Can Eyes Heal From Sun Damage?

Sun damage usually occurs to the skin. However, many people don’t realize that sun damage can also happen to eyes. Sometimes eye damage from UV light is called sunburn, but officially, this is called photokeratitis.

What is Photokeratitis?

Photokeratitis, sometimes called ultraviolet keratitis, presents as inflammation in the cornea. The cornea is the transparent covering over the exterior of the eye.

What Are The Symptoms of Photokeratitis?

The symptoms of photokeratitis are very obvious and uncomfortable. They include:

  • Feeling like you have sand on the insides of your eyelids
  • Inability to see at all
  • Blurry vision
  • Headache
  • Swollen eyelids and/or undereye swelling
  • Feeling of pain or pressure within the eyeball
  • Ultra-sensitivity to light
  • Heavy tearing
  • Seeing halos around objects

If you have any of these symptoms, contact your Riverdale eye doctor immediately.

Causes of Photokeratitis

Your eyes are extremely sensitive to the environment. This is why if you even have a small eyelash in your eye, it can feel like a tree branch is stuck in there. The symptoms of photokeratitis are much more painful than an eyelash, as you can see from the list above. But what causes photokeratitis to begin with?

Essentially, Photokeratitis is caused by overexposure to UV light. The most common source of UV light is, of course, the sun. But there are other sources to be aware of. Your eyes can be exposed to UV light from UV light bulbs, full-spectrum bulbs, tanning beds, and more.

Furthermore, certain conditions can exacerbate the dangers of sun damage to the eyes. This can happen when you are on a boat, at the pool, or near any reflective body of water. It can happen while skiing, since the snow reflects sunlight. It can even happen on lightly colored sidewalks and roadways in towns and cities.

How to Avoid Sun Damage to the Eyes

The best way to avoid sun damage to the eyes is to wear UV-rated sunglasses while outside on sunny days. Also, avoid using tanning beds, or at a minimum, close eyes and wear protective goggles during sessions. If you use full-spectrum bulbs while doing hobbies like painting or sewing, wear UV-rated eyewear.

Your eye doctor in Riverdale can help you with tips to avoid sun damage. Contact us today for more information.


Can I Buy New Eyeglasses During the Pandemic?

With the new COVID-19 restrictions on business practices, you may wonder if it’s possible to buy new eyeglasses during the pandemic. If you’re a person with poor vision, you know how essential new eyeglasses are for daily life. When your old eyeglasses have been lost or broken, will you be able to buy new ones during this pandemic? The short answer is yes, but there are some important things you’ll need to know. Buying new eyeglasses right now will be a different experience than it was before COVID-19. Here’s what to expect.

Obtain Your Prescription From Your Eye Doctor

Be sure to obtain your latest prescription from your Riverdale Vision Care eye doctor. You can ask to have your prescription emailed or faxed to you so that you don’t need to have personal contact with the office. Alternatively, you can have your prescription faxed or emailed directly to your eyeglass store if you’ve already chosen a new pair of frames.

Wear Your Mask

Whether or not your state currently has mandatory mask requirements, chances are that the frames shop will require masks. Bring a mask that you feel comfortable in because you’ll need to keep it on while you try on frames.

Expect a Temperature Check

Many frames stores check visitors’ temperatures at the door using a forehead, contactless thermometer. Don’t be personally offended. This is for the added safety of other customers and staff members.

Prepare to Wear Gloves

It’s possible that the frames store will also require customers to wear gloves while shopping for frames. If you have a latex allergy, be prepared by bringing your own vinyl or cloth gloves, just in case.

Place Frames in Bins

Many frame stores have implemented a protocol for disinfecting frames after they have been tried on by customers. You may be presented with a small plastic basket for frames that you’ve tried. Instead of putting the frames back on the display wall, you’ll put them in the basket so the staff can disinfect them.

Once you find a pair of frames that you like, a staff member will fit the frames to your face as usual. However, they will be wearing a mask as well. Don’t put off getting needed eyeglasses during the pandemic. Although the process is different, you can still anticipate getting the prescriptive eyewear you need.


How To Protect Your Vision From UV Rays

Ultraviolet light consists of a harmful spectrum of light that can do damage to your eyes. UV light is emitted from the sun, but can also be emitted from certain man-made devices like welder’s torches, too. One of the most important ways to protect your eyes from ultraviolet light is sunglasses.

If your eyes are particularly susceptible to ultraviolet light, then wearing one hundred percent ultraviolet blocking sunglasses will protect your vision fully during the day. Normal sunglasses may provide some protection from glare, but under most circumstances won’t fully protect your vision. You can also purchase reading glasses with special lenses that will also block ultraviolet light.

