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6 Top Treatment Options for Presbyopia

Presbyopia is a condition that occurs as a person ages, which causes the lens of the eye to become less elastic. This results in issues with near vision for people 40 years old and over, which can cause difficulties with simple everyday tasks like reading, writing, or working on a computer.

Fortunately, your The Woodlands eye care team at Child & Family Eye Care can easily diagnose presbyopia as part of a routine comprehensive eye exam. Once diagnosed, we can offer a number of treatment options to make sure you enjoy your best vision at all times.

Here are six of the most common treatments for presbyopia correction:

Bifocal and Progressive Lens Eyeglasses

Bifocal and progressive lens eyeglasses are far and away the simplest and most commonly prescribed treatment for presbyopia.

A bifocal lens offers two distinct sections in a single lens. The primary section helps correct for distance vision, while the secondary section, usually a much smaller section of the lens, allows for clear near-vision.

Progressive lenses function in a similar manner. However, instead of the distance and near vision sections being in distinct zones, they’re more blended. This offers a more seamless viewing experience, though it can sometimes take longer to get used to.

Contact Lenses

There are two common types of contact lenses when it comes to the treatment of presbyopia with contacts:

Monovision contact lenses come in different prescriptions for each eye; one eye is fitted with a lens for distance vision and one for near vision. This solution may not be for everyone, however, as it can sometimes take some time to get used to.

Multifocal contact lenses work in much the same way that multifocal eyeglasses do. They’re designed to offer clear vision across distance, moderate and near vision. They come in various types, including soft disposable, rigid gas permeable, and hybrid contact lenses.

Corneal Inlays

Corneal inlays are very small implantable lenses that your eye doctor surgically places in the cornea to address issues with presbyopia. There are a few different kinds of corneal inlays currently available. Each of these lenses works in a slightly different way:

Corneal inlays that rely on exploiting the pinhole effect are implanted in the non-dominant eye allowing the lens to extend the patient’s overall range of vision.

Corneal inlays that are made from biocompatible hydrogel are designed to imitate the cornea in your eye. This inlay treats presbyopia in the same way as multifocal contact lenses, changing the curvature of the eye, and altering the way light enters and is focused on the retina.

Monovision LASIK

Although traditional LASIK procedures don’t address presbyopia, certain variations can help reduce symptoms and minimize your reliance on bifocals or reading glasses.

Monovision LASIK is the most widely used surgical correction for presbyopia. It corrects the dominant eye so that you can see better at a distance while leaving the less-dominant eye nearsighted. This relies on the idea that the non-dominant eye is only mildly nearsighted, so it is still able to see things up close without the need for reading glasses.

Refractive Lens Exchange

For refractive lens exchange (RLE), an eye surgeon replaces your eye’s natural lens using an artificial intraocular lens (IOL). The IOL improves near vision and reduces your need for near vision solutions such as reading glasses. There are multiple strategies that can be employed to address your particular case, including different types of lenses in each eye. Speak to your eye doctor to find out what will work best for you.

Eye drops are among the newest solutions for the treatment of presbyopia and are most effective in patients who have just begun to experience symptoms. They are miotic drops, meaning they rely on making the pupil contract to create a “pinhole effect” that mimics the eye’s natural ability to focus. This allows for improved vision close-up in patients with presbyopia.

For more information on how we can help you see your best with presbyopia, contact our The Woodlands eye care team at Child & Family Eye Care today!

Q&A

Are multifocal contact lenses difficult to get used to?

Some people will be able to adjust immediately to multifocal contacts, while others may take around a week to adjust. During the adjustment period, you may find that your distance vision is not as crisp as you like, and that you see shadows around some images up-close.

What is the pinhole effect?

The pinhole effect is a method of focusing your vision by causing the pupil to dilate or get smaller. This causes light that is scattered and unfocused to be able to enter your eye, leaving only focused light to enter and reach your retina. This results in sharper, more focused vision.

Can Cholesterol Affect Your Eyes?

Can Cholesterol Affect Your Eyes?

High cholesterol can affect more than just your heart! It can also affect your eyes, as well, resulting in yellow deposits around your eyelids. To learn more about this condition and other ways your eyes can be affected by cholesterol levels, take a look below.

High Cholesterol and Xanthelasma

Cholesterol is essential for the natural production of things like bile salts, steroid hormones and vitamin D in the body. There are different types of cholesterol, both good and bad, that move around your body. When the balance between good and bad cholesterol is off, cholesterol deposits can develop throughout the body. This includes deposits in and around your eyes.

