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Most of us are unaware that our eyes consist of specialized brain cells. Our visual system is connected to our body’s nervous and endocrine systems. This connection is made possible by light receptors inside our eyes’ retina. Sound all too technical ? It is your eyes which are the key for you to develop balance and spacial awareness.
People with good vision took about 9,700 steps each day and exercised at a moderate or vigorous level for 20 minutes.
Those who had vision loss in one eye walked 8,000 steps each day and exercised about 15 minutes.
People with vision loss in both eyes took 6,800 steps each day and exercised for 10 minutes.
Blinking Why do you blink?….. Besides providing comfort; blinking helps maintain clear sharp vision, provides nutrients to the eye, removes debris from the eye, and prevents infection. Your normal blink rate is 20 times per minute but is reduced to between 4 – 5 times when you focus for extended times. For example extended focusing is common amongst computer users. Blinking spreads a tear film across your eye’s surface which evaporates and stimulates the next blink. If you get less than 6 hours of sleep; your blink rate will be greatly reduced. For treatment of dry eye conditions please visit here
Researchers have found that as many as 65 percent of people who sustain traumatic brain injury (TBI) develop associated vision problems TBI-related vision problems included light sensitivity, eye movement dysfunction, focusing problems and eye teaming problems. Related symptoms included eye strain and difficulty reading. What's striking is that despite these vision problems, most of the patients had normal visual acuity. The researchers suggested that anyone with TBI should have a comprehensive vision examination, regardless of the cause or severity of their injury.
Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and what makes it worse; rarely does this disease have any early warning signs. Approximately 11% of Americans live with this disease. Individuals with diabetes must have an annual eye examination so the eye doctor can monitor the retina inside of the eye. Leaking blood vessels, swelling, and deposits in the retina are all caused by diabetes and can lead to a loss of vision. Since diabetes is linked to an increase in kidney, heart, and nerve disease the eye examination is the first line of detection. Diabetics have a high incidence of dry eye In the next eight years the number of people suffering from diabetic eye disease is expected to double. Early detection of diabetes through an annual eye health examination can save your health costs almost $3,000. The photo below replicates how diabetes can change your vision; your life - forever
Because dry eye associated with diabetes can reduce visual accuracy, performance and eye health; reducing dry eye symptoms is becoming more important. Remember dry eye is not just a summer phenomena. For more information on dry eye please see my in-depth article " Dry Eyes: are they leaving your bottom line parched?" And to help your employees combat dry eye in the workplace I offer our wellness program Dry Eye in the Workplace
Are you prepared for an eye emergency? If you're not sure; drop me an email
20% of eye injuries are the results of splashes and 80% are from flying debris into the eye. Do you know how to treat an employee with a foreign body in the eye? What if the eye has been scratched? Is the employee wearing contact lenses? Is your first aid facility stocked with the following: unexpired sterile saline (multiple bottles), elastic gloves, eye patch, cold compress, penlight, magnifier, sterile unopened gauze/tape, over the counter pain medicine, contact lens solutions/case?
Eye Health = Eye Safety.... . Today more people are injured at home than at work. Based on the patient injuries I saw in my office; I'd like to share five reminders for you to pass along to your employees so they stay injury free this spring...
If you're working with any thing that splashes; ask yourself do I want that in my eye?
If you're using a power tool; your eyes need the proper eye protection
Sticks and stones may not break your bones; but their definitely not eye friendly
Read the label on every chemical bottle (including household cleaners) for treatment if the eye is exposed. Time is of the essence
Does your home first aid kit have the necessary items to treat an eye injury? (cold compress, sterile saline ,natural tears, Tylenol/Advil, patch)
treatments: chemicals in the eye requiring immediate flushing for 15 minutes under a faucet or shower (remove any contact lens first), seek medical help
for debris or particle in the eye do not rub the eye, try to rinse out the foreign object, if not removed cover eye with patch & seek medical help
if the eye is cut or punctured do not rinse or try to remove object in eye, cover with patch and seek medical help
for a bruise use compress for short durations, take Tylenol/Advil, seek medical help
Published in the journal PLOS ONE found that brown-eyed people are believed to be more trustworthy than blue-eyed people. In general, faces judged as more trustworthy are narrower, have bigger eyes, and broader mouths with upward-oriented lips. These are characteristics associated with brown eyes. On the other hand, blue eyes tend to be smaller, meaning many blue-eyed faces are pointier and longer with eyebrows that are far apart.
Floaters: Safe or Serious?
You’re working on your computer screen, or driving during the day and then dots drift into your line of vision. They might resemble specks of dust or cobwebs. You’re not seeing things but experiencing eye floaters. Floaters are a part of the normal aging process.
