Chlorine and Your Eyes

Chlorine is a sanitizing agent used in swimming pools to prevent algae and to kill bacteria. While this is fantastic for your general health, chlorine can temporarily harm your eyes and, as we enter the summer months, knowing how to protect your vision against chlorine becomes increasingly important.

Goggles are a type of protective sports eyewear that can keep chlorine out of your eyes and help prevent irritation. This one of those situations in which paying a little extra up front can help reduce long-term issues down the road. Cheap goggles are often ill-fitting or completely ineffective, making it well worth the few extra dollars to keep your eyes healthy and your vision clear.

Long-Term Effects of Chlorine on Eyes

The effects of chlorine on eyes is generally not permanent. However, excessive chlorine exposure can lead to myriad other health conditions including respiratory problems and even certain types of cancer.

Before you go swimming in a public or private pool, make sure you trust those responsible for its upkeep. When used correctly, chlorine can help keep swimmers safe without any adverse health risks.

To learn more about protecting your eyes during the summer months, please use the eye doctor locator at eyes.com to find an experienced ophthalmologist in your area.

FDA Issues Contact Lens Guide for Children & Teens

Some kids have vision correction needs from a very young age, such as 6 or even younger. Fortunately at-school vision tests are detecting myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism at younger ages than ever, but once vision needs are detected, parents have to make a decision about what type of correction their child should have.

Many children are content with glasses, and may even like the chance to wear stylish frames, but other children will want to wear contact lenses. If your child is asking to get contact lenses, the FDA has created a page that can help you make the decision about whether your child should have contact lenses.

What’s the Right Age?

So, when is your child old enough for contact lenses? That is a difficult question, but most eye doctors don’t recommend contacts for children less than 12. Most of the benefits of contacts, such as improvement in sports and self-perception, increase after this age, and the risk tends to go down.

However, you also need to make sure your child is mature enough for contact lenses. This means they have to be good at following directions and capable of maintaining a contact lens cleaning routine. To determine whether your child is mature enough, look at how well your child does many basic hygiene activities. Do they tend to thoroughly clean their hands and face? Do they brush and floss their teeth regularly? Can they keep their hair neat if they choose to?

Potential Dangers of Contact Lenses

According to a recent study, contact lenses account for about a fourth of children who go to the emergency room for complications of medical devices. The most common complications of contact lenses are infections and eye abrasions. To avoid these risks, it’s important to make sure your child is following good hygiene practices like:

  • Always wash hands and thoroughly dry before touching contact lenses
  • Clean your contact lenses only with materials recommended by your eye doctor
  • Don’t wear lenses for too long
  • Don’t wear someone else’s lenses
  • Don’t wear lenses not prescribed by y our eye doctor
  • Never put lenses in a red eye
  • Always report itching, burning, and irritation

Complications associated with contact lenses are potentially serious and can threaten a child’s vision, so take the time to evaluate your child’s maturity before allowing them to wear contact lenses.  And keep watch to make sure they’re following proper hygiene. You should also watch for red eyes and inflammation in your child, and if you see it, recommend your child stop wearing contact lenses until you see your eye doctor.

For more information on appropriate vision correction at any age, please contact a local eye doctor.

New Adhesive May Aid in LASIK Safety

Researchers at Kansas State University have developed a new adhesive with the goal of reducing risks in LASIK surgery. Research shows that a new protocol that involves using ultraviolet light, fibrinogen, and riboflavin may improve the glue to keep the corneal flap in place.

According to those involved in the research, the best corneal flap adhesion is a glue created with the combination of riboflavin and fibrinogen, and then adding binding proteins and ultraviolet light. The ultraviolet light is the same kind used in tanning salons. This is also a nontoxic biodegradable glue used during cataract surgery.

The flap detaching from the cataract is a major risk after LASIK surgery because, once the lens is cut to get to the cornea to be reshaped, the attachment between the cornea and the surface is permanently weakened. If an accident occurs and the flap is knocked loose, the cornea itself can be contaminated, which may result in the need for a corneal transplant.

Although corneal transplants, which replace just a part of the existing cornea, are the most common type of organ transplant, and are a routine outpatient procedure, the Mayo Clinic reports nearly 20 percent of them fail. So, chalk up corneal transplant as an outlier risk of LASIK surgery.

A second study analyzed reactions of the glue at the molecular level to see exactly how the adhesion works. There is hope the glue can be further developed for applications in different medical treatments throughout the body.