The most common way that cholesterol affects your eyes is the appearance of miniscule yellow-colored deposits of fat in the skin around your eyes, especially in the upper eyelids and the inner parts of the eyelids, in the area of the nose. These are known as xanthelasma.

Xanthelasma doesn’t occur in everyone with high cholesterol, but its presence can be used as an indicator of this condition even in people with no family or personal history of it.

Risk factors for xanthelasma include:

  • Obesity.
  • Heart disease.
  • Smoking.
  • Heavy drinking.
  • Pancreatitis.

Symptoms Of Xanthelasma

Xanthelasma is usually a cosmetic issue that doesn’t cause any pain. However, in certain cases, they can become problematic.

Atherosclerosis and Hollenhorst Plaque

When a person has high cholesterol, they can develop a condition known as atherosclerosis in which plaque begins to build up on the walls of their blood vessels, restricting flow of blood throughout the body..

In some cases, built up plaque breaks off, travels through the body and gets lodged in the small blood vessels in your eye’s retina. When this occurs, it is known as Hollenhorst plaque. It can cause serious damage to your eyes and vision, including severe vision loss.

Arcus senilis

The cornea is the clear layer of the eye, protecting the iris. Sometimes high cholesterol can cause a grayish or white ring to develop at the sides of the cornea. This is called arcus senilis, or corneal arcus. It is not painful and it does affect your vision, but it is a signal that your cholesterol is higher than it should be.

Fighting High Cholesterol

These issues are not limited to your eyes. They’re a symptom of a larger problem in the body: high cholesterol. Healthcare professionals agree that one of the leading ways to deal with problems related to cholesterol is adopting a diet that is low in fat. This includes eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and avoiding processed foods where possible. Diets such as the Mediterranean Diet, which has a healthy mix of fiber, protein and healthy fats, can help put your overall health back on the right track.

When To See Your Doctor

Even if these issues don’t cause you problems with your vision or any pain or discomfort, you shouldn’t ignore them. They are a sign of larger issues that can be potentially life-threatening if not treated properly and promptly. As soon as you notice these issues, you should speak with your doctor. The sooner it’s treated, the better.

At Child & Family Eye Care, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 281-363-4362 or book an appointment online to see one of our The Woodlands eye doctors.

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What to Wear to Protect Your Eyes

Your eyes are among the most important organs in the body when it comes to discovering and interacting with the world around you. Unfortunately, they are also among the most exposed, and vulnerable to damage. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that proper protective gear is worn in places and situations where you might accidentally sustain an eye injury.

Whether it’s participating in sports, working with chemicals while cleaning or in a lab, or working on do-it-yourself projects around the home, it’s important to know what counts as proper protection, and what doesn’t.

Fortunately, our eye doctors at are here to explain.

Do Normal Prescription Glasses Count As Safety Equipment?

In short, no. Prescription glasses are built with materials that are primarily useful in promoting wearer comfort and helping you see better and more clearly.

The kinds of plastics and metals used in the frames are built for comfort, but may not hold up against flying shards of metal and wood.

Likewise, lens materials in prescription eyeglasses are chosen for their ability to be easily shaped and molded to give you optimum vision while minimizing aberrations. This ability to be easily molded does not lend itself well to also being impact-resistant.

Safety equipment gear for the eyes is also built with an extra guard around the sides to protect from flying debris and chemicals from all-around. This extra guard is not present in the vast majority of prescription eyeglasses.

So what IS considered proper safety equipment for protecting your eyes?

Personal Protective Equipment For Protecting Your Eyes

In general, there are three types of accepted safety equipment depending on your particular needs and preferences:

Safety Glasses

are made with shatter-resistant lenses, which are manufactured from materials like propionate plastic or polycarbonate. They also have side shields that help from debris and dust that may enter from the sides of, rather than in front of, the face.

What are safety glasses good for? These glasses are designed to be shatter-resistant and protect the eye from large, physical objects such as wood chips or metal or glass shards that could impact the eye, causing serious injury. Some types of safety glasses also offer laser light filtration, preventing reflections from the laser entering the eye, causing painful retinal burns.

What are safety glasses NOT good for? Safety glasses are not meant for protection from liquids or vapors.

Safety glasses can be purchased with or without prescription lenses and can also be ordered with bifocals.

Safety Goggles

These are another common type of personal protective equipment. They may be vented or non-vented.

Non-vented goggles are used as protection from mists, vapors, fumes, or other airborne hazards that require the eyes to be completely covered.

