The Optical Boutique Blog

News and information about eye care products, eye care services and eyewear from The Optical Boutique.

"As Eye See It" --- National Diabetes Month

Written by Dr. Brandon Nelms on .

November is American Diabetes Month.  According to, approximately 26 million Americans are living with diabetes.  Furthermore, it is estimated that one in three American adults will have diabetes by the year 2050.  Diabetes can be a devestating disease leading to kidney failure, stroke, limb amputation and a host of other health problems.

In addition, diabetes can have a profound effect on the eyes.  In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness cases in the United States.  It can cause an instable glasses prescription, early cataract formation and poor corneal wound healing.  It can also cause changes to blood vessels inside the eye.  These changes are called diabetic retinopathy and include leaking blood vessels, formation of new weaker blood vessels (neovascularization) and retinal swelling.  In advanced diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachment and blindness can occur.

As bleak as this sounds, there is hope.  Ocular complications are much less likely to happen if blood sugar levels are properly controlled.  Diet, excercise and compliance with medications are crucial in preventing diabetic eye disease.  In addition, early detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy often prevent more severe forms of retinopathy.  Our doctors recommend annual eye health evaluations including retinal examination.  More frequent monitoring may be necessary for patients exhibiting retinopathy.

At the Optical Boutique, we are committed to the ocular well-being of our patients with diabetes.  We look forward to working with you and your care team to maintain the health of your eyes.  So, let's celebrate American Diabetes Month by scheduling your comprehensive eye health evaluation.

"As Eye SEE It" --- Fall Allergies

Written by Dr. Brandon Nelms on .

If you're a native of Memphis, you know that fall means allergies.  According to an article in USA Today, Memphis once again ranks in the top five worst cities for fall allergies.  This is mostly due to a high concentration of ragweed pollen in our air.  Along with sinus and nasal problems, our eyes can respond to these allergies.  Itching, redness and watering are some of the most common symptoms of ocular allergies.  Many patients believe that their allergies are just part of living in this area and that they should just "deal with it".  However, there are several treatment options available that can provide relief for ocular allergy sufferers.

Treatment for ocular allergies varies according to patient symptoms and severity of the allergic response.  In general, there are three main treatments for ocular allergies:

1)  Oral Antihistamines -  This group includes drugs like Benadryl, Allegra and Claritin.  These medications are especially useful for relieving nasal and sinus symptoms.  Yet, they are not always as effective against eye symptoms.

2)  Topical Antihistamines - This group has become my go-to treatment for ocular allergies.  It includes drugs like Pataday, Lastacaft and Bepreve.  Most of these medications offer itch relief within 5-10 minutes of instilling the drop.  In addition, if used regularly, they can prevent itching from occuring before it starts.

3)  Topical Steroids - Steroids are a class of anti-inflammatory medications.  They can relieve symptoms of inflammation due to allergies.  They are an excellent option for patients experiencing severe ocular allergies.

Refuse to believe that seasonal ocular allergies are just part of life as a Memphian.  Relief is available!  Make an appointment and we'll discuss the best way to relieve your allergy symptoms.