In 2018, news outlets across the country began reporting on the negative effects blue light can have on your eyes. The alarmist articles claimed that blue light was more dangerous than previously thought, and was the source of everything from premature blindness to macular degeneration. These articles spurned a panic among the general public, as people realized that blue light was everywhere they looked, from their televisions to their smartphones. Seemingly overnight, this frenzy birthed new industries in blue light mitigation, such as ‘smart glasses’ and phone covers that reduced blue light. Everywhere you went, you heard about how terrible blue light was for your eyes.
However, the general public’s fear of blue light was unwarranted, and the hysteria unfounded. The articles that vilified blue light fundamentally misunderstood the very research paper they quoted. They cited dangers out of context and associated results without understanding the science behind them.
Light is a complicated topic, but a general background is necessary to understand blue light, and how it affects you. Without getting too deep into the physics of it, light is a type of energy in the form of a spectrum of wavelengths. This spectrum includes both visible and invisible forms of light. In this spectrum, the human eye has a specific range of frequencies that it can perceive, which makes up visible light. Lower frequencies and longer wavelengths result in what we perceive as red, orange and yellow, whereas higher frequencies and shorter wavelengths become blue, indigo and violet. There is an inverse relationship between wavelength and the amount of energy they contain. The longer wavelengths of red and orange contain less energy than the shorter wavelengths of blue and violet. Even shorter wavelengths become invisible and carry even more energy. These are known as ultraviolet rays or ultraviolet radiation.
UV rays aren’t inherently bad, but they do have a noticeable effect on the body. Though they are the source of sunburn, in moderation they help the body manufacture vitamin D and make you feel more alert and awake. Visible light with shorter wavelengths such as blue and violet can have similar effects.
Most light that we encounter every day is white light. White light is the entire spectrum of visible light, including blue light, combined at equal intensity, such as sunlight, or incandescent bulbs. Sunlight will always be the largest source of everyday interaction with blue light. However, with the advent of LED technology, we’re becoming more exposed to lopsided white light, with a greater intensity of blue light. The vast majority of LED screens incorporate more blue light with other colors to produce a brighter picture. This is why smartphone and tablet screens are considered blue light, even though they’re a near insignificant source when compared to sunlight. It’s this increase of blue light that caused the media frenzy of 2018.
The reason blue light is considered damaging came from a misunderstanding of research out of the University of Toledo. The researchers were specifically measuring the effect blue light has on retinal, an important chemical in the eye. While they came to the conclusion that blue light can have a negative impact on retinal, saying that blue light causes blindness is an oversimplification. The experiment measured the effect of blue light exclusively on the chemical retinal, and not how an actual eye responds to blue light. The retinal cells were not exposed to blue light the same way they would have been in a natural setting. It was a controlled environment, measuring an isolated cause and effect. In short, while scientifically sound, the research could not be directly translated to blue light’s effect on eyesight. However, news outlets took that conclusion and considered its causation.
If not blue light, then what?
After staring at a screen for several hours, your eyes often hurt and you can feel discomfort. While this is usually associated with blue light, as we’ve learned, that is not the case. While people typically blink around 15 times a minute, studies have shown that we blink about a third as often while focusing on screens. This causes eyes to dry and general discomfort. Furthermore, while blue light is notably not a cause of premature blindness, its effects shouldn’t be disregarded. Blue light does mimic the effects of sunlight such as increased alertness, which can have an effect on circadian rhythm. It is suggested that you try and reduce your exposure to screens for two to three hours before bed.
We know that picking out a new pair of glasses can be a daunting task, but we are here to help make it easier. Whatever your reason is for getting a pair of glasses, at Northwest Eye Surgeons we are here to offer you as much help as we possibly can. See some of our tips below!
Before going to actually pick out your new glasses, you’ve probably searched the internet a million times. After all, who doesn’t love a good Pinterest binge? You’ll find many different articles telling you the different styles of glasses, showing you which type you should get based on your face shape, and so much more. So, by now, you have discovered a lot of different styles of glasses that are available to you. But which one is right for you?
