Survey Reveals Parents Drastically Underestimate the Time Kids Spend on Electronic Devices

Home and classroom digital device use is up among school-age children; Dr. Inouchi recommends yearly back-to-school eye exams

According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), parents severely underestimate the time their children spend on digital devices. An AOA survey reports that 83 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 estimate they use an electronic device for three or more hours each day. However, a separate AOA survey of parents revealed that only 40 percent of parents believe their children use an electronic device for that same amount of time. Eye doctors are concerned that this significant disparity may indicate that parents are more likely to overlook warning signs and symptoms associated with vision problems due to technology use, such as digital eye strain.

Eighty percent ofAOA_Digital_Devices_infographic children surveyed report experiencing burning, itchy or tired eyes after using electronic devices for long periods of time. These are all symptoms of digital eye strain, a temporary vision condition caused by prolonged use of technology. Additional symptoms may include headaches, fatigue, loss of focus, blurred vision, double vision or head and neck pain.

“When parents think about their kids’ mobile consumption habits, they often don’t think about how much time they spend on devices in the classroom,” said Dr. Inouchi. “Each year when school starts we see an increase in kids complaining of symptoms synonymous with eye strain. Essentially, they’re going from being home over the summer with a minimal amount of time spent using their devices back to a classroom full of technology, and their time on devices often doubles, leading to a strain on the eyes.”

Optometrists are also growing increasingly concerned about the kinds of light everyday electronic devices give off – high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light – and how those rays might affect and even age the eyes. Today’s smartphones, tablets, LED monitors and even flat screen TVs all give off light in this range, as do cool-light compact fluorescent bulbs. Early research shows that overexposure to blue light could contribute to eye strain and discomfort and may lead to serious conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which can cause blindness.

When it comes to protecting eyes and vision from digital eye strain, taking frequent visual breaks is important. Children should make sure they practice the 20-20-20 rule: when using technology or doing near work, take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away. According to the survey, nearly one-third (32 percent) of children go a full hour using technology before they take a visual break instead of every 20 minutes as recommended.

Additionally, children who normally do not require the use of eyeglasses may benefit from glasses prescribed specifically for intermediate distance for computer use. And children who already wear glasses may find their current prescription does not provide optimal vision for viewing a computer screen. An eye doctor can provide recommendations for each individual patient.

Dr. Inouchi suggests the following guidelines to help prevent or reduce eye and vision problems associated with digital eye strain:

  • Check the height and position of the device. Computer screens should be four to five inches below eye level and 20 to 28 inches away from the eyes. Digital devices should be held a safe distance away from eyes and slightly below eye level.
  •  Check for glare on the screen. Windows or other light sources should not be directly visible when sitting in front of a computer monitor. If this happens, turn the desk or computer to prevent glare on the screen. Also consider adjusting the brightness of the screen on your digital device or changing its background color.
  •  Reduce the amount of lighting in the room to match the computer screen. A lower-wattage light can be substituted for a bright overhead light or a dimmer switch may be installed to give flexible control of room lighting.
  •  Adjust font size. Increase the size of text on the screen of the device to make it easier on your eyes when reading.
  •  Keep blinking. To minimize the chances of developing dry eye when using a computer or digital device, make an effort to blink frequently. Blinking keeps the front surface of the eye moist.

Dr. Inouchi recommends every child have an eye exam by an optometrist soon after 6 months of age and before age 3. Children now have the benefit of yearly comprehensive eye exams thanks to the Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Care Act, through age 18.

“Parents should know that vision screenings miss too many children who should be referred to an optometrist for an eye examination to correct vision,” added [NAME]. “Eye exams performed by an eye doctor are the only way to diagnose eye and vision diseases and disorders in children. Undiagnosed vision problems can impair learning and can cause vision loss and other issues that significantly impact a child’s quality of life.”

For additional information on children’s vision and the importance of back-to-school eye exams, or to make an appointment for your child with Dr. Inouchi for a comprehensive eye exam, visit  call 808.949.2662.

