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Teen Blinded in One Eye By Fireworks

When Jameson Lamb and his friends began lighting fireworks one Fourth of July, it all seemed like harmless fun. Little did they know that at age 16 he would be robbed of his vision in one eye during a terrible accident.

They were at the family lake house in Michigan, where they bought a number of fireworks to set off near the lakeshore. After everyone went to bed, he and his friends snuck out to light a few more fireworks off over the lake. A Roman candle that they thought was extinguished shot out a round that hit him square in the eye. He ran screaming to the house and banged on the door. His mother let him in. The family drove to a hospital, his eye a black hole.

"It was black, full of debris," Lamb says.

Young people are at high risk of fireworks injuries
Injuries like Lamb's are all too common. Fireworks caused 15,600 injuries last year, according to a 2021 Consumer Product Safety Commission report. Nearly half of the reported injuries occurred in people under 20 years old. The eyes are the third-most often injured body part, accounting for about 15% of all fireworks injuries.

Common fireworks eye injuries include burns and corneal abrasions (which can get infected and scar over, blocking vision) to more serious potentially blinding injuries such as retinal detachment and rupture of the eyeball. All can impede vision permanently.

Lamb suffered burns to a significant part of his eyelids and the conjunctiva, or whites of the eye, said his ophthalmologist Ali Djalilian, M.D., one of the surgeons at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary who treated Lamb after the accident. "It's a chemical and a thermal injury, and that's what makes this injury so devastating."

Now 19, Lamb has gone through multiple surgeries to regain his sight, including a corneal transplant and a stem cell transplant. While his vision improved after the surgeries to 20/80, he has since lost vision in the eye damaged that fateful night.

Follow these fireworks safety rules
"One of the most important lessons I've learned from this experience is that fireworks aren't toys," Lamb says. "People need to know that there are risks. I hope that others can learn from me, so they don't have to go through the same thing I did just to find out."

Lamb has recorded a public service announcement on behalf of the American Academy of Ophthalmology offering fireworks safety advice.

To safely enjoy fireworks this Fourth of July, the Academy recommends attending a public fireworks show rather than using fireworks at home. Those who choose to do so should wear eye protection such as shatterproof polycarbonate safety glasses. People watching fireworks should also wear eye protection, as a significant number of those injured are bystanders. To avoid a tragic accident involving children and fireworks, never let young children handle fireworks, even sparklers. Sparklers can burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, about 10 times hotter than boiling water.

As Lamb says, "It's not worth the risk."

Remember: Fireworks are not toys
Fireworks may be advertised like toys. You may think you know how to handle them safely. But fireworks injure thousands of Americans every year. Playing with fireworks can blind you or your loved ones. Leave fireworks to the professionals this year, and share these fireworks safety tips with friends and family.

Vuity Eye Drops for Presbyopia

VUITY™ may help patients with presbyopia see up close

In clinical studies where patients received one drop of VUITY™ in each eye once daily, this was measured by the proportion of patients achieving a 3-line gain or more reading a near vision eye chart without losing more than 1 line in a distance vision eye chart at Day 30, 3 hours after dosing.

 

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It happens to many adults as we age

Approximately 128 million adults in the United States are living with presbyopia. Most people are in their 40s when they first start noticing problems seeing clearly up close. But now there’s a new way to treat it.

Eye Exams: Detecting the Signs We Can’t See


As adults age, many will develop eye diseases that could become debilitating if not treated in time. But people can protect themselves by having eye exams that can spot early and often hidden signs of eye disease. Find out how the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that you care for your eyes. Learn more at https://www.aao.org/eyesmart

Are styes contagious and what can I do about them?


Styes aren’t contagious, and most of the time you can treat them at home. Styes are very common. It’s kind of like a pimple on the eyelid. They will usually go away in a few days if you apply a clean, warm compress to your closed eyelid for 10 to 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day. Andrew Iwach, MD, tells you what you need to know about styes and how to take care of them. For more information about styes and other eye conditions, visit the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s EyeSmart website: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseas…

Contact Lenses: No Prescription, No Way

Making your eyes look cool for Halloween with decorative contact lenses can be dangerous if you don’t follow the right steps. Even those with perfect vision should get an eye exam and a prescription before buying any contact lenses. Say no to over-the-counter lenses. Learn more at http://www.geteyesmart.org.

What You Need to Know About Dry Eyes

 

Dry eye is a complex disease that has many causes that often overlap and interact. For many people, a few simple lifestyle changes can resolve dry eye. Dry eye occurs when the eye does not produce enough tears or when the quality of the tears can’t keep the surface of the eye adequately lubricated. It frequently occurs with other health conditions. Environmental triggers, such as pollution or the weather, play a role. Sometimes it’s caused by medications, such as antihistamines, asthma medication or birth control pills. It can be made worse by computer or contact lens use. If your eyes remain red and irritated after trying these tips, see your ophthalmologist, a physician who specialize in medical and surgical eye care.

