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Why is My Dry Eye More Severe in the Mornings?

sleepy mornings 640Waking up in the morning is hard enough, but waking up with stinging, burning eyes is even worse! If your eyes feel itchy and scratchy, this miserable morning sensation may be caused by dry eye syndrome. Your tear glands may be clogged or producing insufficient tears and oils to retain moisture.

But why do certain people experience more acute dry eye symptoms in the mornings? Here are some reasons:

What Causes Red, Itchy or Painful Eyes Upon Waking?

Nocturnal Lagophthalmos

Nocturnal lagophthalmos is the inability to close one’s eyelids completely during sleep. Since the surface of your eye is exposed at night, it becomes dry. Left untreated, this condition can damage your cornea.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition of the eyes caused by bacterial overgrowth. These bacteria are active at night, causing dry eye-related symptoms of redness, soreness and irritation upon waking.

Environment

A gritty sensation in your eyes can also be caused by the environment. For example, sleeping directly in front of or under an air vent, heating units, or ceiling fans can dry out your eyes. In addition, sensitivity to allergens like dust that accumulate in the bedroom can cause your eyes to become dry and irritated.

Medications

Some types of over-the-counter and prescription medication can dehydrate the eyes. These include:

  • Antihistamines and decongestants
  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Hypertension drugs
  • Hormones
  • Drugs for gastrointestinal problems
  • Pain relievers
  • Skin medications
  • Chemotherapy medications

In the majority of cases, medication-related dry eye symptoms will resolve once you discontinue the meds. However, it may take several weeks or months for symptoms to completely disappear.

Age

Many people develop dry eye symptoms with age, as tear production tends to decrease and becomes less efficient as we grow older.

How to Treat Morning Dry Eye

Depending on the cause, morning dry eye can be treated with sleeping masks, lubricating eye drops and ointment applied right before bed. To ensure that you sleep in a moisture-rich environment, consider using a humidifier. In severe cases of nocturnal lagophthalmos, eyelid surgery may be necessary.

If you are tired of waking up to red, burning eyes, visit your eye doctor for long-lasting relief. Contact Unger Eye Care to determine the cause of your morning dry eye and receive an effective treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Alice Unger

Q: What causes dry eye?

  • A: Dry eye can occur if the glands in your eyelids don’t produce enough oil to keep your tears from evaporating, or if you don’t produce enough water for healthy tears. No matter the cause, it’s important to have your condition diagnosed and treated to protect your vision and ensure good eye health.

Q: Can dry eye be cured?

  • A: Dry eye is a chronic condition, so there’s is no cure for it. However, many treatment methods can help you manage this condition for long-term relief. If you have dry eye syndrome, we invite you to contact us to discover the best treatment for your needs.


 

Unger Eye Care serves patients from Troy, Edwardsville, Maryville and Glen Carbon, all throughout Illinois.

 

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Does My Child Need Blue Light Glasses?

Optical Store & Eye Care Center in Troy

Optical Store & Eye Care Center in Troy

There is some controversy around the topic of blue light, especially when it comes to children’s eye health and screen time.

Some claim that it’s harmful to a child’s growing eyes and may contribute to retinal damage and other eye conditions. Others believe that blue light isn’t anything to worry about.

Below, we’ll explore what science has to say about blue light, and whether you should invest in a pair of blue light glasses for your child or teen.

What is Blue Light?

Blue light is a high-energy light on the spectrum of visible electromagnetic energy. Some intense forms of blue light have a similar frequency to ultraviolet light, which can penetrate through the eye and reach the retina.

The main source of blue light is the sun, but it’s also emitted by artificial indoor lighting, smartphones, and other digital devices.

Is Blue Light Harmful?

Studies are mixed regarding the safety of blue light on retinal health. The main studies that prove blue light’s harmful effects have been conducted on rats, not humans, and involved very high amounts of blue light. Scientists are trying to determine whether digital screens and indoor lighting, which emit far less blue light, can cause eye damage, especially in the long term.

A study published in Integrative Biology used petri dishes to host retinal cells that were exposed to high-intensity blue light. In this experiment, the retinal cells underwent drastic changes and even cellular death upon intense exposure. However, this may not accurately represent how blue light interacts with retinal cells within the eye.

One thing is certain about blue light: it affects the quality of our sleep and causes eye strain.

Blue light triggers certain cells in the retina that communicate with the pineal gland in the brain. The pineal gland produces a sleep hormone called melatonin — a vital component of the circadian rhythm. When blue light inhibits melatonin production, it may lead to poor sleep quality or insomnia.

