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Back-To-School Eye Exams Help Kids Succeed in the Classroom

School supplies… new shoes… eye exam?  It’s back to school season, which makes it a perfect time for a comprehensive eye exam.

Many of us believe that vision screenings – like those offered by the school nurse or in the pediatrician’s office – are effective at detecting vision problems. While helpful in detecting some problems, they are no substitute for an exam performed by an eyecare professional.

Small children rarely complain of vision problems. They are easily distracted and inattentive during these ‘mass screenings’, thus further limiting their usefulness.

Some kids are at higher risk for vision problems and should receive regular eye exams.  These include the children of parents with significant eyeglass needs, children of Asian ethnicity, and a family history of childhood eye problems including crossed and lazy eyes. Also, once a child is prescribed glasses, vison can change rapidly so annual eye exams are a must.

Poor vision can lead to behavioral and attention issues in the classroom. According to Prevent Blindness America, one in four school-age children have vision problems that, if left untreated, affect their learning ability.

Here are some eye health safety tips:

  • Be on the lookout for indicators of potential problems. Common signals that a child is experiencing a vision problem includes covering one eye, holding reading materials close to the face and complaining of headaches.  Be aware that small children rarely complain of poor vision.
  • Prevent eye strain by monitoring the use of electronic devices.
  • Wear proper eye protection for sports and outdoor activities. Protective eye wear and quality sunglasses with UV protection are critical to maintaining key visual skills for sports.
  • Encourage children to wash their hands before putting them close to their eyes.
  • Feed your children fruits and veggies to support healthy vision. Leafy greens like spinach, kale and collard greens, as well as fish like salmon, tuna and halibut have been shown to improve eye health.
     

Maintaining proper eye health throughout the year is crucial to a child’s education and growth. Start the school year right and make it a priority to get your child a comprehensive eye exam at Coastal Jersey Eye Center.

Dr. Stephen H. Uretsky is a board-certified ophthalmologist with 35 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.

Three Things Patients Should Know About Cataracts

Approximately 25 million Americans have cataracts, which causes cloudy, blurry or dim vision and often develops with advancing age. In June, Coastal Jersey Eye Center  joined the American Academy of Ophthalmology in observing Cataract Awareness Month by sharing three things everyone should know about the condition and its treatment.

As everyone grows older, the lenses of their eyes thicken and become cloudier. Eventually, they may find it more difficult to read street signs. Colors may seem dull. These symptoms may signal cataracts, which affect about 70 percent of people by age 75.

Fortunately, cataracts can be corrected with surgery. Ophthalmologists, physicians who specialize in medical and surgical eye care, perform around three million cataract surgeries each year to restore vision to those patients.

Get an idea of what someone with cataracts might experience with this cataract vision simulator. [For web use address: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/cataracts-vision-simulator]

The following are facts people should know about the condition:

1.         Age isn’t the only risk factor for cataracts. Though most everyone will develop cataracts with age, recent studies show that lifestyle and behavior can influence when and how severely you develop cataracts. Diabetes, extensive exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and certain ethnicities have all been linked to increased risk of cataracts. Eye injuries, prior eye surgery and long-term use of steroid medication can also result in cataracts. If you have any of these or other risk factors, talk to an ophthalmologist.

2.         Cataracts cannot be prevented, but you can lower your risk. Wearing UV-blocking sunglasses and brimmed hats when outside can help. Several studies suggest that eating more vitamin C-rich foods may delay how fast cataracts form. Also, avoid smoking cigarettes, which have been shown to increase the risk of cataract development.

3.         Surgery may help improve more than just your vision. During the procedure, the natural clouded lens is replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens, which should improve your vision significantly. Patients have a variety of lenses to choose from, each with different benefits. Studies have shown that cataract surgery can improve quality of life and reduce the risk of falling. If cataracts are interfering with your ability to see well, consider asking your ophthalmologist about cataract surgery.

Dr. Stephen H. Uretsky is a board-certified ophthalmologist with 35 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.

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