Why Do I See Sparkles?

Experiencing sparkles or flashes of light in vision can be a worrisome occurrence, but it is essential to understand the common causes of this condition. Several factors may lead to such visual disturbances that can vary in intensity and frequency.


Migraines are a common cause of sparkles in vision. These headaches may cause a range of visual issues, including flashing lights or sparkles. Such disturbances may appear as shimmering spots, zigzag lines, or bright flashes of light. Although headaches usually follow, that may not always be the case.

Eye Floaters

Eye floaters are tiny, dark spots or strands that drift across the visual field, and they are another frequent cause of sparkles in vision. These shadows result from protein or cell clumps within the vitreous, which is the transparent, gel-like substance that fills the eye.

Posterior Vitreous Detachment

A Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) is a situation when the vitreous detaches from the retina, resulting in floaters and sparkles in vision. PVDs are usually harmless but may suggest a more severe condition, such as a retinal tear or detachment.

Retinal Migraine

A retinal migraine is a rare condition that causes temporary blindness or vision loss in one eye, followed by a headache. This condition can also cause flashing lights or sparkles in vision. Retinal migraines can happen due to a temporary drop in blood flow to the retina, and they can be triggered by factors such as stress, exercise, or eating certain foods.

Other Causes

Other uncommon causes of sparkles in vision include retinal detachment, macular degeneration, brain injury, chemical exposure, or inflammation or infection of the eye.For medical eye care in Pittsburgh, PA and surrounding areas, contact your eye care professional.

Seeing sparkles or flashes of light in vision can indicate several conditions, but it’s important to understand the common causes. If you experience sparkles in your vision, consulting with an eye doctor in Pittsburgh, PA is recommended to determine the cause and obtain appropriate treatment. Contact us today to learn more.

How Hypertension Affects Your Eyes

If you have uncontrolled hypertension, this could cause changes in your vision. You could experience symptoms such as double vision, dim vision, or even vision loss. This is due to damage caused to the retina in the back of your eye. If you suspect you have high blood pressure, a visit to your eye doctor in Pittsburgh is recommended.

What Is Hypertensive Retinopathy? 

Hypertensive retinopathy is an eye disease that damages the retina because blood pressure inside the blood vessels is too high. If high blood pressure is not controlled, it may eventually damage the optic nerve and the macula as well, causing irreversible vision loss.

Often, it’s your eye doctor who’s the first to suspect chronic conditions such as hypertension or diabetes because of the changes they make to your eyes. This is one reason why it’s so important to keep regular appointments with your vision specialist at least once a year, or more often, if you suspect your vision is changing.

What Does Chronic, Uncontrolled Hypertension Do to Your Eyes? 

Uncontrolled high blood pressure may cause the tiny blood vessels that deliver blood to the retina to constrict. This limits the blood flow and may cause the retina to swell. If left untreated, this condition may cause lesions, called cotton-wool spots, to form on the retina. It may also cause a host of other problems that include retinal hemorrhage, microaneurysm, or retinal edema. Eventually, over time, it may cause damage to your optic nerve or your macula, too.

An early diagnosis and treatment plan is key to preventing vision loss from chronic high blood pressure.

Help for Hypertensive Retinopathy in Pittsburgh, PA

If you have chronic, uncontrolled hypertension in Pittsburgh or the surrounding area, partner with your primary care physician to begin treatment. Next, make an appointment with Lappen Eye Care in Pittsburgh, Greensburg, South Hills, or McMurry today.

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Eye Health: What You Should Know

Most people know that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can affect every part of your body, but most people don’t consider that this can mean their eyes are affected too. When around 1.3 million people suffer from RA, it’s important to know how the symptoms manifest and why an optometrist in Greensburg, Pittsburgh, South Hills, and McMurray, PA may be able to help.

Dry Eyes

When your body is attacking itself for no apparent reason, the consequences can be severe. Your autoantibodies are largely going after the joints, but they can end up going after your eyes as well. The glands that make tears won’t be able to do their job, and the results will have you blinking more often than you’d like.

Dry eyes in South Hills, PA aren’t dangerous on their own, but they can impact your overall vision. If you’re driving or chopping a bell pepper, you can imagine why you’ll want to get treatment for your dry eye sooner than later.

Inflammation of the Sclera

While this is less common, you may experience pain and redness in the sclera (white portion). Again, what’s attacking the healthy parts of the body isn’t going to stop at just the eye. Talking to an eye doctor in McMurray, PA can help you understand more about how RA is linked to your eye health and what you can do to give yourself an edge over your illness.

Eye Doctors in the Pittsburgh Area

At Lappen Eye Care, we don’t just treat individual symptoms. Medical eye care in Greensburg, Pittsburgh, South Hills, and McMurray, PA can help you discover issues before they have the chance to progress. Often, things like dry eye are an indicator of autoimmune diseases – long before official tests confirm it. Here, you’ll find a staff that’s focused on your overall health, so contact us today if you have questions or concerns about your RA.


