We’ve cautioned over the years about the hazards of smoking, but in this article for Healthy Vision Month, here are the specifics as to why so many serious vision problems could be lessened or eliminated if we just put down the cigarettes, and that includes cigars and pipes.
Dry Eye is not directly related to smoking, but it’s easy to see how smoking can make your eyes feel scratchy, burn or turn red.
Cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural clear lens. Because smoke from cigarettes goes directly into the bloodstream, smokers are more at risk for getting cataracts.
AMD, or age related macular degeneration, is more likely to happen to someone who smokes than to someone who doesn’t. Currently there is NO cure for AMD.
Diabetic retinopathy can occur in smokers who already have diabetes.
Optic nerve problems can lead to blindness, and those who smoke are at increased risk of having optic nerve problems.
Uveitis affects the part of the eye called the uvea. Smoking can lead to uveitis.
Graves’ disease is a disease of the body’s thyroid gland. One symptom is bulging eyes. Smokers who have Graves’ disease run the risk of going blind.
Pregnant women who smoke run the risk of their child getting bacterial meningitis, known to cause vision problems. Premature birth is another symptom, which could result in “retinopathy of prematurity”, which could mean vision loss or blindness.
The simple truth: Quitting smoking can help save your vision, and during Healthy Vision Month, it’s more important than ever to know this information.
This month, you might be seeing lots of tips and suggestions for Healthy Vision Month, but before you take them all in, take yourself in for a comprehensive eye exam.
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a baseline eye exam at age 40. That’s the time when early signs of disease and changes in your vision can start to occur. Do you have a family history of eye problems? Do you have diabetes or high blood pressure? These can factor into your decision to have an eye exam more frequently.
Upon examining your eyes, your ophthalmologist can tell you how often you should undergo an eye exam. As we age, it’s more important to have our eyes checked regularly as our risk for eye disease increases.
If you are or have been at risk, or you are 65 years or older, it’s recommended that you schedule a comprehensive dilated eye exam. This important exam can take up to 90 minutes and should include the following:
- A rundown of your family medical history, whether you wear glasses or contacts and which medication, if any, you take.
- Visual acuity. Reading a standard eye chart at various distances.
- Your pupils and how they respond to light shined in.
- Side vision.
- Eye movement.
- Your eye pressure, which can indicate signs of glaucoma.
- The front part of your eye.
- Your retina and optic nerve.
- And your current vision prescription.
Depending upon the results of your eye exam, your ophthalmologist may conduct further tests using specialized equipment to try and diagnose a disease in its early stages or give you a clean bill of health. Either way, don’t overlook the opportunity to have your eyes checked. Maybe this month is the time.
If you’d like to schedule a baseline eye exam or a comprehensive dilated eye exam, please contact us today!
Fleet Week is here in South Florida and it brings to mind a patient of Rand Eye Institute who today is soaring high. Here’s his story:
It’s not often that a growing boy will turn down the chance to dive into a huge summer picnic basket, but that’s exactly what a young Steven Hollender did. Attending an air show with his grandparents many years ago, he was called away to lunch. “Not now. I want to see the planes”, shouted Steven.
Ever since that day, and even before, Steven’s career has been looking up. From as far back as Steven’s mother Carmelann Hollender can remember, “He always had an interest in planes and spaceships.”
When he graduated from Hunterdon Central Regional High School in Flemington, NJ in 2006, he announced to the family that he wanted to fly and knew just the flight school he planned to attend: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL, where he was awarded a three and a half year scholarship.
He graduated from Embry-Riddle with Dean’s List honors three of his four years. Before he could become a pilot, though, Steven had one obstacle to overcome: His less than perfect vision was preventing him from sitting in the #1 seat. At his grandmother Joan Di Maio’s request, her optometrist, Dr. Steven Koganovsky from Margate, FL made a personal call to Rand Eye Institute’s Medical Director, Dr. William J, Rand. Dr. Koganovsky asked if he would please see Steven, “I want you to treat Steven like he’s your grandson”, Dr. Koganosky told Dr. Rand, and that’s exactly what he did.
