eyes and slowly open them again; repeat 20 times.
  • Pressing: Press your fingers gently on your eyelids for about 10 seconds. Slowly release and open your eyes. Repeat 10 times.
  • Cupping: Close your eyes and cup your hands over your eye sockets. Stare into the back of the dark space for about 30 seconds.
  • Palming: Rub your palms together until they’re warm and place over your eyelids. The heat will relax your eye muscles. Repeat.
  • Wall writing: Imagine that your eyes are lasers, and use them to write words on a wall that’s about 8 feet away, for about 20 seconds. Rest and then repeat several times.
  • Zooming: Sit straight, extend your arm straight with your thumb up. Slowly bend your elbow, bringing your thumb closer to your eyes.
  • Figure Eights: Lift your right hand straight in front of you with your thumb pointing upwards. Keeping your head still, gaze at your thumb. Draw a figure 8 in the air with your thumb five times. Repeat with the other thumb.

Our eye care professionals hope these exercises will help alleviate your eye strain! If you suffer extreme eye pain, it could be an eye emergency. Call our eye doctor in Ft. Worth or Southlake for an urgent eye exam.

At Eyeworks, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 817-346-7077 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ft. Worth eye doctors.

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Pink Eye? It Could Be Coronavirus

How to prevent conjunctivitis and protect your eyes

When you have a virus, especially one that causes a hacking cough, runny nose, and other symptoms of a common cold or flu, it’s typical for your eyes to also get puffy and red. You may be suffering from viral conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye.

How do viruses get into your eyes?

It’s rather simple. When you’re sick, you can easily transfer viruses to your eyes by sneezing, coughing into your hands, or blowing your nose – and then touching the area around your eye.

The coronavirus – pink eye connection

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), doctors have discovered that COVID-19 can cause conjunctivitis. If you’re standing within six feet of an infected person, and they cough or sneeze, the virus can enter your eye. Alternatively, if someone sneezes and virus particles land on the shopping cart that you take and push around a store, and then you touch your eyes without washing your hands first – you’re giving the virus direct access.

However, despite the apparent ease with which coronavirus can infect eyes, the AAO reports that only about 1 – 3% of all patients with the virus contract pink eye.

Preventing pink eye

Like always, prevention is the most effective medicine! Eye care professionals recommend following these tips to help prevent getting viral conjunctivitis:

  • Wash your hands correctly

The CDC intructs people to wash their hands in accordance with these steps: wet your hands, turn off the tap, apply soap, lather and scrub for 20 seconds, turn on tap and rinse. Air dry your hands, use a disposable paper towel and discard it immediately, or use a clean (not shared) towel.

  • Keep your fingers away from your face

No rubbing or wiping your eyes! Even if you don’t feel any symptoms of coronavirus, it’s essential not to touch any part of your face. To wipe away tears or remove makeup, use a clean tissue.

  • Don’t share your personal things

As generous as you may feel about letting others use your personal items, now’s the time to keep things to yourself. For example, the CDC recommends not sharing eye drops, makeup, makeup brushes, contact lenses cases, pillowcases, or towels. Pink eye is highly contagious.

  • Consider wearing glasses instead of contacts

While there’s currently no evidence to prove that wearing contacts raises your risks of contracting the novel coronavirus, there’s some evidence that shows you can get Covid-19 by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes. In general, contact lenses wearers touch their eyes more often than people who wear eyeglasses, so it may be smart to make a temporary switch from contact lenses to glasses. However, this is only a friendly recommendation and not a hard-and-fast rule. If you prefer to stick with wearing contacts, washing your hands thoroughly can help keep you and your eyes safe.

Treatment for conjunctivitis

Regardless of whether your pink eye is caused by coronavirus or a different virus, there is no treatment for viral conjunctivitis. Usually, it goes away on its own within one to two weeks.

To alleviate your painful symptoms, eye doctors recommend:

  • Taking an over-the-counter pain medication, such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or any anti-inflammatory drug
  • Applying a warm compress on your eye for a few minutes; take care to use a clean wash cloth each time and for each eye
  • Use artificial tears (lubricating eye drops) to soothe your eye irritation; don’t touch the bottle tip to your eye

Are you sick and have pink eye symptoms?

Now is not the time to make a DIY diagnosis. Eye redness, even if you have a virus, doesn’t necessarily indicate that you have conjunctivitis. A wide range of other conditions can lead to the same symptoms. Contact an eye doctor near you for help to figure out what’s causing your eye pain. Don’t visit your eye care practice without calling for guidance first, because extra precautions must be taken with patients who may have COVID-19.

At Eyeworks, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 817-346-7077 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ft. Worth eye doctors.

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Why You Shouldn’t Visit the ER for Eye Emergencies During COVID-19

On April 22, the American Optometric Association (AOA) urged patients with emergency eye care needs to get in touch with their local optometrist prior to seeking treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Doing so not only eases the burden on emergency departments but also helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.

What Is Considered an Eye Emergency?

Most eye-related conditions can be treated in an outpatient optometry office or clinic. Emergency eye care includes, but is not limited to, urgent clinical advice or intervention for eye injuries and conditions that entail a foreign object in the eye, chemical burns, a sudden change in vision, flashes and floaters (which might suggest a retinal detachment), contact lens discomfort, red eyes and any other problems or symptoms that may impact or interfere with daily activities.

Prioritizing Your Eye Care Needs During COVID-19

During the coronavirus outbreak, we have been going above and beyond to ensure that people are receiving the emergency eye care they need.

Patients should first contact Eyeworks for guidance and potential treatment prior to heading to an overwhelmed hospital emergency room. Dr. Richard Chu can assess the level of care the patient needs—whether it’s telehealth or urgent care that requires a visit to the eye clinic or, in severe cases, even the emergency room.

This will ensure that patients get prompt treatment while allowing hospitals to conserve their resources for the current pandemic. In fact, research has shown that treating eye emergencies at eye doctors’ offices can potentially divert 1.4 million patients away from emergency rooms per year.

While we have closed our store for routine appointments, Eyeworks at Ft. Worth continues to provide emergency care for those who need it. We’d like to reassure our patients that we are here to help with anyone’s emergency eye care requirements – for both for new and existing patients.


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