Author Archive

Eye Injury Awareness in Your Life

Posted on: October 21st, 2014 by lowvision

It’s important to be aware of your surroundings whether at work or play, especially when it comes to your eyes. For those who work in environments with occupational hazards like construction or manufacturing, it’s important to take extra precautions like wearing protective eyewear. However, when accidents may occur, many neglect to protect their eyes.

Every day, 1,000 Americans experience eye injuries while on the job. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that almost 70% of the eye injuries studied occurred from falling or flying objects, or sparks striking the eye.

One of the biggest misconceptions is that most eye injuries happen in the workplace. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Ocular Trauma, nearly half of all eye injuries occurred in the home. More than 40 percent of eye injuries were caused by projects and household activities such as home repairs, yard work, cleaning and cooking.

How can you help to preserve your vision whether at work or doing daily activities? Most injuries could be prevented if individuals wear appropriate protective eyewear:

  • On the job: Safety glasses and goggles should be utilized at all times. For welders, special goggles should protect your eyes from the intense exposure to heat and light.
  • At home: From mowing the lawn to doing household renovations, these unsuspecting activities can be an eye injury accident waiting to happen. Be sure to wear safety goggles to provide protection for your eyes
  • On the field: Sports eye injuries are common, which can not only put you on the sidelines but also leave a person from suffering varying degrees of vision loss. Sports eyewear can be used in different games like basketball or soccer and can protect sight while enhancing your game.

Visit your eyecare provider for more information and get yourself fitted for protective eyewear today.

What is Presbyopia?

Posted on: October 15th, 2014 by lowvision

If you have changed your iPhone settings to a larger font — you’re not alone. The gradual loss of the ability to focus on near things, also known as presbyopia, starts at around age 40 and affects many people, including millions of people who previously had perfect vision.

Presbyopia is similar to farsightedness, in that it makes it tough to focus on items close up, but it’s caused by a loss of flexibility in the lens as people age. One of the most obvious signs of presbyopia is the need to hold reading materials at arm’s length in order to focus properly. Other symptoms include eyestrain, headaches or feeling tired from doing up-close work.

Once a change in your eyesight is detected, you should visit an eye care professional. Since nearly everyone develops presbyopia, if a person also has myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or astigmatism, the conditions will combine. Your optometrist will find the best glasses or contact lenses for you and your lifestyle.

Below are some options to consider:

Reading glasses
Reading glasses are typically worn just during close work such as reading, sewing, etc. These “readers” are easily purchased at drug stores and other retail stores. You can also choose higher-quality versions prescribed by your eye doctor. If you wear contact lenses, your eye doctor can prescribe reading glasses that can be worn with your regular contacts to help you adjust to detailed, close-up work.

Bifocals
Bifocal lenses have two different points of focus. The upper part of the eyeglass lens is set for distance vision, while the lower portion of the lens has a prescription set for seeing close work.

Progressive Lenses
Progressive lenses are similar to bifocals, but they offer a more gradual visual transition between the two prescriptions with no visible line between them.

Multifocal contact lenses
Just as bifocal lenses have two levels of corrective power, multifocal contact lenses create multiple levels of corrective power.

Monovision
Another way to correct presbyopia with contact lenses is monovision, in which one eye has a contact set for distance, and the other has a contact set for near vision. The brain learns to adapt to using one eye or the other for different tasks.

Because presbyopia cannot be prevented, it is important to visit your eye care provider regularly to ensure you have the correct eyewear to enhance your daily life.

Low Vision News Recap- September 2014

Posted on: September 28th, 2014 by lowvision

Below is a compilation of news you can use relating to low vision and eye health in the month of September.

Young Man with Macular Degeneration Describes What It’s like to Go Blind
Medical Daily
Macular degeneration — often called age-related macular degeneration — is typically found in adults 60+. The disease attacks your central vision and can lead to trouble with completing daily tasks like reading and driving, and can ultimately leave you virtually blind. Despite the fact that the disorder mainly affects older individuals, one 29-year-old suffers from a type of macular degeneration called conrad dystrophy. Mark Muszynski describes his condition in a video, saying that his disorder is defined by a genetic mutation in his ABCA4 gene, which causes a loss of photoreceptor cells.

