• How Often Should You Have an Eye Exam?

    You’ve probably heard that regular eye exams are good for your eye health. Having regular eye exams can catch eye problems early, and allow your doctor to prescribe treatment that can slow the progression of eye disease. However, since “regular” isn’t a very specific term, you might still wonder: how often are eye exams recommended?

    The first thing that’s important to know is that eye exams should start when you’re a baby. The first eye exam should happen at six months, and these exams should be more frequent as you get older. Kids need an eye exam before starting school and every year after that.

    People with certain conditions, like high blood pressure or diabetes, need more frequent eye exams than people who are not considered high risk. Other factors that can make a person high risk include a family history of eye disease, like glaucoma or macular degeneration or a visually demanding or risky job. Additionally, if you’re taking medications, whether prescription or non-prescription, that can have eye-related side effects, you’ll want to see your doctor more often than every two years. Adults who wear contact lenses should have an annual eye exam.

    According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, it’s important to get a baseline comprehensive eye examination at age 40 to check for certain diseases. At this comprehensive screening, your doctor will review your personal and family medical history, evaluate your distance and near vision using an eye chart and look for signs of nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia. You may also have an eye pressure test and examination of the optic nerve so that your doctor can rule out glaucoma. Annual eye exams are highly recommended.

    If you need an eye exam and are looking for a reliable eye doctor in Derry, Spindel Eye Associates is here for you. Celebrating over thirty years of eye care, we proudly serve patients in Derry, Londonderry and Windham, providing personalized eye care using top-of-the-line technology. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.421.6536 or contact us through our website.

  • Three Tips for Avoiding Eye Infections

    Have you ever had an eye infection? Eye infections are very common, and different types of eye infections have different causes. Eye infections can be fungal, bacterial or viral, but doctors classify the infection based on the part of the eye that’s affected.

    For example, there’s keratitis, which is an infection of the cornea. Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the membrane of the inner eyelid and the inner corner of the eye. An infection of the eyelid is called blepharitis, while an infection of the liquid inside the eye is called vitritis. Neuroretinitis refers to an inflammation of the optic nerve, while chorioretinitis is an infection of the retina and blood vessels.  The most common infection is “pink eye,” which is conjunctivitis caused by a common cold virus. Viral conjunctivitis is very contagious because it can be spread from the eyes to the hands and surfaces that are shared with others.

    Even though eye infections have different causes and classifications, there are some good practices for avoiding all types of eye infections.

    • Keep everything clean. Germs can come from your hands, face, linens, washcloths, towels, pillowcases- anything that makes contact with your eyes or the area around them. It’s especially important to wash your hands before you touch your eyes.
    • Don’t share things related to your eyes. Sharing eye makeup, washcloths, contact lenses or eye medicine can transfer infectious bacteria from one person to another. Some people are more susceptible to certain bacterial infections, so even if your friend doesn’t have an eye infection, sharing makeup might cause an infection in your eyes.
    • Protect your eyes from outside contaminants. Don’t touch your eyes or face with your hands, unless you’ve just washed them, and always wear goggles or safety glasses in hazardous conditions or around chemicals. Don’t wear contacts when you sleep, because they can trap contaminants in your eyes, as well as depriving the eyes of oxygen.

    If you think you have an eye infection, seek medical help immediately. Left untreated, infections can sometimes damage eyes and degrade vision. If you’re looking for a reliable eye doctor in Derry, Spindel Eye Associates is here for you. Celebrating over thirty years of eye care, we proudly serve patients in Derry, Londonderry and Windham, providing personalized eye care using top-of-the-line technology. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.421.6536 or contact us through our website.

  • What You Need to Know about Glaucoma

    Glaucoma is the second-leading cause of irreversible blindness globally. In the United States alone, glaucoma affects more than 3 million people. Worldwide, 6 million people are blind in both eyes due to this condition. There are some facts you might not know about glaucoma, but they’re important, because understanding glaucoma may help protect you from the disease.

