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Sports-Related Eye Injuries

September Is Sports Eye Safety Month!

Ocular sports trauma is among the leading causes of permanent vision loss in North America. Tens of thousands of people get treated for sports-related eye injuries a year, with the most common injuries occurring during water sports and basketball. Infections, corneal abrasions, eye socket fractures, and detached retinas are just a few of the typical cases eye doctors encounter on a regular basis.

Sports Eye Safety Month is sponsored by Prevent Blindness America (PBA) to remind people to protect their eyes when playing sports. Though young children are usually the most vulnerable to eye injuries, it should be noted that professional athletes can also suffer eye injuries while on the job. 

Eye accidents can happen in a split second – the effects can last a lifetime…

By wearing protective eyewear, you can safeguard your eyesight without compromising on your favorite sports activities. Athletes who wear contact lenses still need additional eye protection for relevant sports.

At Dr. Sills and Associates, our eye doctor is experienced and trained to treat sports-induced eye injuries sustained by our active patients. Dr. Richard Sills and our dedicated staff are committed to providing the most comprehensive eye care to help get you back on the field again. Furthermore, we provide consultations on a wide array of protective eyewear for all your sporting needs. 

What Eye Injuries Can Be Caused by Sports?

Corneal Abrasion

A corneal abrasion, also known as a scratched cornea, is the most common sports-related eye injury. When someone gets poked in the eye, the eye’s surface can get scratched. Symptoms may include acute pain and a gritty or foreign body sensation in the eyes, as well as redness, tearing, light sensitivity, headaches, blurry or decreased vision. Medical care includes prevention or treatment of infection, and pain management. If you suspect that you have suffered a corneal abrasion, make sure to see an eye doctor right away. 

Traumatic Iritis

Iritis is an inflammation of the iris, the colored part of the eye. The condition rapidly develops and typically affects only one eye. Symptoms include pain in the eye or brow region, blurred vision, a small or oddly-shaped pupil, and sensitivity to bright lights. 

Hyphema

Hyphema is among the more common sports-related eye injuries, with racquet sports, baseball and softball accounting for more than 50% of all hyphema injuries in athletics. 

A hyphema is a broken blood vessel inside the eye which causes blood to collect in the space between the cornea and iris, also known as the “anterior chamber”. Although the main symptom is blood in the eye, it can be accompanied by blurry or distorted vision, light sensitivity or eye pain.  

If you recognize the signs and symptoms of hyphema, make sure to seek immediate medical attention in order to avoid secondary complications. 

Angle recession

Angle recession can develop from an eye injury or bruising of the eye, caused by getting punched, elbowed, or hit with a ball. The trauma damages the fluid drainage system of the eye, which causes it to back up, increasing the pressure in the eye. In 20% of people with angle recession, this pressure can become so severe that it damages the optic nerve, and causes glaucoma (known as “angle-recession glaucoma”). 

You may not notice any symptoms at first, and it may take years before you experience any signs of vision loss. Therefore, it’s critical to visit the eye doctor as soon as possible for a complete eye exam and make sure that you follow-up with routine screenings. 

Retinal tear or detachment

Retinal detachment is a condition in which the retina gets lifted or pulled away from its normal position at the back of the eye. If not treated immediately, retinal detachment can develop permanent vision loss.

Symptoms include seeing flashing lights, floaters or little black spots in your vision. A retinal detachment is a medical emergency and requires an eye doctor’s immediate attention – surgical intervention may be necessary.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage 

This happens when a blood vessel breaks on the white part of the eye. In addition to a sport-related injury, it can be induced by rubbing the eye, heavy lifting, sneezing or coughing. For those with subconjunctival hemorrhage, the eye appears intensely red – though this minor condition will often clear up within a couple weeks on its own without treatment.

Orbital Fracture 

This occurs when one or more of the bones around the eyeball break, often caused by a hard blow to the face – such as by a baseball or a fist. This is a major injury and should be assessed by an eye doctor, like Dr. Richard Sills, along with X-Rays or CT scan imaging to help confirm the diagnosis.

Black Eye or Periorbital Hematoma

A “shiner” can occur when a blunt object such as a fist or ball strikes the eye-area of the face and causes bruising. Typically, this kind of injury affects the face more than the eye. Blurry vision may be a temporary symptom, but it’s a good idea to get a black eye checked out by an optometrist in any case, because sometimes there is accompanying damage to the eye which could impact vision.

How Does One Prevent Sports-Related Eye Injuries?

One of the most important things one can do in order to prevent eye injuries is to wear protective eyewear. In fact, wearing eye protection should be part of any athlete’s routine, and should be prioritized just like wearing shin guards or a helmet. 

