Eye Smart Eye Check

EyeSmart EyeCheck

EyeSmartTM EyeCheck is a new program recently launched by the American Academy of Ophthalmology to combat undetected eye disease and visual impairment among at-risk populations in the United States. The announcement comes as new research from the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) shows that Latinos have higher rates of visual impairment, blindness, diabetic retinopathy and cataracts than non-Hispanic whites. Through the new EyeSmart EyeCheck initiative, the Academy and its partners will work to raise awareness and understanding of the impact of eye disease and visual impairment, particularly among minority populations who disproportionately lack access to care. The initial emphasis will be on the Latino community. LALES findings reveal the high rate of visual impairment in Latinos. These rates are higher than any other racial/ethnic group studied in the United States.

One of the components of the program will be facilitating free screenings to help identify undiagnosed visual impairment and eye disease among populations at greatest risk and with limited access to health care services. The first pilot screening will take place July 25 in Los Angeles at the Lady Queen of Angels Church.

The Academy’s EyeSmart EyeCheck program will be working with EyeCare America and local health departments and community clinics to provide sources for care once a diagnosis is made. For more information on the program visit: www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/eyecheck.

This article reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmartTM campaign (www.geteyesmart.org).

3D Technology and Vision

3D Technology and Vision

Today, 3-D movie, TV and video games are rapidly coming on the market. Experts, like Avatar director James Cameron, predict all visual entertainment will soon be 3-D. Yet, there are some people who literally can’t stomach the 3D technology and find they have visual problems when viewing it. It has raised questions and concerns for both the public and product makers and you will most likely be seeing news stories about this topic (if you haven’t already). Some of the side effects for people viewing 3-D images are headaches, eyestrain, or motion sickness. Ophthalmologists are currently working to help the public understand:

  • How the eye views 3-D images, and how this differs from normal, everyday depth perception,
  • Why 3-D causes visual discomfort or headaches for some, and
  • What impact this technology may have on vision

Some product makers are considering putting advisory labels on their products warning consumers to consult with eye doctors before buying. Samsung recently included a multi-point health warning with its newly-shipped 3-D TVs. People born with a lazy eye (amblyopia), or crossed eyes (strabismus) may not get the 3-D effect, unless the condition was corrected early, best before age 1. Some people whose eyes have a tendency to turn in or out, (expophoria or esophoria), have to work harder to fuse the images and they may feel more strain, and possibly headaches. Stay tuned for more information to come about 3D technology and how it interacts with our visual system.

This article reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmartTM campaign (www.geteyesmart.org).

Fireworks Safety

For Immediate Release

May 25, 2010

Leave Fireworks to the Professionals this Fourth of July
NAEPS Offers Tips for Fireworks Safety

Nebraska – Each Fourth of July, thousands of people are injured from using consumer fireworks. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 9,000 fireworks-related injuries happen each year. Of these, nearly half are head-related injuries with nearly 30 percent of these injuries to the eyes.  One-fourth of fireworks eye injuries result in permanent vision loss or blindness.

July is Fireworks Eye Safety Awareness Month, and the Nebraska Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons wants to remind consumers to leave fireworks to professionals. “Too many Fourth of July celebrations are ruined because a child has to be rushed to the emergency room after a fireworks accident,” said Tom Graul, MD, a clinical correspondent for the Academy. “Potentially blinding injuries can be avoided if families attend a professional public fireworks display instead of putting on a home fireworks display.”

Children are the most common victims of firework accidents, with those fifteen years old or younger accounting for half of all fireworks eye injuries in the United States. For children under the age of five, seemingly innocent sparklers account for one-third of all fireworks injuries. Sparklers can burn at nearly 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to cause a third-degree burn.