No one can tell you which glasses you 100% have to buy, so knowing your preferred style beforehand is important. Walking in to buy your glasses could be very overwhelming if you haven’t previously thought about the new style you want. Depending on your prescription and insurance, your eyewear assistant should be able to help point you in the right direction. Some styles may not be available due to insurance, prescription, and overall fit, so it’s a good idea to come in with an open mind and a few different styles you like.
When you’re buying your glasses, the eyewear assistant will check for proper fit. This is an important step in the process as you want to make sure everything about your new pair of glasses is fitting you right. If the fit is not right, you could be dealing with annoying slips, slides, and much more. If you notice your glasses slipping a lot after a few months, take them back in to have them refitted as they may have loosened a bit after prolonged wear.
Trying on new glasses can be a fun and exciting experience, so do your proper research beforehand so you don’t get too overwhelmed throughout the process. At Northwest Eye Surgeons, we want you to feel confident in your new glasses! We will work with you to ensure you find the right pair for you. Get in contact with us to set-up your next eye care appointment!
With how technology-driven our world is, the newer generations have grown up with this technology for most, if not all, of their lives. While the advances in technology are great for communication, do you know the impact they’re having on our eyes? Too much screen time for your kids can lead to eye strain, headaches, neck and back issues, and so much more according to Healthline. While too much screen time will have similar impacts on individuals of all ages, if these habits are started at a younger age they can lead to premature aging of the eyes and vision.
In our world of technology, it can be hard to get away from all the screens. While it would be near impossible to restrict all screen use, there are steps you can take to limit the amount of screen time your child is having.
Eye strain can occur to your child’s eyes when they are looking at a screen for too long. This can include a cell phone, computer, tablet, TV, or anything with a digital screen. If you are able to set limits on these devices within their settings, you should do so. If you don’t want to, or aren’t able to, set these limits on your child’s devices, then you should have a conversation with them. Talk to your child about stepping away from devices every couple of hours to give their eyes a break.
If you’re fine with your child’s screen use during the day, try limiting the amount of time they are on their devices once it gets dark out and close to bedtime. Being on a screen right before going to bed will make it a lot harder for them to fall asleep. The blue light in the screen will disrupt their sleep pattern and it might take a little while for them to get back in that sleep pattern. This disruption will lead to them feeling more tired throughout the day because of their lack of sleep, or restful sleep.
It’s ok for you, as a parent, to tell your kids that they can’t be on their devices during certain times. It is ok for you to tell them they have to entertain themselves in other ways and for them to play outside. While it can be hard for the newer generations to imagine fun without a device, it’s important that they understand how to entertain themselves without one. Set up a fun, outdoor family activity to show them how much fun they can have without their devices.
If you’re concerned about your child’s eyes and the impact screens are having on them, talk to your child’s doctor. They might be able to prescribe your child a pair of glasses specifically for when they’re on the computer that will help protect their eyes from the blue light that comes off our computer screens. These glasses would help protect their eyes from strain and premature aging.
It’s important to take the necessary steps to help protect your child’s eyes as early as possible. You want your child to have the best possible eyesight for as long as they can. Call Northwest Eye Surgeons today to schedule an appointment for your next eye exam!
Wearing contact lenses for the first time can be an intimidating experience. However, it doesn’t have to be scary every single time. Below are some tips for those first-time contact users that may be a bit hesitant to put their lenses in for the first time.
Tip #1: Take a Deep Breathe
A lot of contact users get very nervous before putting their contacts in and try to rush to get it over with. However, trying to get it over with can end up leading to issues. Be sure to take a deep breath and focus. Your doctor has given you the proper instruction on your lenses, so be confident in yourself.
Tip #2: Stick to Proper Wear & Replace
Be sure to listen to your doctor about the amount of time you should be wearing your lenses. Like most things, it will be specific for your lenses. It’s extremely important to never sleep in your lenses, unless your doctor has told you this is OK – this will be the case if they’ve prescribed you with a continuous wear lens. Replace your lenses once they have reached expiration and your eyes will thank you.
