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5 Tips For Healthy Eye Care This Winter

Woman outside

Winter can seem to go on forever, even if you live in a warm place like Nevada. After the holidays, most people are ready for the colder weather to be over. 

But in many places across the country, the first couple of months of the year are the coldest. Winter weather can be fun in small doses. 

If you’re not used to it, it can be a pain in larger ones, but no matter your feelings, one thing is for sure. During the winter, you should take precautions to keep your body, and your eyes in particular, healthy. 

Here’s how you can do just that. Keep reading for 5 tips to follow for healthy eye care this winter!

1. Limit Your Time Out in the Cold

When it’s cold outside, you shouldn’t spend too much time outdoors without protection. Even if it doesn’t feel that cold, your eyes may be the ones that pay the price. 

Colder winter months can make your eyes dry, itchy, and irritated. If you wear contact lenses, colder weather can dry out your eyes even faster.  

Make sure you keep track of just how long you’ve been outside if you’re taking a walk. If your eyes start to feel uncomfortable, head inside! 

2. Wear Sunglasses

During the summer, you probably know to wear sunglasses to protect against the sun’s harmful UV rays. But the sun is still around even when it’s cold. 

In the winter, you can still suffer damage to your eyes, even if it’s cloudy while you’re outside. It may be unlikely to experience snow in Nevada, but it’s not impossible! 

If there’s snow on the ground, sunlight reflecting off it can be more harmful! Be sure to wear sunglasses whenever you go out on a sunny day, especially if there’s snow on the ground. 

Take extra precautions if you’re participating in any winter sports like skiing or snowboarding. This means goggles or sunglasses to protect your eyes.

3. Stay Hydrated 

Another thing you may think about more in the summer is drinking plenty of water. A nice cold glass of water is a little less appealing when you’ve just come inside in the middle of the winter. 

But it’s just as important to stay hydrated in cold weather as it is in warmer weather. It’s more important as dry winter air can make you dehydrated faster.

Drink water where you can, but you can also eat foods that contain plenty of omega-3 fatty acids like tuna, flaxseed, and even eggs. Eating more of these foods will help keep your eyes hydrated!

4. Limit Screen Time

It can be tempting to spend more time looking at digital devices when the weather turns cooler. But this can harm your sight. 

If you have to look at a screen for a long time, try to take breaks and follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look away from the screen to look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Following this rule will help your eyes rest and recharge before you get back to the screen.

5. Avoid Dry Air 

Heating is essential in the winter if you want to keep your home warm. But blasting your heating system at all hours can dry out the air and your eyes. 

This is especially true if you sit near a vent for a long time. Do your best to avoid direct air blowing on your face. If your heating makes your home particularly dry, consider getting a humidifier that you can put in the room you spend the most time in. Your eyes will thank you!

Are you concerned that your eyes are still dry and irritated after trying these winter eye care tips? Schedule an appointment at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Reno, NV, to discuss your dry eye treatment options with our eye doctors today!

A woman smirking at the camera

Aging is a normal part of life, as are the side effects of aging. But wrinkles can affect your self-confidence and make you feel older than you are.

Luckily, there’s an easy way to treat your crow’s feet and forehead lines: Botox. Botox is an FDA approved injection that temporarily lessens facial lines by affecting the muscles underneath your skin.

But Botox isn’t for everyone. If you’re interested in Botox injections, you’ll need a full consultation to know for sure that Botox is right for you.

If you meet the following conditions, it likely means you’re a good candidate for Botox. Keep reading to learn if you may be right for Botox!

You are At Least 18

Most patients who receive Botox are older adults. Almost all of them easily meet this requirement. People of any age can have facial lines that they’re unsatisfied with, even people who are younger.

But to have Botox, you must be at least 18 years old, even if you have lines on your face you don’t like. 

You Are In Good Health

Before you have any sort of medical procedure, even a minor injection like Botox, it’s important to be in good health. If you have certain pre-existing conditions unrelated to your nerves or muscles, you may still be a good candidate for Botox as long as the condition isn’t severe.

Botox is not safe for patients with nerve or muscle damage from conditions like Multiple Sclerosis.

