Contact Lenses and Children – When Are They Ready?

This week is Contact Lens Health Week and Jamaica Hospital wants to answer a common question that many parents who have children that wear glasses ask –  When is my child old enough to start wearing contact lenses?

The answer to that question is less about their age and more about their level of maturity. Physically, a child’s eyes can tolerate contacts at a very young age. Before considering contact lenses for your son or daughter, you should consider how they handle other responsibilities. The fact is, there are some eight year old children who are ready and there are some teenagers who are not. Wearing contacts is a major responsibility and children not only need to display that they can apply them, but they also need to exercise proper hygiene and grooming habits to handle wearing and caring for them.

While a child’s ability and maturity to handle contacts might vary from age to age, research has shown that the majority of children (51 %) receive them between ten and 12 years of age, while over 22% receive them when they are either 13 or 14 years old. Only 12.4 % of kids are prescribed contacts between the ages of eight and nine.

If they can handle the responsibility, most doctors believe that wearing contacts is a good thing for children and teens as they are generally more motivated to get fitted for and adapt better to wearing them than other age groups. They are also less likely to develop dry eyes or other issues that are common in adults who wear contact lenses.  Another reason to have your child consider wearing contact lenses is that in some cases they can actually slow down the progression of nearsightedness. In fact, a number of studies have proven that certain types of contacts offer significant control for many nearsighted children.

Professionals have also noted that there has been great advancement in the production of contact lenses over the years, which has contributed to more and more children now opting for them over glasses.  The progress in the development of disposable contacts makes maintenance easier and improved materials provide more durability and safety.

One of the biggest reasons more and more kids and parents are switching to contact lenses over glasses is the benefits to children who play sports. Even the safest eyeglass frames and lenses can cause injuries if they break. As opposed to sports goggles, contact lenses also offer better peripheral vision and an unobstructed view of the playing field. Contacts also remain stable on an athletes face while they are running, and unlike many sports goggles, they don’t not fog-up during competition.

A less common yet potentially important consideration for switching to contact lenses is how it affects a child’s self-esteem. In a recent poll, 71% of children asked cited self-esteem as a ‘very important” factor when determining whether or not to be fitted for contacts.  Additional research found that wearing contacts “significantly improves” how children and teens feel about themselves.

The best thing about making a decision to switch to contacts is that it isn’t permanent. If you think your child is ready and willing, speak to your eye doctor about getting fitted. If he or she tries it, but isn’t ready, they can always go back to wearing glasses. Together, you, your child and their doctor can decide if the time is right.

To make an appointment at Jamaica Hospital’s Ophthalmology Center, please call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Facts About Macular Degeneration

Age related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of severe vision loss in older adults. It affects approximately 10 million Americans – more than cataracts and glaucoma combined. With an aging U.S. population, that number is only expected to increase.

AMD occurs when the central portion of the retina, known as the macula, which is responsible for focusing central vision, deteriorates.

senior elderly man holding book, glasses having eyesight problems unable to read

In its early stages, Macular Degeneration does not affect vision, but as the disease progresses, people may experience wavy or blurred vision or blurred spot in the center of their vision. If the condition continues to worsen, central vision may be completely lost.

Advanced stages of AMD can affect one’s ability to read, drive a car, watch television, or perform many visual tasks. In fact, those living with AMD are considered legally blind.

There are two types of macular degeneration; dry and wet.

  • Dry AMD is an early stage of the disease. Approximately 85% to 90% of AMD cases are the dry type. Dry Macular Degeneration is diagnosed when yellowish spots known as drusen begin to accumulate in and around the macula. It is believed that these spots are deposits or debris from deteriorating tissue. A few small drusen may not cause changes in vision; however, as they grow in size and increase in number, they may lead to a dimming or distortion of vision that people find most noticeable when they read.
  • Approximately 10 percent of the cases of dry AMD progresses to the more advanced and damaging form of the disease known as wet AMD. During this phase, new blood vessels grow beneath the retina and leak blood and fluid. This leakage causes permanent damage to light-sensitive retinal cells, resulting in distorted vision including the appearance of wavy lines, as well as blind spots and loss of central vision. These abnormal blood vessels and their bleeding eventually form a scar, leading to permanent loss of central vision.