 

Dry eye diseases can have a number of causes. There are a variety of treatment approaches are used. For most people with occasional or mild dry eye symptoms, over-the-counter eyedrops (artificial tears) can help significantly. If your symptoms are persistent and more serious, your eye doctor can offer other options or switch medications that may be inducing dry eye.

Here are some of the options to treat dry eye:

  • Antibiotic to reduce eyelid inflammation. Inflammation along the edge of your eyelids can keep oil glands from secreting oil into your tears.
  • Eyedrops to control cornea inflammation. Inflammation on the cornea, the surface of your eyes, may be controlled with prescription eyedrops that contain cyclosporine.
  • Eye inserts that work like artificial tears. Inserted between your lower eyelid and your eyeball, these tiny inserts dissolve slowly, releasing an eye lubricant.
  • Tear-stimulating drugs. These drugs are available as pills, gel or eyedrops.
  • Tear-stimulating devices. A new device inserted in the nose stimulates a nerve to produce tears.
  • Eyedrops made from your own blood. These are called autologous blood serum drops.
  • Closing your tear ducts with a tiny silicone plug to reduce tear loss.
  • Unblocking oil glands, using light therapy or eyelid massage.
  • Treating an eyelid condition with surgery. Ectropion, a condition that turns lids outward, preventing the lid from closing completely.

Content provided by the AAO through the Eyesmart program.

What You Need to Know About Glaucoma – The Sneak Thief of Sight

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma, a silent eye disease, is the most common form of irreversible blindness in the world. It is actually a group of diseases that causes progressive damage to the optic nerve.

  • Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that can lead to permanent vision loss if not controlled.
  • There is currently no cure for glaucoma, but there are many treatments available for stopping and slowing the progressive damage to the eye. Treatment, however, can’t reverse damage that is already done.
  • Glaucoma affects the optic nerve which sends visual information from your eye to your brain.
  • Glaucoma is called the “Thief Sneak of Sight” because there are often no symptoms in the early stages such as pain or “pressure sensation” as one may expect, and by the time it is diagnosed there may already be permanent vision loss.
  • When vision loss occurs, peripheral vision is typically affected before central vision. As a result, glaucoma is a major public health issue because individuals usually do not notice any problem with vision until end stages of the disease when there is severe and irreversible vision loss.
  • Awareness and regular eye exams are key to early detection and preventing vision loss.

What Causes Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is caused by a buildup of natural fluid that doesn’t drain properly from the eye. The buildup of fluid can result in high pressure in the eye which is the most common cause of the condition. There are many types of glaucoma, which include:

Chronic (open angle) glaucoma occurs when pressure builds up over time, usually as a result of aging. This is the most common type of glaucoma.

Acute (angle closure) glaucoma is an acute condition where pressure builds up suddenly and demands immediate medical attention. Symptoms include blurred vision, eye pain, headaches, seeing halos around lights, nausea and vomiting.

Secondary glaucoma results from another eye disease, condition or a trauma to the eye.

Normal tension glaucoma is when there is no build up of pressure but the optic nerve is still damaged. We are still not yet sure what causes this type of glaucoma.

Who is at Risk for Glaucoma?

Everyone is at risk of glaucoma however there are certain factors which increase the likelihood of developing the condition. Vision loss from glaucoma can be greatly reduced when detected and treated early which is why knowing your risk factors can play a tremendous role in prevention.

Age

Age is one of the biggest risk factors, as your chances of developing glaucoma increase significantly after the age of 40. In fact people over 60 years old are six times more likely to get the condition.

Ancestry and Family History

Individuals from African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American or Aboriginal Canadian descent are at increased risk. Family history is a very strong factor as the condition occurs twice as much in people with close relatives who have had glaucoma.

Previous Eye Injury, Traumas or Surgery

Eye injuries, traumas or surgeries have been known to sometimes cause secondary glaucoma which can happen immediately after the injury or procedure, or even years later. Even childhood injuries can result in secondary glaucoma later in life.

Use of Steroids

Studies show that prolonged steroid use is linked to increased elevated intraocular pressure which increases the risk of open-angle glaucoma.

Certain medical and eye conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and high myopia (nearsightedness) also increase a person’s risk of developing glaucoma.

Glaucoma Treatment

While there is no cure for glaucoma, there are treatments to slow down the progression of the disease including eye drop medications, iridotomies, iridectomies, laser procedures and surgeries.

