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February 11, 2019
  We have all heard the term ”Love is in the Air,” but can love really be in the eyes? Actually, Science has proven it so. Certain chemicals (or endorphins) that produce the emot...

Tips to Save Your Eyes This Holiday Season

Your Eyes Are A Gift, Protect Them During The Holidays

“I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!”

“No, you'll shoot your eye out.”

This line from “A Christmas Story” is one of the most memorable Christmas movie quotes ever. Funny in the movie, but the holiday season does present a real eye injury threat.

For those of who celebrate Christmas that risk begins before the actual day.

Some of the most frequent holiday-related eye injuries come from the Christmas tree itself.

Holiday eye safety begins with the acquisition of the tree. If you are cutting down your own tree please wear eye protection when doing the cutting, especially if you are going to be using a mechanical saw such as a chain saw or sawzall. You need to also be careful of your eyes when loading a tree on top of the car. It is easy to get poked in the eye when heaving the tree up over your head.

Once back at home take care to make sure no one else is standing close to the tree if you had it wrapped and now need to cut the netting off. The tree branches often spring out suddenly once the netting is released.

Other injuries occur in the mounting and decorating phase. Sharp needles, pointy lights and glass ornaments all pose significant eye injury risk. If you are spraying anything like artificial tree snow on the branches be sure to keep those chemicals out of your eyes.

Having now successfully trimmed the tree without injury, let’s move our holiday eye safety to the toys.

We want to spend the holiday happily exchanging gifts in front of a warm fire, drinking some eggnog, and snacking on cinnamon buns and not going to the emergency room with an injury.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reported there were 254,200 toy-related emergency room visits in 2015, with 45% of those being injuries to the head and face - including the eyes.

In general, here are the recommendations from the American Academy of Ophthalmology in choosing eye-safe toys for gifts:

  • “Avoid purchasing toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts.
  • “Make sure children have appropriate supervision when playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.
  • “Ensure that laser product labels include a statement that the device complies with 21 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations) Subchapter J.
  • “Along with sports equipment, give children the appropriate protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses. Check with your eye doctor to learn about protective gear recommended for your child's sport.
  • “Check labels for age recommendations and be sure to select gifts that are appropriate for a child's age and maturity.
  • “Keep toys that are made for older children away from younger children.
  • “If your child experiences an eye injury from a toy, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist – an eye medical doctor.”

More specifically there is a yearly list of the most dangerous toys of the season put out by the people at W.A.T.C.H. (world against toys causing harm).

Here are their 10 worst toy nominees for 2018, with three on the list that are specifically there for potential eye injury risk.

Here are other toys to avoid:

  • Guns that shoot ANY type of projectile. This includes toy guns that shoot lightweight, cushy darts.
  • Water balloon launchers and water guns. Water balloons fired from a launcher can easily hit the eye with enough force to cause a serious eye injury. Water guns that generate a forceful stream of water can also cause significant injury, especially when shot from close range.
  • Aerosol string. If it hits the eye it can cause a painful irritation of the eye called chemical conjunctivitis.
  • Toy fishing poles. It is easy to poke the eye of nearby children.
  • Laser pointers and bright flashlights. The laser or other bright lights, if shined in the eyes for a long enough time, can cause permanent retinal damage.

There are plenty of great toys and games out there that pose much lower risk of injury so choose wisely, practice good Christmas eye safety and have a great holiday season.

 

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

Why is my eye twitching?

 

Have you ever felt a twitching sensation in your eye? Were you sure everyone was looking at you because of it? Worried it is the beginning of a big problem?

Relax, it’s not likely to be a big deal. Most of the time it is not even visible to other people.

First, it’s almost never your actual eyeball that is twitching; it’s your eyelid muscle. The actual eye twitching is fairly rare and would cause the vision to be fairly blurry if the eyeball was really twitching.

The eyelid has a muscle in it that closes the eyelid and that muscle has a very high concentration of nerve innervation. Because of that dense nerve tissue in the eyelid, anything that makes your nervous system a little hyped up or off kilter can result in the eyelid twitching.

What are some of the risk factors for eyelid twitching?

Fatigue

Not getting enough sleep can result in your nervous system not performing at its best and one of the results of that may include twitching of your eyelid. If you are getting frequent eyelid twitching, try to make sure you are getting the proper amount of sleep.

Caffeine

Too much caffeine can certainly overexcite your nervous system and result in frequent eyelid twitching. If eyelid twitching is becoming something you experience frequently it might be time to cut down your caffeine intake. While coffee tends to be the biggest offender, caffeine does come in other flavors. Tea, cola soda and chocolate are the easy ones that come immediately to mind. Other items that you don’t think of as much: ice cream (especially chocolate or coffee flavors), de-caffeinated coffee (still has some caffeine), power or energy bars, non-cola soft drinks (Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, some root beers) and some OTC pain relievers (Excedrin Migraine, Midol Complete, and Anacin).

Stress

This is a hard one to quantify but if I ask most people who come to me with a complaint of eyelid twitching if they are under more stress than usual the answer is almost always, YES. This is not an easy thing to mitigate. You may need to seek some help from your internist or psychiatrist or you could just try some home remedies like meditation or Yoga.

Dry Eyes

One of the first things I tell people suffering from eyelid twitching is to use a lubrication drop in their eye. Anything that irritates your eye may result in eyelid twitching and an OTC lubricating drop in the eye may just decrease the eyelid twitching and it is certainly worth a try.

What if it won’t go away? Could it be anything more serious?

There is a condition that could cause frequent twitching of the eyelid that is more than just a slight annoyance and that condition is called essential blepharospasm. In this condition you don’t just feel the lid twitching, but the entire eye starts closing involuntarily like you are trying to wink at someone. This can start to interfere with your normal daily life and can make things like driving and reading difficult to do. If the lid closing gets that significant, the main treatment for it is Botox injection to weaken the muscle that closes the eyelids. This stops the lid twitching very effectively, but it often needs to be repeated every 3 or 4 months.

