What are common causes of blurry vision?

Have you been experiencing blurry vision lately? Step away from WebMD and try not to panic – there are many normal reasons why you may be experiencing this mild visual disturbance.

Below, we’ve outlined some of the more common causes of blurry vision.

You need to get glasses – or update your prescription.

Do you wear glasses or contacts? If not, you might need to start. Although most people develop nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism when they’re younger, your eyes are constantly changing. If you already wear glasses, it might be time to update your prescription!

You need reading glasses.

If you’re older than 40 and find it difficult to read menus, newspapers, or other small print, it might be time for reading glasses. Presbyopia, or the diminished ability to focus on close objects, is a common and natural part of aging.

Reading glasses and bifocals aren’t the only way to treat presbyopia – there are also surgical options such as corneal inlays and monovision LASIK.

You’re pregnant.

It might sound farfetched, but the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can alter the shape and thickness of your cornea, making your vision blurry. Dry eyes are another common culprit for blurry vision during pregnancy.

Although blurry vision is relatively common during pregnancy, it’s important that you report it to your doctor. In some cases, it could indicate gestational diabetes or high blood pressure.

You’re experiencing side effects from a medication.

Have you started using new eye drops recently? What about an antihistamine? Certain eyedrops and medications, e.g., allergy pills, can result in dry eyes and blurred vision. If you think medication is the likely culprit, speak with your doctor about what to do next.

You’ve been over-wearing your contacts.

When was the last time you changed your contact lenses? Wearing your contact lenses longer than recommended can cause proteins and debris to build up in the lenses, hindering your vision and increasing your risk of eye infections.

You have chronic dry eyes.

If you’ve ever been told by your doctor that you have dry eyes, your blurry vision might be related. Having insufficient tears can actually cause your vision to blur or fluctuate.

When should I see a doctor?

If you’re experiencing blurry vision, it’s always important to chat with your optometrist, ophthalmologist, or general physician. While there are multiple mundane reasons for blurry vision, it can indicate a serious problem – particularly if it has a sudden onset.

If you’re concerned about your vision, Intermountain Eye Centers is here for you. Contact us today to set up your first appointment.

Why Are My Eyes Dry? A Brief Introduction to Dry Eye.

Dry eye is a common condition, affecting at least 6.8 percent of the U.S. adult population. If you’ve been experiencing dry, scratchy eyes lately, you might be one of them.

Symptoms of dry eye include:

  • A stinging, scratchy, or burning sensation in your eyes
  • Feeling like something is stuck inside your eyes
  • Excess watering, or tearing
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Eye redness

These symptoms can vary from person to person and don’t necessarily predict the presence and severity of dry eye disease. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your ophthalmologist.

So why are my eyes dry?

Healthy eyes are constantly producing tears to keep themselves lubricated. When eyes fail to produce these tears – or produce the wrong kind of tears – dry eye symptoms can arise.

There are multiple factors that can result in dry eyes.


Tear production often diminishes with age – in fact, most people over age 65 have at least some symptoms of dry eye. Hormones associated with menopause can also trigger the condition.

Tear Quality

Tears are composed of oil, water, and mucus. Oftentimes, people with dry eye disease have difficulties producing the water layer of their tears, resulting in tears that evaporate too quickly or fail to spread evenly over the cornea.


Medication can often influence the eye’s ability to make tears. Antihistamines, decongestants, oral contraceptives, blood pressure medications and antidepressant can all diminish tear production.


Heaters, air conditioning units, and smoke can all cause tears to evaporate quickly, resulting in dry eye symptoms. Computer use is another common culprit of dry eye, since focusing on a screen can prevent people from blinking regularly.

Other Diseases or Disorders

Other illnesses can affect the eye’s ability to produce tears including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and thyroid conditions.

What should I do if I have dry eyes?

If you suspect you have dry eyes, you should meet with your eye doctor to rule out other conditions.

