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Don’t Forget Your Sunglasses!

With summer almost here, many of us are looking forward to spending a lot of time outdoors.

Before we head out, though, we need to make sure we’re protecting ourselves from the sun’s UV rays, both with sunscreen for our skin and with sunglasses for our eyes.

Why We Need UV Protection

We all know that we can get nasty sunburns if we stay outside too long without sunscreen, but did you know that our eyes can be damaged in similar ways by too much sunlight? UV-A rays reach all the way to our retinas and can lead to macular degeneration (loss of central vision), while UV-B rays affect the cornea and lens, causing corneal sunburns and increasing the risk of developing cataracts.

Sunglasses Have Come A Long Way

The earliest form of sunglasses were flattened walrus ivory with slits across the front, made by the Inuit people to protect against glare from the snow. They worked pretty well, and the same principle is used in modern polarized lenses. Non-polarized sunglasses became popular thanks to early film stars, but polarized lenses weren’t developed until the mid-1930s.

Over the decades, sunglasses have gone through numerous different styles. The cat-eye frame was made popular in the 1950s by Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, the ’60s saw the big bug-eyed frames take off because of Jackie Kennedy, and so on. These days, everyone has a unique style, taking inspiration from many of the past decades. And while we always like to look cool in our shades, the most important factor should always be that they do an effective job of protecting our eyes from the sun.

Finding The Right Pair

The first thing to look for when choosing new sunglasses is UV protection. When you buy sunglasses, make sure the label says they block at least 99 percent of UV rays. The next thing to look for is the size. Although most sunglasses are chosen for their style, opting for a style that has wider frames will allow more coverage and protection. Choosing frames that sit closer to the eyes will help to make sure you get more coverage too!

Another variable to consider apart from style is the color of the lenses, because different colors provide different benefits. Yellow and amber lenses filter out blue light, which makes them great for sports, while rose and purple lenses increase contrast against blue and green backgrounds, which makes them great for hunting and water skiing. Whatever color you choose, though, polarized lenses will give you the best glare reduction.

Come Try On Our Shades

If you’re still not sure which sunglasses are right for you, don’t stress. Come see us and we can help you pick out the perfect ones to suit your style and protect your eyes. We can fit them to you as well and make sure you’ll get the most UV protection possible!

We can’t wait to see you in your shades!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Exercise Benefits Our Eyes

Exercising for good health is a top priority for many people.

We exercise to build strength, stay fit, and feel good. Staying active is crucial to overall health, including lowering our risk of chronic health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart conditions, and high blood pressure, but did you know that exercise can specifically benefit the health of your eyes? Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can maintain good vision health through exercise!

Our Eyes Without Exercise

Studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle can leave a person at greater risk of vision loss as they age than a more active lifestyle. This is because many of those chronic diseases that impact our overall health can take a toll on our vision. Type 2 diabetes, for instance, is a major risk factor for several sight-threatening conditions, including diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Reducing Your Risk Of Eye Disease

When we say that exercise is good for your eyes, we don’t mean you won’t need glasses anymore if you work out, but eating healthy and exercising regularly are the best ways to prevent developing these chronic and sight-threatening conditions. Exercising at least three times per week can make you 70 percent less likely to develop wet age-related macular degeneration, and it can drop your chance of developing glaucoma by 25 percent!

Exercise Tips For Eye Health

We know it isn’t always easy to find time in your busy schedule for a trip to the gym, but that’s not the only way you can stay fit, and you don’t need to become a bodybuilder in order to stay healthy. Simply taking regular walks around your block, going for light jogs, and even doing yoga can significantly decrease your risks for developing sight-threatening conditions. Just make sure you’re doing these things at least two to three times a week!

Here’s a cardio workout you could squeeze into just a few minutes of free time:

Regularly Scheduling Check-ups

Along with making time for a regular exercise regimen, it’s important to continue scheduling eye exams! Exercise will do you a world of good, but it isn’t a cure-all. That’s why we’re always here to make sure your eyes are staying healthy, so keep scheduling times to see us and keep exercising! Your eyes will thank you for both!