Foods to help reduce glaucoma risk
Fox News
As glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness, researchers have found that eating the right foods may help to reduce the risk of glaucoma, prevent the disease, and help people to maintain healthy eyesight longer in life.

Beyond magnifying glasses: High-tech options for the vision-impaired
Marketplace
With new technology hitting the market every day, developers are also creating applications that can assist individuals with low vision on digital devices.

Researchers Probe Molecular Cause for Glaucoma
HealthDay
A possible breakthrough in glaucoma research: scientists have identified the two molecules which, if not present in the eye, could result in blocked drainage of fluid from the eye that then builds up pressure and can damage the retina and the optic nerve.

Consumer Tech and Low Vision: Tools you can use

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by lowvision

Over the past two decades, we have seen a digital transformation where many print objects like newspapers, books and mail are now accessed through electronic devices. However, for individuals who live with low vision conditions, this can be problematic as font styles and sizes can be difficult to read in these new mediums.

As technology has evolved, companies have recognized the unique needs of this population and are working to enhance products and software to meet the needs of people with low vision.

Recently, Google has retooled its apps and products to enhance accessibility for low vision and blind users of Google Drive as well as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drawings, and Forms. The improvements include an enhanced screen reader, Braille display, and phone support for those who need additional assistance.

Below are some other essential tools and resources that can help enhance your life while living with low vision.

  • E-Readers: Apps like Spotlight Text and Read2Go provide adjustments for avid readers with impaired vision, helping increase or decrease font size as needed. E-readers like Kindles and iPads have functions in place to adjust font sizes and contrast settings on each device, in addition to text-to-speech functionality.
  • Text: Text-to-speech apps are available to translate the small print into audio. Tools like Siri on the iPhone can assist with this function as well.
  • Maps: Directions are an issue for everyone, but can even be harder to interpret with vision impairment. Many GPS apps provide voice assistance in addition to written directions.

These apps and devices are available to anyone. Tools and devices specifically for people with low vision can also increase quality of life for people with these conditions and help with everyday tasks. More information on low vision devices is available at http://whatislowvision.org/low-vision-devices/.

Even though we live in an increasingly digital world, individuals with low vision don’t have to be left behind and can even thrive with the help of new technology.

Low Vision News Recap- August 2014

Posted on: September 2nd, 2014 by lowvision

Below is a compilation of news you can use relating to low vision and eye health in the month of August.

Here’s how to protect your vision as you age
Washington Post
As baby boomers age, more people will be confronted with vision problems. While there’s no way to prevent presbyopia — the fuzzy close-up vision that requires reading glasses — doctors say you can do a few things to lower your risk for — or at least slow the progression of — other age-related problems.

Needle Treatment for Glaucoma Shows Promise
The Wall Street Journal
Scientists are working to develop new techniques to administer medication for glaucoma patients that replace the usual regimen of twice-daily eye drops, a sometimes unreliable treatment. A promising approach, reported in the August issue of Experimental Eye Research, involves a monthly injection of a slow-release drug directly into the eye.

iStent provides permanent relief for glaucoma patients
Fox News
Most glaucoma patients use eye drops to treat the disease. However, managing the eye drops— which sometimes need to be administered multiple times during the day— can be cumbersome. One new solution for managing glaucoma is a new minimally invasive surgical procedure that inserts a device called iStent, providing a more permanent solution for glaucoma patients.

Smoking linked to risk, progression of macular degeneration
Reuters
People who smoke, or have smoked a large number of cigarettes over time, are more likely to develop age-related macular degeneration or to have it worsen sooner, according to a long-term study.

