February is AMD Awareness Month

Did you know that February is AMD & Low Vision Awareness Month? Sweeney Eye Associates would like to help bring awareness to AMD, as well as the symptoms and therapies that can help prevent vision loss. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD), is one of the leading causes of vision loss in the country, affecting 2 million people over the age of 50 in the U.S. AMD is the breakdown of the macula, a small spot in the retina that is responsible for our central vision and gives us sharp and clear vision.

The primary cause of AMD is from aging. However, it can occur at any age, and certain factors can also increase the chance of developing the condition. These risk factors include smoking which doubles your risk, if you have a family history of AMD, and certain race- Caucasians are more susceptible.

The symptoms of AMD are usually gradual, painless, and can vary for each person. Most of the time, people will not realize they have AMD until vision loss has already begun to occur. This is why it is very important to see your ophthalmologist regularly in order to catch early warning signs of the disease. The visual symptoms of AMD include blurry vision, distortion of straight lines or objects, difficulty reading, difficulty recognizing faces, and decreased saturation of colors.

Although there is no actual cure to reverse vision damage caused by AMD, there are a few therapies that can help halt or reduce the rate of vision loss. Antioxidant vitamins and zinc supplements, and consuming dark leafy greens and colorful fruits and vegetables are simple steps that can be taken in your everyday lifestyle. Also, keeping an Amsler-Grid at home will help alert you if your vision might indicate a potential problem.

Early detection is the key to slowing vision loss associated with AMD. It is important to constantly monitor the symptoms and make sure to see an ophthalmologist regularly. To learn more about AMD, call Sweeney Eye Associates at either of our locations or click here.

Early Cataract Symptoms


Early Cataract Symptoms

Because cataracts often occur because of age, over half of all Americans will develop a cataract by the time they reach the age of 80. However, keep in mind there are also certain behaviors and lifestyle factors that could increase the risk for developing cataracts. These include smoking, high blood sugar, and too much sun exposure without eye protection.

As far as symptoms go, it depends on the severity and rate of progression. Cataracts typically start out small and might not have much effect on the vision early on. But the initial and most obvious cataract symptom is blurred or clouded vision. An example of this might be that some objects may appear blurry or you may notice particular areas of your vision are fuzzy. What usually starts out as a minor vision issue will eventually develop into full-blown cataracts and can negatively affect your everyday activities and make everything around you seem cloudy or dim.

As cataracts progress, they begin to darken in color. Whenever this happens, night vision is impacted, often making driving and other nighttime activities extremely difficult. In addition to poor night vision, sensitivity to light is also a common cataract symptom.  The clouded lens diffracts the light that enters the eye, causing a glare and halo to appear around light sources such as lamps and streetlights. This symptom is not particularly noticeable during the daylight hours but is significant at night when lights appear even brighter against the dark night sky.

If you find that your daily life is affected by your cataracts and you find simple tasks such as reading, writing, or driving, to be difficult, you might consider learning more about cataract removal surgery that is performed in the comfort of our on-site state-of-the-art AAAHC ambulatory surgical center.

To learn more about cataracts and cataract removal surgery at Sweeney Eye Associates, call our Richardson office at 214.247.6739, our Sunnyvale office at 972.842.4926, or click here.

Give The Gift of Sight This Season

Give The Gift of Sight This Season

The hustle and bustle of the holidays can make gift shopping a daunting and time-consuming task! How do you choose the perfect gift for your loved one, when they deserve the world? Why not give them the gift of clear vision at Sweeney Eye Associates! LASIK or Cataract Removal surgery are both gifts that can last a lifetime! Imagine your loved one no longer having to worry about relying on their glasses every day for driving, reading, working, or for their hobbies.

To learn more, call our Richardson office at 214-247-6739 or our Sunnyvale office at 972-842-4926.

There are also several charitable ways to give the gift of sight this holiday season.  Donating your glasses is a great way to give the gift of sight to those who are less fortunate. Whether you no longer need them due to a vision correction procedure or if you just get a new pair, your old glasses can be cleaned and repaired. They are then given to those with the same prescription, or very close, that might otherwise not be able to afford glasses.

To learn more about glasses donation, visit www.lionsclub.org or www.onesight.org.