You Do Not Have Conflicting Facial Features or Conditions

There are a few facial features that may not be indicative of any health problems. These can make Botox injections unsafe or more detrimental to your facial lines than beneficial. Some of these features include:

  • Weak facial muscles
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Skin disorders
  • Deep facial scarring or very thick skin
  • Having a notably asymmetric face

Your Wrinkles are “Dynamic”

Dynamic wrinkles are the result of repeated facial gestures. These include laugh lines, crow’s feet, and forehead lines.

Static wrinkles are usually the result of the decreased collagen elasticity that comes with age. These wrinkles are visible no matter what expression you’re making.

You can treat both kinds of wrinkles with Botox, but dynamic wrinkles are easier to deal with. This is especially true if they aren’t particularly severe.

Sometimes, very light static wrinkles can benefit from Botox. For the best results, Botox injections are made to treat dynamic wrinkles.

You Understand the Risks and Rewards of Botox

Botox is a non-invasive procedure, which also makes it low risk. But there are some risks involved even if a doctor finds that you’re a good candidate.

These risks can be minimized by choosing a reliable doctor to screen you before the injection and to administer the injection. Many of the risks associated with Botox are rare and none of them are life threatening.

Most involve a possible allergic reaction to the injection or encountering muscle weakness. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your full medical history as well as what medications you take.

This will allow them to make an informed determination on your candidacy. You should also discuss the possible risks of Botox with them so you can make an informed decision as well.

Also, keep in mind that Botox is a temporary treatment. The injection wears off after about four months.

Repeated injections are necessary if you want to maintain results. This does make Botox less of a commitment, as nothing obliges you to repeat injections.

Want to learn more about Botox? Request an appointment at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Reno, NV now! If you want to look younger in 2021, why not find out if Botox could be right for you?

woman smiling while sitting on couch and using cell phone

Cataracts are very common. They occur when your eye’s natural lens grows cloudy. This makes it harder to see, especially as the lens grows more and more opaque. 

More often than not, this is a side effect of aging and affects many people who are older than forty. But it can be hard to tell when you develop cataracts as they often appear slowly over many years. 

The best way to tell if you have cataracts is to see an eye doctor regularly. This will allow them to check when your cataracts begin developing and to track how advanced they get with time. 

There are also several symptoms that may show that you have cataracts. If you have several of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to see an eye doctor as soon as you can for diagnosis and treatment.

Blurred Vision

One of the biggest symptoms of cataracts is blurry vision. When your lens is clouded, it can be like looking through a foggy window pane. 

But this can also appear to be your eyesight getting worse. As cataracts are usually a result of aging, they may coincide with other age-related conditions like presbyopia. 

Presbyopia makes it harder to see objects up close. Cataracts make your vision at any distance blurry, especially when they’re very advanced.

Light Sensitivity 

Being sensitive to light can be a sign of several different conditions. When light sensitivity is also paired with seeing halos around lights and intense glare, it’s likely a sign of cataracts. 

Cataracts make your eyes sensitive to light. The increased glare from light sources makes that sensitivity worse. 

This can make it very hard to see when surrounded by many lights, especially in an otherwise dark setting. It can also make driving at night difficult, as headlights can make it hard to keep your eyes on the road.

Trouble Seeing at Night 

In contrast to light sensitivity, cataracts also make it harder to see in low light. This can make driving at night even more difficult as it’s hard to see dark areas and lit areas due to light sensitivity. 

It also can be harder to do up-close work like reading if you have inadequate lighting. You may find you can only work when you have a direct light on whatever you’re working on. 

This, too, can be mistaken for presbyopia, but the fact light can make reading easier and reading glasses won’t is a good sign that the issue is cataracts.

Seeing Colors as More Faded 

If you have cataracts, you may find colors seem duller. It can also be harder to spot the contrast between colors. 

You may find it harder to recognize objects against similarly colored backgrounds. This is a difficult symptom to spot as you lack a reference point for how colors should look when cataracts are affecting your vision. 

But if you find you have trouble seeing differences in colors that should be different shades, it can be a good indicator that you have cataracts.

Have more questions about cataracts? Schedule a cataract screening at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Reno, NV! Why not make the choice to see clearly in 2021 and have cataract surgery?

woman wearing glasses looking at her phone

If your cataracts have begun to affect your quality of life, it’s time to think about having cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is one of the most commonly performed medical procedures.

It’s also the only way to treat cataracts and restore any vision that you lost because of them. Laser cataract surgery is common as well, and almost identical to traditional cataract surgery.

