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10% of Children Have Undetected Vision Problems

teacher helping a child with Undetected Vision ProblemsAlmost every classroom has children who struggle more than their peers, whether academically, socially or [behaviorally].

What many parents and teachers don’t realize is that these kids may have a visual skill deficit that’s triggering their struggles.

Experts estimate that 1 in 10 children will go through early childhood with an undiagnosed visual problem that can lead to learning and behavioral problems.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a struggling child evaluated by a developmental optometrist to rule out, identify and treat any visual dysfunction with vision therapy.

At Harrel Vision Therapy Center, we believe that educating parents and teachers about the warning signs of visual dysfunction is the first step toward ensuring that every child with a visual deficit is given the treatment they need to thrive.

Why Are Vision Problems So Commonly Overlooked?

Children, especially toddlers and preschoolers, often lack the verbal skills necessary to communicate a visual problem.

And even if they’re able to communicate, most kids may simply assume that their vision is fine, and that they see the world the way everybody else does.

School vision screenings also play a role here.

These basic screenings really only test a child’s eyesight, or visual acuity — how clearly they see distant objects. What the screenings fail to test are the rest of the 16 visual skills necessary for healthy development and learning. Some examples are eye tracking, focusing, convergence and eye teaming.

In other words, a child can pass the school’s vision screening with flying colors and still have a visual skills deficit that can negatively affect learning and behavior.

Telltale Signs of Visual Dysfunction In Children

So, how do you know if your child or student has a visual problem?

While the only way to know for sure is through a functional visual evaluation, there are some signs and symptoms to watch for that may warrant a call to Harrel Vision Therapy Center.

A child with visual skills deficits may experience any of the following medical symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Poor hand-eye coordination or clumsiness
Behavioral/academic problems that can arise due to vision problems include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Inattentiveness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Refusal or hesitation to do homework
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Skips lines or words when reading
  • Frequent eye rubbing and head tilting

If a child displays any of the above symptoms, call ​​Harrel Vision Therapy Center in Tulsa to schedule a functional visual evaluation.

How Does Vision Therapy Work

If a visual deficit is detected, we may recommend vision therapy as the best treatment option.

Vision therapy is a customized treatment program that trains the eyes and brain to communicate seamlessly. When the eyes don’t send a unified message to the brain, or the brain has difficulty processing incoming visual information, vision therapy works by correcting those pathways at the source.

During a vision therapy session, your child will be shown and instructed to do several eye exercises to strengthen the visual system. Vision therapy sessions are done in-office, but certain eye exercises should be [practiced] at home, in-between visits.

Vision therapy has been clinically shown to effectively treat eye misalignment disorders, lazy eye (amblyopia), focusing problems, convergence insufficiencies and ocular motor dysfunctions.

Our skilled and friendly optometric team has lots of experience working with children of all ages and helping them feel safe and comfortable during the entire process.

Make sure that your child isn’t part of the 10% of kids with undiagnosed, and therefore untreated, visual skills deficits. To schedule your child’s functional visual evaluation, contact Harrel Vision Therapy Center in Tulsa today!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Monte Harrel

Q: How can visual dysfunction affect learning and development?

  • A: An estimated 80% of classroom learning is dependent on vision. Subpar visual skills can impede learning by making it unnecessarily difficult for a child to see the board from their seat, read, write, play sports and interact confidently with their peers. Ultimately, this can lead to reduced self-esteem. Making sure your child’s vision is healthy will set them up for academic, social and overall success.

Q: How long does vision therapy take?

  • A: The length depends on each patient’s individual condition and needs. A vision therapy program can last anywhere from several weeks to a few months. Speak with your eye doctor about how long your vision therapy program is expected to take.

Call Us in Midtown Tulsa 918-745-9662

Covid Patients Are 40% More Likely to Get Diabetes – What Does That Mean for Your Vision?

Covid 19 Patient Sick in BedHave you had Covid-19? After your fever and cough have subsided, you may think the virus is behind you. However, even after your Covid test comes back negative, you may experience health problems in the near future, including diabetes.

Recent studies have found that a significant percentage of post-Covid-19 patients developed diabetes within a year of contracting the virus. This is particularly problematic, as diabetes raises the risk of developing many health problems, including several sight-threatening eye conditions that can rob people of their vision.

What Does the Research Show?

