Smoking and AMD
Smoking increases the risk of developing macular degeneration—quit smoking to help keep your eyes healthy.
Smoking and AMD
Smoking increases the risk of developing macular degeneration—quit smoking to help keep your eyes healthy.
A new national survey has revealed that only 9 percent of American women realize that women are at a greater risk of suffering permanent vision loss than men. 86 percent incorrectly believe that men and women are at equal risk and 5 percent believe that men are at greater risk. This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Prevent Blindness from January 24-28, 2014 among 2,039 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.
“These responses indicate an alarming lack of knowledge regarding women’s vision,” said Prevent Blindness volunteer adviser and spokesperson Dr. Mildred M.G. Olivier, a leading expert on women and minority eye health. “It’s apparent that a vast majority of women are unaware of the gender specific symptoms, conditions and risks associated with vision health.”
Prevent Blindness, a national non-profit organization, sponsored the survey to gain insight into the public’s perceptions about women's eye and vision health. The group is releasing the data as part of April’s Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month to promote the importance of educating women about the vision related symptoms, conditions and treatments unique to them.
Data illustrating women’s prevalence of major vision disorders is available in the 2012 study entitled Vision Problems in the US (www.visionproblemsus.org), where it was revealed that 66 percent of those experiencing blindness are women, 61 percent of those suffering with cataracts are women and 65 percent of those with Age-Related Macular Degeneration are women, almost double that of their male counterparts.
To address these issues, Prevent Blindness has created a new program, See Jane See: Women’s Healthy Eyes Now, to provide free education and resources on everything from eye disease to cosmetic safety to vision changes during pregnancy. Valuable information and new data on a range of topics related to women’s vision health at every stage of her life can be found at SeeJaneSee.org.
“It is imperative that we inform women about protecting their vision today in order to save sight for tomorrow,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “By creating the See Jane See program, we are able to provide a place where women can find current news and invaluable information that’s dedicated specifically to them and their needs.”
For more information about the survey, including informative reports and fact sheets that address a wide range of eye health and safety topics, please visit SeeJaneSee.org, PreventBlindness.org or call (800) 331-2020.
The use of digital devices, including personal computers, tablets and cell phones, continues to increase. And, the impact of prolonged usage can often be felt in the eye. In fact, because of extended use of these devices, close to 70 percent of American adults experience some form of digital eyestrain, according to a new report from The Vision Council. Symptoms of digital eyestrain can include dry eyes, blurred vision and headaches.
To highlight the central role computers and smartphones play for the modern workforce, Prevent Blindness has declared March Workplace Eye Wellness Month. The goal is to provide employers and employees with free information on topics ranging from eyestrain to industrial eye safety in order to promote eye health at work.
Office workers can take a few simple steps to help prevent eyestrain and fatigue. Prevent Blindness suggests:
In addition, Prevent Blindness also strongly recommends the use of eye protection in the workplace, especially in industries such as construction, manufacturing, or any profession where eye accidents and injuries may occur. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2012, there were 20,300 recorded occupational eye injuries that resulted in days away from work.
More than 2 million Americans ages 50 and over have age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is an eye disease that causes central vision to gradually deteriorate. Almost 3 million Americans have low vision, according to the National Eye Institute.
Prevent Blindness, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, has declared February as Age-related Macular Degeneration/Low Vision Awareness Month.
“The number of cases of those with AMD, retinal disorders and low vision are growing at an alarming rate,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “Only through education, early detection and treatment can we prevent considerable vision loss.”
Making a commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle also helps to save sight. Prevent Blindness recommends:
• Visit an eye doctor regularly
• Stop smoking
• Eat healthy foods, including foods rich in certain antioxidants
• Stay active
• Control blood pressure
• Avoid eye injuries that may cause permanent damage by wearing eye protection during physical activities
• When outdoors, no matter what time of year, always wear UV-blocking wrap-around sunglasses and a brimmed hat
More than 2.2 million Americans age 40 and older suffer from glaucoma “Sneak Thief of Sight.” Nearly half do not know they have the disease—it causes no early symptoms.
January has been declared as National Glaucoma Awareness Month by Prevent Blindness and other leading eye health organizations. Prevent Blindness seeks to educate the public on the second leading cause of blindness (behind cataracts) by providing free resources via online or by mail through its “Glaucoma Learning Center.” Visit www.preventblindness.org/glaucoma-learning-center, or call (800) 331-2020, for free information on risk factors, symptoms and treatment options.
For example, glaucoma risk factors include:
• Age: Those that are 40 and older are more likely to develop glaucoma. The older you are, the greater your risk.
• Race: People of African or Afro-Caribbean heritage are more likely to get glaucoma than the rest of the population. They are also more likely to develop glaucoma at a younger age.
• Family History: If you have a parent or sibling who has glaucoma, you are more likely to develop the disease.
• Diabetes: People with diabetes have a higher risk (40 percent) of developing glaucoma.
• Nearsightedness: People who are very nearsighted are at greater risk.
• Eye Injury or Surgery: Those who have had eye surgery or eye injuries may develop secondary glaucoma.
• Steroid Medication: Steroids may increase the risk of glaucoma when used for extended periods of time.
Prevent Blindness has recently put together free fact sheets to help answer common questions about health insurance, Medicare coverage for glaucoma, the Affordable Care Act and eye care. These may be found at www.preventblindness.org/health-insurance-and-your-eyes.
“Although there is currently no cure for glaucoma, the damaging effects can be reduced if diagnosed and treated early,” said Hugh R. Parry, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness. “Our vision should always be a top priority, and the New Year is a great time for a resolution to make sure our eyes are healthy with a dilated eye exam!”
