July is UV Safety Month

Before you head out, don’t forget to protect yourselves from the sun’s UV rays, both with sunscreen for your skin and with sunglasses for your eyes.

Why We Need UV Protection

We all know that we can get sunburns if we stay outside too long without sunscreen, but did you know that your eyes can be damaged in similar ways by too much sunlight? UV-A rays reach all the way to your retinas and can lead to macular degeneration (loss of central vision), while UV-B rays affect the cornea and lens, causing corneal sunburns and increasing the risk of developing cataracts.

Sunscreen and shade are essential to keeping your skin protected when enjoying time in the sun, but what about your eyes? Eyes need protection from the sun too! Let’s look at a few ways you can keep your eyes healthy this summer.

Choosing The Right Sunglasses

Protection from harmful UV rays should be a major priority when having fun in the sun. The best way to do this is with UV-protecting sunglasses! It is crucial to check that your sunglasses block 100 percent of UV rays. Merely having a dark tint doesn’t mean they’re giving your eyes the protection they need. In fact, non-UV-protecting sunglasses can actually trick your eyes into behaving as though there isn’t much light, leaving them even more vulnerable to UV rays than they would be otherwise.

Don’t Forget Those Goggles!

As important as sunglasses are for protecting your eyes from the sun, goggles are just as important for protecting your eyes from chlorine and microbes in the water. Make sure to choose goggles that fit well and provide a good seal over your eyes, and don’t forget to take your contacts out before swimming! Keeping the contacts out and the goggles on will protect your eyes from the risk of infection, so have fun swimming while social-distancing!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

 

Fireworks and Eye Safety Tips – Keep Your Eyes Protected

The Fourth of July is one of the favorite times of the year and the official kick off holiday to summer.  The month surrounding July 4th festivities also brings an increase of fireworks displays and with that a spike in firework related injuries.

It is important to consider eye protection when dealing with anything combustible. Most fireworks related injuries occur during the month of July, and the most recent Consumer Product Safety Commission report found that 14% of fireworks injuries were eye injuries. Out of those injuries, children between the ages of 10-14 had the highest rate of emergency room visits related to fireworks. Keep yourself and your eyes safe this summer and enjoy treasured holiday traditions with these important safety tips!

7 FIREWORKS EYE SAFETY TIPS

  1. Always have an adult supervise children, even sparklers! Sparklers burn up to 1800°F!
  2. Ensure everyone is at a safe distance of at least 500 feet when setting off fireworks.
  3. Never point or throw fireworks at another person!
  4. Don’t shoot fireworks out of a glass or metal container. The explosion could shatter and expel glass or metal shards!
  5. Don’t hover. Never have any part of the body directly over a firework when lighting.
  6. Firework didn’t ignite the first time? Soak it in water and discard it. Serious eye trauma and other injuries can occur when people mistake a firework for a “dud” or think that it’s no longer active or hot.
  7. Importantly, protect your eyes and wear safety glasses when setting off fireworks.

WHEN YOU EXPERIENCE A FIREWORKS RELATED EYE INJURY:

  1. Seek medical attention immediately
  2. Do not rub your eye. You risk scratching the cornea or making the injury worse.
  3. Don’t attempt to rinse out the eye.
  4. Don’t apply any pressure or ointments to the eye.
  5. Do not to take any pain medication before seeing a medical professional.

 

We hope all of our patients have a fantastic time on the 4th of July, but if you have questions about how to make sure your festivities are safe for everyone involved, feel free to give us a call. 850-784-3937

 

Have a safe and Happy Independence Day!

 

Protect Your Eye Health

Protecting your eyesight is one of the most basic things you can do to maintain a good quality of life. Summer is here, and it is a great time to take a closer look at a few of the biggest reasons to make sure an eye exam makes it into your schedules.

Prevention Is the Best Treatment

A lot of the chronic, sight-threatening eye diseases like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration can take a long time to show symptoms. Without regular eye exams, there’s no way to catch them early on, and yet early diagnosis is the best way to slow their progress and keep vision loss to a minimum.

Eye Strain Is a Drain on Productivity

In this technological era, many of us have jobs sitting in front of a computer screen for most of the day. This, as well as additional hours looking at our smartphones, can lead to a lot of digital eye strain. If you’ve been experiencing symptoms like blurred visions, dry eyes, and frequent headaches, eye strain could be the culprit. At an eye exam, we can discuss ways to minimize the effects of screen time and make a plan for avoiding that strain.

Vision Health Is Connected to Overall Health

Eye exams aren’t just important for the sake of checking that your eyes are healthy and working the way they should, they’re also a great way to get a look at how you’re doing in terms of overall health. The eye doctor may be the first one to spot early symptoms of chronic conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer — all from a standard eye exam!

We can’t wait to see you at our practice!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

By You Exercising… There Are Benefits for YOUR Eye Health

We have adapted to different lifestyle changes due to COVID-19; however, it is so important to adapt to an exercising routine to build strength, stay fit, and feel good. Staying active is crucial to overall health, including lowering our risk of chronic health problems like type 2 diabetes, heart conditions, and high blood pressure, but did you know that exercise can specifically benefit the health of your eyes? Let’s take a look at some of the ways we can maintain good vision health through exercise!

