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How to Safely View the August 21st Solar Eclipse
Welcome Optician Lori to Our Professional Team
Dr. Peralta Attends Glaucoma Symposium

Latest News
How to Safely View the August 21st Solar EclipseHow to Safely View the August 21st
Solar Eclipse


On August 21st a total solar eclipse will touch the U.S. mainland for the first time since 1979, following a path that crosses the country from Salem, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. Tens of millions of people who live within a 70-mile radius of its cross-country track will witness the eclipse in totality (the sun completely blocked by the moon) while millions of others outside of it will enjoy a partial eclipse.


Your eye doctor wants to reinforce the only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun is through special-purpose solar filters or other ISO-certified filters, such as "eclipse glasses" or handheld solar viewers.

The American Optometric Association encourages ordering solar eclipse glasses in advance and recommends referring to the American Astronomical Society's (AAS) site for a list of manufacturers.

To ensure you won't miss the remarkable sight, we are sharing a few tips for safe viewing:

  • Your eyes should always be protected by ISO-verifed viewing tools. Never look directly at the sun without special-purpose solar filters for eye protection, even briefly. Dark sunglasses, binoculars, cameras, and other optical devices do NOT offer sufficient protection. Visit to access eclipse duration charts.

  • Be aware of harmful solar exposure. If you stare at the sun without protection, you may experience damage to your retina (the tissue at the back of your eye) called "solar retinopathy." This damage can occur without any sensation of pain, since the retina does not have pain receptors. The injury can be temporary or permanent.

  • Visit your eye doctor. If you experience any problems with your eyes or vision after the eclipse, our office will be able to provide you with the eye care you need.

To access additional information and educational materials on the solar eclipse, visit

More info can also be found at: Solar Eclipse and Your Eyes

Follow our FACEBOOK page for other eye care news and practice updates!

Welcome Optician Lori to Our Professional TeamWelcome Optician Lori to Our Professional Team

Welcome Lori Talarico-Coddington (far left) to the professional team of Southern Dutchess Eye Care! Lori is a NYS licensed optician certified by the American Board of Opticianry. She offers our patients more than 20 years of optical experience and personalized service. We are delighted to have Lori become part of the SDEC family.

2016 East Coast Optometric Glaucoma SymposiumDr. Peralta Attends Glaucoma Symposium

Dr. Brian Peralta traveled to Arlington, Virginia, for the East Coast Optometric Glaucoma Symposium. While in attendance, he received clinical updates on new and developing glaucoma therapies, the latest diagnostic technologies, and the evolving field of glaucoma genetics and personalized glaucoma care.

Your Doctors’ Calendars & HappeningsYour Doctors’ Calendars & Happenings

Dr. Gary Weiner will be traveling to Banff, Canada, this spring to attend an international vision conference that will preview the latest eye care technologies and address issues related to the future of health care.

Dr. Brian D. Peralta recently attended the New York Glaucoma Symposium, an all-day continuing education event sponsored by the SUNY College of Optometry. Guest speakers included glaucoma medical experts from New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Topics included “New Developments and Glaucoma Medical Therapy Updates,” including new medications on the horizon.

Dr. Brian Powell and Dr. Brian Peralta attended the Hudson Valley Optometric Society’s fall seminar, which included several hours of continuing education. Dr. Powell serves as the Society’s immediate Past President and is involved in the planning and implementation of educational opportunities for his fellow optometrists including practice management seminars and clinical updates throughout the year.

SDEC Receives Its 1,000th Five-Star Patient Review!

Southern Dutchess Eye Care received its 1,000th five-star patient review! Thank you Laura for letting us know about your most recent visit at our office, and for helping us achieve this important milestone!

Southern Dutchess Eye Care's 1,000th Five-Star Patient Review!
Reviews are from patients who allow us to communicate with them via email. They are asked after their appointment to rate their experience at our office. To read our most current patient reviews, click here.

Eye Care Team Attends Vision ExpoEye Care Team Attends Vision Expo

Doctors and opticians of Southern Dutchess Eye Care attended Vision Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York City, an annual event that draws 16,000 eye care professionals from around the world.

Our eye care team explored the latest diagnostic technologies, attended eyewear fashion shows, acquired new frame collections including sunwear styles from Lafont Paris and DVF (Diane von Furstenberg), and received continuing education credits.

Each year, we look forward to traveling to Vision Expo to bring fresh and innovative eyewear styles, and the latest product and diagnostic technologies back to the Hudson Valley.

Doctors Brian Peralta and Brian Powell Attend Fall EventsDoctors Brian Peralta and Brian Powell Attend Fall Events

Dr. Brian Peralta and Dr. Brian Powell attended the Hudson Valley Optometric Society’s (HVOS) Fall Seminar at the Grandview in Poughkeepsie. Presentations from guest speaker Dr. Mark Dunbar from the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute included a review of challenging cases in diagnosing and treating systemic/ocular disease, landmark clinical studies from the National Eye Institute, new treatments for optimal posterior segment disease treatment and management, and interesting clinical case studies.

Dr. Powell is the elected president of the Hudson Valley Optometric Society (HVOS), a professional organization of optometrists who meet regularly to share clinical experiences, ideas for practice management improvement, assessment of new products and technologies, and to develop and coordinate continuing educational opportunities at the regional level. HVOS is affiliated with the New York State Optometric Association and the American Optometric Association.

Doctors Brian Peralta and Brian Powell Attend Fall EventsDr. Peralta also attended the Indiana University Football Continuing Education weekend, an alumni event hosted by the Indiana University School of Optometry. He participated in a hands-on workshop for scleral contact lenses, which are used to fit irregular corneas or corneas with ocular surface disease. While there, he also enjoyed an IU Big Ten football game.

Running for Great Causes Running for Great Causes

Dr. Brian Peralta and Allie Herrera (second-year SUNY optometry student, BHS/Marist graduate, and our very own intern in the making) ran in the 3rd Annual Mike Archer Memorial 5K Walk/Run at Memorial Park in Beacon. It was a great cause to raise money for the American Cancer Society … and Mike’s family is the best! For those of you who are competitive, Allie finished well ahead of Dr. Peralta!

We enjoyed running with many of our patients and friends in memory of a devoted father, husband, and community hero who served 20 years in law enforcement for the City of Beacon Police Department before his death from esophageal cancer at age 44.

Save the Date! Passion for Eyewear Fashion Trunk Show & Style Event. Thursday, November 6th; 12 PM – 7 PM

Join us for PASSION FOR EYEWEAR FASHION, our annual trunk show and style event on Thursday, November 6th from 12 noon until 7 pm. Enjoy the largest frame selection of the year! Also special event discounts up to 50%, prizes, raffles for free frames, gourmet cupcakes and more! Frame representatives will be present to showcase their full and exclusive trunk show collections of eyewear for men and women from GUCCI, DAVID YURMAN, LAFONT Paris, and KIO YAMATO. If you love luxury eyewear fashion and special savings, you don't want to miss this one-day event! No appointment necessary. Non-patients and friends welcome! *Discounts cannot be combined with vision insurance and other special offers, and must be applied to frame purchases (with non-discounted lens purchase) during the event.