Dry eye disease is typically chronic, with symptoms that come and go over time. Treatment for dry eyes includes artificial tears, prescription eye medications, and in-office procedures. Lifestyle changes – for instance, reducing the amount of time you spend on the computer – can also help reduce the discomfort of dry eyes.

Intermountain Eye Centers offers multiple treatments for dry eyes, as well as comprehensive eye exams to rule out any other conditions. For more information about how we can help your eye health, contact us today.

Five New Year’s Resolutions for Healthy Vision

It’s a new year! Have you figured out your resolutions yet?

Below, we’ve listed five resolutions you can follow for better eye health. Which of these can you see yourself accomplishing in 2019?

  1. Wear sunglasses

Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory – they’re also an important way to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful radiation. While most people understand that excessive sun exposure can be dangerous for skin, fewer are aware that UV rays can damage your vision as well.

According to the National Eye Institute, an estimated 20% of cataracts are caused by extended UV exposure. UV exposure may also increase the risk of developing macular degeneration (a serious eye disease that can result in blindness) or pterygium (a non-cancerous growth within the eye).

When you purchase sunglasses, make sure they block 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. Other sunglasses might look nice, but they won’t protect your eyes.

  1. Wear protective eyewear

If you plan to participate in any home improvement activities this year, protective eyewear is a must. Woodworking, glass cutting, and many other projects can result in flying debris that can become lodged in the eye. Welding goggles are necessary during metal-working to avoid retinal burns.

When it comes to protective eyewear, accept no imitations. Most protective eyewear lenses are made from polycarbonate, a material that is 10 times stronger than other plastics. Regular glasses, swim goggles, and other makeshift solutions can shatter if they’re damaged, causing even more damage to your eyes.

  1. Quit smoking

If you smoke, 2019 is the perfect year to quit. Not only does smoking harm your lungs, but it also significantly increases your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, or AMD. Compared to non-smokers, smokers are up to four times more likely to develop this condition – and smokers who have a genetic predisposition to AMD are up to 20 times more likely!

People who smoke alsodouble their risk for developing cataracts, uveitis, and dry eye syndrome. Smoking while pregnant can result in numerous fetal and infant eye disorders including strabismus (crossed eyes) and underdevelopment of the optic nerve, a condition that can result in blindness.

  1. Practice good contact lens hygiene

This year, take some time to make sure that you’re practicing proper contact lens hygiene. The American Optometric Association (AOA) published several recommendations for good lens hygiene including:

  • Wash and dry your hands before handling contact lenses
  • Replace your lens case at least every three months
  • Always follow the recommended contact lens replacement schedule
  • Remove contact lenses before swimming or using a hot tub

People who fail to follow these recommendations are at risk for developing a contact lens-related eye infection like keratitis. Some infections can be so severe that they require surgery to correct.

  1. Get a comprehensive dilated eye exam.

Many common eye diseases – for instance, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetic eye disease – have no early symptoms. By the time symptoms emerge, your vision may be damaged permanently. The only way to guarantee that your eyes are healthy is by receiving yearly comprehensive eye examinations.

If you’d like to schedule your yearly comprehensive eye examination, contact us at Intermountain Eye Centers today.

Our staff at Intermountain Eye Centers is always willing to discuss ways to keep your eyes healthy. Contact us today to learn more or set up an appointment!

What Should I Know About Snow Blindness?

Are you going skiing this winter? Snowboarding? Or do you plan to miss the cold weather entirely and spend the winter months on a beach somewhere, sipping a cold beverage and gazing out into the ocean?

Regardless of your decision, Intermountain Eye Centers would like to take this opportunity to discuss snow blindness, a painful condition that can arise when you spend too much time out in the snow – or, conversely, too much time on the beach.

What is snow blindness?

Snow blindness, a common form of photokeratitis, is a medical condition caused by overexposure to UV rays. People who develop snow blindness often spend several hours out in the snow without proper eye protection. Snow and ice can reflect UV rays into the eyes, resulting in a burned cornea. In fact, snow blindness is actually a form of sunburn.

