The “Pressing” Need to Talk About Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a general name for a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve of the eye. Glaucoma prevents the eye from sending accurate visual information to the brain.
Usually assoceye-anatomy-paid-depositphotos_22304043_xsiated with gradual (and sometimes sudden) increases in pressure within the eyeball itself, glaucoma can result in partial or total blindness over time. The damage caused by glaucoma is irreversible, and it is currently the second-leading cause of blindness in Americans over age 40 in the United States.

Glaucoma Statistics

Currently, glaucoma affects nearly 2.5 million Americans. And while anyone can develop glaucoma, the disease is most common in people over age 40, particularly African Americans. Glaucoma is five times more likely to affect African Americans than Caucasians, and roughly four times more likely to cause blindness.

In addition, people with a family history of glaucoma stand at a higher risk to develop the disease, and anyone over age 60, particularly Mexican Americans, faces an increased risk of glaucoma.

Special thanks to the EyeGlass Guide, for informational material that aided in the creation of this website. Visit the EyeGlass Guide today!

New Ways to Check the Pressure WITHOUT a Puff of Air

At Malara Eyecare & Eyewear Gallery we use the ICare Tonometer to check the pressure in your eyes accurately and without discomfort.  We also use Goldman Applanation Tonometry, expecially with patients already diagnosed with Glaucoma.


Can an Eye Exam Save Your Child’s Life?

A new mom, Stacey Zellers, had taken her 8 month-old daughter, Grace, to the optometrist for her InfantSEE(R) eye health and vision assessment. The optometrist detected a white retinal mass, and referred her to a pediatric ophthalmologist where a retinoblastoma diagnosis was confirmed. Grace’s parents, under the advice of her doctors, chose surgery to remove the eye. Stacey called American Optometric Association and left a “thank you for saving my child’s life” message on voicemail. Grace is now in good health and has adjusted well to her prosthesis. As a result of Grace’s experience, Stacey has become a mother on a mission to spread the word about the importance of early infant vision care and early diagnosis of vision problems or eye health concerns.

Retinoblastomas, Melanomas, Lyphomas and other cancers can be detected through a comprehensive eye exam. Our offices participate in the American Optometric Association’s InfantSEE(R) Program which entitles a free eye health assessment for any child 6-12 months old, regardless of family income.

“When should I get my child’s eyes checked?

Good question! Dr. Malara and Dr. Durkin recommend an examination at:
*6 months
*3 years
*Every year during school

Call our offices or schedule an appointment online at today!

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Ouch! My Eye Hurts!

What to do when your eye hurts.

Ouch!  My Eye Hurts!

At some point in everyone’s life these words are uttered…What do you do?  That all depends on the answers to these questions:

1.  What Hurts?
I know this sounds like a silly question, but it’s not.  Do both eyes hurt?  Do they hurt all of the time or with a specific movement?  What part of the eye or eyes hurt?  Can you do anything to make the eye not hurt?  Do you know when or how this started?  Answering these questions will help you understand the urgency of the situation and give the medical staff the information to treat you best.

2.  What Is Your Eye’s Response?
Is your eye watering?  Is there goop coming out? Do bright lights cause pain?  Is your eyelid swelling as a response?  Is there itching or redness?  Many times, your body knows what’s wrong and it’s trying to communicate with you how to solve the problem.

3.  Who Is Best Equipped To Solve The Problem?
When it comes to the eyes, you want to call an eye doctor.  They are the best equipped to diagnose or treat eye-related issues.  Primary physicians have a broad scope of training and equipment to handle a variety of issues, but eye care is all we do.  Which eye doctor?  Should you see an Optometrist or an Ophthalmologist?  That depends on the injury, the experience of the eye doctor, and the availability of the appointment.  Ophthalmologists are surgeons and Optometrists are not.  Do you need a surgeon for this eye problem or a therapeutically-trained Optometrist who can diagnose the problem, prescribe medicine to relieve it, and follow up with you during convenient hours?  Many Optometrists also have a network of surgeons that they refer to, so you don’t have to chose someone out of the phone book.

When you find yourself saying, “Ouch!  My eye hurts!”, ask the questions and let us help you.

Time…what is it worth?

We’ve asked a lot of people, “What do you like most about Malara Eyecare & Eyewear Gallery?” and for many people the answer is, “The Doctor takes time for me.”

How much is your time worth?time

Most people get paid by the hour or have the possibility of making more money for the hours that they work.  In our society it is almost expected that you will wait for your doctors.  There is an unwritten rule that states that “The Doctor’s time is more valuable than yours.”  What other profession has a “Waiting” Room?

What does Malara Eyecare do to value your time?