Most of the time eyelid twitching just goes away on its own as mysteriously as it came. If you experience twitching that doesn’t go away try making some of the modifications I mention above and if that doesn’t work you should schedule an exam.

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

What Kind of Eye Correction Do I Need for Sports?

There are many options available to adults and children when it comes to wearing corrective lenses (glasses and contacts) when engaged in physical activities.

Here is a look at the different modalities and the pros and cons of each:

Prescription Sports Goggles (i.e. Rec Specs)

The main benefits of goggles when playing sports are stability of vision and eye protection. When playing fast-moving sports, like basketball, soccer, rugby, etc., elbows, wrists, and heads are flying around at high speed, increasing the risk of eye injury. The eyes and eye sockets can be protected when covered by shatter-proof lenses. Additionally, there is no worry of having a contact lens pop out of your eye, which can be a debilitating experience for some people. The main drawback to goggles is that they can be cumbersome, decrease peripheral vision, and fog up. Additionally, very high prescriptions might not be available to make due to frame limitations. On the whole, this is a very good option for many people. One additional advantage to sports goggles is that in many cases you can have the lens made out Transition glasses, so the lens darkens in sunlight and lightens as it gets darker.

Contact Lenses

Far and away the best option for correction when playing sports is contact lenses, particularly soft contact lenses. The main benefits include full field of vision, no fogging of lenses, and obviously no unsightly, heavy glasses on your face. But where sports goggles shine, contact lenses fall short: higher risk of injury, possibly less-stable vision (especially when wearing multifocal or astigmatic lenses), and the potential of a lens falling out during activities. With modern contact lenses, this rarely happens, however. Gas permeable (hard) lenses are not recommended for sports.

Wearing Nothing!

For those whose prescriptions are not so high as to prevent proper functioning without correction, wearing no correction whatsoever is a fine choice. I’m often asked by parents whether their child absolutely needs to wear correction when they are playing sports. The answer is, it depends on how high the prescription is and the activity in which the child is engaged. If someone can see well enough to perform tasks without being hindered, not wearing any correction is perfectly fine.

There are plenty of options available for athletes. Visit your eye doctor to see what the best option is for your particular needs.

Article contributed by Dr. Jonathan Gerard

Wish to Use Your Vision Plan?

Out-of-network? No problem! Salina Family Vision Care has invested in a service to provide an in network experience to patients even if we have not previously accepted their insurance. Staff can check eligibility, tell you exactly what benefits you have and what you'll have to pay today. The staff will then submit paperwork for you to be reimbursed from your insurance company, saving you the hassle. 

Ask a staff member how you can utilize your Vision Plan benefits at Salina Family Vision Care with Patch. 

Seeing one of the 3 F’s

If you are seeing the 3 F's, you might have a retinal tear or detachment and you should have an eye exam quickly.

The 3 F's are: -    Flashes - flashing lights. -    Floaters - dozens of dark spots that persist in the center of your vision. -    Field cut – a curtain or shadow that usually starts in peripheral vision that may move to involve the center of vision.

The retina is the nerve tissue that lines the inside back wall of the eye and if there is a break in the retina, fluid can track underneath the retina and separate it from the eye wall. Depending on the location and degree of retinal detachment, there can be very serious vision loss.

If you have a new onset of any of the three symptoms above, you need to get in for an appointment fairly quickly (very quickly if there are two or more symptoms).

If you have just new flashes or new floaters you should be seen in the next few days. If you have both new flashes and new floaters or any field cut, you should be seen in the next 24 hours.

When you go to the office for an exam, your eyes will be dilated. A dilated eye exam is needed to examine the retina and the periphery. This may entail a scleral depression exam where gentle pressure is applied to the outside of the eye to examine the peripheral retina. Some people have a hard time driving after dilation.   since the dilating drops may last up to 6 hours, so you may want to have someone drive you to and from your appointment.

If the exam shows a retina tear, treatment would be a laser procedure to encircle the tear.

If a retinal tear is not treated in a timely manner, then it will progress into a retinal detachment. There are four treatment options for retinal detachment:

· Laser.  A small retinal detachment can be walled off with a barrier laser to prevent further spread of the fluid and the retinal detachment.  

· Pneumatic retinopexy. This is an office-based procedure that requires injecting a gas bubble inside the eye.  The patient then needs to position his or her head for the gas bubble to reposition the retina back along the inside wall of the eye. A freezing or laser procedure is then performed around the retinal break. This procedure has about 70% to 80% success rate, but not everyone is a good candidate for a pneumatic retinopexy.

· Scleral buckle.  This is a surgery that needs to be performed in the operating room. This procedure involves placing a silicone band around the outside of the eye to bring the eye wall closer to the retina. The retinal tear is then treated with a freezing procedure.  

· Vitrectomy. In this surgery, the gel - the vitreous inside the eye - is removed and the fluid underneath the retina is drained. The retinal tear is then treated with either a laser or freezing procedure. At the completion of the surgery, a gas bubble fills the eye to hold the retina in place.  The gas bubble will slowly dissipate over several weeks.  Sometimes a scleral buckle is combined with a vitrectomy surgery.

Prognosis

The final vision after retinal detachment repair is usually dependent on whether the center of the retina - called the macula - is involved. If the macula is detached, then there is usually some decrease in final vision after reattachment. Therefore, a good predictor is initial presenting vision. We recommend that anyone with symptoms of retinal detachments (flashes, floaters, or field cuts) have a dilated eye exam. The sooner the diagnosis is made, the better the treatment outcome.

Article contributed by Dr. Jane Pan

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