A March 2022 Lancet study that evaluated the records of 181,280 U.S. military veterans found a 40% higher risk of developing Type-2 diabetes in those who had Covid. Although those at greatest risk were over 65, African American and/or had underlying health conditions, many younger patients also developed Type 2 diabetes.

A study published in January 2022 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that children and teens under 18 were more likely to receive a new diabetes diagnosis (both Type 1 and Type 2) at least 30 days after infection than those who never contracted Covid.

Scientists are investigating exactly why Covid-19 raises the risk of developing diabetes. In many cases, it’s believed that the virus targets pancreatic cells, which are responsible for making insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. A lack of insulin causes diabetes.

Some scientists also theorize that inactivity and weight gain due to lockdowns and quarantines may have raised the risk of developing diabetes.

Diabetes-Related Conditions

Diabetes is linked to many eye conditions, including:

Blurry Vision – High blood sugar drives the lens inside your eye to swell, causing your vision to blur.

Cataracts – Diabetes can cause cataracts, cloudy patches that form in the lens of the eye.

Glaucoma – This disease develops from high pressure inside the eye and can lead to severe vision loss.

Diabetic Retinopathy – High blood sugar levels damage the small fragile blood vessels on the retina, leading to vision loss.

Maculopathy – Swelling of the macula, the center of the retina, can make it difficult to drive, read or see detail.

Some of these conditions have no noticeable symptoms during their early stages when it’s still possible to prevent or minimize vision loss. So having regular comprehensive eye exams is crucial.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Diabetes Post-Covid

Even after you’ve recovered from Covid, you may still be at a higher risk of developing diabetes. So, along with people who have a family history of the disease, make sure to book a comprehensive eye exam, eat a healthy and balanced diet, don’t smoke, maintain your appropriate weight, and ask your physician to monitor your blood sugar levels.

Also, if you have any eye symptoms, such as blurry vision, schedule an appointment with immediately. Remaining vigilant and aware of the risks can help safeguard your vision thanks to early intervention and treatment.

Are you concerned about the effect having Covid may have on your eyes? Schedule an appointment with today!

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.

Q&A with Dr. Monte Harrel

Q: What is a diabetic retinal eye exam?

A: A diabetic retinal [eye__exam] checks for diabetic retinopathy, a condition that affects the small thin blood vessels in the retina located at the back of the eye. Your optometrist will place eye drops into your eye to open your pupils so they can more easily see the back of your eye. They may take digital images to inspect blood vessels: these full-color 3D images show the cross-section of the retina and measure the retinal thickness to help your optometrist detect any fluid or blood leakage.

Q: How common is vision loss with diabetes?

A: People with diabetes are more likely to experience eye and vision problems. Among people over 45 diagnosed with diabetes, 17.6% experience some degree of vision loss.
– 9.2% is caused by cataracts
– 4.1% is caused by diabetic retinopathy
– 2.2% is caused by macular degeneration
– 2.1% is caused by glaucoma. Therefore, anyone diagnosed with or with risk factors for diabetes should have regular eye exams to protect their vision and eye health.

The Link Between Dry Eyes and Depression

The Link Between Dry Eyes and DepressionDepression is a serious illness that impacts a person’s mood and emotional well-being. It creeps into all areas of a person’s life, and can become life-threatening if left untreated.

Not only does depression impact mental health; it can manifest as physical symptoms, too, like insomnia, chronic pain and inflammation, weight loss or gain and heart problems, among others. These physical problems can worsen depressive thoughts — sometimes leading to a vicious cycle.

Interestingly, many patients with depression also suffer from severe dry eye symptoms. The question is, how are these two conditions related?

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome, also known as dry eye disease, is a chronic condition that results from inadequate lubrication of the eyes. Ocular hydration is crucial when it comes to keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear. Your tears are responsible for maintaining this necessary hydration, and in healthy eyes fulfill their unique mission each time you blink.

Your tear film is made up of three layers, consisting of oil, water and mucus. If any of these layers become compromised, inadequate tear quality or insufficient tear quantity can result and lead to a host of uncomfortable dry eye symptoms.

The most common dry eye symptoms include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Gritty eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision

Can Depression Cause Dry Eye (or Vice-Versa)?

This is what researchers are trying to find out.

In a March 2022 study published in JAMA Ophthalmology, researchers examined the link between depression and severe dry eye symptoms. The study followed 535 dry eye patients for an entire year.