Since blue light makes the body more alert, the recommendation is to stop using digital devices at least 2 hours before bedtime.

Can Kids and Teens Benefit From Blue Light Glasses?

Blue light glasses are a good idea for kids and teens who spend a lot of time in front of screens, especially in the evenings.

A study by the University of Houston found that participants (ages 17-42) who wore blue light glasses experienced a 58% increase in their nighttime melatonin levels. This finding is relevant to kids and teens who spend night hours being productive in front of a screen.

A small-scale study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health showed that blue light glasses were effective in minimizing alertness and inducing melatonin production in healthy teenage boys, improving their circadian rhythm.

Some studies have found a link between a child’s disrupted biological clock and an increased risk of several health problems, including metabolic syndrome, depression, and cancer.

Blue light glasses don’t claim to minimize these risks, but simply increase a child’s ability to produce more melatonin and potentially have better quality sleep.

Blue light glasses also reduce eye fatigue and digital eye strain by reducing glare. Blue light can decrease contrast, causing the eyes to work harder and strain for a clearer image.

Symptoms of digital eye strain in children and adolescents include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Poor posture
  • Changes in vision
  • Dry eyes

We Provide Blue Light Glasses and Other Services

Here’s the bottom line:

If your child spends much of their time studying or completing homework on a computer, or playing games on a phone or tablet, you may want to consider getting them blue light glasses to improve the quality of their sleep and reduce digital eye strain.

At Unger Eye Care, we take the time to sit with each patient and ask the necessary questions to get a full picture of your lifestyle and visual needs. Our optometric team will guide you and your child through all of their options, whether it’s blue light glasses, regular glasses, or contact lenses.

To schedule your child’s eye exam or to learn more about what we offer, contact Unger Eye Care in Troy today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do blue light glasses filter out all of the blue light?

  • A: No. Blue light glasses usually filter out around 80% of incoming blue light. Because there isn’t a way to filter out 100% of blue light, we recommend limiting screen time whenever possible and wearing 100% UV-blocking sunglasses when outdoors during the day.

Q: Are blue light glasses the same as computer glasses?

  • A: The lenses of computer glasses have a slight magnification to relieve the eye muscles from constantly focusing on the near screen. Blue light glasses usually have a yellowish tint to filter out blue light.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Unger Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


Can I Wear Contacts with Astigmatism?

Contact Lens Eye Exams in Troy

Contact Lens Eye Exams in Troy

Have astigmatism and want to wear contact lenses? No problem!

Astigmatism is a common refractive error caused by an abnormal or uneven curvature of the cornea that impedes your eye’s ability to focus light properly on the retina. This results in blurry or distorted vision that makes it difficult to distinguish forms and details at any distance. It can also cause headaches, fatigue and eye strain.

Fortunately, there are several types of contact lenses that correct astigmatism, as well as nearsightedness and farsightedness.

Can I Wear Contacts with Astigmatism?

If you have mild to moderate astigmatism, contacts are an affordable and convenient way to correct your vision. In fact, contacts can reduce distortion, offer a wide visual field, and improve visual clarity.

Toric contact lenses are one type of contact lens— in fact, they’re specifically designed to correct astigmatism. They’re slightly thicker and larger, and more stable on the eye than non-toric contacts.

Toric lenses have various design features to ensure they sit correctly on your eye. One of them is the weight at the bottom made to keep them in place and prevent rotation. These lenses are also designed to move with your eye, allowing tears to flow under the lens so you can maintain comfortable and clear vision.

There are two types of astigmatism:

  • Regular or corneal astigmatism. This is the most common form of astigmatism. It occurs when the cornea curves in more than one direction, and instead of a sphere, it’s oval-shaped. This type of astigmatism can be corrected by wearing contact lenses, glasses, or through surgery.
  • Irregular astigmatism. This occurs when the cornea unevenly curves in several directions and in varying degrees. In such cases, rigid gas-permeable (RGP) contacts are the best option.

Types of Contact Lenses for Astigmatism

There are four types of toric contact lenses, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Soft contact lenses

Soft contact lenses are a popular choice for those with mild to moderate astigmatism. Their softness and flexibility provide comfort, they’re simple to insert and remove, and stay put on the moving eye. However, achieving the best final prescription can be challenging, especially for moderate to high levels of astigmatism, as the visual clarity might not be as stable as an RGP lens. Your optometrist might need to make several adjustments to achieve desired results.

RGP contact lenses

While RGP lenses are smaller and harder than soft lenses, they are more oxygen-permeable and allow more tears to surround the lens. At first, these lenses may feel less comfortable than soft contacts since they are less flexible. Overtime, as you get used to wearing them, these lenses will become more comfortable.

