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Your child's first pair of glasses will make an important difference in his or her ability to see and interact with the surrounding world. However, a new pair of glasses can also present a big adjustment for both parents and kids as you get used to a new look and a new responsibility. For many families this can be a cause of conflict as children may refuse to wear their new specs or be forgetful or careless by losing or breaking them. Parents should also be sensitive to the fact that it could affect a child’s self esteem and unfortunately deal with teasing by peers.
Here are some ideas to pull you through the initial days of your child's first frames and some tips on how you can help them ease into their new look.
Remember, it can take time to adjust to wearing glasses, not to mention seeing with a new prescription. Be patient and remember to focus on the gift of eyesight and the enhanced quality of life your child will have in the long run.
Books for Kids
Here are some books you can read with your kids about wearing glasses:
The Princess Who Wore Glasses by Laura Hertzfeld Katz
Arlo Needs Glasses by Barney Saltzberg
Luna and the Big Blur: A Story for Children Who Wear Glasses by Shirley Day
Fancy Nancy: Spectacular Spectacles (I Can Read Book 1) by Jane O'Connor
Just as UV light is dangerous to our skin, it's also dangerous to our eyes. So it's important that we protect them from UV damage. UV light affects the front of the eye (cataract formation), while blue light causes damage to the back of the eye (risk of AMD). Nowadays, there's an increase in the use of digital devices and modern lighting—such as LED lights and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)—most of which emit a high level of blue light. CFLs contain about 25% of harmful blue light and LEDs contain about 35% of harmful blue light. Interestingly, the cooler the white LED, the higher the blue proportion. And by 2020, 90% of all of our light sources are estimated to be LED lighting. So, our exposure to blue light is everywhere and only increasing.
As baby boomers age, there's an increasing incidence of cataract and macular degeneration cases in the United States. In 2012, there were approximately 24 million cases of cataracts in people aged 40+ the United States,6 which is a 19% increase from 2000 numbers. For macular degeneration, two million people aged 50+ had late AMD in 2012,6 which is a 25% increase from 2000. By the year 2050, the cataract population is going to hit 50 million, whereas AMD tops off at around 5 million, it's estimated.7 So the bottom line is that cataract and AMD cases are expected to double over the next 30 years, in part because of the aging of the population. The blue-violet light that was discovered as part of this study is a 40 nm band of visible light that causes the maximum retinal cell death. Over time, our eyes are exposed to various sources that emit this blue-violet light (e.g., the sun, LED lighting, CFLs). Combine that with the use of tablets, TVs, computer screens and smart phones, and there's no doubt our exposure to blue-violet light is on the increase. This cumulative and constant exposure to the blue-violet light is going to accumulate over time and has the potential to cause damage to the retinal cells, which is going to slowly lead to retinal cell death and can in turn lead to AMD.
The level of light emitted by newer energy-saving lighting techniques (e.g., LED, CFLs) is very high. For example, CFLs, white LED light and even sunlight emit high levels of blue-violet light compared to the rest of the blue light spectrum. This underscores the need for us to protect our eyes from the harmful bands of blue-violet light.
PROTECTION FROM UV AND BLUE-VIOLET LIGHT
How can we block the harmful blue rays of light but allow the helpful blue rays of light to penetrate through and get into the eye? Lesnick Optical offers noglare technology that filters out dangerous blue light and has three key features: 1) it selectively filters out harmful blue-violet and UV light, 2) it allows the beneficial visible light, including the blue-turquoise light, to pass through and 3) it maintains an excellent transparency of the lens, so there's no color distortion and you get excellent clarity with the lens.
For adults over the age of 65, the right pair of vision correcting glasses can literally be a life saver. Seniors aged 65 and up are at increased risk of falling, which is the leading cause of injury, injury-related death, and hospitalization for this age group. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year, one in three adults over 65 falls but less than half talk to their healthcare providers about it.
According to a recent study, 65% of those who wear glasses and break a hip as a result of a fall were not wearing their glasses at the time of the fall. Whether it is a pair of corrective glasses or surgery to remove a cataract, treating vision problems promptly can have a huge impact on preventing injury related to falling in seniors.
It is important to raise awareness with your loved ones about the need to have a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year. This is vital as there are often no noticeable warning signs that vision problems such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and macular degeneration are developing. Additionally, a simple reminder to loved ones to wear their glasses as prescribed by an eye doctor will go a long way to help to maximize vision.
Poor vision doesn’t only increase the risk of falling; it also has an impact on the quality of daily life. If left untreated, a visual disorder can affect both social and physical activities. A person who is unable to see clearly will have difficulty participating in stimulating activities such as reading, playing cards and board games as well as day-to-day physical exercise such as walking.