After a year, the patients who tested positive for depression had more severe dry eye symptoms than the patients who didn’t have depression. Their symptoms were measured based on the Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI), Brief Ocular Discomfort Index and composite dry eye disease sign score.

Additionally, severe depression was associated with more severe dry eye symptoms at baseline, six months, and one year.

The study concluded that depression was associated with more severe dry eye symptoms, which suggests that among patients with moderate to severe dry eye syndrome, those with depression may be likely to have more severe dry eye symptoms.

The researchers said further research is needed to learn exactly why people with depression have more severe dry eye symptoms than those without depression.

Could the sometimes debilitating symptoms of dry eye syndrome actually cause depression and anxiety?

A 2016 dry eye study published in Nature concluded that chronic discomfort and pain from dry eye symptoms can negatively affect the cognitive processes, sleep, mood and mental health. The researchers urged eye doctors to be aware of the higher incidence of dry eye syndrome in people with depression, whatever the underlying cause.

Can Antidepressants Cause Dry Eye Symptoms?

Yes. Antidepressants have been shown to increase dryness in the body, including the eyes. These medications work by blocking signals between nerve cells, which can result in insufficient tear production and dry eye syndrome.

If you’re taking an antidepressant, be sure to inform your eye doctor during your consultation.

How We Can Help

At Harrel Dry Eye Care Centers in Tulsa, we recognize that some of our patients that come in with dry eye symptoms may be suffering from depression.

We’ll diagnose the cause of your dry eye symptoms and offer the most effective dry eye treatments to give you the relief you’re searching for.

Contact us today to schedule a dry eye assessment and take the first step towards regaining your quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Monte Harrel

Q: Who is affected by dry eye syndrome?

  • A: While dry eye syndrome is most common in adults over 50, it can occur at any age. The following factors can increase your risk of dry eye:
    – Aging
    – Hormonal changes
    – Medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis
    – Prolonged screen time
    – Living in a dry, dusty or windy environment
    – Eye allergies
    – Blepharitis or meibomian gland dysfunction
    – Certain medications, such as decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, hormone replacement therapy
    – Vitamin A deficiency

Q: How can you reduce your risk of dry eye?

  • A: While some dry eye risk factors can’t be avoided completely, making some lifestyle changes can help. Practice these recommended tips:
    – Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air
    – Wear wraparound sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from harsh winds
    – Take frequent screen breaks and blink often while using your digital device.
    – Quit smoking
    – Use lubricating eye drops
    – Consume a healthy diet including omega 3 and drink plenty of water.
    – Have regular eye exams

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Does Your Child Have 20/20 Vision Yet Still Struggles In School?

teacher with kids needing vision therapyYour child aced their school’s vision screening test with 20/20 eyesight. That means perfect vision, right?

Actually, no. 20/20 simply means that your child can clearly see things that are 20 feet away. While that’s good news, clear eyesight doesn’t mean a student has strong visual skills.

There are 17 crucial visual skills that can impact your child’s success in school and on the sports field. Fortunately, most children are able to improve their visual skills with vision therapy.

What Are Visual Skills?

A healthy visual system relies not only on healthy vision, but on the eyes’ ability to move correctly, send the correct information to the brain, and the brain’s ability to interpret this information. If any one of these visual skills is sub-par, it can impact a child’s reading, writing and learning. This, in turn, can harm their motivation and self-confidence.

The visual skills needed to succeed in school (and life) include:

  • Eye movement – the ability to accurately control the eye’s movements
  • Eye teaming – the ability of both eyes to work together
  • Focusing – the ability to maintain clear vision at all distances
  • Peripheral vision – seeing objects at the sides of our vision
  • Saccades – the ability for vision to jump between focal points

When 20/20 Vision Doesn’t Measure Up

When a child scores 20/20 on a simple vision test, problems with visual skills often go unnoticed because basic screenings rarely assess beyond eyesight. It’s no wonder that 1 out of 4 schoolchildren has an undiagnosed vision problem! That’s a lot of children struggling unnecessarily, and well into adulthood.

Only a functional eye exam performed by an eye doctor can detect subpar visual skills.

Signs Your Child Has a Visual Problem

Schedule a functional eye exam if your child:

  • Has learning difficulties
  • Reads below grade level
  • Exhibits behavioral problems
  • Has difficulty paying attention
  • Frequently rubs their eyes or blinks frequently
  • Squints or covers one eye when reading
  • Has poor hand-eye coordination

How Do You Improve Visual Skills in Children?