Southern Dutchess Eye Care reached a milestone - our 500th 5-star review

Dr. Gary Weiner Celebrates 45 Years of Providing Eye Care to Hudson Valley Families!

The patriarch of Southern Dutchess Eye Care and Hudson Valley's most well-known eye doctor Gary Weiner, recently celebrated 45 years in optometry by traveling to the People's Republic of China, where he studied alternative methods of eye-health treatment from Chinese physicians, and the effects of high altitude on vision during a four-day stay in Tibet (12,500 feet altitude). He also used the opportunity abroad to visit Beijing, Hong Kong, the Great Wall of China, and the International Panda Reserve in Chengdu.

If you are a patient of Dr. Weiner, you will be happy to know after 45 years of practicing optometry, he has no immediate plans for retirement. "I'm blessed to still love what I'm doing," he says. "I look forward to celebrating my next milestone of 50 years."

His long-time practice partner Dr. Brian Peralta notes Dr. Weiner is a great example of what a patient desires in a doctor who is taking care of them. "Professionally he continues to excel in his area of expertise with specialty contact lens fittings; he has a great personality and natural 'bedside manner,' and is truly compassionate," says Dr. Peralta.

Dr. Weiner's optometry practice is comprised of a large and fervently loyal following of patients, many he has seen since their childhood, and who refuse to go anywhere else for eye care. "My patients know I genuinely care about them," he says, "and when I ask 'how are you doing?' I really want to know."

He acknowledges his genuine concern and compassion for others in his professional work has been enhanced by his personal life. His eldest son Josh, at five months of age, was stricken with encephalopathy, resulting in profound mental impairment. For 34 years, his son required total care until his passing in 2005. Dr. Weiner says he and his two other children revolved their lives around Josh, and although it appears counterintuitive, were thankful for the opportunity and the life lessons that came with loving a disabled family member.

Friends and patients frequently comment on Dr. Weiner's energy and upbeat attitude in spite of Josh's need for care and passing, and later on the unexpected death of his wife Maureen. He credits Josh for his strength and positive outlook. "I continue to live my life because of him," says Dr. Weiner. "His lasting effect on me is the strength to survive the bad things in life, and choice to focus on the good. I can look at my wife's passing and focus on the tragedy, or I can be thankful for the 13 years we had together. My choice to focus on the latter comes from Josh."

Dr. Weiner's surviving children share their father's perspective and are very close to him. His son Alex, an emergency room physician practicing in Hawaii, traveled with him to China. His daughter Amanda, a successful lawyer practicing in Los Angeles, was his travel companion this summer on a Mediterranean cruise. "We're a very close knit family," he says.

Reflecting on his life and 45-year career, Dr. Weiner feels a great deal of satisfaction. He is immensely proud of his children, and thankful he has chosen a life of taking care of others.

Southern Dutchess Eye Care reached a milestone - our 500th 5-star review

We've reached a milestone – our 500th 5-star review!

Thank you to our patients and friends for taking the time to let us know what kind of experience you had after visiting our office. More than 500 of you rated our care and service to be five stars -- the highest rating possible!

Your comments have served as great reminders of your trust in Southern Dutchess Eye Care to provide you with the highest standard of vision care. You kindly let us know you appreciate our personalized care, knowledgeable service, and friendly, welcoming environment.

Thanks also to those who have given us less than five stars. We genuinely appreciate your helpful suggestions and the opportunity to serve you better in the future.

To read what our patients are saying about us, click here.

We truly value your feedback and trust in our care, and looking forward to inspiring more of your five-star reviews in the future!

Southern Dutchess Eye Care reached a milestone - our 500th 5-star review

Southern Dutchess Eye Care reached a milestone - our 500th 5-star review

Dry Eye Sufferers
  Merrilee Osterhoudt from the Marist College Center of Lifetime Study greets Dr. Brian Peralta before delivering his presentation on the natural phenomenon of aging and the eyes.
Dr. Peralta Speaks at Marist College Center
for Lifetime Study


Dr. Brian Peralta was invited to speak at the Marist College Center for Lifetime Study on April 15th, at Locust Grove in Poughkeepsie. His informative, interactive presentation to more than 100 members addressed the aging process and how it relates to eyes, and what steps can be taken to enjoy a lifetime of great vision.

Dr. Peralta’s presentation was part of the Center’s “A Healthy You Series,” where health care professionals are invited to speak to the membership to provide insights into the phenomenon of aging.

The Marist Center for Lifetime Study provides opportunities for intellectual and cultural exploration and development for men and women of retirement age. CLS furnishes a rewarding experience of learning and fellowship in a relaxed atmosphere without exams or grades. Currently 600 members enjoy courses, trips, and social events held in various locations.

The eye care professionals of Southern Dutchess Eye Care are available to speak to community and business groups on eye-health and vision-related topics, such as sports vision, eye disease diagnosis and treatment, vision and learning, and the latest advances in vision correction. To request a speaker for your organization, please call (845) 896-6700.

Blinking should be comfortable. Spring Relief for Dry Eye Sufferers
Dry Eye Sufferers

Seasonal allergies, hormones, environmental factors, medications, and extended computer use are a few reasons you may be suffering from dry eye irritation. You don't have to suffer through it. We have the expertise and options to help you.

A visit to our office will allow your eye doctor to evaluate your tear production and health of your corneal surface, then discuss with you options for relief based on the severity and cause of eye dryness. Your options may include professional-grade eye drops, punctal plugs, natural supplements, or prescription Restasis. 
If you're a contact lens wearer, sometimes experiencing relief can be as simple as changing your lenses to one of the newer, moisture-rich contact lens products. 

Make blinking comfortable again. Schedule your appointment today.

Is Night Driving Becoming More Difficult?
(11-13)David Yurman

We can't stop the daylight hours from shortening, or your eyes from aging, but here's what we CAN do to help with night driving. 

  1. Safe driving starts with a thorough eye exam. If night driving is becoming more difficult, your eye doctor will evaluate if it's due to normal changes to the eye, or if there is an underlying eye condition that should be treated. For example, glare and starbursts from oncoming headlights are often intensified for those with cataracts and chronic dry eye. 
  2. If you need vision correction, we'll make sure your lens prescription is up to date. Dramatic changes to your vision can occur after age 40, so the lens prescription from two or more years ago may not be providing you with the best correction for night driving. 
  3. Spend a few extra bucks on high-quality, anti-reflective coated lenses. We have helped hundreds of our patients with glare reduction through this simple improvement to their lenses. 
  4. Save your money and avoid glasses being marketed for night driving. You may have seen direct mail or Internet ads for yellow-tinted glasses that are supposedly beneficial for night driving. In reality, when driving at night in already limited lighting conditions, ANY tint further reduces the amount of light transmitted to the eye and further impairs your vision. The yellow tint gives the wearer the impression they are seeing better, when in fact the reverse is actually true. 