Avoid Being In The Sun For Long Periods Of Time

Although the sun is needed both for your health and well-being, being out in the sun for too long could make you susceptible to eye damage or melanomas due to exposure to UV rays. Avoid being out at times when the sun is highest, and if possible wear a wide-brimmed hat to shade your eyes. Choose periods of the day when the sun is at its weakest, such as sunrise and sunset, to enjoy a walk outdoors.

Protect Yourself From Devices That Emit Ultraviolet Light

There are some devices on the consumer market that deceptively advertise as ultraviolet free but are not. Devices such as germicidal lamps or welder’s torches emit light spectrums that cause eye damage. If possible, wear protective glasses and clothing to avoid most if not all of the UV exposure while operating these devices.

How to Recover from UV Eye Damage

Overexposure to UV rays cause inflammation in the eye and surrounding tissues. After damaging exposure to ultraviolet light, seek a dark environment with little light to maximize healing. Eat a diet rich in Vitamin A and Omega 3’s and consider a nap to give your body time to heal from the inflammation. Ultraviolet light will only be permanently damaging after overexposure over a period of months to years, so don’t fret if you have only been exposed once or twice.

To recap, always wear sunglasses when outdoors for long periods of time, and if possible seek shade. Looking down when in direct sunlight and even squinting can help minimize UV exposure. And avoid looking into the sun and wear a wide-brimmed hat if possible.


Recognizing the Early Signs of Cataract Development

Globally, eye cataracts rank as the main reason for blindness in individuals who are over the age of 55. According to projections provided by The National Eye Institute, by 2050 the number of individuals in the United States with this condition is expected to double from 24.4 million to around 50 million.

Recognizing the Early Signs of Cataract Development

A cataract is an opaque area that develops in the clear crystalline lens of the eye. Cataracts can develop in one eye or in both eyes. Despite the fact that cataracts are a common condition, the majority of cases do not become evident until they have progressed to the point where the patient’s eyesight is affected.

Signs and symptoms of cataract development:

Blurry vision is usually the first symptom of cataracts. If left untreated, as the cataracts continue to develop, the vision becomes blurrier and the clear crystalline lens begins to cloud.

Once the clear crystalline lens becomes clouded, color perception decreases. The color white will appear more yellow and the other colors, in general, will lose their vibrance.

Light and glare sensitivity occurs when the cataract interrupts the ability of the light to enter the eye and follow a clear path to the retina. The absence of this clear path causes the light to scatter. As the light emanates from headlights, lamps and the sun, individuals with cataracts will experience a fanning out of the light, which is referred to as a halo.

Trouble reading fine print can be a symptom of cataracts. The clear crystalline lens is comprised mostly of protein and water. A healthy lens allows light to pass through, however, if a cataract develops, it clumps these proteins together negatively affecting the ability of the eye’s refractive mirror to discern small print.

Treating Cataracts

Since cataracts can be treated, once the signs and symptoms become evident, make an appointment with an experienced Optometrist. The Optometrist can perform several tests to determine if the issues being experienced are due to cataracts. If they are, the doctor creates a custom-designed treatment plan to manage the condition. When cataracts are severe, surgical intervention may be required. The Optometrist may recommend that the patient visit an Ophthalmologist for an evaluation.

If you reside in or around Riverdale, New Jersey, and you have noticed changes in your vision, it is vital that you have your eyes examined promptly. An Optometrist at Riverdale Vision Care can examine your eyes to determine if you have cataracts, glaucoma or if there is some other issue that is affecting your eyesight.

To make an appointment with one of the experienced, caring Optometrists at Riverdale Vision Care, call 973-248-0060 today.


Riverdale Vision Care: 5 Myths About Pink Eye

Pink eye (also called conjunctivitis) happens when the thin mucous membrane called the conjunctiva on the outside of your eye and inside of your eyelid becomes inflamed. Our team at Riverdale Vision Care believes it’s helpful to know how to spot fact from fiction when it comes to this common eye condition so you’ll be better prepared to help your loved ones avoid or manage it.

5 Common Myths About Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)


1. Pink eye is always contagious.

While certain types of pink eye are very contagious—such as the kinds caused by viruses or bacteria—other types, like allergic or chemical conjunctivitis, are not contagious and can’t be passed from person to person.

2 Only school-aged children get pink eye.

Pink eye is very common in young children, but people of all ages can get it—even newborns.

3. If your eyes are red and itchy, it means you have conjunctivitis.

Red, itchy, watery eyes are the main signs and symptoms of conjunctivitis. But other conditions can cause these symptoms, too. The only way to know for sure what’s causing your symptoms is to see an eye doctor.

4. It’s not a big deal to rub your eyes if you have pink eye.

While rubbing your eyes may provide temporary relief from pink eye symptoms like itchiness, doing so may cause eye damage or worsening infection. If your case of pink eye is contagious, touching your eyes also increases the risk of spreading the condition to your other eye or other people.

