Have you heard? Cataract surgery leads to better driving!

Cataract surgery can be life-changing, allowing patients with poor vision to finally see bright colors, regain their night vision, and even reduce their dependence on glasses.

But can these improvements be measured?

In Australia, a group of researchers sought to quantify how much cataract surgery can improve a person’s ability to drive a car. In the study, they tested the driving performance of 44 patients before and after cataract surgery. Patients completed a simulated driving test designed to measure how well they deal with adjusted speed limits, traffic densities, uncontrolled intersections, and pedestrian crossings. The researchers tested participants before cataract surgery, after receiving cataract surgery in the first eye, and after receiving cataract surgery in their second eye. (Cataract surgery is typically performed in one eye at a time, with the second eye receiving surgery at a later date.)

After the first surgery, near misses and crashes decreased by 35 percent. After the second surgery, they decreased by 48 percent.

“These results highlight the importance of timely cataract surgery in maintaining safety and continued mobility and independence in older adult drivers,” said Jonathon Ng, MD, the head researcher.

This is far from the first study to examine how cataracts affect driving. In 2009, another research team found that even mild cataracts can slow a driver’s ability to detect hazards, and in 1999, a study found that drivers with cataracts were 2.5 times more likely to have a history of at-fault crash involvement.

When should you receive cataract surgery?

To determine whether it’s time for cataract surgery, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends asking yourself the following questions:

  • Can you see to safely do your job and to drive?
  • Do you have problems reading or watching TV?
  • Is it difficult to cook, shop, climb stairs, or take medications?
  • Do vision problems affect your independence?
  • Do bright lights make it harder to see?

If you have any concerns about your vision – or your ability to operate a motor vehicle – talk with your doctor. They will know best whether to schedule you for cataract surgery.

Cataract surgery is very common, and the associated risks are minimal. At Intermountain Eye Centers, we strive to provide our patients with excellent results. For more information about our ophthalmic services, contact us today!

How successful is LASIK?

What is the LASIK success rate?

At Intermountain Eye Centers, the most common questions we receive about LASIK surgery involve how successful it is. For instance, how many patients receive 20/20 vision? How many patients experience complications? And how many patients would recommend the procedure to friends and family?

The LASIK success rate

Thankfully, LASIK is one of the most well understood – and well-studied – surgical procedures, with thousands of studies examining its effects on the human eye.

According to the latest research, over 90% of patients who receive LASIK achieve 20/20 vision, and 99.5% of patients achieve better than 20/40 vision — enough to legally drive a car without glasses. Patient satisfaction rates for LASIK unprecedented at 96 percent, which is higher than any other elective procedure.

Complications are rare, and often result from poor patient selection. In other words, patients who are not good candidates for LASIK (whether due to age, eye anatomy, or medical history) are more likely to experience complications than those who are.

Am I a candidate for LASIK?

Prior to receiving LASIK surgery, all prospective patients must receive a comprehensive eye examination to determine whether they’re a candidate. Ideal candidates are older than 18 years old with an eye prescription that hasn’t changed within the last 12 months. In addition, they must meet a number of medical criteria to minimize the risk of complications.

Certain conditions may increase the risk of developing complications following LASIK. These include:

  • Large pupils
  • Thin corneas
  • History of eye injuries or illness
  • Dry eyes
  • Severe nearsightedness
  • Glaucoma
  • Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, HIV, and other autoimmune disorders
  • Family history of keratoconus

Your doctor will examine your eyes and review your medical history to determine whether LASIK is the best choice for you.

What if I’m not a candidate for LASIK?

If you’re not a candidate for LASIK, you may still be a candidate for another refractive procedure, like photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) or laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK). When you come in for your LASIK consultation, our staff will discuss alternatives that will work best with your unique anatomy.

So, is LASIK successful?

Yes! Like all surgical procedures, there are risks inherent in receiving LASIK. However, the vast majority of patients are satisfied with their results, more so than patients of any other elective procedure.

