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EyeSmart features information and resources you need from the American Academy of Ophthalmology and other to help keep your eyes healthy. CSEPS encourages you to live EyeSmart!

 

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Women face higher risk of blindness than men

Posted By Chet Seward, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Studies show there is a gender gap in eye disease. Women are more likely than men to suffer from sight-threatening conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), cataracts, and glaucoma.  (Source) In support of Healthy Vision Month in May, CSEPS and the American Academy of Ophthalmology remind women to make vision a top priority. 

The numbers tell the story here. Women make up 65 percent of AMD cases; 61 percent of glaucoma and cataract patients are women, and 66 percent of blind patients are women. (Source) The good news is that most vision loss is preventable. The Academy offers five simple steps to take control of your eye health today:

  • Get a comprehensive medical eye exam at age 40. Early signs of disease or changes in vision may begin at this age.
  • Know your family history. Certain eye diseases can be inherited. Talk to family members about their eye conditions. It can help you and your ophthalmologist evaluate your risk.
  • Eat healthy foods. Eye-healthy food choices include citrus fruits, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and cold water fish.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking increases the risk for eye diseases such as cataract and age-related macular degeneration. Smoking also raises the risk for cardiovascular diseases which can indirectly influence your eye health. 
  • Wear sunglasses. Exposure to ultraviolet UV light raises the risk of eye diseases, including cataract. Always wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection and a hat while enjoying time outdoors.
To learn more ways to keep your eyes healthy, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart® website.

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Know the score: Wear eye protection during sports

Posted By Chet Seward, Friday, March 24, 2017

Sports-related eye injuries cause an estimated 100,000 doctor visits each year. Yet, most of these injuries can be prevented by wearing eye protection. In support of Sports Eye Safety Month in April, CSEPS and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are offering athletes of all ages guidance on how to best protect their eyes. 

Common sports eye injuries include corneal abrasions, lacerations and bleeding in the eyeOne-third of sports related eye injuries happen to kids. The good news is that 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented with the use of protective eyewear. Save your vision while playing sports by following these tips:  

Wear the right eye protection: For basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey, wear protection with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses. 

Put your helmet on: For baseball, ice hockey and lacrosse, wear a helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield. 

Know the standards: Choose eye protection that meets American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. See the Academy’s protective eyewear webpage for more details.

Throw out old gear: Eye protection should be replaced when damaged or yellowed with age. Wear and tear may cause them to become weak and lose effectiveness.

Glasses won’t cut it: Regular prescription glasses may shatter when hit by flying objects. If you wear glasses, try sports goggles on top to protect your eyes and your frames. 

For more information on sports eye safety, see the American Academy of Ophthalmology's EyeSmart® website

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Most Americans unaware of one of the leading causes of blindness among seniors

Posted By Chet Seward, Friday, February 17, 2017

Age-related Macular Degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness among seniors, affecting approximately 2.1 million people nationwide. By 2050, it is expected that the number will more than double to 5. 4 million. People may be putting themselves at unnecessary risk of vision loss by neglecting to have sight-saving eye exams. Throughout February, CSEPS joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in emphasizing AMD awareness and encouraging those who are most at risk to ensure the health of their eyes by getting an eye exam from an ophthalmologist.

The following steps are recommended to help potentially avoid AMD and other eye diseases:

Get regular comprehensive medical eye exams. AMD often has no early warning signs, so getting regular comprehensive eye exams from an ophthalmologist is critical to diagnosing and treating the eye disease in its early stages. People over age 65 should get an exam every one to two years, even if they have no symptoms of eye problems.

Quit smoking. Numerous studies have shown smoking to increase the risk of developing AMD and the speed at which it progresses. If you smoke, you are twice as likely to develop macular degeneration compared with a nonsmoker[1].