Eye floaters are fibers that detach from inside the eye. A hollow cavity filled with a vitreous jelly (composed of 99 percent water and 1 percent collagen) lies in the center of the eye. This gel helps give eyes their round shape and aids in seeing. As we age the vitreous liquefies and pieces of it begin to release from the back wall of the eye. This debris floats across your field of vision causing you to observe dots, cobwebs, or clouds.
While it appears to you the floaters are gliding across the front of your eye: they’re actually drifting through the eye. What you see is actually the shadow of the fibers reflecting on your retina.
Although eye floaters don’t occur in everyone, 60 percent of people experience them by age 65 Those who have had cataract surgery or have severe nearsightedness might experience eye floaters earlier in life. .
For most people floaters are simply an annoyance. But if there is a sudden explosion in the number of floaters or flashing lights accompany the dots then your eye doctor should be contacted immediately.
The American Optometric Association each year asks patients what concerns them most about their eye health.
46% site eye strain/discomfort from using technology (computers/cell phones, tablets)
41% UV protection
28% eye safety
Ocular Vitamins - The miracle cure?
Only 12% of American adults consume the 3 -5 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily says the American Journal of Public Health. Even this recommended daily allowance (RDAs) of vitamins and minerals may not be enough for everyone. Of special concern are RDA levels for seniors who stay indoors and don’t vary their diets, individuals who have chronic medical conditions or those required to take many different medications. Mounting evidence suggests a poor diet can lead to disease….
However scientific research continues to show that Vitamin supplements and proper eating habits can help reduce your risk of cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. And by including generous servings of fresh fruits and vegetables you can improve your body’s ability to fight disease. But be careful for an overabundance of anything, even a good thing is not the best way to go. Megadoses of ascorbic acid, zinc and copper may even have adverse effects on your health. Moderation is the key to success
Prevention Here are my recommendations for you to discuss with your doctor to prevent eye disease:
Cataracts: A daily multivitamin reduces the risk of cataracts by 25%. Vitamins C and E, along with leafy vegetables like spinach, also reduces your risk of developing cataracts.
Macular degeneration: Lutein, a plant pigment, is found in leafy vegetables such as spinach. Reduced levels of Lutein in the eye have been reported in patients with macular degeneration. Bausch & Lomb has developed a vitamin supplement Ocuvite for patients with macular degeneration.
Glaucoma: A brisk walk regimen, vitamin B 12 and magnesium may help reduce pressure inside the eye.
Diabetic retinopathy: Magnesium and vitamin C may slow the onset of this Disease. Blood sugar control and routine exams are important in preventing diabetic retinopathy.
Vitamin Robbers I should note other agents can deprive your body of needed vitamins and nutrients. Alcohol, tobacco, and cholesterol lowering drugs interfere with the body’s ability to store vitamins. Steroids are known to lower your stores of calcium . A side affect of aspirin is the depletion of the body’s levels of iron and folic acid. Antacids and diuretics also take their toll. Discuss with your doctor or pharmacist options to maintain proper levels of vitamins and minerals.
A healthy diet and vitamins won’t protect you from every disease. They are a very critical part of an overall eye care program which should include exercising, not smoking, protecting your eyes from UV and having regular exams. For more information on vitamins and to print a money saving coupon, visit the web site www.bausch.com
The Chicago Tribune in March 2012 contained an article which discussed online purchases of eyeglasses. "Researchers found that nearly half of prescription glasses they bought online either contained the wrong lenses or didn't meet the standards for impact testing, meaning the lens can crack or shatter, according to a small study published last year in the journal Optometry. The researchers ordered a total of 200 pairs of spectacles from the 10 most popular online retailers; they received and evaluated 154 pairs." The article reported that 1 in 4 pairs of children's eyewear failed impact resistance testing. I learned 1.9 million pairs of eyeglasses were purchased online in 2010. This represents almost 2.8 percent of the total 66.8 million pairs of eyeglasses bought in the U.S.
I believe that online purchases are growing because glasses sold in the retail market have become very expensive. But too often the online sites do not indicate the brand names of the frames and lenses you will ultimately receive. So you do not have the means to effectively compare the quality versus cost of the optical products. Be awaremany of the online retailers charge for any return of the eyeglasses. I strongly recommend you check the company's warranty and return policy for you are paying a non refundable cost. And I am being told that some optical providers charge for fitting & adjusting eyewear not purchased through their office. Vision Xperts has never charged for adjusting & fitting of any eyewear, replacement screws or nose pads
In 2011 with increasing frequency I encountered employees who were experiencing contact lens induced dry eye. The white part of their eye (sclera) appeared pinkish in color. Red veins were visible extending from the pupil, and constant blinking/rubbing were the symptoms I observed. The discomfort associated with contact lens induced dry eye has both a safety and health ramification: blurred vision and irritation to the cornea.