Are you interested in seeing the world more clearly? Contact Intermountain Eye Centers today to schedule a commitment-free LASIK consultation.

Diabetic Eye Disease 101

Did you know that November is Diabetes Awareness Month? Diabetes increases the risk of multiple eye diseases, many of which can lead to permanent vision loss. Oftentimes, there are no early symptoms for these conditions, making it essential for people with diabetes to receive regular comprehensive eye examinations.

What causes diabetic eye disease?

When a person’s blood glucose levels remain too high for too long, the tiny blood vessels in the back of the eye start to break down. These damaged blood vessels can result in swelling, scarring, and increased intraocular pressure, or high pressure within the eye. All of these factors can lead to diabetic eye disease.

What is diabetic eye disease?

Diabetic eye disease is not a single disease, but rather a group of eye problems caused by diabetes.

Common diabetic eye diseases include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, glaucoma, and cataracts.

Diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss in people with diabetes – in fact, a third of people with diabetes who are older than 40 already have signs of the condition.

In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, you might experience no symptoms. As the condition progresses, you may experience:

  • Blurred vision
  • Impaired color vision
  • Empty or dark spaces in your vision
  • Spots floating in your vision, or floaters
  • Vision loss

Thankfully, early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of permanent vision loss by 95 percent.

Diabetic macular edema

Diabetic macular edema is the accumulation of fluid in the macula, or the central part of the retina. Without treatment, this fluid can damage the macula, resulting in diminished vision.

Damage to this region can also result in:

  • Blurry or distorted vision
  • Seeing colors as faded or washed out
  • Double vision
  • Floaters
  • Permanent vision loss


People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma as the rest of the population. Since glaucoma often has no symptoms in its early stages, you may not notice any problems with your vision until it’s too late.

The most common types of glaucoma are open-angle glaucoma and acute-angle closure glaucoma.

Symptoms of open-angle glaucoma include:

  • Blind spots in your central and peripheral vision
  • Tunnel vision

Symptoms of acute angle-closure glaucoma include:

  • Severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision


Like glaucoma, people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop cataracts as the general population.

Symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Blurred, cloudy, or dim vision
  • Difficulties seeing at night
  • Light sensitivity
  • Faded color vision
  • Frequent changes in eyeglass or contact lens prescriptions

How can you prevent diabetic eye disease?

Professionals recommend that people with diabetes have a comprehensive, dilated eye exam at least once a year. Since most of these conditions have no early symptoms, early detection is essential to preventing permanent vision loss.

Managing your diabetes ABCs (your A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol) will also reduce the risk of developing diabetic eye disease.

Are you interested in setting up a comprehensive eye examination at Intermountain Eye Centers? Contact us today to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.

Keep your eyes safe this Halloween!

Halloween is an exciting holiday for children and adults alike. Fun costumes, scary movies, deliciously spooky snacks… what’s not to love?

This Halloween, Intermountain Eye Centers encourages our community to practice safe and healthy habits. Below, check out some of these eye safety tips for Halloween as recommended by the American Optometric Association!

Bring a flashlight

If you’re trick-or-treating at night, don’t forget your flashlight! Dark pathways and uneven sidewalks don’t mix. Flashlights will also make children more visible to drivers.

Don’t wear loose-fitting costumes

Costumes that drag on the ground may cause you (or the people surrounding you!) to trip. Make sure that scarves, ties, cloaks, and other draping materials are secured and far from the ground.

Be careful with masks

Masks, eye patches, and hats should be worn with great care, since they can block vision. You should also make sure there aren’t any sharp points on these accessories.

Avoid sharp or pointed props

Swords, wands, and other pointed props can cause serious damage to you or your child’s eyes. Your child doesn’t need a wand to look like Harry Potter!

Watch out for decorative contact lenses

You might be able to buy decorative contact lenses online, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe! Decorative contact lenses, like regular contact lenses, need to be fitted by a professional to reduce the risk of an infection. Wearing colored contact lenses without a prescription can result in serious injury.

