Edward Jarka has been an optometrist for more than 30 years and a member of the faculty of the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Optometry for over 14 years before retiring in December, 2017. In his early career as a clinician he has provided patient care in various clinical settings including private optometry practice, ophthalmology-optometry practices and as a hospital-based out-patient practice within the Veteran’s Administration. His ophthalmic research career has included experience in basic research and clinical research projects. In addition he was involved in product development research while serving as senior research optometrist at Ciba Vision. His research interests have centered on ocular surface disease and dry eye. Eight years ago, he began researching the clinical applications of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for ocular surface diseases. Dr. Jarka’s special interest includes meibomian gland dysfunction and ocular rosacea. He and his wife of 35 years (Martha) live in suburban St. Louis.
Dr. Jarka is currently accepting patient at our Webster Groves location on Mondays.
Key words: Dry eye, Ocular surface disease, Meibomian gland dysfunction, Ocular rosacea, Eye-Platelet rich plasma
Here comes the cold!
The winter season transforms the world outside and makes us adjust our daily routines to prepare for these transformations.
During the colder months we make numerous adjustments to our environment and wardrobe to adapt to the chilling effects of winter. It is important to remember that our bodies and health are often significantly affected by the changes that occur during the winter months.
There is no shortage of ways the cold can bring inconvenient changes to our daily lives. Common symptoms of cold winter weather include runny noses, chapped lips, dry skin, and frozen fingers.
However, there is one part of our body that often receives the worst of the winter weather -- our eyes.
Both the harsh winter winds outside and the dry heat radiating inside can cause a sudden onset of moisture evaporation from our eyes.
The result is a significant increase in dry eyes.
Dry eye leads to a number of eye symptoms including itching, burning, fluctuating vision, blurred vision, eye pain, and/or excessive watering to compensate for the dryness.
It is nearly impossible to avoid dry eyes all together in the winter months, but there are steps that you can take to ensure that your eyes stay as hydrated and healthy as possible this winter season.
1. Humidify Your Home
During the winter months, a home’s humidity level can dip below the 30-55 percent range that is required for our eyes to stay adequately lubricated. Consider bringing a humidifier into your home to improve the ambient humidity. Additionally, consider leaving off the exhaust in your bathroom while you are showering.
2. Drink Plenty of Water
Even mild dehydration can negatively affect the hydration of the eyes. This is especially significant in winter because cold temperatures can dampen the body’s thirst mechanism, while artificial heat speeds the evaporation of tears. Keep your eyes hydrated by drinking water throughout the day and increasing your intake of fluid-rich foods (soup, fruits, vegetables).
3. Increase Your Omega 3s
The dryness of the winter season can contribute to inflammation of the eyes tear glands. This can lead to a decrease in their secretion and an increase in evaporative tear loss. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to decrease the amount of inflammation in these tear glands and improve the quality of their secretions, thus decreasing tear evaporation. If your diet is low in these essential nutrients, consider taking a fish oil or flaxseed oil supplement.
4. Heat Your Seat
On a cold day, your first instinct when getting into your car is to blast the heat on high until you warm up. Sitting in front of the forced air vent is essentially the same as holding a hair dryer to your eyes. They can become very dry, very quickly. Consider heating your feet and/or turning on your seat warmer until you are at a comfortable temperature.
Dry eye is a common occurrence and is exacerbated during the winter months. It can lead to significant discomfort and a decreased quality of life. The understanding of dry eye disease continues to improve and new therapeutic options continue to emerge. If you are suffering from dry eyes, itching, burning, fluctuating vision, blurred vision, eye pain, and/or excessive watering, then schedule a dry eye evaluation today. We would love to help you find treatment plan that works for you!
Dr. Dustin Wiles joins Complete Vision Care today, June 1st.
A native of Farmington, he is excited to return home to serve the local communities.
Prior to joining, he served as an optometrist in the US Army at Fort Leonard Wood, MO, where he provided comprehensive eye care services for active duty military members, veterans and their families. He also led a specialty contact lens service for patients with keratoconus, corneal transplants and other corneal abnormalities. He will continue to serve as an optometrist in the US Army Reserve.
Dr. Wiles graduated as valedictorian of the 2012 University of Missouri – St. Louis College of Optometry class. During his training, he received many prestigious awards including the Carl Zeiss Vision Fellowship, VSP Scholarship Award for Excellence in the Pursuit of Primary Care Skills, Contact Lens Faculty Clinical Excellence Award, Dean’s Award for Excellence in Academic Scholarship, Ocular Instruments Award of Excellence in the Study of Ocular Disease, the Honor Award from Beta Sigma Kappa International Optometric Honor Society, and the National Board of Examiners in Optometry's Certificate of Commendation for having the highest part I board score for an UMSL Student. During his training, he gained experience in ocular disease management, specialty contact lenses and ocular surgery co-management through clinical rotations at the Saint Louis VA Medical Center, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Center for Advanced Medicine and St. Louis University Eye Institute.
Dr. Wiles practices the full scope of optometry and enjoys seeing patients of all ages. He has special interests in the management of dry eye disease, diabetic eye examination, and custom contact lenses for patients with keratoconus, corneal transplants and other corneal abnormalities.
Dr. Wiles is currently accepting patients in Leadington on Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and he is accepting patients in Festus on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Dr. Wiles resides in Farmington with his wife, Steph’Annie and three young children, Annie, Jacob, and Samuel. When not in the office, he enjoys spending time with his family and in the outdoors.
Complete Vision Care, Inc