Our Eyes Without Exercise

Studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle can leave a person at a higher risk of vision loss as they age than a more active lifestyle. There are many chronic diseases that impact our overall health and can take a toll on our vision. Type 2 diabetes, for instance, is a major risk factor for several sight-threatening conditions, including diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema, cataracts, and glaucoma.

Reducing Your Risk Of Eye Disease

When we say that exercise is good for your eyes, we don’t mean you won’t need glasses anymore if you work out, but eating healthy and exercising regularly are the best ways to prevent developing these chronic and sight-threatening conditions. Exercising at least three times per week can make you 70 percent less likely to develop age-related macular degeneration, and it can drop your chance of developing glaucoma by 25 percent!

Exercise Tips For Eye Health

We know it is not always easy to find time in your busy schedule. Simply taking regular walks while practicing social distancing around your neighborhood, going for light jogs, and even doing yoga can significantly decrease your risks for developing sight-threatening conditions. Just make sure you are doing these things at least two to three times a week!

Here is a cardio workout you could squeeze into just a few minutes of free time at home:

Regularly Scheduling Check-ups

Along with making time for a regular exercise regimen, it’s important to continue scheduling eye exams! Exercise will do you a world of good, but it isn’t a cure-all. That’s why The Eye Center of North Florida is always here to help you with your eye health needs. Call us TODAY at 850-784-3937 to schedule an appointment.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

**Source: British Journal of Ophthalmology and AAO**
https://bjo.bmj.com/content/90/12/1461.abstract?sid=c857de1c-bdb5-48ad-a29d-f13db7159940

 

June is Cataract Awareness Month!

Prevent Blindness America has declared June to be Cataract Awareness Month, an initiative aimed at raising awareness of and advocating for education on cataract risk factors, symptoms, and treatments. preventblindness.org/cataract-awareness-month-2020

The number of Americans with cataracts are expected to be 38.5 million by 2032 and 45.6 million by 2050, according to Prevent Blindness America.

Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States, and it is the leading cause of blindness in the world. There are 24 million Americans over the age of 40 who are affected by cataracts.

How Do Cataracts Form?

In a healthy eye, our lenses are filled with proteins that line up to be perfectly transparent. However, over time, they can clump together and become opaque, creating a cataract. The rest of the eye can be completely healthy, but a cataract can block some or all of the light from reaching the retina.

What Are The Symptoms Of Cataracts?

Cataracts can start small and subtle, so it’s not always evident that a cataract is developing. Over time, you may begin to notice the following symptoms:

  • Faded or yellowed colors
  • Reduced night vision
  • Light sensitivity and increased glare
  • Halo effect around lights
  • Dim, cloudy, or blurry vision
  • More frequent glasses prescription changes
  • Double vision in a single eye

Cataract Risk Factors

The main risk factor for cataracts is advancing age, but other factors can make them more likely to develop earlier. These include diabetes, smoking, a family history of cataracts, exposure to UV radiation over time, high blood pressure, previous inflammation or injury in an eye, previous eye surgery, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and prolonged use of corticosteroid medication.

The Good News: Cataracts Are Treatable

In the early stages, cataract symptoms can be combated with a stronger glasses prescription, but eventually, glasses or contacts won’t be enough. Luckily, cataract surgery is performed more often than any other surgery in the US. It’s low-risk, simple, and routine, involving one short procedure on each eye. Even better, if you have other vision problems like astigmatism, cataract surgery might fix that too!

How Is Your Eye Health? We ask because WE CARE.

If you’ve noticed changes in your vision, schedule an appointment at The Eye Center of North Florida so we can check for cataracts and make sure your eyes are healthy.

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

UV Rays Versus Healthy Vision

We are on the heels of summer! Post COVID-19 this summer will be different than what we have experienced in previous summers. While you follow safety guidelines from the CDC and local health departments including proper social distancing. There will still be fun times spent outdoors, but it also means more exposure to harmful UV rays. Are you prepared with the proper sun protection?

UV Rays Versus Healthy Vision

Even being careful not to look directly at the sun, just being outside for extended periods can be enough to get sunburns on our eyes. These are called photokeratitis, and symptoms include redness, a grainy feeling when blinking, light sensitivity, tearing, and blurred vision. In snowy areas, photokeratitis is often called “snow blindness,” but it is also a problem spending extended amounts of time outside in the summer.

Long term, UV exposure can have cumulative effects on our vision, including increasing the risk of developing sight-threatening conditions like macular degeneration and cataracts. We also become more vulnerable to pterygium or “surfer’s eye” (an overgrowth of the clear tissue of the whites of the eyes towards the iris) and pinguecula (white or yellow bumps that form in the whites of the eyes).

