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Are Contact Lenses Safe For Young Children?

Here’s a question we often get at our practice: ‘Is my child too young for contact lenses?’ This is an important question, and the answer may surprise you.

For children with myopia (nearsightedness), contact lenses can be a convenient method of vision correction. It allows kids to go about their day without having to worry about breaking or misplacing their glasses, and enables them to freely participate in sports and other physical activities.

Some children and young teens may ask their parents for contact lenses because they feel self-conscious wearing glasses. Contact lenses may even provide children with the confidence boost they need to come out of their shell. Moreover, these days, it is very popular for children to wear single-use one-day disposable soft contacts, since there is no cleaning or maintenance involved.

Some parents may deny their child’s request for contacts due to concerns about eye health and safety. There’s no reason to worry: contact lenses are just as safe for children as they are for anyone else.

At Eye Trends, we provide children, teens, and patients of all ages with a wide variety of contact lenses. If you’re concerned about the safety of contacts for your child, we’ll be happy to explain and explore ways to ensure maximum safety, optimal eye health and comfort. To learn more or to schedule a pediatric eye exam for contact lenses, contact us today.

What Are the Risks of Having My Child Wear Contact Lenses?

A study published in the January 2021 issue of The Journal of Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics found that kids aren’t at a higher risk of experiencing contact lens complications.

The study followed nearly 1000 children aged 8-16 over the course of 1.5-3 years to determine how contact lenses affected their eye health.

The results indicate that age doesn’t have an effect on contact lens safety. In fact, the researchers found that the risk of developing infections or other adverse reactions was less than 1% per year of wear — which is comparable to contact lens wearers of other ages.

But before you decide that contact lenses are right for your child, you may want to consider whether your child is ready to wear them. During his or her eye doctor’s appointment, the optometrist may ask about your child’s level of maturity, responsibility, and personal hygiene. Since many children are highly motivated to wear contacts, they tend to display real maturity in caring for their lenses. That said, in the initial stages, parents may need to play an active role, as their child gets used to inserting and removing the new contact lenses.

It’s important to note that just as with any other medical device, contact lenses are not risk-free. Anyone who wears contact lenses has a chance of developing eye infections or other complications with contact lenses. However, when worn and cared for according to your eye doctor’s instructions, contact lenses are low-risk and perfectly safe for children and teenagers.

So, go ahead and bring your child in for a contact lens consultation! We’ll help determine if your child is ready for contacts and answer any questions you or your child may have. To schedule your child’s contact lens fitting or eye exam, contact Eye Trends in Conroe today.

The Importance of Eye Exams for Contact Lenses

Are you planning on wearing contact lenses for the first time? Do you need a new contact lens prescription? Are your current contacts not as comfortable as you wish they were? Your eye doctor will perform a contact lens eye exam to ensure that your vision with contacts is clear, comfortable, and safe, providing you with the right lenses for you.

What is a contact lens exam?

If you wear or want to wear contact lenses, you’ll need an eye exam for contact lenses, in addition to your regular comprehensive eye exam. Special tests are performed during a contact lens exam to evaluate your eyes and vision with contacts.

Are eyeglass prescriptions the same as contact lens prescriptions?

No, a prescription for glasses cannot be used for contact lenses. An eyeglass prescription is for lenses that are positioned approximately 12 millimeters from your eyes, whereas a contact lens prescription is measured for lenses that sit directly on the surface of your eye.

The prescription for contact lenses also includes the brand, lens diameter and curvature, which are not part of an eyeglass prescription.

Contact lenses fitting: One size does not fit all

One contact lens size doesn’t fit all eyes. If a contact lens is too flat or too steep for your corneal shape, you may experience discomfort or even eye damage. Your eye doctor will take certain measurements to determine the best contact lens design and fit for your eyes.

Corneal curvature

This measures the curvature of your eye’s clear front surface (cornea) so the eye doctor can select the optimal curve and diameter for your contact lenses. If your eye’s surface is somewhat irregular because of astigmatism or other conditions, you may require a special lens.

Pupil and iris size

The size of your pupil and iris (the colored part of your eye) is also important in determining the best contact lens design.

