Tag Archives: Eye Safety

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Winter Eye-Related Health Myths Debunked

Anyone who spends any amount of time online will find an abundance of eye-related myths, misconceptions and misinformation. Dr. Sandy T. Feldman offers timely and factual information related to eye health and vision during the winter season ahead.

True or False? Dry eyes can be more troublesome in the winter.

True. Dry winter air and central heating can cause eyes to be more sensitive. An easy way to prevent dryness is by using a humidifier to add moisture to the air of indoor environments.

True or False? You don’t need to wear sunglasses in the winter.

False. Sunshine in the winter months might not seem as bright as it does in the summer, but ultraviolet (UV) light still can affect your eyes—even on cloudy days. Eyelid skin is extremely thin and allowing too much UV light through can cause a number of eye problems, including cataracts and several kinds of cancer. Skiers and snowboarders should also be aware that UV radiation is more intense at high altitudes, and sunshine that’s reflected off snow can cause a sunburn on the surface of the eye.

“We tend to protect ourselves from the sun only during the summer, but it’s something to be cautious of all year long,” Dr. Feldman advises. “Be sure to wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV light whenever you go outside, no matter what the season, and consider mirrored sunglasses or goggles if you plan to be out in the snow.”

True or False? Eyes look older in the winter.

True. Surprisingly enough, studies show that people can look as much as five years older during the winter months. Why? Circles and bags under the eyes appear significantly darker in colder months, most likely due to a lack of sunlight. Also, many of us feel more tired and lethargic in the winter due to lower levels of vitamin D, which is generated by the body only when exposed to sunlight.

Click here to read more tips from Dr. Feldman about how to care for your eyes during the winter season.

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12 Frequently Asked Questions About Eyes

In celebration of the festive holiday season, we’ve compiled a 12 Days of Christmas-inspired list of frequently asked questions about eyes. Sandy T. Feldman, MDMedical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center, answers the following eye-related questions.

  • Why does a scratch on the eye hurt so much?
  • Why do we get “sleepers”?
  • What does it mean to have 20/20 vision?
  • Why do eyelids twitch?
  • What’s the difference between an ophthalmologist, optometrist and optician?
  • Can eyes be transplanted?
  • Is it safe to clean my contact lenses with a homemade solution?
  • Will sitting too close to the television set hurt my eyes?
  • Will my child inherit my need for glasses?
  • Can nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism be prevented?
  • How safe are LASIK and cataract surgeries?
  • How long is pink eye contagious?

Want the answers to these questions? Click here to read more!

Image credit: Päivi Rytivaara via freeimages

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Eyes on the Holidays: How to Avoid a Toy-related Trip to the ER

The famous catchphrase from the classic holiday film, A Christmas Story – “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” – was a department store Santa’s response to a young boy’s request for a Red Ryder BB gun. But Santa’s reply is actually sage advice for anyone looking to buy safe holiday toys for children.

“Thousands of children end up in the emergency room every year with eye injuries from a new toy,” says Sandy T. Feldman MD, a San Diego-based physician and one of the nation’s top ophthalmologists. “That’s not a fun way for any child or parent to spend a holiday.”

Children are born with an underdeveloped vision system that develops over time. Young children are very visually stimulated, and nothing stimulates a child’s vision more than a brightly colored new toy.

“Kids spend a lot of time with their toys, so it’s very important to make sure they are safe enough to play with,” says Dr. Feldman. “When eye injuries occur, it’s usually because a toy wasn’t age-appropriate for the child.”

Dr. Feldman offers 12 simple tips for selecting safe toys for children this holiday season:

  • Avoid any toy with sharp or rough edges, spikes, or other dangerous features
  • Make sure toys are sturdy and well-built, able to withstand impact and not shatter into sharp-edged pieces
  • Avoid toys that shoot or launch small balls, darts, water, or any other objects
  • Long-handled toys – such as a pony stick or light saber – should be light-weight and have rounded edges
  • Look for the letters ASTM, which indicates a toy meets safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials
  • Sports equipment should always be accompanied by appropriate protective gear, such as eye goggles or a helmet
  • Read all warnings and directions included with a toy before giving it to the child
  • Pay attention to the age or developmental recommendations printed on toy boxes
  • Any toy labeled “supervision required” should only be used in an adult’s presence
  • Keep toys intended for older children away from younger ones
  • To prevent eye strain and fatigue, set time limits on any electronic devices gifted to older children, such as e-readers, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and computers
  • Dispose of toys’ plastic wrapping material and cardboard packaging, as they may have sharp edges that can cause injury

“There are a lot of wonderful toys out there. Just be diligent about what you buy, and be sure to inspect any gifts from other people before a child plays with it,” said Dr. Feldman. “By preventing unnecessary eye injuries, you’ll ensure that everyone has a happy and healthy holiday season.”

