Top Fireworks Eye Safety Tips

When it comes to July, there is no better time for friends, family, food and, of course, fireworks!  However, despite the entertainment that fireworks can bring, there’s actually a great deal of danger that comes along with it. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2016 there were 11,100 reported fireworks-related injuries that resulted in a trip to the hospital emergency room.

Of those total reported injuries, about 68% of those injuries were around the July 4th holiday and almost 1,000 were injuries to the eyes.  Fireworks-related injuries to the eyes can be particularly devastating as they can result in permanent blindness and affect you for the rest of your life.  The truth of it is that injuries caused by fireworks are pretty much 100% preventable with proper care and handling.  Below are the top fireworks eye safety tips for avoiding any eye-related injuries this July.

Go to a Fireworks Show

One of the safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a professional firework show.  These shows have professionals that know how to handle fireworks and will keep the audience a safe distance to enjoy the fireworks without the risks involved with fireworks.

Keep a Safe Distance

If you do attend a non-professional display of fireworks, you do not have to be the one lighting the fireworks and you can enjoy the view of the fireworks from a safe distance.  It is recommended to stay about 500 feet away to avoid risk of injury.  And, should you be the one lighting the fireworks, you should try to be about 500 feet away from others and take extra precautions for your own safety.

Invest in Safety Glasses

Some people think that sunglasses or glasses are sufficient for protecting your eyes; however, they can actually cause additional harm to the eye should they break or shatter in a fireworks-related accident.  It might seem silly or overly-protective, but during any non-professional fireworks display, everyone should wear safety glasses or goggles that can help to prevent any serious eye injuries.

Properly Supervise Children

Of the reported fireworks-related injuries, children younger than 5 years of age had the second highest estimated rate of ER-treated fireworks-related injuries.  Children at that age are unpredictable and simply do not know how to properly handle something as dangerous as a firework.  Many parents don’t see the harm in having children handle sparklers, but sparklers can burn at 1,800 degrees (hot enough to melt gold!) and are the source of 10% of fireworks-related injuries.  By far and large, the best way to prevent any fireworks-related injuries for children is to not let them play with the fireworks in the first place.  They should be kept at a safe distance and should wear safety glasses (or left inside the house to watch from a window, provided the fireworks are still a distance away from the house).

How to Treat an Eye Injury Caused by Fireworks

Even with some of the above precautions to prevent injuries to the eyes, accidents and injuries can still happen, particularly if you’re around non-professional fireworks displays.  Knowing what to do and what not to do if your eye is injured from a firework may be the difference in potentially devastating damage to the eye or not.

DO NOT

  • Rub, wipe or touch the eye
  • Attempt to rinse the eye out
  • Apply pressure to the eye
  • Take any over-the-counter medication
  • Apply any kind of ointment or burn medicine to the eye

DO

  • This one and simple immediate action: go to the nearest emergency room

Advanced Eye Medical hopes by taking some of the fireworks eye safety precautions above, you can prevent severe eye damage that can be inflicted by fireworks.  Fireworks are certainly a fun part of July, but they are not worth a trip to an emergency room.  Be safe out there!

Are Eye Problems During Pregnancy Common?

A woman’s body goes through a great deal of change during pregnancy.  Changes in hormones, fluid retention, blood circulation and the metabolism can impact a number of things in the body.  Your eyes and vision are just one of the things that can be affected by these bodily changes during pregnancy.

How Can Pregnancy Affect my Vision?

During pregnancy, women often experience water retention.  A side effect of this water retention is that it can cause the curvature and thickness of your eyes to slightly increase.  This can make you more far- or near-sighted than usual.  And while the change is not very drastic, it can be enough to alter the effectiveness of your glasses or contacts to correct your vision.

Another common symptom that pregnant women experience is dry eye.  This is typically common in the third trimester and even while breastfeeding as the result of an increase in estrogen in the body.  The body is then producing fewer tears, which leaves the eyes dry, irritated and red.  One problem that can arise from having dry eye syndrome is irritation caused by scratching or rubbing the eyes.  You can blur your vision and even damage the surface of your eye from constantly trying to relieve your dry eyes.

Pregnancy can also affect pre-existing eye conditions, both by improving or worsening the conditions.  Some diabetic patients have a condition called diabetic retinopathy, which is where high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the blood vessels inside the retina.  During pregnancy, this condition can often get worse, which is why it is recommended if you have diabetes prior to pregnancy, you closely monitor your eyes to make sure that this condition does not develop or worsen.  On the flip side, patients with glaucoma have sometimes seen an improvement in this particular eye condition.  As a result, glaucoma medication may need to be adjusted and it is crucial to monitor the baby’s exposure to the medication throughout the pregnancy.

What Can I Do?

