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. 

How To Know if Your Child Needs Glasses

by MikeMeehan 6/20/2017 9:44 AM

Signs of vision problems in children can go undetected. Children, since they don’t have a comparison, will not always be able to tell that something is wrong with their vision. They’ll think the color or degree of clarity is normal. And since, from the child’s perspective, they don’t know anything is wrong, the vision problem might manifest itself in a different way such as a struggle with or avoidance of reading. Let’s look at ways to detect and recognize if your child is having vision problems. And then, whether you’ve noticed any of these signs or not, taking your children to get a comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor will give you peace of mind that their eyes are healthy. Possible signs your child has a vision problem Squinting – If your child is squinting a lot, it could be a sign of trying to focus. Rubbing eyes frequently – This is normal behavior from a tired child, but it could be a sign of eye strain, eye fatigue or other vision problems. Notice what kind of activity your child is doing when the sign is displayed. This will help determine if they are struggling or just tired. Covering or closing one eye – Your child might do this in an attempt to focus and could be a sign of misaligned eyes. Tilting head – Tilting of the head is another way your child might try to fix misaligned eyes or the angle of vision. Both signs, covering one eye or tilting the head, could also be a sign of amblyopia, a vision condition also called lazy eye. It’s one of the most common vision problems in children. Sitting close to the TV/ holding books or electronic devices close to the face – This could be a sign of nearsightedness, or myopia. Again your child could be trying to correct blurry vision. Also, just like adults, children can experience digital eye strain. Tripping or bumping into things – If your child is walking into objects that you and the rest of the family aren’t, this could be an indicator of a vision problem. Sometimes a child with poor vision can be overlooked as just clumsy. Avoiding reading – What may appear to be disinterest, could be a reaction to poor vision. When reading together, if your child has a difficult time following along with you, or loses their place while reading, this could be a sign. If there is a lack of concentration or avoidance of schoolwork all together, this could be a reaction to a vision problem. Signs could be more obvious – your child might have headaches or tell you their eyes hurt. This would especially make sense if conveyed at the end of the day, after eyes are strained all day to focus and correct blurry vision. A comprehensive eye exam for children is so important because, as the American Optometric Association states, early detection and treatment “provide the very best opportunity to correct vision problems.” 

3 Things to Know About the Leading Cause of Vision Loss

by MikeMeehan 6/7/2017 4:10 PM

In the United States, cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss. Though cataracts are a common condition, maybe you have a parent, grandparent or close friend that has had surgery, our familiarity shouldn’t take away from the importance of the issue. We use health observance days, weeks or months to help bring attention to issues that can affect you. And this month, as your vision benefits provider, we’re sharing some useful information for Cataract Awareness Month. Here are three topics to start a good knowledge foundation. It is also recommended to consult with your eye doctor about any concerns you might have about cataracts or other vision health questions. What is a cataract? A cataract, considered a medical condition, is a clouding on the lens of your eye. The cloudiness prevents light from entering the eye. Cataracts can cause blurred vision or complete vision loss. There are also different types of cataracts such as congenital, traumatic and secondary. Age-related cataracts are the most common and usually develop after age 40. Surgery is the only way to completely treat vision loss caused by cataracts, but whether surgery is necessary depends on your specific condition. There are other treatments like contacts or glasses, but surgery is recommended when your vision loss interferes with your ability to perform normal and everyday tasks. Symptoms can develop over time Age-related cataracts will develop over time, so you might not notice changes in your vision right away. If you have a cataract, the ways your vision can be affected include: ·         Blurry vision ·         Double vision ·         Sensitivity to light ·         Vision trouble at night ·         Fading of bright colors or yellow vision If you’re changing your eyeglass prescription more often without much improvement to your vision, this could be a sign or symptom. Not often, but sometimes, you’ll be able to see a cataract in your eye. It will look like a cloudy or yellow-colored spot in your pupil. If you have any of these symptoms, or notice any of these signs, make an appointment with your eye doctor. Some risk factors, but no definitive cause Researchers have not found the definitive reason cataracts form, but there are factors that could put you at higher risk of developing a cataract. Some of these risk factors include: Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays Diabetes Hypertension Family history Eye injury or inflammation Smoking Long-term use of steroids Excessive alcohol use According to Prevent Blindness, the leading volunteer eye health and safety organization that named Cataract Awareness Month, as you get older, “you are at greater risk of developing a cataract” and they explain a cataract, most often, is a part of getting older. Possible prevention with carotenoids On the other hand, maintaining a healthy diet and getting the right nutrients could possibly help prevent cataracts from developing. Certain carotenoids, or antioxidants, may protect against cataracts, according to the American Optometric Association. The two types of carotenoids that studies show help in cataract prevention include lutein and zeaxanthin. Maintaining a diet that incorporates these nutrients can be beneficial in preventing cataracts. The American Optometric Association suggests eating five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, which can provide about 5 to 6 mg of carotenoids, including lutein and zeaxanthin. Some foods rich in these nutrients include kale, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, peas, turnip greens and tangerines. Using sunglasses to protect yourself and your kids from UV rays that can contribute to cataract development is also an important part of a healthy vision lifestyle. We encourage you to schedule your annual comprehensive dilated eye exam to maintain healthy vision and detect cataracts or other vision problems.

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