About Childrens’ Tear Duct Problems

Normally, tears drain through tiny opening in corners of the upper and lower eyelids call “puncta,” then enter the nose through the nasolacrimal duct. Sometimes the nasolacrimal duct or tear duct can become blocked or obstructed making it impossible for the tears to drain normally. This can cause the eyes to run water or even produce a discharge. Often, the tears well up on the surface of the eye and overflow onto the eyelashes, eyelids, and down the cheek. This usually occurs within the first days or weeks of life. Sometimes, the eyelids can become red and swollen, even stuck together with yellowish-green discharge since the normal eyelid bacteria are not properly “flushed” down the obstructed system. Probably the most common cause of a tear duct obstruction in kids is a failure of the membrane at the end of the tear duct opening to open fully at the time of birth. Generally we see this happening in some 5-10% of newborn infants where one or both eyes is affected with a tear duct obstruction-BUT some 90% clear without any treatment with the first 12 months after birth.

Treatment of Kids’ Tear Duct Obstruction

As most of the time the obstruction will clear on its own, we don’t always have to treat it. But, if it persists and causes the welling up of tears or the sticking or redness of the eyelids we can suggest a gentle massage as a first step and prescribe antibiotic eye drops if necessary. Sometimes we will need to do a tear duct probing to clear the blockage and in a some more difficult situations we might need to perform a tear duct dilation with a tiny balloon or even insert some microscopic tubes. We perform these types of treatments as a matter of routine and, as a parent I will make sure to thoroughly explain them and answer all of your questions if they become necessary.

If you or someone you know has questions or concerns about childrens tear duct problems or needs a kids eye exam, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+  or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.

Dry Eye Help

Dry eye is a very common we hear about from patients almost each and every day. There are many causes of dry eye and we must first carefully examine patients to find the cause and type of tear film deficiency in order to offer help for dry eyes. The good news is that there are many helpful treatment options we can prescribe. One of the most helpful and convenient ways we can help dry eye is by inserting tiny microscopic “plugs” into the tear ducts where your tears would normally drain. These tear ducts are located in the nasal area of your eyelids and are easily visible to us during your eye exam and dry eye consultation using a slit lamp in the examination room. The opening to the tear ducts is called a “puncta” and the tiny plugs are called “punctal plugs.”  Researchers reporting in the American Journal of Ophthalmology confirmed the benefits of punctal plus with little risk of complications. Punctal plugs are a convenient treatment we can prescribe when necessary to help you with the symptoms and problems of dry eyes.

If you or someone you know has a question about dry eyes or needs help for dry eye problems or symptoms, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+  or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.

About Medications and Eye Problems

Did you know that a number of medications for various health problems can cause eye problems? If you get any new prescription filled you should be aware of whether it can have any eye or vision side effects by itself or in combination with other medications-prescribed, or even over the counter (OTC) or even supplements you might purchase. Medications can have a variety of effects on your eyes, ranging from minor, temporary issues such as blurred vision to permanent damage. Here are some things to know about medications and your eyes.

Which Drugs Pose the Most Risk?

Some medications that stand out when it comes to causing eye and vision problems include: Corticosteroids-People take steroids for a range of conditions, from asthma and allergies to arthritis and skin conditions. But whether in cream or pill form, steroids can cause swelling in the back of the eye or retina and potentially even lead to cataracts. Even an over the counter spray for allergies such as Flonase® comes with risks

Antihistamines-They may fight allergies, but they also can raise certain patients’ risk for glaucoma. Even over the counter antihistamines can be trouble for those who are at risk for some types of glaucoma.

Mental Health Medications-Medications such as Thorazine and Mellaril, used as antipsychotic treatments, can be toxic to your retina. A number of antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa and Tofranil may put certain individuals at risk for angle closure glaucoma.

Anti-Malaria & Anti-Arthritic Medications-Medications such as Chloroquine, under the brand name Plaquenil, which is used to treat malaria but also Lupus and some forms of arthritis can have toxic effects on the retina.

What to Watch For with New Medications

If you get a new prescription or even start a new OTC medication, be aware of anything that causes pain to the eyes, or distorted or blurred vision. If you do experience a problem, talk to the doctor who prescribed the medication. Don’t stop the medication without your doctor’s advice. They’ll want to assess whether the medication is the likely culprit-and sometimes the benefits outweigh the side effects. Always read the warning labels, too- especially if you have a condition such as glaucoma or diabetes. A variety of medications have warnings that patients with glaucoma shouldn’t take them.

There are many other drugs that can have eye side effects and may increase your risk of complications if you need eye surgery. During your eye exam, be sure to ALWAYS tell us if you are taking ANY medications whether prescribed or purchased over the counter (OTC) as well as any supplements of vitamins you are taking. Also, if you or someone you know is taking any medication with known side effects as listed above, or is at risk for glaucoma or has diabetes, it is important to schedule a routine eye exam. Please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+  or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.