If you would like to learn more about LASIK procedures or how to care for your eyes post-LASIK surgery, please find an experienced eye surgeon in your area through eyes.com today.

Why is Protective Sports Eyewear Important?

Every thirteen minutes, someone is treated in an emergency room for a sports-related eye injury. Until recently, not many athletes used sports eyewear to protect themselves from serious eye injuries.

Protective sports eyewear is important for several different reasons:

  • It reduces your risk of eye damage by up to 90%
  • It enhances your vision for optimal performance
  • It provides ultraviolet protection for outdoor play
  • The polycarbonate lenses are impact- and shatter-resistant

Sports-related eye injuries are a common cause of blindness among young children. The National Institutes of Health encourages parents and teachers to make sure children are wearing protective eyewear at all times during athletic activities. Make sure the sports eyewear you purchase is specifically designed for the sport you are playing. Generic sports goggles will not provide you with the same level of protection as an approved piece of eyewear for a specific sport.

If you have further questions about sports-related eye injuries, contact an experienced ophthalmologist in your area today.

Bausch + Lomb Survey Reveals Value of Sight, Misunderstanding of Eye Care

Bausch + Lomb recently surveyed 11,000 customers from several different countries – including the United States. The survey shows many people value their eyesight greatly but may not understand eye exams are one of the best ways to protect your eyesight. Bausch + Lomb makes contact lenses and products for eye care.

Among other findings, the survey showed:

  • 70 percent of respondents said they would rather lose a limb or lose 10 years of their life instead of losing their eyesight.
  • Seven in 10 respondents believed they were very knowledgeable or somewhat knowledgeable about eye health and how to take care of their eyes.

While it appears a significant portion of respondents value their eyesight and believe they know how to protect their eyesight, the survey also showed a mere 21 percent of those surveyed actually had yearly eye exams for at least the past five years. Of the 150 doctors asked to contribute to the study, 97 percent of them did not agree that patients were somewhat or very knowledgeable about eye care.

Forty-four percent of the respondents didn’t think they needed an eye exam unless they experienced an eye problem.

Even if you do not believe you have vision problems, a regular eye exam is an important way to prevent vision problems. During an eye exam, eye doctors can also spot signs indicating increased risk for various health problems, including diabetes and heart attack.

To learn more about eye exams and eye health, please find an eye doctor in your area on eyes.com.

Specialized Video Games May Help Treat Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) in Adults

Although it has long been thought that it is difficult to correct amblyopia—often referred to as “lazy eye”—after those with the condition reach the age of 17, new research indicates that this major cause of vision loss in adults may be treated through playing video games.

Amblyopia is reduced vision in one eye that is generally the result of the misalignment of a child’s eyes or the inability of one eye to focus at the same strength as the other. The condition usually develops in children before 6 years of age, and previous research has suggested that early diagnosis and treatment are the most effective ways to prevent amblyopia-associated blindness.

But in an article in the June issue of Optometry and Vision Science, the journal of the American Academy of Optometry, Dr. Dennis Michael Levi writes that new studies imply the adult brain has greater “neural plasticity” than previously believed and that specially designed video games may improve visual performance in the weaker eye. While Dr. Levi writes that “careful controlled randomized clinical trials” are necessary to confirm the effectiveness of this approach, early evidence suggests that video game-based perceptual learning could lead to long-lasting vision improvement for adults with amblyopia.

Because the brain loses adaptability—or plasticity—with age, childhood treatment for amblyopia was thought to be critical. Therapy for lazy eye typically entails the child wearing a patch over the dominant eye, which makes the weaker eye work harder to focus.

However, recent studies signal that perceptual learning can improve aspects of visual function in adults. Perceptual learning focuses on improving sensory functions through repeated practices.

As visual task exercises can be become monotonous, which reduces patients’ willingness to perform them with the regularity they need to be effective, researchers began developing video games that are both fun and target the specific visual skills needed to improve visual performance in the weaker eye.

New clinical studies indicate that these games may improve several aspects of visual performance, and one study cited by Dr. Levi demonstrated that some adults with amblyopia experienced recovered three-dimensional stereo vision after decades without normal binocular vision.

If you would like to learn more about treatment options for amblyopia or other vision conditions, please contact an eye doctor in your area.

Many Americans too Overwhelmed to Manage Eye Health

Regular eye exams performed by an eye doctor are one of the best ways to protect your eyesight, but one in five Americans neglect going to an annual eye exam because they are too busy, according to a survey of 2,500 people by Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield discussed in Eye World, a publication of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery.