If your child is diagnosed with any visual skills deficits, their eye doctor may recommend vision therapy. This form of therapy involves the use of specialized eye exercises, prisms, therapeutic lenses and even fun computer-based games that recalibrate how the brain and eyes work together. Vision therapy involves a customized program to meet the individual needs of each child. The therapy is performed in-office and at home between office sessions.

Vision therapy is ideal for kids because their brains are still developing and have greater neuroplasticity (meaning, their brains are more adaptable to change through the strengthening of neural connections).

While the vision therapy program can range from a few weeks to several months, the results last a lifetime.

If your child is struggling to keep up in school or when playing sports, don’t delay and schedule an appointment with Dr. Monte Harrel at Harrel Vision Therapy Center.

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Monte Harrel

Q: What is the success rate of vision therapy?

  • A: Vision therapy is a proven method to boost deficient visual skills and treat the visual system. In a multi-center National Eye Institute-funded study, 75% of patients with convergence insufficiency (problems with eye teaming), experienced normal vision or significantly improved symptoms following office-based vision therapy.

Q: Can vision therapy treat strabismus?

  • A: Yes. Vision therapy is the most effective and non-invasive treatment for strabismus— when the eyes don’t fixate or focus on the same place or visual target simultaneously. Eye exercises that train the brain and the eyes to work together can correct the eye turn and may even result in vision improvements, such as 3D vision and binocular depth perception.

References

Call Us in Midtown Tulsa 918-745-9662

Regular Contact Lenses Not Working for You? Consider Scleral Lenses

Woman wearing scleral lensesIf you have dry eye syndrome, a corneal transplant, keratoconus or who simply find conventional contacts uncomfortable to wear, you may want to try scleral contact lenses. Scleral lenses are larger than standard lenses and vault over the entire surface of the cornea. Because the lens sits firmly on the eye, it offers more comfortable and stable vision than traditional lenses.

Eye Problems That Can Make Contact Lens Wearing Difficult

If your cornea is irregularly sized or shaped, standard contact lenses may not fit you properly or may move when you blink. Furthermore, standard contacts can also cause or exacerbate dry eye symptoms, such as red, irritated, itchy or dry eyes.

Below are common eye conditions that can make contact lens wearing a struggle:

  • Keratoconus
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Astigmatism
  • Corneal transplant
  • Post-refractive surgery (i.e. LASIK)

Why are Scleral Lenses a Comfortable Alternative?

These oversized lenses provide relief, clear vision, and visual rehabilitation for dry eye, keratoconus, corneal degeneration, eyelid abnormalities, and corneal ectasia, among other conditions. That’s because the custom-designed scleral lenses are fitted to your unique eye shape, providing a superior level of comfort.

Moreover, a fluid reservoir between the lens and the cornea optically neutralizes any corneal irregularities and hydrates the ocular surface, providing a moist and comfortable environment between the eye and the lens.

How Large are Scleral Lenses?

The average size of regular contact lenses is 9mm, which is smaller than the cornea, whereas scleral lenses measure between 14.5mm to 24mm in diameter. This allows the scleral lens to form a dome over the cornea, creating a cushion of tears between the lens and the eye.

What Happens During a Scleral Lens Fitting?

Scleral lenses are custom-fit to each person’s unique eye shape, corneal curves, and contours, providing unparalleled comfort. Their size and shape also ensure stability.

To design the lenses, your Harrel Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center eye doctor in Tulsa will take exact measurements of your cornea through a process called corneal topography. This process ensures that your personal pair of scleral lenses allows the right amount of light in and sits stably on the eye, thus offering superior vision, all-day ocular hydration, and increased comfort.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Monte Harrel and talk to us about getting fitted with scleral lenses.

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Monte Harrel

 

Q: Can Scleral Lenses Treat or Cure Keratoconus?

  • A: While scleral lenses aren’t a cure for keratoconus, they are highly effective at correcting vision if you have irregular-shaped corneas or cone-shaped corneas.Because those with keratoconus have irregular, cone-shaped corneas, glasses and standard contact lenses cannot conform to the shape of the eyes and thus cannot adequately correct the patients’ vision. The best solution, therefore, is scleral contact lenses, since they sit on the sclera without touching the cornea and deliver maximal clarity while being perfectly comfortable in most cases.

