Author: Andrea Radtke
What’s wrong with Bob Costas’ eyes?
With all of the hoopla over Bob Costas’ red eye during the first week of the Olympic Games, you may have wondered, what did he have anyway? Well as Bob himself put it, “this was viral both literally and figuratively”.
So if you ever find yourself in a Bob Costas situation, what should you do? First of all, go see your eye doc. “Pink eye” is a general term used to describe a type of conjunctivitis where the whites of the eyes are affected by either an allergy, a bacterial infection or in Costas’ case, a viral infection. Coming in to the doctor’s office as soon as possible is your best bet to determine which is ailing you. Drops can be used to treat allergic and bacterial conjunctivitis and generally the eyes will begin to look much better after only a couple of days’ worth of treatment.
Unfortunately for Costas, he has viral conjunctivitis which tends to stick around a little longer and may not completely resolve for 2 to 3 weeks. Costas was back on TV covering the games last night, and although his eyes looked better, they still weren’t 100% back to normal and he was still sporting his specs instead of contacts. Viral conjunctivitis presents itself with red, itching, burning, watery eyes which typically become very light sensitive. It also is very common to start in one eye and spread to the other in a couple of days. Treatment is also limited since this condition just needs to run its course. In severe cases, steroids can help relieve symptoms but do not speed up the time it takes to completely resolve.
Now here was Costas’ big snafu, viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious, especially for the first 10 to 12 days from onset, or as long as the eyes are red. So while Costas’ work ethic kept him reporting on the games, he was exposing his co-workers to the virus and putting them at risk. If you do find yourself in Costas’ shoes, stay home! Also avoid touching your eyes, shaking hands, wash all pillow cases, sheets and towels in hot water and replace eye makeup to avoid re-infection.
Now that we all know what’s been ailing Costas we can all get back to cheering on all the athletes. Go Team USA!
How to Clean Your Glasses
How many of us are guilty of cleaning that annoying smudge off of our glasses by using our breath to fog up the lenses and then rubbing them with the corner of our shirt / Kleenex / paper towel? More than likely, most of you reading this are guilty of it and at the very least, have seen others do it. Sure, it’s convenient but by wiping that smudge away like this, you’re leaving behind tiny scratches in those lenses with those rough fibers or dust. Unfortunately, once your lenses have those scratches in them, there is no way to remove them or buff them out.
What Is The Best Way To Clean Your Glasses?
It’s probably simpler than you think. The American Optometric Association recommends using warm water and a dab of kitchen soap o the pads of your fingertips to work up a lather, then rinse with water and dry with a soft cotton cloth.
When you’re on the go, use a spray lens cleaner designed for lenses and a cotton lens cloth to keep your lenses smudge and scratch free.
Never use window cleaner on your lenses or anything else with ammonia, bleach or vinegar as these will strip your lenses of the coatings used to keep off glare and reflections.
National Glaucoma Awareness Month
January is National Glaucoma Awareness month so let’s spread the word on this sight-stealing disease.
What Exactly Is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a disease that causes damage to the optic nerve inside of the eye. Since the optic nerve is responsible for transmitting images to the brain, glaucoma can lead to progressive and irreversible vision loss over time if left untreated. Glaucoma is often associated with an elevated intra-ocular pressure which damages these nerves. Once these nerves are gone, the damage is permanent.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, (cataracts being the most common), according to the World Health Organization. Currently, an estimated 2.2 million people in the United States have glaucoma and the number is only expected to rise as our population ages.
Who Is At Risk?
Those with a family history of glaucoma, especially a first-degree relative such as a parent or sibling are more at risk. Race is a risk factor as African-Americans are at a 3X greater risk for developing a type of glaucoma called open-angle glaucoma, while Asian-Americans are at an increased risk for narrow-angle glaucoma. Other risk factors include being over the age of 60, diabetics and those who are very nearsighted.
How Do I Know If I Have Glaucoma?