A laser is simply used to create incisions rather than a scalpel. Wondering what you can do to prepare before having laser cataract surgery? Keep reading to learn more!

Share Questions and Concerns with your Doctor

Before anything else, be sure to speak to your doctor about any concerns you may have. A good surgeon will be more than happy to explain anything you have questions about.

They will also give you instructions for what to do before and after surgery. Be sure to also discuss what medications you’re currently taking.

You should be able to take most of your medications as you normally would before surgery. Make sure to double-check as you may need to skip some due to how they interact.

Your doctor can tell you exactly what to take and what not to take before surgery.

Take A Day Off Work

To let your eyes heal, you should only need to take off one day of work after having laser cataract surgery. For the best results, you should avoid any heavy lifting.

Most patients have no problem going back to work the next day since the medications you’re given will have already worn off. Keep in mind that if you have a job that requires you to do a lot of heavy lifting, you’ll need to take off more time from work.

Arrange a Ride

While laser cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure, you won’t be able to drive yourself home after surgery. Make sure you have someone who can take you to and from the surgery center.

In a pinch, you can use a rideshare app, but a friend or family member is always preferred. They should be someone you trust as you may need them to pick up food or medication and make sure you get inside and settled.

You may also want to arrange for someone to be around your home or to come by every once in a while during your recovery to help out so you can rest. Relaxation and resting is a very important part of the recovery process after having laser cataract surgery.

Fill Prescriptions Ahead of Time When Possible

It may be possible to get prescriptions for eye drops and other medications needed for your recovery filled before you have your surgery. If so, you should get them filled in advance so you have them ready and don’t have to worry about getting them after surgery.

If you can’t get them until after surgery, be sure to have a ride that can help you get them filled.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

It’s important to be well-rested before any operation, no matter how minor. Be sure to get to bed at a reasonable hour and eat a good dinner.

Your doctor may want you to not eat up to 12 hours before surgery. Having a good meal before then will keep you from feeling too hungry the next day. Check with your doctor to confirm if you can eat in the 12 hours before having laser cataract surgery or not.

Feeling prepared for laser cataract surgery? Schedule your cataract screening at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Reno, NV today!

person laying in hammock

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, as recognized by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and other health organizations. While this month puts the focus on diabetic eye disease, awareness of diabetic retinopathy and other eye conditions related to diabetes is important all year long. 

Awareness is especially important if you or a loved one has diabetes and is older than 60. Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness in those that are 60 and older. Here’s what you need to know: 

What is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetic eye disease can refer to several conditions. Having diabetes increases your risk for common eye conditions like cataracts and glaucoma. 

But the primary disease directly linked to diabetes is diabetic retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels that connect your retina to the rest of your circulatory system become cut off. This happens as a result of high levels of glucose, or blood sugar. 

In early-stage diabetic retinopathy, also called nonproliferative retinopathy, blood vessels begin to swell and leak. Usually, no symptoms appear at this stage. 

But when diabetic retinopathy becomes advanced– or proliferative– abnormal blood vessels begin to grow in the retina. This causes even more swelling and leaking. 

Enough swollen and leaking blood vessels cause scar tissue to develop on the retina, leading to visual symptoms. These visual symptoms including dark spots, floaters, and gaps in your vision have no cure. It’s important to diagnose diabetic retinopathy in the early stages to slow down the disease and save your vision. 

How to Assess Your Risk

The best way to diagnose diabetic retinopathy in the early stages is to have regular eye exams. If you have diabetes, you’re already at risk and should see an eye doctor at least once a year for routine screenings. 

If you have other risk factors, your doctor may recommend you come in more often. These risk factors include:

  • Having diabetes for 10 years or more
  • Being of African-American, Hispanic, or Native American descent
  • Having diabetes that’s poorly managed
  • Using tobacco products
  • Having high cholesterol
  • Having high blood pressure

If you have one or more of these risk factors and diabetes, you should be extra aware of diabetic retinopathy along with other conditions like cataracts and glaucoma. Be sure to discuss how often to come in for eye exams with your eye doctor based on your risk levels. Also, know that it’s best to be safe and go in too often for exams rather than too infrequently. 

Prevention and Treatment

You cannot prevent diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, or most other age-related eye conditions. But you can lower your risk. 