1.  Convenient hours available so you don’t have to take time out of work or other important activities.
2.  Email, texting, and personal phone call reminders so you can be on time for the time set aside to see the doctor.
3.  Easily accessible online medical history form, so that your time in the office is to see the doctor and not fill out forms.
4.  Friendly, prepared staff to assist you with any extra paperwork, insurance benefits, eyewear selections, and diagnostic testing.
5.  Intentionally carved out time for you to have a thorough eye exam with the doctor and to have any questions answered.  You never have to feel rushed or unimportant, because this is your time and your eyes are the reason we are here.

What are some other time-saving options here?

We are excited to offer the optomap(R) Retinal Imaging for a dilated view without the time and blurriness of dilation drops.  This 200 degree image of the back of your eyes only takes a quarter of a second to take, for a minimal cost.

Another time-saving option is an easy to find tab on our homepage called “What To Expect During Your Exam.”  This tab gives detailed information about what will be examined and what you should bring to your exam.

Your time is valuable…and so are you.

Rainy Glare, Go Away…

I talk to patients every day that complain about debilitating glare when driving at night in the rain.  Sometimes rainy glare will keep a person inside when they want to enjoy activities with family and friends.umbrella

Why does rain affect our eyes so much and how can we stop it?
Glare 101.  Glare, haze, and starbursts are caused by scattered light picked up by our retinas.  The question is: What is scattering the light?  Are you getting glare from inside your eye (your cornea, lens or floating debris in the vitreous) or from outside influences (your contact lenses, glasses, or windshield)?  Let’s look at each of these sources of glare and how to stop them from affecting our vision.

  1. Glare from your cornea.  The cornea is the front surface of the eye and does 2/3 of your focusing.  The cornea needs to have a smooth and uniform tear film that moisturizes, sanitizes and brings nutrients to the front surface of the eyes.  Sometimes, the cornea can get dry and those dry spots cause discomfort and glare.  It can also have some swelling or haze due to injury, diabetes, or corneal dystrophies, which can also cause glare.  If your cornea is the source of your glare, try some artificial tears and, if that doesn’t solve the problem, see your eye doctor.
  2. Glare from your lens.  The lens is inside your eye behind the pupil opening.  The lens changes shape to focus images up close and far away.  Year after year the lens structure and clarity changes and eventually cataracts are formed.  Cataracts are dense areas in your lens that block or scatter light, many times causing glare.  Your eye doctor will be able to help you know when the cataracts are bothering you enough to see a surgeon.
  3. Glare from debris in the vitreous.  Most of the time, floaters are a normal aging change that occurs in everyone’s eyes.  Occasionally, these can be associated with retinal tears or detachment.  Sometimes debris in the vitreous can come from a retinal hemorrhage or other reasons and should be diagnosed and treated by your eye doctor.  Glare is sometimes caused by light bouncing off these floaters inside your eyes.
  4. Glare from your contact lenses.  If your contacts are old, dry, or the wrong prescription, they can distort or scatter the light that comes into your eyes.  A yearly contact lens fitting, regular replacement, and annual cornea check can help with this kind of glare.
  5. Glare from your glasses.  Dirty, out of date glasses can make vision difficult, especially in low light situations. Anti reflective and anti glare coatings have been clinically proven to reduce glare from glasses and enhance night driving vision.  Talk to your eye doctor about Crizal(R) coatings to see if they could be the right choice for you.
  6. Glare from your windshield.  Any smudges, dirt, oils, rain or snow can and will distort light and cause glare.  Take the time to clean the windshield inside and out when you begin to notice nighttime glare.
  7. Glare from rain.  Rain can act like a prism and refract light, causing glare.  Check out this link to see the beauty of raindrops as they refract light.  (Raindrop Refraction)

For more information about Reducing glare when driving click here.

Don’t let Night-time Glare keep you locked inside.  See how your eye doctor can help reduce glare.

How to STOP Homework Headaches

Are your children getting headaches and eye fatigue from (seemingly) endless hours of homework?  Are your eyes exhausted after a long day on the computer?
child in front of chalkboard
The 20 / 20 / 20 rule could help!

Here’s how it works:  Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds, and look 20 feet away.  Why is this a big deal?  It all comes down to the physiology of your eyes.

Dr. Durkin explaining eye modelInside your eyes is a lens that is constantly stretching, moving, and adjusting to focus the images we see.  If you or your child are constantly keeping your focus up close at books or a computer, your lens has to stay stretched in one position for a long period of time.  That’s exhausting!  It’s like holding a push up just above the floor for hours.  When we shift our focus a point in the distance, it relaxes the lens and gives it a break for a moment.

So…give yourself a quick break, your eyes will thank you!

For more information

Back to School Checklist

back to school before backpackWe’re down to crunch time getting ready for school and the end of summer.  Before you know it the kids will be going back to school, teachers back to work, college students filling up the cities and life will get more hectic.  You are constantly being bombarded by “Back to School” sales pitches and slogans, so how do you choose where to go?