    • Glaucoma often has no symptoms. The most common form of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma, which typically doesn’t have symptoms. Because vision loss begins with peripheral or side vision, you might subconsciously compensate by turning your head, while not realizing something is wrong.
    • This condition can strike at any age, though it’s more common in the elderly. Because it’s common in elderly people, it’s often assumed that younger people don’t need to be concerned about it. In truth, babies can be born with glaucoma, and young adults can also develop this condition. Young African Americans are particularly susceptible to glaucoma.
    • While it’s often caused by high ocular pressure, glaucoma can occur with normal pressure as well. Because optic nerve damage is connected to high ocular pressure, many people assume that pressure causes glaucoma. In fact, it’s not a cause, it’s just a risk factor.
    • Some forms of glaucoma are inherited, but it’s not necessarily genetic. Other risk factors for developing glaucoma include being nearsighted or having certain medical conditions, like diabetes.
    • There’s no cure, but the progression of the disease can be slowed with treatment. Treatment options for glaucoma include eye drops, laser surgery, traditional surgery or a combination of some of these methods. Although vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible, catching it early will make the treatment more effective in preventing blindness. Caught early enough, glaucoma is manageable.
    • The best hope for someone with glaucoma is to catch it in the early stages to prevent blindness. Early diagnosis of conditions like glaucoma is important because it allows doctors to slow the progression of these diseases.

    Early detection of glaucoma is just one good reason to have regular eye exams. If you need an eye exam and are looking for a reliable eye doctor in Derry, Spindel Eye Associates is here for you. Celebrating over thirty years of eye care, we proudly serve patients in Derry, Londonderry and Windham, providing personalized eye care using top-of-the-line technology. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.421.6536 or contact us through our website.

  • Five Ways to Protect Your Eyes as You Age

    As we age, our eyes are more susceptible to eye diseases. As you might deduce from the name, age-related macular degeneration affects older people. However, conditions like diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, and dry eye also become more likely as people grow older. Fortunately, these conditions are not a certainty, no matter how old you are.

    You can protect your vision with healthy habits. In fact, by following these five practices, you can greatly decrease your likelihood of developing eye problems.

    • Don’t smoke. Smoking damages every part of your body, so it’s no surprise that it’s bad for your eyes. Smokers are at a much higher risk than non-smokers for conditions like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.
    • Eat a diet full of fruit, vegetables, fish, and nuts. Dark leafy greens, carrots and sweet potatoes, and other colorful vegetables full of nutrients like lutein, beta-carotene, and vitamins A, C, and E can help protect your eyes. So can lean proteins, especially those from non-animal sources like nuts, oily fish, which are full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and eggs, which are packed with lutein.
    • Protect your eyes when you go outside. Wear sunglasses and a hat if you’re going to be in bright In fact, even if it doesn’t seem very sunny, wear sunglasses anyway, to guard against UV rays. Wear goggles in the pool and protective eyewear when you’re participating in active outdoor activities.
    • Exercise regularly. Many recent studies underscore the importance of regular exercise for optimal eye health. Additionally, moderate-intensity, low impact exercises may reduce eye pressure in young adults who have glaucoma.
    • Get regular checkups- for both your body and your eyes. Many people have an annual physical, yet neglect to see a doctor about their eyes. Healthy young adults should have an eye exam every year.

    If you need an eye exam and are looking for a reliable eye doctor in Derry, Spindel Eye Associates is here for you. Celebrating over thirty years of eye care, we proudly serve patients in Derry, Londonderry and Windham, providing personalized eye care using top-of-the-line technology. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.421.6536 or contact us through our website.

  • Why an Eye Exam is Important as the Kids Head Back to School

    It’s time to head back to school- are you ready? Most parents are doing last minute errands, like shopping for school supplies and new school clothes, as well as scheduling the annual well-child checkup with the pediatrician. While you’re at it, though, don’t forget to make an appointment for an eye exam.

    An eye exam is different than the vision screening that your child may have already had. Screenings are sometimes offered at school or at the annual checkup. However, these screenings only check things like the ability to read the eye chart. Eye exams are much more thorough, checking for things that screenings miss, including chronic eye diseases, color vision and eye coordination. With an eye exam, your child’s eye doctor can determine whether your child needs corrective lenses in order to see well.

    It’s important to correct vision if a child is having eye problems because poor vision can cause trouble at school. Unfortunately, the American Optometric Association estimates that one in four school-aged kids have undetected vision problems that can negatively affect their visual perceptual skills. Poor vision can disrupt a child’s education, drain confidence and make social connection difficult.