All you need to do to lower your risk is lead a healthy lifestyle. This means keep your blood sugar levels under control, don’t smoke, eat a balanced diet, and exercise regularly. 

Doing these things aren’t only good for lowering your risk for diabetic retinopathy, but they’re good habits to develop especially if you’re a diabetic. 

If you do develop diabetic retinopathy, there are several treatment options. Diabetic retinopathy cannot be cured, but it can be treated to delay further vision loss. 

These treatments include medication and surgical therapies. Medication can come in the form of steroids or anti-VEGF injections. 

Anti-VEGF injections inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). This is a protein that triggers blood vessel growth. Blocking it can stop abnormal blood vessel growth, swelling, and leakage.

Surgical options also come in several forms. One common laser therapy treatment is called photocoagulation. Photocoagulation seals off leaking blood vessels or shrinks swollen blood vessels using controlled laser burns.

Your doctor can recommend treatment options that are right for you. But to get prompt and effective treatment, you need to know if you have diabetic retinopathy! Early detection is key, so be sure to have regular eye exams, especially if you’re high risk.

Concerned about diabetic retinopathy? Schedule an appointment at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Carson City, NV with one of our eye doctors to learn more!

A doctor pointing in front of a patient who is looking through an instrument of ophthalmology

No matter who you are, it’s likely you’ll have issues with your eyes at some point in your life. Eye conditions are extremely common, especially in older adults.

But children and young adults are also subject to visual errors and eye conditions. Everyone should see an eye doctor regularly.

You should also see one if you experience any concerning eye symptoms. Here are 7 signs that you need to go to the eye doctor.

1. Your Eyes are Itchy, Irritated, or Inflamed

Most people aren’t a stranger to eye irritation. Being allergic to pollen is quite common.

But allergies are far from the only cause of irritated eyes. They can indicate a variety of illnesses, from dry eye syndrome to pink eye.

If you experience these symptoms and don’t have allergies or the symptoms persist after taking allergy medication, see your eye doctor.

2. You’ve Had a Harder Time Reading

If you have a refractive error, you probably were diagnosed when you were young. You may even already see your eye doctor for regular eye exams to update your prescription.

But if you’re 40 or older and are having more trouble with detail-oriented tasks like reading, you may have cataracts, presbyopia, or both. Your eye doctor will be able to diagnose you if you have cataracts and suggest treatment options for presbyopia.

3. You Have Trouble Driving at Night

Driving at night is dangerous when you can’t see properly. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize this problem when you have no problem with driving during the day.

For many people, having difficulty driving at night can be a sign of cataracts. But if you’re struggling to see at night while driving, the best thing you can do is see your eye doctor for an eye exam.

This will allow your ophthalmologist to rule out any other eye problems or issues with your sight that could be going on.

4. Your Eyes are More Sensitive to Light than Normal

Sensitivity to light can be a symptom of a variety of issues besides cataracts. It can be a symptom of inflammation, a migraine, or, rarely, a serious illness like a viral infection.

If you experience sensitivity to light, see an eye doctor. If the issue isn’t cataracts or another visual problem, they’ll recommend you see your primary doctor. It’s best to get your eyes checked first and see other doctors after.

5. You Experience Frequent Eye Strain and Headaches After Using Screens

More people work on computers, making Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) much more common. If you experience headache, eye strain, or dry eyes, you should see your eye doctor.

There’s a chance these are symptoms of a more serious issue, but even if it’s CVS, they can recommend ways to reduce your symptoms.

6. You Often See Floaters, Flashes of Light, or Spots

Suddenly seeing floaters and spots along with flashes of light is a sign of a serious problem. These are the primary symptoms of a retinal detachment.

Retinal detachment requires prompt treatment to salvage your retina and save your vision. If you can’t get an immediate appointment with your eye doctor, go to the emergency room.

They will be able to refer you to an eye specialist for prompt treatment.

7. You Haven’t Had an Eye Exam In Over a Year

Even if your eyes feel healthy, you should see your eye doctor regularly for routine eye exams. When you’re 40 and older, this is especially important.

Many age-related conditions don’t have physical symptoms in their early stages. If you’re 50 and older, or have diabetes, it’s extremely important to have eye exams at least once a year.

Your eye doctor may recommend more frequent eye exams. Early diagnosis can save your vision from common conditions like glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic retinopathy.

