If a child is having trouble reading, itâ€™s only logical for parents to bring them in for a vision check. And if the child shows 20/20 vision, itâ€™s logical to conclude the problem might originate somewhere besides the eyes. But that may not be the case, according to a recent study of Canadian children published in the Journal of Optometry.
Dr. Lisa Christian from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues performed a retrospective review of these children who had all had complete eye exams. These children also had Individual Education Plans (IEP) specifically directed at improving their reading abilities.
The authors found that while most of the children had good eyesight, a substantial proportion had binocular vision that was below the normal limits on testing, so the children may have experienced blurred images, poor depth perception, or double vision among other problems when they read.
Such problems can result from a variety of conditions, such as misaligned eyes, or poor functioning of the oculomotor muscles. A person with such problems will typically have difficulty reading â€” they may lose their place easily and develop eyestrain.
So when there is an issue with a child’s learning to read, it could be important to determine whether eye problems other than myopia are the cause.
Blue light, also known as high-energy visible (HEV) light, is a type of light with short wavelengths emitting a higher energy. The sun is the biggest source of blue light, but we also get exposure from TVs, computers, smartphones and tablets. And a large majority of children and adults are staring at those screens for more than 2 hours every day.
Blue light penetrates deep into the eye, and studies suggest a connection between exposure to blue light and retinal damage, macular degeneration and cataracts. Blue light can also suppress the natural release of melatonin, disrupting sleep.
Fighting back against blue light
In addition to blue light exposure, those screens are causing a few other pains for the digitally bedazzled. An increase in eyestrain, dry eyes, headaches, blurred vision and neck and shoulder pain have all been attributed to our screen addiction.
Eyewear is available with lenses featuring blue light-filtering capabilities that reduce the negative effects of blue light as well as anti-reflective or anti-glare properties. This technology can help minimize the negative effects blue light has on the bodyâ€™s circadian rhythm, which can hinder a good nightâ€™s sleep as well as reduce the symptoms of digital eyestrain.
Regular breaks from the screen and limiting the amount of time spent eyeballing a smartphone can help, too. And itâ€™s probably a good idea to put the screens away at least an hour before bedtime, to help ensure a good nightâ€™s sleep.
The biggest eye hazard most of face is staring at the computer screens for hours while binging on â€śFortnite.â€ť People who have real jobs have more intense eye safety needs. Workers in auto repair, construction, manufacturing, plumbing welding are among the most vulnerable to eye injuries.
Government regulations specify what types of eye protection should be worn, including shields and other safety measures. Not all businesses comply or enforce these standards.
SUBHEAD: Know your patientâ€™s eye safety needs
If youâ€™re not already, you might intervene with a few pointed questions about their occupation. Red flags to watch for:
Anyone working in an area that has particles or flying dust must wear safety glasses with side shields.
Patients who work with radiation (welding, lasers or fiber optics) must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shields or helmets designed for those tasks.
Working around chemicals also requires wearing goggles.
Work with employers on eye safety practices
Your patients should know the requirements for their work environment. For example, side shields placed on your conventional glasses do not meet the OSHA requirement for most workplaces.
As an ophthalmologist or optometrist, you may also assist employers to assist in evaluating potential eye hazards in your workplace and be determining what type of eye protection may be needed.
This is serious business for patients and companies. OSHA estimates that there are 20,000 eye injuries a year. Together, they rack up a $300 million price tag for medical care, losses in productivity, legal and workers compensation.
Eye Safety Resources
Eye Safety from The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Smartphones have turned us into cyborgs. Weâ€™re rarely without those ubiquitous little devices more than an armâ€™s length away. And just like patients are downloading health tracking and fitness apps to up their mHealth game, tech-savvy doctors are adopting mobile health apps in their practices as well.
Here are a few of the most popular apps for docs:
Case is a medical journal app with a recommendation engine powered by a machine-learning algorithm. Easily read medical journal articles on your phone in whatever spare moments you can grab. Plus you can subscribe to a specialty or set of journals.
Epocrates lets doctors look up drug information and interactions, located other providers for consults and referrals.
Doximity is a social network for doctors that let you find and communicate with other doctors, send HIPAA-secure faxes through your phone, follow news and trends in your specialty, and browse jobs and compare salaries.
Medscape is a medical reference tool that features a disease reference tool, allows you look up drug information and is updated with medical news so you stay current with the latest developments.
Figure 1 lets you view and share medical images with other physicians. Users can send, comment on, and search through medical images the appâ€™s database. If youâ€™re looking for feedback on a rare condition, or just want to learn about rare or textbook cases, this is a great addition to your mobile device. Plus the app guarantees patient privacy with automatic face blocking and removal of personal identifying information.
If youâ€™re ready for a new OCT, Topcon has you covered.
The 3D OCT-1 Maestro System features a high-resolution color non-mydriatic retinal camera combined with the latest Spectral Domain OCT technology. A 12mm x 9mm scan along with automated segmentation provides measurement and topographical maps of the optic nerve and retina in one scan. The Maestro is a fully automated, affordable, and all-in-one compact system that fits well into small office settings.
Or if youâ€™re ready to move up to the next level, the Topcon DRI OCT Triton is just the ticket. This multi-modal â€śSwept Sourceâ€ť OCT is equipped with a non-mydriatic color fundus camera. The Triton Plus model includes modes for both FA and FAF imaging. The Triton provides uniform scanning sensitivity at 100,000 A-scans per second with a 1050nm wavelength source resulting in stunningly clear and detailed images. The superior light source allows imaging to the deepest layers of the retina as well as through opacities such as cataract and hemorrhage. Data management with ImageNet 6 provides for efficient data collection in a shorter period of time, improving workflow and saving time!
Call us at 800.255.5929 or email us to find out which Topcon OCT system is right for your practice!
Spring is in the air and that means pollen is, too. So begins the season of red and itchy eyes for many sufferers of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC). Typical symptoms of SAC include, burning, itching, redness, and/or watery discharge. Chronic dark circles under the eyes, known as allergic shiners, may show up. Eyelids may be puffy, and bright lights bothersome.
SAC symptoms often accompany the runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion associated with hay fever and other seasonal allergies. The itching may be so bothersome that patients rub their eyes frequently, making symptoms worse and potentially causing infection. The first approach in managing seasonal eye allergies is avoiding the allergens that trigger symptoms. When pollen counts are high, avoid the outdoors. Avoid window fans that can draw allergens into the home. Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to minimize the amount of pollen getting into your eyes and consider goggles when mowing the lawn or performing other yard work.
Usually, SAC can be treated with over the counter medication and eye drops, but in same cases prescription medication may be called for.
After a cruel winter, most of us are looking forward to spending warm spring days soaking up the sun. Just try to avoid soaking up the allergens as well.