Despite the name, snow blindness can also result from UV lights reflected from sand or water. Tanning lamps, tanning beds, and arc welding can lead to the condition as well.

What are the symptoms of snow blindness?

Symptoms of snow blindness include:

  • Eye pain
  • Blurry vision
  • Gritty sensation in eye
  • Red eyes
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Headache
  • Swollen eyes or eyelids
  • Vision loss

Just like other sunburns, snow blindness is not immediately painful. It may take several hours after UV exposure before symptoms appear.

What is the treatment for snow blindness?

Thankfully, snow blindness is a temporary condition and typically resolves itself within 24 to 48 hours. In the meantime, you can take steps to relieve some of the pain and discomfort.

  • Remove your contact lenses are as soon as possible
  • Wear sunglasses
  • Stay indoors
  • Refrain from driving
  • Regularly moisten your eyes with artificial tears

How can snow blindness be prevented?

The best way to prevent snow blindness is to wear proper eye protection. If you’re planning to spend several hours in the snowy weather, wear snow goggles that are designed to block UV rays. If you’ve got warmer plans this winter, you can wear sunglasses that are designed to block or absorb 99 percent or more of UV rays.

Are you experiencing symptoms of an eye condition? Intermountain Eye Centers is eager to help. Contact us today to set up a comprehensive eye examination!

Five Eye-Healthy Thanksgiving Foods

If you’re looking to cook a healthy Thanksgiving meal, look no further.

Below, Intermountain Eye Centers has outlined five foods – and over a dozen dishes – you can cook this Thanksgiving to benefit your vision.


Cauliflower is packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that tends to be abundant in fruits and vegetables. Numerous studies have found that vitamin C can reduce the risk of developing cataracts, as well as slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration, or AMD.

Cauliflower alsocontains omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids may protect eyes from AMD, dry eye syndrome, and glaucoma.

For a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes, we recommend garlic mashed cauliflower. We also recommend roasted cauliflower steaks and truffled cauliflower gratin.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potato, like cauliflower, is also an excellent source of vitamin C. In addition, it contains beta-carotene, a pigment that is converted into vitamin A in the body. When combined with other antioxidant vitamins, vitamin A may play a role in reducing the risk of vision loss in people with AMD. It may also reduce the risk of eye infections.

Thankfully, this vibrant vegetable is already a staple in many people’s Thanksgiving dinners. Bake a sweet potato pie or try some roasted sweet potatoes with onions. Candied sweet potatoes are another excellent choice.


Did you know that a serving of mashed pumpkin provides more than 200 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A? Pumpkin also contains vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, fiber, lutein, and zeaxanthin – all of which are beneficial for eye health.

Besides the usual pumpkin pie, we also recommend pumpkin hummus and pumpkin cake.


Nuts including almonds, hazelnuts, and peanuts are all excellent sources of vitamin E. Vitamin E – much like vitamin A and C – likely plays a role in reducing the risk of vision loss in people with AMD. In addition, some studies suggest that it may prevent the development of cataracts.

This Thanksgiving, try out some candied almonds, hazelnut mushroom pilaf, and pecan and apricot sourdough bread stuffing.


Good news: the cranberry sauce you’re enjoying with your turkey might be protecting your eyes from cataracts! Cranberries are full of vitamin C just like sweet potatoes, cauliflower and pumpkin. This antioxidant significantly decreases your risk of developing cataracts and may slow the progression of AMD.

Traditional cranberry sauce, stuffing with cranberries and sausage, and crustless cranberry pie are all excellent ways to add a little more vitamin C to your Thanksgiving dinner.

Would you like to learn more about how to keep your eyes healthy? Follow our blog or set up an appointment with Intermountain Eye Centers today!

Avoiding Contact Lens Infections

An outbreak of a rare, potentially blinding eye infection has hit the UK.