“Among the most serious injuries are abrupt trauma to the eye from bottle rockets,” according to Dr. Graul. The rockets fly erratically, often injuring bystanders. Injuries from bottle rockets can include eye lid lacerations, corneal abrasions, traumatic cataract, retinal detachment, optic nerve damage, rupture of the eyeball, eye muscle damage, and complete blindness.
For a safe and healthy Independence Day celebration, the Nebraska Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons urges observance of the following tips:

  • Never let children play with fireworks of any type.
  • View fireworks from a safe distance: at least 500 feet away, or up to a quarter of a mile for best viewing.
  • Respect safety barriers set up to allow pyrotechnicians to do their jobs safely.
  • Leave the lighting of fireworks to trained professionals.
  • Follow directives given by event ushers or public safety personnel.
  • If you find unexploded fireworks remains, do not touch them. Immediately contact your local fire or police departments.
  • If you get an eye injury from fireworks, seek medical help immediately.

Find Eye M.D.s in your area or ask an Eye M.D. a question by visiting www.GetEyeSmart.org. Consumers can submit questions about eye health to an ophthalmologist at http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/ask/

Press Release

For Immediate Release
May 12, 2010

Contact: Nebraska Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons

New Consumer Information Now Available on American Academy of Ophthalmology’s

EyeSmartTM Web Site

New and expanded content provides the public with a comprehensive source for all eye health information in both English and Spanish

Is pink eye really contagious?  Am I sitting too close to my computer screen? When should my child get their first vision screening? The answers to these and many other common questions are now available on the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s (Academy) EyeSmartTM Web site, the Web source for credible, evidence based information that patients can trust. An extended range of patient information is also now available in Spanish.

“The EyeSmart Web site is an all-inclusive source for timely and relevant eye health information that helps consumers take charge of their eye health,” said David W. Parke II, MD, CEO of the Academy. “Our goal is to provide the most useful and accurate information on the Web, developed by ophthalmologists and providing the best resources available to the public.”

In recognition of Healthy Vision Month, the Nebraska Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons reminds consumers that learning to care for your eyes is the key to enjoying a lifetime of good vision. The new EyeSmartTM Web site includes over 100 pages of new content, making it the essential guide for anyone who needs eye health information. Whether it’s age-related eye diseases, eye injury prevention or eye infections, you can find it in one reliable place.

Take a peek at some of the new EyeSmart Web site features:

  • Your Eyes at Every Age, an in-depth look at eye health from birth through the senior years including visual changes that can occur during pregnancy.

Your Eyes in a High-Tech World, providing valuable information for those who find
themselves spending the majority of their time on computers, PDA’s and other electronic devices.

  • Ongoing research shows that a diet high in certain nutrients may be linked to better eye health. A Feast for the Eyes provides essential and up to date information on choosing foods rich in eye-healthy nutrients and on supplements that may help with age-related eye diseases.
  • Ask an Eye M.D., The Academy’s free public service, responds to people’s selected questions, with replies posted EyeSmart. In addition to recently answered questions posted, answers on all topics are available in a searchable archive.

To view all the new content and for more information about eye health, visit www.geteyesmart.org.

UCLA Bruins will now wear Protective Eye Wear

In the News: Reeves Nelson of the UCLA Bruins Will Now Wear Protective Eyewear

UCLA Bruins basketball player, Reeves Nelson recently had laser eye surgery to repair a tear in his left retina. After being elbowed and slammed around – at one point hitting the right side of his head to the ground after a slam dunk – he will now wear protective eyewear when he returns to the game. Reeves also suffered at least two black eyes this season. This is a good reminder that it’s essential to wear protective eyewear when playing sports. Tens of thousands of sports and recreation-related eye injuries occur each year. The good news is that 90 percent of serious eye injuries are preventable through use of appropriate protective eyewear. For all age groups, sports-related eye injuries occur most frequently in baseball, basketball and racquet sports. More information on sports related eye injuries and protective eyewear can be found here: www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/injuries/sports.cfm.

This article reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmartTM campaign (www.geteyesmart.org).