Because they maintain their shape, RGP lenses are more effective than soft lenses at correcting astigmatism and improving visual clarity. They also keep their shape when you blink, allowing for a more stable and clearer vision. That said, they can dislodge during strenuous physical activities. Another disadvantage of RGP lenses is that debris, such as dirt and dust, may get trapped under the lens and cause irritation.

Hybrid contact lenses

Hybrid contacts combine a rigid gas-permeable center with softer edges composed of soft hydrogel or silicone hydrogel. These lenses provide comfort while maintaining the clarity that RGP lenses provide. Because of their large size and thin edges, they’re less likely to fall out during physical activities.

Scleral contact lenses

Scleral lenses are rigid and maintain their shape regardless of the corneal shape. In addition, they sit on the sclera rather than the cornea, allowing the eye to properly focus light and therefore ensuring sharp vision and comfort. The liquid reservoir trapped behind the scleral lens compensates for corneal astigmatism and ensures a secure fit.

How We Can Help

During your comprehensive eye exam, we’ll determine the severity of your astigmatism, as well as your degree of farsightedness or nearsightedness. We will also recommend which contact lenses are best for you, based on your needs. In some cases, your astigmatism will require custom-made toric contact lenses.

Schedule an appointment with Unger Eye Care in Troy to receive your contact lens eye exam and initial lens fitting, the first step toward sharper, more comfortable vision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is a contact lens exam the same as a regular eye exam?

  • A: If you wear or want to wear contacts, you need a contact lens exam in addition to a regular eye exam. Your eye doctor will perform special tests during a contact lens exam to evaluate your vision with contacts.An eyeglass prescription is not the same as a contact lens prescription. A contact lens prescription measures lenses that sit directly on the surface of the eye, whereas an eyeglass prescription measures lenses that are positioned around 12 millimeters from your eyes. After your eye doctor has determined your prescription they will conduct a contact lens fitting.

Q: What is a contact lens fitting?

  • A: Since contact lenses are not one-size-fits-all, your eye doctor will need to take measurements of your corneal curvature, pupil or iris size and will evaluate your tear film, to properly fit your contact lenses. Contact lenses that do not fit properly can cause blurry vision, discomfort and even damage your eyes.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Unger Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


What Is A Digital [Eye_Exam]?

Eye Doctor In Troy

Eye Doctor In Troy

Digital eye exams allow the optometrist to detect changes to your eyes faster and with greater accuracy. Eye conditions can now be detected earlier, resulting in improved treatment, thanks to new and improved digital equipment.

What Is a Digital Eye Exam?

You’ve probably already had a digital exam without realizing it, as they’re popping up at eye doctors‘ offices all over the place.

Digital eye exams are personalized automated tests that are often used in conjunction with regular vision exams to save time during your visit.

These include computerized sensors that use cutting-edge technology to produce an accurate guide to your optical prescription and check for underlying eye conditions. These devices speed up the process by computing the results automatically, rather than having the eye doctor perform the complete eye exam manually. At the conclusion of your eye exam, your eye doctor analyzes all the measurements and images to calculate your eyeglass prescription and assess your eye health.

How Does A Digital Eye Exam Check Eye Health?

In addition to assessing your vision, digital eye exams can map and image your eye, providing the eye doctor with detailed information about your ocular health. Digital eye tests include:

  • Corneal Topography – to assess corneal health and help with contact lens fittings
  • Digital Retinal Imaging – used to detect serious eye diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration
  • Optical Coherence Tomography – identifies any signs of diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension in your eyes using 3D color images

At Unger Eye Care in Troy we offer digital eye exams to help you maintain healthy eyes and vision. Take advantage of this new technology by scheduling an eye exam today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why should I have my pupils dilated?

  • A: Your eye doctor typically dilates your pupils during a comprehensive eye exam to get the best possible view of the retina, optic nerves and other parts of the eye. This helps them catch glaucoma, macular degeneration and other irreversible eye diseases before they progress to severe vision loss.

Q: How often should I get a digital eye exam?

  • A: It’s recommended to have a comprehensive eye exam — digital or regular — every one to two years, depending on your age, risk factors and whether you currently wear glasses or contact lenses.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Unger Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


3 Ways Neuro-Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors

3 Ways Neuro Optometry Can Help Stroke Survivors 640Approximately 15 million people around the globe suffer from a stroke each year. An alarming two-thirds of stroke survivors experience some degree of visual dysfunction after the incident.

These problems can range from irritating to debilitating and can seriously affect a person’s quality of life and ability to function.

