Fireworks And Eye Safety

Eye_Safety_FireworksBetween the pool parties, stars-and-stripes décor, and hot dogs and burgers fresh off the grill, the Fourth of July can still present its share of mishaps—life-changing ones at that—and eye safety becomes a hot-button issue each Independence Day.

July is National Firework Safety Awareness Month, so it’s important to protect yourself from any injuries involving fireworks. Every year, people stand too close to ignited fireworks, and what was supposed to be a day for friends, family and fun turns into a trip to the emergency room.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks last year in the United States were connected with 11,400 injuries that required visits to the emergency room, and one in six of those firework accidents involved eye injuries.

You’ll of course want to be able to watch the beautiful displays this year with your loved ones, but eye safety is extremely important when it comes to handling fireworks.

Consider these tips when enjoying your July Fourth festivities:

Never stand too close to the firework when lighting it.
Keep glass away from the area when using fireworks.
Quickly move away after lighting.
Never touch “dud” fireworks—ones that were lit but didn’t explode.
Consider wearing safety goggles for the more power-packed fireworks.

Don’t rule out the smaller flames, either—even common sparkler sticks can cause eye damage. Hold sparklers away from the face when they are lit, and be sure there’s no horseplay among the kids whenever fireworks are involved.

Always keep eye safety in mind this summer when enjoying light displays, as taking those extra steps will help you avoid any injuries this year.

In case of an eye injury that can’t be flushed out with water, don’t rub your eyes or attempt to remove any debris that may have become lodged in the eyes. Contact your optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center for an appointment!

Prevent Cataracts this Summer

Cataracts Have you ever had difficulty seeing through a fogged-up window while driving? That’s what the world looks like for people with cataracts. This clouding of the lenses of your eyes begins slowly, but can progress to a point where surgery is required.

According to Prevent Blindness, the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization, more than 22.3 million people in America suffer from this disease. Protect your eye health and keep your vision sunny this summer by following these tips.

Eat a nutritional diet

Vitamins C and E have antioxidant properties that have been shown to reduce the development and progression of the disease. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in the eye lens, so intake of food with these nutrients will also help maintain good health. Include plenty of green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and berries, and almonds and sunflower seeds in your diet.

Protect your eyes from the sun

Ultraviolet rays can contribute to the development of cataracts. Shield your eyes by wearing sunglasses or wide-brimmed hats. You should also avoid sunlamps and tanning booths.

Stop smoking

The dangers of smoking are well-known, so it should come as no surprise to learn that it can also negatively affect your eye health. Cigarette smoke contains free radicals that damage the proteins and fiber cell membrane in the eye lens. In addition, smoking reduces your body’s level of antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals.

Control diabetes

Diabetes is a major risk factor for cataracts. Controlling your blood sugar will cut down on the chances of this development.

Get an annual eye exam

Early detection is key to successful treatment. Make sure you schedule a full checkup every year.

Our Phoenix optometrists are happy to answer any of your questions about prevention and treatment of cataracts. Contact us today to schedule your eye exam.

Pool Season and Eye Health

Eye Health A dip in a pool is a refreshing way to cool off on a hot summer day, but it might not have the same effect on your eyes. Irritation, or “swimmer’s eye,” can be a painful result without the proper precautions. Enjoy your time in the pool by following these summer eye health tips before diving in.

Minimize the effects of pool chemicals

Disinfecting chemicals such as chlorine and saline do affect your eyes, but they merely grease the wheels for the true culprit. Your eye is covered by a tear film that maintains lubrication, but pool chemicals cause this film to evaporate, leaving the dry surface of your eye vulnerable to other chemicals and bacteria. Use goggles to minimize exposure and rinse your eyes with clear, fresh water immediately after leaving the pool to ensure your eye health.

Swimming and contact lenses

Wearing contact lenses while swimming may seem harmless, but they actually provide a useful surface for bacteria to latch on. Studies have discovered that microbial growth on contact lenses can be present after only one swim. The best solution is to invest in a pair of prescription swimming goggles. If you prefer to continue wearing your contact lenses, use disposable ones or be sure to disinfect the lenses thoroughly after swimming. It’s also a good idea to change your lens case frequently.

Swimming and dry eye

Dry eye syndrome is one of the more common eye disorders among adults. It results from low tear production and instability of the tear film. While goggles are an effective defense against the drying effects of pool water, you should also apply artificial teardrops beforehand for additional protection.