Another way to give the gift of sight is through organ donation. Eye donation involves just the cornea, which is the clear front layer that allows us to see, and not the actual iris itself. Whenever you sign up to be an organ donor, you can also opt to be a tissue donor as well which has less restrictions than standard organ donation.

To learn more about cornea donation, visit www.organdonor.gov.

Diving Deeper into Cataracts

As we get older, the tissues of our eyes change. The eye’s lens, located behind the iris, is where light is focused onto the retina allowing us to see clearly. The lens gradually becomes thicker and less flexible and the tissues begin to break down and become clouded. This clouding of the lens, known as cataracts, causes the light to become scattered as it passes through. This is what causes the blurred vision that we experience with cataracts. Depending on the severity of your cataracts, your vision may be improved simply by adjusting the prescription of your eyeglasses. But unfortunately, that is the extent of cataract treatment possibilities.

Because cataracts are a natural part of the aging process, there is nothing that can be done to reverse the condition. Cataracts significantly affect your lifestyle, so if you find it difficult to complete daily tasks such as reading, writing, or driving, you should think about undergoing cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery is a safe and quick outpatient procedure that could transform your life. The surgery corrects distance vision, and most patients will require glasses for up-close reading and computer use. There are premium lens options available that could potentially eliminate the need for glasses.

Talk with your Sweeney Eye Associates ophthalmologist about whether cataract surgery is right for you!


Cataracts: What to Look Out For

Cataracts are the most common cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of 40 and more than half of all Americans will develop a cataract by the time they reach 80 years of age.

A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s natural lens and as it progresses, you might start to notice these symptoms:

  • Your vision becomes blurry or cloudy, like looking through fogged glass.
  • Everyday tasks become difficult, such as reading, driving (especially at night), or seeing facial expressions.
  • Develop a sensitivity to light and glare.
  • Start seeing “halos” around lights
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescription.

If you are noticing any of these symptoms then cataract surgery may be your best option!

Thanks to advances in technology, Sweeney Eye Associates can provide cataract surgery that is safer and more precise than ever, offering better outcomes and shorter recover times than cataract surgery in the past.

To schedule an appointment with one of the laser cataract surgeons, or any of the eye professionals at Sweeney Eye Associates, located in both Sunnyvale and Richardson, Texas.

4th of July Safety Tips!

The 4th of July weekend is upon us and if you are one of the many Americans that like to shoot off fireworks to celebrate your freedom, you need to know a few safety tips to keep your eyes safe from harm.

  • Keep a safe distance. After lighting the firework, back away so the possible debris from the firework will not injure you.
  • Don’t pick up duds and misfires.
  • Supervise your children closely and teach them how to safely handle sparklers and fireworks.
  • Wear protective eyewear.
  • Celebrate with the pros by looking up your local firework show so you can stay safe and watch with the entire family.

Accidents happen, so if you experience an eye injury from a firework, the eye care specialists at Sweeney Eye urge you to leave your eye alone and contact medical attention immediately. Do not rub the injured eye. Do not try to rinse it out, or add/remove anything from the eye because that may make the injury worse.

Stay safe this weekend and make sure to call Sweeney Eye today for all your eye care needs.

Importance of Annual Eye Exams

During an eye exam, your eye Sweeney Eye doctor does so much more than determining your glasses or contact lens prescription. Eye exams are critical in the prevention and early detection of various eye diseases. In fact, the majority of eye conditions and diseases can only be detected through a comprehensive exam. For example, most people aren’t able to know that they have, or are at risk for glaucoma until actual vision loss occurs. If a condition is caught early on, there is the potential to prevent the vision loss from happening, such as for cases of macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy.

During a comprehensive eye exam, your visual ability and field of vision are evaluated along with a series of other tests. Your eye doctor checks for glaucoma, cataracts, and other eye diseases as well as high blood pressure and diabetes. It is recommended to get a comprehensive eye exam once every one to two years, and more frequently for patients that are at risk for eye disease.

Call your doctor at Sweeney Eye if you are experiencing any problems with your vision, or if you are due for an exam!

What is a Cataract?

A cataract occurs when the clear natural lens within our eye begins to become cloudy. Cataracts are very common, occurring in a large majority of the population 65 and older, which can develop in one or both eyes. The most common symptoms include cloudy or blurry vision, difficulty driving at night due to glare and halos, trouble seeing distant objects clearly such as street signs or the television, in addition to noticing a gradual loss of color vibrancy.

