How to Save Your Vision with the Right Eye Care Routine

by MikeMeehan 3/9/2017 9:36 AM

Did you know your eyes can detect about 10 million unique colors? Or that your eyeballs stay the same size from birth to death? Or that they’re composed of more than 2 million working parts? As fascinating as they are, your eyes can sometimes be compromised. Of course, some things are outside of your control: As you get older, parts of your body begin to wear down. Family history or genetics might also play a role. When it comes to saving your vision, though, you have options and opportunities to improve your outlook. 2 Common Eye Diseases and 3 Simple Ways to Save Your Vision from Them First, let’s consider some of the most common vision ailments - cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. More than 200,000 cases are reported for each in the U.S. each year. 1. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, which affects your ability to focus. 2. Age-related macular degeneration is brought on by age, and mostly affects those who are 60 or older. It causes loss in the center of field of vision. Two types include dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration. With dry, the center of the retina deteriorates. With wet, leaky blood vessels grow under the retina. A few ways to save your vision include: 1. Wear UV-protection glasses. You can lessen your chances of cataracts by wearing glasses that protect your eyes from ultraviolet (UV) light. Not only does this apply to UV light from the sun, but also to blue light from computer screens and other electronic devices. 2. Eat a healthy diet. Diets containing vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA can help prevent age-related macular degeneration. 3. Don’t smoke. Smoking can increase chances of both cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. You’ll also want to schedule a regular comprehensive eye exam at least once a year. Why Regular Eye Exams Are Important During a regular eye exam, your eye doctor checks for common eye diseases like cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. Whereas cataracts can be treated, age-related macular degeneration can’t be cured, though treatment can help. The earlier it can be detected, the better. But your eye doctor does more than just detect for those two diseases. Some of the benefits of regular eye exams include: 1. Your eye doctor can make sure everything’s in working order. Your eye doctor might look at how your eyes work together, how well you can make out objects near or far from you and how well your eyes can focus. 2. Your doctor can monitor eye changes. A once-a-year visit can detect small changes in your eyes. This can prevent eye problems before they become major issues. 3. Your doctor can also monitor your children’s eyes. Your children may not be aware what 20/20 vision looks like. Consequently, they might not report any issues with seeing. Your eye doctor can diagnose their vision problems before those problems begin to interfere with important aspects of their life, like school performance. Take Control of Your Vision Today March is National Save Your Vision Month, a designation from the American Optometric Association. This year, the organization is promoting awareness around digital eye strain and the importance of receiving regular, comprehensive eye exams from a doctor of optometry. Your eyes are a window to the world, and your vision is precious. By practicing a good eye care routine and scheduling an appointment with your eye doctor once a year, you can expect to maintain your good vision!

Technology in a Bad Light: The Risks of Digital Eye Strain

by MikeMeehan 3/3/2017 9:14 AM

Most of us can’t imagine a day without technology. Some of us may sit in front of a computer for eight hours at work. Then we might come home and turn on the TV. Throughout the day, perhaps we keep in touch on our smartphone with our significant other. And later, we may see what our friends are up to using our tablet to access our Facebook newsfeed. Technology can connect us. But when we use it, we spend an awful lot of time staring at a digital surface, which poses a risk of digital eye strain. Are You Suffering from Digital Eye Strain? Digital eye strain occurs when we spend too much time staring at a digital surface like a computer, smartphone, tablet or TV. Due to the ubiquity of these items, it’s safe to say we’re all at risk. If you or your child are experiencing digital eye strain, you might suffer from the following: Headaches Eye dryness Eye fatigue Blurry vision Difficulty shifting focus to objects at a distance Staring at screens for a prolonged period of time can wear down the retina, which can also lead to age-related macular degeneration and cataracts. Your retina wears down because your eyes have to exert themselves to see an electronic device clearly. Over an extended period of time, the excessive focusing causes your eyes to become fatigued. Unfortunately, many of us are either unaware or not doing anything about it. A recent nationwide survey from The Vision Council showed 68.5 percent of Americans have not discussed how often they use digital devices with their eyecare provider, and 73.5 percent were unaware of eyewear that could protect their eyes from them. The survey also found 87 percent use digital devices more than two hours per day. More than 50 percent regularly use two digital devices simultaneously. Is Technology Giving You the "Blues"? Digital eye strain occurs because of the light emitted from digital devices. Most devices — including but not limited to computers, smartphones, tablets, TVs and artificial lighting — have light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which radiate blue wavelength light. Blue wavelength light is a high-energy light visible to the naked eye. Let’s consider how light travels. Light wavelengths look like this: Notice, the red-light wavelength is significantly longer than the blue-light wavelength. The red-light wavelength is lower energy. Eventually, the wavelengths become so long we can’t see them with our naked eye. This is the realm of infrared light. If the wavelengths become so short we can’t see them, this is ultraviolet (UV) light. You probably already know the sun’s UV rays can cause sunburn. They can also cause corneal surface burns, or sunburns on the eye. What’s worse, ultraviolet light is a high energy wavelength, so our eyes aren’t good at protecting against it. The Reason Your Children Are at Greater Risk Digital devices can be great for children. They can be fun and educational.  But you’ll want to monitor your children’s use, as digital devices can pose a risk for eye strain. Depending on your children’s ages, digital devices can hurt the development of their eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a child’s eyes don’t fully develop until about age seven. But even if your children are older than seven, they might not have the same awareness you do of digital interfaces. Or, worse, they might ignore it altogether, and not put the devices away even if they start experiencing symptoms of eye strain. Six Steps that Will Help You Prevent Digital Eye Strain To prevent digital eye strain, you can take the following six steps: Keep your distance. When using technology, don’t press your face right up against the screen. If you’re watching TV, stay at least 20 feet away. Take frequent breaks. Every 20 minutes, take a break from the digital screen for at least 20 seconds. Use one device at a time. As tempting as it might be, don’t play on your phone and watch TV at the same time. Get glasses with blue-light filtering lenses. Sixty-seven percent of people in their 30s spend five or more hours each day on digital devices, according to Vision Monday, a leading news and news-analysis source for the ophthalmic industry. If working with digital screens is a prerequisite for you, consider purchasing glasses with blue-light filtering lenses. This can shield your eyes from harmful wavelengths. Schedule regular eye exams. Schedule routine eye exams every one to two years for you and your children. Unplug. In a lot of ways, you set your children’s habits for them. If you spend eight hours in front of a computer, only to come home and watch TV, you’re children are probably going to emulate your lifestyle. Schedule time as a family to unplug and do something that doesn’t involve technology. Don’t let digital eye strain affect you or your children’s health. By practicing these six steps, you can keep 20/20 vision for the future!  

