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Leave The Fireworks To The Professionals This Summer

Summer is synonymous with barbecues, parades and fireworks. But along with the festivities are plenty of visits to emergency rooms due to fireworks accidents.

June is Fireworks Eye Safety Month and protecting children from the dangers of fireworks should be a top priority for every parent. Over 10,000 fireworks injuries requiring an emergency room visit occur annually. 

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), fireworks incidents caused nearly 1,300 eye-related injuries to Americans in 2018. Children are frequent victims, with 35 percent sustaining fireworks injuries under the age of 15.

Though the most disabling injuries occur with illegal firecrackers, most injuries are caused by legal fireworks parents buy for their children, including sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets and Roman candles.

Note to parents of young children: Sparklers burn at 1800 degrees, hot enough to melt some metals. Sparklers were responsible for most of the injuries to children age five and younger.

Eye injuries can be very serious and possibly blinding. Many of these injuries occur to bystanders. The best prevention is simply to avoid using fireworks and attend a professional light show instead. And, of course, never let your child handle fireworks of any type, even sparklers.

For those who do handle fireworks, the CPSC estimates that 90 percent of all eye injuries can be prevented through use of suitable protective eyewear.

In the event an eye injury occurs, seek medical help right away. Avoid rubbing or rinsing the eye, and refrain from applying pressure to the eye or any type of ointment.

Playing with fireworks can blind you or your loved ones. That’s why it’s important to avoid consumer fireworks altogether and leave it to the professionals this summer!

June 27, 2019

Cataract Surgery Helps Improve Quality Of Life

Cognitive decline – the slowing of our mental abilities – is something that happens to us all as we age. Visual and hearing impairments have long been known to be associated with cognitive decline and dementia.

One of the most common causes of poor vision in the elderly is cataracts. The benefits of cataract surgery extend beyond seeing better and include a higher perceived healthiness, lower anxiety symptoms and better cognition.

However, what is not entirely clear is if cataract surgery can influence the trajectory of cognitive decline. In the study, researchers compared the rates of cognitive decline in over 2,000 senior citizens followed for 13 years before and after they had cataract surgery.

This study concluded that the rate of cognitive decline decreased by 50 percent after cataract surgery. Additionally, cognitive abilities were similar to those without any cataracts at all.

In their conclusion, the investigators noted that further research is needed to determine the link between cataract surgery and possibly decreasing dementia. However, it is clear that maintaining healthy vision can keep one sharper longer. These findings are promising in the fight against dementia.

Early detection through a comprehensive eye exam can help maintain the clearest vision possible. Schedule an exam with your ophthalmologist today.

Dr. Stephen H. Uretsky is a board-certified ophthalmologist with 35 years of practice experience who specializes in comprehensive eye care.

May 3, 2019

Diet Can Lower Your Risk of Cataracts

About 25 million Americans have cataracts, which causes cloudy, blurred or dim vision and often develops with advancing age. About 70 percent of people will have cataracts by age 75. In June, Coastal Jersey Eye will join the American Academy of Ophthalmology in observing Cataract Awareness Month by sharing information about cataract risk factors.

Cataracts occur naturally with age and cloud the eye’s lens, turning it opaque. Despite the advent of modern cataract removal surgery, cataracts remain the leading cause of blindness globally. Although cataracts cannot be prevented, you can lower your risk of developing them.

A study published in Ophthalmology suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C could cut risk of cataract progression by a third. Researchers found that people who consumed vitamin C-rich foods such as citrus fruits, red peppers, broccoli and kale had a 33 percent risk reduction of cataract progression.

How vitamin C inhibits cataract progression may have to do with its strength as an antioxidant. The fluid inside the eye is normally high in vitamin C, which helps prevents oxidation that clouds the lens. More vitamin C in the diet may increase the amount present in the fluid around the lens, providing extra protection. Researchers noted that the findings only pertain to consuming the nutrient through food and not vitamin supplements.

Since extensive exposure to sunlight has been linked to cataract development, wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and brimmed hats when outdoors can help. Also, avoid smoking cigarettes, which have been shown to increase cataract risk.

Other risk factors for developing cataracts include diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and long-term use of steroids. Talk to your ophthalmologist about your risk factors, and if cataracts are interfering with your ability to see well, ask about cataract surgery.

April 3, 2019