Hormone Replacement Therapy

Does Hormone Replacement Therapy Increase Women’s Risk for Cataracts?
Women who used hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may be significantly more likely to have cataract surgery compared with women who never used HRT, says a recent study of more than 30,000 Swedish postmenopausal women. If this is confirmed by future research, cataract may be added to the list of potential health risks of HRT use.

In the study, cataract removal risk increased with the length of time women used HRT. Those who took more than one alcoholic drink per day while on HRT had almost double the risk of women who used neither HRT nor alcohol. Smoking did not have a significant effect in this study. Researchers adjusted the data for women’s exposure to birth control pills and other estrogen medicines, and for other reproductive and health factors. Earlier large studies on HRT and cataract risk in the United States, Australia and Europe had mixed results; importantly some of these studies included women who were premenopausal and so possibly protected by their body’s natural estrogen. The Swedish study’s population was unique in some ways that may have affected the results: for example, all women had equal access to care and nearly all had the same ethnic background. The study did not identify type of HRT, type of cataract, or measure exposure to sunlight (too much sun exposure is a cataract risk factor, although less likely to affect people living in northern Europe).

For more details, read the press release on this study.

This article reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmartTM campaign (www.geteyesmart.org).

Did You Know? (March 2010)

Did You Know?

Alternating esotropia and accommodative esotropia is not the same thing. Esotropia means cross-eyed, a condition in which one or both of the eyes turn toward the nose. Alternating esotropia means that sometimes the right eye is straight while the left eye is deviated toward the nose, and at other times the left eye is straight while the right eye is deviated toward the nose. Accommodative esotropia means that both eyes turn toward the nose when a person attempts to focus the eyes on an object that is near to the face.

This article reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmartTM campaign (www.geteyesmart.org).

Medical Myth Exposed

Medical Myth Exposed

At what age can you start wearing contact lenses? My son is only 11 and wants to wear contacts; is there a specific age for contact wearers?

There are no firm lower age limits for contact lens fittings. The important criterion is how responsible the patient and the parent are. A motivated, clear-thinking 11-year-old could well become a successful contact lens wearer. Be aware, however, that there will probably be more frequent changes in the necessary power of the contact lenses in patients younger than 18 than in older patients. Therefore, regular follow-up visits to the Eye M.D. who fits the contact lenses are important.

This article reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmartTM campaign (www.geteyesmart.org).

Did you know? (Feb 2010)

Did You Know?
If your baby has a constant discharge from her his or her eyes, this could mean something other than an eye infection. The most common cause of recurrent discharge from the eyes of a baby is a nasolacrimal duct obstruction (blocked tear duct), which can be diagnosed by your ophthalmologist. This condition results in:

  • Eyes that appear wetter than normal,
  • Tears rolling down the cheek during the day (often but not always a symptom) and
  • Discharge from around the eyes, especially when the child first wakes up.

The problem will spontaneously resolve in the majority of children by the time the child is one year old. Antibiotic eye drops are often used when the discharge is copious and present throughout the day. If the problem does not resolve spontaneously, a surgery procedure is available to correct the problem.

This article reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmartTM campaign (www.geteyesmart.org).

Annual Eye Exams… Who should I see?

Who should I see to get my annual eye examination, an ophthalmologist or an optometrist?

An ophthalmologist is an Eye M.D., either a medical doctor or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.). Eye M.D.s have finished at least four years of college, at least four years of medical school, and at least four years of additional postgraduate training after medical school. An optometrist has had college education and then an O.D. (doctor of optometry) degree granted after four years of study in an optometry college, but an optometrist has not attended a medical school nor has he or she received postgraduate medical training. (Be careful not to confuse the D.O. and O.D. degrees.) If you have no visual complaints and are in good general health, either an optometrist or an ophthalmologist could be a good choice. If you have medical problems, or if you are at risk for, suspect or have been told that you have an eye disease, examination by an ophthalmologist may be a better choice.

This article reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart™ campaign (www.geteyesmart.org).