This infection, Acanthamoeba keratitis, tends to be linked to poor contact lens hygiene. Although current cases are spiking in the southeast of England, it’s possible to contract this infection – and infections like this – just about anywhere.

What is keratitis?

Keratitis in an inflammation of the cornea. Although not all cases of keratitis happen because of improper contact lens care, many of them do. Keratitis is also known as a corneal ulcer.

The current outbreak is a relatively rare variation of the condition caused by Acanthamoeba, a genus of amoebae found in soil, fresh water, and other habitats. In Acanthamoeba keratitis, the amoeba becomes stuck in the cornea and eats away at the eye, potentially resulting in vision loss.

Less serious (and more common) types of keratitis include viral, bacterial, and fungal. All forms can result in vision loss if left untreated.

What are symptoms of keratitis?

Symptoms of keratitis include:

  • Red eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye pain
  • Tears or discharge
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Feeling like something is in your eye

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your eye doctor immediately.

How do I avoid keratitis?

Keratitis can be caused by injuries, viruses, or contaminated water. It can also be caused by failing to follow proper contact lens hygiene. In fact, keratitis is the most common infection associated with wearing contact lenses.

To avoid contact lens infections:

  • Don’t sleep in your contact lenses
  • Clean your lens cases regularly
  • Rub your lenses with solution while cleaning them
  • Never reuse or top off contact lens solution
  • Don’t wear your contacts in the shower, bath, hot tub, pool, or ocean
  • Replace your contact lens case at least three times a year

How is keratitis treated?

If you suspect that you’re suffering from keratitis, your doctor will perform a detailed eye examination. Your doctor may also take a sample of your tears or corneal cells to determine the best course of treatment.

  • Noninfectious keratitismay not involve any treatment. However, severe cases may require prescription eye drops or an eye patch.
  • Bacterial keratitisis typically treated through antibacterial eyedrops. Severe cases may require oral antibiotics.
  • Fungal keratitisis treated through antifungal eyedrops and oral antifungal medication.
  • Viral keratitismay benefit from antiviral eyedrops and oral antiviral medications. Unfortunately, viral cases of keratitis may reoccur despite treatment.
  • Acanthamoeba keratitis should be treated with antibiotic eyedrops. This is the most serious form of keratitis, and it may be resistant to treatment.

If keratitis causes permanent damage to your cornea, you may need a cornea transplant.

Although most people think that contact lenses are a safe alternative to LASIK, it’s important to keep in mind that anything can harm your eye when you fail to take proper precautions. Intermountain Eye Centers encourages our patients to follow proper contact lens hygiene and receive regular comprehensive eye examinations. For more information about how to keep your eyes safe, contact us today.

Do Computer Glasses Really Work?

Over the last couple of years, you may have noticed an uptick in people talking about computer glasses, or eyeglasses that are designed to filter out blue light from computer screens, smartphones, and tablets. Some people believe that blue light can lead to dry eyes, digital eye strain, and even permanent eye diseases down the road.

But is blue light actually dangerous? And are computer glasses worth it?

As it turns out, there is no evidence that looking at a computer screen is unsafe. A study conducted in 2015 found no measurable UVA or UVB radiation from computer screens, two forms of radiation known to cause eye problems. Another, more recent study published in the journal Ophthalmology found that the worldwide increase in nearsightedness is notbecause of blue light as previously believed, but because of an increase in near work activities — including traditional books.

Because of this, the Academy of Ophthalmology does not recommend special eyewear for computer use.

How can I reduce eyestrain?

If computer glasses don’t relieve dry eyes or digital eyestrain, what does?

Symptoms of eyestrain include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Headache
  • Sore, itchy, or burning eyes
  • Sore muscles in the neck, shoulders, or back
  • Increased light sensitivity

To avoid digital eyestrain, we recommend practicing the 20-20-20 rule. If you’re performing near work (i.e., reading, using the computer), take breaks every 20 minutes to look at an object that’s 20 feet away. Focus on it for 20 seconds before returning to your task.

