Knowing Your Family Eye Health History is Important!

We all wonder at times, what part of our parent’s genes did we get?  What genes are inheritable, which are not?  What disease could we have passed to our children?  There are a few eye diseases, which are genetic and can be passed down through generations.  That is why knowing your families history is so important.   Some of these diseases we are able to prevent or slow down with the proper knowledge.

The most common genetic, but preventable, eye disease is Macular Degeneration.  This is preventable with some simple change in lifestyle.  The first step is to use UV protection.  UV rays have been known to both increases the risk of macular degeneration as well as to stimulate the onset of the disease.  Most doctors recommend having 98% or higher UV protected sunglasses.  Wearing polarized glasses is even better because it will protect one’s eye from blue light.

Another preventative measure is the right nutrition.  Diets high in antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, C, and E greatly reduce the risk of macular degeneration.  Foods such as dark leafy greens, spinach, carrots, and oranges.  Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for other recommendations.

Regular eye exams are the number one recommended prevention and treatment method.  Early diagnosis to such a disease is key.  It is recommended to go in once a year for a check-up, but if you are worried always go to see your doctor.


October is Eye Injury Prevention Month

October is Eye Injury Prevention Month.  Preventing injury starts with precautionary safety measures.  For most people thinking about eye protection is not primary, we wear gloves when gardening, hats for sun, shoes and hard hats for machinery.  But, during all of these tasks are eyes are also in danger.  Our eyes should be on the first things we think about, and the good news is they are easy to protect!

More than 1 million people suffer from eye injuries each year in the US, almost 90% of these are easily preventable.  The first step is to buy, and wear safety goggles.  Today, as fashion can be a big issue, these safety goggles comes in different colors, shapes, and sizes.   They even sell tinted ones for wearing outside.

When working with any inside with any chemicals always read the labels first.  Many times the label with explain precautionary steps to take for your eye health, as well as steps to take if the fluid does get in one’s eye.  By reading the label before hand, one is not caught off guard when the fluid does come into contact with one’s eye.

When in a workshop think about the work one will be doing: will debris particles be in the air?  Are you working with gases or chemicals?  Are you working with fire?  Will your eyes be exposed to the sun?  When any of the answers to these questions are “yes” wearing protective goggles is a must.

When working outside it is important to wear at the very least sunglasses.  Sunglasses will protect your eyes from UV radiation.  They also help to protect your eyes from other debris, but they are not as protective as safety goggles, as they don’t have a protective side.

Prevention is key to protecting your eyes from injury.  In the case that an injury does occur go to the doctor or hospital as soon as possible so that as little damage as possible may be done.  Keep your eyes safe and healthy this month, no one wants to be wearing a  real patch for Halloween!


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.


Smoking Cigarettes has Been Linked to Blindness

Smoking is already known to kill by causing lung cancer – we are now finding it may also cause blindness.  Smoking has been directly related to increase risk of cataracts, which are directly linked to blindness.  Cigarettes have over 4000 chemicals, and over 200 toxic chemicals.  Many of these toxic chemicals are carcinogenic which cause free radicals.  These free radicals at first were only linked to lung cancer and other cancers, but they are now linked to cataracts.

The combination of free radicals, fat build-ups, and hypoxia result in a cataract.  It also may result in age-related macular degeneration, loss of night vision, as well as permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve.  Smoking increases your risk for many eye diseases because of the build up of free radicals.  Many of the eye problems it creates are irreversible, and cause blindness.

Second-hand smoke has recently been found to be very harmful for ones eyes.   Second-hand smoke can linger in a room for over two hours without any odor meaning your body is inhaling many of the chemicals from the tobacco even though you did not smoke it yourself.

Many states in the US have outlawed smoking in an in-closed space, and some have gone so far as to out law it in outdoors spaces as well.  This is a great beginning for the future of a smoke free environment.  For the moment, we are inhaling many chemicals that are causing faster degeneration of the body.   If you must smoke, or be around smoke, be sure to open windows and keep cleaner air flowing in.