The Eyelash of the Beholder: How Lashes Play a Vital Role for Your Eyes

by MikeMeehan 2/16/2017 12:58 PM

Did you know your eyelashes have glands? Or that you might have mites on your eyelashes? Some interesting facts about eyelashes include: ·       Eyelashes fall out daily. Sometimes, as many as five drop in one day. ·       You have more eyelashes on the upper lid than on the lower. The upper lid usually contains about 200, and the lower about 100. ·       Eyelashes vary in length, with the longest lashes at the middle of the upper lid. ·       The eyelash has two sets of glands: oil glands and sweat glands. The oil glands are named Glands of Zeis (after ophthalmologist Eduard Zeis), and the sweat glands the Glands of Moll (after oculist Jacob Anton Moll). The glands keep the follicles unclogged and the lashes bacteria-free. ·       For many people, tiny mites named Demodex live at the base of your eyelashes. They come out during sleep to eat dirt, debris and cells shed by lashes. In many instances, this is beneficial, as it keeps follicles from getting clogged, although too many Demodex can become problematic, causing eyelashes to fall out. Who would have thought eyelashes could be so interesting? But eyelashes are more than just interesting. They play important roles in eye health. Love at First Sight: Some of the Beautiful Purposes of Eyelashes Eyelashes can enhance the eyes. Some people claim the eye is the first feature we fall in love with, so eyelashes can make you seem more beautiful to others. But they play more than just a beauty role. One of their purposes is to minimize airflow over the eyeball, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. Prolonged airflow on the eyes can dry them out. Also, because the eyeball is exposed, eyelashes can keep out dirt, sweat and debris. This can prevent viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections. Five Simple Ways You Can Keep Your Eyelashes Healthy For your eyelashes to serve their greatest purpose, make sure you take good care of them. To do so, you can start in a few ways: 1)     Thoroughly remove eye makeup each night. If you don’t, you risk too many Demodex (those eyelash mites) in your eyelashes. 2)     Replace eye makeup more often than other kinds of makeup. Mascaras, along with other liquid or creamy products, are wet, dark and damp. That may seem obvious. What may not be as obvious is wet, dark and damp products are more prone to cause infection. Bacteria can thrive in them, especially if the products are exposed to air. As a result, most manufacturers recommend replacing mascara every two to four months, and keeping other eye makeups no longer than three months. 3)     Don’t share your cosmetics or cosmetic eye tools. You are more likely to develop an eye infection by sharing cosmetics or cosmetic eye tools. 4)     Avoid plucking. Eyelashes generally grow at a slower pace than most other hair on your body. If you pluck too many eyelashes out, you run a greater risk of dirt, sweat and debris getting into the eyes. 5)     Practice basic wellness. By practicing basic wellness techniques, like proper hand washing and regular showering, you can prevent infections like styes. Styes are red, painful lumps near the base of your eyelid.  Not only can lashes accentuate your eyes and help you look more beautiful, they play an important role protecting your eyes. As you practice proper eye care, don’t forget your lashes!

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