As the summer heats up many of us are eager to enjoy the warmth of the sun and the activities that go along with it. While continued awareness of the importance of UV protective clothing and sunscreen exists, there is a lack of emphasis on the impacts the sun and UV exposure has on the eyes. UV damage to the eyes is known as the “invisible threat” and its impacts are measured and classified by the strength of the UV ray in nanometers (nm).
UVC: These rays are below 280 nm. The upper atmosphere absorbs these, so they do not reach us, therefore protection from these rays is not overly necessary.
UVB: These are between 315 – 380 nm. These manage to make it to the earth’s surface and are notorious for damaging sight. They can cause snow blindness but are notably responsible for sunburn and several types of skin cancer. Research has shown that these rays are strongest during the summer and at higher altitudes.
One of our favorite times of the year in the United States surrounded by cookouts, pool parties, friends and family, the 4th of July is upon us. In addition to all the splendor, the month surrounding July 4th festivities also brings an increase of fireworks displays as well as an increase in firework-related injuries. Prevent Blindness America and the American Academy of Blindness sponsor June and July as Fireworks Eye Safety Months to raise awareness of the dangers, as well as, the safe protocols for viewing or handling pyrotechnic displays or devices. Most fireworks-related injuries occur during the month of July, and according to the most recent Consumer Product Safety Commission report, 14% of fireworks injuries have been eye injuries occurring mostly in children between the ages of 10 and 14. It is easy for any of us to get caught up in all the excitement and activity or become distracted by hosting responsibilities, conversations, and crowds. Take into consideration, as well, that these festivities and shows are generally conducted past dusk and simply navigating an event with numerous people and smoke can become challenging, let alone successfully dodging the sparkler-wielding children. Keep yourself, your children and your eyes safe this summer …
Helping You See Better: June is Cataract Awareness Month
Presently, cataracts are considered the leading cause of vision loss in the United States. 24 million Americans, over the age of 40 are affected by cataracts. This June, Optos joins Prevent Blindness America in observing Cataract Awareness Month to aid in the education surrounding cataracts, and what you should know.
What are Cataracts?
Inside our eyes, we have a natural lens. The lens refracts light rays that come into the eye to help us see. The lens should be clear, like the top lens in the illustration. With the presence of cataracts, the lens has become cloudy, much like looking through a foggy or dusty car windshield. Things look blurry, hazy or less colorful with a cataract.
Vision changes you may notice if you have a cataract:
Having blurry vision Seeing double Extra sensitive to light Having trouble seeing well at night, or needing more light while reading Seeing bright colors as faded or yellow instead
What Causes Cataracts?
At the New England College of Optometry (NECO), preparing the next generation of optometrists requires equipping them with a comprehensive skill set for practice. Timothy Bossie, OD, the Director of Owned Clinics and Outreach Services at NECO, observes that such proficiency should encompass being comfortable with cutting edge diagnostic technology. Bossie, who serves as a preceptor for 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students, shares that a recent implementation of the Optos California ultra-widefield™ (UWF) imaging system has proved to significantly enhance examination of the retina, as well as, improve productivity in the busy teaching clinic.
The NECO clinic provides multiple specialty services including primary care, contact lenses, myopia control, vision rehabilitation, post-concussion and low vision care. The California was quickly embraced by the providers at the clinic. The optomap imaging was integrated in a broad application, used primarily as a screening tool and for baseline images in the primary care setting, but also in the low vision clinic for documentation and diagnosis with the population that presents with a variety of preexisting retinal conditions. Bossie notes that being close to Boston University means that a majority of NECO patients are young students and college educators who are often pressed for time and …
It’s second nature to schedule your yearly physical, or routine dentist appointment, but what about your eye health? When was your last comprehensive eye exam? A yearly eye exam is just as important as any other routine appointments you make. This May, during Healthy Vision Month, NEI and Prevent Blindness urge you to take control of your vision, and decide what you want to see in the future. Learning how to protect your eyes is the first step in preserving eye health.
Most vision problems are in fact preventable. Take a look at some everyday tips in order to take the first step in preserving your eye health:
Wear sunglasses (even on cloudy days!) Sure, sunglasses are fashionable, but more importantly, they protect your eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays and help keep your vision sharp. Maintain a well-balanced, healthy diet It is true, carrots are good for your eyes! Diets rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables — especially dark leafy greens— is important for keeping your eyes healthy. Get plenty of physical activity Regular exercise comes with a lot of great benefits. It can boost your mood, reduce stress, help you stay at a …