Take care with makeup

When purchasing makeup for Halloween, make sure that it’s hypoallergenic to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction. In addition, keep makeup away from the eyes, and bring wet wipes to clean you or your child’s face if it begins to run or melt into the eyes.

Nix the scooter

Scooters, skateboards, bikes, or rollerblades should never be used while in costume. Loose clothing can catch in the gears, and masks can make it difficult to see where you’re going.  

For a full list of eye safety tips for Halloween, check out the American Optometric Association’s webpage!

We hope you have a safe and spooky Halloween! For information about our services — or to set up a comprehensive eye exam — contact us today.

September is Healthy Aging Month

It’s never too late to take care of your vision!

September is Healthy Aging Month, an annual health observance designed to encourage people to start healthy habits and increase their physical, social, financial, and mental wellbeing.

“We saw a need to draw attention to the myths of aging, to shout out ‘Hey, it’s not too late to take control of your health, it’s never too late to get started on something new,’” said Carolyn Worthington, the editor-in-chief of Healthy Aging Magazine and the creator of Healthy Aging Month.

This September, Intermountain Eye Centers encourages our patients to practice healthy vision habits.

Check them out below!

Schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam

When was your last eye exam? If it’s been a couple of years, you should set one up! Adults between the ages of 18 to 60 should have a comprehensive eye exam at least every two years. Adults who are older than 61 should receive exams annually.

Even if you think your vision is fine, many eye diseases and disorders have no early symptoms, making it important to catch them early.

Maintain a healthy weight

Obesity can increase your risk of developing diabetes, a condition that can lead to diabetic eye disease and vision loss. Research has also found that obesity can be linked to increased intraocular pressure, one of the main predictors of glaucoma. 

If you’re having trouble maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor about what you can do.

Eat a healthy diet

Studies have found that there are eye health benefits associated with eating dark leafy greens (e.g., spinach, kale, and collard greens) and fish high in omega-3 fatty acids (e.g., salmon, tuna, and halibut). Nuts and legumes are also great sources for omega-3 fatty acids.

Quit smoking (or don’t start)

Smoking doesn’t just harm your lungs – it’s also linked to an increased risk of age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and optic nerve damage. All these conditions can result in vision loss. If you’ve been meaning to quit, now’s the time!

Wear sunglasses

Sunglasses don’t only keep you from squinting – they also protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Failing to protect your eyes from the sun can increase your risk of developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and pterygium.

Your vision is one of your most important senses. Start building healthy habits today so that you can keep enjoying your eyes in the future!

Are you interested in setting up a comprehensive eye examination? Contact Intermountain Eye Centers today to set up an appointment.

Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month! This month, Intermountain Eye Centers is answering common questions parents have about their children’s eye health.

When should children receive their first eye exam?

Parents should have their children’s eyes examined during well-child visits starting at around age three. During this exam, your child’s eye doctor will look for refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism), as well as other common childhood eye conditions like amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes), ptosis (drooping eyelid), and color deficiency (color blindness).

If you notice any warning signs that your child has vision problems, there’s no need to wait for an annual exam – schedule an appointment ASAP!

What are the warning signs of vision problems in children?

Your child may have vision problems if they experience:

  • Crossed or wandering eyes
  • Frequent blinking or eye rubbing
  • Disinterest in reading or viewing distant objects
  • Covering one eye
  • Squinting or turning their head while watching television

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to schedule them for an eye exam.

My child injured their eye while playing. What should I do?

Don’t delay! Eye injuries are the leading cause of vision loss in children. If you suspect your child has injured their eye, bring them to a doctor as soon as possible.

To avoid injury, make sure to purchase age-appropriate toys and avoid toys with sharp edges. Many eye injuries occur during sports – because of this, children should wear the proper protective eyewear when participating.

Is screen time harming my child’s vision?

Yes and no. On one hand, spending too much time in front of a computer, iPad, or television can make your child more likely to develop myopia, or nearsightedness. On the other hand, myopia can also develop if your child spends too much time reading books, making crafts, or participating in other near work activities. 