Keep Holidays Bright When Shopping This Year
More Than 262,000 Were Treated in U.S. Hospital Emergency Departments in 2011 from Toy-related Injuries
Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s oldest non-profit eye health and safety group, is providing tips to gift-givers to make sure all gifts are the safe, especially those intended for children.
In 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that hospital emergency rooms across the country treated 262,300 toy-related injuries. And, 74 percent of those injuries were to children under the age of 15. In fact, more than 92,000 were to those under 5 years of age.
Because the most commonly injured part of the body is the head and face area, Prevent Blindness America has declared December as Safe Toys and Gifts Month in an effort to help adults make the best decisions on how to keep the holiday season joyful for everyone. The group is offering toy-buying and gift-giving tips to anyone planning to purchase a gift for a child this year.
Prevent Blindness America suggests that before purchasing a toy:
• Read all warnings and instructions on the box.
• Ask yourself or the parent if the toy is right for the child's ability and age.
• Avoid purchasing toys with sharp or rigid points, spikes, rods, or dangerous edges.
• Check the lenses and frames of children's sunglasses; many can break and cause injuries.
• Buy toys that will withstand impact and not break into dangerous shards.
• Look for the letters "ASTM." This designation means the product meets the national safety standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
• Avoid toys that shoot or include parts that fly off.
• Gifts of sports equipment should always be accompanied by protective gear (such as a basketball along with eye goggles or a face guard with a new batting helmet for baseball or softball).
• Don’t give toys with small parts to young children. Young kids tend to put things in their mouths, increasing the risk of choking. If the part of a toy can fit in a toilet paper roll, the toy is not appropriate for children under the age of 3.
• Do not purchase toys with long strings or cords, especially for infants and very young children as this can become wrapped around a child’s neck.
• Always dispose of uninflated or broken balloons immediately. According to the CPSC, more children have suffocated from them than any other type of toy.
For more information on safe toys and gifts for children, including the PBA Safe Toys Check List, please visit preventblindness.org/safe-toy-checklist.
The number of those with diabetes and prediabetes continues to rise every year. And according to the 2012 Vision Problems in the U.S. report from Prevent Blindness America and the National Eye Institute, more than 7.6 million people ages 40 and older have diabetic retinopathy. The longer someone has diabetes, the more they are at-risk for vision loss from diabetic eye disease and related eye diseases, such as glaucoma and cataract.
Fortunately, for some, simple lifestyle changes can help delay or even prevent developing diabetes and its effects in the future.
As part of the Live Right, Save Sight! program, Prevent Blindness America offers the following recommendations:
• Visit your eye doctor at least once a year if you have diabetes or if you are at high risk. For some, diabetic retinopathy is one of the first signs of diabetes.
• Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, even a modest weight loss can help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
• Increase your physical activity. Exercising 30 minutes a day, five times a week can cut your risk of Type 2 diabetes by more than half. It is important to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
• Watch and control your blood sugar levels.
• Maintain a healthy blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of eye disease, as well as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. It may be necessary to change diet and exercise habits or take medication to keep blood pressure under control.
• If you smoke – quit. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce the risk for diabetic retinopathy as well as provide other health benefits.
• All women who are pregnant or who are planning to become pregnant and have been diagnosed with diabetes should get a full, dilated eye exam.
Wearing Proper Eye Protection in the Home, Yard and Garage can Help Prevent Most Eye Injuries
– More than $1 Billion Spent Annually on Costs Related to Eye Injuries-
Each year in the United States, more than 2.5 million eye injuries occur and 50,000 people permanently lose part or all of their vision, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. And, a recent report from Prevent Blindness America, the nation’s oldest volunteer eye health and safety organization, shows that the annual costs related to eye injuries are more than $1.3 billion.
Eye injuries can occur from a variety of common sources, such as flying debris from lawn mowers or trimmers, or splashes from household cleaners, paints or solvents. Prevent Blindness America urges everyone to wear protective eyewear approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) when performing household activities. The eyewear should have the “Z-87” logo stamped on the frames. For those who wear prescription glasses, many safety glasses or goggles will fit over regular glasses. Regular eyeglasses do not always provide enough protection, and may even cause further injury upon impact.
Knowing what to do for an eye emergency can save valuable time and possibly prevent vision loss. Basic eye injury first aid instructions include:
Chemical Burns to the Eye
• Immediately flush the eye with water or any other drinkable liquid. Hold the eye under a faucet or shower, or pour water into the eye using a clean container. Keep the eye open and as wide as possible while flushing. Continue flushing for at least 15 minutes.
• DO NOT use an eyecup. DO NOT bandage the eye.
• If a contact lens is in the eye, begin flushing over the lens immediately. This may wash away the lens.
• Seek immediate medical treatment after flushing.
Specks in the Eye
• DO NOT rub the eye.
• Try to let tears wash the speck out or use an eyewash.
• Try lifting the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower lid.
• If the speck does not wash out, keep the eye closed, bandage it lightly, and see a doctor.
Blows to the Eye
• Apply a cold compress without putting pressure on the eye. Crushed ice in a plastic bag can be taped to the forehead to rest gently on the injured eye.
• In cases of pain, reduced vision, or discoloration (black eye), seek emergency medical care. Any of these symptoms could mean internal eye damage.
Cuts and Punctures of the Eye or Eyelid
• DO NOT wash out the eye with water or any other liquid.
• DO NOT try to remove an object that is stuck in the eye.
• Cover the eye with a rigid shield without applying pressure. The bottom half of a paper cup can be used.
• See a doctor at once.
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