Keep up the good work in keeping your eyes healthy!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Women’s Vision Health

Men and women have plenty of differences, but did you know that some of them have to do with eyesight and vision health?

While men are more prone to eye injuries for various reasons, women are more susceptible to eye diseases. So what problems should women be on the watch for?

Common Vision Problems For Women

The least serious vision problem that disproportionately affects women is simply needing corrective lenses. However, women are also more susceptible to dry eye, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and glaucoma. Chronic dry eye can result in blurred vision, irritation, redness, and pain. Eye drops can help, but it’s important to come see us so we can determine the underlying cause.

AMD (gradual loss of central vision) and glaucoma (increased eye pressure that damages the optic nerve) are both serious sight-threatening conditions, and the reason they affect women more than men is that women tend to live longer! The best way to fight both is with early detection from regular eye exams.

Eye Disease Risk Factors 

There are several risk factors associated with developing vision problems (aside from age). The biggest (and easiest to fix) is neglect. Since women are typically the primary caregivers for their families, their health often gets pushed to the back burner while they tend to everyone else’s needs. With so much to do, it becomes easier to forget to schedule eye exams for themselves, and emerging problems might go unnoticed until more serous stages.

Pregnancy, birth control, and menopause are also risk factors because they create significant hormone changes. Dry eye is common under any of these circumstances, and birth control may increase the likelihood of developing cataracts.

The Female Perspective

Aside from susceptibility to eye disease, men and women actually have slight differences in how their eyes work! Studies have shown that while men’s eyes are better at tracking movement, women are better at distinguishing between different shades of colors, and not just because it’s much rarer for women to be color blind than men.

This could be tied to women’s roles from when our ancestors lived as hunter-gatherers. Being able to identify the right shade of red in the berries you’re picking could be the difference between a tasty treat and a deadly poison. Just think; arguments between married couples over paint swatches might be the result of evolution!

A very small number of women might even be tetrachromates, meaning they’re able to see colors the rest of us can’t imagine!

The Role Of Your Optometrist

There are several things you can do to help keep your eyes as healthy as possible. These include eating a nutritious diet, quitting smoking, and, of course, scheduling regular eye exams! And even if we saw you recently, whenever you notice a change in your vision, you should come in for an appointment right away.

We love helping you keep your eyes healthy!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Where Online Eye Exams Fall Short

Over the last couple of decades, the internet has changed just about every aspect of our lives.

From the way we shop to the way we gain information to the way we connect with friends, the Information Age is a very different world. The internet has made so many things easier, but sometimes that convenience comes at the cost of quality. This is definitely the case for so-called “telemedicine” solutions like online eye exams.

What Is An Online Eye Exam?

The purpose of an online eye exam is to give the user their prescription for corrective lenses from the comfort of their own home. Some tests can even include exams for color blindness and contrast sensitivity. Many of these sites will have licensed eye doctors verify the results, but these the results aren’t always accurate. In fact, the exams are so rudimentary compared to in-person comprehensive eye exams that the FDA might not continue to allow websites offering this service to use the phrase “eye exams” to describe what they do.

Online Eye Exams Leave You Vulnerable

Most online eye exams do little more than check for visual acuity—in other words, they do just enough to get you a prescription. But problems with visual acuity aren’t the only things that can go wrong with your eyesight or with the health of your eyes. Anyone who relies solely on online eye exams might be able to keep their glasses prescription up to date, but they won’t know if they’re developing any sight-threatening eye conditions, such as retinal detachment, glaucoma, or macular degeneration.

