Halloween Strobe Lights — Are They a Horror on the Eyes?

by MikeMeehan 10/27/2016 3:53 PM

What’s a haunted house without strobe lights? You know the scenario. You enter a room thick with smog from a fog machine. Your only source of light is a strobe. Everything looks like it’s in stop motion. A bulky man ahead of you — you can’t make out any of his features, just that he’s coming toward you — he lifts a detoothed chainsaw above his head and lets it growl. Nothing to fear, you tell yourself. It’s detoothed. But what if it isn’t? Now you feel a scream forming in your chest. The stop-motion feel created by a strobe light can really enhance the mood of a haunted house. But what kind of effect does it have on the eyes? Not much, actually. Although two issues may arise. Two Ways Strobe Lights Can Take a Toll Rumors that strobe lights cause astigmatism are nothing more than that: rumors. But strobe lights can cause eye fatigue or, if the strobe light is powerful enough, a corneal surface burn. Eye fatigue Strobe lights can cause eye fatigue, because they distort the way the brain perceives motion. Think of it like a movie. A movie consists of frames, hundreds of thousands of them, moving in quick succession (24 frames per second). The mind can’t take in each frame individually, so it perceives all the frames together as being in motion. A strobe light, however, flashes light at a much slower rate. So it tricks the mind into seeing the world as “individual frames.” While this trickery isn’t necessarily bad for the eyes, it can cause you to focus more intensely, which can strain your eyes. If you’re experiencing eye fatigue, your eyes might: Ache Feel dry Have difficulty focusing Be sensitive to light But eye fatigue, other than being an annoyance, is rarely a serious condition. If you experience it, close your eyes for a few minutes. You might consider covering them with your palms. Corneal Surface Burn Corneal surface burn is more serious than eye fatigue. If the strobe light is more than 150 watts, the amount of lumens it puts out may be enough to damage your eye if you stare at it directly for a long period. Corneal surface burn is like a sunburn on the surface of the eye. When light is too strong or lasts for too long, it heats the colored part of the eye. That part of the eye absorbs the light — that’s why you see a bright spot when you look away — and the eye radiates the heat, which can burn it. Usually, corneal surface burn heals, but it might take a few days. Of course, it’s highly unlikely you’ll stare at the strobe lights directly, much less long enough to cause damage, what with being shuffled through a haunted house. Regardless, a basic rule of thumb is this: If the strobe light hurts your eyes, don’t stare at it. This Halloween, don’t let strobe lights scare you away from some haunted house fun. Just make sure your eyes feel comfortable. After all, some things you can’t unsee.

Why the Truth about Fish Oil Will Have You Tearing Up

by MikeMeehan 10/6/2016 3:02 PM

Usually, when we say something is fishy, we mean there’s more to it than meets the eye. Or that we smell a tuna sandwich nearby. When it comes to fish oil, there may not be more than meets the eye, but it definitely meets the eye. You’ve probably already heard several of the benefits to popping a fish oil tablet once a day:   Heart health, as fish oil promotes a good blood cholesterol profile Bone health, part of which can include improving joint pain Stroke prevention Wrinkle prevention Hair thickening   Now, you can add eye health to that list. Fish oil contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): omega-3 fatty acids that produce better tears. And tears play an important role in our eye health. Go Ahead, Cry Usually, when we think of tears, we think of emotional tears — the kind caused by pain, grief or watching Brian’s Song. But tears play an even broader role for our vision. Tears keep our eyes wet and nourished. When we blink, tears cover our cornea, ensuring our cornea is always wet and nourished. Tears flush out unwanted substances. During family vacation this summer, did you end up with suntan lotion in your eyes? It probably resulted in you tearing up. Or have you ever touched your eyes after handling a jalapeño? Definitely resulted in tears. Some people, however, don’t have the luxury of readily available tears. These people suffer from dry eye syndrome. Dry Eye Syndrome: The Nemesis of Tears Dry eye syndrome is a common condition in which a person either doesn’t produce enough tears or produces tears that evaporate too quickly. Not only can this be uncomfortable, it can lead to irritation, infection or — worse — future vision problems. Dry eye syndrome is often a result of growing older — it affects about 70 percent of older people — but other culprits could include allergies, or chronic pink eye from tobacco smoke exposure. Although fish oil may not be a cure-all for dry eye syndrome — other treatments like artificial tears may be required — it can certainly facilitate recovery. How much fish oil you take depends on your condition. Generally, 500 mg to 1,000 mg a day is sufficient, though the dosage may be upped depending on dry eye severity. Many grocery stores offer supplements with 1,200-mg to 1,350-mg softgel tablets, so getting the recommended dosage probably won’t be too difficult to find. Celebrate See-food Month This October, to celebrate seafood month, go ahead and give fish oil a try. If you want the benefits of fish oil, but don’t want to take a softgel tablet, you can grill it in your diet. At least three times a week, schedule grilled salmon, tuna, halibut or cod. If none of those options sound good, you have tons of fish to choose from. It just might leave you crying tears of joy.


©Delta Dental of Missouri 2012