Taking Care Of Your Eyes Is Easy

Taking care of your vision should be one of your top priorities.  Our eyes take in the world around us, and sadly out of the five senses this is fastest growing one to be lost.   There are four main ways to take of your eyes – protecting them, preventing eye problems, finding out about congenial eye disease, and looking into temporary eye conditions.  It is recommended to get an eye check up at least once a year!

Protecting your eyes is the first most important thing, and it is fairly easy, it just requires a little bit of extra effort.  Recent studies have found that certain vitamins are key to good eye health.  Vitamin A, found in carrots and multi-vitamins, is key to preventing deficiencies.  One of the symptoms of a Vitamin A deficiency is a chronic dry eye, if you have this we highly recommend you ask both your physician and optometrists about this condition.  The next great nutrient for your eyes is antioxidants – they help prevent macular degeneration.  They also have a lot of other nutritional value for your whole body.  The other key to protecting your eyes is wearing the correct protection.  When in the sun wearing sunglasses is crucial to prevent UV damage.   When doing house work, or work where small debris may fly into the eye wearing safety goggles is a must.  A small step like this could prevent a much larger disaster from happening.

Preventing eye problems is the next step.  This is again easy, but it requires making the extra effort.   The first step is to wear sunglasses, just like your skin can get burnt so can your eyes.  Wearing a hat and sunglasses is the best idea because it cuts down light reflecting off the water or other surfaces as well.  The other unintentional problem that we face is eyestrain.  When one works in front of a computer all day or reads all the time this can cause a lot of strain on the eyes.  Make sure to take breaks, take a walk, and let your eyes wonder.  They’re many exercises to do to prevent eyestrain.

Sadly, there some eye diseases we cannot prevent fully, but being aware of them is key.  Some of the main congenial eye diseases are cataracts and astigmatism.   Cataracts are a clouding of the lens that results in obscured vision.  Astigmatism is caused by a defect in the curvature of the eye, which mainly affects the peripheral vision.   If you would like to find out more about congenial diseases ask your optometrist, many of the diseases your doctor will test for on a regular basis such as glaucoma.

The last step to good eye health is finding out about temporary conditions.  The most common temporary condition is conjunctivitis also known as pink eye.   It is caused by inflammation of the conjunctiva.  If your eyes are bothering you in any way such as dry eyes, itchy eyes, watery eyes, these are all temporary problems that can be fixed.

Remember to get a yearly check up at your optometrist.  With today’s technology it is a quick easy visit, that no longer requires drops and wait periods, everything is done electronically!

Meaningful Use Incentive Program Not Over Yet

There has been a recent buzz about Meaningful Use Funding being removed; this caused many meaningful users, and non-users to wonder about what to do next.  This rumor appears to be false, as President Obama’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction states that the incentives program will continue for those acquiring meaningful use.  In 2015 those who have become meaningful users will be penalized.  This money is going to go towards helping everyone, by going into a deficit reduction fund.  The money collected will go into an account beginning in 2020 that will be used starting in 2021 for deficit reduction.  The plan is that in 10 years we will save $500 million.  This will greatly reduce our deficit.

Meaningful use is a program that is meant to help not only the hospitals and doctor’s offices, but the patients as well.   There are three main components to meaningful use

1. The use of a certified EHR in a meaningful manner, such as e-prescribing

2. The use of certified EHR technology for electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of health care.

3. The use of certified EHR technology to submit clinical quality and other measures.

There are three stages of meaningful use: Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3.  Stage 1 started this year, 2011, and will go until 2012.  This is when companies will start to understand how to use the EHR system and information sharing.  Stage 2 will start in 2013, and stage 3 will begin in 2015.  Both of these stages will be further implementation of EHR and information sharing systems.  These rules will be created as the stages start.  To learn more about the Meaningful Use program go to https://www.cms.gov/ehrincentiveprograms/30_Meaningful_Use.asp

All About EHR

EHR stands for Electronic Health Records.  It is a new evolving system that digitally in-puts patients information such as medical history, medication and allergies, immunization status, laboratory test results, personal stats like age and weight, and billing information as well as prescriptions in order to better health care practices.  It makes it easier for doctors to share information within their own offices, as well as across health care systems.

Before EHR systems we all remember the paper charts and large files with all of our past visits.  When changing doctors you would have to ask for all of that information to be transferred so your new doctor would know your medical past.  Today, that is changing very rapidly.  More and more doctors are adopting the EHR practice and they are getting a positive result from their patients.

Most of the time people will use EMR and EHR interchangeably but there is a difference.  EMR is the legal patient record created in hospitals that gets combined into the EHR.  There are many benefits to EHR such a cost reduction, improved quality in health care, and an increase in record keeping and mobility.  The main disadvantages is the time it takes to switch the EHR.  Doctors needs training, records need to be put in, and this creates a few extra costs.  Overall it seems that most doctors are thinking the benefits will out way the costs in the end.  Also, as a doctor it is very important to stay update on technology, so everyone may be having to make the switch soon.

Vision is Key to Learning

As school starts again children are back in the classroom looking at the board, reading books and taking notes.  All of these activities use critical eye functions that are necessary for learning; in fact over 80% of our learning depends on our vision.  Making sure your children have the best vision possible is very important.

Taking your child to see an optometrist is highly recommended, whether they are having trouble in school or not.  Over 64% of teacher notice an improvement in children’s academic performance after having received vision care.   Many children playing sports will also notice an increase in their abilities.  All sports involve large amounts of hand-eye coordination, which is improved through vision care.

Children are not always as aware of the fact that they may not being seeing as properly as they should be, which is another reason it is very important to have their eyes checked.  Most commonly a child will complain about not being able to see the blackboard.  A parent can also look out for complaints about reading books, or looking at the computer screen.

Teenagers are harder to deal with, as they become more embarrassed to wear their glasses, as well as to admit they are having problems.  Schedule a yearly visit to the eye doctor to make sure that their eyes are in tip-top condition.


September is Sports Eye Safety Month

September is Sports Safety month.  Many of us don’t realize just how dangerous sports can be to our eyes, and thus we get injured.  It is estimated that there are over 40,000 sports related eye injuries each year, and about 90% most of these easily preventable.  Many doctors offer alternatives to wearing glasses while playing sports, and everyone should take advantage of this.

Basketball and Baseball lead the way in eye injuries.  The most common eye injury is actually getting poked in the eye, not at all ball related.  A poke in the eye can cause other problems such as a scratch on the cornea.  A minor injury like that may be irritating, but it is easily preventable by wearing eye protection.   Golf has the most call related injuries, as the balls are small, hard, and very fast. They can cause the most devastating damage of all ball related injuries.

There are three types of major sports related eye injuries: corneal abrasion, blunt injuries, and penetrating injuries.  Corneal abrasion was spoken about above; it is when the cornea gets scratched.  The most common cause is being poked in the eye.   Blunt injuries are usually caused from the impact of an object.  These injuries range from a cut on the eyelid to a black eye.    \Penetrating injuries are when a foreign object pierces the eye.   For children a common cause of this type of injury is from the BB gun pellets.  Although your kids may see think its dorky, ask them to put on eye protection as it will save everyone a lot of trouble!

The main way to protect your eyes is by wearing eye protection.  If you wear glasses you may get eye protection goggles that can go over your glasses.  Your eyes are very precious and they are easy to hurt, be sure to practice safe sports by wearing eye protection.