If you are experiencing eye problems during pregnancy, it is helpful to keep in mind that most changes are minor and temporary.  It is unlikely that you will need to change your prescription.  Most women find the symptoms temporary and that they revert back after a few months.  If you feel that your vision is significantly changing, contact your eye doctor right away to monitor any changes within your eyes and to ensure optimal eye care during pregnancy.  LASIK is not recommended while pregnant since there may be temporary changes in your vision and LASIK will not be able to properly correct your vision the way it should.

If you are experiencing dry eye, wearing contact lenses may become difficult.  It may be helpful to make sure to have a pair of glasses handy and to try and give your eyes a rest with contacts, while also treating them with eye drops to help replenish the moisture in the eyes.  It is extremely important that you not rub or scratch your eyes if they are drier than usual.  This can cause irritation and redness, but may also lead to even more problems by infecting the eyes or scratching the surface of the cornea.  Be sure to check with your doctor for any over-the-counter drops and make sure that the ingredients in the drops don’t have any side effects that may be harmful to you and your baby while pregnant.

If you have diabetes or any other health or eye conditions, as noted above, pregnancy can sometimes impact these conditions and any side effects that may come of those conditions.  It is important to take some extra care to monitor these conditions, along with any medication you may be taking to treat these conditions.

In general, the best way for you to care for eye problems during pregnancy is to take the standard forms of care for your eyes.  This includes resting your eyes from long, strenuous hours on the computer or in front of electronics, reading with ample lighting, taking your contacts out whenever possible and definitely before going to sleep, and always make sure to protect your eyes from the sun and its harmful UV rays.  By taking the steps for everyday care of your eyes, you will help be doing all that you can do to avoid any other factors that may affect your eyes and vision while pregnant.

For help or questions regarding eye problems during pregnancy, please do not hesitate to visit Advanced Eye Medical today to help you clear up your concerns and your vision.

 

Why You Shouldn’t be Rubbing Your Eyes

The urge to rub your eyes is natural when you’re tired or when they’re irritated. However, is rubbing your eyes bad for you? Rubbing your eyes may provide temporary relief, but it can negatively impact vision health.

Reasons to Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes

If you aren’t careful whenever you rub, knuckle or palm your eyes, you could cause damage in the following ways.

  1. Dark Circles. Rubbing your eyes can contribute to dark circles. Consistently rubbing your eyes can break tiny blood vessels that surround your eyes. Over time, this can promote the development of periorbital circles, which appear as dark rings around or under your eyes. The darkened color is a result of blood leaking out of the periorbital vessels. While harmless, in rare cases, they can be an indication of hypothyroidism or liver disease.
  2. Eye Infections. We use our hands for pretty much everything, so it’s no surprise they accumulate dirt and germs (such as staphylococcus, streptococcus, salmonella, and E. coli) along the way. When we touch our eyes without washing our hands first, we risk transferring germs and bacteria. These germs can cause infections like pink eye or increase your risk of catching a cold or influenza.
  3. Potential for Injury. Different things can cause your eyes to itch. The most obvious is that you have something in your eye. However, rubbing your eyes is one of the most dangerous ways to get it out. In fact, rubbing your eyes can scratch and permanently damage your cornea.
  4. Thinned Cornea. Over time, rubbing your eyes repeatedly causes trauma and weakens the collagen fibers in the cornea.
  5. Released Histamines. If the itchiness is caused by allergies, rubbing your eyes provides temporary relief as you stimulate tear production. However, the extra pressure and movement also stimulates the release of additional histamines into the area around the eyes.

Natural Remedies for Itchy, Irritated Eyes

Next time, allow your eyes to naturally produce teats to flush out irritants. If your eyes are dry, try using eye drops to relieve the itch. If your eyes are irritated from continued use of computer screens, then give your eyes a break. Look away from the screen every 20 minutes and either gaze out the window or around the room to rest your eyes.

Another tip for tired eyes is the 20-20-20 rule. Look away from your computer every 20 minutes, gaze at a distant object 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This encourages the eyes to relax the muscles inside the eye to reduce fatigue.

Last but not least, remember to blink. Tears coating the eye evaporate more rapidly during long non-blinking periods can cause dry eyes. The air in many offices is dry, which can increase how quickly your tears evaporate. If you experience dry eyes, blink 10 times every 20 minutes – slowly. This will help rehydrate your eyes and encourage tear production.

So, is rubbing your eyes bad for you? It sure can be!

If you have consistently itchy eyes, contact your eye doctor for a consultation. He or she can help you figure out the problem.

Trust the Professionals

For a consultation towards healthy vision, or for information regarding LASIK in Orange County, contact Laser for Eyes today. We are standing by to answer any of your concerns, and to help you get your vision back to where you want it. Join our growing family of happy customers who trust us with their eyes.

