Our eyes are the window to our health. The goal as we “get on in years” is to be able to stay active and vibrant. Adopting a healthy lifestyle of eating properly, exercising and yearly health evaluations including yearly eye examination help with this goal.
Smoking damages nearly every organ in your body, including your eyes. We urges all our patients not to use tobacco or e-cigarettes, as smoking can cause harm to eye health.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy. It takes time. And a plan. You don’t have to stop smoking in one day. Start with day one. Let the Great American Smokeout event on November 15 be your day to start your journey toward a smoke-free life. You’ll be joining thousands of smokers across the country in taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing your cancer risk. Plus, the American Cancer Society can help you access the resources and support you need to quit.
For more information download this fact sheet on Smoking, Vaping, and Your Eyes
More than 30 million Americans have diabetes and another 84 million have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In addition, diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults. As prevalent as the condition is, 79 percent of Americans don’t know diabetic eye diseases have no visible symptoms and more than half do not know comprehensive eye examinations can detect diabetes, according to the most recent American Eye-Q® Survey conducted by the American Optometric Association (AOA).
During November’s Diabetes Awareness Month, the AOA, the leading authority in eye and vision healthcare, is committed to educating the public about the relationship between diabetes and eye health, as the annual Eye-Q survey shows that after learning about the topic many participants said they would be prompted to take steps to ensure their eye health. The AOA advocates for regular, dilated eye exams for those with diabetes, or at risk for diabetes, because the alternatives, like online vision apps, only check for refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism and cannot detect diabetes.
Keep your eyes healthy for your spring break selfie. Got contacts? Keep a spare pair . Follow proper lens wear and care.
Here is a great infographic from the American Optometric Association regarding the “Bad Habits of Contact Lens Wearers”
You know who you are…
- Wash your hands before handling lenses.
- Don’t sleep in lenses not intended for overnight wear.
- Keep your case clean using fresh solution every time and replace it every three months.
- Get an eye exam yearly.
Whether you’re goblin or ghoul, vampire or witch, poor costume choices—including decorative contact lenses and flammable costumes—and face paint allergies can haunt you long after Halloween if they cause injury.
Enjoy a safe and happy Halloween by following the “lucky 13” guidelines from FDA, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Wear costumes made of fire-retardant materials; look for “flame resistant” on the label. If you make your costume, use flame-resistant fabrics such as polyester or nylon.
- Wear bright, reflective costumes or add strips of reflective tape so you’ll be more visible; make sure the costumes aren’t so long that you’re in danger of tripping.
- Wear makeup and hats rather than masks that can obscure your vision.
- Test the makeup you plan to use by putting a small amount on the arm of the person who will be wearing it a couple of days in advance. If a rash, redness, swelling, or other signs of irritation develop where the makeup was applied, that’s a sign of a possible allergy.
- Check FDA’s list of color additives to see if makeup additives are FDA approved. If they aren’t approved for their intended use, don’t use it.
- Don’t wear decorative contact lenses unless you have seen an eye care professional and gotten a proper lens fitting and instructions for using the lenses.
Eating sweet treats is also a big part of the fun on Halloween. If you’re trick-or-treating, health and safety experts say you should remember these tips:
- Don’t eat candy until it has been inspected at home.
- Trick-or-treaters should eat a snack before heading out, so they won’t be tempted to nibble on treats that haven’t been inspected.
- Tell children not to accept—or eat—anything that isn’t commercially wrapped.
- Parents of very young children should remove any choking hazards such as gum, peanuts, hard candies, or small toys.
- Inspect commercially wrapped treats for signs of tampering, such as an unusual appearance or discoloration, tiny pinholes, or tears in wrappers. Throw away anything that looks suspicious.
For partygoers and party throwers, FDA recommends the following tips for two seasonal favorites:
- Look for the warning label to avoid juice that hasn’t been pasteurized or otherwise processed, especially packaged juice products that may have been made on site. When in doubt, ask! Always ask if you are unsure if a juice product is pasteurized or not. Normally, the juice found in your grocer’s frozen food case, refrigerated section, or on the shelf in boxes, bottles, or cans is pasteurized.
- Before bobbing for apples—a favorite Halloween game—reduce the amount of bacteria that might be on apples by thoroughly rinsing them under cool running water. As an added precaution, use a produce brush to remove surface dirt.
FDA joins eye care professionals—including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, the Contact Lens Association of Ophthalmologists and the American Optometric Association—in discouraging consumers from using illegal decorative (colored) contact lenses. These are contact lenses that have not been approved by FDA for safety and effectiveness. Consumers should only use brand name contact lenses from well-known contact lens companies.
