Vision is fundamental to children’s learning. About 80% of socio-educational development takes place through the eyes during the first 12 years of life, but changes in vision can take place without parents noticing. Working as an optician has helped me realize the importance of having our kids’ eyes examined every year. The discussion can start with vision screenings at schools or pediatricians, but we must add that it is not the perfect way to fully diagnose a vision problem.
It’s not all chocolate and flowers. There’s a vision connection to the man for whom Valentine’s Day is named. Writings about St. Valentine of Rome give accounts of two instances in which he restored sight to the blind. The first was the daughter of a judge who had arrested Valentine. The second was the daughter of his jailer, just before Valentine’s execution. Is it coincidence, then, that February is Low Vision Awareness Month?
The brutally cold weather that swept across much of the country recently may have affected more than your heating bill. Eyes are resilient in the extreme cold, but can still suffer negative effects. Patients may have some unusual complaints, so we must be alert, know the facts, and share the information with our patients.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone. Have you finished your holiday shopping? I’ve barely scratched anyone off my list, but even if you’re ready to ‘wrap things up,’ there’s something to keep in mind if your gift list includes children. December is Safe Toys Month, and Prevent Blindness reminds us that each year, thousands of children younger than 15 suffer serious eye injuries from toys.
Is it coincidence that as soon as we’ve finished the left over Halloween candy, comes November and National Diabetic Eye Disease Month? Coincidence or not, Prevent Blindness takes diabetic eye disease very seriously with more than 29 million American diabetics and their increased risk of several sight threatening diseases. Diabetic eye disease is not just one, but a group of eye conditions that affects people with diabetes. Those conditions include diabetic retinopathy, diabetic macular edema (DME) cataract and glaucoma.
Halloween is coming and there is always plenty of scary goings on for eye care practitioners. One of the scariest is decorative or “circle” contact lenses. This time of year, they pop up like pumpkins in costume stores and online, and you don’t need a prescription to buy them - your credit card will do. A quick Google search for “Halloween contact lenses” yielded three costume shops and an online seller in my area on the first of 19 pages of results. I started the purchasing process online for one of the shops and the online seller, and in both cases, got all the way to the checkout without having to verify my prescription. Terrifying!
School in Georgia is back in full swing. We have had the rush of kids needing glasses, wanting to be fit with contacts, and getting their rec specs for sports. There is also the group of kids that never notices a problem, but has either given their parents a reason for concern, or the teachers or school nurses have found an issue and have referred them in for a complete eye exam.