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Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement - they’re important protection from the hazards of UV light.

If you wear are sunglasses mostly for fashion that’s great, just make sure the lenses block UVA and UVB rays.

And if you don’t wear sunglasses, it’s time to start.

Here are your top 6 reasons for wearing sunglasses:

Preventing Skin Cancer

The strongest evidence that sunglasses provide a medical benefit is in preventing skin cancer on your eyelids. UV light exposure from the sun is one of the strongest risk factors for the development of skin cancers.  

Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.

About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

Your eyelids, especially the lower eyelids, are also susceptible to UV light and they do develop skin cancers somewhat frequently.

Many people who now regularly apply sunscreen to help protect them from UV light often don’t get that sunscreen up to the edge of their eyelids because they know the sunscreen is going to make their eyes sting and burn. Unfortunately, that leaves the eyelids unprotected. You can fix that by wearing sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.

Decreasing Risk For Eye Disease

There is mounting evidence that lifetime exposure to UV light without protection can increase your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. It also increases your risk of getting growths on the surface of your eye called Pinguecula and Pterygiums.  Besides looking unsightly they can interfere with your vision and require surgery to remove them. All of those problems are better off with prevention than treatment.

Preventing Snow Blindness

The snow reflects UV light and the exposure can be intense enough on a sunny day to cause a burn on your cornea like what happens when people are exposed to a bright welding arc.

Protection From Wind, Dust, Sand

Many times, when you are spending time outdoors and it is windy, you risk particles blowing in the wind getting into your eyes. Sunglasses help protect you from that exposure. The wind itself can also make your tears evaporate more quickly and cause the surface of your eye to dry and become irritated and then cause the eye to tear again.

Decreasing Headaches

People can get headaches if they are very light sensitive and don’t protect their eyes from bright sunlight. You can also bring on a muscle tension headache if you are constantly squinting because the sunlight is too bright.

Clearer Vision When Driving

We have all experienced an episode of driving, coming around a turn and going directly into the direction of the setting or rising sun that causes our vision to be significantly impaired. Having sunglasses on whenever you are driving in sunlight helps prevent those instances. Just a general reduction in the glare and reflections that sunlight causes will make you a better and more comfortable driver.

So it’s time to go out there and find yourself a good pair of sunglasses that you look great in, and that protect your health too.

Your eye-care professional can help recommend sunglasses that are right for your needs.

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

This blog provides general information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately licensed physician. The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ.

Have you ever seen a temporary black spot in your vision? How about jagged white lines? Something that looks like heat waves shimmering in your peripheral vision?

If you have, you may have been experiencing what is known as an ocular migraine. Ocular migraines occur when blood vessels spasm in the visual center of the brain (the occipital lobe) or the retina.

They can take on several different symptoms but typically last from a few minutes to an hour. They can take on either positive or negative visual symptoms, meaning they can produce what looks like a black blocked-out area in your vision (negative symptom), or they can produce visual symptoms that you see but know aren’t really there, like heat waves or jagged white lines that look almost like lightning streaks (positive symptoms).

Some people do get a headache after the visual symptoms but most do not. They get the visual symptoms, which resolve on their own in under an hour, and then generally just feel slightly out of sorts after the episode but don’t get a significant headache. The majority of episodes last about 20 minutes but can go on for an hour. The hallmark of this problem is that once the visual phenomenon resolves the vision returns completely back to normal with no residual change or defect.

If you have this happen for the first time it can be scary and it is a good idea to have a thorough eye exam by your ophthalmologist or optometrist soon after the episode to be sure there is nothing else causing the problem.

Many people who get ocular migraines tend to have them occur in clusters. They will have three or four episodes within a week and then may not have another one for several months or even years.

There are some characteristics that raise your risk for ocular migraines. The biggest one is a personal history of having migraine headaches. Having a family history of migraines also raises your risk, as does a history of motion sickness.

Although the symptoms can cause a great deal of anxiety, especially on the first occurrence, ocular migraines rarely cause any long-term problems and almost never require treatment as long as they are not accompanied by significant headaches.

So if symptoms like this suddenly occur in your vision, try to remain calm, pull over if you are driving, and wait for them to go away. If they persist for longer than an hour, you should seek immediate medical attention.

 

Article contributed by Dr. Brian Wnorowski, M.D.

The content of this blog cannot be reproduced or duplicated without the express written consent of Eye IQ

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