Can’t remember the last time you had an eye exam? Schedule one at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Carson City, NV! There’s never a bad time to prioritize your eyes!

If you’ve ever experienced dry eyes, you know what a pain they can be. When your eyes become dried out, it can cause an itchy, burning sensation. 

You may also have a constant feeling that there’s grit in your eyes. For some people, this condition occurs because of environmental conditions or it’s temporary. 

For others, it’s a chronic syndrome. But there’s good news! 

No matter what the cause, there are treatment options for everyone with dry eyes. Keep reading to learn more about how to treat dry eyes!

Addressing the Root Cause

The first step in treating dry eyes is addressing the root cause when possible. Possible root causes for temporary dry eye include:

  • Environmental conditions
  • Eye strain from frequently looking at screens
  • Dehydration
  • Surgery
  • Contact use
  • Hormonal changes
  • Side effect of medication

In most cases, when the conditions that triggered the symptoms are eliminated, the symptoms will go away. This kind of dry eye can be treated if symptoms don’t go away fast enough when the underlying condition changes or in some cases, can’t or shouldn’t change. 

Things may be more complicated for chronic dry eye as underlying causes include:

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Skin diseases around the eye
  • Allergies
  • Aging

Sometimes, people develop dry eye syndrome as they get older and the specific cause isn’t something you can determine. Treating the underlying cause, when possible, is the first step. 

But if that can’t happen, or dry eye syndrome persists even when the underlying condition is under control, there are still ways to treat it. 

Lifestyle Changes

Sometimes, all that’s needed to reduce dry eye symptoms are some simple lifestyle changes. These are especially helpful if your condition is temporary. These changes include:

  • Drinking more water
  • Using a humidifier if you live in a dry environment
  • Limiting the amount of time you spend in front of a screen 
  • Getting more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet

Diagnosis and Treatment

If your dry eye is a chronic condition, you’re more likely to need proper diagnosis. No matter what kind of dry eye you have, you can benefit from the cutting-edge technology we have here at Sierra Nevada Eye Center. 

This technology will both diagnose and treat your condition. There are several treatment options that can help with dry eye syndrome, besides making lifestyle changes.

These include:

TearLab: 

TearLab is a diagnostic tool that can be helpful for finding out if your tear production is adequate. All that’s required is a small sample of your tears. 

Your eye doctor uses a TearLab device and briefly touches it to your tear duct to get a sample. The device then measures your tear quality. This allows your ophthalmologist to see how severe your dry eye is and recommend the appropriate treatment. 

OTC and/or Medicated Eye Drops: 

Artificial tears can help keep the eyes moist. They are easy to buy at most pharmacies without a prescription. 

Your eye doctor can also prescribe you specialized eye drops if artificial tears aren’t adequate. 

Punctal Occlusion: 

In severe cases of dry eye syndrome, inadequate tear quality can be balanced out by making tears stay on the surface of the eye longer. This is possible with punctal occlusion. 

Punctal occlusion (also known as punctal plugs) is a minor surgical procedure that inserts plugs into your punctum. This is the channel where tears drain from your eye. 

Using punctal plugs allows tears to stay on the surface of the eye longer instead of evaporating too quickly.

Prokera: 

Prokera is a device that, like a contact lens, is inserted on the top of your eye. It’s made of amniotic tissue that naturally supports healing while reducing inflammation to treat dry eye symptoms.

Tired of living with the frustrating symptoms of dry eye syndrome? Sierra Nevada Eye Center can help! 

Schedule an appointment with us in Reno, NV to discuss your dry eye treatment options!

These days, there are a variety of treatment options for glaucoma patients. While glaucoma is a serious condition that can cause permanent damage to your vision or even blindness, you can manage it.

This is often done with a combination of medication or surgery to slow the progression of the disease and save your remaining vision.  Some surgical options are more intensive than others. Other, newer options for patients are MIGS, known as minimally invasive glaucoma surgeries or micro incisional glaucoma surgery.

MIGS are an effective option for certain patients. They can also be safer than other surgical options. Keep reading to learn more about MIGS!

What are MIGS?

Micro incisional glaucoma surgeries are surgical procedures used to treat glaucoma that is considered to be less invasive. This is because there are less equipment and fewer incisions used. There are several procedures that are considered to be MIGS, including:

iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass Stent:

The iStent is for patients with glaucoma that also need cataract surgery. iStent is different because it reduces eye pressure and helps manage open-angle glaucoma. iStent removes the blockage in the eye’s natural drainage system, which leads to increased eye pressure.