The Advantages Of An In-Person Exam

So what do optometrists do that an app or website can’t? In-person eye exams come with the benefit of having an experienced medical professional right there with you in a fully equipped exam room. We don’t simply update your prescription, we make sure your eyes are healthy. Your eyes are also the window to your overall health. This means that when we look at your retinas, we can see the signs of health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

Schedule Your Next Exam Today!

If you’ve taken an online eye exam to get a quick prescription update, that’s okay. Sometimes it can be difficult to make room for an in-person eye exam in a busy schedule. Just remember that an online eye exam is not an effective substitute for a comprehensive eye exam from us, and we strongly recommend that you continue to schedule yearly appointments.

We’ll be seeing you soon!

Top image by Flickr user Elvis Batiz used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Men’s Vision Health

Although men and women have a lot in common, there are a few differences when it comes to eyesight and vision health.

Men have some advantages women lack, such as lower risk for eye diseases in general, but they also some disadvantages women don’t have to worry as much about. Let’s take a look at the main ones.

Seeing The World Differently

It turns out that men and women don’t actually process visual information the same. Men are better than women at spotting fine details and rapid movement, but fall behind when it comes to distinguishing colors. Some theorize that this difference has its roots in the hunter-gatherer days when men did most of the hunting and women did most of the foraging. The ability to spot game at a distance would have been a significant advantage in hunting.

Men aren’t just at a slight disadvantage when it comes seeing the differences between colors; men are also sixteen times as likely to be colorblind. So when couples argue over color swatches, they might literally not be seeing the same colors!

Eyesight And Hormones

Beginning in puberty, hormones cause many significant changes, and that even includes the way the eyes grow! Some teenage boys become temporarily nearsighted as their eyes grow longer, and sometimes this nearsightedness is permanent. Fortunately, this can easily be corrected with contacts or glasses.

Real Men Remember Their Safety Glasses

Because men in general are more likely to play dangerous sports and do labor-intensive work than women, they tend to be at greater risk of accidental eye injury. What makes this even worse is that men are also more likely to forego protective gear than women, and the end result is that men suffer nearly three times as many eye injuries as women. Make sure you remember your protective eyewear!

Maintaining Healthy Vision

Aside from wearing the right protective gear, there is plenty men can do to stay pro-active about eye health. A healthy diet isn’t just great for your overall health; it’s also good for your vision. Your eyes will thank you for incorporating foods like spinach, kale, tuna, salmon, eggs, nuts, and citrus fruits into your meals because they are rich in vitamins A and C and omega-3 fatty acids!

If you spend a lot of time staring at a computer screen for work, remember to give your eyes regular breaks to minimize your risk of eye strain. An easy way to remember this is following the 20-20-20 rule: every twenty minutes, spend twenty seconds focusing on something twenty feet away!

We Look Forward To Seeing You!

If there’s ever something wrong or unusual about your vision, don’t just tough it out, because eye problems don’t usually go away on their own. Make an appointment right away so we can make sure it isn’t a serious issue. In the meantime, don’t forget to schedule your yearly eye exams!

Keep up those healthy vision habits!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

The Role Of Tears

We cry for all kinds of reasons: a stubbed toe, a particularly poignant scene in a movie, freshly cut onions — the list goes on.

Would it surprise you to learn that, chemically, not all tears are the same? Or how about that even though we usually do it when we’re upset, crying is actually good for us?

Tears And Basic Eye Protection

Even when we aren’t crying, our eyes are covered in a protective film of basal tears, which is composed of three layers: the mucous layer right up against the cornea, the middle aqueous layer that is mostly saltwater, and the outer lipid layer that seals everything in and reduces evaporation.

This tear film is essentially all-in-one lubrication, cleaning, and disinfecting system for the surface of our eyes. It washes debris like dust and other particles out of our eyes with every blink and keeps our eyes comfortable and our vision clear.

The lacrimal glands in our eyelids are constantly producing small amounts of basal tears to replenish the tear film. The reason our eyes don’t leak with used basal tears all day is that what doesn’t evaporate drains out through the lacrimal ducts on the inner corners of our eyes and down into our noses. That’s why our noses get runny when we cry!