Tear film evaluation

This test evaluates the quality of your tears, to determine whether they will be able to keep contact lenses and your cornea sufficiently hydrated throughout the day. If you have dry eye disease, standard contact lenses may not be right for you.

Trial lenses

Following the eye exam, you will be provided with trial lenses to verify that the chosen contact lenses offer clear and comfortable vision. This will allow the eye doctor to make any fine adjustments to the prescription.

Contact Lens Eye Exam Near You

Wearing the correct contact lenses for your eyes allows you to enjoy all of the benefits of wearing contacts, while keeping your eyes healthy and comfortable.

If you’re already a contact lens wearer, visit your eye doctor at least once a year to make sure the lenses are still providing you with optimum vision and comfort.

Contact Eye Trends in Conroe to book your contact lens eye exam today!

Why Does Your Eye Doctor Dilate Your Pupils for an Eye Exam?

If you’ve been following the guideline to have regular eye exams, then you’re probably familiar with having your pupils dilated. Why does your eye doctor do this?

By dilating your pupils, the eye doctor can get a better view of your inner eye structures – so the eye exam is more comprehensive and more detailed. While the back of your eye can be seen through an undilated pupil, it cannot be examined as fully.

A full evaluation of your macula, retina and optic nerve is possible through dilated pupils. In many common eye diseases, such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma, these are the parts of the eye that exhibit signs of a problem. Also, health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes can often be detected on these parts of the eye.

What happens when the eye doctor dilates your pupils?

Your eye doctor or a technician will insert eye drops into your eyes; it takes 20 – 30 minutes for them to take full effect. Then, your eye doctor will use a lighted microscope to inspect your eyes.

Initially, you may feel a slight stinging when the drops are first inserted, but the discomfort is typically minor and short-lived. For a few hours afterwards, your eyes will be extra-sensitive to light and vision may be slightly blurred. Wearing sunglasses can help manage this sensitivity. Dilation usually wears off within four to six hours.

Even though getting your pupils dilated for an eye exam may feel like a nuisance, it enables your eye doctor to check your ocular health and overall body health with much more accuracy. So the benefits are clear! Contact an expert eye doctor near you to schedule an eye exam.

At Eye Trends, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 936-206-7366 or book an appointment online to see one of our Conroe eye doctors.

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All You Need to Know About Your Child’s Eye Exam

Why schedule regular pediatric eye exams, and what should you expect?

If you think there’s no need to bring your child for an eye exam unless he or she complains of a vision problem, you’re not alone. But – you’re not correct either! The truth is that kids don’t tend to complain about eyesight, because they simply accept that what they see is normal. They don’t recognize a problem. That’s why routine pediatric eye exams with a qualified professional are necessary.

For a precise, dependable check of your child’s vision and visual skills, book an appointment at Eye Trends. We have optometry offices located conveniently to serve your entire family in Conroe, The Woodlands, Spring, Greenspoint, Kingwood, and Houston.

Why are pediatric eye exams so important?

Our eye doctors share the following reasons to be responsible with your child’s vision:

  • Poor sight can jeopardize education – If your child can’t see the classroom board clearly or do the assigned homework without squinting or getting a headache, then they cannot learn fully or perform well in school. A yearly eye exam can prevent your child from suffering the frustration of an untreated vision condition.
  • Vision is linked to self-confidence – Kids who see a blurred world tend to feel insecure and hesitant about every move they make, including socializing and meeting new friends.
  • Protection against digital eyestrain – Most likely, your child spends a lot of time daily gazing at a digital screen of some type or other. Unfortunately, computer vision can damage eye health. Eye doctors are trained to detect the symptoms and can offer protective tips, as well as relief from the visual discomfort.
  • Boost sports scores – To play sports well, your child needs excellent depth perception and hand-eye coordination. A comprehensive pediatric eye exam evaluates both visual acuity and all parts of the visual system. Vision therapy may be needed to improve certain visual skills.

What happens during a child’s eye exam?