In other words, screens themselves aren’t dangerous – the problem arises when children engage in near work activities without taking regular breaks. Ophthalmologists recommend taking a 20 second break every 20 minutes to reduce eyestrain.

Any other questions?

Intermountain Eye Centers is happy to answer any questions you might have about keeping your children’s vision healthy. To set up an appointment, contact us today!

Keeping Your Eyes Safe from Fireworks

In the month surrounding the Fourth of July, an average of 280 people go to the emergency room each day with fireworks-related injuries.

This July, Intermountain Eye Centers encourages our community to take care when using backyard fireworks.

Fireworks safety 101

Every year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission publishes an annual report about fireworks-related injuries and deaths. Last year, fireworks were involved in five deaths and an estimated 9,100 injuries treated in U.S. hospital emergency departments. More than half of these injuries (62%) occurred between June 22ndand July 22nd

Although people most frequently injure their hands (28% of all fireworks-related injuries) and legs (24% of all injuries), eye injuries are also very common, making up 19% of all fireworks-related injuries.

Fireworks can result in chemical and thermal burns, corneal abrasions, retinal detachment, or even a ruptured globe, all of which can result in permanent vision loss.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following safety tips when using fireworks:

  • Do not allow young children to play with fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers can get up to 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and can even melt some metals.
  • Older children should only use fireworks under close adult supervision.
  • Make sure to set off fireworks outside in a clear area away from houses, dry leaves, grass, or any other flammable materials.
  • Do not experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Store fireworks in a cool, dark place. 
  • Never light fireworks in a container.
  • Do not attempt to relight or handle fireworks that fail to explode. Soak them with water before disposing of them.
  • Never have any portion of your body directly over the firework as you’re lighting it.
  • Always obey local laws.

If you suspect that you or your child has experienced an eye injury from a firework, what should you do?

  • Seek immediate medical attention. A fireworks-related eye injury is considered a medical emergency.
  • Do not rub your eyes.
  • Do not apply pressure.
  • Do not attempt to rinse your eyes.
  • Do not attempt to remove the object.
  • Do not take any pain medication unless instructed to by a doctor.

Keep in mind that people who don’t handle the fireworks can still be injured by them. A study found that 65% of people injured by fireworks are bystanders.

Our entire staff at Intermountain Eye Centers is excited to wish you a safe and happy summer! Don’t forget these safety tips the next time you handle fireworks. For more information about our eye care services, contact us today.

Cataracts: Myths and Facts

June is Cataract Awareness Month! Every year, the organization Prevent Blindness America along with the American Academy of Ophthalmology encourages Americans to be mindful of the signs and symptoms associated with cataracts.

This year, we’ve decided to outline several common myths about cataracts. 

Have you heard any of these before?

Myth: Cataracts only affect older adults

Cataracts are most common in older adults, but it’s still possible to develop a cataract when you’re young. Factors like long-term steroid use, UV exposure, eye injuries, smoking, and diabetes can increase your risk of developing cataracts at any age.

Myth: Cataracts are always visible

Sometimes cataracts are visible. During their early stages, however, your eyes may look completely normal. If you’ve been having problems with your vision lately, you will need a thorough examination to rule out cataracts.

Myth: The only symptom of a cataract is cloudy vision

Since a cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens, it makes sense that your vision might appear cloudier if you have a cataract. That being said, there are a number of other symptoms associated with cataracts including decreased night vision, light sensitivity, double vision in a single eye, seeing “halos” around lights, and experiencing faded colors.

Myth: Cataracts are equally likely in men and women

Cataracts are actually more common in women than men. According to the National Eye Institute, 61 percent of Americans with cataracts are women, whereas 39 percent are men. 

Myth: Cataracts can be treated with medication

Once a person has developed a cataract, the only way to remove it is through surgery. While having surgery on your eye may sound intimidating, cataract surgery is one of the oldest surgeries ever performed. It’s also one of the safest surgeries done today!