For these reasons I would take a few minutes to offer my recommendations to those employees to help them improve their symptoms related to contact lens induced dry eye. Having participated in numerous FDA contact lens/solution studies I would provide samples of care products and lubricants to address their needs. In fact this month I will include in our Product Highlights section a contact lens care product for the first time.
For more information related to the issue of contact lenses I would refer you to my published article "Contact lenses in an industrial Environment" and consider scheduling our new wellness program Visual Health: Bottom-line winner which addresses healthy & comfortable contact lens wear.
Cataracts are a natural change of the eye. Most of us will start to experience cataracts when we enter our 60s but they can develop earlier in our 50s. The lens inside your eye which started to change in your 40s continues to age as you enter your 60s. From stiffening and losing its clear transparency. the images of the light and clock demonstrate how cataracts affect your vision: your work, your activities, your life.
Cataracts cloud the eye's lens scattering light. Cataracts increase our sensitivity to glare and significantly reduces contrast. Cataracts are caused by a buildup or clumping of protein inside the lens. People with cataracts my notice a brownish tint to their vision. In advanced stages the cataract may cause the inability to identify colors blue and purples.
Cataracts are usually age related but can result from traumatic injuries to the head, radiation, or as in my case; congenital. You increase your risk of developing cataracts from unprotected exposure to sunlight, smoke & drink alcohol, have certain diseases such as diabetes. Symptoms include cloudy, blurred vision, colors seem faded, increase in glare (halos around lights), and double vision in the affected eye.
Cataract prevention falls into these easy steps: protect your eyes from ultraviolet light with a wide brim hat and dark sunglasses from the earliest age, don't smoke, exercise regularly, proper nutrition including a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, vitamins, and control other health issues such as weight
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns decorative contacts lenses, used as a fashion accessory or with a Halloween costume, may cause permanent eye damage if not prescribed by a doctor. Decorative contact lenses are not a “once size fits all” item an can cause eye damage including: scratches on the cornea, corneal infection, conjunctivitis, decreased vision, and even blindness. The FDA advises never to buy decorative contact lenses from the following unauthorized vendors:
· salons or beauty supply stores
· flea markets
· novelty stores
· Halloween stores
· record or video stores
· convenience stores
· beach shops
The FDA advises consumers the safest way to buy decorative contact lenses safely is after a complete contact lens eye examination from a licensed eye doctor (ophthalmologist or optometrist).
Smoke and the Ocular Surface
The Centers for Disease Control estimated that 46 million people, 20.6 percent of adults in the United States, smoked cigarettes. Multiple studies suggest that cigarette smoking/cigarette smoke poses a significant risk to the ocular surface. In a 3,722-subject evaluation found a nearly two-fold increase in the odds for dry eye among smokers.
Smoking alters components of the eyes tear film. A Smokers eye doesn't properly lubricate itself and the tear layers are adversely affected by smoking. Also it was discovered that smokers eyes have an increased rate of tear evaporation. Bottom line: smokers have an increase in dry eye-related symptoms. Smokers have been identified as having their eye's cornea surface compromised making it more vulnerable to disease. And these smoking affects are a risk for even non smokers
The National Cancer Institute's Fact Sheet on Secondhand Smoke notes that there is no safe level of exposure, with even low levels of secondhand smoke being harmful. The Johnson & Johnson Ocular Surface and Visual Optics Department at the Keio University of Medicine in Japan investigated the effects of acute passive cigarette smoke exposure on the ocular surface and tear film in healthy non-smokers and found that even after brief passive exposure, adverse effects on ocular surface health were evidenced by an increase of tear instability and damage to the ocular surface epithelia.