Vented goggles are meant to protect the eyes from liquid chemicals that pose no danger from vapor or mist. These also have a series of buttons embedded into the plastic that house something called a “baffle plate,” which allows air to pass through, but acts as a blockage so that liquid can’t get in.

Be aware that there are many types of goggles on the market, and some are not meant for certain kinds of work. Common, hardware-store goggles, for example, often have holes drilled into the plastic, which can let vapors and liquids into the mask, making them unfit for laboratory work.

Face Shields

These are actually not meant to be worn as the sole line of protection for your eyes. Rather, they are supplemental protection for the entire face, and goggles worn underneath the face shield block any vapor or liquid which may make it past.

Still not sure what kind of eye protection you need? Come visit our eye care practice to find out more!

At Child & Family Eye Care, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 281-363-4362 or book an appointment online to see one of our The Woodlands eye doctors.

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Q&A

Do Normal Prescription Glasses Count As Safety Equipment?

In short, no. Prescription glasses are built with materials that are primarily useful in promoting wearer comfort and helping you see better and more clearly. Safety glasses can be purchased with or without prescription lenses and can also be ordered with bifocals. Safety goggles may be vented or non-vented.

What are Non-vented goggles ?

Non-vented goggles are used as protection from mists, vapors, fumes, or other airborne hazards that require the eyes to be completely covered.

9 Signs Your Child Might Need Glasses

It can sometimes be hard to tell if your child is having trouble seeing. That’s because children are often unaware of their own vision problems, and in many cases may not even have the words to describe what they’re seeing.

Though eye and vision problems are very common in school-age children, the signs are often subtle and easy to miss. When these issues go undiagnosed and untreated, a child may have difficulty learning in the classroom and playing sports, among other things. Fortunately, some vision issues can be easily solved with a simple pair of eyeglasses.

Here are 9 subtle signs that your child may need glasses:

  1. They struggle with intense near vision activities like homework, computer use, taking exams or reading. They may also avoid distance vision activities such as sports.
  2. They have a hard time keeping their place while reading
  3. They tilt their head or squint when watching TV or in class
  4. They have problems with unusually teary eyes or frequently rub or squint their eyes
  5. They complain about eye fatigue and headaches, especially after reading or other vision-intensive activities
  6. They may close one eye while reading or watching TV in order to see better
  7. They hold books unusually close to their face in order to read
  8. They sit very close to TVs or computer screens in order to see better
  9. They use their finger to guide their eyes along the page as they read

If you notice these or any other signs that your child may be experiencing poor vision, it is important to bring them in for a pediatric eye exam as soon as possible.

Pediatric Eye Exams and Eyeglasses

During your child’s eye exam our eye doctor will test for signs of refractive errors such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism. If your child has a refractive error, our eye doctor will prescribe prescription glasses to correct their vision and help them thrive at school and at home.

School aged students may be prescribed eyeglasses if their eyes have difficulty focusing. The glasses allow the eyes to function better and remove eye strain. These eyeglasses are often only worn when in class, when reading, using a digital screen or during examinations.

Once the optometrist determines your child’s prescription, our friendly and professional optical team can help you and your child choose just the right frames. Our wide selection of designer frames includes designs and materials to fit every need and sense of style. From versatile metal or polycarbonate frames that can stand up to the rigors of sports, to lightweight frames that are comfortable to wear during the school day, has you covered.

For more information on how to tell if your child needs glasses, and how our eye care practice can help, call us at or visit us in person today!

At Child & Family Eye Care, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 281-363-4362 or book an appointment online to see one of our The Woodlands eye doctors.

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Q&A

Can refractive errors cause problems other than poor vision?

Yes. Myopia in childhood has been linked to an increased risk of developing potentially sight-threatening eye conditions later in life. These conditions include glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts. Speak to your eye doctor about the best ways to minimize your child’s risk.

Will wearing glasses weaken my child’s vision?

No. Many people mistakenly believe that eyeglasses make your eyes reliant on them, and that this reliance weakens your eyes. Children with refractive errors will experience changes in their vision, even when their nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism isn’t corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

10 Ways to Give Your Eyes Some Love This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the time to express your love and appreciation to those you care about most. But it’s also a great opportunity to take the time to pamper yourself — so why not start with your eyes?

Practice these 10 healthy lifestyle habits to help protect your eye health and vision.

1. Be Mindful of the Food You Eat

Fill your plate with fresh fruits and veggies, lean proteins and whole grains. A well-balanced diet is good for your body and can lower your risk of eye disease.

