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LAWN AND GARDEN: AVOID TRIMMER TROUBLE BY USING EYE PROTECTION

When it comes to landscaping, nothing puts the finishing touches on a tidy garden or yard like a power lawn trimmer. Trimmers are the second most popular lawn implement, behind the lawn mower, with gardeners and homeowners.

Unfortunately, these nylon lawn trimmers are now the fifth leading cause of penetrating eye injuries. Each year, trimmers alone cause more than 1,500 eye injuries. Operating at speeds up to 8500 revolutions per minute, these trimmers spin off tiny fragments of the nylon line, which can enter the eye along with dirt and grass debris. The result: corneal lacerations and fungal infections severe enough to threaten sight.

But trimmers aren't the only danger when working in the garden or yard. Small stones from a lawn mower's blade can also cause a devastating eye injury. In addition, tree or bush branches can cause painful scratches to the eye. And, dust from fertilizers and weed killers can cause burns or eye irritations.

Dr. S. Moshe Roth, optometric physician at Family Eye Care in Old Bridge offers this advice to help prevent eye injuries in the home garden environment:

  • Wear wrap-around safety goggles, made of polycarbonate–the strongest lens material available. You can find these at most hardware and department stores. Look for the label, American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87.1 standards.
  • Don't rely on ordinary prescription glasses for eye safety. Although they are impact-resistant, they are not safety eyewear. In addition, chemical or spray dust can get around the sides easily and into the eyes.
  • Wear sunglasses that block 99-100 percent of the sun's UV-A and UV-B ultraviolet radiation and screen out 75 to 90 percent of light. Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light over time can cause cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, which are potentially blinding. Wide-brimmed caps and hats can only eliminate about 50 percent of UV radiation from reaching the eyes.
  • Additional tips for picking out sunglasses: If you can see your eyes through the lenses, the glasses are not dark enough. Look for a gray tint lens, as to not distort color perception.
    Cover the sharp tips of bamboo or metal stakes (often used for tomato or climbing plants) with plastic wire nuts to prevent an accidental puncture wound.

If an eye injury occurs, apply these emergency care procedures and then seek treatment immediately at a hospital emergency room.

  • For chemical splashes, flood the eye non-stop with low-pressure water for 15 minutes to dilute or remove the chemical.
  • For blows to the eye, apply cold compresses for 15 minutes.
  • Never wash an eye that is cut or punctured. Bandage it lightly and go to the hospital.
  • If an object is stuck in the eye, leave it there and seek treatment at the hospital.
  • For foreign material in the eye, don't rub. Lift the upper eyelid outward and pull it down over the lower lashes. This will cause tears, which can flush the foreign matter out. If not, seek the treatment at the hospital.

Last but not least, remember to have an eye examination every year. Good vision is needed to read instructions on seed packages, fertilizer bags and weed killer bottles, and for spotting those pesky weeds.

There's more to healthy vision than 20/20 eyesight!
Learn more about symptoms of visual problems which
affect
reading, learning, sports and quality of life.

Online Registration Forms

You can now request your next appointment online. 

Visit the Contact Us section of our web site and complete the Patient Registration Form.  The form is secure and our office will be notified once the form is complete.  When you walk in for your next appointment, we'll already  have the information entered into our computers.  We're always looking for ways to serve our patients better.

Begin A Lifetime Of Healthy Vision For Your Infant Today!

Dr. S. Moshe Roth participates in the InfantSEE® public health program.  InfantSEE® provides a comprehensive infant eye and vision assessment within the first year of life at no cost. Simply call to schedule a FREE comprehensive infant eye and vision assessment for your child today!  We are happy to see other family members as well, both children and adults.

Cooing, sitting up, and crawling are signs that your baby is growing. Your baby’s vision has stages of development too, but the signs marking progress may not be so obvious.  Eye health issues and Amblyopia are often silent and have no symptoms.