Steven came to the Rand Eye Institute on July 7, 2008, where Dr. William J. Rand had the honor of personally performing the Advanced Surface Laser Procedure, or No-Flap LASIK on Steven, which restored his vision to crystal clarity, a requirement to fly for the US Navy. Almost a decade has passed and Steven’s vision keeps his eagle eyes trained on his passion.
While Steven’s future was looking up, today he’s looking down, from the cockpit of an F-18 fighter jet, where he’s a pilot in the U.S. Navy. Steven recently returned from deployment in the South China Sea and is now living back in California.
“Dr. Rand, I just want to thank you for all you have done for me in correcting my eye problems,” said Steven. “If it wasn’t for you and your staff, I would not be a naval aviator.” Steven’s mother Carmelann backs him up, “Without Dr. Rand’s help, it wouldn’t have been possible.”
Now that Steven’s deployment overseas has ended, he’s back at his home base, The Naval Air Station in Lemoore, CA, where every August, thousands of young boys just like Steven once was, put their lunch to the side to be mesmerized at the Wings over Camarillo air show.
Thank you, Steven, for trusting Dr. Rand with your LASEK at Rand Eye Institute. We’re honored to have played a small role in your vision, launching your career as a fighter pilot. We salute YOU!
For more info on the Ft. Lauderdale Fleet Week schedule here.
Healthy Vision Month is all this month, so while it’s top of mind, here are some ways to help keep your vision healthy all year long.
The first one is to pop on a pair of shades that offer 100% UV protection to block UV-A and UV-B rays. Sunglasses help prevent retina damage too and protect the delicate eyelid skin, plus they make you look CSI-Miami cool.
Smoking is a no-no on every list we make. Studies have shown that smokers are more likely to develop AMD than non-smokers. We could write an entire article on the hazards of smoking, but enough said: QUIT NOW.
Proper eye protection is a biggie. Just look over our April blogs for more detailed information on which protection is best for your particular needs, then get them.
Have a family reunion with your family history. Sure, summer’s coming. We love to get together for grillin’ and relaxing, but take time during that opportunity to get to know your family’s medical history to see if you can ward off any genetic eye problems before they occur, then, early intervention with a comprehensive dilated eye-exam can be just what the (eye) doctor ordered.
Eye fatigue, including Computer Vision Syndrome, is a real condition. Consider that more than 70% of the world uses smart phones with that tiny text. Get some relief by reviewing our blog from March here.
And finally, exercising and eating right makes perfect sense for your eyes too. Carrots REALLY do offer vision benefits.
Just as it’s warming up for summer, your kids are warming up their sports skills.
So with that in mind, we’ve got our EYE on sports eye safety for your children.
As we pointed out in our last article, more than 90% of all eye injuries can be prevented through the use of suitable protective eyewear. BUT, to help you be on the lookout for possible eye injuries this season, here are the most common eye injuries that kids incur:
1. Water and pool activities rank #1 for eye injuries. More than 1/3rd of all pool and water activities that affect the eyes happen to kids under the age of 15.
2. Basketball accounts for 1/4th of all eye injuries that will happen to kids 14 and under. Hard to imagine that such a large object like a basketball could cause an eye injury. Of course it’s possible, but injuries in basketball are mostly caused by the fingers and hands of opponents, stressing once again, the need for players to wear proper eye protection.
3. Air, gas, spring and BB-guns, though today reclassified as firearms and removed from toy departments, still pose one of the biggest threats percentage-wise to your kid’s eyes. More than half of all eye injuries suffered from “toy guns” happen to kids 14 and under. Always stress to your kids that projectile-firing instruments should only be used under the supervision of a qualified adult and at a monitored and regulated facility, and of course, eye protection is mandatory.
4 – 7. Baseball, football, soccer and martial arts take up the next four categories of the highest-ranking eye injuries for kids 14 and under, with nearly 3,500 kids in that age group affected.
The takeaway here is that with summer approaching, your kids will spend a lot more time outdoors interacting in sports and that’s good. Just be aware of the need to acquire the appropriate eye protection for them, including instruction for use, so that they have an edge in preventing eye injuries while maximizing fun!
