Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably already know that just 30 minutes of exercise a day can help your heart, energy levels, and waistline. But did you know that it can also benefit your eyes? Eye diseases are often times linked to other health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Regular exercise can help prevent these diseases, or at least limit their impact if they occur or if you’re already dealing with them.
Exercise can help those with glaucoma (by reducing intraocular pressure and improving blood circulation to the retina and optic nerve), age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, as well as other diseases that can affect vision. And you don’t have to compete in ironman races or marathons; even a brisk walk, climbing stairs or dancing three times a week can benefit you. So make time for that walk or hike — your eyes will thank you.
With the holiday season in full effect, you can bet that many kids will be receiving a video game or a new system in the next few weeks. In fact, one million PlayStation 4 consoles were sold in North America in the first 24 hours of its recent launch. Sadly, I was not one of those lucky ones.
Since the dawn of the television age, parents have been wondering “How much is too much?” After home video games were introduced, the question became even more relevant. Below you will find some of the most common concerns parents have and how to address each issue.
- Will video games ruin my kid’s eyes? Certainly, overuse of the visual system, especially up close, can lead to eyestrain, fatigue, redness of the eyes, and eye rubbing, but it cannot be stated conclusively that video games will directly lead to permanent damage.
- How much time should I let my kids play video games? 20 minutes of game play followed by a break is plenty. As for how much cumulative time per day, you are the best judge – but at our house we have a maximum of one hour of screen time daily. Then again, I must be fairly conservative because a recent study stated that 85% of kids use an electronic device up to four hours a day.
- Are video games good for anything? Besides allowing you to have some fun with your kids, a recent study demonstrated that some video games can improve hand-eye coordination. Also, in young children who have parental participation, certain video games can improve literacy.
So, while allowing your child to play Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty 24/7 may be a lousy idea, a small amount gaming with your child can be a good thing. Remember, about 60% of video game titles are rated “E” for everyone, so let’s have some fun!
~David Ardaya, OD
This original article by Golden Optometric optometrist David Ardaya has also been published by the California Optometric Association, where Dr Ardaya is a past president of the Orange County chapter.
Thinking about buying some inexpensive colored contact lenses from the pharmacy, beauty salon or 99 Cent store? You might want to re-think that idea. Sure, they’re cheap, but the sale of contact lenses (even colored lenses) without a valid prescription is prohibited by federal law. Plus, most of these stores don’t have the training or knowledge to provide instruct you on how to care for your new lenses.
So what’s the risk? Improper care can lead to infection of the cornea. The condition, called keratitis, is very common. And contacts that aren’t fitted correctly can cause abrasions of the cornea. The abrasion can get infected and could lead to ulcers. If these ulcers go untreated, they can cause scarring on the cornea, which is irreversible and permanently affects vision. If you’re a first-time contact lens wearer, complications increase.
But it’s just for one night, right? Even just one night of wearing these ill-fitted contacts can put you at risk. And if you’re drinking, the dehydration increases the risks. Please, save yourself the risks and potentially serious consequences, and consult a licensed optometrist to get fitted for your colored contacts, whether for regular use or Halloween.
For more information, read this article on ABCnews.com.
Do your eyes burn, sting or have redness? These are symptoms of dry eyes and they may affect your ability to wear contact lenses or cause twitching of the eyes. Flaxseed oil could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Many doctors are now recommending a daily supplement of flaxseed oil and fish oil which both contain omega-3 fatty acids that have multiple health benefits, including prevention of dry eyes.
Protection and Prevention
Flaxseed oil contains an omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA); when digested, it is converted to two other omega-3s, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which have been shown to reduce inflammation, and may help prevent chronic diseases such as arthritis and heart disease.
Consult with your eye doctor or family physician before taking significant quantities of any new supplement. Especially if you take prescription or non-prescription drugs, as adverse drug interactions can occur.
When used with blood thinners (even aspirin), both flaxseed and fish oils can increase the risk of bleeding and reduce blood clotting so be careful and consult with your doctor.
Vitamin E deficiency can be caused by long-term use of fish oil — if your multi-vitamin doesn’t already contain it, look for fish oil supplements that also have vitamin E .
For more information, take a look at this article.
Lazy eye, amblyopia, is usually treated in children with an eye patch over one eye (to help strengthen the other) or a specially fitted contact lens to block out light in one eye, forcing the other eye to work harder.
But what about for adults? Are we stuck looking like pirates? There may be a much more fun alternative. A recent study on adults used Tetris as a way of improving vision in amblyopes with surprising results. Arrrrrr!
Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the thin membrane lining the inner eyelid or white part of the eye. When inflamed, the eye turns pink or red, hence its name. Treatment of conjunctivitis depends on its root of cause. Possible causes include infections from viruses, bacteria, allergens, pollutants and underlying diseases of the body. Common symptoms of conjunctivitis include:
- Swelling of the eyelids
- Watery eyes
- White, green or yellow mucous discharge
- Crusting and stickiness around eyelids especially upon awakening
- Itching or burning sensation
- Swollen and tender areas in front of the ears
Conjunctivitis of viral and bacterial origin can be highly contagious. Tips for prevention of spreading the infection include frequent hand washing, avoidance of touching eyes and avoidance of sharing common objects such as towels, linens and make-up.
If you suspect you have conjunctivitis, it is important to have your eyes checked for medical treatment. Be careful not to use eye drops prescribed from previous infections or those prescribed for someone else as they can be inappropriate and can exacerbate your current infection.