Blog

Protect Your Eyes From UV Radiation

Spring is coming! While we all look forward to warmer, brighter days, it’s important to protect our eyes against the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light. Exposure to UV radiation has been linked to the development of cataracts, skin cancer and growths on the eye. The danger is greatest during the summer, of course, when UV radiation from the sun is three times greater than winter.

The best way to protect your vision from UV light is to wear high quality sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB radiation. Don’t be fooled by color or darkness of the lenses –be sure to check the label for 99 or 100 percent UV protection. Wraparound or oversized frames are best for blocking the sun’s rays from every angle.

We strongly recommend polarized lenses. These are extremely effective at reducing glare, which is especially troublesome on cloudy and hazy days. Surrounded by water here in South Jersey, I recommend polarized lenses to all my patients.

Beware of gimmicks such as infrared blockers – infrared rays do not cause eye damage. Despite the marketing hype, there is no evidence that the oft-advertised ‘blue blockers’ are of any value.

For the very substantial percentage of us who wear glasses, consider prescription sunwear. Assess whether or not your lifestyle has you spending much of your time outdoors or driving during the day. The convenience of prescription sunglasses may justify the added cost. The doctors at the Coastal Jersey Eye Center strongly recommend wearing sunglasses. Classic Eyewear, our optical dispensary, wants to help by offering a substantial discount on sunglasses purchased at the same time as regular glasses.

March 3, 2017

Early Detection Critical to Treating Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a major cause of vision loss worldwide. It affects more than 3 million people in the United States – nearly half of whom are unaware they have the disease. During Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, the Coastal Jersey Eye Center joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in reminding the public that early detection and treatment can help protect your sight.

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. Typically, the disease initially has no signs or symptoms. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible blindness.

The Academy recommends that everyone have a comprehensive eye exam at age 40. This exam provides ophthalmologists an opportunity to examine the eye, including the optic nerve, for signs of damage and other problems that may affect vision. Individuals at greater risk for glaucoma include people:

• over age 40;
• of African, Asian or Hispanic heritage;
• who have high eye pressure detected during an eye exam;
• who are farsighted or nearsighted;
• who have experienced eye trauma or eye injury;
• whose corneas are thin in the center;
• or who have diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure or poor blood circulation.

Treatment for glaucoma often involves medicated eye drops or laser treatments, which work by lowering eye pressure to reduce the amount of fluid in the eye, and by increasing fluid outflow from the eye.

“Glaucoma is typically symptomless to patients; however, permanent, irreversible vision loss can already be taking place,” said Andrew G. Iwach, M.D., a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Early detection is paramount to avoiding blindness and managing this disease.”

“Treatment is safe, effective and convenient,” said Dr. Stephen Uretsky of the Coastal Jersey Eye Center, “and the diagnosis is simple to make during an office visit.”

February 10, 2017

Dry Eye Syndrome (DES)

Burning, stinging, redness, scratchiness and eye pain are some of the symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome (DES). DES is an important health problem that can have significant effects on quality-of-life.

Millions of Americans suffer from DES. About 6% of women under 50 and 10% over 75 are affected. Younger women and men are also affected. A recent survey found that DES sufferers are 3 times more likely to have trouble driving, reading and using a computer.

One of the most common symptoms is excessive tearing. You might ask: How can the eye be ‘dry’ despite producing tears? Reflex tearing (tearing when something flies in the eye), for example, is the body's unsuccessful attempt to correct the underlying dryness.

There may be many causes of DES, but most cases are due to aging, eyelid infections (blepharitis) and autoimmune disorders (Sjogren’s Syndrome). Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition of the eyelids that causes chronic redness and prevents the eyelids from producing important components of the tear film, aggravating DES symptoms.

The mainstay treatment is Restasis which is safe, and allergic reactions are rare. Omega 3 supplements also help alleviate symptoms when used with Restasis. Treatment of other associated conditions, including blepharitis, is also necessary. Artificial tears are used for minor symptoms.

January 5, 2017