Outdoor fun is not worth taking a chance with your eye health. Schedule an appointment with our Phoenix optometrist for a full eye exam and additional tips for summer eye care.

Benefits of Wearing Sunglasses

Sunglasses provide much-needed protection for your eyes. Your optometrist has most likely suggested the use of them in your everyday life, not just when you’re at the pool during the summer. But what is the importance of wearing sunglasses year-round? Take a look at these four benefits to learn why your optometrist suggests the use of sunglasses.

Protection From the SunOptometrist

The most obvious benefit of wearing sunglasses is the protection they provide from the sun’s dangerous rays. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the sun can damage your eyes in more ways than one. Cancers of the eyelid make up about five to 10 percent of all skin cancers, and can lead to serious eye damage and face disfigurement. In addition to eyelid cancers, extended exposure to the sun can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration.

Reduced Dry-Eye Problems

People who suffer from dry-eye syndrome often experience an increase in symptoms while in dry, windy climates. The environment can have a negative effect on your eyes due to weather, debris, and dust. Unfortunately, these elements are present year-round, not just during the summer. Sunglasses protect your eyes from things like wind and debris all year round.

Less Glare While Driving

Wearing sunglasses while driving not only helps you feel more comfortable, but it also keeps you and your passengers safe. The sun’s glare increases your risk of getting into a car accident, which is why wearing sunglasses while driving is crucial to your safety – and to the safety of others on the road. If such a simple thing can prevent a collision, why would you avoid it?

Reduced Eye Strain

Squinting because of the sun is detrimental to your eyesight, but your optometrist probably hasn’t told you that it’s also damaging to your appearance. Prolonged squinting causes wrinkles on the sensitive skin around your eyes. And while there are products to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, there is no way to reverse the damage. So if you’re not concerned about the health of your eyes, perhaps looking younger longer will encourage you to wear sunglasses.

Wearing sunglasses all year is crucial to your eye health and prevents serious conditions. To learn about more ways to protect your eyes, talk to an experienced optometrist. Schedule an eye exam today to get started on your journey toward improved eye health.

4 Tips to Prevent Eye Injury

Believe it or not, your home is a dangerous place for your eyes. In fact, recent medical statistics show that almost half of all eye injury incidents occur inside the home each year, and this number is increasing. Cleaning, cooking, and yard work are just a few of the everyday activities that often result in eye injury. Taking preventative measures to protect your eyes is crucial, even in your own home.

Preventing Eye Injury at Home

Eye Injury Most people will suffer some type of injury to their eyes at one point or another during their lifetime. To lower your odds of harming this vital body part, consider the following tips.

  1. Take care when using cleaners. Some household cleaners contain chemicals that are harmful to your eyes. Read cleaning product labels carefully, and avoid mixing chemicals. Additionally, make sure spray nozzles are directed away from you while cleaning.
  2. Secure rugs and railings. Falls are a common cause of injury to the eyes, and often occur as a result of loose rugs or rails. To prevent this from happening, secure anything in your home that could cause a slip.
  3. Check your yard for debris. Mowing or performing other yard work can quickly become a hazard if there is debris present that could fly into your eyes. Remove all debris before getting started, and wear protective goggles.
  4. Cook with caution. Grease splatter can cause serious damage to your eyes. Take measures to prevent it by using grease shields on frying pans.

Caring for Your Eyes

In addition to the tips mentioned above, you should take other actions to care for your eyes and prevent eye injury. Seeing an eye doctor regularly is the first step toward good eye health. Reach out to us today to schedule an eye exam or learn more about protecting your eyes.

When to Start Visiting the Eye Doctor

Young girl smiling while undergoing eye test with phoropterChildren’s eye care should begin as soon as birth, and should then continue regularly throughout childhood. Just as you take your child to the pediatrician for check-ups, you need to have his or her eyes routinely checked for signs of potential problems. Early eye health and vision checks will be done at your pediatrician or family doctor, but any concerns should immediately be taken to a certified eye doctor. Here’s a general guideline for taking care of your children’s eye care needs.

Infants and Toddlers

Newborn babies are generally checked for eye health while still in the hospital, soon after birth. From that point, professionals recommend all infants be routinely screened for eye health during the first year of life. These screenings are done during regular check-ups by the baby’s primary care physician. Additionally, the American Optometric Association (AOA) states that infants should receive their first comprehensive eye exam when they reach six months of age.