Your vision is important to us

Intermountain Eye Centers encourages all our patients to keep an eye on their vision, report on any changes, and receive regular comprehensive eye examinations. Most forms of vision loss are preventable and can be slowed – or even eliminated – with treatment. If you suspect you’re suffering from a cataract or another vision problem, we can help.

Contact us today to learn more about our services set up a comprehensive eye examination.

Happy Healthy Vision Month!

Did you know that most vision problems are preventable?

Every May, the National Eye Institute (NEI) celebrates Healthy Vision Month, an awareness campaign designed to encourage healthy, sight-saving habits. 

This year, NEI is focusing on young adults between the ages 25 to 35. While people in this age group typically have healthy vision, it’s important to promote good habits early on to prevent future vision loss.

The NEI recommends the following tips to keep your eyes healthy:

Wear sunglasses

Sunglasses are more than just a fashion accessory – they also protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV damage can increase your risk of developing cataracts, so keep those shades handy!

Eat well

Maintaining a healthy diet is essential for eye health. The NEI recommends consuming a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens like spinach and kale. They also recommend eating fish with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids including salmon, tuna, and halibut.


According to the NEI, “anything that gets your heart beating faster” is good for your eye health. High blood pressure and diabetes are linked to eye disease, so it’s a good idea to keep yourself in shape.

Wear eye protection

People with sports-related eye injuries arrive in the ER every 13 minutes! If you’re participating in sports, proper eye protection is a must. Work-related eye injuries are also remarkably common, affecting 2000 Americans each year.

Follow the 20-20-20 rule

If you spend a lot of time looking at screens, make sure to regularly rest your eyes. Physicians recommend focusing on a point about 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 twenty minutes. Following this rule can prevent eye strain.

For a full list of tips, check out the NEI official website.

Vision loss doesn’t need to be a natural part of getting older. By taking care of your eyes today, you can safeguard your vision tomorrow.

Intermountain Eye Centers encourages our readers to participate in NEI’s My Vision of the Future social media campaign. During Healthy Vision Month, use #MyVisionMyFuture to discuss ways in which you intend to protect your vision this year! For questions about your eye health, contact us today to set up an appointment.

Which sport causes the most eye injuries?

April is Sports Eye Safety Month. This month, Intermountain Eye Centers encourages all our patients to wear proper eye protection when participating in athletic activities.

Potential eye injuries that can result from sports include corneal abrasions, orbital fractures, detached retina, and even cataracts. In some instances, people have even had their eyes dislodged from their sockets.

But which sports are the most dangerous for your vision?


Basketball is the leading causeof eye injuries in children. Protective eyewear made from polycarbonate lenses is the best way to keep your eyes safe during basketball.

Right now, there’s a viral video of a basketball player whose eye was dislodged from his socket – we don’t recommend watching it.


Baseball is another leading causeof eye injuries among children 14 years and younger, with flying bats and careening balls as the main culprits.

Certified helmets with attached safety glasses (for batters and base runners) and protective eyewear for fielders can protect your vision.

Racquet sports

Racquet sports include badminton, table tennis, tennis, squash, and racquetball. Since these sports rely on quickly reacting to fast-moving balls, it’s no wonder they have a high incidence of eye injuries.

Once again, protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses is a must.

Although basketball, baseball, and racquet sports are responsible for the bulk of eye-related injuries, other sports can also pose risks to your eye safety. Ice hockey, lacrosse, and boxing are particularly risky, as well as soccer and field hockey.

Can regular glasses protect my eyes?

Unfortunately, glasses do not provide sufficient eye protection during sports or other recreational activities. Worse still, they can shatter if damaged, resulting in further injury.

The only way to protect your eyes while playing sports is to make sure you have the proper protective eyewear. In fact, 90 percent of serious eye injuries are preventable through use of protective eyewear.

ASTM Internationalsets the standards for sports eye protection, so before you spend money on those special glasses, make sure they’re certified!

Do you have any questions or concerns about sports-related eye health? Intermountain Eye Centers can help. Contact us today to learn more about how to keep your eyes safe and healthy.