2nd in a series: Your eyes from birth to senior... A popular television program I recently saw was " Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" From kindergarten to 5th grade a child will develop skills which are the foundation for the entire academic achievement. But what if the child cannot see properly? Try covering your eye for an hour or looking through plastic food wrap or imagine that every " a " looks like an " o " and every " d " becomes a " b ". These are all too common visual challenges that a child experiences with an uncorrected vision problem. These visual challenges reduce both the academic success and behavorial skills of the child. Remember the child who has not had an eye examination (not a screening!) doesn't know anything is wrong with their eyes. Their vision is what it is. So please include a comprehensive eye examination on your back to school to do list
Obesity and Vision A recent report highlighted the fact 1 in 5 adults in the United States was obese. Two decades ago not one state had an obesity rate above 15 percent. Now all states do. Obesity increases our risks for diabetes and hypertension. These two conditions are the leading causes of blindness. Cataracts and macular degeneration are also linked to obesity. As I reported in last month's report on glaucoma; too often when you notice a change in your vision - it's too late. Obesity contributes to high blood sugar and elevated blood pressure levels. Both directly linked to visual health and performance. Early detection is the key. I hope you'll join me in recommending to your employees who are overweight an annual eye examination
Nearsightedness linked to serious eye disease People who are nearsighted may be nearly twice as likely to also develop glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness, according to a new study that summarizes earlier research. Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions that damage the optic nerve, causing gradual loss of vision. There are several treatments available -- including drugs and surgery -- but none of them can restore sight once it's lost. The researchers found that, overall, nearsighted people were about 90 percent more likely to also develop open-angle glaucoma. Those with higher levels of myopia appeared to be at higher risk of glaucoma, as well. source: Journal of Ophthalmology
Did you ever examine the package bottom of your contact lens solutions and
lubricants? This is the location most manufacturers place the expiration date
for the product. Once you break the seal on a contact lens solution or
lubricant; you should completely use that product within one month. Once the
bottle is opened it is exposed to contamination. Over that thirty day period
gradually the solution preservative becomes less effective in preventing
microbial growth. You should never use the solution if it is past the expiration
date as you increase the risk of an eye infection.
Binocular vision problems interfere with the ability to focus when reading on a monitor or driving an auto. Employees might have symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, or lack of depth perception. 16% of people have binocular difficulties. You can see for yourself if you are one of those with an easy inexpensive device called the Brock String. You'll need a piece of heavy string about the length of your arm and three colored balls/buttons. Place one of the balls/buttons in the middle and four inches from each end. Attach the string to a chair and hold the string up to your nose with the closest ball/button about two inches away from your eyes. First look at the center object. You should only see one - see two and it's time for an eye exam. As you look at the center object you should see two strings crossing at the center object. Do your strings cross in front of the center object? Do your strings cross behind the center object? If yes to either in front or behind or you don't see two strings; your binocular vision is need of attention.
Vision In the news..... statin drugs which are used to treat high cholesterol have been reported in the American Journal of Medicine (March 2011) to cause red, irritated eyes and double vision.
Don't blame Spot: 16% of eyewear is damaged due to dropping, lying lenses face down, or no case
You can report if you've suffered an eye injury by a product or believe a product could harm someone by visiting SaferProducts.gov
Many injuries such as falls and fractures suffered by people over 55 can be traced to visual difficulties. 19% of the US workforce is now over age 55
Low light challenges .... According to the US Census Bureau 24.5 million people leave for work between midnight and 6:30 a.m. When it is dark, the eye’s pupils dilate (open wider) to let more visible light into the eye so you may see more proficiently. Unfortunately this dilation makes the driver’s vision adversely effected by the glare & halos from headlights. The drivers depth of field focusing is also disrupted.
In the office I have observed employees who turn down their overhead office lighting or are working without supplemental task lighting to reduce the distractions from glare. This low light level may result in a reduction of visual accuracy and increase eye fatigue. During that office PowerPoint presentation or training session did you notice a reduction in your vision’s comfort for seeing accurately across the room, at arm’s length, or taking notes? Remember as we age the natural changes inside the eye make it more difficult to see in low light conditions. If fact we actually require a higher level of light brilliance for clear sharp vision.
Solutions: An essential part of designing prescription eyeglasses is adding an anti-reflective coating. With an anti reflective coating on your prescription lenses your eyes recover a full 5 seconds faster from headlight glare. That means your improved reaction time can help you stop your vehicle 20+ feet sooner. You wouldn't have to live day after day with the eye fatigue associated with computers, whiteboards, and lighting. And I could demonstrate that it is the difference between seeing 20/20 versus 20/30. Indirect overhead lighting inside the office and supplemental task lighting provide the best resolutions for visual performance. And don’t forget to use your document holder. Review your office layout and equipment placement so you can minimize the effects of glare. Make sure your eyeglass prescription is up to date. If it’s time for your eye exam be sure to bring a copy of our vision identification tool WIDE.
