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How Sleep Apnea Affects The Eyes

Did you know that some eye conditions are associated with sleep apnea? According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and Health Canada reports similar prevalence. It’s a sleep disorder where people stop breathing — often multiple times per night — while sleeping.

If you have sleep apnea: it tends to take longer for your tears to be replenished, you’re more likely to have ocular irritation, you have a higher chance of developing floppy eyelids, and you’re at increased risk for glaucoma.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

There are different types of sleep apnea. The most common one is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). During OSA, your airway becomes partially blocked due to relaxed muscles in your nose and throat. This causes apnea (the absence of breathing) or hypopnea (abnormally shallow, slow breathing). It’s twice as common in men, and is more likely to affect people with obesity, hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.

What are the common symptoms of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of your throat relax too much to allow normal breathing. These temporary breathing lapses cause lower-quality sleep and affect the body’s oxygen supply, which can lead to potentially serious health consequences.

While snoring is a common symptom, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Interrupted sleep can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, irritability or depression, headaches in the morning, difficulty concentrating and thinking, and a sore throat.

Which Eye Conditions Are Associated With Sleep Apnea?

Glaucoma

Glaucoma occurs when increased pressure within the eye damages the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, leading to vision loss and sometimes blindness. In some cases, it might be due to a drop in blood oxygen levels, which happens when you stop breathing. However, CPAP machines, one of the most common treatments for sleep apnea, can also cause glaucoma.

So, people with sleep apnea — even if it’s being treated — need to get their eyes checked on a regular basis for glaucoma.

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome

Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES) is an eye condition where a person has an unusually large and floppy upper eyelid. It can cause eye redness, irritation, discharge, or blurry vision — and over 90% of people with FES also have sleep apnea.

Non-Arteritic Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy

Non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION) is an eye condition that occurs when there is a loss of blood flow to the optic nerve. Patients typically complain of significant vision loss in one eye without any major pain. Approximately 70-80% of patients with NAION have been found to have OSA.

Retinal Vein Occlusion

Also referred to as an ‘eye stroke,’ retinal vein occlusion (RVO) is a blockage of the small veins that carry blood away from the retina. A recent study of 114 RVO patients found that sleep apnea was suspected in 74% of the patients that had previously been diagnosed with RVO.

Other Eye Health Issues Associated With Sleep Apnea

Some other ocular conditions that are more common in patients with sleep apnea include: papilledema, keratoconus, and central serous chorioretinopathy. Furthermore, in addition to glaucoma mentioned above, CPAP machines are associated with dry eye syndrome and bacterial conjunctivitis.

Talk To Your Doc

Get eye exams regularly to rule out eye disorders and prevent potential vision loss, especially if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. At Flagstaff Vision in Flagstaff we encourage you to share your medical history with us so we can better diagnose and treat any eye conditions or ocular diseases you may have, and help you keep your eyes nice and healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Patrick Padrnos

Q: What Causes Sleep Apnea?

  • A: Sleep apnea occurs when in-part or completely stop breathing when sleeping. This causes your lungs to strain harder for oxygen, and makes the brain send signals that jerk your body awake to resume proper breathing.

Q: What are the Warning Signs of Sleep Apnea?

  • A: A common sign of sleep apnea is loud snoring. Snoring that is loud enough to disturb the sleep of the patient as well as others around, even across the walls. That said, not everyone who snores suffers from obstructive sleep apnea.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Flagstaff, Arizona. Visit Flagstaff Vision for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

3 Benefits of Anti-Glare Coating

Glare refers to the excessive brightness caused by direct or reflected light. It can cause eye strain, digital eye strain (when using a computer, for example), halos, and headaches. Glare can also reduce visibility, making it unsafe to drive.

Anti-glare coating, also known as anti-reflective (AR) coating, is a thin layer applied to the surface of your eyeglass lenses that allows more light to pass through your lenses. By reducing the amount of glare that reflects off of your lenses, you can see more clearly and experience more comfortable vision. You can request anti-glare coating for lenses when you buy eyeglasses.

AR Coating Offers 3 Major Advantages

Better Appearance

Without an anti-glare coating on your glasses, camera flashes and bright lights can reflect off your lenses. This can hinder your appearance when speaking to people or in meetings, cause flash reflections when picture-taking, and make it difficult to find the right angle for video calls. Anti-reflective coating eliminates the harsh reflections and allows others to clearly see your eyes and face.

Reduced Digital Eye Strain

You know that tired, irritated feeling you get after staring at a digital screen for several hours? That’s digital eye strain. Anti-glare coating helps reduce digital eye strain by lowering exposure to excessive glare from digital devices and lighting.