Technology Advancements Enhance Early Detection of Eye Diseases Associated with Diabetes

The American Optometric Association reminds patients that yearly, comprehensive eye exams remain a critical pathway to eye and vision health

Early symptoms of diabetic eye and vision disorders are often subtle or unnoticed, but new technology, coupled with yearly, comprehensive eye exams, are improving patient outcomes and leading to earlier detection of eye diseases, including those associated with diabetes, which now affects 29 million Americans. If left untreated, these diseases can potentially lead to vision loss or even blindness.

Recently, optometric researchers have deployed a new tool that utilizes advanced optics to detect early warning signs of vision loss that can occur due to diabetes. The instrument uses small mirrors with tiny moveable segments to reflect light into the eye and was successful in finding widespread damage across the retina of patients who were previously not thought to have advanced disease.

“Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable blindness in adults, and eye doctors are continuously working to find new ways to diagnose eye and vision disorders related to this disease,” said Trennda Rittenbach, O.D., spokesperson for the American Optometric Association. “These advancements are critical in offering earlier, better care for patients with diabetes, diabetic retinopathy and other retinal vascular diseases, before an eye problem reaches an advanced stage.”

Individuals with diabetes are at a significantly higher risk for developing eye and vision disorders, including:

Diabetic retinopathy:

One of the most serious sight-threatening complications of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy causes progressive damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina, the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye. If left untreated, diabetic retinopathy may lead to blindness.

Glaucoma:

Those with diabetes are 40 percent more likely to suffer from glaucoma than people without diabetes. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases characterized by damage to the optic nerve resulting in gradual peripheral vision loss.

Cataracts:

With cataracts, the eye’s clear lens clouds, which can block light and interfere with normal vision, and individuals with diabetes are 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts.

Other new advancements are currently in development to further enhance diabetic care, including research on smart contact lenses, which could be used to help monitor blood sugar levels in patients with diabetes and possibly provide a new way to dispense medication slowly over time.

“Though these advancements in technology can assist in the detection and management of eye diseases, they are not replacements for yearly, comprehensive eye exams,” said Dr. Rittenbach. “When the eyes are dilated, an eye doctor is able to examine the optic nerve, the retina and the retinal blood vessels to assess eye health and even a person’s overall health.”

If patients, especially those with diabetes, experience any of the following symptoms, the AOA recommends contacting a doctor of optometry as soon as possible.

  • Sudden blurred or double vision
  • Trouble reading or focusing on near-work
  • Eye pain or pressure
  • A noticeable aura or dark ring around lights or illuminated objects
  • Visible dark spots in vision or images of flashing lights

The AOA also recommends individuals with diabetes take prescribed medication as directed, keep glycohemoglobin test results (“A1c” or average blood sugar level) consistently under seven percent, stick to a healthy diet that includes Omega 3s, fresh fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, control high blood pressure and avoid alcohol and smoking.

What You Need to Know About Dry Eye

Tears Wanted

What you need to know about dry eye:

  • 38% of adults experience dry eye, a lack of tears or poor quality of tears, which can cause irritated or gritty eyes, redness, burning, blurred vision.

Dry Eye can stem from:

  • Age – Those 65 and older
  • Gender – Particularly in women who are pregnant or experiencing menopause
  • Medications or Medical Conditions – Decongestants, anti-depressants, diabetes, thyroid issues
  • Environment – Conditions such smoke, wind or dry climate
  • Technology – Not taking breaks from digital devices

Here are some tips to help alleviate  symptoms:

  • Increase the level of humidity
  • Wear sunglasses to reduce exposure to wind and sun.
  • Use nutritional supplements (if recommended)
  • Drink 8-10 glasses of water every day

Advanced dry eye could damage and impair vision.  Dr. Daniel Yamamoto & Dr. Tracie Inouchi can prescribe treatment to keep your eyes healthy.

What you need to know about dry eye.
What you need to know about dry eye.