7 steps for Healthier Eyes. Eliminate visual stress: reducing the stress on your eyes can be achieved by removing the effects of glare and make sure your eyeglasses have the best optical product for your job’s visual demands. The wrong eyeglass prescription can reduce your productivity by as much as 20%. A study in the United Kingdom discovered 35% failed a basic eye test. Keep your eyeglasses always fitting properly to maximize the prescription. Lubrication: computer use reduces blinking by as much as 75% making your eyes drier. Dry eyes contribute to blurred vision and eye infections Cooler outside temperatures and warmer inside temperatures dry out the atmosphere lowering your eyes moisture level. Natural tear eye drops (not "get the red out" type drops) help the eye maintain proper moisture levels and are not habit forming. Proper Rest: the human eye requires at least six hours of rest in order for you to see clearly, proper contact lens function, and adequate eye moistness. Know the 7 Warning signs of a vision problem . Protect your eyes: From the elements such as dryness caused by effects of wind, with sunglasses against the low angle of the winter sun and summer's intense sky, hazards around the house such as when using power tools or household chemicals. More people are injured at home than on the job. Vitamins: discuss with your doctor these supplements to prevent eye disease. Cataracts: A daily multivitamin reduces the risk of cataracts by 25%. Vitamins C and E, along with leafy vegetables like spinach, also reduces your risk of developing cataracts. Macular degeneration: Lutein, a plant pigment, is found in leafy vegetables such as spinach. Reduced levels of Lutein in the eye have been reported in patients with macular degeneration. Bausch & Lomb has developed a vitamin supplement Ocuvite for patients with macular degeneration. Glaucoma: A brisk walk regimen, vitamin B 12 and magnesium may help reduce pressure inside the eye. Diabetic retinopathy: Magnesium and vitamin C may slow the onset. Annual eye health examinations a yearly eye checkup can ensure your eyes work at their best level of performance and last a lifetime for the leading causes of diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure are first detected in the eyes
10 Facts you should know about Vision:
An incorrect prescription can reduce your productivity up to 20%
20 - 60% of eyeglass costs are not covered by vision insurance plans
64% of Americans wear corrective eyeglasses (50% single vision, 27% progressive bifocal,23% line bifocal)
33% of work related eye injuries require hospital treatment
5% of work related eye injuries result in loss work time
UV exposure increases by 5% for each 1,000 feet above sea level (Chicago is 579 feet above sea level)
33% of population is now between the ages of 40 & 65
41% of the population is nearsighted
in some Asian countries myopia exceeds 80% of the population
90% of eye injuries are preventable
Wind Instrument Musicians Have High Eye Pressure While Playing
February 3, 2011 — Intraocular pressure and blood pressure can rise temporarily in brass and woodwind musicians when they play, says study.
During the study, brass instrument players showed significantly higher eye pressure and blood pressure after playing high and middle frequency tones, while woodwind instrument players experienced increases only for high frequencies. Playing a 10-minute exercise produced temporary eye pressure increases in both groups, but playing a sustained high-pitch note produced significantly higher eye pressure only in the brass musicians.The researchers concluded that professional wind instrument players are at higher risk of developing glaucoma and should be monitored for the disease. The study report appeared online in
Allergy eyes: Do over the counter allergy treatment ocular side effects pose a safety risk?
April showers bring May flowers and watery, itchy eyes, too. We’re all overjoyed to see the grip of Winter’s cold disappear. But if you suffer with seasonal allergies; spring - summer - fall can be less than enjoyable . To cope with allergy symptoms many sufferers rely on over the counter treatments such as Benedryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec. But each of these over the counter treatments have ocular side effects which may pose a safety risk.
I’ve read in my professional journals that an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from one or multiple allergies. Dust, mold, pet dander, and pollen are the most common sources of allergies. Allergies not only disrupt the much anticipated leisure/outdoor activities; but visual performance on and off the job. Allergy sufferers rely on over the counter treatments to combat the allergy symptoms listed in reference #2. But the ocular side effects of over the counter treatments have the potential to compromise their visual accuracy. Which in turn affects on the job performance and safety. Specifically; Benedryl, Claritin, and Zyrtec:
May produce blurred vision, altered refractive states, or accommodative dysfunction
May alter quality of vision by inducing glare, increasing light sensitivity, impair their light/dark adaptation
In laymen’s terms the ocular side effects of over the counter treatments may cause an employee’s vision , could be either distance or near or both, to be not as clear and sharp as the job requires. The ocular side effects of over the counter treatments interfere with the effectiveness of the current prescription lenses. And the eyes ability to see precisely together is disrupted. Focusing may be impaired. For example, my wife relies on over the counter treatments and occasionally has difficulty seeing and focusing on her computer monitor.
