Nearly All Workplace Eye Injuries Can Be Avoided with Eye Protection

Nearly All Workplace Eye Injuries Can Be Avoided By Wearing Eye Protection

On-the-job safety goes well beyond avoiding slips, falls and heavy lifting. Caring for your
eyes should be a high priority and part of an overall workplace wellness routine. Each day, about two thousand U.S. workers sustain a job-related eye injury that requires medical treatment. However, 90 percent of these accidents can be avoided by wearing eye protection.

Most Common Eye Injuries

Workplace eye injuries cost more than $300 million a year in lost productivity, treatment and compensation. These injuries range from simple eye strain to trauma, which may lead to permanent damage, vision loss and blindness. This is particularly true for workers in construction, manufacturing and mining. Approximately, forty percent of eye injuries in the workplace happen in these three industries.

If an eye injury does occur, an individual should seek care from an eye care professional or go to an emergency room for immediate care.

Caring for Your Eyes on the Job

Caring for your eyes on the job should not be limited to those who do physical labor, however. People who spend long hours working on a computer can experience eye discomfort. Focusing on small font type for hours on end can cause eye strain, fatigue and headaches. Staring at screens for long periods can also leave eyes parched and red, causing eyes to become dry from lack of blinking. This happens frequently as computer screens or other digital displays reduce a person’s blink rate by as much as 50 percent.

“Computer screens or other digital displays reduce a person’s blink rate by as much as 50 percent.”

Follow these tips to help avoid workplace eye injury or strain:

WEAR PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR

Ensure that your eye protection is appropriate for the type of hazard that may be present in your workplace, such as flying debris, falling objects, chemicals, intense light and heat. Your eyewear must be American National Standards Institute ANSI- approved and OSHA compliant. You must use special-purpose safety glasses, goggles, face shield or helmet if you are near hazardous radiation welding, chemicals, lasers or fiber optics.

POSITION YOUR COMPUTER 25 INCHES AWAY

If you are working on a desktop computer, try placing the monitor at an arm’s length away from your face. You may need to adjust the font size to appear larger at that distance.

FOLLOW THE 20-20-20 RULE

Eye strain and dry eye occur after long, continuous periods of viewing digital screens up close. To help alleviate this, take a break every twenty minutes by looking at an object twenty feet away for twenty seconds. Looking at a distance allows your eyes to relax and return to a regular rate of blinking again. Normally, people blink about 14 times a minute and with every blink, your eyes are lubricated with fluid that contains moisturizing elements, including oil.

REDUCE GLARE ON YOUR SMARTPHONE AND DIGITAL SCREEN

While many new phones and digital devices have glass screens with excellent picture quality, they also
produce a strong glare that can aggravate the eyes. If you use a glass screen device, adjust the low light filter setting to lower screen brightness or use a matte filter to reduce eye strain.

ADJUST ENVIRONMENTAL LIGHTING AT YOUR WORK

If your computer screen is brighter than your office surroundings, your eyes need to work harder to see. You can reduce eye strain by adjusting the lighting in your surroundings.

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Seeing. The future.

Physician Journal

Dry Eye Syndrome

It is one of the most common problems treated by eye physicians. It is usually caused by a problem with the quality or amount of the tear film that lubricates the eyes.

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What is a Refractive Laser Treatment?

The question as to whether a laser will be used in treatment of a patient’s medical conditions, has been asked for nearly thirty years of the health care professional. Many new forms of laser applications have evolved in that time and today laser devices are used in many areas of medicine, none perhaps more than in Ophthalmology.

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Glaucoma? SLT for me please

Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness in the world. In our country, nearly 3 million people have glaucoma. Much like high blood pressure, it can be present without symptoms.

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iStent : Size does matter

The iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass device has recently been released for the treatment of glaucoma. The iStent is the smallest FDA-approved medical device in existence! Smaller than the head of a pin, it is placed in the eye at the time of cataract surgery to help reduce eye pressure by enhancing fluid exit.

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What is a Refractive Laser Treatment?

by Lee Hofer, M.D.

The question as to whether a laser will be used in treatment of a patient’s medical conditions, has been asked for nearly thirty years of the health care professional. Many new forms of laser applications have evolved in that time and today laser devices are used in many areas of medicine, none perhaps more than in Ophthalmology.

