Blog

Do You Stare at a Screen All Day? If So, Here’s How To Protect Your Eyes

All of us use computers, tablets and smartphones all day, every day. A recent survey put the number at five hours a day. The Census Bureau reported in 2015 that a whopping 87% of American households possess a computer. No wonder that record numbers of Americans complain of eye problems due to computer use.

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS, not to be confused with the more famous CVS pharmacy chain) is a fancy name for eyestrain when using digital devices. Symptoms include some combination of headache, fatigue, irritation, scratchiness, dryness and blurring. At greatest risk for developing CVS are individuals who spend two or more continuous hours at a computer or mobile device every day.

Computer and mobile device use is different than reading a printed page. The print is not as precise or sharply defined, the level of contrast between the letters and the background is reduced and the presence of glare and reflections on the screen may make viewing difficult. Viewing distances and angles are different compared to book and newspaper reading. These factors place additional demands on the visual system.

Uncorrected or under corrected needs for glasses will worsen significantly all the problems noted above. We strongly encourage a thorough eye examination in CVS sufferers for this reason. Anti-reflective coatings in glasses will reduce glare from the various screens in use today.

Dry Eye Disease (DED) is also a significant contributor to CVS. Previous articles discussing DED are available at www.coastaljerseyeye.com/blog (Feb. 2018 and Jan. 2017).

Classic Eyewear is located in our Linwood (927-4424) and Cape May Court House (465-7926) offices. Our optical experts are available to fill your prescription for computer glasses or other task specific eyewear. With digital screens a part of everyday life, working with computers should be as comfortable and enjoyable of an experience as it is productive!

June 5, 2018

Sunglasses: Your Most Important Accessory

How many pairs of shoes do you own? On average 20 for women and 12 for men (it’s true…I looked it up on the Internet.) Working out at the gym in dress shoes would be a painful experience indeed!

What about eyeglasses? Having listened to patients talk about their glasses for 35 years, I’d guess most people own one or two pairs.

This series of articles will discuss a variety of eyeglass and lens types, including sunglasses, task-specific glasses such as computer glasses, and lens treatments to enhance vision quality and comfort.

The most important second pair of glasses to own are sunglasses, whether they be prescription or non-prescription. The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) rays, and unprotected, prolonged exposure to these rays can cause serious vision problems. They are also valuable for diminishing glare that can cause distractions while driving, working and playing.

What features should you look for in high-quality sunglasses? Certainly a larger frame, which will block out more of the sun’s rays. Optical quality lenses (no drugstore glasses, please,) with UV coating are a must.

I always recommend polarized lenses because they cut through glare and haze. Lenses come in all colors but experts agree that gray allows the wearer to see outdoor colors as they appear naturally, without glare or light pollution. Neutral tones are a popular choice and improve contrast, visibility and depth perception.

An alternative to sunglasses is photochromic “transition” lenses, which darken when exposed to UV radiation outdoors from the sun. They are certainly convenient because one pair of glasses can perform two jobs. My concern with this product is the lack of sufficient darkening while driving. Most windshields contain a UV blocker, which blunts the darkening effect of the lenses.

The optical experts at Classic Eyewear welcome the opportunity to discuss your eyewear needs. Prescriptions from other doctors are always welcome. Classic Eyewear is located at the offices of the Coastal Jersey Eye Center in Linwood and Cape May Court House.

Dr. Stephen H. Uretsky is a board-certified ophthalmologist with 30 years of practice experience who specializes in comprehensive eye care. Coastal Jersey Eye Center features an optical center, Classic Eyewear, which provides eyeglass frames and lenses to suit every style and budget. For more information on eye exams or to schedule an appointment, please call the Linwood office at 609.927.3373 or 609.465.7926 for the Cape May Court House office. Visit online at www.CoastalJerseyEye.com.

April 5, 2018

Shingles: To Vaccinate or Not – That is NOT the Question

Shingles: To Vaccinate or Not – That is NOT the Question

Shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the varicella zoster virus, the same virus that causes chickenpox. If you’ve had chickenpox (virtually everyone), you are at risk of getting shingles.

  • One of every three people 60 years old or older will get shingles.
  • Half of these people will develop severe pain (post herpetic neuralgia) lasting months or even years.
  • One in 5 cases involve the eye, which can lead to serious complications including chronic pain, glaucoma and severe vision loss.

For reasons not entirely clear, the incidence of shingles has been increasing dramatically in the last 15 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that half of individuals who live to age 85 will develop shingles.

The only way to reduce the risk of developing shingles and the long-term problems that can ensue is to get vaccinated. Recently the CDC lowered the recommended age for vaccination from age 60 to 50 and older.

The really great news is the CDC recently approved a new vaccine, Shingrix. It is much more effective than the older vaccine (greater than 90% decrease in shingles versus about 60% with the previous vaccine).

Current recommendations from the federal agency responsible for immunizations recommends:

  • Shingrix be used instead of the older vaccine, Zostavax.
  • All immunocompetent individuals 50 or older receive the vaccine. Individuals with weakened immune systems including cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, patients with HIV/AIDS and individuals with certain allergies should check with their physicians.
  • People who have had shingles in the past should still receive the vaccine.
  • Individuals who have had the previous vaccine should have the newer one because Zostavax loses its effectiveness over time.

A prominent ophthalmologist who has written about the new vaccine puts it bluntly, ‘… getting shingles in your eye is one of the worst things that can happen to an eye. It can literally go on for the rest of your life.’

March 2, 2018