Tip #3: Keep Your Lenses Clean
It’s important to keep your contact lenses clean and to follow the exact cleaning regimen your doctor goes over with you during your appointment. Skipping any steps, or trying to use solutions not made for your specific contacts, can negatively impact your lenses and lead to irritation in your eyes.
Tip #4: Listen to Your Doctor
Always be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions for your contact lenses. It is important to do exactly what they tell you in regards to routine cleaning and wear to ensure you are keeping your eyes healthy. Each contact lens brand will be a bit different, so listening to the instructions for your specific brand is important.
We hope that these tips help you with your contact lens use. Once you’ve been wearing your contact lenses for a couple weeks, you will become a pro at this! Be sure to contact our office if you have any issues or further questions regarding your lenses or your eyes in general.
At Northwest Eye Surgeons, we know that summer is the time to spend your days outside and bask in the warmth and sunlight. However, we also know the sun has damaging impacts on your eyes. The ultraviolet radiation from the sun is what causes the issues for many things, including our eyes. Even when it’s cloudy outside it’s important to protect your eyes because the UV rays can get through the clouds. This is very similar to your skin’s exposure to the sun as well, you will want to be sure to wear sunscreen even when it’s cloudy outside.
While you can be impacted by the sun’s UV at any time during the year, it is especially important to be cautious of it during the summer months. Places where the UV rays are particularly strong year-round should also be extra cautious of this. These would be places that have sunny days all year – think of places you would most likely go for a beach vacation in the middle of winter. If your eyes have a lot of exposure to the sun’s UV rays, it can cause both short-term and long-term problems to your vision. Some of these issues include photoconjunctivitis, cataracts, cancer, and many other issues as well.
Two great ways that you can help protect your eyes from the harmful exposure of the sun are by wearing sunglasses and hats when you go outside. As a nice bonus, the hat will also help protect your scalp and facial skin and the sunglasses will protect the sensitive skin close to your eyes. It’s important to be checking in on your vision to be sure to catch any issues you may have early on to prevent anything from getting worse. If you want to check on your vision to make sure it’s all good before heading into the sunny days of summer, be sure to get in contact with Northwest Eye Surgeons today!
Recently, Dr. Rachel Watson participated in a medical mission trip to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, through the organization Hope for Haiti’s Children. This organization sponsors 10 different schools around the city. Each of the schools gets to come to the annual clinic. In just four days, a team of 46 volunteers and 40 Haitian staff were able to treat over 800 kids and 200 adults.
At the clinic, the children have a school picture taken. They are measured for height and weight. The kids see a nurse and a doctor, if needed. And they get their vision tested to see if they need glasses or have glaucoma. As this is an annual clinic, the children may only see a doctor “once a year, if they are lucky,” says Dr. Watson.
One of the biggest reasons proper eye care is necessary for the people of Haiti is that about 20% of the population there has glaucoma. That’s a very high concentration in such a small area. During the trip, even children as young as six were diagnosed with glaucoma. With glaucoma, catching the disease as early as possible is critical. The doctors were able to distribute a year’s worth of glaucoma medication to patients.
Eye exams also revealed a great need for prescription glasses. Many people were able to see clearly for the first time due to the doctor’s efforts. “These people couldn’t see more than a couple of inches in front of their face. We gave them prescription glasses and suddenly they could see across the room… for the first time in their lives,” commented Dr. Watson
The available prescription glasses were donated from previous users to the Lion’s Club who provided them to the project. Each donated pair is cleaned, the prescription measured, and then they are distributed to the people of Haiti. Kids and adults not needing prescription glasses were given sunglasses to help protect their eyes from the Caribbean sun.
The volunteers, doctors, and patients faced 85 to 90-degree days with little access to air conditioning. There were also hints of civil unrest during the time of the trip. Security guards had to be supplemented by armed guards. One day, the clinic was evacuated in a hurry because of riots occurring and tear gas being used just outside their hotel. Some children had to miss their only chance to see the doctor due to the political unrest.