Long story short: do NOT rub your eyes! Our Riverdale optometrist team recommends treatments such as eye drops or warm compresses to soothe eye irritation.

5. Pink eye heals up on its own, so you don’t need to go to an eye doctor.

Most cases of pink eye do heal up on their own in about two weeks, but some cases can lead to complications if left untreated. An eye doctor can provide appropriate treatment to help you heal properly and stay more comfortable.

You should also see an eye doctor if your pink eye symptoms don’t go away after two weeks or if you have eye pain, blurry vision, a weakened immune system, or a preexisting eye condition.


Do you live near Riverdale NJ and have concerns about your loved ones’ eye health? Contact Riverdale Vision Care at (973) 248-0060 to schedule an eye exam for the whole family and learn more about the comprehensive eye care services we offer.

Screen Time and Your Eyes | Protecting Your Vision

The average person in the modern-day world spends at least 11 hours staring at a screen, which means they are using their phone, computer, or tablet or watching television. All this time spent staring at a screen can have an effect on your vision, but this is something that most people rarely consider. Take a look at a few things you should be doing to protect your eyes.

Take Frequent Breaks to Give Your Eyes a Rest

One of the simplest things you can do to protect your eyes from the damages that too much screen time can cause is to take breaks. You don’t have to get up, put down your device, or close your laptop, but it is best to pull your eyes away from the screen, look around, and even close your eyes to take a break. It is easy to hold your eyes focused in one spot when you are really interested in something, and just like the muscles in the rest of your body, your eyes need to be stretched.

Practice Conscious Blinking

One of the biggest dangers of too much screen time is that you don’t blink as often when you are focused on something. Therefore, your eyes can get dry and irritated, which can lead to a host of other problems. While you are watching TV or working on your laptop, make sure you consciously blink every little bit. The average person should be blinking 15 to 20 times per minute, and there really is no such thing as blinking too often.

Keep Your Prescription Glasses Up to Date

If it has been a while since you have had your prescription glasses or contact lenses updated and you spend a lot of time watching screens, it is important that you go ahead and schedule an appointment. Keeping your prescription up to date will ensure you are not straining your eyes too much while you spend time looking at a screen.

Contact Us for Vision Help in Riverdale, NJ

Your vision is one of the most important senses you have. It should be rightly protected. If you have vision concerns due to a lot of screen time, contact us at the Riverdale Vision Care office to schedule an appointment.


Diabetes and Your Eye Health | Patient FAQs

Diabetes is one of the most common medical conditions in the United States. It is estimated that 29.1 million individuals in this country have been diagnosed with diabetes, but millions more could be living with diabetes and not know it. One of the biggest concerns for people with diabetes is the health of their eyes. This medical condition is well-known as being one of the primary causes of adult blindness. Here is a look at some of the common questions you may have if you have been diagnosed with diabetes and you are concerned about your eye health.

Should you have your eyes checked more often if you have diabetes?

If you do have diabetes, it is important that you see an optometrist at least once a year to have your eyes examined during a diabetic eye exam. During this exam, the professional will be looking for signs in your eyes that your health condition is affecting the small vessels that carry blood flow to the retina. Even though not every type of eye condition caused by diabetes can be solved or cured, many of the conditions can be treated so they do not progress so quickly.

What issues can stem from having diabetes?

Diabetic retinopathy is perhaps the most common eye health condition that diabetics are at risk of developing. However, other conditions can develop as well, such as macular degeneration, macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Will controlling your blood sugar lower your risks of problems?

Making sure that you keep a close eye on your blood sugar levels, taking your medications as prescribed, and generally keeping your blood sugar levels at a stable place will help prevent your risk of diabetes-related eye conditions. Make sure that you have a good blood glucose monitor at home and follow dietary recommendations to prevent drastic changes in your blood glucose levels throughout the day.

Contact Us About Diabetes and Eye Health in Riverdale, NJ

The health of your eyes is always important regardless of the health of your body. However, having diabetes means you have to be ever-vigilant about monitoring your eyes for changes. If you have diabetes and you are concerned about your visual health, contact us at Riverdale Vision Care to schedule an appointment.


5 Key Preventive Measures to Take Now to Prevent Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is one of the most worrisome eye diseases because it is a progressive condition with no precise cure. Even though experts are not positive what it is exactly what causes the condition, they do know that there are several risk factors involved. Knowing these risk factors has allowed preventive measures to be established. Here is a look at five things you can do to protect your eyes from macular degeneration.

1. Take in a healthy, well-balanced diet.

If you do not eat a diet that is rich in veggies, and antioxidants, you could be more at risk for macular degeneration. Diets high in cholesterol, sugar, and fat can raise blood sugar faster, which is one of the biggest contributing factors to macular degeneration.

2. Protect your eyes from the sun.

Your sunglasses should be kept near any time you are heading out in the sun, but this is especially true if you want to avoid macular degeneration. The UV rays from the sun can cause small damage points in the eyes that can be more prone to degeneration later on in life.