The tests and procedures that our eye doctor performs as a part of a pediatric eye exam in Conroe, The Woodlands, Spring, Greenspoint, Kingwood, and Houston, are personalized to meet the age, medical eye history, health condition, stage of development, and personal risk factors of each child. Every kid is a unique being, and we’ll custom-tailor your child’s eye exam accordingly.

In general, the basic steps of a pediatric eye exam include checking the following:

  • Visual acuity to decide if prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses are required
  • Eye teaming (binocularity)
  • Focusing ability (accommodation)
  • Tracking skills
  • Color vision
  • Peripheral (side) vision
  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Eye health: our eye doctor will perform a dilated eye exam to inspect the health condition of inner eye tissues

After your kid’s eye exam, we’ll discuss the results with you. If eyeglasses are needed, we have a fabulous optical collection for kids! If your child prefers contact lenses and our optometrist determines they’re a suitable option for vision correction, we offer expert contact lenses fittings and a fully stocked inventory of premium lenses. Additionally, we provide personalized vision therapy sessions in our advanced eye care centers.

At Eye Trends, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 936-206-7366 or book an appointment online to see one of our Conroe eye doctors.

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Why is the Optomap Digital Eye Exam Necessary?

The benefits of Optomap are clear!

Inside your eyeball, on your retina way at the back of your inner eye, a clear view of your blood vessels can be seen. In fact, this is the only place in your body that offers such a direct image of your blood vessels, and the Optomap digital eye exam is one of the best ways for your eye doctor to see it. We’re proud to offer Optomap as a part of a comprehensive eye exam at our eye care centers near you in Conroe, The Woodlands, Spring, Greenspoint, Kingwood, and Houston, Texas.

Introducing Optomap

When your eye doctor performs a dilated eye exam, s/he inspects the inner tissues of your eye. By using the innovative technology of Optomap, more than 80% of your retina can be captured in one panoramic image.

The image-capturing process is painless and quick, taking less than ½ second and provides a 200-degree high-resolution picture. Because there is generally no need to dilate your eyes beforehand, you won’t need to experience stinging eye drops, the long wait until the eye drops take effect, or blurry vision that lasts for hours after the eye exam.

Amazing Advantages of Optomap

Tracks your eye health

The Optomap digital eye exam enables our eye doctor to enlarge and isolate particular areas of your retina in order to focus on any potential problems. These detailed images are recorded and saved, taken out at your annual eye exams for comparison with new images. In this way, we can check for any changes over time, such as the signs of macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and glaucoma.

Safe for your eyes and your body

In between each patient, our eye care team cleans the device thoroughly with alcohol wipes.

Rapid results

The entire process takes less than a half-second, and the results are instantaneous. There’s no need to sit around waiting for the images to be ready.

For patients of all ages

Optomap can be performed on adults and children alike, from toddlers to seniors. This digital eye exam is also regarded as safe for pregnant women.

Early detection of retinal problems

Most retinal disorders do not cause any symptoms until they have progressed to a late stage. However, when detected early enough, many of these conditions can be treated to prevent vision loss. Early detection is therefore vital for your eye health. Additionally, the Optomap images can also indicate the presence of certain non-eye related health conditions – another reason to make this imaging procedure a part of your yearly eye exam!

We offer Optomap near you!

The Optomap technology has been available in the United States since 1999, and now equips about 13,000 eye doctor offices around the world. At Eye Trends, we’re pleased to invite you to benefit from Optomap in one of our eye care offices near you in Conroe, The Woodlands, Spring, Greenspoint, Kingwood, and Houston, Texas.

At Eye Trends, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 936-206-7366 or book an appointment online to see one of our Conroe eye doctors.

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Dilation for Pediatric Eye Exams

Are dilating eye drops necessary for kids?

Children’s eye exams are important for many reasons. Kids need to see clearly to learn and develop. Without sharp vision and a fully functional visual system, children can struggle with reading, writing, playing sports, and socializing confidently. If your kid falls behind in any of these normal parts of growing up, he or she may feel like a failure. Poor self-esteem leads to a mixed bag of problems, including behavioral issues and learning difficulties. So don’t be negligent when it comes to scheduling yearly eye exams for your child!

