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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.

HEALTHY EATING HABITS PLAY A ROLE IN EYE HEALTH

In honor of Save Your Vision Month, celebrated each March, Dr. S. Moshe Roth and staff at Family Eye Care want to remind you about the importance of healthy eating habits for optimum eye health.

More than 22 million Americans suffer from cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the two leading causes of visual loss and blindness. "Because cataracts require costly surgery and treatment options for AMD are currently limited, preventive measures play a particularly important role in maintaining good eye health," said Dr. Roth.

Based on research by the National Eye Institute, in addition to countless clinical trials, studies and surveys, there is a positive correlation between good nutrition and the prevention of AMD and cataracts. Studies have suggested that by eating foods rich in six nutrients — antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc — you can protect your eyes from disease. In other words, healthy eating habits can mean healthy eyes.

So, what type of foods are EYE HEALTHY? If you are familiar with the link between carrots and good eye health, then you have done some homework. Let's explore other foods that can benefit your eyes. These are foods that contain the six key nutrients for eye health.

Most fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamin C, including oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, papaya, green peppers and tomatoes.

Vitamin E is more difficult to obtain from food sources, since it is found in very small quantities. However, good food sources include vegetable oils (safflower and corn oil), almonds, pecans, wheat germ and sunflower seeds.

Beta-carotene is present in dark green leafy vegetables (spinach!), deep orange or yellow fruits (carrots, mangos, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, apricots, and peaches), vegetables and fortified cereals.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are found together in many food sources. Dark green leafy vegetables are the primary sources of lutein and zeaxanthin (kale, collard greens and spinach), but they are also present in lesser amount in other colorful fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, orange peppers, corn, peas, persimmons and tangerines.

Good food sources of zinc include meat, liver, shellfish, milk, whole grains and wheat germ.

Eating healthy for your eyes could be the most promising means of protecting your eyes from AMD and cataracts. In addition, planning menus rich in the nutrients described above can mean better overall health for you and your family. Consider eating eye healthy foods and gain benefits for your whole body.

Protect Your Eyes From The Sun To Keep Them Healthy

It is also important to protect your eyes from the damaging rays of the sun. "The sun's damaging effects are a concern year round regardless of what the temperature is outside," said Dr. Roth

In addition to visible light, the sun gives off ultraviolet radiation. This radiation is divided into three types: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. The earth's ozone layer absorbs UV-C radiation, leaving sunglasses to protect against UV-A and UV-B rays.

Studies indicate that long-term exposure to UV-A and UV-B can contribute to the development of cataracts; retinal problems; benign growths on the eye's surface; cancer of the eyelids and skin around the eyes; and photokeratitis, a temporary but painful sunburn of the eye's surface.

"The sun's brightness creates a disabling glare that interferes with comfortable vision and the ability to see clearly," adds Dr. Roth. It causes eyes to squint and to water. This glare occurs on cloudy as well as sunny days. On snowy days, sunglasses reduce the reflected glare that occurs when the sun's light bounces off snow.

The best protection against the sun's damaging rays is consistent use of sunglasses. Use the following tips when selecting your next pair of sunglasses. For optimum sun protection, the sunglasses should:
block out 99-100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation
screen out 75-90 percent of visible light (fashion-tinted lenses usually do not meet this level)
be perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfection
have gray, green, or brown lenses (gray is recommended)

Children and teenagers are particularly susceptible to the sun's damaging rays because they typically spend more time outdoors than adults and the lenses of their eyes are more transparent than those of adults. Thus, this allows more UV radiation to reach the retinas of children and teenagers (the retina is the light sensitive layer at the back of the eyes.) The effects of UV radiation are cumulative, so it's important to develop good protection habits early in life.

Give yourself the gift of healthy vision with a great pair of sunglasses-your eyes will love you for it.

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.

Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyes

Diabetes, sometimes called "sugar" can cause many different eye problems. It can bring on Cataracts, Glaucoma, and new blood vessel that break easily and leak blood. This is called a hemorrhage. It can also cause blurred vision and frequent changes in eyeglass prescription.

In this article, we will focus primarily on the changes in the back of the eye, called Diabetic Retinopathy. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness among adults. About 1 out of every 4 people with diabetics has some form of the disease. Juvenile diabetes is diabetes that usually starts at an early age, and adult onset diabetes usually starts later in life. As we get older, it is more likely to have changes in the retina, and the longer that someone has diabetes, it is also more likely for them to have diabetic retinopathy. Most (90%) of diabetics may experience some form of diabetic retinopathy over the course of their life, but only a small percentage of those developing diabetic retinopathy have vision problems. An even a smaller number of diabetics become blind.