Those little eyes are the windows she uses to learn almost everything about her new world. It’s up to you to help her develop properly, and ensure that she sees her new world clearly and accurately.  Together we can make sure your child is developing appropriately.

Many eye conditions have no symptoms that can be identified by a parent or in a well-baby check-up. Early detection is the best way to ensure your child has healthy eyes and appropriate development of vision- now and in the future.

What Sport is #1 for Head Injuries?

Most people would think that football would be the number one sports-related head injury, but in actuality, bicycle accidents account for far more traumatic brain injuries each year.  Riding without a helmet can be hazardous to your health.  The reason bicycle riding accounts for more head injuries than football is simply that there more people ride bikes than play football.  Nearly 1 out of 5 sports-related head injuries treated in emergency rooms in 2009 were due to bicycle accidents. Football accounted for 1 out of 10 and baseball was 1 out of 12.

Cycling was also the leading cause of sports-related head injuries in children under 14 and were about double the number related to football.  Part of the reason is that bicycling is so common.  We often don’t think of biking as a serious cause for injury so we don’t take precautions like wearing a helmet.  Bicyclists are at high risk of colliding with motor vehicles.  When riders don’t wear helmets, such collisions frequently result in serious head injuries. In 2009 about 90 percent of bicyclists killed in the United States were not wearing helmets.  A majority of them were middle-aged men.

The bottom line is that bike accidents contribute to more sports-related head injuries than any other activity.

People with a brain injury frequently report visual problems such as seeing words in print run together, have intermittent blurring when reading, and objects that are known to be stationary seem to be moving. The floor may appear tilted and they may have significant difficulties with balance and spatial orientation when in crowded moving environments. Frequently, persons reporting these symptoms to eye care professionals (optometrists and ophthalmologists) have been told that their problems are not in their eyes and that their eyes appear to be healthy.  The reason for this is that vision is actually based in the brain and not in the eyes.  This is why a brain injury is causing all of these vision problems.

Although there are many visual problems that arise from brain injury and stroke, three are more devastating and impairing than the rest. These are visual field loss, persistent double vision, and visual / balance disorders.

Double vision is among the most disorienting and devastating vision disorders. People suffering from double vision will often times go to great lengths to alleviate the double image because it is so bothersome. Many will actually even patch, or cover an eye, thereby eliminating the vision from one eye just to get rid of their double vision. Double vision is caused when the two eyes do not align, or work together and one eye actually turns out, in, up, or down compared to the fellow eye. The disorientation from double vision will frequently trigger dizziness and balance problems.

Brain injury is often accompanied by increased light sensitivity and general inability to tolerate normal glare. The problem seems to be an inability of the brain to adjust to various levels of brightness. It is as if one had a radio and the volume control was broken and you could not make the adjustments you normally do to control loudness.

Many of these problems, visual in nature, can be solved through a program of vision therapy that enables the individual regain skills that were damaged.

Children with IEP's At Risk For Vision Problems

A recently published book titled: A Parent’s Guide to Special Education by authors, Linda Wilmshurst, Ph. D. and Alan W. Brue, Ph. D. offers advice to parents on how to navigate the system and help their children succeed.  This easy to read text offers a wealth of information about services and strategies available for children with learning problems who qualify for special services within the public school system.
 
One such program is an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The purpose of the IEP is to mobilize all of the educational team to bring a coordinated, goal oriented, measurable process of educational support services to the child who qualifies. An IEP is the individual plan for the child who has been shown to have a learning problem or disability.
 
 
 
But, what if a child with an IEP also has a vision problem? Wouldn’t that pose a risk to the child responding effectively to their IEP?   Several states have mandatory eye examinations but most typically provide a vision screening to determine that vision is functioning “normally”. This is where problems begin.  Vision screenings are predominantly an eye sight test. That is, if the child’s visual acuity (eye sight) is better than 20/40 they pass the vision screening!
The fact is, however, that many vision problems occur at normal reading distance rather than the farther distance that the eye chart tests for.
 