Allow us to make night driving as comfortable as possible. Schedule your appointment today by clicking on the Request Appointment button above, or by calling us at (845) 896-6700. 

Vision Care and the Affordable Care Act
(10-13)David Yurman

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is changing health insurance. This includes adding new preventative care and essential health benefit requirements. Starting in 2014, vision care is considered an essential benefit for children aged 18 and younger whose parents or guardians get insurance through individual or small-group plans through the exchanges or directly from a health insurer. The law does not mandate this coverage for adults.

Pediatric vision care as part of the essential-benefits requirement will typically include one routine eye examination per year; one pair of standard eyeglass lenses or contact lenses per year; and one frame every year. 

This requirement does not apply to health plans offered by larger employers, or standalone vision plans. However, many health insurers include pediatric and adult vision care at a combined premium rate with medical benefits. Please check your plan or speak with your HR representative for details regarding your specific vision care coverage. 

Comprehensive vision examinations are essential in facilitating the early detection and treatment of vision impairments that may not be correctable later in life. The Affordable Care Act pediatric vision benefit makes it easy for many families to ensure their children have a healthy start in life, and aren’t left behind in academics or activities due to undetected and uncorrected vision problems. 

Discover the artistry and inspiration of America’s preeminent jewelry designer. Now available in an exquisite eyewear collection at our optical boutique.
David Yurman

The David Yurman Eyewear Collection has arrived to Southern Dutchess Eye Care and is available in both optical and sunwear styles for men and women. The frames are authentically beautiful for women who appreciate the designer’s mix of metals, precious stones, and gem-inspired adornments. 

For men, the collection offers a tasteful use of metals for high-end style with simple sophistication. 

Be one of the first in the Hudson Valley to extend your love of David Yurman design. Schedule your appointment today at, or walk in and ask to preview the collection. 

Your Eyes Need Protection TooDr. Powell

The arrival of warm weather brings with it a harsh reminder of the sun’s powerful rays. It is during this time of year that many people pull their sunglasses and sunscreen out of storage and begin wearing them so they do not have to squint in the sun or suffer sunburn. The truth is, however, that the sun can adversely affect the eyes throughout the whole year and not just when it is a bright, sunny day.

The sun’s rays are made up in part of visible light, the light that you can see, and ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet rays can not be perceived by the human eye and are therefore not visible to us. Ultraviolet rays can be broken down even further into UVA (longer wavelength), UVB (shorter wavelength) and UVC (shortest wavelength) components each of which could potentially damage the eyes or skin in different ways.

Luckily our atmosphere blocks out UVC rays so the harmful UV rays that reach us are of the UVA and UVB variety. UVA rays are closer to visible light and can penetrate some clear surfaces. UVA rays can pass through the cornea or front of the eye and cause damage inside the eye to the crystalline lens and the retina. Damage to the lens inside the eye can cause the development of cataracts which eventually may need surgery for correction. Damage to the retina can cause eye diseases like macular degeneration which may result in permanent loss of vision.

UVB rays can do damage to the surface of the eye causing unsightly growths called pingueculas on the conjunctiva or a ptryigium on the cornea that could potentially distort vision. High short term exposure to UVB rays can also cause photokeratitis or a painful inflammation of the cornea and possibly temporary blindness.

Protection from UV is not just a concern for the summer but is something to be aware of throughout the year. During the winter most people tend to spend less time outdoors and with shorter days there is less exposure to UV, however, whenever the sun is out, UV is present also. A recent snowfall can even increase the exposure to UV because of reflected light from the ground. Cloudy days are also a concern. Just as you can get sunburn on a cloudy day because of exposure to UV, your eyes can also be harmed without proper protection.

It may seem that a dark pair of sunglasses would indicate protection from ultraviolet rays, but this is not always the case. Since visible light and ultraviolet rays are different spectrums of light some materials may block one but not the other. Glass, for example, will block ultraviolet rays, but allows visible light to pass through. Some tinted plastic lenses will reduce the amount of visible light, but do not reduce the transmission of harmful ultraviolet rays so just because a lens is tinted or looks dark does not mean it is good for protecting the eyes from the sun. A lens needs to have ultraviolet blocking properties in order to provide safe wear outdoors.

Most sunglasses are marked as to the amount and type of ultraviolet rays that it blocks. A decent pair of sunglasses will block 99-100% of both UVA and UVB rays. If you are not sure, most offices where you can buy prescription glasses should be able to test your sunglasses for UV blocking ability.

So at what age should we start wearing sunglasses? In reality, it is never too early to start protecting our eyes. Sunglasses are recommended and available even for small children. Starting the habit of wearing sunglasses at a young age can help protect the eyes over a lifetime.

If you have had trouble wearing sunglasses in the past because of poor vision, eyestrain or headaches it may be because the lenses were low quality or the frames were fitting poorly. A good pair of sunglasses with high quality lenses and a frame that is custom adjustable to you can often eliminate these problems. An undiagnosed prescription can also cause more eye strain when wearing sunglasses in which case a prescription sunglass might be the best solution.

Be sure to take the same care to protect your eyes as you do your skin. Wearing the right sunglasses will help reduce damage to the eyes from the sun and can make time spent outdoors more enjoyable. Enjoy your summer and don’t forget your eyes need protection too.

Brian Powell OD

Healthy Lifestyles CoverJune is Cataract Awareness Month….

Just what is a cataract?
Cataracts are a clouding of the lens inside our eyes. The lens lies behind the iris and pupil and is one of the main refracting components of the eye. Almost all patients have some type of vision complaint involving blurred vision when they come in for an eye exam….and yes sometimes their complaints are from beginning or advanced cataract formation.

What are the Symptoms of Cataracts?
Many patients who have cataracts complain of vision that is blurry, cloudy, filmy or foggy. They also may have problems with night vision and see star bursts around headlights or complain of glare from the sun. They may also have color vision perception changes if their lens turns yellowish since they are looking at everything through a yellow filter. Patients many times have shifts in their vision requiring a new prescription. Patients who are very critical with their vision may see secondary images or shadows around letters or objects.

What Causes Cataracts?
Most commonly, my answer to patients is birthdays and after a few seconds most patients smile and say oh! In other words, cataracts are a part of the normal aging process. More than half of all Americans over 65 have cataracts. Cataracts can also occur at younger ages for example in the 40s or 50s, but many do not adversely affect vision yet. Other types of cataracts can be congenital. Babies can be born with cataracts from infection, trauma or poor development. Secondary cataracts may be related to medical conditions like diabetes or from corticosteroid use or radiation treatment. Traumatic cataracts can occur from injury to the eye – old or new.

How are Cataracts diagnosed?
Cataracts are diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. Doctors can visualize the cataract and diagnose the type and severity. A doctor has to look through your lens or cataract to see the back of your eye and during that exam an experienced doctor gets an idea of the trouble you may be having seeing out.