Vision difficulties for seniors can often be treated once detected, but a thorough eye exam is necessary to determine the cause. With most vision diseases, earlier detection leads to increased chances of vision improvement. Raise your awareness about the relationship between vision difficulties and health problems for seniors to increase quality of life and help lower the risk of serious injury associated with avoidable falls.
The use of technology has become commonplace in the classroom. So much so that today’s generation of students, from kindergarten to university, navigates computers, smartphones and tablets all the time. Many schools have even implemented the use of smart boards and bring your own device (BOYD) programs.
However, as amazing as this educational technology can be, it is important to be aware of the potential visual challenges that can arise from prolonged use of digital technology.
According to a recent study by the American Optometric Association's (AOA), 85 percent of parents surveyed said their children use an electronic device for up to four hours every day. The survey also found that 41 percent of children have their own smartphone or tablet while 32 percent use both e-books and textbooks at school. Additionally, 66 percent of children use a computer or tablet to do homework or study.
Staring at a screen for a few hours a day can cause visual discomfort and interfere with your child's ability to focus. Although regular use of digital devices won't damage vision, extended use of technology at school or for homework can lead to a temporary vision condition called computer vision syndrome (CVS). Symptoms of CVS include eye strain, fatigue, burning or tired eyes, the inability to focus, headaches, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain. To alleviate and prevent CVS, teach your child the 20-20-20 rule when using technology or doing near work: take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes to look at an object 20 feet away.
There are also a number of physical indicators that parents should be aware of that point to vision problems. These include squinting or covering an eye to see a screen, repeated eye rubbing and excessive blinking. If your child complains of headaches or swimming words on a screen, consistently performs below his or her potential and has challenges completing homework, it is important to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to assess whether there may be any vision problems.
In addition, your child should hold any digital device a half to a full arm's length away from the eyes and slightly below eye level. Parents should encourage children to take breaks regularly while at the computer. Kids should also use ergonomic desk areas or gaming chairs to ensure comfort and proper posture. You can prevent glare on screens by using low-wattage light bulbs, dimmers, or curtains in the room. Avoid staring at screens in a completely dark room, and adjust the brightness and background color settings on the device.
Usage of digital devices will likely increase as technology advances. Teach your children good habits to keep their eyes comfortable and to protect their vision.
7 Facts You Should Know About Glaucoma
Glaucoma, which refers to a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve, is often called 'the silent thief of sight'. This nickname evolved because the disease creeps up unnoticed in its early stages, causing no pain and few, if any symptoms. However, if left untreated it is progressive and irreversible and ultimately leads to blindness, usually affecting peripheral vision first.
Here are 7 important facts you should know about glaucoma:
Don’t be the next victim of the silent thief of sight. Speak to your eye doctor about your risk of glaucoma today.
The New Year is a time to start fresh and renew our commitment to health, happiness and success. It’s important to include eye and vision health and safety in these resolutions. Here are the top six ways you can make your eyes and vision a priority this year.
A comprehensive eye exam will ensure not only that your vision is at its best, but will also screen for any eye disease or issues with your eye health. In many cases of eye disease and damage, early detection is essential for treatment and preservation of eyesight.
Harmful UV and HEV (high-energy visible) radiation from the sun, and potentially from computer screens and digital devices as well, have been linked to serious eye conditions including macular degeneration, cataracts and non-cancerous and cancerous growths in the eye and eyelids. When you’re outdoors, make sure you wear sunglasses that are 100% protective from these harmful rays. Indoor clear lenses coatings are now available to protect from HEV light.
Knowing who is at risk and catching the signs early are essential to preventing common vision threatening diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. Being aware of your family history, race, gender and lifestyle and how those factors can contribute to eye diseases, can help you help your doctor to keep a close eye on any signs of disease before it is too late.
Contact lenses can be one of life’s greatest conveniences but if not cared for properly, they can cause serious and debilitating problems for your eyes. Don’t risk infections, abrasions or even vision loss by skimping on the necessary steps to clean and store your contact lenses. Here is a short video about proper contact cleaning and storage for demonstration purposes only: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNOJ6RM-tts. Always follow your eye doctor’s instructions for care.
According to Prevent Blindness America hospital emergency rooms treat more than 700 000 work related eye injuries, 125 000 eye injuries that occur at home and 40 000 sports related eye injuries a year. Almost all of these injuries can be avoided with proper eye protection. Speak to your eye doctor about your work, hobbies and athletic activities to determine the best protective eyewear for your needs.