If you want to know why we wake up with grit in our eyes, check out this video:

Having A Good Cry

Basal tears are present all the time in healthy eyes, but when we cry and the tears overflow, they come in two different types: reflex and emotional tears. Even if crying can be embarrassing and messy at times, both types of tears are actually good for us.

Reflex Tears

Reflex tears are essentially the same as basal tears, but when our eyes get irritated, basal tear production goes into overdrive in an effort to safely flush out whatever caused the problem. That’s why we tear up when we’re chopping onions or get something in our eyes.

Emotional Tears

Most of us know what it’s like to cry and come out the other side of it feeling somehow refreshed and more optimistic about life, even when nothing about the situation that made us cry has actually changed. That’s because emotional tears actually clear out chemicals that build up in times of stress. Crying doesn’t just release pent-up emotion, it also purges harmful chemicals and triggers pain-regulating hormones! No wonder we feel better afterward!

Let’s Keep The Tears Flowing

Basal tears are essential for the health of our eyes, which is why dry eye can be such a serious issue. As we age, basal tear production goes down and dry eye becomes a more common problem. It can also be a side-effect of medication. Dry eye can lead significant discomfort, blurred vision, and even vision loss, so make sure you come see us if you’re experiencing it. In the meantime, keep scheduling regular appointments and having a good cry once in a while!

Our wonderful patients make us cry tears of joy!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Contact Lens Care And Safety

Whether you prefer glasses or contacts, there are specific things you need to do to take care of them.

This is one area where glasses-wearers have it easier — no matter how well or poorly they maintain their glasses, it won’t impact the health of their eyes, which is not at all the case with contact lenses. That’s why we’re dedicating a blog post to giving contacts-wearers tips on how to properly store, wash, and wear their contacts.

Basic Rules Of Contact Lens Care

Because contact lenses sit directly on the eye, they can introduce contaminants that may lead to serious problems. Don’t worry, though; you can avoid these problems as long as you practice proper contact lens hygiene. Here are a few basic rules to follow to keep your contact lenses (and your eyes) germ-free:

  • Always wash your hands before putting your contacts in.
  • Always clean and store your contacts in fresh contact lens solution. Do not reuse old solution!
  • Wash the case with solution, not water, allow it to dry between uses, and replace it at least every three months.
  • Never store or clean your contacts in water. Harmful microorganisms live in virtually every source of water on Earth, and these microorganisms love to burrow into hydrogels like your contact lenses.
  • Pay close attention to the instructions for how long to use a pair of contacts before replacing them.

Avoiding Irritation And Infection

How well you take care of your lenses when they’re out of your eyes is only half of the equation. The other half is what you do when the lenses are in. Make sure you’re sticking to the following rules:

  • Try not to rub your eyes. You could dislodge or damage the contact and introduce oils and germs from your fingers into your eye, and rubbing will more likely increase irritation than decrease it.
  • Stay hydrated, blink often, and use eyedrops recommended for contacts-wearers as needed to keep your eyes sufficiently moisturized. Dry eyes aren’t fun for anyone, but especially people with contacts.
  • Follow the instructions on how long to leave your contacts in. Only wear them overnight if they are specifically designed for it and we’ve given you the okay. The surface of our eyes get oxygen directly from the air, and wearing the wrong pair of contact lenses for too long can starve them of oxygen and cause serious discomfort. Dry eye and infection are other risks of extended wear of the wrong lenses.

Having Trouble? Come See Us!

If your contacts are continually causing irritation, you’re having trouble putting or keeping them in, or you feel there may be a more serious issue going on, don’t hesitate to call us or come to our practice! We’re here to keep your eyes healthy, and we love helping you. And even if you aren’t having any problems, keep scheduling regular checkups so we can keep your prescription up-to-date and make sure your eyes are staying healthy!