Do all Cataracts have to come out?
Some cataracts that are just starting don’t really interfere with a patient’s vision and can be watched by their doctor either on a 6 month or 12 month basis depending on the type of cataract and level of vision. When cataracts advance enough to interfere with daily living activities, then it’s time to have surgery. The decision to proceed is driven by the patient that wants improved vision. I have personally seen cataracts that bother me more than they bother the patient and hence surgery is deferred!

Can we protect our eyes?
Wearing quality sunglasses that block ultraviolet light can help to delay certain types of cataracts and researchers believe that eating a diet rich with antioxidants may also delay cataract formation. If you smoke, stop. Scientists have also linked smoking to cataracts.

What can we do about them?
If cataracts don’t interfere with a patient’s vision then prescribing the best spectacle Rx can help and sunglasses can be used to control sun glare effectively. If a cataract is “visually significant” and a patient is having problems, then cataract surgery is the way to go. These days, cataract surgery has become routine and is done as an outpatient basis in ambulatory surgical centers. The surgery involves removing the old lens via a very small incision. The old clouded lens is removed and a new intraocular lens is inserted into the eye, often times through a very small incision that will heal on its own with no stiches. No blood and no stitches. Nice! The success rate and patient satisfaction with cataract surgery is very high and there are now lens choices to correct not only the distance vision so patients may not require distance glasses but also provide reading ability again. Wow!

After the age of 50 adults should have eye exams every year. During a complete eye exam cataracts can be diagnosed and a treatment or management plan put in place. Don’t fall behind with your eye care. Maintain your best vision and guard your eye health so you can enjoy life and see the world clearly!

New Eyewear Collections Arrive!

John Varvatos CollectionRock-inspired style arrives to our optical boutique through the John Varvatos Collection for Rem Eyewear.  Varvatos, best known as the celebrity mentor on NBC's Fashion Star, provides a touch of rock n' roll edge to classic eyewear styles.  The unisex collection offers a fashion-forward appearance and is complimentary to most face shapes.
O&X New York Eyeywear CollectionThe arrival of O&X New York eyewear offers up-to-the-minute style with bold and graceful elements.  Manufactured in Japan and drawing on centuries of craftsmanship, O&X Eyewear is executed in titanium, acetate, and plastic-titanium combinations for supreme comfort and long-lasting wear.  

We love helping people look and feel great about the frames they wear.  Whatever your age or eyewear needs, we have something for you! Call us at (845) 896-6700.

Optician Steve Gangel and Dr. Peralta
Optician Steve Gangel and Dr. Peralta
Eye Care Team Attends Vision Expo

Doctors Gary Weiner and Brian Peralta along with opticians Dawn and Steve Gangel, attended this year's International Vision Expo East – a premier product showcase and continuing education event for eye care professionals.  The conference is hosted at the Javits Center each Spring in New York City, and attracts more than 16,000 eye care professionals, industry professionals, and celebrity brand representatives.

Show your eyes some love
Dr. Weiner and optician Dawn Gangel
explore the floor of Vision Expo. 

The eye care team at Southern Dutchess Eye Care attends this important conference each year so patients in the Hudson Valley have access to the latest trends in eyewear and ophthalmic technology from around the world.

Show your eyes some loveShow your eyes some love. 

February is the perfect time to start a love affair with crisp, comfortable vision through contact lens wear. 

If you have astigmatism, presbyopia (bifocal vision), dry eyes, or a unique vision prescription, you may think you are unable to wear contacts. However, recent advancements in materials and lens designs, combined with our contact lens fitting expertise, make successful contact lens wear more likely than ever – even for the “hard-to-fit” eyes. 

Your doctors at Southern Dutchess Eye Care are contact lens specialists. As a result, when you visit our office we have the specialized technology, expertise, and access to newly released contact lens designs, so that we can find the right lens for you. 

Show your eyes some love this month by scheduling your contact lens exam today! Call us at (845) 896-6700.

Dr. PowellTips for Healthy Eyes this Season

Winter is just around the corner and it is that time of year when we are thinking of others and wishing everyone the best for their holidays. These are a few a tips to help ensure that your eyes are also happy and healthy during this holiday season.

Stay hydrated. As the weather gets colder the heat dials get cranked at work, at home and in the car. All this heat causes the air to get very dry. Our skin dries out and our eyes get dry as well. This dryness can cause mild irritation in the eyes, tearing, redness or blurry vision. Lack of sleep can also hinder normal tear production. Being sure to get needed rest and to drink more water this time of year can help to ensure our bodies have what they need to produce a healthy tear film. If hydrating isn’t enough, artificial tears can help.

Wear sunglasses. We associate wearing sunglasses with long hot summer days or trips to the beach, but once the coats come out the sunglasses tend to go into hibernation. Anyone who has been out shoveling their driveway or gone to the slopes on a sunny winter day knows just how intense the winter sun can be. Although we get less hours of sunlight in the winter, when it comes out there is still the danger of UV exposure to our skin and eyes. Protecting our eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays helps protect against cataracts and macular degeneration as well as ultraviolet keratitis (a painful swelling of the cornea from too much UV exposure).

Eat your veggies. Cold weather equals comfort foods. Who wants a salad after driving home in a blizzard? During the winter season our bodies crave foods that will pack on the pounds and insulate us for the cold months ahead. We may also have difficulty finding a good variety of vegetables in our grocery stores because they are out of season. Every system in our body benefits from good nutrition and while it is harder this time of year it is important to keep eating right. Green leafy vegetables like spinach contain vitamins and antioxidants that help not only normal eye function, but can reduce risks of damage to the eyes from diseases like macular degeneration. There are also beneficial vitamins found in carrots, citrus fruits and bell peppers and certain meats like salmon, contain omega 3s. These omega 3s are important in healthy tear production and retinal health and can also be found in flax seed oil or over the counter supplements.

Wash your hands. It is not news that washing our hands and covering our mouths or nose when we cough or sneeze can help reduce the spread of colds. The viruses that cause colds or the flu can also affect our eyes and cause conjunctivitis or “pink eye”. You should wash your hands often especially if you have been shaking hands or if you yourself have a cold. If you are sick try to avoid touching or rubbing your eyes as this can transfer viruses to your eyes.

See your doctor. While any time of year is appropriate for a check-up, if you have met your insurance deductible or have flex spending dollars to use up this is a great time of year to use those benefits and not let them go to waste. If you are thinking of starting that new diet or workout plan for the new year, now is the time to see your doctor and be sure you are healthy enough to do so. Good eyesight is critical this time of year as we drive more at night and in more dangerous conditions. It is also important to remember that some eye diseases may begin with little or no symptoms, but can be detected early through routine eye exams and treated before loss of vision can occur. Make sure you are doing what you can to ensure your eyes are healthy and be sure to enjoy your holidays.

Published in Southern Dutchess News - Healthy Lifestyle

Drs Powell and Weiner attended the Hudson Valley Optometric Society Fall’s continuing education seminar this past month.

Course work included varied topics related to the delivery of primary eye care from dry eye to neurological pathology. Dr. Powell is the current Vice President; and Dr. Weiner is serving in an advisory position as a board member of the Hudson Valley Optometric Association.