Foods that are rich in vitamins and antioxidants play an essential role in the health of your eyes. Research shows that a proper diet can reduce the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, glaucoma, and other eye problems. Eat foods that are rich in beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin (such as spinach, kale, red/orange peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash), bioflavonoids (such as tea, red wine, citric fruits, blueberries, cherries, legumes, soy products), Omega-3 Fatty Acids (cold water fish, ground flaxseeds, walnuts) and fruits, vegetables and other foods rich in vitamins A, C and D. Zinc is also linked to eye health and found in foods such as oysters, beef and dark meat turkey.
Start the year off right with your eyes on your mind. These six resolutions will not only help you see a wonderful year, but will help you preserve healthy eyes and vision for a lifetime.
The holiday season is on our doorstep. With technology so much a part of our lives, the easy go-to gifts for kids often include an enormous array of hand-held video devices and home gaming systems. Did you know that after extensive use these games can be harmful to children’s eyes and might even induce eye strain and focusing issues?
If you want to buy wisely for your children or grandchildren this year, choose a fun gift that actually develops and promotes visual skills such as eye hand coordination, visualization, depth and space perception and fine motor skills all while they have fun playing.
Here is a list of games and toys that help to develop visual skills, while engaging children in fun activities.
First, a basic rule: Always ensure the toys are suited to the child's development and level of maturity. Manufacturers often provide suggested ages for a toy, but keep the individual child in mind as children develop at different rates.
1. What to buy: building toys
How they help children's vision: develop eye hand coordination and visualization and imagination skills.
Examples: Lego, Duplo, Mega Bloks, Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Clics
2. What to buy: fine motor skill toys and arts and crafts
How they help children's vision: develop visual skills and manual eye hand coordination.
Examples: finger paints, playdough, coloring books, dot to dot activities, pegboard and pegs, origami sets, stringing beads, whiteboard/easel/chalkboard.
3. What to buy: space perception toys and games
How they help children's vision: develop depth perception and eye hand coordination.
Examples within arm’s length: pick- up sticks, marbles, Jenga
Examples beyond arm’s length: any kind of ball, ping pong, bean bag toss.
4. What to buy: visual/spatial thinking toys and games
How they help children's vision: develop visual thinking including visualization, visual memory, form perception, pattern recognition, sequencing and eye tracking skills. These skills are vital basics for academics including mathematics, reading and spelling.
Examples: memory games, jigsaw puzzles, Rory's story cubes, card games (Old Maid, Go Fish, etc.), Dominoes, checkers, Chinese checkers, Rush Hour/Rush Hour Jr., Bingo, Color Code, Math Dice.
5. What to buy: balance and coordination toys and games
How they help children's vision: develop gross motor skills which require use of vision
Examples: jump rope, trampoline, stilts, Twister.
As you can see, there are plenty of amazing toys available to improve your child's visual skills. The best part is, many of them take the children away from the screen and get them thinking, moving and creating. This year, choose a holiday present that will help your children grow, develop and see a better future.
Diabetes affects people of all ages, races and genders. An estimated 25.8 million Americans or 8.3 percent of the population suffer from the disease, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011. In fact, diabetic eye disease is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults in the North America.
If you or someone you care for has diabetes, here are 6 things you need to know about how it impacts eyes and vision.
What is diabetic eye disease?
Diabetic eye disease is most commonly associated with diabetic retinopathy, which is characterized by damage to the blood vessels of the retina and can lead to blindness. According to the National Eye Institute, it can also cause premature cataracts and glaucoma.
How does it impact vision?
In diabetic retinopathy, the small blood vessels that nourish the retina at the back of the eye become weak as a result of fluctuating sugar levels in the bloodstream. This causes bleeding at the back of the eye, reduced circulation and less oxygen and nutrients reaching the retina. As a result, new fragile blood vessels are produced to compensate. However, the abnormal blood vessels can start leaking fluid and small amounts of blood into the retina, causing vision loss. In the worst cases, the retina can scar or detach, causing permanent vision loss.
What are the symptoms?
At first, someone with diabetic retinopathy may not experience any noticeable symptoms. That is why early detection is crucial and diabetics should have a dilated eye exam at least once a year to screen for diabetic retinopathy. In most cases, by the time you realize something is wrong, the disease is so far advanced that lost vision can't be restored.
In its advanced stage symptoms may include:
Who is at risk?