What began years ago as laser light treatments for diabetic eye changes and glaucoma conditions, has today grown to include several additional glaucoma laser applications, skin treatments, and intraocular cataract laser usage both prior to and post cataract surgery to name a few. The highly publicized LASIK and its cohort procedure, PRK, have been used to reduce or eliminate a patient’s dependency on spectacles for 20+ years. This is the area of refractive laser surgery, where a laser application is made to the front surface of the eye, the cornea, to reshape it and compensate for the optics of the eye.

Laser treatments are done to eliminate the common forms of eye glass correction.

You either choose laser correction for distance and use reading spectacles or you wear glasses for distance and read without.

These laser treatments are done to eliminate the common forms of eye glass correction, myopia (nearsightedness), and astigmatism (shadowing of images), and in some cases hyperopia (farsightedness). While the typical need for reading glasses can be addressed, you can not have your cake and eat it too in refractive surgery. You either choose laser correction for distance and use reading spectacles or you wear glasses for distance and read without. There are some variations of this but in brief, that is the choice.

However, more and more advances are being made in the technology of intraocular lenses which are placed into an eye with each cataract surgery as a replacement lens. There exists today, types of lenses known as Premium Lenses, which can offer some patients greater independence visually from spectacles, but not necessarily complete independence. When cataract patients choose such a Premium Lens to be placed at their cataract surgery, they are hopeful of good distance vision and an additional range of intermediate and near vision, often allowing them to read much of the typical printed materials in their daily lives.

“Because these promising advances of intraocular lens technology are available, the patient that chooses such a lens is understandably hopeful for a greater range of useful vision with less spectacle need.”

While our cataract removal procedures today are more precise than ever, as are the methods of calculating the lens power to be implanted, some occasions arise where the post cataract surgery result is short of the goal. This is the situation where the Refractive Laser comes into consideration. Usually, in these situations, some basic form of common refractive error, myopia or astigmatism remain.

If, after an adequate healing period of 4-6 months, this persists, a type of laser known as an Excimer laser can be used to treat this residual refractive amount by reshaping the cornea in the same fashion that has been done for 20+ years for patients seeking independence from glasses. It is a quick procedure, taking less than ten minutes in most cases and after healing, usually within 2 weeks, noticeable visual improvement is achieved with complete recovery at 2-3 months.

The addition of this procedure to compliment or complete the cataract visual recovery process has been of great benefit to many people. When discussing cataract surgery with your eye care professional, ask them if you would be a Premium Lens candidate and after any cataract surgery, if you feel your visual outcome is short of your expectation, engage your surgeon in the discussion of whether Laser Refractive Surgery would be advisable.

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Age-Related Macular Degeneration Leading Cause of Blindness Among Seniors

Most Americans Unaware of One of the Leading Causes of Blindness Among Seniors

Age-Related Macular Degeneration is one of the leading causes of blindness among seniors, affecting approximately 2.1 million people nationwide. By 2050, it is expected that the number will more than double to 5.4 million. People may be putting themselves at unnecessary risk of vision loss by neglecting to have sight-saving eye exams.

Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in emphasizing AMD awareness and encouraging those who are most at risk to ensure the health of their eyes by getting an eye exam from an ophthalmologist – a physician who specializes in the medical and surgical treatment of eye diseases and conditions.

AMD is a degenerative disease that damages the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that focuses images and relays information to the brain. Over time, retinal damage can lead to permanent loss of central vision, limiting the ability to drive, read and recognize faces.

“By 2050, it is expected that the number of those affected by AMD will more than double to 5.4 million.”

There are two forms of AMD – wet and dry. While the dry form of AMD leads to gradual vision loss, the wet form progresses at a faster rate and is responsible for 90 percent of all AMD-related blindness. Recent advancements in treatment options have significantly decreased the incidence of blindness. However, it is critical to get diagnosed and begin treatment as soon as possible to protect vision.

Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic recommends the following steps to help potentially avoid AMD and other eye diseases:

Get regular comprehensive medical eye exams.

AMD often has no early warning signs, so getting regular comprehensive eye exams from an ophthalmologist is critical to diagnosing and treating the eye disease in its early stages. The Academy recommends that people over age 65 get an exam every one to two years, even if they have no symptoms of eye problems.

Quit smoking.

Numerous studies have shown smoking to increase the risk of developing AMD and the speed at which it progresses. If you smoke, you are twice as likely to develop macular degeneration compared with a nonsmoker.

Know your family’s eye health history.