As the name implies, the biggest risk factor for AMD is age as the disease is most prevalent in those 55 and older. Another known link to AMD is smoking as it is believed to double the risk of developing the disease. AMD is most common in Caucasians and in females. People with a family history of AMD are also believed to be at a higher risk. Hypertension and obesity are also considered risk factors for Macular Degeneration by some, although there is no conclusive research linking these factors.

There is no cure for AMD, but if detected early, there are medical treatment and lifestyle changes that can delay the progression of the disease. Macular degeneration may not present any symptoms in the early stages and it may be unrecognized until it progresses. For this reason, it is important for older adults to monitor their eye site and visit their eye doctor regularly. Eye care doctors can often detect early signs of Macular Degeneration before symptoms occur. Usually this is accomplished through a retinal exam.

Jamaica Hospital’s Ophthalmology Center can diagnose and treat a wide variety of eye disorders. To make an appointment, please call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

National Save Your Vision Month

Ophthalmology eyesight examination

The month of March has been designated as “National Save Your Vision Month” by the American Optometric Association as a way to promote good eye health. This year, the campaign wants to bring attention to eye problems that can occur at work. More people are using electronic devices for both work and for pleasure than ever before and this can lead to eye problems for some people. This year the campaign wants to bring attention to eye problems that can occur at work.
People who use computers all the time, especially at work, should be aware of developing dry eyes, blurred vision and eye strain. This is because the eyes are focused for long periods of time on an object that is at a fixed distance rather than seeing objects that are moving or at varying distances which allow the muscles of the eyes to constantly move. Also, people who use computer screens for long periods of time don’t blink as frequently and this can lead to dry eyes. To alleviate some of these problems it is important to take a break from time to time and look out a window or at least look around the room.
Some tips for good eye health include keeping the computer monitor about twenty inches from your eyes, keeping the top of the screen tilted a little below eye level, the screen should be kept clean to avoid anything that can blur the images. It is also important to eat a healthy diet which will keep the eyes well nourished.
Regular eye exams can detect problems before they become serious. Correcting faulty vision early can prevent the problem from becoming serious later on. If you would like to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

History of Eyeglasses

Over 60 percent of the adult population in the United States today wears eyeglasses. Modern day eyeglasses have their roots that date back more than 1000 years. In the middle ages Monks were known to use reading stones that were glass spheres, sometimes filled with water,  that were placed on top of objects in order to magnify them. The first documented use of eyeglasses was attributed to being developed in Italy.  In the 13th century Venetian glass blowers made the first solid glass lenses that were held by frames and that were a primitive version of modern day wearable eyeglasses.
In the 17th century eyeglasses started to be made that could correct vision. Glasses could be made with either concave lenses, for nearsightedness, or convex lenses for farsightedness. Benjamin Franklin invented bifocal lenses in 1784. Glass was the material used in the production of eyeglasses for centuries until the latter part of the 20th century when plastic became widely used in eyeglasses as it was lighter and safer than glass. Now many eyeglasses are being made from polycarbonate which is lighter still and more resilient to scratches.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that mainly affects people who are middle aged or older, but it can affect anyone at any age. There are more than three million people in the United States and 60 million people worldwide who suffer from glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Typically the disease starts to develop suddenly, often without symptoms,  and once vision is lost, it is permanent. As much as 40 percent of vision can be lost before some people even notice a problem. It usually starts with loss of peripheral vision. Glaucoma  is caused by damage to the optic nerve so that the  brain isn’t able to receive images from the eyes. There are two types of Glaucoma, Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma where pressure inside the eye increases on its own and damages the optic nerve and Secondary Glaucoma where another disease causes the pressure in the eye to increase and that results in optic nerve damage. Both types will eventually lead to blindness.
Early detection of Glaucoma can help to slow down the progression of the disease. Regular eye exams are very important. To schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718- 206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Learn How to Stay Safe During Eye Injury Prevention Month

