This blog post could alternatively be named “How to make your optometrist REALLY REALLY mad”. I had an emergency patient yesterday who had a bloody looking eye after having her makeup done for a family wedding. The makeup artist applied fake eyelashes onto my patients lashes and instead of pre-trimming them before application, she trimmed them with a scissor once the lashes were already glued on. It seems that somehow the scissors made some kind of contact with my patients eye ??!! which immediately caused some discomfort as well as popping some surface blood vessels. My patient had a sore ugly eye which aside from causing her some mild pain for the duration of the wedding will also require some heavy-duty Photoshopping skills by the photographer. I am not a fan of fake eyelashes as I have had many patients come to me for treatment after developing an allergy to the glue that bonds the fake lashes to the real lashes. Other common mishaps involving false lashes include the possibility of bacteria getting trapped between the fake and real lashes causing infection, as well as corneal damage from fake lashes or glue falling into the eye. And of course there is always the danger of a “whoopsie” on the part of the makeup artist and having a scissor end up waaaaay too close to your eyeball. My advice for long lashes? Apply a mascara primer first and two coats of mascara – your eyes and your eye doctor will thank you.
I was wandering down the the aisles in Target the other day buying all those wonderful things I never knew I needed. After wasting a few minutes agonizing over the merits of Rolos vs. Milky Way mini bars I escaped the endless rows of food paradise to find myself getting in the way of about ten red-shirted workers feverishly putting up a new display. After doing a tiny self congratulatory dance in my head that my days of back to school shopping were over I felt a burst of moral outrage that summer was being prematurely hijacked by an overeager business model. Seriously folks, couldn’t you have waited until August? As I made my way towards the checkout counter I began to reconsider my hasty condemnation of the sweet and innocent school supplies. Allow me to share with you a classic scenario that occurs in every eye doctor’s office the second to last week of August. Front desk staff picks up phone. “Um, hi, this is Mrs. OopsIforgot, my son is going back to college in three days and needs an appointment and a years worth of contact lens, and oh, he lost his glasses when he went kayaking down the Delaware, can you squeeze him into the schedule and get him everything he needs?” Experienced front desk staff calmly tells Mrs. OopsIforgot that Dr. Superduperbusy has been fully booked for August since June and she would put Master OopsIforgot on the waiting list. I will spare you the back and forth phone shenanigans that ensued between irate mom and calm staff member, but you get the picture. Summer is a great time for those back to school eye exams for your kids – so when those shiny, glittery school supplies start popping up on your radar make that call to our office to ensure that your kids are all set up for their annual checkups. Oh, and Target? I am sorry I ever doubted you….
Eating just one orange a day can slash your risk of developing macular degeneration by 60%. A recent study in the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition followed 2,000 patients over the age of 50 for 15 years and found that the patients who ate an orange a day had a significantly decreased risk of AMD (age related macular degeneration) compared to those patients who ate no oranges at all. Usually research involving oranges concentrates on the effects of the vitamin C, E, and A the oranges contain, but this study put an emphasis on theflavonoids found in oranges. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that have immune and anti-inflammatory effects and are found in most fruits and vegetables. The study examined other foods that have flavonoids such as tea, apples and red wine (yes please) but for some reason oranges were the only food that aided in the prevention of AMD. The authors of the study acknowledge that more research has to be done before doctors can definitely prescribe an orange a day to keep AMD away.
As a dry eye patient myself I empathize with my fellow dry eye sufferers. For many of us, dry eye is a chronic condition that waxes and wanes for myriads of reasons. Dry eye sounds innocuous but anyone who has experienced it knows it can severely affect the ability to see both clearly and comfortably. Dry eye is a condition in which a person does not have enough “quality” tears to lubricate and nourish the eye. I give the example of driving with a dirty windshield – in order to see clearly to drive you need the wipers and the washer fluid in tandem to make the window clear and allow you to see well. So too if the tears and the eyelids are not working well together the vision will be impaired – like driving with a filthy windshield.
One reason for having dry eye is inadequate production of tears. This can be caused by age, gender (females), medications (such as antihistamines) and certain medical conditions. A dry and windy climate will also contribute to dry eye. Winter in New Jersey is tough on dry eye – the low humidity combined with artificial heating systems, especially the forced air types, wreak havoc on an already dry eye. Another reason for dry eye can be poor quality tears. I will address this more in length in another blog.
So how do we treat dry eye once it is diagnosed? Treatments are tailored specifically for each patient depending on the underlying cause for the dry eye. Ocular lubricants (fancy term for eye drops) are the mainstay of treatment and there are both over the counter and prescription options. If blepharitis (inflamed and irritated eyelids) is the culprit then lid hygiene is initiated as well.
In future blogs we will talk about more specific dry eye situations such as dry eye in contact lens wearers, dry eye in patients with underlying autoimmune diseases, and even dry eye in children.
Who doesn’t love sunglasses? After all, how many fashion accessories can also claim to be important medical devices? Whether you prefer glamorous or sporty, classic or trendy, sunglasses are a fashion statement that never goes out of style. In honor of National Sunglasses Day which takes place on June 27, here are a few facts about sunglasses that might be new to you.
Size matters. This season has seen a trend in “micro” sunglasses both on celebs and on the catwalk. Don’t be lured into this fad – not only do the eyes themselves need UV protection, so does the whole lid area and all the skin around the eyes in order to prevent melanoma. Also, do you really want to revisit nineties fashion?
Kids need sunglasses too. Because children have naturally larger pupils (pupil = that dark hole in the center of the eye that lets light in) more harmful UV rays reach their retinas and can cause future damage. Also interesting is the fact that kids are short and tend to look up more to see the world which causes them to look into the sun more often than adults. Parents are reluctant to spend money on kids sunglasses because kids lose stuff. A lot. One easy way around this is to make sure that kids who wear prescription glasses get photochromic lenses – the ones that magically morph into sunglasses when exposed to sunlight – no keeping track of a second pair. Kids that don’t wear prescription glasses will be excited to wear a cool grown up accessory and wearing them on a strap is a sporty way to make sure they don’t get lost.
Just because sunglasses are dark does not mean they have UV protection! In fact many of those cheap sunglasses you buy off street vendors are tinted but have no UV and are even more dangerous than not wearing anything at all. If the glasses are dark your pupil will open up even wider to let more light in, but since there is no UV in the lens, it allows more dangerous light into the eye. Sunglasses don’t need to be expensive but they do need to have UVA and UVB protection which should be indicated by a sticker on the sunglasses.
No matter what your motivation is, be it hiding from the paparazzi or just sporting a posh headband, quality sunglasses are a fun investment in your eye health.
For more information on National Sunglass Day visit