Take a look at this different approach to cataract surgery
Daily News
Dr. Scott Greenbaum, an assistant clinical professor in the department of ophthalmology at New York University, developed the method for treating cataracts — the clouding of the eyes’ lenses — that eliminates the need for glasses in 90% of patients.

Learn symptoms of macular degeneration
The Courier Journal
Odds are that more than half of boomers will suffer at some point from an age-related eye problem. One of the biggies is macular degeneration (MD), and the risk increases substantially with age, starting at 2 percent at age 50 and jumping to 30 percent by age 75. All told, some 15 million Americans suffer from this condition, and it’s a major cause of losing the ability to perform everyday activities necessary to live independently.

 

Low Vision through the Ages

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by lowvision

Even though many baby boomers place an emphasis on health, well-being, and prevention, many may be oblivious to the risk the have for developing low vision disorders. Protecting your eyes is a lifelong commitment and early detection is key to helping stem the progression of low vision disorders.

Below is a look at low vision disorders through the ages:

  • By age 80, more than half of all Americans have cataracts. However, the first signs of cataracts can emerge in your 40s and 50s. Routine eye exams can detect this health issue early.
  • Risk of age-related macular degeneration is commonly reported among individuals 60+, but accelerated cases are sometimes found in individuals in their 40s and 50s. Pnce diagnosed, treatment can preserve remaining vision.
  • Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the U.S. It most often occurs in people over age 40. People with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans over the age of 40, and Hispanics over the age of 60 are at an increased risk of developing this eye condition.
  • Cumulative UV damage from years of exposure can accelerate conditions like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts during older adulthood.

To safeguard your vision well into your golden years, be sure to:

  • Visit your eye doctor for annual comprehensive eye exams.
  • Be alert to how other health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure can affect your vision.
  • Know that it’s never too late to start wearing sunglasses to protect your vision from ultraviolet rays.

How the Amsler Grid Can Help Your Diagnose Vision Loss

Posted on: August 6th, 2014 by lowvision

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60. There are approximately 15 million people who experience the condition in the United States alone. The number of cases is only expected to rise with the silver tsunami of 10,000 baby boomers that turn 65 each day.

Early diagnosis of AMD can help individuals plan for their condition and help sustain a better quality of life.

Eye doctors use the Amsler grid to help diagnose cases of AMD. This tool detects central vision problems that might be caused by damage to the macula (the central part of the retina) or the optic nerve. When looking at the black dot in Amsler grid, any changes in central vision may cause the lines in the grid to disappear or appear wavy. This is a symptom of AMD.

The grid can be used at home to keep tabs on central vision and gauge changes to eyesight and vision health.

Below are a few tips for using the Amsler grid at home:

  • Wear any glasses you would normally wear during reading.
  • View the chart at arms distance and cover one eye.
  • With the uncovered eye, focus on the dark dot in the center of the grid.
  • While looking at this dot, you still should be aware of the lines of the grid. Note if any of the lines are distorted or broken or if there are blurred areas.
  • Repeat with your other eye.
  • If you notice any blurred, wavy or missing lines, contact your eye doctor as soon as possible.

Please note, that while useful, this self-test does not take the place of regular appointments with an eye doctor.

 

Low Vision in the Workplace

Posted on: July 23rd, 2014 by lowvision

Low vision shouldn’t hamper your professional life. There are tools available to help adjust workspaces to allow people with low vision maximum use of their eyesight.

Because low vision can range from moderate to severe among individuals and the different conditions can vary in how they impact vision—whether through a small central field or peripherally–each workspace should be tailored to the individual.

Below are a few resources and tips which can help people with low vision succeed in the workplace:

  • Computer technology: There are many technologies available to assist individuals with low vision on the job, including software, special keyboards, voice recognition programs, glare guards, and other technologies that can make for a more effective work environment.
  • Magnifiers: Electronic and traditional magnifiers are easily transportable from work to home. For reading assignments, these devices can come in handy when small text may be illegible without assistance.
  • Office layout: It’s important for coworkers to update individuals with low vision when there may be a change in the office layout or walkways, like when the location of furniture or offices has been shifted. Additionally, small adjustments can be made to make for a better working environment, including different lighting to help reduce glare.