If you have a close relative with AMD, you have a 50 percent greater chance of developing the condition. Before you go in for your next eye exam, speak with your family about their eye health history. Sharing this information with your ophthalmologist may prompt him or her to recommend more frequent eye exams. The earlier AMD is caught, the better chances you may have of saving your vision.

Eat a diet rich in omega-3s and low in cholesterol and saturated fat.

Several studies have shown that people who had a reduced risk of AMD had diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish. In one study of patients who were at moderate risk for AMD progression, those who reported the highest omega-3 intake (not in the form of a supplement) were 30 percent less likely to develop advanced AMD after 12 years. In another study, an increased risk of AMD was found in individuals who had a higher intake of saturated fats and cholesterol and in those with a higher body mass index.

Exercise regularly.

Many studies have shown that getting regular exercise can benefit your eyes. One study found that exercising three times a week reduced the risk of developing wet AMD over 15 years by 70 percent.

Degenerative diseases, such as AMD can now be successfully treated, but early detection is imperative to avoid lasting consequences. Schedule your comprehensive eye exam today.

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Eye Mites Are More Common Than You MITE Think

Many complain of red, irritated and sometimes swollen eyelids. Dr. Harvey, ophthalmologist at Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic says, often the underlying problem can be eye mites. Check out his response to our questions below:

Q:DO PEOPLE ACTUALLY HAVE BUGS LIVING IN THEIR EYELASHES?

A: “Yes, they do! Staph and other ‘Gram positive’ bacteria are very common. A type of mite known as Demodex folliculorum, live inside the oil glands at the very base of eyelashes in the very eyelid edge. They tend to come out at night and use the eyelid edge as their personal playground. Their life cycle leads to a lot of inflammation, which can show up as thickening of the eyelids, eyelash loss, redness and dry eye.”

Q:WHAT IS A MITE DOING IN MY EYELASHES?

A: “Mites like the eyelid edges because there is moisture, a warm environment, food from the natural oils that are secreted and protection from regular cleaning. Most people do not spend enough time cleaning the eyelid edges so these little buggers (pun intended!) are living in a privileged neighborhood.”

Q:HOW MANY PATIENTS DO YOU ENCOUNTER WITH THIS ISSUE?

A: “I see this quite often. In fact, Demodex infestation is present in 84 percent of the population at age 60.”

Q:WHAT IS THE CAUSE?

A: “Demodex grows better in areas that are more difficult to routinely clean, such as the eye socket or orbit that has a lot of valleys. Most of us don’t regularly scrub that part of our body as well as we should.”

Q:HOW DO I TREAT THIS CONDITION?

A: “There are dedicated eyelid cleansers and scrubs.Our favorite is Avenova that can be sprayed on and left to dry. It is dilute hypochlorous acid. While it smells like bleach, it is very gentle and kills almost anything bad. There are also foam cleansers that work well.”

Q:CAN I PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING?

A: “It’s important that we spend time in the shower every day cleaning around our eyelids and eyelashes so that there is not a build up of debris. A gentle soap and sometimes baby shampoo on a washcloth can be used. You can also purchase cleaning products for your lids at Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic. Your eyes will feel much better without these mites and bacteria.”

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Avoid Toy-Related Eye Injuries Over The Holidays With These Tips

Avoid Toy-Related Eye Injuries Over The Holidays With These Tips

With the holiday shopping season now in full swing, Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in reminding the public of certain safety guidelines when choosing the perfect gifts for little ones. A number of studies show that some popular toy types are commonly associated with childhood eye injuries. These include air guns and other toys that shoot projectiles, high-powered lasers, and sports equipment.

Follow these tips when shopping for toys this holiday season.

1. Beware of airsoft, BB guns, and other projectile toys.

Every year ophthalmologists treat thousands of patients with devastating eye injuries caused by seemingly safe toys. Avoid items with sharp, protruding or projectile parts such as airsoft guns, BB guns and other non-powder gun – related toys. Foreign objects can easily propel into the sensitive tissue of the eye.

2. Never allow children to play with high-powered laser pointers.

A number of recent reports in the United States and internationally show that children have sustained serious eye injuries by playing with high-powered lasers (between 1500 and 6000 milliwatts). Over the years, these lasers have become increasingly more powerful, with enough potential to cause severe retinal damage, with just seconds of laser exposure to the eye. The FDA advises the public to never aim or shine a laser pointer at anyone and to not buy laser pointers for children.

3. Read labels for age recommendations before you buy.

To select appropriate gifts suited for a child’s age, look for and follow the age recommendations and instructions about proper assembly, use and supervision.

