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Take a lesson from CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper’s brush with 36 hours of temporary blindness: avoid overexposure to the sun. You may not think the sun is emitting damaging rays on cloudy days, but its strength does not discriminate. The sun will find any exposed area and lay claim to it – including your eyes.

Anderson Cooper’s 3 days of pain and discomfort were a result of photokeratitis – a condition like sunburn in the eyes. Mild photokeratitis can feel as if there is grit stuck in the eyes – a sensation caused by layers of the cornea peeling following the sunburn. Those with extreme cases describe the condition as feeling as if their eyeballs are on fire.

In Anderson Cooper’s case, the sun reflected off of water – and UV exposure can increase 25% when rays are scattered and reflected off of a reflective surface. Remember this when you are enjoying watersports this summer, or even just lounging in the pool or ocean – and always use sunglass protection. We have a large selection of designer sunglasses in our full-service Optical Shop – check out our new sunglass Optical Special!

If you experience overexposure to the sun and your eyes get sunburn, call our team at 732-774-5566 to get on the track to recovery.

As a contact lens wearer, you probably choose them over your glasses for sharper vision – especially if you have an active lifestyle. You may even dread the thought of having to leave your contacts at home when you visit the pool or your friend’s hot tub oasis – having to remember your glasses when leaving the house, not seeing clearly when you take them off, the constant need to wipe your lenses due to pesky chlorine spots. But we are here to tell you that these are all minor inconveniences when compared to the alternative – a Corneal Ulcer that may develop from wearing your contact lenses swimming.

Topcon’s (r) specialized slit lamp camera allows our doctors to photograph and monitor corneal ulcers

This cautionary tale in meant to save you many trips to the eye doctor and, worst case scenario, permanent vision loss. Hot tubs and pools are breeding grounds for acanthamoeba – and they do not mix well with contacts. If present in the water, the bacteria can increase the risk of you contracting a serious condition known as acanthamoeba keratitis. Non-contact lens wearers can develop this condition, but it is more prevalent in those who wear contacts.

The symptoms associated with this condition include: redness in the affected eye, blurred vision, feeling of a foreign body in the eye, and light sensitivity. If you experience any of these symptoms after exposure to the pool and/or hot tub water (especially if you are a contact lens wearer) you should contact our office at 732-774-5566. Schedule an appointment to meet with one of our eye doctors and get appropriate treatment as soon as possible.

When an eye issue arises, it is usually seen as a minor disturbance in your daily routine – an annoyance that you choose deal with until it magically disappears. Work, home, and family responsibilities take precedence – or so you think. But changes in your vision that appear to be “no big deal” can actually be signs of a bigger problem that, if left untreated, can lead to severe consequences.

Read on to learn 5 instances when you should definitely call your eye doctor, even if you think you may not have the time…

  1. Floaters and Flashes

    Floaters and flashes are often the first signs of retinal detachment. While they do not necessarily mean that there is a problem, floaters and flashes should NOT be ignored. Seeing more floaters than usual, particularly if you notice the sudden appearance of many small dark dots, is a symptom of retinal detachment.

    The below symptoms constitute a MEDICAL EMERGENCY:

    • Brief flashes or sparks of light at the edge of your vision.
    • A shadow (sometimes described as a “curtain”) across a portion of your vision that doesn’t go away.
    • Any new or sudden loss of a portion of your vision.

  2. Sudden Loss of Vision or Loss of Peripheral Vision (also known as Tunnel Vision)– This type of visual loss could be a sign or symptom of Glaucoma, Retinal Detachment, Retinal Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, or serious conditions that affect the brain such as a tumor or stroke.
  3. Pain – Surface and interior eye pain can both signal a number of conditions. It can point to Bacterial Keratitis, Conjunctivitis, Corneal Abrasion, Corneal Laceration, Corneal Ulcer, Fungal Keratitis, and Uveitis as well as other conditions not listed. Seek out your eye doctor to alleviate discomfort and avoid possible complications.
  4. Double Vision– Double vision can be a sign of palsy, diabetic changes, brain tumor, brain aneurysm, or stroke.
  5. Extreme Sensitivity to Light– This condition may be associated with a Chalazion, Corneal Abrasion, Corneal Laceration, Corneal Ulcer, Eye Allergies, Uveitis, and Dry Eye among other conditions. There are a number of treatment options to provide relief.

Remember, a visit to the doctor as soon as symptoms present themselves can prevent severe eye problems in the future!

The majority of the workforce today spends an enormous time staring at a computer screen. At work it is a requirement and at home it doesn’t stop – we always seem to be connected via computer monitor, smartphone, or tablet. As the hours of eye strain stack up, it’s no surprise that our eyes are not very happy at the end of the work day. Symptoms of eye strain are eye irritation (red, watery, or dry eyes), eye fatigue (tired, aching heaviness of the eyelids, or forehead), difficulty in focusing, and headaches. Luckily eye strain does not result in permanent eye damage, but you should still take steps to avoid the discomfort.

Eye strain, backache, and muscle spasms can also improve with proper arrangement of the computer screen and seating area – the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides helpful suggestions on how you can arrange your workspace to minimize pain.

How does your personal workstation stack up to the recommended setup? Do you sit with proper posture and remember to change positions, stretch, and take breaks?

In addition to maximizing the ergonomics of your physical work space, you should lubricate your eyes by blinking frequently or using artificial tears (lubricating eye drops) and keep your work area clean to minimize eye irritation from dust. Standard office lighting may be too bright for comfortable computer use, so minimize glare on screens by adjusting office lights or using hoods or filters on monitors. Above all, you should be wearing the appropriate prescription for computer work. Make an appointment today to have your prescription adjusted to minimize discomfort.