    Many times, kids don’t even realize their eyes are the problem. That’s why parents should be aware of symptoms that might be overlooked, including:

    • Poor reading comprehension: You might not realize it, but reading requires our eyes to do several different things. We have to have the visual acuity to see text clearly, and our eyes have to use their muscles to decode text and determine its meaning. We have to have visual memory that comes from creating an image of the words in our minds, visual processing that lets us create a mental image of text in our minds and visual sequential memory that keeps images in the proper order. Simply put, when the eyes are not functioning correctly, the child cannot comprehend what he or she is reading.
    • Short attention span for close work: If it’s difficult for a child to focus when trying to do close work, the child may become frustrated, distracted, fidgety, inattentive and uncooperative.
    • Frequent headaches, eye-rubbing or blinking: Farsightedness can reduce a child’s ability to focus on schoolwork and can cause headaches. Eye-rubbing and blinking can be indicative of eye allergies, but they can also indicate nearsightedness.
    • The tendency to fidget or look away from work: When it’s hard to focus on work, it’s easier to look away, fidget or daydream.
    • Slow to finish schoolwork: A child who has to work to adequately see schoolwork will often have only a brief window before he or she becomes fatigued. This can make it difficult to finish assignments in a timely manner.

    Taking all of this into consideration, experts recommend that children have an annual eye exam. If you’re looking for an eye doctor in Derry, Spindel Eye Associates is here for you. We provide eye exams for children of all ages, using the most advanced technology and latest techniques. If your child needs glasses, we also carry a full range of kids’ glasses frames. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.421.6536 or contact us through our website.

  • What You Need To Know About LASIK Eye Surgery

    LASIK eye surgery is an extremely popular procedure, performed on over 600,000 people in the United States each year. Intended to reduce a person’s dependency on glasses and contact lenses, LASIK is safe and effective for treating myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism. If you’re considering undergoing LASIK eye surgery, there are a few things you need to know.

    • LASIK permanently reshapes the cornea. Using an excimer laser, the doctor cuts a flap in the cornea. A hinge is left at one end of the flap, and the flap is folded back to reveal the middle section of the cornea, the stroma. With pulses from a computer-controlled laser, the doctor vaporizes a portion of the stroma, making the cornea flatter for people who are nearsighted and steeper for those who are farsighted. Excimer lasers can also be used to smooth an irregular cornea to correct astigmatism.
    • The procedure details. Patients are given medication to help them relax, and numbing eye drops for your comfort. There is, however, a feeling of pressure associated with the process. There are no stitches with laser surgery, and no bandages are required.
    • LASIK surgery only takes about five to ten minutes per eye. The procedure is done on each eye individually, and afterward, the patient rests for a few minutes. There’s often a burning or itching sensation right after the procedure, and after a post-operative exam, patients are free to leave, as long as someone else drives them home.
    • For most people, vision improves immediately. While initially blurry and hazy, vision should be clear by the next morning, continuing to stabilize and improve over the next few days.
    • If you’re having LASIK eye surgery, it’s a good idea to take a couple of days off work. You’ll probably see your doctor the day after surgery, to make sure your vision is good enough to allow you to drive. While you may feel ready to go into work that day, it’s probably best to take a couple of sick days, especially if your job is physically demanding. Strenuous activity or exercise can interfere with the healing process, so it’s advisable to refrain from this kind of activity for at least a week.
    • The long-term results of LASIK are generally good. Sometimes people still need reading glasses after the age of 40, even if they’ve had LASIK. Overall, most people who have had LASIK are satisfied with the procedure and feel that their quality of life has been improved.

    LASIK surgery is not for everyone, but if you believe it could be right for you, do your research and find an experienced eye doctor, with state-of-the-art equipment. If you’re looking for LASIK eye surgery in Derry, you need look no further than Spindel Eye Associates. Celebrating our thirtieth year of eye care, we proudly serve patients in Derry, Londonderry, Windham, providing personalized eye care using top of the line technology. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.421.6536 or contact us through our website.

  • When Is the Best Time for Cataract Surgery

    How much do you know about cataracts and cataract surgery? You may know that a cataract is a cloudiness of the eye’s natural lens, and typically occurs in older people. But did you know that there’s a right and wrong time to have cataract surgery?