Computer glasses can help you sleep

Although computer glasses don’t help with eyestrain, they canmake it easier for you to fall asleep at night. In a 2009 study, participants who wore blue-light blocking lenses three hours before bedtime experienced better sleep quality than those who didn’t. A 2015 study found similar results.

How do computer glasses help you sleep? Blue light can alter your circadian rhythms, making it difficult to get a good night’s rest. Doctors recommend avoiding electronics in the hours preceding bedtime. Because this isn’t always feasible, computer glasses may serve as an alternative.

Should I buy computer glasses?

If you’re hoping to avoid eyestrain, there are better ways than purchasing a pair of computer glasses. If you’re trying to avoid insomnia, however, they might be a worthwhile investment.

Intermountain Eye Centers is happy to answer any questions you might have about your vision and eye health. Contact us today at 208-489-6525 to set up a comprehensive eye examination.

Are Laser Pointers Dangerous?

August marks Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month, an awareness month that encourages people to pay special attention to childhood eye illness and injury.

This year, Intermountain Eye Centers will discuss the dangers associated using a laser pointer as a toy. While laser pointers may seem harmless enough, you should think twice before letting your child use one as a makeshift lightsaber.

Can laser pointers blind you?

They sure can. This past June, doctors reported that a 9-year-old boy in Greece permanently injured his left eye after repeatedly gazing into a green laser pointer. Upon examination, doctors found that the laser burned a hole in his macula, part of the retina responsible for central, high-resolution color vision. He is unlikely to recover his full vision.

How to tell if a laser pointer is dangerous

Fortunately, not all laser pointers are dangerous. Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to tell which ones are safe. Although regulations set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration require most laser products to be labeled with an appropriate warning, sometimes this information is missing or insufficient.

According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, lasers with an output greater than five milliwatts can result in severe retinal or skin damage within moments.

To determine if your laser pointer is safe, the FDA suggests the following guidelines:

  • Check the batteries. Button batteries mean that the laser pointer’s output is probably less than five milliwatts. AA, AAA, and lithium batteries mean that the laser pointer’s output is probably five milliwatts or greater.
  • Laser pointers sold with battery chargers often have an output that is greater than five milliwatts.
  • If your laser has a removable cap that spreads the beam into a pattern, the laser’s output may exceed five milliwatts if that cap is removed.
  • Watch out for the following keywords when viewing marketing materials: powerful, bright, ultra, super, military grade, strong, balloon pop, burn, burning, adjustable focus, lithium battery, and lithium powered.

Eye injuries associated with lasers don’t usually hurt. Because of this, it’s better to be safe than sorry and keep all laser pointers away from your eyes.

How do you safely use a laser pointer?

The FDA has the following recommendations:

  • Do not aim or shine a laser directly at a human or animal.
  • Never aim a laser at a vehicle or aircraft. People can be killed or seriously injured because of this.
  • Do not let children play with laser pointers.
  • Only purchase a toy laser if it’s labeled as a “Class 1 Laser Product.” This means that the laser is low risk and safe for children.
  • Do not purchase a laser with an output that exceeds five milliwatts.
  • Immediately contact a doctor if you suspect an eye injury has occurred.

Do you have any other questions about how to keep your children’s eyes safe? Contact Intermountain Eye Centers today and we’ll be happy to help.

National Picnic Month

July is National Picnic month! This July, why not try out some picnic foods that are good for your eyesight?

Below, we recommend some creative recipes that’ll feed both your stomach andyour eyes.

Pan Bagnat

A pan bagnat is a sandwich that originates from the Provence region in France. Typical ingredients include tuna, green peppers, hard-boiled eggs, olives, tomato, and vinaigrette.