To address the impact of over the counter treatments upon an employees visual performance and safety; I recommend your employees advise their eye doctor of any and all over the counter treatments they use. They can print out and answer the questions on our WIDE vision resource I designed to insure prescription accuracy. WIDE does include a medication question. The high impact polycarbonate lenses I provide already include a tint and ultraviolet light filter. These lens features should address difficulties with glare and light sensitivity. However supplemental tinting and/or an anti reflective coating may be necessary depending on the allergy severity and ocular side effects which arise.
Furthermore you may wish to incorporate into your safety training a segment on over the counter allergy treatments ocular side effects role on their personal "on the job" safety. Please let me know if you wish for me to address your employees on this issue.
1. Allergy eyes can be best described as the eyes reaction to allergens (dust, mold, pet dander, pollen) which get into the eyes and cause an inflammation of the conjunctivae ( tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids which keeps the eyelids moist
2. Symptoms of allergy eyes include: White part of your eye red , Tearing, Sinus headaches, Gritty sensation in the eyes, Burning, Blurred vision
Out dated prescriptionsOften I am asked why the old prescription cannot be used to make a new pair of safety glasses. Just like any prescribed medication usually has a one year lifespan, prescription glasses are considered a class 1 medical device requiring a valid doctor’s prescription. If your eyeglass prescription’s expiration date is blank; the expiration date is inferred to be one year from the date of the visual examination. Here are just a few reasons for yearly exams: Annually if you are very nearsighted as the internal condition of the eye should be monitored for changes
…… if you take prescription medications as they can affect the blood system and the retina inside your eye is a very blood dependent. Medication examples are: statins, hypertension, heart medications, birth control, allergy.
…….. if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, glaucoma, cataracts, acquired immune deficiency
…….. if your mom or dad had a degenerative eye disease as they tend to be genetically passed to their children
Most people just assume they can always depend on their eyes for clear sharp vision. Until their vision starts to fail them. Usually vision doesn’t change overnight unless you suffer a trauma or another health condition such as diabetes, infections, hypertension, or a stroke interrupts the visual process. When you read and your eyes are functioning normally; automatically your left and right eye converge on the first letter of a word , recognize and understand what the letter is, move together from left to right comprehending each letter and the word as a whole, then transmitting this back through the lens in both eyes to the brain. And this happens in a twelfth of a second! The process for distance vision requires the left and right eye fuse the object each sees to form a clear unified image. And this should occur automatically; no squinting, tilting the head, or closing one eye.
The February 2009 issue of “Occupational Health & Safety” contained a very enlightening article regarding vision. In this article Vision Testing: A Blind Spot in Occupational Safety, the author raises the issue vision is often overlooked when employers consider requirements for a job. I know individuals whose prescription are not up to date will see a decline in their productivity by as much as 9%. Their visual accuracy can be reduced by as much as 38%. In October 2008; MSNBC reported that the number of individuals putting off doctor visits had grown to 36%.Unfortunately there are those who just accept the way they see. My standing recommendation is your office take advantage of our WIDE document so your employees receive the prescription which is best designed for their job by their examining doctor.
Whether you steer a fork lift truck, assemble parts, operate a machine, or use a computer; your eyes are the drivers. As professionals responsible for employee safety we shouldn’t take for granted employees are seeing as well as they should. But how do you address the impact of employee visual performance on safety and the bottom line for those who don’t wear prescription eyewear or not regularly visiting an eye care professional?
My office can provide a vision screening in your facility which will identify those employees who are lacking in visual acuity (both far and near), depth perception, and color vision. Screenings can be arranged by appointment or conducted at your annual Health Fair. Please call my office to discuss your facility’s requirements.
Refractive surgery and the workplace
In the past 20 years advancements in both technology and surgical applications for correcting a person’s eyesight have progressed from just one technique to six. Where in the past astigmatism and presbyopia excluded a person from ever considering corrective surgery; today these conditions are simply another aspect of the 1.5 million operations to be performed this year. However I do wish to acquaint you with these four factors which might impact your employee safety eyeglass program today and in the future.
For employees who are very nearsighted or have large pupils; after the corrective surgery halos around lights may be a permanent side effect. For these individuals I recommend polycarbonate lenses with an anti-reflective coating. Polycarbonate lenses offer the most protection from halos for the lens has both a tint and ultraviolet filter. Add the anti-reflective coating and you will eliminate almost all of the halo effect. If the halo effect is unaddressed; employee productivity can be reduced. For drivers; the halo effect can be dangerous for its reduction in visual acuity.
One corrective surgery technique called Phakic IOL involves surgically implanting a corrected lens inside the eye. As this technique is similar to cataract surgery; the standard recommendation is all ophthalmic lenses include the Transitions option. Transitions provide a safety factor for protecting the delicate and sensitive internal parts of the eye from harmful UV light.