About Solar Retinopathy

Solar retinopathy is a condition where the retina becomes damaged as a result of bright light from the sun. The retina is made up of layers of light sensing cells that make vision possible. When they’re over stimulated by sunlight, they release a flood of communication chemicals that can damage the retina. This damage is often painless, so people don’t realize what they’re doing to their vision. Solar retinopathy has been reported to occur from staring at the sun, regardless of its phase. Sometimes people high on drugs have stared at the sun for long periods of time causing serious damage as well adherents of sun worshipping religious sects are also victims. BUT, children too can stare at the sun and painlessly lose their vision from solar retinopathy!

Sunglasses for Children Not Simply About Fashion

Making sure children wear UV protective sunglasses is important to help kid’s protect their eye health and vision as sun damage to the retina, called “solar retinopathy” does affect BOTH children and adults according to researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

If you or someone you know has children and would like to learn more about sunglasses for kids please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+  or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.

About Huntington’s Disease

We now know that certain eye tests may help serve as “biomarkers” for the progression of Huntington’s Disease as well as help understand whether some of the new medications prescribed might be helping to slow its progress. Huntington’s Disease is an inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown and degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. Huntington’s disease has a broad impact on a person’s functional abilities and usually results in movement, thinking and psychiatric disorders. Most people with Huntington’s Disease develop signs and symptoms in their 30s or 40s, but the onset of disease may be earlier or later in life. Medications are available to help manage the symptoms of Huntington’s Disease, but treatments can’t prevent the physical, mental and behavioral decline associated with the condition.

Eye Problems with Huntington’s Disease

One of the earliest and most recognizable eye problems of Huntington’s Disease is a change in eye movements or “saccades” where there is a lag initiating an eye movement to look at something and/or an involuntary reflex saccadic movement that the person can’t control. This loss of eye movement control is quite common. Recent research using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) testing that we do right in our offices allows us to study the health of the retinal nerve fiber layer and the health of the nerve fibers around the center of vision, called the macula. What we know is the thinning of the nerve fiber layer on OCT, along with a loss of the macular volume is an indicator of the progression of the disease and can serve to monitor that progression.

Please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+  or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.

kid with glasses cartoon

 

When to Have Kids’ Eye Exams

At The Eye Clinic of Texas we are often asked about the best time to have kids’ eyes screened, examined and evaluated for eye health and vision problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommend that your child’s eyes be screened for problems at birth, by 6 months of age, at 3 to 4 years of age, at 5 years of age, and every following year. Getting your kids eyes checked and screened regularly is critical for finding any issues that should be caught treated early. In most instances it may not actually be necessary for your child to have an exam with an eye doctor as your pediatrician can do the initial screenings at the routine well child visits. However, for preemies or if there is any family history of childhood eye problems it’s probably a good idea to bring them in to see us and we might recommend more frequent or more detailed exams.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more or schedule a kids eye exam, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+  or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.

Eye Injury in Children

Eye injury remains the leading cause of monocular blindness in children, despite the fact that 90% of injuries are potentially preventable.  Children playing with pets require supervision and education on how to treat pets. Children interact with animals in a variety of situations, and the associated dangers may be underestimated by parents and those supervising children. Eye injuries in children from pets can often be serious and cause severe eye problems-but they too are preventable.  It is not uncommon for children’s dog bite injuries to include corneal abrasions, corneal and sclera lacerations or punctures of the eye itself, all of which at a minimum require aggressive treatment and in many instances repeated surgery. Further, animals are capable of causing damage to the delicate tissue of the eyelids and surrounding tissue that can be cosmetically and visually devastating-also requiring multiple surgeries.

Typically, when very small children-age 4 and younger-are bitten by dogs, eye injuries occur about 15% of the time. The dog is usually one the child is familiar with, and second attacks by the same dog are likely to cause more serious injury. It is recommended that any dog that bites a child be removed from the household. With caution, education and supervision pets and children can be quite compatible but does require some care.

 If you or someone you know would like to learn more about children’s eye injuries, especially from pets such as dogs, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+  or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.

Treatment of Amblyopia

The best results are always achieved if the treatment of amblyopia is started as early as possible. If necessary, children with refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism can wear glasses or contact lenses when they are as young as one week old. Children with cataracts or other “amblyogenic” conditions need to be treated promptly in order to minimize the development of amblyopia. One of the most important treatments of amblyopia is correcting the refractive error with consistent use of glasses and/or contact lenses. Other mainstays of amblyopia treatment are to enable as clear an image as possible, for example, by removing a cataract, and forcing the child to use the non dominant eye by patching or blurring the better seeing eye with eye drops. Eye drops are used to “penalize” the good eye and force  the use of the weaker or amblyopic eye. We may be able to use eye drops instead of patching when the amblyopia is not very bad or when a child is unable to wear the patch as recommended. For mild to moderate degrees of amblyopia, studies have shown that patching or eye drops may be just about equally effective.  Generally, we start to see improvements in vision within weeks of treatment however for optimal results it will be necessary to be patient for many months.