If you have never worn contact lenses before, Halloween should not be the first time you wear them. Experts warn that buying any kind of contact lenses—which are medical devices and regulated as such—without an examination and a prescription from an eye care professional can cause serious eye disorders and infections, which may lead to permanent vision loss. Despite the fact that it’s illegal to sell decorative contact lenses without a valid prescription, FDA says the lenses are sold on the Internet and in retail shops and salons—particularly around Halloween.
The decorative lenses make the wearer’s eyes appear to glow in the dark, create the illusion of vertical “cat eyes,” or change the wearer’s eye color.
“Although unauthorized use of decorative contact lenses is a concern year-round, Halloween is the time when people may be inclined to use them, perhaps as costume accessories,” says FDA eye expert Bernard Lepri, O.D., M.S., M.Ed.. “What troubles us is when they are bought and used without a valid prescription, without the involvement of a qualified eye care professional, or without appropriate follow-up care. This can lead to significant risks of eye injuries, including blindness.”
This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.
Dr. Daniel Yamamoto & Dr. Tracie Inouchi offers tips to help protect your family from eye infections
As cold and flu season continues to show its ugly face in our communities, Dr. Daniel Yamamoto & Dr. Tracie Inouchi encourages families to practice good hygiene habits to prevent the spread of infectious disease, including conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye,” which can be easily spread, especially this time of year.
What is conjunctivitis?
Conjunctivitis is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the thin transparent layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. Conjunctivitis is a common eye disease, especially in children, and because it is contagious, it usually starts in one eye and spreads to the other, affecting both eyes.
If your child has conjunctivitis, he or she may experience the following symptoms:
- A gritty feeling in one or both eyes
- Itching or burning sensation in one or both eyes
- Excessive tearing
- Discharge coming from one or both eyes, usually causing the eyes to be “sticky” upon awakening.
- Swollen eyelids
- Pink discoloration to the whites of one or both eyes
- Increased sensitivity to light
What causes conjunctivitis?
“Conjunctivitis is commonly caused by contagious viruses associated with the common cold,” said Dr. Inouchi “This type of pink eye can be spread easily, especially among children in school, due to their close proximity to others. However, it’s usually a minor infection and can be treated easily. Conjunctivitis can also occur from a bacterial infection, which can happen if someone touches their eye with unclean hands or if they were using contaminated cosmetics or other facial products.”
In addition, conjunctivitis can be caused from irritants and chemicals (pollen, smoke, and chlorine in swimming pools) or allergens (pet dander or dust mites).
How is conjunctivitis treated?
“The appropriate treatment for conjunctivitis depends on its cause,” said Dr. Inouchi. “Conjunctivitis caused by a viral infection can’t be treated with antibiotics; it simply has to run its course, like with the common cold. Cool compresses, extreme care with hygiene, and artificial tear solutions are effective home remedies.”
Bacterial conjunctivitis is usually treated with antibiotic eye drops or ointments prescribed by your eye doctor. Patients could see improvement after three of four days of treatment, but the entire course of antibiotics must be taken to prevent the bacteria from mutating and the conjunctivitis from returning.
Practicing good hygiene habits, including the steps below, is the best way to control the spread of conjunctivitis: Cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing and do not touch or rub your eyes with your hands (coughing into the middle arm/sleeve helps to prevent spread through hands).
- Regularly disinfect surfaces such as countertops, bathroom vanities, and door handles with an appropriate antibacterial cleaner.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently and try to avoid touching the eyes or mouth.
- Change your towel and washcloth daily, and don’t share them with others. If one eye is infected, don’t use the same cloth on the other eye.
- Replace liquid forms of eye makeup and wash makeup brushes with antibiotic soap products.
- Don’t use anyone else’s personal eye care items (mascara, etc.)
If you suspect your child has conjunctivitis, Dr. Daniel Yamamoto & Dr. Tracie Inouchi can determine if he or she has the infection and advise you on treatment options. To make an appointment with Dr. Daniel Yamamoto or Dr. Tracie Inouchi call (808) 949-2662.
20/20/20 To prevent digital eye strain
- Take a 20 second break.
- Every 20 minutes.
- Look at something 20 feet away.
The average U.S. worker spends seven hours a day on the computer either in the office or working from home and the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2015 American Eye-Q® survey reports that 58 percent of adults have experienced digital eye strain or vision problems as a direct result.