What is diabetic retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes that causes abnormalities in the tiny blood vessels that supply nourishment to the retina. The retina is the thin layer of delicate nerve tissue that lines the back portion of the eye. It is somewhat similar to a photographic film in a camera. In diabetes, these little vessels become weak and then leak fluid and blood. Nutrients that are needed for good health in the retina can't get to where they are needed. If this is left untreated, then diabetic retinopathy can result in severe visual loss, including blindness.

What causes diabetic retinopathy?

We don't completely understand what causes diabetic retinopathy, but we do known that diabetes makes these small blood vessels weak in various areas of the body, including the retina. Although we can't prevent diabetic retinopathy, we can often control it.

What are the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy?

At times there may be gradual blurred vision, but significant loss of sight does not usually occur with background retinopathy. There is no pain or external symptoms such as bloodshot eyes or discharge, and therefore, changes in the retina can go unnoticed unless detected by an eye examination.

When bleeding happens, as the disease becomes worse, this is called proliferative retinopathy. There can be clouding or complete loss of sight. The retina can become pulled, and this causes distortion and blurring. It is possible to have these changes going on without ever feeling as though things are happening.

How is diabetic retinopathy diagnosed?

A comprehensive eye examination is the best protection against the progression of diabetic retinopathy. The disease can be detected by viewing the retina with instruments which illuminate and magnify the structures of the eye.

A new instrument called the Optomap Retinal Examination can take a picture of the back part of the eye in less than a second. There are no eye drops, no blurred vision, and no need to bring someone to drive you home. The doctor is able to show you the picture of your own retina on the computer screen, and let you know how it looks. It also serves as a permanent record to be able to check for changes from one visit to the next.

If diabetic retinopathy is found, a special test with dye is performed to determine the extent of blood vessel leakage. In this procedure, a series of photographs are taken as a dye travels through the arteries and veins in the retina. In some cases, ultrasound equipment may be used to check for retinal detachment.

Prevention is the best medicine

Early detection and management of diabetic retinopathy is important to stop or slow down the development of the more sight damaging stages of the disease. Even when no symptoms are noticed, people with diabetes should have frequent eye examinations. Those people that don't have diabetes should also have their eyes examined periodically, to help detect the presence of diabetes and other diseases. With careful monitoring, treatment of diabetic retinopathy can usually be started before sight is affected.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of diabetic retinopathy or other vision problems, you should obtain a complete eye examination. If you have diabetes, you should have at least one eye examination every year.

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.

 

How One Parent Solved the Homework Battle

For many families, homework is the most dreaded time of day, because it can be so frustrating. In Rachel's case, her mother had to read the homework assignments to her every night because she read too slowly. Rachel is now in 8th grade at a private academically accelerated school, but she has struggled from the beginning of first grade. Unfortunately, each passing year has gotten worse as the reading demand increased.

Rachel's mother just couldn't keep doing Rachel's homework every night. She wished that there was a solution. There were so many other things that needed to be done. Then one day Rachel told her mother that the blackboard was blurry when she tried to look at it. Rachel's mother hoped that an eyeglass prescription would be the answer to her problems. The eye doctor prescribed glasses for her to help her see the board, but, Rachel still had trouble reading and copying from the board.

Fortunately, Rachel's parents discovered that a developmental optometrist is an eye doctor who specializes in testing ALL the visual skills critical to reading and learning that are also vital to a child's development, and that these tests are typically not tested in most eye exams.

A developmental vision evaluation found that Rachel had difficulty following along a line of print. In addition she had difficulty shifting from looking at something up close to being able to see clearly far away (such as copying from the board at school). No wonder she didn't like to read or copy from the board! Fortunately, the type of vision problem Rachel had was completely treatable and after only a few months of intense vision therapy. Rachel now reads her assignments alone!! What used to take her hours to complete now takes minutes. What is even more startling is that Rachel now has 20/20 eyesight and doesn't need her glasses!

If your child is struggling with reading or learning, it is important to understand that children often don't tell their parents that they are having trouble seeing the letters on the page because they think everyone sees the same way they do. They may think that they are stupid because they can't make any sense out of what they are seeing. It is vital that all parents and educators become familiar with the symptoms of vision problems that interfere with learning:

headaches when reading
slow or incomplete copy work from board or paper
avoidance of reading
poor reading comprehension
frequent loss of place while reading
short attention span
smart in everything but school
labeled ADD, ADHD, dyslexic
working below potential

When the doctor says your child can see "20/20", that only means that he or she is able to see a certain size letter at a distance of 20 feet. Vision is a complex process that involves over 20 visual abilities and more than 65% of all the pathways to the brain. In Rachel's case, glasses provided helped her see the board by giving her 20/20 eyesight but they did not improve the other visual skills critical for academic success.

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

 

Makeup Advice for Contact Wearers from your Old Bridge, NJ Eye Doctor

For those who use contact lenses a number of precautions should be taken when applying cosmetics. Here are some professional pointers on ways to ensure you keep your eyes beautiful and safe.