Below are a few tips to prevent sports-related eye injuries: 

  • Wear safety goggles (with polycarbonate lenses) for racquet sports or basketball. For the best possible protection, the eye guard or sports protective eyewear should be labeled “ASTM F803 approved” – which means it is performance tested.
  • Use batting helmets with polycarbonate face shields for baseball.
  • If you wear prescription eyewear, speak with Dr. Richard Sills about fitting you for prescription protective eyewear.
  • Sports eye protection should be comfortably padded along the brow and bridge of the nose, to prevent the eye guards from cutting into the skin.
  • Try on protective eyewear to assess whether it’s the right fit and size for you and adjust the straps as needed. For athletic children who are still growing, make sure that last-year’s pair still fits before the new sports season begins. Consult Dr. Richard Sills to determine whether the comfort and safety levels are adequate. 
  • Keep in mind that regular glasses don’t provide nearly enough eye protection when playing sports. 

For athletes, whether amateur or pro, there is so much more at stake than just losing the game. Fortunately, by wearing high-quality protective eyewear, you can prevent 90% of all sports-related eye injuries. 

Speak with Dr. Richard Sills at Dr. Sills and Associates about getting the right sports-related protective eyewear to ensure healthy eyes and clear vision. Our eye care clinic serves patients from Fort Myers and the surrounding areas. 

Dry Eye Treatment

Signs and Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome

dry eye syndrome banner for ft myers optometristPersistent dryness, scratchiness and a burning sensation on your eyes are common symptoms of dry eye syndrome. These symptoms alone may be enough for your eye doctor to diagnose Dry Eye Syndrome. Sometimes, he or she may want to measure the amount of tears in your eyes. A thin strip of filter paper placed at the edge of the eye, called a Schirmer test, is one way of measuring this.

Some people with dry eyes also experience a "foreign body sensation” – the feeling that something is in the eye. And it may seem odd, but sometimes DES can cause watery eyes, because the excessive dryness works to overstimulate production of the watery component of your eye's tears.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

In Dry Eye Syndrome, the tear glands that moisturize the eye don't produce enough tears, or the tears have a chemical composition that causes them to evaporate too quickly.

Dry Eye Syndrome has several causes. It occurs:

  • As a part of the natural aging process, especially among women over age 40.
  • As a side effect of many medications, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines, Parkinson's medications and birth control pills.
  • Because you live in a dry, dusty or windy climate with low humidity.

If your home or office has air conditioning or a dry heating system, that too can dry out your eyes. Another cause is insufficient blinking, such as when you're staring at a computer screen all day.

Dry eyes are also associated with certain systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea or Sjogren's Syndrome (a triad of dry eyes, dry mouth, and rheumatoid arthritis or lupus).

Long-term contact lens wear, incomplete closure of the eyelids, eyelid disease and a deficiency of the tear-producing glands are other causes.

Dry Eye Syndrome is more common in women, possibly due to hormone fluctuations. Recent research suggests that smoking, too, can increase your risk of Dry Eye Syndrome. Dry eye has also been associated with incomplete lid closure following blepharoplasty – a popular cosmetic surgery to eliminate droopy eyelids.

Treatment for Dry Eye Eye Syndrome

Dry Eye Syndrome is an ongoing condition that treatments may be unable to cure. But the symptoms of dry eye – including dryness, scratchiness and burning – can usually be successfully managed.

Artificial Tears

Your eye care practitioner may recommend artificial tears, which are lubricating eye drops that may alleviate the dry, scratchy feeling and foreign body sensation of dry eye. Prescription eye drops for dry eye go one step further: they help increase your tear production. In some cases, your doctor may also prescribe a steroid for more immediate short-term relief.

If you wear contact lenses, be aware that many artificial tears cannot be used during contact lens wear. You may need to remove your lenses before using the drops. Wait 15 minutes or longer (check the label) before reinserting them. For mild dry eye, contact lens rewetting drops may be sufficient to make your eyes feel better, but the effect is usually only temporary. Switching to another lens brand could also help.

Check the label, but better yet, check with your doctor before buying any over-the-counter eye drops. Your eye doctor will know which formulas are effective and long-lasting and which are not, as well as which eye drops will work with your contact lenses.

Lubricant Inserts

Another option for dry eye treatment involves a tiny insert filled with a lubricating ingredient. The insert is placed just inside the lower eyelid, where it continuously releases lubrication throughout the day.

Sun Protection

To reduce the effects of sun, wind and dust on dry eyes, wear sunglasses when outdoors. Wrap around styles offer the best protection.

Indoors, an air cleaner can filter out dust and other particles from the air, while a humidifier adds moisture to air that's too dry because of air conditioning or heating.

Punctal Plugs

For more significant cases of dry eye, your eye doctor may recommend punctal plugs. These tiny devices are inserted in ducts in your lids to slow the drainage of tears away from your eyes, thereby keeping your eyes more moist.