Thankfully, there is hope for stroke survivors who suffer from stroke-related vision problems.

At Unger Eye Care, we are dedicated to helping post-stroke patients heal their visual system for long-lasting relief and a better quality of life.

Below, we’ll explore how a stroke can impact vision and what a neuro-optometrist can do to help.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke occurs when insufficient oxygen is delivered to the brain tissue, either due to leaking or bursting blood vessels, or a blockage within the blood vessel.

Serious brain damage can occur within minutes of a stroke, making early intervention crucial.

Signs of a stroke include:

  • Paralysis
  • Numb or weak limbs
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion
  • Trouble walking
  • Dizziness or loss of coordination

Because a large portion of the brain is involved with vision, a stroke can also affect the eyes and visual processing.

How a Stroke Can Affect Vision

If a stroke occurs in the areas of the brain that control the eye, it can cause:

  • Blurred vision
  • Visual field loss
  • Double vision
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Nystagmus — rapid, uncontrolled eye movements

When a stroke affects the areas of the brain responsible for visual processing, it can cause:

  • Visual neglect — when the patient ignores stimuli from a portion of their visual field
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Poor depth and movement perception
  • Difficulty recognizing objects or people

3 Ways a Neuro-Optometrist Can Help Stroke Survivors

1. Identify and Diagnose Any Visual Dysfunction

A neuro-optometrist has the training and experience required to thoroughly identify, diagnose and treat even slight visual dysfunction that may be causing symptoms.

Your neuro-optometrist will perform a functional visual evaluation to assess neurological vision-related complications and identify the type of vision loss caused by the stroke.

 

2. Rehabilitate the Visual System

Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy includes visual exercises that retrain the brain and eyes to work together.

During a stroke, certain neural connections may become damaged. Neuro-optometric rehabilitation aims to restore those connections and heal the visual system for long-lasting results.

3. Prescribe the Correct Lenses or Prisms, As Needed

A neuro-optometrist can prescribe specialized lenses or prisms that aid in the therapeutic process. Prism lenses shift images into the functioning part of a patient’s visual field, or, in the case of double vision or visual neglect, unite the images the two eyes are sending to the brain. In some cases, prisms can instantly relieve symptoms like disorientation or double vision.

Some patients only visit an occupational therapist or physical therapist after a stroke—and while these therapies are often necessary and helpful, they cannot treat the visual system or prescribe prisms.

How We Can Help

Stroke survivors deserve the best in rehabilitative care. That’s why we are passionate about restoring their independence and offering relief from incapacitating visual symptoms.

Furthermore, neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy offers the added benefit of diminishing vertigo and depression and increasing confidence levels.

If you or a loved one has suffered a stroke, we can help. To schedule your functional visual evaluation, contact Unger Eye Care today.

Unger Eye Care serves patients from Troy, Edwardsville, Maryville, and Glen Carbon, all throughout Illinois.

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Alice Unger

Q: #1: Other than stroke patients, who can benefit from neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy?

  • A: Neuro-optometric rehabilitation therapy can help any person suffering from visual dysfunction after a head injury, traumatic brain injury or stroke, or anyone with neurological conditions that impact their vision. If you experience any symptoms associated with visual dysfunction like dizziness, disorientation, headaches, nausea or difficulty concentrating— it may be time to visit your neuro-optometrist.

Q: #2: Can neuro-optometry help if the stroke occurred months or years ago?

  • A: The best time to start treatment is as soon as possible following a stroke or head injury, but treatment can also be effective years later. The basis of neuro-optometry is neuroplasticity—the brain’s ability to change and build new neural connections. As long as a person is alive, there is potential to heal their visual system.


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7 Reasons To Wear Sunglasses

Designer Sunglasses & Optical Frames at Unger Eye Care

Sunglasses Not Only Protect Your Eyes, But They Look Great and Can Accommodate Every Style and Budget

How times have changed. This year, Summer is looking very different than it did a year ago. Yet despite COVID-19, it’s important to spend time outdoors, whether in your garden or on daily walks.

Although sunglasses are ubiquitous symbols of style, they also serve an important function in protecting your eye health.

7 Reasons To Sport A Great Pair Of Sunglasses

    • Sunglasses Provide UV Protection

When most people think about sun-related damage, they think about their skin. But the sun’s ultraviolet rays also pose a threat to a person’s eyes. Protect your eyes by wearing a pair of sunglasses that block 100% of both UVB and UVA radiation.