Source: AAO and Prevent Blindness
Most people believe that the best money spent is money that saves you from having to spend MORE money. So making a small purchase of just $20 to $40 to guard against eye injury or blindness could be the best EYE-vestment you’ll ever make.
With spring here and crisper weather in the air, the parks are filling up with kids and adults in their evening softball and soccer leagues. But before you slip on that baseball glove or new pair of cleats, don’t run the bases without running to the store first for proper eye protection.
Here are some guidelines to help you choose proper eye guards:
Any eye guard or sports eye protector should be labeled “ASTM F803 approved”. This is the code for eyewear that gives you the highest level of vision protection. Put this code in the notes section of your smart-phone so that you can refer to it when you shop and check the package to see if the eye protection you chose has been approved for sports use.
Don’t scrimp or save on eye guards that don’t have lenses. Only “lensed” protectors are recommended for sports use. Choose eye guards where lenses stay in place or pop out in an accident. Make sure they don’t pop in, which can damage your eyes.
Eye guards should be anti-fogging for clearest vision. Others may have side vents that let air circulate, keeping the lens surface clear.
Padded or cushioned eyewear may cost a bit more, but the more comfortable it is on YOU the more comfortable YOU’LL be, and less likely to toss them to the bench.
Until you get used to playing sports wearing eye protection, it may feel a bit strange or uncomfortable, but hang in there, you only have one set of eyes – SEE that you protect them the best way possible.
And lastly, always try on different brands and sizes of eyewear for comfort and protection. There’s nothing worse than tossing away your eye guards due to discomfort, only to suffer an eye injury without them.
As always, in the event of an eye injury, always see an ophthalmologist or your eye doctor right away, or visit the nearest emergency room at once.
Ah, Spring. What a time to be a sports fan. But while you have your eye on your favorite team’s schedule, don’t drop the ball on Sports Eye Safety. Keep these eye safety tips handy:
While each sport has specific recommendations for equipment that helps prevent bodily injuries, they all, without exception, recommend sports eye guards for every player.
Prescription glasses, sunglasses and even occupational safety glasses do not provide the eye protection one needs* while playing recreational sports.
- Baseball: a batter’s helmet and a faceguard for catchers made of polycarbonate material is a must.
- Basketball: players run the risk of an eye socket fracture or scratches on the cornea without sports eye guards.
- Soccer: players could suffer an inflamed iris or swollen retina if they don’t put on proper eye protection.
- Hockey: players MUST wear polycarbonate masks and sports eye guards to help prevent traumatic injuries.
- Football: wearing a helmet with a polycarbonate shield attached to the faceguard is the best defense.
ALL sports participants run the risk of an opposing player’s finger in the eye without the proper eye protection. So remember, if you or your young ones are playing sports, make sure proper eye safety equipment is a part of the uniform.
*source: Prevent Blindness
**PLEASE NOTE FOR EMERGENCY EYE CARE – OUR OPHTHALMOLOGISTS ARE ON-CALL 24/7
We’ve had a lot of positive feedback on our last article about wearing proper protective eye equipment (PPE) when performing tasks that could be hazardous to your eyes. As we learned, there are only so many things in life that you can control, and wearing eye protection is one of them.
But what happens when you suffer an eye injury that is beyond your control?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology and Rand Eye Institute present some of the ways you can treat various eye injuries.
First step FOR ALL EYE INJURIES:
- Do not touch, rub or apply pressure to the affected eye.
- Do not try to remove the offending object from the eye.
- Do not apply ointment or medication to the eye.
- See an ophthalmologist or a medical doctor as soon as possible.
For a cut or puncture of the eye:
- Do not rinse with water.
- Do not remove the wedged/protruded object from the eye.
- Do not rub or apply pressure.
- Try loosely taping a paper cup or eye shield over the eye for protection; then seek help from a medical professional.
- Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen or other non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs as these thin the blood and may increase bleeding.