To ensure that pediatric eye exams are comprehensive and accurate, dilation is usually recommended. This means special dilating eye drops will be inserted to enlarge your child’s pupils. Learn why we perform dilation when your child has an eye exam at one of our Eye Trends offices in Conroe, The Woodlands, Spring, Greenspoint, Kingwood, and Houston, Texas.

Why insert dilating eye drops for a pediatric eye exam?

There are several important reasons for dilation, including:

  • By relaxing the focusing muscles of the eye, theeye doctorcan detect vision disorders and measure refractive error more precisely
  • Wider view of the entire eye structure; dilating eye drops enable the eye doctor to view 15% more of the inside and back of the eye, allowing a more complete evaluation of eye health and certain systemic conditions
  • Young, nonverbal kids cannot provide clear or reliable feedback about their vision, and they don’t always notice problems; dilating eye drops enable a more objective testing process

How are the dilating eye drops delivered?

Your child will tilt their head back and we will quickly place the drops into their eyes. Any excess eye drops will be wiped dry. It takes about 20-25 minutes for dilation to take full effect. During that time, you and your child will sit in the waiting area.

How long does the dilation last?

Typically, kids will have enlarged pupils for several hours. Sometimes (although rarely), the dilation might remain until the next day. If this occurs, it is a normal reaction that depends largely on the type of eye drops used and the color of the kid’s eyes.

What are the side effects of dilating eye drops?

The moment that the drops are applied, some stinging may be felt. But it passes momentarily. Until pupils return to normal size, vision may then be blurry. The effects are not too bothersome for most kids, and they can still function normally. However, they’ll have light sensitivity. To alleviate this problem, wearing sunglasses will be helpful; we’ll provide a pair of disposable sunglasses to wear after the exam. (Kids usually love them!) Generally, children can return to school afterwards, but it’s advised to make teachers aware of blurred vision. Allergic reactions are uncommon, but if they occur, red eyes and eyelid swelling may be experienced.

The value of pediatric eye exams with dilation

In sum, a comprehensive pediatric eye exam with dilation may cause some discomfort or blurriness for your child for a few hours, but this inconvenience is definitely easier for kids to deal with than the potentially life-changing effects of growing up without clear, healthy, and functional vision.


Come visit with your kids! Our eye doctors in Conroe, The Woodlands, and Spring, Greenspoint, Kingwood, Houston, Texas, care about children’s long-lasting vision. We’re experienced in performing pediatric eye exams with dilation for all ages, from babies to teens.

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Vision Insurance

What is vision insurance and how much does it cost?

Vision insurance typically describes all health plans that are made to lower your out-of-pocket expenses for routine, preventive eye care services (i.e. eye exams) and prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses. Some vision insurance plans also offer substantial discounts on elective procedures, such as LASIK laser eye surgery and PRK.

Our staff at Eye Trends is knowledgeable about how vision insurance works and we can help you make the most of your benefits. Visit our Conroe, Texas, anytime for more information.

Vision insurance vs. Medical insurance

In general, vision insurance plans are designed as discount plans or packages that give very specific benefits for an annual premium. In contrast, most major medical insurance policies offer unlimited benefits after co-pays and deductibles are met.

In some respects, vision insurance is like a gift card that can be used to cover a large part of the cost of routine eye exams and eyewear. Or you can use it to purchase premium designer eyeglasses or specialty products, such as progressive lenses, photochromic lenses, and anti-reflective coating at a more affordable price. When it comes to how to apply vision insurance, the choice is yours.

Every vision insurance plan is different – read the fine print

It’s smart to look through and fully understand the costs and benefits of your vision insurance plan. If you receive coverage through a plan from your employment, take the time to find out what’s being offered.

When you visit our Conroe, Texas, optical store, we invite you to consult with our staff about what your vision insurance covers before your eye exam and eyeglasses purchase, so you don’t experience any surprises afterwards.

Where to get vision insurance

Vision insurance is commonly offered by companies and associations, or by government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. However, if you are self-employed, most providers of vision insurance also offer policies that you can buy independently.