Know your family’s eye health history. If you have a close relative with AMD, youhave a 50 percent greater chance of developing the condition. Before you go in for your next eye exam, speak with your family about their eye health history. Sharing this information with your ophthalmologist may prompt him or her to recommend more frequent eye exams. The earlier AMD is caught, the better chances you may have of saving your vision.

Eat a diet rich in omega-3s and low in cholesterol and saturated fat. Several studies have shown that people who had a reduced risk of AMD had diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish. In one study of patients who were at moderate risk for AMD progression, those who reported the highest omega-3 intake (not in the form of a supplement) were 30 percent less likely to develop advanced AMD after 12 years. 

Exercise regularly. Many studies have shown that getting regular exercise can benefit your eyes.

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Five tips to avoid toy-related eye injury

Posted By Chet Seward, Saturday, December 24, 2016
With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, CSEPS joins AAO in encouraging you to remind your patients about following these tips when gifting toys to children this holiday season.

1. Beware of airsoft, BB guns, and other projectile toys. Every year ophthalmologists treat thousands of patients with devastating eye injuries caused by seemingly safe toys. Avoid items with sharp, protruding or projectile parts such as airsoft guns, BB guns and other nonpowder gun–related toys. Foreign objects can easily propel into the sensitive tissue of the eye.
2. Never allow children to play with high-powered laser pointers. A number of recent reports in the United States and internationally show that children have sustained serious eye injuries by playing with high-powered lasers (between 1500 and 6000 milliwatts). Over the years, these lasers have become increasingly more powerful, with enough potential to cause severe retinal damage, with just seconds of laser exposure to the eye. The FDA advises the public to never aim or shine a laser pointer at anyone and to not buy laser pointers for children.

3. Read labels for age recommendations before you buy. To select appropriate gifts suited for a child's age, look for and follow the age recommendations and instructions about proper assembly, use, and supervision.

4. Don't just give presents. Make sure to be present. Always make sure an adult is supervising when children are playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.
5. Know what to do (and what not to). If someone you know experiences an eye injury, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist. As you wait for medical help, make sure to never to touch, rub, apply pressure, or try to remove any object stuck in the eye. If an eye injury occurs follow these important care and treatment guidelines.

Tags:  EyeSmart 

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Halloween safety: Warn your patients about five frightening risks of wearing non-Rx contact lenses

Posted By Chet Seward, Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Zombie or devil contact lenses may elevate a Halloween costume’s fright factor, but wearing them without a prescription could result in something far more terrifying – blindness. CSEPS joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in urging Halloween shoppers to understand the risks of wearing over-the-counter contact lenses.  

While it is illegal, your patients can still purchase non-prescription contact lenses from costume shops and on the web. Falsely advertised as “one-size-fits-all” or “no prescription necessary,” these lenses can cause serious eye damage.

This Halloween please remind your patients about five frightening consequences of ignoring the warnings: 

1.    Scratches to the eye – If contacts are not professionally fitted to your eye, they can causecorneal abrasions, which are not only painful, but can cause permanent damage.

2.    Infection – Research shows wearing non-prescription contacts increases the risk of keratitis. Early treatment with antibiotic or steroid drops may preserve vision, but sometimes surgery, such as corneal transplantation, is necessary.   

3.    Pink eye – Sharing candy on Halloween may be fun but contacts should never be shared because doing so can spread germs, causing conditions such as pink eye.

4.    Decreased vision – Whether from a corneal scratch or infection, wearing non-prescription contacts can lead to decreased vision.

5.    Blindness – It’s no scare tactic: wearing non-prescription contacts can lead to permanent vision loss.

Halloween should be fun, not scary. AAO and CSEPS encourage you to remind your patients that when it comes to costume contacts –  no prescription, no way.

Visit the Academy’s EyeSmart® website to learn more about contact lens safety.