A recent Ohio State University study looked at the link between children that had an IEP and a vision problem and compared them to children in the general population.  The research team concluded, “There is considerable association between ocular anomalies and poor school performance. These problems are illustrated by the high prevalence of a variety of eye problems experienced in patients with IEPs.” 
 
They found that 69% of the children with IEPs would have passed the school vision screening test.  That is to say, nearly 70% of those children with an IEP were identified with treatable vision problems and yet would pass the vision screening because their vision problem did not affect their distant eye sight!
 
Problems such as Convergence insufficiency,  Accommodative dysfunction, Strabismus, and  Amblyopia significantly exceeded the general pediatric population.  These four categories are effectively treated with vision therapy.  Eyeglasses do not treat these problems.
 
The final concluding statement by the research team was, “Children with IEPs are likely to have a greater prevalence of nearly all vision-related problems compared to pediatric samples represented in the general population reported in the literature. Because students with IEPs are likely to experience vision-related problems more often than the general population, these children should undergo comprehensive vision examinations to identify and treat these conditions.”
This evidence-based research shows the link between learning problems and vision problems to help children.  Children with vision-related learning problems should be identified with a comprehensive vision examination so that effective treatment can be prescribed.
 
Dr. Roth. OD, FCOVD,  is a developmental optometrist, and is Board certified in Vision Development and Vision Therapy.  As part of his full scope practice, he diagnoses and treats patients of all ages who have had vision problems that ultimately affect learning.  He is available to speak to parent groups. Dr Roth, Lic#  4635 OM# 27OM0005600, practices at Family Eye Care, in Old Bridge and may be reached at 1-732-679-2020.
 

Did your child struggle in school this year?

Did your child struggle in school this year?  Is he still having trouble with reading?  Do you want to make next year a better one?  There may be an underlying vision problem that goes beyond just seeing 20/20 that most eye doctors, pediatricians or school nurses test for.  Now is the time to make changes so that your child is ready for the start of school in September.

 

Recently, the School Readiness Summit: Focus on Vision examined alarmingly high-rates of learning-related vision issues now plaguing America's children.  Thirty national organizations took part in this meeting, including the American Federation of Teachers and the American Optometric Association.  President Obama stated that: “millions of our children fail to reach their full potential because we fail to meet their basic needs.”

 

Studies indicate that as much as 80 percent of learning is done through the eyes.  Undetected and untreated eye and vision disorders in children, such as amblyopia and strabismus, can result in delayed reading and poor outcomes in school. In fact, a number of studies even indicate that visual factors are better predictors of academic success than race or socio-economic status. Eye health and eyeglass issues are only the basics.  A learning based problem may require a special type of eye examination by a Developmental Optometrist, an individual qualified to uncover these often hidden problems.

 

Many eye disorders do not have obvious symptoms.  Parents make the mistake of assuming that their children would tell them if they have a problem seeing.  They often say “my child didn’t complain of headaches, double vision or things looking blurred”. 

 

Most childhood vision problems can be prevented or treated effectively through early detection and follow-up care.  Delayed diagnosis and treatment of vision problems in children can lead to vision loss, additional costly treatments, and missed learning and developmental opportunities. 

The Summit produced a historic joint statement backing "comprehensive eye exams for school-aged children as a foundation for a coordinated and improved approach to addressing children's vision and eye health issues and as a key element of ensuring school readiness in American children."

For the first time ever, health and education leaders agree that in order to address persistent high-rates of learning-related vision problems in school-aged kids, comprehensive eye exams must serve as the foundation for a coordinated and improved approach.  "Thanks to the School Readiness Summit, we're an important step closer to eliminating undiagnosed and untreated vision problems from America's schools, said AOA president-elect Dori Carlson, OD.  "As a mom, family eye doctor and the incoming president of AOA, I'm proud of this gathering and its determination to lead the way toward doing more to ensure that our children reach their full potential, including recognizing the urgent need for regular comprehensive eye exams. Too many American children still go through years of school before a learning-related vision problem is ultimately detected; typically after many other more costly interventions," Dr. Carlson added.

