Protecting your children's eyes during the holidays

The holiday season is here, and for parents of young children that means a return to the annual toy-shopping frenzy.

Before you start notching items off your gift list, take a moment to consider safety precautions that might save an eye and a whole lot of headache.

First, the facts. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 251,000 children under the age of 12 were taken to the emergency room for toy-related injuries last year. The study found 44 percent of those injuries were to the head and eye area.

We all know how big our kids’ eyes get when they finally unwrap that toy they’ve waited all year for. It’s important to protect those eyes from preventable hazards. All it takes is a little discretionary shopping.

Consider toy guns and other play weapons. Between 2010 and 2012, researchers at Stanford University found a 500 percent rise in children’s eye trauma related to airsoft and pellet guns.

From scratches of the cornea to much more serious and potentially blinding injuries, toys like darts, slingshots and even drones can cause a host of eye injuries.

That’s why it’s imperative to understand the risk of toy weapons before filling up your shopping cart with potentially dangerous gifts. The American Academy of Ophthalmology is urging parents to avoid buying toys with sharp or projectile parts, such as toy guns.

Also, be on the lookout for laser toys that do not have a Code of Federal Regulations compliance statement, as they may also cause eye injuries. When it comes to sports items, make sure children have protective eyewear with polycarbonate frames and lenses. These are shatterproof and offer much more protection.

December 4, 2017

The Potential Link Between Vision Impairment and Dementia

Does poor eyesight contribute to mental decline and dementia as we age? Does correcting vision loss prevent or slow down cognitive (memory loss, poor thinking, etc.) decline?

These are very important questions for all seniors. Recent studies show that the prevalence of dementia is expected to double every 20 years and vision loss increase by two-fold in the next 30 years.

Ophthalmologists have long observed that improving vision by cataract surgery in individual patients can help the mental functioning in mild to moderate dementia. I recently received a phone call from the daughter of a patient with moderate dementia who was elated to tell me that her father’s dementia improved significantly after surgery.

A recent landmark study reveals that vision loss and dementia are significantly associated with one another. This information is tremendously important, given the lack of adequate treatment for dementia and the huge toll that this disease takes on the patient, family and society as a whole.

The five major causes of vision loss in the elderly cataracts, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, glaucoma and the need for eyeglasses are all treatable. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends an eye exam for all individuals over 65 every one to two years.

November 6, 2017

Healthy Foods for Healthy Eyes

Proper nutrition is important for good health and emotional wellbeing, but did you know that it also plays a huge role in your eye’s health? Eyes require good nutritional support for a lifetime of proper function.

As we age and expose our eyes to various environmental hazards such as UV light, good nutrition becomes critical. When it comes to healthy vision, micronutrients are most important.

To keep your eyes working like new for a lifetime, try these foods and vitamins:

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an important micronutrient for ocular health and good vision. This vitamin is necessary for the production of retinal pigments used by the light sensing rods and cones in the retina. The most effective way to supplement your body with Vitamin A is by consuming vegetables that are rich in carotenoids including carrots, sweet potato, kale, spinach, pumpkin and collard greens.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Lutein and Zeaxanthin, also considered carotenoids, help protect the eyes from the sun’s harmful rays. Studies show that foods containing these pigments help lower the incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Foods containing Lutein and Zeaxanthin include eggs, spinach, turnip greens, collard greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, zucchini and tomatoes.

These compounds have been shown to effectively slow down the progression of certain types of AMD. The AREDS-2 formulation found in Preservision 2 Eye Vitamin and Mineral Supplement is one such product.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

These promote great cardiovascular health. Studies show that people consuming foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration. Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids are cold-water fish (salmon, tuna, herring etc.), fish oil, walnuts, flax seeds, avocados and dark, leafy vegetables. Omega-3 is also very helpful in individuals with Dry Eyes and is now a standard treatment for this problem.

Adding these important foods to your diet is a great way to maintain and improve your eye health. It’s also important to visit your eye doctor annually for a comprehensive eye exam. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.