Although many people put off scheduling an annual eye exam, 89 percent of those surveyed said they knew that taking care of their eyes now would prevent future eye health problems. Forty-nine percent of respondents said they wished health professionals could help them stay on top of managing their health. Forty-nine percent also said they felt overwhelmed by routine daily tasks, and a little over half of those surveyed said they wished eye health was easier to make a priority.

Anyone can benefit from regular eye exams. Using a series of tests, your eye doctor can:

  • Detect early stage health conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • Identify early signs of glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration.
  • Determine whether you have a refractive error, which is corrected with glasses, contact lenses or LASIK.
  • Ensure your eyes work together efficiently. Misaligned eyes may lead to eyestrain and other problems.

If you are in your 20s or 30s, a regular eye exam every two or three years is advisable. If you are in your 40s, 50s or beyond, you should have an eye exam every year.

To schedule an eye exam and learn more about preventative eye care, please find an eye doctor in your area to schedule a consultation.

Preventing Eye Strain

Eye strain – technically referred to as “asthenopia” – is becoming increasingly common in recent years as we continue to rely on countless forms of screen-based technology. Eye strain can occur in one or both of your eyes, and it often leads to chronic headaches, blurred vision, dry or burning eyes, and sore neck muscles.

While eye strain usually goes away with sleep and rest, it is sometimes a symptom of a larger underlying problem, such as eye muscle imbalance or a refractive error. If you frequently suffer from eye strain, you should visit your eye doctor to be tested for additional problems.

The number one cause of eye strain today is computer vision syndrome (CVS), but eye strain is also often caused by:

  • Reading
  • Failure to blink
  • Visual tasks performed in dim lighting

The pain associated with eye strain can be significantly reduced if you take the time to perform eye exercises whenever you are sitting at a computer or performing visually intensive work. It is best to take frequent breaks from your computer throughout the day. Try to perform eye exercises every 20 minutes. Closing your eyes for a bit and blinking frequently can also help reduce your symptoms.  If your eye strain is caused by an underlying problem, your ophthalmologist may prescribe eye drops, glasses, or contacts to help you.

If you are suffering from symptoms of eye strain, contact an experienced ophthalmologist in your area today to schedule an initial consultation.

Sunglasses in the Winter?

Many people associate sunglasses with summer. Time spent outdoors when the sun is closer seems like an ideal time to wear sunglasses to reduce glare, strain, and other discomforts. While it is important to wear sunglasses in the summertime, preventing sun damaged eyes requires diligent use of sunglasses in the winter as well.

UV Rays

In the summer, your eyes are affected by UV rays from above. In the winter, due to glare off of snow, your eyes are affected by UV rays both from above and below. In fact, it is highly possible that up to 85 percent of the UV rays hitting your eyes come from below in the winter. This makes it particularly important for outdoor enthusiasts to wear a high quality and protective pair of sunglasses at all time.

Unprotected eye can get sunburnt. Not only is this painful, it can lead to irreversible damage. In addition, sun damage has been linked to age related eye disorders such as macular degeneration and cataracts, making it important for your long-term visual health that you wear sunglasses at all times when you are outdoors.

If you would like more information on keeping your eyes as healthy as possible, please use the doctor locator at eyes.com to find an experienced ophthalmologist in your area today.

Contact Lens Risks – Lens Solution

There can be several contact lens riskscaused by prolonged usage and improper cleaning. However, even proper cleaning may not protect you from the potential risks of contact lens usage.

According to the FDA, Complete MoisturePlus Multipurpose Contact Lens Solution was recalled in May due to a potential contamination of a deadly infectionknown as acanthamoeba keratitis. Over 20 cases of infection linked to this lens solution have been reported to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, but the FDA fears many consumers may be unaware of the recall. If you have a bottle of Complete MoisturePlus Multipurpose Contact Lens Solution, discontinue using it immediately.

Avoiding Contact Lens Risks

The best way to avoid the risks of contact lenses is through a refractive surgical procedure such as LASIK. With a LASIK procedure, you can free yourself both from the hassles and risks associated with contact lenses. Talk to your ophthalmologist today about your many options for LASIK surgery and get on your way to preventing these types of unnecessary risks.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of LASIK, please use the doctor locator at eyes.com to find an experienced ophthalmologist in your area today.