Protecting your eyes from the harsh effects of UV rays is just as important in January as it is in June. A common misconception with eye safety is believing that eye damage can not occur in the winter months and that eye safety practices can go on holiday until next year. Sun exposure can increase the development of cataracts, and cause growths on the eye regardless of the season.
The sun can have a seemingly harsh reflection off the snow in the winter and it’s critical to take the necessary precautions in protecting yourself such as wearing hats, sunscreen, goggles or other UV protective eyewear. Studies have found that exposure to UV radiation can even be high on cloudy days with the northern hemisphere having its highest exposure at midday. Dr. Anne Sumers, a practicing ophthalmologist in Ridgewood, NJ and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Ophthalmologist states, “Sunlight reflected off the snow can actually sunburn the cornea in the winter.”
With the heart of winter just around the corner for most of the US, here’s a few tips on what you can do to stay ahead of the weather and protect your eyes:
Medicine’s first responsibility is to the patient, but patients often complain about the inconveniences of preventive screenings and can become noncompliant. UWF™ retinal imaging decreases the discomfort of retinal screening, reduces screening time and, as a result, may increase patient satisfaction. Clinicians also benefit, since improved imaging not only allows them to provide enhanced patient care but also invites increased collaboration with colleagues.
Patient Benefits Beyond Improved Imaging
Patients often forgo preventive screenings because, in their minds, the discomfort of pupil dilation during the exam outweighs the potential benefit of preventing disease. This dilation process also extends the visit time and leaves the patient with the side effect of short-term blurred vision. UWF is complimentary and, in some cases, can eliminate patient pupil dilation. Consequently, UWF imaging can decrease examination time, which can significantly improve patient compliance.
Enhanced imaging and diagnostic quality also provide images superior to those produced by current Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study (ETDRS) standards for DR screening (Kernt, 2012). Patients who undergo UWF imaging stand to be diagnosed sooner and treated earlier.
Clinician Benefits Beyond Direct Patient Care
Diabetic macular edema (DME) has been diagnosed more frequently as detection methods have improved. For Type 1 patients who are diagnosed at an early age, disease management begins at the time of diagnosis, and blood sugar (BS) control is critical to the prevention of secondary microvascular complications. It has been documented that nearly all Type 1 diabetics develop significant retinal disease in the two decades following their initial diagnosis. Baseline retinal disease in these patients has been shown to be a clear prognostic factor for the incidence of vision threatening retinal disease later in life. Type 2 diabetics who showed no retinal disease at diagnosis have lower risk of progression toward retinal disease in the same time period. When a patient is diagnosed with diabetic macular edema (DME), microvascular disease is already evident as clearly shown in multimodality ultra-widefield (200 degrees) or UWF™ retinal imaging with optomap®. This has been confirmed by UWF fluorescein angiography (FA).
Rapid visualization of the peripheral retina with UWF color and FA imaging (often without a mydriatic agent) allows more pathology to be found at an earlier onset. Peripheral ischemia is determined with confirmatory FA which documents peripheral neovascularization, nonperfusion, and late peripheral vascular leakage. Earlier diagnosis allows earlier treatment. Thus, …
Eye safety is sometimes the last thing on people’s minds when buying toys for children. Although no one chooses gifts with the intent to cause any harm, some of the most popular children’s toys can pose threats to eye safety. With the holiday and gift giving season in our midst, here is a list of toys that can often pose a threat to eye safety that you may want to avoid:
1. Guns that shoot any type of projectile
This includes toy guns that shoot lightweight, cushy darts. These toy guns typically shoot up to 75 feet in distance and the darts move at speeds fast enough to cause serious eye injury. BB guns, paintball guns and darts can also be particularly hazardous.
2. Toy wands, swords, sabers or guns with bayonets
These, in general, are an invitation to eye injury. As the old saying goes, “you’ll get poked in the eye!” These toys can be particularly hazardous when used inappropriately with the potential to cause severe eye damage such as corneal abrasion, intraocular pressure, and even permanent vision loss.
3. Laser pointers and bright flashlights