Dr. Peralta recently attended a three day East West Conference, a premier Optometric Continuing Education event held in Cleveland, Ohio.

Course work included recent and updated research pertaining to children’s vision. Additional course work included updates on glaucoma, macular degeneration and dry eye syndrome. “I always come home with new information that will benefit my patients” says Dr. Peralta.

Ocular Complications of DiabetesDr. Powell

November is American Diabetes Month, which is part of the effort by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) to raise awareness about this disease. The ADA estimates that nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes with another 79 million at risk for developing type 2 diabetes which equates to about one third of our population having, or currently at risk for, diabetes.

Diabetes can affect almost every system within our bodies and certainly can create problems with our eyes. Most of these ocular complications could be considered minor, but there is a risk for blindness or permanent vision loss which can occur if unmonitored or untreated.

One effect of diabetes on the eyes is a shift in vision caused by a drastic change in blood sugar levels. The eyes may become significantly more nearsighted, causing trouble focusing far away, or farsighted, creating difficulty with reading or seeing objects up close. These shifts can occur both with an unhealthy rise in blood sugar levels or when medications to control diabetes begin to bring these levels back to normal. These shifts can be permanent, but often are temporary with a need for better blood sugar control to bring the vision back to normal.

Many people suffer from dry eyes in the absence of diabetes, but diabetes has been linked to a higher risk for ocular dryness and increased severity of its symptoms. It is estimated that over half of those diagnosed with diabetes have dry eyes with the most common complaints being a foreign body sensation or burning in the eyes. Other signs of dryness can include blurry or fluctuating vision, eye fatigue or even excessive tearing.

Diabetics are more susceptible to develop cataracts and tend to have them at an earlier age than those without diabetes. Cataracts are caused by a change within a lens located inside the eye just behind the pupil. Over time as the lens ages it becomes cloudy allowing less light to enter the eye. The development of cataracts can cause changes in one’s prescription and early signs can be increased glare or decreased contrast sensitivity. Ultimately when a cataract matures enough the only solution is surgery to remove the cataract.

Double vision can also occur with diabetes when the extra-ocular muscles, (the muscles around the eye that are responsible for eye movements) are affected. This double vision will usually resolve with better blood sugar control, but symptoms can last weeks or even months. Special lenses containing prisms that help correct double vision can be prescribed on a temporary or permanent basis to allow one to drive or perform other daily visual tasks. Double vision can have many underlying causes other than diabetes, some of them life threatening, so anyone noticing sudden symptoms of double vision should see an eye care professional immediately.

The most severe complications of diabetes in the eye occur within the retina and a dilated eye examination is the best way to check this part of the eye. The retina contains photoreceptors and is responsible for capturing the light that enters the eye. There are many small blood vessels that supply the retina that enter through the back of the eye. Over time diabetes can weaken these blood vessels and cause them to leak fluid or blood into the layers of the retina. The amount of bleeding can be minor in the beginning causing little or no noticeable change in vision, but can progress to a more severe, or proliferative, form of retinopathy. If there is fluid buildup in the part of the retina that is responsible for central vision called the macula, eyesight can be drastically reduced that can even result in blindness. Fortunately if caught early enough, this can often be treated with a laser by a retinal specialist with vision being greatly improved or even restored to normal. The more uncontrolled the blood sugar levels and the longer one has diabetes, the greater the risk for this type of damage to occur.

With the risks to vision and complications associated with this disease, checking your eyes is an integral part of monitoring and treating diabetes. If you have diabetes it is recommended that you have a comprehensive eye examination every 12 months or more frequently if deemed necessary by your eye care professional or if complications arise. The results of this examination should be communicated with your internist or endocrinologist to help determine if the treatment you are receiving is controlling diabetes sufficiently. Early detection is important in preserving your sight and controlling blood sugar levels is key in reducing complications from diabetes.

Published in Southern Dutchess News - Healthy Lifestyle

Smoking Can Cause BlindnessDr. Powell

We are well aware of the negative effects that smoking has on our bodies, such as increased risk for lung cancer, heart disease and hypertension, but what about our eyes?  Smoking can cause changes to the health of our eyes resulting in anything from decreased comfort to blindness.

Dry Eyes
Smoking causes changes to the ocular surface which can decrease the amount of tears on the eye’s surface.  This lubricating tear film helps protect our eyes from microorganisms and can also keep irritants like dust and pollens at bay.  Besides a feeling of dryness or fatigue other symptoms of a compromised tear film include redness, irritation, increased allergy symptoms, decreased vision and increased sensitivity to light.  Without a healthy tear film the eye is more susceptible to infections and inflammation.  Contact lens wear often becomes less comfortable or intolerable.

Cataracts are not an eye disease, but rather an aging change that occurs within the crystalline lens found just behind the pupil inside the eye.  As this lens ages it can become cloudy and reduce the quantity and quality of light entering the eye.  Smoking can cause cataracts to develop at an earlier age and cause them to be more severe.  Cataracts can cause changes to your prescription resulting in a need to update your glasses.  Early on there can be more glare in sunlight or with night driving which leads eventually to a general reduction in vision.  Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide.

Optic Nerve Damage and Vascular Disease
Smoking can cause arteriosclerosis which is a hardening of the arteries.  This can cause decreased blood flow through the many small blood vessels entering and leaving the eye leading to artery or vein occlusion.  These occlusions can result in permanent vision loss throughout large areas of the retina.  Decreased blood flow to the optic nerve can lead to a condition called ischemic optic neuropathy which is another leading cause of blindness. 

Macular Degeneration
Age related macular degeneration is a disease that affects the central vision of the eye.  The damage can be severe enough that you can no longer read, drive or recognize faces and best vision even with glasses can be reduced to 20/200 or worse.  Studies have shown smoking to be a direct cause of macular degeneration and can triple the risk of developing the disease as well as increasing the severity of the vision loss.  Loss of vision due to macular degeneration can happen very quickly and ignoring early signs of vision changes can result in drastic permanent loss of sight.

So what can be done about these changes to the eye from smoking? 
If you are concerned about the changes smoking may have already caused, early detection can be key in helping stop or slow progression.  Your eye care professional can help diagnose and treat adverse ocular effects from smoking; however, if you are a smoker the biggest positive step you can take is to stop smoking.  Some risks factors from smoking are reduced within minutes of stopping, while others may take years to overcome, but in most cases quitting does decrease negative health risks to your body.  This positive effect will increase not only the health of your eyes, but also your whole body.

Published in Southern Dutchess News - Healthy Lifestyle

Back to School Vision and LearningDr. Powell

Another summer is almost over and it is nearly time for the kids to get back to school. They’ve got the new clothes, school supplies and back packs readied, but what about their eyes?

80% of learning in school is visual and it is estimated that 1 in 4 children attending school have an undiagnosed vision problem. It is important to have your child’s eyes checked regularly to be sure they are not at a disadvantage in the classroom.

