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Myopia Prevention

Nearsightedness, also known as myopia, affects about 42 percent of Americans. Myopia is caused by improperly functioning eye muscles, making far objects appear blurred. Severe cases of myopia increase the risk of retinal detachment, premature cataracts and glaucoma, which can cause permanent vision loss and even blindness.

Many studies suggest that focusing on close work could have a greater effect on myopia than previously thought.

In one study, researchers found that more than half of college graduates had myopia, but among people who never enrolled in college, only a third were nearsighted, and only a quarter of those who never entered high school were myopic.

School-age children are especially at risk for worsening a mild case of myopia by spending hours working on a computer or using hand-held devices. Fortunately, there is a simple way to counteract this: by getting outside and letting the eyes focus on far objects each day.

In another study, nearly 40 percent of 6-year-olds who spent less time outside developed myopia, compared to 30 percent of those who spent 40 extra minutes outdoors each day – and those who did have myopia had milder cases than the ones who stayed indoors more.

As soon as parents notice that children have trouble reading at a distance, they should have their eyes examined by an ophthalmologist. If detected early, myopia can be lessened or reversed with reading glasses for close-up work, to encourage the eye’s focusing muscles to work properly. If left uncorrected, the eye muscles will lock in place, requiring corrective lenses for distance vision.

Spending time outdoors focusing on far objects and being exposed to beneficial UV light plays a significant role in the healthy development of children’s eyes. Make sure your children balance time spent using electronic devices with outdoor play or work.

November 2016

AAO 2016: Dr. Uretsky's Thoughts

AAO 2016 | October 16, 2016

 

Halloween Costume Lenses

One of the hottest accessories for Halloween costumes in recent years are decorative contact lenses. When choosing accessories for your Halloween costume, protect your vision and avoid an unwanted scare by wearing only ophthalmologist-approved contact lenses from trusted manufacturers.

Over-the-counter decorative contact lenses have become popular in novelty shops and are easily purchased online, but consumers have no way of knowing whether the products are safe to wear.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology strongly warns against using any over-the-counter non-prescription contact lenses. These lenses may be made with harmful materials that can cause painful corneal ulcers or keratitis, leading to impaired vision or blindness. In addition, lenses with designs printed on them have rough surfaces which can scratch the eye, allowing bacteria to cause infection and potentially blindness. A recent study tested five varieties of decorative lenses and found three contained chlorine, and four types of lenses contained iron.

Consumers can obtain FDA-approved decorative contact lenses from reputable manufacturers with a prescription. Your ophthalmologist can provide a copy of your contact lens prescription, giving you the option of buying lenses from an eye care professional or legitimate online retailer. Always buy your contact lenses from a seller that requires a valid prescription.

Ask your ophthalmologist about the risks before you purchase costume lenses, and have your eyes examined right away if you have used over-the-counter lenses. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

October 2016