Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Video: Martha Stewarts discusses the importance of yearly eye examinations

Martha Stewart recently interviewed Optometrist, Dr Rhonda Robinson, about annual eye examinations. Dr. Robinson explained that the reasons to have an annual eye exam change as a person goes through each life stage.
Click on Martha Stewart's image to watch the video:

The following is the text from Dr. Robinson’s discussion about the importance of regular eye examinations. It never fails to amaze me that I continue to find new, treatable (thank heavens!) eye diseases in patients that I routinely see every year. It makes me feel good to know that I am preventing vision loss every day in my practice.

Dr. Toby Mandelman, Optometrist


Eyes are one of our five vital senses, and we process about 80 percent of the information around us through vision, so the importance of taking care of our eyes can not be overlooked.

Have Your Eyes Examined Once A Year

Most eye care specialists recommend an exam every year. But the key reasons for an annual eye exam follow the normal changes our bodies experience throughout our life calendar. At the beginning of life, a 6-12 month old should be screened to detect any tendency for "lazy eye" and make sure the visual system is fully functional and developed.
Since the vast majority of our learning is processed visually, it is important for everyone to have a comprehensive eye examination every year, once entering school. It has been estimated that more than 80 percent of learning transfer in school occurs through the eyes, so school age children not only need to be checked for sharpness of vision, but also how they focus and use their eyes together.
School screenings are great for picking up common eye problems such as near-sightedness, but many children have more complex vision problems that can contribute to learning difficulties. It's wise to get a doctor's exam to detect these more complicated conditions, such as poor binocular vision or focusing fatigue.
Modern Technology Affecting Vision
Today's society runs on high-technology and uses text as the primary way of communicating. We use our eyes differently than our parents and grandparents did. Today, computers, cell phones, and PDAs are the main source of eyestrain and visual discomfort. Even slight changes in a patient's prescription can make a world of difference for their all-day visual comfort. It's another reason to make sure children and teenagers get a yearly exam.

How Does Normal Aging Impact Our Eyes

As we approach the middle portion of the life calendar (our forties and fifties), there are natural changes in the eye that affect our ability to see. Usually, this means more eyestrain and eye fatigue in close-up focusing, which eventually leads to blurry vision when reading, texting, or using a cell phone or computer.
Presbyopia is the natural aging of the eye lens and occurs in everyone. As we approach our late thirties and early forties, our eye lens does not change its focus as easily as it did in our youth. Early signs are eyestrain or eye fatigue at the end of the day. Once we've reached our late forties and early fifties, we start losing our ability to see clearly up close, and we may need the help of eyeglasses or contact lenses.
The good news is that with today's technology, we can correct these conditions better than ever before. There have been huge advances in both surgical procedures and refractive devices within the last 10 years. Today's spectacle and contact lenses offer computer-generated aspheric lenses to give us high-definition vision.
In fact, doctors now have multifocal contact lenses for presbyopic patients, which provide more natural vision than even multifocal glasses. Multifocal contacts are more natural -- you can see with both eyes in distance, intermediate, and near.
Multifocal contact lenses work very differently than multifocal glasses. With multifocal glasses, the top part has the distance optics and the bottom has the near optics, so if you want to see a label on the top shelf at the grocery store, you have to tilt your head back to get into the near optics of the lens. Multifocal contact lens works much differently. The center of the lens has aspheric optics that gradually changes from near to intermediate to distance. Your brain pays attention to the optics it wants, so you can see distance, near, and everywhere in between -- just like being 30 again.
Things to Do to Protect Our Eyes
There are lots of things we can do to protect our eyes. Wear a hat and sunglasses with UV protection in the sun. UV over-exposure can accelerate cataract formation -- the clouding of the eye lens -- and can contribute to macular degeneration -- the loss of function of the part of the retina responsible for our detail vision.
Secondly, eat a healthy diet. Certain nutrients are particularly important for maintaining good retinal health and function. Antioxidants have been documented as critical for retinal health.
Lastly, don't smoke. Smoke not only irritates the eye, but one of the side effects of smoking is that it affects the blood vessels in the eye, reeking havoc on its physiology. Many people believe that carrots are good for the eyes, but spinach trumps carrots as being the best, so add dark leafy greens to your diet for the best eye health.
Special Thanks
Special thanks to optometrist and Bausch & Lomb consultant Dr. Rhonda Robinson for sharing this important information on eye care. Everyone in the studio audience received a Bausch & Lomb Home and Travel Pack.

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