Safe Driving at Night

The bright headlights from cars driving in the opposite direction can pose a serious danger when driving at night. These sudden glares can lead you to momentarily lose focus of the view ahead. AR coating on your prescription eyewear effectively reduces reflections from headlights at night, allowing you to enjoy a better view of the road and safer driving at night.

Let your eyes look and feel better every day with anti-glare coated lenses. Contact us to book your appointment today!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Patrick Padrnos, OD, PC

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Yes. Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Flagstaff, Arizona. Visit Flagstaff Vision for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

What You Should Know About Night Blindness

If you don’t see well while driving at night, there’s a chance you have night blindness. Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is the inability to see well at night or in dim lighting. It’s not considered an eye disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem.

Our eye doctor in Flagstaff can help diagnose, manage and treat your night blindness with specialized digital eye exams, so that you can enjoy being out and about at night again.

Here are 4 things you should know about night blindness:

Causes of Night Blindness

The inability to see well at night can be the result of a condition such as:

  • Vitamin A Deficiency — Vitamin A helps keep your cornea, the layer at the front of your eye, clear; it’s also an important component of rhodopsin, a protein that enables you to see in low light conditions. Although uncommon in North America, deficiency of this vitamin can induce night blindness.
  • CataractsA buildup of protein clouds the eye’s lens, leading to impaired vision, especially at night and in poor lighting conditions.
  • Diabetic RetinopathyDamage to the eyes’ blood vessels and nerves can result in vision loss, including difficulty seeing at night.
  • GlaucomaThis group of eye diseases is associated with pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve. Both glaucoma and the medications used to treat it can cause night blindness.
  • MyopiaAlso called nearsightedness, myopia makes distant objects appear blurry, and patients with it describe a starburst effect around lights at night.
  • KeratoconusAn irregularly shaped cornea causes blurred vision and may involve sensitivity to light and glare which tend to be worse at night.
  • Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)A progressive genetic eye disease which can be associated with other diseases, RP leads to night blindness and peripheral vision loss.
  • Usher SyndromeThis genetic condition causes both hearing loss and vision loss, including night blindness and RP, mentioned above.

Symptoms of Nyctalopia

Since night blindness is a symptom of some serious vision problems, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice that you don’t see as well in dim light as you used to, such as when driving at night or when adjusting from being outdoors in the sunshine to being indoors.

Symptoms of Night Blindness Include:

  • Reduced contrast sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing people outdoors at night
  • Difficulty seeing in places with dim lighting, like a movie theater
  • Trouble adapting to the dark while driving
  • Excessive squinting at night
  • Trouble adjusting from bright areas to darker ones

Treatments for Night Blindness

Your eye doctor will want to diagnose the cause of your night blindness in order to treat it. For example, in the rare case of vitamin A deficiency, it can be treated with vitamin supplements and vitamin-A rich foods; myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Other conditions may require medications or surgery.

If night blindness is caused by a birth defect, Usher syndrome, or retinitis pigmentosa, low vision aids and devices can help you make the most of your remaining vision.

Prevention

While there is no proven way to prevent night blindness resulting from genetic conditions or birth defects, consuming healthy, nourishing foods and taking certain vitamin supplements may prevent or slow the onset of some eye conditions that cause night blindness.

If you experience poor vision at night or in dim lighting, we can help. Contact Flagstaff Vision in Flagstaff to schedule your appointment today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Patrick Padrnos, OD, PC

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Yes. Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Flagstaff, Arizona. Visit Flagstaff Vision for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

5 Reasons To Avoid Buying Cheap, Online Glasses in Flagstaff, AZ

Is cheaper always better? Is it worth spending the extra money on designer frames? We get asked that questions a lot. Over the last few years, a number of online stores have offered a way for people to buy cheap glasses. What could be wrong? Below, we'll tell you what to expect.

 

What are the issues with buying cheap, online glasses?

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  1. The prescription - When making tons of eyeglasses, these online stores are bound to make mistakes to your prescription. This is especially true for those with a high prescription or astigmatism.
  2. Repairs - It is often hard to get these online stores to do repairs. Hey, if you spent $6 on a pair of glasses, you break it, too bad.
  3. Coating - The anti-glare coating is usually done quite cheaply which means it will likely rub off in a few weeks. Welcome scratches.
  4. Warranty - Again, at $6 a pair, you aren't getting a warranty.
  5. Support local - It's always encouraged to support the local stores. We do appreciate that :).