If a child has trouble seeing the board or reading a book they can lose interest or spend more effort trying to decipher blurred images rather than devoting more of their attention to learning and comprehending. Sometimes the eyes can have difficulty working together or aligning properly to avoid double vision. This can cause headaches or eyestrain even with “perfect” vision.

Children entering Kindergarten often have not had a comprehensive eye examination. Schools usually require a note from the pediatrician showing adequate vision, but is this enough? A screening does not always detect issues with near vision, problems using the two eyes together or adequately check the overall health of the eyes. At a young age it is important to be sure that both eyes have good vision far and near and that they work well together. If one eye sees better than the other or if there is a slight eye turn this could cause a permanent deficiency in vision in the worse eye due to poor development between the eye and the brain. This condition is referred to as Amblyopia or lazy eye and if caught early enough can often be corrected by glasses, vision therapy and/or muscle surgery.

As children grow so do their eyes. Some conditions like myopia (nearsightedness) or astigmatism (distortion in vision due to an irregularly shaped cornea) may show up after a child has been in school for a few years. Most kids won’t notice a change until it is significant or they may be reluctant to talk about it for fear of needing glasses. When these children finally come in parents are often surprised at how “bad” their child’s eyes are. Even a slight decrease in vision from 20/20 to 20/30 can be enough to hinder learning and this is a change that can easily occur in less than a year’s time.

Junior high and high school students face greater visual demands. More reading, larger classrooms, more time and skill needed for sports and learning to drive are some of the factors determining the need for good vision throughout the whole day. A move to contacts at this age may be necessary to ensure that your teen is wearing their prescription when they should be; to boost their self-confidence and help them perform better while participating in sports.

Recommendations for eye examinations for school age children start with a comprehensive eye exam before entering kindergarten. During this examination the eye doctor will test your child’s vision, the ability of their eyes to work together and the overall health of the eyes. This examination is important in ruling out risks for amblyopia and determining if your child needs glasses for school. If your child is healthy and has no vision issues it is recommended to return every 1-2 years for a comprehensive eye exam.

If your child needs glasses or has an ocular health issue they will usually need to be seen every year or more frequently if recommended by your doctor. Remember, if one or both parents wear glasses there is a greater chance a child will also eventually need them. If there is a family history of eye disease it may be necessary to have your child’s eyes examined more frequently.

If it has been 2 years or more since your child’s last eye exam or if your child has never had their eyes checked, now is the time to have them see an eye care professional. When your child heads off to school this fall, make sure you are giving them every advantage.

Published in Southern Dutchess News - Healthy Lifestyle

Hey Mom….I really want contact lenses: Pre-Teens and Teens How about it?Dr. Peralta

I am often asked by parents at what age a child can have or wear contact lenses. Often times there have been big discussions at home (probably quite entertaining) before getting to our office for the annual eye examination. These conversations have usually been preceded by exemplified behavior and pleading from youngsters to show their parents that…well they really can or will be responsible: bedrooms get cleaned up, homework is done early, the lawn gets cut and the dog is taken care of etc…

I really enjoy a kid’s exam for contact lenses. Youngsters are usually excited about seeing better, the exam doesn’t hurt and contact lenses are something new and something that makes them a little more “grown up”. One of the first conversations we have is that contact lenses are medical devices that have to be fit and monitored by an eye care professional. Furthermore, since they are a medical device a certain level of maturity is needed and expected from the youngster. At this point the kids are usually squirming a little in the chair and the parent is happy that this conversation is taking place. I use the analogy of an asthma inhaler as a medical device and make a connection for the child that way and tell them that if a kid has an inhaler, goes to physical education and has an asthma problem during class, but left the inhaler in his locker, is that mature or responsible? Everyone gets it.

Point number two: hygiene. For a younger child, if the parent still has to remind their child to take a shower daily, then the child is probably too young for contact lenses. If there are any dirty hand or fingernail issues that I observe during the exam, then this is also a contraindication. Waiting another year is going to be the best option for this child and as we all know as a parent, this gets better.

One other basic contraindication is a history of bad seasonal allergies. Although this is not a total contraindication, because of excellent oral and topical medications that are available, during peak allergy season, no one with bad allergies should be using contact lenses as this can exacerbate ocular symptoms.

What contacts are the best for pre-teens or teens? Hands down…single use, daily wear lenses. These lenses have been around for a while now and are widely accepted by both doctors and patients. Single use lenses are opened daily from a sterile package, used for that day and then discarded at the end of the day. There is no cleaning of the contact lenses and this is a big plus for all patients but especially a young one. If they adhere to this schedule of use on a daily wear basis, then this lens options is going to make the patient the most successful, provide the best vision and safeguard their ocular health and that’s what it’s all about. There are several excellent companies who make single use lenses even for astigmatism and strong prescriptions.

What can go wrong? Contact lens problems or eye infections from contact lenses are all related to non-compliance from over wear or wearing old or dirty contact lenses. Their presentation can be from minor redness to serious corneal ulcers. In my years of practice, I have seen and treated these problems with strong medications and heard all of the stories and confessions. Surprisingly, the preteen or teen age group is really rarely affected by noncompliance issues and the single use contact lenses really help them in this regard. I usually tell patients that they need to: look good, feel good and see well with their contact lenses and that if any one of these three things isn’t right, don’t wear the lens and contact me.

Contact lenses for the right child are a great vision option. They are fabulous for sports and eliminate the need for glasses that could hinder performance. Many times, teens are self-conscious about wearing strong prescriptions and contact lenses are a great solution to this. It also eliminates trips to the office to have glasses repaired from rough housing and normal kid use which is only normal for this age group. All in all, the decision to be fitted with contact lenses is a parent/child/doctor decision and at the correct time is a really beneficial, safe and fun vision option.

Published in Southern Dutchess News - Healthy Lifestyle

Contacts for SummerDr. Powell

Summertime is here and with upcoming vacations and outdoor excursions it is a perfect time to get out of your glasses and into contacts. While many people seek out contacts for cosmetic reasons, it is hard to deny that wearing glasses can sometimes be restrictive in other ways. Having glasses slipping down your nose on a hot day or when being active, getting sweat, water or other debris on them or not being able to put on a regular pair of sunglasses on a sunny day can be a hassle.

Contacts are available for almost any prescription that is correctable with glasses and with the advent of new materials and cleaning solutions a greater number of people are able to be fit into more comfortable lenses than ever before. Traditional soft contact lens materials are made from a hydrophilic or water loving material that soaks up water when in a storing or cleaning solution. These lenses will tend to lose some of that moisture during the day when they are worn which for some can lead to a sensation of dryness, discomfort or blurry vision towards the end of the day. Newer materials, called silicone hydrogels, contain a component that is hydrophobic and is more permeable to oxygen. The result is a lens that is healthier, more comfortable, feels more moist and provides clearer vision throughout the day.