First, make a list of priorities.  School supplies, school clothes, doctors appointments, and one last relaxing time as a family.
In this list you have to decide between QUALITY and COST.  Pencils from the Dollar Store or your favorite department store?  School clothes from the thrift store or the Gap?  Do you choose your doctors from the low price savings commercials or from referrals from people you trust?

Every item on that list was chosen by QUALITY.  Why should your family eye doctor be any different?  If 20% of school-aged children have undiagnosed vision problems who is checking their vision?  If 80% of all we learn comes through our eyes, what VALUE should be placed on the QUALITY of our family’s eye care?

Here is our 20 Point Checklist for Every Eye Exam:

During EVERY Comprehensive Exam we check:

  1. Visual Acuities (reading the eye chart)
  2. Color Vision
  3. 3D vision
  4. Peripheral Vision
  5. Blood Pressure
  6. Pressures for Glaucoma (no puff involved!)
  7. Refraction for Eyeglass Prescriptions
  8. Pupil Testing for Neurological Health
  9. Eye Muscle Movement
  10. Binocular Balancing, and the need for Prism in eyeglasses
  11. Eyelids and lashes for bacterial overgrowth and tear film deficiency
  12. Cornea and Conjunctiva for diseases, disorders, foreign bodies and allergic responses
  13. Anterior Chamber Angle for the possibility of Narrow Angle Glaucoma
  14. Cataract evaluation
  15. Vitreous and Retinal Structures for Retinal Breaks, Tears, Detachments or other disorders
  16. Optic Nerve for Glaucoma or other pathology
  17. Retinal blood vessels for Diabetes or Blood Pressure-related disorders
  18. Macular Degeneration risk assessment
  19. Your Medical and Ocular History
  20. And then we educate about your eye health and answer any questions

Consider Malara Eyecare & Eyewear Gallery on your Back to School checklist.  This is where QUALITY matters and you find “Professional Eyecare With A Personal Touch.”

The Eyes of a Child

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Current research shows that about 20 percent of school-aged children have undetected vision problems which are hindering their school performance. Considering 80 percent of everything your child learns will be through their eyes, it is an understatement to say that healthy eyesight is crucial to the proper development of your child.  That is why it is important to make professional, thorough eye health care a regular part of your child’s overall health maintenance program.  Children who are struggling with undetected vision problems often fail to progress well in school.

Your child’s visual system has little to do with the manner in which they see; rather, it involves the way he or she processes the information they have seen.  Your child’s visual system is a complex process involving the combined effort of more than 20 visual abilities, and over 65 percent of all pathways to their brain.  Any problems in these areas can seriously affect your child’s ability to process information.  Only a complete eye examination will uncover any visual system processing problems before they severely impair your child’s ability to learn and develop.

In order for your child to learn properly, all three parts of their vision must be working together and correctly.  The first is the condition of the eye.  The condition of the eye pertains to eye health, visual acuity and refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

The second part is how well the eye is able to function.  This refers to how well the eyes are able to focus and how they are able to move both as a team and individually.  If your child’s eyes show error in these areas, they can experience double vision, eyestrain, headaches and difficulty paying attention.

The third part to this equation is your child’s visual perception.  Visual perception consists of all that you see, how you are able to identify and link it to previously stored information.  In your child’s case it can be how well they are able to recognize words or pictures they have already seen or being able to make a mental picture of words they see.

Only an aware adult can see signs in a child that might warrant an eye examination.  Most vision problems can be recognized by those who know what to look for.  There are noticeable signs that an alert parent or teacher can recognize.

Symptoms of learning-related vision problems include:

Behavioral Signs

  • squinting
  • holding books close to the eyes
  • frequent eye rubbing
  • head tilted while reading
  • omitting words when reading aloud
  • improper behavior
  • spends too much time on homework
  • seems lazy
  • falling behind the rest of the class
  • refers to himself/herself as stupid
  • hates school
  • no longer tries
  • drop in scholastic/athletic performance
  • double vision
  • blurry vision
  • frequent headaches
  • poor eye-hand coordination
  • constantly looks down when copying
  • holds head very close to reading materials
  • moves entire head, not just eyes, when reading
  • frequently loses place while reading


Physical Signs

As with any disease, it is particularly important for those with a family history of ambylopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (deviating eyes) to check for any of these warning signs. If your child demonstrates one or more of these symptoms, he or she may be suffering from a vision related disorder.  A comprehensive and thorough eye examination is suggested at once.

Children should have their vision tested each year.  A child doesn’t know that having problems seeing across the room, seeing double, or not being able to focus on things up close, is abnormal.  It is easy to confuse a school vision screening with an eye examination, but they are not the same thing.  School vision screenings simply determine how well your child sees an eye chart from 20 feet away.  A screening may show that your child has 20/20 vision, but that tells you nothing about the health of their visual system, or how your child processes the information they receive visually.

A comprehensive examination performed by a Doctor of Optometry is the best way to diagnose and prevent vision learning disorders in your child.