 4 Ways to Maintain Healthy Eyes

Healthy eyes don’t just happen on their own. There are many things that you can do to help maintain your healthy eyes. Wearing sunglasses outside, eating foods that promote eye health and using PPE when engaging in dangerous tasks are all things that you can do to make your eyes healthier. Here’s what you need to know about maintaining eye health.

1. Wear Sunglasses Outside

Sunglasses help protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays. If you’re buying non-prescription sunglasses, look for the label or sticker that says the glasses you’re buying protect from UV rays. If you’re buying prescription sunglasses from the eye doctor in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, the glasses should have a protective coating – check with your eye doctor to be sure.

2. Eat Foods That Promote Eye Health

There are many foods that promote eye health, including salmon (contain Omega-3 fatty acids that help promote visual health), carrots (which contain beta-carotene to help promote good vision), red peppers (contain vitamins that prevent the development of cataracts) and kale (rich in antioxidants found in the retina).

3. Use Personal Protective Equipment

If you’re engaging in dangerous activities like using power tools or playing a high-contact sport, then it’s important to use personal protective equipment to protect your eyes. Using PPE can prevent injuries of the eye, so find out what kind of PPE you should be using.

4. Get Regular Eye Examinations

When you go in for regular eye exams in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, you give your eye doctor a chance to catch eye diseases in their early stages. If you have prescription lenses, you probably get eye exams once every year or two.

Depending on your medical and family history, your eye doctor may recommend getting yearly eye exams even if you don’t have corrective lenses. If you’re not sure how often to see the eye doctor, call Lappen Eye Care today.

What Everyone Should Know About Dry Eyes

Dry eyes can cause significant discomfort. Dry eyes can also make your eyes look red, which can be frustrating. Some people experience dry eyes seasonally, while others may experience dry eyes year-round. Understanding what causes dry eyes and how to treat them can help you manage this frustrating condition. Working with your eye doctor in the Pittsburgh area can help. Here’s what to know.

Dry Eye Causes

Dry eyes can be caused by certain medical conditions, certain medications and even by aging. Dry eyes are exacerbated by conditions in the environment like low humidity, staring into the wind and using the computer for long stretches.

How to Treat Dry Eyes

The best way to treat your dry eyes is to first see an eye doctor. Your eye doctor can determine whether your dry eyes are a chronic problem or the result of something temporary, like a medication that you’re currently taking. Your eye doctor can also determine the best course of action to treat your dry eyes.

In addition, there are many small changes you can make to your environment and behaviors that will help with dry eyes. For example:

  • Don’t blow dryers on high heat – turn the dryer to a low temperature and low setting
  • Use a humidifier in your home, especially at times of year when the humidity outside is very low
  • Use artificial tears

If your dry eyes are severe enough, your eye doctor may recommend prescription artificial tears. Medication can help your eyes stay moist enough to improve your comfort.

Dry eyes are a problem if you want to wear contact lenses, because moisture can stop infections. Get your dry eyes treated if you want to wear contacts in the Pittsburgh area. Call Lappen Eye Care for more information.

What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a serious condition that, if left untreated, can cause permanent blindness. The only way to protect your vision from glaucoma is to seek treatment from an eye doctor in the Pittsburgh area.

Seeing an eye doctor and getting treatment as early as possible can help save your vision. Knowing the symptoms of the signs of glaucoma is important, so you’ll know how to protect yourself from this serious problem.

Early Stages

Unfortunately, in the earliest stages of glaucoma, many people have no symptoms at all. During the early stages, the damage may be occurring slowly and without patient awareness.

Depending on the type of glaucoma affecting the patient, they may also experience one or more of the following:

  • Severe pain in the eyes
  • Redness in the eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Foggy vision
  • Dilated pupils
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Halos around lights

Some types of glaucoma can seem to come on very suddenly, with permanent damage to the vision following shortly after. If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, contact your eye doctor immediately or go to the emergency room.

Later Stages

If glaucoma is left untreated, it can lead to permanent vision loss. Vision loss from glaucoma is not reversible.

Why It’s Important to See the Eye Doctor

While glaucoma can’t be cured, it can be treated, and in many cases, vision loss can be avoided. This is why it’s important to see an eye doctor on a regular basis, and get checked for glaucoma periodically. If your eye doctor detects glaucoma, it’s important to get glaucoma treatment in the Pittsburgh area. Getting glaucoma treatment can help you manage this condition and avoid blindness and other permanent damage. Call Lappen Eye Care today to make an appointment for an examination today.

3 Situations That Should Spur Emergency Eye Care

Unsure of whether you should visit an emergency eye doctor in Pittsburgh, PA? Certain situations should spur you to make the call to ensure your visual health is protected. Take a look at a few situations that require emergency eye care.

1. Scratched Eye

One of the most common eye health emergencies, a scratched cornea can seem like no major deal. While your eye may burn and water after the corneal lens has been scratched, most people assume the issue will simply heal. However, scratches on the surface of the eye leave you prone to serious infections. Further, the potential scarring from a deep scratch can lead to long-term problems with your vision.