Some types of prescriptions may require the use of hard or rigid gas permeable lenses. These lenses also are very oxygen permeable and do not dry out over the course of the day. Because they are less pliable than soft lenses they can sometimes feel less comfortable especially for a new wearer. People with very high prescriptions, irregular shaped corneas or who have a history of certain corneal disorders or transplants may be able to correct their vision to a level better than glasses with the use of rigid gas permeable lenses. In order to determine what type of contacts are right for you, your doctor will measure your prescription for glasses. A careful inspection of the cornea and tear film will be performed to be sure your eyes are healthy enough to wear contact lenses. In our office we also do a corneal topography which is a mapping of the front of the eye. This gives us a measurement of the overall shape of the eye and can also give us information about potential corneal disorders. This complete examination will determine what type and size contacts are best for your prescription and eye shape.

Popular types of contact lenses

One day disposables are a popular choice for new and also infrequent wearers or for people who tend to have drier eyes. These lenses are worn for the day and then discarded when they are removed. There are also some brands available that can correct for astigmatism. While daily disposable lenses may cost more than some other types there is no cost of solutions involved since they are not a part of the everyday care of the lenses and they are very convenient.

Two week lenses were made very popular several years ago as an alternative to longer lasting lenses. Lenses that were worn for 30 days or more, even with overnight cleaning, would still have a tendency to build up protein deposits from the tears in the eyes. Over time these proteins could denature the lens causing them to become more dry, less comfortable and causing blurry vision. With two week lenses, contacts were worn daily, removed and cleaned at night and then discarded after two weeks of wear before significant build-up could occur.

One month lenses tend to offer similar benefits to two week lenses and with the newer materials available the most oxygen permeable lenses are of the monthly variety. Both the monthly and two week contacts are available in the silicone hydrogel material and are available in a wide range of powers for the correction of astigmatism.

Frequent replacement and yearly lenses are generally prescribed for those needing a more custom prescription. Lenses may be replaced every three to four months or up to once a year. These lenses may be made of soft lens materials, hard lens materials or a hybrid of both soft and hard lens materials. These types of lenses may be prescribed for someone with a high prescription, a lot of astigmatism or an irregular cornea.

Trouble reading? You may be someone who stopped wearing contacts because you could no longer read when wearing them. Several new contacts have hit the market in the past few years that can not only correct for both distance and reading, but are also available in the newer silicone hydrogel materials. With the newer updated designs more patients are finding that they can see clearly to drive and to read and use the computer and can wear the lenses comfortably for the whole day. These types of lenses can be hard or soft and are available in daily disposable (to a limited degree), two week and one month modalities.

Corneal reshaping or corneal refractive therapy. This is a non-surgical and less expensive alternative to LASIK surgery for the eyes. While this type of contact lens is not available for everyone, it may help you if you are nearsighted. CRT lenses are worn overnight and during their wear they reshape or flatten the eye to make it less nearsighted and are removed during the day. After the initial transition period a successfully fit CRT wearer will have clear vision during the day without the use of contacts. The change is not permanent, however, which means that the lens needs to be worn every night to retain the shape of the eye. Using this lens allows the wearer to see clear if they get up in the middle of the night with the contacts in and to see clearly during the day with them out of the eyes. CRT users do not need to wear glasses, can wear regular sunglasses if desired and do not need to worry about swimming with lenses in or having lenses dry up or become more uncomfortable during the day.

If you have ever wanted to try contacts or have stopped because of vision or comfort issues it may be worth trying again. With better materials, solutions, expanded parameters and more consistent quality in lenses it is likely your experience with contacts now will be a positive one. Visit your eye care professional and find out what lenses may be right for your eyes, then enjoy the summer and show everyone the new you.

Published in Southern Dutchess News - Healthy Lifestyle

"Daddy My Eyes Hurt Me"Dr. Peralta

We were lucky enough to get away for 4 days this past April to Puerto Rico and one evening after a full day of great weather we were waiting on line with several families for ice cream when a little boy in front of us remarked: “Daddy my eyes hurt me.”  After a beautiful sunny day on the beach, it was easy to see that the little boy had had too much sun and had a fair amount of sunburn.  It happens. 

What the Dad probably didn’t know was that his son also had a corneal burn or keratitis from the sun.  The next day I couldn’t help but notice that most of the adults were wearing sunglasses at the beach, but the kids were not.

A survey of interest by Johnson and Johnson showed that while 85 percent of Americans recognize that ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage their eyes, only 65 percent wear sunglasses as protection, and even fewer (39 percent) make sure their children wear sunglasses.  By comparison, 78 percent make sure their children wear sunscreen when outdoors. Yikes!

Both the UVA and UVB rays in the sun can damage the eyes.  The UVB causes the sunburn on the cornea while the UVA penetrates deeper into the eye and can damage the macula and crystalline lens; leading to macular degeneration and cataracts.  Both of these diseases show up later in life and it’s impossible to know how much exposure actually causes damage or at what rate over time.  So it is vital to protect our young children’s eyes and vision.

Parents make really good efforts to protect their child’s skin from too much sun, but apparently we have fallen short in the sunglass department.  It’s all about having a decent pair of sunglasses available that actually fit well and block out 99-100% of UVA and UVB light. 

Jublo is company that makes sunglasses for infants, toddlers, elementary age kids through teens and for the young at heart.  The line is modestly priced and designed for each age group so that they fit and are of course “cool.”  The lens optics are great, provide 100%UV protection and are shatter proof.  So protect your young ones with not only sunblock but also a good pair of sunglasses…. especially for a bright day at the beach. They’re really worth the small investment.

Dr. Peralta

Vision Expo 2012 NYC

Drs. Peralta, Powell and Weiner attended this year’s vision expo in NYC located at the Jacob Javits center. Thousands of ophthalmic professionals travel to this event to experience one of the largest and most extensive eye conferences in the world. Over three hundred continuing education hours were offered and the newest ophthalmic equipment is displayed over three floors. Southern Dutchess Eyecare doctors and staff take pride in providing the latest in technical equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of eye disease.

Steve, Dawn and Jun, our licensed opticians were also in attendance and were able to browse new European frame lines and update current ones. They will be happy to share their knowledge and provide you with the latest in style and they can recommend the most technically advanced ophthalmic lenses specifically for you.

Early Spring May Mean A Long Allergy SeasonDr. Powell

Thanks to an unseasonably warm winter many trees and flowers have bloomed early and with the temperatures on the rise again we can expect more to come.  Each different bloom brings with it a new breed of pollen and potentially allergic reactions putting a damper on outdoor activities.

Like many in the US a large portion of people in our region suffer from allergies during this part of the year with most of those having ocular symptoms.

The same pollens you see building up on your parked car can be airborne and then stick to your skin and hair.  During the day these pollens may be breathed in or rubbed into your eyes with your hands.  At night they can rub off from your hair, onto your pillow and then into your face and again in close proximity to where you breathe.  This in part may be why some people notice increased allergy symptoms upon waking.

Common allergic responses in the eyes can include redness, swelling, itching and tearing.  Even if your eyes don’t seem affected by allergies they may still become dry affecting your vision and ocular comfort.

