Most doctors stick their necks out to help their patients…in some cases, literally. But the result is neck and back pain thatâ€™s sometimes debilitating. In a study by the American Academy of Ophthalmology and in similar studies conducted in the U.K. nearly 73% of eye doctors reported pain in the neck, back or both.
Your slit lamp, the major culprit, as it is usually positioned on the exam table, requires you to lean toward the instrument, and extend the neck out of alignment with the spine. This repetitive motion can happen 40- to 60-times a day in an average practice. Over time, this posture causes serious neck and back problems that can lead to excessive pain, surgery or early retirement. A few simple precautions can help.
Move the Slit Lamp
To alleviate the strain, modify the slit lamp table to move closer to you than to the patient. While the patient may be uncomfortable for a few minutes each year, the doctor can do the exam with less pain day after day.
Although the waiting room may be full of patients, spend the extra few seconds to properly position the patient to eliminate unnecessary craning or hunching.
Stretch Several times a day
Take a few minutes and do neck and back stretches. See the Mayo Clinic videos for easy stretches you can do anywhere.
Give Your Slit Lamp an Adjustment
Manufacturers also offer some pain-saving solutions, like an inclined adaptor that raises the viewing angle and keeps your head in a fatigue-free position. For more information, contact Bell Ophthalmic at 800.255.5929 or email us!
Glaucoma affects nearly 60 million people worldwide, and while there isnâ€™t a cure, recent studies suggest that adopting a few some lifestyle changes may have a positive effect on eye pressure, which is a major risk factor for the disease.
Regular exercise. A recent study showed that people who engaged in moderate to vigorous physical activity have a 73 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. Blood flow and pressure inside the eye may change with exercise, which may affect glaucoma risk.
Eat More Leafy Greens. Another study showed that people who ate more leafy vegetables have a 20 to 30 percent lower risk of developing glaucoma. Nitrates in green vegetables can be converted to nitric oxide, which can improve blood flow and help regulate pressure inside the eye.
Enjoy a Cup of Tea. Consuming tea and supplementing with magnesium have also been linked with benefits for glaucoma.
Brush and FlossDonâ€™t Smoke. If not just to lower the risk of glaucoma, then for the myriad of other health concerns linked to smoking.
Maintain a Healthy Weight. Being overweight can be a direct route to diabetes and other health issues including diabetes-related eye maladies.
Reduce Stress. Good for your eyes as well as your ticker.
The demands of a high stress career can take a toll, and when you arenâ€™t able to recharge your batteries in your time off, burnout can set in. Studies have shown that hobbies and interests away from the office can help fend off burnout and help lead to a sense of fulfillment.
So what are the signs that you might be heading down the path to burnout?
- A perpetual feeling of exhaustion, both physical and emotional
- Forgetfulness or impaired concentration
- A reduced sense of accomplishment or feeling that you your work is meaningless
- Depersonalization or developing a cynical attitude toward patients and their concerns
- Increased illness
- Depression and/or anxiety
Fighting back against burnout can be as easy as developing an interest outside the office.
Hiking, running, golf or bicycling works for many who find physical activity enjoyable helps them reduce stress. Finding an artistic outlet such as painting, photography or woodcraft works for many as well. The important thing is to find something you enjoy, and that gives you a sense of accomplishment. And then making sure you set aside the time on a regular basis to engage in your chosen activity. The time you spend unwinding will pay dividends in the long run back in the office.
Blindness can be one of the terrible effects of advanced diabetes. And while there are treatments, they are often invasive and painful. Researchers at Caltech are working on a new, gentler treatment in the form of glowing contact lenses.
When diabetics lose their vision, its because the disease damages tiny blood vessels in the eye, reducing blood flow to nerve cells in the retina, starving them of oxygen. The body compensates by growing new blood vessels in the retina, but diabetes often causes these to be imperfectly formed, damaging the retina. That damage is repaired via the growth of scar tissue instead of new nerve cells so the patient loses their sight.
Existing treatments center around reducing the retina’s oxygen demands, such as using a laser to burn away nerve cells in the peripheral part of the retina so the oxygen used by them can instead now be used by nerve cells in the retina’s more important central area.
Another approach involves giving the patient an injection in the eyeball, introducing medication that reduces the growth of new blood vessels.
Yet another approach uses lighted eye masks to illuminate the retina while the patient sleeps which causes the retina’s rod cells, which provide vision in low-light conditions, to remain inactive. Ordinarily, when we make things dark by closing our eyes, the rod cells become very active, consuming about twice as much oxygen as they do in bright conditions. Unfortunately, patients found the masks interrupted sleep as they saw flickers of light every time they moved their eyes.
Thatâ€™s where the contact lenses come in.
Developed by a Caltech team led by graduate student Colin Cook, they incorporate tiny vials of tritium that emits electrons, which are converted into light by a phosphorescent coating. The vials are arranged on each lens in a ring, which lies outside of the wearer’s vision. When they shut their eyes and the pupil expands, however, the glow emitted by the vials is detected by the rod cells, keeping them from firing up.
“If we turn metabolism in the retina down, we should be able to prevent some of the damage that occurs,” Cook says.
In early tests of the lenses, they were found to reduce rod cell activity by up to 90 percent when worn in the dark. And unlike the lights in the sleep masks, the glowing vials in the lenses move with the user’s eyes, so they don’t see the sleep inhibiting flickers of light. The team now plans on conducting research to determine if that reduction in activity will result in the prevention of diabetic retinopathy.
Save time and your neck and spine with Reichertâ€™s all-new SightChek Digital Phoroptor. The SightChek combines technology and simplicity, quickly performing all of the functions of a manual Phoroptor while you remain comfortably seated next to your patient.
Through the month of June, a special promotion will allow you to save money on the SightChek as well! Call us at 800.255.5929 or drop us an email to learn more about the limited-time incentives.
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.