Glaucoma Prevention

Other than taking care of any underlying conditions that may increase the risk of developing glaucoma, there is little one can do in the way of prevention. You can however reduce your chances of suffering vision loss. The first step is knowing the risk factors and signs of the condition (even though as mentioned most cases have no symptoms in the early stages, until vision is already lost).

The best possible way to prevent vision loss is to have regular comprehensive eye exams to check the health of your eyes and if your eye doctors prescribes medication for glaucoma, make sure to diligently take them as directed. Your eye doctor will be able to conduct certain tests to detect eye diseases such as glaucoma before you even begin to notice symptoms. If you have any of the risk factors above, mention it to your eye doctor, and always be sure to schedule a yearly eye exam, or as often as your eye doctor recommends, to check the health of your eyes and rule out any underlying or developing eye conditions like glaucoma.

World Braille Day 2019

Each year during the month of January we recognize World Braille Day which gives us the opportunity to take a moment and appreciate the incredible gift that Braille has given to those who are blind or suffer from vision loss. 

What is Braille?

Braille is a tactile representation of letters and numbers that can be utilized by people with vision loss to read using their fingers.  The system uses combinations of six raised dots – three rows of two – that serve to represent the numbers, letters and even symbols such as music notes. 

Braille History:

Braille was developed by a young Frenchman named Louis Braille and was first published in 1829. Braille invented the system at the age of 15 after he became blind as the result of an accident. The idea was originally based on night writing, a touch-based military code developed for Napoleon’s army by Charles Barbier as a strategy for soldiers to be able to communicate silently in the dark. Barbier’s code was ultimately rejected because it was too difficult to be used effectively by the soldiers. Barbier and Braille later met at the Royal Institute for the Blind in Paris and Braille was able to adapt the idea into a more functional system. In braille, the characters, or letters, are each represented by a cell or block with a particular arrangement of raised dots.

Not Just the ABC’s

While first developed for the French alphabet, braille has since been expanded for many languages including all the European-based languages, as well as Arabic and Asian languages. Even within those languages there are different forms of the system.  For example, in English, there is Grade 1 braille which is composed of the representation of the 26 letters of the Roman alphabet and is primarily used for those learning to read and write the language. Grade 2 on the other hand is the type of braille you are likely to see written in public places such as menus or signs as it is more complex. Grade 2 includes higher level punctuation, abbreviations and contractions. Lastly, Grade 3 is a form of shorthand designed for personal use such as taking notes or writing letters. 

In addition to the cells which represent the letters, braille may also include illustrations, graphs and symbols such as bullets or arrows. Further, a cell can also represent a number, a word or a punctuation mark. Because braille takes up more space than standard print there are many abbreviations or contractions that represent words or word sequences to save space. This also helps to improve the speed at which one can read and write using the system. 

How To Write Braille

Writing braille requires some tools. To do it by hand you need a stylus, which is a metal tool that is used to create the dots, a slate, which is a type of stencil used to align the dots into neat cells and card-stock paper which is heavy enough to emboss.  You can also write braille with a special braille typewriter or an electronic brailler as well as certain computer programs with a braille embosser printer. 

Being able to read and write braille allows those with vision impairment to learn and express themselves in a way that they would otherwise not be able to. While newer technologies such as screen readers and other computer based programs have become more common in recent years, braille is the foundation of innovation in improving the lives of the blind and vision impaired. 

Are Nerf Guns a Dangerous Holiday Present?

Nerf Guns: Popular, Projectile… Safe?

With the newest Nerf guns and blasters reigning at the top of lists for the most popular toys this holiday season, many parents are excited to surprise their kids (or their spouses) with these coveted toy weapons. There is, in fact a whole culture behind these guns including a variety of themes, weaponry and ammunition, making finding the right Nerf gun for your loved one an additional part of the fun. Most don’t even bat an eye…(pun intended) about the possible dangers of these guns, specifically to the eyes and vision.

The truth is, Nerf guns have been reported to cause eye injuries including corneal abrasion (or scratch on the eye), internal bleeding in and around the eye, pain, blurred vision, and temporary loss of vision. Blurry vision is sometimes due to swelling in the retina after a traumatic injury. Experts warn that they can cause irreversible damage to the eye such as a torn or detached retina and vision loss. So this, of course, begs the question: Are these a dangerous toy to buy for my loved ones?

Well despite these troublesome facts, Hasbro, the company who manufactures the guns, claims that they go to extensive lengths to ensure the toys are safe. Based on years of research, consumer insights and rigorous testing, Hasbro assures that the toys “meet or exceed global standards and regulations” for safety. That is of course, when the toys are used properly and according to the recommended guidelines.