 

 

Proper Eyewear and Healthy Vision Crucial for Athletes’ Performance

As athletes gear up for a game, a vital component must be on their checklists—eye protection. Although extremely important, eyewear isn’t always a priority for some. According to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2014 American Eye-Q® consumer survey, only 21 percent of those surveyed wear protective eyewear when playing contact sports. Athletes also need to be sure their eye health and vision are at their best—after all, a player’s vision could be the difference between their team’s win or loss.

Dr. Tracie Inouchi can recommend appropriate eye protection for athletes and ensure their vision is sharp for the game.

Liberty Optical Safety Eyeglasses

Liberty Optical Safety Eyeglasses

What sports are considered high-risk for eye injury?

Sports considered by the National Eye Institute to be high-risk for eye injuries include baseball, softball, basketball, hockey, and racquetball. Basketball, in particular, has been ranked as a leading cause of eye injuries among 15- to 24-year-olds.

Tips to prevent serious eye injury

To prevent injury, athletes are advised to wear eye protection that may include safety glasses and goggles, safety shields, and eye guards designed for a particular sport and that meet American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. These types of protection are designed to be impact resistant without clouding an athlete’s vision. Dr. Inouchi can advise a patient athlete, coach, or parent on the best protection for that athlete and his or her needs.

UV protection is also important to consider, as exposure to UV radiation without proper protection can lead to serious problems.

“Short-term exposure to UV rays could lead to photokeratitis, also known as ‘sunburn of the eye,’” said Dr. Inouchi. “Symptoms of photokeratitis include red eyes, a foreign-body sensation or gritty feeling in the eyes, extreme sensitivity to light and excessive tearing. Long-term exposure to UV can cause damage to the eye, possibly resulting in cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, or other visual impairments.”

For optimal eye sun-safety, the AOA recommends wearing sunglasses that block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays. Click here to learn more about UV protection.

Be prepared for an injury

Those on the sidelines need to keep an ocular emergency first aid kit on the bench so eye trauma can be dealt with swiftly and properly.

“A kit should include saline solution to ‘flush out’ an athlete’s eyes and a penlight with a blue filter and fluorescein dye to detect foreign bodies,” said Dr. Inouchi. “Coaches should also have an ocular emergency triage card on hand so they know when it’s time to visit the optometrist for an eye injury.”

Click here to download an ocular emergency triage card from the AOA Sports Vision Section, which works year-round to advance the quality and delivery of optometric sports vision care.

By visiting Dr. Daniel Yamamoto & Dr. Tracie Inouchi regularly for comprehensive eye care, athletes can perform their best on the court or field with clear and healthy vision, as well as be sure their eyes are protected and, hopefully, bring home a win.

To make an appointment with Dr. Daniel Yamamoto & Dr. Tracie Inouchi for a comprehensive eye exam, call 808.949.2662

Take a Closer Look When Buying Sunglasses

Protect Your Eyes

Over time , harmful effects of UV exposure can contribute to:

  • Pterygium
  • Cataracts
  • Macular Degeneration
  • Photokeratitis (sunburn of the eyes)
  • Skin Cancer around the eyes

Sunglass Check List:

  • Sunglass lenses that block out 99-100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B rays.
  • Lenses with uniform tint are ideal
  • A frame that fits close to the eyes and contours to the shape of your face.
  • Children need UV protection too.  Children take in 3 times more UV exposure than adults. Up to 80% of their UV exposure occurs by age 20.

Children Need Protection Too!

  • Children take in 3X more UV exposure than adults – up to 80% of their lifetime UV exposure occurs by age 20.

AOA_Sunglasses_infographic

 

Eye Health: An Increasing Concern for Aging Adults

It’s a fact of life that vision can change over time, resulting in a number of noticeable differences in how well aging adults see the world around them. In fact, according to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2014 American Eye-Q® consumer survey, 78 percent of adults age 55 or older report experiencing some vision loss.