Symptoms of digital eye strain, also known as computer vision syndrome, include eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes and neck and shoulder pain. The AOA recognizes the need to address this issue, and as Save Your Vision Month 2016 kicks off in March, they encourage both employees and employers to make eye health a priority. The five tips below can be easily implemented in most office spaces:
- Follow the 20-20-20 rule: Take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
- Keep a distance: The AOA recommends sitting a comfortable distance from the computer monitor where you can easily read all text with your head and torso in an upright posture and your back supported by your chair. Generally, the preferred viewing distance is between 20 and 28 inches from the eye to the front surface of the screen.
- View from a different angle: Ideally, the computer screen should be 15 to 20 degrees, or about 4 to 5 inches, below eye level as measured from the center of the screen.
- Decrease glare: While there is no way to completely minimize glare from light sources, consider using a glare filter. These filters decrease the amount of light reflected from the screen.
- Blink often: Minimize your chances of developing dry eyes when using a computer by making an effort to blink frequently.
“As more people spend their days at work on a computer and their free time on handheld devices, doctors of optometry are seeing more patients who are experiencing digital eye strain,” said Steven A. Loomis, O.D., president of the AOA. “The problem can be relieved by taking simple steps. Just looking away from the computer for brief periods of time throughout the day can help with discomfort and long term eye problems.”
Nutrient-rich foods can improve eye health, follow these recommendations from Dr. Dr. Tracie Inouchi
A balanced diet is an important foundation to maintain good health, but many Americans don’t know what nutrients are best for their eyes, and that diet can affect your eye health and vision as you age. Dr. Tracie Inouchi encourages Americans to visit their doctor of optometry annually to discuss proper nutrition and to ensure their eyes are functioning properly.
“It’s important for people to be proactive with their health—make good lifestyle choices now to help avoid problems later,” said Dr. Tracie Inouchi. “Stick to the building blocks for overall well-being: enjoy a nutrient-rich diet, stay active, and avoid harmful habits, such as smoking. All this can help people avoid sight-threatening disease and enjoy a lifetime of healthy vision.”
Drumroll—so what are the best foods for eye health? Forty-eight percent of Americans think of carrots as best, according to the American Optometric Association’s 2015 American Eye-Q® survey. Contrary to what many heard throughout childhood, kale, collard greens and spinach are actually the most nutrient-rich foods for the eyes. Dr. Tracie Inouchi recommends these eye-healthy “power foods.”
Power foods: Green, leafy vegetables (such as spinach and kale) and eggs
Eye-healthy nutrients: Lutein & Zeaxanthin
Good for the eyes because: Many studies have shown that lutein and zeaxanthin reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of severe vision loss in adults over age 50. These plant-based pigments also appear to lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a leading cause of blindness. They are also protective antioxidants that work like internal sunglasses, absorbing damaging blue light that Americans are exposed to every day.
Power foods: Fruits and vegetables
Eye-healthy nutrients: Vitamins A, C and polyphenols
Good for the eyes because: The eye’s light-sensitive retina (thin layer of tissue at the back of the eye) requires adequate vitamin A for proper function. Vitamin C supports the health of ocular blood vessels. Scientific evidence suggests vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts, and when taken in combination with other essential nutrients, can slow the progression of AMD and visual acuity loss. Polyphenols are plant-derived substances that reduce inflammation, and are especially high in colorful fruits and vegetables.
Power foods: Nuts, fortified cereals and sweet potatoes
Eye-healthy nutrients: Vitamin E
Good for the eyes because: Vitamin E promotes the health of cell membranes and DNA repair and plays a significant role in the immune system. It has also been shown to slow the progression of AMD and visual acuity loss when combined with other essential nutrients.
Power foods: Salmon, tuna, and other cold-water fish
Eye-healthy nutrients: Omega-3 fatty acids
Good for the eyes because: Omega-3 fatty acids may reduce inflammation, enhance tear production and support the eye’s oily outer layer by increasing oil that flows from the meibomian glands. Research has also shown omega-3 fatty acids can play a role in preventing or easing the discomfort of dry eye.
The body doesn’t make the nutrients listed above on its own, so they must be replenished daily. In addition to a healthy diet, an eye doctor can recommend specific vitamins or other supplements for balanced nutrition based on each patient’s individual dietary intake, risk factors and laboratory analysis.
Visiting a doctor of optometry annually for a comprehensive eye exam is one of the best investments in overall health and is an important, preventive way to preserve vision and maintain healthy eyes. To make an appointment with Dr. Tracie Inouchi call (808) 949-2662.