Many of these tips and resources can enhance quality of life in and out of the office. To find out more about the tips, technology and tools for living with low vision, visit a local low vision specialist.

Low Vision News Recap – June 2014

Posted on: July 8th, 2014 by lowvision

Below is a compilation of news you can use relating to low vision and eye health in the month of June.

Do Carrots Really Improve Your Vision?
Salon
The question remains: Are carrots truly able to improve eyesight or is that the stuff of fiction? The answer is yes, under certain conditions, eating carrots will help improve eyesight. When it comes to eating nutrient-rich foods to improve eyesight, more generally, it is suggested stocking up on green, leafy vegetables. Spinach, kale or collard greens—all chock-full of lutein and zeaxanthin (which are other food-derived nutrients)—could help protect your eyes by filtering high-energy wavelengths of visible light that can damage the retina. Such foods may also help to protect against age-related macular degeneration, the major cause of blindness in the elderly.

Giving Alexis Sight: Low Vision Readers
KSAT-TV
More than 13 million Americans over the age of 45 suffer with a low vision condition, including those who’ve lost vision due to diabetes, age-related macular degeneration or glaucoma. However, new technology is providing hope to the many who suffer from low vision. Illuminated low vision readers use LED lights and prism correction to help people with these low vision conditions to read small print.

Strong Bonds Forged at West Haven VA’s Eastern Blind Rehab Center
New Haven Register
At a VA clinic in Connecticut,  individuals are seek out treatment come from all walks of life: they may be retired attorneys and some may be dockworkers but share two important things in common, regardless of social, economic or racial background. They share blindness and a military career – two strong bonds that create a brotherhood among the men.

Glaucoma Can Affect Babies, Too
WebMD
Although rare, one in 10,000 infants is born with the vision-robbing disease glaucoma, a condition which is largely diagnosed in people older than 60. The bottom line for parents is that, if they think something is wrong with their baby’s eyes, and their pediatrician has any doubt about the cause, see a pediatric ophthalmologist.

 

 

Celebrate National Sunglasses Day by Protecting Your Vision

Posted on: July 1st, 2014 by lowvision

By Dora Adamopoulos, OD

After such a brutal winter, people are anxious to spend the summer months outdoors, whether it is a relaxing day at the pool or beach, grilling with friends, or exercising outside. While the sun’s damaging effect on skin is generally understood, many people don’t realize the same radiation also can affect eyes. Without UV protection, our eyes absorb powerful UVA and UVB rays which can burn and damage the retina.

National Sunglasses Day on June 27 is a chance to commit to wearing sunglasses every day to protect your vision and help you enjoy the beautiful summer weather.

Without protection a full day outside can cause immediate issues such as swollen or red eyes and temporary hypersensitivity to light, telltale signs of sunburn of the eyes. And years of cumulative exposure can cause cancer of the eye or eyelid and accelerate low vision conditions like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

Wearing sunglasses regularly can protect your eyes and prevent serious damage to your vision. However, many still don’t make it a habit to put on shades regularly.  A recent report by The Vision Council highlights how many Americans underestimate eye damage caused by the sun’s UV rays.

What’s shocking is nearly 30 percent of respondent of the 2014 Sun Protection Survey never wear shades. And 46 percent of individuals only wear sunglasses when it’s sunny out, which exposes their eyes to strong UV rays on cloudy or partially cloudy days.

For those who wear sunglasses, UV protection isn’t a given. Of those respondents wearing sunglasses when interviewed, 35 percent did not know if their eyewear provided UV protection and one in 10 people said their shades did not have such protection.

On National Sunglasses Day, start a new habit of protecting your vision and wearing sunglasses every time you’re outside. Preparation today can help sustain healthy vision for the future.