For a liquid substance in the eye, or a chemical burn:
- Rinse your eye under a steady stream of warm, fresh water for 15 minutes. Just let it run into your eye and down your face.
- After rinsing, you can put a cool, moist compress or an ice pack on your eye, but don’t rub it.
- Call your eye doctor or emergency clinic to ask what is recommended for your injury. Tell the person what kind of substance got into your eye and what you’ve done about it so far.
A direct hit to the eye, from a ball or hard object:
Apply a small cold compress, gently, to reduce pain and swelling. Do not apply any pressure.
If a black eye, pain or visual disturbance occurs after a light blow, contact your eye professional or visit an emergency room right away.
Getting particles or foreign materials in the eye:
- Do not rub the eye.
- Carefully lift your upper eyelid. Blink several times to allow tears to flush the particles. If you have sterile eye drops, try using them. If the particles remain, keep the eye closed and seek medical attention right away.
As a precautionary measure, contact your ophthalmologist or eye doctor for additional assistance. Your doctor may need to see you right away, or suggest you visit an emergency clinic at once. It’s always safest to have someone drive you, even if you think you’re ok to drive. Always err on the side of caution because we only get ONE pair of eyes.
You’ve no doubt heard of a PPO and an HMO, but have you ever heard of a PPE?
PPE stands for “Personal Protective Equipment”, and it refers to clothing, footwear, goggles, gloves, helmets and other garments designed to protect us from injury or infection. But since March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, let’s just concentrate on our eyes.
All joking aside, protecting your vision is paramount in maintaining quality of life, like seeing your grandkids or going for a leisurely Sunday drive.
Please don’t risk injury for vanity. Industrial Safety and Hygiene News reports that 70% of total eye injuries are a result of flying particles, flying or falling objects or sparks that strike the eye. Though companies can offer you eye protection and education, it’s up to you to actually put them to use.
Starting a new job? Helping a co-worker with a chemical or assisting in the construction of a project at work or home? It only takes one mishap for a life-changing event to happen that could cause you to lose your vision. Always make a note of where eye protection is located, familiarize yourself with the instructions, and most importantly, actually wear the eye protection. It’s 10-seconds of safety that could save your vision and your life.
Next time, we’ll talk about recognizing and treating eye injuries.
When people think of eye injuries at work, many conjure up the jobs that seem most risky to the eyes, like welder, construction worker, or chemical engineer (handling chlorine, acid and other chemicals). These are the types of jobs with the highest risk of having a foreign object enter the eye.
While those jobs do involve risk to the eyes, this month during Workplace Eye Wellness Month, we take a look at a more recent threat to our vision thanks to technology and convenience.
According to Pew Research Center, 77% of Americans own a smartphone, up from 35% in 2001. For many, this is the primary way they access digital information, via texting, email, engaging in social media platforms and surfing the web. Between smart phones, laptops and digital pads, nearly everyone in the U.S. is online some time during the day or night, and your eyes know it. Not so “smart” says The American Academy of Ophthalmology.
There are some simple ways to get relief from Digital Eye Strain, also known as Computer Vision Syndrome.
- Observe the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20-feet away and rest your eyes for 15 minutes after two hours of continuous computer use.
- Make sure that you’re looking down toward your computer screen, optimally about 4-5 inches below eye level as measured from the center of the screen and 20-28 inches from the eyes. Use an anti-glare screen when possible.
- Lighting is important. Position the computer screen away from the glare of light sources, particularly overhead lighting and windows. Use blinds or drapes on windows and switch to lower wattage bulbs in your desk lamps.
- If you’re using a word processing program, you might be able to raise the % size of your font (as shown below in the upper right of figure A), without affecting your document format.
This visual adjustment is an easy way to work with larger font without reformatting.
- This is a simple one: make an effort to blink frequently, keep eye drops by your side and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
If you have uncorrected vision problems, it can increase the severity of Digital Eye Strain or Computer Vision Syndrome. Make an appointment with your eye care professional to see if there’s anything that can be done to improve your vision and comfort while using digital devices.
Next time, we’ll explore Personal Protective Equipment for your eyes, or PPE.