3. Stay away from smoking and smokers.

People who smoke are much more likely to be diagnosed with macular degeneration. If you are not a smoker, it is even a good idea to keep yourself away from secondhand smoke, which can carry just as many risks.

4. Exercise on a routine basis.

Staying active is one of the kindest things you can do for your body, but it is also important for the health of your eyes. People who live a sedentary lifestyle are more prone to macular degeneration than those who stay active.

5. Keep your blood pressure in check.

High blood pressure is linked to problems with the eyes and vision. It is also closely related to macular degeneration. Make sure you keep your blood pressure monitored with routine exams and take medications if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Contact Us to Learn More About Preventing Macular Degeneration

Knowing you are at risk for macular degeneration is scary, but it does not have to be. Reach out to us at Riverdale Vision care to schedule an appointment with us so we can discuss a proper preventive care plan for your eyes.

Why Are My Eyes Always Red?

Red eyes are a common and often irritating issue for a surprising number of people. This condition can be caused by a variety of reasons that range from viruses, bacteria, lifestyle, workplace hazards, and even the climate. For instance, when the seasons change and the air gets chillier, your eyes may have trouble producing as much moisture as they do in wetter seasons. Conversely, when spring comes around, all that pollen often gets becomes airborne and irritates the eyes. However, some people have chronic red eyes, which can be caused by a multitude of other things.

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes is a very common reason for chronic red eyes. Dry eyes are more common as people get older. It can cause chronic redness, irritation or make it feel like something is actually in the eye. In dryer climates, individuals who are not adapted can be prone to having dry eyes and subsequent reddening of the whites of the eyes. A lot of times, artificial tears or other more aggressive types of treatment for dry eyes can help significantly. Artificial tears may also relieve redness and irritation symptoms. It’s important to note that if you suspect that you have dry eyes, you should see an optometrist. Long-term use of artificial tears can actually exacerbate dry eyes.


Another cause of chronic red eyes is Inflammation. Inflammation can cause the surface of the eye to swell up abnormally. This can be brought on for a variety of reasons; a common one being an allergic reaction. Individuals often end up living in a household where they are having an allergic reaction to a product or item, yet be unaware of the allergy. The next time you are with your doctor, bring up the possibility and speak to them about it.


Infection is another common cause of red eyes. If you work or spend copious amounts of time in an environment with lots of bacteria, such as a meat processing plant or a janitorial position, then it’s possible you are picking up bacteria and accidentally introducing it to your eyes. If you think this might be a contributing factor to your red eyes, pay attention to hygiene. Make sure to always wash your hands after work and at home, especially before touching your face. Even if it isn’t the sole cause, it will definitely help alleviate the irritation to your eyes.

There are other possible reasons why your eyes are always red. For a professional diagnosis, always consult with your optometrist. Lastly, if your eyes are chronically red for extended periods of time, speak to your physician, as this may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition.


How to Treat Swollen, Puffy Eyes

You know that awful moment when you wake up in the morning and you look in the mirror and your eyes are swollen and puffy? There’s nothing worse than having to show up at work or school looking like you were the loser in a boxing match. Swollen, puffy eyes don’t look good on anyone. Here’s how to treat this condition so you can appear at your best.

Consider the Cause

To treat swollen, puffy eyes effectively, it’s important to consider the cause. There are many things that can lead to swollen, puffy eyes, and depending on what’s causing yours, you’ll want to take a different action.

How to Treat or Prevent Common Causes of Swollen, Puffy Eyes

Some of the most common causes of swollen puffy eyes include:

Allergic Reaction

If the condition comes on suddenly, you may be having an allergic reaction to something you encountered, or something you ate or drank. Think back. Were you exposed to poison ivy or poison oak? Did you ingest anything unusual? To treat, consider an over the counter antihistamine. If your reaction is severe, you may need a steroid injection, which you can get from an emergency room.

Fluid Buildup While Sleeping

Do you always wake up with swollen, puffy eyes? If you, it’s likely they are a result of fluid build-up while you sleep. To prevent, elevate your head slightly using a fluffier pillow or an extra pillow. To treat, get up a little earlier than usual so the fluid has a chance to leave the upper area. After about 20 minutes, the swelling will naturally reduce.

Bad Reaction to Makeup

Your eye makeup may be to blame for your swollen, puffy eyes. If you can’t see any other reason, look at your skincare and makeup routine. Consider switching to all-natural products with no or very few chemical ingredients. To treat, try going without eye makeup for a few days. For immediate relief, lie down with your head elevated. Place a very cool cloth over your closed eyes. The swelling should reduce.

If your swelling doesn’t go down easily with the solutions mentioned above, you may have an eye infection. Make an appointment with your eye doctor for a thorough examination.