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.


July is eye Injury Month

July is eye injury prevention month!  The summer is a great time relax, maybe do some work around the house, and fix things up.  But, not everyone remembers to wear sunglasses or safety goggles while doing all this work. American Academy of Ophthalmology estimates that more than two million eye injuries occur each year in the United States.  45% of these occur in the home, with another 40% occurring from sports or other recreational activities.  90% of these are preventable and only 35% occur while wearing some sort of eyewear.

July is an especially important month for eye care because of July 4th.  Fireworks cause many injuries, especially eye injuries because almost nobody is wearing eye protection while viewing the show.  There are around 2,00 firework eye injuries every year, and 50% occur in children 15 and younger.  It can be hard to force your children to wear eye protection, but it would be more regrettable to not.  The American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma recommend that every household have at least one pair of American National Standards Institute (ANSI) glasses.  These have side shields that protect any debris or fluids from splashing into the eye.  These will also have the ANSI marking on the side.

It is also important to remember that the sun is three times stronger in the summer, so always wear UV protection glasses.  If you are going to be working in the sun with a lot of hazardous materials try and find a pair of safety goggles that have UV protection as well.

It is an easy safety precaution that will help to prevent up to 90% of eye injuries.  Make sure to go out and by yourself a pair of safety as goggles, as well as actually using them!


Personal Experience with the New Eye Technology

I went for my yearly eye check-up today and I was so impressed.  I did not know a lot about eye technology before I started to work with Kowa, but since then I have learned so much.  I was excited for this doctor visit because I wanted to see which technology they were using and I wanted to ask about the EMR technology.

I had a nurse check out my eyes in the beginning just the usual hold the tool over your eye read the screen and so on.  Then we did a peripheral vision test (mine is perfect).  THEN she asked if she could take a picture of the back of my eyes.  This was a first for me, I knew about the technology because I have been researching eye technology, but this was a new machine at this office.  She told me there would be additional co-pay for these pictures, but I figured I would try the machine out.  I held my face up and she made it look at this disk and then a large flash and I could see the picture on the screen next to me.

I was waiting to see how this would later be used, would the pictures be printed? Digitally shown to me? Can they be transferred around the office?  I was soon to find out.  The doctor came in to finish my eye check-up and give me my new prescription.  He then did a glaucoma test, which was easy and not disturbing to the eyes.  THEN he asked how I’d like my retinas tested – camera, or the old way?  Normally they do this horrible exam where they dilate my pupils and I can’t see for a few hours.  I realized that this would not be okay, since I had to work right after.  So I said yes, please take a picture!  After he turned on his computer and showed me pictures of both the back of my eyes and retina’s so I could understand what they were showing.

I was so impressed by all this new technology.  The visit took 30 minutes and another 20 for me to choose my classes.  This visit used to take 45 minutes to an hour and another 20 minutes for me to choose glasses.  It has cut the visit time down making it easier and faster for the patient and doctor.  My doctor’s office does not yet have any of the workflow technology but it’s planning on investing in some.  The new eye technology is very helpful and has improved doctor visits vastly.


Sunglasses: Your Eyes Sunscreen

It is common knowledge that we need sunscreen when we go in the sun, but what about the areas that we can’t put sunscreen on like our eyes?  Most people forget that the same way our skin can be damaged by the UV rays, so can our eyes.

Sunglasses are the best way to protect your eyes, but one needs to be careful that they have the right sunglasses.  The sunglasses need to protect both UVA and UVB rays.  For extra protection one can get larger frames or wrap around glasses so the sun doesn’t come in through the sides.  Polarized lenses also give extra protection by blocking the suns reflections and decreasing the glare.   A common misconception is that the darker the lens the more protection is offered.  One wants to choose a lens color that is based on your activities.

Most sun damage is caused before the age of 18 so it is very important to remember to make your children wear sunglasses as well.   One does not need the most expensive sunglasses; just make sure they have both UVA and UVB protection.

Over exposing one’s eyes to the sun has been known to cause many eye diseases such as cataracts, growths and eye cancer.  An unexpected common cancer is cancer of the eyelids.  It is practically impossible to put sunscreen there and if one is not wearing sunglasses the skin is so sensitive it burns easily.

Remember that any part of one’s body that is exposed to the sun has the potential to be damaged by the sun.  Cover up all parts of the body remembering places like our eyes, and top of our heads.  In order to make sure that one has not caused sun damage to your eyes go for a yearly eye check up!