ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — About 60 percent of all eye injuries, such as cuts, infections, and strain, occur in and around the home. Many of them are preventable. Ivanhoe has details on what you are doing that may cause you to lose your vision.
Red, itchy, dry eyes seem to be soothed by over-the-counter eye drops, but doctors say long-term overuse can do more harm than good! Preservatives in eye drops give them a longer shelf life, but the chemicals can irritate the eyes. If you’re using the eye drops more than four times a day, consider switching to a preservative-free brand such as Systane, Refresh, and Soothe. And don’t forget about the skin around your eye.
“Unfortunately, the skin around your eye is some of the most vulnerable to the sun both in terms of just sun damage but also in terms of developing cancers,” explained George A. Cioffi, MD, an ophthalmologist at Columbia University.
Thirty-four percent of adults have experienced symptoms of prolonged UV exposure such as eye irritation, trouble seeing, and red or swollen eyes. UV damage from the sun to your eyes can occur in as little as 15 minutes. Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses with UV protection level of 95 to 100 percent. Also remember that not taking care of underlying medical conditions can lead to vision loss.
“Hypertension, diabetes, all these systemic risk factors, they kind of add on to what damage can happen because of the raised interocular pressure,” shared Meghal Gagrani, MD, a glaucoma fellow with the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
About one in three adults over the age of 40 have some sign of diabetic retinopathy, but early intervention can reduce risk of blindness by 95 percent.
Another thing to watch out for is alcohol. Too much alcohol has been linked to increased cataract formation and an increased risk for age-related macular degeneration.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.
WAYS YOU ARE DAMAGING YOUR EYES
BACKGROUND: Having good overall health can go a long way toward keeping your eyes healthy as well. Healthy habits like eating well and being active can lower your risk for diseases and conditions that can lead to eye or vision problems, like diabetes or high blood pressure. Following these tips may help keep your vision healthy: eating dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens, and eating fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids; staying physically can help lower the risk of health conditions that can cause vision problems; and quit smoking. Smoking increases the risk of diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. Protect your eyes from the sun by wearing sunglasses and wear protective eyewear like safety glasses and goggles that are designed to protect the eyes during certain activities. Studies suggest resting your eyes from a computer screen by taking a break every 20 minutes to look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. And always wash your hands before you put your contact lenses in.
EYE DROP BENEFITS AND RISKS: Eye drops are most often saline solutions with medications in them to treat various conditions of the eye. Lubricating eye drops help replace the eye’s natural moisture when your eyes aren’t making enough on their own. In an injured eye, artificial tears promote surface healing, increase comfort by reducing the feeling of a surface scratch, and flush out any residual contaminating or harmful particles. Anti-allergic drops alleviate the burning and stinging of the eyes that comes with allergies. Glaucoma drops reduce the risk of blindness in this condition by relieving the pressure inside the eye which could otherwise harm the sensitive retina. Some risks to consider when using eye drops are the preservatives and thickening agents in them that can cause irritation of the eye if used for too long. This is a reason why they shouldn’t be used beyond the prescribed period. Not more than four doses of any eye drops containing preservatives should be used in one day. Artificial tears may cause side effects such as transient clouding of vision immediately after application. No eye drop solution should be used for more than four months after opening it as fungal or bacterial contamination is very likely.
DEVELOPMENT IN EYE HEALTH RESEARCH: Research regarding eye health reported in Nature Medicine has shown that an artificial intelligence (AI) program can make the correct referral decision for more than 50 eye diseases with 94 percent accuracy which matches world-leading experts. The DeepMind system could revolutionize the management of eye tests, enabling healthcare professionals to spot conditions earlier and prioritize patients with the most serious diseases before irreversible damage sets in. “The AI technology we’re developing is designed to prioritize patients who need to be seen and treated urgently by a doctor or eyecare professional. If we can diagnose and treat eye conditions early, it gives us the best chance of saving people’s sight. With further research it could lead to greater consistency and quality of care for patients with eye problems in the future,” said Pearse Keane, consultant ophthalmologist at London’s Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and clinician scientist at University College London Institute of Ophthalmology.
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Vicky Cerino, Public Relations
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