Glaucoma Awareness Month

January is National Glaucoma Awareness month and in efforts to help educate the public on the disease here are a few facts you should know pertaining to your eye health:

 

Nearly 3 million people over the age of 40 have glaucoma and as the population ages the number is projected to grow steadily, increasing by nearly 50% to 4.3 million by 2032 according to the Prevent Blindness “Future of Vision: Forecasting the Prevalence and Costs of Vision Problems” report.

 

Glaucoma is often called the “the sneak thief of sight” because most people don’t notice the early symptoms. However, if it is detected and treated early enough vision loss may be decreased. Risk factors that increase your odds of glaucoma include: extreme nearsightedness, aging eyes, and a family history. For the best chance of early detection, regular, comprehensive eye exams should be conducted even if you have no symptoms.

 

It’s imperative to act fast to protect your vision! If you wait until after you’ve already experienced some vision loss to seek help you may not be able to restore your eye sight even with surgery or treatment – glaucoma typically affects your peripheral vision first. As the only ultra-widefield retinal imaging technology with a 200 degree view of the retina, optomap® can capture more of your peripheral retinal and allow eye care profesionals to see more and treat more, effectively. Because early diagnosis is critical to saving your vision if diagnosed with glaucoma, a regular comprehensive eye exam including optomap is essential.

 

Visit the Optos website to learn more about the benefits ultra-widefield retinal imaging can provide. Or contact us directly!

 

World Sight Day: A Clear Goal on Universal Eye Health

In an effort to raise global awareness about vision impairment and blindness, the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have declared October 8 World Sight Day. In the third year of  their theme “Universal Eye Care,” the focus is Eye Care for All.

Source: World Health Organization

Source: World Health Organization

The mandate for “eye care for all” is to educate and promote to the public that blindness and vision impairment are serious health issues that span the globe. Through the participation in World Sight Day (WSD), the hope is to engage government officials responsible for healthcare and to have them fund and participate in programs for national blindness prevention awareness.

 

Several points relating to educating the public about unnecessary vision loss internationally have been culled to help provide guidance for those participating in this year’s WSD:

 

  • – Low vision or blindness affects roughly 285 million people across the globe.
  • – While approximately 246 million suffer from moderate to severe vision loss, 39 million are blind.
  • – Countries with low incomes hold 90 percent of the persons who are blind.
  • – As many as 80 percent of people who have become blind could have had treatment or preventative measures.
  • – Blindness prevention and sight restoration are some of the greatest savings in healthcare spending.
  • – With education and intervention, blindness from infectious diseases has been greatly reduced.
  • – There are roughly 19 million children who suffer from vision impairment globally.
  • – While only 20 percent of the world’s population is over 50, this group suffers visual impairment at a rate of 65 percent.
  • – As the over 50 age group increases world wide, age-related visual impairment is expected to grow.

 

As proponents of eye health, Optos would like to encourage you to participate in World Sight Day by reminding your patients to maintain a regular schedule for comprehensive eye exams including optomap®. With the ability to view up to 200 degrees of the retina and into the periphery, you are able to diagnose eye pathologies earlier than with other devices, contributing to greater success in preventable vision loss and blindness. View our ultra-widefield imaging devices and contact us to learn how we can help your practice.

 

Computer Screen Straining Your Eyes? Follow these Steps

Computers play a major role in many people’s daily workday. Remaining focused on computer screens for eight or more hours a day causes a condition that is now known as Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS). Since there are many problems associated with eye strain and computer screens, CVS is a generic term that encompasses all of them.

 

Source: g-stockstudio via iStock

Source: g-stockstudio via iStock

 

Roughly 50 to 90 percent of people who work on computers suffer from some form of eye problems. When you combine the blue light, flickering and glare from a computer screen with the constant need to focus, your eye muscles face considerable exertion. This can lead to CVS symptoms such as:

 

  • – Blurred vision
  • – Seeing double images
  • – Red, dry or irritated eyes
  • – Headaches

 

Although CVS has not been tied directly to permanent conditions, the symptoms can affect your performance and should be alleviated as much as possible. The following tips can help if you spend many hours a day working with computer screens:

 

  • – Be sure to have a yearly comprehensive eye exam including optomap®. Your eye care professional can monitor vision changes if any and diagnose troubling conditions before they do become permanent. If necessary, corrective lenses may be prescribed which can help reduce the stress on your eye muscles.
  • – Follow the 20-20-20 rule for your eyes: At 20-minute intervals, focus on something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. The distance helps to relax the muscle that is responsible for focusing.
  • – Adjust your workstation to minimize strain on your eyes. Use document holders so you are not having to look up and down so often. Position your chair and monitor so the distance of the screen to your eyes is 20 to 24 inches.
  • – Make a habit of blinking regularly. When immersed in our work, we tend to forget to blink which robs our eyes of moisture and can lead to dryness and irritation.
  • – Take frequent breaks. Rather than two 15-minute breaks, consider taking shorter breaks more often. If that is not an option, break up your computer time with other tasks to rest your eyes and move some.