When allergens such as pollen come in contact with the eye they cause the release of histamines that create the classic itch associated with allergies, as well as other mediators that can cause redness and inflammation.  The cells responsible for this release are called mast cells.  Eyes that are dry or have a decreased tear film are more susceptible to this reaction since allergens have greater access to the eye’s surface and are less apt to be flushed away from the eyes by the tears.

For some, allergies are more than seasonal.  Perennial allergies can be caused by irritants that are present year round like smoke, dust or pet dander.  These allergies symptoms can be intensified by the presence of additional seasonal factors.

Relief from allergic symptoms is often sought in the form of over the counter (OTC) drops, oral medications or nasal sprays.  While there is some literature that suggests that nasal sprays can help reduce ocular in addition to nasal symptoms, they also carry a slight risk for development of cataracts, ocular hypertension and glaucoma.  The use of oral medications may increase the incidence of dry eye and may not be as effective as nasal sprays or eye drops for the treatment of nasal or ocular allergy symptoms.

Over the counter drops such as Naphcon-A and Visine-A are often used for the relief of ocular allergy symptoms because they contain a combination of anti-histamine to relieve itching and a vasoconstrictor to literally constrict the blood vessels of the eye or “get the red out”.  The problem with these OTC drops is that they relieve symptoms for only a few hours and need to be used several times a day to be effective and the preservatives in these drops can irritate the ocular surface and actually worsen allergy symptoms over time.
Because the tear film plays a crucial role in the protection of the eye artificial tears can often be used as a first line of defense to combat or prevent ocular allergies. The recommended dosage is usually one drop per eye two to four times a day depending upon severity of symptoms.  Artificial tears are also safe for any age, can be used as often as needed and are available in preserved and non-preserved formulas which are considered safe (category A) for pregnant women. 

When artificial tears alone are not enough anti-histamines can be used to combat itching symptoms.  The best anti-allergy medicines for the eye contain mast cell stabilizing properties as well as an anti-histamine.  These drops will work relatively quickly (within minutes) to reduce itching and then shut down mast cell activity which prevents future allergy symptoms including itch, redness and inflammation over the course of treatment.  These drops are usually prescribed for once or twice daily dosage depending on the concentration.  Some of these drops are approved for children as young as 2 years old and most are considered category C (might be harmful to fetus), but there is a safer category B alternative for use during pregnancy.

For someone who may be experiencing more than seasonal allergies and may have ocular symptoms year round the best solution may be a prophylactic mast cell stabilizer without an anti-histamine component.  These drops are used before the onset of symptoms to temper future allergic reactions.  If allergies are more severe or not responding to allergy medications topical steroids may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and get the reaction under control.

With so many different types of treatment available it can be difficult to decide what to take or who to see for your allergies.  If you are experiencing allergy symptoms in your eyes it is best to see your eye care professional to take care of these symptoms.  Your doctor can provide a therapy plan that is suited for you.  For those who experience more severe allergies, if possible it is always best to see your doctor before symptoms begin to help reduce their impact.  So with a long allergy season ahead it is not too late to get those allergies under control and enjoy the great weather.

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month.Dr. Peralta

Glaucoma is estimated to affect 2.2 million Americans and is a major cause of vision loss in the United States.  The purpose of today’s article is to remind readers that early detection and treatment is the best way to prevent vision loss and to urge everyone to have a comprehensive dilated eye examination.

What Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that can damage the optic nerve. Our optic nerves relay the information that we see from our eyes to our brain. Very simply, if the nerve is damaged, what we see will be affected adversely until ultimately there is no picture at all. The most common form of glaucoma is associated with elevated eye pressure and is called primary open angle glaucoma. In this type of glaucoma the higher pressure in the eye results in nerve damage. Other forms of glaucoma include low tension glaucoma. Some studies suggest that up to 30% of all glaucoma is not associated with an elevated eye pressure. In this type of glaucoma, it’s thought that the nerve is either more fragile or there may be a problem with blood flow to the nerve.  Unfortunately, there are no symptoms with these types of glaucoma in the early stages. Lowering eye pressure, usually with eye drops initially, is the first line of treatment for both of these conditions. Other types of glaucoma include angle closure glaucoma. The angle is like a drain in our eyes and some people have angles or drains that are very narrow and susceptible to closing off and if that happens, the pressure can rise to very high levels fast. This type of glaucoma does have symptoms and causes severe pain, nausea, blurred vision and a red eye. This is a medical emergency and if no eye doctor is available, you should proceed to the emergency room for evaluation and treatment. Left untreated, angle closure glaucoma can cause blindness in one or two days. Along with drops, and oral medications, this type of glaucoma is treated with laser surgery to clear the blockage. There are also secondary glaucomas. Suffice it to say that these types of glaucoma are associated with or complications from other medical conditions.  

Who’s At Risk?
Anyone can develop glaucoma, but some people are at higher risk: African Americans over 40, everyone over the age of 60 especially Mexican Americans and people with a family history of glaucoma.

Can Glaucoma Be Cured?
No. There is no cure and vision lost from the disease cannot be restored. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to prevent vision loss.

How Is Glaucoma Diagnosed?
Diagnosis for those at risk begins with a comprehensive eye examination that includes dilation of the eyes to carefully examine the optic nerve for abnormalities. In addition to measuring the intraocular pressure, other tests such as computerized visual field testing and optical coherence tomography will be ordered to further evaluate a patient’s risk for glaucoma. These last two tests utilize the latest technology and are sophisticated pieces of equipment that can help look for vision loss and early damage to the optic nerve. Assessing the anatomy of the eye with a special lens to look at the drain or the angle of the eye will also be used as well as measuring the thickness of your cornea.

How Is Glaucoma Treated?
As mentioned, glaucoma is treated with eye drops, laser procedures, conventional surgery or any combination of these.

What Should You Do?
As part of Glaucoma Awareness Month, you should have a comprehensive dilated eye examination if you haven’t had one in the last year or two. If you fall into the higher risk categories you should be evaluated sooner than later. Help spread the word to friends and family members who are in higher risk groups. If you have glaucoma, call family members and urge them to have their eyes checked. Remember that early detection and treatment is the best way to prevent vision loss from glaucoma. For more information check out these sites on the web: 

The Glaucoma Foundation - 
and the American Optometric Association -

Find out if you are a candidate for LASIK.
LASIK Consult Event at All Sport Gym


Monday, January 30, 2012 - 5:30PM - 8:30PM

Local optometrists and All Sport club members Drs. Peralta, Powell and Weiner of Southern Dutchess Eye Care and Drs. Chenarides and Roodner of East Fishkill Eye Associates will be teaming together with lasik surgeon and corneal specialist Jodi Abramson M.D. of TLC Laser Eye Center in White Plains to host an informal consultation event for prospective laser vision correction patients.

Plan on stopping by to see if laser vision correction should be on your New Year's resolution list for 2012!

  Find Out If Your a Candidate for Lasik - Monday, January 30, 2012

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