Q: Can Scleral Lenses Help Improve Vision Following Corneal Transplants?

  • A: Though corneal transplants have a high rate of success, it can take more than a year for the eye to recover from surgery. This is because the eye needs time to adapt to the new cornea, during which time nearsightedness or astigmatism may develop. For this reason, scleral lenses are the ideal choice for clear and comfortable vision following a corneal graft.

 

Call Us in Midtown Tulsa 918-745-9662

Stay Active and See Better With Scleral Lenses

Stay Active and See Better With Scleral Lenses 640×350Scleral contact lenses have long been the way to provide clear and comfortable vision to people with keratoconus, severe dry eye syndrome, irregularly shaped corners and patients recovering from corneal transplants and refractive surgeries.

But did you know that scleral lenses are also a great option for active people who need their lenses to sit securely and not pop out? Many people find that traditional contact lenses don’t provide the stable and clear vision required for their active lifestyle. This is especially true for athletes with high astigmatism who want to achieve a greater level of clarity comparable to LASIK surgery.

Whether you like to run marathons, go skiing or play sports that require sharp vision, scleral lenses can provide the vision correction and peace of mind you’ve been seeking.

What Makes Scleral Lenses Different?

Scleral lenses are hard, gas-permeable contact lenses that settle on the eye in a more stable position than regular soft or hard contacts. That’s because scleral lenses have a larger diameter than standard lenses, so they’re less prone to falling out or moving on the eye.

In addition, these lenses vault over the cornea to rest on the sclera, the whites of the eyes, on a cushion of fluid, providing additional comfort. Your eyes stay hydrated when exposed to harsh winds during winter sports or in hot and dry conditions.

These features make sclerals a good option for active people and athletes.

What Else Are Scleral Lenses Used For?

Scleral lenses are the go-to lenses if you have an irregularly shaped cornea or keratoconus, which causes the lens to thin, bulge and develop a cone-like shape. As keratoconus progresses, patients often can’t achieve clear vision from eyeglasses or regular contact lenses.

The fact that scleral lenses are custom-designed to fit a patient’s eyes can make them the best option for people who can’t wear traditional hard or soft lenses.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Scleral Lenses?

The following people may find a particular benefit from scleral lenses:

  • Active people and athletes who need clear vision and want contacts that will stay firmly in place
  • People with irregular corneas, such as keratoconus
  • Those with dry eye syndrome
  • Post-corneal transplant patients
  • Those who have poor vision due to complications after eye surgery.

Can You Play Sports with Scleral Lenses?

Thanks to their greater width, scleral lenses stay in place on the eye more than standard lenses while simultaneously providing clear crisp vision. Many wearers also find them more comfortable than other contact lenses. This makes sclerals ideal for most sports, including baseball, basketball, cycling and skiing.

There are, however, some direct contact sports, such as karate, boxing and wrestling, where sclerals aren’t recommended due to the risk of eye injury if the lens is damaged.

Do Scleral Lenses Treat Keratoconus?

Scleral lenses aren’t a cure. However, sclerals are highly effective at correcting vision if you have irregular-shaped corneas because the lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, compensating for the misshapen cornea.

If you love sports, live an active lifestyle, have an irregularly shaped cornea or dry eyes, consult with Dr. Monte Harrel at Harrel Scleral Lens and Keratoconus Center to see whether scleral lenses are the right solution for you.

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Monte Harrel

Q: How Can Scleral Lenses Improve An Athlete’s Vision?

  • A: Athletes are typically exposed to challenging environmental conditions, such as dust, chalk, sand and wind. These can all interfere with the comfort of wearing soft contact lenses. Because scleral lenses provide a seal over the eye’s surface, the eyes are better protected from the elements, allowing athletes more stable, clear, crisp vision.

Q: Do Scleral Lenses Cure Keratoconus?

  • A: No. Custom-designed scleral lenses help patients with corneal irregularities, like astigmatism and keratoconus, achieve dramatic improvements in visual acuity and comfort. These lenses vault over the cornea and rest on the sclera, thus creating a new optical surface. Moreover, the reservoir of pure saline solution between the back surface of the lens and the front of the cornea ensures that the eye is always in a liquid environment, ensuring optimal vision and comfort for those with keratoconus.