Traditionally, parents, the U.S. educational system and some health care providers have heavily relied on vision screenings to help identify those kids in need of a comprehensive exam. While most vision screenings can catch some types of vision problems, they tend to miss upwards of 75 percent of children with a learning-related vision problem.  Additionally, vision screenings do not treat any potential vision problems and do not ensure that kids will actually receive needed care.  Some states mandate that children receive a comprehensive eye exam before school entry.

Dr. S. Moshe Roth, Optometric Physician, practices at Family Eye Care, in Old Bridge.  He is Board Certified in Vision Development and Therapy.  He sees patients of all ages, for treatment of eye diseases as well as for vision problems.  Lic#  4635 OM# 27OM0005600.  Dr. Roth is a popular speaker with parents and professional groups and may be reached at 1-732-679-2020.

 

The Link Between Vision & Learning

August has been proclaimed as Children’s Vision and Learning Month by Governor Christie and many local government officials.  Its purpose is to promote the detection of vision problems that affect reading and learning.  

 

It is a common misconception that eyeglasses solve all vision problems and that all eye examinations test for all vision issues.  Specific tests are needed to uncover vision problems that affect reading and learning.  Vision Therapy may be the answer to solving underlying vision problems that are at the root of a reading a learning issue. 

 

How important is good vision to learning?  About 80% of all learning during a child’s first 12 years comes through vision. Undetected and untreated vision problems can interfere with the ability to perform to one’s full learning potential.

 

Vision problems can affect comprehension and performance in reading.  It can also cause poor eye-hand coordination, and even social, emotional, or discipline problems.  Vision problems can have a profound effect on your child’s life and ability to succeed.

 

Most vision screenings by a school nurse or a pediatrician consists of visual acuity. It is common to confuse 20/20 visual acuity as being perfect vision.  Acuity is a component of vision.  Vision includes the ability to use the eyes together as a team at distance and near, and moving them together, easily and efficiently, from one distance to another.  When reading, we must move our eyes across the page, fixate, jump from one word to the next, and sustain that ability.  We must then be able to use central and peripheral information and integrate that with our other senses (hearing, touch, balance, etc.) so we can understand what we see.

 

Vision problems are more common than most people would think.  The National Parent Teacher Association estimates 10 million children suffer from vision problems.  According to statistics by Prevent Blindness America, one in 20 preschoolers and 1 out of every 4 school-age children have vision problems.  Also, 3 out of every 5 students identified as problem learners have undetected vision problems.   These numbers are significant especially if your child is one of them.

 

The good news is that with early diagnosis and appropriate comprehensive intervention, the prognosis is good.  Vision Therapy is a progressive program performed under doctor supervision, individualized to fit the visual needs of each patient.  It is generally conducted in office once or twice weekly, and reinforced with home therapy.  The ultimate goal of therapy is to help patients develop or improve fundamental visual skills and abilities, improve visual comfort, ease, and efficiency, and change how a patient processes or interprets visual information.  Optometric vision therapy is supported by ongoing evidence-based scientific research. 

 

Dr. S. Moshe Roth, Optometric Physician, is Board Certified in Vision Development and Therapy and . 

practices at Family Eye Care, in Old Bridge.  In honor of August is Children’s Vision and Learning month, he is offering a special free vision screening to detect reading and learning problems.  Call 1-732-679-2020 to schedule a time.  Lic#  4635 OM# 27OM0005600. 

 

3D for Classroom Learning

3D is not just for movies and entertainment anymore.  It is now used to enhance classroom learning.  Computer generated 3D animation, originally developed for the general entertainment industry, is now applied to education in the classroom to enhance learning.  “Avatar,” the movie, broke all box office records and established a new level of sophistication in 3D imaging. The use of 3D in the classroom has emerged in the past 12 months and offers enormous potential as a tool in teaching and learning. Special projectors create two pictures, one for the “left” eye and one for the “right” eye.  They are then combined with 3D glasses, to create a 3D effect.