Learn more about how LASIK eye surgery can improve your life. Contact us today!

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Why You Should Be Afraid — Very Afraid — Of Non-prescription Costume Contact Lenses for Halloween

With Halloween only a few days away, many of you are looking for ways to spice up your Halloween costumes with accessories such as facial masks, special makeup and costume contact lenses. After all, what could be a better disguise than different eye color? However, wearing non-prescription contact lenses can result in a painful eye injury or even permanent damage to vision.

These lenses may look neat, especially those that give the appearance of tiger eyes, orange eyes, checkered pupils, and numerous other spooky effects. However they are not sterile, poorly fit the eye, and are often sold illegally.

“Most people who purchase costume contacts don’t have a clue about the dangers they can pose, such as eye infections, corneal abrasions, and even blindness,” said Dr. Sandy T. Feldman. “That’s why the Federal Drug Administration regulates the sale of all contact lenses, to prevent serious damage that non-prescription lenses can cause if they don’t fit right or aren’t properly cleaned or disinfected. Contact lenses need to be cleaned daily.”

The FDA banned the sale of all non-prescription contact lenses ten years ago, classifying all contact lenses as medical devices and allowing only licensed eye care professionals to distribute and prescribe them to patients.

If you’re planning to wear a Halloween costume this year that requires decorative lenses, make sure to following Dr. Feldman’s advice:

    • Consult a professional: When purchasing costume contact lenses, it is best to consult first with an eye care professional, such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
    • Get an eye exam: An eye exam is important in order to ensure that the contact lenses fit properly and are appropriate for the user.
    • Follow proper care instructions: Be sure to follow the specific instructions for cleaning, disinfecting, and wearing your lenses.
    • Be aware of unusual symptoms: When wearing contact lenses, be aware of any unusual or excessive discharge, redness, swelling, or discomfort.
    • Check the fit of face masks: Make sure the eyeholes are large enough that they don’t restrict vision.
    • Do a trial run with costume makeup: Chemicals in costume makeup can irritate the skin and eyes, so be sure to do a small test patch of any product on your hand well before the big night.

Image credit: freeimages

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6 Things to Consider Before Buying Summer Sunglasses

Dr. Sandy T. Feldman recently spoke with Fox Morning News about why sunglasses are just as important as sunscreen to wear during the summer.

When you buy sunglasses, Dr. Feldman suggests looking for a pair that blocks 100 percent of the sun’s ultra-violet light. Here are the other things you should consider when buying sunglasses for optimal eye health and protection.

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See The World Through UV Protected Glasses

From Audrey Hepburn’s oversize lenses in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” to John Lennon’s famous round shades to aviators and Ray-Bans that have popped in and out of style, sunglasses have stayed trendy and iconic over time.

But with summer here, health experts said it’s important to remember to pick a pair of shades that are not only trendy, but offer the right protection to ward off cancer in and around the eye.

And in addition to wearing sunglasses during the summer, experts said they should be worn year-round, especially in sunny spots such as San Diego.

“When shopping for sunglasses, people tend to focus more on appearance rather than UV protection. But it’s possible to find sunglasses that look great and protect the eyes from sun damage,” said Dr. Sandy T. Feldman, medical director at San Diego’s Clearview Eye and Laser Medical Center. “We also tend to protect ourselves from the sun only during the summer, but it’s something to be cautious of all year long.”

The potential danger lies in the fact that eyelid skin is very thin, and too much ultraviolet light can lead to eye problems such as cataracts and various types of cancer.

Read more here about how UV protected glasses can decrease your risk of cancer.

Image credit: freeimages

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An Eye Doctor’s Tips for Choosing the Best Sunglasses

The sunshine-filled days of summer are here and many of us are diligently slathering on sunscreen to protect our skin from sun damage. But sunscreen can’t protect everything—the eyes, for example.