Warm Compresses

If your dry eye is caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), your doctor may recommend warm compresses and suggest an in-office procedure to clear the blocked glands and restore normal function.

Nutrition & Hydration

Doctors sometimes also recommend special nutritional supplements containing certain essential fatty acids to decrease dry eye symptoms. Drinking more water may also offer some relief.

Medication

If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the drug generally resolves the problem. But in this case, the benefits of the drug must be weighed against the side effect of dry eyes. Sometimes switching to a different type of medication alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the needed treatment. In any case, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your doctor first.

Treating an Underlying Condition

Treating any underlying eyelid disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotic or steroid drops, plus frequent eyelid scrubs with an antibacterial shampoo.

Dry Eyes and LASIK

If you are considering LASIK, be aware that dry eyes may disqualify you for the surgery, at least until your dry eye condition is successfully treated. Dry eyes increase your risk for poor healing after LASIK, so most surgeons will want to treat the dry eyes first, to ensure a good LASIK outcome. This goes for other types of vision correction surgery, as well.

Call Our Dry Eye Specialist Schedule a Dry Eye Exam

Macular Degeneration Treatment

Macular Degeneration Treatment

There is currently no cure for macular degeneration. Macular degeneration treatments in Fort Myers, FL exists that can slow the progress of the disease or improve vision based on the type of macular degeneration you are experiencing. To understand the risks and the limitations of all macular degeneration treatments, speak frankly with your Fort Myers, FL eye doctor.

Dry macular degeneration treatment actually begins with routine eye exams, especially after age 60. The goal here is to catch the development of ARMD early. If detected, you may be prescribed a specific mix of high-dose zinc and antioxidants that have shown an ability to slow the progression of the disease.
Wet macular degeneration treatment can include a number of options; including laser surgery, light-activated dyes that are injected into the circulatory system, or drugs injected directly into the eye that inhibits the growth of abnormal blood vessels that cause the wet form of the disease.
With any macular degeneration treatment, there are no guarantees that the disease can be stopped, no promises that a treatment won’t need to be repeated, and a sobering reminder that vision, once lost, is rarely restored.

 

For More Information About Eye Care Contact Our Eye Doctor in Fort Myers, FL

Glaucoma Testing and Treatment

Glaucoma Testing and Treatment in Fort Myers, FL

What Is a Glaucoma Test?

eye exam Fort MyersGlaucoma is the generalized name for a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve of the eye, preventing the eye from sending accurate visual information to the brain. Glaucoma tests are designed to test your eyes for one of the key symptoms of the disease—increased eye pressure—however only a comprehensive eye exam can reveal whether or not you have glaucoma. Increased pressure inside the eye is often a key indicator of glaucoma, though not exclusively so. Eye doctors can use a number of tests for eye pressure, but will, by default, check for signs of glaucoma as part of a detailed examination of the retina—the light sensitive area at the back of the eye responsible for processing images.

How Does Glaucoma Testing Work?

A glaucoma test is usually part of a routine eye exam. Both types of glaucoma tests measure internal pressure of the eye.

One glaucoma test involves measuring what happens when a puff of air is blown across the surface of the eye. (A puff test) Another test uses a special device (in conjunction with eye-numbing drops) to “touch” the surface of the eye to measure eye pressure.
While increased eye pressure is a key indicator of the disease, it does not necessarily mean you have a glaucoma diagnosis. In fact, the only way to detect glaucoma is to have a detailed, comprehensive eye exam that often includes dilation of the pupils.
So “true” glaucoma testing actually involves examining the retina and optic nerve at the back of the eye for signs of the disease.

Learn More

Glaucoma can cause slight to severe vision loss, and is often discovered only after the disease is present—that’s why glaucoma testing is so important.

 

Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

Prescription Sunglass Treatments

Prescription sunglasses

If you spend a lot of time outdoors or driving in the car, and still need vision correction, prescription sunglasses are perfect for soothing the eyes. Since most prescription sunglasses manufacturers block 100% UV, prescription sunglasses are a healthy way to enjoy the outdoors (especially the beach) and driving using the darkest lenses available to protect against the brightness of the sun.

Polarized sunglasses

For reduced glare and increased clarity in your vision, a pair of polarized sunglasses can’t be beat. An invisible filter is built into your lenses—making images appear sharper and clearer while reducing the intensity of the sun’s glare. Make sure your polarized sunglasses block 100% UV, and remember that polarized sunglasses are available with or without a prescription.

It’s always handy to have a second pair of eyeglasses—why not choose a second pair that makes a real difference in the comfort and clarity of vision while doing the things you love most!

Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

For More Information About Sunglasses Visit the Leading Eye Doctor in Fort Myers, FL Today