Tips for The Eclipse… Here’s How to Protect Your Eyes

by MikeMeehan 8/16/2017 9:59 AM

After much anticipation, the solar eclipse is just days away! We want you and your family to enjoy this special event while also being safe and protecting your eyes. There is a lot of information out there about the eclipse, viewing the eclipse and other related information. As your vision benefits provider, we’re going to focus on a few solar eclipse facts and tips to make sure you keep your eyes protected. Some of us are lucky to be in the direct path for total eclipse viewing. This is also called the path of totality. Depending on your location, your viewing instructions differ. See more information below. Facts about viewing a solar eclipse Total eclipse – If you’re in the path of totality, you will be able to see a total eclipse, when the moon completely blocks the sun, for about two to three minutes. Eclipse blindness – Looking at the solar eclipse without eye protection can cause retinal burns, also called solar retinopathy or “eclipse blindness.” Damage – If you expose your eyes to the sun without protection, it can cause permanent or temporary damage to the cells in your retina. Be aware it could take hours or days to realize you damaged your eyes. Eye symptoms – Other symptoms you can experience if you view the eclipse without eye protection are distorted vision and altered color vision. Contact your eye care professional if you notice any of these symptoms. Tips for viewing a solar eclipse The American Astronomical Society listed useful instructions for viewing the eclipse. Here’s a summary: Inspect – Check the condition of your solar filter; it should be free from any scratches and punctures. If there is any damage, don’t use it. Follow instructions – Read and follow the instructions on your solar filter or on the package. Supervise – Always supervise children using solar filters, whether using eclipse glasses or handheld solar viewers. Eyeglasses – If you wear eyeglasses, keep them on and put the eclipse glasses over them or use a handheld viewer in front of them. Don’t remove filter or glasses – Before looking up at the sun, stand still and cover your eyes with eclipse glasses or a solar filter. After viewing, look away from the sun and then remove your glasses or filter. Don’t remove your eclipse glasses or solar filter while looking up at the sun. In other words, be mindful and cautious. In path – If you’re lucky and can view the eclipse in the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon is covering the sun completely. You’ll be able to see a total solar eclipse for a short time, but as soon as the sun starts to reappear, make sure to use your eclipse glasses or solar filter for the rest of the time. It’s not safe to look at the sun without eye protection. Outside of path – If you’re viewing outside the path of totality, use your safe solar filter during the entire event. No cameras – It’s recommended to get expert advice if you want to use a camera or telescope during the solar eclipse. Do not look at the sun through a camera, telescope or other devices even while wearing eclipse glasses or using a solar filter. Looking towards the sun or at the solar eclipse without eye protection can cause permanent damage to your vision. We want you to experience this exciting and unique event, but please be safe and protect your eyes. For any medical questions concerning your eyes and vision, please contact your eye doctor. For more information and additional resources: https://eclipse.aas.org/eye-safety/safe-viewing https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/solar-eclipse-eye-safety http://www.visionmonday.com/latest-news/article/experts-give-safety-tips-on-proper-way-to-view-aug-21-solar-eclipse-1-1/  

3 Reasons to Add Vision Benefits

by MikeMeehan 7/12/2017 9:23 AM

Just like we emphasize oral health is strongly linked to your overall health, we also believe your vision should not be overlooked in this equation. The idea of preventive care applies to medical and dental, but also vision. And, as you grow older, and with the new hazards of our digital world, caring for your eyes becomes more significant. If you have children, vision coverage is important to carry them through their school years and because vision problems can go undetected. Here are three important reasons to consider adding vision coverage to your benefits package: The older we get… As we get older, the performance of our eyes starts to decline, and we’re more susceptible to complications, like cataracts and glaucoma. But if you have vision coverage and get regular eye exams, signs of any issues can be detected. Regular eye exams will allow your eye doctor to identify any vision correction needed and early stages of eye diseases like macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. For your kids, regular eye exams provide the opportunity to correct any vision problems early. New problems for your eyes Our extended use of digital devices, like our phones and tablets, has created new problems for our eyes, like digital eye strain. All the screen time we have can cause issues like eye dryness, eye fatigue, blurry vision and difficulty shifting focus to objects at a distance. If you have vision coverage, you can talk to your eye doctor about any of these symptoms, or better yet, prevent them from happening with options like blue light lenses. Kids can get digital eye strain (also called computer vision syndrome) too, and might be even more susceptible to it. Early detection Like in other areas of your health, early detection can make a big difference in your vision health. By talking with your eye doctor about your family’s eye health history, your risks can be discussed. Macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma are examples of common eye conditions that can be detected during routine comprehensive eye exams. With early detection, treatments and surgeries for conditions like these can save your vision. Concerning your overall health, your eye doctor can also identify health issues like hypertension and diabetes. We encourage you to consider vision coverage to protect your vision and keep your eyes, and your family’s eyes, healthy. Learn more about our vision plans and go to our website for a list of FAQs.