Which Makeup Are Best for your Eyes?

To start, we recommend that you buy only cosmetics that are oil free and fragrance free. Further, to avoid flaking and smudging, which could result in irritating your contacts, purchase water-resistant mascara and eye liner pencils. Finally you should switch makeup at regular intervals – it is preferable to mascara each month, eyeliner every three months and eye shadows after half a year.

Tips on Applying Makeup

Always be careful to wash your hands before inserting your lenses. Put on eye shadow, liner and mascara with care to avoid touching your contacts. Make sure you don’t touch mascara or eye liner to the lid inside the lashes and start mascara from the midpoint of the lashes rather than the bottom near the lid. Don’t share makeup with others or apply when the eyes are swollen or infected.

It’s also very important to remove eye makeup daily with a hypoallergenic, oil-free remover. Don’t forget to take out lenses prior to removing makeup.

Taking proper care in using cosmetics when wearing contacts can prevent red, itchy or infected eyes and damage to lenses.

If your eyes are red or infected avoid wearing any cosmetics around the eyes. Don’t hesitate to call your optometrist if you have any swelling, pain, or itchiness. Our Old Bridge, NJ eye doctor can assist you with any contact lens problems that are troubling you.

Diabetes: A Leading Cause of Vision Loss

Diabetes is the main cause of blindness of men and women aged 20-74 years. Since 2008, over 4 million people in North America suffering from diabetes were subsequently diagnosed with diabetes related blindness. Of this group, 70,000 had acute diabetic retinopathy, which can result in total blindness.

While not everyone is at risk of diabetes related vision loss, it is essential to understand the relationship between the disease and vision loss.

Having diabetes is the first risk factor. The best way to learn if you have vision loss caused by diabetes is to have your optometrist perform an eye exam once a year. The longer the affliction goes undiagnosed, the stronger the danger of diabetes related vision loss. Timely treatment is vital in terms of halting further loss.

Women who are expecting that have been afflicted with gestational diabetes have a higher likelihood of developing diabetic retinopathy. It is important to have a comprehensive dilated eye exam after diagnosis as well.

Maybe you are wondering, why all the panic? Wouldn’t there be tell tale symptoms of sight deterioration?

The answer shockingly is no. There are many kinds of diabetic retinopathy, and only those in the advanced phases are easy to discern. Progressive diabetes might have no signs. Macular edema is another diabetes caused disease which results in extreme vision deterioration. Both afflictions can appear with no noticeable signs. This is a reason that early discovery is essential to stopping any irreversible loss.

A comprehensive assessment will search for indications of diabetic retinopathy. There are distinct parts to this exam which will expose the tell-tale clues, including damaged nerve tissue, swelling of the retina, and leaky blood vessels. What is involved in a complete eye exam?

The eye doctor will perform a visual acuity test by means of an eye chart that is used to check how well you see at varying distances. This is the same as the visual acuity checks given by your eye doctor to see if you need corrective lenses.

While giving a dilated eye exam, the eye doctor puts drops in your eyes to dilate your pupils. Though not a particularly beloved test by most patients, it can save you blindness in subsequent years. This step makes it feasible to examine more of the interior portion of your eyes to look for specific clues that reveal the likelihood of diabetic retinopathy. The momentary discomfort could save your vision.

When it comes to your sight, even a little complacency can cause irreparable damage. If you are diabetic, it is necessary to plan a vision exam with your optometrist as soon as possible.

Understanding Color Blindness

Color blindness is a generally innate disability that impairs someone’s ability to differentiate between colors. Color blindness is caused by a dysfunction of the cones in the eye’s macular area, typically affecting a person’s capability to distinguish between shades of green or red, but sometimes adversely affecting the perception of additional shades also.

Color perception depends on cones located in the eye. Humans are generally born with three kinds of pigmented cones, all of which perceive differing wavelengths of color. This is similar to wavelengths of sound. When it comes to colors, the length of the wave is directly associated with the resulting color. Short waves produce blue tones, medium-length waves produce greens and longer waves produce reds. Which pigmented cone is affected determines the spectrum and severity of the color deficiency.

Green-red color blindness is more common in men than in women since the genetic code is sex-linked.

Color vision problems are not a devastating condition, but can harm educational progress and limit options for professions. Being unable to distinguish colors as fellow students do can immediately hurt a student’s self-image. For anyone in the workplace, color blindness could become a disadvantage when competing against normal-sighted peers trying to advance in the same industry.

There are a few exams for the condition. The most widely used is the Ishihara color exam, named after its designer. For this test a plate is shown with a group of dots in a circle in different sizes and colors. Inside the circle appears a digit in a particular tint. The individual’s capability to see the digit within the dots of contrasting hues examines the level of red-green color vision.