Recovery time from the corrective surgery operation ranges from as little as 1-2 days up to one week depending on the surgical technique used. Once the employee is permitted by the doctor to return to normal work activities; glare is a common side effect ( can also be a permanent condition ). The employee will discover that the standard non prescription eye protection will not provide a guard from glare. In fact, these types of eye protection may compound the glare factor. I recommend for these employees a mirror coated non prescription model from UVEX (www.uvex.com). These models should provide adequate eye protection without the annoying glare associated with “visitor” glasses.
Boomers now comprise 30% of the United States population. If corrective surgery cannot address the presbyopia condition; then these employees will require either a reading only or bifocal prescription safety glasses. But I would urge you to consider these recommendations as you construct your company policy:
It is not always ideal or safe to be removing one pair of eye protection to then put on and use reading only safety glasses
Computer users should be fit with progressive ( no line ) bifocals
Corrective surgery has progressed to a point where the results are very accurate and with almost no complications. For those employees who undergo this operation; materials are available to address any possible post operative conditions. The solutions discussed in this article should assist you with most scenarios. If you have any questions pertaining to your circumstances; please contact me at 708-686-5266 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Dry Eyes; are they leaving your bottom-line parched?
Dry, red, irritated eyes; we see them everyday. From the computer user to the
machine operator and assembler; employees are seeking relief. What is often
overlooked is how dry eyes of your workers can effect your business’s bottom
line. Dry eye describes a condition when the eye cannot produce enough tears or
tears that are lacking the proper composition. Normally healthy tears consist of
three layers. The layers are often described as an outer oily layer, middle
watery layer, and an inner mucus layer. Together the three layers are necessary
for proper lubrication of the eye. . If untreated dry eye can interfere:
* with the clarity of your vision
* contact lens wearers experience irritation, reduced hours of wear, and possible infection
* with the health of eye tissue and possibly damage, even permanently scar, your cornea
What are the causes of dry eye?
Prolonged levels of concentration: example: the eye usually blinks between 20 + 30 times per minute. This level drops to about 5 times when you view a monitor.
Environmental factors: exposure to debris in the work area
Outside workers open to the wind
Affects of cold or heat (sweating)
Contact with chemicals
Aging process: as we mature the eye’s natural process is to produce lower levels of tear volume
Medications: certain prescriptions and over the counter medications (ex: cold & allergy) reduce tears
Fatigue: the human eyes requires at minimum 6 hours of sleep for proper functions the next day.
Contact lenses: improper care & cleaning and over wear of the contacts are the largest contributors to reduced tear volume
Now that you are aware of the factors that contribute to worker dry eyes; how does a dry eye condition affect a business’s bottom line? Your employee may experience one or more of these symptoms.
Blurred vision: affects productivity levels by as much as 9% and quality accuracy 38%
Foreign body sensation: time away from position to seek treatment from company personnel and/or medical specialist
Burning sensation: dry eyes are more susceptible to infection and in turn the related medical treatment cost
Dry eye conditions and its severity vary from person to person. Treatment options for dry eye conditions range from:
* simply applying natural tears when eyes feel dry and uncomfortable
* moisturizing ointment or high viscosity lubricant before bed
* modifying work environment to minimize environmental factors
* educating employees as to causes and remedies for dry eye
* seeking an eye care specialist for corrective measures such as punctual plugs ( Eye care professionals can evaluate dry eye syndrome via a slit lamp microscopic analysis, Rose Bengal test or a "Zone Quick" test)
* providing safety eyewear to protect the eye from conditions which cause dry eye
Dry eye is a manageable condition and shouldn't be discounted as simply a minor nuisance. Remember if in a 2 - 3 day period your symptoms do not improve I recommend you consult your local private optometrist or consult your doctor for dry eye can be related to other medical problems. I have seen those lubricants by Advanced Vision Research make a dramatic difference in the eyes of workers. Specifically Refresh Tears are all available over the counter. You can visit the web site www.refreshmyeyes.com or www.dryeye.com for more information and a discount coupon
I hope the basic lubrication guide I have included will assist your worker education efforts. If you have any questions; please contact me directly.
Important to note: drops that only promise to get the red look out of your eyes should be avoided. They contain vassal constrictors which tighten the blood vessels in the eyes. These types of drops are designed for minimal application and some evidence suggests they actually dry the eye.