Nearly 2.5 million Americans suffer some form of eye injury every year and approximately 1 million of those injuries result in some degree of vision loss. While many employers have instituted safety measures to reduce the incidence of workplace-related accidents, there are no regulations in place to protect you from the place where nearly half of all eye injuries occur…your home.

Apprentice Engineer Using Milling Machine

October has been designated Eye Injury Prevention Month and Jamaica Hospital Medical Center would like to take this opportunity to educate the community on how to decrease the chances of sustaining an eye injury while working in, or around your house.

Eye injuries can vary from deep puncture wounds requiring surgical treatment to minor surface scratches. Some of the most common types of eye injuries occur:

In the House: When using household chemicals, read the instructions carefully and make sure to point spray nozzles away from your face. Many chemicals are extremely hazardous and can permanently destroy the surface of the eyes, resulting in blindness.

In the Workshop: While working with power tools there is a high likelihood of wood, metal or other material fragments, fumes or dust particles flying through the air and getting into your eyes. Many of these objects can cause injury.
In the Garden: When operating a lawnmower, power trimmer or edger, be sure to check for rocks and stones, because they can become dangerous projectiles as they shoot from these machines.

In the Garage: Battery acid sparks and debris from damaged or improperly jump-started auto batteries can severely damage the eyes.

Protecting your eyes from injury while working around the house is one of the most basic and easiest things you can do to keep your vision healthy throughout your life. The best way to protect yourself from an eye injury is by wearing protective eyewear during home-based activities. Wearing safety goggles or other forms of protective eyewear can prevent 90% of all eye injuries, yet only 35 percent of respondents said they wear protective eyewear when performing home repairs or maintenance.

Jamaica Hospital urges everyone to avoid an unnecessary trip to the Emergency Department by practicing proper eye safety around the house.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

History of Contact Lenses

Woman inserting a contact lens in eye.

Contact lenses are so commonly worn today that people don’t give them a second thought. Did you know that the concept for contact lenses goes all the way back to Leonardo DaVinci who described them back in 1508. Many scientists experimented with different materials over the next few centuries with only a little success. It was in the late 1800’s that German scientists devised a  prototype of a contact lens made from a thin piece of glass that covered the entire eye. In the early 1900’s it became possible to make a mold of the entire eye and this helped to make lenses that fit better.  By the 1950’s plastics were being developed that could be made thinner and with a better fit for the eye and they were replacing glass as the material of choice for contact lenses.  In 1960 the company Bausch and Lomb developed a technique to cast hydrogel, a plastic material that could be molded and shaped when wet, which allowed for the production of lenses that were able to be mass produced and of extremely high quality. Today lenses are much more comfortable than the lenses made 20 years ago. They can be worn for long periods of time and they allow the eye to breathe which earlier versions couldn’t do.
If you would like to make an appointment with our ophthalmology department please call 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Diabetes and Loss of Vision

Diabetic eye disease is comprised of a number of eye conditions one of which is diabetic retinopathy.

All forms of diabetic eye disease have the potential to cause vision loss or blindness, but diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among diabetics and often goes undetected until vision loss occurs.

If you are a diabetic who has chronically high or uncontrolled blood sugar, you are at risk of damaging the tiny blood vessels in the retina which can lead to diabetic retinopathy.  The disease causes blood vessels in the retina to leak fluid or bleed causing a distortion in vision.

The retina detects light and converts it to signals sent through the optic nerve to the brain.  Diabetic retinopathy can cause blood vessels in the retina to leak fluid or bleed, causing a distortion in vision.