Vision insurance is also offered frequently as a value-added benefit linked to HMOs, PPOs, and indemnity health insurance (traditional insurance that enables policyholders to choose their own medical providers), that contracted with vision care networks to offer basic eye care services.

Basic benefits of vision insurance

If you have a vision benefits package, you will usually receive free eye care services, prescription eyeglasses, and contact lenses within fixed costs – in exchange for an annual membership fee or premium. Generally, there is also a small co-pay (a fixed price) every time you access a vision service. Sometimes, a vision benefits package may also include a deductible, which is a fixed price you’ll need to pay your eye care provider out-of-pocket before your insurance benefits kick in.

If you have a discount vision plan, you will receive eye care, prescription eyeglasses, and contact lenses at a reduced rate – after you pay a yearly premium or membership fee.

Benefits include:

  • Access to a network of eye care providers, including ophthalmologists, optometrists, eyewear stores, LASIK surgeons, and optical laboratories
  • Annual eye exams and routine eye care services
  • Eyeglasses frames
  • Eyeglasses lenses
  • Contact lenses
  • Discounted rates for refractive laser eye surgery, such as LASIK and PRK

Cost of vision insurance

When selecting your vision insurance provider, our Conroe, Texas, eye care team recommends shopping around, when possible, to make sure you get the best value for the benefits you want.

Group vision insurance is generally paid for through payroll deductions or flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Your FSA allows you to use pre-tax dollars to buy selected health benefits, such as vision insurance. If you’re self-employed and buying an individual vision insurance plan, you’ll be billed annually or monthly.

The price of vision insurance varies based on what state you live in, as well as on how the plan is designed. Vision Service Plan (VSP) is the largest vision plan provider in the US, and their costs are approximately as follows:

  • Annual premium for VSP plan (employees only) – $90
  • Eye exam – $10 co-pay
  • Eyeglasses frames with single vision lenses – $25 co-pay
  • Polycarbonate lenses – $31
  • Photochromic lenses – $70
  • Anti-reflective coating – $69

Speak to our Conroe, Texas, eye care staff

If you have any questions about your vision insurance plan – exactly what it gives you and how much you need to pay – please stop by Eye Trends to consult with our knowledgeable team!

What Is 20/20 Vision?

If your last eye exam revealed that you have 20/20 vision, you probably walked out of the eye care center with a big smile! It’s a great feeling to be able to see without eyeglasses or contact lenses. However, did you know that 20/20 vision is not the same as having perfect vision? So what is it?

At Eye Trends, when Dr. Inns announces the results of your eye exam, he is reporting on your visual acuity, which is the clarity of your eyesight. These numbers describe how well your eyes can see an object that’s 20 feet away. If you can see it clearly, then your vision is considered “normal” – but not “perfect.” That’s because even if you have 20/20 vision, you could still have problems with peripheral vision, color vision, eye coordination, focusing, or depth perception. To find out your visual acuity and total eye health, book an eye exam with our Conroe, Texas, optometrist near you.

How does my eye doctor test visual acuity?

Typically, every eye exam and vision screening includes having you read the Snellen Eye Chart. This diagnostic tool appears as lines of block letters and numbers printed in progressively smaller sizes. The first line will display one huge letter, such as an “E”, and as you move down the chart row by row, the letters get smaller, and there are more of them per line. The lower down on the chart you can read correctly, the closer you are to being diagnosed with 20/20 vision. The bottom row (eight down) is 20/20 vision.

What if I don’t have 20/20 vision?

Don’t worry, you’re in good company! Statistics say that almost half of US adults don’t have 20/20 vision.

Depending on what your visual acuity is, you may need vision correction with prescription eyeglasses, contact lenses, or LASIK refractive surgery, to help you achieve 20/20 vision, or close to it. But not everyone can get to 20/20 – even with corrective treatment. In other words, some people can only see at 60 feet what others with normal vision can see at 20 feet (=20/60 vision). However, that doesn’t mean you can’t see well enough to function. For example:

  • If our eye care professional detects that you have 20/40 vision, it’s still enough to get a driver’s license.
  • If you have 20/80 vision, you should still be able to read headlines in a newspaper and tell the time on an alarm clock placed 10 feet away.
  • If your visual acuity deteriorates to 20/200 vision, you’ll be classified as legally blind.