 

Optos would like to stress the importance of a comprehensive eye exam including optomap® when dealing with eye strain and computer screens. Only your eye care professional can determine whether the symptoms are due to eye strain or an eye problem that can potentially lead to vision loss.

 

Don’t Forget About Your Kid’s Eyes During the Back to School Rush

Getting your children organized for the return to school is a taxing time filled with lists of things to do. Optos would like to remind you of the importance of vision in your child’s success at school and provide you with some information about children’s eye safety.

Source: BartekSzewczyk via iStock

Source: BartekSzewczyk via iStock

In order to reach their maximum potential in school, children need to have excellent vision. In fact, nearly 80 percent of what is taught to your child in school is done so visually, according to experts. Considering that fact, it is easy to understand why children who are at a disadvantage due to poor eyesight struggle with school and learning what they must to be successful.

 

Comprehensive Eye Exams

Although schools do some basic testing, they are not qualified to diagnose problems with your child’s eyesight. Scheduling your child for a comprehensive eye exam can not only ensure your child’s vision is appropriate or corrected, but also rule out diseases that can potentially lead to vision loss over time.

 

Avoid Digital Eye Strain

Children spend a lot of time in front of computers and other digital screens, which can lead to eye strain. Talk to your child about exercising their eye muscles frequently to relieve stress on the eye muscles. Also remind them to blink often while they are in front of such screens to keep their eyes from getting dry or irritated.

 

Sun Protection

Despite the return to school signifying the end of summer, the sun’s UV rays can still cause damage to your children’s eyes. A critical part of children’s eye safety is to ensure they have proper protection from the sun while participating in outdoor activities.

 

Optos would like to wish everyone a successful school year and reminds you to protect your children’s eye health with a comprehensive eye exam. Speak to your doctor about including optomap® as part of the exam since it is non-invasive for your child and takes only seconds to get a highly-detailed view of the retina, which is critical for early disease detection.

 

Seniors Can Remain Independent Even While Experiencing Vision Loss

As we age, chronic conditions and physical changes may threaten our independence. Among these is vision loss or low vision. While at one time vision loss may have threatened independent living, there are many resources for senior independence and vision loss that make it possible to carry out the activities of daily living without requiring care.

 

Source: lisafx via iStock

Source: lisafx via iStock

 

According to the American Council for the Blind (ACB), more than seven million people over the age of 65 have experienced serious degrees of vision loss with most due to age-related conditions. As the baby boomer generation heads towards senior ages, this number is likely to double by the year 2030. The most common age-related conditions that are causing the serious vision loss are:

 

  • – Glaucoma
  • – Age-related Macular Degeneration
  • -Diabetic Retinopathy
  • -Cataracts

 

If you have not already experienced significant vision loss, or you have not been to see your eye care provider in some time, regular comprehensive eye exams including optomap® UWF™ digital imaging are critical to maintaining your vision. If you are experiencing vision loss, it is even more important to keep the monitoring schedule set by your doctor.

Senior Independence and Vision Loss

With many resources available, vision loss does not have to mean the loss of your independence. With the growing numbers of people having to adapt to losing their sight either wholly or partially, you are not alone. The ACB provides three key suggestions along with training and education that will help you maintain your independence:

 

  1. Learn to accept the reality of your situation. Seek help if you are struggling with the acceptance stage as this is the most crucial to your independence.
  2. Work on maintaining a positive attitude. Think in terms of “I can do this,” rather than assuming you can’t.
  3. Open your mind to new ways of doing things that will make living with your impairment easier.

 

Optos would like to stress the importance of regular comprehensive eye exams including optomap to help protect against vision loss or to help to preserve your remaining vision. Your eyesight may weaken as you age but there may be underlying conditions that will lead to blindness if not detected in their earliest stages.