itchy eyes, blurry vision, redness ó these are some of the eye
problems we all get, particularly if we use computers and high-tech
gadgets. "Eye problems are more common now than ever because of
our lifestyle," says Dr. John Conto of the Eye Institute at the
Medical College of Wisconsin. "I tell patients for every 25
minutes of close computer work, they should take 15 minutes off, if
possible. Break the cycle and allow the eyes to refocus."
problem is dry eyes, which can occur when we focus or concentrate too
long and our blink rate decreases, Conto says. "Dry eyes can also
be caused by some medications and hormonal conditions," he adds.
Puffy and itchy
eyes are often the result of allergies. Itís tempting to use
over-the-counter eye drops to relieve the problem, but be careful,
says Conto. "Those drops can be habit-forming. Donít become a
or those who work outdoors also risk eye disease. "Ultraviolet
rays can contribute to cataracts and macular degeneration, two eye
diseases developed later in life," says optometrist Brian
McGinley of Optix on Downer. "Itís smart to be aware of any
changes in your vision, and donít ignore things like a sudden onset
of floaters, flashes of light, change in pupil size, transient vision
loss and chronic red eyes," he warns.
All of these
symptoms could be relatively harmless, but they might also indicate a
serious problem. "Worst case scenario, some of these conditions
can mean a detached retina. When eye problems happen, I recommend a
thorough eye examination done by someone who is trained to look for
problems with the retina," McGinley says. Better yet, donít
wait for a problem, he says. "Make eye care a part of daily
If your arms are
getting tired from lugging around a laptop, tablet and smartphone, you
will be glad to know youíll soon be able to wear your computer right
on your face. Search engine giant Google Inc. has developed eye
glasses that incorporate a stamp-sized display mounted on the left
side of a pair of eyeglass frames. In an effort to compete with its
rivals, Google is promoting its eyewear while Apple and Samsung
Electronics work on wristwatch -type devices. Google Glass is designed
to record video, access messages and retrieve information from the
Web. The glasses display information in a smartphone-like hands-free
format that can interact with the Internet via natural language voice
commands. A touch pad is located on the side of Google Glass, allowing
users to control the device by swiping through a timeline interface
displayed on the screen.
frames do not yet come with lenses fitted to them, but Google is
considering partnerships with sunglass companies such as Ray-Ban. Itís
worth noting that the Explorer Edition cannot be used by people who
wear prescription glasses, but the company has stated that it will
eventually work with frames and lenses that match the wearerís
prescription. Currently, Google has distributed the device to a
limited set of early users and developers, and expects to make it
available more widely later this year.
Itís still a
mystery whether Google glasses may be harmful to the wearerís
eye disease affects millions
nearly 26 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, up to 45 percent
have some degree of diabetic retinopathy ó damage to the sensitive
retina in the back of the eye ó which can lead to vision loss and
blindness," according to Dr. Daniel Ferguson, a partner at Eye
Care Specialists, a local ophthalmology practice that specializes in
the care of diabetic patients. "For some people, when a routine
vision check-up shows signs of retinopathy, it is their first clue
that they even have diabetes."
high blood sugar levels can weaken blood vessels in the eye, causing
them to swell and leak fluid. Blood sugar fluctuations can also
trigger the growth of abnormal, fragile new blood vessels on the
retina, which can also leak blood. Both of these types of retinal
blood vessel damage or retinopathy can blur vision and lead to
permanent sight impairment. Without treatment, loss of vision can
the glasses with Lasik
patients, there are no symptoms of retinopathy. "The changes in
vision occur so gradually that they donít notice or take action.
Thatís why it is crucial for diabetics to schedule yearly dilated
eye exams. Diabetic eye disease can only be diagnosed through a
comprehensive eye exam," says Dr. Daniel Paskowitz, an eye
surgeon with Eye Care Specialists. "Diabetes-related sight loss
is often preventable with yearly exams and early intervention."
For many people,
laser eye surgery works wonders to correct their vision so they no
longer need glasses or contact lenses. Lasers reshape the cornea, the
clear front part of the eye, changing the eyeís focusing power.
There are different types of laser eye surgery. LASIK ó
laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis ó is one of the most common.
Many patients who have LASIK end up with 20/20 vision. But, like all
medical procedures, it has possible risks and benefits.
have LASIK? "There must be adequate corneal thickness and a
normal shape to the cornea," says Dr. Jason Edmonds, a surgeon
with Milwaukee Eye Care Associates. "We also look at a personís
career. People who have a high risk of injury to their eyes such as
police officers, athletes and those who serve in the military are not
good candidates," he says. At the same time, older people who
often suffer from dry eyes may not be good candidates, nor are those
under the age of 20 whose eyes arenít done developing.
had laser eye surgery, you might need a touch-up. "The cornea
changes over time. In five to 10 years up to 18 percent of people need
to have more surgery," Edmonds says. "Overall, itís a very
safe procedure that offers excellent benefits."