The Importance of Children’s Eye Care

Children’s eye care is a precaution that should be considered from a very young age; therefore, it’s essential that we teach our children about the best eye care to help them develop healthy habits. Protect their eye health to help reduce the risk of vision loss that comes with sun exposure, humidity and dehydration dangers to your vision health.

To get started, make sure you take your kids for regular eye exams. This ensures that healthy vision is set in place to support your child’s ability to learn and achieve their academic potential, as well as play sports and other outdoor activities.

Regular eye exams give any indicators you need for prescription glasses. It also builds in a healthy routine for your kids and encourages them to be more mindful of the way they look after their eyes.

When Should I Take My Kids to Eye Exams?

Routine eye exams for kids’ vision include:

  • Newborns should be checked for general eye health by a pediatrician or family physician in the hospital nursery.
  • High-risk newborns (including premature infants), those with a family history of eye problems, and those with obvious eye irregularities should be examined by an eye doctor.
  • In the first year of life, all infants should be routinely screened for eye health during checkups with their pediatrician or family doctor.
  • Around age 3, kids should have eye health screenings and visual acuity tests with their pediatrician or family doctor.
  • Around age 5, kids should have their vision and eye alignment checked by their pediatrician or family doctor. Those who fail either test should be examined by an eye doctor.
  • After age 5, routine screenings should be done at school and the primary doctor’s office, and if symptoms such as squinting or frequent headaches occur.

Early Eye Exams: What Do They Check For?

Early eye exams are important because children need to develop basic skills related to good eyesight for learning. This includes:

  • Near vision
  • Distance vision
  • Binocular (two eye) coordination
  • Eye movement skills
  • Focusing skills
  • Peripheral awareness
  • Hand-eye coordination

What to Prepare For

During your appointment, your eye doctor may ask whether complications occurred during the pregnancy or delivery. Other questions will concern the child’s medical history including current and past allergies and current medications.

Other conditions to discuss with your eye doctor include:

  • A history of prematurity
  • Delayed motor development
  • Frequent eye rubbing
  • Excessive blinking
  • Failure to maintain eye contact
  • Inability to maintain a gaze while looking at objects
  • Poor eye tracking skills

The Importance of Eye Health for Your Child

Early eye exams are vital to ensure your child has the visual skills he or she needs to perform well in school and everyday activities. If your child is unable to see print or view a blackboard, he or she can become easily frustrated, leading to poor academic performance.

Routine eye exams can also help identify complications at an early stage. For example, lazy eye is best treated if they are detected and corrected as early as possible while the child’s vision system is still developing. The younger the child, the more apt they are to adjust to treatment options and improve vision health.

Let Us Help

For a consultation towards healthy vision, or to clear up any questions you may have about children’s eye care, contact Advanced Eye Medical today. We are standing by to answer any of your concerns, and to help you get your vision back to where you want it. Join our growing family of happy customers who trust us with their eyes.

 

Is 20/20 Eyesight Really Perfect Vision?

You have probably heard someone say, “I have perfect 20/20 vision!” before.  It is often what many people think when it comes to having “perfect” vision.  It is certainly what we are taught when we are growing up by our parents and doctors.  But, what is 20/20 vision and is 20/20 vision good… or perfect?

What is 20/20 Vision?

The phrase “20/20 vision” simply refers to what doctors have deemed to be “normal vision” by utilizing an eye chart that is placed 20 feet away.  The standard is 20 feet because that is considered the distance where individuals should be able to see with the eyes relaxed and with no strain.  As a result, the eye chart test (also known as a “Snellan Chart” named after a Dutch ophthalmologist named Herman Snellan) is a standard form of measuring the clarity and sharpness of one’s vision.  It was developed back in the late 1800’s and is still used to this day.

The top number refers to your distance from the chart (20 feet) and the bottom number refers to the size letter you can read, which then indicates the distance the average person would have to be to read that same line.  For example, if you are tested and have 20/15 vision, it means that your vision is actually better than the average.  When you are standing 20 feet away from the chart, others with “normal vision” would have to be closer at 15 feet to see the same letters.  Similarly, if your vision is 20/40, your vision is worse than the average person.  You have to be 20 feet away from the chart where the average person could see at 40 feet away.

What is “Perfect” Vision?

So, is 20/20 vision good? The short answer is yes, definitely. However, even 20/20 vision is not considered “perfect vision”.  Since an individual can = have sharper vision than the average, the idea of 20/20 being the best or “perfect” vision is technically incorrect.  It is, however, the typical goal that most eye doctors seek to achieve with corrective lenses or contacts.  And individuals with vision 20/200 or worse are actually considered legally blind.

When Should You Get Your Eyes Tested?

It’s estimated that only 35% of the population retains 20/20 vision throughout their life without either glasses, contacts or corrective surgery.