Studies show that foods high in vitamins A, C, E, Omega-3, lutein and zeaxanthin are especially beneficial for promoting eye health.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day will keep your body hydrated and your eyes moist — which is essential for preventing dry eye syndrome. To add some flavor to your water, try adding a splash of lemon juice or swap some of those glasses of water for an herbal tea or other non-caffeinated beverage. Caffeinated drinks have a dehydrating effect, so try to limit your coffee consumption as much as possible.

3. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is widely known for its physical and mental health benefits, but studies show that it can also lower your risk of serious eye conditions and diseases. Cardio exercise in particular has been shown to lower eye pressure and improve blood flow to the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye. So grab your gym bag and get moving!

4. Don’t Smoke

If you’ve been thinking about quitting, there’s no better time than now. Smoking tobacco significantly raises your risk of developing sight-threatening eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy, cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and can also lead to their early development.

Smoking also robs the body of the essential vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain eye health, and contains around 7,000 chemicals that can lead to eye irritation and dry eye.

5. Practice Good Makeup Hygiene

While wearing makeup can accentuate your eyes and make you feel more beautiful, it’s important to note that if not used properly, certain makeup products can adversely affect eye health.

To keep your eyes and vision healthy, make sure to:

  • Clean your brushes and applicators regularly
  • Toss any expired products, or eye makeup you’ve used during an eye infection
  • Only apply makeup to the outer margin of your eyelids
  • Remove your makeup before going to bed
  • Never share makeup or use in-store testers

Following these safety tips will help to lower your risk of eye infections and other serious complications.

6. Wear Sunglasses

Studies show that prolonged UV exposure can damage the eyes and lead to the development of sight-threatening eye conditions, like cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma, in the future.

Purchase a pair of stylish sunglasses with 100% UV protection and wear them any time you venture outdoors — the sun’s UV rays can penetrate the clouds and reflect off of snow, sand, water and pavement. So keep a pair of sunglasses next to your front door and a spare pair in your bag or car to ensure you have UV protection wherever you go.

7. Prevent Eye Injuries

About 90% of vision loss from eye injuries can be prevented by wearing the right eye protection.

Protective eyewear like sports goggles or glasses with polycarbonate lenses are designed with sturdy materials that are less likely to break or shatter while you play sports, and can protect your eyes from small particles that fly in the air when you mow the lawn or engage in DIY projects.

8. Learn First Aid for Eye Injuries

Let’s be real, accidents can happen even if we take all the right measures to protect ourselves. But knowing what to do in case of an unexpected eye injury can potentially save you or someone you love from permanent eye damage or vision loss.

Note: Any type of eye injury should be taken seriously, and promptly examined by an eye doctor.

9. Avoid Digital Eye Strain

Prolonged screen time can cause eye strain, dry eyes, blurry vision and headaches — and lead to a condition called digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome.

Avoid symptoms of digital eye strain by limiting screen time as much as possible. If prolonged screen time is unavoidable, practice the 20-20-20 rule: set an alarm on your phone as a reminder to take breaks every 20 minutes to focus on an image at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds.

10. Visit Your Eye Doctor

Regular eye exams are crucial when it comes to maintaining your eye health. With an eye exam, your eye doctor can identify early signs of sight-threatening eye diseases and conditions — enabling earlier treatment and increasing your chances for optimal results.

From all of us at Child & Family Eye Care in The Woodlands, we wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!

At Child & Family Eye Care, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 281-363-4362 or book an appointment online to see one of our The Woodlands eye doctors.

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Q&A

What’s the difference between an eye exam and vision screening?

Vision screenings are basic tests of visual acuity, generally conducted by a school nurse or pediatrician. These screenings can’t identify many vision conditions that impact learning or work performance, and are unable to detect ocular health problems.

A comprehensive eye exam, which is performed by an eye doctor, includes tests for visual acuity and functional vision, as well as close examination of the inner and outer structures of the eye.

How often do I need to have an eye exam?

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), it is important to have your eyes examined every one to two years, depending on your age, whether or not you wear glasses or contacts, your family history of eye disease, and your ocular health to date. Annual eye exams help your eye doctor monitor your eye health and easily identify any changes in your vision.

5 Ways to Protect and Improve Your Child’s Eyesight

Your child’s vision is their primary window into the world around them. Keeping their eyesight healthy is an important part of allowing them to experience life to the fullest.

