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. 

The Coolest Way to Maintain Your Vision Health

by MikeMeehan 5/30/2017 1:13 PM

Wearing sunglasses is one of the coolest ways to maintain your vision health. It’s such a good idea, the National Eye Institute (NIH) included wearing sunglasses as one of their five recommendations for Healthy Vision Month, along with getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam. Exposing your eyes to the sun’s strong rays can cause severe damage and lead to a lot of different problems. Keeping sunglasses on is an easy way to protect yourself and your family, just make sure you purchase the right kind. Protect your eyes from these scary conditions Sunglasses can help protect your eyes from the sun’s rays damaging the cornea, lens, retina and other parts of your eyes. UV exposure for many hours or over the years can cause serious eye damage, eye conditions or worsen the symptoms of these conditions. Certain types of cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration have all been linked to extended exposure to ultraviolet rays. The NIH reports that 20% of cataract cases are caused by extended UV exposure. Cataracts and macular degeneration can result in vision loss. Other conditions include pingueculae, pterygium and photokeratitis. Pingueculae and pterygium are both growths on your eye’s conjunctiva (the clear covering over the white part of your eye). Photokeratitis, also called snow blindness, is like having sunburned eyes, or more technically, a sunburned cornea. But even though it has the alternative name of snow blindness, you don’t need to be around snow to develop the condition. Photokeratitis, caused by overexposure to UV rays, is painful and results in a temporary loss of vision. These all sound terrible, but we know they can be prevented with proper sunglasses. Now let’s make sure you’re getting the protection you need by choosing the right kind of sunglasses. Choose wisely, check labels When deciding what sunglasses to buy, choose a pair that blocks out 99 to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Also, consider a pair that wraps around your eyes to provide more coverage. Polarized lenses are a popular choice because they reduce glare, especially useful when you’re around water or snow. But still make sure they have the 100% UV protection. With sunglasses that have dark tinted lens, still look for a 100% UV protection label, because a dark lens doesn’t always mean protection. It’s the material of the lens or the way the lens are treated that make them block the UV rays. Similarly, the price doesn’t guarantee UV protection either. So don’t assume an expensive pair has the protection you need or an inexpensive pair doesn’t have the protection you need. Overall, make sure they fit properly so you’re getting as much protection from the harmful rays as possible. And if you aren’t sure your sunglasses have the proper UV protection, use your eye doctor as a resource. Still need protection on cloudy days Even though the summer has arrived and the sun is bursting, remember to wear your sunglasses not only in the warm months but throughout the year. You might not think to grab your sunglasses when it’s overcast, but the sun’s rays can be just as harmful on cloudy days, too. If you haven’t already, create the habit of putting on your sunglasses every time you walk outside, and make sunglasses a part of your healthy vision lifestyle. We wish you a happy summer!

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