Diabetic retinopathy may progress through four stages:

  1. Mild non-proliferative retinopathy. Small areas of balloon-like swelling in the retina’s tiny blood vessels, called micro-aneurysms, occur at this earliest stage of the disease. These micro-aneurysms may leak fluid into the retina.
  2. Moderate non-proliferative retinopathy. As the disease progresses, blood vessels that nourish the retina may swell and distort. They may also lose their ability to transport blood.
  3. Severe non-proliferative retinopathy. Many more blood vessels are blocked, depriving blood supply to areas of the retina. These areas secrete growth factors that signal the retina to grow new blood vessels.
  4. Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). At this advanced stage, growth factors secreted by the retina trigger the proliferation of new blood vessels, which grow along the inside surface of the retina and into the vitreous gel, the fluid that fills the eye. The new blood vessels are fragile, which makes them more likely to leak and bleed. Accompanying scar tissue can contract and cause retinal detachment—the pulling away of the retina from underlying tissue, like wallpaper peeling away from a wall. Retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss.

Some ways to delay diabetic retinopathy and vision loss are:

  • Controlling your diabetes – take medications as prescribed, maintaining a recommended level of physical activity and a healthy diet.
  • Eye Exam – because diabetic retinopathy often goes unnoticed people with diabetes should get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once a year.

Vision lost to diabetic retinopathy is sometimes irreversible. However, early detection and treatment can reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent.  To make an appointment at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Ophthalmology call, 718-206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Is Social Media Making Me Fat?

Have you ever wondered why when you see postings of food on social media that are pleasing to your eyes, you immediately begin to desire that food or think, “Gee, I’m hungry?

The human mind is divided into two parts, the conscious and subconscious mind.  The conscious mind works while we are awake, while the subconscious mind is always activated.  The subconscious mind regulates everything in our body, our character, our speech and receives and processes information. The food and beverage postings on social media speak directly to our conscious and subconscious mind.

According to researchers, 70 percent of household meals in America are influenced by digital media.  Pictures of food and beverages show up on news feeds 63 percent of the time.  One popular social media site noted that a widely used food hashtag marked photos of snacks and meals 54 million times on their site alone.

In addition to subliminally causing you to want to eat more food, studies have shown that people who spent two hours or more using a device with LED display, such as a smart phone or tablet, had a corresponding dip in melatonin levels.  Melatonin is the chemical that prepares your body for sleep. When we lose sleep, we can pack on extra pounds because there is a link between sleep loss and weight gain.  If you are awake for longer periods of time, you may be more inclined to reach for a late night snack or bag of chips.

Some steps you can take to curb your hunger and promote good health are:

  • Choose fresh, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats.
  • Prepare your meals at home and limit dining out and processed on-the-go meals.
  • Try to avoid being distracted by TV, work, driving or surfing on your computer, phone or tablet while eating.
  • Regulate your social media feed, especially if the pictures of food and beverages make your stomach moan.

Obesity is on the rise because many factors, but keep in mind that you are in control and can make healthy choices to live a healthy life. It’s better to eat with your stomach and not with your eyes.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that mainly affects people who are middle aged or older, but it can affect anyone at any age. There are more than three million people in the United States and 60 million people worldwide who suffer from glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness. Typically the disease starts to develop suddenly, often without symptoms,  and once vision is lost, it is permanent. As much as 40 percent of vision can be lost before some people even notice a problem. It usually starts with loss of peripheral vision. Glaucoma  is caused by damage to the optic nerve so that the  brain isn’t able to receive images from the eyes. There are two types of Glaucoma, Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma where pressure inside the eye increases on its own and damages the optic nerve and Secondary Glaucoma where another disease causes the pressure in the eye to increase and that results in optic nerve damage. Both types will eventually lead to blindness.
Early detection of Glaucoma can help to slow down the progression of the disease. Regular eye exams are very important. To schedule an appointment with an eye doctor at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718- 206-5900.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.