Can I have better than 20/20 vision?

Sure, especially if you’re a bird of prey! Falcons see about eight times better than humans, with a visual acuity of about 20/2. All jokes aside, even humans can have vision that’s sharper than 20/20, such as 20/15. That means you can back up five feet during your eye exam and still read the Snellen eye chart the same as a person with normal vision standing five feet closer to the chart.

Why do I need good vision?

There are lots of reasons why it’s smart to invest in good vision by visiting our Conroe eye care center near you for regular eye exams. Don’t underestimate the value of sharp, healthy vision in your life! Here are a few important benefits of 20/20 vision:

  • Reading with ease: reading is essential for day-to-day life, whether you read the newspaper, your smartphone, documents at work, letters and bills, or just want to enjoy a good novel.
  • Comfort: without sharp vision, you’ll need to squint all the time, leading to headaches and muscle strain.
  • Safety: activities such as driving and biking become extremely hazardous if you can’t see. Even if you’re just taking a walk, having sharp visual acuity will help prevent you from tripping and falling.
  • Quality of life: clear eyesight goes far towards your quality of life! Without sharp vision, who knows what scenes and wonderful moments you’ll miss out on?

At Eye Trends, we’ll help you to see the best that you can see! Contact our Conroe, Texas, optometrist to schedule an eye exam near you today.

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3 Ways Diabetes Can Affect Your Vision and Eyes

Did you know that people with diabetes are 20 times more likely to get eye diseases than those without it? There are three major eye conditions that diabetics are at risk for developing: cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy. To prevent these sight-threatening diseases, it’s important to control your blood sugar level and have your eyes checked at least once a year by an eye doctor.

But First, What Is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that is associated with high blood glucose levels. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps our cells get energy from the sugars we eat. Diabetes develops when the body doesn’t produce or respond to insulin effectively, leaving too much sugar in the blood stream instead. Over time, diabetes can lead to potentially irreversible ocular damage and poor eyesight. However, by taking care of your blood sugar levels and your eyes, you can prevent vision loss.

Annual eye exams are recommended for everyone, but routine screenings are even more important for diabetics. Eye doctors may send diabetic eye health reports to a patient’s primary care physician or internist to adjust medication as needed to prevent complications.

What’s the Link Between Vision and Diabetes?

Blurred vision or fluctuating eyesight clarity is often one of the first noticeable signs that diabetes has begun to affect your eyes. Sometimes, fluid leaking into the eye causes the lens to swell and change shape. This, in turn, makes it difficult for the eyes to focus, resulting in fuzzy vision. Such symptoms can indicate that an eye disease is developing, or may simply be due to imbalanced blood sugar levels which can be rectified by getting your blood sugar back to healthy levels.

If you start to notice blurry vision, make an appointment with Dr. Inns as soon as possible.

The 3 Ways Diabetes Impacts Vision

Cataracts

While cataracts are extremely common and a part of the natural aging process, those with diabetes tend to develop cataracts earlier in life. Characterized by a clouding or fogging of the lens within the eye, cataracts impede light from entering the eye, causing blurred vision and glares. The best treatment is cataract surgery, which is very safe and effective.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases characterized by optic nerve damage. Since it tends to impact peripheral vision first, glaucoma often goes unnoticed until significant damage has occurred. However, routine glaucoma screenings can detect warning signs; early treatment can prevent disease progression and vision loss.

Although there is no true cure for glaucoma, most glaucoma patients successfully manage it with special eye drops, medication, and on occasion, laser treatment or other surgery. The earlier glaucoma is diagnosed and managed, the better the outcome.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels on your retina (capillaries) become weakened and then balloon (microaneurysm) due to poorly controlled blood sugar levels. The resulting poor blood circulation in the back of the eye causes more abnormal blood vessels to grow, which also bleed or leak fluid, and can lead to scar tissue, retinal detachment and even blindness, over time.

Often there are no symptoms until the advanced stages of diabetic retinopathy, where patients may begin to see spots and missing patches in their vision. Retinopathy can be treated through surgery and eye injections, but the best way to prevent this disease from progressing is to regularly have your eyes screened.