Call Us in Midtown Tulsa 918-745-9662

5 Need-to-Know Facts About Glaucoma

elderly couple sitting outside width=While most people have heard of glaucoma, many aren’t aware of how and why it can lead to vision loss and blindness, and why or how regular eye exams can help safeguard their vision. To get a better understanding, check out these 5 important facts.

Glaucoma Causes Permanent Vision Loss

Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness, affecting more than 1 in 50 adults. Nowadays, more than 80 million people around the world have glaucoma, with the number is expected to reach a staggering 111 million by 2040!

Vision loss is caused by abnormally high pressure within the eye which permanently damages the optic nerve that delivers the eye’s messages to the brain.

The rise in eye pressure results from the buildup of fluid in the eye that does not drain effectively out of the eye.

Though it’s possible to manage glaucoma symptoms, vision loss can’t be reversed once it’s occurred. That’s why it’s crucial to catch this serious eye condition in its early stages.

Half the People With Glaucoma Don’t Know They Have It

Yes, you read that correctly. One of the most worrying things about glaucoma is that half the people with this condition don’t even know they have it! The most common type — primary open-angle glaucoma — has no obvious symptoms in its early stages. It’s no wonder glaucoma is called the ‘Thief of Sight.’

The best way to avoid any vision loss from glaucoma is to have regular eye exams to detect the condition as soon as possible.

Some Are More At Risk for Glaucoma Than Others

The following are risk factors for glaucoma:

  • Being 60 or older
  • A family history – particularly of open-angle glaucoma
  • African, Asian or Hispanic descent
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Underactive Thyroid

Glaucoma Can Be Treated, Not Cured

There is no cure for glaucoma and vision that has already been lost to the condition can’t be restored. However, glaucoma can be treated, and the progression of the disease can be stopped or slowed.

Common treatments for glaucoma include:

  • Prescription eye drops that can lower pressure inside the eye
  • Oral medications, such as carbonic anhydrase inhibitors
  • Laser therapy, such as SLT or trabeculoplasty, is used to open up channels to improve the drainage of fluid from the eye
  • Eye surgery or trabeculectomy – surgical removal of obstructions in the eye’s drainage system
  • Trabecular stent bypass – a stent is placed in the eye to make drainage easier

Only an Eye Exam Can Diagnose Glaucoma

As mentioned above, regular eye exams are essential to detect glaucoma, especially in the early stages before permanent vision loss has occurred. Your eye doctor may use several types of tests to detect glaucoma:

  • Tonometry – measurement of eye pressure
  • Visual field – tests for peripheral vision loss
  • Gonioscopy – determines if the drainage system is open.
  • Corneal thickness (pachymetry) – the thickness of the cornea can affect the eye pressure measurements
  • Optic Nerve Exam – detection of any nerve damage using digital imaging

Glaucoma is yet another good reason to get your eyes tested regularly, especially if you’re over 60. To check the health of your eyes, schedule a comprehensive eye exam at today.

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Monte Harrel

Q: How much time does it take for glaucoma to cause blindness?

  • A: In most cases of open-angle glaucoma, it can take several years from the onset of the disease before significant vision loss occurs. However, in the case of closed-angle glaucoma, where the eye pressure rises suddenly, it can immediately cause severe vision loss. The speed of the onset of glaucoma depends on the type of glaucoma and eye pressure levels. The higher the pressure, the faster glaucoma can drive vision loss.

Q: How many people go blind from glaucoma?

  • A: Overall, the incidence of blindness in at least one eye from glaucoma is 26.5% after 10 years, and 38.1% after 20 years. This means that without effective treatment the chance of going blind in one eye is more than 1 in 4 in just 10 years.

References

5 Ways to Prevent Dry Eyes During Air Travel

Dry Eye Air Travel Tips 640×350While traveling can be taxing on the entire body, the eyes are especially vulnerable — particularly when wearing a mask to protect from COVID. When traveling by plane, the dry air can cause your eyes to become red, parched and irritated. While you can’t control all variables during your travels, eye specialists have discovered a number of ways to reduce the chances of experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of “travelers’ dry eye.”

Here are five suggestions for preventing dry eye from affecting your vision.

Drink plenty of water. If your body isn’t properly hydrated, it will have a tougher time increasing tear production in a dry atmosphere. Humidity levels on planes are typically below 20%, which is lower than the Sahara Desert! Keep your eyes moist and comfortable by drinking plenty of water before, during and after your flight.