    Cataracts affect almost 25.7 million people over 40 years old in the United States, and that number is growing. In fact, it’s projected that by the year 2050 that number will reach 45.6 million. Most people get cataracts as a natural part of the aging process, and the condition can be rectified through surgery. Cataract surgery is the most common elective surgery for Medicare beneficiaries, and this procedure can greatly improve a person’s quality of life. If you have cataracts, though, your doctor may want to wait for a while before performing cataract surgery.

    Why wait? If your cataracts are mild, they probably don’t significantly impact your vision. When this is the case, doctors typically like to monitor the cataracts to see if they improve, before resorting to surgery. Even if they do affect your eyesight, there are often other measures you can take, like wearing glasses, before you decide to have surgery. For some people, cataracts never reach a point that requires removal. To know if you should talk to your doctor about cataract surgery, ask yourself these questions:

    • Do your cataracts have a negative effect on your daily activities? Symptoms of cataracts include dim, blurry vision that may appear yellowed, and may even involve double vision in one eye. If this lack of contrast and clarity is making it hard for you to drive or do other things you enjoy doing, it may be time for surgery.
    • Can you still drive safely at night? If you’re seeing halos around lights or having trouble seeing when the lights are low, you may not be able to drive safely at night. If your cataracts are advanced, you may not be able to pass a driver’s test.
    • Do your cataracts keep you from enjoying outdoor activities? Sensitivity to glare is a symptom of cataracts, and it can get in the way of activities like skiing, surfing, and other forms of outdoor recreation. Gold can be affected because cataracts affect distance vision.
    • Are there other, nonsurgical ways to manage your cataracts? You might be able to utilize brighter lighting in your home and wear polarized sunglasses and a hat when you’re outside, to reduce glare. You might also find that reading glasses with magnifying lenses can make reading easier. When these measures fail, and your vision is interfering with your quality of life, it’s time to call an eye doctor.

    If you’re ready to discuss cataract surgery with an eye doctor in Derry, Spindel Eye Associates is here for you. Celebrating our thirtieth year of eye care, we proudly serve patients in Derry, Londonderry, Windham, providing personalized eye care using top of the line technology. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.421.6536 or contact us through our website.

  • What Is Astigmatism?

    How much do you know about astigmatism? Most people have very little understanding of this condition, but it’s a common problem. Like nearsightedness or farsightedness, astigmatism is not an eye disease, but merely a problem with how the eye focuses light. Astigmatism causes blurry vision and often occurs alongside other vision conditions.

    Put simply, astigmatism means your eye shape is not completely round. It’s a condition with no known cause, and if it’s mild enough, it may not even give you any trouble. It can be present at birth, or it can happen after an eye injury or surgery, but it isn’t caused by sitting too close to the television or reading in low light. Most people have astigmatism to some degree, and it’s not really a problem unless it prevents you from seeing clearly.

    Astigmatism is diagnosed through an eye exam. Some doctors use retinoscopy to determine the amount of astigmatism a person has. This process involves shining a light into the person’s eye while putting a series of lenses between the light and the eye. On the other hand, many doctors have replaced this manual procedure with a test by an automated instrument that checks for astigmatism and other refractive errors. However your eye exam is performed, your eye doctor will probably follow up with a test called manual refraction, to refine the results of your preliminary examination. The doctor will place an instrument called a phoropter in front of your eyes, and you’ll look through different lenses to determine which make your vision clearer. Once that’s established, your doctor can write an eyeglasses prescription. Sometimes, wearing glasses or contact lenses is a good solution for your astigmatism.

    Another option for the treatment of astigmatism is refractive eye surgery. This might be LASIK surgery, or your doctor might recommend PRK (photorefractive keratectomy). Each of these procedures reshapes the cornea using lasers. PRK does this by removing tissue from the superficial and inner layers of the cornea, while LASIK only addresses the inner layers.

    If you’re experiencing blurred vision or eye strain, particularly after reading, you may be suffering from astigmatism. If your vision is unclear for any reason, you should schedule an eye exam. When you’re looking for an experienced eye doctor in Derry, you should check out Spindel Eye Associates. Celebrating our thirtieth year of eye care, we proudly serve patients in Derry, Londonderry, Windham, providing personalized eye care using top of the line technology. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.421.6536 or contact us through our website.