Beginning around the age of three, children should start receiving visual acuity tests, which measure vision sharpness, in addition to general eye health screenings.

School-Aged Children

The next eye exam a child should have is around the age of five or six, before entering the first grade. From that point on, the AOA recommends a comprehensive eye exam every two years if there are no vision problems present in your child. However, if correction is needed through glasses or contact lenses, then your child should see an eye doctor once a year, or as determined by the optomologist.

Signs of Eye Trouble

In addition to the above schedule, children should see an eye doctor if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Constant rubbing of the eyes;
  • Sensitivity to light;
  • Problems focusing;
  • Trouble visually tracking objects;
  • Chronic eye redness;
  • Chronic eye tearing;
  • White pupils.

Maintaining regular children’s eye care is important not only to their eye health, but also to their ability to do well in school. Childhood eye exams set your child up for a lifetime of success by detecting and preventing problems early. For more information or to schedule an eye exam for your child, contact Valley EyeCare Center in Phoenix today.

Women at Greater Risk for Eye Problems

Optometrist In Exam Room With Woman In ChairAs a general rule of thumb, women are at greater risk for eye problems than their male counterparts. In fact, according to an article by Lighthouse International, two-thirds of people in America who suffer from vision impairment are women. The reasons are numerous, ranging from life expectancy to hormone control. Here are a few of the factors that increase women’s risk for eye problems, as well as an explanation of why regular eye exams are important in combating the issue.

Age

Because women tend to live longer than men, they naturally have a greater chance of developing eye health issues that are age-related, such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. As if that isn’t bad enough, these conditions all have the ability to cause uncorrectable loss of vision. So while living longer is one advantage women can claim over men, it doesn’t come without its downfalls.

Pregnancy and Hormones

Women have to deal with much more than men in the way of body changes and developments. Pregnancy, birth control, and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can all lead to vision issues in one way or another, whether directly or indirectly. Birth control and HRT can both lead to side effects like stroke and blood clots, which often cause eye problems. Additionally, HRT can increase women’s risk of cataracts.

Pregnancy can also cause a woman to see changes in her vision. Here are some common eye concerns that pregnant women face:

  • A change in lens prescription;
  • Dry eye syndrome;
  • Vision-disturbing migraines;
  • Gestational diabetes – which can lead to blindness.

It’s important to see an eye doctor right away if you’re pregnant and experience vision problems, since these could be a sign of – or lead to – a more serious condition.

Prevention

For women, prevention is the key to good eye health. Just as with everything else in a woman’s body, your eyes need extra care and attention. Regular comprehensive eye exams are crucial to maintaining your eye health. Don’t ignore possible problems; even minor concerns should be addressed during eye exams. To learn more about women’s eye health, or to schedule an eye exam, contact Valley EyeCare Center today.

Keep your Eyes Healthy

Health care, medicine and vision concept - woman with eye chart on color backgroundWhen it comes to your health, are your first thoughts about issues like weight, cholesterol and blood pressure? Eye health may not be a topic that often springs to mind, which is one of the reasons why May is designated as Healthy Vision Month.

Your eyes benefit from good care as much as the rest of your body does. Follow these tips to keep your eyes and your vision in top shape.

Have a comprehensive eye exam once a year

Eye problems are not readily evident. You may not even realize that your vision has diminished until it’s checked by an optometrist. A thorough eye exam will also check for signs of disease or damage.

  Use protective eyewear 

Even if you’re performing a simple home repair, wear safety glasses or goggles to prevent sharp objects or particles from entering your eyes. If your kids participate in sports, make sure they use the appropriate eye protection. Always wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside on sunny days.

  Keep your hands clean

During the day your hands come into contact with an infinite number of germs and bacteria, from both objects and other people. The best practice is to avoid touching your eyes entirely, but frequent hand-washing will reduce the possibility of irritation or infection.

  Take a visual break 

Increasing use of high-tech devices like computers and cell phones has also increased the potential for eye strain. Eye care professionals recommend the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, turn your gaze about 20 feet into the distance and hold for about 20 seconds.

 Learn your family’s eye history

Many diseases and conditions are hereditary. Become informed about any issues your parents and grandparents may have had so you can monitor your eye health for signs and symptoms.