Cataracts only develop because of proteins in the lens clumping together. When these proteins clump up, your lens becomes cloudy, instead of clear.

Should you notice any of these symptoms, see your eye doctor!

Cataract surgery is a safe and quick outpatient procedure that could transform your life. Modern cataract surgery liquefies the cataract using ultrasound, which is then suctioned out through a tiny micro-incision that requires no sutures. Then, the intraocular lens (IOL) is inserted through the same micro-incision in a folded position, which then opens up into its proper and permanent position on the eye. The surgery corrects distance vision, and most patients will require glasses for up-close reading and computer use. However, there are premium lens options available that could potentially eliminate the need for glasses. Talk with your Sweeney Eye doctor about whether cataract surgery is right for you.

To make an appointment with one of our eye care physicians at Sweeney Eye or if you have any other questions, please contact us today!

What is Surfer’s Eye?

Spring is finally upon us which means clear skies and sunshine. Sweeney Eye of Sunnyvale wants to make sure that you keep your eyes protected while you are outside, because the Sun’s rays can cause more than just a sunburn.

Surfer’s Eye, also known as pterygium (tuh-RIJ-ee-uhm), is an elevated, wedged-shaped mass of flesh on the eyeball which begins in the corner of the eye, on the sclera (white part of the eye), and can eventually spread to the cornea.  As unappealing as it looks, it is relatively harmless in its early stages or if the mass is small. However, if left untreated, it can lead to permanent vision loss if the mass grows over the cornea.

Even though this growth is commonly known as “Surfer’s Eye”, it has nothing to do with the act of surfing. Pterygium is caused by the Sun’s UV rays, so anyone who works outside in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time are at risk. Other factors, like dust and wind, increase the chance of it occurring, as well as having light skin or light eyes. Pterygium is common between the ages of 20 to 40 year olds, as well as people located in sunny regions. Common symptoms are an itchiness of the eye, redness, and a burning sensation. Some patients have also reported a feeling of something “in” their eye. The good news is that this mass is not cancerous, but it does need to be removed immediately. Take steps to prevent pterygium or the regrowth of it (after surgery) by wearing UV-blocking sunglasses or photochromic lenses.

If you find yourself always out in the sun, make sure to schedule an eye exam once or twice a year with your Sweeney Eye eye care physician, in Sunnyvale or Richardson, to help prevent the growth of pterygium.

February is Low Vision Month

What is “low vision”?

Low vision is when your vision cannot be corrected to 20/70 or better, even with glasses or contacts. Typical causes of low vision include, cataracts, AMD, glaucoma, and diabetic eye disease:

  • Age-related Macular Degeneration: is a leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. There are often no noticeable symptoms in the early stages of AMD, but if left untreated, it may gradually result in blurred or loss central vision; in one or both eyes.
  • Diabetic Eye Disease: Diabetes causes many complications in the body, particularly in the eyes. Diabetic retinopathy is the most frequent cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20-74 years old.
  • Glaucoma: The name for a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve by high intraocular pressure in the eye. Known as the “thief of sight, if left untreated, glaucoma can cause blindness.
  • Cataracts:A cataract is the progressive clouding of the eye’s natural lens, which disrupts light passing through the pupil to the back of the eye (retina). Over time a cataract leads to diminished sight in the affected eye and eventually to blindness if untreated. Unlike AMD, Glaucoma, and Diabetic Eye Disease, Cataracts can be removed through Laser Cataract Surgery.

These eye conditions make doing daily activities difficult such as cooking, driving, reading, and even recognizing the faces of friends and family.


How Yearly Eye Exams Can Lower the Risk for Low Vision

Just like an annual physical, a yearly eye exam is important for your overall health. Comprehensive eye exams are critical in the prevention and early detection o various eye diseases. Several eye diseases do not show symptoms until vision loss has occurred. However, if a condition is detected early, there is the potential to prevent vision loss.

During an eye exam, your Sweeney Eye optometrist will evaluate the health of your eyes through a series of comprehensive tests, while checking for the very conditions that cause low vision such as glaucoma, AMD, and diabetic retinopathy.

Call Sweeney Eye today to schedule an eye exam and learn what you need to do to keep your eyes healthy!