When making a decision on where to buy your next pair of glasses, it's always a good idea to think about if going cheap is worth it. You may end up buying multiple pairs and that can cost more down the road.

Can I Wear Contact Lenses with Dry Eyes or Pink Eye?

Dry eyes and pink eyes are one of the most common eye diseases affecting our patients today. When tear production is off, it causes dry eyes. This is especially an issue in our dry Arizona desert. Our Flagstaff Eye Doctors see tons of patients complaining of dry eyes and pink eye, aka conjunctivitis, patients a year. Many of them want to know, can I still wear my contact lenses?

The potential issue is that the contact lens tends to “suffocate” the eye. Thus, when your eye is experiencing an infection or eye disease, there is a heightened possibility of getting a scratched cornea. This is especially true if you feel the need to constantly rub your eye, even with the contact lenses out of the eyes.Woman Tired Blue Eyes 1280x480

There are various contact lens brands on the market that are geared towards those whose eyes tend to dry out as they wear contact lenses. We always push daily contact lenses as they offer the ability to wear a fresh pair of lenses on a daily basis. Acuvue Oasys and Alcon Dailies Total 1 are daily lenses that offer the user a lens that are more moist and better for those with dryness issues. Some patients opt for gas permeable lenses that retain more water.

There are various options on the market for contact lenses for those suffering from dry eyes or pink eye. If you fear you have or will scratch your cornea, it is always best to err on the side of caution and call us at 928-216-5800 to check it out. We can also discuss the best contact lens brand available for you.

What Are the Differences Between Daily vs. Monthly Contact Lenses?

Our Lens Experts Explain How to Choose

eyes american woman looking rightMonthly lenses were the gold standard when contact lenses were first released into the consumer market. However, nowadays there are many more types of quality, comfortable lenses out there, and monthly lenses are no longer the popular standard. We offer a wide selection of dailies and monthlies are available in our contact lens collection. Every individual needs to choose the type of contacts that best matches their vision prescription and lifestyle. To do this, a number of issues must be taken into consideration. To assist our patients in making this decision, we offer you an explanation of the main differences between daily and monthly contact lenses:

Learn the Basics of Daily and Monthly Lenses

Daily Lenses

Worn only for one day and discarded when you remove them, daily contacts are typically very thin and have a high water content. Natural deposits from your eyes build up easily on their surface, and they cannot be reused. We offer a large variety of brand-name daily lenses and premium solutions to satisfy all of your contact lens needs.

Monthly Lenses

Replaced either monthly or bi-weekly, these contact lenses are thicker than daily disposables. The thicker composition makes them more durable and long-lasting, and they are usually more resistant to drying out. However, they must be disinfected regularly in order to ensure healthy wearing. Monthly lenses are available in an extensive range of prescriptions, and we keep a full inventory in our boutique contact lens store.

What is your vision correction prescription?

Not all contacts are available for all prescriptions. Your vision prescription is therefore one of the most important factors to take into account when selecting suitable contact lenses. As monthlies are made with a harder composition, they are able to give better vision at higher magnifications. If you have a more complex correction, such as toric (astigmatism) or multifocal, then a monthly contact lens may be the only reliable way for you to enjoy sharp vision with lenses.

Are your eyes sensitive?

Some people experience irritation in response to particular contact lens materials. If you have sensitive eyes, you may need lenses with a higher water content or increased oxygen permeability so that they feel comfortable. Dailies and monthlies differ with respect to many of these characteristics. Our experienced optometrists will evaluate your eyes to recommend the best composition of lenses for your personal condition. Nowadays, there are so many types of contacts that even people with sensitive eyes can enjoy comfortable vision with their contact lenses.

Where and when do you plan to wear your contacts?

Sports players or anyone who is very physically active may prefer the convenience of daily lenses, as they can be removed and replaced instantly after contact with dirt, water, sunscreen or sweat. The disadvantage of daily lenses for anyone with an active lifestyle is that the thinner contacts tend to dry out more quickly.

If your plan is only to wear contacts occasionally, this is one of the best reasons to purchase daily lenses. Packs generally come with 30 lenses, and therefore a one-month supply will last you quite a while – with no need to buy expensive disinfectants or replenish your lenses frequently.

If you intend to spend the bulk of your day in a controlled environment, such as an office or home, then monthly lenses may be preferred. Time isn’t as pressured and you’ll have plenty of opportunity to sterilize the lenses, as needed. If you’ll need to remove your contacts more than once a day, or switch back and forth between eyeglasses and contacts daily, monthly wear lenses are also recommended.

Do daily lenses and monthly lenses cost the same?