  • They Help Prevent Cataracts and Macular Degeneration

Both cataracts and macular degeneration are the leading causes of visual impairment and blindness worldwide. You’re at a higher risk of developing these conditions if you expose your eyes to excessive amounts of UV radiation. The risk can be minimized by wearing glasses that protect against this radiation.

  • Cataracts cloud the lenses of the eyes, causing blurred vision. Years of exposure to UV rays cause the protein in the lens of the eye to clump and thicken, preventing light from passing through it. ..
  • Macular degeneration refers to central vision loss due to a damaged retina. UV light can be harmful to the eyes, specifically the retina, and exposure to UV rays is a risk factor for the onset of age-related macular degeneration later in life.
  • Sunglasses Can Help Prevent Certain Cancers

Ultraviolet exposure has been associated with certain eye cancers and several types of skin cancer found on the eyelids. You can reduce your risk significantly by wearing a pair of sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection. Keep in mind that when choosing shades, it doesn’t matter how dark they are or the color of the lenses. The most important thing is that they block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays.

  • Sunglasses Keep You Looking Younger

Though a stylish pair of shades makes anyone feel youthful on the inside, it can also make you actually look younger on the outside. By protecting the delicate skin around your eyes, sunglasses slow down the development of wrinkles and crow’s feet. This leads to a more youthful appearance over the years.

  • They Protect Highly Sensitive Eyes

If you have light-colored eyes, take medication that causes photosensitivity (light sensitivity), or have a medical condition that causes you to be more sensitive to light (such as dry eye, corneal abrasion, scleritis, or conjunctivitis) you’ll need to protect your eyes with UV-blocking sunglasses. Note that large sunglasses block more UV rays than smaller ones.

  • Shades Protect Eyes Recovering From a Medical Procedure

Eye surgeries such as LASIK or cataract surgery are common nowadays. You must continue to wear sunglasses following a procedure to prevent complications.

  • Sunglasses Enable You to See and Enjoy More

Aside from protecting your eye health, wearing sunglasses helps you see better in bright light. They reduce glare and improve the contrast of what you see, allowing you to better enjoy the sunny outdoors or drive more safely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I know which Sunwear lenses absorb UV rays the most?

  • A: Generally, most Sunwear lenses will absorb UV lenses to some degree. Lenses that are marked CR-39R plastic, absorb about 88 percent of UV light. If sunglasses contain polycarbonate lenses, UV absorption will be 100 percent.

Q: Is there a difference between a cheap pair of regular sunglasses versus designer sunglasses?

  • A: I believe once you put on a pair of polarized sunglasses you will understand and appreciate the difference. the clarity and the color difference are amazing. It is also one of the best ways to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. A “regular” pair of sunglasses is better than nothing ( along with wearing a hat) in protecting your eyes from the sun, but there is no comparison to polarized sunglasses

Visit the Troy Optical Near You

In addition to the countless eye health benefits that come with regularly wearing sunglasses, a pair of stylish shades can really spice up your look. Moreover, at Unger Eye Care, we offer a range of styles to choose from, whether you’re on a tight budget or want to splurge on high-end designer shades. So come visit us in Troy and select your favorite pair.

3 Causes of Lazy Eye in Children

3 Causes of Lazy Eye in Children 640Amblyopia, commonly known as ‘lazy eye,’ is a neuro-developmental vision condition that begins in early childhood, usually before the age of 8.

Lazy eye develops when one eye is unable to achieve normal visual acuity, causing blurry vision in the affected eye—even when wearing glasses. Left untreated, amblyopia can lead to permanent vision loss in one eye.

It’s important to understand that a lazy eye isn’t actually lazy. Rather, the brain doesn’t process the visual signals from the ‘lazy’ eye. Eventually, the communication between the brain and the weaker eye deteriorates further, potentially leading to permanently reduced vision in that eye. Fortunately, vision therapy can improve the condition by training the brain to work with both eyes equally.

What Causes Lazy Eye?

When the neural connections between the eyes and the brain are healthy, each eye sends a visual signal to the brain. The brain combines these two signals into one clear image, allowing us to properly see what we are looking at.

In the case of amblyopia, the brain doesn’t recognize the weaker eye’s signals. Instead, it relies only on the visual input from the stronger eye.

Amblyopia can be caused by strabismus, anisometropia and deprivation.

Strabismus

Strabismus occurs when the eyes are misaligned and point in different directions. The most common cause of amblyopia is eye misalignment, which causes the brain to receive two images that cannot be combined into one single, clear image.

A child’s developing brain cannot process images when both eyes are not aligned in the same direction, so it ‘turns off’ the images sent by the weaker eye. This is the brain’s defense mechanism against confusion and double vision.