The good news is that diabetic eye disease can often be prevented with early detection, proper management of your diabetes and regular diabetic eye exams. Contact Eye Trends in Conroe to set up your eye doctor’s appointment today.

Can an eye exam reveal your risk for Alzheimer’s?

It’s typical to worry about the health of your brain. Every time you forget a name or can’t remember where you put your keys, you may wonder if it means something. Usually, these forgetful moments are just an indication that you’re tired or preoccupied. So are there any genuine clues that point to information about your brain health?

It’s possible that the results of your eye exam could provide these clues. See this as another important reason to book an eye exam at Eye Trends – we have eye care centers located conveniently in Conroe, The Woodlands, and Spring, Texas.

Recent research on detecting Alzheimer’s

Despite so many advances in medical technology, an affordable, dependable test for Alzheimer’s is still missing. However, recent studies and $30 million from Bill Gates may change the situation. In October 2019, a Toronto startup licensed researchers at the University of Minnesota to develop a technology to spot the early signs or predict the development of Alzheimer’s disease by using retinal scans and digital eye exams. Where did this idea come from?

The concept of eye exams as a diagnostic tool for dementia comes from recent studies that have associated common eye conditions, such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy, with the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.

The link between eye conditions and cardiovascular disease

In an interesting twist, cataracts are one eye disease that has shown no link to Alzheimer’s, and scientists believe it’s because cataracts are not connected in any way to cardiovascular disease, in contrast to the other eye diseases:

  • Glaucoma, which involves higher-than-normal intraocular pressure, has been associated with poor blood circulation, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Age-related macular degeneration, another common ocular disease, has links with heart disease.
  • Diabetic retinopathy occurs as the result of damage caused to the retina by high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. In general, diabetes and cardiovascular problems are strongly connected.

Eye disease & Alzheimer’s

In 1994, a study called “The Adult Changes in Thought,” was initiated and included 5,400 adults who were dementia-free. The study participants were monitored until they died, developed dementia, or chose to leave the study. In 2019, results of the study were analyzed and published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia. It was discovered that:

  • People with age-related macular degeneration were 20% more likely to develop dementia than people without this eye disease.
  • People with a recent diagnosis of glaucoma had a 44% higher rate of dementia.

Other studies presented at the annual American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting in 2018, suggested that the early signs of Alzheimer’s can be detected by an eye exam before the patient is exhibiting any symptoms of the brain disease. How? OCT scans revealed that people with Alzheimer’s had thinner retinal tissue with fewer blood vessels than people with healthy brains. tissue. These findings may enable earlier treatment intervention for people at a high risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Eye exams as a way to predict and prevent dementia

Now that research has established a possible link between eye disease and brain health, the question remains – what can you learn from this information? The way we see it, these results underscore the need for everyone to get regular eye exams. Retinal scans and digital eye exams, which can evaluate blood flow patterns in the eye, can reveal a lot about your overall health – in addition to inspecting for the signs of ocular conditions that require treatment.

In our eye care centers in Conroe, The Woodlands, and Spring, Texas, we use the latest technologies, including advanced digital eye exams that provide highly precise results. If an ocular disease is suspected, we may perform a retinal scan to obtain a clearer, more detailed view of your inner eye tissues.

When our eye doctors perform a digital eye exam or retinal scan, we see much more than just the state of your vision. The signs of a health condition, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, or hypertension, are often apparent. If we detect these signs, we will recommend lifestyle changes and therapies to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. For example, treating high blood pressure, lowering elevated cholesterol levels, eating nutritiously, sleeping enough, and exercising can all lower your chances of heart disease – which may be able to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s too.

So while eye exams as a reliable tool for predicting or diagnosing Alzheimer’s may still be five to ten years away, your health still has a lot to gain from visiting our eye doctor in Conroe, The Woodlands, and Spring, Texas, for a comprehensive eye exam!

At Eye Trends, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 936-206-7366 or book an appointment online to see one of our Conroe eye doctors.

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Visiting Your Optometrist During COVID-19

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