Here are 5 tips on how to protect and improve your child’s eye health:

1. Take them to the eye doctor for routine eye exams

One of the most important take-aways from any article you read on the subject of keeping your child’s vision and eyes healthy, is the need to keep up with routine comprehensive eye exams.

Although your kid’s school may perform vision screenings, these tests can only detect the most basic issues, such as myopia (nearsightedness) or severe amblyopia. They are not equipped to check for eye diseases that can affect your child’s long-term ocular health, or binocular vision disorders that can hinder their ability to learn.

Our The Woodlands eye doctor will be able to perform a comprehensive eye exam to check for the presence of these and other conditions. If ocular diseases or vision disorders are detected, your eye doctor will have the equipment and expertise to properly treat them.

2. Limit their screen time

Screens are an ever-present part of our lives. Children can spend hours every day texting, playing video games, watching television, and more. It is all-too-easy to spend way too much time on these digital devices, causing symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Dry eye
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain

Excessive blue light, like the kind that comes from these screens, interferes with sleep and is also thought to increase the risk of macular degeneration later in life.

To prevent symptoms and protect your child’s long-term vision health, limit their screen time, when possible, to approximately one hour, and devices should be turned off a few hours before bedtime to allow your child to wind down.

3. Encourage them to eat healthy foods and get exercise

As with every part of the body, a healthy lifestyle can go a long way in ensuring the long-term health of your child’s eyes.

Eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids is a great way to promote eye health. Good sources include fish such as salmon and herring. For vegans and others who don’t eat fish, flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts are also a great option.

Leafy greens and fruits are also important, as they’re high in vitamins A, C and E, which are all important for the development and maintenance of healthy vision.

Along with a healthy diet, you should encourage your child to get up and exercise. Physical activity is good for the whole body, and that includes the eyes.

Bonus points if you can get your child outside, as sunlight and outdoor play have been shown to slow or even prevent the development of myopia. Just make sure your child wears sunglasses and a sun hat — UV rays have a cumulative effect that could lead to eye diseases like macular degeneration later in life.

4. Help them avoid eye injuries

Eye injuries are an all-too-common occurrence, especially among children.

If you have little ones at home, make sure that paints, cleaners and other dangerous chemicals and irritants are put away somewhere safe. If these ever get into their eyes, they can cause severe damage to your child’s visual system, including permanent loss of vision.

For contact and ball/puck sports, ensure your child wears the right eyewear to protect their eyes from accidental impacts or pokes. Helmets should also be worn where the sport warrants it, to prevent concussions and other head injuries that can have an effect on vision.

5. Reduce eye infections

Even small, common infections such as pink eye can have an impact on your child’s vision.

Hands are some of the most bacteria-filled parts of our bodies. Your child should learn not to touch their eyes with their unwashed hands, as this is the primary way of introducing germs to the eye that may result in infection.

On a similar note, if you have contact lens wearers, be sure to teach them to wash their hands each and every time they put in or take out their contact lenses. They should also learn to store and clean their lenses strictly according to their eye doctor‘s instructions and should change lenses according to their intended schedule. Daily contacts should be changed daily, monthly contacts, monthly.

For more information on how best to protect and improve your child’s eyesight, contact Child & Family Eye Care in The Woodlands today.

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Troy Wagner OD

Q: Can I rely on the vision screenings at my child’s school to catch vision and eye health issues?

  • A: No. School-based vision screenings check for basic visual acuity. Even if your child has perfect 20/20 vision, there may still be issues with visual skills or undetected eye diseases that these types of screenings are not equipped to catch.It is important not to rely on school vision screenings as a replacement for an annual comprehensive eye exam with your local optometrist. During these visits, your eye doctor will be able to assess your child for vision skills such as:

    Eye teaming ability
    Convergence and divergence skills
    Tracking and focusing Visual accommodation

    They will also be able to diagnose and treat conditions such as:

    Amblyopia
    Strabismus
    (Rarely) pediatric glaucoma or cataracts

    These and other conditions can only be diagnosed and treated by a trained optometrist as part of a comprehensive eye exam.

Q: Can vision problems be misdiagnosed as ADHD/ADD?

  • A: It is unfortunately common for learning-related vision problems to go undetected. These vision problems can often mimic the symptoms of ADD/ADHD, leading to misdiagnosis and mistaken treatment.As many as 1 out of every 4 school-age children suffers from some form of visual dysfunction. If not properly treated, a child may struggle throughout their entire school career, harming their learning and possibly their long-term self-confidence.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In The Woodlands, Texas. Visit Child & Family Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

How Does COVID-19 Affect Your Eyes?