Eye and Mouth Safety Tips for National Safety Month

by MikeMeehan 6/28/2017 9:26 AM

We’re all about protecting your teeth and eyes! So as the Fourth of July approaches and we come to the end of National Safety Month, let’s talk about safety concerning your teeth and eyes. Although we may feel like we’re invincible sometimes, keeping our eyes and mouth safe only requires a few steps. Whether you or your kids are playing highly competitive sports or doing some chores around the house, remember to keep teeth and eyes protected. Certain sports could pose greater risk Do your kids play sports? Do you? Or do you all ride your bikes? While you’re healthy and active, we hope you use mouth guards and safety glasses to help prevent injuries to your teeth and eyes. For sports like hockey and football, mouth guards are considered part of the uniform. But sports like gymnastics, skateboarding and biking, where there might not be as much perceived risk to your teeth, mouth guards are just as necessary, especially for children. Mouth injuries can damage teeth, cause a chipped or lost tooth, jaw displacement or other injuries to the tongue, lips or cheek. Also, if you or your child wears braces or if you have other teeth appliances, a mouth guard can be essential. Mouth guards can provide ample protection from sports-related injuries to the teeth, mouth, jaws and surrounding areas. Your dentist or orthodontist can make recommendations for the proper mouth protector. Basketball, baseball and racquet sports can have the most potential for eye injury. According to an article on AllAboutVision.com, the amount of sports-related eye injuries reported in emergency rooms are over 40,000 every year. But most of these injuries are preventable with protective eyewear. With sports, we may think of flying objects as the hazard, but eye injuries can be a result of an elbow or finger in a close contact sport. Follow same work precautions at home So maybe after all the fun of playing on a recreational team, or after you come home from your kids soccer game, you’re then taking care of the house by cleaning and doing yard work. Again, we hope eye safety is on your mind. You may already be required to wear safety protection at work, like safety glasses or face shields, but remember when you’re working at home, you need that protection, too. Some house chores that could be hazardous to your eyes include home repairs, cooking, yard work and cleaning with chemicals. Choose the right gear There are three main types of mouth guards – custom-made, boil and bite, and stock. A custom-made mouth guard provides better fitting and protection as it is made-to-order according to size. Boil and bite is like a semi-custom model in which hot water softens the plastic for better fitting. Stock mouth guards come in standard sizes and are inexpensive.    Make sure the mouth guard fits properly for maximum security. Take care of your mouth guard and replace it when it’s in poor condition. It’s important to change mouth guards from time to time in order to maintain the protection they provide to the mouth area. Talk to your dentist about the best mouth guard for you and your kids. If you already wear glasses, those glasses aren’t enough to protect you. When choosing protective eyewear for you and your kids, look for the appropriate kind for the activity. For sports, the National Eye Institute created a chart to find the right eye protection for a list of sports. There are many varieties of sports goggles, all specially designed for certain sports. And not only will the sports eyewear protect, they can advance and improve the performance of the athlete. At work, or when working at home, consider safety glasses with side shields, face shields, goggles with ventilation, and other variations when deciding what gear best fits with your task. Just like with your mouth guard, the fit of your protective eyewear is important for its effectiveness. Fourth of July warnings It seems fitting that this blog will be posted just before the Fourth of July, because as wonderful as this holiday is, there are always safety concerns with fireworks. In addition to the bodily harm that can occur, remember eye safety is at risk too. Make safety part of the routine You and your kids might be serious about sports, or just enjoy a laidback game. Either way, make mouth guards and safety glasses a part of the routine, norm and ritual of the sport. And if you need to convince the kids, try selling it as a competitive tool to intimidate or psych out the opposition. And remember to grab your safety glasses as you head out to mow the lawn this weekend. 

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