Don’t forget that your greatest resource for eye health is your optometrist!

Top image by Flickr user Lee Haywood used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Contact Lenses: More Than Meets The Eye

Contact lenses probably seem like a pretty recent invention, right?

It’s true that they’ve only become popular in recent decades, but you might be surprised to learn that Leonardo da Vinci first sketched the concept of contact lenses way back in 1508! His version involved submerging one’s head in a glass bowl of water, so it definitely needed work, but how did we get from there to the breathable silicone hydrogel contact lenses of today?

Contact Spectacles: Contacts Made Of Glass

In 1827, over three centuries after da Vinci’s initial sketch, Sir John Herschel came up with the idea of making a mold of a person’s cornea (the outer portion of the eye) in order to correct vision. However, the technology for making glass lenses thin enough to fit in the eye wouldn’t come along until 1888, when Adolf Fick was finally able to construct the first contact lens.

So why aren’t there fewer pairs of spectacles in old black-and-white photos if contacts were invented in the 1880s? Well, these prototype contact lenses weren’t exactly comfortable. They covered the entire front of the eye and allowed no oxygen to reach the cornea, so it only took a few hours before they became too painful to wear.

Hard Lenses: The Plastic Revolution

Contact lenses might never have become practical enough to appeal to glasses-wearers if it hadn’t been for the invention of plastic, which allowed lenses to be made lighter and more durable. Another key component was being able to successfully make molds of patients’ eyes, as Herschel had theorized. Dr. Dallos and Istvan Komàromy of Hungary perfected a method of doing just that.

However, these lenses still covered the entire eye. It wasn’t until 1948, when an English optical technician discovered that the lenses still worked if they covered a much smaller surface area, that contacts began to resemble the corneal lenses we’re used to today. A few more improvements quickly followed, making hard lenses very thin, shaped to the eye, and more comfortable.

Soft Lenses: Sight For Sore Eyes

Over the next couple of decades, hydrogels (more flexible plastics) were developed. By 1971, the first soft contact lenses gained FDA approval and hit the market. Hard lenses couldn’t beat soft lenses for comfort. Infection is always a risk with lenses that touch the eye, but the introduction of disposable lenses reduced this risk as well.

Soft lens technology has improved in the nearly fifty years since 1971, always seeking to improve breathability, safety, and comfort levels. The biggest recent breakthrough was silicone hydrogels, which are almost 100 percent breathable.

Watch this video to see how contact lenses are made:

Let’s Find Your Perfect Contacts!

With the variety of contact lens options available today, it might seem difficult to choose the right ones for you, but that’s where we come in. We can match you with the perfect lenses for your circumstances and needs, so if we haven’t seen you in a while, schedule an appointment right away!

Don’t wait! We can help you find ideal contact lenses today!

Top image by Flickr user n4i used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

A Quick Guide To Glasses Care

If you wear glasses, you know the never-ending struggle to keep them clean of streaks, spots, smudges, and scratches.

There are times when it’s tempting to just reach for the hem of your shirt, but if you want those lenses to last as long as they should, it’s important to clean them the right way. That’s why we’ve put together a list of glasses cleaning dos and don’ts for you to use!

How NOT To Clean Your Glasses

  • The number one thing not to do when cleaning lenses is to wipe them with tissues, paper towels, napkins, or any other paper product. No matter how soft these materials are, they are still made of wood pulp and can easily scratch the lenses.
  • Avoid wiping your glasses with clothing. Throughout the day, your clothes accumulate dust and grime, and these particles can cause scratches even if the material itself doesn’t.
  • Don’t use everyday cleaners. Chemicals like ammonia and window cleaner can wear down the protective coatings on the lenses.
  • Don’t set the lenses down unprotected, and especially don’t stuff them into a bag or pocket. This leaves them vulnerable to debris and scratching, not to mention your risk of smudging them when you accidentally pick them up by the lenses instead of the frame.
  • Don’t leave the lenses in areas prone to splatter and spray, such as the kitchen or bathroom counter. Things like hair spray and perfume can also damage the coatings on lenses.