The expense is comparable. Note that dailies can be pricier if you’re switching them more frequently than once a day, yet monthlies come along with the cost of cleaning solutions for sterilizing and storing your lenses.

Who’s the winner: dailies or monthlies?

If you can achieve crisp vision for your eyes with either monthly or daily lenses, then the final decision is a personal one related to your lifestyle. This is a choice that you and your professional eye doctor should make together! For more information and to schedule a contact lens fitting, contact us and we’ll provide you with full contact lens services.

What is Dry Eyes?

Sometimes a person is unable to produce enough tears or their tears do not possess the right qualities to keep eyes healthy and comfortable. This can cause a consistent lack of sufficient lubrication and moisture on the surface of the eye, known as dry eyes.

Normally, the eye constantly lubricates itself with tears by producing them at a slow and steady rate, keeping itself moist and comfortable. Usually these tears consist of three layers, an oily, a dry eye banner man rubbing eyeswatery, and a mucus layer. Each layer has a specific role in lubricating your eyes. The oily layer is outermost. It’s main purpose is to slow evaporation of the tear. The watery layer is in the middle. This makes up the majority of what a person normally thinks of as tears. This layer cleans the eye and helps to wash away small foreign objects and particles. The inner layer consists of mucus. This mucus allows the watery layer to stick to the eye and spread evenly over the eye in order to keep it lubricated. In a person with dry eyes, either hormonal changes, side effects from medication or some other factor causes the eye to either not produce enough tears, or leave out parts of the tear that make proper lubrication possible.

Dr. Padrnos, of Flagstaff Vision in Flagstaff, Arizona explains, “Symptoms of dry eyes include stinging or burning in the eyes, scratchiness, and excessive irritation from smoke or wind. Although it may sound counter-intuitive, the eyes’ response to the consistent irritation caused by dry eyes may also cause a person to experience excessive tearing. In this case, the eye is attempting to flush and lubricate itself by producing more tears, but is unable to do so successfully due to the rate of evaporation or inability to spread the tears properly.”

Although dry eyes are not always curable, your optometrist may prescribe artificial tears to help with some of the symptoms. Artificial tears are lubricating eye drops that may help with dry, scratchy feeling eyes. Different artificial tears work in different ways. Some help replenish parts of the tear that your eyes are not producing on its own, others help to produce more tears overall. Your eye doctor will assist you to choose which will help you most. Dr Padrnos cautions, however, “These artificial tears should not be confused with eye drops that are advertised to ‘get the red out.’ These eye drops may indeed reduce the appearance of redness in your eyes, but this is accomplished by making the blood vessels in your eyes smaller rather than actually lubricating your eyes. As such, these drops can sometimes actually make your symptoms worse. One should also be aware that if you wear contacts, some eye drops require you to take them out before using the drops and wait 15 minutes or more before reinserting your contact lenses.”

Some cases of dry eyes are seasonal, such as those which occur as a result of cold, dry winter air. In this case, your eye doctor may recommend wearing sunglasses or goggles when outdoors to reduce your eyes’ exposure to the sun, wind and dust. For indoors, your optometrist may recommend an air cleaner and humidifier to take dust out of the air and add moisture to air which is too dry.

Studies have also shown that nutrition may have a part in helping to relieve some symptoms of dry eyes. Your eye doctor may recommend nutritional supplements such as omega-3. Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids are cold-water fish, cod, herring and salmon, as well as flaxseed oil. Mild dehydration can make symptoms worse too, so be sure to drink plenty of water, 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices and milk.

For more information, and to have Dr. Padrnos help you with your dry eyes, click here to make an appointment with Flagstaff Vision today.

Eye Allergies: What They Are and How To Treat Them

Are you a serial tissue carrier? Having allergies can mean more than the sniffling and sneezing that most people associate with it. Red, swollen, itchy eyes may also be a significant sign of allergiesallergy-girl-interstitial that can come, whether you are sneezing uncontrollably or not.

Allergic conjunctivitis is the scientific name for this condition. It is caused, like any allergic reaction, by a mistaken triggering of your body’s immune system. Allergens such as pet dander, pollen and dust, usually harmless, can cause your immune system to “panic”, triggering this negative reaction!

Allergic reactions release a chemical called histamine, which makes your eyes dry out and produce more tears. This reaction is meant to flush out foreign objects. The blood vessels in your eyes also become inflamed, which is what gives your eyes their bloodshot look.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction can be quite varied. You may find that your eyes are red and irritated or itchy, that your eyes are sensitive to light or that your eyelids are swollen. In more severe cases, you may even notice a painful, sore or burning feeling in your eyes or suffer from excessive tearing or a runny nose. You may also experience sneezing and stuffy nose.