The iStent creates an opening that’s permanent to improve how fluid can flow and drain through the eye. By restoring how the eye’s fluid flows, this lowers and controls intraocular pressure. iStent is implanted during cataract surgery. 

Hydrus Microstent:

Another option for patients with glaucoma that need to have cataract surgery is the Hydrus Microstent. The Hydrus Microstent is inserted into the eye using a gonioprism. It’s guided through the trabecular meshwork and into Schlemm’s canal.

After being put into position, the Hydrus Microstent is then delivered using a stainless steel cannula. The Hydrus Microstent enhances the flow of fluid in the eye and reduces eye pressure.

Gonioscopy-Assisted Transluminal Trabeculectomy:

Gonioscopy-Assisted Transluminal Trabeculectomy (GATT) is another MIGS procedure meant to treat patients with open-angle glaucoma. It is a modification of a more traditional glaucoma surgery called a trabeculectomy.

The GATT procedure is performed using micro-incisions in the cornea. The procedure takes place using an incision that’s about 1 millimeter and made in the periphery of the cornea.

After entering the eye, the procedure cuts through the trabecular meshwork, followed by cannulation of Schlemm’s canal 360 degrees and unroofing Schlemm’s canal. GATT gives the surgeon full access to the natural drainage system, which helps with efforts to lower intraocular pressure.  

Kahook Goniotomy:

Kahook Goniotomy or Kahook Dual Blade involves removing the trabecular meshwork from a portion of the drainage system. The goal of this is to lower eye pressure for patients with glaucoma.

This can be done as a standalone procedure or performed at the same time with cataract surgery.

Is MIGS Right for You?

MIGS is best for patients in the early to moderate stages of glaucoma. Some MIGS procedures, like trabecular surgery, have very little effect on more severe cases of glaucoma.

They are best used in the early stages as a way to slow the progression of the disease. Experts agree that advanced glaucoma is best treated by traditional surgeries.

Traditional surgeries often involve a longer recovery time and more intensive procedures.  When your vision is threatened by severe glaucoma symptoms, more aggressive treatment may be the only way to save it.

MIGS can still be effective for many glaucoma patients. These procedures are also more convenient for patients who don’t want to spend a lot of time recovering from postoperative care.

Used with certain medications, MIGS can be the perfect way to manage your glaucoma and keep it from progressing. Of course, any surgery still carries some degree of risk, and there is no guarantee that MIGS will always be 100% effective. But for many glaucoma patients, MIGS is a safer alternative.

Wondering if MIGS could be right for you? Schedule an appointment at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Reno, NV to find out if MIGS could be the best way to treat your glaucoma symptoms!

woman looking at window

In the past, getting cataract surgery meant having the natural lens removed without any replacement for it. Cataract surgery patients would have to wear thick glasses to see normally.

But when you get cataract surgery now, the natural lens is instead replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens. Not only can IOLs help you see clearly, but they can also improve your vision and reduce the need for glasses. 

Premium IOLs can be more expensive, but for some people, the cost is worth the visual improvement. It depends on you and your individual needs. Keep reading to learn if premium lens implants are worth it!

Standard IOLs

Standard IOLs are the most basic kind of IOL available and are usually covered by insurance. These are monofocal IOLs.

These IOLs are uniform lenses set to one refractive power, much like standard glasses. Most of the time, patients who opt for monofocals are given one in one eye set to see at a distance and the other for close focus.

This creates monovision, and it allows most patients to see at a middle distance without the need for contacts or glasses. But they may still need reading glasses to see well up close.

Premium IOLs

There are several kinds of premium IOLs, with more being developed and added to the market every few years. Each kind of IOL works a little differently.

They all have the same goal of providing patients with crisp vision and eliminating the need for glasses after cataract surgery.

Multifocal IOLs are lenses that have rings of alternating refractive powers coming out of the center of the lens. The design trains the eye to look out of the right part of the lens depending on what is being focused on.

This allows for fine focus when viewing objects up close.

Accommodative IOLs are lenses that actually change shape depending on what you are viewing. When focusing on something up close, the lens thickens to see objects clearly.