 

Why is 3D important?  Children find it hard to understand what is not visible. Visual learning improves the student’s understanding.  By seeing the whole of something, children are able to understand the parts. Students have a strong preference for seeing and doing, rather than just listening. One student stated it succinctly: “Teachers talk a lot and you just sort of tune out, but when you see things it is there and suddenly it all makes sense.”

 

Complex concepts become more easily understood when presented visually. 3D animated models are able to represent information in an easy manner, make learning easier and improve comprehension. Animation allows children to see structures and to see how things work. It makes it possible for them to move rapidly from the whole structure to various parts of the structure, including to the microscopic and cellular levels.

 

Since 3D is more “real” it has a greater effect on learning and retention. These highly vivid experiences make the learning very captivating to the senses. Pupils in the 3D class are more likely to recall detail and retain information longer. Test scores of children who learned in a 3D classroom showed a marked improvement over those learning in traditional classrooms, indicating that children understood things better. Teachers agreed that the pupils discovered new things in 3D learning that they did not know before. The teachers commented that the pupils in the 3D groups had deeper understanding, increased attention span, more motivation and higher engagement.

 

In order to be able to see in 3D, the individual must not only be able to see individual letters on a testing chart, but they must be able to easily point their eyes together. If they point their eyes in front of or beyond the screen, viewing 3D images can potentially create eyestrain and headaches.  Dizziness is a common symptom of difficulty in using the two eyes together as a team. 

 

Fortunately, these conditions respond well to treatments afforded by a comprehensive eye exam that goes beyond just prescribing eyeglasses and eye health. It must include testing for tracking skills and the ability to maintain fixation. Additionally, it must include testing for eye teaming and eye focusing.  If someone can’t physically focus, it then is difficult to mentally focus. As an added benefit the treatments will additionally assist the child in most reading and learning tasks.

 

Dr. S. Moshe Roth, Optometric Physician, practices at Family Eye Care, in Old Bridge.  He is Board Certified in Vision Development and Therapy. He sees patients of all ages, for treatment of eye diseases as well as for vision problems, particularly those that affect learning. Lic# 4635 OM# 27OM0005600.  Dr. Roth is a popular speaker with parents and professional groups and may be reached at 1-732-679-2020.  www.NewJerseyEyeSite.com.

Recognizing Poor Vision

A decline in strong vision is usually the result of a few factors including changes in the body or defects in the eye, eye diseases, side effects of medicine or injuries to the eye. Many people also suffer from visual disturbances resulting from aging or eye stress. These experiences can lead to changes in your eyesight, which can sometimes make it uncomfortable or difficult to get through normal activities, like reading fine print or using a computer for extended periods of time. Common symptoms of these types of vision problems include eye strain, headache, blurred vision, squinting and trouble seeing from short or long distances.

Blurred vision is one of the most oft-reported signs of a vision problem. If you report blurred vision when you're looking at distant objects or signs, you might very well be nearsighted, or myopic. Blurred vision that's present when you are looking at anything close by may be a sign of farsightedness, or hyperopia. Blurred vision can also be a symptom of astigmatism which occurs because of a flaw in the way the cornea is formed, or the curvature of the lens inside the eye. In all cases of blurry vision, it's really important to have your eye care professional thoroughly check your vision and decide on the most effective way to improve your sight.

Rapid flashes of light, sometimes coupled with floating black spots and what may feel like a dark curtain or veil blocking a section of your vision indicates the possibility of a retinal detachment. In this case, see your eye doctor promptly, as it can have serious consequences.

Another common indicator of a vision problem is trouble distinguishing shades or brightness of color. This indicates color blindness. Color vision defects are generally unknown to the patient until discovered with a test. Color blindness is mostly something that affects males. If present in a female it may represent ocular disease, in which case, an optometrist needs to be consulted. For those who struggle to distinguish between objects in minimal light, it is a sign of possible night blindness.