Wear your glasses. Since contact lenses remove moisture from your eye’s surface tear film, they can contribute to dry eye. Wearing your glasses can help keep your eyes moist.

Wear a sleep mask. Even when your eyelids are closed, your eyes might lose moisture, which happens frequently when you sleep. On a plane, a sleep mask can help prevent additional dryness.

Use hydrating eye drops. When you’re in a dry environment, a good hydrating eye drop can provide a brief respite.

Make sure your face mask fits snugly. When a person’s breath rises upward it can dry out their eyes. A face mask that fits securely around the bridge of the nose can prevent air from reaching the eyes.

Is dry eye making you miserable, especially when traveling? Put an end to the discomfort and struggle by contacting Harrel Dry Eye Care Centers. Our dedicated eye doctors will get to the bottom of your dry eye and provide effective, lasting treatment.

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Monte Harrel

Q: Can dry eye be cured?

  • A: In some cases, yes. A range of successful treatment options can help manage dry eye for long-term relief. Your eye doctor can also provide in-office treatments for more advanced forms of dry eye disease.

Q: What type of treatments are available for dry eye?

  • A: Depending on the cause of the dry eye, treatment options include:
    – Lubricants
    – Punctal plugs
    – Topical steroids
    – Warm compresses
    – Protective eyewear
    – Intense pulse light
    – Switching to medications that don’t cause dry eye symptoms

Looking for dry eye treatment? Contact Harrel Dry Eye Care Centers today!

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Should My Child Have Vision Therapy?

Should My Child Have Vision Therapy 640×350Children may fail to recognize that they’re having difficulty reading, or that their eyes are struggling to focus, so it’s up to parents and teachers to be aware of the many visual problems that are common in children of all ages.

About one in four school-aged children has a visual problem, but school vision screenings aren’t equipped to diagnose the majority of visual deficits.

This is concerning, given that visual dysfunction is strongly linked to behavioral problems and poor academic performance. Only a comprehensive eye exam can examine your child’s eyesight, determine whether they have visual deficits and assess whether they can be treated with vision therapy.

What Is Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is an evidence-based treatment program developed over decades that has undergone extensive research and clinical trials to prove its effectiveness.

Vision therapy works by strengthening the communication between the visual system and the brain through a customized program of eye [exercises] prescribed by an eye doctor. Just as physical therapy trains your muscles to function normally, vision therapy applies the same principle to strengthen eye-brain communication. Even children with 20/20 vision can have visual problems, such as eye-tracking, focusing, and eye teaming.

Can Children Undergo Vision Therapy?

Vision therapy is ideal for children as it can correct problems early on, while their brains are still developing. Furthermore, vision therapy doesn’t involve invasive procedures or medications, so it’s an appropriate treatment method—even for young children. It’s also engaging for children, as many of the activities and exercises use objects such as prisms, special lenses and computerized exercises.

VT Works Wonders for the Following Vision Conditions:

Vision Therapy for Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)

Strabismus, also known as crossed eye or eye turn, is a condition where the eyes are turned in different directions from each other. One eye might be looking straight while the other is turned in or out. The eye turn might be constant or intermittent.

Vision Therapy for Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

Amblyopia is more commonly known as lazy eye and occurs when one eye doesn’t develop the same level of visual acuity as the other eye. Lazy eye results when the brain develops a stronger connection with the clearer eye and fails to process the images sent from the weaker eye. This can eventually lead to permanent vision loss in the weaker eye. Vision therapy works by strengthening the weaker eye to “balance” vision.

Vision Therapy for Accommodative (Focusing) Disorders

Many children struggle to maintain focus for hours on end, impacting their school performance. These eye disorders affect a child’s ability to maintain focus or switch focus between various objects or distances, causing blurred vision and attention difficulties.

Vision Therapy for Eye Movement Disorders

Vision therapy can treat many eye movement disorders, such as eye-tracking problems and more complex eye movement problems characterized by involuntary eye movements, such as nystagmus. Eye movement problems can hamper reading fluency and cause double or blurred vision.

Vision therapy is commonly used to treat a form of eye movement disorder called convergence insufficiency, characterized by the inability to maintain focus on close objects or while reading. This can result in eye strain and reduced concentration, significantly affecting a child’s reading grades and even sports performance.

How Can I Tell Whether My Child Has Vision Problems?

