Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Glaucoma: Silent Thief of Vision

Glaucoma is a progressive, degenerative disease of the optic nerve that can lead to permanent vision loss.  It is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide.  3 million people in America have
glaucoma and approximately 50% of people don't know they have it by because it is symptomless. However, with early detection and treatment, vision loss can be prevented.  Various forms of glaucoma exist and most forms have ​no pain or symptoms ​ .  Glaucoma is screened for and detected during your annual eye exam.

There are many risk factors for glaucoma.  Some of these risk factors include:  ● Age over 40 ● African American, Asian, or Hispanic descent ● a family history of glaucoma ● being highly nearsightedness or farsighted ● history of ocular injury ● diabetes ● sleep apnea ● use of certain medications such as steroids

The treatment for glaucoma may include eye drops, laser procedures, and/or surgery.

Currently, there are no therapies that prevent glaucoma.  The best practice is have annual exams for early detection and treatment. ​  Advancing technology allows us to detect glaucoma earlier than ever, thereby preserving your vision for years to come.

Written by Dr. Vandana Gandhi Patel

Vandana Gandhi Patel, O.D.

Board Certified Optometric Physician
Graduate of University of Illinois
Graduate of Illinois College of Optometry

Dr. Gandhi Patel has been practicing optometry for more than 10 years with much of that time spent in the Midwest and Chicago area. She completed residency training at a Veteran’s Hospital in Primary Care/Disease Management.
She joined the Edwards Eye Care team of doctors in 2017, seeing patients on Tuesday's and Friday's.
She has extensive experience in all types of contact lens fittings (such as soft contact lenses, rigid gas permeable contacts, daily contact lenses, monovision and multifocal contact lens care), comprehensive eye examinations, diabetic eye examinations, emergency eye care, eye disease management including glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, allergies, dry eye and more.
She lives in the Cherokee County area and in her free time enjoys playing tennis, cooking and spending time with her husband and two children.


Fall allergy triggers are different, but they can cause just as many symptoms as in spring and summer.
What Causes Fall Allergies?
Ragweed is the biggest allergy trigger in the fall. Though it usually starts to release pollen with cool nights and warm days in August, it can last into September and October. About 75% of people allergic to spring plants also have reactions to ragweed.
Mold is another fall trigger. You may think of mold growing in your basement or bathroom -- damp areas in the house -- but mold spores also love wet spots outside. Piles of damp leaves are ideal breeding grounds for mold.
Don’t forget dust mitesWhile they’re common during the humid summer months, they can get stirred into the air the first time you turn on your heat in the fall. They can trigger sneezes, wheezes, and runny noses.
What Are the Symptoms?
Tips to Manage Symptoms
Stay indoors with the doors and windows closed when pollen is at its peak (usually in the late morning or midday). Check pollen counts in your area. Your local weather report will usually include them.
Before you turn on your heat for the first time, clean your heating vents and change the filter. Bits of mold and other allergens can get trapped in the vents over the summer and will fill the air as soon as you start the furnace.
Use a HEPA filter in your heating system to remove pollen, mold, and other particles from the air.
Use a dehumidifier to keep your air at between 35% and 50% humidity.
Wear a mask when you rake leaves so you don't breathe in mold spores.


Edwards Eye Care is proud to participate in the recycling of old glasses for the Woodstock Lion's Club. Basic eye care and eyeglasses contribute not only to the improvement of the quality of life for all ages, but also to the process of national development.

The Lion's Club is dedicated to bringing basic eye care and eyeglasses to a world of people in need. They are humbled to have recycled and collected over 10 million pairs of eyeglasses, and to have distributed 6.5 million pairs of these eyeglasses to 67 countries across the globe.

Help us help them continue their mission!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Fall is here and allergy eyes are in full swing!

Have itchy, red eyes been an all too common occurrence for you since the beginning of fall this year? You may be suffering from eye allergies. While it is estimated that 50 million Americans suffer from all types of allergies, approximately 4 percent of allergy sufferers report that eye allergies are their primary allergy.  Itchy eyes are the most common symptom associated with eye allergies and it is triggered by outdoor and indoor allergens.  For some, eye allergies can prove so uncomfortable and irritating that they interfere with job performance, impede leisure or sports activities, and even curtail vacations.