  • Post-LASIK Eye Surgery Care Tips

    LASIK eye surgery is a common procedure, and it only takes about five to ten minutes per eye. After you’ve had LASIK, you probably know you’ll need someone to drive you home. But what happens after that? Do you know what to expect in terms of vision and discomfort? What are the best ways to take care of yourself to facilitate healing and protect your vision?

    • The first six hours are considered the recovery period. The way people feel after the LASIK procedure varies widely, with some people finding the difference nearly miraculous, and others feeling that their vision is very hazy. Similarly, some people feel like nothing at all has happened to their eyes, while others report the feeling of sand or an eyelash irritating the eye. Whatever you feel right after LASIK, it’s probably not going to change drastically in the first two hours. By hour three or four, the sensitivity has diminished or vanished completely, and vision is clear
    • During the first week after surgery, be gentle with yourself. You’ll still need your eye drops, you will follow up with your doctor, and you should probably sleep wearing the eye shields your doctor will give you. You will probably be allowed to drive after the next day follow-up with your doctor, but you might want to take a couple of days off work anyway. Don’t wear eye makeup during that first week, and don’t exercise, swim, or go into a pool or hot tub. Wear sunglasses religiously for the first week, and take it easy on the reading; you don’t want to strain your eyes.
    • For a month after your surgery, take precautions. Do not play contact sports for at least a month after LASIK eye surgery. Don’t rub your eyes, either, because you could disrupt the healing process. Smoke can irritate your eyes

    The most important thing you can do to care for yourself after LASIK eye surgery is to follow-up with your doctor. Following your doctor’s instructions and going back in for check-ups is the best way to make sure your eyes heal correctly and you have the best possible results from your procedure. If you’re looking for an eye doctor in Derry, Spindel Eye Associates is here for you. Celebrating our thirtieth year of eye care, we proudly serve patients in Derry, Londonderry, Windham, providing personalized eye care using top of the line technology. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.421.6536 or contact us through our website.

  • Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Treatment Options

    • First, what is a Meibomian gland? Meibomian glands are located in the eyelids and named after Dr. Heinrich Meibom, who first noticed and made drawings of them, all the way back in 1666. There are a lot of them: 25 to 40 Meibomian glands in the upper eyelid and 20 to 30 in the lower lid. They secrete oil onto the eye’s surface to help prevent tears from evaporating. When the amount or quality of this oil is compromised, or the gland itself becomes blocked or otherwise changes, MGD can be the result.
    • What puts you at risk for Meibomian gland dysfunction? As is the case with many other eye issues, the risk of MGD increases as you age. If you wear eye makeup and don’t thoroughly remove it from around your eyes, especially before bed, it can raise your risk of MGD. There may be a connection between contact lens wear and MGD, though most researchers agree that there’s not enough evidence yet to determine that conclusively.
    • What are the symptoms of MGD? Redness, gritty sensation, itchy feeling in your eyes, and blurred vision are the primary symptoms. You might also have irritated and inflamed eyelids. Many people with MGD have an uneven, rough-looking inner rim of the eyelid. Symptoms can get worse if the air is very dry, or if you spend a lot of time focused on a computer screen. To diagnose MGD, your doctor might apply pressure to your eyelid and observe the Meibomian gland’s secretions.
    • How is Meibomian gland dysfunction treated? MGD can be treated with warm compresses and eyelid massage, but that is not always effective. Two of the most effective treatments and newest are LipiFlow and Intense Pulsed Light.
      • LipiFlow: LipiFlow thermal pulsation system uses both heat and pulsed pressure in a two-part approach. While applying heat to the eyelids in order to melt the waxy deposits in the Meibomian glands, it applies pulsed pressure to the eyelid, opening the glands to thoroughly express their contents.
      • Intense Pulsed Light: In this procedure, the doctor applies shields, on the face and around the eyes to protect the eyes from the light. After applying a thin layer of cooling gel to the treatment area, the doctor will then use a small handheld device to flash intense pulses of light around the eyelids. The contents of the Meibomian glands are then expressed.

    If you’re looking for an eye specialist familiar with the most up-to-date treatments for Meibomian gland dysfunction, trust the experience and knowledge of the doctors at Spindel Eye Associates. Celebrating our thirtieth year of eye care, we proudly serve patients in Derry, Londonderry, Windham, providing personalized eye care using top of the line technology. For more information or to schedule an appointment call 603.421.6536 or contact us through our website.