As the brain ‘turns off’ the weaker eye, this eye will eventually become ‘lazy’—unless treatment is provided.

Anisometropia

Anisometropia is when the refractive powers (visual acuity) of your eyes differ markedly, causing your eyes to focus unevenly – rendering the visual signal from one eye to be much clearer than the other. The brain is unable to reconcile the different images each eye sends and chooses to process the visual signal from the eye sending the clearer image. The brain begins to overlook the eye sending the blurrier image, further weakening the eye-brain connection of the weaker eye. If not treated, this results in permanent poor vision in that eye.

Deprivation

Deprivation refers to a blockage or cloudiness of the eye. When an eye becomes cloudy, it directly impacts the eyes’ ability to send a clear image to the retina, harming the child’s ability to see images clearly from that eye. When clear images can’t reach the retina, it causes poor vision in that eye, resulting in amblyopia. Deprivation is by far the most serious kind of amblyopia, but it is also incredibly rare.

There are several types of deprivation: cataracts, cloudy corneas, cloudy lenses and eyelid tumors. Each of these can affect a child’s vision, resulting in amblyopia. Because these are also difficult to notice from a child’s behavior, it’s crucial to have your child tested for eye-related problems so that treatment can begin right away.

How To Treat Amblyopia

The goal of most amblyopia treatments is to naturally strengthen the weaker eye so that your child’s eyes can work and team with the brain more effectively. Amblyopia treatment will be determined by the cause and severity of their condition.

Common types of treatment include:

  • Corrective eyewear
  • Eye drops
  • Patching
  • Vision Therapy

Vision Therapy

Vision therapy is the most effective treatment for amblyopia, which may be used in conjunction with other treatments.

A vision therapy program is customized to the specific needs of the patient. It may include the use of lenses, prisms, filters, occluders, and other specialized equipment designed to actively make the lazy eye work to develop stronger communication between the eye and the brain.

Vision therapy is highly successful for the improvement of binocular vision, visual acuity, visual processing abilities, depth perception and reading fluency.

Vision therapy programs for amblyopia may include eye exercises to improve these visual skills:

  • Accommodation (focusing)
  • Binocular vision (the eyes working together)
  • Fixation (visual gaze)
  • Pursuits (eye-tracking)
  • Saccades (eye jumps)
  • Spatial skills (eye-hand coordination)
  • Stereopsis (3-D vision)

Contact Unger Eye Care to make an appointment and discover how vision therapy can help improve your child’s vision. Our eye doctor will ask about your child’s vision history, conduct a thorough evaluation, and take your child on the path to effective and lasting treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Alice Unger

Q: How do I know if my child has lazy eye?

  • A: It’s difficult to recognize lazy eye because the condition usually develops in one eye, and may not present with a noticeable eye turn. As such, children generally learn how to ignore the lazy eye and compensate by mainly relying on the sight from the ‘good’ eye. Some symptoms of lazy eye include:
  • – Closing one eye or squinting
    – Difficulty with fine eye movements
    – Poor depth perception
    – Poor eye-hand coordination
    – Reduced reading speed and comprehension
    – Rubbing eyes often

Q: How is lazy eye diagnosed?

  • A: Your child’s eye doctor will conduct specific tests during their eye exam, to assess the visual acuity, depth perception and visual skills of each eye.


Unger Eye Care serves patients from Troy, Edwardsville, Maryville, and Glen Carbon, all throughout Illinois.

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Is It Time for New Glasses?

Glasses and sunglasses near you

Optical Store & Vision Center in Troy, Illinois

No matter how much you love your current pair of glasses, there comes a time when you need to say goodbye to your old pair of specs and replace them with a new pair. But how can you determine when it’s time to do the switch?

Read the following questions and see which ones resonate with you. If you identify with any — or all of them — consider getting new glasses.

Has Your Vision Deteriorated?

Many people continue to wear an old prescription believing that it’s still serving its purpose. The problem is that when you wear glasses that no longer meet your needs, you’re actually causing great discomfort by seeing everything in a blur.

If your vision has gotten worse, you may find yourself compensating by squinting or causing your eye muscles to work extra hard in order to better focus on objects. This often leads to headaches and eye strain. In fact, one of the signs that you need a new pair of glasses is when you experience frequent headaches and feel relieved after removing your glasses.

If you’re seeing less clearly than you used to, or if you haven’t been to the eye doctor in over a year, make sure to contact Unger Eye Care and make an appointment. The sooner Dr. Alice Unger examines your eyes and prescribes new glasses or lenses as needed, the better you will see and feel.