To determine whether your child has a vision problem and can benefit from vision therapy, our Tulsa eye doctor will carry out a comprehensive eye exam, including an assessment of their functional visual skills, lazy eye and more. This test, known as a functional eye exam, goes beyond the standard “20/20” sight test and is performed by eye doctors with experience and years of training in vision therapy.

Once your optometrist determines that vision therapy is the suitable treatment, he or she will create a personalized plan of exercises and eye activities based on the patient’s condition, age and other factors. The therapy typically includes any of the following:

  • Prisms
  • Lenses
  • Filters
  • Balance boards
  • Metronomes
  • Computer-based activities

Sessions last between 45 to 60 minutes and take place once or twice a week, or for less serious conditions, every two weeks. Vision therapy typically lasts a few months.

To find out whether your child has any vision problems or to learn more about vision therapy, schedule an appointment with Dr. Monte Harrel at Harrel Vision Therapy Center today!

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Monte Harrel

Q: Does vision therapy mean my child will no longer need glasses or contact lenses?

  • A: No. Vision therapy performed under the guidance of an optometrist should not be confused with [unauthorized] programs that promise patients they will no longer need glasses or contacts. Vision therapy doesn’t treat refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism that eyewear is often prescribed to correct.

Q: How long will it take before my child sees results from vision therapy?

  • A: Some children experience results from vision therapy in the first week, but it typically takes about six to eight weeks to notice a dramatic change. This, of course, hinges on how consistent the child is with performing exercises during the week.

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.

References

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Signs It’s Time For Cataract Surgery

Elderly Couple Discussing Cataract SurgeryCataract surgery, which replaces the cataract-affected lens of the eye with a new, clear artificial lens, is the most common surgical procedure in the world. While the procedure is considered safe and effective, patients want to know the optimal time to have the surgery.

Early Signs of Cataracts

During the earlier stages, individuals with cataracts experience cloudy vision and sensitivity to glare and light. Halos may appear around lit objects at night, and night vision may be impaired. Colors may appear washed out, such as bright red hues appearing dark pink.

Signs You Need Cataract Surgery

It’s common for people to live with cataracts for several years before considering surgery. The following are signs it is time to have your cataracts removed:

  • You find it difficult to see well enough to perform tasks at work
  • Your vision has gotten in the way of doing activities around the home, such as cooking and cleaning
  • You no longer see the television screen or printed material clearly
  • Driving, especially at night, no longer feels safe
  • Glare and bright lights are more pronounced

If you experience any of the above, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss cataract surgery.

The Presence of Other Eye Problems

Your eye doctor may encourage you to have cataract surgery if your cataracts render it difficult to examine the back of your eye to treat a range of serious eye conditions, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and retinopathy. Any of these may require the urgent removal of the cataract so the optometrist can accurately diagnose and manage other serious eye problems.

What Happens If You Delay Surgery?

There are advantages to having cataract surgery earlier rather than later. Cataracts can severely interfere with daily life and can make night driving difficult, even hazardous. If left untreated, cataracts result in vision loss and eventually blindness. Additionally, over time cataracts become thicker, darker and denser, which can add unnecessary complications to the surgery and lengthen the post-surgery recovery period.

However, in certain cases, patients can wait to have cataract surgery. In the meantime, their eye doctor can recommend stronger prescription lenses or the use of bright lights to help them see better.

Whether you decide to get cataract surgery early on or to wait it out, we encourage you to do so under the guidance of at .

Our practice serves patients from Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma City, and Fort Smith, AK, Oklahoma and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Monte Harrel

Q: What Are the Benefits of Cataract Surgery?

A: Having cataract surgery:

  • – Restores clear vision
  • – Enhances enjoyment of reading and watching TV
  • – Improves quality of life by allowing you to do everyday activities and hobbies
  • – Lowers the risk of developing other eye problems, such as eye inflammation and glaucoma
  • – Renders it safer to drive in low light environments

Q: How Do I Lower My Risk of Cataracts?

A: The tips below may help reduce the risk of developing cataracts:

  • – Have regular eye exams to catch any problems early
  • – Wear sunglasses to block UV rays – 10% of cataract cases are related to the sun’s harmful UV rays
  • – Maintain healthy blood sugar levels, particularly if you have diabetes
  • – Eat colorful fruits and vegetables rich in Vitamins C and E
  • – Quit smoking and drink only moderate amounts of alcohol
  • – Be aware that steroidal eye drops and corticosteroids may increase the risk of cataracts

References

 

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