Cataracts, a condition commonly found in older patients have several telltale signs including: blurry sight that worsens in bright light, trouble seeing in the dark or reduced light, trouble discerning small writing or objects, the need for brighter light when reading, improvement in near vision but a decline in distance vision, painful redness of the eye, and an opaque white look to the normally dark pupil.

Pulsing pain in the eye, headaches, blurry sight, inflammation in the eye, colorful halos around lights, nausea and vomiting are indicators of glaucoma, a serious medical illness, which calls for medical attention.

When it comes to children, we recommend you watch for uncoordinated eye movement, or eyes that cross in or out, which could indicate a vision problem called strabismus. Some behavior, such as rubbing one or both eyes, squinting, or the need to shut one eye to focus better, often point to this issue.

If you are familiar with any of the symptoms we've mentioned here, see your eye doctor promptly. Even though some conditions are more severe than others, anything that limits normal vision can be something that compromises your quality of life. A short visit to your optometrist can save you from unnecessary discomfort, or further eye and vision damage.

A Look At Women's Eye Health

In April, Prevent Blindness America addresses eye health issues specific to women.

Women go through many changes during their lifetime. Each change could affect her vision differently. Eye disease among women is becoming more common, particularly in aging women. In fact, studies indicate that the majority of women over the age of 40 exhibit some type of visual impairment, and risk developing conditions such as cataracts, dry eye, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It's worth noting that the chance of women developing vision loss has grown due to women's increasing longevity.

As a woman, the first step to take to maintain good sight is to make a full eye exam part of your regular health routine. Be sure that you get a full eye test before you hit forty, and that you don't forget to follow up with the advice your eye doctor recommends. Also, be familiar with your family history, as your genes are a key factor in comprehending, diagnosing and preventing vision loss. Be sure to look into your family's medical history and alert your eye doctor of any diseases that show up.

When it comes to nutrition, maintain a healthful, varied diet and be sure to include foods full of zinc, omega-3 fats and beta carotene, all which help prevent vision loss from eye disease. If possible, you should also buy vitamin C, riboflavin and vitamin A supplements, which are all great starting points to keeping up optimal eye care.

For smokers, make a decision to stop, as even second-hand smoke can raise the risk of eye disease and is a common factor in age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts. Ultraviolet rays, which can also aid in the development of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, are very harmful to your vision. When outside, and during the summer AND winter, be sure to wear 100% UV protective sunglasses as well as a sun hat to shield your eyes from the sun.

Changes in hormone levels, such as what might take place when a woman goes through pregnancy and menopause, can also slightly change your sight. Sometimes, these changes can even make contact lenses ineffective or slightly painful to wear. During pregnancy, you may want to reduce contact lens wearing time and alter your eyeglass prescription as needed. It's worthwhile to book an appointment with your optometrist at some point during your pregnancy to talk about any eye or vision shifts you may be noticing.

It is also important to protect your eyes from household dangers, like cleaning supplies. Be sure that household chemicals, including cleaning agents, paints and pesticides are kept safely and are locked away from small children. Scrub your hands properly after working with all chemicals and wear eye protection if using toxic substances. Wear safety goggles when fixing things at home, especially when working with potentially dangerous objects or tools.

When used carelessly, eye makeup can also be a safety risk for your eyes. Firstly, never use anyone else's cosmetics. Try not to use old eye shadow, mascara or eyeliner and dispose of anything that's been open for more than about four months, especially anything that's aqueous. Keep an eye out for any allergic reactions and stop use immediately if you notice redness, itchiness or puffiness in or around the eyes. Be aware also that you can actually develop allergies to make up you've been buying for years. And of course, be sure to avoid touching the eye when putting on eyeliners, shadows and mascara.

As a woman, it is important to be educated about the risks and considerations when it comes to looking after your vision. And of course, it can't hurt to inform the other women you know, such as daughters and friends, on the best ways to protect their eyes and vision.