Are Your Lenses Scratched?

Scratches on your glasses are a permanent sign of damage that cannot be fixed. While scratches may seem harmless, they can affect your vision, eventually causing eye strain and headaches. So if your lenses are scuffed, consider buying a new pair with scratch-resistant lenses for the clearest vision possible.

Has Your Lens Coating Worn Off?

If your lenses have scratch-resistant or anti-reflective coatings, these coatings sometimes become cloudy, making it feel like perpetually looking through a dirty window.

If your coating is wearing off, consider getting a new pair of glasses with a new set of lens coatings.

Are Your Glasses the Best Design for Your Needs?

Technological innovations are constantly providing people who wear glasses even more comfortable, high-quality options.

Thanks to advanced technology, your lenses can serve many purposes simultaneously. For example, progressive lenses offer those with multiple prescriptions the convenience of not having to constantly switch their glasses. If you spend a lot of time on the computer, you can further customize your lenses by adding a blue light coating to reduce digital eye strain and prevent your eyes from being exposed to potentially harmful blue light, typically emitted by digital screens.

Furthermore, if you live in a sunny region, you may also benefit from having transition lenses that automatically adjust to lighting conditions: they become lighter indoors but darken when exposed to sunlight.

So while you may not necessarily need a new pair of glasses to see better, you may want to get a new pair that incorporates the newest technology to significantly increase your clarity and comfort levels.

Getting glasses is surprisingly easy. Simply book a consultation at Unger Eye Care in Troy, where Dr. Alice Unger will provide you with a comprehensive vision exam and provide you with a prescription to purchase glasses. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you find the perfect glasses for your unique face and lifestyle.

Getting A Second Pair of Glasses? | Unger Eye Care




Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is it bad to wear my old designer glasses with an old prescription? What’s the best way to replace them?

  • A: Yes I would it say it is not the best decision to wear any old prescription unless they will be used as a back-up or supplement to your corrected vision. However if you prefer to keep your old frame, and it is still in condition to handle the new lenses of your updated prescription then by all means. We have opticians that would be happy to thoroughly inspect the condition and accommodate you.

Q: Can I borrow and use someone else’s glasses?

  • A: Most glasses are spefically customized for a particular patient. If you are wearing someone’s glasses, it could improve your vision some, but it will not give you the crisp clear vision that a personalized pair of glasses does.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Unger Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


4 Reasons Why Scleral Lenses Are a Big Deal

happy girl wearing contact lenses 640Scleral contact lenses have been called “life-changing” and “transformative” by patients who wear them.

What makes these contact lenses so revolutionary?

What Are Scleral Lenses?

Scleral lenses are contacts that vault over the entire cornea and rest on the white part of the eye (sclera). Their diameter is much larger than standard lenses, which adds to their comfort and compatibility with hard-to-fit eyes.

Here’s why they’re gaining popularity in the contact lens world and why patients and doctors are calling sclerals a big deal.

1. Sclerals are Ideal for People with Corneal Irregularities or Dry Eyes

There was a time when patients with corneal irregularities or severe dry eye syndrome weren’t able to wear contact lenses at all, due to the discomfort associated with direct corneal contact. Nowadays, patients with keratoconus, other corneal aberrations or dry eye can successfully wear scleral contact lenses and enjoy comfortable and crisp vision.

Scleral lenses are also great for patients with corneal dystrophy, high astigmatism, Sjorgren’s syndrome, corneal trauma and corneal ectasia, or who have undergone cataract surgery.

2. They’re Completely Custom-Made

Each pair of scleral contact lenses is custom-designed to gently and securely rest on your unique eyes. The fitting process for scleral lenses starts with corneal topography, where the optometrist creates a digital map of your eye’s surface. This information is then used to customize your perfectly fitted pair of sclerals.

3. They Offer Optimal Visual Clarity and Comfort

The liquid reservoir that sits between the lens and the eye helps enhance the visual optics of the lens. Moreover, scleral lenses are made of very high-grade materials and don’t place any pressure on the cornea, delivering ultimate all-day comfort. Many patients have reported that they comfortably wear sclerals for up to 14 hours a day, which is longer than the wear time for standard soft contact lenses.

4. They Promote Eye Healing

Scleral contact lenses protect the eye by surrounding it with an oxygen-permeable, liquid-filled chamber. This hydrating environment gives the eye the moisture and oxygen it needs to stay healthy and ward off outside irritants.

This can also explain why scleral lenses promote healing of the eye’s surface, whether after a corneal transplant or when recovering from a chemical burn or other eye injury.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with a corneal condition that prevents you from wearing standard lenses, consider scleral lenses. To schedule an appointment or to learn more, call Unger Eye Care in Troy today!

