Anatomy of the Eye
The eye is one of the five sensory organs of the body. The 'window' is the cornea . All light enters the eye through this window. The cornea receives the light and bends it into the pupil. The pupil is the large black circle part of the eye. If the cornea is the window, the pupil is the window shade. Sophisticated tissue that adjusts the light by expanding and contracting, regulating the amount of light entering the eye. Pupils have their own built-in intelligence. In bright light, the pupil can constrict to the size smaller than a head of a pin. In darkness, the pupil will grow almost to the size of a dime. Next time you make your way across a dark room without running into a wall. It's because your pupils are doing their job.
Glaucoma & Assessment
Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that results in a gradual loss of vision, and occurs without warning or symptoms. It is the second leading cause of blindness in the United States in people over 40 years old (macular degeneration is the first). Unfortunately, up to 50% of people who have glaucoma do not know that they have the eye disease.
Diabetes is a Leading Cause of Blindness
Although half of the 14 million Americans with diabetes have some form of diabetic eye disease, health officials report that many are not having their eyes examined regularly to prevent possible vision loss or blindness.
Diabetic eye disease is a group of sight-threatening conditions that people may develop as a complication of diabetes. These include diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and cataracts.
Dry Eye Syndrome
Dry eye syndrome is prevalent in Palm Springs because of our desert environment with low humidity. Contact lens wear, LASIK, and certain medications can also contribute to dry eyes by decreasing tear production or tear quality. Dry eyes can lead to red, irritated eyes and frequent infections when there are insufficient tears to cleanse, lubricate and nourish the front surface of the eyes. The quality and quantity of tears also affects your vision by providing a smooth optical surface to see through.
Ishihara Color Test
Tips for Travelers
To minimize vision-related mishaps while traveling, Dr. Esquibel recommends the following:
- Bring an extra pair of contact lenses or glasses in case you lose, tear or break yours. It is often difficult to find an eye doctor quickly while away from home.
- Put your name and address on your eyeglass case so it can be returned to you if you misplace your glasses.
- Bring ophthalmic antibiotic drops if you are traveling to a remote area in case your eyes become infected while camping, hiking, swimming in the ocean, etc. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Esquibel before your trip for a pre-trip eye health evaluation, to prescribe antibiotics for your medical emergency kit.
Many older people develop macular degeneration as part of the body's natural aging process. There are different kinds of macular problems, but the most common is age-related macular degeneration.
Flashes & Floaters
Floaters often look like small specks, strands, “cobwebs”, or other shapes floating in front of your eyes. They are more noticeable when you look at a light colored background (such as the sky, a window, a white wall).
Floaters are tiny clumps of gel or cells floating inside your eyes in the vitreous, a jelly-like substance that keeps your eyes inflated.
Why Is It Harder To See After 40?
Just when your career and life are really starting to take off, your eyes seem to be slowing down. Reading and viewing close objects becomes progressively more difficult in your 40's because of natural aging process called presbyopia.
Presbyopia makes reading more difficult because of a decreased ability to change focus, especially from far to near. As you age, the lens in your eyes becomes more rigid, and the muscles gradually lose their ability to focus at near.
Using the computer more than two hours a day is hard on your eyes. Your eye muscles have to stay in focus, track across thousands and thousands of words, and work like a synchronized swim team, or you will see blurry or double. If you have astigmatism, are farsighted, or your eye prescription is different in each eye, this adds more strain to the focusing system. Also, if your eyes don't work well together (the eyes drift apart due to poor eye muscle coordination from strabismus, convergence insufficiency or excess, and tracking problems), this can cause eyestrain and diminish your productivity also
Protect Your Eyes from Sun Damage
Ultraviolet rays from the sun can lead to premature aging. Your eyes need protection from the harmful ultraviolet rays just like your skin needs sunscreen.
Continuous unprotected exposure to UV rays can cause damage to the eye. Some of the damage is irreversible. UVB exposure contributes to cataracts, a gradual clouding of the intra-ocular lens that eventually blurs vision and affects your ability to read and drive. Cataracts that interfere significantly with vision must be removed by surgery.
Computer Vision & Children
Parents often ask if watching television, working on the computer, or playing video games, is harmful for their child's eyes.
Doctors and teachers find that children today are less visually ready for reading than previous generations because a larger percentage of their play is passive. Activities such as watching TV, or playing video games provide less opportunity for development of visual motor skills.