“The number of blind and visually impaired people is expected to double over the next 16 years,” said Dr. Inouchi, O.D.. “This staggering statistic has implications for millions of aging Americans, but these changes don’t have to compromise a person’s lifestyle. Maintaining good health and seeing an eye doctor on a regular basis are important steps to help preserve vision.”

Common age-related vision problems include difficulty seeing things up close or far away, problems seeing in low light or at night, and sensitivity to light and glare. Some symptoms that may seem like minor vision problems may actually be signs of serious eye diseases that could lead to permanent vision loss, including:

  •  Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): An eye disease affecting the macula, the center of the light sensitive retina at the back of the eye. AMD can cause loss of central vision.
  •  Cataracts: A clouding of the lens of the eye that usually develops slowly over time and can interfere with vision. Cataracts can cause a decrease in visual contrast between objects and their background, a dulling of colors and an increased sensitivity to glare.
  • Diabetic retinopathy: A condition occurring in people with diabetes, which causes progressive damage to the tiny blood vessels that nourish the retina. The longer a person has diabetes, the more likely they are to develop the condition, which can lead to blindness.
  • Glaucoma: An eye disease leading to progressive damage to the optic nerve due to rising internal fluid pressure in the eye. Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness.

Dry eye is another common and often chronic condition that Americans can experience later in life. Dry eye occurs when there are insufficient tears to nourish the eye. Tears are important for maintaining the health of the front surface of the eye and for clear, quality vision. Studies show that women are more likely to develop dry eye, especially during menopause.

Aging Americans will represent 19 percent of the population by 2030, up from 12 percent in 2000. Coping with age-related eye diseases and disorders and the resulting changes in health and lifestyles is top-of-mind for this growing group of consumers. The AOA’s American Eye-Q® survey revealed that 40 percent of consumers age 55 or older are worried about losing their ability to live independently as a result of developing a serious vision problem. Many eye diseases have no early symptoms and may develop painlessly; therefore, adults may not notice changes in vision until the condition is quite advanced. Healthy lifestyle choices can help ward off eye diseases and maintain existing eyesight.

“Eating a low-fat diet rich in green, leafy vegetables and fish, not smoking, monitoring blood pressure levels, exercising regularly and wearing proper sunglasses to protect eyes from UV rays can all play a role in preserving eyesight and eye health, said Dr. Inouchi. “Early diagnosis and treatment of serious eye diseases and disorders is critical and can often prevent a total loss of vision, improve adults’ independence and quality of life.”

For those suffering from age-related eye conditions, Dr. Inouchi recommends following a few simple tips:

  • Control glare: Purchase translucent lamp shades, install light-filtering window blinds or shades, use matte or flat finishes for walls and counter-tops and relocate the television to where it does not reflect glare.
  • Use contrasting colors: Decorate with throw rugs, light switches and telephones that are different colors so they can be spotted quickly and easily.
  • Give the eyes a boost: Install clocks, thermometers and timers with large block letters. Magnifying glasses can also be used for reading when larger print is not available.
  • Change the settings on mobile devices: Increase the text size on the screen of smartphones and tablets and adjust the screen’s brightness or background color.
  • Stay safe while driving: Wear quality sunglasses for daytime driving and use anti-reflective lenses to reduce headlight glare. Limit driving at dusk, dawn or at night if seeing under low light is difficult.

Maintaining yearly eye exams, or more frequently if recommended by an eye doctor, provides the best protection for preventing the onset of eye diseases and allows adults to continue leading active and productive lifestyles as they age.

Parents and Children Don’t See Eye-to-Eye When it Comes to Technology Use

As technology use continues to rise both at home and in classrooms, parents severely underestimate the time their children spend on digital devices. A survey by the American Optometric Association (AOA) found that 83 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 say they use an electronic device for at least three hours each day. However, a separate AOA survey revealed that only 40 percent of parents believe their children use an electronic device for that same amount of time. This disparity is concerning to eye doctors and may indicate that parents are more likely to overlook warning signs associated with vision problems due to technology use.

digital-devices laptop, ipad and phone

Digital eye strain, a temporary condition caused by prolonged technology use, can cause children to experience burning, itchy or tired eyes, headaches, fatigue, loss of focus and blurred vision.