COVID-19 is caused by a virus that enters your cells through an enzyme called angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). The blood vessels, heart, lungs, digestive tract and ocular membranes all contain this enzyme. According to some experts, the virus can enter the eyes through this enzyme, producing ocular problems.

A review of research published in the Journal of Ophthalmic & Vision Research (2021) found that 11 percent of more than 8,200 individuals with COVID-19 had symptoms affecting their eyes. Burning eyes were observed by 8 of the 932 participants with eye symptoms, and ocular pain was recorded by 83.

Covid-19 Eye Symptoms

Though ocular problems are less common than cough and fever, the following ocular symptoms have been reported by some patients with various strains of COVID-19:

  • Sore eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Burning eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Red, bloodshot eyes
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis)

COVID-19 and ocular symptoms were also studied by Clinical Microbiology and Infection (2021). In the study, 75 of the 108 COVID-19 patients experienced at least one eye symptom. Burning eyes were the most prevalent symptom (39 of the 75 individuals).

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, with or without COVID, contact Child & Family Eye Care in , Magnolia, and Shenandoah, to determine their underlying cause and how to treat them.

At Child & Family Eye Care, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 281-363-4362 or book an appointment online to see one of our The Woodlands eye doctors.

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Q&A

Does the Covid-19 vaccine cause vision problems?

Some people are hesitant to acquire a COVID-19 immunization due to concerns about side effects, including vision problems. There is currently no indication that any of the COVID-19 vaccinations on the market cause vision-related side effects.

Can Covid-19 cause eye problems in children?

A study in JAMA Ophthalmology (Aug 2020) found that nearly one-fourth of children treated for COVID-19 at a Chinese hospital had mild eye problems. Those problems included:

  • Eye pain
  • Eye rubbing
  • Eye discharge
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)

How Smartphone Apps Help Low-Income Communities

People who don’t have in-person access to an eye doctor may go years without getting their eyes examined. Now, thanks to smartphone technology, people in low-resource communities or who find it difficult to visit their eye doctor for other reasons can now have access to certain eye exams.

Even if a person doesn’t own a smartphone, volunteers or other people in their community can conduct a simple vision screening test via a phone app. If the app identifies problems, it could signal the need for an in-person eye exam.

Vision Problems Are Not Being Checked

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 2.2 billion people globally have a near or distance vision impairment, with rates of unaddressed near vision impairment at greater than 80% in western, eastern and central subregions of Sub-Saharan Africa.

In the United States, only 13% of those experiencing visual symptoms, ranging from poor night vision and blurry vision to red eyes and double vision, visited their eye doctor for an eye exam and treatment.

How Can We Get People to Undergo Annual Eye Exams?

According to a study published in the Lancet Digital Health, using smartphones for eye screening and referrals could triple the number of people seeking primary care for eye disorders and boost the uptake of hospital services in low-resource settings.

This Lancet study, conducted in Kenya, demonstrates how smartphone-based screening allows non-expert community volunteers to visit homes and conduct eye exams, freeing up capacity among specialized eye care services.

While smartphone apps aren’t a substitute for a comprehensive eye exam by an eye doctor, they certainly can help. They may assist in managing ongoing eye conditions and notify the patient you when a doctor’s help is required.

By eliminating an initial visit to the eye doctor, patients can get their eyes checked from the comfort of their own home. Only if an eye problem is detected will they need to go visit the eye doctor.

This isn’t to say that people should not go to their eye doctor, but if for some reason it’s financially difficult to go on an annual basis, or they don’t have direct access to an eye doctor, a smartphone app is a great solution.

To learn more about smartphone apps that conduct vision screening tests, contact Child & Family Eye Care in The Woodlands today.

At Child & Family Eye Care, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 281-363-4362 or book an appointment online to see one of our The Woodlands eye doctors.

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Q&A

What can an eye exam app do?

Vision screening apps allow you to measure your visual acuity using your smartphone and help determine whether you need an in-person exam by an eye doctor. The app may measure your lens power, test for color perception and vision distortions, and monitor possible vision changes related to eye conditions and diseases like macular degeneration. It may even locate an eye care provider nearby and enable you to book an appointment.

What can in-person eye exams detect?

A comprehensive eye exam can assess your vision and diagnose eye disease. Eye diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, can go undetected for years because their symptoms may not become apparent until the condition is at a more advanced stage. Unfortunately, by then it may be too late to prevent irreversible vision loss and even blindness.