Anyone who has diabetes type 1 or type 2 has a greater chance of developing vision loss. Even gestational diabetes and pre-diabetes increase the risk of diabetic eye disease. An estimated 40 to 45 percent of Americans diagnosed with diabetes have some degree of diabetic retinopathy, according to the NEI. That is why anyone with diabetes should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is to have an effect on your vision.
Race and family history can also put you at risk for the disease. If you are of Hispanic, African, Asian, Pacific Island, or Native American descent, you are more likely to develop diabetes. Lifestyle – including your weight, diet and how active you are – also plays a role in the development and management of diabetes, as well as its effect on the eyes.
How is diabetic eye disease treated?
There are effective medical treatments, including injections into the eye to prevent leaking blood vessels and laser treatment to prevent and reduce vision loss as a result of diabetes, but early detection and treatment are vital!
What steps can I take to reduce diabetes related vision loss?
Make sure to keep your blood sugar levels under control and monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol. Speak to your doctor about what your target goals should be to prevent further deterioration. Often, when diabetes causes damage to the eyes, it is also an indication of the damage occurring in the kidneys and other areas in the body with small nerves and blood vessels, too. Exercise, maintain a healthy diet and keep your cholesterol levels low. Schedule eye exams yearly or as often as your eye doctor and medical doctor advise.
Knowing the risks and symptoms of diabetic retinopathy is not enough. If you or a loved one has diabetes, don’t take chances. The only real way to safeguard your vision is by making your eye health a priority.
Take a diabetes risk test.
See what cost this woman her sight.
If you wear contact lenses, you probably know the hygiene routine you should follow when removing your lenses:
Even if you know these guidelines, if you're honest with yourself, how many times have you NOT followed this optometrist prescribed routine and taken short cuts in your contact lens hygiene such as:
In fact, a vision scientist at the University of Texas surveyed 443 contact lens patients and found that less than one percent cared for their lenses properly.
Here are some of the most common mistakes made in caring for contact lenses and why it’s important to change your habits now.
The Mistake: Storing or washing contact lenses in tap water.
The Risk: Although this seems harmless, tap water can cause serious damage to your eyes. Since regular tap water is not sterile, it can cause infections, like Acanthomaeoba. Homemade saline has also been known to lead to certain fungal eye infections.
The Solution: Never wash or store lenses in tap water or any liquid other than contact lens solution. Even more so try to avoid swimming or showering with your lenses in to avoid contact with tap or chlorine filled water.
The Mistake: Using saliva to wash lenses.
The Risk: Saliva is full of bacteria that belong in your mouth and not in your eyes. If you have a cut in your eye, the bacteria could get trapped under your lens and cause an infection.
The Solution: Always carry a small container of lens solution or artificial tears. If your lenses are bothering you, either use proper solution or remove them until you are able to treat them properly.
The Mistake: Reuse cleaning solution or topping off your lens storage case.
The Risk: Reusing solution is like begging for an eye infection. This is because all the debris and bacteria that are in your eyes and are on your contact lenses come off into the solution. So if you recycle solution, you are putting all that bacteria right back into your eye. If you have any microscopic breaks in your cornea, the bacteria can then infect your cornea.
The Solution: Use fresh solution every time you store your contact lenses. Also be sure to empty out ALL the remaining solution from your storage case from the previous day before adding new solution to it. If this is too much to remember or do, try using daily disposable lenses.
The Mistake: Not adhering to the schedule for the prescribed lenses. (Note: Certain extended wear lenses are approved for 30 days wear, but proper fit is essential for success even if the lens allows high oxygen permeability.)
The Risk: After the approved time for contact lens use, today’s thin contact lenses do not retain their shape and structure. If you re-wear lenses that are meant to be used for a specified time period, mucus and bacteria can build up because cleaning solutions do not protect the lenses for longer than the approved wearing time. Between the lens changes and the tendency for contamination, you increase the risk of eye irritation and infection.
The solution: Follow the recommended schedule you are given for wearing your lenses.
The Mistake: Wearing contact lenses when your vision is blurry or your eyes hurt a little.
The Risk: When in doubt, take them out! If your lenses cause you any discomfort, or your eyes look a bit red, listen to your body rather than suffering through the discomfort that can potentially develop into an infection.
The Solution: If your eyes are bothering you, first try applying lubricating drops made for contact lens wearers. If that doesn’t help, take the lenses out and check them to make sure they are not damaged or dirty. If it does not look good to you, do not use it.
Improper contact lens hygiene can lead to, red eyes, blurry vision, irritation, and in the most severe cases serious infections and corneal abrasion, which can lead to blindness. So the bottom line is: listen to your optometrists’ instructions and keep your lenses clean!
For more information, watch this video on contact lens care: