Exercise For Your…Eyes?

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.

Answers to your vision concerns about kids and video games

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Are Colored Contacts Dangerous?

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.