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summer

On August 10th, in honor of National S’mores Day, Americans were encouraged to light a campfire, gather family and friends, and create the perfect combination of rich chocolate, melted marshmallows, and crisp graham crackers. No one can resist an ooey gooey S’more.

I joined in on the movement, and had a blast with my entire family. As I roasted marshmallows over the open flame, I found myself strangely overwhelmed by the radiant heat. Years had passed since I last made this essential summertime snack, but I certainly didn’t remember it making me feel like this. The sensation was almost unbearable. My 9 year old felt the burn as well, and had to ask me to finish toasting her marshmallow while she stood at a safe distance from the fire. This experience got me thinking of a larger question:

Can being close to fire/heat damage your eyes?
Your eyes may become red or irritated with exposure, but no long term vision issues should arise. If irritation persists, call our office to schedule a visit so you can get back to enjoying what’s left of the summer!

What precautions can I take to avoid injury?
Our doctors suggest keeping your distance, using protective eyewear or sunglasses to thwart flying or popping embers, and applying artificial tears. Contact lens wearers should remove their lenses or use protective eyewear or sunglasses if they are going to be close to a fire/heat source for an extended period of time. Remember, if irritation persists, please give us a call and schedule a visit!

Don’t let fire and heat exposure stop you from doing what you love to do! Get out there and enjoy the last days of summer. Happy grilling!

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.