Glasses Cleaning Dos

  • To get those glasses squeaky clean, use warm water and a drop of dish soap. Gently lather the lenses, frames, and nose pads, then wipe them with a clean and dry handkerchief, cotton cloth, or microfiber cloth.
  • Always store your glasses in a hard case. Doing so will help reduce the exposure to debris like airborne dust. If you don’t have a case, make sure to at least store them with the lenses facing upward to protect them from scratching.
  • For glasses cleaning on-the-go, you can either buy special solution and keep a dedicated cleaning rag with it, or you can mix your own cleaner by filling a small spritzer bottle with water and then adding one drop of dish soap.
  • If the lenses do get scratched, bring your glasses to us so that we can fix them instead of trying to buff out the scratches yourself, which could do more damage.

Here are a few more tips to make your life with glasses easier:

Come To Us With Your Glasses Concerns

Whenever your glasses need more than simple cleaning, don’t hesitate to come to us. Whether the lenses are scratched or cracked, the coatings are wearing off, or the frames themselves are bent or not fitting right, we can either fix them or help you find the perfect new pair.

Our practice is happy to provide you with what you need!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Taking Care of Your Eyes in the Digital Age

From the moment we get up to the moment we go to bed, more and more of us are on our smartphones, tablets, computers or other digital devices. That’s a lot of eyeballs glued to a lot of screens.

If you count yourself among the 90% of adults who spend two or more hours a day in front of a screen of some sort, there’s something you should know: You could be putting yourself at risk for digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome.

It’s a problem that is occurring more and more frequently — even in kids.

Symptoms may include dry, red and irritated eyes, fatigue, eye strain, blurry vision, problems focusing, headaches, and neck and shoulder pain.

Digital eye strain — more common than you think

When spending long periods of time concentrating on digital devices, the blink rate may be reduced by up to 66% on average, resulting in dry, itchy or burning eye.

Other factors include the size of the font, your posture, your computer set-up, and the amount of blue light emitted from your screen.

Take steps to protect your eyes now

The good thing is that if your screen habits put you at risk for digital eye strain, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your eyes.

  1. Build a workspace that promotes good posture. Center your computer screen at arms-length and slightly below eye level. This helps you keep your back straight, and helps you maintain a proper distance from your screen.
  2. Position your screen to minimize glare. Do not tilt it upward.
  3. Some eye doctors recommend investing in computer eyewear with an anti-reflective lens that can also be combined with a specially formulated coating that blocks and selectively absorbs blue light.
  4. Follow the 20/20/20 rule: Take a 20-second break every 20 minutes, and look at something at least 20 feet away.
  5. Adjust the brightness of your device. Consider changing the background color from bright white to cool gray.
  6. Lessen the amount of overhead light and surrounding light competing with your device’s screen.
  7. Increase text size to make it easier to read.
  8. Don’t forget to blink. Blinking lubricates your eyes so they stay moist and healthy.
  9. If you have children, consider limiting their screen time, and reducing your own screen time to set a healthy example.

Talk to your eye care professional if you think you’re at risk

While it would be ideal to cut down the amount of time you spend in front of a screen each day, it’s not always realistic. Let your eye care professional know if you are on digital devices excessively. Especially if you wear contact lenses. Fortunately, there are contact lenses that are designed specifically for the digital age, like Bausch + Lomb ULTRA® contact lenses. They feature MoistureSeal® technology, which helps lenses maintain 95% of their moisture for a full 16 hours.

If you’re at a screen more often than not, and you wear contact lenses, be sure to talk to your eye doctor about which lenses are best for you.

Bausch + Lomb ULTRA and MoistureSeal are trademarks of Bausch & Lomb Incorporated or its affiliates.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.