In some cases, treatment for amblyopia isn’t successful and it is difficult to stop treatment but is recommended when there is any real benefit. Children who have amblyopia in one eye and good vision only in their other eye can wear safety glasses and sports goggles to protect the normal eye from injury. As long as the good eye stays healthy, these kids function normally in most aspects of society.

If you or someone you know has questions or concerns about the treatment of amblyopia or needs a kids eye exam, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+  or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.

kid with glasses cartoon

About Headaches and Childrens’ Eye Problems

It is pretty common for parents to bring their children in for an eye exam because they are complaining of headaches. Headaches are a frequent complaint of kids but fortunately they are usually not serious. Some of the more common causes of headaches in kids include migraine, the stress and tension of school, certain foods with nitrate or MSG preservatives, physical trauma, sinus infections and of course eye problems. Parents can be concerned with the serious but truly rare occurrence of brain tumors causing headaches but this is usually accompanied by other complaints of dizziness, weakness of arms and legs and a loss of coordination.

Evaluating Kids with Headaches

As part of evaluating any child with headaches I always want to be sure that there has been a complete and thorough examination by their pediatrician who may need to order additional tests or even a referral to a neurologist. Then I will need to perform a complete eye exam including evaluation of the pupils, a refraction to determine any refractive error or  need for glasses, eye alignment and binocularity testing and sometimes possible a visual field examination. Generally I will put drops in the child’s eyes to dilate the pupils, so that the optic nerves can be properly examined and the refractive error can be most accurately measured.

Eye Problems That Can Cause Headaches

If your child has uncorrected hyperopia or farsightedness, it requires extra effort to focus clearly while reading.  This can sometimes lead to fatigue and headache.  Glasses can reduce the effort required to see clearly at near and improve the headache, if significant hyperopia exists.  Mild hyperopia is normal in children, however, and generally does not cause headaches or other symptoms.

When we read or perform other near activities, our eyes pull in toward each other, this is called convergence. The decreased ability to pull the eyes toward each other when viewing near objects (convergence), particularly while reading, may cause headaches.  This is called convergence insufficiency, and symptoms include the doubling of images or words, blurred vision, fatigue, and headaches which worsen with prolonged reading.  At home eye exercises, sometimes with the help of computer software, can help treat convergence insufficiency. Glasses are sometimes prescribed, but costly in-office eye exercises are rarely necessary.

Acute infections, allergic and inflammatory diseases of the eyes can also cause headaches.  These problems are often accompanied by redness of the eye and/ or the eyelid as well as light sensitivity or photophobia. Acute glaucoma can cause headaches, but rarely affects children.  Pseudo tumor Cerebri is a condition caused by increased intracranial pressure or too much fluid around the brain, and this causes headache and swelling of the optic nerves, but does not typically cause redness of the eyes. During the complete eye exam we perform we will be able to rule out these problems as a cause of headaches in your child. If we do not find any ocular causes of your child’s headache we may refer them back to his/her pediatrician and/or to a neurologist to look for other possible causes of the headaches.

If you have questions about causes of kids headaches or children’s eye problems, or need assistance please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+  or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.

About Nearsighted Progression

Anyone who has a child or teenager who is becoming more and more nearsighted each year wants to know if there are ways we can prevent the progression of myopia. Over the years there has been discussion of trying to under correct the nearsightedness, rather than prescribing the full correction, in order to slow down nearsighted prescription changes. Researchers reporting in Grafe’s Archives for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmologystudied the effects of undercorrection of myopia on myopia progression and eye length elongation in a population of 12-year-olds. They followed more than 2,000 children for 1 year and used careful analysis to consider the effects of how much near work, how much outdoor activity and the amount of time glasses were actually used as well as the degree of nearsightedness. They tested them by measuring their cycloplegic auto refraction, axial length of the eye, visual acuity and near vision focusing lag. The results demonstrated that over a period of 1 year, prescribing an undercorrection or full correction of myopia by wearing spectacles did not show any differences in myopia progression. Whether this would be the same result for younger children, or if the correction was prescribed in contact lenses or over a longer period of time is not certain but initially suggests that it is not helpful to under correct nearsighted children with glasses to slow myopic progression.

If you or someone you know have questions about nearsightedness, types of correction for nearsightedness including glasses, contact lenses of even LASIK, please call The Eye Clinic of Texas, an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, at 800-423-3937, visit The Eye Clinic of Texas, Google+  or facebook.com/ecot.lasik.

The Eye Clinic of Texas is an affiliate of Houston Eye Associates, the largest ophthalmology clinic in the nation. We are a leading eye care practice serving the greater Houston, Galveston, League City and Texas City with offices at 1100 Gulf Freeway, Suite 114, League City, Texas 77573, 7111 Medical Center Drive, Suite 110, Texas City, Texas 77590 and 2302 Avenue P, Galveston, Texas.