Many more children went through other trials to get to their appointments. “It was heartbreaking. Some of the kids that came to our clinic would walk three hours down the mountain and sleep on the concrete floor of a school. Then they get on the bus the next day for maybe an hour and come see us,” Dr. Watson explains.
Despite the circumstances, the children of Haiti are some of the most well behaved. Dr. Watson adds, “it’s crazy to think what these kids went through to get to the clinic. You would never guess from their attitudes and clean and pressed school uniforms the conditions they came from.” But the volunteers with the mission didn’t just treat the kids with medicine and glasses.
“We were handing out candy,” Dr. Watson says. “this was a big luxury for them. A child could have two pieces, but they still wanted to give one of them to us. It melted your heart.” Several days, the group tossed candy to the people through school bus windows on the way to and from the clinic. One woman was even throwing pairs of shoes. Haiti is a poor country where clean water, food, and basic necessities are scarce. Each child at the clinic was given a gift bag containing a toothbrush, washcloth, socks, and underwear. Meals were also served for the children.
Dr. Watson describes her motivations. “Some people from my church—an MD and a couple of nurses—had worked with this organization before and they kept telling me they needed an eye doctor. I had been on another mission trip to Venezuela in optometry school, so I was interested in doing that again.”
But it’s not like a luxury vacation—although you pay a luxury price for going. Dr. Watson had to cover all her own expenses and even get shots before entering the country. It was about $2500 to go. However, the experience was certainly worth the expense and effort. “Haiti has a very different culture. We were so welcomed, and it was nice to meet everyone. Even the translators we used from the island were coveted for their roles in getting to help us.”
If you want to help the people of Haiti, please bring in your gently used eyeglasses as a donation. Dr. Watson will get them where they need to go. You can also sponsor a Haitian child through https://www.hopeforhaitischildren.org/ Each sponsorship helps with school tuition, supplies, uniforms, and transportation to and from school. Only about 50% of Haiti’s children go to school because the education system is not free. Donate to this amazing organization today and be assured that you are making a difference.
In anticipation of March Madness this year, we decided this is the perfect time to put the spotlight on eye safety because as always, your eye safety and health is our top priority at Northwest Eye Surgeons.
According to a study published in the journal Pediatrics, basketball is the leading cause of sports-related eye injuries in the United States followed by baseball and softball. The study also lists the most common types of sports eye injuries: corneal abrasion (27.1%), conjunctivitis (10.0%) and foreign body in the eye (8.5%). Most of these injuries can be treated and released but some of the more serious injuries can lead to hospitalization.
How to Avoid Sports-Related Eye Injuries.
Most sports-related eye injuries can be easily prevented with one simple solution – wearing eye protection. Protective eyewear made with polycarbonate lenses is the best choice for basketball players. All eyewear worn by athletes should meet the requirements of the appropriate organizations.
Professional Athletes Who Have Sustained Eye Injuries.
Sports-related eye injuries can happen in a split second and have the possibility of lasting a lifetime. Here are some real-life examples of preventable eye injuries during basketball.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding eye protection or eye health, feel free to give us a call at (614) 451-7550 or schedule an appointment online.
Your eye health is our top priority at Northwest Eye Surgeons and since February is a month to celebrate love, why not show some love to your eyes? Keep reading for some tips and tricks to keep your eyes happy and healthy.
Eat Right. According to the American Optometric Association and the American Academy of Ophthalmology, adding certain nutrients to your daily diet can be good for your vision. Foods rich in lutein, omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, zinc, and vitamins C and E are great for your eye health. These nutrients have been linked to reducing the risk of certain eye diseases and can lower the risk of age-related eye issues.
Foods that are best for eye health:
Exercise. We all know that exercise has many health benefits, but did you know that it’s also good for your eyes? Many studies over the years have indicated that regular exercise can reduce the risk for common eye diseases such as cataracts, wet age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma. Additionally, exercise helps avoid health issues that aren’t primarily related to eye health but can damage your eyes such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
Use Basic Eye Protection at Work. According to Prevent Blindness, more than 2,000 people injure their eyes at work each day. The right eye protection could lessen the severity or event prevent 90% of eye injury accidents in the workplace. We encourage you to know the eye safety dangers at your place of work and use the proper protection.