  Quit smoking

If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Research has shown that smoking increases your risk of macular degeneration, optic nerve damage and cataracts, conditions that can each lead to blindness.

Why not take Healthy Vision Month as your cue to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with our Phoenix optometrists? Get peace of mind with a full picture of your eye health.

 

Make Eye Health a Priority

Man swimmer swimming crawl in blue water. Portrait of an athletic young male triathlete swimming craWhen thinking about your health, do you consider the condition of your eyes and take preventative measures to protect them? If not, then you’re leaving a valuable part of your body open to injury and damage. Here are three ways to ensure your eye health.

Choose the Right Lighting

When you’re doing close-up work, the right lighting makes a big difference in reducing eye strain. For the best results, use a shaded light that’s directed at the work you’re doing. This will provide the amount of light you need without shining it directly into your eyes. A brighter light source is beneficial if you have vision problems.

Avoid Injury

Eye injuries can range from minor to blindness-inducing. Taking precautions with your eye health is crucial to avoiding permanent damage. Here are some tips to help you protect your vision:

  • Use protective eyewear - It’s important to wear safety goggles or glasses anytime you may be exposed to flying objects or debris, and while playing sports. You should also always wear goggles when working near strong chemicals.
  • Take care with hot objects - Cooking can be dangerous to your eyes when hot grease or oil is involved. Be careful to shield your eyes from splatter.
  • Eliminate fall hazards – Loose rugs or railings, sharp corners, and unsecured furniture can all lead to falls that result in damage to your eyes. Secure all objects in your home and consider covering sharp edges, especially if a young child or senior adult lives with you.

These are just a few ways to prevent eye injury. In addition to these tips, remember your eye health in everything you do.

See Your Eye Doctor

People with good vision tend to neglect getting regular eye exams. But this is a huge mistake. Eye health issues can occur whether you have poor vision or not, especially as you age. It’s important to get your eyes checked regularly by a qualified doctor in order to maintain great eye health. Specialists can detect concerns early, thus preventing potential problems from becoming damaging issues down the road.

With the right care and preventative measures, you can enjoy great vision for years to come. For more information on protecting your eyes, contact us today.

How Does Swimming Affect Your Eye Health?

Activities at the pool, children swimming and playing in water, happiness and summertimeEveryone enjoys a dip in a nice, cool pool during the sweltering summer months – especially in Arizona. But what does swimming do to your eye health? Does exposure to chlorine cause permanent damage to your eyes? What are the effects of swimming while wearing contact lenses? Keep reading for answers to these questions and more.

What Chlorine Does to Your Eyes

While there’s no evidence of long-term damage to eye health due to chlorine exposure, there are dangers associated with it. Contrary to popular belief, though, these dangers aren’t simply a result of your eyes coming in contact with the chemical. In actuality, the redness and discomfort that sometimes accompany swimming are caused by bacteria that lingers in the water. This is because, when submerged in chlorine-treated water, your eyes lose the tear film that protects against infection.

Even though the purpose of chlorine in pools is to reduce the amount of harmful bugs, some contaminants are resistant to the chlorine that is used. This means the health of your eyes can be compromised with infections caused by bugs still lingering in the water. The most common infection swimmers experience is pink eye.

Concerns for Contact Lens-Wearers

When you wear contact lenses while swimming, those lenses trap chemically-treated water, meaning your tear film has no chance of repairing itself and your eyes remain exposed to harmful bacteria. If you must swim in your lenses, eye health experts recommend rinsing them immediately after you swim, and avoiding sleeping in them. Failing to do so could lead to a serious eye condition called acanthamoebic keratitis, which has been known to cause blindness in serious cases.

Protecting Your Eye Health This Summer

It’s not all bad news – you don’t have to completely avoid the pool this summer in order to maintain your eye health. Just be smart and take these precautions:

  • Wear goggles. Swimming goggles reduce your eyes’ exposure to chlorine, meaning your tear film stays in tact and helps prevent any issues.
  • Use eye drops. Use lubricating drops to flush away any remaining chlorine and allow your tear film to get back to its job of protecting your eyes.
  • Take care of your contact lenses. As mentioned above, rinsing your contact lenses after swimming is crucial to avoid infection.

Don’t miss out on the fun this summer. Take steps to protect your eyes, and contact us for more information.