Wear Sunglasses to Protect Your Eyesight from UV Rays

The first priority should be to have a pair of sunglasses and make sure they offer full UV protection. Check the label to see if your sunglasses block at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays. Large lenses are also a good idea because they offer more coverage. Polarized lenses provide even better protection because they eliminate the glare from sunlight bouncing off surfaces around us, including other cars and the surface of the water.

Other Tips for UV Protection

In addition to always wearing sunglasses when outside during the day, there are other things you can do to keep your eyes (and skin) safe from the sun:

  • Minimize the time you spend in the sun during the brightest hours of the day (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.).
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats for additional shade.
  • Use sunscreen!

Please contact us at 850-784-3937 to discuss your eye health.

Caronavirus Status Update

With the current state of health in the Bay, Gulf and Washington county areas, The Eye Center of North Florida is making plans regarding the protection of our patients, staff and physicians. As we move to rescheduling most non-urgent office appointments, we will be seeing urgent/emergent care patients on a reduced basis.

At this time our Panama City Beach, Port St Joe and Chipley offices are all closed until further notice.

Our optical shops are currently closed at all locations.

Our Panama City clinic will be open on a limited basis for urgent care on an appointment basis only.

However, we are now offering telemedicine visits for our patients to determine the need for an in-office visit for urgent/emergent matters, handle routine care, medication prescription refills and provide limited clinical care. Since Federal regulations regarding telemedicine have been decreased at this time, our physicians have increased ability to use FaceTime and Google Duo to help our patients.

If you are interested in having a consultation via telemedicine, please contact us at 850-784-3937. Our staff will then schedule you with a time to speak with one of our physicians. We are doing our best to complete these telemedicine calls within 24-48 hours.

Sincerely,
The Physicians of The Eye Center of North Florida.

Coronavirus: How We’re Taking Precautions

The safety of our patients and staff is of the utmost importance to The Eye Center of North Florida; therefore, in light of the issues surrounding COVID-19, commonly referred to as Coronavirus, we wanted to let our patients know about the precautionary steps we are taking. 

Our leadership team pro-actively developed a plan to deal with COVID-19; we believe preparing our staff and providing information to patients are positive steps to avoid spreading the virus.

  • Patients are being asked to reschedule their appointments if they have a respiratory infection, fever, or if they have traveled outside the US in the previous 30 days.
  • Team members who have respiratory issues or fever are instructed to stay at home.
  • We have removed magazines in all waiting rooms, for now, to avoid having items that are shared among patients.
  • For further protection, patients are being asked to wear a mask upon arrival to our offices if they are recovering from cold symptoms.  Any patient with fever is asked not to enter the office and to call prior to the visit.

While the overall risk of COVID-19 to the general public remains low, elderly people and individuals with chronic medical conditions may have increased risk for COVID-19. The best prevention measures for any respiratory virus are:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. 
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. 
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces. 

We encourage you to take steps to protect you and your family; if you are concerned that you have been exposed to COVID-19 or if you have symptoms, please see your physician to be tested – and be sure to follow their guidelines to avoid spreading the virus. 

If you have any questions or concerns related to COVID-19 and an upcoming appointment at our office, please call us at 850-784-3937.

Please understand that The Eye Center of North Florida is not a governing body, and we encourage our patients to use the following official resources to find current information on appropriate courses of action and to track new cases:

 

SPRING BREAK EYE SAFETY TIPS

Spring break is right around the corner, but before you check out for the week, we want to make sure you’ve packed all the essentials. We have a few last-minute reminders when it comes to eye safety that you need to remember.   

SUNGLASSES

Pack your sunglasses. They help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.  Water often has a glare that can damage your eyes if they aren’t properly protected by polarized eyewear. Excessive UV exposure can cause severe damage and eye pain. It can even lead to macular degeneration and cataracts.

IMPORTANT CONTACT LENS TIPS

Your eyes need a break too. Take out your contact lenses before you sleep, shower, or swim. Wearing contact lenses to bed or exposing them to water increases the risk of painful eye infections.

Don’t swim or shower while wearing contact lenses because germs can be carried from the water into your eye. To be safe, remove your contact lenses and pack your goggles! It’s a sure way to protect your eyes and enjoy your vacation.

Replace your contact lenses as often as recommended by your eye care provider. 

Use only fresh contact lens solution – never water – to put lenses in your eyes and to store your lenses after each use.

PACK THE EYE CARE ESSENTIALS

As you are packing for your fun filled spring break vacation, or planning a relaxing staycation, don’t forget to pack your eyecare essentials. Be sure to have contact solution, extra contacts, your spare glasses and a lens cleaning cloth.

Again… Be prepared, have plenty of eye care supplies on hand.  Please don’t forget your sunglasses, protect your eyes from harmful UV Rays. If you don’t have a pair, come see us!  Our optical department has all the latest styles, fashion from great brands you know and love like Costa Del Mar, Ray Ban and many more!

Important Insurance Announcement- Superior Vision

The Eye Center of North Florida will no longer be a participating provider with Superior Vision, also known as Versant Healthcare after 1/31/2020.