To protect vision from digital eye strain, children should make sure they practice the 20-20-20 rule: take a 20-second break, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away. Additionally, the following recommendations can help prevent or reduce digital eye strain:

  •  Position computer screens four to five inches below eye level and 20 to 28 inches away from the eyes. Digital devices should be held slightly below eye level.
  •  Prevent glare on the screen by turning your desk or computer away from windows or other light sources.
  •  Match the room lighting to the computer screen by substituting a lower-watt overhead light or using a dimmer switch.
  • Adjust font sizes to make text bigger and easier to read.
  •  Blink frequently to minimize the chances of developing dry eye.

Optometrists are also concerned about high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light emitted from everyday electronic devices and how those rays might affect and even age the eyes. Early research shows that overexposure to blue light could contribute to eye strain and discomfort and may lead to serious conditions such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

The AOA recommends that every child have an eye exam by an optometrist soon after 6 months of age and before age 3. The Pediatric Essential Health Benefit in the Affordable Care Act now provides children through age 18 with yearly comprehensive eye exams.

Five Tips For a Lifetime of Healthy Vision

Here are 5 tips for a life time of healthy vision.  Honolulu eye doctors, Daniel Yamamoto, O.D. and Tracie Inouchi, O.D. suggest:

  1. Schedule Yearly Comprehensive Exams. Seeing a doctor of optometry regularly will help keep you on the path to healthy eyes.
  2. Protect against UV rays. No matter the season its important to wear sunglasses.
  3. Give your eyes a break from digital device use. Practice the 20/20/20 rule: every 20 minutes take a 20 second break and look at something 20 feet away.
  4. Eat your greens. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables – particularly the leafy green variety.
  5. Practice safe wear and care of your contact lenses. Keep them clean.
Lifetime of Healthy Vision Seeing a doctor of optometry regularly will help keep you on the path to healthy eyes.
Lifetime of Healthy Vision

Eye Myth Debunked: Carrots Don’t Make the Cut as Top Eye-Healthy Food

Many consumers know they should eat five servings of fruits and vegetables each day but what they may not know is what you eat can affect your eye health and vision as you age. Six nutrients ― antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, essential fatty acids, vitamins C and E and the mineral zinc ― have been identified as helping to protect eye sight and promote visual health.

Since the body doesn’t make these nutrients naturally, it’s important that they are incorporated into your daily diet and, in some cases, supplemented with vitamins. Yet, according to the American Optometric Association’s (AOA) 2014 American Eye-Q® survey, 73 percent of Americans do not incorporate any specific foods or supplements into their diet to help improve eye health or vision.

Carrots Don’t Make the Cut as Top Eye-Healthy Food

Also, contrary to popular belief, carrots are not at the top of the list for foods that are among the best for the eyes. To increase your intake of essential eye-healthy nutrients, the AOA recommends adding the following to your diet:

Foods rich in lutein and zeathanthin including green, leafy veggies, such as spinach, broccoli and kale and bright yellow/red foods like tomatoes, peppers, egg yolks and mangos;

  • Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna or mackerel;
  • Grapefruit, Brussels sprouts, strawberries, papaya, oranges and green peppers, which are the top sources for vitamin C;
  • Sunflower seeds, wheat germ oil, almonds, pecans and vegetable oils for Vitamin E; and
  • Turkey, oysters, crab, eggs, peanuts and whole grains for zinc.

To learn more about these important nutrients, visit www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/caring-for-your-vision/diet-and-nutrition.

The ninth annual American Eye-Q® survey was created and commissioned in conjunction with Penn, Schoen & Berland Associates (PSB). From March 20-25, 2014, PSB conducted 1,000 online interviews among Americans 18 years and older who embodied a nationally representative sample of the U.S. general population. (Margin of error is plus or minus 3.10 percentage points at a 95% confidence level)