2. Swollen or Inflamed Eyes

Swollen or inflamed eyes can point to a series of visual health problems. If the eyelid is swollen, this may be a sign of blepharitis, chalazion, or something else. If the eye itself is swollen or inflamed, this could be anything from conjunctivitis (pink eye) to injury to the eye. All of these issues should be assessed by an optometrist.

3. Sudden Changes in Vision

Drastic changes in your vision that come about without a known cause should always be treated as eye health emergencies. Several things can be taking place within the eye or within your body that are detrimentally affecting your vision. For example, sudden changes in vision can be related to high blood pressure, but may also be a sign of high eye pressure affecting the retinal nerve.

Get Urgent Eye Care in Pittsburgh, PA

Just as an emergency situation with your body requires immediate attention, an emergency situation with your eyes requires the help of a Pittsburgh, PA eye doctor. Reach out to us at Lappen Eye Care to get immediate assistance if you believe you are dealing with an eye health emergency.

Is Smoking Bad For Your Eyes?

You may have heard that smoking is bad for you in a variety of ways, but did you know that smoking is bad for your eyes? It’s true! Smoking puts you at increased risk for a variety of problems, including certain conditions that can impact your visual health. If you smoke, it’s important to see your eye doctor in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area on a regular basis. Visiting the eye doctor can help catch some of those conditions before they become advanced. Here’s what you need to know.

Smoking Increases Risk of Certain Eye Conditions

Smoking can increase the risk of a variety of eye conditions, which may lead to vision loss or even blindness, depending on the type of condition, severity, and whether the condition is treated in its early stages. Some eye conditions that you may be at high risk for, if you smoke:

  • Age-related macular degeneration. You may be up to four times more likely to develop this condition, if you smoke.
  • Glaucoma. Smoking can increase your risk of high blood pressure, which increases your risk of glaucoma.
  • Cataracts. People who smoke heavily can be up to three times more likely to get cataracts compared to those who don’t smoke.
  • Dry eye syndrome. Dry eye syndrome is twice as likely to occur in smokers as non-smokers.

How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy if You Smoke

If you smoke, one of the ways you can help keep your eyes healthy is to get your eye exam in Pittsburgh from an experienced eye care professional. Make an appointment with Lappen Eye Care to find out more about keeping your eyes healthy.

What Are the Most Common Eye Disorders?

Worried about your vision? As we grow older and begin to experience the effects of normal aging, we often begin noticing changes in vision. We may need bifocals where we once had perfect eyesight, or we may have more difficulty reading small print. For most of us, it’s a simple fact of life, caused by growing older. However, sometimes there’s something more serious at work, which is why regular vision screenings with your optometrist in Pittsburgh, PA, are so important.

Refractive Errors

Refractive errors include near-sightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Most of us are familiar with near-sightedness and farsightedness. Usually, the answer to both is corrective lenses. Astigmatism is caused by an imperfection in the curvature of your eye’s cornea and causes blurry vision at all distances. Presbyopia, lastly, makes it difficult for your eyes to focus on objects that are close up. Eyeglasses or contact lenses can usually correct refractive errors.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

This common eye condition related to aging causes a loss of central vision. You may also see straight lines as wavy. AMD is a result of damage to your eye’s macula — the part of your retina that allows you to see colors and fine details. Normal aging causes AMD in some people. Treatment includes making simple lifestyle changes, taking medication, and undergoing eye injections or laser treatment.


Cataracts happen when a cloud-like film develops over the lens of your eye, obscuring your vision. Many people develop cataracts as they age. Fortunately, they’re usually simple to treat through surgery that removes the cloudy lens and places an artificial one in its place.

Keeping regular appointments with your vision specialist can help with early detection of common eye disorders in Pittsburgh, PA. Call Lappen Eye Care today to schedule an appointment.

Am I At Risk for Glaucoma?

Are you at risk for glaucoma? You might be and not even know it. Glaucoma is a condition that you might develop without ever realizing it, until permanent damage is done to your eyesight. If you’re at risk for glaucoma, it’s very important to see your eye doctor in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. Only your eye doctor can catch glaucoma in its earliest stages. Catching it early can help you avoid potential loss of eyesight.

Glaucoma Risk Factors

Everyone can get glaucoma, but some people are at higher risk than others. Genetics is one risk factor. If members of your family have been diagnosed with glaucoma, you may be at higher risk as well.

Below are some more risk factors that can make you more likely to get glaucoma.

  • Age. People over age 60 are more likely to get glaucoma.
  • Eyesight. If you’re extremely near-sighted or far-sighted, you may be more likely to get glaucoma.
  • Medication. People who take corticosteroid medications (especially for a long time) are at increased risk to get glaucoma.
  • Health. Some conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease put patients at an increased risk of getting glaucoma.

For a full list of risk factors, speak with your eye doctor at Lappen Eye Care.

How to Know If You Have Glaucoma

Since the early stages of glaucoma may have no symptoms, the only way to tell if you have glaucoma may be to get an eye exam in Pittsburgh. At Lappen Eye Care, we provide eye exams for patients in the Pittsburgh area. During the eye exams, we’ll check your eyes for glaucoma and other chronic conditions that could dramatically impact your eye health. To make an appointment, call today.