Unger Eye Care serves patients from Troy, Edwardsville, Maryville, Glen Carbon and throughout Illinois.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Alice Unger

Q: #1: How long do a pair of scleral lenses last?

  • A: Scleral lenses can last 1-2 years before requiring replacement. Your optometrist will provide you with instructions on how to wear and care for your lenses to keep them feeling fresh and clean, day in day out.

Q: #2: Are scleral lenses expensive?

  • A: Just like any other customized product, scleral lenses tend to be more expensive than standard soft contact lenses. Although they have a higher price point, most patients who wear them will tell you that their comfort, visual clarity and stability make them worth the cost.


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Can I Swim With Contact Lenses?

Contact Lens Eye Exams in Troy, Illinois

Contact Lens Eye Exams in Troy, Illinois

Though tempting, wearing contact lenses while swimming can leave your eyes vulnerable to contamination by harmful bacteria and chemicals present in the water. This can result in eye irritation, infections and sight-threatening conditions such as corneal ulcers. Moreover, swimming in contact lenses may alter their shape, causing blurred vision and discomfort.

If you absolutely must wear contact lenses to swim, opt for daily disposables and combine them with waterproof swimming goggles. Alternately, you can wear prescription goggles to see clearly underwater.

Why Should I Avoid Wearing Contact Lenses While Swimming?

Swimming pools, rivers, oceans, and other bodies of water (including tap water) are laden with bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms—many of which can harm your eyes. The soft contact lenses’ porous material easily absorbs chemicals and bacteria, increasing the risk of eye irritation and infection.

One of the more harmful organisms often found in water sites is Acanthamoeba, which, when in contact with your contact lenses can potentially lead to eye infections. This condition, called Acanthamoeba Keratitis, may cause permanent vision loss and even require a corneal transplant to recover lost vision if not treated early enough.

Moreover, contact lenses absorb water, causing their shape to change. This results in contact lens discomfort as well as blurred and distorted vision.

What if I must wear contact lenses to swim?

If, for whatever reason, you must wear contact lenses to swim, consider wearing daily disposables together with waterproof swimming goggles. Aside from protecting your vision, goggles reduce the risk of your contacts dislodging from your eyes.

Because water hosts many potentially harmful microorganisms, daily contact lenses allow you to swim in lenses without needing to sterilize them afterward. Just insert them prior to heading into the water and dispose of them immediately after.

If at any point during your swim, you feel eye discomfort, immediately remove the lenses.

For more advice on swimming with contact lenses, speak with Dr. Alice Unger at Unger Eye Care in Troy, Illinois today.

What are the Alternatives to Wearing Contact Lenses For Swimming?

Custom-made prescription swimming goggles are a worthwhile investment for regular swimmers.

Just like glasses, they correct refractive errors, such as myopia (shortsightedness or nearsightedness), hyperopia (longsightedness or farsightedness) and presbyopia. Moreover, prescription goggles are sealed so that water doesn’t come into contact with your eyes. This allows you to see clearly underwater without any risk of contamination.

Certain brands conveniently offer ready-made prescription swimming goggles. But prior to making the purchase, we advise that you check the goggles against your prescription to make sure they match.

Dr. Alice Unger at Unger Eye Care will be happy to advise you on your best eyewear options for swimming and other activities you enjoy.

What if Water Comes Into Contact With My Contact Lenses?

In the event that water comes into contact with your lenses, make sure to immediately remove, clean and disinfect your contact lenses. This will reduce your risk of eye irritation and other complications.

Contact Dr. Alice Unger immediately if you experience prolonged eye irritation or sensitivity to light after wearing your contact lenses in water.

Unger Eye Care serves patients from Troy, throughout Illinois.

We offer the best eye care services for you & your family. Most vision and medical insurances accepted.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are disposable contact lenses good for my eyes?

  • A: They’re perfectly fine, but it all depends on your eyes. Each person has a different tolerance level to contact lenses. Speak with your eye doctor to determine whether contacts are a good option for you.

Q: What are the advantages of daily disposable contact lenses?

  • A: Daily disposable contact lenses are great for many reasons. The possibility of infection diminishes since a new sterile lens is inserted every day. In other words, there’s no need to clean the lens or case. Dailies are also a great option for patients that have allergies, contact lens solution sensitivities and dry eye, as it eliminates the build-up of contaminants on the lenses that can exacerbate those problems. Dailies make for a low-maintenance and comfortable option for any patient!

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Unger Eye Care for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


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