Get an Annual Eye Exam. We cannot stress the importance of an annual eye exam enough! Not only should you get an eye exam to evaluate how well you can see, but it is important to check your overall eye health. Some diseases, such as Glaucoma, can show no symptoms or early warning signs. By the time people notice a difference in their vision, the disease may be in a much more advanced stage. Contact our office at (614) 451-7750 or fill out our appointment request form to schedule your eye exam today.
What to do if You Sustain an Eye Injury. When an eye injury occurs, you should seek medical help from an ophthalmologist or another doctor as soon as possible, even if the injury seems minor. Additionally, there are simple steps you can take to prevent further damage:
The winter season is in full swing! While that comes with many wonderful white, snowy sceneries and fun-filled holidays, it also comes with increased cold and flu symptoms. This can make it extremely important to look after your health during this time of year. There’s another part of your body you need to think about protecting, your eyes.
How the winter affects your eyes
Our most precious sense is often under attack during the winter season in more ways than one. For instance, snow and ice is extremely reflective. This means the sun’s UV rays can reach your eyes from both below and above you, which puts you at greater risk for damaging your eyes. Additionally, in extreme weather, you might find it hard to fully open your eyes while also feeling a burning sensation. In conditions like this, it is possible for your cornea to freeze, which can be very painful and lead to issues with light sensitivity and blurry vision. Another common winter eye issue is excessive tearing; excessive tearing can cause your vision to become blurry which is a common, yet frustrating issue.
One of the most common winter eye issues though is dry eye. Cold temperatures can cause your eyes to lose their natural moisture and become dry, leaving them sore and uncomfortable. Although this condition is not usually serious, there are easy steps you can take to ease your discomfort and keep your eyes healthy this winter!
Common symptoms of dry eye
Watch for these common warning signs of dry eye:
Tips for protecting your eyes in winter
Treating your eyes right in the winter can be easy! Follow these tips in order to make sure your eyes are as healthy as possible this season:
Lower the temperature in rooms. High temperatures can cause your tears to evaporate, causing dry eye.
Wear sunglasses! If you’re spending time outdoors on a cold, windy day, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from dryness, harmful UV light, and burning eyes.
Drink more fluids. Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do to help your body fight off dry eyes. Consider increasing your daily intake of fluids during the winter months.
Use a warm washcloth. A warm, damp compress can actually help your eyes with tear secretion. Do this for two to three minutes per eye to help your eyes create moisture and become less irritated.
Use eye drops. Over the counter or prescription, eye drops can significantly reduce the symptoms of dry eye.
If you still can’t seem to kick your dry eye, make an appointment with us online or call us at (614) 451-7550. At Northwest Eye Surgeons, your healthy eyes are our priority.
You might be surprised to hear that January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States. Most people are unaware that glaucoma has no symptoms in its early stages. If detected early enough, glaucoma can usually be controlled. It is very important to us here at Northwest Eye Surgeons for everyone to be educated and informed about glaucoma and to get tested.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damage the eye’s optic nerve and can result in vision loss and blindness. Glaucoma affects peripheral (side) vision, narrowing the field of vision. The optic nerve is a bundle of more than 1 million nerve fibers that connect the retina to the brain. Damage to the optic nerve is caused by increased pressure from fluids that build up inside the eye. A healthy optic nerve is crucial for good vision.
Statistics and Facts about Glaucoma.
Who is at Risk for Glaucoma?
Anyone can get glaucoma but there are some people who are at higher risk
How to Prevent Glaucoma?
The best way to prevent glaucoma is getting a comprehensive dilated eye exam. This exam will examine:
How is Glaucoma Treated?
There is no cure for glaucoma yet, but it can be treated and managed if caught early enough. Treatments include medications, laser surgery, and traditional surgery. Contact our office at (614) 451-7750 or fill out our appointment request form to schedule your eye exam today.