Many things may cause an allergic reaction. Grass, weed and tree pollen, as well as dust and pet dander are among the best known allergens. Less well known is that it is also possible for a person to be allergic to everyday items such as makeup or perfume, and even contact lenses. Also not well known is that, while it is very common for allergic symptoms to come out immediately upon contact with the allergen, it is also possible for an allergic reaction to present itself as much as four days after original contact with an allergen.

Although allergies usually stop once the allergen is removed, and the eyes return to normal, this is not always possible with allergens such as dust and pollen, since they are just about everywhere. For these and other allergies, eye doctors recommend eye drops either over the counter or prescription. These eye drops should help to minimize the effects of the allergens in your environment. Many of these eye drops are formulated as anti-histamines, meaning that they block histamine from the body. There are also a number of other ways that these eye drops will work to relieve or prevent allergic symptoms.

Artificial tears are also an excellent option to relieve dry eye symptoms caused by allergens. These eye drops are specially formulated to imitate the tears that the allergic reaction has dried up. Artificial tears are mostly by prescription and have proven to perform better in some cases than over the counter eye drops.

Several other ways to reduce or relieve symptoms exist as well. Wearing sunglasses when stepping outside helps block pollen, dust and other outdoor allergens from getting in your eyes. Contact lenses may also irritate your eyes, so try taking those out if nothing else works. Finally, never rub your eyes while experiencing an allergic reaction. No matter how much they itch, rubbing will irritate your eyes further and make things worse.

For more information, and for help clearing up your eye allergies, contact the caring eye care professionals at Flagstaff Vision today.

Call (928) 216-5800 or click here to request an appointment. They are ready and waiting to assist you!

Pink, Stinging Eyes?

Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is one of the most frequently seen eye diseases, especially in kids. It can be caused by viruses, bacteria or even allergies to pollen, chlorine in swimming pools, and ingredients in cosmetics, or other irritants, which touch the eyes. Some forms of conjunctivitis might be quite transmittable and quickly spread in school and at the office.

Conjunctivitis is seen when the conjunctiva, or thin transparent layer of tissue covering the white part of the eye, becomes inflamed. You can identify conjunctivitis if you notice eye redness, discharge, itching or swollen eyelids and a crusty discharge surrounding the eyes early in the day. Pink eye infections can be divided into three main types: viral, allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis.

The viral type is usually a result of a similar virus to that which produces the recognizable red, watery eyes, sore throat and runny nose of the common cold. The red, itchy, watery eyes caused by viral pink eye are likely to last from a week to two and then will clear up on their own. You may however, be able to reduce some of the discomfort by using soothing drops or compresses. Viral pink eye is transmittable until it is completely cleared up, so in the meantime maintain excellent hygiene, remove eye discharge and try to avoid using communal pillowcases or towels. If your son or daughter has viral conjunctivitis, he or she will have to be kept home from school for three days to a week until symptoms disappear.

A bacterial infection such as Staphylococcus or Streptococcus is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or cream. One should notice an improvement within just a few days of antibiotic drops, but be sure to adhere to the full prescription dosage to prevent pink eye from recurring.

Allergic pink eye is not contagious. It is usually a result of a known allergy such as hay fever or pet allergies that sets off an allergic reaction in their eyes. First of all, to treat allergic pink eye, you should eliminate the irritant. Use cool compresses and artificial tears to relieve discomfort in mild cases. When the infection is more severe, your eye doctor might prescribe a medication such as an anti-inflammatory or antihistamine. In cases of chronic allergic pink eye, topical steroid eye drops could be used.

Pink eye should always be diagnosed by a qualified eye doctor in order to identify the type and best course of treatment. Never treat yourself! Keep in mind the sooner you begin treatment, the lower chance you have of giving pink eye to loved ones or prolonging your discomfort.

 

Welcome to our New Website

We invite you to take a look around our new site to get to know our practice and learn about eye and vision health. You will find a wealth of information about our optometrists, our staff and our services, as well as facts and advice about how to take care of your eyes and protect your vision.

Learn about our Practice specialties including comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings and the treatment of eye diseases. Our website also offers you a convenient way to find our hours, address and map, schedule an appointment online, order contact lenses or contact us to ask us any questions you have about eye care and our Practice.

Have a look around our online office and schedule a visit to meet us in person. We are here to partner with you and your family for a lifetime of healthy eyes and vision. We look forward to seeing you!