>>>>>>>> After placing a drop of lubricant in the eye, keep the eye closed for about 5 seconds for the full affect of the lubricant to take action. Drops are not habit forming or addictive <<<<<<<<<
Symptoms indicating use for lubrication throughout the work day:
redness of the sclera (white part of your eye) ---- Burning ---- Tearing
Itchiness ---- eyes feel gritty ---- at end of day; eyes feel dry --- eyes feel dry and sore in the morning ---- eyes have in the corners heavy levels of sleep debris
CONTACT LENS WEARERS LUBRICATION GUIDE
IF in the a.m. the eye has "red veins" and / or debris in corner of eyes,
lubricate with natural tear and wait a half hour before inserting contacts. At
end of day - If after contacts are removed your eyes feel dry ,red and are itchy
- lubricate again. During the day while contacts are worn, if you feel like an
eyelash is touching this is the first stage of dryness. Use a contact lens
lubricant ( Ciba lens drop or Clerz 2). One drop in the eye is sufficient, in
just a few blinks the refreshment should occur and last for a number of hours.
The second stage of contact lens dryness will be a blink, momentarily the vision
is fuzzy and with the next blink vision is restored. Lubricate again. . If after
lubrication you experience any halos or rainbows around light sources; your eye
is exhausted and the contacts should be removed with no additional wear that day
Eight to ten percent of all males suffer this affliction in various forms and degrees of severity. The severity ranges from mild difficulties with shades and tints of a few hues to a complete absence of all color perception. Less than one percent of women are so afflicted.
People can be classified by their lack of color vision into three major groups. The first group is those with a mild defect are either “red weak” or “green weak”. Half of all color defective individuals are so afflicted. The next group consists of those with the two most common forms of severe color defects: red or green deficient. These individuals use only two primary colors. These individuals would perceive the colors red, green, and orange as a brownish tone. Yellow would appear in a tan tone. Blue and White are not affected.( I should note there are some individuals who are blue deficient but this is not as common).
The last group is those who cannot distinguish any hues at all and to whom the world appears no more colorful that a black and white movie. Total color deficiency is rare and usually accompanied by other sever vision impairments.
Color deficiencies are for the most part hereditary in origin ( some diseases and certain drugs can induce deficiencies because of damage to the cells of the retina) These deficiencies remain constant throughout life. However special contact lenses are available to improve color discrimination.
During our regularly scheduled visit we can perform the standard test to evaluate an employee’s color discrimination capabilities. Individuals who are not evaluated for color deficiency will have a difficult time processing the information accurately and in a productive manner. Whether they are attempting to read a printed page, be warned by color coded safety signs, or view a software program on a monitor; you should consider that eight to ten percent of your male workforce that might be affected by your color selections.
Twenty million Americans seek relief from their doctors each year because of headaches. While most headaches are uncomfortable, some distracting, most are not life threatening. Relief can be in the form of simply resting in a quiet room or by taking a nonprescription painkiller such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Rarely is a headache a symptom of a dangerous condition. In this article I’ll briefly define the headache types, offer prevention tips, and outline warning signals associated with headaches.
If you experience headaches on a regular basis - keeping a dairy of the headaches (indicate symptoms, time of day, duration, your activity, treatment) can play a significant role in working with your doctor on a treatment program. The best advice is if you have any doubt about your headache, contact your physician.
The most common type of headache is "tension headache." They usually develop gradually, often involve the head, neck, and shoulders. Most people experience tension headaches on a occasional basis and these headaches can be treated easily.
Sinus headaches are focused along the forehead and associated with changes in the weather, allergies, or sinus difficulties.
Cluster headaches vary in duration from minutes to hours repeatedly over a period of time. The pain is described as sharp and are more difficult to treat. These headaches are more common in men.
Prevention and Treatment
To avoid headaches follow good lifestyle habits. Among these are proper levels of sleep, healthy diet, regular exercise and good stress management. Please examine the graph which shows headache triggers to help you prevent the onset of a headache. If you smoke - stop! This alone can reduce the risks for all headaches.Relaxation and stress reduction can diminish the frequency and intensity of headaches. No one medication has proven to be a cure all. There is variability in effectiveness from person to person. Please note: too much acetaminophen can damage the liver and too much aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium can damage kidneys and cause ulcers. .
Warning signals: The following list or symptoms demand you should contact medical attention as soon as possible
Severe, sudden headaches that seem to come out of nowhere or is the worst ever
Headaches accompanied by a loss of consciousness, alertness, sensation, confusion
Headaches that recur in one specific area such as an eye, temple etc.
Headaches that recur and are of high intensity or frequency.
Headaches that are accompanied by neck stiffness and fever.
Headaches that are associated with any kind of head injury.