Eyelid skin is extremely thin and allowing too much ultraviolet (UV) through can cause a number of eye problems, including cataracts and several kinds of cancer. The best defense: a good pair of sunglasses.

“When shopping for sunglasses, people tend to focus more on appearance rather than UV protection. But it’s possible to find sunglasses that look great and protect the eyes from sun damage,” said Dr. Sandy T. Feldman.

To learn more about how you can avoid UV damage to your eyes, check out these six tips for purchasing sunglasses:

  1. Make it 100 percent. The single most important thing to look for when buying sunglasses is a sticker or tag indicating they block 100 percent of UV rays.
  2. Bigger is better. The more coverage from sunglasses, the less sun damage inflicted on the eyes. Consider buying oversized glasses or wraparound-style glasses, which help cut down on UV light entering the eye from the sides.
  3. Darker lenses don’t always better. Dark lenses may look cool but don’t necessarily block more UV rays.
  4. Color doesn’t matter. Some sunglasses have colored lenses, such as amber, green or grey. These lenses don’t block more sun but they can increase contrast, which may be useful for athletes who play sports such as baseball or golf.
  5. Polarized lenses cut glare, not UV. Polarization reduces glare coming off reflective surfaces like water or pavement. This doesn’t offer more protection from the sun, but can make activities like driving or being on the water safer and more enjoyable.
  6. Cost shouldn’t be a factor. Sunglasses don’t have to cost a lot to work well.

Image credit: freeimages.com

 

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Look For Ways To Protect Your Eyes

The source can come from anywhere — a splash of a chemical used to clean the pool, the bathroom or the oven. It can come from a spot of grease popping from a frying pan, or a flying cork from a bottle of champagne. It can be the result of a curling iron, or a mascara wand or from routine yard work such as trimming trees or clipping one’s hedges.

There’s nearly no limit on the ways that particles, chemicals, foreign objects or small fragments can enter — or injure — an eye. But there are ways to prevent injuries from happening in the first place, and there is also a proper way to handle an emergency when an eye injury occurs.

Read more about eye injuries and how to prevent them in this San Diego Union-Tribute article.

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Is Lasik Painful?

Has the fear of pain been holding you back from Lasik? These patients agree the procedure is not something to fear. One individual recalls only feeling a slight irritant, and then waking up the next morning pain free. Another patient loved that Dr. Sandy T. Feldman walked him through the procedure, and was thrilled when he sat up after Lasik and was able to see without glasses or contact lenses.

Learn more about how Lasik can improve your life. Contact us today!

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Air Guns Blamed for Eye Injuries in Kids

Summer vacation is upon us and eye doctors and ER staffs are bracing themselves for a surge of vision-threatening eye injuries caused by toy guns that shoot plastic bullets.

According to a recent study by Stanford University researchers, rates for eye injuries from airsoft guns soared more than 500% between 2010 and 2012. The study, drawn from data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, found that more than 3,000 children were treated in emergency departments in 2012 alone for eye injuries incurred by these replica firearms. Other recent studies have shown a similar rise in eye injuries among children and teens, especially those who play paintball. The Stanford study focused primarily on “nonpowder” guns—toys using air, electricity, or springs instead of explosive powder—which researchers largely attribute to the rise in eye injuries.

“Parents shouldn’t be fooled by the word ‘airsoft’ when it comes to these products,” says Sandy T. Feldman, MD, a top-rated eye surgeon and LASIK specialist based in San Diego. “These are not harmless toys. Toys are not something that should ever have the potential to cause serious or permanent vision loss.”

There have been recent reports of teens with irreparably damaged eyesight after playing with airsoft guns, such as an 8th grade boy in Colorado who suffered a punctured eyeball and torn retina after a friend accidentally shot him at close range.

“I cringe every time I see kids playing with air guns, BB guns, or paintball guns, especially when there’s no adult supervision,” says Dr. Feldman. “Oftentimes, they aren’t wearing eye protection and that’s just an accident waiting to happen.”

The most common eye injuries range from minor scratches on the cornea (the protective outer covering of the eye) to the more serious condition of hyphema—bleeding inside the eye. According to Dr. Feldman, hyphemas can often clear up on their own but also make the eye more susceptible to glaucoma in the future.

“If you are a parent, insist that your kids put on protective eyewear and keep close watch whenever these air guns are in use,” says Dr. Feldman. “Spending all day in the ER with a painful and possibly permanent eye injury, that’s not fun for anyone.”

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