More than likely a person with glaucoma will not experience any symptoms until they have lost approximately 40% of their vision. In fact, glaucoma is often referred to as the “silent thief of sight”. However, with a type of glaucoma called acute angle-closure glaucoma, patients may experience blurred vision with halos around lights and intense eye pain and nausea. If you or anyone you know experiences these symptoms, see or eye doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.
With moderate or advance glaucoma, a person will notice a decrease in their peripheral vision, eventually leading to a “tunnel vision”.
Normal Vision vs. Glaucoma
What Can I Do To Prevent It?
Good lifestyle habits such as eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and staying active can help reduce your risk of developing glaucoma.An annual eye exam is also recommended to evaluate the health of the eyes and determine if there are any signs of glaucoma since early detection and treatment is the best way to preserve as much of the vision as possible. We use an instrument called a tonometer to measure the eye pressure and determine if it is within an acceptable range to maintain eye health. A visual field machine is used to test the peripheral vision and look for any signs of side vision loss. We also use digital retinal photography to capture an image of the inside of the eye which allows us to better monitor any signs of glaucoma. We use the most up to date technology to help to make sure your eyes are in tip-top shape, call us today to schedule your appointment.
If you are interested in learning more, here is a great resource.
How to Treat Tired Eyes
With the holiday season behind us and 2014 in full effect, many of us are back in to the groove of school and work. So if you have realized that your first full week back to work has brought on the return of the strained, fatigued, red eyes at the end of the day, that annoying eyelid twitch that just won’t go away or that sandy, gritty feeling you get with every blink , you’re most likely experiencing Computer Vision Syndrome, and you’re not alone. In fact, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 88% of us suffer from this (makes you wonder who those lucky 12% are). The symptoms described above are the most common complaints I hear every day from patients, but luckily there are some simple things you can do to help.
1. First things first, get an eye exam
The NIOSH recommends a comprehensive eye exam before beginning computer work and at least once per year after that. During the exam, the doctor will evaluate your vision along with your eye muscles and focusing system. Customized computer glasses can ensure that you are seeing your screen as comfortable as possible. Let your doctor know approximately how many hours you are using the computer on an average day and how far away you are sitting from your screen to help them customize your prescription.
2. Cut the Glare
If you are wearing glasses at the computer, they must have an anti-reflective (AR) coating on the lenses to eliminate reflections and glare from the computer screen, overhead lighting, table lamps and even natural lighting from windows. (As an added bonus, AR coating also improves night vision driving by eliminating the glare). Using an anti-glare screen over the monitor will also help to reduce glare.
3. Follow the 20-20-20 Rule
Your eye muscles and focusing system carry a heavy burden if you are like most computer users who spend a majority of their 8-hour work day staring at their monitor. Give your eyes a break periodically throughout the day with the 20-20-20 rule. This means that for every 20 minutes of computer work, look off in to the distance at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This short break will greatly reduce the strain and fatigue your eyes would otherwise feel at the end of the day.
4. Proper Positioning
There are a couple of important numbers you should know to make sure your work area is set up as comfortable and ergonomically correct as possible. Your computer monitor should be 20-24 inches away from your eyes and your computer monitor should sit 10-15 degrees below your eyes. This will ensure that your head and neck are in a comfortable position and will also reduce dryness in the eyes by exposing less tissue on the front of the eyes with a slight downward gaze. This brings me to my last point…
During prolonged computer we blink 77% less than we should. This dries out the corneal tissue on the front of the eyes and is a major culprit of those red, sandy, gritty and sometimes burning, stinging eyes you’re experiencing at the end of the day. I recommend using lubricating eye drops (NOT the “get the red out” drops) before beginning computer work in the morning and then again at the end of your lunch break before getting back to work. Your eye doctor can recommend the best lubricating eye drops specifically for your eyes.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them for us below. From all of us at Optic Gallery Summerlin, we wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2014.