In fact, it is believed that children develop visual acuity early and within the first year of their life, so it is recommended that the sooner you can get your child’s eyes checked, the better.  You can catch any changes in the child’s vision early on and take immediate corrective action.  Around the age of 8 or 9, it is believed that children become nearsighted and start to lose their 20/20 vision.  And while it will remain relatively stable throughout the remainder of your life, as you get older (into your 60’s and 70’s), your vision will change again.  This is why it’s so important to be sure to get your eyes tested every year with your annual eye exam.  Not only will your eye doctor be able to catch any changes with respect to your vision, but they will also be able to check for other potential problems with your eyes, such as cataracts, glaucoma and other eye infections and eye diseases.  Any changes with respect to your vision can be rectified immediately with corrective lenses and/or contacts.

In conclusion, you don’t have to worry so much about trying to have “perfect” vision throughout your life.  There are a number of factors that can affect your vision, including some that are out of your control (like genetics).  It is important that you take proper care of your eyes to help keep them healthy.  This includes, as mentioned above, getting regular eye exams.  Also, if you require corrective lenses or contacts, making sure to wear them appropriately and when necessary.  Avoid unnecessary strain on your eyes, particularly if your eyes are not 20/20 and you need help to correct your vision.  You can also take good care of your eyes by protecting them from the sun’s harmful UV rays, making sure you read in good lighting, and taking a break from all of your electronic devices (particularly those your smartphone and computer).

If you experience persistent blurry vision, you may be eligible for LASIK. The laser vision correction procedure can correct refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. By doing so, LASIK can lower a person’s dependence on prescription glasses and contact lenses. If you are interested in learning more about LASIK or if you’re still asking yourself “is 20/20 vision good”, contact Advanced Eye Medical. Schedule a FREE consultation by calling (800) 80-LASER (52737) today.

 

How to Protect Your Eyes This Summer

The skin around your eyes are the thinnest on the body and is the most susceptible to ultraviolet radiation. Exposure to excessive amount of UV radiation over a short period of time can cause extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing. It can be painful and feel like a sunburn to the eye. The longer the eyes are exposed to UV radiation, the greater the risk of developing eye disorders such as cataracts or macular degeneration. Fortunately, Summer eye protection and preventative options are available to offer UV protection.

Why Is Summer Eye Protection Important?

Short and long term exposure to UV radiation can harm the eyes, affect vision and compromise eye health. Eye diseases and conditions caused by exposure to UV radiation include:

  • Macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Pterygium, also known as surfer’s eye
  • Skin cancer in and around the eyelids
  • Photokeratitis, also known as corneal sunburn

3 Tips to Protect Your Eyes This Summer

Wear Sunglasses with UV Protection

Sunglasses are essential for protecting eyes from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Sunglasses should be worn whenever you are outdoors during the daytime and this should be a practice that comes as second nature.

For the best protection, choose sunglasses with 100-percent protection against both UVA and UVB rays. To be sure your sunglasses adequately protect your eyes, follow these tips from the AOA, which can also be found in the AOA’s Sunglasses Shopping Guide. 

  • Be sure your sunglasses block out 99 to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. While some contact lenses also offer UV protection, these should still be worn with sunglasses to maximize protection.
  • Your sunglasses should screen out 75 to 90% of visible light.
  • The frame of your sunglasses needs to fit close to your eyes and contour to the shape of your face. This prevents exposure to UV rays from all sides, even from behind.
  • Pick lenses that are perfectly matched in color and are free of distortion and imperfection. Lenses should also have a uniform tint, not darker in one area from another. The AOA suggests a gray tint, which is particularly helpful when driving as it offers the best color recognition.

Sport a Wide-Brimmed Hat

While sunglasses prevent overexposure to UV rays, they do not block them from every angle. To ensure full protection and overall eye health, wear a wide-brimmed hat in addition to your sunglasses to protect all sides of your eyes.

Eat a Healthy Diet and Stay Hydrated

Eye health starts with a good diet. It’s not just carrots that help your eye sight — dark green leafy vegetables, fish, nuts and dark-colored berries all contain essential nutrients and antioxidants that will do wonders for your eyes. Vitamin A, for example, is commonly found in bright yellow and orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes. Fruits like strawberries, oranges and mangoes provide vitamin C and other antioxidants, which also help fight eye disease. Salmon and other cold-water fish are also high in omega 3s — good for tear production, which relieves dry eyes.

In addition, it is important to stay hydrated. During the summer, you are more likely to become dehydrated, which can make it harder for the body to produce tears, leading to dry eyes and other vision problems. Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water each day can prevent negative effects of dehydration.

Let Us Help

For a consultation towards healthy vision, or to clear up any questions you may have regarding Summer eye protection, contact Laser for Eyes today. We are standing by to answer any of your concerns, and to help you get your vision back to where you want it. Join our growing family of happy customers who trust us with their eyes.