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August is child eye health and safety month

Posted By Chet Seward, Sunday, August 7, 2016

With back-to-school time around the corner, parents will be scrambling to buy new school supplies and clothes. As they tick off their long list of school to-dos, ophthalmologists are reminding moms and dads not to neglect one of the most important learning tools: their children’s eyes

Because children are still growing, being vigilant about eye health is important. The earlier problems are identified; the sooner they can be addressed. For healthy eyes and vision throughout the school year, CSEPS and the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommend the following four tips:

1. Get regular childhood vision screenings – Children’s eyes change rapidly, making regular vision screenings an important step in detecting and correcting eye problems earlyFor school-age children, a vision screening, which is less comprehensive than a dilated eye examination by an ophthalmologist, can be performed by a pediatrician, family physician, nurse or trained technician during regular checkups. If the screening detects a problem, the child may need to see an ophthalmologist or other eye care professional.

2. Know and share your family eye health history – Everyone should find out whether eye conditions or diseases run in their family. Parents should share that information with the person performing the screening when possible. Examples of common eye conditions include nearsightedness, crossed eye, known as strabismus, and lazy eye, known as amblyopia. If these are not treated in childhood, they can cause permanent vision loss in one eye.    

3. Watch for signals of eye problems – Parents should be alert to symptoms that could indicate an eye or vision problem, such as complaints of eyestrain, headaches and squinting when reading or performing other common activities. Other symptoms to look for include a white or grayish-white coloring in the pupil, one eye that turns in or out, or eyes that do not track in sync together. 

4. Wear protective eyewear when playing sports – Eye injuries while playing sports can cause serious damage, whether by getting smacked with an elbow during basketball or hit with a hockey stick. If your child plays racket sports, hockey, field hockey, baseball or basketball, consider having them wear goggles or other certified protective eyewear.

Visit the Academy's website to learn more about common childhood eye conditions.

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Know the Score: Wearing Eye Protection Prevents Players from Getting Benched Due to Injury

Posted By Chet Seward, Thursday, April 28, 2016

Sports-related eye injuries cause an estimated 100,000 doctor visits each year. Yet, most of these injuries can be prevented by wearing eye protection. In fact, a recent study of high school field hockey players shows that traumatic eye injuries fell 67 percent after eye protection became mandatory. In support of Sports Eye Safety Month in April, CSEPS and the American Academy of Ophthalmology are offering athletes of all ages guidance on how to best protect their eyes.

Common sports eye injuries include corneal abrasions, lacerations and bleeding in the eye. Basketball players tend to get poked in the eye with fingers. Tennis and softball players more often get hit with fast moving balls. In contact sports like football and martial arts, more severe ocular injuries such as retinal detachment and orbital fracture occur. One-third of sports related eye injuries happen to kids.

The good news is that 90 percent of eye injuries can be prevented with the use of protective eyewear. Save your vision while playing sports by following these tips:   

  • Wear the right eye protection: For basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey, wear protection with shatterproof polycarbonate lenses.
  • Put your helmet on: For baseball, ice hockey and lacrosse, wear a helmet with a polycarbonate face mask or wire shield.
  • Know the standards: Choose eye protection that meets American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. See the Academy’s protective eyewear webpage for more details.
  • Throw out old gear: Eye protection should be replaced when damaged or yellowed with age. Wear and tear may cause them to become weak and lose effectiveness.
  • Glasses won’t cut it: Regular prescription glasses may shatter when hit by flying objects. If you wear glasses, try sports goggles on top to protect your eyes and your frames.

“Virtually all sports eye injuries could be prevented by wearing proper eye protection,” said ophthalmologist Philip R. Rizzuto, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the Academy. “That’s why I always strongly encourage athletes to protect their eyes when participating in competitive sports.”

Anyone who experiences a sports eye injury should immediately visit an ophthalmologist, a physician specializing in medical and surgical eye care.

For more information on sports eye safety, see the American Academy of Ophthalmology's EyeSmart® website.

Tags:  EyeSmart  patient education 

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Remind your community of Halloween contact lens dangers

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 19, 2015

Many people are unaware of the dangers of non-prescription contact lenses. Despite regulatory and legal efforts, these medical devices are still commonly available at corner stores and over the internet. During Halloween the allure of scary eyes can quickly be replaced by the real possibility of life-long vision problems.

