Computers and Your Eyes

September 25, 2013

While they can certainly be convenient, entertaining, and a source for reading wonderfully informative ophthalmic blogs, computers can be detrimental to the eyes. It’s actually become so prevalent that it has a name of its own: Computer Vision Syndrome! Taking breaks from excessive use, using artificial tears intermittently during use, and wearing your correct refractive prescription are some of the methods which can reduce the severity of complications from computer use.

 Computers, or, more accurately, the staring we do while using computers, can contribute to dry eye. Dry eye can cause any number of complications from discomfort to an increased risk for infection (for an extensive description of dry eye, check out our January blog on the topic). One easy way to reduce this effect is to keep a bottle or vials of artificial tears next to your computer; this can help as a reminder to use them on occasion, especially while using the computer for extended periods of time. Remember, a preservative-free artificial tear is the best option if artificial tears are used in excess of four times daily; many quality brands are available in preservative-free form (Theratears, Optive, and Systane to name just a few). If you are concerned your dryness may be more than just a result of overuse of the computer, or it continues without significant reduction of symptoms, call us to schedule an evaluation.

 Headaches and eyestrain are common complications of Computer Vision Syndrome; again, taking consistent breaks can contribute to a reduction of these symptoms. Where you sit and how you look at the computer can also factor into your ocular comfort; ensuring that you’re wearing the proper prescription for computer range vision and you are seated the appropriate distance away from the screen can decrease your risks for symptoms of Computer Vision Syndrome. If your headaches or eyestrain are frequent, severe, or concerning, an evaluation with an eye care professional or your primary doctor is warranted.

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Eating For Your Eyes

September 25, 2013

While changing dietary habits can be difficult and should be supervised by your primary care physician, making healthy choices in your daily regimen is always a good choice! There are many, many diets out there, from juicing to low-carb to low-fat to all grapefruit! What is most important to keep in mind is that a balanced diet is very important. Keeping a diet which contains a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, one that focuses mainly on healthy alternatives and less on simple carbohydrates and saturated fats, can be easier to maintain and tolerate than “crash” diets which focus on deprivation and may result in severe depletion of vital nutrients.

Eating for your eyes does not have to differ from an overall healthy dietary approach; certain healthy foods can not only benefit your eyes, but your entire system! Because the eyes are vascular organs, a heart-healthy diet (one low in trans/saturated fat) can aide in protecting blood vessels from undue damage. Eating foods high in antioxidants can further benefit your overall and ocular health. Below is a list of eye-healthy foods that most anyone can healthfully tolerate! As always, check with your primary physician before any drastic dietary changes.

Vitamin C: citrus fruit, berries, tomatoes, and broccoliVitamin E: vegetable oils, wheat germ, nuts, and legumesZinc: nuts and seeds, legumes, wheat germ, and shellfishLutein and zeaxanthin: kale, spinach, broccoli, peas, whole eggs, and Brussels sproutsOmega-3 fatty acids: cold water oily fish (salmon and tuna), walnuts, and flaxseedBeta-carotene: carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and spinach

Adding any of these foods into your diet can be simple: have our AMD shake in the morning (see our AMD blog for the Green Shake recipe); have salmon on the grill instead of a beef steak; have spinach in your salad and top it with flaxseeds; instead of cookies or cake, have fresh fruit for dessert (diabetics may be able to tolerate lower glycemic fruits; consult your primary doctor).

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How Does Pepper Spray Work?

September 12, 2013

First off, NEVER experiment with pepper spray. It is for use in emergency situations only, meaning you should not use it unless you are in mortal peril; it’s not a toy to be used for fun or while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Though it mostly has limited long-term complications, pepper spray can contribute to sudden death. The sprayed individual is not the only one who will suffer the ill-effects of pepper spray. When you spray pepper spray at another person, you may notice some of the adverse effects; this is important to note when you’re using it for its intended purpose: as a method of self-protection. If you ever find yourself in a situation where pepper spray needs to be used, the most effective way you can save yourself by using pepper spray is to use it as directed and then RUN. Get as far away from the situation as you can because you’re going to feel its effects and it very likely will impair your ability to get away effectively. 

To understand what pepper spray can do to the eyes, we should first understand what it is. Pepper spray is derived from a chili pepper extract called capsaicin. If you’ve ever eaten an exceptionally hot pepper, you should be aware of the intense burning sensation that accompanies very hot peppers. Imagine that same sensation in the eye. When exposed to the eye, pepper spray causes involuntary closure, tearing, burning, and temporary vision loss. Further, sinuses will drain and there is a distinct possibility that breathing will become difficult and labored. The symptoms which occur after being sprayed with pepper spray generally dissipate after approximately one hour.

If you’re ever sprayed with pepper spray, regardless of how it happened, getting to an emergency care facility is important. Flushing the eyes with water may reduce the amount of pepper spray on the lids, but may have little long-term effect on the actual eyes. Pepper spray is oil-derived; as oil and water separate, rinsing out the eyes with just water may be ineffective. Emergency services will be a

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Sports Glasses

September 5, 2013

Avid athletes, with or without refractive errors, may well benefit from wearing protective sports eye wear. Not only can sports glasses provide ample increases to vision, they can decrease the risk of ocular trauma during sports activities.  Even if you only casually engage in sports, sports glasses may be an excellent option for you!

Poor vision can lead to an increased risk in normal daily activities; this risk increases with certain activities, sports included. Failure to have clear vision during sports activities can result in any number of injuries, from misjudging distances to facial/eye trauma from wayward sports equipment. Results can be painful and potentially permanently damaging.

Many prescription sports glasses are designed to handle impact while providing clear vision. Not only can they protect the eye from damages from a fly ball or running into another player, they can allow a wider range of peripheral vision when compared to traditional glasses. Protecting the eyes during sporting activities is not only important for adults, but for children as well.

We have many options for prescription sports glasses available at any of our three locations. Call or stop in today to check out our available sports glasses!

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