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.

When Is It Time to See the Eye Doctor?

Do you know when it’s time to see the eye doctor in Pittsburgh? Knowing the signs of a problem and how often eye doctors recommend coming in for check-ups can help you take care of your eyes. Visiting the eye doctor on a regular basis is important. Your eye doctor can help you avoid chronic eye conditions and help ensure that you’ve got the right prescription lenses for your needs.

See the Eye Doctor on a Regular Basis
Many eye doctors recommend that adults get their eyes examined on a regular basis – whether they need corrective lenses or not. The reason it’s important to see the eye doctor, even if you don’t need corrective lenses, is that some eye conditions have no symptoms in the early stages.

Seeing the eye doctor can help you identify those conditions before they lead to permanent damage. After age 60, eye doctors recommend that patients without corrective lenses see the eye doctor every year or two. If you wear corrective lenses, see the eye doctor annually, regardless of your age, to find out if your prescription has changed.

When You Notice Signs of a Problem
See the eye doctor when you notice signs of a problem. Signs of a problem include:

Blurry vision
Dry eyes
Sensitivity to light
Spots in your vision
Eye pain
You Want New Glasses
Do you want new eye glasses in Pittsburgh? See the eye doctor! Your eye doctor will give you an eye exam. Once you have a new prescription, you can get new glasses.

Is It Time to See the Eye Doctor? Contact Lappen Eye Care
Make your next eye appointment with Lappen Eye Care. Call today!

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.

3 Questions to Ask Your Eye Doctor At the Next Visit

If you have glasses or an eye condition, then you likely see the eye doctor every one or two years. Your eye appointments are a chance to ask your eye doctor questions that can keep you informed about your eye health. Before you go to your next eye exam in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, give some thought to the types of questions that you might like to ask your eye doctor. Below are three examples of questions that could help you understand your eye health.
1. Will My Eye Condition or Prescription Change Over Time?
Prescriptions and eye conditions change over time. If you have an eye condition that may worsen, it’s helpful to know what changes in eyesight or eye health you can anticipate, so you can be on the lookout for symptoms and signs that it’s time to go back to the eye doctor.
2. What Lifestyle Changes Can I Make to Promote Good Eye Health?
Some habits, like smoking and drinking, can contribute to poor eye health over time. Your eye doctor can coach you on the changes that you can make to ensure good eye health with time.
3. When Should I Come Back for My Next Visit?
Some people need to see the eye doctor every year, some come back every two years – or even less often. Have a conversation with your eye doctor to find out when you should return to the eye doctor’s office for your next checkup.
Is it time to make an appointment with your eye doctor in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area? Contact Lappen Eye Care to get your next appointment on the schedule.

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.

I Don’t Need Sunglasses In Winter, Do I?

Summer is a time when many people wear sunglasses, but in winter, some leave their sunglasses at home. Sunglasses are an important accessory at all times of the year, even during the short days of winter.

If you have prescription lenses but don’t have prescription sunglasses, now is the time to get some! Your eye doctor in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area can help. Below, we’ve listed information about why sunglasses are important at this time of year.

How Sunglasses Protect Your Eyes

Sunglasses protect your eyes by blocking harmful UV rays that can increase your risk of eye conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration and corneal damage. UV rays also age the structures of the eyes, thus contributing to an overall decrease in vision.

Why Sunglasses Are Useful in Winter

It may seem like your eyes are only at risk for UV exposure in summer, when the sun is out the longest and seems the brightest. Unfortunately, eyes can be exposed to UV rays in winter too, and can even suffer damage like corneal sunburn in winter, if you’re exposed to glaring sun reflecting off of the snow for many hours at a time. Sunglasses can help protect your eyes from this exposure, thus promoting good eye health.

How to Choose the Right Pair of Sunglasses

Finding the right pair of sunglasses starts with going to the eye doctor. Once you have an updated prescription, you can choose a pair of sunglasses from the many pairs of frames at your eye doctor.

To get started finding a pair of sunglasses in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, contact your eye doctor at Lappen Eye Care today.