Although genetic color vision deficiencies can’t be corrected, there are a few options that can help to make up for it. For some wearing colored lenses or anti-glare glasses can help to see the differences between colors. Increasingly, new computer applications are on the market for common PCs and even for smaller machines that can help users differentiate color better depending on their particular condition. There are also exciting experiments underway in gene therapy to improve the ability to perceive colors.

How much color blindness limits an individual depends on the type and degree of the deficiency. Some individuals can adapt to their condition by familiarizing themselves with substitute cues for colored objects or signs. For example, they can familiarize themselves with the shapes of traffic signs rather than recognizing red or compare objects with reference objects like the blue sky or green grass.

If you suspect that you or your child could be color blind it’s recommended to see an optometrist. The earlier you are aware of a problem, the easier it will be to adapt to. Contact our Old Bridge, NJ optometrists for further information about color blindness.

The End of the Year Is Coming! Use Your FSA Credits

Need new glasses? Time for an eye examination? Contemplating laser vision correction? This is the time to save big on your eye care needs. As the year’s end comes near, so does the end of your flex spending credits. If you haven’t heard of the term you likely don’t have an FSA (or flex spending account) but you might want to check your benefits to make sure.

If you contribute to a Flex Spending Plan with your employee benefits check how much credit you have left. The majority of FSA’s obligate you to use any contributions by the last day of December or risk losing it for good!

You can use your FSA to save big on your eye care necessities. Eye and contact lens exams, eyeglasses, contacts, even laser vision correction may all be eligible for reimbursement. Just keep in mind that some procedures, such as Lasik have a screening process that takes time so call us as soon as possible.

If you have any questions, we are happy to go over your eye care benefits with you. Our Old Bridge, NJ Eye Care Professionals are here to help you with all of your eye care needs!

A Holiday Guide to Toy Eye Safety

The holidays are just around the corner which means dolls, radio controlled airplanes, and Leapster Explorers. Well intentioned parents enjoy treating the kids to the newest toys to start off the New Year.

Leading optometry specialists advise that parents explain to relatives some guidelines about toy safety and vision. Injuries with unsafe toys and games may occur, sometimes resulting in damaged vision.

Here are some tips to protect kids from toy related injury:

  1. When buying a toy, ensure it is appropriate for the child’s age and level of development. Don’t allow small children to play with toys and games intended for older siblings.
  2. Check that the toy is well made and stay away from toys with rough corners. Make sure long-handled toys such as swords or pony sticks are rounded on the end.
  3. Don’t let small children play unsupervised.
  4. Promote eye safety by throwing out any toys that have pointed tips or catapult launchers.

Before you purchase the new toy or game that your child absolutely ”needs”, take a moment to read up on eye safety tips for toys. The holidays are a great time for creating special moments with your family members, not the emergency room doctor. Avoid a trip to the ER this year and have a joyous holiday.

Battling Presbyopia

Contact your Old Bridge, NJ Eye Doctor to Find Out About Treatment Options

Presbyopia is an age-related condition in which objects at a close range, such as newspapers, books or sewing, become blurred. With the increasing worldwide population reaching older ages, a significant number of individuals develop the condition, which is an unavoidable result of your aging eye.

The lenses of your eye curve to focus on objects at differing distances. Some theories are that as you grow older, that curvature diminishes because the natural lenses lose their give. This condition is known as presbyopia and is often noticed by blurred vision when focusing on things at close range. This often can start to take place any time after the age of 40. Sufferers often deal with near visual impairment by holding the paper away from their eyes or standing at a distance from the object they are looking at. Shifting from focusing on far away things to nearer ones can often be straining for those with presbyopia. The strain could add further discomfort by causing eye strain, fatigues or headaches.

The most popular corrections for presbyopia are bifocal lenses or progressives (PALs). A bifocal lens has two points of focus, one is for viewing objects from a distance and the other part of the lens is for looking at objects nearby. Progressive addition lenses are similar to bifocal lenses, but the transitions between the two prescriptions are more gradual. Users will more easily adjust visual focus, as they could if they had uninhibited vision. An alternative would be reading glasses which are usually worn just when needed as opposed to all day.

If contacts are preferable, you might want to consider multifocal lenses. It may take a couple of attempts to figure out the optimal method and type of contacts since different lenses can cause discomfort or blurriness.

There are also surgical options available that you may want to discuss with your eye doctor. Many patients are most successful using a combination of treatments for presbyopia. Also, because your eyesight will continue to worsen with age, it is likely that you will need to continually adjust the strength of your correction. With the population growing older, there continues to be quite a bit of research being done to identify other and perhaps more permanent treatments for presbyopia.

If you are starting to see signs of presbyopia, book a check up with your Old Bridge, NJ eye doctor. Better eyesight is worth it!