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!


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!


August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month

August is Children’s Eye Health and Safety month.  In September most children will be going back to school and everyone should have their eyes checked before.  Many learning problems come from problems with the eyes, and at a young age children may not know how to voice their discomfort.

Even though you may not think your child is having eye problems, it is always smart to take them to the eye doctor.  When your child is born their eyes are checked and this test can pick up on a range of eye problems that can hopefully be fixed immediately.  From ages zero – 2 your child’s wellness check up will include eye assessments mainly based on eye history.  From ages 3 – 10 vision exams are normally given to test acuity and ocular alignment.  Most Ophthalmologists will recommend that your child gets checked at 6 moths, 3 years and again at 5 years regardless of eye history and eye health.

During the school years a child should start having a yearly check up because eye problems can develop fast.  If a child cannot see properly they will not have the patience or attention span to sit through school.  This can develop many learning problems, as well as misdiagnosed learning problems, throughout the school years.

If you see your child doing any of the following signs you may want to take them to an eye doctor.

  • Frequent eye rubbing or blinking
  • Frequent headaches
  • Covering one eye
  • Short attention span
  • Avoiding reading assignments or holding reading materials close to the face
  • An eye turning in or out
  • Seeing double
  • Losing his or her place when reading
  • Difficulty with reading retention

Allergies can also show up in the eyes and you can ask your eye doctor about getting eye drops to relieve the itchiness, watery, and redness.

Children’s eyes are highly sensitive so remember to always wear sunglasses and eye protection.  Regular doctors visit could prevent your child from the stress of learning problems, get a check up today!


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!


Questions to ask the eye Doctor

When going to the doctor many people forget to ask simple questions and then forget to call to get answers.  Every doctor will tell you what he or she thinks you need to know, but there could be more information you may want.  Before going to any doctor make a list of questions you feel you may need answers to.  They can be broad such as what are the treatments?  What caused this to happen?  Or they can be specific?  Can you tell me exercises I can do to improve my vision?

I have compiled a list of questions that you should ask your eye doctor before leaving their office.  Most eye doctors will have some lenses for sale in their office, but if you plan on buying them outside the office then you will need a lot more information.

The first and most important question is how often should I have an eye exam?  This changes depending on your newest vision results.  Most doctors will say once a year but if you have a family history with eye problems then it could be more often.  Once they tell you it is recommended to put a reminder in your calendar to make an appointment a month in advance before your recommended next eye visit.

Next question to ask is what is my vision acuity?  Meaning what is the vision in each of your eyes.  You will definitely need to know this if you plan on buying eyeglasses outside of the office.  Along with this question you should ask if there are any other necessary precautions to take such as UV protection glasses or special night glasses.

Depending on the results of your eye exam ask what is the treatment for your results.  Even if you have 20/20 vision you can still do eye exercises to keep this acuity.  Most doctors have a print out of eye exercises that will help you maintain your vision acuity.

The last and most important question is which eye glasses/frames do you recommend.  Most doctors will not recommend a specific frame unless asked.  This is very important because some lenses don’t protect your eye as well and the shape can affect what you see.  Most of the time we go for the most fashionable frame, but it is important to make sure these will maximally improve your vision.

Remember that you can always call your eye doctors office because even if your doctor isn’t around a nurse will be happy to help!


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!