Share the following resources on social media or your practice website to help keep patients safe.

Costume Contact Lenses overview
Four Ways Over-the-Counter Costume Contact Lenses Can Ruin Vision
Patient Story: Julian's Story: Blinded in One Eye
Video: Julian's Story: Losing Sight
Patient Story: Robyn's Story: Lifelong Blurred Vision After One Use
Template press release, social media posts and poster

For more information, visit www.geteyesmart.org.

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Diabetes and Eyes: What People Don’t Know Could Leave Them Blind

Posted By Kate Alfano, Monday, November 10, 2014

While people with diabetes are more likely to develop blinding eye diseases, recent studies have revealed low awareness of the issue among ethnicities at higher risk for diabetes and low uptake of preventive eye exams among affected Medicare beneficiaries. With the findings signaling that many Americans may not be defending themselves against diabetes-related vision loss, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is sharing information about diabetic eye disease and dilated eye exams to encourage those with diabetes to take proactive steps to protect their vision.

Although Hispanics and African-Americans are more likely to have diabetes than most other ethnicities, a recent poll commissioned by the Alliance for Eye and Vision Research has revealed that only 27 and 32 percent (respectively) report to know about diabetic eye disease.[1] In addition, while the Academy recommends that people with diabetes have a dilated eye exam every year, one study recently published in the journal Ophthalmology found that, among Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma or diabetes – all conditions that require an annual eye exams – three-quarters of those who did not have an exam in five years were those living with diabetes.[2] 

“It’s alarming that so many people with diabetes or at risk for diabetes may be unaware of the damage their condition can do to their eyes and may not be getting exams to check for it,” said Raj K. Maturi, M.D., ophthalmologist and clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “Outside of maintaining good blood glucose levels, having an annual dilated eye exam is the best first line defense against vision loss from diabetic eye disease.”

While “diabetic eye disease” is often used, people may be unaware that this term encompasses a number of diseases and conditions that can cause blindness if left untreated. These include the following.

  • Diabetic Retinopathy affects 28.5 percent of people age 40 and older living with diabetes.[3] It occurs when the small blood vessels in the eye change by swelling, leaking fluid or closing off completely, blocking blood flow from reaching the retina. In its earliest stages, diabetic retinopathy does not have symptoms, but can lead to changes in the eye, such as macular edema, which is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes. Treatment for diabetic retinopathy and many of its related changes include laser surgery, medical injections and vitrectomy surgery in which blood and scar tissue caused by abnormal blood vessels is removed.
  • Cataract occurs when the eye’s lens becomes cloudy, causing vision to become blurry, cloudy or dim. While this happens in many people as they age, those with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts than their peers without diabetes. Mild cataracts may be treated with eyeglasses, but once the cataract is advanced, it will require cataract surgery, in which the natural cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens implant known as an intraocular lens or IOL.
  • Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve and peripheral vision. The damage to the optic nerve is usually caused by elevated pressure in the eye. People with diabetes are also more likely to develop glaucoma, which rarely has any noticeable symptoms in its early stages. Glaucoma can be treated with medication such as prescription eye drops or with surgery, but will result in blindness if left untreated.

The Academy recommends that those with those with type 2 diabetes should get a dilated eye exam at the time of diagnosis and every year following. Those with type 1 diabetes should start receiving annual eye exams five years after their initial diagnosis.

Seniors who have not had a recent eye exam or for whom cost is a concern may qualify for EyeCare America, a program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, that offers eye exams and care at no out-of-pocket cost for eligible seniors age 65 and older. EyeCare America is the largest public service program of its kind in American medicine, and has helped more than 1.8 million people access eye care services. Visit www.eyecareamerica.org to learn more.