So if, when used according to the guidelines, Nerf guns are not inherently dangerous, it is up to the parent’s discretion to assess whether they are a good choice for their family. Parents (or users of any age) need to establish proper rules and ensure that those using the guns are responsible enough to follow those rules. They should also do their part to be informed and understand the dangers and precautions necessary for safe use.

Be Informed About Nerf Gun Safety

If you do chose to purchase a Nerf gun, make sure that you do the research to ensure that you are selecting the best and safest model and accessories for your desired use. While most models are designed for children ages 8 and up, there are a few models that are specified for older children, so pay attention to the age recommendations. Do not allow children under the age limitations to play with the guns. Further, it is recommended that all children are supervised by adults during play. 

Nerf brand darts, blasters and foam rounds are made to meet strict safety regulations, while other brands that claim to be Nerf compatible may not be. Only Nerf brand bullets, designed for the specific product purchased should be used. In addition to other safety hazards, it has been seen that some bullets manufactured by other brands have a harder end which pose a greater threat for injury. 

Think about eye safety. Rule number one should always be: Never aim at anyone’s face or eyes. A direct hit to the eye can cause serious damage and pain. Ideally, the guns should be used with eye protection such as sports or protective goggles to prevent accidental eye injury, so think about adding a couple of pairs into the gift package.

Never modify the guns, darts or blasters. There are many videos online that demonstrate how to modify the guns to shoot further, harder and faster. Tampering with the guns and ammunition in this way can undermine the safety measures built into the design of the toys and could result in more serious injury. Make sure to warn children against this as well. 

The Answer

So, what’s the verdict? Whether or not Nerf guns are the right choice for your family depends on how responsible your family members can be with their use. Like many other toys and machinery, they can pose a danger when not used properly so anyone that is gifted or using this toy should be aware of those possible dangers, as well as the rules that are in place for eye safety. If you or a loved one does get injured by such a toy, get a medical evaluation immediately, especially if the injured person is experiencing blurred vision. 

8 Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes

Whether you live in a climate with cold winter weather or you are planning a ski trip up north, winter can be a challenge if you suffer from dry eyes. Dry, cool air, cold winds and even drier indoor heating can cause eye irritation, burning, itchiness and redness, and sometimes even excessively watery eyes as more tears are produced to compensate for the dryness. Many people have a chronic feeling that they have something in their eye and some even experience blurred vision. These symptoms can be debilitating!

Dry eyes is one of the most common complaints eye doctors get from patients during the winter season, especially in the cooler climates. That’s why we’d like to share some tips on how to relieve dry eye discomfort, and how to know when your condition is serious enough to come in for an evaluation.

Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes:

  1. Keep eyes moist using artificial tears or eye drops. You can apply these a few times each day when the eyes are feeling dry or irritated. If over-the-counter drops don’t help or if you have chronic dry eyes, speak to your eye doctor about finding the best drops for you. Since not all artificial tears are the same, knowing the cause of your dry eye will help your eye doctor determine which brand is best suited for your eyes.
  2. Use a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of indoor heaters or generally dry air.
  3. Point car vents or indoor heaters away from your face when the heat is on. Try to keep your distance from direct sources of heating, especially if they blow out the heat.
  4. Drink a lot! Hydrating your body will also hydrate your eyes.
  5. Protect your eyes outdoors with sunglasses or goggles – the bigger the better! Larger, even wrap-around glasses as well as a hat with a wide brim will keep the wind and other elements out of your eyes. If you wear goggles for winter sports, make sure they fit well and cover a large surface area.
  6. Soothe dry eyes using a warm compress and never rub them! Rubbing your eyes will increase irritation and may lead to infection if the hands are not clean.
  7. Give your eyes a digital break. People blink less during screen time which is why extensive computer use can lead to dry eyes. Follow the 20/20/20 rule by taking a break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds and make sure you blink!
  8. For contact lens wearers: If you wear contact lenses, dry eyes can be particularly debilitating as the contact lenses can cause even further dryness and irritation. Contact lens rewetting drops can help your eyes feel better and may also allow you to see more clearly. Not all eyedrops are appropriate for use with contact lenses, so ask your optometrist which eyedrop is compatible with your contacts and cleaning solution. If rewetting drops don’t help, consider opting for glasses when your dry eyes are bad, and speak to your optometrist about which brands of contact lenses are better for dry eyes. Many people find dry eye improvement when they switch to daily single use contact lenses.

Chronic Dry Eyes or Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tear film, or do not produce the quality of tear film needed to properly keep the eyes moist. While winter weather can make this condition worse, it is often present all year round. If you find that the tips above do not alleviate your discomfort or symptoms, it may be time to see a optometrist to see if your condition requires more effective medical treatment.

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We are still requiring masks for employees and strongly encourage them for patients in office per CDC guidelines.