But what are eye allergies and how do you know if you are suffering from this condition? Eye allergies can encompass many symptoms such as itching, burning and dryness that are caused by allergens in our environment and is commonly referred to as “allergic conjunctivitis” by your eye care professional. This is a reaction to indoor and outdoor allergens (such as pollen, mold, dust mites or pet dander) that get into your eyes and cause inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and helps keep your eyelid and eyeball moist. Eye allergies are not contagious. Other substances called “irritants” (such as dirt, smoke and chlorine) and even viruses and bacteria, can compound the effect of eye allergies, or even cause irritation symptoms similar to eye allergies for people who may not even have allergies.

The eyes are an easy target for allergens and irritants because, like the skin, they are exposed and sensitive to the outside environment.  Certain medications and cosmetics can also cause eye allergy symptoms. By way of response to these allergens and irritants, the body releases chemicals called histamines, which in turn produce inflammation.           

In very mild cases, oral allergy medication may help relieve itchy eyes along with cold compresses to the eyes a few times each day.  However, your eye care professional is best able to treat this condition with specific anti-allergy drops that can keep those red, itchy eyes away and have you back outdoors enjoying the beauty of fall.  Learn more at   

Monday, November 17, 2014

Focus on Eye Care During National Diabetes Awareness Month!!

Diabetes is becoming more and more prevalent in our country. Today, over 21 million Americans have Diabetes and it is estimated that one third of this population do not even know they have the condition. During the month of November, I am proud to spotlight the importance of frequent eye exams for individuals with Diabetes and those at risk for this disease.

Dilated eye exams at appropriate intervals are extremely important for individuals with Diabetes and those at risk for this disease due to the possibility of substantial vision loss with long term uncontrolled Diabetic eye disease. In these cases of advanced diabetic retinopathy, an individual may have irreversible vision loss or even total blindness as a result.  Beginning symptoms of diabetic retinopathy can present as what may seem like routine blurry vision or fluctuating vision and this is the reason yearly eye exams are so important as early as possible to prevent vision loss.

To avoid these complications to your eyes make sure to include your eye doctor in your team of healthcare professionals and to visit him/her regularly just as you would with your primary care physician and dentist. As a part of your diabetes management team, your eye doctor can often be your first line of detection for diabetes due to the findings of your annual dilated eye exam. Your eye doctor may also utilize advanced High Definition retinal photography in order to document the presence and progression of any diabetic changes to your eyes during each eye exam.
At my practice we are helping to contribute to a healthier patient population by meeting three specific objectives set by the American Optometric Association and their National Diabetes Month Campaign. These three vision objective are: to increase the proportion of persons who have a dilated eye examination at appropriate intervals, reduce visual impairment due to diabetic retinopathy, and to increase vision rehabilitation.  If you are an individual with or at risk for diabetes please make sure to get a comprehensive eye examination each and every year.    

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Beware the Risks of Decorative Contact Lenses this Halloween!!!!


Over the last few years you may have seen decorative contact lenses as a halloween costume accessory for some enthusiasts getting completely into character. However, with celebrities such as Lady Gaga routinely wearing them in her music videos, the popularity of these lenses is likely to hit an all time high this Halloween. 

While these contacts may impress your friends or even win you a costume contest, it is important to know the risks involved in wearing contact lenses that are not approved for your eyes. Contact Lenses are medical devices that should not be worn without approval and a current prescription from your eye doctor. 

These decorative contact lenses often have many pitfalls when they are worn or cared for incorrectly, or when they are worn by an individual that should not be wearing contact lenses at all.

Here are some important basics of proper contact lens care to remember:
• Do not buy contacts without a doctor’s prescription. These are medical devices that fit your eye and if they do not fit properly or are the wrong material for your eyes then they can damage your eyes.
• Do not share lenses, wear them longer than the recommended replacement time, or sleep in contact lenses. Remember to wash your hands every time before handling lenses, change your contact lens case monthly, and always use the proper solution for your contact lenses.
• If your eyes are red, painful, creating mucus discharge, or if your vision is blurry make sure to contact your eye doctor as soon as possible. 

Above all remember to be safe this Halloween season, and if your eye doctor has not approved your eyes for a special decorative contact lens – then it is not worth the risk, because you only get one pair of eyes.