Cold water fish like tuna are particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids, an essential fatty acid that may protect eyes against conditions including macular degeneration and cataracts. Eggs, meanwhile, contain lutein and vitamin A. Lutein is an antioxidant that may prevent macular degeneration, whereas vitamin A may decrease the risk of vision loss associated with the disorder. If you want a healthy dose of omega-3, lutein, and vitamin A, this sandwich is an excellent choice for a picnic.

Click for recipe.

Kale and Quinoa Salad

On a hot summer day, few things are more refreshing than a cool salad. Dark leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, and kale are full of lutein and zeaxanthin. As mentioned previously, lutein may decrease your risk of developing macular degeneration. A diet rich in zeaxanthin is alsoassociated with a lower incidence of macular degeneration.

This particular recipe features pecans. If you’d like an extra boost of omega-3 fatty acids, try using walnuts instead!

Click for recipe.

Mixed Berry Salad with Mint

Speaking of cool, refreshing salads, a berry salad can make an excellent side dish – or even a dessert. Berries are rich in vitamin C, which can be particularly important for reducing the risk of developing cataracts. Vitamin C is also linked to blood vessel health throughout the body, including blood vessels in the eye.

If berries aren’t your jam (pun intended), you can also get vitamin C by eating oranges or grapefruits. A fresh glass of lemonade can also give you a much-needed boost.

Click for recipe.

Sunflower-Seed Brittle

Sometimes, you just need a good crunchto keep you going. Sunflower seeds are a great source of both vitamin E and zinc. Vitamin E may reduce the risk of developing cataracts, and zinc may protect against macular degeneration and night blindness. Zinc also helps your body absorb vitamin A, another vitamin that is excellent for eye health.

If you don’t feel like cooking, there’s no harm in eating sunflower seeds straight from the bag!

Click for recipe.

Are you interested in learning how to keep your eyes healthy year-round? Contact Intermountain Eye Centers today to set up a comprehensive eye examination. Our staff will share insights about how to keep your eyes healthy longer.

How to keep your eyes safe from UV rays

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you forget to wear your sunglasses?

During the summer months, people tend to spend more time outdoors. If you leave your sunglasses at home, it might be tempting to shrug it off. You might need to squint a little, you figure. What’s the worst that could happen?

As it turns out, exposure to UV rays significantly increases the risk of cataracts and other eye conditions.

This cataract awareness month, Intermountain Eye Centers encourages you to take special care of your eyes and keep them safe from the sun.

What is a cataract?

A cataract is a common eye condition in which the natural lens of the eye becomes cloudy, leading to blurry vision, light sensitivity, and difficulty seeing at night.

Risk factors for developing a cataract include:

  • Older age
  • Family history of cataracts
  • Previous eye injury, surgery, or radiation treatments on the upper body
  • Using certain medications, e.g., corticosteroids
  • Other health issues, e.g., diabetes
  • Exposure to UV rays, particularly without sunglasses

Although many of us think of cataracts as having obvious symptoms, sometimes they can develop slowly. For this reason, it’s important to have regular comprehensive eye examinations, particularly as you get older. Cataracts can only be treated through surgery.

How can I keep my eyes safe this summer?

This summer, take special care to avoid harming your eyes by wearing wrap-around sunglasses that block 100 percent of UV rays. You may also want to wear a wide-brimmed hat.

There are three different types of UV rays:

  • UVA rays can pass through the cornea, damaging the eye’s lens and retina. Overexposure to UVA radiation has been linked to the development of cataracts as well as macular degeneration.
  • UVB rays are mostly filtered by the ozone layer, but can still travel down to reach your eyes. UVB rays have been linked to snow blindness and surfer’s eye.
  • UVC rays are the most dangerous type of UV radiation, but they’re almost exclusively blocked by the ozone layer.

The strength of these UV rays varies depending on time of day, geographic location, and altitude. Be sure to check your local weather report before going outside; most reports will offer insights into current UV levels.

Worried about keeping your eyes safe this summer? Contact Intermountain Eye Centers for more information about how to protect your vision from common eye diseases.