Through its public education website, EyeSmart, the Academy also offers tools and information such as



[1] http://www.researchamerica.org/uploads/AEVRRApoll.pdf

[2] http://www.aaojournal.org/article/S0161-6420(14)00624-1/abstract

[3] http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/statsreport14/national-diabetes-report-web.pdf


Tags:  diabetes  eye smart 

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Four Frightening Ways Non-Prescription Costume Contact Lenses Can Ruin Your Vision

Posted By Kate Alfano, Monday, October 27, 2014

To avoid a real-life Halloween horror story – going blind because of a costume accessory – the American Academy of Ophthalmology is warning the public against wearing costume contact lenses purchased without a prescription. These illegally sold cosmetic lenses may not be sterile and can cause a host of serious eye problems capable of morphing a fun Halloween night into a nightmare.

Tiger eyes, checkered pupils: non-prescription decorative lenses (also calledcosmetic, costume or plano contact lenses) come in many different patterns and colors. In 2005, after reports of them causing eye injuries and infections, the Federal Drug Administration classified all contact lenses as medical devices and restricted their distribution to licensed eye care professionals, effectively banning sales of non-prescription contact lenses. Despite that, these items remain available on the internet, in convenience stores and at flea markets.

Below are four frightening ways that non-prescription decorative lenses can hurt your eyes:

  1. Scratches – Because over-the-counter lenses are not fitted and sized for the person wearing the contacts, they can easily scrape the outer layer of the eye. The resulting corneal abrasions can cause redness, light sensitivity, discharge, pain, plus the feeling that something is stuck under the eyelid.
  2. Sores – Costume contact lenses can literally create an eye sore called acorneal ulcer, with symptoms similar to corneal abrasions. The ulcers sometimes appear as a white dot on the iris – the colored part of the eye. When the ulcers heal, they can scar over and can in some cases permanently affect vision.
  3. Infections – Both corneal abrasions and ulcers create openings in the eye, making them more vulnerable to bacteria, viruses and amoebas. All of these organisms can cause serious eye infections known as keratitis. One study found that wearing cosmetic contact lenses increased the risk of keratitis by more than 16 times.[i] Some infections, such as herpes simplex, can be recurring and difficult to eradicate, while a number of bacteria have become resistant to common antibiotics.
  4. Blindness – In the most extreme cases, complications from wearing costume contact lenses may require surgery or end in blindness. For instance, extensive scarring from an infection can distort the cornea or make it opaque, requiring a corneal transplant to restore vision.  

"I hate to think of all the young people who might be buying these non-prescription contact lenses on Halloween, only to end up with an infection that can ruin their sight forever," said Thomas Steinemann, M.D., a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and professor of ophthalmology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, who treats multiple cases each year. "There is a reason the FDA regulates the sale of contact lenses, and that's because the over-the-counter versions have been shown to cause serious, irreparable damage to your vision if they're not sterile or fitted to your eyes."

Costume Contact Lens Safety Guidelines
To safely wear decorative contact lenses this Halloween or any time of year, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends following these guidelines:

  • Only buy decorative contact lenses from an eye care professional such as an ophthalmologist – a medical doctor specializing in the diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases and conditions – optometrist or retailer that requires a prescription and sells FDA-approved products.
  • If you don't already have a contact lens prescription, obtain a valid prescription and eye exam from an ophthalmologist or optometrist, a health care professional who provides primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment and management of vision changes. 
  • Even for those with perfect vision, an eye exam and prescription are mandatory in order to fit the right size contacts. Do not fall victim to false advertising claims and lenses labeled as "one size fits all" or "no need to see an eye specialist."
  • Follow the directions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing the lenses.Contacts that are left in for too long or that are not properly cleaned and disinfected can significantly increase the risk of an eye infection
  • Never share contact lenses with another person or wear expired lenses. 
  • If you notice redness, swelling, excessive discharge, pain or discomfort from wearing contact lenses, remove the lenses and seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist. Eye infections like keratitis can quickly become serious and cause blindness if left untreated. 

Tags:  eye smart  halloween  safety 

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