When the eye is relaxed, the lens is thin and allows comfortable distance vision.

The PanOptix trifocal IOL is like a multifocal IOL, but instead of rings that alternate between two refractive powers, it alternates between three refractive powers. One for close vision, one for distance, and one for middle distance.

This allows the patient to see more clearly at a middle distance as well as up close. The PanOptix trifocal IOL works very well for patients that want to be able to complete tasks that are at an intermediate distance, like an arm’s length away.

Toric IOLs are designed specifically to correct astigmatism. For patients with astigmatism, toric IOLs may reduce the need for glasses or contacts used to correct their vision normally.

What Are Your Needs?

For some people, monofocal IOLs are adequate and they don’t need anything else. For others, the visual freedom that premium IOLs offer is well worth the price.

To determine who you are, think about what you want to get out of cataract surgery. Are you okay with reading glasses?

If you don’t mind wearing reading glasses after cataract surgery, then a standard monofocal IOL may be a good fit. Do you want to be able to see better up close?

Most premium IOLs can provide that ability very well. Want to correct your astigmatism? A toric IOL is the way to go.

If you spend a lot of time on the computer, doctors previously recommended that you stick to monofocals, as they provide good middle-distance vision. With the PanOptix trifocal lens now available, this is a good premium alternative for frequent electronics users as it allows for strong middle-distance vision.

The final decision is up to you, but don’t be afraid to consult with your doctor to figure out the best lens for you.

Still not sure what kind of IOL to choose? Schedule a cataract screening at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Reno, NV to discuss your options with our expert ophthalmologists!

Woman gardening in yard

Cataracts are extremely common. Usually, they are something that’s associated with age.

They form in the eye’s natural lens when the cells that compose the lens become slightly opaque. This causes the lens to become cloudy.

Cataracts tend to develop slowly over a period of years, making it difficult to tell if you even have them. The only way to know you have them is to have an eye exam from a professional. But there are symptoms you can and should be aware of.

Risk Factors

Many people will get cataracts at some point in their life, some earlier than others. There’s no way to prevent cataracts. There are a variety of factors that put you at higher risk for developing them. These include:

  • Being over 40
  • Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • UV damage from overexposure to sunlight
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Traumatic eye injury
  • Extended use of corticosteroid medication

Some of these factors are avoidable to lower your risk, but some are not. If any of these factors apply to you, you should have regular eye exams so any cataracts you may develop can be spotted early.

Symptoms

Cataract symptoms include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Intense glare
  • Seeing halos around light sources
  • Trouble seeing in low light
  • Difficulty seeing contrast
  • Light sensitivity
  • Seeing double vision in one eye (monocular double vision)

These symptoms are usually subtle at first as cataracts develop slowly. Often, symptoms may be mistaken for presbyopia, which is age-related farsightedness.

Many people with cataracts also have presbyopia as they are both associated with age. When you have cataracts, you may have trouble reading or doing other fine motor tasks.

This is because it’s harder to see without direct light, but this may be mistaken as not being able to see as well up close. The distinction can be hard to make especially if you also have more trouble seeing up close due to presbyopia as well.

There are some more clear signs that you have cataracts as they develop. For instance, driving at night can be very hard for people with advanced cataracts.

Driving at night can become very dangerous. This is due to decreased ability to see in low light, glare from headlights, and sensitivity to lights from headlights and other road lights.

This is a clear sign of cataracts. You don’t want to wait until you find you’re putting yourself in danger driving at night to get a cataract diagnosis.

Diagnosis

Ideally, you should have your cataracts diagnosed while they’re still in early development. That way, they can be monitored and you can tell when they start to cause visual problems. This is why it’s important to have regular eye exams once you turn 40.

After receiving a diagnosis of cataracts, your doctor may or may not recommend treatment right away. The only way to treat cataracts is with cataract surgery.

This involves removing the eye’s natural lens and replacing it with an artificial lens. Because cataracts develop slowly, it may take years before they present any real symptoms.

As a result of this, you don’t usually need cataract surgery if they’re diagnosed in the early stages. Doctors recommend you have cataract surgery when your cataracts begin to affect your quality of life. At that point, cataract surgery can do wonders for your eyesight by restoring any lost vision due to cataracts.

Concerned that you may have cataracts? Schedule a cataract screening at Sierra Nevada Eye Center in Carson City, NV to find out!

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