4. Don’t just give presents. Make sure to be present.

Always make sure an adult is supervising when children are playing with potentially hazardous toys or games that could cause an eye injury.

5. Know what to do (and what not to).

If someone you know experiences an eye injury, seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist. As you wait for medical help, make sure never to touch, rub, apply pressure, or try to remove any object stuck in the eye.

“ When the gift-giving and celebratory spirit of the holidays is in full swing, we can forget how easily kids can get injured when playing with certain toys,” said Jane C. Edmond M.D., a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology. “We hope people will take steps to shop and play responsibly this year. Following these tips can help make sure our loved ones have healthy vision for many holiday seasons to come. ”

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Dr. Thomas Dow, Ophthalmologist, retires after 40 years of dedicated service.

In the Media

News Release

Dr. Thomas Dow, Ophthalmologist, retires after 40 years of dedicated service

After 40 years of dedicated service, Thomas Dow, M.D., ophthalmologist at Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic, retires.

A Badger through and through, Dr. Dow received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in microbiology, and attended medical school at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, Madison. He completed his ophthalmology residency at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics.

Board certified in ophthalmology, Dr. Dow founded Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic in 1978. After joining Dr. Frank Brown, who retired shortly after, he merged three clinics into one. Outgrowing 2 buildings, adding new doctors every few years and additional locations; Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic continues to grow and flourish.

Dr. Dow performing eye surgery in the Philippines during one of his many mission trips.

Dr. Dow operating at Oakleaf Surgical Hospital.

Throughout his career, Dr. Dow has performed just over 21 thousand surgeries, completed 16 mission trips to the Philippines, gave four talks at international meetings, wrote 19 peer-reviewed articles and conducted five extensive patient studies.

Board Certified Ophthalmologist, Dr. Dow explaining the anatomy of the eye.

Community focused, Dr. Dow served on the board of Charter Bank for 16 years, led the creation of the Eau Claire Soccer Park and was a faithful tenor in his church choir.

Some of Dr. Dow’s plans for retirement include racquetball, pickle ball and tennis. He is excited to practice his new cello in his spare time, but is most looking forward to, “driving the grandpa bus around town for the four grandkids.”

Although retiring, he will continue his career of research with his new treatment center, called Mindful Diagnostics & Therapeutics. Designed to mitigate Alzheimer’s disease, an individualized patient protocol is created for candidates with dementia risk. Mindful Diagnostics & Therapeutics is located in the Eau Claire Medical building. For more information, visit www.mindfuldt.com.

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Sixty Percent of Americans with Diabetes Skip Annual Sight-Saving Exams

Sixty Percent of Americans with Diabetes Skip Annual Sight-Saving Exams

People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing serious eye diseases, yet most do not have sight-saving annual eye exams, according to a large study.

This is especially timely as the Chippewa Valley Eye Clinic (CVEC) joins the American Academy of Ophthalmology in reiterating the importance of eye exams during the month of November, which is observed as Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Researchers at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia have found that more than half of patients with the disease skip these exams. They also discovered that patients who smoke – and those with less severe diabetes and no eye problems – were most likely to neglect having these checks. The researchers collaborated with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to review the charts of close to 2,000 patients age 40 or older with type 1 and type 2 diabetes to see how many had regular eye exams.

Their findings over a four-year period revealed that:

  • Fifty-eight percent of patients did not have regular follow-up eye exams
  • Smokers were 20 percent less likely to have exams
  • Those with less-severe disease and no eye problems were least likely to follow recommendations
  • Those who had diabetic retinopathy were 30 percent more likely to have follow-up exams

One in 10 Americans have diabetes, putting them at heightened risk for visual impairment due to the eye disease diabetic retinopathy. The disease also can lead to other blinding ocular complications if not treated in time. Fortunately, having a dilated eye exam yearly or more often can prevent 95 percent of diabetes-related vision loss.

Eye exams are critical as they can reveal hidden signs of disease, enabling timely treatment. This is why the CVEC and the Academy recommend people with diabetes have exams annually or more often as recommended by their ophthalmologist.

“People with diabetes need to know that they shouldn’t wait until they experience problems to get these exams,” says Rahul N. Khurana, M.D., clinical spokesperson for the Academy. “Getting your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist can reveal the signs of disease that patients aren’t aware of.”

To schedule your annual eye exam, call 715-834-8471.

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