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.

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!

Give the gift of LASIK this Holiday Season!

December is the time of year that families and friends get together before the start of the New Year, however, have you noticed that someone in your family might not be seeing as well as they used to? Well help them out this holiday season by giving them the gift of LASIK! It can also make a great gift for you, if you are someone who also suffers from poor eyesight, so spoil yourself this year and start the New Year with 20/20 vision.

LASIK, which stands for Laser-in-situ Keratomileusis, is the most common type of laser vision correction. By using bladeless technology, LASIK is a safe and effective procedure that helps correct myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. By using a blade-less laser, Sweeney eye provides a quick and easy procedure that gives our patients the eyesight they deserve.

Whether you visit out Richardson or Sunnyvale office, within weeks, our patients are able to view the wonders life has to offer through their own eyes, without the assistance of glasses or contacts. If you or someone you love is not qualified to be a LASIK candidate, Sweeney Eye also offers PRK to help you guide a loved one a step closer to having 20/20 vision. Remember not every gift lies under the Christmas tree this year, so schedule a consultation today and allow Sweeney Eye help you give the gift of LASIK!

Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

November is the designated month for Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness. This month helps remind and motivate those living with diabetes to make sure to take the proactive steps, to monitor their eye health and protect their vision.

Diabetes inhibits the body from using or storing sugar properly, damaging the retinal blood vessels in the eye, causing them to bleed and swell, ultimately distorting vision. These damaged blood vessels can cause diabetic eye disease, also known as diabetic retinopathy, becoming the one of the leading causes of blindness in diabetic adults. Populations including African Americans, American Indians, and Hispanics are at a greater risk than others for developing diabetic eye disease. There are little to no symptoms when diabetic retinopathy is in its early stages, however with a comprehensive dilated eye exam, these problems can be easily detected and treated. Because diabetics have 25 times the usual risk for blindness, studies have shown that diabetics are more likely to keep their vision if treatment is started before vision loss has actually occurred. The best treatment for diabetic retinopathy is to keep your diabetes and blood pressure under control. You should have your eyes examined every year, even if you are seeing well, to screen for any retinal changes. The goal of diabetic eye care is to PREVENT vision loss before it occurs. Although you might be seeing well, it is not uncommon to have a vision-threatening problem with your retina. If it is determined that treatment is necessary, the doctors at Sweeney Eye can perform a number of state-of-the-art therapies designed to prevent vision loss. You will know more about your diabetic retinopathy treatment options during your initial consultation with us.

If you are interested in scheduling an annual eye exam, please call our office today!

October is Halloween Safety Month!

Fall has officially arrived, and excitement for the holiday season rolls in with the cool breeze. Soon, adults and children alike will be dressing up in extravagant Halloween costumes, but an unknown horror lies within the October mist. Each year, hundreds of Americans find themselves in the hospital due to eye injuries from their Halloween costumes and accessories. Even with the many horrors of Halloween, nothing compares to the horror of going blind, when it could have easily been prevented. Halloween costumes and accessories have the potential to inflict permanent damage to your eyes if not used safely. People running around at night with sharp objects and wearing off-market costume contacts could be the cause of many vision related eye injuries to be reported around Halloween.

October is Halloween Eye Safety Month and by educating yourself on costume safety, you have a better chance at preventing blindness from happening to you or your children as they are out trick-or-treating. Here are a few eye safety tips:

  • Avoid costumes that either fully or partially block vision, such as masks, eye patches, wigs, floppy hats, or fake gore on or around the eye.
  • Try to avoid sharp or pointed costume props such as swords, wands, knives, and sticks that may harm other’s eyes.
  • Avoid costumes that are extra long and drag across the ground to prevent tripping and falling. Do not ride scooters, bikes, or skateboards if your costume is long.

Some people take their costumes one step further by enhancing or changing their eye color with costume contacts that cover the pupil or even the whole eye. Without the proper precautions, this popular costume accessory can cause various eye conditions such as bacterial infections, conjunctivitis, corneal scratches and even vision loss. At the very least, Sweeney Eye asks you to make sure to never wear costume contacts without a prescription! Also be sure to never share these contacts with others or use someone else’s.

Halloween should be a time for magic and fun, so don’t let vision loss keep you from seeing the horrors of Halloween! Remember to carry a flashlight or lantern when trick-or-treating to prevent falling or running into potentially harmful objects in the dark.

If you accidentally run into one of the problems listed above, please call our office schedule an appointment as soon as possible.